Wizards possess the most extensive knowledge of magic and magical spells out of all of the classes in Dungeons and Dragons. The wizard's spell list features at least twice as many spells as any other class and is filled with options ranging from spells that deal damage, summon allies, provide protection, and even sculpt the shape of the battlefield.
With so many options, how does an apprentice wizard ever come to a decision? While wizards generally want to prepare a handful of spells suited to the task at hand, there are a number of options that prove useful in almost every situation. These are spells that a wizard will never regret having prepared, but will likely sorely miss if he or she fails to pack them. Let's dive into the ten essential spells any self-respecting wizard would be caught dead without.
Updated on April 17, 2021, by Paul DiSalvo: As the class in D&D with the largest spell list of any class, Wizards have by and large the most flexible magic in the game. While they lack access to traditional healing magic, they have the potential to cover nearly any base that one could imagine, allowing them to function as a magical Swiss army knife. This allows them to use their magic to not just excel in combat, but adapt to a wide range of scenarios a DM may throw at a party.
As a ninth level spell, Wish is far from the most accessible spell available to Wizards. Thought will only be available to the highest level Wizards, it’s hard to argue with the countless applications the spell has. Capable of replicating the effects of nearly any other effect in the game, creating resources out of thin air, or even manifesting feats described by its caster, it’s hard to find a problem that can’t be alleviated with a casting of Wish.
While the spell has some of the most raw potential of any effect in the game, it doesn’t rank higher on this list due to its lack of accessibility, meaning many players will go entire campaigns without being able to cast the spell, mitigating its usefulness.
14 Misty Step
Straightforward yet effective, Misty Step is one of the earliest teleportation spells available to Wizards. A second-level spell that can be cast as a bonus action, Misty Step allows its caster to move up to thirty feet in any direction.
This can allow a wizard to get out of restraints or another creature’s grapple with ease, or even provide an additional thirty feet of movement on one’s turn when in a pinch.
13 Find Familiar
Find Familiar is an incredible yet underrated spell that is normally exclusive to the Wizard class. As a first level spell, Find Familiar is available from the word go and as the name suggests, allows its caster to conjure a familiar. Once summoned, a wizard can control their familiar and even see and hear using its senses as an action.
While a familiar can’t use the attack action, it has access to its own turn in combat and can move items around the battlefield or even use the help action, consistently providing advantage on one’s attacks.
It’s hard to have a conversation about powerful Wizard spells without discussing the stellar Necromancy spell, Clone. Like Wish, this eighth-level spell won’t be available to a Wizard for most of their journey, but makes its way onto this list by being the closest thing to immortality a Wizard can access with their magic.
Creating a duplicate body of target, when this spell’s target dies, as long as their soul remains intact, it will automatically enter this Clone’s body, retaining all of their stats, abilities, and magic!
11 Bigby’s Hand
Bigby’s Hand is a fifth-level spell that encapsulates the flexibility of a Wizard’s Magic to a T. A concentration spell that summons a large hand for up to one minute, the hand mimics the actions of its caster’s hand.
This means that this hand can be used to punch or grapple foes, serve as cover, or even move objects! This allows a single spell to cover several bases of utility, whether it be offensive, defensive, or simply a safety precaution.
10 Detect Magic
One of the most important reasons to keep a wizard around is so that a party of adventurers can recognize when magic is at play. Besides gratuitous arcana checks handed out by a kind dungeon master, players often won't know that they're dealing with a magical trap, door, or item until it's way too late. This is where detect magic comes in handy. Not only does the spell reveal any magic within 30 feet of the caster for the next 10 minutes, but it (more importantly) tells the caster the kind, or school, of magic at play.
In this way, the spell can be used to tip a party off as to whether they might be dealing with a dangerous trap or a harmless illusion. Another little-known fact is that a player can spend 10 minutes to cast detect magic as a ritual, in which case the spell doesn't expend a spell slot. This further adds to the flexibility of an already stellar spell.
9 Feather Fall
Feather fall is a 1st level transmutation spell that can be cast as a reaction. The spell allows the player to choose up to five falling creatures within 60 feet. Each creature's rate of descent slows to 60 feet per round, which is slow enough that a falling creature would take no damage and land on its feet.
In Dungeons and Dragons, pit traps and dangerous heights are more common than mosquitoes on a humid summer day. Feather fall is the insect repellent any party will be grateful to have in order to avoid the persistent danger of perilous falls.
8 Mage Armor
Speaking of safety, wizards have the lowest armor class of any class in the game. In order to compensate for this weakness, every wizard should have the mage armor spell prepared and active at all times during an adventure.
Any wizard who doesn't is basically asking to be torn to shreds by enemy attacks. At the end of the day, 13 AC + Dexterity is 33% better than 10 AC + Dexterity. That's a reduction in the chance that a character is hit that's well worth a single 1st level spell slot.
Invisibility is an iconic DnD spell, and for good reason. This 2nd level illusion spell allows the caster to turn his or herself invisible, or any other single character. Additionally, if the spell is cast at a higher level, a player can target one more creature for each slot above 2nd.
At lower levels, giving a stealthy character invisibility is a great way to get some scouting done. At higher levels, upcasting the spell to give the entire party invisibility is an incredible trick for bypassing encounters.
Shield is a 1st level abjuration spell that requires a reaction to cast. When the player casts shield, they gain a +5 bonus to AC until the start of the next turn. This bonus also applies to whatever attack caused the player to cast shield in the first place.
While this spell will quickly eat through a wizard's slots if they stay in melee combat, it's an irreplaceable measure of protection against high damage dealing melee opponents.
5 Hypnotic Pattern
Hypnotic pattern is a 3rd level illusion spell capable of knocking up to six opponents out of a fight for an extended period of time. However, it does require concentration. When a player casts hypnotic pattern, each creature inside of a 30-foot cube within 120 feet is forced to make a wisdom saving throw.
If a creature fails the saving throw, it is incapacitated by the mesmerizing show of lights. The creature remains incapacitated until it takes damage or another creature spends an action waking it. Hypnotic pattern is incredible when a party is outnumbered by enemies that won't be extinguished by a single . . .
Fireball. Every DnD players knows it. Every DnD player loves it. Developers of the game have mentioned that fireball was purposefully made overpowered because it's an iconic spell. When a player casts fireball, they expect things to explode and die. Consequently, fireball's 8d6 fire damage dice are 2d6 greater than what should be expected of a 3rd level area of effect spell.
For those unaware, fireball also has a range of 150 feet, and the explosion caused by it magically spreads around corners. There's nowhere to run or hide when a wizard calls upon the all-powerful fireball.
3 Dispel Magic
Dispel magic is a 3rd level abjuration spell that works well in tandem with detect magic. Simply because a wizard has detected the presence of magic doesn't necessarily mean they'll be able to help the rest of the party avoid its effects.
With dispel magic, though, avoiding any magic a wizard detects is a near certainty. Dispel magic immediately ends any spell of 3rd level or lower on one targeted creature, object, or magical effect. For higher level spells, a successful spellcasting ability check with DC equal to 10 + the spell's level is required.
Dispelling ambient magic or magical traps is one thing, but aborting magical spells coming from enemy casters is entirely something else. Counterspell provides any wizard who takes it with this ability.
It's a 3rd level abjuration spell with a range of 60 feet, so any wizard who's packing counterspell needs to be acutely aware of his or her position in regards to enemy spellcasters. There's nothing more depressing than attempting to counterspell a fireball just to have the DM say that the character is out of range.
1 Wall of Force
All classes being equal, wizards are most notable among spellcasters for their ability to control the battlefield. Wall of force is the ultimate spell for this purpose. It's a 5th level evocation spell that requires concentration. Wall of force, as the name suggests, places a magical barrier at a point of the player's choice within 120 feet.
A wizard who chooses to place a wall, which is almost always the best choice, creates an impenetrable surface immune to all damage that extends forever as far as the purposes of combat are concerned. Wall of force allows a wizard to split any battlefield in the party's favor, separating enemies from their allies and nullifying advantageous enemy positions. To put it simply, wizards are the kings of control, and wall of force is the best control spell the game has to offer.
Wizarding World seems to think that Hogwarts Legacy is still coming out this year.