'Cure Wounds' is D&D's Most Popular Spell
  • 'Cure Wounds' is D&D's Most Popular Spell


    It's been a while since I've posted a data update from D&D Beyond (we've already seen the most common adventures, classes by tier, and subclasses, and more). This time it's the turn of spells, as the D&D Beyond developers reveal the post popular spells both overall and broken down by class.






    The most popular spell is cure wounds. These spells are either picked as a known spell or is explicitly prepared from all spellcasters. Most skew to lower levels because most D&D games are played at lower levels.























    Comments 48 Comments
    1. Zardnaar's Avatar
      Zardnaar -
      Popular probably the wrong word. Most useful might be better.

      We barely use it as it's inefficient.
    1. Myzzrym's Avatar
      Myzzrym -
      A little skewed since more classes have access to Cure Wounds than Healing Words, I'd guess given the option Healing Words would be more popular given its range.
    1. Shiroiken's Avatar
      Shiroiken -
      I guess I'm not the weirdo who prefers Cure Wounds to Healing Word. When I play a Cleric, I often prepare both, because Healing Word is great in combat, but Cure Wounds is best for after combat healing.
    1. castlewise's Avatar
      castlewise -
      I'm a little surprised that hellish rebuke beats out hex for warlocks considering hex is a core class spell.
    1. dwayne's Avatar
      dwayne -
      since they killed the wizards power because the fighters seemed left out and the warlock was getting his butt handed to him, yes little can be done with the wizard neutered edition of d&d 5th edition as it is. I like the old glass cannon wizard of old, and thank goodness i found a working class some one did on line. People don't play a class any more its dip in this and that and then wonder why they die horribly. Over all i like 5th, less power creep than 3rd x any way but i feel they lost too much of it with the over simplifying of the system. But thank fully for me it's not to hard to fix the crappy parts and the options in the DM guide does help much as well. The thing is most these spells are so low level and most of the mid to high ones i used back in the day are not in the books.
    1. Leatherhead's Avatar
      Leatherhead -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shiroiken View Post
      I guess I'm not the weirdo who prefers Cure Wounds to Healing Word. When I play a Cleric, I often prepare both, because Healing Word is great in combat, but Cure Wounds is best for after combat healing.
      If you look at just the Cleric data, you are still a weirdo.

      It's not hard to see why Cure Wounds is prevalent.
      Firstly, Half Casters don't get Healing Word. They are stuck with only one option for a healing spell (unless you have a lenient DM who lets you administer Goodberries like Potions I suppose)
      And it is popular for Land Druids because dropping Wildshape takes a Bonus Action, allowing you to do both in the same turn.
      In every other case, people primarily go for Healing Word.

      Likewise Mage Hand shows up as popular on Warlocks and Sorcerers, but not the other arcane casters (no I don't count the Artificer, it's still in playtesting). Both the Sorcerer and the Warlock can get lots of cantrips at t1 of play. This would imply that Mage Hand isn't a first string pick, but rather something that people gravitate towards as their 3rd or 4th cantrip and they have all the other stuff they want.
    1. Dausuul's Avatar
      Dausuul -
      Something is wrong with the wizard top-10 cantrip list. It says "top 10 cantrips" but there are only 8. Also, mage hand isn't on it, which is theoretically possible but seems highly unlikely.

      Quote Originally Posted by Leatherhead View Post
      Likewise Mage Hand shows up as popular on Warlocks and Sorcerers, but not the other arcane casters (no I don't count the Artificer, it's still in playtesting). Both the Sorcerer and the Warlock can get lots of cantrips at t1 of play. This would imply that Mage Hand isn't a first string pick, but rather something that people gravitate towards as their 3rd or 4th cantrip and they have all the other stuff they want.
      I wouldn't read too much into the absence of mage hand for wizards. We know for a fact that the wizard list is missing two of its top-10 picks, and the two spells I would expect to top the list are missing. Every other caster class except druids has its best PHB damage cantrip at the top of the list (and druids would have theirs at the top of the list, except that players evidently disagree on whether produce flame or shillelagh is the best, and the result is to split the vote between them and give the top spot to their favorite utility spell).

      I would bet money that the top two cantrips for wizards are fire bolt and mage hand, in that order, and they simply got cut off due to an editing error.
    1. DEFCON 1's Avatar
      DEFCON 1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by castlewise View Post
      I'm a little surprised that hellish rebuke beats out hex for warlocks considering hex is a core class spell.
      I wonder if the charts are taking into account the fact that almost all tieflings get the Hellish Rebuke spell as part of its racial features? If spells that are given out "for free" like that as part of racial features are getting counted, that could explain why-- since I'm sure a large proportion of warlocks are probably tieflings.
    1. Mr. Wilson -
      Do players just not realize how absurdly strong Hypnotic Pattern is for a third level spell? 30 Foot Cube that incapacitates everything not immune to charm?
    1. pogre's Avatar
      pogre -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
      Do players just not realize how absurdly strong Hypnotic Pattern is for a third level spell? 30 Foot Cube that incapacitates everything not immune to charm?
      I agree, but players love to burinate and zap the foe!
    1. tmanbeaubien's Avatar
      tmanbeaubien -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
      Do players just not realize how absurdly strong Hypnotic Pattern is for a third level spell? 30 Foot Cube that incapacitates everything not immune to charm?
      I once used that spell on three gargoyles which were flying after my party (we were on an airship). Flight + Incapacitated => tremendous falling damage!
    1. MonkeezOnFire's Avatar
      MonkeezOnFire -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
      Do players just not realize how absurdly strong Hypnotic Pattern is for a third level spell? 30 Foot Cube that incapacitates everything not immune to charm?
      The vast majority of spells that make the top 10 are first level. Probably because there are a significant number of low level characters that simply don't have the higher level spells. It would be interested in seeing further breakdown for each spell level for each class.
    1. Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
      Ralif Redhammer -
      I think so - I know there've been a number of scored D&D AL events where we were told that if we used Hypnotic Pattern, we would have points deducted from our score.

      I totally understand Cure Wounds. If I'm playing a class with it on their spell list, I'm always going to go into an adventure with that on deck. Even if I'm not a dedicated healer, just a 1st level slot is enough to keep another PC from dying.

      Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Wilson View Post
      Do players just not realize how absurdly strong Hypnotic Pattern is for a third level spell? 30 Foot Cube that incapacitates everything not immune to charm?
    1. Dausuul's Avatar
      Dausuul -
      Quote Originally Posted by MonkeezOnFire View Post
      The vast majority of spells that make the top 10 are first level. Probably because there are a significant number of low level characters that simply don't have the higher level spells. It would be interested in seeing further breakdown for each spell level for each class.
      Precisely. If every wizard takes both hypnotic pattern and shield, then shield will be more popular than hypnotic pattern simply because of all the wizards at levels 1-4 who can't get hypnotic pattern.

      Of course, this is not mutually exclusive with "players do not realize the power of hypnotic pattern," which I suspect is also true. Casual players generally overlook the awesome potency of action denial. (And even players who do understand the action economy may slide past hypnotic pattern simply out of habit from previous editions.)
    1. castlewise's Avatar
      castlewise -
      Quote Originally Posted by DEFCON 1 View Post
      I wonder if the charts are taking into account the fact that almost all tieflings get the Hellish Rebuke spell as part of its racial features? If spells that are given out "for free" like that as part of racial features are getting counted, that could explain why-- since I'm sure a large proportion of warlocks are probably tieflings.
      That would make sense. And Hex isn't quite as important to the class as say, Hunter's Mark for rangers.
    1. UngeheuerLich's Avatar
      UngeheuerLich -
      Yes, Hex is nice and such... but when you are level 1, you might be better served casting a spell that does nearly guaranteed damage. Hex does not last long and you need to hit to actually have an effect. And often the damage is wasted. This is more true at level 2, where you get agonizing blast.
    1. Dausuul's Avatar
      Dausuul -
      Quote Originally Posted by UngeheuerLich View Post
      Yes, Hex is nice and such... but when you are level 1, you might be better served casting a spell that does nearly guaranteed damage. Hex does not last long and you need to hit to actually have an effect. And often the damage is wasted. This is more true at level 2, where you get agonizing blast.
      In terms of raw damage output, hellish rebuke is generally superior to hex at low levels; especially levels 3-4, when rebuke does 3d10 damage but Extra Attack has not come online and hex duration remains limited to a single combat.

      The big problem with hellish rebuke is that it does not play well with the preferred strategy of a ranged attacker/caster. You're generally trying to avoid being hit. But if you succeed, you never get to use hellish rebuke! On top of that, you do not get to choose your target or your timing. The enemy is in control of when you get to use it and on whom. That's never a good place to be.

      Hellish rebuke would be really good for a low-level bladelock. Otherwise, though, I'd still be inclined to pick hex.
    1. UngeheuerLich's Avatar
      UngeheuerLich -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
      In terms of raw damage output, hellish rebuke is generally superior to hex at low levels; especially levels 3-4, when rebuke does 3d10 damage but Extra Attack has not come online and hex duration remains limited to a single combat.

      The big problem with hellish rebuke is that it does not play well with the preferred strategy of a ranged attacker/caster. You're generally trying to avoid being hit. But if you succeed, you never get to use hellish rebuke! On top of that, you do not get to choose your target or your timing. The enemy is in control of when you get to use it and on whom. That's never a good place to be.

      Hellish rebuke would be really good for a low-level bladelock. Otherwise, though, I'd still be inclined to pick hex.
      I agree. But its not too bad being hit as warlock ince in a while. And it is a reminder for anyone not to do so again. I prefer armor of agathys though. At level 3, that is preventing 10 damage and at least does 10 damage, but most probably more.
    1. Gradine's Avatar
      Gradine -
      You also still have 43% of all Warlocks not taking Eldritch Blast. I'm honestly not certain if I should be heartened or alarmed by that.
    1. Dausuul's Avatar
      Dausuul -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
      You also still have 43% of all Warlocks not taking Eldritch Blast. I'm honestly not certain if I should be heartened or alarmed by that.
      I expect a lot of them are bladelocks. Eldritch blast is still useful for bladelocks--it gives you a nice reliable ranged attack--but it's not the absolute must-have pick that it is for a regular blaster warlock.
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