Light Cleric 5E Guide | Attributes, Tips, Builds, and More

light cleric 5e

As an additional option included in the Player’s Handbook, the Light Domain is one of the stronger domain choices for damage-dealing clerics. This type of Cleric Domain has the radiance of the Gods at their back, and are paragons of renewal. They get some strong Domain spells, both with damage and information gathering. Their abilities seem like great support skills, and they use Wisdom fantastically. But does this make them strong, or is it just a trick of the light? Let’s find out in our Light Cleric 5E Guide!

Bathe in Radiance: Light Cleric 5E

Very similar to the sun, the Light Cleric is considered by many to be an incredibly useful element to any day. Not only do they get the supportive powerhouse of the Cleric’s spell list and class abilities; they also get to throw fireballs like they’re a wizard. They are expected to sit back and blast, though Warcaster is always an option for anyone invested in hand-to-hand combat.

Domain Spells

Perhaps the most impressive element of the Light Cleric are the domain spells. Considering how passive Cleric spells are in general, the blasting options that the domain provides are insane.

Light Cleric Domain Spells

  • 1st Level – Burning Hands, Faerie Fire
  • 3rd Level – Flaming Sphere, Scorching Ray
  • 5th Level – Daylight, Fireball
  • 7th Level – Guardian of Faith, Wall of Fire
  • 9th Level – Flame Strike, Scrying

The domain spells are split into two main camps. For Information, Light Clerics get Faerie Fire, Daylight, Guardian of Faith, and Scrying. These spells’ primary purposes are to alert the Clerics of something nearby. Faerie Fire and Guardian of Faith counter invisibility, Daylight for darkness, and Scrying is good at finding specific things. These are all good spells, but situational. Especially Guardian of Faith.

The Light Cleric gets six spells that deal fire damage. Six. Burning Hands, Fireball, Wall of Fire, and Flame Strike are all incredible Area of Effect abilities. Fireball is one of the most impactful spells in the game, and Wall of Fire can completely stop an encounter. Burning Hands keeps the early game locked down. However… don’t use Flame Strike unless the enemy is weak to radiant; Fireball does much more damage with 5th level spell slots, and synergizes with fire abilities better.

Flaming Sphere and Scorching Ray are grand single-target options. Flaming Sphere lasts longer but Scorching Ray scales really well. Any of these fire spells deal really good damage, though. Consider taking the Elemental Adept feat for Fire damage. You have so many fire options… You’ll want to ignore resistance when you can.

Bonus Cantrip

At the first level, the Light Domain gives the cleric a little bit of flavor.

When you choose this domain at 1st level, you gain the Light cantrip if you don’t already know it.

On the bright side (pun entirely intended), you do gain an extra cantrip known for free. Consider using a race that can’t see in the dark when you take this Domain to make use of this cantrip that you’re forced to take.

Obviously, this ability is less good than access to Heavy Armor, a proficiency that many domains gain access to. It’s far from useless, since you get to use a utility cantrip without too much hassle. You can take more damage cantrips for ranged damage, and maybe some minor buffs like Guidance. Certainly, it has more power than it appears, even if it is still quite minor.

Warding Flare

Time to protect yourself a bit!

Also at 1st level, you can interpose divine light between yourself and an attacking enemy. When you are attacked by a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see, you can use your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll, causing light to flare before the attacker before it hits or misses. An attacker that can’t be blinded is immune to this feature.
You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Wisdom modifier (a minimum of once). You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.

A reactionary disadvantage to attack rolls is useful, but at level 1, this ability is quite limited. Giving something disadvantage the moment that it attacks you is quite strong; you get two chances to make them completely whiff. The range is fine, since most clerics like being in that range for Area of Effect spells. And, in theme for the domain, throwing light in someone’s eyes right as they swing their sword is kind of hilarious.

Since you’re imposing a disadvantage, you do have to use it before you see the result of the attack roll; The opponent could completely ham their first attack, and this ability is somewhat wasted. It also has limited uses. The Wisdom cap is necessary, but it does mean that you can’t use this willy-nilly. You should save this for when you’re worried about something REALLY big smashing into you. Or, you can use it to deflect the attack of a strong spell in later levels, like Disintegrate, from ruining you.

This ability does get quite a bit better with later abilities. But because Clerics are relatively durable, it’s more of an emergency button. Like “oh gods, that’s a big sword. Pocket light!”

Channel Divinity: Radiance of the Dawn

The Channel Divinity option for the Light Domain is somewhat weak, but useful in its own way.

Starting at 2nd level, you can use your Channel Divinity to harness sunlight, banishing darkness and dealing radiant damage to your foes.
As an action, you present your holy symbol, and any magical darkness within 30 feet of you is dispelled. Additionally, each hostile creature within 30 feet of you must make a Constitution saving throw. A creature takes radiant damage equal to 2d10 + your cleric level on a failed saving throw, and half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that has total cover from you is not affected.

Let’s start with the bad parts, since there’s more good than bad. The downside of this ability is the damage. The scaling on this damage isn’t great, especially compared to other Channel options. You increase the damage of this by 1 every level. That’s okay, but nothing fantastic. Certainly not a major reason to take this subclass.

However, the ability to banish magical darkness is good. You don’t need to use a spell slot to do so, and you always have this in your pocket. In some encounters, magical darkness really messes with the party, so this ability will stop some enemies from being such a pain. Being able to both banish light and effectively deal damage is an efficient solution to a major problem.

The area of effect aspect is good, since you don’t need to distance yourself from your allies. And while the damage isn’t great, dealing that damage in a 30 ft area of effect is still fine. You’ll find a use for this in a lot of fights, even if it isn’t the main reason to take the subclass.

Improved Flare

Oh boy, Warding Flare got stronger!

Starting at 6th level, you can also use your Warding Flare feature when a creature that you can see within 30 feet of you attacks a creature other than you.

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

One of the main problems of Warding Flare was that it targets you, a d8 Hit Dice cleric with okay armor (in most cases). Using this ability to protect a Wizard or Sorcerer from getting trucked is a much better use of your ability.

Also, this means that your enemies can no longer escape it by targeting others. You’ll be able to catch Disintegrates aimed at others just as easily as yourself, and possibly save lives. Boss Fights are pretty likely to land hits against the frontlines. Giving them an extra chance to dodge means you’ll have more spell slots to cast Scorching Ray or Fireball instead of having to heal.

The bad parts are more issues of opportunity. Most domains have unique abilities at these levels, and this simply buffs an ability you had earlier. Your own personal strength doesn’t increase, which is a shame. This still uses your reaction, and still has the limit of your Wisdom Modifier, since it is Warding Light. Make sure you’re in range of your allies as much as possible, and use your pocket light with care..

Potent Spellcasting

And how does the Light Domain gain extra damage?

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.

This solidifies the Light Cleric’s role as a ranged caster. By now, you can usually get your Wisdom modifier to +3-5, so this is a pretty significant burst to cantrip damage.

As a reminder, clerics have 3 damage cantrips; Sacred Flame, Toll the Dead, and Word of Radiance. Only two of those abilities have ranged options, and they aren’t exactly varied in damage. Sacred Flame has better utility, ignoring cover, and Toll the Dead deals a little more damage. You’ll use these two spells quite a bit, but they do scale well over time. Unfortunately, Sacred Flame doesn’t work with Elemental Adept (Fire), since it’s Radiance damage.

Hand of Radiance, from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, lets the Melee Light Cleric deal good Area of Effect damage with a cantrip. It only hits enemies, just like your Channel Divinity ability. It’s a good idea to take all three of them to have your options covered. The cantrips have some good variety, though the lack of actual Fire cantrips feels bad.

Corona of Light

Anyone feel like making a beer joke?

Starting at 17th level, you can use your action to activate an aura of sunlight that lasts for 1 minute or until you dismiss it using another action. You emit bright light in a 60-foot radius and dim light 30 feet beyond that. Your enemies in the bright light have disadvantage on saving throws against any spell that deals fire or radiant damage.

Alright, so there’s actually a lot of good stuff here. First of all, this takes an action and lasts a full minute. You can use this right before a fight and a lot of fights will be over before the ability runs out. The visibility increase is fantastic, putting the Light cantrip to shame… Though this will make you one bright target, so be careful if you’re squishy.

The offensive ability of giving your enemies disadvantage against blasting spells is insane. Pair yourself with a blasting Wizard or Sorcerer and watch your enemies flounder Dexterity Saves all over. Even without a friendly blaster, you get so many benefits from this. Your Domain Spells and cantrips all get a huge chance of doing full damage.

And, notice… There’s no limit listed.

At the cost of one action per 10 rounds, you can reduce resistance to your blasting spells in a 60 ft aura. You have a lot of good area of effect options that this heavily benefits. And if you get some allies that feel like dealing Radiant or Fire damage, you can make this into a really effective damage booster.

It is somewhat countered by magical darkness, but your Channel Divinity counters that. And then when it’s banished, they get disadvantage against the radiant damage. Nice!

5e light cleric

Best Race Options for Light Clerics

All Clerics get benefits from Wisdom, obviously. This one has a special connection to Wisdom, though. From more uses of support abilities, better cantrip damage, to higher saves for your blasting, the Light cleric desperately wants Wisdom.

Firbolg

The Firbolg is chosen not just because of the Wisdom boost, though that is a major factor. This Volo’s Guide race gets a massive Wisdom boost, the ability to turn invisible to avoid attacks. They can even get racial Detect Magic. All good traits for a cleric that doesn’t naturally have Heavy Armor. The Strength boost is useful for clerics who are melee-range, since they can more easily use medium armor, or heavy if you invest a feat later on.

Halfling (Ghostwise)

As a long-ranged build, the Halfling can be a pretty good cleric, with their big boost in Dexterity. The Ghostwise subrace gets some Wisdom, and some neat utility with Telepathy, allowing you to make quiet plans with allies. The Light Domain is a natural caster, so you don’t need to worry about the Heavy quality on some weapons. Cantrips are all the damage you need! Movement speed does raise an issue, but as long as you’re within 30 ft range of your allies, you’ll be fine.

Races to Avoid

There isn’t really a bad race for this class, as long as you’re willing to invest heavily in Wisdom. I would highly, HIGHLY suggest choosing races that gain Wisdom, since it helps the Blasting role by quite a lot. I would also avoid races that naturally have Darkvision. The Light cantrip is kinda the Light Cleric’s thing, and they get a lot of tools to negate darkness. Darkvision just isn’t as good for them, and thus a lot of races with Darkvision will likely be weaker than races that don’t have it.

Conclusion – Our Take on the Light Domain

What a subclass! If our Light Cleric 5E Guide tells us anything, this domain is a good time. There are a few domains that are blaster roles, and this one stands as one of the better options. Giving Clerics access to Fireball, Wall of Flame, and Scorching Ray gives them a lot of damage opportunities. They still keep the supportive spells of Cleric and get a good interception option. Their Channel Divinity is only okay, but still adds damage to the battlefield. And Corona of Light might be at the top of my list in terms of capstones, offering a lot of damage potential with the right amount of setup. All in all, I highly suggest this archetype if you’re looking for a quite potent blaster… With Cure Wounds.

Want to see your other Cleric options or how to optimize your character in general? Check out our Comprehensive Cleric 5E Guide!

Jason Toro
About Jason Toro 198 Articles
An English-Game Design student at Northeastern University, Jason appends his love of video games by writing unfinished novels and short stories on the side.

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