In Dungeons & Dragons magic is one of the most powerful forces. Those who wield it have the ability to manipulate and shape reality to their own desires. In D&D 5e there are many classes that have the ability to use magic, each in their own special way. Included in these classes are Clerics, Warlocks, Sorcerers, and of course Wizards. And while they each attain their magical abilities in different ways, they do share one thing in common: they all started out using 1st level spells.

The goal of every spellcaster is to grow more powerful and eventually gain that sweet 9th level spell slot but while you’re working your way up to that, here are 10 of The Most Useful 1st Level Spells, Ranked.

Updated by Kristy Ambrose, December 27th, 2020: Even the most powerful spell caster has to start somewhere. A beginning caster of any class has more to choose from these days when it comes to their library of 1st level spells, but that doesn’t mean you can take your abilities for granted. The kind of Wizard, Sorcerer, Paladin, Druid, Cleric, Bard, or Warlock your character levels into depends on the earliest spells they learn. With that in mind, we’ve lengthened our list to include a few more level one options when it comes to D&D spells. 


15 Disguise Self

More than likely there will be situations during a campaign where you’ll have to conceal your real identity. Whether it’s to evade being spotted or to infiltrate someplace, Disguise Self is a pretty good 1st level spell to use. From the school of Illusion, the one who casts it can make themselves and everything on their person look completely different for an hour, or until it is dispelled.

There are restrictions to the spell, as you can’t change your body type, and your new image has to have the “same basic alignment of limbs”. Also, the changes made aren’t physical, and a creature can make an Investigation check and contest it with your Spell save DC to inspect and see through the illusion.

14 Charm Person


Charm Person is a flexible spell that can be used in each fight and social conditions. It’s one of the spells from the very starting of the franchise, and its versatility and range of use relying on the class or state of affairs are the motives it has stood the take a look at of time.

The target of this spell has to make a Wisdom saving throw, which they have got a bonus for in case you’re in fight with them at the time. At higher degrees, you could use this spell to charm more than one creature immediately, which may be virtually accessible whilst dealing with guards, bandits, or dinner guests.

13 Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a 1st level Enchantment spell that can be used by any class that pulls from the Bard or Wizard spell list. When it’s cast, a player can target a creature within range (30 ft) and can make its target fall Prone into a fit of laughter for 1 minute if they don’t succeed at a Wisdom save. A creature that’s Prone can only crawl and has disadvantages on its attack rolls.

And it’s a pretty good way to delay an enemy’s attack as they have to spend a turn getting up from being Prone, even if they manage to succeed in their Wisdom saving throw.

12 Guiding Bolt

Guiding Bolt is an awesome 1st level spell for any new Cleric. It’s from the school of Evocation and when it’s cast a flash of light shoots towards a targeted creature within 120 ft. It does 4d6 radiant damage if it hits and gives the next attack made on the target advantage. It’s a great spell for Clerics to use to both do damage and to help a party member get a hit on an enemy.

It can also be cast at higher levels and the damage is increased by 1d6 for every slot above the 1st level.

11 Comprehend Languages

Dungeons and Dragons Classes MBTI Sorcerer

It’s now not only for eavesdropping on foreign dignitaries or strangers in a tavern from a much-flung land, however that is one obvious benefit to this very useful spell. Comprehend Languages additionally works on print, so available for decoding certainly any text as long as it’s no longer a code or written in a language that isn’t a traditional reading script, like numbers or musical notes. That way you can use it on an historical map as effortlessly as you can spy on those mysterious dinner guests.

10 Unseen Servant

For anyone that likes the spell Mage Hand but wants something a little more versatile, Unseen Servant is the spell for you. It’s a 1st level Conjuration spell and it creates a mindless, invisible force that can perform simple commands. You can command it to move up to 15 ft at a time and have it interact with an object.

The Unseen Servant cannot attack, and it has low AC, Strength, and Hit Points, but it can do things like serving meals, light fires, and clean. If it gets hit or moves more than 60 ft away from you then the spell ends.

Inflict Wounds

Inflict Wounds is a powerful 1st level spell from the school of Necromancy. One who uses it has to get up close and personal with their target, as they have to touch them to use it, but it’s a great spell if you find yourself in a bind with no way to get out. It does a pretty nasty 3d10 necrotic damage, and starting out you’ll be hard-pressed to find many creatures that are resistant to necrotic damage.

You can even use Inflict Wounds at higher levels, increasing the damage by 1d10 for each slot level above 1st level.

Ice Knife

Players get so centered on fighting creatures like trolls that require fireplace or acid energy that it’s easy to forget that the element of bloodless also has its uses. Elementals, dragons, and a bunch of other creatures which are sensitive to decrease temperatures will take bloodless damage from this flying dagger even if it doesn’t hit them.

The wonderful thing about this spell is that the caster receives two probabilities to hit the goal. The flying sliver of ice that the caster to start with throws reasons 1d10 damage if it does hit, and hit or pass over will explode, inflicting 2d6 cold damage.

Cure Wounds

Cure Wounds is pretty much the opposite of Inflict Wounds and is a spell that usually goes hand in hand with it. This Evocation spell lets you cure a creature you can touch, restoring a certain number of their Hit Points. You roll a 1d8 and then add your spellcasting modifier, which for Clerics, for example, would be their Wisdom modifier.

It’s another spell that gets stronger when cast at higher levels and it has no effects on constructs or the undead. It’s a good healing spell to use when your first starting out.


Bless is a 1st level spell that can be used by Clerics and Paladins, and it’s from the school of Enchantment. This spell lets you buff up to three creatures of your choice (one can even be yourself) within a 30 ft radius. Whenever Blessed creatures make attack rolls or saving throws, they can roll an additional 1d4 and add that to their saving throw or an attack roll.

It’s a great way to add a little extra power to an attack or help you and a few party members make an important (maybe even life-saving) save!


Thunderwave is a spell that packs two effects for the fee of 1! Half of the main spellcasters can forged this spell (consisting of Bards) that sends out a thunderous wave of pressure across the caster in a 15 toes dice. All creatures in that 15 feet location ought to make a Constitution saving throw. Those that fail to, take 2d8 thunder harm and get pushed again 10 toes, at the same time as those who succeed simplest take half as an awful lot damage. This spell also can be solid at better tiers with the damage extended by 1d8 for each growing spell slot. It also automatically pushes again any object that is not affixed or secured to some thing.

Chromatic Orb

Chromatic Orb is an Evocation 1st level spell that does some pretty good damage for a low-level spell, though you do need a diamond worth at least 50 gold. When cast you can throw a 4-inch diameter sphere of energy at a target. You can choose the type of damage it does from the following selections; cold, lightning, fire, thunder, or acid. This spell gives its wielder a variety of damage to deal with, which can come in handy if you have an enemy that’s vulnerable to one of the listed types of damage.

And it does 3d8 damage, giving it a strong punch for a spell that can be learned from the start.

Detect Magic

For any class able to use magic this spell is probably the most useful and must-have spell. Detect Magic allows you to sense the magic that is within 30 ft of you, which includes magical items and creatures. You can also learn the school of magic it’s from and it can go through most barriers except, 3 feet of wood or dirt, 1 foot of stone, or 1 inch of any common metal or a thin sheet of lead.

And it has a 10 minute casting time, so it’s not to be used during moments where expediency is required.

Magic Missile

The classic lead-in spell, especially for those that aspire to a high level of damage, it’s one of the most destructive ranged spells available for beginning Sorcerers and Wizards.  There are no saving throws available for Magic Missile, which creates three glowing darts and causes 1d4 + 1 of force damage at any target up to 120 feet away. This spell is so ubiquitous, appearing in some form in almost every RPG, that it’s a part of the D&D universe we’ve seen featured in popular culture.