The 5e Transmutation Wizard is a class dedicated to transforming or altering the physicality of something. As such, they rely on buffing themselves and allies to solve issues in their life. This is a class for those that are not looking to deal damage to enemies but help others in succeeding.
How I Am Evaluating Them
For those who have read my previous reviews, feel free to skip this. If you haven’t, welcome! This is going over how I evaluate how strong a class is. There are three things that I am reviewing in the in-depth guide. I look over how strong the subclass is in combat, how much utility it has, and, if applicable, its’ roleplay ability. This way everyone’s playstyle can be shown to fit their needs.
Now, when deciding if something is good for a guide, I look at what the subclass is trying to accomplish. Then look at how successful it succeeds in that task. For instance, in a previous article on the War Wizard, I concluded, attempts to make you a competitive front line. I then figure out how well that ability succeeds in letting you front line, as well as how soon it comes online.
If it is accomplished at level 2, then it is early game. Level 6 it is Early-Mid, Level 10 Late-Mid, and Level 14 is late game. I rate earlier tiers better as most Dungeon and Dragons Campaigns do not go beyond level 8. Without further a due, let start this review on the 5e Transmutation Wizard.
GOLD– “That’s gold Jerry! Gold!” If an ability is highlighted gold, then this means that this ability not only is what defines your subclasses but accomplishes it better than almost any other subclass. I rarely do Gold ratings, so definitely pay attention to them if you see me do it.
Sky Blue –If the ability is sky blue, it means that this ability is a defining trait in your subclass but for one reason or another is not game-breaking like gold.
Blue– If it is just blue, then it’s a good ability but there are plenty of other abilities that perform better. Still better to have in a subclass than other colors.
Black. Black is ok. These are your more niche abilities that have bonuses in some situations but not useful in others.
Purple – Purple is for very niche abilities. They have times when they are good, but these are rare and almost never come up. Not the best color to see for an ability.
Red- Red is dead. It is the worse color to see on an ability. That said, no matter the color, an ability can work so don’t ignore a subclass if they have a red. Enough imagination and can-do attitude will make it okay but not optimal.
Transmutation Wizard 5e (Early- Mid Game)
After analyzing the transmutation wizard, they uphold a rather decent selection of options to use in a situation. Their level 2 ability is considered the weakest out of all wizard subclasses, but their level 6 and 14 abilities create a large array of uses that can be invaluable in the heat of the moment. As such, while the spells and abilities are in no way game-changing, they are still a solid subclass.
Transmutation Savant & Minor Alchemy
At 2nd level, it takes you half the gold and time to copy Transmutation spells into your spellbook.
A decent ability found in the player’s handbook wizards, many spells found in this category will be helpful to wizards. Plus with 55 out of 199 spells being transmutation, should come up. It is rather straightforward but a better savant ability than others.
Meanwhile Minor Alchemy can be summed up as:
You can change any 1 cubic foot of non-magical object made of iron, wood, silver, stone, or copper into another of these categories. It takes ten minutes to change and the alteration lasts an hour or until you lose concentration.
While the more creative minds can argue a large array of uses to make this better, it’s simply not. The best thing it can do is con a merchant by giving him 1 cubic foot of silver and make him angry later.
The reasoning lies in the number of restrictions this places on use. One, you must concentrate on this, meaning no concentration spells can be used during casting or using the ability. Additionally, it takes 10 minutes to cast, automatically making it out of combat use only. Finally, it lasts only an hour, has a size restriction, as well as a material restriction. Meaning, you need to have its use be at most an hour. Additionally, it must be a material you can transmute, and small enough for your ability to use in one casting. However, if you are determined to make this useful for more than party tricks, then here is a good thread that might be able to help you out.
The Transmuter Stone is where the transmutation wizard in 5e shines. With this, they gain a large use of variability to fit any need.
The Transmuter Stone essentially allows you to create the stone after 8 hours of work, and can give certain benefits for the one holding it. The benefits can be:
- 60ft Darkvision,
- increase speed by 10ft,
- proficiency in constitution saving throws,
- resistance to acid, lightening, cold, fire or thunder.
Upon casting transmutation spells level 1 or higher you may change the benefit from the stone and upon creating another one, the old one ceases to function.
Now, if you are like most wizards, the default setting on this stone will be proficiency in constitution saving throws. The reasoning is it’s effectively a free feat that is a huge boon for concentration saving throws. If you are curious about the math click here for an article I did comparing proficiency v advantage for concentration saving throws.) If you just want the basics however, at level 11 and higher this will be better than advantage. Meanwhile, overall, it will improve your con save by 15% throughout level 1-20.
As for the other choices, these are more situational uses with 60ft of darkvision being easily taken care of with goggles of darkvision, or a torch. The increasing speed by 10 feet may not seem like much but is a great retreat option for yourself when combined with expeditious retreat. Allowing you to double your dash speed by making your movement speed 40 feet, dash an additional 40 with your bonus action, and dash another 40 feet with your main action, equaling a total speed of 120 feet in one round. Meanwhile resistance is great for any elemental battle and can change with a casting of expeditious retreat.
Transmutation Wizard 5e: Shapechanger
A solid boost to the 5e transmutations wizards utility and survivability.
At level 10, Shapechanger allows you to once per rest cast the polymorph spell on yourself as long as the cr of the creature is 1 or lower.
Now a great list of every creature you can choose from can be found here. If you are looking for a few favorites for a situation, here are my favorites. Somewhat surprisingly, the strongest scouting casts of polymorph are for CR 0. These are your owl if you are on land or the octopus if in the water. Their small size but high stats make them perfect for scouting and moving around unseen.
As for combat that’s where things can get tricky. After all most of the time you want access to your spells and being in polymorph greatly hinders that. As such, you will most likely want one that has a lot of health or escape ability. Therefore, after looking through the list, your best one for escaping a situation as fast as possible is the giant eagle with its 80-foot movement speed. To bolster your health, then the dire wolf or giant hyena since they have the most health in proportion to their AC. All in all, it’s a solid ability that lets you get as creative as a druid with their wild shape. So not a terrible ability.
They should have named this the panic button for what it does.
At level 14, Master Transmuter allows you to destroy your transmuter stone for the ability to do one of four things:
- transmute something no larger than a 5-foot cube into another non-magical item of same size and mass that’s value is equal or less
- Remove all curses, diseases, and poisons affecting a creature you can touch and they regain all hitpoints.
- Cast Raise Dead without expending a spell slot (but still need a 500gp diamond)
- Reduce the age of a creature by 3d10 years to a minimum of 13 years but does not extend their life span.
Most wizards will only focus on numbers 2 and 3 as they have the highest potential to save your life. In fact, when doing a one-shot to test out the 5e transmutation wizard, I used number 2 to save my life against an ancient red dragon who was about to kill me. However, I lost my ability to be resistant to fire so while saved my life still made the fight much more challenging. Therefore, my biggest recommendation is to choose wisely when to use this. While the abilities can be powerful, you will need to spend 8 hours crafting another one. This might be easy when resting in town, but deep in a dungeon, 8 hours can mean death.
5e Transmutation Wizard Suggestions
After looking through each of their abilities it became easier to see which feats, spells, and races would best enhance a transmutation wizard for 5e. For Feats, Magic Initiate, and War Caster can be a huge boon. Magic Initiate for casting a 1st level transmutation spell for free once a day, I suggest Goodberry or Expeditious Retreat. As for War Caster, the advantage can stack really well with proficiency in concentration saves.
For spells, the best 1st level is Expeditious Retreat due to its’ usefulness and bonus action casting. However, for variation sake, feather fall or catapult is also good depending if you focus more combat or support in your character. At level 2 most would choose Enlarge/ Reduce as it has the widest utility and combat applications while being transmutation. That said, a personal favorite is dragons breath, it is a bonus action and allows you to power up your familiar to deal damage. Be warned though, the familiar will die without protection. Finally, at level 3 spells haste and slow are recommended due to their incredible power to change a battle. Each can be useful but haste is a little better for you since you can get proficiency in concentration saves to help prevent the stun that happens with haste.
Finally, there is race, races that give your free casting of transmutation can be a powerful boost, moreover, your Con, and Intelligence is the most important stats for transmutation. As such an air or water genasi makes a surprisingly good transmutation wizard. But, if you need to boos intelligence quickly a rock gnome is great for its stat boost and defensive boost against magic. If you want to see other races I suggest this calculator that can be a great aid.
In conclusion, the transmutation wizard is actually a solid choice for boosting yourself with adaptability and power that can make you useful in many situations. While their second-level ability is weak, once they reach 6th level their power begins to shine with more niche abilities following after. As such, the recommended playstyle would be buffing yourselves and allies so races and spells that follow that same style would be ideal choices for a transmutation wizard. If you the transmutation wizard is not exactly what you are looking for, then I suggest checking out my post on the divination wizard. Their level 2 ability makes them a great wizard to buff or debuff enemies.
P.S. Now that you know the general information for the transmutation wizard. Why don’t you kick it up a notch with Wizard’s Mastery: A Complete Wizard’s Guide! Giving you even more information then than this for all ten wizard subclasses with ways to make your gameplay more memorable and more unique. Check it out today!