Mind Spike 5e Spell
Today we dive into the twisted abyss that is our own mind… Or rather, our enemies’ minds! That’s right, today we’re talking about Mind Spike, a 5e spell known for its easy access early-game damage and incredibly useful side effects. This spell comes from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, so we’re stepping away from the basics today.
In this guide, I’ll cover everything from the basic question of what even is Mind Spike, the advantages and disadvantages of the spell, some illustrative situations in which to employ Mind Spike, and finally some final words on whether to take the spell or not.
Mind Spike 5e Spell Description
According to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, the spell is described as follows:
You reach into the mind of one creature you can see within range. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw, taking 3d8 psychic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
On a failed save, you also always know the target’s location until the spell ends, but only while the two of you are on the same plane of existence. While you have this knowledge, the target can’t become hidden from you, and if it’s invisible, it gains no benefit from that condition against you.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 2nd.
Mind Spike 5e Spell Stats
- Level: 2nd Level Divination
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 60 feet
- Components: Somatic
- Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
- Spell Lists: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
What is Mind Spike 5e Spell?
Mind Spike is a 2nd-level divination spell available to any character who has access to the Wizard, Warlock, or Sorcerer spell lists. It works in two key parts, its primary damage component, and its secondary effect component.
It has a range of 60ft and initially, the target creature must be within the line of sight of the caster. It takes a standard action and its secondary component requires concentration to maintain. The target must make a Wisdom saving throw.
Its damage is quite high for a 2nd level spell, 3d8 psychic damage. This can be upcast for an additional 1d8 damage per spell slot. If the target fails its saving throw, it takes full damage from Mind Spike. However, a target that succeeds its saving throw will only take half of the damage rolled.
Its secondary component applies an effect that causes the caster to always be aware of the location of the target. This effect is only wholly applied upon the failure of the target’s Wisdom save.
So long as the target remains on this plane of existence and remains within range of the caster, the caster is aware of its location even if the creature hides or turns invisible. Upon succeeding the saving throw, the target’s location is still always revealed to the caster, however, the target can hide from the caster, rendering this awareness void.
So long as the caster maintains concentration, if the target breaks hiding or stealth, the caster would instantly be aware of their newest position.
Mind Spike 5e Spell Advantages and Disadvantages
One of its biggest advantages is the fact that Mind Spike is such a low-level spell, which means that casters can gain access to it fairly early. That, coupled with its strong 3d8 damage can really shake up the battlefield.
Though, while this is a huge pro, it does take the enemy failing their saving throw to get the full effect and damage. The save is against WIS which isn’t an uncommon stat, so that is definitely something to consider.
A serious caveat that affects the usefulness of the spell is the fact that the secondary effect, being able to track the affected creature, is reliant upon the caster’s concentration.
For some, this is a mere trifle, however, depending on the situation, the caster might be in a predicament where concentration is difficult to maintain, such as another encounter or being caught by an ambush.
This is compounded by the fact that the tracking is only “foolproof” contingent upon the target failing their save. If the target succeeds in their WIS saving throw, while the caster still has general knowledge of their location, the target can still successfully hide from the caster.
Another downside is that Mind Spike’s damage scales abysmally into the middle and later stages of campaigns. Upcasting Mind Spike adds a meager 1d8 damage to its damage roll and does nothing to expand its tracking effect’s effectiveness or add any utility.
On the other hand, the ability to track affected targets continues to be an indescribably useful effect throughout any campaign.
A final plus-side to Mind Spike is the fact that although the target will, of course, immediately notice the damage done to it, other than that initial shock, there’s really nothing about the spell they would notice.
A target won’t even realize you’re tracking them unless they have knowledge of your class or some greater perception of magical energy. While you can’t rely on Mind Spike’s secondary effect being completely imperceptible, it is reliably stealthy.
All in all, there are some serious upsides to Mind Spike, but there are a number of downsides that a player must weigh before taking this spell. Its advantages and disadvantages are fairly neck and neck, but it’s up to individual players which pros and cons carry more or less weight.
How can you use Mind Spike 5e Spell?
Who needs a sword when your mind is this sharp?
Psychic damage isn’t all that common; there aren’t many monsters who resist it as much as, say, fire, which is resisted by the largest number of creatures in DnD.
Having such an uncommon damage type in your arsenal can come in real handy; Mind Spike might not be something you pull out every fight or even every encounter, but when you run into certain monsters that seem to be resisting everything your party is throwing at it, pulling out Mind Spike might be a good option!
Lowjack the enemy
While the main draw of Mind Spike may be its damage type (psychic, which isn’t common) or even its raw damage (3d8 isn’t anything to sneeze at), one of its more niche uses comes from its side effect: lowjacking the enemy.
After successfully casting Mind Spike, the caster is exactly aware of the location of the target at all times, regardless whether the caster can actually see the target or not. This is insanely useful in situations where you’re fighting an incredibly stealthy enemy or one with the ability to render itself completely invisible.
Once again, while this might not be a situation you run into frequently, it can be a total life-saver in the instances it’s needed!
Follow the breadcrumbs
Who needs a tracker when you can cast Mind Spike on a hapless minion and scare it back to whence it came…?
Only to then follow that hired sword back to the one who hired them and uncover the truth, or follow that skulking insectoid back to its hidden hive to burn the place to the ground, or carefully tail that kidnapper back to their underground ring of gnome-smugglers.
Is Mind Spike 5e Spell good?
In total, I think Mind Spike is a really cool skill. Its early-game accessibility makes it a must-have on the damage front as its 3d8 damage really packs a punch.
When psychic damage was introduced, spells like Mind Spike were seen as a bit controversial because of how heavy the damage was on them along with the fact that many creatures didn’t feature resistance to the type.
Over time, pushback against the psychic damage type’s inclusion has waned, but there are still some DMs out there who will add a dash of homebrew to balance out what they see as overtuned. That being said, I still cannot understate how good the damage is at lower levels.
The secondary effect is a primary reason why many players take Mind Spike for more investigative missions because it is much easier when you can string an enemy along, let them go, and follow them to the quest or mission goal.
Many a DM has ended a session with a surprise encounter with a bunch of trash mobs as a result of a well-applied Mind Spike leaping over what should have been hours’ worth of investigation.
Although it doesn’t scale into the middle and late game very well, its secondary effect maintains its usefulness indefinitely. For that reason, I highly recommend every caster that can take Mind Spike. It’s without a doubt a must-have!
Mind Spike 5e Spell FAQs
Can you cast Mind Spike with other spells?
Yes and no. You can cast it for its damage, of course, but unfortunately, its side-effect of knowing the location of the target requires concentration.
You can only maintain one concentration spell at a time, and any damage or situations that might interrupt your concentration cause you to have to roll a CON save with a DC equal to either 10 or half of whatever damage you’re taking.
Is Mind Spike 5e a good spell to use in a fight?
For its damage? Of course. For its side-effects? Perhaps. As it’s a concentration spell, maintaining the concentration mid-combat may be tricky if you’re taking damage from the enemy or needing to cast a different spell that requires concentration.
Does Mind Spike 5e have any drawbacks?
It requires concentration, for one, which means that maintaining it mid-combat might be challenging. Another drawback is that it requires a somatic component, which means it would be impossible for a caster who is bound, or whose hands are otherwise occupied, to cast.
Does Mind Spike 5e work on creatures with mind-affecting immunities?
In general, as it is not directly controlling the creature’s mind, it should be able to affect creatures immune to mind-affecting, as that immunity is primarily concerned with coercion rather than observation.
It’s best to check with your DM as their interpretation of the phrase “mind-affecting” may be broader or more encompassing.