D&D: Best Sorcerer Spells For Every Level

D&D: Best Sorcerer Spells
You really don't want to piss off a sorcerer.


“Sorcerers carry a magical birthright conferred upon them by an exotic bloodline, some otherworldly influence, or exposure to unknown cosmic forces.” - Players Handbook

Most spellcasters in Dungeons and Dragons get their power from some external source - but for sorcerers, magic is an inherent part of who they are. 

That’s not the only thing that sets them apart. They’re the only class with Metamagic, and this exclusive feature fundamentally changes the way they use their spells. They also learn the fewest number of spells of all the casters, only able to know 15 at the most. 

With such a limited amount of spells and the influence of Metamagic, picking your spells as a sorcerer can be a complicated process. 

I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be some of the best spells available to sorcerers, taking into account versatility and metamagic. 

Best Level 1 Sorcerer Spells

Best Level 1 Spell: Mage Armor

Like regular armor, but cooler. 

A protective magical force surrounds you or another willing creature until the spell ends. The target’s AC becomes 13 + its Dexterity modifier. The spell ends if you put on physical armor, or if you dismiss the spell.

Why Mage Armor is Great

  • Sorcerers are pretty fragile for the first few levels, so having a defensive spell up your sleeve is a must. This will help keep you alive until you get more hit points, gain better spells, and can access Metamagic. 
  • You can make an argument for either Mage Armor or Shield, but I’d ultimately argue in favor of Mage Armor. Your raised AC lasts 8 hours versus just one round of combat, so you get a lot more out of a single spell slot. Once you reach level 3, you could potentially use Extended Spell to make it last 16 hours. 

Second Best Level 1 Spell: Chromatic Orb

You cast  a bright sphere of energy at an enemy.  You choose whether the orb inflicts acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder damage . 

Why Chromatic Orb is Great

  • It deals 3d8 damage, which is impressive for a first level spell. Not many of the other early options for sorcerers can compete.
  • The type of damage this spell does can be one of five different types, and this flexibility is its greatest strength. You also get to choose the damage type, unlike the similar first level spell Chaos Bolt. It’s an advantage that you can change the damage type depending on an enemy's resistances and vulnerabilities. 
  • This pairs well with the metamagic Twinned Spell option, which allows it to hit multiple targets. 

Best Level 2 Sorcerer Spells

Best Level 2 Spell: Mirror Image

You can use the spell Mirror Image to confound enemies, or just check out your outfit. 

You create three illusory clones of yourself. These duplicates move with you and mimic your actions, shifting position so it's impossible to track which image is real. Each time a creature targets you with an attack during the spell's duration, roll 1d20 to determine whether the attack instead targets one of your duplicates. If a duplicate is hit, then it is destroyed. 

Why Mirror Image is Great

  • As I said before, sorcerers are pretty delicate for the first few levels. This is a great defensive option that completely absorbs a few attacks.  
  • The best part of this spell is that it doesn't require concentration to maintain. The duplicates last until destroyed, and the spell can be used in combination with others that require concentration.

Second Level 2 Spell: Misty Step

Briefly surrounded by silvery mist, you teleport up to 30 feet to an unoccupied space that you can see.

Why Misty Step Is Great

  • This is a simple but infinitely useful spell. It’s especially great when you need to move in an emergency. 
  • What really sets it apart is that it is one of the few bonus action spells, which allows for a lot of creative uses in combination with other actions. 

Best Level 3 Sorcerer Spells

Best Level 3 Spell: Fireball 

Using FIreball in a busy city probably wasn't the best idea... 

A bright streak of fire shoots from your finger to a point within range and then bursts into an explosion on impact. Each creature in a 20-foot-radius must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Why Fireball Is Great

  • This is a classic Dungeons and Dragons spell. Everyone knows of it’s borderline overpowered destruction and damage. It’s simple but super effective.
  • Fireball has an area of effect instead of a single target, which means it can potentially wipe out large numbers of enemies. 
  • Its area of effect is circular, as opposed to the linear effect of the similar spell Lightning Bolt. Spells with circular areas of effect are easier to aim and more likely to hit multiple targets. 
  • Pairs well with metamagic Careful Spell, since it gives an ally advantage on the saving throw if they are inside the area of effect. 

Second Best Level 3 Spell: Counterspell 

You try to interrupt an enemy in the process of casting a spell. If they’re casting a 3rd level spell or lower, the spell fails. If they are casting a higher level spell, you have to make an ability check with whatever your spellcasting ability is (for druids, it’s Wisdom). The DC equals 10 + the spell's level. On a success, the creature's spell fails.

Why Counterspell Is Great

  • This is one of the only ways to negate enemy spellcasters and many consider it essential for any party. 
  • You can use an Arcana check to attempt to determine what spell the enemy is casting to make an informed decision on when it's the right time to use this spell. 
  • It automatically counters spells up to the slot level you use, and you can try to counter higher levels spells with a roll. 
  • Works well with the Distant Spell metamagic, which lets you increase the range of the spell. 

Best Level 4 Spells

Best Level 4 Spell: Banishment

I banish thee!

The target must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or be banished to another plane of existence. If the target is native to the plane you're currently on, you banish them to a harmless demiplane. If they’re from a different plane, they are banished back to where they’re originally from. If the spell lasts longer than one minute, the target can’t return.

Why Banishment Is Great

  • It completely removes one foe from the battlefield as long as you concentrate, and at higher levels can be used to target multiple creatures. If they are from the plane you are currently on, they will be removed for up to one minute which gives your party time to prep, heal, and ready actions. 
  • Charisma saving throws aren't that common and very few creatures are good at them. This means it's incredibly likely the targets will fail the save and the spell will be successful.
  • Many powerful enemies originate in other planes of existence, and with this spell you can easily banish them to their native plane. For these enemies, the banishment is permanent if you can concentrate for the entire one minute duration. 

Second Best Level 4 Spell: Polymorph

This spell transforms a creature into a new form, with an unwilling creature making a Wisdom saving throw to avoid the effect. This new form can be any beast whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target's (or the target's level, if it doesn't have a challenge rating). The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can't speak, cast spells, or take any other action that requires hands or speech.

Why Polymorph Is Great

  • Polymorph is commonly considered one of the more powerful fourth-level spells just for its sheer versatility of use. You can use it on yourself or on your allies to bestow strength or other skills or use it on enemies to turn them into non-threatening creatures. 
  • It also has lots of utility outside of combat. You could use it to help your party sneak into a building or encampment, overhear private conversations, or quickly escape from a dangerous predicament. You’ll find it’ll come in handy in a wide range of surprising situations. 

Best Level 5 Spells

Best Level 5 Spell: Telekinesis

Let out your inner Matilda with the Telekinesis spell.

You gain the ability to manipulate creatures and objects with your mind. You can interact with objects in various ways using this spell, such as lifting something, opening a door, pouring the contents from a vial, manipulating a simple tool, or picking up or hiding an item. You can also try to move or restrain creatures of a certain size.

Why Telekinesis Is Great

  • You can do so many different things with this spell. In combat, it’s useful to move, lift, drop and restrain enemies. Out of combat, its capabilities include handling traps, moving obstacles, retrieving items, distracting someone, or stealing something. It’s versatility makes it indispensable. 
  • You can use it in collaboration with teammates, restraining enemies so their attacks can land. It’s also a fun idea to lift and then drop your targets, which has the triple benefit of inflicting fall damage, making them prone, and opening them up to attacks.
  • Pairs well with the Metamagic options Quickened Spell. 

Second Best Level 5 Spell: Animate Objects

You can bring objects around you to life and command them. The number of objects and their stats depends on their size. As a Bonus Action, you can command any creature you made with this spell 

Why Animate Objects Is Great

  • Essentially, this spell lets you summon a number of allies to help attack. The damage can be significant if you animate the maximum number of objects and use them all to mob one target.
  • There’s other potential here to use this spell in innovative ways. You could bring objects to life to cause a distraction, to block someone's path as they try to flee, to transport a note or item for you, or any other imaginable purpose. There’s many situations where this spell might be surprisingly useful; it's impossible to list them all. Have fun and experiment! 

Best Level 6 Spells

Best Level 6 Spell: Disintegrate

Another one bites the dust. 

A green ray shoots from your pointing finger to the target, which can be a creature, an object, or a creation of magical force. A creature must make a Dexterity saving throw and take  10d6 + 40 force damage on a failed save. The target is disintegrated if this damage leaves it with 0 hit points.

Why Disintegrate is the Best

  • This spell is one of the most damaging single target spells in the entire game, inflicting 10d6 + 40 force damage. 
  • Force damage is one of the better damage types since few creatures have resistance to it. 
  • Any creature disintegrated by this spell can only be restored to life by a True Resurrection or a Wish spell. This is one of the only ways to try and permanently kill someone in the game, since most revival spells won't work. If there’s any chance an enemy might be resurrected, Disintegrate is the way to go.
  • This spell has utility beyond damage, as it can be used to bypass things like Walls of Force or create openings in structures blocking your path. 

Second Best Level 6 Spell: Mass Suggestion

This spell operates as a more powerful version of the spell Suggestion. You suggest a course of action in a sentence or two and magically influence up to 12 creatures to do what you have suggested. Each target must make a Wisdom saving throw and is under your command on a failed save. You cannot ask the creature to perform an obviously harmful act and if you or any of your companions damage the creature, the spell loses its hold on them.

Why Mass Suggestion is the Best

  • Any version of Suggestion is incredibly versatile, with uses both in and out of combat. If you get creative this spell can help in a variety of situations. 
  • This version doesn't require concentration to maintain and can target up to 12 creatures. 
  • Because the description doesn’t explicitly say that the targets know they were charmed after the spell wears off, you can use this spell without fear of any repercussions. They’ll just think you were exceptionally but nonmagically charming!
  • Mass Suggestion lasts for 24 hours when cast as a 6th level spell, giving you command over the targets for a full day of adventuring. This really opens up the possibilities of what you can accomplish with it. At higher levels it lasts even longer, with a maximum length of a year and a day. 

Best Level 7 Spells

Best Level 7 Spell: Plane Shift 

Plane Shift is both a useful teleportation spell and a great excuse to hold hands.

You link hands with up to 8 allies in a circle and are transported to a different plane of existence. You can appear at a teleportation circle you know of or you can specify a general target destination and appear in or near that destination. You can also use it to banish an unwilling creature with a melee spell attack. On a hit, the creature must make a Charisma saving throw. If the creature fails this save, it is transported to a random location on the plane of existence you specify. 

Why Plane Shift is the Best

  • This spell has potential both in and out of combat and as a defensive and offensive spell.
  • Most monsters have low Charisma, and so will probably fail the saving throw.  
  • There’s no time limit on their banishment. They are essentially trapped there permanently until they find a way out themselves. 
  • There’s the potential to use this on a tough enemy and avoid combat altogether. Use this to send an enemy to the abyss or the elemental plane of fire, and you can safely assume they’ve been killed. 
  • Plane Shift has some advantages on the Teleport spell, another level 7 option for sorcerers, as Teleport cannot take you to other planes and cant be used offensively. 

Second Best Level 7 Spell: Finger of Death

You send negative energy into a creature, causing it searing pain. The target must make a Constitution saving throw, taking 7d8 + 30 necrotic damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one. A humanoid killed by this spell rises at the start of your next turn as a zombie that is permanently under your command.

Why Finger of Death is the Best

  • The real appeal here is the ability to create an unlimited amount of zombies under your command. Imagine taking out enemies one by one and then using them against their former compatriots. The best part is that this control has no time limit, and any zombies are permanently under your command without requiring concentration. 
  • Depending on how your DM interprets the written description of this spell, the zombies retain their original stats instead of using the Zombie creature stats in the Monster Manual. 
  • A good candidate for the metamagic Twinned Spell or Heightened Spell. 

Best Level 8 Spells

Best Level 8 Spell: Dominate Monster

Don't worry, his bark is worse than his bite. 

You attempt to charm any creature within range. The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be charmed for up to an hour. You can issue commands like “attack that creature” or “grab that object” to the creature telepathically.  Each time the target takes damage, it makes a new Wisdom saving throw against the spell to escape your hold. When you cast this spell with a 9th-level spell slot, the duration is concentration, up to 8 hours.

Why Dominate Monster is the Best

  • This spell doesn’t require repeated saving throws on every round of combat. Instead, there is only the initial saving throw and an additional one only if the target takes damage. This means that once this spell is placed on someone they have no opportunity to break free unless you or someone else harms them. 
  • There’s a lot of freedom in the commands you can issue to a target. You can get them to retrieve objects for you, to transport you somewhere, to speak on your behalf, or really anything you can imagine that would be helpful in whatever situation you find yourself in. It’s even useful just to prevent someone from attacking you and giving you an hour to escape before the spell ends. 
  • In terms of metamagic, you could use this with Heightened Spell, Twinned Spell, or Subtle Spell. 

Second Best Level 8 Spell: Power Word Stun

You speak a word of power that overwhelms one creature within range if it has 150 hit points or less. The stunned target must make a Constitution saving throw at the end of each of its turns. On a successful save, this stunning effect ends.

Why Power Word Stun is the Best

  • This works well on already wounded enemies or ones with low hit point maximums like spellcasters. Power Word Stun can take them out of the encounter for a decent amount of time, leaving you unopposed. 
  • The stunned condition means the creature is incapacitated and can’t take actions or reactions. It also automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws, and all attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
  • It doesn’t require concentration, and there is no initial saving throw to avoid it. The target is instantly stunned with no way to escape until their next turn, when they can make a Constitution saving throw. You are guaranteed one round of a stunned enemy, which can usually be enough to kill it. Damage also does not grant a saving throw, so you can keep attacking it without worrying about the creature shaking off the spell.
  • Power Word Stun works well with the metamagic Twinned Spell, Silent Spell, Distant Spell, or Extended Spell. 

Best Level 9 Spells

Best Level 9 Spell: Wish

I wish, I wish, with all my heart... 

You can alter the very foundations of reality just by speaking aloud. The base use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower without having to meet any of its requirements. However, there’s a variety of uses for Wish that are limited by nothing but your imagination and what the DM will allow. 

Why Wish is the Best

  • The very spell description in the Player’s Handbook says that this is the mightiest spell a mortal creature can cast. No other spell can compete with its reality-altering capabilities, even others of 9th level. 
  • This is functionally almost every spell in one. While it can’t be used to cast another 9th level spell, it can be used to cast literally any other spell that exists in the game. With the limited spells of a sorcerer, versatility is a must, and there isn't a more versatile spell than this.  
  • Wish can restore 20 creatures to full hit points if your party is in a desperate moment during a fight. It can also grant 10 creatures resistance to a specific damage type or immunity to a single spell or magical effect. 
  • This spell can offer a redo of any roll for yourself or another party member, which is great when the dice don’t cooperate with an important or potentially amazing moment. If you’re battling the big bad of your campaign and somebody bungles a roll, this comes in clutch to save the day and give you a second chance. 
  • It also can force rerolls on enemies, undoing a successful save, a critical hit, or other roll or action. You can force the reroll to be made with advantage or disadvantage, and you can choose whether to use the reroll or the original roll. 
  • Outside of these uses, there is the potential for this spell to have very few limits. Always check with your DM, but you could hypothetically wish for almost anything. Remember, the bigger the wish the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong - and always be mindful of the wording of your wish. 

Second Best Level 9 Spell: Meteor Swarm 

Blazing meteors plummet to the ground at four different points of your choice. Each creature in a 40-foot radius must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 20d6 fire damage and 20d6 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. 

Why Meteor Swarm is the Best

  • This is the ultimate area of effect damage spell, inflicting a total of 40d6 damage between the fire and bludgeoning damage on a failed save. The meteors have a 40-foot radius and the spell has a range of one mile. The meteors can be used to eradicate armies or decimate cities. The blast also extends around corners, negating cover from walls. 
  • It inflicts dual fire and bludgeoning damage. If an enemy is resistant to fire, the bludgeoning damage will still be significant. 
  • When you are at the point where you are learning 9th level spells, you are approaching a god-like amount of power. Nothing feels quite as powerful as commanding meteors to fall down from the skies upon your foes. 

 

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