Cantrips are the lowest level of magic in Dungeons & Dragons. They are spells that the caster has repeated so many times that it has become second nature to them.
They require no spell slots and can be used without any preparation; also, they can be cast at will. On top of all this, a cantrip’s spell level is 0.
Regardless of seeming like minuscule magic gimmicks, players can use cantrips in combat, role-playing, and exploration scenarios. And, they have the ability to alter and change these scenarios entirely as well.
A good player knows how to use cantrips to their advantage in essence to the situation. As I said, cantrips can aid in many different scenarios, so choosing the right one is vital.
Let’s look at the best cantrips that you can obtain and use in D&D 5th Edition. (in no particular order)
I’d even argue that this is the most valuable cantrip in the game. The ability to communicate with your fellows while you’re stuck in a kerfuffle is extremely helpful. When you have split the party to the point of inevitable doom, this spell can prove to be a lifesaver.
With its 120-feet range and the ability to communicate with any creature in the range without actually seeing them (because it works through walls!), the Message spell is genuinely worth taking.
A bonus is that only the target recipient receives the message and they can reply in a way that is only understandable by you.
Guidance is simply the most useful cantrip in the game. If your party has a Cleric or Druid in the party then taking this spell is an obvious way to go.
This spell gives the caster and all of their companions an extra D4 bonus to their next ability check. Guidance is also a completely stackable cantrip with advantage.
Guidance is an immediate party booster for pretty much everything out of combat. It might not be the go-to choice for a creative adventure, but if you’re playing by the book, then it is the most mechanically useful cantrip in D&D.
3. Mage Hand
This is a creative spell. Mage Hand’s full potential is tied to the caster’s creativity and ambitions. Mage Hand is now even more useful than it was in generations before.
The spell creates a floating hand above your character that can help you manipulate things. And the possibilities here are really endless. From tying off ropes to disarming traps to breaking out of jail, you can do a lot of things with this spell and the sky’s the limit here.
Mage Hand also allows you to carry most weapons as the limit was increased from 5 lbs to 10 lbs in the 5th edition.
This is as simple as it gets. Light is good because it helps you see. In many parties where characters don’t have the dark vision, this spell is of the utmost value as it can enable you to see in the dark.
The best part is that you don’t have to worry about the flames as they are not something to worry about. Covering the glowing object which produces the light is enough to hide it. Also, you don’t need to worry about running out of torches, either.
In short, it’s nice being able to see in the dark. Light good; pick light.
5. Shocking Grasp
This spell is a potential saviour as it allows you to deal direct damage to an opponent who’s in a melee range. Thus, making it an excellent option for tight situations and when you get cornered.
It deals lighting damage to your opponent if you touch them but even more crucial than that is the disengaging opportunity this gives you.
Shocking Grasp disables the target’s reaction upon the hit. What this does is allow you to distance yourself from the enemy while also doing a bit of damage at the same time. Now, who doesn’t want that?
6. Eldritch Blast
This spell starts with just one beam, but they increase gradually as your character progresses throughout the game. You gain an additional beam at level 5, level 7, and finally level 11. That makes a total of 4 maximum beams.
Even though this cantrip is only limited to Warlocks, it is one that I cannot recommend enough because of its unmatched range and damaging properties that can’t be resisted by almost any enemy.
This is a do-it-all or jack of all trades cantrip. That makes it very useful in specific situations where you won’t ever think you need it, but when you don’t have it, you’ll certainly miss it.
Prestidigitation can be used for many things like taking a bath when you’re soaked in blood or just getting your dirty gear cleaned off the mud. From lighting a fire to flavouring the food to even gaining a little edge in bluffing, this one can be beneficial in many scenarios.
8. Vicious Mockery
This one is exclusive to bards, but that doesn’t limit it from being on this list. Vicious Mockery is the D&D equivalent of getting roasted so bad that you appreciate the insult for what it is rather than getting offended or hurt by it. In other words, this cantrip can literally insult an enemy to death. Yup.
The most significant upside here is the damage type – physic. It’s arguably the best damage type after force in the game, and very few creatures are resistive to it.
Furthermore, Vicious Mockery makes up for its unimpressive damage by giving the target disadvantage on their next attack roll so that they can contemplate their life even more.
9. Minor Illusion
Another creative spell, this one really shines when you have a dungeon master that plays along with the creative player.
Minor Illusion generates an ostensible image or sound that can be used in countless different ways to your advantage. There isn’t a better completely free illusion spell in the game right now.
With an illusory image, you can fool the enemy that you’re armed when you certainly aren’t, or you can even disguise a trap. With sound, the possibilities are endless and maybe even more potent than image.
Here you can choose any sound you desire and not just a voice, from fooling guards into obeying their seeming commander to scaring away creatures with the screams of a monster, this is one cantrip for the imaginative minds and a dungeon master who’ll play along.
10. Spare The Dying
Clerics are known to be the wall standing between the party members and their reckless death. They provide a vital support role in any party.
Adding to that vitality is the Spare The Dying cantrip which allows clerics to stabilize creatures at 0 hit points, preventing them from bleeding out.
One thing to note is that this spell does not have any effect whatsoever on constructs and undead creatures.
If you’re out of healing options or hit with a debuff disabling your character from healing, then this cantrip can prove to be a literal lifesaver in front of your imminent demise.
Mending is the definitive “Bob The Builder” spell. In a game like Dungeons & Dragons where we often forget about how important it is to mend, repair, heal, and fix items amongst the eccentric battles, this spell proves the importance of just fixing broken stuff.
Mending can repair a tear or break in any object and do so without leaving a trace that it was ever damaged. Granted, that break or tear has to be no more than a foot in dimensions.
This spell can be used in various situations like fixing wagon wheels during NPC interactions or repairing broken down dungeon doors. Mending is best in very specific situations but its versatility mixed with how unique it can make it a worthy inclusion on my list.
12. Ray Of Frost
Revenge is best served cold. Well, in this case, it’s damage. Ray Of Frost is a damage cantrip (duh) that deals 1d8 damage to the target if they are within range. Not only that, but the target’s speed will also be reduced by 10 feet until the caster’s next turn starts.
Ray Of Frost isn’t the most heavy-hitting damage cantrip in the game, but the added bonus of the speed reduction can prove to be of great value as it can allow you to clear some distance between you and your enemy so you can easily move out of their damage range.
Similarly, it can also bound some enemies from escaping, making it easier for you and your allies to finish them more effectively.
13. Word Of Radiance
This cantrip allows you to do radiant damage to multiple enemies in a single area. Radiant damage is one of the least resistive types of damage in the game. Plus, it stops enemies from regenerating or healing because they’re hit by radiant damage.
If a horde of enemies surrounds you then casting this spell can deal a nice chunk of damage to all of them if they fall in the range. Another great use would be to cast this when on a bunch of low HP or weakened enemies.
It does 1d6 damage in the starting level, but it scales up to 4d6 once you hit level 17. Moreover, this cantrip is exclusive to clerics.
14. Acid Splash
The versatility helps this one. Acid Splash isn’t the best damage cantrip or even known for dealing sufficient damage in specific situations. But instead, it’s known for the great utility it provides.
Here, you can cast a bubble of acid on one or two creatures within five feet of each other. If they fail a Dexterity saving throw, the Acid Splash will deal 1d6 damage to them. This damage increases all the way up to 4d6 at level 17.
But really, it’s the utility that makes this a valuable cantrip to pick. If your allies are trapped behind bars, use this spell to free them. If the key on a treasure chest is missing, just use acid to melt the lock. Want to make a chandelier fall to the ground? Use this cantrip. And the list goes on but you get the point.
15. Create Bonfire
Finishing off the list with another versatile spell, we have Create Bonfire. This spell can be utilized in several different ways on top of the obvious heat source that it creates.
Create Bonfire lets the caster create a bonfire wherever they please as long as the ground is seeable within range.
A five-feet cube is created upon this spell’s casting, and everyone that is within this space becomes obligated to win a Dexterity saving throw. And, if you don’t win the bonfire will deal 1d8 fire damage to you. And this damage grows as you level up, with a max damage of 4d8 achievable at level 17.
Apart from the damage, if you have any held or non-equipped items, the bonfire will set them on fire as well.
Cantrips might seem inferior to other spells of higher levels, and that’s because they are. But that doesn’t make them any less effective.
They are a valuable asset to have for any DnD player, and the special perks and attributes they offer can be of great aid in certain situations.
From dealing damage to fixing doors, from literally enlightening your way to fooling your enemies, from insulting your opponents to death to disengaging when you need to, cantrips are a great tool that is only limited by the imagination and creativity of its caster.
All of the cantrips listed above are valuable and worthwhile in their own right. And I already know that some seasoned veterans might object to my list, especially the sequencing here, but I have complied with this list with great thought and research. It’s now up to you, the player, to put them to fair use.
FAQ’s about Best Cantrips 5e
What class has most Cantrips?
- Warlock 4 (The Celestial, Pact of the Tome): Light+Sacred Flame+6 Cantrips +8.
- Sorcerer 1: 4 Cantrips +4.
- Cleric 1 (Arcana Domain): 5 Cantrips +5.
- Bard(College of Lore) 6: 6 Cantrips +6.
- Druid 2 (Circle of Land): 3 Cantrips +3.
- Wizard 2 (School of Illusion): Minor Illusion+3 Cantrips +4.
- Artificer 1: 2 Cantrips +2.
Are there any healing Cantrips 5e?
The creature becomes stable. Actually, the healing word dnd 5e is not a cantrip which can be cast in infinitely and actually it is the spell of the 1st level. Cantrips were the first spells that a wizard learned during their apprenticeship.
How do I choose a Cantrip?
You can click on the name of each spell to see a description of the spell. Depending on your class, you can choose anywhere from 2 to 4 cantrips at 1st level. You won’t be able to change your cantrips once you’ve chosen them, but you will gain more as you level up, so don’t stress out about this choice too much.