Last Updated on January 10, 2023
The role of the Cleric has always been one of support.
Within the party ranks, you play the part of healer and holy force, and, mainly, if you have opted to pursue one of the more aggressive Domain paths, you will be found holding your own in the front line of melee, shoulder-to-shoulder with the Fighters. It is a varied role but an important one regarding a party’s success.
But the big question is if you are one of the party’s main support mechanisms, who will you rely on for support? The answer, to some degree, can be found with the Guardian of Faith spell.
What is Guardian of Faith Spell?
The spell’s text from the Player’s Handbook reads: “A Large spectral guardian appears and hovers for the duration in an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within range. The guardian occupies that space and is indistinct except for a gleaming sword and shield emblazoned with the symbol of your deity.
Any creature hostile to you that moves to a space within 10 feet of the guardian for the first time on a turn must succeed on a dexterity saving throw. The creature takes 20 radiant damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The guardian vanishes when it has dealt a total of 60 damage.”
Guardian of Faith 5e Stats
|Casting Time||1 Action|
How does Guardian of Faith work?
When you utter the words required to cast the spell, a spectral Guardian in a space close to you that is both unoccupied and within line of sight of the caster; the Guardian is invisible except for the sword and shield that it wields, both of which will be noticeably adorned with the symbols and images of the casters diety.
Whenever any creature hostile to the caster moves within 10 feet of the Guardian’s location, they must make a saving throw based on their Dexterity.
If they fail, they immediately take 20 points of damage, succeed and only sustain half of that amount. Once the Guardian has delivered 60 points of damage or the spell duration is up, it disappears.
One of the neat things about the spell is that it only has a verbal component. This means that even if stripped of all possessions, bound and helpless, as long as you can speak, you can summon the Guardian of Faith. It also lasts eight hours, meaning that the spell is good value for money.
The Guardian can’t move but acts as an excellent sentinel for a party who plan to stay in one place for a while or if facing a large number of foes and where the Guardian would be expected to get to its 60 damage point limit reasonably quickly.
Is Guardian of Faith a good spell?
As stated above, the spell duration is reasonably long for this conjuration spell and so perfect to set in place as a trap, especially if you are forewarned and know when and where an attack or intrusion is expected. Once operational, the range is also excellent.
Most hand-to-hand combat takes place at around 5 feet from your target; the fact that the Guardian can attack from 10 feet is advantageous. And, again, as mentioned above, a spell with a verbal-only component means that you need no materials or gestures to cast it, and it requires no concentration to maintain—all excellent reasons to equip yourself with this spell.
The only real downside to the spell is the payoff with the amount of damage that the spell can inflict as you rise in levels. At the lower end of its availability, 60 guaranteed points of radiant damage are significant.
As you advance through the ranks, this fixed number gradually drops in utility. You will probably opt for more potent spells to take their place at higher levels. That said, it is a spell that will serve you well at the lower and middling level adventures.
One big drawback is that the Guardian of Faith cannot move. Once positioned, it is there for the entirety of its existence. It can reach 10 feet to attack anything within range, but that sphere of attack, once established, remains fixed.
The Guardian is not a physical being and doesn’t react to its location similarly to corporeal creatures. If you try to destroy or move the ground that it is positioned on, it will remain where it is.
Using Guardian of Faith strategically on adventures
This is a great spell to block off any area you expect an enemy target to pass through. In most cases, it won’t kill the opponent or opponents outright, but it will take a nice chunk out of their collective strength, hopefully weakening them before they reach the caster and the party.
Suppose the enemy is aware of a magical presence to be confronted in that area. In that case, their options are to face it head-on or wait 8 hours until it naturally dissipates. If the party uses this as a rear guard action, they can be far away in eight hours.
The front line of defense
With your Fighter types holding the front line, you need to make sure that none of the enemies breaks through to prey on the spellcasters and non-combat types.
You can ramp up your defensive line by conjuring a Guardian of Faith and placing him alongside them. Anything getting close will take 10 to 20 damage which will soften the enemy nicely so that your fighters can go in and deliver the killer blow, with any luck.
Thinning the lines
Suppose you find yourself overwhelmed by hordes of more minor monsters, such as a pack of kobolds or a swarm of goblins. In that case, the Guardian of Faith is the perfect ally, helping to thin the numbers so that the party members don’t have to fight on too many fronts for too long.
For a good combination, use spells such as Cloud of Daggers or Create Bonfire to act as another screen between you and the oncoming attackers. This is an excellent way of making the incoming enemy more manageable and perfect for slowing down an attack if you are trying to buy time to disengage and slip away from the fight.
Let’s face it; this is a tactical decision that even the bravest party can find themselves having to make.
Final thoughts on Guardian of Faith spell
Clerics tend not to have so many spells that deal a large amount of damage in combat situations. This is usually the realm of the more aggressive spellcasters. Guardian of Faith is an exception to this, however.
It can deliver significant damage, either as a hammer blow to the first line of melee or as a sentinel-type figure over time. Either way, it is a valuable addition to the Clerical spell bag.
Of course, without any upcasting ability, the spell’s potency doesn’t increase with the level of the caster; its value drops as you move from more modest levels into the higher echelons.
Also, the Guardian cannot move once positioned. This means that you need to be careful where you place it. Put it in too big a space, and the enemy can navigate around its 10-foot reach.
So, a valuable spell for lower and mid-level adventurers but less of an obvious choice once you start getting into the more severe adventuring territory.