D&D Best Cantrips for Every Class

Everything From Fireballs To Necromancy

Having trouble choosing your cantrips?

Getting into Dungeons and Dragons can be a rather daunting task. Especially when it comes to classes that involve spell casting. If you choose one of these, part of your game will be managing your spells- knowing how many you’ve cast and prioritizing between long rests so you don’t run out of spell slots. Luckily, even if you do, your squishy wizard won’t have to start hitting goblins with their staff. You’ll always have cantrips.

Cantrips are small spells that can be cast without using a spell slot. They do anything from spray acid to summoning a swarm of bugs on an enemy. Cantrips level up with your character and can become pretty powerful and useful tools for any spellcaster.

While there is no right or wrong way to make a character, and you should always choose spells that make sense for both your build and your character’s personality, here’s a list of the best cantrips for every class that can cast them.

1. Bard

Also useful for really spicing up a boring office party.

Traditionally, a bard would be someone with musical talent. This isn’t necessarily true in the world of DnD. Bards are a class that weaves magic into their words, both inspiring their party members and bolstering their own strength. Bards are a charisma based class, and their spells often deal more with illusion than destruction. Your bard could be a singer, a playwright, a storyteller, or a debater. Starting out, you’ll be able to pick two from a pool of cantrips.

Best Cantrip: Minor Illusion

Why This Is The Best Bard Cantrip:

  • Versatile. Being able to create a sound or image in any situation could be the difference in your party having to face down a group of bandits or continuing to sneak through their camp.
  • Social. While it might be tempting to go for the spells and cantrips that cause the most damage to an enemy, DnD isn’t just fighting. Your party will thank you when you get them out of a sticky situation with this simple but effective cantrip.
  • Creative. Minor Illusion is a rather open spell, with the only real specifications being range and size. This leaves the player lots of room to think of their own unique solutions to problems the adventurers run into.

2. Cleric

Like the part in Tangled but without the singing

Clerics are agents for the god that they serve. They can be anything from a law-abiding, kind-hearted priest to a dark necromancer pledging their sacrifices to their god. Because of that, it’s hard to say what is the best cantrip. More than any other class on this list, make sure that the cantrip you pick is right for your build.

Best Cantrip: Spare the Dying

Why This Is The Best Cleric Cantrip:

  • Literal life-saver. If you play this game for long enough, your party is most likely going to get in over their heads at some point. The ability to stabilize a creature with a single touch will keep your party members from going to join your character’s god.
  • Money saver. Health potions can cost money, and before your party is earning the big bucks from slaying dragons and killing evil kings, knowing that you have a spell that can stave off dying means you can invest your gold in other things.
  • Relationship saver. Your character saving another character from dying opens up all sorts of interesting avenues for roleplaying. Both with PCs and NPCs.

3. Druid

Cool hat not required for the spell, but recommended.

The druid class is all about being one with nature. Be it plants, animals, or the weather itself, the druid’s power comes from the land. They are protective of nature and often are violently opposed to anything unnatural, such as the undead. They tend to land in the more neutral area of the alignment chart, making them a good balance for a party of strong personalities.

Best Cantrip: Shillelagh

Why This Is The Best Druid Cantrip:

  • Bonus Action. This cantrip being a bonus action means that it can be cast after your character has already done something else, such as attack an enemy.
  • Imbued with Magic: After casting this cantrip, the staff or club you’re wielding becomes a magical weapon, and could possibly do bonus damage on an enemy because of that.
  • More Damage. Rather than the 1d6 damage that a club or quarterstaff would normally do, this cantrip ups that damage to 1d8.

4. Sorcerer

Only you can cause forest fires.

Sorcerers are magic users that gain their power from either some powerful magical creature in their bloodline or an event in their life that unleashed this power in them. Sorcerers are often adventurers, mostly to give their power some sort of outlet. The source of their power can be anything from giants to dragons to something unknown. What they lack in knowledge when compared to wizards, they make up for in raw talent with their magic.

Best Cantrip: Fire Bolt

Why This Is The Best Sorcerer Cantrip:

  • Ranged. The usefulness of a cantrip that can be cast from a distance goes without saying. If you’re playing a spell caster, you probably won’t have as much health as, say, a fighter. Any opportunity to keep space between you and your enemy is a good opportunity.
  • Levels with you. As your character grows in power, so will this cantrip. This keeps it as a useful tool to have in your sorcerer’s arsenal, from level one to level fifty.
  • Not just for battles. While this spell is extremely useful in combat, it can be used to set fire to anything. Be that lighting up a bonfire for your party to gather around, or trapping a fleeing enemy with a burst of flame in front of them. The only limit is your imagination (and the 150 feet requirement).

5. Wizard

Also useful for turning off the lights when you're too comfy to get up

Where the power of a sorcerer comes from their past or heritage, and the power of a warlock comes from their pact, the wizard gains power through careful study. While they do have a natural aptitude for magic, a wizard will often spend years of their lives researching their chosen branch of magic. Wizards don’t tend to fall into any one alignment and can be anything from lawful good to chaotic evil.

Best Cantrip: Mage Hand

Why This Is The Best Wizard Cantrip:

  • Handy, literally. Sorry about that one, but it was right there. And true. Mage hand can be used to avoid traps, distract people, or make rude gestures towards your party members. Anything that is less than ten pounds and non-magical can be manipulated by mage hand, so the sky's the limit.
  • Long Range. Wizards aren’t exactly known for being hearty. The mage hand can move thirty feet at a time, keeping your squishy wizard in the action, but still safely behind your party’s tanks.
  • Always useful. While your character might eventually outgrow some cantrips, either having spells that outclass them into irrelevance or playing in a way that doesn’t require them, your wizard will always be able to find a use for a spectral hand.

6. Warlock

Defiantly a spell you're gonna want a catchphrase for.

Warlocks gain their power from a pact with some sort of otherworldly being. This pact is understood to be mutually beneficial, with the warlock receiving power from this being and the being receiving...something, from the warlock. This can change depending on the pact. Warlocks vary when it comes to alignment, but they’re almost always seekers of some sort of knowledge. Unlike other spellcasting classes, they also tend to have at least some proficiency with physical combat.

Best Cantrip: Eldritch Blast

Why This Is The Best Warlock Cantrip:

  • Powerful. Even at its lowest level, Eldritch Blast can do 1d10 of damage. Having a ranged attack that does that much damage from session one will make playing as a warlock feel pretty awesome.
  • Grows in power. Like a few others on this list, Eldritch Blast levels with the player. It increases 1d10 at levels five, eleven, and seventeen. An unlimited use spell that has the potential for 40 damage? Yes, please.
  • Separate beams. Once you reach the higher levels mentioned above, you get different beams of the blast. You can direct them at different enemies for a scattershot of damage if you find your party facing down a horde of goblins or pack of wolves.

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Jason is NOT a series of hyperintelligent snakes slithering on a keyboard. He is in fact, a Real Human with a love for writing, gaming, and all things fantastical and otherworldly.
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