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The unreliability of wizards

Content of the article: "The unreliability of wizards"

Hi there,

I write this post mostly as way to reflect on what I've experienced and with the hope that some of you might enlight me with differents points of view.

As a Wizard, you have:

  • Non prepared rituals
  • Minimun of 6+2*level, maximum all the spells known (You need time, components and spells)
  • Prepared spells on long rest and recharge on long rest

That means, if you have time to buy spells and write them on your spellbook, time for researching what you are going to face, and knowledge about it, you can adapt your spell selection for the event.

But, in my experience, that's not what happen, at least in published material. For example, in Tomb of Annihilation (no spoilers), you leave a city with a clock ticking and spend the whole time isolated with no downtime, you get a lot of spellbooks, but you have no downtime to copy them, and you can't research what is ahead of you.

Most of the time you prepare blindly or with a very general knowledge like "there will be undead".

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Thats fine, but the issue is an archer with a +1 bow, will be doing full dps (no resistances or inmunities) vs their AC, shooting with advantage or normal depending on what HE does.

As a wizard you face:

  • Damage type inmunities and resistances
  • Magic resistance (only sorcs with heightened spell can make the roll "Normal" again)
  • Legendary Saves
  • Counterspells
  • Counter counterspells

Yes, you have good spells that can undo an enemy in a bad roll (like banishment) or split the enemy team even without a roll (like force wall). But in 5e combats are so short that spliting the team or summoning stuff is investing your action for a 2 turn effect at most.

My experience is that you either obliterarte the encouter by yourself or you are doing subpar actions, wasting your turn. In fact I ended up looking for attack roll spells and friendy spells or utility because it was just too unreliable to cast save spells, and either outcome was unfun.

My spell selection, for reference was:

  • Prestidigitation, minor ilusion, firebolt, booming blade, toll the dead
  1. Magic missile, shield, absorb elements, feather fall
  2. levitate, blindness/deafness, flaming sphere
  3. dispel, counter, fireball
  4. dimension door, banishment, polymorph
  5. force wall, bigby's, animate objects
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On a side note, polymorph was not used in the whole campaign because the intelligence of the beasts are low and they wont be of any use, because they will attack whatever is close, wont know what to scout and wont remember later.

Source: reddit.com

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