Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition (D&D 5e) has without question gone fully mainstream. Once upon a time, it was the exclusive interest of die-hard enthusiasts but nowadays, it’s arguably the single most popular Table-top Role Playing Game (TTRPG) around. The world of D&D is constantly expanding with a whole host of books, podcasts, live streams, video games, and more, all giving a taste of the fantastical adventures that you can play. As such, there are more players than ever looking to create their first characters and take their turn.

Introduction:

building a wizard 5e

Spellcasting is one of the most potent abilities available to Player Characters (PCs) in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. It allows them to harness arcane or divine magical power to cast spells (obviously). Out of all the character classes which gain access to spellcasting, none come close to the arcane mastery offered by the iconic Wizard – which is why we rated it as an S-Tier class on our Tier List.

Wizards are all about Spellcasting, which is already one of the most complicated features in Dungeons and Dragons 5E.

But the unique features that Wizards get, which make their Spellcasting so much more impactful, also add a significant level of complexity and risk – which is why we’ve written this guide to help you build a fun, effective Wizard for your next adventure.

Rating system – We’ll be using a color-coded scheme throughout this guide to display our ratings and opinions, to make it clear and easy to see the good, bad, and average.

  • Red*: Bad options, difficult to use, or too situational to be of benefit
  • Orange**: Mediocre options, not outstanding, or only helpful on occasion
  • Green***: Good options, reliable, or applicable regularly
  • Blue****: Superior options, always useful or of critical importance

Class Features Breakdown:

Wizards do not get many features at all from their class or their subclass choice. The focus is always on their Spellcasting – not that this is a problem by any means.

best stats for wizard 5e

1st level:

  • Hit Dice*:
    1d6 is the lowest hit dice in the game. You’re going to need a decent Constitution score to make your Hit Points even halfway decent, so remember to play smart and keep your distance from enemies and hazards when possible. Otherwise, you won’t last long.
  • Proficiencies*:
  • Armor*: No armor proficiencies combined with your pitiful Hit Dice should make it abundantly clear that you want to avoid getting attacked at all costs – expect to rely on Mage Armor and Shield regularly.
  • Weapons*: The Wizard’s weapon proficiencies (daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows) are terrible, but fortunately, Wizards get to choose from some great cantrips for their attacks.
  • Tools*: No tool proficiencies aren’t a problem for Wizards since you will almost certainly have a spell that will do the job just fine.
  • Saving Throws**: Proficiency in Intelligence Saving Throws makes use of your high Intelligence score, and while they don’t come up often, they do tend to have pretty nasty effects. Proficiency in Wisdom saves is much more useful since this regularly comes up when resisting charm and fear effects. But to get the most out of it, you will need a semi-decent Wisdom score.
  • Skills**: As with most classes, Wizards only get to choose two skill proficiencies at 1st level (Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion), so you should pick ones that use your good Intelligence score. Odds are you’re the only one in the party with high INT, so you should help out your teammates by getting as many knowledge skills as possible.
  • Spellcasting****:
  • As a Wizard, you get to choose from the largest spell list in the game, with options for killing your enemies, buffing your allies, summoning creatures, altering the terrain, gathering intel, raising undead, transporting the party, and much more. Probably the only thing you can’t do very well is healing, but even then, there are a few choices you can take if the need arises.
  • You get to add two new spells to your Spellbook every time you gain a level as a Wizard, but in addition to this, you can also add any spells you find out in the world. By copying spells from any spellbooks or spell scrolls you find, you will be able to increase the number of spells you know much faster than any other spellcaster. Just remember that copying spells into your Spellbook will take time and money, so choose wisely.
  • Wizards use prepared spellcasting, meaning you prepare a selection of spells that are available for you to cast. You can change your prepared spells at the end of a long rest, so as you add more spells to your Spellbook, you can adjust your prepared spells to meet the challenges of the coming day.
  • Wizards can cast rituals, so if a spell has a Ritual tag, you can choose to increase the casting time by 10 minutes, and it will not expend a spell slot. Wizards have a unique feature, which lets them cast a ritual spell even if they have not prepared it for that day, albeit only as a ritual. This means that with the combination of your prepared spells and the ritual spells in your Spellbook, you will have access to more spells on any given day than anyone else in the party.
  • Arcane Recovery****:
  • Arcane Recovery gives you the ability to recover even a limited amount of expended spell slots once per day after a Short Rest is invaluable for a class that relies heavily on its spellcasting. It works best for lower-level spell slots, which will cover your essentials spells like Absorb Elements, Shield, or Mage Armour, which you are likely to cast every day.

2nd level:

  • Arcane Tradition****:
  • It’s at this level where you choose your Wizard subclass, which will likely have a significant impact on your character’s theme and how you play them – but ultimately, you are still going to be casting spells. At the time of writing, there are 13 official published Wizard subclasses to choose from, and breaking them all down properly would deserve a dedicated article of its own, so for now, here is a summary:
  • School of Abjuration: Use defensive magic to protect yourself and your allies and counter and resist enemy spellcasters’ efforts.
  • School of Conjuration: Create objects out of thin air, teleport you or your allies around the battlefield, and excel at using summoned creatures.
  • School of Divination: Alter the results of dice rolls, and gather information for your party with improved vision and low-cost divination spells.
  • School of Enchantment: Maximise your effectiveness with charm spells to control and disorient your enemies.
  • School of Evocation: Unmatched in terms of pure destruction, get the most out of every damaging spell you cast.
  • School of Illusion: Deceive your enemies with improved illusions, protect yourself from attackers and eventually make your illusions partially tangible.
    School of
  • Necromancy: A master of life forces, you can heal from taking lives and will get to summon much more powerful undead creatures.
  • School of Transmutation: You control the power of change, transforming the properties of physical objects, yourself, and others.
  • War Magic: With a healthy blend of offense and defense, you can more easily keep yourself in the fight and deal better damage to your enemies.
  • Chronurgy Magic: By controlling time, you can force rerolls, temporarily take your opponents out of the fight, and delay your spells until the perfect moment.
  • Graviturgy Magic: Manipulate gravity to alter the weight and speed of objects, control movement, and inflict damage.
  • Bladesinging: In becoming a true swordmage, you will be able to survive and thrive in melee combat with improved weapon usage and hugely buffed defenses.
  • Order of Scribes: Your Spellbook becomes the center of your whole existence, and the more spells you have in it, the more powerful you become.

Your choice of Arcane Tradition grants you features at the 2nd level and again at the 6th, 10th, and 14th level.

18th level:

  • Spell Mastery****:
    This is outstanding. Being able to choose a 1st-level spell and 2nd-level spell from your spellbook and cast them at their lowest level without expending a spell slot is like learning two more cantrips, only so much better. Pick something reliable or useful that you will repeatedly use to get the most benefit out of this, like Shield or Invisibility.

20th level:

  • Signature Spell***:
    After the sheer versatility provided by Spell Mastery, this is frankly a little disappointing, although still good. With two 3rd-level spells always prepared, which don’t count against the number of spells you have prepared, you can prepare two more spells, which at this level is only a good thing since your Spellbook will have dozens of spells for you to choose from.

Optional Class Features:

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (TCE) was published in 2020 and came with a wonderful variety of new player character options in D&D 5E, including new subclasses, spells, and magic items, along with Optional Class Features. This provided DMs and players with the chance to add some new features to their character class or replace existing ones.

Optional is the key phrase here, as there is no guarantee that your DM will be allowing these features in their game, so make sure to check with them first before getting your hopes up.

With TCE, we only got two Optional Class Features for Wizards, neither of them is particularly dramatic, and unsurprisingly, they both improve your Spellcasting.

  • Additional Wizard Spells****:
    The Wizard always wants more spells, and while its spell list already had plenty to choose from, there’s nothing wrong with more options for your spellbook. Most of the additional spells are either introduced in Tasha’s Guide or re-printed from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. All are perfectly suited for the Wizard’s role as spellcaster supreme.
  • Cantrip Formulas***:
    (3rd-level Wizard feature)
    This isn’t game-changing but being able to change your cantrips after a long rest does make perfect sense, given the Wizard’s “I’ve-got-a-spell-for-that” approach.

Ability Scores:

Assigning your Ability Scores is the defining step of player character creation in Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition. It will define how your character develops as you level them up.

Fortunately, Wizards are very straightforward. They need Intelligence for their spellcasting as an utmost priority. Everything else after that is just beneficial.

Wizards get the standard five Ability Score Improvements (ASIs) at the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels.

  • Strength (STR)*:
    Strength is for hitting things in melee, carrying heavy things, and jumping over things. All of which a wizard should either be actively avoiding or casting a spell for if need be. You can have this score as low as possible.
  • Dexterity (DEX)***:
    You’ll want a little bit of Dexterity to get a semi-decent Armour Class (AC), and because Dexterity Saving Throws do occur pretty often, but a score higher than 14 is probably unnecessary. The exception to this is if you choose Bladesinging as your subclass, in which case you’ll need it for your finesse melee weapon attacks and to bump up your AC to survive in close combat.
  • Constitution (CON)***:
    Without a good Constitution score, you are going to struggle to say alive, thanks to your terrible d6 Hit Dice, so start at 14 and improve it once your INT is maxed out. Also, as a Wizard, you will often be concentrating on a spell. You will need to regularly make Constitution Saving Throws to maintain concentration if you take damage, so a good CON score reduces the chances of your spells being wasted.
  • Intelligence (INT)****:
    Getting your Intelligence modifier to 20 should be your primary goal as you level up, above and beyond all others. Wizard spells are powered up by your Intelligence bonus, which is why you should always make sure your Intelligence modifier is as high as possible.
  • Wisdom (WIS)**:
    Wizards are proficient in Wisdom Saving Throws, which come up pretty often after you’ve leveled up a bit, so having a Wisdom of 12 should suffice.
  • Charisma (CHA)*:
    You’re the clever nerd who casts spells; you really shouldn’t be talking to people, even if it’s to get access to the super-cool library of arcane secrets. Don’t put anything into this score, and let someone else in the party do the social stuff.

If your game is not rolling for your Ability Scores but instead using the Standard Array as outlined in the Player’s Handbook of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8, then consider distributing the scores as follows:

STR: 8

DEX: 13

CON: 14

INT: 15

WIS: 12

CHA: 10

wizard build guide 5e

Alternatively, your game can use the popular Point Buy variant. This rule is for customizing ability scores with a 27 point budget (see this article by Skullsplitter to hopefully clear things up or ask your DM). If your game is using this, then you may find the following scores to be suitable for your Wizard:

STR: 8

DEX: 14

CON: 14

INT: 15

WIS: 12

CHA: 8

d&d wizard

Neither of the above-suggested Ability Score distributions considers your choice of race for your character since every race provides Ability Score bonuses, so just use the above as a reference and work around what your race gives you.

Character Race:

For an optimal Wizard build, the only thing you need from your character race is a bonus to your Intelligence score. With a +1 or +2 to INT and using the Ability Scores suggested above, you can start with a potent 16 Intelligence from level 1, which is a great beginning for any Wizard. Aside from that, anything that can also give you increased DEX or CON is handy, as is any race with damage resistance, skill proficiencies, or some kind of extra spellcasting.

There are well over 100 official, published race options that you can choose from, so we won’t go through them all. Instead, we will just pick out a few that make good choices for Wizards:

There are few things more iconic than an elf wizard in D&D 5E, and out of the various elf subraces available, the High Elf just makes sense. The core elf racial traits are already very good for a Wizard: +2 DEX for your AC, 60 ft. darkvision so you can target enemies in the dark, plus elven trance, which lets you finish a long rest in four hours instead of eight, meaning you get your spell slots back quicker. You also get the vital +1 INT boost from the High Elf subrace, a free wizard cantrip which is great, an additional language proficiency, and some additional weapon proficiencies. The last two might be the weakest of the lot, but the rest more than makes up for it.

You could pick any Gnome subrace and make a fantastic Wizard, as the core Gnome racial traits give you +2 INT, along with Darkvision and Advantage on all INT, WIS, and CHA saving throws against magic. The Forest Gnome edges ahead of the other subraces with +1 DEX, the versatile Minor Illusion cantrip, and the not-optimal-but-pretty-fun ability to talk to small beasts.

The regular human grants a +1 bonus to all six ability scores, which is just a waste on the Wizard, which only really needs Intelligence. Whereas the variant human not only lets you choose two different Ability Scores and give each a +1 bonus, but you also get to pick up a free Feat from level 1, which can be a significant boost to your abilities. We’ll be going through suitable Feats later in this article, so just bear this in mind.

A durable choice if you like the idea of playing a monstrous race, the Hobgoblin has the crucial +1 INT, so your spellcasting will be fine, but it also has +2 CON and proficiency in light armor, which is a solid boost to your survivability. Their Saving Face ability is great if you fail a CON save or if you miss an attack roll after expending a high-level spell slot – just remember it depends on your party members being nearby to witness your failure.

If you’ve never heard of the brutal, warring githyanki, then maybe check out some of the lore on the Forgotten Realms wiki, but if you’re not too bothered by the details, just think of them as “angry, psychic, space-elves,” and you’ll be fine. You get the +1 INT you need, +2 STR which you don’t, and a medley of proficiencies: Swords (boo), light and medium armor (woo), a language (alright), and either a skill or tool of your choice (yay). In addition to that, you know the Mage Hand cantrip and learn the Jump and Misty Step spells as you level up, all of which you cast as Psionics, meaning with no need to make gestures or speak magic words, unlike usual spellcasting.

Another niche pick, the yuan-ti, is a race of evil, demon-worshipping serpent folk, and the purebloods are the ones that appear mostly human with only a few reptilian features. Their +2 CHA and Charisma-based innate spellcasting make them better suited as Sorcerers or Warlocks, but you do at least get the +1 to INT you want for a Wizard. More importantly, the Yuan-ti Pureblood is immune to poison, which is a very common damage type. It also has Magic Resistance granting them Advantage on all saving throws against spells and magic effects. These two features combined provide a significant boost to your character’s defenses – so much so that many DMs ban this race from their games, seeing it as too powerful.

Suppose your DM allows the Customising Your optional Origin rule, introduced in Tasha’s, which lets you change the Ability Score Increases your character gains as a result of your choice of race. In that case, you’ll have a much easier time finding a race that you can have fun playing as and which also serves as a great Wizard. Simply change the Ability Score Increases to INT and either CON or DEX, and have fun!

Skills:

Now we’re going to go over the skill proficiencies available to choose from on the Wizard’s skill list at 1st level. Wizards get to choose two skills to be proficient in, and your choices can carry over and affect your choice of Background, which grants you two more skill proficiencies.

At 1st level, Wizards can choose two from the following:

  • (INT) Arcana****:
    As an arcane magic user who relies on their INT score for their spellcasting, you really ought to be knowledgeable about magical things.
  • (INT) History***:
    Depending on how broad your DMs definition of “history” is, this can vary in usefulness, but it’s nonetheless a reliable skill to have on a high-INT nerd. It’s a good idea for your wizard to have the knowledge skills in the party, as it’s a good one for background and plot exposition.
  • (WIS) Insight**:
    Since this is a Wisdom-based social skill, you should not be the one making Insight checks for the party, but it can’t hurt to lend a hand every so often.
  • (INT) Investigation**:
    You’ll have the INT to make this work when needed, but it’s a skill best suited for a scout-type character, such as a Rogue.
  • (WIS) Medicine*:
    According to the official written rules, Medicine is only useful when stabilizing a dying character or diagnosing an illness. Wizards do not function well as healers, so leave Medicine to another party member with good WIS.
  • (INT) Religion***:
    Divine beings and their followers are frequent plot points in D&D campaigns, and you’ll have an easier time trying to recall lore than the Cleric, who probably dumped their INT score.

Background:

Your character’s Background gives you two skill proficiencies and two tool proficiencies or languages. Additionally, you get a Background feature that provides your character with a connection to the game world, giving you additional opportunities for adventure and roleplaying.

With the Wizard’s high Intelligence, you’re going to want as many knowledge skill proficiencies as you can. Tool proficiencies can be fun but aren’t too critical, particularly since you can replicate the effects of most tools with a spell. Similarly, learning additional languages does make sense for the typical, wizardly scholar archetype. Still, with low Charisma, you should really leave the talking to one of your party members (that’s what Bards are for). With various spells providing magical translation, you will probably do fine without the extra languages.

So with that being said, you’ll be best off if you pick any Background that you like the sound of, but we recommend you lean towards any that give you proficiency in Intelligence skills. Don’t forget that if you are already proficient in a skill that your Background gives you, then you can swap out the duplicate skill proficiency and choose any skill you like. If you’re struggling to decide, then here are a few Background suggestions for you to consider:

Proficiency in Arcana and History, and you know two languages of your choice.

Feature: Researcher

A prime choice for the classic knowledgable Wizard, with two INT skills and two languages. The Researcher feature will point you in the right direction when your party needs the next clue for the quest, which is a lifesaver when your INT skill checks keep failing to get the lore you need out of your DM.

Proficiency in History and Survival, your choice of either cartographer’s tools or navigator’s tools, and you know one language of your choice

Feature: Historical Knowledge

The perfect background for exploring lost civilizations, ancient kingdoms, and dusty dungeons. History is a perfect fit, Survival is handy to avoid getting lost, and the tools and language help round out your theme of an educated explorer. The Historical Knowledge feature is great if your campaign features many ruins or dungeons for you to explore, as well as ancient treasures and art objects to loot.

Proficiency in two from among Arcana, Investigation, Religion, or Survival, and you know two languages of your choice, one of which must be Abyssal, Celestial, Deep Speech, Draconic, Infernal, Primordial, Sylvan, or Undercommon

Feature: Heart of Darkness

If your campaign involves eldritch mysteries or nightmarish horrors, then the Haunted One will be right at home. Edgy enough to make your whole party bleed, with a choice of useful INT skills and languages, the Heart of Darkness feature will prop up your terrible CHA by getting NPCs to help you through the sheer power of spooky sadness.

Don’t forget that, as stated in the Player’s Handbook, you are free to customize your character’s background in case one of the pre-written options isn’t a perfect fit for what you have a mind. You can change the Background feature, choose any two skills, and pick your two tool proficiencies or languages known. Work with your DM to make a Background that best suits the Wizard you are creating.

Feats:

Any character in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition will benefit from adding a Feat since they provide features and abilities beyond what is available through your base class. Just remember, although Feats are overwhelmingly popular in D&D 5E, they are an optional rule, so check with your DM to find out if they are allowed.

If Feats are permitted in your game, you can take a feat instead of gaining an Ability Score Improvement as you level up. It can be difficult to decide when the time is right to take a Feat instead of an ASI. For the Wizard, getting your INT score to the maximum should be your priority. Once that’s done, you can relax a bit and explore some fun feats.

We’re not going to list all the available Feats since there are so many to choose from. Instead, we’ll just list a few optimal choices that will help any Wizard.

  • War Caster****:
    This is an excellent choice for any Wizard. This feat provides several benefits, but gaining an advantage on your saving throws to maintaining concentration on your spells is by far the most beneficial.
  • Resilient (Constitution)****:
    In the same vein as War Caster, getting proficiency in Constitution Saving Throws means that you are much less likely to lose concentration on a vital spell mid-fight. Since your Proficiency Bonus increases as your character levels up, the effectiveness of this Feat will continue to improve as your Wizard grows stronger.
  • Lucky****:
    Good on any character; the ability to reroll up to 3 ability checks, attack rolls, or saving throws per day is just terrific for those clutch moments when you need an edge.
  • Telekinetic***:
    Providing a +1 to your INT is great for rounding out an odd Ability Score, and the ability to freely shove enemies around every turn with a Bonus Action is a great way of helping out without burning through your spell slots.
  • Alert***:
    A +5 bonus to your initiative rolls means you’ve got a good chance of going early enough in a fight to get a great spell off that’ll shift the whole encounter.
  • Tough***:
    Provides you with an extra two hit points for every character level. Not flashy or dramatic, but with d6 Hit Dice, Wizards are always at risk of an unexpected death, so more health is always a good thing.

If Feats seem like too much to deal with, then don’t worry: Just prioritize getting your Intelligence Score to 20, then your Constitution Score as well. Assuming you went with an Ability Score allocation roughly similar to what we suggested above, you’ll do perfectly fine in your adventures – even without Feats.

Example Wizard Character Build: The Elven Sage

d&d tier list 5e

Thus far, we’ve done a whole lot of talking about the technicalities of the Wizard, its variety of features, and the host of beneficial options available to you. Still, there’s nothing better than providing a demonstration character build for you to refer to.

Ability Scores:

We’ll go by what we suggested above, with a minor adjustment to consider the High Elf’s racial bonuses.

Standard Array: STR 8, DEX 12, CON 14, INT 15, WIS 13, CHA 10

Point Buy: STR 8, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 15, WIS 12, CHA 8

Race:

As stated, we’ll be using the High Elf. +2 DEX and +1 INT gives us a great start to our AC and spellcasting ability, and the free Intelligence-based cantrip provides more magical flexibility yet. Darkvision and the racial proficiency in Perception will be very useful throughout our adventures. While we don’t need weapon proficiencies, it can never hurt to have a longbow or shortsword on hand if our magic is somehow disabled.

Skills:

As an Elf, we get proficiency in Perception, and for our class proficiencies as a Wizard, we will choose Investigation and Religion. We will take the Sage Background and therefore get Arcana and History, which rounds out the majority of useful Intelligence skills.

Background:

Sage is a natural choice for any Wizard since Arcana and History are two widely applicable knowledge skills. With our high INT score, we will make the most benefit out of our proficiencies. Two languages of our choice won’t be much use with our dumped Charisma, but it certainly will help when we are researching through magical tomes and ancient scrolls. The Researcher feature means that we will always have a lead on the next magical mystery we want to investigate.

Subclass - Arcane Tradition:

When we reach 2nd level as Wizard, we will be choosing the School of Abjuration for our subclass; simply because we want all the features, we can get that help us survive the daily perils of living with d6 Hit Dice. The subclass provides us with arcane defenses, which we can deploy in reaction to getting hit with attacks, and as we level up, we can extend this protection to our teammates. In later levels, we can more effectively counter or nullify the spells of enemy spellcasters, and we eventually gain outright resistance to all spells. This is a straightforward subclass, giving us a solid array of protective features to focus on supporting the rest of the party.

Ability Score Increases and Feats:

Wizards get an Ability Score Increase (ASI) at the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels. For this character build, we are allowing Feats, so we take one instead of an ASI if we so choose.

4th level: +2 Intelligence

Our total INT score is now 18 and gives us an INT modifier of +4. This improves our bonus to our spell attack rolls, increases our spell save DC, allows us to prepare an additional spell from our Spellbook, as well as help with our INT skills and Saving Throws.

8th level: +2 Intelligence

Brings our INT score to the natural maximum of 20, with an INT modifier of +5. All the same benefits as before, and we can now focus on our other ability scores or take some cool Feats.

12th level: War Caster

With 14 Constitution, we only have a +2 to our Constitution Saving Throws to maintain Concentration on our spells, and getting Advantage does make things a lot easier.

16th level: Resilient (Constitution)

The advantage to keeping our concentration is pretty good, but with our proficiency bonus on top, it’s so much better. We’ll be making the most out of every concentration spell we cast now.

19th level: Lucky

Only one more level to go until we hit 20, somehow we’ve survived – it must be pure luck. Lucky lets us roll an additional d20 for an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw – up to 3 times a day. In a game based on rolling dice, it’s nice to have even a tiny bit of control.

If Feats aren’t available or you just aren’t interested, then for the 12th, 16th, and 19th level, just get a +2 ASI to your Constitution. You’ll finish with a Constitution score of 20 and a surprisingly decent amount of hit points, which is never a bad thing.

The Wizard Spell List:

The Wizard spell list contains hundreds of spells, many of which are downright fantastic, starting from humble cantrips that’ll you cast every single day and going all the way to the top-tier 9th-level spells that can alter the world of your adventure. Spell selection is key to making sure you can properly support your party by having a variety of effective, flexible spells at your disposal.

Without some decent spells in your spellbook, you’re going to struggle to make an impact during your adventures, and learning new spells takes a fair bit of time, money, and luck when it comes to finding scrolls and spellbooks.

Rather than go through the whole spell list in its entirety, we are just going to highlight some of the standout spells that any Wizard can make great use of and which will help you face almost any challenge your DM throws your way.

Cantrips:

  • Fire Bolt – Deals decent damage at a reliable range. A great choice if all you’re looking to do is attack something.
  • Mage Hand – Very flexible. Just think of anything you would normally have to do by hand. Odds are a magic hand will do it too. If you’re feeling cautious, use this to test anything you suspect to be booby-trapped from a safe 30 ft. distance.
  • Mind Sliver – Psychic damage is always fun, and the additional effect of imposing a penalty on your target’s next saving throw just makes it so much better.
  • Minor Illusion – A particularly open-ended spell that is only limited by your imagination and how much your DM will put up with. Allows for plenty of shenanigans around visual or audible trickery.
  • Prestidigitation – A handy bunch of minor magical effects all bundled up in one spell. Probably the single most useful and flexible cantrip in the game.
  • Shape Water – This cantrip lets you freely move, shape, and freeze water in almost any form you can think of. Since you encounter water fairly frequently, having a readily available resource under your control is a great benefit when it comes to solving problems.

1st level:

  • Absorb Elements – This will always be worth preparing every day. You never know when you’re going to get hit with some kind of elemental damage out of nowhere, and having a Reaction spell that can halve the damage output will save your life.
  • Detect Magic – Since this spell is a ritual, you’ll be able to cast it without preparing it, and being able to discern magical effects in your vicinity is always going to come in handy.
  • Find Familiar – The benefits a Familiar can provide are so numerous it’s astounding.
  • Magic Missile – A great spam option for dealing damage at range without making an attack roll. You can split the missiles up to take out multiple weak targets or hammer them all into one unlucky foe.
  • Shield – The perfect panic button for when you get hit with a big attack, being able to give yourself +5 AC will often be the difference between life and death.
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter – An iconic “save-or-suck” spell, this is perfect to single out one enemy and shut them down, even if only for a while. Tell your melee party members to run up and stab your target while they’re rolling on the floor, laughing themselves sick.

2nd level:

  • Darkvision – Only take this if anyone in your party doesn’t have Darkvision, obviously, but it’s a gamechanger for those without it.
  • Invisibility – An outstanding spell that can make ambushes, scouting, and escapes almost trivial. Cast it with higher-level spell slots, and you’ll eventually be able to turn the whole party invisible for an hour at a time.
  • Misty Step – Great for escaping grapples, traps, area-of-effect spells, or natural hazards. A short-range, Bonus Action teleport that only needs Verbal components is always going to be useful.
  • See Invisibility – Invisible enemies are uncommon but can be a nightmare to deal with. Happily, this spell provides you with an easy fix, plus it lasts for one hour without taking up your concentration.
  • Suggestion – Two sentences of suggestions might not sound a lot, but play it creatively, and you can solve plenty of social situations with this. You tell an NPC what to do, and they do it, as long as you can keep your Concentration going.
  • Web – Perfect for slowing down groups of foes. If you cast this on a bottleneck, you can relieve your party as you inhibit a chunk of the enemy fighters.
dnd wizard

3rd level:

  • Counterspell – You should know better than anyone else in your party just how impactful the right spell at the right time can be. There’s no feeling quite like making an enemy spellcaster waste their spell before they can hit your teammates.
  • Dispel Magic – Counterspell cancels out magic before it happens, whereas this spell is for afterward. You can use this to remove a harmful effect from an ally or negate a magical buff on an enemy.
  • Fireball – Long-range, large radius, decent damage. It’s iconic for a reason. If you’re trying to kill multiple enemies with one spell, then think of this spell as your baseline.
  • Fly – Flight, changes the game. Many enemies have little to no effective ranged attacks, and many traps and hazards become trivial when you can fly out of harm’s way.
  • Haste – One of the best buffs you can give any martial character in your party. The increased movement speed and AC are terrific, combined with extra Action options. It’s a blast for everyone involved.
  • Hypnotic Pattern – With one casting of this spell, you can take a whole bunch of enemies out of the fight, if only for a minute, while you and your allies focus on taking out the ones who resisted your spell, then move on to the mobs you incapacitated.

4th level:

  • Arcane Eye – One of the best spells for scouting and gathering information. Arcane Eye gives you the ability to be able to spy on enemies remotely and explore dungeons can help your party avoid a lot of nasty surprises.
  • Banishment – Extraplanar enemies such as devils, demons, and aberrations tend to be very dangerous. If they fail to resist this spell and keep your concentration on it for the full duration, they are completely out of the fight, although not dead so watch out for those who can travel back.
  • Greater Invisibility – One minute of invisibility that doesn’t end even if you cast a spell or make an attack is fantastic, even for just a minute. Like Haste, this is best used on any martial characters in the party, making them almost impossible to target and free to attack with advantage.
  • Polymorph – Tricky to get the hang of but supremely versatile. The target of your spell is transformed into a beast of your choice. This can mean a dangerous enemy becomes a harmless bunny, or your weakened party member becomes a might dinosaur.
  • Stone Shape – Controlling stone is a potent ability, particularly since it turns up so frequently. Any adventure in a typical dungeon, cave, city, or castle can become a whole lot easier when you start reshaping the landscape.
  • Wall of Fire – Good damage over a wide area. This is the perfect spell to block off an enemy’s escape or protect your party’s flank.
d&d 5e wizard optimization

5th level:

  • Animate Objects – A complicated spell to get used to because it varies depending on the size of the objects you bring to life. Still, once you grasp its intricacies, you’ll find it to be equal to any summoned creatures the Druid or Warlock might bring to the table. Borrow some climbing spikes or caltrops from the Rogue, animate ten of them, and command them to fly about and stab your enemies to death.
  • Bigby’s Hand – This spell provides a great mix of functions and effects, depending on how you use it. With one spell for one minute, you get to use your Bonus Action to attack, move, grapple, or block enemies, which is a great use of a spell slot.
  • Dominate Person – In many adventures, humanoids aren’t the greatest threats. Still, they do tend to feature heavily in roleplay and social intrigue situations, and with this spell, you can take control of one’s actions and have them obey you completely. Think of the possibilities this can provide, even with the 1-minute duration, but be prepared to deal with the consequences of forcibly taking over someone’s mind.
  • Hold Monster – The paralyzed condition is one of the most brutal in the game, any monster that fails to resist this spell is, almost certainly, done for. Get your melee party members in close to gain the full benefit of automatic critical hits on their attacks.
  • Rary’s Telepathic Bond – An fantastic ritual, allowing silent communication between the whole party with unlimited range is just too good not to add to your spellbook. Cast it before entering dangerous areas to allow for silent synchronized discussions
  • Wall of Force – A choice of casting this as a wall or a sphere means you can easily split up large groups of attackers or trap several in one place to deal with later. Almost impenetrable and very difficult to escape for any enemies without access to magic.

6th level:

  • Chain Lightning – An area-of-effect spell that deals a lot of damage but also provides you with decent control of where it goes as the lightning leaps from one target to another. Unlike Fireball, there’s no risk of accidentally torching any allies who got too close.
  • Contingency – A great insurance policy, if expensive and only limited to 10 days. Decide on a triggering condition, like your Hit Points getting too low, and choose a spell that would be helpful in that situation, like Invisibility or Dimension Door, and you’ll be glad you invested.
  • Disintegrate – As the name suggests, this iconic spell is for when you need something completely removed from your path. That can be a pesky wall of force, the walls of a castle, or whatever unlucky creature has decided to pick a fight.
  • Eyebite – A creepy yet effective spell. For one minute, you can look at people and put them to sleep, make them afraid of you, or poison them. Great for disabling enemies and letting your allies do the rest of the work.
  • Globe of Invulnerability – This is going to make any fight against a spellcaster so much easier, and you’ll learn to hate this spell when your DM gives it to an enemy. It’s like an upgraded Counterspell, protecting you from any spells of a lower level – and it gets better as you use higher-level spell slots.
  • True Seeing – If you absolutely, positively need to see everything around you as clearly as possible, then this is the spell you need. You see perfectly in darkness, magical and mundane, can see invisible enemies and creatures in the Ethereal Plane, and magical illusions automatically fail to deceive. All this and no concentration makes it a great use of your spell slot.
dnd-disintegrate

7th level:

  • Etherealness – Turn yourself into a ghost for eight whole hours, no concentration required, as you float around in the Ethereal Plane. You can pass through walls and see and hear things on the Material Plane, making this fantastic for spying and making your escapes.
  • Forcecage – Enemies have no way of resisting this spell when you cast it, and the only way they can try to escape is if they have the means to teleport. Have another member of your party cast a large-area, damage-over-time spell on the target and watch as everything trapped in your cage suffers the effects.
  • Plane Shift – You won’t need this for every campaign, but this is the best transport option available for moving between planes of existence, which can be a real game-changer in terms of the adventures that become available to you.
  • Simulacrum – Imagine the possibilities of having a second version of your character, with all the same spells and abilities. Your body double is expensive to create, almost ruinous to repair, and won’t regain spell slots, but for the time you’ve got it, there’s nothing quite like having an identical wizard assistant.
  • Teleport – It’s recommended that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the places you visit and collect some mementos in the levels before you get this spell. When you get this spell, you’ll find that the better you know your target destination, the less likely you are to accidentally teleport your whole party off a cliff or into volcanoes.

8th level:

  • Antimagic Field – Use this with care since the spell prevents all magic from being cast in its 10 ft. radius, and that radius centers on you, so you won’t be casting anything else while it’s up. However, this is perfect for those situations where you are facing a powerful magical foe, and you have non-magical allies who can back you up.
  • Clone – You need a vessel worth 2,000 gold and a diamond worth 1,000 gold to cast this spell, but getting guaranteed reincarnation is well worth it (plus you can reuse the vessel!). Put it somewhere secret, safe, and protected, and if/when you die, you’ll pop into your fresh, new clone – or if you’re feeling kind, then clone your party members and let them know how much they owe you.
  • Dominate Monster – The obvious upgrade to Dominate Person, restricted to humanoids and lasted only a minute. This is effective on any type of creature and lasts for a whole hour.
  • Maddening Darkness – With a huge area-of-effect, dealing good damage over time and filling the area with magical darkness, this is a terrific option for disrupting large groups of enemies and a great accompaniment for Forcecage. Just make sure to avoid catching your allies in its massive radius.
  • Maze – A bit like Banishment, except that the target doesn’t get a saving throw to avoid its effects. They have to use their action to succeed on a DC 20 Intelligence check to escape, so if they have a negative INT modifier, they literally cannot escape for the 10-minute duration.

9th level:

  • Foresight – By far the best buff in the game, with no concentration required and an 8-hour duration, this will be welcomed by anyone in the party, especially any character who makes lots of attacks. Advantage on all their ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls, and enemies have disadvantage on attacks against them.
  • Meteor Swarm – Remember your old, faithful Fireball. Now double the radius, multiple the damage by five, and increase the range to one mile. That’s just one meteor, and this spell gives you four to flatten any army or city to point at.
  • Psychic Scream – Target 10 enemies, and any that fail their saving throw take some nasty psychic damage but, more importantly, also suffer the debilitating Stunned condition, opening them up to even more damage from your party. The real fun of this spell is that if an enemy dies from the psychic damage, their head explodes.
  • Shapechange – Being a clever Wizard and casting all these cool spells is fun and all, but honestly, if you can transform into a dragon, you should. Technically you can change into any creature of a challenge rating equal to your level or lower, so pick the strongest dragon you can and have a blast.
  • Wish – This is by far the best and the most powerful spell as well as the complicated. Honestly, you shouldn’t bother casting any other 9th-level spell. Just cast Wish every day for the rest of your adventure. The basic use of this spell is to duplicate the effect of any spell in the game that is 8th-level or lower – no casting time, no material components, it just happens right away, and with this, you aren’t limited to Wizard spells. Outside of its basic use, you can, of course, Wish for your heart’s truest desires – but be wary of the potential consequences.

With that, we’re about done with our Wizard guide, so hopefully, you found it to be of some use in planning for your next Wizard. Just remember that Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition is a game about having fun taking on challenges with your friends, so if you follow this guide, you should come away with a character that can do just that.