You create a lash of lightning energy that strikes at one creature of your choice that you can see within 15 feet of you. The target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be pulled up to 10 feet in a straight line toward you and then take 1d8 lightning damage if it is within 5 feet of you.
This spell’s damage increases by ld8 when you reach 5th level (2d8), 11th level (3d8), and 17th level (4d8).
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self (15-foot radius)
School: Evocation cantrip
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, pg. 107
Lightning Lure 5e
Lightning Lure first came to the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons with the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. (SCAG 143) It was later updated in Tasha’s Cauldron of everything alongside Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade.
While players don’t typically go wild for Lightning Lure, it does have a place in the spellbooks of gish-like character builds that like a bit of magic with their melee bashing. We’ll cover a few fun ways to use the spell, as well as clear up common rules questions and misconceptions.
Who Can Cast Lightning Lure in 5e?
The following classes have Lightning Lure on their spell list:
No subclasses get Lightning Lure for free. However, Arcana Clerics can pick it up as one of their two free Wizard cantrips (SCAG 125).
What Does Lightning Lure Do in 5e?
Lightning Lure forces a Strength saving throw for a creature in range. If they fail, they’re pulled up to 10 feet directly towards the caster. They also take 1d8 (average 4.5) lightning damage if they end the pull within 5 feet of the caster.
Lightning Lure’s damage scales the same as other damaging cantrips, adding 1d8 at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels.
Simple enough stuff, but the rules section shows that there’s plenty of confusion around this electrifying cantrip.
What Are the Rules for Lightning Lure in 5e?
The rules for Lightning Lure in DnD 5e are as follows:
Lightning Lure can pull creatures vertically. The spell’s only stipulation is “a straight line toward you.” So if you are above your target, they are pulled up, and if you are diagonally oriented, they are pulled up and over.
Here’s Sage Advice confirmation that this is indeed how Lightning Lure works.
Lightning Lure doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks. From the rules, you “don’t provoke an opportunity attack…when someone or something moves you without using your movement, action, or reaction” (PHB 195).
Since Lightning Lure does not use the target’s movement, action, or reaction, the target is not eligible for opportunity attacks.
Lightning Lure cannot be use with Sorcerer’s Twinned Spell or Distant SPell metamagic or the Spell Sniper feat. Because Tasha’s changed Lightning Lure’s range from 15 feet to Self (15-foot) radius, it is no longer eligible for Sorcerer’s Twinned Spell metamagic (PHB 102).
Similarly, the Spell Sniper feat only applies to spells that require an attack roll, which Lightning Lure does not. The Distant Spell metamagic only applies to spells with a range of 5+ feet or touch — Lightning Lure is neither, so cannot be used with it.
If Lightning Lure’s range is extended, it still only pulls the target a max of 10 feet. As far as I can tell, there’s no RAW way to extend the range of Lightning Lure. But if a DM allows for its range to be extended, it still only deals damage if the target ends the spell within 5 feet of the caster.
Lightning Lure may be able to pull a creature out of a grapple. Based on this Sage Advice thread about being shoved out of a grapple, it appears that you can be forced out of a grapple — even by an ally.
This means that if Lightning Lure successfully hits (there’s no way to automatically fail a saving throw, rules as written) an ally who’s being grappled, you can pull them out if it.
You don’t have to pull the target 10 feet. The spell explicitly says “up to 10 feet,” so you can decide to not pull the target at all (0 is up to 10, after all). You can also cast LL on an adjacent creature and automatically deal damage, since it’s already within 5 feet of you (you won’t change its position at all, though).
On a similar note, restrained creatures probably can’t be pulled by Lightning Lure either, but that’s up to DM discretion or be dependent on the nature of the restraints.
Lightning Lure cannot be used as a grappling hook. Because it can’t target objects, and it only pulls creatures closer. Normal physics don’t apply, because spells only do what they say.
That being said, a DM is free to allow for this once in a while, but it does sort of open a Pandora’s Box where a player can always eke out an extra 10 feet of movement just by Spidermanning around the room with an endlessly useable cantrip.
Lightning Lure works with the War Caster feat. The War Caster (PHB 170) feat allows you to cast a spell in place of taking an opportunity attack, so that works fine with LL.
However, an opportunity attack “interrupts the provoking creature’s movement, occurring right before the creature leaves your reach” (PHB 195). So it’s not like the creature moves away first and then you pull them back, eating up their movement.
How Do I Use Lightning Lure in 5e?
Here are a few tactical and strategic tips for how to use Lightning Lure in combat and in a character build:
Pull enemies into traps and hazardous spells/terrain. This is a simple tip that applies to all spells and effects that push and pull. Pairing Lightning Lure with spells like Spirit Guardians, Spike Growth, Cloud of Daggers, Moonbeam, Create Bonfire, Grease, etc. can ensure that you get more than just your measly cantrip damage off.
This tip also works with mundane traps and gaps that lead to big falls. A little bit of set-up goes a long way.
Use while flying or above enemies for extra fall damage. Pulling creatures 10 feet up is a brilliant way to use Lightning Lure because it automatically adds fall damage to the spell. A 10-foot drop deals 1d6 bludgeoning damage and causes the creature to fall prone (PHB 183).
The prone condition is especially nice, as it allows your melee mates to follow up with advantaged attacks against the target who just got yanked down to your level.
Prevent escape. Pretty basic stuff here — if a bad guy is trying to get away, use your lightning lasso to bring him back into face-punching range.
Pull down baddies that have the high ground. Besides the fall damage and the prone condition, bringing down archers, spellcasters, etc. can help level the playing field for your melee party members who can’t reach them otherwise.
Pull an ally out of danger without provoking opportunity attacks. Remember in the rules section when we went over how Lightning Lure movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks? Well that applies to everyone, even your allies.
If your buddy is in a bad spot and running away would get them insta-mirked from opportunity attacks, tossing them a Lightning Lure can be the way to go. RAW, they can’t automatically fail their save, so this is better used on low-Strength allies. The little bit of lightning damage is probably better than whatever they’re facing.
Note that this can also work to pull allies out of grapple, unless your DM decides that some sort of spell vs. grappler Strength check is required for this to work.
Pair it with magical bruiser subclasses. Gish-type character builds like the Eldritch Knight Fighter, Hexblade Warlock, Valor Bard, and Bladesinging Wizard will get the most mileage out of Lightning Lure.
Being able to use a cantrip + an Extra Attack is huge, which is why Bladesinging Wizards (Extra Attack, TCoE 77) and EK Fighters (War Magic, PHB 75) work especially well with Lightning Lure.
Who Can I Target With Lightning Lure 5e?
You can only target a creature with Lightning Lure. You cannot pull an object to yourself or pull yourself up by targeting an elevated stationary object.
Is Lightning Lure 5e a Good Spell?
No, Lightning Lure is not a good spell on most character builds. Strength is a relatively high average ability score for creatures in the game’s main sourcebooks, and while lightning damage isn’t an especially common immunity, it’s one of the most common resistances in the game (~11% of the game’s creatures).
Lightning Lure also suffers from a very short range that makes it all but useless on full casters. Its lack of utility options is also a negative, as the option to target objects could open up some additional unique applications for this spell.
On the plus side, 1d8 is solid damage for a cantrip, and the lack of a somatic or material component opens up the door to cast this spell even while your hands are tied up.
All this being said, Eldritch Knight Fighters and Bladesinging Wizards can do some really interesting things with Lightning Lure, and any gish build will get decent mileage out of a spell that yanks baddies closer to them.
Lightning Lure 5e Compared to Thorn Whip
At first glance, Lightning Lure and Thorn Whip seem similar — they both deal some damage and pull the enemy closer. However, while Thorn Whip deals less damage (1d6; average 3.5) than Lightning Lure (1d8; average 4.5), Thorn Whip comes out ahead in every other area.
For starters, it’s a melee spell attack but has double the range. This opens it up for use with things like the Spell Sniper feat. It also opens up slightly more movement options, as the pull doesn’t have to be a straight line; it only has to move the creature closer to you (minor difference, but not nothing).
Finally, Thorn Whip deals magical piercing damage, which is almost never a resistance on enemies, and it’s literally never an immunity.
Lightning Lure 5e DM Tips
Let’s go over the DM questions we left you to consider in the rules section above. This is just my two cents on each subject:
Can Lightning Lure pull creatures out of grapple? Yes, as far as I can tell based on Sage Advice threads and the rules as written. I have heard of some DMs requiring some sort of check that pits the caster’s spellcasting strength against the grappler’s physical strength to determine the outcome.
I allow for it without a check required, which brings me to my next point…
Can a creature automatically fail a saving throw? While the rules as written answer is “no,” I lean towards “yes.” The concept and spirit of a saving throw (IMO) is that a target is struggling against the effects of a spell.
If a creature opts to not struggle, then they’ve decided to fail their saving throw and suffer the spell’s effects. This fits with my interpretation of how spells work in DnD — you can definitely rule otherwise. Consistency is the most important thing here.
Are restrained creatures pulled by Lightning Lure? It depends on the nature of the restraints. The same way that having your feet restrained doesn’t interfere with concentration, having your hands restrained probably doesn’t interfere with movement.
This is likely a case-by-case basis, as the rules don’t explicitly state anything on this interaction, as far as I can tell.
Should I allow players to pull themselves with Lightning Lure? No, in my opinion. It’s essentially giving a player +10 feet of movement every turn if they want to expend a cantrip on it (which is wasting an action and so not ideal, but still).
That being said, I love a player who thinks creatively, so if someone comes up with this on the spot as a way of getting out of a sticky situation, I totally let it fly.
Simple Lightning Lure 5e Spell Text
Lightning Lure: (Evocation cantrip, Self (15-foot radius), V) Force a Strength saving throw. If target fails, pull it up to 10 feet directly toward you and it takes 1d8 lightning damage if it is within 5 feet of you. | +1d8 at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels.