Eldritch Knight are the only Fighter subclass that gets access to spellcasting, and they’re widely considered a top-tier subclass thanks to this feature alone. They can learn Wizard cantrips and Wizard spells of the Illusion or Enchantment schools of magic. Eldritch Knights can also learn to cast any Wizard spell at certain levels, opening up many, many options.

But, on the downside, Eldritch Knights can only learn a few spells altogether, and their spell slots are extremely limited — more than any other half-caster (except Eldritch Knight Fighters).

Another thing to keep in mind is that Eldritch Knight Fighters are still, well, Fighters, and therefore need to invest in Dexterity or Strength as their primary ability score to be effective. That means that, as a general rule, any spell that requires a spell attack roll or forces an enemy saving throw is worse on an Eldritch Knight than it is on a full caster who can fully invest in their spellcasting ability modifier.

Even with Intelligence as your secondary ability, you’ll never hit as often with these spells as normal spellcasters. Therefore, utility spells that aid you or your allies without requiring attack rolls or saving throws are superior options for an Eldritch Knight Fighter.

Also, note that I’m only looking at Eldritch Knight spells from the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything for this Eldritch Knight spell list.

But if you’re building an EK Fighter and you’re looking for the best spells to pick up, here are my picks for the best Eldritch Knight spells by level.

Here are my picks for the best Eldritch Knight spells by level.

Best Eldritch Knight Cantrips

  1. Booming Blade. Booming Blade starts as a normal melee attack, which is great for a Fighter who prefers to make weapon attacks to use their Dexterity or Strength modifier to attack, rather than relying on Intelligence with spell attack/saving throw-based cantrips.

    Booming Blade’s rider effect causes the target to take 1d8 thunder damage if they move before the start of your next turn. This is excellent for Fighters who want to tank — most enemies won’t leave your range once you’ve hit them Booming Blade, because they’ll take damage if they do — even if they Disengage to get away without an opportunity attack.

    Plus, once you get War Magic at 7th level, you can cast Booming Blade, then follow up with a normal weapon attack as a bonus action.

  2. Mage Hand. A utility cantrip with plenty of practical uses, Mage Hand allows you something akin to limited faux-telekinesis. While its weight limit is just 10 pounds and it needs to stay within 30 feet of you at all times, it’s perfect for hands-free torch-holding, trap activation from a distance, tying ropes to make climbing easier, and all the little things like pulling levers, grabbing keys, and winching drawbridges that come up all the time in DnD games.

  3. Prestidigitation. Another brilliant utility cantrip, Prestidigitation offers 1001 minor magic tricks that have too many uses to name here. On a basic level, Prestidigitation can create sensory effects (sparks, sounds, smells, etc.), light/snuff flames, clean/soil objects, chill/warm/flavor material, leave a mark/symbol on an object/surface, or create a nonmagical trinket or illusory image for six seconds.

    Plenty of fun to be had with all that. Truly, the Swiss-army knife of cantrips in DnD 5e.

  4. Green-Flame Blade. Like Booming Blade, Green-Flame Blade is a normal melee spell attack (so you’re using Dexterity or Strength instead of Intelligence). The rider on this one is that, if your attack lands, you get to cause bonus fire damage to a creature within 5 feet of your target. This damage is equal to your spellcasting modifier, which isn’t that great at low levels (maybe 2 damage).

    But at 5th+ level, it starts dealing 1d8 + spellcasting modifier (so likely 6.5 average) to the second target. Great for clearing out packs of minions, and adds some area-of-effect damage capability to a Fighter kit that otherwise lacks it.

  5. Mind Sliver. Now, normally, I’d advise against picking up spells that require a saving throw or spell attack as an Eldritch Knight. Your spellcasting modifier isn’t great, and these spells will land less often than they will for a full caster.

    However, Mind Sliver forces an Intelligence saving throw, which is the worst average ability score of monsters in 5e’s main sourcebooks. That somewhat balances out for your bad spellcasting modifier, meaning it’ll land more often. Plus, the difference between your spellcasting modifier and a full caster’s isn’t that big at low levels.

    The 1d6 psychic damage it deals is definitely less than your normal attacks. But the -1d4 to the creature’s next saving throw it makes before the end of your next turn is quite strong. If you have another spellcaster in your group with powerful save-or-suck spells like Hold Person, using your turn to set them up with Mind Sliver is a very good way to use your turn. Or you can set yourself up for a saving throw spell on your next turn — the -1d4 on their save makes it much more likely that the spell will land.

    And with War Magic, you can follow up with a melee attack, which is extra good if you’re trying to break an enemy spellcaster’s concentration.

Here are the other Eldritch Knight cantrips and my X/5 rating for each:

Best 1st-level Eldritch Knight Spells

  1. Shield. One of the best defensive 1st-level spells in DnD 5e, Shield gives you +5 AC until the start of your next turn, used as a reaction to taking damage (the bonus applies to the triggering attack as well). It also prevents Magic Missile from hitting.

    Basically, this turns an enemy hit on you into a miss, and protects you against other attacks for a short while as well. Regardless of whether you plan to have your Eldritch Knight do any tanking, Shield is a stupidly good spell bordering on overpowered. Negating an entire attack that already landed and protecting yourself from other attacks for the rest of the round, while still retaining your full action on your turn is just too good to pass up for any spellcaster, Eldritch Knights included.

  2. Absorb Elements. Resistance to a triggering damage type (acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder) until the start of your next turn, used as a reaction. You also deal +1d6 damage (of whatever type you absorbed) on your next melee attack.

    Very, very good for stopping big elemental damage spells and things like a dragon’s breath from one-shotting you.

  3. Magic Missile. 1d4+1 force damage one 3 missiles, which can be directed at one or several creatures — with no attack roll. The fact that Magic Missile automatically hits is excellent for an Eldritch Knight without a great spellcasting modifier. Even when the damage falls off a bit, it’s great for popping an enemy spellcaster’s concentration (they have to roll for each missile!), and the 120-foot range allows you to help your backline deal with threats if your party gets split up.

  4. Burning Hands. A 15-foot cone emanates from you, and creatures in that area who fail a Dexterity saving throw take 3d6 (10.5 average) fire damage, or half as much on a success. Always a great spell, and even with your below-average spellcasting modifier, the half-damage is solid for clearing out minions and the like.

    Plus, Dexterity ability modifiers are the poorest physical abilities among 5e’s creatures, so the full damage will land more than many other spells that rely on Strength or Constitution saves.

  5. Thunderwave. A 15-foot cube emanates from you, and creatures in that area who fail a Constitution saving throw take 2d8 (9 average) thunder damage, or half as much on a success. Creatures who fail their save area are also pushed 10 feet away, and the spell is audible up to 300 feet away.

    Now, Constitution is the highest average ability score of 5e’s monsters, but the half damage is still nice. And being able to shove enemies 10 feet away can work brilliantly with other spells and effects like Web, Spirit Guardians, and Spike Growth, to name a few. Just don’t use this on stealth missions, or the whole dungeon might come down on you.

Here are the other 1st-level Eldritch Knight spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Mage Armor – 4 (for a Dexterity-focused character, it’s the highest AC you can get)

  • Earth Tremor – 3

  • Protection From Evil and Good – 3

  • Alarm – 2

  • Chromatic Orb – 2

  • Snare – 2

  • Tasha’s Caustic Brew – 2

  • Witch Bolt – 1

Best Wizard Spells to Get at 3rd-level of Eldritch Knight

At 3rd level, when you choose Eldritch Knight as your Fighter subclass, two of the first three 1st-level spells you select must be Enchantment or Illusion spells from the Wizard spell list. However, one spell can be ANY Wizard spell, from any school of magic. Here are the best options for an Eldritch Knight to pick for this spell:

  1. Find Familiar. Easily the #1 choice, Find Familiar is just so darn useful. The Owl familiar, in particular, is useful for its flyby trait, allowing it to get in and out without taking opportunity attacks…and fly of course, putting itself out of reach of melee enemies.

    Use the Owl to come in and use the Help action to give you advantage on your Booming Blade, and you’re golden. With such limited spell slots, Eldritch Knights can appreciate a 1-hour, no-concentrations spell that helps for multiple fights.

  2. Fog Cloud. Creating a 20-foot radius of fog that heavily obscures the area can be beneficial for a Fighter (and the rest of your party). It’s especially good for hit-and-run tactics with ranged attacks, getting into/out of a place unseen, removing opportunity attacks (can’t make these if you can’t see your target!), and limiting enemy spellcasters, who require sight of their target for many important spells.

eldritch knight fighter d&d 5e mini

Best 2nd-level Eldritch Knight Spells

  1. Darkness. Like Fog Cloud, but in a smaller area, and with the ability to shield the object that’s shedding darkness so that it doesn’t hinder your party (or you) on your turn if you don’t want it to. You can even pass the item around with your free action to turn it on and off like a light switch — truly great for stopping enemy spellcasters from targeting you, preventing opportunity attacks, and making yourself safer from ranged enemies.

  2. Scorching Ray. Make three ranged spell attacks, each of which deal 2d6 (7 average) fire damage on hit. You can spread the damage around or direct all the rays at one target. While your spellcasting modifier isn’t huge, the ability to make three attacks means at least one or two are likely to hit, normalizing your damage and providing a reliable way to attack at range.

  3. Shatter. 10-foot AoE with a 60-foot range that deals 3d8 (13.5 average) thunder damage on a failed Constitution saving throw, or half as much on a success. Creatures made of inorganic material have disadvantage on the save, so you can actively demolish environmental/structural things in your area for creative tactics.

    While Constitution saves are 5e creatures’ highest overall, even dealing half damage to a group of 2-4 enemies is an excellent use of your turn.

  4. Warding Wind. An interesting 10-minute concentration spell that acts as a self-buff. It deafens you and creatures within 10 feet, extinguishes small flames, disperses gaseous materials, makes the area difficult terrain for all but you, and gives ranged weapon attacks disadvantage if they pass through the area.

    That last part is the most important — as a tank, if you put yourself between the party and ranged attacking enemies, you’ll provide an incredibly strong buff to everyone. The slow via difficult terrain can also make the difference between a melee enemy getting range to attack you and falling short without using their action to Dash, which provides even more effective damage reduction.

  5. Melf’s Acid Arrow. A decent damaging spell that deals 4d4 (10 average) acid on a ranged spell attack and 2d4 (5 average) acid damage at the end of the target’s next turn. If the attack misses, it still deals 2d4 damage on hit, but no damage at the end of the target’s turn. Honestly, though, Scorching Ray or Shatter are better options.

Here are the other 2nd-level Eldritch Knight spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Aganazzar’s Scorcher – 2

  • Arcane Lock – 2

  • Continual Flame – 2

  • Gust of Wind – 2

  • Snilloc’s Snowball Storm – 1

Best Wizard Spells to Get at 8th-level of Eldritch Knight

At 8th level, Eldritch Knights can choose one Wizard spell from any school of magic. You can also swap out your 1st-level Wizard spell from any school that you got at 3rd level for a 2nd-level spell as early as 7th level if you want to access these spells even sooner. There are a ton of great options for an Eldritch Knight to pick for this spell:

  1. Mirror Image. Creates three duplicates of yourself, each with an AC of 10 + your Dexterity modifier. When you’re targeted, there’s a chance that one of your mirrors will be targeted instead of you. This lasts for one minute, no concentration required.

    A great spell for any melee combatant, and can even make you into a short-term tank for your group.

  2. Blur. Creatures have attack disadvantage against you for one minute, concentration permitting. Once your AC is 17+, Blur is better than Mirror Image from a purely numerical perspective. But it comes at the risk of having your concentration broken, and if a creature already has attack disadvantage against you, Blur becomes redundant.

  3. Shadow Blade. A 2d8 + attack modifier psychic finesse weapon (20/60-foot range when thrown) that lasts for one minute, concentration permitting. This is much better damage than any normal Dex-based weapon your Fighter has access to, and you even get advantage on attack rolls in dim light or darkness.

    While RAW Booming Blade requires a weapon with a monetary value, 5e’s lead game designer said he’d allow for Shadow Blade to work with Booming Blade regardless.

  4. https://www.sageadvice.eu/what-is-the-intention-between-booming-green-flame-blades-requiring-a-weapon-with-a-value-of-at-least-1sp-when-no-weapon-has-a-value-below-1sp/

  5. Misty Step. A 30-foot teleport as a bonus action, Misty Step is fantastic for Eldritch Knights. More mobility, easier escapes, and access to vertical transportation are all welcome additions to the Fighter’s basic kit of features.

  6. Hold Person. Paralyzes a humanoid target for 1 minute on a failed Wisdom saving throw. Now, I normally rate Hold Person much higher, but since Eldritch Knights don’t get access to it at 7th-level when threatening humanoids start getting phased out in most campaigns, I rate it a little less highly.

    But if you can land Hold Person in a big spot, it affords you incredible bonuses — attack advantage AND automatic critical hits against the paralyzed target. And it doesn’t even break on damage, so your melee allies can get in on the fun, too.

Best 3rd-level Eldritch Knight Spells

  1. Fireball. 8d6 (28 average) fire damage to creatures in a 20-foot radius on a failed Dexterity saving throw, or half as much on a successful one. Quite high damage, even if enemies pass their saving throw. Even at 13th-level, when you get access to 3rd-level spells, this is a great AoE damage spell, and with a massive 150-range.

  2. Wall of Water. A 30-foot wall of water, or a 20-foot ring, that acts as difficult terrain and gives ranged weapon attacks disadvantage if they pass through it. Fire damage is also halved if it passes through it.

    Great against fire-breathing foes and hordes of ranged enemies, Wall of Water can really swing the momentum of a fight and provide great defensive buffs for your entire party. You can slo freeze it with cold spells to make a tough wall of ice, if you have time to set it up.

  3. Melf’s Minute Meteors. Create six meteors, which you can then use a bonus action to send 1 or 2 to a location (or locations) with 120 feet on that turn and subsequent turns. Creatures within 5 feet of the meteor explosion who fail a Dex save take 2d6 (7 average) fire damage or half as much on a success. This totals 42 average damage over 3-6 turns, and with a 10-minute timer, you can use it in multiple fights. Eldritch Knights appreciate that efficiency and the multiple attacks, so that even if they don’t all deal full damage, you still get your money’s worth.

    Plus, you can still use your action to Attack or cast another spell, which really ramps up your damage per round potential.

  4. Intellect Fortress. Gives you resistance to psychic damage and advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws for 1 hour, concentration permitting. This is a huge defensive buff for Fighters, who normally only have proficiency in Strength and Constitution saving throws.

    Many nasty enemy spells require mental saving throws, and have advantage on these makes your Eldritch Knight a much more reliable tank in these fights.

  5. Counterspell. The ability to prevent an enemy spell is incredibly strong, and the fact that it’s a reaction casting time means you’ll still have your entire turn to do whatever you want.

Here are the other 3rd-level Eldritch Knight spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Wall of Sand – 4

  • Dispel Magic – 3

  • Leomund’s Tiny Hut – 3

  • Lightning Bolt – 3

  • Protection from Energy – 3

  • Glyph of Warding – 2

  • Sending – 2

  • Magic Circle – 1

  • Nondetection – 1

  • Remove Curse – 1

Best Wizard Spells to Get at 14th-level of Eldritch Knight

At 14th level, Eldritch Knights can choose one Wizard spell from any school of magic. Here are the best options for an Eldritch Knight to pick for this spell:

  1. Haste. A godlike spell on any martial character, Haste is extra good on Fighters. You get +2 AC, double movement speed, advantage on Dex saves, and +1 additional action each turn. That means more attacks, more critical hits, and more survivability.

  2. Fly. Not as offensively strong as Haste, but more utility outside of combat as well. And defensively, the ability to fly keeps you 100% safe from melee-only foes.

  3. Summon Fey/Shadowspawn/Undead. Every summon spell is quite strong, as an extra ally in combat is both offensively and defensively useful (it eats attacks for you). Plus, these last up to an hour, so you get that utility for multiple fights. Along with your Find Familiar, this gives you a lot to do with your turn.

Best 4th-level Eldritch Knight Spells

The best 4th-level Eldritch Knight spells from the Wizard’s Aburajion and Evocation spell lists are Banishment, Sickening Radiance, and Wall of Fire. These are acquirable at 18th level.

The best 4th-level Eldritch Knight spells from among all Wizard spells are Dimension Door, Greater Invisibility, and Polymorph. Any of the 4th-level summon spells available to Wizards (except Summon Greater Demon) can also be a good choice. One of these is acquirable at 20th level.

Eldritch Knight Spells FAQ

  1. What spells can an eldritch knight get? According to the Player’s Handbook, pg. 75, an eldritch knight gets two Wizard cantrips at 3rd level. They also get three 1st-level Wizard spells, two of which must be abjuration or evocation spells, at 3rd level.

    Eldritch knights get one new spell known at 4th-level, 7th-level, 8th-level, 10th-level, 11th-level, 13th-level, 14th-level, 16th-level, 19th-level, and 20th-level, for a total of 13 spells known at max level. Eldritch Knights get one new cantrip at 10th level. The cantrip and spells at 8th-, 14th-, and 20th-level can be from any spell on the Wizards spell list; all other spells must be abjuration or evocation Wizard spells only.

  2. How many spells can an eldritch knight have? An eldritch knight can have between 6 and 17 spells, depending on their level. Eldritch knights have 3 cantrips and 3 1st-level spells at 3rd-level when they first get access to spells. This ramps up to 2nd-level spells at 7th level, 3rd-level spells at 13th level, and 4th-level spells at 19th level.

  3. What spells can an eldritch knight learn at level 3? An eldritch knight can learn three Wizard cantrips and three 1st-level Wizard spells, two of which must be enchantment or illusion spells at level 3.

  4. Can an eldritch knight change cantrips? No, an eldritch knight cannot change cantrips, rules as written. However, some DMs will allow an eldritch knight to change cantrips whenever they hit a level when they gain an ability score improvement, the same is it works for many full spellcasters in DnD 5e.

  5. Can an eldritch knight change spells? Yes, an eldritch knight can change one spell whenever they level up. This replacement spell must be an abjuration or evocation spell, unless you’re replacing the spell gained at 3rd, 8th, 14th, or 20th level.

  6. Can eldritch knights learn spells from scrolls? No, eldritch knights cannot learn spells from scrolls or from spellbooks. That feature is exclusively limited to wizards in DnD 5e.

  7. Can eldritch knights ritual cast? No, eldritch knights cannot ritual cast spells. Only artificers, bards, clerics, druids, and wizards can cast rituals as part of their class features in DnD 5e. However, any character can ritual cast if they pick up the Ritual Caster feat.