10 Best Buff Spells In D&D, Ranked

magic in Dungeons & Dragons can be so much more than just blasting people with a fireball, even in combat. While direct damage is a very valid use of magic, more can be achieved through the use of buff spells. If, rather than hurting the enemies themselves, a magician helps other party members hurt enemies, they can deal much more damage.

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In combat and out of combat, there are many buff spells in J&D. Most are good, but there are some that stand head and shoulders above the rest as near-essentials for any pitcher who can take them. Whether they’re versatile, low level, or just plain powerful, they’re a huge force multiplier for the party.

ten The shield of faith is simple but priceless


faith protected art mtg

On the surface, Shield of Faith isn’t a particularly glamorous spell. It simply provides +2 armor class to a creature within range. However, this is more powerful than its mere effect would indicate. With 5thDeliberately flat +2 AC calculations will still be relevant throughout the game and will still be a major buff to an ally’s AC – causing a reasonable percentage of attacks to miss.

In addition to its useful capacity, Shield of Faith has other virtues. It only requires a first-level spell slot, meaning it’s both plentiful and accessible from the start of the game. Additionally, it only uses a bonus action, allowing a caster to use his action for something else.

9 Holy weapon is a damage powerhouse


The Holy Weapon spell in Dungeons & Dragons

In many ways, bonus damage is the simplest form of buff. Making each attack hit harder is a simple way to buff a party member’s abilities, and that damage can stack up quickly. For the somewhat high cost of a fifth-level spell slot, Holy Weapon causes each attack from an ally to deal an additional 2d8 Radiant damage.

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While 2d8 may seem low for the cost of the spell’s location, there are a lot of things to consider. Radiant damage is resisted by very few creatures and is powerful against others, meaning it can be invaluable to a party member struggling to hit an enemy. Additionally, at levels, characters get sacred weapon, they can perform 2 or even 3 attacks per turn, which causes the damage to accumulate quickly. Additionally, it can also be used to blind enemies like a Hail Mary in a tough fight.


8 Death Ward does exactly what it says


The Death Ward spell cast in Dungeons & Dragons

It may seem obvious, but keeping allies alive is an invaluable use of buff spells. In addition to allowing players to continue playing their beloved characters, it also allows them to be bolder and more aggressive in their attacks without having to constantly think about their own mortality.

Death Ward’s effect is self-explanatory. If a creature would be reduced to zero hit points, it remains conscious with only one hit point. Additionally, it grants immunity to the first instant death effect that targets a creature. As such, it’s a useful way to not sell otherwise terrifying enemy abilities – though creatures can get around it with multiple attacks.


seven The power of haste is matched only by its drawbacks


A mage casting Haste on an ally in Dungeons & Dragons

Haste is unquestionably the most powerful spell of its level in Dungeons & Dragons. For a single third-level spell slot, it doubles a creature’s speed, improves its AC, grants advantage on Dexterity saving throws, and grants an extra action that can be used to attack, run, hide, disengage or use items.

As such, Haste provides a truly dazzling boost in attack, defense, and utility. However, to balance this, it has a notable downside. As with most buff spells, it requires concentration, and after the spell ends, the creature benefiting from it is unable to move or act for one turn, often leaving them helpless. As such, it’s a high-risk, high-reward buff that can turn the tide in almost any encounter.


6 Greater invisibility is a short-term power boost


A magician casting the Invisibility spell in Dungeons & Dragons

Invisibility is a powerful effect in Dungeons & Dragons. Besides the obvious improvements it gives to concealment and stealth, it also makes a creature much harder to hit, more adept at hitting opponents, and, due to most spells requiring a caster to see the target, immune to a surprising amount of magic.

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The downside of the second level Invisibility spell is that the invisible creature cannot attack or cast a spell without revealing itself. Greater Invisibility, a fourth level spell, removes this limitation. As such, a creature with Greater Invisibility cast on it is a much more effective combatant. However, in addition to its high cost, Great Invisibility only lasts one minute compared to the lower version’s time, limiting its usefulness outside of combat.


5 Pass Without Trace is unbeatable for stealth


Dungeon Sneaking Party in Dungeons and Dragons

Stealth can be the bane of many J&D parties. Most are likely to contain at least one clumsy, heavily armored limb, or both, so sneaking around is always a risky business, one that can be blown away with a few bad jabs.

The second tier Pass Without Trace spell eliminates a huge danger using stealth. In addition to hiding the tracks of the party, it also provides a +10 bonus to stealth checks from anyone near the caster. Straight numbers buffs are rare in 5thespecially those as high as +10, making it very difficult for even the most clumsy plate-wielder to fail a stealth test.


4 The blessing is a direct increase for most participants


An adventurer casting Blessing on two of his Dungeons & Dragons companions

With the way D&D 5e is designed, even minor jet improvements can have big effects. It’s a design philosophy like this that ensures that an entry-level spell like Bless is able to remain powerful throughout the game. Granting an extra d4 to attack rolls and saving throws for one minute , Bless is a small but consistent buff to both offense and defense that can rock a fight.

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One of the best parts of Bless is that it affects multiple creatures. From three years old, it can be cast at higher levels to include more, ensuring that, for a low level spell slot, the whole party can simply be bettered at what they do.




3 Tips can be streamed endlessly


A spellcaster using magic in Dungeons & Dragons

On the surface, Guidance seems a relatively humble buff. He simply gives a d4 to an ability test – rarely useful in combat – made within the next six seconds. Although it seems like a worse version of some other buffs, many J&D players have realized how powerful he is.

The advantage of Guidance comes from the fact that it is a cantrip. As such, it can be cast infinitely without using a spell slot. Because of this, as long as there’s a second to prepare, almost any ability test can be made a little easier to pass, making your party much more proficient than the math of the game expects.


2 Foresight is powerful enough for 9th level


A caster casting Foresight in Dungeons & Dragons

One of the most comprehensive buffs in the game, Foresight gives a single creature advantage on all ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws, while putting all creatures at a disadvantage for hitting them – in addition to the minor advantage of being surprise-free.

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It just makes a character much better in all areas, much more resilient, and much more likely to hit or even critically hit. When it comes to buffs, Foresight is undeniably effective – at a high cost. It’s a 9th level spell, which means it can only be cast once per day and on a single creature. This also removes the ability to cast any other level 9 spells that day. As such, its use should be made to count.


1 Polymorph is versatile and creates a literal battle monster


People Fleeing a Polymorph Tyrannosaurus in Dungeons & Dragons

In Dungeons & Dragons 5th, a monster’s challenge level indicates its ability to take on an entire group of characters of that level. A CR 4 monster will therefore be more powerful than a fourth level character. However, the spell polymorph allows a caster to transform themselves or another creature into a Beast creature with a CR equal to or less than their level.

The result is that, for a relatively modest fourth-level spell slot, a party member can be transformed into almost any beast in the game. Along with the versatility of transforming party members into flying, swimming, or burrowing creatures, it can also significantly improve their combat abilities. Notably, if they are reduced to 0 hit points in their new form, they simply revert back to their normal form without even losing a turn, giving them a massive amount of extra hit points in addition to other benefits.

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