DnD 5e - Artificer Spell List Breakdown
Last Updated: March 31st, 2021
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances.
- : Good options.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.
I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can't assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won't cover Unearthed Arcana content because it's not finalized, and I can't guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.
RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
The Artificer's spell list takes a lot from the Wizard's spell list, but also includes several excellent options from the Cleric spell list. Similar in many ways to the Bard, but the Artificer gets more of the non-hp healing options than the Bard does.
Optional spells are marked below with (Optional) following the spell's name. These spells are considered optional rules, as described in Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. Consult your DM before deciding to use these spells.
- PHB: The ability to affect two enemies with this is really tempting, but the creatures need to be adjacent so you can't always rely on being able to affect two targets. In most cases, you'll get more damage out of Fire Bolt, and you have a strict limitation on how many cantrips you know so it's hard to justify taking Acid Splash instead. Still, for the Alchemist this is your go-to offensive option since it works with Alchemical Savant. Like most other multi-target spells, you roll damage just once and each creature makes its own saving throw, so you can apply the damage bonus to both targets.
- SCAG / TCoE: Excellent for the Battle Smith, but most other artificers should never be in a position to use this.
Note that Tasha's Cauldron of Everything published an updated version of Booming Blade.
- EEPC: A low-budget area control spell. It does as much initial damage as most cantrips, but the ongoing damage only applies when a creature enters the area or ends their turn there, so you can only get extra damage if you can force an enemy into the space or if you cast it on them and they remain in their space. If you have an ally who likes to grapple enemies, or if you need to block a narrow space like a hall or doorway, this is extremely useful if you're not already commiting Concentration to something else.
However, Create Bonfire's reliance on Concentration can become a problem as you gain levels because Concentration is such a precious resource, and many of the best spells require Concentration. If your game doesn't include an option to retrain cantrips, I would skip Create Bonfire entirely. If you have a way to retrain cantrips, consider taking Create Bonfire at low levels, but be prepared to replace it if you find that you're not using it consistently.
- PHB: An amusing distraction, but you can usually accomplish the same thing using Mage Hand and a candle or torch.
- PHB: The go-to damage option for everyone except the Battlesmith.
- EEPC / XGtE: Low damage for a cantrip (d6-based), but the big appeal is Disadvantage on the target's next weapon attack. Unfortunately, it works on Constitution saving throws, and those tend to be relatively high compared to other saving throws.
- SCAG: Excellent for the Armorer and the Battle Smith, but most other artificers should never be in a position to use this.
Note that Tasha's Cauldron of Everything published an updated version of Green-Flame Blade.
- PHB: As long as you're not concentrating on something with a long duration between fights, you should be constantly throwing this on your allies. Your Rogue should have Guidance for every skill check they make while searching, sneaking, handling traps, etc. If you're not already concentrating on something, someone in the party should walk into every fight with Guidance running so that they can use it on their Initiative roll (remember: it's a Dexterity check!).
- PHB: Disposable magic light is fantastic, but if you don't have room for the cantrip you'll do fine with torches.
- SCAG / TCoE: Situational, but potentially useful for melee artificers to pull enemies into melee. Despite the 15-foot range, this can be a great option for melee artificers. Against enemies with poor Strength (like many enemy spellcasters), you can use this to drag them into melee with you and force them to teleport or Disengage in order to get away from you unharmed. If you're flying, you may even be able to pull enemies into the air to cause a small amount of falling damage.
- PHB: The ability to move objects at a safe distance is profoundly useful. Use it to pull levers, open doors, sort your laundry, and all manner of other important but potentially hazardous tasks where you wouldn't want to risk your own hands.
- PHB: 1d6+Int is an average of 6.5 at first level (assuming 16 Intelligence). That's 1 more than Fire Bolt's 5.5 average, and it improves when your Intelligence improves. However, once cantrip damage starts to improve Magic Stone falls behind unless you get Extra Attack. If you do get Extra Attack, Magic Stone's average damage will exceed that of Fire Bolt until level 17. Even then, if you enhance a sling with Enhanced Weapon, the +2 bonus to attack and damage will keep your Sling+Magic Stone combination equal to Fire Bolt's damage output. The combination of benefits makes this an enticing option for the Battlesmith until you gain Battle Ready at 3rd level because it allows you to attack using your Intelligence modifier in a way which transitions nicely into using another weapon like a crossbow or pistol.
However, you need two hands to use a sling (you need a free hand to load it), and Repeating Shot won't load your enchanted pebbles for you. The most likely case for this is for artificers to use this at levels 1 through 4, then switch back to Fire Bolt (fortunately, artificers can retrain cantrips unlike most spellcasters). For the Battlesmith, you'll likely use Magic Stone at levels 1 and 2, then switch to using a weapon once you can use Battle Ready. The 1d6+Int from a hand crossbow will deal the same damage, but you won't need to spend Bonus Actions to constantly charge pebbles.
- PHB: The Artillerist and the Battlesmith need this cantrip by 3rd level. You get too much out of Mending to live without it. Unfortunately it takes a full minute to cast so your party might need to get accustomed to keeping themselves busy while you magically glue your constructs back together.
- PHB: Situational. Use this to send messages without revealing your position. Of course, the spell requires Verbal components and it's not clear how loud verbal components are intended to be, so take precautions if possible.
- PHB: Constitution saves are frequently high, and the range is short enough that it's basically only usable in melee. Poison resistance and immunity are also common, so the damage type doesn't help either. Sadly, this is one of just three cantrips on the Alchemist's spell list that work with Alchemical Savant so you might end up taking it despite the severe problems with the spell.
- PHB: Versatile and fantastic, a creative rogue can do a lot between this and Minor Illusion. For suggestions on how to use Prestidigitation to its fullest, see my Practical Guide to Prestidigitation.
- PHB: You have a limited number of cantrips, Frostbite is much better, and the need diversifying the damage types you can deal is too important to take two cold damage cantrips.
- PHB: Considerably more difficult to use than Guidance. Your best bet is to throw this on an ally before going into combat, but if you have that luxury you should be casting a better Concentration spell.
- PHB: The damage is worse than Fire Bolt and it's touch range. Advantage against enemies in metal armor is nowhere near enough to make this appealing. If you hit the target can't take Reactions like Opportunity Attacks or casting Counterspell, but I still don't think that's enough to justify rushing into melee to use this.
- PHB: Buy a Healer's Kit instead. You don't need proficiency to use it to stabilize a creature and it takes the same Action.
- SCAG / TCoE: Excellent for handling crowds in melee. Melee artificer subclasses like the Battle Smith will find this very effective, but even the Artillerist may find it tempting since Arcane Firearm's damage bonus applies to all of the targets.
- PHB: Potentially fantastic for the Battlesmith. You can use this to pull enemies away from frail allies, or to pull them into your melee reach. The damage is unremarkable, so this likely isn't your primary source of damage output.
- EEPC: Thunder damage is worse than Sword Burst's force damage, and Thunderclap uses Constitution saves, which tend to be high.
- XGtE: You get spellcasting later and slower than anyone else, so you have very few options for protecting yourself from non-weapon damage. This will handle that issue, but it will eat your spell slots quickly so be sure to eliminate the source of the elemental damage as quickly as possible so that you don't run through your spell slots too quickly.
- PHB: Not worth a spell slot, but it's great to cast this at least once as a Ritual any time that you take a long rest. But you may want to wait until you're high enough level that you don't mind spending one of your prepared spells to keep it handy.
- EEPC: Where Catapult shines is its reliability: If a target passes their saving throw, the object continues moving until it hits something or runs out of range. If you can line up two or more targets, you odds of hitting and dealing damage improve considerably. If your DM allows it, you might be able to Catapult items like Acid or Alchemist's Fire to add additional damage.
- PHB: Unless you're an alchemist, this is your best way to restore hit points in combat. The ability to bring dying allies back into a fight is too powerful and important to forgo, so you absolutely want this. If you're an alchemist, you get Healing Word prepared for free, and that's a better option in combat so you can typically skip this.
- PHB: Someone in the party needs this, and ideally it should be someone with the ability to cast rituals. Unless there's a wizard in the party, that's probably you. Unfortunately, that creates a near-permanent tax on your number of prepared spells, but this is simply too important in DnD to go without it.
- PHB: Learning a single spell is cheaper than proficiency in a Disguise Kit.
- PHB: Situational and poorly named. Expiditious Retreat is great for chases and for running long distances, but those situations aren't common enough to justify preparing this unless you know it's going to happen. The duration is good and Dash as a bonus action offers a lot of extra speed, but since this requires Concentration you'll almost always want a different buff instead.
- PHB: The lowest-level option to deal with invisible creatures, and Advantage on attacks against creatures which fail their save means that this remains a powerful support option well into high levels, especially against bug bulky enemies with high AC but poor Dexterity saves. Hopefully you won't run into any invisible creatures at 1st level, but but it's important to have some way to deal with invisibility just in case.
- PHB: A great defensive buff. This can close the gap in hit points between the Artificer and more durable classes like the Fighter. If you can, save False Life for a Spell-Storing Item, and pile it on top of Aid if you can spare the spell slots to do so.
- PHB: Someone in the party needs to have this at all times, and you're someone. Falling damage is a silly, embarassing way to die.
- PHB: Even if creatures fall prone, that only eats half of their movement, and with a radius of just 10 feet most creatures can walk out unimpeded once they're no longer prone.
- PHB: Even if you encounter a magic item, this typically isn't necessary because you can usually identify a magic item by spending a Short Rest in contact with it.
- PHB: Too situational.
- PHB: A helpful buff for highly-mobile characters, and with an hour-long duration it can be a great use of low-level spell slots once your 1st-level spells start lagging in combat.
- PHB: Cast this as a ritual and you'll never need to worry about spoiled food again. One of many reasons that Dungeons and Dragons makes a terrible wildernesss survival game.
- PHB: Potentially forcing enemies to give up an attack is great, and this doesn't prevent you from attacking. Sanctuary also has a Bonus Action casting time, so you can attack or cast a cantrip in the same turn. However, since Sanctuary allows the attack to retarget their attack, Sanctuary isn't as effective against ranged attacks.
- XGtE: Good for setting a trap, or if you're resting somewhere dangerous with a convenient choke point like a narrow halway. Targets are restrained for at least one round, which is hopefully enough for you to fight your way out of your bedroll and grab a weapon.
- TCoE: This is a challenging spell, but it's very effective and the Artificer doesn't have another 1st-level AOE damage option. With a 1-minute duration and 2d4 damage each round, you can deal a total of 20d4 damage to each target (average 50) which is enough to kill many creatures up to CR 2 or 3 (ignore the table in the "creating a monster" rules in the DMG; real monster stats tend to have high "offensive CR" and low "defensive CR" so very few of them have hit points which line up with those rules).
However, you're almost certainly not going to get the full damage, and that's probably fine. If you spend an Action and a spell slot to cast this and a target spends their Action to remove the effect, you have traded your Action for theirs and probably also did a bunch of damage. In encounters where your party outnumbers your enemies, that's a winning trade for you. In encounters where your enemies outnumber your party, you're in a target-rich environment and may be able to hit 3 or more targets, in which case trading your own Action for one Action from several enemies is a great way to offset your enemies' numerical advantage.
Lines are a difficult AOE because it's often difficult to catch more than two enemies in a straight 5-foot wide line. It's also all-or-nothing, so creatures which pass the save are totally unharmed. This requires Concentration, so if you don't affect multiple targets you may need to weigh the benefits of whatever ongoing damage you're getting against the ability to spend your Concentration on a different spell instead.
- PHB: With an 8-hour duration and three targets, this is a staple buff that's worth casting literally every day. Keep in mind that this actually increases the targets' hit point maximum, so temporary hit points can be added, too.
Aid's casting time allows it to be used in combat, which is unusual but offers an interesting option. With three targets and a 30-foot range, you can cast it to both buff and heal your allies during combat. Targets current hit points and hit point maximum both increase, so allies at 0 hit points are healed in addition to having their hit point maximum raised, thereby allowing Aid to serve a similar function to Mass Healing Word. However, since spells don't stack with themselves, it's hard to repeat this trick. You'll need to cast Aid again using higher-level spell slots, which can get expensive quickly, so Mass Healing Word is probably better if Aid is already running and if Mass Healing Word is an option for your party.
- PHB: Two situational effects and a combat buff. Alter Self allows you to handle breathing underwater and can replace the benefits of Disguise Self. While it's not especially powerful, but benefits are great on a class like the Artificer where you get new options slowly.
- PHB: Easy to overlook and definitely situational, but surprisingly good. With a permanent duration and the ability to designate creatures who can pass unimpeded and a verbal password, if your party has a permanent base you should consider putting this on every door and window. If you're resting somewhere dangeorus like a dungeon, try to find a room with a door and put this on the door to make it harder to break or unlock. However, beware of the 25gp material component cost.
- PHB: A good option if you're drawing a lot of fire in combat and your AC isn't doing the job. It has a range of "self" so you can't share it, which means that most spellcasters who can cast this are too frail to be drawing attacks even if they have this running.
- PHB: Having reliable, constant light is really nice. Cast this on a shield, a necklace, a weapon, or maybe a whole bunch of different things to guarantee that you always have adequate light without casting light or lighting a torch.
- PHB: Crucial if your group does anything in the dark and if not everyone has Darkvision from their race.
- PHB: Fantastic and versatile. Eagle's Splendor on your party's Face make social interactions much easier, and Bull's Strength provides a huge edge while grappling. Enhance your spellcasting ability (or that of an ally) to get Advantage on the ability checks to counter spells and to dispel magic.
- PHB: Enlarging your party's Defender (possibly yourself) is a great way to draw fire toward them and away from everyone else.
- PHB: Situational by design, but against nearly any humanoid in metal armor, this spell is a death sentence. The damage will be slow, but disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks makes martial characters (the ones typically in metal armor) basically useless. Upcasting the spell is suprisingly efficient since the additional damage applies every round, so if you're fortunate enough to encounter a suitable enemy, use this to its fullest.
- PHB: An essential scouting and infiltration tool, and as you get higher-level spell slots you can affect more of your party.
- PHB: Crucial, but you probably don't need to bring it every day.
- PHB: A low-level substitute for both telekinesis and flight. Getting 20 feet off the ground doesn't feel safe, but it's high enough that you can't be reached by most creatures with melee weapons, which is frequently enough. The 10-minute duration means that you can easily use this to ascend cliffs or tall walls; in 10 minutes you can ascend 2,000 feet. You can also use this to lift heavy objects, or to rescue allies from things like pit traps, pools of acid, or other unpleasant things which can't fly.
- PHB: Very situational, but it's cast as a ritual so it's easy to keep handy. This more useful if you have a permanent base, but you can also place the effect on portable objects (like a piece of paper) in order to perform various shenanigans. Honestly, the most fun part of this spell is coming up wtih silly ways to abuse it. For example: if you can cast Thaumaturgy somehow, Maigc Mouth still recites the message in the volume at which you originally spoke so you can turn a piece of paper into an extremely unpleasant (though harmless) surprise.
- PHB: While certainly a fine spell, Magic Weapon monopolizes your Concentration for an hour at a time, and you can get the same effect from the Enhance Weapon Infusion.
- PHB: Situational, but poison is common across the full CR range, so this is a fantastic defensive option at any level. The 1-hour duration means that you can get a lot of mileage out of a single spell slot even if you cast it ahead of time.
- PHB: Only situationally useful, slightly annoying to set up, and when it does work the effects aren't good enough. The flame doesn't need to be especially large, so a torch or even a candle will suffice. Drop a torch on the ground, run out of range, and cast the spell. The blinding effect isn't spectacular because it only lasts on round and it's on a Constitutuion save, and the smoke cloud option is objectively worse than similar options like Fog Cloud or Darkness.
- PHB: In previous editions, this was a cheap option to create a magically safe place to rest overnight. The duration has been reduced to one hour, but that's still sufficient to take a Short Rest. Tragically, this can't be cast as a ritual, so unless your party has some other way to make Short Rests safe, you may want to keep this prepared while travelling anywhere dangerous in case you and your party need to suddenly vanish somewher safe.
Note that the rope can be up to 60 ft. long, and that the portal appears when the rope is perpendicular to the ground, so its full length runs straight up and down. No mention is given to what happens if the rope hits a ceiling, but I imagine that the spell would simply fail.
Unless you relish the idea of your wizard with 8 Strength climbing a 60-foot rope, I recommend carrying a much shorter length of rope for just this purpose. 10 feet at most is typically sufficiently tall that none of your party members need to duck, and any medium sized creature in party can lift any small or frail allies nearly to the top of the rope. 10 ft. of rope should also reach its full length before hitting a ceiling in most locales, but if you're worried you can always shorten the rope before casting Rope Trick.
- PHB: A great way to handle invisible foes, though you might prefer Faerie Fire.
- EEPC: Only useful as a novelty. Still, it's hard to resist the ability to insult someone by writing nasty things about them in the sky for everyone to see for miles around.
- PHB: Even when flight becomes an option, Spider Climb remains an inexpensive and reliable way to get off the ground, to sneak into places, and to manage many other problematic obstacles.
- PHB: Excellent combination of area control and crowd control, but if your enemies have a good way to set fire to the webs don't waste your spell slot.
- PHB: 1-minute duration, cast an Action, it only has a 50% chance to work on any one turn, and you find out the results at the end of your turn when you no longe rhave the ability to do anything about it. I would prefer Blur or something similar over Blink, though admittedly Blink doesn't require Concentration.
- XGtE: A Short Rest is typically one hour. In most campaigns, that will be fine most of the time unless the DM is deliberately creating a time crunch which prevents resting or otherwise sitting about wasting time. In those cases you might be able to squeeze in a Catnap, but more than likely the 10-minute duration will still be problematic. If danger is the driving concern, cast Rope Trick instead and spend an hour in a pocket dimension.
- PHB: Rations are cheap, but it's good that you can prepare this if you somehow find yourself somewhere without food for extended periods. This also lets you create 30 gallons of water, which is enough for a nice bath but not enough to fill a 5-foot cube.
- PHB: Essential in any party, and while you're just as good at the Ability Check as anyone else, you don't have the spell levels or spell slots to automatically dispel a spell by casting Dispel Magic at a higher level.
- PHB: If you have a weapon that's worth casting Elemental Weapon upon, it's worth the Enhance Weapon infusion which will mean that Elemental Weapon can't target it.
- EEPC / XGtE: At a glance, the artificer may be the first class that can justify using this spell. Since the Artificer doesn't get AOE damage spells like Erupting Earth or Fireball which are available to other spellcasters at this level, there's more room for this to be effective. However, Flame Arrows needs to compete with Elemental Weapon. Elemental Weapon uses a smaller damage die, but allows you to pick the damage type. That alone is enough to make Elemental Weapon betterm but Elemental Weapon also adds a +1 bonus to attacks and doesn't have the infuriatingly small cap of 12 pieces of ammunition. The one advantage that Flame Arrows has is that it works with weapons that are already magical, and as an artificer it's liklely that your weapon is the target of one of your Infusions. Even then, if you need fire damage grab a spare weapon, hit it with Elemental Weapon, and you'll likely do better than using Flame Arrows.
- PHB: Winged Boots are too good to waste spell slots on Fly.
- PHB: I'm really glad WotC was smart enough to add a 200gp consumable material component to this spell. If they hadn't, I would solve far too many problems by delivering scrolls with a Glyph of Warding to hostile NPCs.
- PHB: An excellent buff for nearly any martial character.
- TCoE: Technically situational, but an absolutely spectacular defense against enemies which rely on spells or common effects like charm and fear effects. Unlike racial traits like the Gnome's Cunning or the Satyr and Yuan-Ti Pureblood's Magic Resistance, this applies to all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws, providing broad and effective protection against many of the most dangeorus save-or-suck effects in the game. You also get resistance to psychic damage, which is nice if you're fighting mind flayers, aboleths, or bards who enjoy Vicious Mockery. With a 1-hour duration, the Concentration requirement can be problematic, but it also means that you can carry this through multiple encounters at low cost, so in situations where you need this it's not going to eat all of your spell slots.
- PHB: An important, staple defensive option, but it's single-target and requires Concentration so you can't afford to keep it running constantly. Keep in mind that you can also use Infusions to provide resistance to some damage types, so this isn't as crucial as it is for other spellcasters.
- PHB: Everyone who is capable of casting this should keep it handy. It's simply too good to forgo.
- XGtE: With an 8-hour duration, Tiny Servant is in many ways a temporary familiar. Unlike a familiar it has fixed stats and it can attack, but attacking is definitely not its intended function. With 60-foot blindsight, it's a portable sentry. It's not smart enough to follow complex commands and it can't see, so it can't discern invisible foes from visible ones, but you can command it to inform you of approaching creatures, or you could command it to chase a specific foe which you know to be present but can't see. I recommend casting this on something small, portable, and loud like a hand bell so that the servant can communicate by ringing itself. Still, as good as this spell is I would wait until you've got plentiful 3rd-level spells before you consider it.
- PHB: Situational, but crucial when you need it. Fortunately, it's a ritual.
- PHB: Usually flight is a better option than walking across a liquid. The spell notably doesn't allow a saving throw, so you can use this on hostile creatures underwater to force them to surface. This is also a ritual, so if you do need it for some reason you still don't need to prepare it.
- PHB: One of the best scouting spells in the game.
- EEPC / XGtE: A great way to overcome damage resistance to your favorite spells. Note that the extra damage is per turn, so if your allies can deal the same type of damage you can pile up a lot of damage very quickly. Unfortunately, the save is Constitution-based and Constitution saves tend to be high.
- PHB: I really wish that this spell was better, but it's simply too situational. It only works on raw materials, so you can't pull tricks like turning a door into toothpicks or something equally useful.
- PHB: This is a great buff with a 1-hour duration, but you don't have enough spell slots to use this frequently. If you need this effect, use your Infusions to create a Ring of Free Movement.
- PHB: Extremely situational. The best case I can think of to use this item is if you need to sneak a chest of items into a place. Unfortunately, the limited size of the chest makes it difficult to bring weapons or armor of any great size. A longsword could fit if placed diagonally (they're typically up to 4 feet long, including the hilt), but longer weapons like a greataxe or a quarterstaff like would not.
- PHB: The primary appeal of this spell is to watch for invisibile foes while you rest, but you can use Tiny Servant as a ritual with double the radius of detection. Faithful Hound does have one advantage, in that it's meaningfully useful in combat, but the hound takes up one square, can't move, and can only attack creatures within 5 feet so unless you can pin a foe in on place the hound is going to spend most of its time barking and doing nothing else.
- PHB: This is hard to justify. It's great for protecting a "home base" of some kind if you have magically-inclined enemies, but it doesn't block passage so enemies can still walk right into it. If you're going to rely on this, you likely need to combine it with some other form of protection like a building or Leomund's Tiny Hut.
- PHB: Single-target save or suck on a Dexterity save. Your spell DC will be just as good as a wizard's, and Dexterity saves tend to be low for many enemies, so you can often take a target out of a fight for the duration while you deal with its allies or set up unpleasant traps for it.
- PHB: This is one of the must useful spells in the game. Castles, dungeons, caves, mountains, and all manner of other locales include an abundance of stone. The ability to reshape that stone to your purposes in an instant is immensely useful. This is a spell limited only by your imagination. A 5-foot cube is plenty of space to wreak all kinds of havoc if you're clever..
- PHB: A decent buff, but at this level magic attacks are common.
- TCoE: Summon a pet Defender. Since summon spells depend heavily on spell level this won't be as good for you as it is for the Wizard, but it's still a big bag of hit points and its attacks will still be effective so your summoned construct can still contribute meaningfully in combat.
For more help, see my Practical Guide to Summoning Spells.
- PHB: By the time that you can cast this it's obsolete.
- PHB: Versatile and very powerful, even though you get it very late compared to full spellcasters.
- PHB: This spell is limited by its maximum volume and by your creativity. It takes a full minute to cast so it's not going to be useful in combat, but it's an amazing utility option. A 5-foot cube may not sound like a lot, but that's enough to get up to all sorts of mischief. Need to block a hallway? How about a 5-foot cube of wood or stone? Need a quick trap? 5-foot sphere of something heavy, roll it down a hill. Short on ammunition? Enough arrows to fill a 5-foot cube. Food? 5-foot cube of non-living vegetable matter sounds a lot like food to me. Fancy clothes for a party? The finest cotton. Need to bribe someone you hate? Gems only last 10 minutes, so make it fast.
- PHB: If you don't have a Cleric in the party, you need this.
- PHB: This is great, but it competes for space with Enhance Ability. Advantage on a check isn't as mathematically beneficial as doubling your Proficiency Bonus at high levels, but Enhance Ability is a considerably lower-level spell. If you have allies who can cast Enhance Ability, try combining the two to spectacular effect.
- PHB: Turning rock into mud is a great way to restrain a group of targets, but the ultimate goal is to transmute that muck back into rock while the targets are still inside the area. This is incredibly difficult to do because it requires that the targets fail two saves and that they don't climb out of the mud on their turn, which may be easy despite the movement cost because the 40-foot cube only requires that targets move 20 ft. at the absolute most. Creatures near the edges are nearly guaranteed to escape. Then, once targets get caught in the stone, the DC to escape is only 20, so creatures aren't guaranteed to be stuck unless their Strength is below 10. That's a lot of points of failure to turn two spell slots into a single AOE save-or-suck.
- PHB: While not so broadly useful as Stone Shape, this is still a great way to solve many terrain problems, and you can use it to split encounters so that your party can focus on a few enemies at a time.