PF2 Remastered Wizard Arcane Schools Breakdown


Your choice of Arcane School grants you a Focus Spell, 2 known Cantrips, 2 1st-Rank Spells known, and then 1 new spell known each time you gain a new Spell Rank (every odd-numbered level from 3 through 17) except 10th Rank. In addition, each day you can prepare 1 Cantrip from your school’s Curriculum plus 1 additional spell slot for each Spell Rank except 10th which you can cast which must be used to prepare one of your school’s spells.

Because your Arcane School gives you so many spells known and because you’re locked into preparing spells from your school in some of your spell slots, your school will dictate many of your spellcasting options each day. Being locked into a school with spells that don’t work for you will cause problems. Keep in mind that you can also Heighten your school spells, so if your school’s Curriculum has gaps where you don’t like the spell options, you can Heighten lower-Rank spells to fill those spell slots.

Because Arcane Schools draw their options from the Arcane Spell List, I encourage you to see our Remastered Arcane Spell List Breakdown for detailed advice regarding specific spells. We’ll offer additional advice below where the specific context justifies more information.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • 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.

Curriculum Spells

There is a bit of confusing language in how Curriculum Spells works, so let’s take a quick look and sort out what the rules mean.

“At 1st level, you add a cantrip and two 1st-rank spells of your choice.”

The rules for how the Wizard’s spellbook works give you 10 Cantrips, 5 1st-Rank Arcane spells from the whole Arcane spell list, plus 2 additional 1st-Rank spells from your curriculum. There appears to be a discrepancy between that text and the Curriculum Spells rules text, and the issue has not been addressed by errata as of this writing.

In my opinion, players should get the additional cantrip from their Curriculum. If a school were to include a spell not normally on the Arcane spell list, that cantrip could be part of the curriculum but not available to the Wizard to learn. It would also allow wizards to completely ignore their Arcane School’s cantrip options, which can’t have been Paizo’s intent here since the Wizard is locked into learning ranked spells from their Curriculum.

“A superscript “U” indicates an uncommon spell.”

Some curriculum spells are Uncommon. Uncommon denotes that a thing isn’t commonly available, and you might need to select specific character options to gain access, or you might need GM permission. If your Arcane School’s curriculum includes an Uncommon spell, you have access to that spell.

“Your GM might allow you to swap or add other spells to your curriculum if they strongly fit the theme.”

There is no hard rule on how to handle this. It’s left entirely up to you and your GM. I can’t assume that you’ll be allowed to swap, so I’m going to act like this text doesn’t exist.

Wizard Arcane Schools

School of Ars mGramatica (PC1)

While not flashy, impressive, or destructive, School of Ars Grammatica is consistenly useful. Since your spells aren’t entirely focused on blowing stuff up, you can be effective in a wide variety of situations, making Ars Grammatica a good contributor in any party and in any game.

Curriculum: No direct damage options and few directly offensive options, but a lot of excellent utility options and some good buffs. The spell list as whole isn’t amazing, but you’ll always have useful options, espeically if you Heighten low-Rank curriculum spells.

  • Cantrips
    • Message
    • Sigil
  • 1st Rank
    • Command
    • Disguise Magic
    • Runic Body
    • Runic Weapon
  • 2nd Rank
    • Dispel Magic
    • Translate
  • 3rd Rank
    • Enthrall
    • Veil of Privacy
  • 4th Rank
    • Dispelling Globe
    • Suggestion
  • 5th Rank
    • Sending
    • Truespeech
  • 6th Rank
    • Repulsion
  • 7th Rank
    • Planar Seal
  • 8th Rank
    • Quandary
    • Unrelenting Observation
  • 9th Rank
    • Detonate Magic

Initial Spell – Protective Wards: Mathematically similar to using a Parry weapon or a buckler, and since this is a Status bonus it will stack with Circumstance bonuses from options like Parry or Raise a Shield. However, the radius is tiny and grows slowly, often compelling you to be much closer to danger than a wizard should be.

Advanced Spell – Rune of Observation: Clairvoyance takes a full minute to cast and lasts 10 minutes; Vigilant Eye takes an Action to cast, lasts an hour, and can be extended if you have Focus Points available when the spell’s duration ends. It’s not always useful, but you can use this to keep watch while your party Refocuses and does other post-combat stuff, or you could use it to lay ambushes.

This was called “Vigilant Eye” prior to the Remaster.

School of Battle Magic (PC1)

School of Battle Magic is excellent in combat, but that is the only place where it adds value. Outside of combat, you’ll need to fall back on your skills and your other spellcasting. Of course, wizards are really good at spellcasting and have plenty of skills, so that’s hardly a problem. You’ll be great in combat, but you’ll only be effective in other ways if you bring skills and spells that help in other situations.

Curriculum: Great options at almost every Spell Rank, and no Spell Ranks where you’re forced to pick poor options. The majority of your spells also benefit from being Heightened in a meaningful way, so you have a huge variety of effective options and can pick your favorites.

  • Cantrips
    • Shield
    • Telekinetic Projectile
  • 1st Rank
    • Breathe Fire
    • Force Barrage
    • Mystic Armor
  • 2nd Rank
    • Mist
    • Resist Energy
  • 3rd Rank
    • Earthbind
    • Fireball
  • 4th Rank
    • Wall of Fire
  • 5th Rank
    • Howling Blizzard
    • Impaling Spike
  • 6th Rank
    • Chain Lightning
    • Disintegrate
  • 7th Rank
    • Energy Aegis
    • True Target
  • 8th Rank
    • Arctic Rift
    • Desiccate
  • 9th Rank
    • Falling Stars

Initial Spell – Force Bolt: The damage isn’t great, but it’s a 1-Action spell. Compare Force Bolt to a cantrip. The damage dice scale at the same rate, plus Force Bolt has a 1-Action casting time compared to 2 for typical attack cantrips. You can have at most 3 Focus Points, which means potentially three extra cantrips worth of damage early in a fight when a little extra damage can be the most impactful.

Advanced Spell – Energy Absorption: The biggest problem with temporary damage resistances is that you typically need to guess what type of resistance you need. This removes that challenge, and the damage resistance is both good and scales with level, so this will remain a great option at any level.

School of Civic Wizardry (PC1)

School of Civic Wizardry is a really fun concept, but the spellcasting is not effective enough to make it a good subclass. The highest point of the school is the Focus Spells, and they’re not enough to make up for the poor Curriculum.

If we get better low-level summon options for Summon Construct, I could see raising this to green becuase you can fill your low-Rank curriculum spell slots with Summon Construct.

Curriculum: Most of the options are only situationally useful, and in a campaign where survival mechanics aren’t emphasized and ambushes while resting are unlikely, some of your spells outright won’t matter. Most schools can fill gaps in their Ranked Spells by Heightening low-Rank spells, but School of Civic Wizardry’s low-Rank spells are among its weakest.

  • Cantrips
    • Prestidigitation
    • Read Aura
  • 1st Rank
    • Hydraulic Push
    • Pummeling Rubble
    • Summon Construct: Currently there are very few constructs which you can summon with this, which dramatically limits the effectiveness of the spell. If we later get some good low-level contructs to summon, this will become more useful. Give it time.
  • 2nd Rank
    • Revealing Light
    • Water Walk
  • 3rd Rank
    • Cozy Cabin
    • Safe Passage
  • 4th Rank
    • Creation
    • Unfettered Movement
  • 5th Rank
    • Control Water
    • Wall of Stone
  • 6th Rank
    • Disintegrate
    • Wall of Force
  • 7th Rank
    • Planar Palace
    • Retrocognition
  • 8th Rank
    • Earthquake
    • Pinpoint
  • 9th Rank
    • Foresight

Initial Spell – Earthworks: This is great for choke points like hallways, but just putting the effect between you and an enemy might keep them just outside of melee reach, so even casting this with a single Action may be enough to achieve the desired effect.

This was called “Warped Terrain” prior to the remaster, and it was an illusion spell.

Advanced Spell – Community Restoration: If you like to cast buffs of any kind on your party, you can use this consistently. The amount of temporary hit points is pretty good, too.

School of Mentalism (PC1)

Combining illusions and mind-affecting offensive spells, School of Mentalism provides a combination of utility and offensive options. You’ll do very well against most creatures, but you’ll need to fall back on other spells to handle mindless enemies.

Curriculum: Aside from a few gpas, you always have one good option at each Spell Rank. That doesn’t leave much room for choice, unfortunately, but you have enough options to succeed.

  • Cantrips
    • Daze
    • Figment
  • 1st Rank
    • Dizzying Colors
    • Sleep
    • Sure Strike
  • 2nd Rank
    • Illusory Creature
    • Stupefy
  • 3rd Rank
    • Dream Message
    • Mind Reading
  • 4th Rank
    • Nightmare
    • Vision of Death
  • 5th Rank
    • Hallucination
    • Illusory Scene
  • 6th Rank
    • Never Mind
    • Phantasmal Calamity
  • 7th Rank
    • Project Image
    • Warp Mind
  • 8th Rank
    • Disappearance
    • Uncontrollable Dance
  • 9th Rank
    • Phantasmagoria

Initial Spell – Charming Push: A great option if you’re stuck in melee and need to safely escape, but since it doesn’t prevent hostile actions against your allies it won’t always be useful.

This was called Charming Words prior to the remaster.

Advanced Spell – Invisibility Cloak: Invisibility is a great option for a Focus Spell because it’s useful in nearly every adventure, and being able to cast it without a spell slot makes it easier to justify casting. The gradually improving duration is nice, too. Eventually you can cast this, then remain invisible while you Refocus to regain your Focus Points.

School of Protean Form (PC1)

Of the published Arcane Schools, School of the Protean Form is the best suited to Polymorph spells. Much like a Druid built for Wild Shape, Wizards planning to rely on Polymorph should plan to do so from level 1, rather than picking up random Polymorph spells and hoping for the best. You’ll need good physical stats, lots of hit points, and equipment that looks more like a Monk than a Wizard. Be prepared. Plan ahead.

That said, School of Protean Form can’t do anything polymorph-focused that you couldn’t do with any other school. There’s very little reason to play this over School of Unified Magical Theory.

Curriculum: Some utility options and buffs, but you don’t get polymorph spells until 5th Rank, at which point you’ve been surviving on your other spellcasting for 8 levels. Many of your low-Rank spells will become obsolete early in your career, leaving those spell slots to be perpetually unused.

  • Cantrips
    • Tangle Vine
    • Gouging Claw
  • 1st Rank
    • Jump
    • Pest Form
    • Spider Sting
  • 2nd Rank
    • Enlarge
    • Humanoid Form
  • 3rd Rank
    • Feet to Fins
    • Vampiric Feast: Dangerous for wizards. Consider Reach Spell or delivering this through your familiar.
  • 4th Rank
    • Mountain Resilience
    • Vapor Form
  • 5th Rank
    • Elemental Form: Unless you’re building for polymorph spells, avoid this. The 1-minute duration is not long enough for this to be a utility spell, and any random wizard doesn’t have the hit points to survive fighting while polymorphed.
    • Toxic Cloud
  • 6th Rank
    • Cursed Metamorphosis
    • Petrify
  • 7th Rank
    • Duplicate Foe
    • Fiery Body
  • 8th Rank
    • Desiccate
    • Monstrosity Form
  • 9th Rank
    • Metamorphosis

Initial Spell – Scramble Body: Sickened 1 is a fine debuff, but you’ll quickly find that your leveled spells will be more impactful unless you can guarantee a Critical Failure on the target’s save.

This was called Call of the Grave prior to the remaster.

Advanced Spell – Shifting Form: The speed options and sense options are excellent. Even with the limited duration, you can spare a single Action in combat to get yourself Scent when there are invisible creatures around.

School of the Boundary (PC1)

Versatile, effective, customizable, and just a little bit spooky. The Initial School Spell is frustrating to use, but that’s the school’s biggest pain point.

Curriculum: Strong options at nearly every Rank, and you can Heighten lower-Rank spells to fill the handful of gaps. The spells also provide an variety of direct offense, utility, and summoning options, allowing you cater your Curriculum to your needs and preferences.

  • Cantrips
    • Telekinetic Hand
    • Void Warp
  • 1st Rank
    • Grim Tendrils
    • Phantasmal Minion
    • Summon Undead
  • 2nd Rank
    • Darkness
    • See the Unseen
  • 3rd Rank
    • Bind Undead
    • Ghostly Weapon
  • 4th Rank
    • Flicker
    • Translocate
  • 5th Rank
    • Banishment
    • Invoke Spirits
  • 6th Rank
    • Teleport
    • Vampiric Exsanguination
  • 7th Rank
    • Eclipse Burst
    • Interplanar Teleport
  • 8th Rank
    • Quandary
    • Unrelenting Observation
  • 9th Rank
    • Massacre

Initial Spell – Fortify Summoning: A +1 bonus for a full minute will make a difference for a summoned creature, but the action economy here is hard. Augment Summoning only takes one Action, but you likely spent 3 Actions to summon the creature, then you’re probably spending an Action to Maintain the Spell which summoned the creature you’re targeting on the turn in which you cast Fortify Summoning. So unless you have Quickened Casting or Effortless Concentration, you’re left with a single Action on your second turn.

That probably means that you won’t be casting another spell since so few spells have a 1-Action casting time. Unless your summoned creature can completely replace you in a fight (which is possible) or the fight is going to be extremely long, you probably can’t afford the Action to cast this.

This would be great if you could cast is a Free Action when casting a summoning spell or when Sustaining a summoning spell, but the designers likely felt that a persisten +1 on all of your summons was too powerful.

This was called “Augment Summoning prior to the remaster.

Advanced Spell – Spiral of Horrors Decent radius, and effective debuff, and no save.

This was called Dread Aura prior to the remaster.

School of Unified Magical Theory (PC1)

Rather than a curricculum which provides additional spells known and spell slots, the School of Unified Magical Theory grants a 1st-level Class Feat, a single additional 1st-level spell known (on top of the 5 that you normally select), and an upgraded version of Drain Bonded Item.

Unified Magical Theory’s biggest selling point is the ability to perform repeated “Cascades” via Drain Bonded Item and the Bond Conservation feat. This allows you to perform a series of spells which starts with a high-Rank spell and works its way down the ranks. Planning your spells to support this is an important part of optimizing School of Unified Magical Theory, but it’s hard to overstate the value of doing so. If you’re worried about bringing this tactic into combat, focus on long-duration buff and utility spells and perform your cascades outside of combat when you have the luxury of time.

Because cascades are such a central part of playing School of Unified Magical Theory, if you look at them and think some version of “that looks unpleasant,” the school is still great. And maybe once you’re comfortable with your character you can give cascades another look.

1st-Level Wizard Class Feat: More ways to customize your wizard. The Wizard’s 1st-level feats aren’t so stunningly important that you’ll suffer without them, but more feats are always good.

Drain Bonded Item Improvement: While you can’t prepare as many spells as other wizards, the ability to use Drain Bonded Item once for each rank means that you start the day with all of your prepared spells available at least twice without needing to prepare them twice. Your options narrow as you cast spells just like any other wizard, but you are more able to adjust your daily options than other wizards.

Be sure to take the Bond Conservation feat so that you can maximize the benefits of Drain Bonded Item.

Initial Spell – Hand of the Apprentice: This spell has some serious design issues. First: the damage is garbage, and it falls behind cantrips almost immediately. Most cantrips will deal 2d4 at first level, which will match Hand of the Apprentice with any weapon the wizard is Trained with (short of feats, etc.) before you account for things like multiple targets, persistent damage, etc. from a cantrip. At 3rd level, 3d4 will match one-handed martial weapons. At 5th level, 4d4 will match two-handed weapons.

Second: There’s no restriction on the weapon, so as-written you could use any weapon you’re capable of holding. Find a greataxe, lug it around, and magically hurl it at people. As a GM, I would limit this to appropriately-sized weapons in which the caster is at least Trained to avoid abuse, but then the spell immediately stops being useful beyond low levels except possibly for multiclassed martial characters.

The only way to make this viable long-term is to use a big weapon and to put Striking runes on it. Even then, you’re spending a lot of gold and a free hand for something you might do once or twice in each fight, and unless you’re spending a ton of gold and using a big weapon, the damage will still quickly fall behind your cantrips. Why make that investment?

Prior to the remaster, wizards were required to spend a Class Feat to learn this.

Advanced Spell – Interdisciplinary Incantation: At first glance, this appears to only be useful when you run into enemy spellcasters, but it can absolutely work when your allies cast spells, allowing you to cast spells that you don’t have prepared, including those from other traditions.

The only problem with this is that its effectiveness depends entirely on what other spellcasters are doing around you. You might use this repeatedly to great impact, or you might never use it at all. Talk to your fellow players before you take this and see if you can coordinate some spells.