You point a finger at a target in range. Your magic grants you a brief insight into the target’s defenses. On your next turn, you gain advantage on your first attack roll against the target, provided that this spell hasn’t ended.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 round
School: Divination cantrip
Player’s Handbook, pg. 284
True Strike 5e
Widely regarded as the worst spell in the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons, True Strike certainly has a lot going against it. Let’s take a look at why on earth you’d ever use this spell, as well as why it’s almost never worth using.
Who Can Cast True Strike in 5e?
The following classes have True Strike on their spell list:
No subclasses get True Strike for free.
What Does True Strike Do in 5e?
True Strike gives you advantage on the next attack you make against a target you point at on your next turn — as long as the spell hasn’t ended. True Strike requires concentration and lasts for up to 1 round.
What Are the Rules for True Strike in 5e?
The rules for True Strike in DnD 5e are as follows:
True Strike does not tell you the target’s vulnerabilities. That’s just flavor text — the DM isn’t actually required to tell you anything about the target creature.
The target does not need to stay in range after you cast True Strike. “Once a spell is cast, its effects aren’t limited by its range, unless the spell’s description says otherwise” (PHB 203).
True Strike can only affect an attack on your next turn. The spell’s description is pretty clear about being effective “on your next turn,” so even a Fighter using Action Surge or a Sorcerer with Quicken Spell can’t get benefit from True Strike on the same turn they cast it. Sage Advice confirmation.
How Do I Use True Strike in 5e?
Here are a few ways to use True Strike in DnD 5e:
Use it before must-hit spells. Common examples are high-leveled attack roll spells like Plane Shift and Contagion. There aren’t many of these, but using True Strike might be worth losing a turn to make it more likely for an important spell to land on your next turn.
Using an Arrow of Slaying might also fall into this category.
Cast it immediately before a fight. True Strike only requires a somatic component (pointing at the target), making it one of the few spells you can actually cast mid-conversation without seeming suspicious.
Other than that, you might notice an enemy before a fight breaks out…although the odds of doing so from within 30 feet and not being spotted yourself are fairly low.
Overcome disadvantage. I haven’t done the math myself, but smarter people than I have — if you have disadvantage on a roll that requires a result of 9 or higher to hit, you’re better off using True Strike to negate disadvantage on your next turn.
If the result you need is 8 or lower, you’re better off rolling twice with disadvantage.
Pair with a Rogue build. Sneak Attack requires advantage, and True Strike guarantees it. It also just thematically fits with the Rogue class (sizing up your mark before a fight).
Attack an object. Hey, the spell description doesn’t specify that the target needs to be a creature. If you’re beating a door, tomb, etc. open and have time to spare, why not use True Strike first?
Who Can I Target With True Strike 5e?
You can target any creature or object within 30 feet with True Strike.
Is True Strike 5e a Good Spell?
No, True Strike is not a good spell. Here’s why:
Opportunity cost. The obvious question most people have when they read True Strike is: why not attack this turn and then attack next turn instead? And the question is valid — in both cases, you’re making two total dice rolls, but without True Strike, you also have a chance of hitting the target two times.
Concentration — gross. Even though it just requires concentration for 1 round, you can only concentrate on one thing at a time. Every concentration spell in DnD 5e is better than True Strike, so you should never break your concentration to cast it.
Overcoming disadvantage? Just do something else. I know I gave a “use” of True Strike as overcoming disadvantage, but even that is pretty bad. For example, why not do something else with your turn, like cast a spell that requires a saving throw, disengaging and repositioning, or helping an ally (giving them advantage instead of your future self).
Or just get advantage in another one of the many ways 5e offers, rather than wasting a turn to get it…
Even the “good” uses aren’t that good. For examples of other ways to get advantage or even out disadvantage, we have magical Darkness, Fog Cloud, and Greater Invisibility. And if you’re hidden and can cast True Strike pre-combat, well, you don’t need to — you already have attack advantage from being an unseen attacker.
True Strike 5e DM Tips
With all this hate, some DMs wonder if they should buff True Strike. And you totally can — people have homebrewed many options. But for my two cents, I don’t mind that True Strike can be pointed at as objectively the worst spell in DnD 5e.
Hey, there had to be one.