In Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), like most fantasy RPGs, a wizard is a powerful spellcaster who uses their knowledge and understanding of magic to overcome obstacles and blast away their enemies. Wizards are probably my second favourite class (after rogues of course!).
With a wide range of spells at their disposal, high level wizards can use their versatile spells to overcome pretty much any problem the DM could throw at them. However, they also have some big weaknesses, such as really low hit points and almost no armor proficiency (it screws up their spell casting). Low HP and no armour means they need to rely on their spells to protect themselves.
To play as a wizard character, and to read up on all these spells I’m going to suggest, you need your own copy of the D&D 5E Players Handbook (Amazon link).
When I started this article, the purpose was to provide a list of 5 essential spells for every D&D wizard. That quickly became too few, so i increased it to 10 essentials for low level wizards, then added an additional 5 for mid-high levels.
These spells are crucial for any wizard to have in their spellbook, as they can help a wizard overcome a variety of challenges and succeed in their adventures.
Understanding Spell Slots and Spell Levels
Its different from one RPG to another, but in D&D wizards cast spells by expending spell slots. Spell slots represent the wizard’s ability to cast a certain number of spells of a particular level each day. Each time a wizard casts a spell, they expend one of their available spell slots. Think of them a bit like ‘ammo’ that gets expended, however it regenerates after a long rest.
Spell levels are a measure of a spell’s power and complexity. Importantly, remember that spell levels are different to the actual wizards level.
In D&D 5e, spells range in level from 1st to 9th, with 1st-level spells being the simplest and 9th-level spells being the most powerful. As a wizard gains experience and levels up, they gain access to higher-level spells, which allows them to cast more potent magic.
The number of spell slots a wizard has for each level of spell is determined by their class level and spellcasting ability. As a result, the number of spell slots a wizard has available increases as they gain levels, which means they can cast more spells each day and access more powerful spells as they progress in the game.
Spells – A Helpful Aid
If you’re preparing your first wizard and wanting to choose the best spells you can, you may find the following product really helpful.
Spellbook Cards – Arcane, a D&D official product, gives you the luxury of being able to create a literal hand of cards for your spells. Each card holds all the information you need to cast or organise your spells.
If you’re feeling particularly creative, you could create an actual spellbook by using scrap-booking style picture holders to hold your cards in place.
Nothing would say you’re a well prepared wizard more, than rocking up to your gaming table with a physical spellbook, full of your known spells!
You can grab this pack of official D&D Wizard Spellcards for ~£20/$25
The Importance of Choosing Wizards Spells Wisely
Choosing spells wisely is crucial for any D&D wizard, as the spells they choose can greatly impact their success in the game. Each spell has its own unique effect, and some spells are more versatile or useful than others depending on the situation. You can spend a great evening getting lost in the tome of spells, i definitely recommend it!
As mentioned, a wizard needs to carefully consider which spells they choose for their spellbook.
One reason why choosing spells wisely is important is that wizards have limited spell slots available each day. This means that a wizard needs to make the most of the spells they have prepared, as they may not have the opportunity to rest and regain spell slots in the middle of an adventure. As a result, a wizard needs to choose spells that are versatile and can be used in a variety of situations.
Another reason why choosing spells wisely is important is that some spells are simply more useful than others. For example, a wizard who specializes in acid magic may have many spells that deal acid damage, but they may be less effective against enemies who are resistant to acid. In contrast, a wizard who has a mix of damage types in their spellbook can adapt to different situations and overcome a wider range of challenges.
Finally, a wizard needs to consider their own strengths and weaknesses when choosing spells. For example, a wizard usually has low hit points may want to choose spells that allow them to stay out of harm’s way, such as spells that create barriers or allow them to teleport short distances (a.k.a tactically running away!)
The 10 Essential Spells for Low-Level D&D Wizards
Here are ten essential spells that I think every low to mid level D&D wizard should have in their spellbook. Obviously this is my experience, as both a player and a DM, so your experience and tastes may vary.
- Mage Armor (1st level, Abjuration, V, S, M (a piece of cured leather)): This is a go to, 100% in every wizard build I make. This spell creates a magical armor around the wizard, granting them an armor class of 13 + their Dexterity modifier. Mage Armor is essential for wizards, to circumvent the whole no-physical armour drawback to the class.
- Shield (1st level, Abjuration, V, S): A good spell when the **** hits the fan. This spell creates an invisible barrier around the wizard, granting them a +5 bonus to their armor class until the start of their next turn. Shield is useful for avoiding attacks and staying safe in combat, however you have to remember to use it! It fires off as a reaction action, so don’t forget to use it!
- Magic Missile (1st level, Evocation, V, S): A bit of a trope, but fantastic for guaranteeing damage. This spell creates three glowing darts of magical force that automatically hit a target for 1d4+1 force damage each. Magic Missile is a reliable spell for dealing damage and is particularly useful against enemies with high armor class. They can also be split into different targets, and MM scales nicely as your wizard levels up.
- Detect Magic (1st level, Divination, V, S): This spell allows the wizard to sense the presence of magic within 30 feet of them, so is really helpful when your tracking down items or suspect something is not quite what it seems. Detect Magic is aslo useful for detecting hidden magical traps – out the way rogue!
- Identify (1st level, Divination, V, S, M (a pearl worth at least 100 gold)): My second utility spell recommendation. This spell allows the wizard to identify the properties of a magical item they touch. Identify is essential for wizards (and the wider party) who want to make the most of their magical items and artifacts.
- Misty Step (2nd level, Conjuration, V): This spell allows the wizard to teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space they can see. Misty Step is useful for escaping danger, traversing difficult terrain, and positioning the wizard for an attack.
- Fireball (3rd level, Evocation, V, S, M (a tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur)). 100% trope and in every D&D meme, but there’s a reason for that! This spell creates a fiery explosion that deals 8d6 fire damage to all creatures within a 20-foot radius. Fireball is a powerful offensive spell and can be devastating against groups of enemies. Its a bit of a nuclear option but when you drop it everyone knows!
- Counterspell (3rd level, Abjuration, S): This spell allows the wizard to attempt to interrupt a spell being cast by another creature. Counterspell is useful for stopping enemy spellcasters from using their most powerful spells.
- Fly (3rd level, Transmutation, V, S, M (a wing feather from any bird)): This spell allows the wizard to fly at a speed of 60 feet for up to 10 minutes. Fly is useful for traversing long distances, avoiding obstacles, and positioning the wizard for an attack.
- Dimension Door (4th level, Conjuration, V): This spell allows the wizard to teleport up to 500 feet to a location they can see. It may be a bit much having Fly, Misty Step and Dimension Door – but it basically covers your wizard for any physical escape attempt! It’s useful for escaping danger, positioning the wizard for an attack, and traversing long distances quickly.
I’m kinda tempted to drop Fly and use the slot for either Chromatic Orb or Comprehend Language. Both spells offer more flexibility to your wizard, with the latter being a great non-combatant tool than can help a party out in a logical-pinch.
Anyway, in conclusion, these ten spells are essential for any low level D&D wizard to have in their spellbook. By having a mix of defensive, offensive, and utility spells at their disposal, a wizard can adapt to any situation and overcome a wide range of challenges.
5 Essential Spells for Mid-High Level D&D Wizards
While compiling the above list, I couldn’t help but put together a smaller lost for higher-powered D&D wizards. As wizards gain levels and become more powerful, they will need to add more advanced spells to their spellbooks in order to remain effective in combat and accomplish more complex tasks. Here are five essential spells for mid-high level D&D wizards:
- Wall of Force (5th level, Evocation, V, S, M (a pinch of powder made by crushing a clear gemstone)): This spell creates an immobile, invisible wall of magical force that can be shaped into a dome or barrier. The wall cannot be passed through by physical means, making it an effective barrier against enemies or environmental hazards.
- Cone of Cold (5th level, Evocation, V, S, M (a crystal or glass cone)): This spell creates a cone-shaped burst of freezing cold air that deals 8d8 cold damage to all creatures within the area. Cone of Cold is a powerful offensive spell that can deal significant damage to groups of enemies.
- Teleportation Circle (5th level, Conjuration, V, M (two rare chalks or inks infused with precious gems worth at least 50 gold each)): This spell creates a magical circle that allows the wizard to instantly transport themselves and their allies to any other teleportation circle that they know the sigil sequence for. Teleportation Circle is essential for quick travel and strategic positioning.
- Wall of Stone (5th level, Evocation, V, S, M (a small block of granite)): This spell creates a wall of stone up to 10 feet tall and 100 feet long, which can be shaped into a straight wall or curved into a circular barrier. Wall of Stone can be used to block off enemy advances or protect allies from harm.
- Chain Lightning (6th level, Evocation, V, S, M (a bit of fur and a rod of amber, crystal, or glass)): This spell creates a bolt of lightning that arcs from one creature to another, dealing 10d8 lightning damage to up to four targets within range. Chain Lightning is a powerful offensive spell that can deal significant damage to multiple enemies, making it an essential spell for combat.
In conclusion, I reckon these five spells are essential for mid-high level D&D wizards to have in their funky old spellbooks.
Wizard Spells: My Conclusion
In Dungeons & Dragons, a wizard’s spellbook is their most powerful tool, without it they’re in super deep trouble. Each book allows them to cast a variety of spells that can shape the course of the game, really dunking on all other classes, especially for area damage. However regardless of level, its essential for players to choose their spells wisely and select those that will be most useful in a variety of situations.
In this article, we have outlined the 10 essential spells for low level D&D wizard, including some basic spells for novice wizards and more advanced spells for experienced players. I’ve also provided a list of 5 great spells for mid-high level D&D wizards. While these are our personal recommendations, we encourage readers to use this list as a starting point for building their own wizard spellbooks.
The next time I create a wizard character for D&D, I’m definitely going to grab this pack of wizard miniatures produced by The Grinning Gargoyle minis. I would then paint them all the same, allowing me to substitute out my model as the pose and situation demanded. Hopefully I would never need the dead-wizard pose (however it is likely!)
Remember that your experience in the game will be unique; your DM may have lots of physical obstacles, so something like spider climb could be ideal. It’s important to consider the specific challenges they may face in their campaign when choosing spells. With careful consideration and strategic planning, any wizard can become a powerful and versatile asset to their adventuring party. So go forth, choose your spells wisely, and may your adventures be full of magic and wonder!