5E Sorcerer Vs Wizard And Why its Closer Than You Think
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  1. #1
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    Sorcerer Vs Wizard And Why its Closer Than You Think

    In general online a lot of people claim that the Sorcerer is underpowered relative to the wizard. My counter argument is that the class is basically fine. At the guts of the argument IMHO is power vs versatility as the wizard can know more spells and in theory do more stuff. In practice the gap is a lot closer and I think that people are over estimating the versatility of the wizard while underplaying the Sorcerers strengths. This is not 3.X where you can easily acquire things like wands and scrolls and you have less spell slots and a lot of spells have been toned down so having a spell caster being better than everyone else is a lot less of a factor. That and versatility is often better farmed out to Rogues and Bards anyway.

    For the most part I will focus on the strengths of the Sorcerer over the wizard since versatility is the wizards main thing.

    1. Metamgic.

    Metamagic is unique to the sorcerer and it enables you to do one thing no other class can do in the game and that no other class can duplicate. That is you can maintain concentration on two spells at once via twin spell. This is not any spell you want however just a spell that effects a single target so you can twin spells like haste, fly, and greater invisibility but not fireball. This is compounded due to saving throws as well which is another Sorcerer advantage.

    2. Saving throws.
    The Sorcerer is proficient in concentration and charisma saves. Due to the concentration mechanic this is massive and once again for a primary caster this is unique to the Sorcerer. Charisma saves are also very good at least as far as the 3 weaker saves go. Compared with the wizard they get intelligence saves and wisdom saves. Intelligence saves are very rare (in the core 3 books) so being proficient in them with your primary stat almost means that in effect you are not actually proficient in anything at all. Wisdom saves are also good but wisdom for wizards is generally a tertiary stat at best. So you basically have no good saving throws. This kind of applies to the Rogue to a lesser extent due to that class having dex saves+ stat as a primary. Combined with metamagic the Sorcerers is very good at concentration buff type spells.

    3. Spreading the love.
    Partly about the point of versatility being less important than in previous editions WoTC have spread a lot of things across a lot of classes. This is healing, the exploration pillar, and they toned down things like wands which you can no longer easily and cheaply acquire. This means the opportunity cost of not having a swiss army knife character have changed as a Sorcerer lacking knock for example doesn't matter to much if you have a Rogue, bard or even a PC with the right back ground in the party.

    4. Spells have changed.
    This is due to things like the mentioned concentration mechanic but its also due to the power level of the spells themselves along with class features. There are a lot of 5E spells that are just better than their equivalents so as long as the Sorcerer picks those spells and metamagic most of the time they are more powerful than say a wizard. You don't need that many combat spells if you know hypnotic pattern and/or fireball for example and you can always upcast spells as well so using higher level spell slots on something like hold person is often a better option than casting a higher level spell. Combine those spells with good con saves and metamagic and you have a winning formula. A Fire Sorcerer for example only really needs to know firebolt, burning hands and fireball that gives you a few more spells to cover the versatility thing as well. Pick the right spells, a little bit of system mastery and you can probably make the wizard cry.

    5. Better synergy via Multiclassing.

    What are the wizards options to multiclass with? Basically you are limited to dips and the Eldritch Knight. In 5E they made the charisma based classes really good (Paladins, Valor Bards), very exploitable (Warlocks) or with unique mechanics that can be married to those classes (Sorcerers). For example the Sorlock (Sor 1, Warlock 2, Sor XYZ) is one of the highest damage dealers in the game at the higher levels and no slouch at the lower levels. Paladin 6/Sorcerer XYZ in a few levels gets a lot more smite damage than a pure Paladin. A lot more class features key off charisma than intelligence. Intelligence is also the king of the dump stats unless you are a wizard or eldritch knight.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
    In general online a lot of people claim that the Sorcerer is underpowered relative to the wizard. My counter argument is that the class is basically fine. At the guts of the argument IMHO is power vs versatility as the wizard can know more spells and in theory do more stuff. In practice the gap is a lot closer and I think that people are over estimating the versatility of the wizard while underplaying the Sorcerers strengths. This is not 3.X where you can easily acquire things like wands and scrolls and you have less spell slots and a lot of spells have been toned down so having a spell caster being better than everyone else is a lot less of a factor. That and versatility is often better farmed out to Rogues and Bards anyway.

    For the most part I will focus on the strengths of the Sorcerer over the wizard since versatility is the wizards main thing.

    1. Metamgic.

    Metamagic is unique to the sorcerer and it enables you to do one thing no other class can do in the game and that no other class can duplicate. That is you can maintain concentration on two spells at once via twin spell. This is not any spell you want however just a spell that effects a single target so you can twin spells like haste, fly, and greater invisibility but not fireball. This is compounded due to saving throws as well which is another Sorcerer advantage.

    2. Saving throws.
    The Sorcerer is proficient in concentration and charisma saves. Due to the concentration mechanic this is massive and once again for a primary caster this is unique to the Sorcerer. Charisma saves are also very good at least as far as the 3 weaker saves go. Compared with the wizard they get intelligence saves and wisdom saves. Intelligence saves are very rare (in the core 3 books) so being proficient in them with your primary stat almost means that in effect you are not actually proficient in anything at all. Wisdom saves are also good but wisdom for wizards is generally a tertiary stat at best. So you basically have no good saving throws. This kind of applies to the Rogue to a lesser extent due to that class having dex saves+ stat as a primary. Combined with metamagic the Sorcerers is very good at concentration buff type spells.

    3. Spreading the love.
    Partly about the point of versatility being less important than in previous editions WoTC have spread a lot of things across a lot of classes. This is healing, the exploration pillar, and they toned down things like wands which you can no longer easily and cheaply acquire. This means the opportunity cost of not having a swiss army knife character have changed as a Sorcerer lacking knock for example doesn't matter to much if you have a Rogue, bard or even a PC with the right back ground in the party.

    4. Spells have changed.
    This is due to things like the mentioned concentration mechanic but its also due to the power level of the spells themselves along with class features. There are a lot of 5E spells that are just better than their equivalents so as long as the Sorcerer picks those spells and metamagic most of the time they are more powerful than say a wizard. You don't need that many combat spells if you know hypnotic pattern and/or fireball for example and you can always upcast spells as well so using higher level spell slots on something like hold person is often a better option than casting a higher level spell. Combine those spells with good con saves and metamagic and you have a winning formula. A Fire Sorcerer for example only really needs to know firebolt, burning hands and fireball that gives you a few more spells to cover the versatility thing as well. Pick the right spells, a little bit of system mastery and you can probably make the wizard cry.

    5. Better synergy via Multiclassing.

    What are the wizards options to multiclass with? Basically you are limited to dips and the Eldritch Knight. In 5E they made the charisma based classes really good (Paladins, Valor Bards), very exploitable (Warlocks) or with unique mechanics that can be married to those classes (Sorcerers). For example the Sorlock (Sor 1, Warlock 2, Sor XYZ) is one of the highest damage dealers in the game at the higher levels and no slouch at the lower levels. Paladin 6/Sorcerer XYZ in a few levels gets a lot more smite damage than a pure Paladin. A lot more class features key off charisma than intelligence. Intelligence is also the king of the dump stats unless you are a wizard or eldritch knight.
    At 5th level a 16 INT wizard will know by leveling alone 6+8 = 14 spells not counting cantrips. They will be able to prepare 5+3 = 8 per day. All this ignores any bonus spells which iirc other classes like cleric and some druid get.
    Compared to the sorc who has at that level 6 known - not counting cantrips. One can argue that versatility is not that big a deal but frankly that does not match my experience.

    The metamagic is great but it comes back to the spells and the subclasses which are rather limited except for two - shadow and divine.

    The sorc is a class that i wanted to like but its mechanics fall short - as a stand-alone class.

    I think where its weakness really shows is not so much the comparison to the wizard but the comparison to the bard who adds inspiration, weapons and rituals on top of the same level of spellcasting (not to mention a far more "commonplace" even craftable "focus") and betgter skills.

    If it were me, i would have loved to have seen meta-magic on the warlock and invocations on the sorc.
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  3. #3
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    I was unaware that anyone thought negatively of sorcerers. Sure, the lack of spell variety hurts, but you can get around that by picking spells that are widely applicable. And whatever else the classes have going for them, at the end of the day, a Fireball is still a Fireball.

    One major trick that sorcerers have over wizards, though, is that they can win any wizard's duel. By applying the Subtle Spell metamagic to everything they cast, they can prevent their own spells from being countered (since the opponent doesn't see them casting the spell), and also prevent their Counterspells from being countered (since the opponent can't see them casting the counter).
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    Sorcerer's get a lot of hate, and I understand why, but at the same time, people like to ignore or are ignorant to just how powerful the Sorcerer can be. Mid to high levels Sorcerers are flat out unstoppable thanks to the variety of Metamagic uses, and they do eventually learn enough spells to not feel too limited. At lower levels they do come off as fragile and limited though, but honestly I feel the same way about 5e Wizards. I'm not going to attempt to compare the two as they're really after different things. I think the Bard is a better comparison to the Wizard honestly while the Sorcerer compares more closely to the Warlock.

    I have to wonder if the designers realized just how great the Sorcerer would end up being at support as the class is usually known as a Glass Cannon blaster class. Somehow they have become under-rated blasters IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTurbo View Post
    Sorcerer's get a lot of hate, and I understand why, but at the same time, people like to ignore or are ignorant to just how powerful the Sorcerer can be. Mid to high levels Sorcerers are flat out unstoppable thanks to the variety of Metamagic uses, and they do eventually learn enough spells to not feel too limited. At lower levels they do come off as fragile and limited though, but honestly I feel the same way about 5e Wizards. I'm not going to attempt to compare the two as they're really after different things. I think the Bard is a better comparison to the Wizard honestly while the Sorcerer compares more closely to the Warlock.

    I have to wonder if the designers realized just how great the Sorcerer would end up being at support as the class is usually known as a Glass Cannon blaster class. Somehow they have become under-rated blasters IMO.
    This. The thing to know about the sorcerer is that it's not the historical version and it really doesn't quite do what it says on the tin. It is very limited in flexibility, and so requires a high degree of system mastery to get the most out of spell selection. Finally, it also requires a high degree of system mastery to understand the non-obvious way it's stupid powerful -- you eat your lower level and mid level slots to supercharge your high level slots with metamagics. It's freaking ridiculous what a sorcerer can actually do in Tiers III and IV. And that's putting aside the amateur-hour multiclass exploits with warlock that focuses on spamming quickened EBs.

    The class really requires not looking at it in a traditional way and finding how it actually works, which I believe is not really how it was designed. You won't cast more spells than the wizard, you certainly won't know more spells that anyone but a 1/3 casting class (and that barely), but you can burn your 1st and 2nd level slots to spam metamagicked higher level spells to brutal effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTurbo View Post
    they do eventually learn enough spells to not feel too limited.
    Actually, it's at higher levels that the sorcerer feels more constrained by their limited number of known spells. It becomes increasingly difficult to take both useful spells and thematic spells (and thematic spells, unfortunately, are the first to get sacrificed) are you move past 10th level. If known spells at least stayed at level+1 (as they do for the first 11 levels), they'd probably be fine, but that's not the case. Really, though, that my biggest complaint about the base classmy only other complaint about the base class is that there should have been some spells unique to the sorcerer list (particularly thematic ones).
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5ekyu View Post
    At 5th level a 16 INT wizard will know by leveling alone 6+8 = 14 spells not counting cantrips. They will be able to prepare 5+3 = 8 per day. All this ignores any bonus spells which iirc other classes like cleric and some druid get.
    Compared to the sorc who has at that level 6 known - not counting cantrips. One can argue that versatility is not that big a deal but frankly that does not match my experience.
    I find the difference between preparing 8 and knowing 6 isn't that big of a deal. Wizards tend to not swap out from their preferred list unless there is a specific need known in advance. Rituals are more often the benefit and even thar benefit is typically convenience more than versatility.

    I find metamagic and sorc point conversion to be worth it. I also find that the extra cantrip matters at low levels. Draconic means I don't need to cast mage armor or fly, and bonus hp is nice. Seems good to me.

    I think where its weakness really shows is not so much the comparison to the wizard but the comparison to the bard who adds inspiration, weapons and rituals on top of the same level of spellcasting (not to mention a far more "commonplace" even craftable "focus") and betgter skills.
    You might have a point if the spell lists were the same and if bards added spell potency when they cast but neither is the case. Bards add inspiration and skill benefits. Class or subclass mods to spells cast like adding CHA mod damage or metamagic means bards do not cast on the same level as sorcerers. Bard spell potency stops where sorcerer spell potency begins.

    As someone else said, bards lean more towards versatility like wizards. Sorcerers lean towards output potential. Warlocks lean towards renewable / sustained resources.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post

    1. Metamgic.

    Metamagic is unique to the sorcerer and it enables you to do one thing no other class can do in the game and that no other class can duplicate. That is you can maintain concentration on two spells at once via twin spell. This is not any spell you want however just a spell that effects a single target so you can twin spells like haste, fly, and greater invisibility but not fireball. This is compounded due to saving throws as well which is another Sorcerer advantage.
    Yet no amount of metamagic will turn a fireball into a familiar, it can't even turn a fireball into an iceball.
    2. Saving throws.
    The Sorcerer is proficient in concentration and charisma saves. Due to the concentration mechanic this is massive and once again for a primary caster this is unique to the Sorcerer. Charisma saves are also very good at least as far as the 3 weaker saves go. Compared with the wizard they get intelligence saves and wisdom saves. Intelligence saves are very rare (in the core 3 books) so being proficient in them with your primary stat almost means that in effect you are not actually proficient in anything at all. Wisdom saves are also good but wisdom for wizards is generally a tertiary stat at best. So you basically have no good saving throws. This kind of applies to the Rogue to a lesser extent due to that class having dex saves+ stat as a primary. Combined with metamagic the Sorcerers is very good at concentration buff type spells.
    At least something.

    3. Spreading the love.
    Partly about the point of versatility being less important than in previous editions WoTC have spread a lot of things across a lot of classes. This is healing, the exploration pillar, and they toned down things like wands which you can no longer easily and cheaply acquire. This means the opportunity cost of not having a swiss army knife character have changed as a Sorcerer lacking knock for example doesn't matter to much if you have a Rogue, bard or even a PC with the right back ground in the party.
    But sorcerers used to be niche fillers, take a niche and fulfill it using magic. Not wizard substitutes, but a different way to do the rogue.


    4. Spells have changed.
    This is due to things like the mentioned concentration mechanic but its also due to the power level of the spells themselves along with class features. There are a lot of 5E spells that are just better than their equivalents so as long as the Sorcerer picks those spells and metamagic most of the time they are more powerful than say a wizard. You don't need that many combat spells if you know hypnotic pattern and/or fireball for example and you can always upcast spells as well so using higher level spell slots on something like hold person is often a better option than casting a higher level spell. Combine those spells with good con saves and metamagic and you have a winning formula. A Fire Sorcerer for example only really needs to know firebolt, burning hands and fireball that gives you a few more spells to cover the versatility thing as well. Pick the right spells, a little bit of system mastery and you can probably make the wizard cry.
    Because fans of the simple caster surely are in love with having it become the class for System Mastery.


    5. Better synergy via Multiclassing.
    No doubt the synergy is good, but it doesn't matter if mixing a little of sorcerer makes the best bards and the best paladins if it makes for a poor experience on its own. I want a good sorcerer not a better paladin -Ok I like the better paladin too, but the class makes for an underwhelming sorcerer experience-.

    For example the Sorlock (Sor 1, Warlock 2, Sor XYZ) is one of the highest damage dealers in the game at the higher levels and no slouch at the lower levels.
    And that just means that no sane DM will ever let me get anywhere near it, so it may as well not be a thing.

    In short, the class is poorly constructed. The overpowered builds that require system mastery are outliers that completely outperform everything else you can do with the class. Worse, they overshadow what the average player can actually do with it. -And the class is barely playable without shadow/divine and variant human-
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    I actually think the sorcerer is a great class. For a while, people were complaining that it was only able to be a blaster which was weird to me since looking at their spell list, they have plenty of utility type spells on the list. For the subclasses that do reward damage spells for a theme, how many do you really need? If was a red dragon sorcerer I could take fire bolt, scorching ray, fireball, and wall of fire and have most all that I would need so that I could load up on other fun spells, at level 7 that leaves me with 5 spells that can be used this way. I might spend them on detect magic, disguise self, invisibility, fly, and dispel magic which would allow me to get into a lot of places I otherwise might not be able.

    I actually think the class is put together quite well, though I will admit that I open up all spells that fit the theme of a bloodline to the sorcerer. Melf's acid arrow would be available for a black dragon sorcerer for instance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbwjm View Post
    I actually think the sorcerer is a great class. For a while, people were complaining that it was only able to be a blaster which was weird to me since looking at their spell list, they have plenty of utility type spells on the list. For the subclasses that do reward damage spells for a theme, how many do you really need? If was a red dragon sorcerer I could take fire bolt, scorching ray, fireball, and wall of fire and have most all that I would need so that I could load up on other fun spells, at level 7 that leaves me with 5 spells that can be used this way. I might spend them on detect magic, disguise self, invisibility, fly, and dispel magic which would allow me to get into a lot of places I otherwise might not be able.

    I actually think the class is put together quite well, though I will admit that I open up all spells that fit the theme of a bloodline to the sorcerer. Melf's acid arrow would be available for a black dragon sorcerer for instance.
    The problem is comes from several issues:
    First, sorcerers are presented as being masters at manipulating raw magic through metamagic that no others are supposed to be able to do yet the metamagic options are limited as the sorcerer does not get enough to not just pick the couple that are the best. Second, their spell list has some utility but nowhere near the other primary casters, to say nothing of that they dont have enough spells known to pick both them and thematically appropriate spells even if they did. And third, every other element *except* gold/red dragon sorcerers is lack luster due to most elements not having enough spell options, despite there being multiple archetypes of sorcerers devoted to elemental themes origins (dragon, storm, and arguable shadow as there are no shadow-themed spells outside of the one blade spell at 2nd level that are not homebrew). That altering a spell's elemental damage type isnt a metamagic is absolutely insane. As are origins that use spell points to activate their abilities while metamagic and creating spell slots use the same resource.

    Fire sorcerers and Divine soul sorcerers are fine, great even. Lightning and shadow sorcerers are decent. Every other sorcerer build is lackluster at best. What annoys me most is that it's near impossible to roll a decent illusion or enchantment themed sorcerer despite the plethora of folklore surrounding sorceresses who do just that simply due to a lackluster and poorly thought out spell list.
    Last edited by MostlyHarmless42; Saturday, 15th December, 2018 at 09:11 AM.
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