Top 15 Most Powerful D&D Spells

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Adventurers, get to know the 15 best spells in D&D .

What Are The Best DnD Spells?

Welcome to my list of the 15 most powerful D&D spells.  Before I start the list, I'd like to make a disclaimer. This list is not about spell levels. It's easy to make a list by just going from the top 9th level spells down. But some of the most powerful spells can be quite low-level, like "charm" which can be used to a devastating effect in social situations, so the real question about how "powerful"  a spell is, represents more how useful it can be, regardless of level. Also, please assume we are speaking of the spell descriptions as they are written in the 5E rules. So, if you are ready to make some magic, here we go:

15. Charm

1st-level enchantment.  A humanoid you can see must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw, or it becomes charmed by you until the spell ends or someone in your party harms it. 

At the bottom of the list of useful spells, we have this charming little piece of mind breaking wizardry. Most roleplayers think of the usefulness of spells in terms of combat, and that misses entirely the point of Charm. Charm is best when not used on enemies, but it is used on people you want to turn into friends. Just ask your local "curandero" if he has a useful charm to bring the girl of your dreams begging to your arms.

  • The principal use of Charm is to make people who are neutral towards your characters more willing to accept friendship or even romance. 
  • In combat, Charm can be used as a kind of "confusion" to make enemies think twice before attacking. 
  • Charm works marvelously in political or social intrigues, where adversaries can be made to tell secrets, guards can let their guard down, and Kings can give titles and lands.

14. Invisibility

2nd-level illusion- You and everything you wear or carry becomes invisible. This might be used on a target other than yourself. Duration, one hour.

Who doesn't want to be invisible? The essence of magical story-telling always has a hero or villain become invisible to make even the lamest adventure into a trill-ride. Invisibility is so useful, it should be of a higher level.

  • A thief with a potion, ring or scroll of invisibility can be a truly fearsome foe.
  • As an escape tool, invisibility is only second to "gaseous form".
  • Invisible guards always gain the initiative, and spell-casters don't become visible until after the spell is cast, so preparing a spell that takes a long time can be done invisibly without penalty. 

13. Dispel Magic

3rd-level abjuration - Choose one object, creature, or magic effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target end. 

How do you bring down that levitating mage? How do you turn a thief visible? Somebody cast a strength spell on their fighter and he is decimating your group... Dispel Magic, at low levels, can be used in so many ways, so creatively, that it could be considered a multiple-spell because, in the lower levels, it dispels spells from all the other schools like illusion and necromancy. 

  • Spell traps and magic locks can be disarmed easily with this spell. Some magical effects like hold person and sleep can also be broken.
  • Magical weapons and items such as scrolls and potions can be neutralized.
  • Magical creatures can lose their powers. 

12. Finger of Death

7th-level necromancy - Choose a creature you can see to make a Constitution save. If it fails, it takes 7d8 + 30 necrotic damage. If the target dies and was a humanoid, it rises as a zombie permanently under your control at the beginning of your next turn.  Wanna create an army of zombies under your control for all eternity? Here's the spell that can make it happen. Wanna kill somebody by just touching him or her? Yeah, I know you do. The power over life and death at your fingertips. You know you love it.

  • Killing instantly characters lower than 7th level with a 7th level spell is quite useful for any 7th level caster. But it's nasty. Very nasty.
  • Did I mention creating zombies? In 30 days, you can have 30 zombies at your command. Nothing a fire-ball can't fix though. 
  • There's just this weird power-trip involved in the very name of the spell. Players love it.

11. Geas

6th-level enchantment - You place a command on a creature that you can see, forcing it to do or refrain from doing some action or activity you decide. The command can be anything except something that would obviously cause the target to die.  Fairy tales, which are the real source of all fantasy-role-playing, are full of heroic quests cruelly caused by some witch or wizard who sends some innocent person into an adventure that can change or end their lives. Did Gandalf put a Geas on Frodo? We will never know.

  • A geas is perfect for starting an adventure. Your characters are compelled by a powerful spell to accomplish some task, and they can't try to break the spell because it causes them damage.
  • Against an enemy, a geas is one way of redeeming adversaries and making them become "good". For good-aligned parties, a geas is a reasonable way to end adventures against foes who can be charmed into becoming good.
  • Breaking a geas of an NPC is also an interesting way of getting an adventure underway.

10. Summon Greater Demon

4th-level conjuration - You summon a demon from the Abyss. You choose the demon. It must be of challenge rating 5 or lower. It appears in an empty space you can see, and it disappears when it drops to 0 hit points.  Of all the crazy things wizard do, summoning demons are probably the worst, but also the most interesting. Depending on the caster, and the summoning, the demon can be either a powerful ally or a terrible mistake. Summoning demons in D&D is usually an act of desperation of an evil mage trying to destroy his adversaries, but demons need not be "magic bombs" to kill people. They can also be interrogated and forced to do other things.

  • As a source of information, demons and de undead are about the best you are going to get, so summoning demons to get the scoop on where a treasure might be hidden or the weakness of an enemy is actually a great tool.
  • As a guardian, a demon is also useful. You stash your loot. You summon a demon to guard it. You leave. Easy, right?
  • As a last resort to win a battle, summoning demons usually don't end well, but it can work. Just think of the intro of Icewind Dale and you get the idea.

9.   Levitation

2nd-level transmutation - A creature or lose object levitates, rising vertically up to 20 feet. While suspended. 

Levitation is fun. That's the only real value of it. Fun. What more fun can you have than getting that dwarf berserker who is about to chop your head off to levitate out of axe range and then, drop 20 feet and break his neck? Kids love it. Levitation for fun and profit.

  • As a way of carrying heavy stuff without much effort, you can turn that chest of gold that weights 200 lbs into a chest-balloon! 
  • Getting out of harm's way. Now that's a useful thing.
  • Going to hard to reach places like bird's nests or wizard's towers. Yippie!

8.   Find Familiar

1st-level conjuration - An animal becomes your familiar, obeying your commands, though it is still an independent creature. It has the appearance and statistics of the animal form you choose. 
What wizard doesn't have a bat or frog or cat at his side? A familiar is much more than a clever pet. It is a useful ally who can grow along with his wizard, learn new spells, and do a variety of tasks that ordinary animals could never even understand. 

  • The lore of the familiars is quite extensive, and it goes well beyond the limited scope of Dungeons and Dragons. Familiars are encountered in almost all fairy stories and they usually become key allies.
  • The familiar can have his independent level and spells. It can be animal, fey, diabolic, or elemental. As such, it can use magical items consciously. 

7.   Animate Dead

3rd-level necromancy - Reanimate and control a pile of bones or the corpse of a medium or small humanoid to become a skeleton or zombie, respectively. 
Ahh, animating zombies.

Dungeons and Dragons without hordes of zombies attacking villages and towns would simply not be the same. It should be no surprise that the most popular monster in television today is the zombie. With all the gadgets getting our attention instead of real life, the zombie apocalypse is far closer than we think.

  • Animating a zombie or a skeleton need not be to fight enemies. They are useful for a variety of reasons, including carrying stuff, building castles, guarding places and even theatrical productions. 
  • A clever wizard can animate a recently dead person to convince authorities that he is not dead. Don't scoff. It's happened before! 
  •  Zombies make excellent test-subjects for new spells, especially the fresh ones.

6.   Fireball

Level 3 Spell, Evocation - A fireball is basically the magical equivalent of a hand-grenade or a very well made Molotov cocktail. Each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere must make a Dexterity save. A target takes 8d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half on a success.  Kill it with fire! There is nothing, and I do mean nothing, more satisfying than throwing a nice fireball at a group of adversaries and watch them burn like a bunch of matchsticks. Great balls of fire! The fireball is basically the reason that most player characters chose spellcasters. Since you only need to reach the 3rd level to be able to cast it, it is generally the first 3rd level spell chosen by most intelligent PCs. 

  • As an offensive weapon, fireballs are second only to magic missiles. 
  • As a defensive weapon, it helps to really confuse the enemy, but usually, allies will be toast as well, so use sparingly and only in emergencies.
  • As a source of heat, a fireball can get any fire-engine going, be it in a steam-boat or a weapons factory. Must be careful not to damage the machinery, but the idea works. 

5.   Gaseous Form

3rd-level transmutation - You turn a willing creature or yourself and all you are carrying into a mist. 
There are few things as frustrating as beating the bejesus out of a vampire only to have him turn into a dark mist right before you can finish him off. On the other hand, if your character is the one receiving the blows, it can be quite satisfying to be able to leave the battle relatively unharmed through a keyhole or a crack in the wall. 

  • The ultimate escape spell, the gaseous form is exceedingly useful for leaving a battle behind that you just can't win. 
  • As a spying tool, the gaseous form is not quite as useful as invisibility, but none-the-less, it can be used to observe adversaries or NPCs 
  • Turning enemies into a gas for a while is a good way to defeat them without harming them. 

4.   Gate

9th-level conjuration  -  A portal  5 to 20 feet in diameter opens to a specific plane of existence. You can also use the portal to bring a creature of your choosing into your own plane of existence or to exit into that plane yourself and any nearby allies.  Who would have guessed that 9th level wizards can create "Stargates". How cool. The Gate spell is like a door into another realm that the wizard can use at his command. A bit like the portal-gun used by Rick in the Rick and Monty cartoon. But there is more: in this case, the wizard can decide to "portal in" somebody in particular by focusing on that person.

  • Traveling to unknown and dangerous realms instantly is just awesome. 
  • Using the Gate to bring allies or kidnap adversaries is also fun. 

3.   Time Stop

9th Level transmutation - You briefly stop the flow of time for everyone but yourself. No time passes for other creatures, while you take 1d4 + 1 turns in a row, during which you can use actions and move as normal.  I almost chose this spell for the most powerful, but there are several problems with it technically. Still, though, I have this longstanding fantasy that I cast Time-Stop at the office and then switch all the papers around to cause a little mayhem, just for fun. The effect of Time-Stop is similar to what goes on when "The Flash" does his thing of moving faster than everybody else. It's not so much that you stop time for everybody else like the fact that you speed up time for yourself.    

  • The perfect escape tool, Time Stop is best used as a last resource when the wizard realizes there is no way to win. Of course, only the wizard will survive.
  • A way to cause mayhem among your own allies (if you are into that kind of thing), you can have lots of fun doing everything that your allies don't let you do, and sometimes cause some hilarious confusion.
  •  As an attack tool, Time Stop works best against lower level multiple adversaries, putting your wizard in a better position to deal with the most dangerous targets.

2.   Magic Missile

1st-level evocation. You create three magic darts. Each dart hits a creature you can see. A dart deals 1d4+1 force damage. The darts all strike simultaneously and you can direct them to hit one creature or several. It was a real tossup between which of the two spells is more useful between number 1 and number 2. Magic Missle is, arguably the most useful and powerful spell of all:  Having your spell-caster be useful during the first few levels of the game is a real challenge. But having a missile that strikes automatically and does not fail, ever, is probably the most useful spell any caster can cast at any level. It's like your automatic damage reduction tool. 

  • With a range of 140 feet, Magic Missle is the best tool to neutralize enemy spellcasters, who usually hide behind their fighters to do their dirty deeds.
  • Magic Missle is a great escape tool. The wizard can cast a Magic Missle while trying to flee an enemy because the spell only takes one action. 

1.   Cure Wounds -


 
1st-level evocation. Casting Time 1 action. Range Touch.  A creature you touch regains hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting modifier. 

At the top of our list, Cure Wounds becomes the most essential spell in the game due to the fact that no player character likes to die. A party without a healer is a party doomed to death, and a healer with plenty of Cure Wounds spells is a surefire guarantee that the player characters will continue playing. Cure Wounds is simply the most used spell ever, and there is a reason for that. 

  • The best way to use Cure Wounds is to follow the strongest fighters and heal them as they pound your enemies to dust. If you get to the point that you have to use Cure Wounds on your magic users and healers, you are in danger of losing the entire party. 
  • The second best way to use Cure Wounds is to rest and heal the party when possible. 
  • The third best way to use Cure Wounds is to stabilize the worst wounded characters to move them to rear the battle lines where they can use long-range weapons or get ready to flee.

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Since before the dawn of man, Robin's spirit has roamed the realms to find the perfect Role Playing Game, finally settling on becoming human on planet Earth and playing D&D.
Gamer Since: 1982
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights 2, Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition
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