I have been playing D&D for many years, starting with 2nd edition. Because of this, I have gotten to see how spells have evolved. The 5th edition spells are both excellent and exciting. Some staple spells have been there for years and up incoming ones that are really cool. Because of these changes in spells, I wanted to create my personal list of the top 10 excellent offensive spells in 5e.
Since content is continually being added to D&D, I will be using the official content that I have available at this time. Also, my personal list is based on effectiveness in damage along with the versatility of that attack. So let’s get started.
10- Guiding bolt
Guiding bolt has to be one of the most substantial level 1 spells in the whole game. In addition to doing 4d6 damage, it also gives advantage to the next attack that targets the hit enemy. This makes the spell amazing if you have a rogue where you can set up crazy damage combos. While expending higher spell slots with this spell is not as great, it is a fantastic level 1 spell that you can rely on at higher levels.
This was my go-to spell back in 3.5 and is still a reliable choice. It always does incredible damage with its 10d6 +40 damage. I also like using it to farm magical gear without having to deal with a pesky corpse. Besides killing enemies, you can have it destroy non-magical large or smaller objects and put a decent hole in anything gigantic.
8- Melf’s Minute Meteors
This is a fun spell in both flavor and mechanics. Like a few spells on the list, it is a concentration spell that can have its power diminished if it cuts out early. What this spell does is create 6 meteors around you that can be launched as a bonus action doing 2d6 fire damage in a 5-foot area. This is a great way to pile on the pain in a fight in addition to other spells you cast.
7- Heat Metal
Heat metal is an excellent defensive weapon that can be an even better offensive weapon. Most of the time, it can be used to deal some damage and disarm an opponent. However, if you cast this spell on metal armor or if luck would have it, a warforged, then they are in for a world of pain. With 2d8 fire damage and disadvantage to attack rolls and ability checks tagging metal armor with this spell is terrifying. Oh, did I mention it auto hits?
6- Vampiric Touch
In the old days, Vampiric Touch was an excellent way to get some kind of healing as a sorcerer or wizard. I am glad that the spell has seen an improvement in 5e. Where is used to give temporary hit points, it instead just heals you for the damage dealt. At 3d6 damage that heals for the same amount done, it is an excellent way to inflict damage and stay in the fight. On top of that, it is a concentration spell that can be cast multiple times, making it an excellent spell when going against a bunch of minions.
5- Chain Lightning
I have to admit, whenever I think about chain lightning, I picture Emperor Palpatine with his fingers outstretched with electricity flying everywhere. Targeting one enemy, then having the bolts spread to other enemies, can be a great way to hit enemies that a regular 20ft radius cannot. At 10d8 damage, chain lightning can target enemies in a wide radius along with not targeting allies in the area. This spell is a go-to for arcane DPS builds.
4- Spiritual Weapon
Spiritual weapon is often stated on an overpowered spell. This spell summons a weapon and can move and attack as a bonus action. The two things that separate this spell from spells like flaming sphere are that it’s a bonus action to cast, and it does not require concentration. You can take all the damage you want, but as long as you are not downed, the sword will always fight.
3- Chromatic Orb
I love this spell. While doing 3d8 damage at level 1 may not seem impressive compared to other level one spells, its versatility is one of the best I have seen. For example, if you come across a fire elemental, chances are that all of the fire spells you have prepared are now useless. However, With chromatic orb, you choose your damage type when you cast it. You can select from acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder, meaning you always have a spell that can go around immunity and target enemies’ weaknesses.
2- Power Word Kill
A Straightforward death spell. Auto hits with no saves. The catch is that the enemy needs to have less than 100 health. There are a few ways to learn the enemies’ health; however, they can be challenging to pull off, making this a good finisher rather than an opener.
1- Fireball / Lightning Bolt
This may feel like a cop-out, but throughout the editions, fireball and lightning bolt have been the two always take spells. While they both do 8d6 damage and light flammable things on fire, they both fill a particular need besides doing ridiculously severe damage at low levels. Fireball has a longer cast range with a 20ft blast radius, and lightning bolt has a 100ft line. If they are clustered in an area, fireball if they are spread out in a line, lightning bolt. They also cover each other resistances since I cannot think of many creatures resistant to both fire and lightning damage. I always take these two spells together when I can to make sure I cover my bases. Because of their similarities, these two spells are both my number 1 pick for offensive spells in 5e.
Those are my top ten offensive spells for 5e. Let me know what your top 10 spells are in the comments. I look forward to seeing what they are.