THIS ARTICLE IS INCOMPLETE. I do this as a hobby, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to complete this article yet. If you want to see this article completed, please consider supporting RPGBOT on Patreon.

Because spell lists in PF2 are available to multiple classes, rating spells often includes a great deal of nuance. Where it is often perfectly fine to skim our content and pick exclusively green and blue options, you will get more value out of this article if you read beyond our color/star ratings.

For legacy spells, see our Legacy Arcane Spell List Breakdown.

Players familiar with Pathfinder 1e should note that spell save DCs have changed since previous editions. Where in 1e your save DC included the level of the spell, in Pathfinder 2e your Spell Save DC is the same for any spell that you cast (though it gets complicated if you can cast spells from multiple traditions). If you cast a 1st-level spell one turn, then a 9th-level spell the next, they will have the same save DC. Because of this change, low-level spells can remain fantastically useful at high levels.


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.

Table of Contents


Cantrips are a go-to, perpetual source of magical options. Cantrips are always heightened to half your level rounded up, so they’ll match the level of the highest-level spells that you can cast. This scaling keeps Cantrips a reliable source of damage output at any level, though most spellcasters still want to rely on ranked spells when they suit the situation rather than counting on Cantrips as your only source of damage output. Because your number of Cantrips is limited, many spellcaster should try to split their options between damage and utility. A spellcaster whose only capability is damage is basically an archer with extra steps.

  • Caustic Blast (PC1): A 5-foot burst can hit as many as 4 creatures, but more likely you’ll hit two adjacent creatures. The damage is decent, but the scaling is slow, so you’ll have level gaps where the damage falls behind.

    This isn’t a bad spell, but it fills a similar function to Electric Arc, which is better in the vast majority of situations. Electric Arc’s damage is more consistent and scales more smoothly, plus it allows much more space between your two targets. Caustic Blast can only beat Electric Arc if you can hit three or more targets or if one or more of the targets critically fails their save and starts taking Persistent Damage.

    Widen Spell would make this very exciting, but tragically Widen Spell doesn’t apply to bursts this small.

    Prior to the remaster, Caustic Blast was called Acid Splash and relied on a primary target and splash damage. The new version is better and simpler.

  • Daze (PC1): Poor damage and bad scaling. You’re gambling for critical failures to stun the target. Against single enemies that’s a bad gamble, and doing more damage to quickly eliminate the target is a better choice. Against larger numbers of low-level enemies, use area damage.

    Prior to the remaster, Daze dealt damage equal to your spellcasting Ability Modifier.

  • Deep Breath (RoE): Too situational and too limited. For the vast majority of your career you’ll do fine with Water Breathing.
  • Detect Magic (PC1): An essential for adventurers. Someone in every party needs to know this. You can get it via the Arcane Sense Skill Feat, but it won’t Heighten normall, so you will lose some of the more powerful features. Even so, it’s better to have this at 1st level than not at all.

    The remastered version of Detect Magic has different functions when Heightened. Because schools of magic went away in the remaster, the ability to identify schools of magic didn’t make sense anymore.

  • Detect Metal (RoE): Too situational. This would be great for NPC merchants worried about adventurers trying to commit fraud, but for players this will probably never matter.
  • Draw Moisture (RoE): Extremely situational. If survival elements were more impactful in PF2 this might be exciting, but this is not that game.
  • Eat Fire (RoE): Resistance to one of the most common damage types in the game as a Reaction. Sure, the resistance scales very slowly, but for such a small cost it’s fantastic. Even Ancestries/Heritages which provide permanent fire resistance will provide less resistance than Eat Fire does.

    On top of that, you can can create a small burst of Smoke which can conceal creatures within it, potentially including you, which lasts for a full minute. This adds yet another powerful defensive option.

    Because this doesn’t care about your spellcasting stats, it’s a fantastic Innate Spell. It’s also on every spell list except Divine, making it an easy go-to option for a huge number of characters.

  • Electric Arc (PC1): The gold standard of ranged attack cantrips. If you can target two enemies, this will easy outdo the initial damage of any other cantrip. In a long fight you might get more out of Persistent Damage from cantrips like Gouging Claw, but Electric Arc is consistent, reliable, and predictable. If you’re not fortunate enough to have it on your spell list (it’s only Arcane/Primal), getting it as an Innate Spell or via Adapted Cantrip is a great choice.

    Prior to the remaster, Electric Arc dealt 1d4+Modifier damage.

  • Elemental Counter (RoE) (Uncommon): This is very similar to how Counterspell works, provided that you have a qualifying spell. This notably doesn’t require your own spell to be of any particular level, so you may be able to use 1st-Rank spells to counteract much more powerful spells.

    The “elemental cycle” omits numerous damage types including air, acid, cold, and electricity, meaning that against a huge number of spells, this won’t function. Fire spells will be the most common by far, so maybe you’ll benefit from having a water spell on hand to counter fire spells.

  • Figment (PC1): Very useful, but since this depends on a Deception check to Create a Diversion, everyone except for Charisma-based spellcasters may struggle to make this effective. Of course, your GM may let you accomplish quite a bit before you actually roll to Create a Diversion.

    This replaces the Legacy spell Ghost Sound, but the effects of Figment are much more versatile.

  • Glass Shield (RoE): Functionally similar to Shield, but you trade much of Shield’s Hardness for retaliatory damage. If you’re a melee caster, this is absolutely worth considering, but ranged casters should stick to Shield. You can absolutely take both, which may be a good idea since they both have a cooldown once you use the Reaction to block damage.

    The retaliatory damage starts to add your Spellcasting Attribute Modifier when you reach level 5 and start casting 3rd-rank spells. If you’re taking Glass Shield as an Innate Spell and have poor stats, Shield may be a safer choice.

  • Gouging Claw (PC1): Good base damage plus Persistent Damage on hit. This is the gold standard for melee attack cantrips.

    Prior to the remaster, Gouging Claw dealt 1d6+Modifier damage and only applied Persistent Damage on a critical hit. While the Persistent Damage scaled better in the Legacy version, applying bleed on every hit means your expected damage output is much more consistent.

  • Ignition (PC1): Good single-target damage and persistent damage on a crit. You can also use it as a melee attack, which is appealing for casters who occasionally step into melee because you can use one cantrip both in melee and at range. For casters who are in melee more consistently, look at Gouging Claw instead.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Produce Flame”. The remaster also updated the spell so that using Ignition in melee increases the damage dice (including the Persistent Damage) from d4’s to d6’s.

  • Illuminate (RoE): Very dramatic, but not useful enough to justify a spell even with a 1-Action casting time. Using it on unwilling targets could be amusing, but likely won’t do any harm beyond giving away their location.
  • Light (PC1): An adventuring staple. Most of the time you’ll attach light to your party’s Defender so that they can both see and draw attention in otherwise dark places, but sometimes you’ll also want to place lights at a distance to expose enemies, to investigate areas from afar, or to draw attention. Remember that you can have up to 4 lights running at once, so you’re free to spread them out to cover a large area.

    Prior to the remaster, the functions of Light were split between the Dancing Lights and Light cantrips. Consolidating the two and removing the need to Sustain Dancing Lights makes everything much more usable. However, since you can no longer target an object, you can no longer cast light on something before throwing it into a deep pit, so you’ll still need to haul torches around from time to time.

  • Message (PC1): Only situationally useful.
  • Needle Darts (RoE): Excellent direct damage. The ability to add special metal types to the damage means that you can easily trigger weaknesses, adding a great deal of additional damage at potentially no cost. The damage is comparable to Telekinetic Projectile, though Needle Darts scales very slightly slower in exchange for Persistent Damage on a Critical Hit.

    Pathfinder Society requires the caster to hold at least one chunk of metal or an item made of the metal which you’re using to cast the spell. A cold iron dagger, a silver coin, and adamantine shield, etc. This is minor inconvenience because you’ll need to Manipulate to retrieve whatever variety of metal you need, but I think it’s a fair balancing requirement because it adds a cost to benefit from a creature’s weaknesses.

  • Prestidigitation (PC1): Neat, but not especially impactful. A great RP tool, but you can’t solve any serious mechanical challenges with it that couldn’t be solved my mundane means.
  • Read Aura (PC1): Helpful, but rarely essential. You can already Identify Magic on magic items and effects, and while Read Aura’s +2 Circumstance Bonus is nice, you can get Circumstance Bonuses from Aid or Guidance.
  • Root Reading (RoE): Too situational, too limited, and the benefit is too small.
  • Shield (PC1): One action for +1 AC and the ability to block some damage as a Reaction. This is a great use for a spare 3rd action, and since it doesn’t care about your spellcasting stat, it’s a great innate spell.
  • Sigil (PC1): Only situationally useful. The best use I’ve found for this is to identify imposters or to track objects that may have changed hands. Cast the mark invisibly on your allies and refresh it when it fades, then if there’s ever a question you can touch the mark to reveal it. If it’s there, you might be okay. If not, roll for initiative, because you’ve found an imposter.
  • Slashing Gust (RoE): Arguably even better than Electric Arc, as Slashing Gust has double the range, doesn’t care how close your targets are to each other, and can inflict Persistent Damage on a crit. However, Slashing Gust explicitly requires empty hands, which is a problem if you like to hold shields, wands, or other useful items. If you’re fighting with your hands free, this is amazing. Otherwise, stick to Electric Arc.
  • Summon Instrument (PC1): Just buy an instrument. The benefit here is that you can’t lose this, break this, or have it taken from you. Unless you expect that to happen on a regular basis, there is little reason to learn this.
  • Take Root (RoE): Too situational, the duration is too short, and the benefit is both soo small and doesn’t scale.
  • Tangle Vine (PC1): At 1st level, the speed penalty and the 1-round duration are not worth the Actions to cast the spell in the vast majority of cases. The duration improves over time, but I wouldn’t consider this a go-to spell until you get the 1-minute duration when you’re casting 4th-level spells, at which point imposing the penalty for a full fight can trivialize fights against melee enemies.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Tanglefoot”.

  • Telekinetic Hand (PC1): Useful, but extremely limited since the text of the spell only allows it to carry and move unattended objects. RAW you can’t poke things, pull levers, knock objects over, etc.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Mage Hand”. The remastered version is identical, but clarifies that you can move the object in any direction.

  • Telekinetic Projectile (PC1): Good single-target damage with good scaling and you can choose from any of the physical damage types. Resistance to physical damage is common, so be sure to have another damage cantrip option.

    Prior to the remaster, Telekinetic Projectile dealt 1d6+modifier damage.

  • Timber (RoE): Good damage in a line, but line AOEs can be very hard to use because enemies to rarely order themselves in a straight line and because moving yourself to hit multiple targets is costly. Hitting more than one enemy with this will be exceptionally rare, and if you can’t hit multiple enemies you will do better with other spells.
  • Tremor Signs (RoE): This is a bit like morse code, but it’s not clear if you can be that precise. This improves upon Message because it doesn’t require line of sight, but it also can’t convey speech. It may be useful during heists or other forms of infiltration, but it likely won’t see constant use.
  • Void Warp (PC1): Not as much single-target damage as Telekinetic Projectile, but resistance to void damage is rare. Don’t make this your only damage cantrip, but it’s a decent backup option if you rely on damage which is commonly resisted like fire or poison.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Chill Touch” and had differing effects for living creatures and undead. The remastered version uses Chill Touch’s effect for living creatures.

1st-Rank Spells

  • Air Bubble (PC1): Only situationally useful. The rules for holding your breath are generous to the point that drowning is borderline impossible unless you’re fighting.
  • Alarm (PC1): A good precation while resting anywhere dangerous. A wand is inexpensive investment that can serve your party reliably for your whole career.
  • Ant Haul (PC1): Only situationally useful, but great for low-Strength characters that carry a lot of gear like many alchemists. The buff lasts 8 hours and can be cast on another creature, so a 1st-level wand is an easy investment.
  • Buoyant Bubbles (RoE): Very situational. When used offensively, this can be incredibly effective. Targets float to the surface over the course of 1 round, which might be absurdly fast if you’re deep underwater, and then targets need to pass a Fortitude save to dive against. Fortunately, I don’t think PF2 has rules for “the bends.”
  • Breathe Fire (PC1): Compare 2d6 damage in a 15-foot cone to 2d4 damage to any two creatures within 30 ft. of you. With the expected +4 ability modifier, Electric Loop deals 2d4 (avg. 5) damage to two creatures. You can reasonably expect to hit at most two creatures with a 15-foot cone, and Breath Fire cast at 1st Rank deals 2d6 damage (avg. 7). The damage gap is small and the range gap is massive. The fact that you can even compare this to a cantrip should tell you why this spell is bad.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Burning Hands”.

  • Charm (PC1): Against a solitary target, this is close to a save-or-suck, and unless the target critically succeeds on the save you may be able to cast Charm again if the first attempt fails. There is no limitation on creature type as there was in Pathfinder 1e, so this spell can be useful almost constantly. Consider expanding your language options so that you can talk to your new friends, and consider investing in Diplomacy so that you can permanently improve the target’s attitude toward you.
  • Command (PC1): A simple crowd-control spell with a few options. Commanding creatures to run away or drop what they’re holding is often the best option because it can force an enemy to disarm themselves or to run out of melee (potentially provoking Reactions), and the creature must then spend Actions to address how you’ve inconvenienced them. However, it’s a single-target spell with a 2-Action casting time, and you can generally expect to cause 2 Actions worth of inconvenience if the target fails their save, which may not be a good enough trade.
  • Conductive Weapon (RoE): This will nearly never be more impactful than Runic Weapon. The only time when it will be is when your enemies have vulnerability to electricity damage, which is rare.
  • Create Water (PC1): Only useful in survival situations, and people don’t play Pathfinder to play a survival game.
  • Dehydrate (RoE): Persistent damage in an AOE and possibly inflict Enfeebled. This easily outdamages most 1st-level spells, though the short range and small AOE at 1st Rank may make it hard to hit multiple enemies consistently.

    The scaling is good, too, but doesn’t immediately solve the spell’s limitations. Cast at 3rd Rank, it’s a 10-foot burst with 40-foot range dealing 4d6 persistent fire damage on a basic save and you still get the possible debuff. Compare that to fireball’s 20-foot burst, 500-foot range, and 6d6 damage. If the persistent damage applies twice, you’ve done more damage per target with the same spell slot, you’ve possibly Enfeebled targets, and you might still get more damage. Persistent damage has a roughly 50% chance to expire after the 2nd turn, but that’s still a good chance to do at least as much damage as Fireball with the additional possibility of a debuff.

    But the small AOE and short range may make it difficult to hit as many targets with Dehydrate as you can eith Fireball. Dehydrate won’t match Fireball’s AOE until 7th Rank, and Dehydrate will never match Fireball’s range. If you’re in a situation where you can can hit the same number of targets with either spell, Dehydrate is the clear winner. However, Fireball is more likely to be the right spell in any given situation.

  • Disguise Magic (PC1): Very situational. You’re much more likely to see an NPC cast this to trick players than to cast it yourself.

    This spell was called “Misdirection” prior to the remaster. The exact mechanics of the spell have changed significantly.

  • Dizzying Colors (PC1): Useful early in a fight, but if you can’t get the Dazzled/Blinded effects into play early you’re not benefiting much from the spell.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Color Spray”.

  • Enfeeble (PC1): An excellent debuff against most melee enemies, but those same enemies often have high Fortitude saves, so this may not be reliable. Still, it remains equally effective for your whole career, so you can whip this out at level 20 to Enfeeble 2 the big bad and still get the same results.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Ray of Enfeeblement”. The remastered version also removes the initial spell attack roll, removing one of the spell’s points of failure.

  • Fear (PC1): Frightened is a great debuff, but it also wears off automatically in a few turns. For half the Action cost you can Demoralize a target. Demoralize will only make them Frightened 1, but that leaves you with two Actions to cast a different spell. Fear isn’t bad, especially since it remains equally effective for your full career, but typically you want to Frighten an enemy to set them up to hit them with a different spell.
  • Fleet Step (PC1): Very situational. If you want a speed buff, Tailwind is a much easier choice.
  • Flourishing Flora (RoE): The AOE is tiny and you’re gambling on a Critical Failure, which is never a safe bet.
  • Fold Metal (RoE): A weirdly large number of important metal objects are unattended. Door hinges, locks, prison bars, nails holding wood together, iron banding on barrels and chests, enemies’ weapons lying on the floor, metal support beams, etc. Anything you’re holding is “attended”, so I suppose that you need to drop stuff before casting this.

    Pathfinder society has a ruling that specifically prevents some of these shenanigans, which makes Fold Metal much less useful in Pathfinder Society. “For the purposes of the fold metal spell in Pathfinder Society play, objects which are part of a structure (such as a door, or a lock on a window) are not considered “unattended.”

    Honestly, I think this is a good ruling to use in home games, too. Fold Metal makes it way too east to bypass mundane obstacles. If you stick to this ruling, I would call Fold metal orange. It’s a spell that’s intended to only be situationally useful.

  • Force Barrage (PC1): Reliable and flexible, Magic Missile has several great things going for it. First, it never misses, so it’s a great option when facing foes with high defenses. Magic Missile deals Force damage, which very few creatures are resistant to. 120 ft. range is plenty to keep you well out of harm’s way. And finally, you can choose to cast it with 1, 2, or 3 Actions to increase the effects at the expense of your time. Spending more Actions will get more effect out of the spell, so it’s a more efficient use of your spell slots, but if you need to move or cast another spell in the same turn you can still get some damage out of Magic Missile.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Magic Missile”.

  • Gentle Landing (PC1): Any experienced player has seen a long list of situations which involved falling in a dangerous fashion. Way back in D&D in DnD 3.5 I was in a party that leapt from low orbit to avoid a rematch with an angry dragon, and Feather Fall turned certain death into a fast elevator ride. Every party needs this spell available, and scrolls and wands won’t do the job.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Feather Fall”.

  • Goblin Pox (PC1): A great debuff. Sickened affects all of the creatures’ checks and DCs, and they’re Sickened 1 even on a Success. Unlike Frightened, Sickened doesn’t go away automatically; the target must spend an Action to attempt a save. Stage 2 of Goblix Pox is incredibly impactful, but also only lasts 1 round, so Goblin Pox is not likely to win any fights for you on its own.
  • Grease (PC1): A good low-level area control spell, and you can also target things like enemy weapons to potentially cause them to drop their weapon. Even if they manage to hold onto their weapon, they still suffer a -2 penalty with it for the 1-minute duration of the spell.
  • Grim Tendrils (PC1): Poor damage and a pittance of Persistent Bleed Damage in a short line. If you want bleed, consider Gouging Claw. If you want multiple targets, Electric Arc and Slashing Gust as both better. Considering that we’re comparing Grim Tendrils to a cantrip, that should tell you everything that you need to know about the spell’s effectiveness.
  • Gust of Wind (PC1): If you just want to knock targets prone, use Grease. Gust of Wind is situationally useful when enemies rely on smoke or fog, and when you’re facing flying foes. Knocking a flying foe prone causes them to fall, potentially dealing a huge amount of damage in addition to the 2d6 from the Critical Failure effect. As you gain levels and flying enemies become more common, this becomes more and more important. Despite not scaling with spell level, this should be a go-to option for handling flying enemies, especially if not everyone in your party can fly. At low levels you can probably forgo this because flying enemies are uncommon.
  • Hydraulic Push (PC1): Despite the relatively high damage compared to other 1st-level spells, this isn’t a great offensive option. 3d6 is still not much more than you’ll get from a cantrip at low levels. The appeal is the forced movement, which you can use to break grapples, force enemies out of melee, or push enemies into a dangerous location.
  • Illusory Disguise (PC1): You can typically handle disguises with the Deception skill, but if you’re not proficient in Deception, it may be more convenient to learn a single spell, and since you add your level to the Deception check with this you effectively match having Expert proficiency if you’re not already proficient. If you’re already proficient, this is effectively a +4 status bonus to Deception, which is hard to beat.

    The remastered version of Illusory Disguise has absorbed the effects of Veil, allowing you to Heighten the spell in order to affect up to 10 willing creatures.

  • Illusory Object (PC1): In many cases, an illusory object is as good as a real one. Hiding being an illusory wall is often just as good as hiding behind a real one, especially if an enemy doesn’t know to Seek nearby, and even then the rules for disbelieving illusions require creatures to make a Perception check to Disbelieve the spell before they can see through it even partially.

    You can easily use this in combat to block line of sight, to create places to hide, and possibly to isolate enemies for several rounds. But fair warning: you and your allies are not immune to your illusions. Even if you know that an effect is an illusion, you still need to Disbelieve it to see through it.

    The duration is long enough to let you do all sorts of useful stuff, and if you prepare it at higher levels the spell can be permanent.

  • Instant Pottery (RoE): You might be able to use this for things like barring doors, blocking traps, patching holes, or other similar tasks. The wording suggests that you need to create “earthenware objects”, but an amorphous clay blob is an object. In many ways, you can use this as a low-budget version of Shape Stone.
  • Interposing Earth (RoE): Standard Cover is +2 to AC and +2 to Reflex saves, giving you a 20% chance to improve your outcome by one step. You use this when you’re targeted, so you can’t wait to use this until you know for sure that it will work, but a high-level spellcaster can easily afford to spend a 1st-level spell slot on this several times a day.

    The barrier lasts 3 rounds, but basically any area damage or a single Strike will easily destroy it. Even so, you might benefit from the provided cover more than once, and the barrier will prevent enemies from moving through the edge of a space where you placed it.

  • Item Facade (PC1): Very situational, but I just know that there are players out there who are going to cast this on looted items to try to get more gold when they sell it. As a GM, remember that when creatures interact with the affected item they can attempt to Disbelieve the effect, and if word gets out that the players are trying to swindle people with this spell the players might have trouble trading with people who know their reputation.
  • Jump (PC1): Situational, but it still makes both the Quick Jump feat and the Powerful Leap feat largely obsolete unless you’re building to jump almost every round. For spellcasters, this stops being interesting as soon as magical flight becomes convenient.
  • Lock (PC1): Only situationally useful, and player characters will rarely use this in any way that’s actually impactful. However, they’re very likely to encounter it as an obstacle.
  • Mending (PC1): Tempting if you like to use shields, but the Repair activity is more effective, doesn’t require a spell slot, and doesn’t have a Bulk limitation. You could save this for days when you’re not adventuring, but even then proficiency in Craft is easy to get and just as good.
  • Mindlink (PC1): Extremely situational.

    Prior to the remaster, Mindlink was only on the Occult spell list.

  • Mystic Armor (PC1): If you fight unarmored, Mage Armor will replace the benefits of a well-enhanced Explorer’s Outfit at the cost of a single spell slot. Sure, spell slots are valuable, but the amount of gold you save will be considerable. You need to cast higher-level versions of the spell to get the increasing benefits, so I recommend using your second-highest level spell slot.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Mage Armor”.

  • Pest Form (PC1): Only useful for scouting and similar non-combat activities. Be sure that you’re proficient in Stealth, because if you’re caught in this form and attacked you’re likely to die almost immediately.
  • Pet Cache (PC1): Situationally useful if you want to sneak your pet into a place where they might not be welcome, but your pet can’t willingly exit and you can’t dismiss the spell, so you’re putting your pet totally out of reach for 8 hours.
  • Phantasmal Minion (PC1): The servant can perform Interact Actions, so it may be able to do things like triggering traps, activating magic items, administering potions to allies, etc., but the spell is Sustained so you’re still committing an Action every round to get an extra set of hands. Unfortunately, you can’t simply issue commands to your servant and take a nap while they mop your floors or something.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Unseen Servant”.

  • Pummeling Rubble (PC1): This has the same area and save as Breathe Fire, but trades some damage for the ability to push targets away from you. For spellcasters built to fight at range, this can let you push nearby enemies out of melee so that you can safely retreat. But you can usually solve that problem by Stepping, and that doesn’t rely on a save. If you want the ability to reposition enemies, Hydraulic Push is usually a better choice.
  • Runic Body (PC1): All the benefits of Runic Weapon, but it may apply to multiple Strike options. Creatures that fight unarmed often have multiple types of attacks (monks changing stances, character with both teeth and claws, etc.), and this allows them to switch between them without giving up the buff.
  • Runic Weapon (PC1): Players likely won’t have +1 Striking weapons until around level 5. Before then, Runic Body and Runic Weapon can provide a massive boost in effectiveness to martial characters. The 1-minute duration will only last through a single fight, but casting this on turn 1 will frequently yield more damage output at low levels than casting an offensive spell.

    At higher levels, the relative benefits of uprading a weapon may not be worth the cost to cast this at 6th or 9th Rank since you’re no longer doubling the weapon’s damage dice. Increasing a weapon’s damage dice by 50% or 33% is not as impressive as 100%. Also, your higher-level offensive spells will be much more impressive.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Magic Weapon”. The base effects were identical, but there was no benefit for Heightening the spell.

  • Shielded Arm (RoE): Cast Shield. The only advantage that this has over Shield is that you can cast it on another creature, and that simply isn’t enough.
  • Signal Skyrocket (RoE): Extremely situational. This is not an offensive spell. The offensive parts are there in case you somehow manage to use this inside by shooting a ceiling, and you will rarely be able to do that without catching yourself in the 30-foot burst.

    The 30-foot AOE is impressive for a 1st-level spell, but the “must go straight up” limitation makes it nearly impossible to use this offensively without friendly fire.

  • Sleep (PC1): Despite being heavily weakened compared to Pathfinder 1e, Sleep is still a good spell, but you need to reconsider how you use it. Its effects no longer depend on the targets’ hit points, and work on a normal saving throw more like other spells. The area of effect is small, so rather than clearing whole encounters by putting them to sleep you may need to target a few creatures that are clustered together, then either sneak past them or eliminate them without drawing the attention of other nearby creatures.
  • Spider Sting (PC1): This spell is not written in a way that’s easy to understand unless you’re already very comfortable with PF2’s rules, so I’ll walk you through how it works. First, it’s Touch range so you typically need to get into melee range to deliver it. Second, you need to hit with a melee spell attack to deliver the spell. On a hit, the target takes 1d4 piercing damage, then makes a Fortitude save. Even on a success the target still takes 1d4 poison damage, but if they fail they become afflicted with Spider Venom (the effects are detailed at the bottom of the spell’s description). Be sure to read the Affliction rules on pages 457 and 458 of the core rulebook, especially the Affliction Example sidebar on page 458. With that in mind, the maximum duration of Spider Venom is just 4 rounds, so if you’re very lucky (or if your target isn’t), they might take as much as 4d4 poison damage and be Enfeebled for the duration of the effect. All told, Spider Venom is a great introduction to Pathfinder 2e’s Affliction mechanics, but it’s unreliable because the target has so many opportunities to resist or remove the effects.
  • Summon Animal (PC1): Your summon options run most of the level range, but as you get into high levels you’ll run short on animal options, so plan to switch to other summon spells.
  • Summon Construct (PC1): Summon spells can be really good, but the effectiveness of any given spell is heavily dependent on the numver of available options to summon. As of this writing, the Monster Core is the only post-Remaster source of creatures, and there simply aren’t enough options to make Summon Construct good. Many levels will have just one option to summon. Some of these options will be great, but without the ability to pick from multiple options loses much of a summon spell’s versatility.
  • Summon Undead (PC1): A huge number of summon options across the level spectrum with a ton of great tactical uses.
  • Sure Strike (PC1): While it won’t be especially helpful at low levels when your spell slots are extremely limited, this is a great option at higher levels. The 1-Action casting time allows you to cast this before casting another spell, dramatically improving the reliability of higher-level spells which require attack rolls like Disintegrate.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “True Strike”.

  • Tailwind (PC1): A good bonus with a good duration, and upcasting it to 2nd level gets you 8 hours, which is easily enough to get through a full adventuring day. The speed bonus is very helpful for melee-only characters, so put this on your party’s front line and on characters like mounts who need to move around the battlefield a lot to be effective.

    Becuase the 2nd-level version is so good, wands of 2nd-level Tailwind are a popular item.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Longstrider”.

  • Thunderstrike (PC1): An average of 9 damage per Spell Rank to a single target on a basic Reflex save. It’s not very exciting, but it’s decently effective and very simple.

    This apparently replaces Shocking Grasp in the remaster, but the spells have very little in common except damage type and the penalty for metal.

  • Ventriloquism (PC1): Situational, and anyone who hears the effect automatically gets a save to notice the illusion. Rely on Figment as much as you possibly can before resorting to this.
  • Wall of Shrubs (RoE): An introductory wall spell. It’s not clear if creatures can move through the wall, which is frustrating. The 1st-Rank version is not worth casting, but Heighteneing the spell may be worthwhile.

    At 3rd, the wall provides Standard Cover, or Greater Cover at 5th rank. Cover protects creatures from attacks and Reflex saves, but a clever spellcasting relying on Fortitude and Will saves can attack through the wall with no problems. Of course, the spell still doesn’t specify if creatures can move through the wall, so your enemies might get upset and face check your bushes.

  • Weaken Earth (RoE): Only situationally useful. You could use this against things like castle walls, but you’ll rarely need to smash through a solid wall.
  • Weave Wood (RoE):

    This could be used as a low-budget option similar to Shape Stone, but since you need unworked material, you may have better luck with Instant Potteryin some cases.

    In any sort of internally-consistent world, the existence of this spell would invalidate much of the Carpentry profession. But this is a game, spellcasting isn’t available to everyone, and turning your PF2 game into a carpentry business tycoon simulator probably isn’t why you’re here.

  • Wooden Fists (RoE): There is no character where fighting unarmed makes sense and this is also your best unarmed strike option. Even if such a builde existed, Runic Body is a better spell by a huge margin.

2nd-Rank Spells

  • Acid Grip (PC1):
  • Blazing Armory (RoE):
  • Blazing Bolt (PC1):
  • Blood Vendetta (PC1): A fantastic retaliatory option for your entire career.
  • Blur (PC1):
  • Brine Dragon Bile (RoE):
  • Burrow Ward (RoE):
  • Cauterize Wounds (RoE):
  • Clad in Metal (RoE):
  • Cleanse Air (RoE):
  • Create Food (PC1):
  • Darkness (PC1): This is the most clearly-written version of this spell that I’ve seen across several editions of DnD and both editions of Pathfinder, but it is still very nuanced. The base version of the spell allows Darkvision to continue functioning, which means that if your party has Darkvision and your enemies do not, casting this will provide your party with a significant tactical advantage. The 4th-level heightened version of the spell also inhibits Darkvision, but weirdly that’s only appealing compared to the base 2nd-level version if your enemies have Darkvision and you do not because it inhibits everyone equally. However, the Darkness spell is by no means an unassailable way to darken the battlefield at your convenience: Darkness suppresses magical light of Darkness’s level or lower, but due to cantrips being automatically heightened, even the Light cantrip can easily override Darkness unless Darkness is heightened. This allows players to easily counter magical Darkness, but remember that your enemies can do the same.
  • Darkvision (PC1):
  • Deafness (PC1):
  • Dispel Magic (PC1): An absolutely essential option. While it’s not spelled out in the spell’s description, the Counteract rules make the level at which you cast this very important. On a Critical Success you can dispel effects up to three levels higher than the level at which you cast Dispel Magic and on a Success up to one level higher. On a failure you can still dispel effects of a lower level, so upcasting Dispel Magic can be a powerful way to strip enemies of problematic buffs or to disarm them of magic items like weapons which might dramatically boost their damage output. A high-level martial enemy who is scary with a +3 Greater Striking weapon is much less of a problem when they’re suddenly holding a mundane weapon.
  • Embed Message (PC1):
  • Enlarge (PC1): Improved reach, a little bit of extra damage, and a nice 5-minute duration so it’s sure to last through all but the most absurdly-long fights. The fact that the spell raises a creature directly to Large size also means that you can cast it on small creatures like halflings and they still get the full benefits in combat, but it also means that you can cast it on tiny creatures like a familiar and potentially ride them. While the effects of the spell improve with spell level, the 2nd-level version of the spell is still a significant advantage for your melee allies, especially if they have Reaction options like Attack of Opportunity, so you can count on a 2nd-level spell to provide a significant tactical advantage even at high levels.
  • Entangling Flora (PC1):
  • Environmental Endurance (PC1):
  • Exploding Earth (RoE):
  • Everlight (PC1):
  • False Vitality (PC1):
  • Falsify Heat (RoE):
  • Fireproof (RoE):
  • Floating Flame (PC1):
  • Gecko Grip (PC1):
  • Ghostly Carrier (PC1):
  • Helpful Wood Spirits (RoE):
  • Humanoid Form (PC1): This provides very few benefits, the biggest of which is a bonus to Deception checks to disguise yourself. If you need magical assistance with a disguise, Illusory Disguise will be more effective and it’s a spell level lower.
  • Illusory Creature (PC1): The closest thing you’ll get to summoning a creature with an illusion, Illusory Creature is a complicated spell. The spell’s description is nearly an entire column in the Core Rulebook, so there is a lot of text to digest. Generally this isn’t a go-to combat option because the damage is poor and the damage dealt will be halved if the illusion is disbelieved, but there is a common and important case where this can be helpful offensively: if your enemy has a damage weakness, you can alter the form of your illusory creature to deal that damage type, dramatically boosting the amount of damage which your illusion can deal. The illusion’s stats are decent, and with two Actions per round it can hopefully make a few strikes before something gets through the illusion’s AC. Tragically, the illusion is dispelled if it’s hit even once or fails a single save the spell ends immediately, potentially ending before you get to Sustain the spell even once.
  • Invisibility (PC1):
  • Knock (PC1):
  • Laughing Fit (PC1):
  • Marvelous Mount (PC1):
  • Mist (PC1): Concealed offers a miss chance on attacks, so this can be a passable way to defend yourself from enemies if you’re being targeted by a lot of attacks or something along those lines. Weirdly, the spell doesn’t inhibit line of sight in any way unless the target and/or the attacker are within the area. You can’t use this to obscure objects, or to keep enemies from seeing down a long hallway. Honestly, it feels like the spell is missing half of its effects.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Obscuring Mist”.

  • Noise Blast (PC1):
  • Oaken Resilience (PC1): You had me at “flammability”.
  • Pave Ground (RoE):
  • Peaceful Rest (PC1):
  • Propulsive Breeze (RoE):
  • Resist Energy (PC1): A staple defensive option. 10 minutes is long enough to get you through a fight or two, and as you gain levels and additional spell slots you can afford to cast this on multiple allies or to give more than one type of damage resistance.
  • Revealing Light (PC1): A good low-level option for countering invisibility, even on a successful save targets still have their invisibility negated for 2 rounds. Unfortunately, negating invisibility in this way still leaves the target Concealed, which provides a 20% miss chance on attacks against that creature (DC 5 flat check). You can more easily target the creature with AOE effects or effects which require you to see the target, but try to avoid attacking the target if you can.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Glitterdust”. The wording of the spell was changed both to adjust the flavor text and to clarify the effects, but the actual effect has not changed.

  • Rubble Step (RoE):
  • See the Unseen (PC1): A staple option for handling invisibility. At high levels casting the spell at 5th level may be a common daily occurrence so that you’re always ready to face invisible enemies. The creatures and objects are still Concealed, but that won’t protect them from Fireball.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “See Invisibility”. The spell has been updated to also let you see incorporeal creatures and to provide a Status Bonus to disbelieve illusions.

  • Shape Wood (PC1):
  • Shrink (PC1):
  • Splinter Volley (RoE):
  • Stupefy (PC1): Situational by design. Stupefied in any amount is a powerful debuff against creatures that rely solely on spellcasting, but that is a minority of enemies.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Touch of Idiocy”. In addition, the Success effect and Critical Failure effects have changed.

  • Summon Elemental (PC1):
  • Telekinetic Maneuver (PC1):
  • Thermal Remedy (RoE):
  • Translate (PC1): Technically situational, but meeting a creature with which you don’t share a language is common. The wording of the spell is specific enough that you can cast this on your party’s Face while they’re actively hearing a language which they don’t know, and they’ll gain the ability to understand that language. Unfortunately you can’t grant the ability to also speak the language unless you cast this at 3rd level, but if the speaker isn’t hostile you can always cast this twice so that your Face and the other creature can understand each other despite not speaking the same language.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Comprehend Languages”.

  • Tremorsense (RoE):
  • Voice on the Breeze (RoE):
  • Water Breathing (PC1):
  • Water Walk (PC1): Too situational.
  • Waterproof (RoE):

3rd-Rank Spells

  • Aqueous Orb (PC1):
  • Bind Undead (PC1): 1-day duration with no save. You need to do some metagaming to match the level of this spell to the level of the undead in question, which feels weird, but if you have ambitions of a skeletal entourage, you don’t have much choice. Keep in mind that it still takes an Action to command a Minion, so hauling a dozen pets into combat won’t help you much.

    If you plan to keep pet undead long-term, be sure to fully restrain them before you sleep. Waking up in the morning and being a few rounds late to re-cast Bind Undead is a horrible way to have all of your pet zombies turn on you.

  • Blastback (RoE):
  • Blindness (PC1):
  • Cave Fangs (RoE):
  • Clairaudience (PC1):
  • Cloud Dragon’s Cloak (RoE):
  • Coral Scourge (RoE):
  • Cozy Cabin (PC1): A nice way to make traveling more comfortable, but unless your GM is strict about survival mechanics, this will likely never matter. If you do cast this, wait until 3rd-Rank spells are several Ranks below your highest Rank.
  • Dive and breach (RoE):
  • Dream Message (PC1): Only situationally useful. I don’t recommend this for casters with a Spell Repertoire because it’s just not useful often enough to justify the space. It’s more likely that a friendly NPC will use this to communicate to the players.
  • Earthbind (PC1): As a general solution for flying creatures, Gust of Wind is better. On a failure, Gust of Wind will knock a flying creature prone, inflict 2d6 damage up front, and cause them to fall. Falling drops a creature up to 500 feet and potentially deals more damage based on how far the creature fell. Earthbind’s only advantage is that the target loses the ability to leave the ground for a minute on a failure. That’s certainly a good advantage, but is it worth the difference in spell level?
  • Enthrall (PC1): This can be a very effective option to handle crowds both in and out of combat (though the GM might grant enemies a problematically high circumstance bonus if you’re already in combat). In combat, you can leave the rest of your party to engage with any enemies which didn’t fail their save, then work through the crowd one at a time while you talk about uncontroversial things like how nice food is, or how sometimes the sky gets cloudy.

    Unfortunately, Enthrall also affects your allies. Your allies may be able to stack the odds in their favor by having major philosophical differences with you, but so can your enemies, so singing is generally the best choice. If some (but not all) of your allies are affected, whoever didn’t fail their save can take a hostile action to break the effect on your allies. An unarmed attack is usually sufficient.

  • Feet to Fins (PC1): Situational by design. The duration is short, but it’s also the lowest-Rank way to get a swim speed.
  • Fireball (PC1): Good range, a big AOE, and good damage. In a game full of nails, this is a popular hammer. The scaling is good, too, making Fireball a good baseline for measuring the effectiveness of other spells.
  • Ghostly Weapon (PC1): Only situationally useful, but you definitely want this available. Most campaigns won’t feature incorporeal enemies frequently enough to justify a Ghost Touch rune, so having a few scrolls of this will be an asset it any party.
  • Grease (PC1):
  • Haste (PC1):
  • Heatvision (RoE) (Uncommon):
  • Hypnotize (PC1):
  • Insect Form (PC1):
  • Levitate (PC1):
  • Lightning Bolt (PC1):
  • Locate (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Lotus Walk (RoE):
  • Mind Reading (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful, and situations where you will need it can usually wait until you can rest to prepare this.
  • Noxious Metals (RoE):
  • One with Stone (PC1):
  • Paralyze (PC1):
  • Pillar of Water (RoE):
  • Safe Passage (PC1): Too situational, too limited, too ineffective, and the duration is too short. There is no world in which this is worth a 4th-Rank Spell Slot. Cast Fly. Cast Translocate. Cast Passwall.
  • Sand Form (RoE):
  • Scrying Ripples (RoE):
  • Slow (PC1):
  • Tempest Cloak (RoE):
  • Vampiric Feast (PC1): Decent damage of a good damage type, and the temporary hit points will help keep you alive after you run into melee to deliver this. This is a great option for gish characters like the Magus, but wizards should be very careful about using this without Reach Spell.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Vampiric Touch”.

  • Veil of Privacy (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful. This is great for powerful NPCs with powerful enemies (like the players), but players will only benefit when facing enemies with divination options available. This does notably block things like See Invisibility, so players that like to rely on Invisibility might benefit from this. Note that this does still require a Counteract check, so it’s not foolproof.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Nondetection”. The effects of the spell have been reworded to reflect schools of magic going away, but they have not changed.

  • Wall of Thorns (PC1):
  • Wall of Wind (PC1):
  • Wooden Double (RoE):

4th-Rank Spells

  • Aerial Form (PC1):
  • Airlift (RoE):
  • Clairvoyance (PC1):
  • Cinder Swarm (RoE):
  • Confusion (PC1):
  • Creation (PC1): A great utility, but you need to be able to think on your feet to make it actually useful. Limited only by your creativity and the limitations on material. Easy uses include creating temporary tools (ladders, poles, etc.), equipment (shields), and obstacles. If you run out of ideas, a 5-foot cube of solid wood can hold a door shut or you can drop it on a creature.

    The remastered version of Creation is updated to apply appropriate traits to your created object based on its material.

  • Detect Scrying (PC1):
  • Dispelling Globe (PC1) (Uncommon): At a glance, this is a great defense against enemy spellcasters, allowing you to safely cast spells outward while being protected from spells targeting anyone inside the sphere (you, for the most part). But it’s not portable, so it’s really only useful if you’re comfortable standing still for the rest of the encounter.

    The fact that the globe is a 10-foot burst (so it’s a sphere 20 feet across) and can’t be broken by things like walls or floors is a surprisingly major problem. It’s nearly impossible to use in close quarters like a dungeon, and if you’re on the ground and of medium or smaller size, the sphere’s radius extends 5 feet into the ground, making this impossible to cast. You can literally only cast this if you’re large or flying.

    The inability to cast the spell while on the ground certainly can’t be the intent of the spell. As a GM, I would change the area from “10-foot burst centered on one corner of your space” to “10-foot burst which includes your space“.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Globe of Invulnerability”.

  • Elemental Sense (RoE):
  • Fire Shield (PC1):
  • Flicker (PC1): This notably doesn’t prevent you from teleporting upward, downward, into a wall, or anywhere else similarly dangerous. If you and your GM agree on how to handle this without the spell being outright suicidal, it’s a passable buff for front-line spellcasters, especially if you don’t need to be in melee consistently. Otherwise, it’s borderline useless.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Blink”. The spell was also updated to not move you between the Material Plane and the Ethereal Plane. This functionally meant that the spell only worked while on one of those two planes and made the spell unusable elsewhere. The Material Plane is also now called “The Universe”.

  • Fly (PC1):
  • Glass Form (RoE):
  • Grasp of the Deep (RoE):
  • Grasping Earth (RoE):
  • Life-Draining Roots (RoE):
  • Liminal Doorway (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Mercurial Stride (RoE):
  • Mirage (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Misty Memory (RoE) (Uncommon):
  • Mountain Resilience (PC1): Use a stone body mutagen (Treasure Vault) instead. Stoneskin isn’t awful, it’s just obsolete.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Stoneskin”.

  • Nightmare (PC1): A great way to mildly inconvenience the BBEG once you know their name. Keep them tired and annoyed, and then go attack them while they’re debuffed.
  • Outcast’s Curse (PC1):
  • Peaceful Bubble (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Planar Tether (PC1):
  • Rigid Form (RoE):
  • Rust Cloud (RoE):
  • Shape Stone (PC1):
  • Sliding Blocks (RoE):
  • Stifling Stillness (RoE):
  • Suggestion (PC1): A decent way to nonviolently remove problematic creatures, but you need to be creative and your GM needs to be willing to play along. The 1-minute duration for a Failure doesn’t leave you a lot of room to work, but it may be enough to convince an enemy to walk out of a room, for a guard to let you pass, or something along those lines.
  • Telepathy (PC1):
  • Translocate (PC1): A great way to get out of danger. The heightened version can get you all the way out of a dungeon.
  • Unfettered Movement Only situationally useful. The duration is long enough that you could pre-cast it before going into an encounter, but you would need to know that you’re facing something that likes to immobilize/grapple/restrain you ahead of time. (PC1):

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Freedom of Movement”.

  • Vapor Form (PC1): Maybe a good way to sneak in or out of somewhere, but the 5-minute duration is painfully short, and you’re still visible. I think you still keep your base speed, which is great because the 10-foot fly speed won’t get you anywhere in a hurry.
  • Vision of Death (PC1): The damage isn’t great (a 4th-level Fireball does the same amount of damage), and while Frightened is a great debuff I don’t think it’s enough to make up the difference.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Phantasmal Killer”. In addition, the Critical Failure effect has been reworked.

  • Wall of Fire (PC1): Decent area control, but the damage isn’t enough to scare anything at this level if it’s only going to be affected once. But if you have an ally that likes to grapple, this can be very effective. The Concealed condition will deter creatures from attacking through it, though area of effect spells won’t be affected, so beware of enemy spellcasters.
  • Weapon Storm (PC1):
  • Ymeri’s Mark (RoE):
  • Zephyr Slip (RoE):

5th-Rank Spells

  • Banishment (PC1): Save-or-suck for anything from a different plane of existence. Simple, effective, and if you’re prepared for the specific creature(s) you can impose a penalty on the save. Unfortunately Banishment has the Incapacitation Trait, so it’s hard to use against powerful foes, and if the target rolls a Critical Success you’ll be Stunned 1 so you only want to use this when you can be reasonably certain that the target will fail their saving throw.
  • Control Water (PC1): Too situational.
  • Elemental Breath (RoE):
  • Elemental Form (PC1): Weak by polymorph standards. The forms aren’t impressive in combat, and the 1-minute duration makes this a poor utility spell. Among other issues, the Water form doesn’t give you ability to breathe water.

    Remember that polymorph spells are largely only useful if your character is built to use them. Any random wizard does not have the equipment or hit points to be effective while polymorphed.

    The remaster version of Elemental Form introduced the Metal and Wood options.

  • Engrave Memory (RoE) (Uncommon):
  • Entwined Roots (RoE):
  • False Vision (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Fire’s Pathway (RoE) (Uncommon):
  • Flame Dancer (RoE):
  • Flames of Ego (RoE):
  • Freezing Rain (RoE):
  • Hallucination (PC1): Surprisingly powerful since you may still be able to put this to great effect even if the target rolls a Success on their save, but simultaneously difficult to use because there’s a ton of room for GM interpretation. For example: you could target an enemy (multiple enemies with higher-level spell slots) to make them unable to perceive your party. They could roll a Success and would know what the illusion was, but they still couldn’t see you and your party. The creature can Disbelieve the illusion to remove the effect, but that at least buys you some time as they attempt to Seek, potentially multiple times if they fail to disbelieve. There is a lot of room for more clever uses than that, but making yourself invisibwole to the target(s) is a great example of how to use Hallucination.
  • Howling Blizzard (PC1): More damage than a Fireball of the same Rank, but you sacrifice distance for that 2d6 extra damage. A 60-foot cone is a decent AOE, but it’s still not as safe as a 20-foot radius burst cast from several hundred feet away.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Cone of Cold”.

  • Illusory Scene (PC1): Only situationally useful, but a clever player can put this to great effect given time to make it work.
  • Impaling Spike (PC1): Not a ton of damage, but it can immobilize an enemy, forcing them to spend Actions to attempt to Escape. If you can get an enemy into a dangerous location, such as an ongoing AOE damage effect, holding an enemy in place can deal a great deal of additional damage.
  • Invoke Spirits (PC1): Not nearly strong enough to be a 5th-Rank spell. You’re gambling on the Critical Failure effect when you initially cast the spell, and that’s a terrible gamble. The damage for Sustaining the spell is not enough.
  • Magic Passage (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Mantle of the Melting Heart (RoE):
  • Mantle of the Unwavering Heart (RoE):
  • Mariner’s Curse (PC1):
  • Mind Probe (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Pressure Zone (RoE):
  • Scouting Eye (PC1):
  • Sending (PC1): Only situationally useful, and extremely expensive for how limited the function is. Teleport is one spell level higher and you can go have a full conversation.
  • Slither (PC1):
  • Subconscious Suggestion (PC1):
  • Summon Dragon (PC1):
  • Telekinetic Haul (PC1):
  • Toxic Cloud (PC1): The damage is decent, but the fact that the cloud moves makes this difficult to use in a typical combat situation. The spell also doesn’t address what happens if the spell encounters obstacles, which raises frustrating questions like “can this roll through walls?” and “can I point this into the sky?”

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Cloudkill”.

  • Truespeech (PC1) (Uncommon): A staple option for overcoming language barriers, but at such high level this is an expensive way to solve the problem. Of course, it’s likely less expensive than spending several feats on Multilingual.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Tongues”.

  • Umbral Journey (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Wall of Ice (PC1):
  • Wall of Stone (PC1): Good area control. Split an encounter neatly in half and eliminate a few foes before the rest can rejoin the fight. 50 hit points with 14 Hardness is extremely durable even at this level. Be sure to place the wall slightly out of reach to maximize how many actions enemies need to waste to reach it and carve their way through. The wall is also permanent and shapeable, allowing you to sculpt it around squares and do things like creating stairs, so Wall of Stone serves double duty as a utility spell.
  • Wave of Despair (PC1):
  • Wisdom of the Winds (RoE) (Uncommon):

6th-Rank Spells

  • Arrow Salvo (RoE):
  • Chain Lightning (PC1): An excellent direct damage option, Chain Lighting easily exceeds the damage of a Fireball of the same level, conveniently doesn’t have to worry about friendly fire, and has a theoretically infinite number of targets. However, the chain ends if one target critically succeeds on their save, which means that each target must roll their save before you pick the next target, which is going to make casting this spell take a horrifically long amount of real-world time to resolve.
  • Cursed Metamorphosis (PC1): The effect is fine, but on a Failure the target can re-attempt their saving throw every turn, and with the Incapacitation trait this is borderline useless against powerful foes.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Baleful Polymorph”.

  • Disintegrate (PC1): Good single-target damage with good scaling, but it has two points of failure, so even if you hit your target may still only take partial damage. Of course, it’s a Basic Save so it’s equally likely that you’ll score a regular hit and still deal double normal damage. This also doubles as a utility option, allowing you to disintegrate problematic objects like walls or structurally-important columns.
  • Dominate (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Dragon Form (PC1):
  • Field of Razors (RoE):
  • Frost Pillar (RoE):
  • Lignify (RoE):
  • Mislead (PC1):
  • Never Mind (PC1): Save-or-suck for spellcasters. This is situational by design, but spellcasters are common enough and powerful enough that this might still see some use. The effects are excellent, and despite having the Incapacitation trait, hoping for a standard Failure is enough to massively inhibit powerful enemy spellcasters. Against non-spellcasters, the critical failure effect is still a significant debuff, but it’s hard to gamble on a critical failure.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Feeblemind”.

  • Personal Ocean (RoE):
  • Petrify (PC1): Single-target save-or-suck with the Incapacitation trait, which makes it extremely hard to use against strong single targets, but in encounters with a small number of enemies close to your level this is a decent option.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Flesh to Stone”.

  • Phantasmal Calamity (PC1): Very slightly less damage than a Fireball of the same level, but of a better damage type. The secondary effect is excellent, but only applies on a critical failure against the initial Will save, so you can’t expect it to be reliable. Still, you can use this in the same situations as Fireball and I would consider this a direct upgrade.
  • Phantom Orchestra (RoE):
  • Repulsion (PC1): A great way to keep enemies away from you and your other squishy allies, especially since many creatures are wholly unable to fight at range.
  • Scrying (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Spellwwrack (PC1):
  • Tangling Creepers (PC1):
  • Teleport (PC1) (Uncommon): A staple option for long-distance travel, though the Uncommon rarity may make it unavailable.
  • Truesight (PC1):
  • Vampiric Exsanguination (PC1): Good damage of a good type in a reasonably large area of effect, plus you get Temporary Hit Points, but the range on the cone is short so frail characters like Sorcerers and Wizards should be cautious.
  • Vibrant Pattern (PC1):
  • Vitrifying Blast (RoE):
  • Wall of Force (PC1): Excellent area control. Wall off part of an encounter with multiple foes, and suddenly the encounter gets a lot easier. The wall is big enough that enemies can’t quickly go around it (though they could go over it if they can fly), and with 30 hardness most creatures will struggle to break through it.
  • Wall of metal (RoE):

7th-Rank Spells

  • Beheading Buzz Saw (RoE):
  • Contingency (PC1):
  • Dancing Fountain (RoE):
  • Duplicate Foe (PC1): Powerful, but frustrating in many ways. You can’t use this on an ally (the spell’s Target entry specifies “enemy”), but honestly that would be too powerful so I understand the limitation. Since the duplicate can only Stride and Strike, you want to target enemies that rely on Strikes, but those creatures also tend to have high Fortitude saves, which may make this unreliable.

    If the spell does work, the level cap is generously high so you can target the vast majority of creatures that you face in combat. The duplicate’s stats are good enough that it’s a serious threat in combat, and since it’s not limited to attacking the target of the spell, you can command it to attack the target’s allies if the target of Duplicate Foe wanders away.

    Ideally you want the duplicate to both deal a bunch of damage and to draw a bunch of attacks which would otherwise be directed at you and your allies, so your best bet is to cast this early in a fight so that it has as much time as possible to work. Even if the target of Duplicate Foe succeeds on its saving throw, you still get the duplicate for two rounds, which may be enough to cause a lot of trouble for your enemies despite the duplicate dealing half damage with its strikes.

  • Eclipse Burst (PC1): Good range, massive AOE, good damage, and on a critical failure creatures are permanently blinded.
  • Energy Aegis (PC1): 5 points of resistance to 8 damage types, including options like Force Damage which are difficult to resist, and a 24-hour duration. It’s hard to spend such a high-level spell slot on something like this, but with a 24-hour duration you can cast it before going to sleep, get a full night’s sleep, then wake up with 16 hours left on the spell’s duration. If you don’t need to adventure on back-to-back days, you should strongly consider this as part of your daily routine.
  • Fiery Body (PC1): It’s tempting to cast this and spend the rest of the encounter doing nothing but casting Ignition, but that’s a trap. With the reduced casting time and boosted damage, you could cast Produce Flame 3 times per turn and the Multiple Attack Penalty would become a problem. Instead, cast a 2-Action spell like Fireball which requires a save and spend your third Action to cast Ignition or fly and either cast a 2-Action spell or use Ignition twice.
  • Heaving Earth (RoE):
  • Hungry Depths (RoE):
  • Interplanar Teleport A staple travel option at high levels. (PC1) (Uncommon):

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Plane Shift”.

  • Mak of Terror (PC1):
  • Planar Palace (PC1): A fine place to retire to or for a night’s rest. Unless enemies know about the demiplane ahead of time or somehow discover it while you’re resting, you’re basically unreachable. However, this is a very expensive solution to the issue of resting. Typically something like Rope Trick will suffice unless you’re specifically trying to show off or feed a small horde of people.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Magnificent Mansion”.

  • Planar Seal (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful. You can use this offensively to try to keep enemies from teleporting to escape and/or you can use this to prevent enemies from teleporting into whatever space you’re resting in.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Dimensional Lock”.

  • Pollen Pods (RoE):
  • Project Image (PC1): Only situationally useful, expensive, and fragile.
  • Retrocognition (PC1): Extremely situational and frustratingly vague.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was not on the Arcane spell list.

  • True Target (PC1): Only situationally useful. Your party would need to make a series of high-value attacks which were good enough to offset the cost of you casting this both in terms of spell slot cost and action cost.
  • Vacuum (RoE):
  • Warp Mind (PC1): I already don’t trust the Confused condition, and this is the Confusion spell but 3 levels higher and with the option of a permanent duration and it has the Incapacitation trait, so against major enemies which you would actually care about making permanently confused it’s actually less effective than Confusion.

8th-Rank Spells

  • Arctic Rift (PC1): Good single-target damage plus a great debuff and no Incapacitation tag. This is great against powerful single enemies. If they critically fail the save, you have likely won the fight.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Polar Ray”. In addition, Arctic Rift was switched from a spell attack to a line imposing a Basic Fortitude Save, its damage increased by 2d8, and the target can now be Slowed and/or Immobilized if they fail the save instead of applying Drained 2. It’s barely the same spell.

  • Dessicate (PC1): Your targets are “any number of living creatures” within 500 feet. Adventures will rarely be in a situation where that’s useful beyond what you can get from Fireball, but sometimes you’ll be in a situation to one-shot a small army.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Horrid Wilting”.

  • Disappearance (PC1): Extremely durable invisibility with a 10-minute duration. This is excellent on frail spellcasters who want to avoid attention, and for characters like rogues who depend on foes being Flat-Footed it’s a massive tactical advantage.
  • Earthquake (PC1): A good crowd control option, but not always a good go-to. The fissures are deep enough that creatures will take a considerable amount of time to climb out despite the fairly low DC, giving you time to handle any foes which don’t fall into fissures, but anything that can fly or which has high speed will climb right back out and get right back to fighting. The effects other than fissures (collapsed buildings, difficult terrain, etc.) are unpredictable, which makes this hard to recommend.
  • Ferrous Form (RoE):
  • Hidden Mind (PC1) (Uncommon):
  • Monstrosity Form (PC1): Not significantly better than Dragon Form unless you upcast it at level 9, but it is still good.
  • Pinpoint (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Discern Location”. The wording of the spell has been updated to reflect that schools of magic no longer exist.

  • Quandary (PC1): he target doesn’t get a save against being put in the maze. You need to spend an Action every turn to Sustain the Spell, but one Action to remove the target from combat for several rounds is frequently worth both the spell slot and the action cost. Maze the biggest thing in the encounter, kill everything else, then drop a bunch of problems into the space that the creature will re-emerge into before it escapes or before you willingly end the spell.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Maze”. The checks used to escape have changed and now include 3 options instead of 1, but otherwise the effect is identical.

  • Rainbow Fumarole (RoE):
  • Summon Elemental Herald (RoE):
  • Uncontrollable Dance (PC1): Forcing the target to spend several of their Actions to “dance” means that they’re not spending those Actions hurting you, and spending 2 Actions to cost your target 3 or more is a decent trade. The target also loses the ability to Step, which may be as impactful as the Actions which they must spend dancing. Where this spell struggles is finding a suitable target on which to use it. This is single-target with the Incapacitation trait, which makes it hard to find targets who are both powerful enough to justify the spell slot and who are going to fail the save often enough to risk this.
  • Unrelenting Observation (PC1): Only situationally useful. You could use this in combat to counter invisibility and other means of hiding, but there are lower-level solutions to those problems. More likely you’ll use this to spy on important NPCs, and that doesn’t happen often in a way that requires a solution like this.
  • Whirlpool (RoE):

9th-Rank Spells

  • Detonate Magic (PC1) (Uncommon): Very situational. Generally you don’t want to risk permanently disenchanting loot.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Disjunction”. The damage effect is a new addition to the spell.

  • Falling Stars (PC1): Creatures hit by both AOE’s take 82 damage on average, which isn’t going to one-shot high-level creatures on its own, but in multi-enemy encounters that’s still a massive amount of damage to throw around, especially with four meteors which you can target independently.
  • Foresight (PC1): An excellent defensive buff with a great duration so you can cast it well ahead of time.
  • Implosion (PC1): Good damage and a very efficient way to spend Actions. The single Action to Sustain the spell each turn is another 75 damage, and if you took the Effortless Concentration feat this is free damage every turn for a full minute or until you run out of targets. Not on the Divine spell list.
  • Massacre (PC1): This is a gamble. The expected outcome is 100 negative damage, which is a big pile of damage. Lines are a difficult AOE so expect to hit no more than two creatures, and you generally want to kill something with the initial damage rather than suffering 30 damage if you don’t, but maybe you’ll get lucky and the 30 damage will kill an enemy or two, in which case I would happily take the 30 damage rather than letting those creatures get another turn. The possibility that you can outright kill creatures on a Critical Failure is very tempting, but unless you’re hitting a bunch of creatures somehow I don’t recommend making that gamble.

    Because the level cap is so high, you can safely use this even with your allies in the line. However, if you fail to kill something, you and your allies are still going to take the flat 30 negative damage.

  • Magnetic Dominion (RoE): Only situationally useful simply because so few creatures are made of metal or depend on metal equipment. This is much more likely to cause trouble for players than for monsters.
  • Metamorphosis (PC1): Your best option with Shapechange is to pick a form from 8th-level Dragon Form or 8th-level Monstrosity Form, and with only a 1-minute duration you are unlikely to change forms often. At that point, why not just cast Dragon Form or Monstrosity Form at 9th level? It’s a combination of the versatility of changing forms for different special ability and to refresh your Temporary Hit Points. 40 temporary hp is a big pool, and can allow you to endure a long-running fight without cutting into your real hp.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Shapechange”. Compared to the legacy version, the behavior of Temporary Hit Points has been clarified, and the text no longer includes incorrect text about how Polymorph spells are prepared, removing both of the issues which we discussed in our legacy spell list breakdowns and also buffing the spell by improving how many Temporary Hit Points you get.

  • Phantasmagoria Similar in many ways to Phantasmal Killer, but much less frustrating. With 120-foot range and any number of targets, this can easily hit everything in an encounter. The actual damage isn’t fantastic, but between the damage and the Frightened debuff, this will be very impactful. (PC1):

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Weird”. In addition, the Critical Failure effect has been reworked to remove the possibility of instant death.

10th-Rank Spells

  • Cataclysm (PC1): 21d10 (avg. 115.5) damage of several types in a 60-foot burst. Normally spells which deal multiple types of damage suffer from multiple resistances, but this also ignores 10 points of each resistance, which helps quite a bit. It’s quite a bit more damage than Meteor Swarm upcast at 10th level (avg. 94.5), but in some cases Meteor Swarm’s 4 independent AOEs may still be preferable because it can hit more targets. Cataclysm really shines against enemies with multiple vulnerabilities, but that’s rare.
  • Freeze Time (PC1): Stop time, spend three turns casting buffs, area control spells (Wall of Stone, Force Cage, etc.), or summon spells, then go into combat with a huge advantage.

    Prior to the remaster, this spell was called “Time Stop”.

  • Gate (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful. Usually Plane Shift is sufficient, especially if you can follow it with Teleport to get closer to your intended destination.
  • Indestructibility (PC1): I can’t imagine a situation where you could cast this that wouldn’t be better solved by Freeze Time. Are you about to take a ton of damage? Cast Freeze Time, then do something proactive to prevent it.
  • Manifestation (PC1): Access to nearly any spell in the game at a moment’s notice. Likely the best spell in the game, though its effectiveness depends heavily on your own knowledge of spells available to you.
  • Remake (PC1) (Uncommon): Only situationally useful. This feels like it should be a ritual.