Wands are a pretty important part of any fantasy game, and Dungeons & Dragons 5E is no different. Wands sprout up quite a bit in item lists and in the rules of the game, but they have a ton of different attributes. Some wands can cast spells by themselves, some wands do nothing but act as a focus… So what is it? What Wands do what? Well, our Wand 5E guide will tell you what wands do and what you should do with Wands.
Wands 5E Guide
Wands are spell focuses for arcane casters and druids. If a Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard are holding a wand, they can use that as their spellcasting focus. If a Druid is holding a Yew Wand, they can use that as their focus. This allows them to hold an item and still utilize spells with somatic components.
Some wands specify that they hold charges of magic. If the wand specifies that it has charges, then any creature may activate the charge in the wand as an action to use the magic within. The wand will also specify the number of charges that it regains in the morning, and if the wand has a chance of breaking when using the last charge. Pay attention to your wand charges!
The rules say that wands have command words to use, but no wand specifies the command word. If your DM wants you to use command words, then that’s fine. However, that is not necessarily in the rules.
How to Activate Wands in 5E
In order to activate your wand, you must hold it in hand and spend the action to activate it. You cannot activate wands that you do not hold. However, wands do not require you to know the spell within it or roll an Arcana check to guess the command word.
Wands that do not specify a spell cannot be activated unless they store a spell. If they do not store a spell, then you can still use a wand in order to cast a spell as long as you are an arcane caster.
Artificers use tools as their spell focuses, bards use instruments, clerics use holy symbols.
Do Wands Help Me Cast Spells?
Yes, they do! Wands that do not hold spells in them can be held without penalizing your ability to spellcast. That doesn’t do much, but most wands with spells in them would probably be fine for spellcasting focuses. That’s up to your DM!
Some wands are magical in different ways then having spells on them. For example, the Wand of the War Mage increases your spell attack rolls by the number included on the wand. That’s great for any cantrips and spell attacks that you might have to make, and helps you keep up with your martial allies.
However, as of right now, wands do not tend to have charges and the ability to improve your spell attack rolls. In addition, no Wizards of the Coast wand improves your spell DCs. Since wands need attunement, you need to make sure that your spell attacks are important. If you mainly use spells with DCs, you might not want to use a wand to cast your spells. A spellcasting focus does not necessarily improve your spell efficiency at all.
What Wands Should I Look For?
There aren’t too many Wizards-approved Wands. If you’re not needing to wield a Wand of the Archmage, then you might have your hand open and ready for a new wand. If that’s the case, are there any wands worth chasing after?
The Wand of Detection can be useful if you’re expecting ambushes, since it can find hostile enemies no matter what they’re doing to disguise themselves. The Wand of Magic Detection can allow any party member to find magical forces nearby. Usually not too necessary, but might be nice.
The Wand of Paralysis is a great late-game item that can allow any creature to cast a Paralyze spell with a DC 15 Constitution save. That’s awesome if your melee Fighter is out of range of the enemy but still wants to affect combat. The Wand of Web does similar things, though it replaces full paralysis with some area of effect restraining. Do remember: If you cast a Concentration spell from a wand, you’re still the one who concentrates on it!
There are a ton of really strong and useful wands. And theoretically, your DM might allow a Wand to be able to cast any spell! Wands are super easy to use, as long as you can find a way to spare a hand to cast with it. If your Casters or even Monk have any reason to have an open hand, jamming a wand in their palm vastly improves their usefulness. And since Wands restore themselves quite quickly, they are really worth using over and over again. Please do not forget the wands in your inventory, because there are legitimate winners here!