You drive a disorienting spike of psychic energy into the mind of one creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d6 psychic damage and subtract 1d4 from the next saving throw it makes before the end of your next turn.
This spell’s damage increases by 1d6 when you reach certain levels: 5th level (2d6), 11th level (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Duration: 1 round
School: Enchantment cantrip
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, pg. 108
Mind Sliver 5e
Mind Sliver is an important addition to the cantrip line-up that came out with Tasha’s. Since then, this constant source of saving throw debuffs has been the bane of many an intelligent-deficient foe.
Let’s go over just why Mind Sliver is a good choice for any full caster, as well as some rules clarifications.
Who Can Cast Mind Sliver in 5e?
The following classes have Mind Sliver on their spell list:
The following subclasses get Mind Sliver for free:
- Sorcerer (Aberrant Mind) (TCoE 67)
What Does Mind Sliver Do in 5e?
Mind Sliver forces the target to make an intelligence saving throw and deals 1d6 (3.5 average) psychic damage on a failed save. More importantly, it reduces the target’s next saving throw before the end of your next turn by 1d4.
Seeing as the average creature in the main sourcebooks has a -1 Intelligence modifier, Mind Sliver has the best chance of any save-or-suck cantrip in the whole game.
What Are the Rules for Mind Sliver in 5e?
The rules for Mind Sliver in DnD 5e are as follows:
Mind Sliver can stack with Bane. As the Player’s Handbook lays out, “the effects of different spells add together while the durations of those spells overlap” (PHB 205).
Since Bane and Mind Sliver are different spells, they add together just fine. Here’s Sage Advice confirmation. Mind Sliver doesn’t stack with itself, however (“the effects of the same spell cast multiple times don’t combine” — PHB 205).
Mind Sliver’s saving throw penalty does not apply to its own damage for concentration saving throws. Let’s say you hit a target who’s concentrating on a spell with Mind Sliver. They’re going to need to make a concentration check (Constitution saving throw) as a result.
However, they do not have -1d4 on that concentration check saving throw because the instance of damage and the concentration check are simultaneous.
If damage is done later to the target later in the round, however, they will have -1d4 on their concentration check from Mind Sliver.
How Do I Use Mind Sliver in 5e?
Here are some ways to make the most of Mind Sliver at your next Dungeons and Dragons session:
Set up another spellcaster in your group. Mind Sliver’s big benefit is setting up other spellcasters who have important save-or-suck spells lined up. Things like Toll the Dead or control effects like Cause Fear both spring to mind as powerful combos with Mind Sliver.
Combine with other saving throw debuffs. If you’re looking to really ensure that a target fails a do-or-die saving throw, you can lay Mind Sliver on with other similar effects. Things like the Bane Spell, Sorcerer’s Heightened Spell metamagic (PHB 102), or Shadow Magic Sorcerer’s Hound of Ill Omen feature (XGtE 51) are all examples.
Pair with spells that require repeated saving throws. Many spells with persistent effects or conditions, like Cause Fear or Hold Person, will allow for the target to make saving throws to break the effect on each of their turns. Mind Sliver is a great way to improve the chances that powerful control spells like this last for a longer period.
Or even that a spell like Searing Smite that continues dealing damage on failed saves.
Pair with bonus action spells. For example, you can use Mind Sliver to debuff an enemy spellcaster, then quickly Misty Step away to safety.
Use it to maintain spells that have repeated saving throws. Spells like Slow and Hold Person come to mind.
Use Quickened Spell to immediately benefit (Sorcerer-exclusive). The Quickened Spell metamagic allows for Sorcerers to make a spell with a casting time of 1 action into a bonus action (PHB 102). So you can cast Mind Sliver, weaken their saving throw, and then follow up with a saving throw-based spell.
Some claim that the 3 sorcery point Heightened Spell is better and more efficient than the Mind Sliver + Quickened Spell combination. Still, this bargain version is well worth it for giving you better versatility than Heightened Spell overall.
Use Twinned Spell to debuff multiple foes before a saving throw-based area of effect spell (Sorcerer-exclusive). A successfully Twinned Mind Sliver followed up by a Fireball — talk about juicy damage. Or Hypnotic Pattern for more guaranteed battlefield control.
Pair with Eldritch Knight features. What with War Magic allowing for a weapon attack post-cantrip cast and Eldritch Strike giving disadvantage on a creature’s next saving throw, Mind Sliver pairs well with the mid-level Eldritch Knight kit.
Especially for setting up big-impact save-or-suck spells like Hold Person.
Who Can I Target With Mind Sliver 5e?
You can target anyone with Mind Sliver. Intelligence is the lowest average ability score among creatures in DnD 5e, so it is has a pretty great chance of landing in most situations.
Is Mind Sliver 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Mind Sliver is an incredibly good spell that borders on being overpowered when used optimally. -1d4 on a saving throw within DnD 5e’s system of bonded accuracy is much more impactful than you might realize at first glance.
Mind Sliver 5e DM Tips
My only DM tips for Mind Sliver have to do with flavor. The evocative spell description is quite helpful for creating your own narrative description of how the spell behaves.
If the spell lands, you can describe how the “disorienting spike of psychic energy” visibly shakes the creature, who looks around blinking dumbly as if they’ve recently been blinded by bright lights. Or maybe it causes a migraine-type pain that momentarily rocks the creature’s ability to focus.
If the spell misses, you can either describe a literal projectile missing as a mind spike whizzes over their head. Or you can detail how the creature was able to shake off the caster’s pitiful attempt at manipulating their mind.
Simple Mind Sliver 5e Spell Text
Mind Sliver: (Enchantment cantrip, 60 feet, 1 round, V) Target must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw or take 1d6 psychic damage and subtract 1d4 from the next saving throw it makes before the end of your next turn. | +1d6 at levels 5, 11, and 17