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Wizard 5e DnD Class Guide

They say that knowledge is power and that’s especially true for a Wizard. Wizards don’t have fancy armor or a big battle axe. What they do have is a PhD in awesome. Let’s take a closer look and see what makes one of the most iconic DnD character classes so special in our detailed guide to DnD 5e’s Wizard.


The Pointy Hats are at it again. 

Every time the city watch gets called into the Arcane University I always have a bad day. Apparently, a few of the students thought they knew better than the Arch Mage and snuck into the restricted section of the library.

The fools ended up raising half a cemetery worth of zombies by reading some gibberish in a book. It a whole squad of guards to track all of them down. The last one was a little too fresh. It walked home and tried to get back into its old bed.

From the journal of Captain Vyes 3rd precinct, city watch, 7th of Hammer, 1383.

Read our detailed class guide to DnD Wizard 5e below.

MORE CLASS GUIDES: ARTIFICER | BARBARIAN | BARD | CLERIC | DRUID | FIGHTER | MONK | PALADIN | RANGER | ROGUE | SORCERER | WARLOCK | WIZARD

Overview of 5e Wizard

Dnd 5e Wizard Class
Dnd 5e Wizard Class

Wizards have the widest variety of spells out of all of the 5e spellcasters. 

A Wizard’s magic comes through careful study and discipline. The world of magic is open to all if they have the intelligence and discipline to learn it. In addition to the multitude of spells available to wizards they also have several different colleges or specializations of magic that they can focus on. 

  • One wizard could learn to harness the elements for their own use. 
  • Some learn magic to heal or make their lives better. 
  • Others learn to conjure up creatures to do their bidding. 

There are even a few wizards that delve deep into dark magics looking for immortality. 

Notable Wizards in DnD

Mordenkainen

His name probably sounds familiar. That’s because some of the most well-known and beloved spells are his creation. Mordenkainen is one of the most powerful wizards in the entirety of the DnD Forgotten Realms setting. He’s been a part of multiple groups that have altered the history of the Forgotten Realms, and his spells are the things of legends. 

Wizard 5e Class Features & Abilities

Hit Dice: 1d6 

  • Proficiencies: Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows.
  • Ability Score: Intelligence

Spellcasting & Spellbooks

The Spellbook is the lifeblood of the Wizard. It’s where they keep all of their accumulated knowledge about their spells and is an important aspect of their spellcasting.

The spells added to the Wizards spellbook are part of their research over time. They are, after all, scholars. Their field of study just happens to be how to shoot fireballs or raise the dead. 

If a Wizard finds another spellbook or scroll containing a spell they can copy it into their book as long as they have time to decipher it and they have spell slots in the particular level. Each Wizard is highly protective of their obtained knowledge and most Wizards use a personalized notation or code to write down their spells. 

It takes 2 hours and 50 gold for each level of the spell to copy it down into their spellbook. Once it’s written in their spellbook the Wizard can prepare it like any of their other known spells. 

If the Wizard needs to copy a spell from their own Spellbook or has knowledge of the code and notation used, copying a spell only takes 1 hour and 10 gold. It may be useful to make a copy of their spellbook in case something goes wrong. After all, it’s always a good idea to back up your data. Perhaps even hiding a copy in another plane of existence filled with clouds…

Preparing Spells & Spellcasting Ability

Dnd 5e Wizard Class

Wizards do not have innate magic like some of the other classes. Instead, their magical powers come from study and hard work. The Wizard must prepare the spells from their spellbook after each Long Rest. The Wizard will also regain all their spell slots at the end of the Long Rest. 

The Casting Ability for the Wizard is Intelligence. The Wizard can prepare spells equal to their Wizard level + Intelligence Modifier. They can be any combination of spell levels, as long as the Wizard has the spell levels available. 

Ritual Casting

Wizards can cast any of the Ritual Spells in their Spellbook without preparing them. They’ll have to cast a spell as a ritual with all the necessary components. 

Spellcasting Focus

Wizards can choose to use an Arcane Focus. This allows them to cast spells without using material components. 

Arcane Recovery

While taking a Short Rest, the Wizard can do some last-minute cramming and study their Spellbook to regain used Spell Slots. During a Short Rest, they can Regain up to half their Wizard level in used Spell Slots (rounded up)

A level 4, a Wizard taking a short rest can regain up to 2 used Spell Slots, and a level 5 can regain up to 3, etc. 

Arcane Tradition

At level 2, the Wizard can pick their Arcane Specialization. Keeping with the university metaphor, it’s like picking a major. The Arcane Tradition the Wizard chooses acts as their subclass. 

Ability Score Improvement

Like most other classes, the Wizard gets 2 new ability scores on the 4th, 8th, 12th, 16th, and 19th levels. They can distribute them as they want as long as they don’t go above 20. Read more about Ability Score Improvement.

Spell Mastery

Level 18: The Wizard has cast certain spells over and over and they have become second nature to them. At level 18, the Wizard chooses a 1st & 2nd Level spell in their Spellbooks. These can now be cast without using a Spell Slot. It’s like having 2 new overpowered Cantrips. If the Spell can be powered up by expending a higher level spell slot, the Wizard will still need to expend the higher slot. 

Signature Spells

Level 20: Signature Spell works like Spell Mastery. Instead, the Wizard chooses two 3rd level spells. These are considered always prepared and don’t count against the prepared spell limit. Additionally, both spells can be cast once at Level 3 without using a Spell Slot. If the Wizard powers up the Spell with a higher level, then they’ll still lose the Spell Slot. The free spell is regained after a long or short rest. 

Wizard 5e Subclasses

Dnd 5e Wizard Class

The Wizard Subclasses focus their studies on a particular type of magic. Wizards may be able to cast multiple spells from different schools of magic, but they’ll typically focus on one specific type and that becomes their specialty. The Player’s Handbook covers the basics, and then there are a few supplemental books that add a few more specialized Wizards into the mix. 

Abjuration

The School of Abjuration is all about defense. Abjuration spells focus on blocking attacks or defending the party. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Abjuration Savant
  • Arcane Ward
  • Projected Ward
  • Improved Abjuration
  • Spell Resistance

Conjuration

The Conjuration School allows the Wizard to summon objects or creatures from different planes or simply through magical means. It’s incredibly versatile and a smart player can come up with something for any situation. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Conjuration Savant
  • Minor Conjuration
  • Benign Transportation
  • Focused Conjuration
  • Durable Summons

Divination

Divination Wizards always know what’s going on. Their spells allow the Wizard to gain information through magical means. Why use a Ranger on the party to track a beast when you can just magically GPS navigate straight to where you need to go? (Player’s Handbook)

  • Divination Savant
  • Portent
  • Expert Divination
  • The Third Eye
  • Greater Portent

Enchantment

Why make friends when you can just magically force people to like you? 

Enchantment Wizards specialize in using their magic to charm and convince others to help them out. They’re able to calm their enemies and delight those around them with their magic. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Enchantment Savant
  • Hypnotic Gaze
  • Instinctive Charm
  • Split Enchantment
  • Alter Memories

Evocation

If you’re unsure of what type of Wizard to play you’ll never be disappointed with an Evocation Wizard. This school focuses on harnessing the elements and allows the Wizard to shoot lightning or the iconic Fireball. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Evocation Savant
  • Sculpt Spells
  • Potent Cantrip
  • Empowered Evocation
  • Overchannel

Illusion

Have you ever wanted to turn invisible? Illusion magic may seem like all fun and games, but when used in the right (or wrong) hands, it can be absolutely devastating on the battlefield. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Illusion Savant
  • Improved Minor Illusion
  • Malleable Illusion
  • Illusory Self
  • Illusory Reality

Necromancy

Necromancers are just healers with bad timing…

But seriously, Necromancers raise the dead. Their spells usually deal with bringing things back to life or causing necrotic damage. They’re not usually looked upon favorably by most NPCs, because they’re typically associated with evil. 

Personally, I don’t know why the Necromancers get so much bad press. They’re great at raising the party’s spirits. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Necromancy Savant
  • Grim Harvest
  • Undead Thralls
  • Inured to Death
  • Command Dead

Transmutation

There’s always that one Wizard in every class that tries to turn iron into gold. This is DnD, after all, so one usually gets it right. Transmutation Wizards can change the physical world around them through magical means. A flimsy door could become stronger than steel, or a vault door could be made to crumble like dust. (Player’s Handbook)

  • Transmutation Savant
  • Minor Alchemy
  • Transmuter’s Stone
  • Shapechanger
  • Master Transmuter

Bladesinging

Bladesinging reminds me of Capoeira. Bladesingers use a one-handed blade to magically enhance their physical prowess. They can dance around the battlefield and slice their enemies to pieces. It’s an odd mixture of martial class and spellcaster. (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

  • Training in War and Song
  • Bladesong
  • Extra Attack
  • Song of Defense
  • Song of Victory

Order of Scribes

Words have power, and nobody knows this better than the Order of Scribes Wizards. They say that all wizards are scholars, but the Order of Scribes takes it to the next level and turns their knowledge and books into weapons themselves. (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

  • Wizardly Quill
  • Awakened Spellbook
  • Manifest Mind
  • Master Scrivener
  • One with the Word

War Magic

War Mages are exactly what they sound like. These are Wizards who have trained and studied specifically to be damage powerhouses. Keeping with the University setting, these Wizards would be enrolled in the ROTC program and ready to blow stuff up the second they get out in the world. (Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)

  • Arcane Deflection
  • Tactical Wit
  • Power Surge
  • Durable Magic
  • Deflecting Shroud

Graviturgy

Graivturgy Wizards specialize in manipulating gravity. The inner physicist in all of us should be screaming right now. (Explorer’s Guide to Wildemont)

  • Adjust Density
  • Gravity Well
  • Violent Attraction
  • Event Horizon

Playing as a Wizard in 5e

Think of the Wizard as the Artillery or big guns of the party. 

Wizards have access to THE BEST and most powerful spells in the game. Technically, if a player adventures long enough, they could potentially learn all of the spells in the DnD world. They’d need a rather large spellbook, but it could happen.

Speaking of the Spellbook, the Spellbook is the core part of the Wizard. It allows them to build up a series of spells that they can use in any situation. The Wizard isn’t just a mobile Fireball. After each long rest, the Wizard can prepare spells to get them out of any situation they find themselves in, and they’re going to have a lot of options.

Playing as a Wizard is all about planning. It’s good to have tried and true damage spells like Fireball or Magic Missile, but it’s also incredibly handy to have support spells. It could be the difference between life and death.

We hope you enjoyed this Wizard 5e DnD Class Guide, why not check out How to Roll for Stats or Death Saving Throws.

SHARING IS CARING

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