tov wizard guide


The Wizard is the iconic arcane spellcaster, capable of doing all manner of fantastic things, and generally limited only by their spellbook and their spell slots. A Wizard with a comprehensive spellbook can do essentially anything in the game, often as well as or better than a non-magical character who is built to do that thing. A Wizard with Invisibility is as stealthy as a Rogue. A Wizard with a summoned pet can replace a fighter (at least temporarily). A clever Wizard could even find a way to heal their allies and replace a Cleric.

Wizards, in addition to their fantastic spell list, are also the best ritual spellcaster in the game. Even before you consider Heroic Boons, the Wizard is the only spellcaster that can learn more rituals than those granted by their class. The ability to gather every ritual from the arcane ritual list makes wizards fantastically useful. Ritual enthusiasts can use Rite of the Ritualist to expand their options to include every ritual list, making the Wizard the uncontested master of ritual spells.

Because Wizards can do so much so well, their roles are numerous and varied. However, in a typical party the Wizard’s primary functions are as a Blaster, Controller, Librarian, Support caster, Striker, and Utility Caster. Depending on your spells and potentially your skills, you can also serve as a Defender, Face, Healer (though it’s difficult until level 10), and Scout. You may think, “but wait, isn’t that every role?”. Yes. Yes, it is.

However, with that incredible breadth of capability comes both complexity and risk. Most of this complexity is buried in the Wizard’s spellcasting. Managing a spellbook is a complex, and unlike clerics and druids who can select from a vast spell list after every long rest, you need to hoard newly-learned spells to expand your capabilities, sometimes at great expense, so learning new spells may be a gamble, costing precious gold for a spell which you may never use. If you are prone to analysis paralysis or don’t enjoy carefully tracking resources, the Wizard is a waking nightmare.

Wizards are among the least-durable characters in the game, having no armor proficiencies, poor saving throws, and the lowest hit dice available. Staying alive as a wizard can be very difficult, and in most cases requires a party of sturdy allies willing to protect you from harm.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • 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.

We will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, in handbooks for official content because we can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. We also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and we can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released, and the article will be updated accordingly as time allows.

Changes from 5e

  • Proficiencies: Simple weapons instead of the wizard’s historically tiny list.
  • Arcane Recovery: Now level 1, the amount rounds up, and no cap on the Circle of the spell slots restored.
  • Spellcasting:
    • Wizard learn a number of rituals separate from their regular spells (so do other ritual casters)
    • Unlike other ritual caster, wizards can add additional rituals to their spellbook.
  • Magic Sense: New. Similar to detect magic, but it can also detect creatures with spellcasting ability.
  • Rote Spell: New. Prepare a few extra low-Circle spells per day so that you have more spell options available than other spellcasters. 
  • Superior Recovery: New. Change a few prepared spells when you use Arcane Recovery.
  • Heroic Boon: Choose between the ability to learn rituals from any source list or to learn regular spells from your choice of the Divine, Primordial, or Wyrd spell list.
  • Spellguard: New. Advantage on saves against spells and resistance to damage from spells and spell attacks (not all of which come from spells. Looking at you, Eldritch Blast.)
  • Spell Mastery: Cast your Rote spells at their lowest Circle once per day. Your rote spells now include 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circle, so you get to cast 4 spells per day without spending a slot. It’s not as good as the 2014 version of Spell Mastery, but the 2014 version was insane.
  • Epic Boon: Adds a chance to recover an expended spell slot once per short rest when you cast an Arcane spell. It’s unpredictable, but recovering a 9th-level spell slot is going to feel awesome if you’re lucky enough for it to happen.

Wizard Class Features

Hit Points: d6 hit points is the lowest in the game. Fortunately, INT is the only ability which Wizards strictly need, so you can afford a decent CON score.

Saves: INT saves are very rare, and proficiency in WIS saves won’t help much if your WIS is terrible.

Proficiencies: No armor, simple weapons, and only the standard 2 skills. The Wizard’s skills have plenty of INT-based options, but basically nothing else.

1: Arcane Recovery: This provides a bit of sustainability to the Wizard. Arcane Recovery gives you the ability to recover a bunch of spell slots, allowing you to continue at least through the first Short Rest of each day without issue.

1: Spellcasting: The Arcane spell list and the Arcane ritual list are the biggest in the game and contain many extremely powerful spells. Wizards can change their spells daily and expand their spell and ritual options to their spellbook, allowing you to adapt to nearly any challenge.

2: Magic Sense: Great for detecting magic things before they become a problem.

Subclass: Wizard subclasses are briefly summarized below. See our Wizard Subclasses Breakdown for help selecting your subclass.

  • Battle Mage: Use Spell Ward to protect yourself in battle, and gain abilities which allow to reliably dish out damage without hurting your allies.
  • Cantrip Adept: Gain cantrips from any spell list, cast some as a Bonus Action, and boost their damage.

5, 9, 13, 17: Rote Spells: For most of your career, this is effectively just a few additional prepared spells. More prepared spells means that your spell options will be more diverse, which is fantastic, but you add more spells very slowly. If you’re not sure what to pick, an easy list is Shield, Misty Step, Fireball, and Polymorph. At high levels, Spell Mastery lets you cast each of your Rote Spells for free once per Short Rest.

6: Superior Recovery: Picking which spells to prepare every day is really hard, and sometimes you’re going to forget a few things. This means that you can swap a few spells mid-day, though the number is just half your PB.

10: Heroic Boon:

  • Rite of the Ritualist: Access to every ritual means that you can solve a ton of problems outside of combat without dipping into your spell slots.
  • Rite of the Source Master: Adding a second spell list allows you to diversify your spell options considerably. Adding Divine spells is always an easy choice, but don’t overlook Primordial. Wyrd has some fun exclusives, but also overlaps with Arcane significantly.

14: Spellguard: Spellcasters are more common as enemies at high levels, so this will see frequent use.

18: Spell Mastery: Assuming 2 Short Rests per day, this means that you can cast each of your Rote Spells 3 times per day without spending a spell slot. For spells that you’re going to use consistently, that’s a huge amount of additional spellcasting.

20: Epic Boon:

  • Archmage: One additional spell slot per day, but you don’t get to pick which spell slot it is. High-Circle slots will be harder to recover, but are more valuable. I recommend saving this for spell slots of 6th Circle and above unless you’ve already failed to recover all of those slots.

Wizard Ability Scores

Wizards are a single-ability class. All you need is Intelligence, and everything else is supplemental.

STR: Dump stat. A Wizard should know better.

DEX: A bit for AC is nice and DEX saves are common, but that’s all you get. You can limp along at low levels using a crossbow in place of offensive cantrips, but you don’t need to strain yourself to get 16 DEX. 14 will do fine.

CON: Hit points and CON saves are problems for Wizards. A wizard with less than 14 CON is a choice to gamble with your life.

INT: A Wizard’s first priority should be to get 20 Intelligence. Their second priority should be to find a way to exceed 20 Intelligence.

WIS: Good for Wisdom saves. You want a bit to protect yourself, but fortunately Wizards are also proficient in Wisdom saves.

CHA: Dump stat.

Point BuyStandard Array

Wizard Lineages

Additional durability is always welcome, and access to non-magical flight is a huge asset for a class that nearly always fights at range.

Beastkin (PG): Avian is an easy choice. Flight will be a powerful asset for your entire career, and you can also get proficiency in Perception.

Dwarf (PG): Extra hp, Darkvision, and poison resistance are all excellent.

Elf (PG): The Elf just isn’t good.

Human (PG): Always a good choice.

Kobold (PG): Darkvision, and Truescale gets 13+ AC, matching Mage Armor, plus a damage resistance. If you want poison resistance, just cast Mage Armor and play a dwarf.

Syderean (PG): The Celestial’s daily transformation is a cool combat buff. The ability to see in magical darkness is nice, but only consistently useful if you’re the one creating the darkness.

Smallfolk (PG): Gnome is great. Grounded, Darkvision, and Minor Illusion for free.

Wizard Heritages

Heritages typically provide a skill proficiency, plus some other unique benefits. Look for options which complement your ability scores and your role within the party.

Cloud (PG): Proficiency in Arcana, and extra cantrip, and an extra 1st-level spell starting at 3rd level. You can’t recast the 1st-level spell with spell slots, so pick something that you only need to cast once like Mage Armor or Longstrider.

Cottage (PG): The temporary hit points are nice, and you can get proficiency in Nature.

Fireforge (PG): Proficiency in Blacksmith’s Tools, but you’re mostly here for fire resistance.

Supplicant (PG): Scurry is great for getting out of melee, but the skills are’t a good fit for the Wizard.

Wizard Backgrounds

Adherent (PG): Good skills, two tool proficiencies, and two good Talent options.

Courtier (PG): Two of the skill options are INT-based, and Combat Conditioning and Mental Fortitude are both good defensive options for the Wizard.

Maker (PG): You’re locking into Investigation, but pick History from the remaining three and you’re in good shape. Double PB with one tool is arguably more useful than two tool proficiencies. The only easy Talent option is School Specialization, but it’s a great Talent for the Wizard. Overall this is a great option for the Wizard, there’s just very little flexibility in your choices.

Scholar (PG): Great skills and two great Talent options.

Wizard Skills

  • Arcana (Int): Wizards are all about Arcana, so it’s reasonable to assume that you know it.
  • History (Int): Helpful, especially in campaigns which go into history frequently.
  • Insight (Wis): You likely don’t have enough Wisdom to be particularly good at this, but it can be helpful if your party’s Face doesn’t have it.
  • Investigation (Int): Helpful, but likely best left for the party’s Scout.
  • Medicine (Wis): This skill is useless. Medicine is best done magically.
  • Religion (Int): One of the more important knowledge skills, and you are probably better with it than the Cleric.

Wizard Talents

The Wizard has access to Magic Talents.

Arcanist (PG): Double PB on Arcana checks and learn one additional cantrip.

Combat Casting (PG): Always useful. With a CON of 14, you’re guaranteed to roll a 10. The minimum save DC for Concentration is 10, so this fully prevents you from losing Concentration to small amounts of damage. This is especially useful for melee builds, but wizards generally don’t build for melee. For extra help with Concentration, take Hard Target.

Elemental Savant (PG): Great for Blasters. Unless you plan to take this more than once, you need to weight the choice between improving the damage of an easily-available element like fire or using a rarely-resisted element like thunder.

Focus (Creation) (PG): The speed boost is interesting. Negating Opportunity Attacks will solve many of the same problems as Misty Step for you and possibly for a friendly target at the same spell slot cost but arguably with better action economy. Unfortunately, there aren’t many appealing 1st-Circle conjuration/transmutation spells to choose from which you’ll reliably use every day. Longstrider may your best choice here.

Focus (Death) (PG): Great insurance for a class that has few hit points and terrible AC. The ability to learn a Necromancy spell means that you could learn Healing Word, which is a fantastic option for a class with no healing capabilities. Remember that you learn this spell permanently; you do not need to prepare it.

Focus (Fey) (PG): Unpredictable, but a 1 in 6 chance to retain a spell slot can still do a lot to stretch your limited resources in a day. For the 1st-Circle spell, look for consistently useful options like Silent Image. Remember that you learn this spell permanently; you do not need to prepare it.

Focus (War) (PG): The temporary hit point mechanic is a horribly inefficient way to spend spell slots, but the second bullet allows you to learn Shield and cast it by spending 2 Hit Dice. Attacks will frequently deal more damage than the Wizard can heal with 2 Hit Dice, so this is an easy trade. Remember that you learn this spell permanently; you do not need to prepare it.

Mental Fortitude (PG): Always a helpful defensive option.

Psycanist (PG): Telepathy removes language barriers and supports stealth. The ability to unerringly identify enemy resistances, immunities, and weaknesses is a massive tactical advantage, allowing you to capitalize on weaknesses or avoid resistances by switching spells. The ability to move creatures even 5 feet is a huge tactical option, allowing you to pull allies out of grapples, move enemies into dangerous positions, or otherwise gain a positional advantage. It only affects medium or small creatures, but that still covers a huge number of possible targets across the full CR spectrum.

Ritualist (PG): Adding rituals from another list can add even more utility to the Wizard. Divine is an easy go-to option as it’s the 2nd largest ritual list, and it has very little overlap with the Arcane list.

School Specialization (PG): Boosting your spell attacks and spell save DC are huge mathematical advantages. ToV doesn’t currently have magic items which allow you to boost your spell attacks or save DC (short of raising your spellcasting ability modifier), which makes this bonus rare and powerful. It does mean that you’ll want to focus heavily on a single school of spells, but for many spellcasters that’s a fun way to build and play your character.

Spell Duelist (PG): Enemy spellcasters are a minority of the enemies that you’ll face throughout the game, so this is only situationally useful. Even when it does apply, the benefit isn’t fantastic.

Martial and Technical Talents

1st-level talents from the other lists may be available from your Lineage, your Heritage, your Background, or your Subclass. Keep in mind that these Talents may not be better for your build than the Talents which you can access normally.

Armor Training (PG): Cast Mage Armor.

Aware (PG): Acting early in the initiative order is fantastic for full spellcasters, giving you an easy opportunity to cast spells which will shape an encounter before your allies wander into the area of your Fireball.

Bottomless Luck (PG): Great on any character.

Combat Conditioning (PG): Always a good choice with as little hp as the Wizard gets.

Hard Target (PG): Proficiency in CON saves is extremely helpful for spellcasters.

Opportunist (PG): Tempting when combined with Combat Casting, but melee wizards are a difficult prospect.

Physical Fortitude (PG): Concentration saves are CON saves, and spending a Hit Die to reroll a failed CON save is fantastic.

Touch of Luck (PG): Wizards don’t make enough attack rolls to make this consistently useful.

Wizard Weapons

The Wizard is proficient in simple weapons.

  • Dagger (PG): The closest you’ll get to a worthwhile melee weapon.
  • Light Crossbow (PG): If you have 16 DEX, your attacks with a light crossbow will deal more damage on average than cantrips until at least level 4 (assuming that you raise your INT modifier at that level), but more likely until level 5 when cantrip damage improves.
  • Quarterstaff (PG): STR-based. Do not use this as a weapon.

Wizard Armor

The Wizard is not proficient in any armor. Cast Mage Armor.

Wizard Multiclassing

This section briefly details some obvious and enticing multiclass options, but doesn’t fully explore the broad range of multiclassing combinations. For more on multiclassing, see our Practical Guide to Multiclassing.

  • Fighter: Two levels for armor and shield proficiencies, plus Action Surge. If you start at level 1 as a fighter, you also get proficiency in CON saves.
  • Mechanist: Tempting because the Mechanist is INT-based, but the INT-based parts of the class won’t benefit the Wizard.

Wizard Magic Items

Common Magic Items

  • Anklets of Alacrity (CRB): +PB to initiative, no attunement, won’t conflict with other magic items that you care about, and costs as little as a greatsword at just 50gp. Stellar on literally any character.
  • Beast Buckle (PG): +5 hit points isn’t a lot, but it’s helpful for frail characters like the Wizard until you get enough items that Attunement becomes a problem. Even then, you can put it on your familiar.
  • Bracers of Baleful Reprisal (PG): A neat idea, but wizards have AC poor enough that this won’t meaningfully deter enemies from hitting you.

Uncommon Magic Items

Rare Magic Items

  • Amulet of Health (PG): Most wizards will start with 14 CON and may never get more. Raising that to 19 gets you a big pile of additional hit points and improves your Concentration saves.
  • Ring of Protection (CRB): More expensive than a Cloak of Protection with the same effect, but you can only wear one cloak, so a ring may be easier if you have a cool magic cloak. The two also stack, providing a ton of protection.
  • Ring of Spell Storing (PG): Put Shield into the ring 5 times.
  • Wand of the War Mage, +2 (PG): Helpful for cantrips and a few other spells, but wizards don’t rely heavily on spell attacks, and this doesn’t affect spell save DCs.

Very Rare Magic Items

  • Cloak of Displacement (PG): This works great if you have decent AC, but you’re a Wizard, so you probably don’t.
  • Manuals of Advantageous Exertion (CRB): Stellar on any character. Absolutely worth dropping all of your gold to get as many as you can find.
  • Staff of Fire (PG): Simple, but the spells are great go-to options.
  • Staff of Frost (PG): Not as simple as the Staff of Fire, but a good combination of utility, area control, and damage.
  • Staff of Power (PG): The passive buffs alone are excellent, but the diverse and numerous spells which the staff allows you to cast make the Staff of Power truly incredible. The only disappointing bit is that this provides a bonus to your spell attacks, but not to your spell save DCs.
  • Wand of the War Mage, +3 (PG): Helpful for cantrips and a few other spells, but wizards don’t rely heavily on spell attacks, and this doesn’t affect spell save DCs.

Legendary Magic Items

  • Robe of the Archmagi (PG): Boost your AC, boost your spell attacks, boost your save DCs. Excellent all around.
  • Staff of the Magi (PG): It doesn’t get the Staff of Power’s defensive bonuses, but the large charge pool, huge number of spells, and the ability to unerringly absorb spells that target you make this a powerful and reliable option.

Wizard Example Build – Unthar Shaleheart, Valiant Six Battle Mage Wizard

The Valiant Six are six official characters representing some of the playable classes in Tales of the Valiant. This build starts from the options selected for the official pregen character, and takes the build from 1 to 20. It’s also limited to the options in the free Black Flag Reference Document, making it easily accessible for players who haven’t yet bought a full copy of the Tales of the Valiant rules.

The official pregen build for Unthar gives us his Lineage, Heritage, Background, starting Talents, and some of his class choices. However, it doesn’t specify how his Improvements were spent, so we’re left to reverse-engineer his Ability Scores.

We’re going to build Unthar as a straightforward Blaster. With 10 CON, Concentration is nearly impossible, and Battle Mage encourages you to use spell slots aggressively. Focusing on fire spells also fits nicely with Unthar’s published backstory.

Ability Scores

The Valiant Six apparently use the Standard Array rather than point buy. 10 CON is a very risky choice, but we’re getting +3 hp per level between Dwarf and the Combat Conditioning Talent, so at least our hp is decent. Concentration is a huge problem, though.

We don’t typically include ability scores at every Improvement in the table below, but since this build is based on a level 4 pregen, we’re making an exception.

Level 1Level 4Level 20


Dwarf. Extra hp and poison resistance are really nice since we have 10 CON.


Fireforge. Resistance to fire, double PB with Smith’s Tools, and we can cast Mending.


Soldier. Unthar takes proficiency in Athletics, Medicine, Provisioner’s Tools, and Land Vehicles, then chooses Combat Conditioning for his Talent.

Skills and Tools

We’re proficient in Arcana, Athletics, History, and Medicine. We have tool proficiencies in Provisioner’s Tools and in Smith’s Tools.

Improvements and Talents

At level 1 we take Combat Conditioning.

At level 4 we take +2 INT.

At level 8 we take +1 INT and School Specialization (Evocation).

At level 12 we take +1 INT and Elemental Savant (Fire).

At level 16 we take +1 DEX and Physical Fortitude.

At level 19 we take +2 CON.


LevelTalents and FeaturesNotes and Tactics
1Talent: Combat Conditioning
Arcane Recovery
Cantrips Known:
– Fire Bolt
– Mage Hand
– Message
– Mending (Heritage)
Spells Known:
– Burning Hands
– Expeditious Retreat
– Fog Cloud
– Mage Armor
– Magic Missile
– Shield
Rituals Known:
– Create Familiar
For your starting equipment, take a dagger, a staff as your arcane focus (they also function as a quarterstaff), either pack, and a spellbook.

Unthar has 14 STR, which is odd for a wizard. Technically you can use that staff to attack, but there is very little good reason to do so unless you’re absolutely desperate. The pregen character sheet gives Unthar a light hammer at level 4, which is a fun character choice, but mechanically unhelpful.

Unthar’s character sheet only lists his 8 prepared spells (4 for level, 4 for his INT modifier at level 4), so we’re left with some gaps which we can fill. First order of business: We need Mage Armor. 11 AC is not enough, even once we get Spell Ward.

At this level, prepare Burning Hands, Fog Cloud, Mage Armor, Magic Missile. We don’t have enough spell slots to support Shield.

Unthar takes Create Familiar as his first ritual. His familiar is an orange salamander named Frixx.
2Magic Sense
New Spells Known:
– False Life
– Feather Fall
Magic Sense is useful, but it doesn’t change our tactics or our build.

False Life pads our meager hit points. Feather Fall is an essential in any party.
3Subclass: Battle Mage
Expanded Talent List
Spell Ward
Tactical Caster
New Spells Known:
– Acid Arrow
– Mirror Image
New Rituals Known:
– Locate
Access to Martial Talents is neat, but few of them are appealing since they mostly relate to using armor and weapons. There are a few exceptions, of course.

Spell Ward is the Battle Mage’s signature feature. The AC boost and damage resistance make you more durable, making it tempting to fight at close range, especially as the AC bonus scales. At this level Unthar’s AC with Mage Armor and Spell Ward is 16, which is adequate, but not enough to keep you from getting hit. A wizard with better DEX and maybe a shield could be more durable than a fighter, especially with Shield available.

Keeping Spell Ward running places a constant strain on your resources since you’re required to cast one non-cantrip spell per turn. At high levels this is less of an issue, but for now you need to be cautious about how you spend spell slots. The timing of the requirement is written specifically so that you can cast spells like Shield as a Reaction between turns to extend the Spell Ward, allowing you to spend your turn doing something else like casting cantrips.

In order to keep a pool of inexpensive spell slots ready, I strongly recommend using Arcane Recovery to recover low-Circle spell slots.

At a glance, Tactical Caster lets you drop Fireballs on your party without hurting them. But the feature makes your allies immune to all of the spell’s damage, not just its initial damage. This means that you can make allies immune to the damage from spells like Wall of Fire.

Unthar adds Acid Arrow and Mirror Image to his spells known. They’re fine.
– +2 INT
New Cantrip Known:
– Prestidigitation
New Spells Known:
– Scorching Ray
– See Invisibility
+2 INT is not very exciting, but very impactful.

Scorching Ray is better damage than Acid Arrow.
5Rote Spell:
– Shield
New Spells Known:
– Fireball
– Slow
New Rituals Known:
– Clairvoyance
We’re going to use Shield a lot. With poor AC and almost no ability to pass Concentration saves, we need to avoid being hit as much as we can. Shield also lets us extend Spell Ward easily, making it an absolute essential for the Battle Mage.

Fireball is essential. Slow is especially good in ToV because so many enemies have Bonus Actions.

Clairvoyance as a ritual is crazy. Given enough time, you can repeatedly cast it and completely explore almost any area. Dungeons, castles, enemy camps, whatever. It will certainly take a long time since you need to re-cast the ritual every time that you need to move the sensor, but in many situations that’s not a problem.
6Superior Recovery
New Spells Known:
– Counterspell
– Fly
The versatility is wonderful. We can change 1 spell now, 2 at level 9, and 3 at level 17.
7Contingency Plan
New Spells Known:
– Polymorph
– Wall of Fire
New Rituals Known:
– Private Sanctum
By this level you may not be relying on spell attacks very often. Cantrips will make up the majority of your spell attacks, and it may be better to reserve your Reaction to cast Shield. Scorching Ray is one of the best ways to deal single-target damage with a spell, but since it’s applied across multiple attacks, Contingency Plan is less useful. Instead, you might go back to using Acid Arrow.

Remember to use Tactical Caster with Wall of Fire so that your allies can walk through it safely. Encourage them to grapple enemies and drag them through the wall or to use the opaque wall to prevent enemies from attacking your party on the enemies’ turns.

Just be careful about Concentration. You have a +0 bonus on CON saves, so if anyone even looks at you funny you have at best a 50/50 chance to maintain Concentration.
– +1 INT
– Talent: School Specialization (Evocation)
New Spells Known:
– Arcane Eye
– Greater Invisibility
School Specialization boosts our numbers with our favorite spells.

Greater Invisibility is an excellent buff for us. We can’t be targeted by most spells, and attacking us is very difficult. Take advantage of that to cast offensive spells with impunity.
9Rote Spell:
– Scorching Ray
New Spells Known:
– Arcane Hand
– Wall of Stone
New Rituals Known:
– Teleportation Circle
Arcane Hand is basically a summon spell. Wall of Stone lets you solve a lot of problems outside of combat or wall off parts of encounters until you’re ready to deal with them.
10Heroic Boon: Rite of the Ritualist
New Cantrip Known:
– Vicious Mockery
New Spells Known:
– Cone of Cold
– Telekinesis
A significant expansion to your Ritual options. Start hunting around for scrolls and such and learn every possible ritual.
11Blasting Power
New Spells Known:
– Blade Barrier
– Chain Lightning
New Rituals Known:
– Contingency
Blast Power provides a modest but consistent boost to your damage output.

Blade Barrier isn’t consistently better than Wall of Fire, but it’s 40 feet longer, which is sometimes helpful. Most of the time you’re going to use Chain Lightning or upcast a lower-Circle spell.

Contingency is amazing. Use it for a buff like Improved Invisibility, and have it trigger when you roll initiative. After combat, re-cast Contingency so that you can begin every encounter with Improved Invisibility running.
– +1 INT
– Talent: Elemental Savant (Fire)
New Spells Known:
– Freezing Sphere
– Wall of Ice
20 INT and School Specialization means that our spell attacks and save DCs are as good as they can get at any given level.

Elemental Savant has a fun interaction with Blasting Power. Both allow you to reroll 1s, but since they’re separate effects you can reroll 1s with one of them, then reroll any remaining 1s with the other. The reliability is really nice.

Elemental Savant also lets us switch damage types for some of our favorite spells. Fireball and Wall of Fire remain go-to options, but sometimes we can use Chain Lightning to hit more targets than we could with Fireball.
13Rote Spell:
– Fireball
New Spells Known:
– Arcane Sword
– Forcecage
New Rituals Known:
– Magnificent Mansion
For 5e players thinking “Wait, but Tyler hates Arcane Sword!”, go check the ToV version. It’s significantly better. It can attack two targets, it adds you ability modifier to damage, and it can move 30 feet instead of 20. It’s actually pretty good now.

Forcecage lets you put your enemies in a nice safe bubble where they can’t bother you. Magnificant Mansion lets you put yourself in a nice safe bubble where your enemies can’t bother you. Okay, fine, it’s a nice house. But you get my point.
New Spells Known:
– Reverse Gravity
– Teleport
Spellguard is an excellent defense. I wouldn’t drop a fireball at your own feat just to be dramatic since your DEX saves are only +1 and your save DC is high.
New Spells Known:
– Incendiary Cloud
– Maze
New Rituals Known:
– Clone
How is there not a single 8th-Circle Evocation spell on the Arcane spell list?
– +1 DEX
– Talent: Physical Fortitude
New Spells Known:
– Demiplane
– Mind Blank
Raising DEX to 14 raises our AC and DEX saves. We have access to Physical Fortitude thanks to our subclass, and it provides helpful protection for our awful physcal saves. I would rather take Hard Target (CON), but that’s not an option. We could also take Combat Casting, but we’re trying to avoid most Concentration spells.
17Rote Spell:
– Wall of Fire
New Spells Known:
– Meteor Swarm
– Wish
New Rituals Known:
– Foresight
In nearly every case, Wish is the spell that you will cast with your 9th-Circle spell slot. But sometimes you need to Meteor Swarm something.

Foresight as a ritual is crazy. 500gp is enough of a cost that you can’t afford to cast it on your entire party every day, but on an important adventuring day, your whole party should be running Foresight. It’s the best buff in the game.

Our PB hits the maximum of +6 here, maximizing the effects of Spell Ward. With 14 DEX, Mage Armor, and Spell Ward, we have an AC of 21 before we consider possible magic items or Shield.
18Spell Mastery
New Spells Known:
– Any 2
All of our Rote Spells can now be cast for free once per Short Rest, making them easily available at minimal cost. I’ve chosen easy staple spells, but you might find that casting them at their lowest Circle won’t be impactful by this level.

If you want something that’s more consistently useful, replace the suggested options with Shield (it’s still great), Invisibility, Slow, and Greater Invisibility. Since none of those spells rely on damage, they remain consistently useful for your whole career, and you can reliably use them at least once per rest in any situation dangerous enough that tracking spell slots will matter.
– +2 CON
New Spells Known:
– Any 2
Raising CON to 12 gets us a lot of hp and boosts our CON saves. It’s not fancy, but it’s a great numerical boost.
20Epic Boon: Archmage
New Spells Known:
– Any 2
Archmage is fun, but it’s intentionally a game. Your high-Circle spell slots are unlikely to be recovered, but you don’t want to spend Archmage on a low-Circle spell slot. I recommend saving this for 5th-Circle spells and above, but expect that on many days it simply won’t work. Celebrate when it does.