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D&D: Five of the Best Spells for Gishes

3 Minute Read
May 15 2024

Do you want to sling spells and blades? Here are five of the best D&D Gish spells.

There is a very particular kind of sword and sorcery fantasy that embraces both figuratively and literally both components of the genre. Imagine a character as skilled at spellcraft as they are at swordplay, someone who wields both a sword and sorcery (or magic at all), and you have the heart of it.

These characters adorn stories across the years, from fantasy to sci-fi.

And in D&D, there’s a term for someone who makes melee attacks but also casts spells: gish. It comes from the 1st Edition term for a Githyanki Fighter/Wizard. And since has spread to encompass a number of archetypes. But whatever the class(es), here are some of the five best spells when you want to do melee and magic.


Shield is one of the absolute best spells for protecting yourself. And if you’re putting yourself into a position to be hit by many attacks, instead of the occasional one, Shield is even better. For the cost of your reaction, you get a +5 to your AC, which can negate attacks until the start of your next turn. So often, multiple hits can be turned to misses. Handy when you’re in someone’s face, swinging a sword.

Misty Step

Distance is your friend and foe. A Gish can’t Gish if they don’t close the distance between their sword and an enemy’s heart. Or wherever you stab. I’m not here to judge. But the fact remains, you have to get up close to hit em.

Misty step will let you do that, teleporting an extra 30 ft. as a bonus action, leaving you your full action to slash them with your sword.

Shadow Blade

At last, an attack spell in the mix. Shadow Blade is one of the more underrated spells in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. It takes your bonus action, but in exchange, you get a sword of solidified gloom that deals 2d8 psychic damage on a hit and has the finesse, light, and thrown properties, and if you attack a creature in dim light or darkness, you get to attack with advantage. So you can dual-wield with it. You can upcast it if you want to. And if you’re making multiple attacks, the damage starts to stack up through the roof.

Zephyr Strike

A new spell from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Zephyr Strike is a fantastic little spell. It’s a 1st level spell that does a number of things: for starters, as long as you’re concentrating on it, your movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks. And once, before the spell ends, you can deal an extra 1d8 force damage and make an attack with advantage. Hit or miss, that turn, your walking speed increases by 30 feet. So you can zoom around everywhere.

Steel Wind Strike

Finally, one of my favorite spells in the game. Steel Wind Strike just feels cool. You flourish your weapon, then vanish to “strike like the wind.” You pick up to five creatures within 30 feet of you, then make a melee spell attack against each target, dealing 6d10 force damage on a hit. Afterwards, you can teleport to within five feet of one of your targets.


It’s an incredible opener or a great way to maneuver yourself out of a jam while still dealing boatloads of damage.

What are your go to gish spells?

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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