5e Sorcerer versus Wizard, which is better?

DM-Rocco

Explorer
The DM running our game is letting everyone remake their characters when we get to 10th level, which should be in the next month.

Currently, I am running Warlock 2/Sorcerer 6. I don't know how long this campaign will go, but I love playing higher-level spell casters to play with the higher level spells, so I am going to for sure drop the Warlock levels and either go 10 Sorcerer or 10 Wizard. Sure, I can do more damage overall with the 2 Warlock, but I want access to the higher level spells as soon as possible and I've had my fun abusing the 2 Warlock.

So, in your opinion, which is better for higher-level play, Wizard or Sorcerer?

If you want to get into sub-classes, that is fine.

Sorcerer gets the metamagic feats that 5e stole from the Wizard, so they have that going for them.

Wizard, basically is a sorcerer without metamagic feats, but the ability to have access to a wider variety of spells not only usable at any one time, but just access to a wider list of spells in general.

Sure, you can then get into sub-classes, which should be taken into consideration of course, but what are everyone's thoughts on which is better and why just a straight up cast or multiclass that won't impact when you get higher level spells.

FYI, as far as sub-classes, I am thinking Lore master or School of Divination for WIzard, and Draconic or Shadow for Sorcerer, but I do love fun builds, so make suggestions please. The goal for me is having fun with higher-level spells.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Explorer
Personally I think the wizard edges out the sorcerer. But this is due to personal preference of valuing versatility, and utility so highly in my spell casters. A wizard can prepare more spells than a sorcerer knows meaning they always have access to more options! With the wizard you are free to take a good mix of in combat and out of combat spells, and you don't have to feel bad about having a few sub-optimal personal choice spells. There are some spells that are very situational but strong in those situations where they feel perfect on the wizard.

But on the other hand the sorcerer does have access to raw power. If you build cleverly around your metamagic choices your spells go further than the wizard's can. At low levels twinning Chromatic Orb can erase two enemies. At higher levels twinning Banishment or Haste is truly bonkers if you can keep your concentration on them for an entire encounter. You'll rely on a select few tricks but they are damn good tricks. And that's mostly why I like playing a sorcerer for one shot adventures.
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
See, you both make valid observations. I do like me some spell options, currently, I do have ritual caster feat for the sorcerer because I like having options. I know I can do some fun stuff with the sorcerer and I like the metamagic, but I find that the spells like Vampiric touch that I want to twin aren't on his spell list.

The meta magic is a strong, very strong, argument for the sorcerer, if I can find the right combination of spells to make me happy. The wizard though can have some good options too, like portent for the divinity arc or being able to cast any one spell from any spell list for the lore master, or even the lore masters ability to make any energy type into another (although I don't think monsters have weakness to certain elements like they did in past editions). Anyway, keep the feedback rolling please.
 

Mistwell

Hero
It really depends on your style preferences, but for me it's Wizard all the way. Nobody else gets the kind of access to spells that they do. Nobody else is finding spells and putting them in their spellbook as treasure, casting as many rituals, and manipulating reality in such unique and varied ways. I mean, you can make a fine blaster with a Sorcerer, but it's unlikely you will control battlefields and make everyone else better on and off the battlefield as well as you could as a wizard.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Explorer
But Banishment comes with a built-in twinning effect. Cast it at a higher slot and it twins.
Huh, for some reason I thought that Banishment didn't allow upcasting. Still, being able to save on higher level slots is useful as I find that typically upcast spells are a tad weaker than spells that are natively at that level.

For example at 5th level you get Wall of Force which is a considerably more powerful control spell. And I'm now just remembering that sorcerers don't even get Wall of Force so I'm doubling down on my opinion. Wizards are awesome and sorcerers are the pale imitation.
 
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TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
1) Look at the list of spells that a Wizard gets that a Sorcerer doesn't. If you see a set of spells (at least 4-5) that you'd like to use on a regular basis, go Wizard.

2) At level 10, you'll have 14-15 spells prepped as a wizard, as opposed to the 11 you'll know as a sorcerer. Is there a large core of spells you think you'll mainly be using, or do you think keeping 6-7 core and the rest swapping as needed better suits your playstyle? Favoring a stable core of spells leans towards sorcerer, needing more versatility favors wizard.

3) You kind of answered this, but do you want to multiclass? Sorcerers are one of the best MCing classes, Wizards among the worst. Your desire for more spell versatility and higher level spells tells me that you'd rather single class, which would favor wizard.

4) Does your party have a ritual caster? If not, that heavily favors wizard.

In general, I like wizards better as pure spellcasters, and sorcerers better as a spellcasting chassis for specific concepts. I still prefer sorcerers, because I like the challenge of maximizing a limited selection of spells, but wizards are pretty fun too.
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
1) Look at the list of spells that a Wizard gets that a Sorcerer doesn't. If you see a set of spells (at least 4-5) that you'd like to use on a regular basis, go Wizard.

2) At level 10, you'll have 14-15 spells prepped as a wizard, as opposed to the 11 you'll know as a sorcerer. Is there a large core of spells you think you'll mainly be using, or do you think keeping 6-7 core and the rest swapping as needed better suits your playstyle? Favoring a stable core of spells leans towards sorcerer, needing more versatility favors wizard.

3) You kind of answered this, but do you want to multiclass? Sorcerers are one of the best MCing classes, Wizards among the worst. Your desire for more spell versatility and higher level spells tells me that you'd rather single class, which would favor wizard.

4) Does your party have a ritual caster? If not, that heavily favors wizard.

In general, I like wizards better as pure spellcasters, and sorcerers better as a spellcasting chassis for specific concepts. I still prefer sorcerers, because I like the challenge of maximizing a limited selection of spells, but wizards are pretty fun too.
I don't mind multiclassing if it's going to have some cool benefit. I just don't want to sacrifice the ability to get higher level spells as soon as possible at this point because I'm hoping the campaign will go up to level 20 but who knows it might Peter out at level 12 and then I'll never get chance to cast those spells and have fun with them.

I'm kind of leaning in favor of the wizard but I'm trying to figure out what the best build is going to be if I go sorcerer vs. Wizard. I read Mistwell's guides on both sorcerer and wizards and I initially went with the sorcerer because I wanted to dip into Warlock and become blasty. Sure I would be sacrificing a crap ton of damage on average but I feel like going to just a straight-up sorcerer or a straight of warlock is going to be a lot more fun.

Right now I did take my only single feet on a 6 level sorcerer second level warlock as ritual Caster. I love the ability to have all of those Spells at my beck and call as a sorcerer. And obviously it's a huge advantage that the wizard automatically gets that to start.

I guess I'd like to hear other people's experiences playing 10th level or higher sorcerer is intense level or higher Wizards and what subclasses you chose and what kind of fun things you were able to pull off with those classes and that's probably going to influence me more than anything else
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
Wizard spells sorcerers don't get:
Alarm
Animate Dead
Antimagic Field
Antipathy/Sympathy
Arcane Eye
Arcane Lock
Astral Projection
Bestow Curse
Bigby's Hand
Clone
Conjure Elemental
Conjure Minor Elementals
Contact Other Plane
Contingency
Continual Flame
Control Water
Control Weather
Create Undead
Demiplane
Drawmij's Instant Summons
Dream
Evard's Black Tentacles
Fabricate
Feeblemind
Feign Death
Find Familiar
Fire Shield
Flaming Sphere
Flesh to Stone
Forcecage
Foresight
Geas
Gentle Repose
Glyph of Warding
Grease
Guards and Wards
Hallucinatory Terrain
Identify
Illusory Script
Imprisonment
Legend Lore
Leomund's Secret Chest
Leomund's Tiny Hut
Locate Creature
Locate Object
Longstrider
Magic Circle
Magic Jar
Magic Mouth
Magic Weapon
Maze
Melf's Acid Arrow
Mind Blank
Mirage Arcane
Mislead
Modify Memory
Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound
Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion
Mordenkainen's Private Sanctum
Mordenkainen's Sword
Nondetection
Nystul's Magic Aura
Otiluke's Freezing Sphere
Otiluke's Resilient Sphere
Otto's Irresistible Dance
Passwall
Phantasmal Killer
Phantom Steed
Planar Binding
Prismatic Wall
Programmed Illusion
Project Image
Protection from Evil and Good
Rary's Telepathic Bond
Ray of Enfeeblement
Remove Curse
Rope Trick
Scrying
Sending
Sequester
Shapechange
Simulacrum
Stone Shape
Symbol
Tasha's Hideous Laughter
Telepathy
Tenser's Floating Orb
True Polymorph
Unseen Servant
Vampiric Touch
Wall of Force
Wall of Ice
Weird
 

DM-Rocco

Explorer
So I think i like the idea of all the wizard's spells. So what subclasses and races and feats does everyone like and why?
 

Esker

Explorer
Yeah, after 9th level in particular, I think wizards start to run away with it, unless you're a dedicated blaster, for the simple reason of spell selection.

5th level spells: Wall of Force. The best spell for any class at 5th level, IMO. And for good measure, Bigby's Hand. For 5th level spells I think the sorcerer's best comeback is maybe a heightened Hold Monster, though if that's what you want, there's always the Enchanter, who can twin it without spending anything, let alone half their daily allotment of one of their most important resources.

With 6th level spells, the Sorcerer maybe has a bit of an edge: the wizard has contingency, which is useful, but the sorcerer can use empowered spell on a chain lightning, or a heightened or twinned disintegrate. But let's be honest, you're probably better off using that slot on a Mass Suggestion, which either one can do, or even just an extra Wall of Force. And if you like disintegrating things (without legendary resistance), you really want to be a diviner who has a low portent die in their pocket.

7th level spells: The wizard gets Forcecage and, if you're that sort of player, Simulacrum. Again, the sorcerer's edge is in blasting: they get Fire Storm, and empowered spell to use with it. I guess they can also twin/heighten plane shift (but again, diviners will often have a low portent die).

8th level spells: The wizard gets Maze, which is great, and Illusory Dragon. The sorcerer gets like four options. I guess their best option is Dominate Monster, again heightened or twinned. But again, Enchanter can twin cheaper, Diviner can (often) heighten better.

9th level: Well, either one is most likely using that slot for Wish. But, the wizard gets Prismatic Wall, True Polymorph, and Foresight! Psychic Scream could benefit from metamagic, but, look, it's an enchantment spell again!

And I haven't even mentioned utility spells. If that's any kind of priority, it's truly no contest.

Starting at 10th, single classed, I think I'd play an enchanter, if I were interested in those single target debuffs. I might take one level of fighter for some self-protection. If I wanted to focus on a broader array of spells with saving throws, then Diviner, obviously. If I wanted to specialize in battlefield control spells that don't target creatures directly, then probably War Magic (initiative and concentration boosts). If the campaign were going to spend significant time at 14th and up, and I wanted to just be able to mess with the entire world, then Illusionist would be the way to go.

If I just wanted to blast things, then I might go sorcerer, although even there, the evocation school's Sculpt Spells feature is way better than Careful spell. You don't get as good a damage boost as the sorcerer gets, but better to actually be able to use your big blasts without killing your friends.
 
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Arvok

Explorer
Gnome is the way to go for wizard because of the Intelligence bonus (the Fatbeard in me still thinks gnomes should only be illusionists, but that's my problem). The +2 to Intelligence isn't huge, but over the course of an adventuring career (or even a few sessions) a +1 to hit on spell attacks and a 5% better chance of enemies failing their saves will add up.

Second place would be high elves with a +1 Int and +2 Sex (for AC). The extra cantrip also gives you some flexibility.

For feats I love Spell Sniper. You get a damage-dealing cantrip and double the range of all attack-roll spells and ignore 1/2 and 3/4 cover. The Lucky feat is also a great one. If you choose the Diviner subclass, the Portent ability can be fun for you and infuriating for the DM.
 

Esker

Explorer
For feats, if focusing on battlefield control, you really want Alert as early as possible. If going debuffs with saves, probably just boost intelligence before taking any feats, but the usual recommendation of Resilient CON or a dip in fighter would be good (starting at 10th, I think I'd take Resilient over War Caster); Alert is good there, too, but can wait longer. And you may as well take Lucky at some point.

So unless you're specializing in spells without saving throws, you'll want 2x INT boost (assuming a race with at least a +1), Resilient CON, Alert, and Lucky, in some order. If you're going to pick spells that don't depend as much on INT, and/or you are going variant human, you could add War Caster to double up on concentration buffs. If you don't want to take 1st level in Fighter, you could go Hobgoblin so you qualify for Moderately Armored and can carry around a shield.

If the variant winged tiefling is on the table, take it and run. Or, I guess, fly.
 
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