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  1. - Top - End - #151
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Foff View Post
    Sorcadin, any combination of subclasses/oaths will work wonders and adapt to your background story...
    Pal 2 Sorc X for more damage and controlling options
    Pal 6 Sorc X for better tanking and survivability
    As an alternative, you might like the Celestial Tomelock in the first post of this thread. It has solid defense while letting the Cleric shine as the tank, enough party face skills to handle sweet talking, plenty of control/support, solid damage, a bonus action heal to help the Cleric out, bonus temp HP for everyone on a short/long rest, and can even get Thieves tools to help out the Rogue with the right background.

  2. - Top - End - #152
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Wow! Some really cool builds!

    I was looking at the paladin build since it's mostly core and I'm thinking of making one for AL. I was wondering what stats it uses though, because I couldn't figure out how it gets to 20 Cha. I get dropping strength in favor of a magic item, but it still takes 2 ASIs for a VHuman to get 20 Cha using point buy(and even rolling it still takes at least one) and it's got 4 feats listed in the build.

  3. - Top - End - #153
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    You could dip a level of Hexblade Warlock and use the level 1 feature to make Charisma your stat for attacking and damage with weapons.

  4. - Top - End - #154
    Orc in the Playground
     
    RogueGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Pirate View Post
    but it still takes 2 ASIs for a VHuman to get 20 Cha using point buy(and even rolling it still takes at least one) and it's got 4 feats listed in the build.
    4 Feats and 2 stat boosts is exactly what the Human gets by Level 19.

    L01: Human - PAM
    L04: +Chr
    L08: Great Weapon Master
    L12: +Chr
    L16: Mounted Combatant
    L19: Inspiring Leader

    Starts with Str and Chr at 16 and not much else or have an even lower strength and rely on magic items to boost.
    Last edited by Lyracian; 2019-06-18 at 07:42 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Ah, got it. I miscounted the ASIs. Still curious what the starting array would be(no dip).

  6. - Top - End - #156
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    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by 1Pirate View Post
    Still curious what the starting array would be(no dip).
    Str 16 / Cha 16 / Con 14 / other stats to taste. Unless you were expecting Str to be replaced sooner rather than later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expected View Post
    Thank you again, LudicSavant, you math skills are VERY useful and so are your graphs and explanations.
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

  7. - Top - End - #157
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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Str 16 / Cha 16 / Con 14 / other stats to taste. Unless you were expecting Str to be replaced sooner rather than later.
    Thanks for that!

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Zombie

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercurias View Post
    I love this thread, and I tend to be a little short on original ideas when it comes to game mechanics. This is why, when I post an 'original' build, it ends up being two of Ludic's builds crammed together in a blender.

    Nature is Magical
    Arcana Cleric 6 / Land (Coast) Druid 14

    Race: V. Human (Feat: Warcaster)
    Stats: 14 Dex, 14 Con, 16 Wis, Everything else to taste (I went 10 Str, 14 Dex, 15 Con, 10 Int, 16 Wis, 8 Cha).

    Cantrips: Booming Blade, Create Bonfire, Fire Bolt, Guidance, Light, Shape Water, Shillelagh, Thorn Whip, Toll the Dead, Word of Radiance

    ASI's: Max Wis, Warcaster (Racial Feat), Resilient (Con), Ritual Caster (Wizard)

    Okay so where do we start here?

    This is a build that essentially gives you as many day-to-day options as I can imagine for a caster.

    In melee, you have access to Spirit Guardians, SCAG cantrips, and Shillelagh along with medium armor (which may need to be made from non-metallic substances, such as actual scales, caparace, chitin, or bone) and shield proficiency. You also have Spiritual Weapon and Bonus Action spells like Sanctuary and Healing Word in a pinch, so action economy is good out of the gate. For your OA, you’ve got Booming Blade to punish anyone leaving melee range with you, thanks to Warcaster.

    You also have the Mirror Image spell. Mixing Mirror Image, Spirit Guardians, and Dodge Actions looks like a lot of fun.

    As a healer, you have the Arcana Cleric's level 6 feature, Spell Breaker, which stops negative magical effects dead so long as you using a spell slot of the right level to heal the afflicted target. With spells like Regenerate, Mass Healing Word, and Healing Spirits, you'll be able to make use of it more than most, and having access to Healing Spirits on top of Cleric spells makes you unusually capable if the party needs someone to act as a main healer for a battle. Also worth noting, you can use Revivify. A Druid wouldn't be able to revive until 5th level spells, and then you roll the dice on your friend's race because the spell is Reincarnate.

    If the party needs control spells, you have an enormous suite of Druid control spells, plus Spirit Guardians. There are honestly so many options that I'm going to end this here or else I'll hit the limit for post size.

    If you need to move stealthily or spy, you have access to Wild Shape as well as Polymorph for shapeshifting into an innocuous mouse, rat, bird, etc. You can also use Rory's Telepathic Bond to communicate with your party even when Wild Shaped, which is nice. In fact, Rory's Telepathic Bond would be a great thing to have on any scout for instant communication, and you can cast it as a ritual.

    You've also got Wizard Ritual Magic, for all of your Tiny Hutting, Magic Detecting, Familiar Finding, and Phantom Steeding needs.

    Minions? You have Awaken to give yourself an intelligent animal best friend, you have a Familiar, you can raise the dead, and you can summon loads of critters via Druid spells.

    And you can swap out your entire spell list on a long rest, except for your overly large pile of Cantrips, which include solid melee, ranged, and spell save options as well as some nice utility, so you're probably fine with them as they are.

    Frankly, I can't find a wrong way to level this one up. No matter what class you pick, you seem to get something good at every level just because there's so much going on. I would personally get a level of Druid, then four in Cleric, then four in Druid, the last Cleric level, and then Druid all the way. Your mileage, and opinion, may of course certainly vary.

    It's definitely a magical-skill-monkey sort of build rather than a full-damage type. The roleplay would be interesting, though. Maybe it could be the daughter of a famous Wizarding family who found herself drawn to Druiding Circles?

    Notes:
    -If you roll for stats and luck out enough for an extra feat, Lucky and Alert could be nice choices.
    -I chose Fire Bolt and Booming Blade for the Arcana Cleric cantrips for the sake of versatility, but Green Flame Blade And Minor Illusion are also good choices.
    -Druidcraft is a criminally under-loved cantrip. Its a good alternative if you really want a different Druid cantrip.
    -Good gods I can think of for this build would be Mystra or Selűne, but others could have better.
    I love this idea!

    How would you break down the levels?


    BRING BACK ALIGNMENT LANGUAGES!!!

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  9. - Top - End - #159
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    I love this idea!

    How would you break down the levels?
    I would probably do it thusly:
    1: Druid
    2-5: Arcana Cleric (+2 Wis at level 5)
    6-8: Druid, choosing Circle of the Land (Coast) at level 6 and +2 Wis at level 8.
    9-10: Cleric, which finishes its levels up and unlocks Spirit Guardians/Spellbreaker.
    12+: All Druid, with Ritual Caster (Wizard) and Resilient (Con) Chosen to taste at 15 and 19. Both are desirable. I would personally get Ritual Caster first and rely on Warcaster for help with Con saves for concentration, but your mileage may vary.

    Early on, the build is primarily a support/control caster in Medium Armor, with spells like Faerie Fire, Entangle, Command, Spiritual Weapon, and Goodberry that help maximize the return on your spell slots.

    Cantrip damage is solid at all ranges, with Booming Blade being an excellent OA (so long as Shillelagh’s effect is up) and melee damage option, Fire Bolt standing as a nice long-ranged attack cantrip, Bonfire acting as a resourceless concentration spell, Toll the Dead working as a nice Wis D/C cantrip, and Thorn Whip serving to drag enemies into hazards like Entangle (or your Barbarian friend with the Greataxe whose turn is just after yours).

    Approaching mid-level, you unlock Wildshape for stealth and recon. Heck, turn into a little purse-dog to help your Bard disguise herself as a society girl, too. I don’t judge. You’ll also begin get more use out of your Druid side in general, including access to Misty Step and Mirror Image from your Circle. You’ll also start being able to recover spell slots on a short rest here. You won’t recover as much as a single-class Land Druid, but every bit helps.

    Levels 9 and 10 are very nice. You finally get Spirit Guardians and Revivify. You also become a clutch battle dispeller, which is both sort of a niche feature and also a very powerful one when you end up needing it.

    11+ brings further improvement to Wildshape, additional short rest Spell Slot recovery, Resilient (Con), Ritual Caster (Wizard), higher cantrip damage, and an ever-expanding spell list. While your spell options stop for Druid at 7th level, you have so very, very many things to upcast that using those 8th and 9th level spell slots won’t feel like a waste so much as ridiculously overcharging one spell. Who doesn’t want to at least TRY casting Spirit Guardians with a 9th level slot?

    If you’d prefer an Elf or Half-Elf, I would probably leave out Resilient (Con) in favor of Warcaster.

  10. - Top - End - #160
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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    The Advokist Tomb Raider

    <EDIT: I misread the way GGtR guild spells are utilized; this post is now edited to reflect the correct interpretation. It's still cool, but takes a few more levels to get there.>

    The gist of this build is to be an int-based tank who uses Spiritual Guardians, dual attacks and great defenses to survive in the middle of melee. Tons of utility and flavor as a technology-facilitated chaneller of ghost powers. You get to be smart and perceptive, but in power armor.

    Choose Veldeken as a race, Orzhov as background, and point-buy these stats: 8/12/14/16/16/8. Take 3 levels of Artificer (Battle Smith), then a level of Forge Cleric, then 2 in Wizard (War), then 6 more in Artificer. So by character level 12 you are a level 9 caster with 4/3/3/1 spell slots, 11 cantrips, access to scads of first level spells, and Artificer/Orzhov list of useful level 2 and 3 spells including Spirit Guardians, and 2 pets (Iron Defender and Familiar). You are:

    Well-nigh Invulnerable
    • AC 22 (plate + shield, +1 from Blessing of the Forge, +1 from Enchanted Armor)
    • Arcane deflection (mini-shield on demand, +2 AC,+4 to saves, and the downside of casting only cantrips next round does not bother you, as you’re mostly melee in combat anyways)
    • Veldeken Disposition (advantage on int/wis/cha saves)
    • Warcaster (advantage on concentration saves)
    • 4 spell slots mostly dedicated to Shield and Absorb Elements

    Melee Buzzsaw of Death
    • Spirit Guardians up with Warcaster (3d8 or 4d8, wis save, 15’, speed halved)
    • Longsword +1 (Enhanced Weapon): +7 to hit, 2x(1d10+4) -- uses Int as the modifier
    • +5-8 Initiative (1 from dex, 3 from War Wizard) +1d4 from Guidance
    • Iron Defender (Defensive Pounce gives disadvantage to an enemy for a reaction, Bite on bonus action)
    • Advantage on 1 attack/round from Familiar (owl)
    • Toll the Dead and Hand of Radiance if needed
    • Bestow Curse and Branding Smite for special situations
    • Warcaster + Booming Blade for anyone who runs

    Tomb Raider
    • Thieves Tools +9-12 (Veldeken Tireless Precision, Artificer Tools Expertise, Guidance)
    • Investigation +8-11 (Veldeken Tireless Precision, Guidance)
    • Perception +7
    • Familiar scouting
    • Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Guiding Hand for exploration

    Ghost Powers
    With the Orzhov background, this build is working for the undead, and thus derives a lot of ghost-themed utility powers, including:

    • Identify, Detect Magic, Comprehend Languages, Silent Image, Disguise Self, Speak with Dead, Zone of Truth, Aid, Rope Trick, Mending, Revivify, various minor heals (Cure Wounds, Healing Word, Iron Defender’s Repair)

    Theme
    I love the idea of a smart, perceptive guy who nonetheless is suited up in heavy tech armor, and derives powers either from tech, or from ghostly portals that can be summoned. Want to bring your familiar into the world? A ghostly white portal opens in space and your owl spirit flies out. Want to use Bestow Curse? Your reach out, a white portal appears just above your wrist, and a spectral ghost arm reaches out to touch the enemy and deliver the curse. Rope trick, Zone of Truth… its all facilitated by your tech-mediated access to a spirit world beyond.
    Last edited by Atomicwraith; 2019-06-24 at 12:29 AM.

  11. - Top - End - #161
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    8wGremlin's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    I think you are mistaken.

    You can't cast Spiritual Guardians none of you casting classes are capable of casting 3rd level spells.
    yes you have the slots, but you don't get the guild spells until you learn that level of spell.
    You have a lot of 1st level spells that can be upcast to 3rd level.

  12. - Top - End - #162
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Ah, but I think this build CAN cast a 3rd level spell, despite that each of the 3 caster classes (artificer, wizard, cleric) can only cast 1st level spells.

    When multiclassed, we use the multiclassing spell table, right? Which for a level 1 cleric (1 caster level)/ level 2 wizard (2 caster levels)/ level 5 artificer (3 caster levels, as uniquely they round up) equals 6 caster levels, or 4/3/3 slots. The Orzhov spells are simply added to caster spellbooks (/etc)--presumably when the relevant caster level has been attained, though RAW they just seem to appear at character creation, waiting to be unlocked by casting ability-- so the race is actually to unlock a combined caster level by any method, not to get a full caster to level 5.

    The quote from GGtR is "For you, the relevant spells on the Orzhov Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class" Nothing about needing to be able to cast a level 3 spell in those classes. The spell list of a 4/3/3 caster who only knows first level spells is pretty self-defeating... until these guild spells come along to save the day.

    What this build is saying is that it values caster "goodies" (Arcane Deflection, Blessing of the Forge, Iron Defender) more than caster spells, which I admit is unusual, but the point is to survive in the middle of the maelstrom as a gish, not to sling top level spells.

    (that said, what to do after level 8? Probably advance in wizard...)
    Last edited by Atomicwraith; 2019-06-22 at 10:22 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #163
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomicwraith View Post
    Ah, but I think this build CAN cast a 3rd level spell, despite that each of the 3 caster classes (artificer, wizard, cleric) can only cast 1st level spells.

    When multiclassed, we use the multiclassing spell table, right? Which for a level 1 cleric (1 caster level)/ level 2 wizard (2 caster levels)/ level 5 artificer (3 caster levels, as uniquely they round up) equals 6 caster levels, or 4/3/3 slots. The Orzhov spells are simply added to caster spellbooks (/etc)--presumably when the relevant caster level has been attained, though RAW they just seem to appear at character creation, waiting to be unlocked by casting ability-- so the race is actually to unlock a combined caster level by any method, not to get a full caster to level 5.

    The quote from GGtR is "For you, the relevant spells on the Orzhov Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class" Nothing about needing to be able to cast a level 3 spell in those classes. The spell list of a 4/3/3 caster who only knows first level spells is pretty self-defeating... until these guild spells come along to save the day.

    What this build is saying is that it values caster "goodies" (Arcane Deflection, Blessing of the Forge, Iron Defender) more than caster spells, which I admit is unusual, but the point is to survive in the middle of the maelstrom as a gish, not to sling top level spells.

    (that said, what to do after level 8? Probably advance in wizard...)
    Incorrect. You use the multiclassing spell table for determining what spell slots you have access to, but you only count the levels in the specific classes for determining what spells you actually know or can prepare, including -- per the example given in the PHB -- what level those spells are allowed to be. Heavily multiclassed characters often wind up with spell slots of higher level than they actually can know or prepare spells for; they can only use it for upcasting (or smiting, if they're a paladin).

    The added spells from the GGtR are added to the spell lists of the class, not your known spells for the class.

    Quote Originally Posted by PHB pg 164
    Spells Known and Prepared. You determine what spells you know and can prepare for each class individually, as if you were a single-classed member of that class. If you are a ranger 4/wizard 3, for example, you know three 1st-level ranger spells based on your levels in the ranger class. As 3rd-level wizard, you know three wizard cantrips, and your spellbook contains ten wizard spells, two fo which (the two you gained when you reached 3rd level as a wizard) can be 2nd-level spells.
    Last edited by Cyclone_Knight; 2019-06-22 at 11:34 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #164
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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Same reason a Wizard 1/Cleric 19 doesn’t get to cast Wish.

  15. - Top - End - #165
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    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    You know, Cyclone_Knight and 8wGremlin… you are totally correct. I don’t know how I misread that; the GGtR text around the guild spells is slightly more vague than the PHB… but somehow I was thinking these spells were added to *my* list, not merely the class list. Dang. So this build has to go to level 12 to get the benefits I describe, not 8. Meh. Well I’ve got a caster-only version variant that I shall share one of these days.

    Thanks for the correction; I’ll edit my earlier post.

  16. - Top - End - #166
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    LudicSavant's Avatar

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    Default Re: An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Next build will probably be one of the following:

    *snip*

    - the Cha/Int blaster Wizard build I'm currently playing in a long-term campaign (running from tier 1-4). Basically my take on the so-called "Nuclear Wizard" build which can potentially out-blast Sorlocks, come online faster, and retain all the versatility of being a Wizard. And doesn't require Coffeelocking or anything of that sort. The one I'm playing right now is an Asmodeus Tiefling, but the optimized version would probably be something else, like Yuan-Ti (for whom the Cha/Int typing is actually what you want for a change).
    Quote Originally Posted by Skylivedk View Post
    I'd love to see your take on the Nuclear Wizard
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky McDibben View Post
    Hey Ludic, any chance of seeing that Nuclear Wizard build you mentioned?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lyracian View Post
    Blaster Caster sounds interesting as does Samurai. Would be good if you added a variant/notes for those of us who only play PHB races.
    Alright, let's build a Nuclear Wizard!

    At Lyracian's request, I'll be providing multiple versions using different races.

    Anyways, this is a strong one, so be aware of what level of optimization your group's comfortable with. You can afford to tone it down a bit and still have a highly competent character.

    What's a Nuclear Wizard?
    To my knowledge the term “nuclear wizard” was coined here as a name for builds that take advantage of the synergy between Empowered Evocation and Hexblade’s Curse, which (among other things) transforms the humble Magic Missile into one of the best-scaling single target damage options in the game.

    As good as a NW's Magic Missile is, a well-played high level Evoker doesn’t really just spend their entire turn casting one spell and doing nothing else (which is basically what happens in the Reddit post). Like any high level Wizard, a large part of their strength is their versatility and action economy. And Evokers have a great kit already.

    Build 9: The Nuclear Wizard

    “I cast Magic Missile”

    Hexblade 1 / Evoker 17 / Fighter 2
    Race: Yuan-Ti (alternatively, anything listed in the "Nuclear Races" section below)
    Stats (Point Buy): 16 Int / 14 Con / 14 Dex / 14 Cha
    ASIs: Max Int, Resilient (Con), Alert
    Fighting Style: Defense
    Sample Cantrips: Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, Create Bonfire, Toll the Dead, Control Flames, Lightning Lure, Frostbite

    Optional stuff:
    If you want a GGtR background: Orzhov (replace a cantrip with Guidance and take Spirit Guardians)
    Not-too-rare gear to keep an eye out for: A mere Uncommon, attunement-free Wand of Magic Missile becomes pretty ridiculous in a Hexblade/Evoker's hands. If they're available, you basically want as many as you can get. Anything that will increase your AC/saves is great, too.

    The End of the Path of Explosions: Silly Max Level Nova Shenanigans
    This is a demonstration of why it's called the Nuclear Wizard. You can just sort of keep stacking damage about as high as you want, as long as you're willing to grind up all your resources and unleash it in one catastrophic explosion. Time to make Megumin proud.

    Spoiler: Explooooooosion!
    Show

    The first thing you've got is Magic Missile, which deals 1d4+1+5(Empowered Evocation)+6(Hexblade's Curse) guaranteed damage per bolt. So for example in a 9th level slot it'd do 11d4+132 (159.5) unmissable damage, piercing Legendary Resistance, Magic Resistance, AC, saves, pretty much any conventional defenses. Even Shield can just get Counterspelled. Or just overwhelmed with the sheer amount of effects you put out, because you see...

    We're not done. We can Action Surge and use another one with an L8 slot, for 145 guaranteed damage (now up to 304.5). And then your Simulacrum can do it, getting you to 609 unmissable damage. That's already enough to one-shot an Ancient Red Dragon through all their defenses, and we can easily push our damage even further. Everything beyond this point is frankly overkill. So let's talk about overkill.

    Both you and your Simulacrum can be concentrating on an Overchanneled DoT (like upcast Spirit Guardians from Orzhov). If Hexblade's Curse was used on a previous turn, you still have your bonus action, which can be, say, a charge of Crown of Stars firing off for 4d12+11. And then all of your minions act... your familiar, simulacrum's familiar, Wished-up Greater Steed, animated dead, whatever. If you had a chance to cast a pair of Otiluke's Freezing Spheres (1 from you, 1 from your simulacrum) before the fight, they can throw them for another 16d6+22 AoE/save for half damage each. And both you and your Simulacrum can pop Contingency for 2 more 5th level spells for your choice.

    And you can still have any of your non-concentration buffs up, like See Invisibility, Armor of Agathys, Fire Shield, or whatever. So on the slim chance that anyone survives and dares to hit you, they'd take all that and a Hellish Rebuke for their trouble.

    You can similarly set yourself up for AoE annihilation instead of single target, switching out the 4 Magic Missiles for 2 Meteor Swarms and 2 upcast AoEs of choice (while things like Spirit Guardians and Freezing Sphere are already AoE). Or abuse Prismatic Wall.

    If you want even more single target damage, you can use Wish for Hallow:Vulnerability to Force with your Action, then Action Surge for a Magic Missile, and then have your Simulacrum throw two Magic Missiles, for a total of ((145+145+159.5)*2) or 899 average damage if they fail their save against Hallow. And then another 128 if you both can hit with an Overchanneled Bigby's Hand (which are also Force damage, so you'd get 4*8*2*2). And then potentially add Freezing Spheres and Crown of Stars and so forth.

    Basically, as long as you're willing to invest the resources and a little set up, you can do a nearly arbitrary amount of damage, pushing well into 4 digits. And it doesn't even take setup for the "one-shot an Ancient Red Dragon" part. In order to have a chance to survive, your foe needs to have very specific counters (like Subtle Shield, pre-cast Globe of Invulnerability, or Contingency:GTFO), the ability to cheat death (like Clone), or go first in the game of rocket launcher tag and hope that when the dust clears, you can't reply.

    Mind, this is the extreme case, rapidly burning through your level 20 resources. However, even if you use a much more resource efficient combo you're still doing some real damage. For example, just a 5th level HC/EE Magic Missile alone is 101.5 guaranteed damage, and is only a fraction of your available action economy. You've got more than enough resources to do a wide variety of powerful combos throughout the day.

    Note that all those crazy action economy shenanigans? Sorcerers don't get any of those spells on their list. Freezing Sphere, Contingency, Simulacrum, Wall of Force, you name it. All the big action economy spells are on the Wizard list. They need to use Wish to get even limited access to any of this, and a Sorcerer's Wished-up Simulacrum can't cast 9th level spells. A Wizard has no such limitations.


    Okay, so you get to annihilate the final encounter of the whole campaign with a Macross Missile Massacre. But every optimizer worth their salt already knows that high level Wizards are bananas. What about the rest of the game?

    Well, turns out they actually scale quite smoothly throughout the game (albeit being rather more... sane prior to grabbing their highest level tools). Your role will be a versatile mix of control, utility, and blasting (both single target and AoE).

    Progression
    At level 1, you start as a Hexblade, and basically get to play gish for all of one level. You pick 2 cantrips that don't depend much on your Cha, and learn 2 spells which you'll have prepared forever. They will be Armor of Agathys and either Shield or Hellish Rebuke. I usually pick Shield.

    (If you're wondering why you might consider Shield even though it's not a Warlock exclusive spell, it's because whatever you pick for your 2 Warlock spells will be prepared forever. Picking Shield is basically saying "I don't care much about the Warlock's spell list, and just want more space to prepare Wizard spells")

    That Hexblade level's going to do a lot for you. Namely, it will make your AC comparable to a Dex Eldritch Knight, give you a regenerating spell slot for things like Shield/Absorb Elements, and give you Hexblade's Curse (allowing you to deal some serious damage 1/short rest, especially with multi-hitting spells). Armor of Agathys and Hellish Rebuke both upcast well.

    Many people reflexively think of Cha-based multiclasses when it comes to dipping Hexblade, but really, you only need 13 Cha to reap the benefits. None of the stuff we're getting here cares about your Charisma (except optionally Hellish Rebuke).

    At level 2, you start to play more like you will for the rest of the game. You’re now a Wizard 1 / Hexblade 1. Compared to a regular Wizard, you’ll have 5 cantrips (instead of 3), 6 spells prepared (instead of 5), 6 spells per DMG standard adventuring day (instead of 4), and medium armor + shield + Shield for up to 19/24 AC (whenever you get your half-plate). And you’ll have Hexblade’s Curse 1/short rest (a mean boss-killer). And Poison Immunity / Magic Resistance from being a Yuan-Ti.

    In other words, you’re considerably safer and have a good bit more resources to spread out over a day than a typical Wizard. Twice as many spells over a standard adventuring day if you assume they’re spending a slot on Mage Armor. More if you consider they’ll need to use Shield more often than you since they can be hit more often.

    So, obviously you can do the basic God Wizard things like Fog Cloud or Silent Image or whatever, and they’re as good as ever. But you also can dish out some real damage, either with or without spell slots.

    You should summon a familiar (owl is always a good choice for Flyby and a considerable 18 passive perception / 120 foot Darkvision) and keep some materials available to resummon them if necessary. You should also keep some rituals going whenever you can. It's not difficult to keep up an Unseen Servant or Floating Disk all day (since you can cast rituals while moving, and they last an hour). Use the Unseen Servant to carry a Control Flames bullseye lantern, vials of oil, ball bearings, healing potions, or the like.

    Your bread and butter spell slotless combo is going to be setting down a Bonfire and using Toll the Dead (or some other good cantrip) + using your Familiar to give someone Advantage or use an object + having your Unseen Servant use oil or ball bearings or shine a Control Flames bullseye lantern or something. Used right this can really rack up, especially with a little help from teammates to help move people around (think a grappler, repelling blaster, thorn whipper, or slightly later a Pushing Attack Battle Master or Open Hand Monk or any of a ton of other things. And you can move enemies yourself with Lightning Lure or Thunderwave). Don’t forget that Create Bonfire can hit multiple squares, so at worst it’s just like a way better version of Acid Splash if you’re not using your Concentration for something else.

    Your go-to slotted AoE will be Thunderwave, which you can use to knock people into hazards (like your own bonfire) on top of just doing some decent AoE damage. Your good AC (not to mention access to Armor of Agathys and Hellish Rebuke) means you can afford to position more aggressively for this than a typical Wizard.

    And when you really want to kill someone, you throw down Hexblade’s Curse and use Magic Missile for 3d4+9 (16.5) guaranteed damage. Plus having your Concentration effect running, and your Unseen Servant, and your Familiar.

    How does that cursed Magic Missile stack up to the DPR of other low level characters? Well, it’s about the same average damage as a GWM/GWF greatsword Fighter using Action Surge against an AC 14 target. And that’s if you’re using Magic Missile and nothing else on your turn. But of course, there is more that can happen during a round, and every damage roll you make against the foe will add your Proficiency bonus from Hexblade’s Curse.

    Your familiar giving Advantage to one attack of that same GWM Fighter (against that same AC14 target) contributes about 6 DPR. A burning oil square will do another 5 guaranteed every time someone enters or ends their turn there (which of course your allies can force). A Bonfire square will add 1d8+2 per proc (with a Dex save to negate). A decent grappler can easily make both of these proc twice per turn. Or you could have Armor of Agathys up and have someone take 5 damage for hitting that. And then Hellish Rebuke them for 2d10+2/save for half (average 10.3 DPR against a +0 Dex save). And all of these possibilities are being added on top of what was already comparable to a GWM/GWF greatsword Action Surge.

    Not too shabby for a level 2 Wizard, eh? Incidentally, that combo will never stop being relevant (because Magic Missile is well worth upcasting on this build, and all of your cantrips will scale and improve with Evoker features).

    Continuing your progression, the level 2 combo will never stop being relevant. Hexblade's Curse will scale with your proficiency, keeping the damage of everything up when you want to go nova on someone. Your cantrips will double in damage at 5, become Potent at 7 (don't underestimate the difference between save negates and save for half on your DPR. For example, against a foe with a +3 Wis save at level 7, Potent Toll the Dead will deal ~39% more DPR), and will scale in damage again at 11 (another die and Empowered Evocation). This, plus your Bonfire action economy and ever-expanding list of rituals, helps ensure that your resourceless output is always at least respectable.

    Now, I'm not going to go over every single Wizard spell that you should use here (this is already a long enough post). I'm going to be focusing mostly on Evocation spells, since that's what's changed the most from standard Wizard strategies.

    For level 2 slots, your level 1 spells actually upcast pretty well. L2 Thunderwave matches the damage of Shatter (if not the range and area) while still knocking people back, and even a non-cursed L2 Magic Missile will out-DPR Scorching Ray against a target of AC14 or higher (and with curse MM is a good deal better). Turns out "just can't miss" really matters. The important blasting additions in L2 slots are the Concentration spells, like Flaming Sphere or Dragon's Breath. Cast it on a minion and watch 'em dish out a sculpted 3d6/save for half AoE every turn, with an element of your choice.

    Eventually you'll probably want to pick up See Invisibility, as well as other abilities that let you spot people, since many of your abilities require you to be able to see a target (Magic Missile included). However, you also have a lot of abilities that don't (AoEs, ally buffs, etc), so you can respond that way too.

    For level 3 slots, Fireball and Melf's Minute Meteors (or Spirit Guardians if you went Orzhov) are obvious choices for advancing your blasting career. And there's just a ton of great spells at this level... Sleet Storm, Hypnotic Pattern, Counterspell, Life Transference, etc. Phantom Steed is a particularly useful ritual to pick up.

    If you're not averse to animating the dead, that becomes a potent action economy tool, essentially allowing you to convert downtime into minions.

    For level 4 slots, Storm Sphere and Sickening Radiance are exceptional area denial spells since Sculpt Spells allows allies to walk through them safely (which means that enemies have to walk into the area if they want to engage them in melee. Or that allies can all surround them and get OAs if enemies try to leave. That sort of thing). Storm Sphere also upcasts decently well, since both the AoE and the bonus action scale (meaning that the damage can go up by 2d6 per slot level).

    You also can grab Fire Shield, which you can combine with Armor of Agathys and Hellish Rebuke to really make people regret engaging you in melee (though I usually just stand back unless allies need pressure taken off of them). And of course all the usual goodies like Polymorph and Evard's Tentacles and the like.

    For level 5 slots, the highlights on the Evocation list are Wall of Stone, Cone of Cold, Wall of Force, Bigby's Hand, and (surprisingly) Dawn, which actually becomes a half decent spell now that allies can move through it. Wall of Stone also offers a unique advantage; it's an Evocation spell, so allies automatically make their Dex saves. And if a target makes its Dex save against Wall of Stone, they can use their Reaction to move up to their speed.

    Animate Objects is also a noteworthy damage spell. Also, Bestow Curse upcasts well at this level (if cast with a level 5 slot, it lasts 8 hours and doesn't require Concentration).

    When you hit level 11, you get Empowered Evocation, which means your Magic Missile upcasting really takes off (and with Hexblade's Curse will generally be your biggest single target nova option from here on out), and that all of your other Evocation spells get a meaningful bump too.

    Once you have this ability, it becomes important to remember exactly what counts as a single damage roll and what doesn't. Per PHB pg.196, spells like Fireball roll the damage die just once, and apply that roll to all targets (or in the unique case of Magic Missile, potentially the same target multiple times).

    Side note: If you can get your hands on a merely Uncommon Wand of Magic Missiles (either by finding, buying, or crafting it), they are simply amazing for you with Empowered Evocation. They let you upcast, and they recharge daily. They're also non-attunement, so you could just have a bandolier of the things and spam upcast Magic Missiles to your heart's content.

    For level 6 slots, you get some important action economy tools unique to the Wizard. Contingency allows you to "store" a 5th level spell slot for a week, and unleash it without an action using whatever trigger you want. Even before you consider the amazing action economy implications, this basically allows you to use a non-adventuring day to give you an extra spell slot on an adventuring day. Otiluke's Freezing Sphere basically lets you hand a vastly larger radius Fireball to a minion to throw with their action instead of yours, meaning that as long as you have a couple rounds to prepare before kicking down the door you can set up some insane first round novas.

    Wall of Ice is also worth a mention due to the tricks you can do with Sculpt Spells. For example, you could use it on an ally engaged in melee to disengage them (pushing them to one side of the wall without damaging them) while damaging and blocking off the enemy. Also, your team can walk through the frigid air freely, while your enemies will take damage.

    For level 7 slots, there are three important spells on the Evocation list: Forcecage, Crown of Stars, and Whirlwind.

    Crown of Stars is a cornerstone of your blasting strategy from here on out. It basically does for you what Quicken Spell does for a Sorcerer, giving you 7x 4d12+5 shots as a bonus action, without eating your Concentration. For a Sorcerer to get 7 cantrip shots in with Quicken Spell, they'd need to spend a whopping 14 Sorcery points (which would take 2 7th level spell slots to create, or could be converted into 2 5th level spell slots). So I'd say this isn't a bad deal at all, resource-wise.

    Whirlwind takes on a whole new luster thanks to Sculpt Spells. In addition to its usual uses, allies can move inside of it to get at the foes trapped within, or to protect themselves from enemies outside. The Whirlwind will automatically block projectiles by sucking them up, and anything hostile trying to close to melee will take damage and be Restrained. They get a save every turn to escape, but that just hurls them away through the air and lands them prone far away from the protected ally.

    In addition to this, you get a truly game-changing spell unique to the Wizard list: Simulacrum. You can think of Simulacrum as allowing you to buy spell slots and actions with gold pieces. It can even add another Overchannel. Speaking of which...

    At level 15 you get Overchannel, an important ability to master. It maximizes all damage from a spell, including DoT effects, so things like Bigby's Hand, Storm Sphere, Wall of Fire, Fire Shield, Dawn, Sickening Radiance, or Spirit Guardians (if you took Orzhov, it's a Wizard spell for you) are particularly useful. Yet another reason that ongoing effects are a great choice is because you can potentially cast them out of combat, heal up the damage, and go into battle.

    For instant, non-Concentration damage, Fireball, Cone of Cold, and Vitriolic Sphere are all solid choices. Great for vaporizing swarms. For single-target, a max proficiency Hexblade's Curse Magic Missile will only go up from 101.5 (average) to 112 damage with Overchannel, so I don't usually use it for that.

    Spoiler: Overchannel management
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    Some people are overly scared of doing any damage to themselves at all with this, but I think playing around the self-inflicted damage is an important aspect of Overchannel. So how can you manage it?
    • You get 1 Overchannel/day free. So does your Simulacrum. So potentially 2 freebies before you have to damage either yourself or your Simulacrum.
    • As mentioned above, it's possible to Overchannel something with a good duration out of combat and heal up. Good if your party's out of combat healing is efficient enough.
    • Sometimes, the self-damage will be less than the amount of consequences the party will avoid by shaving even one round off the lifespans of Team Monster at high levels. 10d12 is a lot, but plenty of high level encounters can do worse. For example, you might clear out an enormous horde of minions, or save downed allies who are about to be finished off. Just use your good judgment; this is for calculated clutch plays, not for spamming and hoping for the best.
    • Many spells do some level of guaranteed damage (because of save/half). If you can guaranteed end the combat by using Overchannel, then nobody's going to finish you off even if you drop yourself to zero.
    • The amount of damage you can take is limited by the 0hp gate. If you're already at like 5 hit points, then using Overchannel to finish a combat right now has less of an opportunity cost in healing resources, and can very well save your life.
    • Also, pay attention to the initiative order. For example, if your familiar goes right after you, you can Overchannel with 5 hit points left then have your familiar feed you a cheap Healing Potion to pop you back up, leaving you in about the same place you started (7+2d4 hit points probably wasn't going to get you an extra hit from that Ancient Dragon any more than 2+2d4 was). For another example, if your Life Cleric is about to use a big AoE heal on already-wounded party members anyways, you might want to get in on that.
    • A cautionary note: If you Overchannel with very low hit points and a scaled up self-damage, you risk death by massive damage. It's negligible-to-nothing at 10d12 (less than 0.1% if you have 5 hit points and 94 max hp, which is the minimum you'll have at level 15), but can get pretty high if you do it at 15d12 or more. Don't overdo it. While I don't agree with the "only ever use it 1/day" philosophy, it's still not for spamming.

    For level 8 slots, you get stuff like Maze and Clone.

    For level 9 slots, you get stuff like Wish, Prismatic Wall, Foresight, and Meteor Swarm.

    For level 19 and 20 we can jump off into Fighter, now that we've got our precious 9th level spell slot. Taking the Defense fighting style will bump your AC, but that's not why we're here. Action Surge will serve as your devastating capstone, allowing you to cast a second 1 Action casting time spell in a round (and have your Simulacrum do so, too).






    Variants/Notes
    Spoiler: Nuclear Races
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    You want a bonus to Intelligence (so you can start with at least a 16), and at least 14 dexterity and 13 charisma (to qualify for Warlock), and to put whatever’s left over into Con.

    One interesting caveat of this is that the “+2 Cha, +1 Int” typing, usually anti-synergistic, actually works out just fine for you… which means that Yuan-Ti is even more attractive than normal. Not that they need it, the race already is overloaded with powerful features; most notably immunity to a common damage type and status effect, and Advantage on all saves against spells and other magical effects.

    However, many other races also fit in here well. Basically anything with a bonus to Intelligence and one of your secondary stats will do.

    1) A plain old PHB tiefling can take the same statline as a Yuan-Ti and give you Fire Resistance and a couple extra spell slots. Having an upcast Hellish Rebuke at level 3 is nice.

    2) You could also take the Winged Tiefling variant from SCAG for at-will flight.

    3) Or any of the Tieflings from MToF, combined with the Feral variant from SCAG to make their statlines appropriate. Yes, you can combine those. So feel free to get whatever racial spells you want.

    4) A Variant Human can take a starting array of 16 int / 14 Con / 14 Dex / 14 Cha if they take Res(Con) as their bonus feat. Then they can have a progression like Res(Con) > Max Int > Warcaster > Alert.

    5) Half-Elf has enough stats to end up with an array of 16/14/14/14/10/8 or 16/15/14/14/8/8 (which will end up at 16/16 when you take Res(Con). They've also got a bunch of variants to choose from in SCAG.

    6) Simic Hybrids can get the desired statline, +1 AC from their carapace, and some gliding wings or a climb speed.

    7) A Gnome could start with the usual 16/14/14/14 array, or they could go 17/14/14/13. In exchange for that point of Charisma, they can get an Int-boosting half-feat when reaching level 4, like Observant, Keen Mind, or Fade Away (from XGtE).

    8) There are plenty of good options in Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron: Changelings, Humans with the Mark of Making or Passage, Dwarves with the Mark of Warding, and Warforged Envoys are all great.

    Spoiler: Choosing Cantrips
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    For cantrips I recommend Create Bonfire and any 6 of the following: Shape Water, Control Flames, Mold Earth, Prestidigitation, Lightning Lure, Fire Bolt, Toll the Dead, Minor Illusion, Frostbite, Thunderclap, or (if Orzhov) Guidance. At least 2 of those should be attack cantrips. Here's why I recommend those spells:

    Create Bonfire This gives you a very worthwhile use for your Concentration for when you’re not dumping spell slots on it. Like a little at-will Cloud of Daggers. Works great with Potent Cantrip.

    Create Bonfire isn’t a totally brainless spell; to really get the most out of it you’re going to have to use a little strategy. But for skilled parties, it can really pay off, giving you a source of repeating damage that leaves your Action free and saves your slots for when you really need them.

    The most important things to remember are...
    A) Five foot cubes can affect multiple squares on a grid, making this an effective AoE. In fact, besides the Concentration aspect, it’s just a straight up superior AoE to Acid Splash.
    B) The damage can be activated once per turn, not once per round.
    C) It ignites things, so you can just have an Unseen Servant or Familiar or the like pour out oil touching the area and have it get lit up immediately. This makes for even meaner combinations with grapplers and the like.
    D) Players can surround a foe in a Create Bonfire square in such a formation that leaving the Create Bonfire square will provoke OAs from at least one of them.
    E) It’ll deal some guaranteed damage with Potent Cantrip.

    Mold Earth: This has occasionally been called the most underrated cantrip in the game. And while I wouldn't be counting on having the time and space to make 200 foot pitfalls before hitting bedrock, there is quite a lot you can do with it.

    Spoiler: A bunch of cool stuff you can do with Mold Earth
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    Like other “shape element” cantrips this scales with your creativity and resourcefulness, and distinctly lacks a Verbal component (so you can mess with things without revealing your position).

    The first bullet point in the spell's description is the most important one. I’ve seen at least one person say “you can do that with a shovel!” I think that they lack a sense of scale.

    The ability to instantaneously excavate a 5x5x5 foot cube’s worth of earth (125 cubic feet / ~4.6 cubic yards / about 5000 pounds of rather average dirt) in 6 seconds gives you an ability to create earthworks and excavations comparable to an army of people with shovels and entrenching tools. You can move 75,000 cubic feet of earth in an hour. That’s no joke. That’s like 250 commercial dump trucks worth of dirt. Literally tons upon tons upon tons of dirt. Mind, you might move less than that in practice (since you might have to move some clumps of dirt more than 5 feet for your engineering project of choice), but even a fraction of that amount is astronomically beyond the scope of what one can do with a shovel in that sort of time frame. This is an architect’s dream.

    Some examples of uses (some may require some good old fashioned manual labor in addition to use of the spell, but the spell greatly expedites the process):
    • Signalling/communicating with allies silently (via the “make shapes appear” function)
    • Create pit traps.
    • Create earthworks fortifications, cover, etc.
    • Construct shelters surprisingly quickly.
    • Redirect a river or lava flow.
    • Burrow under a building.
    • Sink aforementioned building, or otherwise undermine its foundations. Sapper work in general.
    • Dig a grave instantly.
    • Dig up a grave instantly, for you grave robbers and necromancers out there.
    • Excavate buried ruins with one man instead of 100.
    • Block off dungeon passageways until you’re ready to go through them.
    • Reinforce an unstable structure.
    • Hide underground.
    • Activate pressure plates and other traps by sending mounds of earth ahead of you. Why sacrifice innocent summoned minions when you can just use sand?
    • Cleaning.


    Some examples of possible mid-combat uses:
    • Create cover around a ranged character (think digging a foxhole surrounded by dirt mounds). ľ cover is frequently better than the Dodge action, and this action can be taken on behalf of an ally. Sure, the wall’s only “loose earth” but it’s a considerable lot of it (~4.6 cubic yards of dirt plus ~4.6 cubic yards of hole. To get an idea of how enormous that is, here's just 2 cubic yards, with no foxhole. So think almost 5 times that space to work with)
    • Fill in a hole, while someone is in it. Multiple characters with the cantrip can both make the hole and fill it in, potentially burying a foe alive in a single round. A DM will probably permit some some sort of reaction for that, though.
    • Block up Tucker’s Kobolds’ stupid tunnels. Possibly after throwing some smoke generating fire in there. See how they like it.
    • An enemy is standing near a cliff edge. You shape the earth they’re standing on into a steep slide.


    The main thing holding this spell back is that it’s limited by environment. That said, loose earth isn’t exactly a particularly rare type of terrain; it applies to most outdoor environs, and in a medieval setting it would apply to quite a few indoor ones as well. And you always have the option of bringing some earth with you (such as for the pressure plates usage I suggested).

    Side note: The term "loose earth" is rather ambiguous. After all "loose" is a relative term, some dirt is packed tighter than other dirt, and all dirt is loose compared to stone. Thankfully the intent has been clarified in Sage Advice; it basically refers to any dirt short of solid stone. Basically, if you can use a shovel on it, you can Mold it.


    Shape Water: Like other “shape element” cantrips this scales with your creativity and resourcefulness, and distinctly lacks a Verbal component (so you can mess with things without revealing a hidden position).

    This thread has a solid collection of ideas for uses.

    Minor Illusion: An at-will, non-concentration illusion? Shut up and take my cantrip slot!

    One interesting tidbit is that this (alongside all of the "shape element" cantrips) has no Verbal component, so you can mess with things without revealing a hidden position.

    Fire Bolt: Toll the Dead is the standby damage cantrip, but what if you really want to target AC? For ranged Evocation cantrips that target AC, it's basically either this or Ray of Frost. This one has higher damage, twice the range, and can target objects. Though this doesn't work with Potent Cantrip, it's nice to have a 120 foot range option on hand.

    Ray of Frost is a solid alternative if your team is set up to take advantage of the slows. Some people like to deliver Shocking Grasp through their familiars to get rid of reactions, too. Whichever you go for, I wouldn't take more than 1 AC-targeting cantrip.

    Both of these, however, are subject to the disadvantages of ranged attack rolls. Enemies can give you Disadvantage by being in melee with you or being prone, or they could get cover from any number of sources (including your own melee front line). And they won't benefit from Potent Cantrip.

    Control Flames: This is my personal favorite of the 3 "light" spells. Dancing Lights is limited by the fact that it requires precious Concentration, and the main trick I see advocated for it (lighting up enemies while keeping your allies obscured in darkness) can be accomplished by alternative means, like an Unseen Servant with a bullseye lantern, or lighting the room on fire (it's utility, I say!). Light can only produce 20ft bright/20 ft dim light, and can only create a single effect.

    By contrast, Control Flames can produce 60 ft bright / 60 ft dim (equivalent brightness to the Daylight spell) with a hooded lantern, or 120 ft bright / 120 ft dim with a bullseye lantern. Even a lowly, expendable torch will provide 40/40 and can be dropped or tossed like a flare. Additionally, it can maintain up to 3 effects, rather than just one. And it doesn't take Concentration.

    The main advantage of Light is that its a waterproof, completely expendable light that doesn't take up your hand. But I can make a permanent one of those with Continual Flame without using up a precious cantrip slot, and the one made by Continual Flame can illuminate magical darkness if upcast to level 3 or higher (since as a general rule, lights created with a slot of level 3 or higher illuminate magical Darkness).

    In addition to its utility as a light spell, Control Flames can do some other things. Here's a few ideas:
    • No Verbal component means you can do things like animate some guardsmens' torches to make it appear like they're sputtering out naturally in a gust of wind, without revealing your Hidden position. Useful against enemies that don't have Darkvision.
    • It's an efficient fire extinguisher. Other cantrips can do this, but not with a similar level of efficiency. Given that spells like Fireball ignite everything flammable in the area, it can be handy to be able to clean up your own messes. (Note: While you can't extinguish magic fire, the fires created as collateral damage of magic are usually nonmagical)
    • You can change the color of flames, and nothing is stopping you from choosing a color that's not in the visible spectrum.
    • You can exacerbate the effect of things like Alchemist's Fire, oil flasks, or squares lit on fire by your various spells (because while you can't manipulate magical flame, you can manipulate the nonmagical fires that they might start as collateral damage).
    • Performance art. Minor Illusion is great, but it can't make something animated.


    Lightning Lure: A d8 base damage that works with Potent Cantrip and Empowered Evocation, and can pull people into your Create Bonfire or other hazards. The downside is that it’s short range, and the damage only triggers if the enemy ends up within 5 feet of you (which sadly limits its synergy with Potent Cantrip).

    Toll the Dead: The straight up highest damage single target cantrip prior to getting Empowered Evocation, and competitive even after that (e.g. 4d12 is more than 4d8+5). Very consistent output with Potent Cantrip. Also doesn't care about cover, people being in melee with you, etc.

    Some people suffer from loss aversion bias and skip this because it doesn't work with Empowered Evocation. That would be a mistake, since Potent Toll the Dead will often outperform Empowered Fire Bolt.

    Thunderclap: Gives you access to a 15-foot diameter aoe (e.g. extending 5 feet from each edge of your square) that’s compatible with Potent Cantrip and Empowered Evocation. Handy for clearing away mook swarms. The main disadvantage is that you need to be right up close.

    Better than Sword Burst mostly because it’s compatible with Empowered Evocation. The difference in save types doesn't matter that much (unlike big guys, little mooks often have fairly similar Dex and Con saves, and these spells are for little mooks).

    Frostbite: The main selling point of Frostbite is that it works with both Potent Cantrip and Empowered Evocation, and thus can be a solid pick for the last cantrip you learn (e.g. when you have both of those things). It still won't do as much damage as Toll the Dead (despite EE), but Toll the Dead doesn't give people Disadvantage.

    It's better when allies all have an at least decent AC (because Disadvantage helps less if they just have a bad 14 AC vs enemies with +10 to hit anyways).

    Prestidigitation: If you didn't have Prestidigitation, you would have to live like a martial peasant. You'd have to clean the blood off your robes. You'd have to go without chilling your drink to the perfect temperature. And you would have to endure the actual flavor of trail rations. And you couldn't pleasantly scent your scarf and pull it up over your nose when skulking through smelly old dungeons. It's undignified.


    Spoiler: Feats
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    Alert is a great defensive and offensive feat for a Wizard. It'll prevent unseen foes from getting advantage, prevent them from surprising you (one of the deadlier scenarios in 5e), and allow you to go first, which often means weakening or killing enemies before they get to act.

    Resilient (Con) will help you maintain Concentration and help you make saves against various nasty things.

    If you have more space for feats due to rolling high on Intelligence, being a VHuman, or simply want to change things up, here's some more good choices:

    Warcaster will improve your Concentration and allow you to apply pressure with OAs (something that's very doable when you have access to stuff like a good AC, Fire Shield, Armor of Agathys, Hellish Rebuke, and hazard spells).

    Inspiring Leader scales primarily based on level, and with 13 Cha you qualify for it! If your party doesn't have a lot of sources of temporary hit points, this will provides more hit points than a Con bump for your whole team and your minions (your familiar might actually be able to survive a hit).

    A +2 Con bump doesn't hurt. I prefer this to Tough since it will improve your Concentration and saving throw.

    Lucky is a decent all-around feat for everyone, mostly for negating crits and retrying saving throws. It's something you take after you have all the other feats you really want in order to lower the chances of failing that crucial saving throw.

    If you happen to have an odd Int score, you can bump it up with Observant or Keen Mind. The latter becomes attractive if your DM rules that you can memorize your spellbook so that you can re-scribe it if it's lost (and if your DM is the kind where that sort of thing is a real possibility). Flames of Phlegethos is good for this if you're a Tiefling.

    Speaking of Tieflings, you might go Res(Con), end up with an odd Con score, and then bump it back up to even with Infernal Constitution. Now you've got 3 resistances, all to some of the most common damage types (Fire, Cold, Poison), and Advantage on saving throws against one of the more common status effects (Poisoned).

    Spoiler: Multiclassing
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    You can take the Hexblade level at pretty much any time in your progression, it doesn't need to be first. However, taking it first will give you +2 hit points and proficiency in Charisma saving throws, which is good because it evens out your saves. A defense is only as strong as its weakest link, after all.

    You also can choose to leave out Fighter and instead take more levels in Wizard. Doing so will give you an extra ASI, an extra 6th level spell slot, and access to Spell Mastery, which allows you to pick 2 at-will spells. There are a lot of good options there.

    What's good for Spell Mastery? Here's some ideas:
    Big Sustained DPR: Magic Missile + Dragon's Breath, shared by you and your Simulacrum, means 51 guaranteed damage and 6d6 AoE damage from your two familiars, and still room for a bonus action like Crown of Stars. Significantly more with Hexblade's Curse.
    Concentration-Free Defenses: Shield + Mirror's Image.
    Concentration-Free Vision Control: See Invisibility or Pyrotechnics.

    This loses out on the devastating nova potential of Action Surge, but honestly your novas are already really mean without it, and some tables will prefer you don't do quite that much damage

    Spoiler: How do I get my resourceless contribution up as a Wizard?
    Show

    Asmodeus kills a kitten familiar every time a Wizard player thinks the entirety of their resourceless contribution is just casting Fire Bolt. I’m here to tell you that you’ve got options. Good ones!

    First, use rituals. Use them all the time. You can cast them while moving, so be casting one at every spare moment just in case there happens to be ten minutes between things happening. Many good rituals last for an hour with no Concentration (Phantom Steed, Unseen Servant, etc) so you can have multiple ones going at a time. Some might as well be permanent features (for example, Water Breathing lasts 24 hours and affects the entire party, which means you just cast it as part of your daily routine and everyone breathes water forever).

    Things like opening a fight with 200 foot moves (Phantom Steed) or having an Unseen Servant laying out ball bearings as a bonus action or using a potion on an ally or even just shining a Control Flame bullseye lantern on things can really add up.

    Second, use your familiar. Use them all the time. Have that owl flyby and use the Help action to boost the DPR of an ally (ideally someone like a Rogue or GWM user or something) and then get to a safe location. The difference between their normal DPR and advantage DPR? That’s part of your unselfish DPR contribution, and didn’t even take any of your actions. Familiars can also do things like pour out vials or oil or drop caltrops or carry Control Flames lanterns or whatever.

    Also don’t forget that Mr. Owl has a very respectable passive perception of 18 (13+5 from keen sight and hearing) and 120 foot darkvision. And can fly around. And a bunch of other things. Basically, familiars are awesome. If they die just resummon them for a pittance.

    Third, Create Bonfire is a great way to use your Concentration when you’re not using it on actual spells. It’s a solid AoE (remember, 5-foot cubes can affect multiple squares, see “how AoE spells work on a grid”) that deals damage comparable (or superior if it hits 2+ targets) to most other cantrips when it’s thrown out... but creates a persistent hazard that allows for recurrent damage, potentially once per turn (not once per round). If you’ve got a stunner or restrainer or a grappler or a repelling eldritch blaster or a Pushing Attack battlemaster or a Thorn Whipper or an Open Hand Monk or any of a ton of other things in your party, you can be proccing that over and over again (not to mention being able to do so with your own abilities, like Thunderwave or Lightning Lure). And you can have your familiar or unseen servant pour an oil vial on an area touching the space (which the bonfire will then ignite) for more damage every time they enter it or end their turn there. And once you get Potent Cantrip it’ll do damage even if the enemy saves. And there’s no risk to your own team from the hazard since you can just drop Concentration at any time, even off-turn.

    You can even set it up before a fight begins to save on action economy (for example, setting it right near the dungeon door you’re about to kick in). You also can get some damage off enemies trying to leave the square (since ideally your teammates should be positioning for OAs).

    Great cantrip that can really rack up damage with a little teamwork, while leaving your action free for #4.

    Fourth, your other cantrips. For raw damage, there’s Toll the Dead (targeting Wis and benefiting from Potent Cantrip) or Fire Bolt (targeting AC and benefiting from Empowered Evocation, and allowing you to take advantage of your familiar’s Help if you don’t have anyone better to use it on at the moment). Lightning Lure can benefit from both PC and EE, and can pull people into your hazards (like Create Bonfire, burning oil, or slotted spells). Thunderclap gives you a 15-foot diameter AoE that benefits from PC and EE. Frostbite’s damage becomes decent with PC and EE and can give an opponent Disadvantage to attack. There’s also the creative cantrips, like creating cover with Minor Illusion or Mold Earth.

    So now you combine all of these things simultaneously (and potentially more, I’m just giving you the short list here. Seriously the Wizard optimization rabbit hole goes deep). So you’ve got your unseen servant pouring out oil on your Bonfire square (which potentially hit multiple enemies when you first cast it), which then does (tier)d8/save for half (Potent Cantrip) and 5 guaranteed (oil) every time you can get someone to enter it or end their turn there. And you’ve got your familiar granting Advantage on an attack (contributing more DPR to the party). And you’re throwing out a Toll the Dead or a Frostbite for (tier)d6+5/save for half and giving the enemy Disadvantage. And you’ve got your archer on a phantom steed riding around. All at the same time.

    And you haven’t even used a single spell slot yet.


    Whew. Wizards have a lot to cover (I actually cut this down pretty considerably from my original draft, since it was too long). Anyways, hope you enjoy!

    There's an awful lot of stuff in here and I'm not perfect, so please let me know if I messed anything up and I'll correct it posthaste
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2020-08-19 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Added some additional notes to the "multiclassing" variant section
    Quote Originally Posted by Expected View Post
    Thank you again, LudicSavant, you math skills are VERY useful and so are your graphs and explanations.
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Whew. Wizards have a lot to cover (I actually cut this down pretty considerably from my original draft, since it was too long). Anyways, hope you enjoy!

    There's an awful lot of stuff in here and I'm not perfect, so please let me know if I messed anything up and I'll correct it posthaste
    While not evocation spells, see invisibility and true sight deserve a mention, since not being able to see the target is another one of the few things that can counter the magic missile nuke.

    As a criticism, I think your seriously overestimate create bonfire. If anyone is to not pity using a spell slot for an effective concentration effect, that would be a wizard.
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    I hereby bestow upon you a magic sword, the Sword of Corran, which will henceforth be the only thing that can permanently destroy my withered undead hand and nose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Alright, let's build a Nuclear Wizard!
    At Lyracian's request, I'll be providing multiple versions using different races.
    Thank you for thinking of me! I shall enjoy reading all of this tomorrow. Just off to bed and saw you had posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyracian View Post
    Thank you for thinking of me! I shall enjoy reading all of this tomorrow. Just off to bed and saw you had posted.
    NP!

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    *snip*
    Thanks for the feedback! I really like all of the "information wars" abilities like See Invisibility and True Seeing. Added a mention as suggested.

    I do think you're underestimating Create Bonfire, however; that cantrip has seriously been paying my bills through multiple campaigns, especially over long adventuring days.

    Spoiler: Reasons why
    Show

    Note how well CB compares to the actual second level spell, Cloud of Daggers, at just level 7. It does 2d8 initial damage, and every time someone enters or ends turn in my Create Bonfire + oil square, they take 2d8 (save for half) +5 (oil, no save). So 14 damage / save for 9.5 damage. Cloud of Daggers simply does 4d4 (10) on each proc, and doesn't even do initial damage. It's a bit easier to proc (because of "starts turn there" instead of "ends turn there") but that's about it. And it's not like that damage can only hit once.

    Seriously, I'll keep having situations like: Cast bonfire on two adjacent targets > Warlock knocks someone in with Repelling EB for a proc > grappler moves them out and back in for a proc > grappler prevents them from moving on their turn for a proc > people trying to get out of the bonfire take OAs from surrounding party, or use the Disengage action or use their single spell for the turn on Misty Step or something. At which point I've done 5 hits of bonfire and 3 hits of oil for 10d8/save for half (bonfire) +15 (oil, no miss chance) on the first round, possibly more if people take OAs trying to get out of dodge. And then I get my next turn, where something similar happens except my action is now free to add onto it. And of course if they leave we can often just knock 'em right back in.

    The strength of Create Bonfire (and many other hazard spells, for that matter) is that it aggravates the impact of positioning and pressure abilities for you and the rest of the party. If your party understands that, you can just sit back and watch beautiful damage rack up. As long as you or anyone in your team can reliably proc it (and there are lots ways to do that), then it's superb value for a cantrip.

    Incidentally, the example I just gave isn't even on the higher end of how much you can exploit Create Bonfire. For instance, stuff like this exists: https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/com...reate_bonfire/. It's entirely possible for a single character to reliably and resourcelesly activate a Bonfire/oil square 3 times in a round (4 if you count the initial hit).
    Last edited by LudicSavant; 2019-06-26 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Made post neater with a spoiler block
    Quote Originally Posted by Expected View Post
    Thank you again, LudicSavant, you math skills are VERY useful and so are your graphs and explanations.
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

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    What's DoT?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky McDibben View Post
    What's DoT?
    Damage over time. Stuff with a duration that deals damage, basically.
    Quote Originally Posted by Expected View Post
    Thank you again, LudicSavant, you math skills are VERY useful and so are your graphs and explanations.
    Some of my Stuff:
    Frequency of Resistances in MM, Volo's, MToF | Comprehensive DPR Calculator | An Eclectic Collection of Fun and Effective Builds | Unusual Life Cleric Character Concepts

    A Reinvented Pantheon (Made for 3.5, but adaptable):
    Nerull | Wee Jas | Olidammara | Erythnul | Hextor | Corellon Larethian | Lolth | The Deep Ones

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    Thanks; love these builds!!!

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    @LudicSavant
    Thank you! I like both your content and your way of conveying it. I look forward to see if you're going about it the same way I would! Before seeing it, I was thinking Hexblade 1 / Evocation Wizard X. Let me know if I can ever help you in some way and thank you again for your great work.

    [Was from a PM before reading the thread when Ludic did me the favour of notifying me of nuclear going up]

    - of course the Action Surge from Fighter was the cheese topping that I forgot about (I've yet to go 5e to that level range).
    I might attack your points aggressively: nothing personal. If I call out a fallacy in your argumentation, it doesn't mean I think you are arguing in bad faith. I invite you to call out if I somehow fail to live by the Twelve Virtues of Rationality.

    My favourite D&D session had 3 dice rolls. I'm currently curious to any system that has a higher amount of choices in and out of combat than 5e from the beginning of the game; especially for non-spellcasters. Please PM any recommendations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    Build 1: Celestial Generalist
    This is a jack of all trades build highlighting the versatility of the Celestial Warlock.
    I have created this for an actual game. We roleled stats (mine are not great). Decided to go with Half-Elf and take Moderately Armoured at Level 4 since the +2 Chr is the same as an ASI.
    Starting with 9/14/10/11/10/18.

    The order you had the spells listed is somewhat confusing so I split it by level.

    Spells Known
    1st: Cure Wounds, Armor of Agathys, Hex, Hellish Rebuke
    2nd: Misty Step
    3rd: Hypnotic Pattern, Revivify, Counterspell, Thunder Step,
    5th: Synaptic Static, Greater Restoration
    Mystic Arcanum: Mass Suggestion

    Were you just taking Thuder Step over Dimension Door due to the damage?
    Last edited by Lyracian; 2019-06-27 at 08:44 AM.

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    I thought Empowered Evocation only applies to one damage roll per spell casting; doesn’t magic missile roll separately for each missiles?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone_Knight View Post
    I thought Empowered Evocation only applies to one damage roll per spell casting; doesn’t magic missile roll separately for each missiles?
    Not by RAW:

    "Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky McDibben View Post
    Not by RAW:

    "Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast."
    That wording wouldn't add damage to each missile if they were rolled separately. You'd add the intelligence modifier once to the spell and that would be it.

    The key is that Magic Missiles aren't rolled separately. As Ludic linked in his post, on Twitter Crawford confirmed this.

    "Yep. It's one damage roll, just like fireball, but that roll can damage the same target more than once."

    https://twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/...23175581769729
    Last edited by Evaar; 2019-06-27 at 02:03 PM.

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    This feels like one of those weird rules interactions that winds up with a very non-intuitive result. Thanks for breaking it down for me, but I think I would rule that Empowered Evocation would apply to all the damage rolls of evocation spells you attack with - like Scorching Ray would get +5 added to each of those rolls. That way a 2nd level spell scales up and remains relevant to an 11th level wizard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky McDibben View Post
    Not by RAW:

    "Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to the damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast."
    Check the current official PHB errata. I don’t have enough posts to link it, but it specifies that “the damage roll” should be “one damage roll.”

    Of course, if magic missile is only one damage roll that is rolled once and applied to each missile, the point is moot.

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    Thanks Ludic! You're a godsend for those of us too busy to dream these builds up!

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