Metamagic: Sorcerer Class Feature

At 3rd level, you gain the ability to twist your spells to suit your needs. You gain two of the following Metamagic options of your choice. You gain another one at 10th and 17th level.

You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it, unless otherwise noted.

Careful Spell

When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force. To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.

Distant Spell

When you cast a spell that has a range of 5 feet or greater, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double the range of the spell.

When you cast a spell that has a range of touch, you can spend 1 sorcery point to make the range of the spell 30 feet.

Empowered Spell

When you roll damage for a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.

You can use Empowered Spell even if you have already used a different Metamagic option during the casting of the spell.

Extended Spell

When you cast a spell that has a duration of 1 minute or longer, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double its duration, to a maximum duration of 24 hours.

Heightened Spell

When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effects, you can spend 3 sorcery points to give one target of the spell disadvantage on its first saving throw made against the spell.

Quickened Spell

When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.

Seeking Spell (TCoE 66)

If you make an attack roll for a spell and miss, you can spend 2 sorcerer points to reroll the d20, and you must use the new roll.

You can use Seeking Spell even if you have already used a different Metamagic option during the casting of the spell.

Subtle Spell

When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast it without any somatic or verbal components.

Transmuted Spell (TCoE 66)

When you cast a spell that deals a type of damage from the following list, you can spend 1 sorcery point to change that damage type to one of the other listed types: acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder.

Twinned Spell

When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip). To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level. For example, Magic Missile and Scorching Ray aren’t eligible, but Ray of Frost and Chromatic Orb are.

Player’s Handbook, page 101-102
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 66

Metamagic Adept Feat

Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature

You’ve learned how to exert your will on your spells to alter how they function:

  • You learn two Metamagic options of your choice from the sorcerer class. You can use only one Metamagic option on a spell when you cast it, unless the option says otherwise. Whenever you reach a level that grants the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can replace one of these Metamagic options with another one from the sorcerer class

  • You gain 2 sorcery points to spend on Metamagic (these points are added to any sorcery points you have from another source but can be used only on Metamagic). You regain all spent sorcery points when you finish a long rest.

Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 80

Metamagic 5e

Metamagic is one of most iconic Sorcerer features in the game — an incredibly powerful and versatile tool for altering the way that spells work. We’ll go over

  • The the metamagic feature works in general

  • How sorcery points work

  • How each metamagic option works

  • The best and worst metamagic options

  • Common rules questions on metamagic and metamagic options

How Does Metamagic Work?

Metamagic is a 3rd-level Sorcerer class feature (also acquirable via a feat) that allows a spellcaster to alter a spell for a single casting of it. To do so, the caster spends sorcery points.

A Sorcerer can select two metamagic options at 3rd-level, and select one additional metamagic option at 10th-level and 17th-level. Additionally, a Sorcerer can change one of their metamagic options with a different metamagic option at any Sorcerer level when they gain an Ability Score Improvement (TCoE 66).

Sorcerer Level Metamagic Options Sorcery Points
1 0 0
2 0 2
3 2 3
4 2 4
5 2 5
6 2 6
7 2 7
8 2 8
9 2 9
10 3 10
11 3 11
12 3 12
13 3 13
14 3 14
15 3 15
16 3 16
17 4 17
18 4 18
19 4 19
20 4 20

How Do Sorcery Points Work?

Sorcery points represent a Sorcerer’s Font of Magic, their 2nd-level class feature. A Sorcerer gets 2 sorcery points at 2nd-level, and one additional Sorcery Point each time they gain a level in the class.

Each metamagic option has a sorcery point cost, shown below:

Metamagic Sorcery Point Cost Effect
Careful Spell 1 Chosen creatures auto-succeed on AoE saving throw
Distant Spell 1 Double the range of spell or increase Touch to 30 ft.
Empowered Spell 1 Reroll damage dice up to Charisma modifier
Extended Spell 1 Double duration, up to 24 hours
Subtle Spell 1 Cast without somatic or verbal components
Transmuted Spell 1 Change element type
Quickened Spell 2 Cast as bonus action
Seeking Spell 2 Reroll a missed attack roll
Heightened Spell 3 Give target disadvantage on first saving throw
Twinned Spell Spell’s Level* Target two creatures w/ a spell that only targets one

All Sorcery Points are regained when a character finishes a long rest.

A Sorcerer can also convert spell slots to Sorcery Points and vice versa. The conversation rate is shown below:

Spell Slot Level Sorcery Point Cost
1st 2
2nd 3
3rd 5
4th 6
5th 7

dungeons and dragons miniatures spellcasters

Metamagic Options Ranked From Best to Worst

There are 10 metamagic options in total. Most players agree that there are definite tiers of usefulness among these options. My list breaks these tiers down — don’t read too much into the specific numbers I’ve assigned to each option:

    Top Tier Metamagic Options

  • Twinned Spell

    Targeting two creatures instead of one straight up doubles your chances of success and spreads damage around. Or, double the number of allies to benefit from a powerful buff, like Haste or Polymorph.

    The only thing to look out for is the scaling Sorcery Point cost of Twinned Spell, making it (potentially) the most expensive metamagic option. And a number of tricky rules questions that your DM and the game’s developers might disagree on.

  • Quickened Spell

    Changing a spell’s casting time to a bonus action frees you up to cast a cantrip or take a different action on the same turn (Dodge, Dash, Disengage, etc.). The versatility with Quickened Spell is also far greater than Twinned Spell. I only rank it slightly below Twinned Spell because it costs 2 Sorcery Points, making it less spam-able with cantrips and 1st-level spells.

  • Heightened Spell (mid-late game)

    Giving disadvantage against a spell’s saving throw isn’t all that powerful at early levels, but it becomes incredibly potent when you’ve got high-level spells that can completely turn the tide of battle on a failed save. Plus, it’s 3 Sorcery Point cost is prohibitive at early levels.

    In other words, Heightened Spell is a great metamagic option that you can totally get away with not picking up until level 10 (or swapping for via Sorcerous Versatility at level 4 or 8).

  • Mid Tier Metamagic Options

  • Subtle Spell

    Casting a spell without verbal or somatic components is, situationally, extremely powerful. Most importantly, an enemy spellcaster cannot use Counterspell against a spell they don’t perceive being cast.

    Outside of combat, Subtle Spell can be very useful in difficult social encounters that require an enchantment spell to go unnoticed or an illusion spell to seem convincing. Subtle Spell’s 1 Sorcery Point cost is also nice.

  • Empowered Spell

    Being able to reroll damage dice up to your Charisma modifier is fantastic. However, it usually isn’t worth 1 Sorcery Point to boost your damage on a single-target spell. It also usually isn’t worth using on spell that doesn’t involve many damage dice.

    That’s because the power of rerolling up to 5 damage dice grows the more low dice rolls you’re able to “fix” with this.

    For the perfect example, take a spell like Fireball — if you roll 5 of your 8d6 as 1s, using Empowered Spell will boost your damage by an average of 12.5 (5d6 averages to 17.5 damage). And that’s just to one target — if it hits four enemies, you’ve just boosted your average damage by 50.

    The reason it’s only a mid-tier option is that it’s rare for Empowered Spell’s optimal circumstances to come about.

  • Seeking Spell

    Being able to reroll a missed spell attack roll is nice, but it essentially just works out to advantage if you need it. On higher-level attack rolls with important rider effects on-hit, this can be a great metamagic option.

    But at low levels, it’s not usually worth spending 2 Sorcery Points on a reroll.

  • Transmuted Spell

    Being able to change elemental damage around at will is nice — especially if you’re dealing with a lot of enemies who are resistant or immune to your main damaging spells. And 1 Sorcery Point is a low cost for the privilege.

    If there were more damage vulnerabilities in DnD 5e, this might rank higher on the list, as it would allow for doubling a spell’s damage far more often. As it stands, it’s usually easy enough to get around resistances and immunities already, so this feels more like a flavor metamagic with some situational uses than a good option for a general spellcaster.

  • Bottom Tier Metamagic Options

  • Extented Spell

    Doubling the duration of a spell sounds great, but most spells are appropriately timed for what you need out of them — 1-minute spells last for 10 rounds of combat, which is plenty. Plus, you still have to maintain concentration on most spells with lengthy durations.

    This can be nice for 1-hour summon spells and allowing for 10-minute buffs to survive through multiple encounters, but it’s strictly worse than most other metamagic options in most cases.

  • Distant Spell

    Doubling the range of a spell also sounds great, but, well — the same thing as above. It’s pretty rare in DnD to be out of range of your spell targets — usually, it’s line of sight that’s the issue.

    Extending the range of touch spells to 30 feet can be very useful sometimes, but it’s just not that great an option overall.

  • Carefull Spell

    Allowing allies to automatically succeed on saving throws against your area-of-effect spells can definitely be helpful. But you know what else is helpful? A party that communicates and positions correctly.

    In all seriousness, Careful Spell is usually a waste of a Sorcery Point when you could just, ya know, cast a different spell.

The Metamagic Adept Feat

With the introduction of Tasha’s Guide to Everything, any class with the Spellcasting or Pact Magic feature can pick up the Metamagic Adept feat (TCoE 80).

The Metamagic feat gives a character:

  • 2 metamagic options

  • 2 Sorcery Points (regained at the end of a long rest)

  • The ability to change one metamagic option at any level that grants an Ability Score Improvement

In general, this feat is excellent on any full caster. It’s best on two classes, however.

#1 is Sorcerers, who can increase their pool of Sorcery Points and massively increase the versatility of their metamagic options. #2 is Wizards, whose sheer variety of spell options means that they likewise gain an incredible amount of versatility from this feat.

Other than that, it’s great for Artificers, Bards, Clerics, Druids, Arcane Trickster Rogues, and Eldritch Knight Fighters.

The only reason it’s slightly worse for Warlocks is their inability to control what spell slot level they use to cast spells. This means Twinned Spell is essentially off-limits to a level 5+ Warlock.

Metamagic Rules Clarifications

  • You can use metamagic on a spell cast from a magic item.If a magic item’s description says you cast a spell from it, you can use metamagic on the spell.”

  • You cannot use the same metamagic option in the casting of a spell. For example, you “can’t quadruple the duration of a spell by spending 2 sorcery points Extended Spell” (SAC 6).

  • If Subtle Spell is used, the spell cannot be Counterspelled. Because “it’s impossible for anyone to perceive the spell being cast” (SAC 6).

  • If Empowered Spell is used, you can re-roll damage rolls from different parts of the same spell. For example, you can reroll damage dice from multiple rays of Scorching Ray, as long as your Charisma modifier allows (SAC 6).

  • Quickened Spell does not allow a Sorcerer to cast two spells of 1st level or higher in the same round. “You can’t cast another spell during the same turn (as a bonus action spell), except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action” (PHB 202; SAC 6).

  • Distant Spell does not double the range of upcast abilities with range limitations. For example, the Command spell can be upcast to target creatures who are within 30 feet of each other. While Distant Spell would double Command’s range from 60 feet to 120 feet to target the initial creature, it would not increase the 30-foot range requirement to target additional creatures.

  • Twinned Spell rules are a mess. While the developers tried to clarify on their intention of the rules, it created more questions than answers. Here’s there design intent of what disqualifies a spell from being Twinned:

    • The spell has a range of self.

    • The spell can target an object.

    • The spell allows you to choose more than one creature to be affected by it, particularly at the level you’re casting the spell. Some spells increase their number of potential
      targets when you cast them at a higher level.

    • The spell can force more than one creature to make a saving throw before the spell’s duration expires.

    • The spell lets you make a roll of any kind that can affect more than one creature before the spell’s duration expires.

    Sage Advice Compendium, page 6-7

    The range of self part is pretty clear — you can’t Twin spells like Booming Blade and the like. But bullet two is weird — can Firebolt not be Twinned because it can target an object? I don’t know any DMs that rule this way, as a Twinned Firebolt is a staple of the Sorcerer class.

    Bullets three to five also run into many “what if” situations that leave players (including myself) very confused. In fact, a strict reading of the final bullet would mean that a spell like Haste couldn’t be Twinned — a Hasted creature with Extra Attack will make more attack rolls, which are certainly “a roll of any kind.”

    Basically, the de facto rules of Twinned Spell — the ones I actually see used by DMs and players — are as follows:

    • You can’t Twin area-of-effect spells

    • You can’t Twin a self-buff

    • You can’t Twin a spell that has multiple targets (as opposed to “affecting more than one creature”) at its current level

  • Careful Spell may or may not be able to protect allies in subsequent rounds. The grammar of Careful Spell is unclear, and the developers have never weighed in on the issue.

    The first line says, “when you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw” and the last line says that a creature you choose “automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.”

    It doesn’t specify if the saving throw must be made on the same round that the spell is cast. This comes up for area of effect control spells, like Web, that an ally might need to make a save against in subsequent rounds.

    My best understanding of the grammar of the sentence is that it works on one saving throw at any time during the spell’s duration for any creature(s) you choose at the time of casting the spell. Your DM might rule differently.

  • The Metamagic Adept feat allows Sorcerers to exceed their normal sorcery point limit. So a level 20 Sorcerer would have 22 Sorcery Points.

    The only limitation is that the Sorcery Points gained via the feat must be used for metamagic. They cannot be converted into spell slots, as other Sorcery Points can.