Sorcerer spells in 5e focus on a wide range of abilities. They can deal huge single-target and area-of-effect damage, control the battlefield with powerful, persistent effects, apply conditions to enemy creatures, and provide utility in and out of combat.

While Sorcerers enjoy the same spell slot scaling as Wizards, they can know far fewer spells at a time than a Wizard can (except for cantrips). This means that Sorcerers have to be very selective about which spells are the most likely to be the most useful in the most common situations that their campaign offers.

DnD 5e’s Sorcerers also have access to metamagic, a versatile tool for altering the way their spells work. That makes some spells especially attractive for Sorcerers that might not be as tempting for other spellcasting classes.

With all that in mind, here are my picks for the best Sorcerer spells by level in DnD 5e.

sorcerer spells d&d 5e

Best Sorcerer Cantrips

  1. Fire Bolt. 1d10 (5.5 average) fire damage on a 120-foot ranged spell attack. It can also ignite flammable objects that aren’t being worn or carried. This is the best damaging cantrip available to Sorcerers in DnD 5e, and the bread-and-butter combat ability of many Sorcerer players. And it’s always a great option for the Twinned Spell metamagic as a cheap way to double your damage potential for a round where you’re super close to delivering the final blow to an enemy.

  2. Mind Sliver. As the only Intelligence saving throw cantrip in the game, Mind Sliver has the highest chance of hitting of any available cantrip. It deals 1d6 (3.5 average) psychic damage on hit, and reduces the target’s next saving throw by 1d4. This is great on all spellcasters, but it’s an especially great spell for Sorcerers thanks to the Quickened Spell metamagic.

    This allows a Sorcerer to cast a spell as a bonus action, which in turn allows for them to use Mind Sliver first, setting themselves up for an instant follow-up with a leveled saving throw spell. Technically, the Heightened Spell metamagic is stronger for this purpose, but it also costs an additional sorcery point and you don’t get any extra damage out of it.

  3. Mage Hand. A wonderfully useful spell for holding your torch, activating traps, opening/closing doors from a distance, pulling levers from afar, grabbing keys, and aiding in climbing (to name a few of my favorite uses), Mage Hand is a godsend for when you can totally see the thing you need to interact with, but can’t reach it or fear interacting with it yourself. Wins my vote for the best utility cantrip available to Sorcerers, as far as being applicable in the most scenarios.

  4. Minor Illusion. Creates a 1-minute illusory image (stationary, nonliving) or sound (instant, continuous, or on a timer). Has 1001 uses, from allowing small races to be an unseen attacker for an opening strike (granting attack advantage). Also great for your garden variety bait, distractions, and diversions, as well as bolstering ability checks.

  5. Ray of Frost. 1d8 (4.5 average) frost damage on a 60-foot ranged spell attack, and slows the target’s movement speed by 10 feet for one round. This is insanely good in a ranged-heavy party that can use hit-and-run tactics — if a melee enemy can never catch up to you without dashing, you’re denying attacks and keeping your party alive. Note that I’d rate Ray of Frost lower, in exchange for one of the cantrips I rated 4/5 below instead, if your party is heavy on melee characters.

Here are the other Sorcerer cantrips and my X/5 rating for each:

Best 1st-level Sorcerer Spells

  1. Shield. One of the best defensive 1st-level spells in DnD 5e, Shield gives you +5 AC until the start of your next turn, used as a reaction to taking damage (the bonus applies to the triggering attack as well). It also prevents Magic Missile from hitting.

    Basically, this turns an enemy hit on you into a miss, and protects you against other attacks for a short while as well. And Shield stays good for an entire campaign as well; a +5 bonus is always significant in DnD 5e’s system of bounded accuracy. In fact, it gets even better, since the cost of a 1st-level spell slot becomes less and less valuable as you get more spell slots.

  2. Fog Cloud. Creating a 20-foot radius of fog that heavily obscures the area is huge beneficial for ranged attackers in your party. You and they can hop out of the cloud’s perimeter, make ranged attacks, and then get back into the cloud to be untargetable/force enemy ranged attackers to guess your location and attack with disadvantage.

    Fog Cloud is also great for 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. Catapult. Launch an object 90 feet in a straight line, forcing a creature to make a Dexterity saving throw if it would hit it, taking 3d8 (13.5 average) bludgeoning damage on a failure. If the creature succeeds, the object keeps flying, possibly hitting another creature directly in line with them.

    This is the same damage as Chromatic Orb, which has the advantage of allowing you to choose from a variety of damage types (allowing you to get around resistance or take advantage of vulnerability). But Catapult is just as likely to hit as Chromatic Orb’s ranged attack (creatures with high Dex tend to have AC), and it comes with a few advantages of its own. Like being able to get the chance to hit a second (or even third) creature if the initial target passes their save. And not requiring a 50 gp diamond, or any material or verbal components, to cast.

  4. Magic Missile. Send out three darts that deal 1d4 + 1 (3.5 average) force damage to between 1-3 targets. There’s no attack roll or saving throw with Magic Missile — they just automatically hit. While the damage is kind of low (10.5 overall), it’s guaranteed to hit, and force damage is almost never resisted (although the Shield spell can stop Magic Missile).

    Even better, Magic Missile is an excellent tool for breaking an enemy spellcaster’s concentration, since they have to make a Constitution saving throw for each missile that hits them (albeit at a low DC).


  6. Mage Armor. Changes a target’s base AC to 13 + Dexterity modifier (up from 10 + Dexterity modifier) for 8 hours; no concentration required. This is a straight-up +3 AC bonus for the entire adventuring day, which brings your chance to be hit way down (by 15 percentage points, to be exact). Plus, if you save a 1st-level spell slot for the entire day, you can cast Mage Armor at the end of a long rest, right before you get your spell slots back. That way, Mage Armor is up for the day, and you still start with 100% of your spell slots.

    Note that some DMs might find this cheesy and not allow for “rest casting” (although it is allowed, rules as written). Even if they don’t allow for it, Mage Armor is still a damn good 1st-level spell for Sorcerers.

    Note #2: If you’re a Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer, your base AC is already 13 + Dex modifier, so Mage Armor is useless for you.

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

Best 2nd-level Sorcerer Spells

  1. Web. The premier 2nd-level control spell in DnD 5e, Web fills a 20-foot cube with webs that create difficult terrain and force a Dexterity saving throw for anyone who enters or starts its turn there. If a creature fails this save, they become restrained until they take an action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC.

    A restrained creature is attacked with advantage and makes attacks and Dexterity saving throws with disadvantage, as well as having 0 movement speed. This is a serious offensive and defensive boon for your party. If you hit a bunch of melee foes, you’re denying their attacks while you deal with the rest of their force. If you hit ranged foes, they still have disadvantage on their attacks unless they waste their whole turn attempting to get free.

    But what’s truly special about Web is that it lasts for up to an hour (concentration permitting), and during this time, you can use forced movement effects to keep pushing/pulling enemies back into the web. Stuff like Repelling Eldritch Blast, Thorn Whip, Thunderwave, and the Telekinetic feat come to mind as reliable and strong options for achieving this effect.

  2. Shatter. 3d8 (13.5 average) thunder damage in a 10-foot radius for creatures who fail a Constitution saving throw, or half as much if they succeed. Creatures made of inorganic material have disadvantage on the save, and nonmagical objects also take the damage. This is a no-nonsense way to add to your Sorcerer’s offensive arsenal, and comes with some minor utility for busting down doors and creating structural damage, which could come in handy during a fight.

  3. Hold Person. A great save-or-suck spell that’ll paralyze an unfortunate target who fails a Wisdom saving throw. That’s good for limiting your opponent’s actions, but it’s also great for increasing the damage potential of your party’s melee martial characters, who get to enjoy attack advantage AND an automatic critical hit on your target. And the creature only repeats the saving throw at the end of its turns; not when it takes damage.

    Note that the value of this spell goes way down if you don’t have many humanoid enemies in your campaign. And as you level up, threatening humanoids tend to become more rare, at which point you can swap this spell out for something else.

  4. Detect Thoughts. The ability to read a creature’s thoughts, without a saving throw or ability check. This is “particularly effective as part of an interrogation,” as the questions you ask can shape the course of the creature’s thoughts. If you want to dig deeper, you can force a Wisdom saving throw; if they fail, you gain deeper insight into its reasoning, emotions, and whatever looms large in its mind. If it succeeds, the spell ends early.

    This ability can really frustrate DMs, but if you use it responsibly and respect a bit of “plot armor” around the spell’s possible effects, it’s great for moving a story forward. More than that, it can find invisible or hidden creatures and within 30 feet of you, making it effective for tracking and making sure you don’t get ambushed.

  5. Darkness. Magical Darkness in a 15-foot area that essentially blinds all within and blocks vision from those without. If your party is getting sniped by arrows or spells, Darkness can ruin these tactics and get you back on even footing. Especially if you’re able to take out some melee foes or pick off lone rangers one by one while the affected enemies reposition themselves.

    Even better, you can cast it on a sheath-able object, like a weapon. With this trick, you can have your melee allies run in, attack, then take out the Darkness-producing object to run away without suffering opportunity attacks (you can only take those against creatures you can see!) Heck, you can even throw or shoot the Darkness-infested item around the room to reposition it during the fight.

    You can also dispel light-producing spells like Faerie Fire with it, allow your Rogue to hide more easily, and pair it with people in your party who have Blindsense or Devil’s Sight for even more shenanigans.

Note that Sorcerers have A LOT of good 2nd-level spell options. Any of the spells I rated as a 4/5 below are a worthy choice, and can be better than the spells mentioned above, depending on your party composition, character build, and campaign setting. Here are the other 2nd-level Sorcerer spells and my X/5 rating for each:

Best 3rd-level Sorcerer Spells

  1. Hypnotic Pattern. The premier control spell at this tier of play, Hypnotic Pattern forces creatures in a 30-foot cube to make a Wisdom saving throw, charming and incapacitating them if they fail — no follow-up saving throws. That leaves your party free to deal with the stragglers, and then clean up the hypnotized enemies when you’re done with that.

    Enemies can also wake each other up, but that requires a full action on their part, so it’s an action economy win for your party no matter what. Just look out for charm immunity, as it’s fairly common among 5e’s monsters (about 1 in 5).

  2. Fireball. 8d6 (28 average) fire damage to creatures in a 20-foot radius who fail a Dexterity saving throw, or half as much they pass. This is the best area-of-effect spell by damage and reliability among all 3rd-level spells in DnD 5e, so if you want to be a blaster, Fireball is the spell for you.

  3. Fly. A creature you touch gains a flying speed of 60 feet for 10 minutes. This makes you (or an ally) untargetable by melee enemies, and when you can upcast or Twinned Spell it to cover multiple allies, it becomes even stronger.

    Not to mention that the out-of-combat utility of flight is also incredibly strong.

  4. Tongues. You don’t need to learn every language in the game as long as you have this spell prepared. And since you’re likely the party’s “face” anyway (since you’re investing in Charisma as your spellcasting ability modifier), it’s likely that you’re the one communicating most often in your party. While utility spells are all technically situational, the situation of “idk what this guy is saying” comes up more often than most in DnD.

  5. Counterspell. A reaction spell that causes an equal or lower-leveled spell to fail automatically, or with an ability check for a higher-leveled spell. Enemy spells are usually the scariest thing you have to worry about in combat, and having Counterspell at the ready makes them much less scary.

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

  • Dispel Magic – 4

  • Fear – 4

  • Haste – 4

  • Slow – 4

  • Blink – 3

  • Clairvoyance – 3

  • Enemies Abound – 3

  • Erupting Earth – 3

  • Gaseous Form – 3

  • Intellect Fortress – 3

  • Lightning Bolt – 3

  • Major Image – 3

  • Melf’s Minute Meteors – 3

  • Protection from Energy – 3

  • Sleet Storm – 3

  • Stinking Cloud – 3

  • Catnap – 2

  • Daylight – 2

  • Thunder Step – 2

  • Vampiric Touch – 2

  • Wall of Water – 2

  • Water Breathing – 2

  • Flame Arrows – 1

  • Water Walk – 1

Best 4th-level Sorcerer Spells

  1. Polymorph. Transform a creature you touch into a beast whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target’s level. An unwilling creature must make a Wisdom saving throw to avoid this effect. From a combat perspective, this is insanely good — once you reach 0 hit points as a beast, you revert back to your normal form with whatever hit points you left it with — essentially doubling (or more) the hit point pool of a target.

    Or, you can turn a BBEG into a rat and throw them off cliff, bring them back to the city to face justice, or just keep them useless during a fight while you deal with their minions.

    Outside of combat, the possibilities are endless. Become a giant eagle and fly your buddies around; become a fly to scout ahead or spy on the enemy. There are too many possibilities to account for them all here.

    Suffice it to say that the ability to turn yourself or an ally into any beast in the game offers so much in the way of raw combat power and out-of-combat utility. It might not always be the right tool for the occasion, but it’s often in the mix of the most optimal spells to prepare and use regularly.

  2. Banishment. One failed Charisma save, and you banish an enemy for a full minute (concentration permitting) with no follow-up saves on later rounds. Totally eliminating the biggest threat of a fight until you’ve dealt with their minions is incredibly strong in 5e’s combat system, where numbers count for a lot.

    And when they come back, your whole squad can be prepared with readied attacks to basically blow them up right away. Checkmate. Plus, if the creature you target isn’t from the plane you’re currently on, it won’t come back at all. So be careful if you need a quest item they have on their person!

  3. Greater Invisibility. Turn a creature you touch invisible for up to 1 minute. This effect does not break upon attacking or casting a spell, as the lower-leveled Invisibility spell does (although it lasts 1/60 as long).

    Greater Invisibility is the best friend of your party’s martial members (especially Rogues and Paladins who live for critical hits). Invisible creatures are attacked with disadvantage and make attacks with advantage, and this spell lasts for a full minute through multiple attacks, unlike the lower-tier Invisibility spell that breaks after one attack.

  4. Dimension Door. Teleport up to 500 feet, even if you can’t see your destination, along with one ally if you choose. From repositioning in a fight to getting past a locked door or puzzle, Dimension Door is a simple and highly effective utility spell.

  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 then 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 Sorcerer spells and my X/5 rating for each:

  • Confusion – 4

  • Storm Sphere – 4

  • Vitriolic Sphere – 4

  • Wall of Fire – 4

  • Charm Monster – 3

  • Dominate Beast – 3

  • Sickening Radiance – 3

  • Watery Sphere – 3

  • Blight – 2

  • Fire Shield – 2

  • Ice Storm – 2

Best 5th-level Sorcerer Spells

  1. Animate Objects. Bring up to ten nonmagical objects to life, all with their own HP, AC, and attack rolls. This offers stupid damage over its minute-long duration, and it’s not as much of a pain to use as the Druid’s Conjure Animals spell, since you can command all your object minions at once. It’s incredibly hard for enemies to deal with this threat if they don’t have AoE attack options.

  2. Cone of Cold. Force creatures in a 60-foot cone to make a Constitution saving throw, taking 8d8 (36 average) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much on a success. Huge area of effect, and very good damage. Constitution is the highest average ability score among monsters in DnD 5e’s sourcebooks, but even dealing half damage to a large group can be incredibly impactful.

  3. Hold Monster. Hold Person, but useable on all creatures. If the target fails their Wisdom save, they’re paralyzed for up to a full minute (but can make repeated saves at the ends of their turns).

    Paralyzed is an insanely strong condition that not only gives melee allies attack advantage, but automatic critical strikes. Your Paladin and Rogue are going to absolutely love it when you add this to your arsenal.

  4. Seeming. Change the appearance of any number of creatures for 8 hours, with no concentration requirement. Enemies can see through the illusion if they pass an Investigation check and the illusion fails to hold up to physical inspection.

    This is such a good spell for infiltration, spying, sowing chaos — the list goes on. There’s just so much you can do with a mass Disguise Self effect that you can’t accomplish with any other spell in DnD 5e, making Seeming a special spell for Sorcerers who enjoy this playstyle.

  5. Synaptic Static. A 20-foot area-of-effect that deals 8d6 (28 average) damage on a failed Intelligence save, or half that on a success. Intelligence is the lowest average ability score of creatures in 5e’s main monster sourcebooks, meaning this has the best chance of landing among any AoE spells in 5e.

    Plus, creatures who fail their save have -1d6 on all attack rolls, ability checks, and concentration checks for up to 1 minute (they can repeat the save on later rounds). This is a strong rider effect on an already strong spell — perfect for this tier of play.

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

  • Bigby’s Hand – 4

  • Far Step – 4

  • Wall of Stone – 4

  • Cloudkill – 3

  • Creation – 3

  • Dominate Person – 3

  • Insect Plague – 3

  • Telekinesis – 3

  • Control Winds – 2

  • Immolation – 2

  • Skill Empowerment – 2

  • Teleportation Circle – 2

  • Wall of Light – 2

  • Enervation – 1

6th- to 9th-level Sorcerer Spells

6th-level Sorcerer Spells

  • Arcane Gate – 3

  • Chain Lightning – 4

  • Circle of Death – 3

  • Disintegrate – 4

  • Eyebite – 5

  • Flesh to Stone – 1

  • Globe of Invulnerability – 2

  • Investiture of Flame – 2

  • Investiture of Ice – 4

  • Investiture of Stone – 4

  • Investiture of Wind – 1

  • Mass Suggestion – 4

  • Mental Prison – 4

  • Move Earth – 1

  • Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere – 5

  • Scatter – 3

  • Sunbeam – 3

  • Tasha’s Otherworldly Guise – 1

  • True Seeing – 1

7th-level Sorcerer Spells

  • Crown of Stars – 4

  • Teleport – 4

  • Delayed Blast Fireball – 3

  • Fire Storm – 3

  • Plane Shift – 3

  • Prismatic Spray – 3

  • Reverse Gravity – 3

  • Etherealness – 2

  • Finger of Death – 2

  • Dream of the Blue Veil – 1

  • Power Word: Pain – 1

8th-level Sorcerer Spells

  • Dominate Monster – 5

  • Sunburst – 4

  • Incendiary Cloud – 3

  • Demiplane – 2

  • Power Word: Stun – 2

  • Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wilting – 1

  • Earthquake – 1

9th-level Sorcerer Spells

  • Meteor Swarm – 5

  • Power Word: Kill – 5

  • Psychic Scream – 5

  • Wish – 5

  • Mass Polymorph – 4

  • Gate – 3

  • Blade of Disaster – 2

  • Time Stop – 1

DnD 5e Sorcerer Spells FAQ

Sorcerer spells DnD 5e FAQ:

  1. What spells do sorcerers start with? Sorcerers start with 2 1st-level spells and 4 cantrips.

  2. Do sorcerers have to prepare spells? No, sorcerers do not have to prepare spells. All of their known spells are always ready to be used.

  3. How many spells do sorcerers get per level? Sorcerers get one spell per level up until 11th level, going from 2 to 9 leveled spells during this time. After this, they get a new spell every other level, at levels 13, 15, and 17. After this, a sorcerer gets no spells per level; they max out at 15 spells known. However, a sorcerer can change out one leveled spell each time they level up as a sorcerer.

    A sorcerer gets one new cantrip at levels 4 and 10, maxing out at 6 cantrips total.

  4. How many spells can a sorcerer cast per day? A sorcerer can cast between 2 and 22 spells per day. A 1st-level sorcerer starts out with 2 spell slots, and a 20th-level sorcerer has 22 total.

  5. How many spells does a sorcerer know? A sorcerer knows between 6 spells (2 leveled spells and 4 cantrips) and 21 (15 leveled spells and 6 cantrips) in DnD 5e, depending on their level.

  6. Can sorcerers ritual cast? No, sorcerers do not have ritual casting as a class feature. However, if a sorcerer took the ritual caster feat, they could cast two 1st-level ritual spells, as well as learn further ritual spells that they find on magical spell scrolls or spellbooks. Even with this feat, a sorcerer cannot ritual cast sorcerer spells they have; their ritual book spells are separate from those they know as a sorcerer.

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