Ranger spells in 5e primarily focus on increasing single-target damage, providing groupwide utility, and laying down area of effect damaging and battlefield control effects. The best Ranger spells 5e has to offer are those that make the most efficient use of a Ranger’s limited spell slots.

On top of that, Rangers are limited to an extremely small set of Spells Known (between 2 and 11 total), and can only switch one out at a time when they level up. That means that longer-term effects that come with utility as well as damage rank among 5e Ranger spells’ best options.

It’s also important to take into account that Rangers typically need to invest in Dexterity to deal consistent damage with their physical attacks, meaning their Wisdom modifier, which they use as their spellcasting modifier, will likely be lower than a full spellcaster’s spellcasting modifier. This means that spell attacks and spells that force saving throws will be slightly worse than a full spellcaster, making utility spells that don’t rely on saving throws even more attractive for Rangers.

Here are my picks for the best Ranger spells by level.

d&d 5e ranger minis

Best 1st-level Ranger Spells

Rangers get access to 1st-level spells at 2nd level. Here are the best 1st-level spells for a Ranger in DnD 5e:

  1. Entangle. Restrains creatures who fail a Strength saving throw in a 20-foot square for up to one minute, requiring an action and a successful Strength check to break free from. Used against melee enemies, this provides a huge swing in the fight’s momentum. Even against ranged attackers, the attack disadvantage they have and the attack advantage your party has attacking them is still fantastic.

    It also makes the area difficult terrain, providing a long-term AoE slow that your party can take advantage of. Overall, Entangle is one of the best 1st-level spells in the game, and a great choice for any Ranger character.

  2. Fog Cloud. Creating a 20-foot radius of fog that heavily obscures the area is obviously beneficial for a Ranger (and the rest of your party). It’s especially useful if you’re making 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. Truly a versatile spell, both in and out of combat, that rewards creative thinking and pays off with big mechanical advantages.

  3. Absorb Elements. A reaction ability that grants resistance to the elemental damage that triggered it, this is a must-have spell for staying alive during dragon fights and bouts with powerful spell-slinging enemies. The bonus on-hit damage for your next attack is fine, but it’s nothing compared to cutting incoming damage in half. Plus, when you cast this as a reaction, you still have your action on your turn, making it an efficient spellcast.

  4. Goodberry. Create 10 berries that each heal 1 hit point, requiring an action to use. They also nourish a creature for one day, but that’s more for flavor than anything.

    With rest-casting and some thoughtful berry storage, you can get a lot of healing very efficiently (few spell slots) out of Goodberry. Even without rest casting, the berries last for 24 hours, so you can essentially always have some goodberries and still start the day with all your spell slots. And that means your party can keep going longer without needing short rests and expended hit dice.

  5. Hunter’s Mark. Take a bonus action to mark a creature, so that your attacks deal an extra 1d6 (3.5 average) damage on hit. You can also move the mark for a bonus action (no spell slot required) to a different target once the first target dies, even in a completely new fight. This lasts for up to an hour, but requires concentration to maintain.

    Overall, the consistent bonus damage is nice for a Ranger who’s using ranged attacks, since your concentration won’t get popped that often and Hunter’s Mark will therefore be available for multiple fights. The downside is that it eats up your concentration, meaning you can’t cast other powerful Ranger spells (like Entangle and Fog Cloud) while maintaining Hunter’s Mark.

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

Best 2nd-level Ranger Spells

Rangers get access to 2nd-level spells at 5th level. Here are the best 2nd-level spells for a Ranger in DnD 5e:

  1. Pass Without Trace. A +10 Stealth bonus for your whole party, as long as they’re within 30 feet of you, and you leave no trace that can be tracked, except by magical means. A +10 bonus is absolutely monstrous DnD 5e’s system of bounded accuracy, and it’s the perfect spell for Rangers. Being able to start a fight unseen gives you attack advantage, and if you’re out scouting alone, you almost definitely won’t be noticed. And that’s to say nothing of how overpowered Pass Without Trace can feel when you go on a Stealth mission with your party’s plate-burdened Paladin.

  2. Aid. +5 current and maximum hit points for up to 3 allies for 8 hours, scaling by another +5 of each when upcast. This buff stacks with temporary hit points and can also act as an in-combat heal, if it’s not already active on the target. At lower levels, this +5 bonus can work out to a 15-20% increase in a player’s HP for a full adventuring day, with no concentration requirement.

    It becomes even more efficient when you take a short rest and use hit dice to get back to full (buffed) hit points. And it’s even more efficient if you can cast it at the end of a long rest, right before you get your spell slots back. You need a 2nd+ level spell slot left at the end of the day and your DM’s blessing to rest cast, but rules as written, this tactic is allowed.

  3. Spike Growth. A 20-foot area of difficult terrain that also deals 2d4 (5 average) piercing damage for each space a creature moves through — even forced movement. Paired with things like Thorn Whip and Thunderwave, this spell has the potential to deal massive damage and provide substantial tactical benefits to your party over its 10-minute duration. Spike Growth requires party buy-in with these tactics to be fully optimal, but if you’ve got that, it’s one of the best Ranger spells for area of effect damage and battlefield control at this level.

  4. Silence. Spellcasters are usually the biggest threat in a fight, and this spell prevents spells with verbal components (about 95% of DnD’s spells) from being cast. This is incredible, especially if you can ensure that spellcasters are stuck within the spells’ area. Overall, though, this spell is better on full spellcaster, since it won’t be useful that often, and you’ve got limited Spells Known to work with as a Ranger.

  5. Summon Beast. Adding another creature to your party for up to an hour is incredibly strong, and this 2nd-level stand-out is the first of many powerful summons for Rangers. Note that the value of this ally drops off significantly as you level up, but at 5th level, it’s still decent. Especially since it can be a flying beast with Flyby (doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks) or a land/water beast with Pack Tactics (advantage on attack rolls an ally is within 5 feet of), as well as Multiattack and 10.5 average damage on each hit.

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

  • Enhance Ability – 3

  • Barkskin – 2

  • Cordon of Arrows – 2

  • Gust of Wind – 2

  • Lesser Restoration – 2

  • Magic Weapon – 2

  • Protection from Poison – 2

  • Animal Messenger – 1

  • Beast Sense – 1

  • Darkvision – 1

  • Find Traps – 1

  • Healing Spirit – 1

  • Locate Animals or Plants – 1

  • Locate Object – 1

Best 3rd-level Ranger Spells

Rangers get access to 3rd-level spells at 9th level. Here are the best 3rd-level spells for a Ranger in DnD 5e:

  1. Conjure Animals. One of the most broken Ranger spells in the game, Conjure Animals allows you to summon between 1-8 beasts of varying strength (one strong one or more weaker ones) is game-changing, and the spell lasts for up to 1 hour. I won’t get into all the math here, but suffice it to say that having a huge group of allies all making attack rolls and controlling the battlefield is ridiculously strong.

    The only bad part of this spell is that it can be a pain in the ass to actually use in-game, but there’s no denying its overwhelming power. It’s worth noting that the DM has the final say on which beasts are summoned; the player only decides the quantity and strength (Sage Advice Compendium, pg. 17).

  2. Conjure Barrage. Force all creatures in a 60-foot cone to make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 3d8 (13.5 average) on a failed save or half as much on a success. This is a massive area of effect, something that 1st- and 2nd-level Ranger spells lack. The damage is pretty meh as a 9th-level character, but the huge area makes it worthwhile when you can hit a lot of enemies at once, especially low-health minions and the like.

  3. Lightning Arrow. Causes your next ranged weapon attack to deal 4d8 (18 average) lightning damage on hit, or half as much on a miss, instead of the weapon’s normal damage. Additionally, all creatures within 10 feet must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d8 (9 average) lightning damage on a failure, or half as much on a success.

    Better single-target damage than Conjure Barrage, but with a much smaller area of effect overall. Still, this can be a great spell to target a boss with when they’re surrounded by their low-health minions.

  4. Wind Wall. Create a Wind Wall that’s 50 feet long and 15 feet high, which you can shape in any way you want, as long as it’s continuous. Creatures in its area when you summon take 3d8 (13.5 average) damage on a failed Strength save, or half as much on a success. Additionally, ordinary projectiles can’t pass through it.

    Wind Wall offers decent group damage in a way that doesn’t require enemies to be grouped up, but its real power is totally preventing incoming ranged attacks (not from spellcasters, but still). Plus, it’s just a cool and thematic Ranger spell to use.

  5. Revivify. Your first access to resurrection, albeit with a serious time crunch. Still, once you have access to this spell and acquire the necessary components to cast it, it’s something that should always be prepared until you’re able to access a better resurrection spell. However, at this point, someone else in your party (or two even) probably has resurrection spells, so it shouldn’t really fall to you to waste a precious Spell Known on Revivify.

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

  • Summon Fey – 3 (great spell, but why use this over Conjure Animals?)

  • Water Breathing – 3

  • Elemental Weapon – 3

  • Daylight – 2

  • Flame Arrows – 2

  • Plant Growth – 2

  • Protection from Energy – 2

  • Meld into Stone – 1

  • Nondetection – 1

  • Speak with Plants – 1

  • Water Walk – 1

Best 4th-level Ranger Spells

Rangers get access to 4th-level spells at 13th level. Here are the best 4th-level spells for a Ranger in DnD 5e:

  1. Conjure Woodland Beings. Allows you to summon between 1-8 fey creatures of varying strength (one strong one or more weaker ones). This is just as good as Conjure Animals at 3rd-level, and slightly better in some circumstances thanks to a wonderful selection of powerful fey with useful abilities.

    As with Conjure Animals, the DM has the final say on which fey creatures are summoned; the player only decides the quantity and strength (Sage Advice Compendium, pg. 17).

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  3. Dominate Beast. Take control of a beast that fails a Wisdom saving throw, which it repeats whenever it takes damage. While threatening beasts are somewhat rare at this tier of play, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as taking control of a large beast as an ally or causing an enemy mount to abandon their rider. Plus, most beasts have poor Wisdom modifiers, so even with your relatively low spell save DC, this spell should land quite often.

  4. Freedom of Movement. A 1-hour, no-concentration spell that makes an ally immune to the paralyzed and restrained conditions, as well as slow effects, the effects of difficult terrain, and movement/attack penalties while swimming. This is very, very good on allies who require movement to fight effectively (e.g., Rogues, Monks) in fights where they’ll be hindered somehow. It’s also good for Rangers who rely on hit-and-run tactics and kiting; with Freedom of Movement active, nobody can lock you down.

  5. Stoneskin. Gives a creature you touch resistance to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage for up to 1 hour (concentration permitting), at the cost of a 100 gp diamond, which the spell consumes. Reducing most incoming damage by 50% for up to an hour is incredibly strong, if not for yourself than for an ally, especially your group’s tank. After all, preventing damage is always more efficient than restoring it with healing effects.

Here are the other 4th-level Ranger spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Summon Elemental – 3 (great spell, but why use this over Conjure Woodland Beings?)

  • Grasping Vine – 2

  • Guardian of Nature – 1

  • Locate Creature – 1

Best 5th-level Ranger Spells

Rangers get access to 5th-level spells at 17th level. Here are the best 5th-level spells for a Ranger in DnD 5e:

  1. Conjure Volley. Each creature who fails a Dexterity saving throw in a 40-foot radius (20 feet high) takes 8d8 (36 average) damage, or half as much on a successful save. With a massive 150-range and a huge 40-foot radius effect, this is the ultimate area-of-effect damage spell that Rangers get in DnD 5e.

  2. Steel Wind Strike. Make 5 melee spell attacks against up to 5 creatures within 30 feet of you; they each take 6d10 (33 average) damage on hit. At the end, you can teleport to a space within 5 feet of a target you attacked.

    Potentially bigger damage than Conjure Volley, albeit at a smaller range and area of effect, and no half-damage on a missed attack. Steel Wind Strike is superior in one regard — allowing you to teleport up to 30 feet away, potentially preventing yourself from becoming surrounded by a group of foes.

  3. Wrath of Nature. A really cool spell if you’re fighting in a forest that allows you to make difficult terrain, attack with trees, restrain with roots and vines, and hurl rocks. Overall, way too area-specific to be a reliable damage/battlefield control option, but super dope to use and really great in the right campaign setting.

  4. Greater Restoration. For less serious situations than death. This spell is absolutely necessary for one party member to have ready at all times, especially once you reach the tier of play where it becomes available. For a 17th-level Ranger, though, it’s not worth your limited Spells Known, unless nobody else in the party has it for some reason. And even then.

Here are the other 5th-level Ranger spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Commune with Nature – 1

  • Swift Quiver – 1 (it’s a trap)

  • Tree Stride – 1

DnD 5e Ranger Spells FAQ

Ranger spells DnD 5e FAQ:

  1. How many spells does a ranger know? A ranger knows between 2 and 11 spells, depending on their level. A ranger gets 2 spells known at 2nd level, 3 at 3rd level, and then another +1 every other level (5th, 7th, etc.). A ranger can also get the druidic warrior fighting style, allowing them to choose 2 cantrips from the druid spell list, using wisdom as your spellcasting modifier for them.

  2. What spells do rangers start with? Rangers start with 0 spells at 1st level. At 2nd level, they learn 2 1st-level spells and have 2 spell slots to use them.

  3. Can rangers use healing spells? Yes, rangers can use healing spells; specifically, they have access to the 1st-level healing spells goodberry and cure Wounds, the 2nd-level healing spells aid and healing spirit, and the 3rd-level resurrection spell, revivify.

  4. Why don’t rangers get cantrips? Rangers don’t get cantrips because of their formidable physical capabilities, and as a matter of choice by DnD 5e’s game designers. Half-casters with Extra Attack built-in to their class features, like paladins and rangers, don’t get cantrips because they would largely be redundant/distract from the class’ main utility: making physical attacks to deal big damage.

    Importantly, rangers can learn the druidic warrior fighting style, allowing them to choose 2 cantrips from the druid spell list, using wisdom as your spellcasting modifier for them.

  5. Are ranger subclass spells always prepared? Yes, ranger subclass spells are always prepared and don’t count against the number of ranger spells you know. The same is true for ranger spells learned through primal awareness, an optional feature from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything that can replace the original feature from the Player’s Handbook.

  6. Can rangers use a spellcasting focus? Yes, a ranger can use a druidic focus as a spellcasting focus, or use a component pouch, for spells with a material component that is not consumed and does not have a cost requirement.

How to Use Ranger Spells in DnD 5e

How to Use Absorb Elements DnD 5e
How to Use Animal Friendship DnD 5e
How to Use Cure Wounds DnD 5e
How to Use Detect Magic DnD 5e
How to Use Entangle DnD 5e
How to Use Hunter’s Mark DnD 5e
How to Use Searing Smite DnD 5e
How to Use Speak With Animals DnD 5e
How to Use Aid DnD 5e
How to Use Barkskin DnD 5e
How to Use Enhance Ability DnD 5e
How to Use Healing Spirit DnD 5e
How to Use Lesser Restoration DnD 5e
How to Use Pass Without Trace DnD 5e
How to Use Silence DnD 5e
How to Use Spike Growth DnD 5e
How to Use Daylight DnD 5e
How to Use Lightning Arrow DnD 5e

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