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These Are the Most Popular Dungeons & Dragons Spells


Dungeons and Dragons wizard popular spells

Over on D&D Beyond’s Dev Update, Adam Bradford presented data (complete with charts, which are essential) on the most-used Dungeons & Dragons spells. How does your own wizardry stack up?

Bradford’s info comes via D&D Beyond, which is an “official data toolset” and game companion. There are two tier levels you can subscribe to for to premium services on the site, and D&D Beyond provides free content in the form of the basic rules and system reference document and other neat things. The site also publishes posts on everything from how to improve your roleplaying to recaps of the latest Critical Role podcast. It’s a cool resource, and it’s able to tell us what players are using most from their gathered stats.

Based on D&D Beyond’s data, Bradford’s charts show that the most popular spells by far are healing spells, namely Cure Wounds, followed by Healing Word. That healing should dominate is unsurprising, but some of the other popular spells might surprise you. In the video where he discusses the spell results, Bradford was surprised to see Shield of Faith in there. The data is derived from across all classes of magic-workers, and also includes another chart with the top 10 cantrips.

If you can’t watch the video at current, I’ve transcribed Bradford’s run-down and explanation:

“So Cure wounds has been from the start of D&D Beyond the most popular spell across all the classes, that continues to hold true. Healing Word also very popular. It seems like this Dungeons & Dragons game needs healing, so that makes sense,” Bradford laughs. “Healing is very popular. Detect Magic, Shield—very strong spell, one of my favorites. Charm Person, Magic Missile, Thunderwave—Shield of Faith, that surprises me a little bit.”

He continues, explaining what the data means in terms of usage: “Now when we’re talking about spells in this way, we’re talking about these spells are either picked as a known spell for the known spellcasters—sorcerers, bards, and so on, or it’s something that’s been explicitly prepared by the preparation spellcasters—wizards, clerics, and Druids.  All of those are coming into play here, so these are not just all the spells a wizard has in their spellbook, but the spells they are actually choosing to prepare at any given time.”

Did any of these datapoints surprise you? What are your go-to spells and cantrips? And while healing spells are definitely helpful and practical, what are your favorite not-so-practical ways to use magic?

(via Sage Advice D&D,, image: Wizards of the Coast)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.