One Medium or smaller creature that you choose must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 5 feet away from you.
You create a small blast of air capable of moving one object that is neither held nor carried and that weighs no more than 5 pounds. The object is pushed up to 10 feet away from you. It isn’t pushed with enough force to cause damage.
You create a harmless sensory effect using air, such as causing leaves to rustle, wind to slam shutters shut, or your clothing to ripple in a breeze.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S
School: Transmutation cantrip
Who can cast Gust? Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards have Gust on their class spell lists.
Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, pg. 157
Gust is one of the four elemental cantrips introduced in DnD 5e’s Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, along with Control Flames, Shape Water, and Mold Earth. While it completes the “Avatar Set” of spells in a way that would make Aang happy, it’s widely agreed that it’s the least powerful of the bunch.
That being said, I’ll cover a few uses of Gust in 5e, as well as answer some questions about the spell’s rules that I see come up all the time. I’ll also provide some advice for DMs on how to rule Gust, even going against some of the rules as written in favor of making it a more compelling spell.
How Does Gust Work in 5e?
Gust causes one of three effects in 5e — moving a Medium or smaller creature who fails a Strength save up to 5 feet away from you, pushing a < 5-pound object up to 10 feet away from you, or creating a harmless gust of wind that’s strong enough to slam shutters or rustle leaves/clothes/hair/etc.
It has a 30-foot range and, unlike the other three elemental cantrips, requires a verbal component and doesn’t have any persistent effects that last up to an hour; all its effects are instantaneous and short-lived.
Gust 5e Uses
Here are a few ways to use Gust in DnD 5e:
Push an enemy off a cliff. A 5-foot push isn’t a whole lot, but if an enemy is right beside a ledge that tumbles down to a significant drop-off, you can cause some serious fall damage with Gust. And Strength isn’t commonly a good saving throw for most enemies you’ll come up against. Just be sure to size up your foe — a big bad barbarian chief or troll is much more likely to pass their save than a little goblin or kobold.
Push an enemy into hazardous terrain. This goes for persistent control effects, like Web, or damage effects that trigger when an enemy enters them for the first time on a turn, like Spirit Guardians, Cloud of Daggers, Moonbeam, Spike Growth, etc. If these damage effects deal more damage than your other cantrip options, then Gust is actually the optimal choice over something like Fire Bolt. Especially if they come with bonus effects like being in difficult terrain all of a sudden.
Push an enemy into your tank’s reach. It might be pretty rare, but if an enemy is only 10 feet away from your party’s tank, pushing them into melee range is a really good idea. Now, that enemy can’t run towards your backline without suffering an opportunity attack, which increases the odds that they’ll stay and attack your party’s beefiest member instead — exactly what you want.
Push an ally to safety. The inverse of the above tip — pushing an enemy out of melee range of an enemy means they won’t suffer an opportunity attack because their movement was forced rather than voluntary. Now, they can run away scot-free.
One caveat for this one: rules as written, you can’t fail a saving throw by choice, even if you want to. Although, Jeremy Crawford has said that he’d allow it as long as you’re not incapacitated or dominated, and, in my experience, most DMs feel the same way.
Push an ally out of a restrain or grapple effect. Restrain effects are usually localized (e.g., Web), and grapple always ends if the grappler is out of reach of the grappled creature. So, like the above tip, it can be handy to push your ally into safety, provided your DM allows for automatic voluntary failed saves. Otherwise, it might be a waste of your action if they pass their Strength save.
Trigger traps from a distance. Pushing small objects around the room onto pressure plates and the like can be a safe way to trigger traps without putting yourself in danger. However, the 5-pound weight limit of the spell means that this won’t always work (unless you push multiple smaller objects into an area).
Test possibly illusory/trapped objects. Similar to the above use of Gust, but for just testing out your environment from a distance. Sure, something like Mage Hand works better for this (it’s a better cantrip, after all), but Gust works in a pinch.
Push a disarmed item away from an enemy. This one’s pretty niche, but if your allies disarm an enemy with something like Heat Metal or a Battle Master’s Disarming Attack, you can follow up with the Gust spell to knock that item away from the creature…provided it weighs under 5 pounds.
Close a door from a distance. Again, pretty niche, but it could come up in a vital situation or allow you to act like some sort of poltergeist and spook the room’s occupants.
Blow a ship’s sails. A downtime activity when you’re in a port city, fishermen might pay a premium to act as the ship’s wind-blower for the day.
Look magical. The third bullet point of Gust is all about just looking neat and proving your magical credentials. Kinda like Thaumaturgy or Druidcraft, but decidedly worse than either.
Make a distraction. Slamming doors, blowing leaves in an otherwise calm environment, gutting out small candles — these things can attract the attention of enemies, allowing your party to stealthily move past them as they come to investigate.
“Blind” an enemy. This one is contentious since the 2nd-level Blindness/Deafness spell exists, and a cantrip shouldn’t really operate at the same power level. But most DMs allow anyone to attempt blowing sand in someone’s eyes for a short-term benefit, and Gust just allows you to do this from a distance. For my money, disadvantage on the next attack the creature makes if it fails a Dexterity or Constitution save against this seems fair, especially since other cantrips (Frostbite, Vicious Mockery) do this in addition to dealing damage.
What Are the Rules for Gust in 5e?
The rules for Gust in DnD 5e are as follows:
Gust can’t disperse Fog Cloud, Cloudkill, etc. Fog Cloud requires a “wind of moderate or greater speed” to be dispersed, and Cloudkill lasts “until strong wind disperses the fog.” Gust creates “a small blast of air,” which isn’t sufficient for dispersing either spell.
Furthermore, Gust of Wind, a 2nd-level spell, explicitly states that it “disperses gas or vapor,” and many players/DMs feel that a cantrip shouldn’t have powers equivalent to a 2nd-level spell.
All that being said, Fog Cloud states it only requires a wind of “at least 10 miles per hour” to be dispersed, and seeing as Gust can push a Medium creature (like a full-grown human), it’s certainly creating a burst of wind that’s greater than 10 miles per hour. Ultimately, this one’s up to your DM, but a common compromise I’ve seen is allowing Gust to disperse a 5-foot cube of fog rather than the entire spell, which seems fair to me.
You can’t use Gust to push yourself. Now, Gust does allow you to target a creature, and you are a creature. However, the spell also states that the creature is pushed “5 feet away from you,” and it’s impossible to be pushed away from yourself.
Some clever players even try to pair this with Levitate for a makeshift Fly ability, but it doesn’t work that way by the book. Plus, why would you want to do this anyway? If you’re trying to get away without provoking an opportunity attack, just use the Disengage action instead.
Forced movement doesn’t trigger opportunity attacks (PHB 195). So if you force an enemy out of reach of an ally, your ally won’t get a free opportunity attack out of it.
You can’t choose to automatically fail a saving throw. There’s nothing in the official rules that gives a creature the option to automatically fail a saving throw voluntarily. That said, Jeremy Crawford states that he’d allow it as long as the creature choosing to fail the save isn’t incapacitated or dominated.
A Readied Gust can’t prevent an attack. At best, you can Ready an action to use Gust when an enemy enters the melee range of a target. But if that enemy still has enough movement remaining, there’s nothing stopping them from just moving again and attacking.
Gust can’t disarm an enemy. It can only affect items that are “neither held nor carried.”
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) March 10, 2016
Is Gust 5e a Good Spell?
No, Gust is not a good spell in DnD 5e. It basically boils down to a long-distance Shove action that forces a Strength save rather than relying on an Athletics vs. Athletics/Acrobatics contest (which, to be fair, does make it superior to the Shove action for a spellcaster).
But in combat, you’ll almost always be better served by using a straight-up damage cantrip instead. Only infrequently will an enemy be standing 5 feet from a deadly ledge or hazardous terrain. However, when those situations do arise, Gust can be a satisfying spell that scratches the itch of players who love to problem-solve.
Outside of combat, Gust gets beat out by pretty much every other utility cantrip. Minor Illusion, Thaumaturgy, Light, Mage Hand, and all the other elemental cantrips just have more situations where they’re useful than you’ll ever find for Gust.
Gust 5e DM Tips
I’ve only got two tips for Dungeon Masters who have players running Gust: 1) allow allies to voluntarily fail saving throws against it (and all other spells, but that’s a topic for another article…), 2) allow Gust to disperse some portion of fog/gas/vapor effects, and 3) allow for sand to be blown into an enemy’s eyes with Gust.
For #1, it’s cool to be able to use Gust as a faux-Disengage on an ally. Not to mention that it eats up the player’s whole action anyway, so it’s not like it’s even close to overpowered to allow this. It just gives the spell a lot more usability and feels extra-satisfying for players who thrive on being the group’s support caster.
For #2, it’s very odd to me that Gust can push a Medium-sized creature, but can’t disperse fog and the like. But then again, it’s also strange that it can only push 5-pound objects while it has no trouble pushing 200-pound+ creatures (albeit half the distance).
Just don’t let it completely dispel these spells, or it steps on the toes of the higher-leveled Gust of Wind (already a weak spell for 2nd-level). Instead, allow players to break up small portions (a 5-foot cube seems too weak to me, so I bump it up to a 10-foot cube). Again, this isn’t even close to overpowered, and it’s still questionable whether it’s even worth a player’s action to do that, except in very rare scenarios.
For #3, I think it’s fine to allow for players to use Gust to blow sand in an enemy’s eyes. Just don’t actually give them the full benefit of the Blinded condition (that’s literally the point of a 2nd-level spell that requires a failed Constitution saving throw, a particularly strong save among 5e’s monsters).
Instead, just grant the creature disadvantage on their next attack roll (not all their attack rolls if they have Multiattack) if they fail a Constitution saving throw (I prefer this to Dexterity because Dexterity is a weaker average ability modifier on 5e’s monsters, and we don’t want this tactic to be literally superior to the Blindness/Deafness spell). Otherwise, Gust becomes an overpowered cantrip that’s likely the best thing to use every turn they’re not using a leveled spell.