So, you all have shown a lot of love toward my other post “The Best Cantrips 5e That We Don’t Think About”. So much so, that I decided to do a follow-up and post my favorite level 1 spells. Also, not going to lie, a little nervous as these have always been heavily debated as useless but there is so much you can do with them. To the point, that in my opinion, they are the best wizard spells in 5e. With that said, would love to see your opinions down below as I love talking about these.
So how am I doing these? I am going over these spells in much the same way as with the cantrips post. I will go over one great for roleplay, one for utility, and one for combat. This way everyone can see the best wizard spells for 5e that suit their playstyle. I will also include uses and stories of my time using them so you can read about hands-on experience and uses that DM’s have allowed in the past. Now, with that said, let’s begin.
Roleplay: Illusory Script
You write on parchment, paper, or some other suitable writing material and imbue it with a potent illusion that lasts for the duration.
To you and any creatures you designate when you cast the spell, the writing appears normal, written in your hand, and conveys whatever meaning you intended when you wrote the text. To all others, the writing appears as if it were written in an unknown or magical script that is unintelligible. Alternatively, you can cause the writing to appear to be an entirely different message, written in a different hand and language, though the language must be one you know.
Should the spell be dispelled, the original script and the illusion both disappear.
A creature with truesight can read the hidden message.
I’m going to wait a moment for you to calm down after seeing this… Okay, hope you have calmed down now. I’m sure many people have disregarded me after just reading the heading for this one. Cause I can confidently say I have never met another wizard who uses this spell. Nor have I ever seen a guide give this spell anything but the worse rating. So why is this spell so good? Well, many reasons actually.
Illusory Script: The Devils Contract
The first reason this is the best wizard spell for 5e is for contracts. Let’s break it down. First, all creatures you designate can read what you wrote. For instance, you and the city guard could understand what you wrote. The next part is where this gets game breaking, making the script appear to be something else entirely to those not designated. See where I am going with this? You and the City Guard understand what you wrote which could be whatever you wanted. It could be a contract stating that the one who signs are willing to give permission for one to enter into the sealed mines. Or, for those more nefarious, a contract stating upon quest completion they will pay x amount for completion.
Now you can make it appear as something else to the one who is going to sign it. It could be the actual amount you and the other party agreed to upon quest completion. They would happily sign it unaware they are actually signing for more than they bargained for. And who are the guards going to believe? The party with written documentation and a signature from the complaining party? Or one who states he signed something else then what the contract states. It’s the ultimate devil’s contract making this the best wizard spell in 5e.
Illusory Script: Psychic Paper
Now that is not the only way to use this. Another use would be for documentation proving you are allowed somewhere. Functioning much like psychic paper from Dr. Who. After all, forgeries can be challenging to perform and can even fail you if you don’t have the right tools for the job. But magic triumphs all! Especially true for forgeries. After all, one Wizards of the Coast used the wording “Potent illusion” for this spell showing it is a powerful illusion spell. The second part of this wording is that the writing can appear as if it is “written in a different hand”. So, say you know or have a copy of the king’s documents. Boom! Official order by the king to let these adventurers have passage to an area or free potions.
Now, don’t worry DM’s, this doesn’t mean you are safe after using it. The merchant who lost money could talk to the guards about the order. No one knows about it and suddenly they have a warrant out for your arrest. So, why it might help them at that moment it can still have dire consequences.
Illusory Script: Other Uses
If you haven’t been able to tell, this is my favorite spell of all time. So, of course, I had to put it on the best wizard spells for 5e that we don’t think about. Because it, in my opinion, is the most fitting for it. And there are still, plenty of other uses for it, but this is not an article on this one spell but on 3, so instead I will name just a few more to get you thinking.
Hidden messages to your allies in the middle of a war. Feed false information to enemies and create chaos. Impersonate other people with documentation and signatures. Cover your tracks of a message by casting it on an existing letter then in ten days the ink will vanish and only you and whoever you designate would know it. These are just to name a few more and I am sure your brains are running wild with ideas as well.
Utility: Unseen Servant
This spell creates an Invisible, mindless, shapeless
force that performs simple tasks at your Command until the spell ends. The
servant springs into existence in an unoccupied space on the ground within
range. It has AC 10, 1 hit point, and a Strength of 2, and it can’t Attack.
If it drops to 0 Hit Points the spell ends.
Once on each of your turns as a Bonus Action, you can mentally Command the servant to move up to 15 feet and interact with an object. The servant can perform simple tasks that a human servant could do, such as fetching things, cleaning, mending folding clothes, lighting fires, serving food, and pouring wine. Once you give the command the servant performs the task to the best of its ability until it completes the task, then waits for your next command.
If you command the servant to perform a task that would move it more than 60 feet away from you, the spell ends.
I know, I know, Mage hand is better. Everyone says that, but I say Unseen Servant is better and one the best 5e wizard spells for level 1. Allow me to explain, as there are three big reasons why I like this more.
Unseen Servant: Meat Shields
This has saved my life so many times. The spell states that they are invisible with AC, HP, and even movement. For all intents and purposes, these can be invisible meat shields useful for combat. For example, I was doing an Adventurers League adventure where we had to row a raft upstream. I decided there was no point in us doing all the labor of pushing it upstream. Especially when I am a gnome trying to use a ten-foot pole. Instead, I used unseen servant as a ritual and summoned 3 of them to work why I rested. Well along the adventure there was an ambush from giant frogs. Two of them tried to grab me with their tongue to swallow me. Thankfully I had unseen servants there who were beside me and actually took the blows for me. Afterwards, though, this became an instant choice for me.
Unfortunately, there low AC and 1 HP make them a one and done use. That said, mirror image, which is considered one of the best wizard spells in 5e, has each of their clones be a one and done use so think of it as a poor man’s mirror image that, one does not use a spell slot, and two can protect allies. All in all, though it definitely qualifies as being one of the best 5e wizard spells.
Unseen Servant: Meat Shields Downside
Hopefully, my talk about using it to block attacks from range or other stuff starts giving you some creative uses for the idea, as that is what I really want people to do with these posts. Use them as a foundation for your own creativity. That said, I have come across some downsides of using them like this. For one, if you do not want to use a spell slot, you need to spend ten minutes ritual casting it. This takes some time and means you need to be planning on fighting in the next hour before you do it. Sort of similar to Armor of Agathys. That said a few moments of prep can save you from debilitating spells like Disintegrate, or Guiding Bolt.
Unseen Servant: Invisible Mage Hand
That’s right Arcane Tricksters! We can have invisible mage hands too. Just a little bit more rudimentary and not as a cantrip. Nonetheless, these make for great mage hands. The reason being, they are one invisible, and two can perform simple tasks. So, if you need to grab something without being seen, just bring in your unseen servant to grab it. Or if your lazy like me, have them do the chores you want to do. And if getting the ability to be lazy doesn’t make this the best wizard spell 5e, then I don’t know what is.
My favorite use of unseen servant is using it to open doors or disarm traps as I can choose for them to spring up within 60 feet of somewhere. It does not say I need to see it and the fact I mentally command him means I can tell him what to do if I have a reasonable idea of what is there. This makes it better than mage hand in my opinion for two reasons. One larger range means I can now manipulate objects further away. Why the second big bonus is I do not need to see for Unseen Servant to perform. Meanwhile, since you use your hands to manipulate mage hand, you’re better off being able to see when using it. There are tons of uses for this spell found on Reddit. I highly suggest reading them, but with that said let’s move to combat.
Combat: Protection From Evil and Good
Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch is
protected against certain types of creatures – Aberrations, Celestials, Elementals,
fey, Fiends, and Undead.
The Protection grants several benefits. Creatures of those types have disadvantage on Attack rolls against the target. The target also can’t be Charmed, Frightened, or possessed by them. If the target is already Charmed Frightened or possessed by such a creature, the target has advantage on any new saving throw against the relevant effect.
Another spell known to be terrible. That said, it has so many combat uses, it is one of the best wizard spells for 5e. So why is it one of the best wizard spells in 5e? Well much like the last two, it gets a bad rap but has uses that really make this huge.
Protection From Evil And Good: Disadvantages
Before I begin with the why it is the best combat 5e wizard spell. We should address why this one gets such a bad reputation. The first reason is concentration. Your concentration for a spell is a huge limiting factor as you can only concentrate on one spell. Not only that, you can lose your spell if you get hit. This creates a tough scenario of what is the best use of my concentration spell. Often times people see other reasons than to use it for a buff for an ally.
The second big disadvantage is it targets one person and affects certain creatures. This means you can only protect one ally instead of all of them. Another big downside to the spell as now I can no longer protect everyone else with spells like Tashas Hideous Laughter, which debuffs the enemy. In addition to only one person, it does not protect against everything but only the races mentioned above. This is another limiting factor, as who knows when it will be useful and I would much rather prefer preparing a spell that has universal use like grease.
Protection From Good And Evil: Overcoming Disadvantages
Now that you know why this spell is frowned on, let’s debunk some of the reasoning. First, concentration is huge especially later on when you have spells like Slow or Hold Person it can be used on. That said, what are first level spells you would use your concentration on. The three other combat spells would be Tashas Hideous Laughter, Expeditious Retreat, and Witch Bolt. All of which have certain reasons on why you would use them. Tasha’s is the biggest argument as it is almost always a universal debuff. That said, the others are useful for if you need to move quickly or want to deal damage every round after hitting once. Both are not as useful as what protection from evil and good does. Even in the case of Tasha’s, this has a chance of failing and being a wasted spell slot, while Protection is a guaranteed buff.
Now regarding only helping one person, this is true. It only helps one person but so does other spells like haste, and they are deemed some of the best. Therefore, it goes down to is the boon worth the payoff, which I will argue later. Then, there is the limiting factor of certain races are only affected. Another solid point but considering it does protect against 6 races and most are filled with what BBEGs are made of, has plenty of use. Thus, why may not be useful against humans, your campaign ending bosses or monsters are probably going to be affected by this spell.
Protection From Evil And Good: The Boons
Remember how I said are the boons worth it? Well here is why. First, disadvantage is deadly. I talked about it in another post of mine that tells you stories of just how deadly it is. So, imposing disadvantage to all attack rolls against say your class Paladin is huge.
For example, A Paladin on average has an 18 AC at level 1. So, we will use that number since this is a level one spell. Most monsters at level 1 have a +5 to hit. This means, your enemies will need to roll a 13 or higher to hit which has a 40% chance of happening. Now let’s say you used protection from evil and good, they now have disadvantage reducing their chances to only 16%. There is no save for it, they just have disadvantage. Meanwhile, you are being tactical, are staying behind your paladin not getting hit at all using spells like grease to control the battlefield and give allies advantage on attacks. Which is one of the boons making this the best wizard spell in 5e.
The second boon comes from being immune to charm, frightened, or possession. This is a strong ability that you encounter in final battles when the monsters try to control the field. Especially for your Paladin who is designed to kill these kinds of creatures. Because nothing is more infuriating for a Paladin than being frightened and being unable to move closer to the enemies. Then once you get there you have disadvantage on hitting them reducing your odds of rolling 10 or higher by 25%. Now though, you prevent their field control allowing your paladin do a ton of damage and be safe, while you are in the back controlling the field and safe as they focus on the paladin.
Best Wizard Spells 5e: Conclusion
This sums up my best wizard spells of 5e for 1st level spells. I hope I showed you just how powerful illusory script is, how useful unseen servant can be, and how strong protection from evil and good is at protecting. If you liked this one then definitely check out the spell find familiar it is an incredibly strong spell that is worthy of its own review. In fact, I wrote a nearly 5000-word article going over find familiar and your familiar options to chose from. If you want to read it click here to be taken to the page. And don’t worry if you are confused still. We were all there at one point or another. in fact, I find Arcane Cards are a great way to learn the spells of what they can and can’t do. I actually had a trading card binder and put them in there. Then, whenever my wizard learned that spell, I would put it in the binder and have my own real-life spellbook. It added a lot of flair to the game and was incredibly useful.
Anyways, as always let me hear what you think as I would love to hear what you think are the best wizard spells in 5e that we don’t think about. Anyways, hope this July 4th and all other days to come are great. Keep on rolling!
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