The Best Sorcerer Cantrips in DnD 5E | Sorcerer Cantrips 5E Rankings

sorcerer cantrips 5e

We have officially ranked all of the cantrips available to a new Sorcerer in the fifth edition of Dungeon and Dragons! A cantrip is a spell that can be cast at will, does not take up an available spell slot, and it does not need to be prepared in advance. This is a spell that your character has perfected over time, which is why its performance sounds so simple – it is like you are doing it from muscle memory.  Like with the cleric or bard class, cantrips can offer your sorcerer a lot of utility throughout the game, so it is important to pick the right cantrips for your character. That is exactly why we completed our sorcerer cantrips 5e rankings!

Our Sorcerer Cantrips 5E Rankings

But first, how many cantrips can a Sorcerer learn? At level one, your Sorcerer will have four cantrips. Your character will learn another cantrip at level four, and your final cantrip will be learned at level ten. The Sorcerer will have a total of six cantrips throughout the duration of the campaign, and because of that, the Sorcerer has a larger array of cantrips to pick from. Fourteen to be exact. So you will need to be extra diligent, as the last thing you want to do is to waste a free spell slot on an ability that you will never use.

So without further ado, here is our Official Ranking of all of the Sorcerer’s Cantrips in Dungeon and Dragon’s fifth edition.

14. Prestidigitation

  • School: Transmutation
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Ten feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Up to one hour

At number fourteen of our Sorcerer’s Cantrip list is Prestidigitation – the parlor trick of spells in the Dungeon and Dragon’s universe. This is one of the first spells a novice spellcaster learns so they can practice their craft without causing any long-term damage. When you are casting this minor magical trick, you will create one of the following effects:

  • Create an instantaneous, harmless sensory effect such as a spark, a low gust of wind, a faint musical note, or an odd but not terribly off-putting odor.
  • Instantly light or put out a candle, torch, or a small campfire.
  • Instantly clean or dirty up an object that is at most 1 cubic foot.
  • Chill, warm-up, or flavor up a nonliving piece of material that is up to one cubic foot long for an hour.
  • Make a small mark or a symbol appears on an object’s surface for one hour.
  • You create a non-magical trinket or an illusion that fits in the palm of your hand until the start of your next turn.

You can have four effects going at once. While it would be cool to see all of these effects going on at the same time, I personally cannot see a reason to cast Prestidigitation, even if you wanted to use this spell as a source of income. You can use multiple other spells that have a practical use to create all of these similar effects. For example, you can use Minor Illusion to create the same illusion in your hand, while also being able to create an illusion up to thirty feet away from you. Any small fire spell can be used to light a candle or start a campfire. With enough creativity, you can use any lower-level spell as if it were Prestidigitation.

13. Mending

  • School: Transmutation
  • Casting Time: One Minute
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (two lodestones)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

At number thirteen is Mending. This cantrip will let you fix a single object with your touch as long as the break is a single tear that is at most one foot long; leaving no trace that the object was ever damaged. The item that you fix can be a magical item, but any magic that has been removed from the item will not be restored. While it seems very useful, there is a very good chance that someone else in your party will be able to fix items as well. This is an ability that you do not need to double-dip in.

12. True Strike

  • School: Divination
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Thirty feet
  • Components: Somatic
  • Duration: Concentration, up to one round

With the point of a finger, the True Strike spell will allow you to see the weakness of one enemy. On your next round of combat, you will have an advantage over that enemy as long as this spell is still active. Having an advantage means that you get to roll two dice when you are attacking instead of just one. After the roll, you select the higher of the two and that will be the roll you make for the attack.

Several wise men have said that knowledge is power, but this spell will put you in a precarious situation just to try to obtain a small semblance of an advantage. Firstly, this spell requires concentration. That means all any enemy has to do is interrupt your train of thought and the spell will end. Secondly, you could be spending this turn doing something more productive… like attacking. You have to use a whole turn during heated combat to use True Strike; using two turns to land one attack. True Strike can be cast from thirty feet away, but it will not stop an enemy from coming in and bashing your face if all of your other comrades are busy smashing the other foes. And because there is no parrying ability outside of a skill, you are better off just swinging for the fences and taking two attacks.

11. Acid Splash

  • School: Conjuration
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Sixty feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous

Acid Splash deal 1d6 of Acid Damage that can be dodged with a successful dexterity saving throw (1d20 plus the target’s dexterity bonus). This damage increase to 2d6 at level five, 3d6 at level eleven, and 4d6 at level seventeen. You can hit one target up to sixty feet away, or two targets that are five feet away. With a spell like Poison Spray that can potentially deal more damage with the same chance to be dodged, I will respectfully pass on splashing some acid.

10. Dancing Light

  • School: Evocation
  • Casting Time: One action
  • Range: 120 feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (phosphorus, wychwood, or a glowworm)
  • Duration: Concentration, up to one minute

You create four small torch lights, or you create one medium-sized humanoid form, both of which will shed a light across a ten-foot radius. You can move the light, but any piece that you move cannot be more than twenty-feet away from the rest of the pieces. If you take it too far, the spell will flicker out. Much to the same fate as Acid Splash, there is a MUCH better spell on this list that is available for the Sorcerer, and it will last longer. This will be one dance that this Sorcerer will not attend.

9. Ray of Frost

  • School: Evocation
  • Casting Time: One action
  • Range: Sixty feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous

A frigid blue-white beam of light strikes towards your opponent to deal 1d8 of ranged cold damage. That damage increases to 2d8 at level five, 3d8 at level eleven, and 4d8 at level seventeen. On a hit, the spell will also decrease your enemies’ speed by ten feet until the start of your next turn. It is a solid attack that I might invest in later because I am running into a bunch of enemies that are weaker to cold damage.

8. Poison Spray

  • School: Conjuration
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Ten Feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous

Poison Spray allows your character to shoot a puff of noxious gas from the palm of their hand and in the direction of an enemy. The enemy will need to make a successful Constitution throw, or they will take 1d12 of poison damage. The amount of damage you deal will increase at fifth level (2d12), eleventh (3d12), and seventeenth (4d12). To make a Constitution throw, your opponent has to beat your DC, which is eight plus your proficiency modifier plus the appropriate ability modifier, with 1d20 plus their Constitution modifier.

Poison Spray has the highest damage ceiling out of all of the cantrips on this list. Unlike the rest of the cantrips on this list, Poison Spray can be negated with a saving throw. Your opponent can only make a saving throw if the spell specifically says they can in the manual. Unfortunately for Poison Spray, your opponent can prevent the damage. I still rank it higher than the previous cantrips because it has the potential to deal a lot of damage. Twelve damage at level one for a magic casting class is nothing to sneeze at, as this is something most magic castors cannot do. You just need to be okay with missing once in a while.

7. Fire Bolt

  • School: Evocation
  • Casting Time: One Minute
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous

Your character hurls fire at an opponent to deal 1d10 of fire damage. That damage increases to 2d10 at level five, 3d10 at level eleven, and 4d10 at level seventeen. This is very close to the top of my list because it does not require a saving throw if your attack misses.

6. Minor Illusion

  • School: Illusion
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Thirty Feet
  • Components: Somatic, Material (small amount of fleece)
  • Duration: One Minute

While most of my focus in this article has been on dealing damage, Minor Illusion has an effect on a different aspect of Dungeon and Dragons – role -playing! And in the realm of role-playing, you can do almost anything with Minor Illusion. As written, this spell will let you create a sound or an imaginary object that is at least thirty feet away from you. You cannot do both at the same time though.

If you create a sound, you can alter its volume to be as loud or as soft as you need it to be. The sound will go on continuously for the duration of the spell’s effect. If you create an image, the item must not be longer than a five-foot cube. Beyond being an item, the image will not affect any of the other senses. Any physical interaction with the image will reveal that the item is an illusion.

If someone goes to examine the sound or image, they will need to make a successful Intelligence check against your Spell Save DC. If they are successful, the illusion becomes faint to the character that made the successful check.

I know there are a lot of rules to follow with Minor Illusion, but an experienced or a highly imaginative player will be able to use this cantrip to get out of several situations.

See Also: The Best Sorcerer Spells in 5E

5. Shocking Grasp

  • School: Evocation
  • Casting Time: One action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: Instantaneous

Lightning springs from your fingertips as you touch your enemy, sending a jolt down their body. On a successful melee spell attack, you deal 1d8 lightning damage, and the target cannot take reactions until the start of their next turn. A reaction is the equivalent to an attack of opportunity. That damage increases to 2d8 at level five, 3d8 at level eleven, and 4d8 at level seventeen. You have an advantage on that enemy if they are wearing metal armor. Taking away an opponent’s attack of opportunity is a huge effect to inflict, but it is only the second-highest damage dealing cantrip on this list because Chill Touch can do a little bit more.

4. Chill Touch

  • School: Necromancy
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: 120 feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: One round

An excellent entry on our sorcerer cantrips 5e list, Chill Touch releases a ghostly skeletal hand that reaches out to touch your target. If the hand is successful, you deal 1d8 necrotic damage, AND the target cannot regain hit points until the start of your next turn. The amount of damage you deal will increase at fifth level (2d8), eleventh (3d8), and seventeenth (4d8). While the damage is low, the main reason you would cast Chill Touch is to prevent your target from healing. Every heal activation you prevent will make it easier for your team to defeat your enemies. That means you will need to use fewer items and spells to heal yourself after the battle, you will not have to rest as much to recover strength… The list of benefits is massive.

3. Light

  • School: Evocation
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Touch
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: One hour

You touch an object that is at most ten foot long. That item will brighten up a twenty-foot radius, and dim an additional twenty foot beyond the first twenty feet. The spell ends if you cast it again, and the light will be blocked if you completely cover it with something opaque. Oh, and the  light can be any color that you want! Just imagine your enemy running away from battle with a bright pink chest plate… that is, if the enemy fails their dexterity check. In order to light up an item on an enemy, they will have a chance to make a dexterity save (they roll 1d20 and add their dexterity modifier).

Light is an incredible flexible spell. The most obvious use is to light up an area that you would normally light up with a torch; ignoring the fact that the weather or the condition of the torch could affect your ability to create the fire that you need. You could light up an item and either toss it or leave it behind; distracting whoever might be pursuing your group on the trail. You could find a way to light up an enemy, making it easier to either hit them or using it to distract other enemies in the middle of battle. The amount of utility you can get from this cantrip is endless!

2. Mage Hand

  • School: Conjuration
  • Casting Time: One Action
  • Range: Thirty Feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic
  • Duration: One Minute

Much like Minor Illusion, Mage Hand’s primary function has nothing to do with combat. But unlike Minor Illusion, Mage Hand can physically affect your surroundings. When you cast Mage Hand, you create a spectral, floating hand that can do the following actions:

  • Manipulate an object
  • Open an unlocked door or container
  • Store or retrieve an item from an open container
  • Pour the contents out of a vial

The hand can only interact with items that are within thirty feet of your physical character. The hand’s carrying capacity is less than ten pounds, and it cannot activate magical items. And because I feel that this is important to stress; you cannot use Mage Hand to perform an attack.

Despite these restrictions, I can see Mage Hand being a very important spell to get your team out of a precarious situation like being imprisoned, tied up, or needing to sneak something into your possession. Just wait until all attention is focused somewhere else, cast Mage Hand, and then you will be on your way to accomplishing whatever task you will need to complete.

1. Message

  • School: Transmutation
  • Casting Time: One action
  • Range: 120 feet
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic, Material (short piece of copper wire)
  • Duration: One round

And number one on our Sorcerer cantrip list is Message. This cantrip is not just our favorite of the class, but our top cantrip on our List of Best 5E Cantrips. You point your finger at your target that is in range, and you can whisper a message to that person. This is one of the strongest abilities in the game, as it will let you get information to your party without having to be right next to them. It could save your team a whole lot of time, especially if you are in a situation where you both need to remain silent.

Nerds and Scoundrels

And that concludes our Sorcerer Cantrips 5e Rankings. Did we get them all right in your eyes? Let us know in the comment section below. Need more DnD content? Try our Best Warlock Cantrips Rankings.

 

Travis Scoundrel

A life long gamer, Travis spends his time writing about and playing games when he's not suing people or hanging out with his family.

Travis Scoundrel
About Travis Scoundrel 384 Articles
A life long gamer, Travis spends his time writing about and playing games when he's not suing people or hanging out with his family.