Wizard Of The Tavern

Sapping Sting 5e: How Often Will Monsters Save?

Sapping Sting 5e

Sapping Sting 5e: Necromancy cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

Sapping Sting 5e: You sap the vitality of one creature you can see in range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage and fall prone.

At Higher Levels. This spell’s damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

Source: Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount


Overall, Sapping Sting in 5e is a good choice, with a relevant debuff, the cantrip can see many strategic uses, but the save and damage makes the cantrip sub-par for cantrips late game.

The biggest pros to sapping sting, is that it has the ability to knock your opponent prone.

This means that if the spell works you will give (1) all melee attacks against the target advantage, (2) all their attacks will be at disadvantage, and (3) they lose half their movement if they stand up.

This can be extremely debilitating in combat.

As a result, what next needs to be analyzed is how significant the damage boost is from knocking them prone.

On average you will be doing 2-3 points damage per cast.

While this is not a lot, the prone effect is a huge benefit. Usually giving a 32% boost to your party’s damage on that enemy. (As calculated in my article, “When to Use Great Weapon Master” 

This means your damage is actually much higher; roughly 16 points of damage through level 1-5, assuming your party can deal the average party amount of damage a turn (50) solely on this monster.

All in all, that is a good amount of damage for a cantrip, especially at level 1-5.


Dealing 16 points of damage with a cantrip is great.

That said, the final part to analyzing the spell still needs to be determined.

Sapping Sting so far seems like a strong damage cantrip dealing 16 points of damage and only increasing as the game goes on (as seen in the chart above)

That said, for your cantrip to be useful at all, the enemy must fail a constitution saving throw.

Which any veteran player will know is the easiest save for monsters.

Thankfully, my guide to divination wizards has already calculated the average monster’s save chance, giving us a much-needed look at how effective this is.

On average, a monster will have a 43-53% chance to fail a con saving throw.

This means the average monster will fall prone 43-53% of the time when using this spell.

Therefore your true damage will look more like the following.

As you can see, 5e sapping sting is a great spell in the early game for its ability to make key enemies fall prone.

However, the save becomes easier for the average monster to beat as levels increase, thus causing diminishing returns for the spell in later levels.

This makes it a solid choice for wizards but should most likely be switched out later levels for a more relevant cantrip.

Sapping Sting 5e Applications

So what pairs well with sapping sting?

The big benefit sapping sting provides is giving all melee attacks advantage and all of their attacks disadvantage.

This means crit fishing (the strategy to proc natural 20’s as much as possible) is where this ability will shine.

Obvious examples include paladins and half-orc barbarians who have great synergy for dealing large damage when rolling natural 20’s.

Therefore this cantrip becomes even stronger in parties consisting of powerful melee fighters and makes this a stronger choice.

Another powerful use is for bladesingers, and sorcerers who can use this as a bonus action and use their main action to attack.

For example, 3 levels sorcerer and the rest paladin will let you bonus action sapping sting, then 2 attack actions increasing your damage by 32% with your smites, or over 50% if you score a critical in one of those attacks and smite.

As you can see the initial damage of sapping sting in 5e as well as the save of sapping sting really appears to be lackluster.

However, the ability to knock an enemy prone from afar for free is huge in D&D.

Netting a high damage output for the spell.

To show this here are 5 uses where sapping sting can be used to alter the game.

  1. Enemy running away? Knock them prone and make them lose half their movement
  2. Prank war with the party? Have your party member fall down randomly in public or in important moments.
  3. Boss not dying? Knock him prone and have the party go at it.
  4. Need a distraction? Someone falling down away from you can give you those crucial seconds to escape.
  5. Ally about to die? Force the enemy to make an opportunity attack at disadvantage by knocking them prone.

These are 5 uses where sapping sting can come in handy and there are countless more that an imagination can come up with in a moment.

But to summarize, sapping string in 5e is best to use when you need to increase a party’s damage or decrease an enemy’s power.

Sapping Sting 5e Conclusion

There you have it!

Sapping Sting in all of its glory.

It can deal damage, knock enemies prone, and have some outside combat utility.

The cantrip pairs well in parties where melee attacks are important as it increases your chances to hit, thus increasing damage.

If you thought this cantrip is good and have a few ideas of builds revolving around this, I recommend my review on the Great Weapon Master Feat.

It goes over, who gets the best results out of it and at what level as well as a few ways to increase your effectiveness with the feat.

2 thoughts on “Sapping Sting 5e: How Often Will Monsters Save?”

  1. Like many of Matt Mercer’s creations, it has overlooked implications that make it overpowered. A ranged cantrip knocking ANY creature prone? This means with a mere cantrip, a caster could knock the Tarrasque prone, or an ancient dragon flying 1,000 feet above the ground. It should limit it to Large creatures or smaller, or be a Touch cantrip, and for that reason I don’t allow it in my games.

    1. Anderson Craftheart

      very true! However legendary resistances will definitely impact the later game especially on things like tarrasque and dragons. That is a cool idea to implement for the cantrip to make it more reasonable for playgroups. I will definitely need to consider that. Thanks for your comment!

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