The Wizard sits comfortably at the pinnacle of the tier list. With the best spell list, a functionally infinite list of spells known, and a dizzying number of build options, Wizards can do basically anything in the game, and can often do so better than classes which are specifically built to do it.

Assuming you don’t build your Wizard to overshadow everyone else in the party, Wizards can expect to fill roles as a Blaster, Librarian, Striker, Support, and Utility Caster.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which tend to be more consistent than 3.5 handbooks. Because so little of 3.5 is available on the SRD, I will attempt to tag items with a superscript indicating their book of origin. For help identifying sourcebook abbreviations, see my Sourcebook Abbreviations Guide.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

It’s important to note that I generally omit campaign-setting specific content. I am of the opinion that those options are intended to be limited to campaigns run in those settings, and as such they don’t really apply to a generic campaign. Those options also tend to be wildly unbalanced and rarely receive errata. I also omit the use of “Flaws” since they allow a massive increase in power with essentially no cost to the character.

Wizard Class Features

Hit Points: d4 hit points is basically nothing. A stiff breeze could kill many wizards. Base Attack Bonus: 1/2 BAB, but fortunately Wizards don’t need it. Saves: Will is the Wizard’s only good save, but since Wizards only need one save you can afford to invest a bit in your other saves to compensate. Proficiencies: The worst proficiency list of any heroic class. Skills: Despite getting a puny 2+ skill points, the Wizard’s dependence on Intelligence will give you a hefty pile of skill points. Unfortunately, enhancement bonuses to Intelligence don’t give you extra skill points, and permanently increasing your Intelligence doesn’t retroactively grant skill points. Access to every Knowledge skill is extremely useful, and with such high Intelligence, a Wizard makes a fantastic Librarian. Summon Familiar: Many players make the mistake of letting their familiar be an occasional piece of flavor for your character. A smart player knows that a familiar is a helpful companion and an extremely potent tool. For help with Familiars, see my Practical Guide to Familiars. Scribe Scroll: Scrolls are great for wizards, and giving you the feat for free is nice. Use it to prepare scrolls of spells that you need infrequently so that you can cover all of your bases. Bonus Feats: 4 extra feats over the course of 20 levels isn’t game-breaking, but the Wizard would still be king if he didn’t get any of these. Spells: Wizards have the best spell list in the game, and every new book makes it better. Spells are why you play a Wizard.

Wizard Schools

Wizards have the ability to specialize in one school to get additional spells per day by losing access to to two other schools, which can be a very potent option for many Wizards. The two schools (three with Devoted Specialist) define the Wizard as much as the Wizard’s choice of specialization.

  • Abjuration: The majority of protective spells are Abjuration spells. Many of these spells are also available to Clerics, making it less important if you have a Cleric to fill in as a Support caster.
  • Conjuration: Summoning, direct damage without spell resistance, and teleportation are all available from Conjuration.
  • Divination: Divination spells are more important than mechanics can define. Even if you don’t want to use them, you’re not allowed to give up Divination.
  • Enchantment: Save or suck spells define the Enchantment school, making it one of the most powerful.
  • Evocation: Evocation is the blunt hammer of magic. Most powerful Wizard builds give up Evocation because direct damage is easier to do with Conjuration if you’re not investing a lot of effort.
  • Illusion: Illusions can be very powerful, especially with the Shadow spells, but they also require that your DM is both creative and permissive.
  • Necromancy: Primarily defined by the ability to create undead, but also contains several excellent save or die spells.
  • Transmutation: Transmutation contains many excellent buffs, as well as Polymorph spells. Polymorph spells are so powerful that WotC tried (unsuccessfully) to nerf them with a complete rewrite at least twice in 3.5.

Alternate Class Features

  • Abyssal SpecialistDotU: A bit like specializing in parts of both Enchantment and Illusion at the same time.
  • Domain Granted PowerCC: This opens up a lot of options, and the ability to take it at will in place of any of your Wizard bonus feats means that you could potentially select it more than once. Domain powers grant lots of interesting abilities, including bonus feats which aren’t normally available to Wizards. The “special” section of the ability is somewhat ambiguous, so I’m not sure exactly what you get if you take a level of Cleric. If I’m reading it correctly, it means that you get the full benefits of the domain selected with Domain Granted Power in addition to the two domains you gain for being a Cleric, making this an interesting option for Mystic Theurges. Note that the rules for bonus feats allow you to select any feat for which you qualify if you get a bonus feat which you already have, so you can abuse this ability to open up your Wizard bonus feat slot to other options.
    • AbyssSC: Strength is not for Wizards.
    • ArboreaSC: Only works on weapon damage.
    • BaatorSC: Magical darkness is a great way to get a leg up over enemies without allowing saves, but the ability to see in magical darkness is generally limited to Demons/Devils. Your party might be SOL, but that’s their problem.
    • BalanceSC: Lasts for rounds equal to your Cleric level, and you probably don’t have any Cleric levels.
    • CavernSC: Stonesense is bad.
    • CeleritySC: Useful for many characters, but you should be using Overland Flight.
    • CelestiaSC: Depends on Cleric levels.
    • CelestialBoED: Depends on Cleric levels.
    • CharmSC: You don’t need Charisma.
    • ColdSC: Turn cold creatures. Turning is so bad that there’s an entire mechanic around doing anything but turning. Unfortunately, it requires actual Turn Undead.
    • CommunityBoED / SC: Wow, a 2nd-level spell once per day! +2 to Diplomacy can be replaced by a very cheap item.
    • CompetitionSC: Opposed checks really aren’t something a Wizard should be doing.
    • CourageSC: Fear effects are generally pretty gentle since they don’t kill you, and Remove Fear is a 1st-level spell. Dream provides immunity to fear effects.
    • CreationSC: Very tempting for Conjurers, especially if you like to abuse Creation spells.
    • DarknessSC: If you can’t see you either need to cast a spell so that you can see, or blow up everything in the room just to be absolutely sure that you’re safe.
    • DeathboundSC: If you’re a Necromancer and you like undead pets, this is an absolute must.
    • DominationSC: Spell Focus is essential for Enchanters, so you probably already took it, making this an easy way to abuse the bonus feat rules.
    • DragonSC: If you plan to be a Face, this is very useful.
    • DreamSC: Fear effects tend to be gentle since they don’t typically kill you, but immunity to them can be nice in some campaigns.
    • DrowSC: Defensive feats are not useful for most Wizards, but shapeshifting-focus Transmuters may want them.
    • DwarfSC: Defensive feats are not useful for most Wizards, but shapeshifting-focus Transmuters may want them.
    • ElfSC: Arcane Archer is awful, and that’s the only reason why you would really need Point-Blank Shot for most Wizards. An Evoker who really enjoys rays and ranged touch attacks might want it, but the whole Point-Blank Shot tree is fairly pointless when you’re shooting for an average touch AC of 12 at any given level.
    • ElysiumSC: Only works on weapon attacks.
    • EnduranceBoED: Awful.
    • EnvySC: Damaging ability scores and draining levels covers a fairly small number of spells, and the ones that do typically don’t care about caster level. If you want Bluff as a class skill, Dragon is better.
    • FamilySC: You dumped Charisma.
    • FateSC: Uncanny dodge doesn’t matter much when your Dexterity isn’t insanely high.
    • FeyBoED: Ridiculously situational.
    • ForceSC: Very tempting for Blaster Wizards, but once per day won’t make a big difference, and the more dice you roll the more you will skew toward average damage.
    • GloryBoED: You can’t Turn Undead.
    • GlorySC: You can’t sue Turn Undead.
    • GluttonySC: Lasts for rounds equal to your Cleric level, and you probably don’t have any Cleric levels.
    • GnomeSC: Even for Illusionists this doesn’t really matter. Caster Level generally only affects the duration of illusions.
    • GreedSC: Wizards don’t have any of those skills, and can solve those problems with spells.
    • HadesSC: Only works on weapon attacks.
    • HalflingSC: All of those skills are useless the moment you can cast Invisibility and Fly.
    • HatredSC: Much more useful for martial characters.
    • HeraldBoED: Even with the +4 bonus, Dragon is better if you want to be a Face.
    • HungerSC: Melee attacks are for Polymorph and for Fighters.
    • IllusionSC: Even for Illusionists this doesn’t really matter. Caster Level generally only affects the duration of illusions.
    • InquisitionSC: The bonus is nice, but most people don’t spend a lot of time dispelling magic.
    • JoyBoED: Dragon is better.
    • LiberationSC: Tempting, but not particularly useful unless you get hit with a lot of spells.
    • LimboSC: Only works on weapon attacks.
    • LustSC: Depends on Cleric levels.
    • MadnessSC: I’m not sure if this works off of Cleric level or Character level.
    • MechanusSC: Only works on weapon attacks.
    • MentalismSC: A vest of resistance +2 is 4000gp. Go buy one.
    • MetalSC: Weapons aren’t for Wizards. Potentially useful for Gish builds, especially Abjurant Champion, but those builds typically depend on multiclassing into something with martial weapon proficiencies.
    • MindSC: Only useful if you somehow got these skills as class skills, such as the Enchanter Social Proficiency variant out of Unearthed Arcana.
    • MoonSC: Lycanthropes are far too rare for this to even be interesting.
    • MysticismSC: You dumped Charisma.
    • NobilitySC: You dumped Charisma.
    • OceanSC: If you need this you have either made some very poor life choices, or you are somewhere that you should have though to bring Water Breathing.
    • OracleSC: Very appealing for Diviners, but caster level typically only affects the duration of divinations.
    • OrcSC: Awful.
    • PactSC: Bluff and Sense Motive are great if you plan to be a Face, but Appraise is worthless.
    • PestilenceSC: Diseases aren’t terribly common, and they’re typically easy to handle. At high levels when they become worrisome, Remove Disease is easily available as a potion or from your party’s Cleric.
    • PlanningSC: If you wanted Extend Spell you could have just selected Extend Spell. If you already took Extend Spell, use this to abuse the Bonus Feat rules.
    • PleasureBoED: You dumped Charisma, and you don’t need it.
    • PortalSC: Very situational.
    • PrideSC: Essentially makes you immune to natural 1s on saves. The probability of two 1s in a row is 0.25%, essentially nothing.
    • PurificationSC: Abjuration spells depend on caster level primarily for duration, but their durations are frequently a problem, so this is very appealing for Abjurers.
    • RenewalSC: You dumped Charisma.
    • RetributionSC: Specifies that you must use a weapon.
    • RuneSC: You got Scribe Scroll for free at first level unless you gave it up, so this is only useful to abuse the bonus feat rules.
    • ScalykindSC: Ridiculously situational.
    • SlimeSC: Ridiculously situational.
    • SlothSC: Laying on the ground is a good boost to AC against ranged attacks, but doing so seems ridiculous when you can fly.
    • SpellSC: You can easily replace these bonuses with cheap items.
    • SpiderSC: Ridiculously situational.
    • StormSC: Replacable with a 2nd-level spell.
    • SufferingSC: Melee is not a good place for a Wizard.
    • SummonerSC: For Conjurers focus on summoning, +2 caster level means 2 more rounds of duration on Summon Monster.
    • TimeSC: Improved Initiative is great for Wizards, and getting it in place of a Wizard Bonus feat leaves your other feat slots open for better things.
    • TradeSC: You can cast Detect Thoughts.
    • TyrannySC: Not as good as Spell Focus, but Enchanters may still find this appealing.
    • UndeathSC: You can’t use Turn Undead.
    • WealthSC: Appraise is garbage.
    • WindstormSC: Ridiculously situational.
    • WrathBoED: Attacks of opportunity are for Fighters.
    • WrathSC: Depends on Cleric levels.
  • Drakken FamiliarDM: Give up your familiars ability to deliver touch attacks for a crappy breath weapon.
  • Focused SpecialistCM: It can be very hard to give up three schools, but an additional two bonus spells of each spell level offers enough options that it’s definitely worth the trade.
  • Immediate MagicPHB2: Interesting, and a great way to use your Immediate/Swift action, especially at low levels, and many of the options remain useful for your whole career.
    • Urgent Shield (abjuration): +2 AC will rarely save you.
    • Abrupt Jaunt (conjuration): Fantastic for evading charges, escaping grapples, and generally getting out of bad locations.
    • Glimpse Peril (divination): Effectively a +2 bonus to all saves. Assuming that you’re not drawing a lot of fire, this can easily cover every save in a day.
    • Instant Daze (enchantment): A great way to handle encounters with numerous weak enemies.
    • Counterfire (evocation): The damage is poor, and it doesn’t really help to protect you.
    • Brief Figment (illusion): 50% miss chance for one round. Great if you don’t get attacked frequently.
    • Cursed Glance (necromancy): Follow up with save or suck spells to capitalize on the target’s weakened saves.
    • Sudden Shift (transmutation): Sudden Fly as an immediate action several times per day.
  • Spontaneous DivinationCC: Very interesting, especially if you lean heavily on divinations but don’t want to waste spell slots guessing what divinations you will need to prepare.
  • Wizard of the Sun and MoonDs: I can’t think of a good reason to use this, but it’s not completely terrible.

Substitution Levels

  • Planar WizardPH:
    • 6th Level: Only matters in campaigns which involve a ton of planar travel.
    • 10th Level: This removes the need for Corrupt/Consecrate Spell to get the caster level bonus from the Granted Domain Power ACF, but you can’t get it until level 10, at which point you have almost certainly moved into a prestige class.
    • 14th Level: This is definitely not worth such a high level spell slot.

Unearthed Arcana

Content from Unearthed Arcana is generally considered optional variant rules. Many of these options are poorly balanced, so be sure to consult your DM before selecting any such options.

  • Domain Wizard: An extra spell of each spell level, and you cast domain spells at +1 Caster Level. The only thing you give up is the ability to specialize. Unless you really need to specialize, there is essentially no reason to not take this ACF. If your DM is smart, they will prohibit this option.
    • Abjuration: Nothing exciting, and most of the spells are situational.
    • Antimagic: Some useful options, but many are situational. Only really useful in magic-heavy campaigns.
    • Battle: Until the highest level spells you don’t get anything that direct helps a Wizard.
    • Cold: A solid choice for blasters.
    • Conjuration: Every spell is good.
    • Divination: Good, especially if you like to lean on divinations, but you likely won’t prepare the domain spells in more than the bonus spell slot.
    • Enchantment: Lots of excellent save or suck spells.
    • Evocation: A solid choice for blasters.
    • Fire: A solid choice for blasters.
    • Illusion: All of the best illusion spells.
    • Necromancy: Several excellent Necromancy options.
    • Storm: Boy, I hope you like wind!
    • Transmutation: Poor low-level options, but the mid and high-level options are fantastic.
  • Specialist Wizard Variants:
    • Abjurer Variants:
      • Resistance to Energy (Su): Familiars are awesome, and you can replace this ability with a second level spell.
      • Aura of Protection (Ex): The bonus is formidable, but it only works once and only lasts for a minute, which means you will frequently forgo using it in favor of doing something important. Giving up all of your Wizard bonus spells for this is absurd.
      • Spontaneous Dispelling (Ex): This requires that you give up your bonus spells for being a specialist. You will be better served by using those slots to prepare Dispel Magic.
    • Conjurer Variants:
      • Rapid Summoning (Ex): If you want to focus on summoning, this is a great option. Who needs a pet familiar when you summon a bunch of stuff? Reducing the casting time to a Standard Action means that you can cast the spell and have your summoned creature act in the same round.
      • Enhanced Summoning (Ex): Augment Summoning is hard to get at first level for anyone but humans, so this is a welcome benefit. The 5th-level bonus is crap, and the 10th and 15th-level bonuses will be less relevant when you start summoning things that rely on Spell-Like Abilities. You give up the Wizard bonus feats, but it appears that you get to keep Scribe Scroll.
      • Spontaneous Summoning (Ex): You give up your bonus spell slots for the ability to cast weak summoning spells. Instead, use your bonus spell slots to prepare Summon Monster an additional time per day.
    • Diviner Variants:
      • Enhanced Awareness (Ex): The bonuses are mediocre. The bonus DC for Divinations seems tempting, but very few Divination spells require saving throws.
      • Bonus Feat List: Improved Initiative is a good option, but giving up metamagic feats seems like a bad trade.
      • Prescience (Ex): Using this for saving throws is tempting, but giving up your bonus spells doesn’t seem like a good trade.
    • Enchanter Variants:
      • Cohort: You don’t get it until level 6, but a 4th-level NPC is probably going to be more useful than a familiar for most characters. Get a pet Cleric to heal your party and carry your treasure.
      • Social Proficiency (Ex): A great option if you need to be a Face, but giving up your Wizard bonus feats seems like a difficult trade.
      • Extended Enchantment (Su): Limited uses per day, and it removes your bonus spells slots. A metamagic rod of Extend Spell is a much better option.
    • Evoker Variants:
      • Energy Affinity (Ex): Specializing in one type of energy damage is a good choice for blasters, and adding +1 to your caster level with your favorite element means a whole lot of extra damage over the course of your career. Giving up a familiar doesn’t really seem like a fair trade, but getting a bunch of caster level buffs on a blaster is a great idea.
      • Energy Substitution (Ex): The ability is great for an Evoker, but it’s not good enough to justify giving up your Wizard bonus feats. Instead, get rods of Elemental Substitution. You will get more uses per day, and the rods are fairly cheap.
      • Overcome Resistance (Ex): Learn some spells of different elements to cover your bases, and carry rods of Energy Substitution.
    • Illusionist Variants:
      • Chains of Disbelief (Ex): Very useful when casting illusions against groups of enemies.
      • Shadow Shaper: The bonuses are nice for stealthy illusionists, but you may get more use out of the Wizard’s bonus feats.
      • Illusion Mastery (Ex): You can essentially buy knowledge of new spells, so free additions to your spellbook don’t really matter. The Spell Mastery effect is cool, but very situational. Definitely not worth your bonus spell slots.
    • Necromancer Variants:
      • Skeletal Minion: Thematic and very useful, especially at low levels before you can create undead. This effectively takes the place of Improve Familiar.
      • Undead Apotheosis (Ex): The bonuses apply to uncommon conditions and scale very slowly. Bonus feats will be considerably more useful.
      • Enhanced Undead (Ex): If you plan to summon a bunch of undead and march them against your problems, this is essential. If you plan to actually cast spells at things, skip this.
    • Transmuter Variants:
      • Enhance Attribute (Ex): Just buy the 4000 gp item. Or craft it.
      • Spell Versatility (Ex): This hugely reduces the cost to give up other schools, especially if you only want one or two spells from that school. If you don’t particularly want spells from the schools which you sacrificed, stick to the Wizard bonus feats.
      • Transmutable Memory (Ex): This may seem like a bad trade at first, but the ability to give up your lower level spells to prepare more of your highest level spells is a fantastic option.
  • Variant Sorcerer/Wizard: Animal Companions lack the versatility of Familiars, but they tend to be much better in combat.
  • Variant Wizard: Improved Initiative is always good for a Wizard, but not every Wizard uses Scribe Scroll. If you don’t plan to make use of your Wizard bonus feats, or if you’re building a Gish, Fighter bonus feats might be a better choice for you.


Intelligence is everything. Saves are a secondary concern.

Str: Dump. Make the Fighter do the lifting. Dex: Important for saves, and for the occasional touch attack. Con: Your hit points are garbage, and Fortitude saves will be a problem for you. Int: You get magic, skills, and a bonus to knowledge skills (which you will have a ton of). Max at start, boost early, boost often. Wis: You get high Will saves, but with no other real ability dependencies, bumping Wisdom to at least 12 for additional saves is wise. Cha: dump and keep your mouth shut until its time to throw some spells around or spout some knowledge.

In addition to normal ability considerations, Wizards can also make excellent use of the aging rules. Being middle-aged gives you a -1 penalty to your physical abilities, but gets you a pleasant +1 to your mental ability scores. However, this can be a problem for your already low reflex and fortitude saves.


Unfortunately there are no core races which provide Intelligence bonuses, so look for other benefits or look outside of the PHB. Small size is nice for Wizards because it makes you harder to notice and murder.

Dwarf: Dwarfs are very durable, but they don’t offer anything useful to the Wizard. Elf: The Elf Wizard is an iconic character, but the Elf doesn’t actually offer anything interesting to the Wizard. Proficiency with bows is tempting for new players, but with dumped Strength you will do better with a crossbow when your spells run dry. If you want to play an Elf, crack open your Monster Manual and play a Gray Elf. Gnome: The Gnome’s biggest draw for Wizards is their bonus to Illusion DC’s. The Constitution bonus is also nice. Half-Elf: Awful. Half-Orc: Penalty to Intelligence. Halfling: Small size, and a bonus to Dexterity make the Halfling great for stealthy Wizards. Human: Despite a lack of ability bonuses, an extra feat is fantastic, and the extra skill point can be one more Knowledge skill. An Intelligence bonus would be better, but this is the best you can do in the PHB.

Non-Core Races

Gray ElfMM: Largely identical to Elf, but with an additional +2 to Intelligence and -2 to Strength. You don’t need Strength for anything, so this is strictly better than Elf.


  • Concentration (Con): You want to do your best to never need Concentration, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Make sure you can hit 15 + your highest spell level on a natural 1.
  • Decipher Script (Int): Hugely situational. I have seen this used exactly once in over a decade of play.
  • Knowledge (Arcana) (Int): Identify constructs, dragons, and magical beats. Fairly few classes get access to this, so you need to step up here.
  • Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) (Int): I’ve been playing for the better part of two decades and I’ve never rolled this skill once.
  • Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int): Identify aberrations and oozes. If you spend any time underground or in dungeons, this is worth maxing. Otherwise, spend one rank and ride your intelligence bonus.
  • Knowledge (Geography) (Int): One rank maybe.
  • Knowledge (history) (Int): Situational, and very dependent on the campaign.
  • Knowledge (Local) (Int): Definitely worth a rank, maybe more if you don’t have a rogue putting ranks in this.
  • Knowledge (Nature) (Int): Identify animals. Unless you have a druid or ranger, you may be the only one in the party with this skill.
  • Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) (Int): Situational, and very dependent on the campaign.
  • Knowledge (Religion) (Int): Identify undead. More easily available than Knowledge (Arcana), but still very useful, especially since your cleric probably dumped intelligence.
  • Knowledge (The Planes) (Int): Identify outsiders. Outsiders are diverse and strange, and knowing stuff about them will help your survival greatly.
  • Spellcraft (Int): Craft items and identify spells and magic effects. Max this every time.


Wizards certainly aren’t feat starved, which leaves a lot of room for dipping into metamagic, item crafting, and other fun things. This section does not cover metamagic feats or item creation feats feats. For help with metamagic feats, see my Practical Guide to Metamagic.

  • Alacritous CogitationCM: All the best parts of the Sorcerer, but the Wizards infinite list of spells known. Use this for those situational spells that take up spell slots every day but which you can’t risk going without.
  • ApprenticeDMG2: Depending on your choice of Mentor, you can gain some extra class skills to put your big pile of skill points into.
  • Arcane DiscipleCAr: Many domains include a lot of very powerful spells which are normally unavailable to Wizards, so this is a fantastic way to get access to them. You will need a bit of Wisdom to get access to the higher level spells, but a Periapt of Wisdom isn’t an awful choice for a Wizard anyway, and at high levels the cost is manageable.
  • Arcane MasteryCAr: Spell Resistance can really shut down a Wizard, so the ability to reliably overcome spell resistance can be very helpful. Typically enemies will have spell resistance somewhere around 8+CR, which means that Arcane Mastery allows you to constantly overcome the SR of any enemy up to 2 CR’s above your level.
  • Arcane ThesisPHB2: Very powerful for some schools, but it requires that pidgeon-hole yourself very heavily.
  • Combat Casting: A +4 bonus to your concentration checks when casting defensively is tempting, but you should not be casting defensively often enough to justify spending a feat on it. Optimizing Concentration is very easy, and you can do it with traits and items instead of wasting a feat.
  • Eschew Materials: Not a lot of spells have material components which are covered by this feat, and you can buy a spell component pouch for the rest.
  • Extra Slot: Just buy a Pearl of Power
  • Extra Spell: You can pay gold to add new spells to your spellbook.
  • Improved Initiative: Go first, and get control of the combat early.
  • Innate SpellCAr: Very few 2nd-level spells are good enough to want an infinite supply of them, but a few gems like Create Magic Tattoo continue to be viable at every level, and options like these are likely more effective than Reserve Feats. Unfortunately, Silent and Still Spell tend to be terrible choices for Wizards, and you can’t get this until extremely high level.
  • Point-Blank ShotPHB: Wizards devoted to rays and ranged touch attacks may find the Point-Blank Shot tree useful, but most Wizards will never need any of it.
    • Precise ShotPHB: Ranged touch attacks are reliable enough that you can typically live with the -4 penalty to fire into melee.
      • Improved Precise ShotPHB: Cover won’t matter much, but the ability to ignore concealment is nice. Of course, you can just use Eldritch Cone/Line and skip the attack roll altogether.
  • Ranged Spell SpecializationCAr: Unless you are using Scorching Ray almost exclusively, this is terrible.
  • Spell Focus: If you picked a specific school, this is essential. If you’re a Universalist, you may want to take this more than once or not at all.
    • Greater Spell Focus: Another +1 to your DCs means you are 5% better at every spell you cast from that school.
    • Metamagic School Focus: It’s only 3/day, but that means you can Quicken Disintegrate and similar craziness.
  • Spell MasteryPHB: Literally never.
  • Spell Penetration: Late in the game a lot of monsters will have Spell Resistance. Generally a go-to for everyone but Conjurers, but Arcane Mastery is considerably more effective.
    • Greater Spell Penetration: Spell Penetration is likely plenty, but another +2 never hurts if you have a free feat.

Reserve Feats

Reserve feats a tempting way to stretch your magic abilities throughout the day. Many of them are very useful, but don’t expect to take more than one or two, or you may not be able to use them often enough to justify a feat.

  • Acid SplatterCM: +1 CL for Acid spells, and the reserve ability work on a touch attack, making it very reliable.
  • Aquatic BreathCM: If your campaign requires you to be underwater enough to justify this, you should probably be an aquatic race.
  • Blade of ForceCM: Unless you really like force spells, you can skip this.
  • Borne AloftCM: Nice for getting over obstacles, but by the time you can get this you should be running Overland Flight.
  • Clap of ThunderCM: There aren’t enough Sonic damage spells to justify this. If you use Born of Three Thunders this is on par with Storm Bolt.
  • Clutch of EarthCM: There aren’t enough damaging Earth damage spells to justify this.
  • Dimensional JauntCM: Awful as a standard action.
  • Dimensional ReachCM: Very situational.
  • Drowning GlanceCM: Allows a save and only lasts 1 round.
  • Face-ChangerCM: Buy a Hat of Disguise.
  • Fiery BurstCM: The AOE is nice.
  • Hurricane BreathCM: Bull rush is very situational.
  • Invisible NeedleCM: Great for fighting incorporeal enemies, but the damage is poor.
  • Magic DisruptionCM: The effect is very minor, and it uses your immediate action.
  • Magic SensitiveCM: You can make Detect Magic permanent for very little gold.
  • Minor ShapeshiftCM: Temporary hit points as a swift action as often as you like. Fantastic for gishes and for polymorph builds.
  • Mystic BacklashCM: Only useful against enemy spellcasters with whom you are already in melee.
  • Shadow VeilCM: Allows a will save, and concealment won’t be nearly as good as what you could do with a spell.
  • Sickening GraspCM: You may be able to apply this effect as part of a normal touch attack with a spell (“any living creature you hit with a melee touch attack”), which would make it potentially useful. Sickened applies a penalty to saves, which makes enemies more susceptible to your spells.
  • Storm BoltCM: +1 CL for Electricity spells, and the ability is basically a tiny lightning bolt.
  • Summon ElementalCM: A disposable elemental is a great scout and can trigger traps. In a pinch is can help allies flank.
  • Sunlight EyesCM: Very situational unless someone in your party likes to abuse darkness spells.
  • Touch of DistractionCM: The effect is puny.
  • Wind-Guided ArrowsCM: You can do much better things with an immediate/swift action.
  • Winter’s BlastCM: +1 CL for Cold spells, but a 15-foot cone is a very dangerous AOE for such poor damage.


Stop. Put that down. You’re going to hurt yourself.

  • Dagger: Carry one or two for utility purposes, but don’t plan to pull them out in combat.
  • Light Crossbow: A decent backup weapon at low levels when you run low on spells, but you will be more reliable with cantrips because your attack rolls will be so low.


Armor is presented in the order in which you should acquire it, rather than alphabetical order.

  • Mithral Buckler: At just over 1000gp, a mithral buckler has no ACP or spell failure, making it a cheap and effective boost to your AC, should you decide that you want to invest in AC. If you don’t care about AC (high level Wizards have much more effective defenses), it’s an extra space for an armor/shield crystal.

Magic Items


  • Caster’s ShieldDMG: A trap for Wizards. The 5% spell failure seems negligible, but when it comes up it will be a huge problem. If your DM is nice, they might let you craft a mithral version of this which will remove the spell failure chance.


  • InvisibilityDMG: Not as important for the Wizard as it is for the Rogue, but you can cast a lot spells while invisible without breaking invisibility that can win fights.


  • ExtendDMG: Nice for low-level spells with extremely long durations like Mage Armor and Craft Magic Tattoo.
  • QuickeningDMG: Among the most expensive of metamagic rods, a Rod of Quickening deserves its price. The ability to cast a second spell in one turn opens up a lot of great options.


Wondrous Items

  • Cloak of ResistanceDMG: Vest of Resistance is identical and takes up a much less useful slot.
  • Circlet of IntellectDMG: Buy it early, and buff it as fast as you can.
  • Gloves of DexterityDMG: Dexterity adds to AC and saves, so a cheap pair of gloves isn’t a bad idea.
  • Heward’s Handy HaversackDMG: If you use scrolls, wands, staves, or other magic items in combat, accessing them as a move action is fantastic. Remember that retrieving an item from your backpack is typically a Standard action, which means you probably won’t be able to do anything else of interest that round.
  • Ioun Stone (Orange)DMG: Caster level fuels a lot of what the Wizard does. If you aren’t a save or suck caster, the bonus to caster level means welcome boosts to spell durations and damage.
  • Pearl of PowerDMG: Somewhat expensive, but many spell levels have disproportionately high numbers of important spells. At the very least, you can get a bunch of level 1 pearls, and fall back on low-level spells like Magic Missile and the lesser elemental orb spells when you need to do a bit of damage and you’re out of fireballs.
  • Tunic of steady spellcastingMIC: +5 to Concentration is great, especially if your Consitution is low.
  • Vest of ResistanceMIC: Same cost as a cloak, and takes up the largely useless “torso” slot. Once you can cast Greater/Superior Resistance, dump it.

Permanent Spells

  • Reduce PersonPHB: Reducing your size gets you a total of +2 to AC, +1 to Reflex saves, and +1 to attacks. You never needed Strength for anything, so the penalty is irrelevant. For 2960gp (450 for Permanency, 10 for Reduce Person, 2500 for the xp cost to cast Permanency), you get quite a bit. You can cast it yourself, but for so little gold why would you waste your own experience points?

Multiclassing and Prestige Classes

  • ArchmageDMG: The Archmage is a great option for many Wizards.
  • Master SpecialistCM: A very common prestige class for specialist Wizards, and it’s accessible at 4th level without any questionable rules interpretations.