Disclaimer: You Guys Rock!
Alright, I am going to be honest. First off, you guys are loving these spell reviews way too much. Like seriously “my best wizard spells we don’t think about” took number one spot on most popular articles after only one week. And not by a small margin, like double the other one. Which was best cantrips 5e we don’t think about! So you know what we are doing? We’re making another one that will be going over the best sorcerer spells in 5e for level 2. Let me know what you think. If you agree awesome, if not, fight me these are cool. And of course, leave a comment if you have thoughts. Now, with me done gushing over you all let’s begin the post on the best sorcerer spells in 5e.
Best Sorcerer Spells 5e How This Works
Okay so if you are not familiar with these other ones check them out as they go into insane detail on spell uses that make certain spells better than the popular pick. As always, I will go over one combat, one roleplay, and one utility level 2nd spell that are the best sorcerer spells in 5e. Which, I will compare to the usual pick for sorcerers or other spellcasters and show why these are better than those. This way I can ensure there is a little for everyone in my post and help make sure you get the content you want.
The next point I want to make out is what are my criteria for looking at these spells. The first thing I am looking at is focusing on your level 2 spell selection. Later on, some of these spells have the potential to become stronger than others making them better later on. However, chances, are you are needing to focus on right now, and considering you can change spells out as you level up. Don’t need to worry about the future.
The second point is some of these spells are extremely strong in their own right. This said, what I am trying to do is encourage people to think of other spells to use for these situations. For instance, phantasmal force is a strong spell. But it is often used for combat. In this (spoiler) I will be arguing it as the best sorcerer spell for roleplay. Now with these clarified, let’s begin.
Best Sorcerer Spells 5e Combat: Web v Mirror Image
Okay, I know the love for Mirror Image is real. And for good reason might I add. In terms of defensive choice, it is better than almost any other defensive spell out there. However, if you look at combat as not just defensive, but offensive, this spell starts losing traction. Here is why.
Combat: Mirror Image issues
I know this is about the spell web. But to talk about why web is one of the best sorcerer spells in 5e, I need to talk about why mirror image is not as good as it seems.
The first issue with mirror image is it causes you to use your first action in combat setting up. Spells that require you to set up have a few severe disadvantages. One being, combat on average lasts 3-4 rounds of combat. Meaning, if you spend your first round of combat setting up to protect yourself, then you have wasted 33.33% of the entire fight doing nothing but protecting yourself. If you are looking for some statistics on my round encounter, I suggest checking Stackechange post here that tells you how they come up with it. There are other websites, but I find this to be the clearest explanation for this fact.
Now we take a look at what mirror image protects you from. Melee and ranged attacks. This does nothing against dexterity saves. Meaning if someone casts fireball, you get hurt and your first 33% of the combat was wasted. The second problem with only affecting melee and ranged attacks is that they need to target you. Most parties have around 4-5 people in the party, and almost always there is a melee fighter in them. And, unless your DM hates spellcasters, if you are in a fight you are going to need to focus on the adventurer in front of you trying to kill you before you can get to the squishy mage. Even then, spells like shield should be plenty of protection for you on the off chance the ranged enemy decides to take potshots at you.
Combat: Web’s Restrained Mechanic
So, since I briefly showed you why mirror image is not as good as everyone claims (and there is more, but that could be another post). Allow me to go over the benefits of web.
Restrained. The restrained mechanic is deadly for a multitude of reasons. One it drops movement of people to zero. You know that mirror image you used to protect against melee opponents? Yeah, they can’t even reach you since they are restrained. This effectively already takes care of the job of mirror image, while still having additional effects thanks to the restrained mechanic.
The next part of this mechanic is advantage on attack rolls against them and disadvantage toward your group. Now, the rough statistics for advantage and disadvantage is +5 with advantage and a -5 for disadvantage. So, you know that ranged attacker who is rolling to hit you? They effectively have a -5 to hit you, and even if they do, cast shield and add +5 to your AC. This way you can control the field, reduce chances of being hit, as well as helping your allies deal damage. After all, your allies also get advantage to attack them, increasing their chances of hitting or critting.
The final part of the restrained mechanic is the disadvantage on dexterity saving throws. This last part of the mechanic is basically a set up for your next round. This allows you to be able to cast a spell like fireball. Which, damage would be insured as you deal the best damage with them failing the save, plus an additional nasty effect web has. So, why this spell also sets up, it controls the field and protects yourself. Making it better than mirror image.
Best Sorcerer Spell 5e Roleplay: Phantasmal Force v Suggestion
For most people, Suggestion is the strongest roleplay spell for a few reasons. One it is the clearest for interacting with NPC’s. Two it is an extremely overpowered spell that saves or sucks. And three, it is vague enough that allows for lots of flexibility. For the most part, I agree suggestion is a great spell that almost anyone should pick up for a 2nd level spell. That said, phantasmal force is a force to be reckoned with. Here is why.
Phantasmal Force: Different Than Suggestion
Before going over the uses that make this the best sorcerer spell in 5e for roleplay, we need to define what this spell can do. While also discussing how it is different than suggestion.
The most notable part of suggestion is that it attempts to make a creature do something specific. Meanwhile, phantasmal force attempts to make a creature believe something or react. These are two vastly different things as suggestion allows you to know what you are getting. However, phantasmal force allows you to have a general idea of what will happen. This means when you are casting suggestion you are forcing them to do something while with phantasmal force you are getting them to react to something.
This works in your advantage in most cases since telling someone to do something gets you one use out of the spell. Getting someone to react can allow for multiple tasks being accomplished in the spell. Not only that but because they are reacting to the spell, they are unaware they are duped afterward if you make the illusion wrap up. That said, once suggestion is in motion it continues until they realized they were tricked.
Phantasmal Force: Saving Throw
Now that we have a clearer understanding of what sets these two spells apart, we need to look at saving throws between the spells. Suggestion uses wisdom as its saving throw while phantasmal force uses intelligence. You might be thinking, well what so big about that? Huge.
There are 220 villains in the monster manual that are proficient in wisdom saving throws. This means when fighting monsters and forcing them to try and save 220 of them will have a higher boost than regular monsters you deal with. I should also point out; these are not all just “monsters” you would fight. These are also spell casters and humanoids that you would interact with in regular roleplay situations. So even using this for roleplay, many people will not suffer too much in trying to beat your DC.
Moreover, phantasmal force uses intelligence for their saving throw. This is on average most creatures’ lowest stats (at an ASI of 9, while wisdom is an ASI of 12) since most use strength or agility to best their opponents. Already making this a decent saving throw. However, once we take a look at how many have intelligence saving throw proficiency, we can easily see why this becomes the best sorcerer spell in 5e. Only 64 “monsters” have proficiency in this save. A huge difference compared to wisdom which is the highest amount. Therefore, this save becomes more likely to be effective for happening compared to suggestion.
Phantasmal Force: Uses
As you can see, phantasmal force is better than suggestion for two reasons. One it forces them to react over something, thus allowing for multiple scenarios to happen. Two, the save is more likely to be effective allowing for greater success chance. Which leaves one last thing to go over, its uses that make it the best sorcerer spell in 5e for level 2.
So, the uses are far and wide. While most people think of this spell with combat uses. We are going to go over the uses of it for roleplay. One example I use this for is as a distraction. A lone guard is awake at night and we need in. Phantasmal force them and now they see a suspicious figure darting away and getting in. They go to investigate it giving your party time to slip in. Or, perhaps, you create a fellow guard to appear from behind, relieving him of duty allowing you all in the building. This, of course, is up to your DM on how he wants the people to react to it, but with a creative flair and description most DM’s will go along with your illusion.
Another use of the spell comes in the form of situations. For instance, say you are talking to a merchant and your thief stole a potion of superior healing from the open chest the merchant had. Well, you need to cover their tracks and what better way than to make them believe it is still there. And there are plenty more, but these are to state a few. If you are curious about some other instances to get your brain juice running. Check out this Reddit post that goes over a lot of the spells uses.
Best Sorcerer Spells 5e Utility: Levitate v Enhance Ability
Enhance Ability, a great spell that’s utility knows no bounds. After all, it works for every check. Need advantage on dexterity, boom taken care of, need advantage on strength, boom taken care of. It’s the reason many consider this to be the best sorcerer spell in 5e for utility. However, it is for this reason why this spell loses its utility. Often times it is used just to grant advantage on checks, and why that is definitely a huge boon, that is all it is good for. Levitate, on the other hand, can do so much more.
Levitate: Replicate Other Spells
I will never forget the moment I realized how great this spell was It was June 4th, 2018, 6 years after I got into Dungeons and Dragons. I was watching the channel that kept me hooked even when I did not have a group to play with, Critical Role. In episode 21 of season 2, they brought in a guest star that had a fantastic story and roleplay, but also a deep understanding of levitate. If you ever want to watch the episode, I have a link to their YouTube account for you to watch it. It really was something else to watch and taught me how levitate is one of the best sorcerer spells in 5e. Here is why.
It can replicate spells. Not in the most serious sense of the sentence, but in abstract creativity. Need a poor man’s feather fall? Cast it on yourself or someone else and they levitate. Need to scale a wall and even advantage on strength checks won’t help. Levitate. Or need to restrain a target from moving or use the 5th level spell telekinesis? Boom, Levitate. While these may not work completely like the original spell, it is great for replicating spells parts of spells in various ways. Which, for a sorcerer, variation is key.
Levitate: Object Interaction
The biggest reason is the best sorcerer spell for 5e utility, comes not from human interaction, but object interaction. There are multiple times when an object just needs to move. The world ending boss has a scepter of doom that is the key to releasing hell on earth. Now, you can use levitate to prevent it until your party can kill the BBEG and save the world. Another use comes with opening fortified gates. Say there is a metal gate that blocks entrance into the castle. Cast levitate on it and as long as it weighs less than 500 pounds, it will rise up allowing you all access in.
And these are to just show you how important objects are in the world. The real importance is to talk about the rules with the object interaction. So, let’s go over them, shall we?
Levitate: Object rules
Before we begin going into the rules and limitations of levitate, we need to define what an object is. According to the Dungeon Master Guide on page 246, “An object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects.” Therefore, under this definition, it must be distinct, must not be animated in any way (including sentience), and cannot be made up of many other objects. This would limit it down to mundane items and magical items that are not complex in building.
Taking this into account, most items such as scrolls, staffs, and chests would work. That said a pile of gold or a building would not be defined as an object. Now comes the question of what can levitate due to these objects?
Levitate states that for movement, it can only move up and down via the spell. This means an object must move by some other force. What defines the use? It must be a “fixed object or surface within reach”. This would translate over to not being able to push or pull with a non-fixed object. So, shooting it with a crossbow would not work. However, having a grappling hook fixed to a rope would. Many people see this as a limit to the spell. That said, what they should see is an opportunity.
Levitate: Breaking The Restriction
Wizards of the Coast has not defined rules for grabbing a levitated object itself. As such, it remains up to the DM’s on how they would interact with that. After discussing the rules behind levitation with 4 other DM’s I know, 3 stated they would make it an opposed grapple check with them using athletics and you using your spell attack bonus. The other one said they would have it unable to be moved by a “non-fixed” object when levitating. Therefore, when looking at this restriction and how to break it, we will look at these two rulings.
For the first ruling, this works for your advantage. The reason? Most spellcasters max out their spellcasting modifier before any other ASI. Meanwhile, your spell attack bonus automatically adds your proficiency. This already makes it better than most monsters when you consider that skills are not a heavy focus for monster creation. So, only a select few will have a stated proficiency in athletics checks. Thus, making them weaker than your character in breaking the roll. This allows for you to hustle or control whatever you are levitating and can be used in numerous ways that I will let you think of. But to get you started let me say this, “hostage negotiations”.
The last is the strongest format of the spell. Now you can use levitate to raise up an object allowing you to form a step way for people to hop on and raise up. Now you have Tenser’s Floating Disk that can be raised up and down by you and can only be moved by attaching a rope to it and dragging it along. This is just a few ideas to get your brain going on using levitate to make this the best sorcerer spell 5e.
Best Sorcerer spells 5e: Summary
As you can see, why the popular choices are strong in spell choices, there are even better spells that really shine when taking an in-depth look. Let me know what you think about the spells and the option by leaving a comment below. Do you agree these are the best sorcerer spells in 5e we don’t think of? Or did you enjoy the creative in-depth uses of the spells? If so, you should read my analysis of the trap mechanic in D&D and some helpful ways to make it better. Well, that concludes the post so go on reading some more or create your new spellcaster and blow away the competition with your spells. Have a superb day and keep rolling!
(EDIT) I also want to mention something. I was on the phone with one of you readers that found my number on the about page of my website. We were talking about how they can’t afford the books but don’t want to be limited to what they owned. I don’t know if you are also like that, but if you are, then let me tell you what I told him. I suggested buying Xanathars Guide to Spellbook Card.
The reason being, the big book he was missing out on was Xanathars Guide to Everything as it contains 95 new spells that add a lot of fun and variability for your classes. With this though, they contain all the spells you can look over and have on hand quickly and easily. So keep that in mind, there are other products than the books for those on a budget and I will try to help you all out with recommendations for cheaper stuff when I can.
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