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Ranking, Analysis, and Preparation Guide to all Cleric Spells Level 0 through Level 3

Content of the article: "Ranking, Analysis, and Preparation Guide to all Cleric Spells Level 0 through Level 3"

This is a ranking and analysis of the 5th edition Cleric spells on the cleric spell list from cantrips through level 3 including all published spells from the base game through Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (hopefully not missing any). I set out to make a guide/ quick reference guide to help picking spells daily while playing a cleric. As such this guide will mostly about playing rather than DMing. Also, to be clear these rankings and descriptions are from the perspective of a Cleric. Some spells are much better when taken from the perspective of a different class that may also have access to the same spell. I may make similar guides for other spell casting cases if there is interest. (Also, may add more spells as they are officially published, and or continue with higher spell levels. Although, to be fair, I have much less experience with spells fourth level and up)

With the rankings, the spells have been put in the various categories, but also ranked within each category. For example, Bless and Detect Magic are both in the Very Good category, but Bless is Ranked higher then Detect Magic, and both are ranked higher than Protection from Evil and Good in the Good category.

Also, the list of my analyses of spells and their ranking rational below is in alphabetical order for viewing convenience.

  • I want to preface this with a few disclaimers:

Firstly, D&D is first and foremost a Role-playing game. These are simply my suggestions on the most optimal and overall best spells. Play the game however you want, and don’t avoid a spell you like, or think is cool simply because I said so.



These are my opinions, and neither inherently right nor the only perspective. I would love to hear other people’s opinions, and where you think my logic is incorrect (keep it civil please).

I have only been playing D&D for a few years (with only experience in 4 major campaigns all of which were non-published), have no experience with editions other than 5th, and have only ever played a single cleric character in a single campaign, so take that into consideration when viewing my opinions.

I am doing my best to use proper English, but I am not the best writer, so please forgive any spelling/ grammar mistakes (point out any obvious ones and I will do my best to fix them as well as any formatting errors or missing spells/ descriptions either in the graph, below, or both).

I reserve the right to change my opinions and may adjust the rankings or descriptions as I see fit.

I did not intentionally copy any one else’s opinions, but I do consume D&D content, so It is not impossible that I inadvertently did so. Additionally, I may have coincidentally come to the same or similar conclusions to someone else, which I can’t help. Lastly, I realize that this format is not original, but I hope my execution, detail, inclusion of rational, and my opinion itself are enough to make this somewhat original, and worth reading/ using.

Because I am too long winded, and because there are so many third level spells I ran out of characters on my original post, so a separate post containing my Analysis of all the 3rd level spells will be linked at the end of this post.

Finally, all this was for fun, and to help me condense my thoughts/ pick spells to prepare, so be sure to view this as such (again no hate only civil discussions please)

Key:

Great = Always Take

Very Good = Almost always take

Good = Situational, but invaluable in that situation/ Can't go wrong with

Meh = Just ok/ Overly situational

Bad = Have some uses, but usually not worth taking

Terrible = Borderline Unusable, never take unless you have a VERY good reason

Cantrip

  • Great
  1. Toll the Dead
  2. Thaumaturgy
  • Very Good
  1. Word of Radiance
  2. Sacred Flame
  • Good
  1. Mending
  2. Guidance
  • Meh
  1. Light
  2. Resistance
  • Bad
  1. Spare the Dying
  • Terrible

1st Level

  • Great
  1. Healing Word
  2. Cure Wounds
  3. Command
  • Very Good
  1. Bless
  2. Detect Magic
  • Good
  1. Protection from Evil and Good
  2. Guiding bold
  3. Ceremony
  4. Create or Destroy Water
  5. Shield of Faith
  • Meh
  1. Bane
  2. Detect Evil and Good
  3. Sanctuary
  • Bad
  1. Inflict Wounds
  2. Detect poison and Disease
  • Terrible
  1. Purify Food and Drink

2nd Level

  • Great
  1. Spiritual Weapon
  2. Hold person
  3. Calm Emotions
  • Very Good
  1. Lesser Restoration
  2. Aid
  • Good
  1. Zone of Truth
  2. Silence
  3. Protection from Poison
  4. Locate Object
  5. Blindness/Deafness
  • Meh
  1. Prayer of Healing
  2. Find Traps
  3. Augury
  4. Enhance Ability
  5. Gentle Repose
  • Bad
  1. Warding bond
  • Terrible
  1. Continual Flame

3rd Level

  • Great
  1. Revivify
  2. Spirit Guardians
  3. Dispel Magic
  • Very Good
  1. Sending
  2. Tongues
  • Good
  1. Speak with Dead
  2. Clairvoyance
  3. Water Walk
  4. Magic Circle
  5. Remove Curse
  6. Create Food and Water
  7. Feign death
  8. Protection from energy
  • Meh
  1. Spirit Shroud
  2. Incite Greed
  3. Beacon of Hope
  4. Mass Healing Word
  5. Motivational Speech
  6. Bestow Curse
  7. Animate Dead
  • Bad
  1. Life Transference
  2. Meld into Stone
  3. Glyph of Warding
  4. Daylight
  5. Fast Friends
  • Terrible

  • Cantrips (0 level)

Guidance

Guidance is a quite good spell that probably deserves a better ranking, but I personally find it annoying to use, bogging down the speed of play, and in some cases confusing on whether and how it applies to a check(specifically when a check is determining actions over a longer time such as tracking a creature or stealthing over large distances) Despite my dislike, Guidance helps the party as a whole makes out of combat non-reaction-based checks more often. As well as having almost no downside to always having up while not in combat.

Light

Light is often not necessary because many of the races in D&D have dark vision, and even if a member of the party does not, torches can almost always satisfy everyone being able to see. The main other reason for light as in exploration (cast on pebble and throw down dark well) could still be useful, but similarly, its place is also taken by torches. However, may be worth considering taking in a more survival-based campaign, or one where light sources are harder to come across/ run out frequently, especially if playing a character without Darkvision.

Mending

Mending is a cantrip that is often somewhat useless, it can have some uses in creative solutions, maintaining equipment, and solving small issues relating to broken objects (although mileage may very based on the DM). Mending is very good as a “Magical Flair” cantrip used to do everyday things quicker and more magically. Also, Super good in the exact case of having a battle smith artificer in the party to make their Steel Defender ultra tanky.

Resistance

Resistances is in most ways just a worse Guidance. It avoids many of the things I don’t like about guidance (except bogging down gameplay), but with that, it loses most of the reason Guidance is good. Guidance is good because it is most easily used out of combat when concentration doesn’t matter, and at that time a boost to ability checks is useful. Resistance loses that because Saving throw boosts are best in combat, when concentration is most important to have free(especially as a cleric). Resistance is useful in 2 main circumstances, first during dungeon crawling on the scout just before entering a likely trapped area. The other being used like Guidance, always having up on yourself to always gain to boost on both out of combat saves, and on the first one in every combat(unless first dropping concentration to use on a different spell) (Although I tend to avoid this similar to Guidance, because I don’t really find it reasonable/ do find it annoying the have this cast on yourself at all times, which is the main way this can be good)

Sacred Flame

The first of the 3 Cleric damage cantrips, Sacred Flame is very strong and reliable with great range and one of the best damage types. I rank it is third among the 3 because dexterity saving throws are not great, but mostly because the other damage cantrips are slightly better. Toll the dead fills the same slot as Sacred Flame (as in long range single target) but often does more damage with a slightly worse but still pretty good damage type. And Word of Radiance has the same damage type and an equally bad save but has the bonus of being able to hit multiple targets. Would recommend taking this if not taking Toll the dead, or even if taking toll the dead, can be taking instead of Word of Radiance if not convinced of its power.

Spare the Dying

Spare the Dying is almost always useless. Stabilizing a creature has so many better options, such as using a healing spell (which pops the creature up as well as stabilizing), using a medicine check (which also stabilizes without expending a spell slot, and keeps the creature unconscious if that is ideal without taking up a cantrip), or via a magic item like a periapt of wound closure. The single edge case I can think of is to ensure a creature is stabilized without risking a low medicine roll (although you are presumably a cleric with high wisdom) and wanting to either conserve spell slots or keep the creature unconscious.

Thaumaturgy

Thaumaturgy is in my opinion the best non-combat cleric cantrip. It has tons of creative uses such as acting like a megaphone, opening a trapped door from a distance, causing a distraction during stealth, and helping with disguising. Also, it is the best cantrip for role playing, as you can dramatically change candle flames (including color), slam open doors to emphasize a point, or easily address an entire congregation, town, or army.

Toll the Dead

Toll the dead is in my opinion the best Cleric damage cantrip, being very similar to Sacred Flame being a medium range single target spell with the same components, but it takes the win because it has a better save skill (wisdom) and almost always having a better damage die. The main downsides of Toll the dead are based on it being necrotic, which is both a worse damage type then radiant and disqualifies some clerics from using it (due to background/being anti necromancy). In which case Sacred Flame is bumped from Almost always take to Always take

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Word of Radiance

Word of Radiance is a very interesting spell. While I rank it Very Good and above sacred flame, this is only in the assumption that Toll the dead is also taken. In this case Word of Radiance fills a great niche of being a great back up cantrip, which exist because of how hard it can be to use because of needing to be within 5 ft of an enemy (unless playing some sort of melee focused cleric). Word of Radiance is best used when you are surrounded by 2 or 3 enemies effectively allowing it to deal double or triple damage and helping to counter being surrounded by weak enemies. The other major reason to use the spell is if the enemy is resistant or immune to necrotic damage, or vulnerable to radiant damage. To summarize, only take word of radiance along side Toll the Dead to shore up weaknesses. Otherwise, both taking Sacred Flame alone, or both sacred Flame and Toll the dead are strong options (but my recommendation is toll the dead and Word of radiance as your damage cantrip package).

Cantrip Overall Build Recommendation (in order of acquisition) (only doing for cantrips because they are the only set of spells that can’t be changed during long rest):

Toll the dead, Thaumaturgy, Word of Radiance, Mending, Sacred Flame

Toll the dead and Word of Radiance are a great combo to ensure you have a damage cantrip for every combat situation (especially early game). Thaumaturgy is my best out of combat cantrip. From there, we are kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel for good spells, so I advise picking up Mending for its situational out of combat use (or Guidance and you don’t despise it as I do). Finally grabbing Sacred Flame, to ensure you always have a damage cantrip even more for combat (especially now that enemies are more likely to need to be stayed away from (can’t use Word), and or are resistant/immune/absorb necrotic. Additionally, at this point there aren’t really any other good options (again other than Guidance/Resistance if you again don’t share my qualms) (or Light if you can find a use for it)

  • 1st Level

Bane

Bane in a worse Bless, mostly because if requires the targets to make saving throws while bless does not. Otherwise, the effect is pretty much the same, as lowering the enemy’s chance to hit and saving throw is equal and opposite to buffing allies in the same ways. Also, the major issue of bless of taking up concentration, especially at higher levels is also in full force here.

Bless

Bless is one of the best first level spells, especially at low level. It is a great multi target buff spell, that almost always gets full effect as few parties have less than three members. Cast it on your heavy hitting martial class members, or on your self to combo with things like spiritual weapon and guiding bolt, as well as sure up saving throws. Biggest downsides of the spell are taking up concentration, which is especially painful at higher levels, and scaling especially poorly, finally would not recommend in a solo campaign, or if for whatever reason separated from the party for an extended period. However, especially at low levels, you can never go wrong picking up bless.

Ceremony

Ceremony is a decent spell both for role playing and actual utility. One major downside in my eyes is using the Coming of age, Dedication, and Wedding for power gaming rather than their intended use as RP tools (Though they do make it worth taking on their own if you know you will be doing one of these on a certain day). Bless water and Funeral Rite are great if you know you will be fighting undead, being able to make holy water and block raising respectively (the former able to be used on a day before the actual quest, and the ladder being used day of). Finally, Atonement is a bit too situational, but can be worth taking a day after this specific event happens. All these things together, as well as having multiple things it can do making it more than a sum of its parts, as well as the spell being ritual make it worth keeping in your back pocket (although the 25 gp cost per cast can be an issue in some campaigns)

Command

Command is another great first level. It is a great in combat cheap single target Crowd control option (available to clerics) in the early to mid-game, that can be used against most enemies(giving it a leg up vs spells like hold person). However, this spell can be outpaced by spells like hold person, as these spells can be much more powerful, but requiring stricter parameters. Therefore, command can be swapped out once these spells become available, but in the early game, or if you have extra spells to prepare (even in addition to the others to be used when the others can’t either because of the enemy or being out of slots), Command is one of the best first level options.

Create or Destroy Water

Create or Destroy Water is a spell that is useful in a fair number of situations. These include Create Water to make clean drinking water in a more survival-based setting or putting out a fire. Destroy water can be used to make an empty pocket of air while underwater to avoid drowning or getting rid of fog wither environmental or caused by another creature in combat to avoid having your vision obscured. Overall, this spell may be too situational for some, but is worth taking in the survival or underwater settings, or if you expect to be dealing with large amounts of water over the next day.

Cure Wounds

Cure Wounds it one of the Quintessential cleric spells, as it is great for keeping your party alive. A cleric without either Cure Wounds or Healing Word is playing the class sub-optimally (which can be ok, but it is worth keeping in mind that your party members may not agree). In the discussion of Cure Wounds vs Healing Word, Cure wounds has the benefit of doing an average of 2 more points of healing per spell level and scaling better with spell slot level. I tend to favor Healing Word because of the range and bonus action speed making it so you always have bit of healing to pop up a bleeding out party member if necessary, even if they or outside your movement, or you need to use your action for something else. So, if you only want to take only one, I recommend Healing Word. However, I would strongly recommend picking up both (although getting Cure Wounds through something like the staff of healing is ideal so you don’t need to use either a preparation slot or spell slots on it, and you can cast higher level and even AOE versions of the spell)

Detect Evil and Good

Detect Evil and Good falls under the Meh category because it is situational (though less so then Detect poison and Disease) and even in those situations it is just ok, because detecting a creature in such a small range is not always helpful, and consecrated and desecrated objects/ places can usually be found using other means. This spell can be good in a more mystery-based campaign (to find secret demonic shrines/portals), or to uncover shape changers and possessions that fall under the listed parameters. Overall, detect evil and good is worth taking if in a campaign where you can think of uses for it, but overall if going into a situation where you are considering taking this spell, I would recommend taking protection from evil and good instead.

Detect Magic

In my opinion the best of the first level detect spells, Detect Magic has a multitude of uses both in dungeon crawling, exploration, and role-playing encounters. I would recommend taking this unless you have another party member who has it (especially if they are a wizard because they can cast it as a ritual only by having it in their spell book and without needing to prepare it. Also, similar the other Detect spells, Detect Magic is great because it can, and should bas cast as a ritual to save the spell slot whenever possible as long as the ritual cast time does not cause an issue (this is because in this case the detection is “Free”)



Detect Poison and Disease

Detect Poison and Diseases is not completely useless, but almost. It can be used to locate creatures that use poison, or are diseased, but the small range makes this use both situational and underpowered. Another use of detecting if food/drink is poisoned can be extremely useful, but is even more situational, that taking the spell for this case should only be done if you know exactly which situation it is for.

Guiding Bolt

Guiding Bolt is another spell I feel is somewhat overrated. It is by no means bad, combos with spells like bless, and is the best damaging first level spell. However, I find that using spell slots on a damage spell as a cleric can be somewhat wasteful, because as a cleric spell slots can be better used casting healing, buff, debuff, crowd control, and utility spells. Also, if you are looking for something to fill a turn when you are not using your action, I would recommend using a damage cantrip. This is because you are saving the slot, and you can still cast it if you cast another spell with a bonus action speed (Healing Word for example). With all that being said, the spell does tons of damage for a first level spell, and giving advantage on the next attack is great especially if saved for a party member like the rogue to help ensure they hit and raising the chance for a crit.

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Healing Word

My pick for the best overall first level spell. This spell should always be taken to make sure you can pop up a bleeding ally, both getting them back in the fight, and ensuring they don’t die. Despite healing on average 2 points less then Cure Wounds per spell slot level, Healing Words makes of for it with versatility of use being both usable at range, and on a bonus action. Also, as said in the cure wounds section, if you choose to take neither first level healing spell, you are most likely playing your cleric sub-optimally

Inflict Wounds

Inflict Wounds is simply a worse Guiding Bolt in pretty much every way. It suffers from the same things that Guiding Bolt does (Wasting a spell slot), as well as having a worse damage type, A range of touch, and no powerful extra attack. The only real upsides are that it deals on average 2.5 more damage than Guiding Bolt, it does not get disadvantage if the enemy is within 5 ft, and it upcasts better. I would only take this spell if you are playing a melee focused cleric, or if you are going for a necromancy themed character. In most cases I would strongly recommend taking Toll the Dead instead or Guiding Bolt if you absolutely have to take a damage first level spell.

Protection from Evil and Good

One of the best single target buff spells in the game, especially at first level. Can be somewhat situational but using on your tank while fighting a specified creature, makes them much more effective. Also, if against enemies such as vampires or succubi, the charm and frighten resistance can be invaluable.

Purify Food and Drink

Purify Food and Drink is almost never useful. Unless you are using it every time your party eat or drink anything(which I find immersion breaking and annoying) you will only cast this if you suspect food to be poisoned, in which case simply don’t eat it. Really the only uses I can think of are in a survival campaign to allow the party to eat poisoned/ rotten food (although spells like Goodberry, create water, and create food and water do the same thing but better), or to stop an assignation (although again, just tell the person not to eat . In any case don’t take this spell unless you know exactly why, and even then, I still wouldn’t take it because even that case probably doesn’t need this spell to work.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary is fairly useless due to the fact that the creature effected can’t attack, cast a spell on an enemy, or deal damage. However, the effect is very strong for a first level spell, so it is worth considering situations where it is useful. Firstly, it can be cast on an unconscious creature, so they are more difficult to finish off (although in this case healing them is probably better). Could also be used on a tank, or creature about to retreat assuming either the tank’s damage is low or is in some way incapable of attacking. Finally, can be used on an ally that is focusing on casting buffs, is doing something other then attacking while in combat (like pulling levers, based on encounter), is concentration on a spell that does not do damage (like faire fire or bane/bless ).

Shield of Faith

Buffing armor class is very strong especially when used on a tank, but the biggest issue with Shield of Faith is not with the spell itself, but the fact that it requires concentration, and there are so many other better spells to concentrate on. Such as Bless, Protection from Evil and Good, Hold Person, etcetera. Overall, good but there are better options.

  • 2nd level

Aid

Aid is a quite strong long term buff spell. Giving extra max health is the best type of healing (better than regular healing because in addition to upping current health, also allows to be healed more and take more damage overall. Better then temp hit points because it stays around even after taking damage that would completely deplete them and does not conflict with other sources of temporary hit points) and lasting for 8 hours is very strong. Also has great upcasting potential, because each extra level increases amount of hit points rather than number of targets. Main downside is tat it only effects 3 creatures per casting, which can be annoying, but just put it on your front lines and call it good. Other than that, the only other negative is that the effect is much more passive than other spells, but Aid well worth casting especially in dungeons or before/during difficult fights.

Augury

Augury is an ok spell, that can be used to break ties between players on what to do in the near future, or to help ensure that a riskier plan won’t immediately result in disaster. However, I have a few issues with the spell. Firstly, a spell like Augury rubs me the wrong way because it feels like a cop out, asking the DM what you should do (as opposed to a spell like Commune which is more built around giving players a tool to find out information/lore rather than asking the DM what to do). Additionally, the short time frame in which the event needs to take place, and the limited results make it unhelpful for the players and difficult to answer as a DM especially for a more complicated encounter (which should be most of them)

Blindness/Deafness

Another decent single target debuff spell. In combat blindness can be used to cripple any creature, and deafness can be used to stop a creature from receiving orders. Deafness can also be used on allies to protect from some spells and effect that require being able to hear. Also, the versatility of the single spell makes it even better as well as not requiring concentration. The main downsides of the spell include how often an enemy affected with the spell can attempted a saving through, and the fact that both of the effects are only partial crowd control and only effect a single target(assuming being cast at second level). In my opinion this spell can be good in certain circumstances, but I would advise skipping it instead taking command and hold person (and other higher level hold spells)

Calm Emotions

I realize that ranking this spell so highly is weird, but I think this spell is wildly underrated. The main reason for this is the spell is a direct counter to powerful charm effects. Some of the strongest monsters in the game have the ability to remove from battle or turn allies using charm and frighten effects and using Calm Emotions you can negate the effect without a saving throw (because the ally can choose to fail their saving throw). Granted the negation only lasts the duration of the spell and the spell requires concentration which can be broken, but the simple fact that this spell can hit multiple targets and counters some of the strongest effects in the game makes it always worth taking all on its own. (Making it so your party is effectively immune to charm and frighten unless the cleric is the one charmed or frightened. Even in this case the cleric is often the worst party member to use these effects on because they have high wisdom saves which most of these effects use, and even if charmed, clerics are much less impactful the DM to have control of because they are the support character) The other effect of calming enemies(s) is less impactful, and often wont work unless every enemy is affected. However, this effect can be used simultaneously while using for the anti-charm effect as long as the enemy is close enough to the ally. A quick example of this is as follows:

You are fighting a Succubus, who has charmed your Barbarian. This would be a devastating move, but you simply cast Calm Emotions catching both the Barbarian and Succubus in the radius. The charm on the Barbarian immediately ends without a saving throw, and assuming the Succubus fails their saving throw they could be easily be convinced to let the party get into a good position to allow them to finish them off with a surprise round.

Finally, I realize that a situation such as the one above is not the most common, but because of how devastating charm and fear can be I would argue that a cleric should always have Calm Emotions prepare to counter it. Therefore, it is Great tier.

Continual Flame

Frankly, Continual Flame is one of the worst spells in the game. It does effectively the same thing as the Light cantrip, or a torch, and costs 50gp to cast along with a second level spell slot? Terrible. The only real redeeming quality of the spell is that the light lasts forever until Dispelled, so it could be used to act as a lamp that never dies for say a keep. But if a spell’s only redeeming quality is that it is useful for interior designing it should never be taken in regular play.

Enhance Ability

Enhance Ability has many effects, but I would argue that none are really worth the cost of a second level spell slot. In combat the spell as almost completely useless. Ability checks are almost never made while in combat, and the only other in combat effect is Bear’s Endurance, which gives very few temp hit points (not worth it). The spell is a bit better when looking at out of combat uses, because giving advantage on a check can be decent to make sure a character makes an important check or series of checks. Also, the Bull’s strength and Cat’s Grace extra effects can be pretty good for moving heavy objects and reducing fall damage, respectively. However, these upsides are somewhat undermined because the spell only lasts an hour, which can be enough for some contexts, is less then ideal for the slot. If you really want to buff skill checks take Guidance instead.

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Find Traps

Decent spell for traversing likely trapped areas. Can be replicated by simply having high perception, but the automatic and guaranteed nature of the spell is a massive area make it worth taking when in a location that is heavily trapped. Can be mandatory in a setting with many or especially dangerous (instant death) traps.

Gentle Repose

Gentle Repose on a normal character is ok, as it can be used to preemptively temporarily counter corpse being raised. This is only really useful in a setting where undead are very common. However, the main reason to take this spell is if you or a party member/ NPC ally is a necromancer. In this case this spell is almost mandatory, as it allows you to with a ritual spell ensure the necromancer always have corpses able to be risen.

Hold Person

Arguably the strongest second level spell. This is because how devastating paralysis is, and the fact the only way to break it is to have the caster break concentration, or to make a saving throw which can only be attempted at the end of each turn. Really the only downsides to the spall are the fact that it uses concentration (although this is the spell to save concentration for), and that it only affects humanoids. The humanoid restriction is the only major downside as it makes it so the spell can’t be used on a large number of enemies. Despite this Hold person should always be takes as popping it on a boss can trivialize the entire fight.

Lesser Restoration

Lesser Restoration is simply a strong spell that can be used to counter many of the negative effects that can be put on your party members. This includes two of the effects I previously praised as being caused by other spells (paralysis and blindness from Hold Person and Blindness/Deafness respectively). Also being able to get rid of any disease is quite strong.

Locate Object

Locate Object is another decent out of combat spell. Being able to locate any object within 1000 ft for 10 minutes has many applications including heists, finding stolen gear, and finding invisible or hiding targets (assuming you saw what they are wearing or a piece of equipment they have). This ability is somewhat Situational, and the range of 1000 ft is a bit small, but overall, Locate Object shines brightly when in a situation that calls for it.

Prayer of Healing

Prayer of healing is quite tempting with its ability to heal 78 points of damage on average with a second level spell. (assuming 1d8 averages to 4.5 points of healing, +4 spellcasting modifier, and there are at least 6 damaged allies with at least 13 health missing when the spell is cast) However, with a casting time of 10 minutes, it is almost always worth it to take another 50 minutes and take a short rest using hit dice instead of a spell slot. The 2 main instances this spell is useful are when there is a time limit that allows for a 10-minute rest but not 60 minute one, or the party is low on hit dice. Both of which are fairly uncommon unless specifically created by the DM/ campaign.

Protection from Poison

Protection from Poison is a decent spell that simply removes poison from a creature, gives advantage on saves against being poisoned, and resistance to poison damage. This is not always useful, but because of there being many different types of poison some of which are very dangerous (and even regular poison being fairly strong it persists for a long time), and many different types of enemies that apply them I think it is often worth keeping in your back pocket. Also being resistant to poison damage can be invaluable against some enemies who rely on it for most or all of their damage.

Silence

Simple spell that is quite strong both in and out of combat. In combat can be used to great effect to shut down enemy spell caster, to make your party immune to thunder damage, give access to all the other upsides of applying deafness in area, making a fight silent to not alert other nearby enemies, and all this without requiring a single saving throw. Out of combat can be used to help with stealth. The ritual casting tag also creates the possibility of casting the spell for free. Main downside is that it is fairly situational, but overall Silence is a powerful and useful spell

Spiritual Weapon

In my opinion the strongest second level spell(and one of the strongest cleric spells in the game). Spiritual Weapon is one of the only exceptions to my feeling the Clerics should mostly avoid damage spells. This is because it does a few things that the other damage spells don’t. First, it fills the role of making use of your bonus action slot that is rarely used otherwise save for Healing word. Additionally, it deals continual damage without requiring concentration (making it able to combo with concentration spells like Hold Person and Bless). It can be used against any enemy (major reason I rank it higher then Hold Person). It’s damage type (force) is one of if the best type. It scales well. And finally, the possible damage is ridiculous, with it basically attacking for free every turn and dealing 1d8+spellcasting mod on hit making it possible for the spell to do an average of 85 damage with a single second level spell slot without concentration as a cleric. ( + <4 assuming a +4 wisdom mod> * <10 assuming an attack is made every turn for 10 turns(1 minute) and every attack hits> Basically have no downsides to this spell, which is why I recommend every cleric take it.

Warding Bond

Warding bond is an interesting spell, but overall, I don’t really see the use in it. It seems really good because it gives a creature both +1 ac and resistance to all damage, but in reality, the resistance doesn’t really count because as resistance halves the damage, it is doubled again as the damage is applies to you. So really all this spell does is gives a creature +1 ac and spreads the damage out. I would argue this make the spell worse then the first level spell Shield of Faith, as it gives +2 ac. The final posable upside, spreading out the damage, might be good in some circumstances because when cast on your tank, it allows said tank to stay up longer, and makes it so AOE healing spells and short rests are more valuable as the common occurrence of only the frontliners being damaged is mitigated. However, in doing so, you a usually squishy cleric take the damage instead. The same cleric who upon going down puts the parts in a vastly worse position then if any other member of the party went down. No thank you.

Zone of Truth

A great social encounter spell that works well for interrogating prisoners, making deals, digging for information, preforming a trial, etc. Making it so an NPC or even PC can’t lie is extremely powerful, and Charisma saving throws are good (and if used cleverly a creature can be convinced to automatically fail the saving throw because it agrees to). Spell is simple and strong, but slightly Situational. Good Tier.

  • 3rd Level

Post ended up exceeding reddit's maximum length, so a separate post has been made containing the 3rd level spell analyses: https://www.reddit.com/r/dndnext/comments/kuqtwq/cleric_spell_level_0_to_3_analysis_continued/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

Source: reddit.com

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