D&D wizard uide

Welcome to the Scholarly Side: D&D Wizard Class Guide

5E Midgard Heroes Handbook from Kobold Press Awaits the Bold
Critter Corner: Examining the Storytelling Devices in Episode 8 - The Gates of Zadash

Greetings fellow nerds, nerdettes, and gamers. I am Kenneth Woody, and today we’re going to be delving into the scholarly side of fifth editino Dungeons & Dragons with the wizard!

When and why to play wizard

A fantastic question, and the answer is just as fascinating. The main reasons that stick out for me when it comes to wizard are simply this.:

  1. When you need a mix of controlling spells (hold person for example) as well as damage
  2. Wizards (and warlocks) are a Dungeon Master’s best friend due to the worldbuilding opportunities they both provide (more ancient ruins, and the like)
  3. More spells by and large (44 spells known, and more by 20th level)
  4. You are the knowledge skill monkey

Race and tradition for wizard

Again, this part is the biggest part of playing a wizard in D&D. Aside from those bits, deciding on a race can be a very important thing for you on the whole.

Recommended races:

  • Variant human
  • Gnome (Any)
  • High elf or eladrin

First off, let’s look at the Variant human. With the standard array, we still end up with decent stats. Second, take the Resilient or War Caster feats.

Now let’s look at the high elf. With the standard array, we end up with 16 for both Dexterity and Intelligence, as well as netting a free cantrip (I usually pick up prestidigitation).

While we’re at it, let’s look at the Arcane Traditions that we can choose from in the Player’s Handbook and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

For this example, we’ll go with the School of Conjuration wizard (The Siege Monster). This is one of the best traditions in D&D for battlefield control, as well as laying siege to things. However, the Conjurer comes into a league of its own by the time it reaches 10th level, with the Focused Conjuration archetype feature. This allows you to never lose concentration on Conjuration spells. By 14th level, your summons are much more durable, boasting an additional 30 points of temporary hit points. The 6th-level feature Benign Transposition gives you a greater deal of maneuverability on the battlefield. NOTE: This feature is reset when you cast a Conjuration Spell of 1st level or Higher. [NERDITOR’S NOTE: Misty step is a conjuration spell, for all your teleportation fans out there ;)]

As far as spells are concerned, I can’t really give a recommended list for your wizard. But, I can give a few questionable spells – some of which to avoid altogether.

Here it goes! The top 5 conjuration wizard spells to avoid:

  1. Tenser’s floating disk (Ritual): Horses and carts are much better.
  2. Web: Situational at best
  3. Conjure minor elementals: A waste; the summons are generally too weak to consider wasting a spell slot on.
  4. Evard’s black tentacles: Another situational pick; overall a great spell
  5. Scatter: Potential to upset your melee teammates. Don’t pick it unless you need a get of jail free card.

Now the main spells you’ll need for the Conjurer to shine:

  1. Conjure elemental
  2. Animate dead (Later, finger of death)
  3. Grease/Evard’s black tentacles
  4. False life
  5. Misty step

For Siege/damage/control, you’ll want to conjure an earth elemental and take the following spells.


  1. Ice storm
  2. Ice knife – for resetting Benign Transposition
  3. Cloud of daggers
  4. Lightning bolt

Crowd control:

  1. Cloudkill
  2. Evard’s black tentacles – 20 ft. square of difficult terrain, the target succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be restrained. However, the target can use its action to make a Strength/Dexterity saving throw to free itself.
  3. Sleet storm – Allows you to really screw with enemy casters by breaking their concentration.
  4. Grease – Makes things fall flat on their butts.
  5. Stinking cloud – Great for dealing with blinded/deafened creatures.
  6. Maze – Situational, but exceptionally useful.

Siege/Minion master:

  1. Animate dead – More minions, these don’t require concentration to maintain.
  2. Conjure elemental – Your main thing as a conjurer.
  3. Finger of death – Again, much the same as animate dead, more minions is very good.
  4. Wall of fire/ice – Amazing to take up in dungeon crawl scenarios.
  5. Otiluke’s freezing sphere – Some great uses, as well as being a really large scale AoE (60 ft. radius, 120 ft. diameter). I personally like this spell for crossing bodies of water, or passing it off other party members, to lob out like an icy grenade.

And finally, we come to the video guide

From the Nerditor’s desk

D&D wizard uide
Mesmogdu the drow Enchanter (not his real name though…) quite possibly the laziest wizard in the realm. [Art by Pixelscapes]
Speaking of wizards, a certain famous wizard of distinction’s Tome of Foes is headed our way in May 2018. Mordenkainen lends his name to the official D&D book detailed dangerous threats to the entire multiverse. Can it outdo Xanathar’s Guide to everything in volume? I’m going to put my gp on yes. If discovering the truth about the greatest conflicts in the D&D multiverse (and probably cool new character options too) sounds like your jam, you can preorder a copy of Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes now from Amazon.

Prior to release, D&D Beyond already has a video series going with conversations among the D&D design team discussion various aspects of the D&D multiverse. In the video below, Jeremy Crawford talks about the drow and their relationship the fantasy worlds of D&D. You can preorder the Tome of Foes through DDB also, and if it’s like XGtE the prerelease unlock will include exclusive homebrew content.

On a side note, aren’t D&D wizards awesome? Access to so many spells through your spellbook is incredibly fun and useful. I’m looking forward to all the wizardy stuff we’ll see Caleb Widogast do on Critical Role. One of my favorite characters to play is an Mesmogdu the drow charlatan Enchanter wizard. This is one of several aliases. The art by Pixelscapes was really awesome to get. She’s drawn a ton of monsters and characters in this distinctive art style you can see on her website. The artist, Jen Gagne, also appears weekly in Nerdarchist Dave’s Scarlet Sisterhood of Steel and Sorcery D&D game live streaming Tuesdays at 7 p.m. eastern on YouTube.

What’s your favorite school of magic? I’m going to be disappointed if no one says a good necromancer who uses undead minions.

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