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D&D: Five Spells That Are Great in Melee

3 Minute Read
Sep 10 2023

Sure the best thing about being a spellcaster is hitting your enemies from afar. But what if you want to use sword?

Look, we’ve all been there. You cast spells but then get to thinking, “what if this was a sword?” It looks so cool in fantasy movies. Stories are full of heroes who have magic but fight up close and personal. And it just feels somehow more exciting than magic missile. But if you want a spell that’s a sword, what should you use?

Funnily enough, there are plenty of options. Here are five spells that are great in melee.

Booming Blade

When it comes to spells that are great in melee, we have to start with one of the go-to melee cantrips out there. Booming Blade is at the heart of all of those weirdly optimized builds you read about on forums. And it’s all about the theoretical damage you can do to one person. As part of this spell, you make a melee attack. You do all the normal melee stuff on hit, but if your target willingly moves five feet or more, they take 1d8 thunder damage (or more). And at higher levels, your target takes an extra d8 (or more) of extra thunder damage just to get hit.

It deals damage, it helps you keep enemies locked down. If you gain extra attack there are tradeoffs you have to start considering. But even so, it’s a ton of fun.

Flame Blade

This spell is a bonus action to cast, and it makes a fiery blade appear in your hands. With it, you can deal 3d6 fire damage as a melee attack. And you get a little bit of light out of it. It’s not the most damaging thing, by a long shot, but it is pretty cool.

Steel Wind Strike


This is one of those spells that makes it pretty clear what it does but is also mechanically confusing. Even with all that in consideration, it’s still pretty great. Steel Wind Strike happens in an instant. You flourish your weapon and make a melee spell attack against up to five creatures you can see within 30 feet.

Essentially you teleport from target to target hitting everyone for 6d10 points of force damage along the way. But at the end of it, you can then teleport to an unoccupied square near one of the targets you hit. Or you can stay where you are, secure in your ability to teleport and stab.

Vampiric Touch

This spell lets you wreathe your hands in necrotic energy. Every melee spell attack you make that hits deals 3d6 necrotic damage — while simultaneously healing you for half the damage you’re dealing. You can cast it at higher levels for more damage/hp.

Thunder Step

Finally, we get to one of the most tactical melee spells. This spell takes your action, but it carries a lot of effects with it. You can teleport up to 90 feet, and as soon as you disappear, anyone standing near you is hit for 3d10 thunder damage. This spell sounds like it’s pretty simple, maybe even subpar. But the number of times you’ll teleport and do damage makes it all worth it.

Happy adventuring!


Author: J.R. Zambrano
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