Welcome to the Booming Blade spell breakdown! In this article, we will be cutting into the pros, cons, and optimum situations that you can use Booming Blade in. So let’s start this off with a boom and jump right into our Booming Blade 5E Guide! Please note, Booming Blade is available in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide.
Booming Blade 5E Guide
As you are casting this spell, you need to make a melee attack with a weapon against one enemy in the spell’s range. If you do not make a melee attack while casting this spell, Booming Blade will fail. Should you hit the target, you will not only apply the same effect as if you were making a regular melee attack, you will also encase your target with booming energy until the start of your next turn. If your target willingly moves while covered with the energy, they will take 1d8 of thunder damage and end the spell.
At the fifth level, the melee attack will deal an additional 1d8 of thunder damage, and the damage the target takes from moving increases to 2d8. At the eleventh level, the melee attack increases to 2d8 and the moving damage increases to 3d8. On level seventeen, the melee increases to 3d8 and the moving damage increases to 4d8.
As a Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard, you typically avoid jumping into melee combat. In the case that you are ever forced into melee combat, you can use Booming Blade to help off-set the initial issues that you had with hand to hand combat. This issue comes from the fact that you want to maximize your spellcasting abilities as much as you can. And in order to do this, while you are creating your character, you will most likely put your lowest roll into Strength.
This is to not say that your character does not need Strength, as it dictates your carrying capacity. But when you deal most of your damage with spells, you gloss over the fact that you might be forced into melee combat sometime during your adventure. Having a lower Strength also means that you cannot carry a heavy weapon like an ax or a broad sword that will deal a lot of damage.
On top of that fact, a spellcaster’s hit die is typically lower than a character who focuses on melee attacks. A Warlock uses a d8, while both the Sorcerer and the Wizard uses a d6. Luckily, Booming Blade is a cantrip that requires no materials, so you can cast it every turn if you want.
While Booming Blade requires you to make a successful combat roll, it is still considered a spell. If you were to obtain an additional attack somehow, you will not be able to take it if you cast Booming Blade. This is one reason why it did not make our list of the Best Wizard Spells in 5E. All effects that give an additional attack require that you make an attack first, thus, casting Booming Blade will invalidate your option to take a second attack.
If you are successful with your Booming Blade, that does mean that you were close enough to your target for them to make a counter strike. That means your enemy does not have to move from their energy bubble in order to hit you back. Unless the attack requires your enemy to move, they have a walk around to your booming energy trap!
This leads directly into the biggest con of them all – all of the classes that can cast Booming Blade will typically wear lighter weight armor! Another perk of having a higher Strength stat is that you can wear heavier armor because your character can carry more weight. Heavier armor means you can take more hits, as those hits have a good chance of being absorbed by the armor. If you are wearing something made of leather, which is appropriate for a spellcaster, your hit points are more likely to take a majority of the damage.
When Should You Use Booming Blade
You should use Booming Blade when you are forced into hand-to-hand melee combat, and when it is at a higher level. The fact that your opponent does not need to move out of the booming energy field to hit you because you should be right there when you are done making your attack. Having the extra damage hit your target helps to make up for the fact that you have a low hit die.
When Better Options Are Available
Personally, if I could take several hundred steps back, I would. As someone that frequently casts spells while playing Dungeon and Dragons, the last spot I want my character to be sitting in is right in the middle of a melee combat. Low damage, low health, and low strength is a recipe to get murdered in melee. You can easily find a place to hide and take potshots at the enemy if the rest of your party is able to keep the enemy standing still.
If you get into melee with a character that knows Counterspell, I would simply switch off to a regular melee attack. For one, they are most likely in the same situation as your character – low health, low damage, and low strength. This means that you two are evenly matched, so now it is up to the dice to decide who escapes alive.
Need more 5E Content? Check out our Green Flame Blade 5E Guide here at Nerds and Scoundrels!