'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.


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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.



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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Dausuul

Legend
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.
 

Gradine

Archivist
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.
Ah... that makes sense.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
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.
What do you mean by "wizard of old"? 3rd edition? Because TSR D&D, the magic users were a lot more "neutered" than in 5e, so it wouldn't make sense be referring to those editions. Between needing to pass a roll to even learn the spell, to maximum spells known, to having any spell wasted by ANY sort of distraction, TSR era magic users had it rough.

Also, if you think everyone nowadays does level dips, I suspect you're either just getting exposure from online forums where that's all you see, or are playing with powergamers. 5e did a really good job making it tough choice to stay in your main class or to multi-class, unlike 3e where it's pretty much assumed you will multiclass always. I would say 75% of all the PCs in 5e I've seen (in my own table and at AL) are single class
 

Wrathamon

Explorer
I find it interesting as others have stated that eldritch blast and hunter's mark are taken at such a low %. I wonder if EB was taken at a higher % pre hexblade.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Most people make choices based on what they think is cool and what suits their character first, only considering power secondarily.

People online also over exaggerate the effectiveness of certain abilities. Eldritch Blast is no better than other good attack cantrips. Rangers have other good spells. Etc.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Eldritch Blast is no better than other good attack cantrips.
A cantrip that is top-tier out of the box, and can easily be upgraded to deal 50% more damage at level 2 (improving to 90% at higher levels), is in fact much better than other attack cantrips.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Most people make choices based on what they think is cool and what suits their character first, only considering power secondarily.

People online also over exaggerate the effectiveness of certain abilities. Eldritch Blast is no better than other good attack cantrips. Rangers have other good spells. Etc.
Actually, if anything this particular data set shows me that D&D Beyond users are actually pretty savvy, optimization-wise, with their choices. Healing word is more popular than cure wounds for the classes that have it, for example. (Except druid, which has optimization reasons to eschew Healing Word.) Eldritch Blast is, by far, the most popular cantrip for warlocks, and has a bigger margin of selection than any other cantrip for any other class. That's a group that's making smart power choices, not flavor choices.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Sometimes destiny writes itself
  • Eldritch blast deals 1d10 damage, averaging 5.5, out of the box.
  • With Agonizing Blast, available at level 2, you can add your Charisma bonus to damage. At 2nd level, a warlock is most likely to have a +3 bonus. That is +50% over baseline (actually closer to 55%).
  • When your Charisma reaches 20, the +3 becomes +5. That is +90% over baseline.
  • Since Agonizing Blast boosts damage per attack, it scales as you get more attacks.
Please explain what I am exaggerating.
 
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jayoungr

Explorer
Also, if you think everyone nowadays does level dips, I suspect you're either just getting exposure from online forums where that's all you see, or are playing with powergamers. 5e did a really good job making it tough choice to stay in your main class or to multi-class, unlike 3e where it's pretty much assumed you will multiclass always. I would say 75% of all the PCs in 5e I've seen (in my own table and at AL) are single class
This--I was really scratching my head at that bit in Dwayne's post.
 

Gradine

Archivist
  • Eldritch blast deals 1d10 damage, averaging 5.5, out of the box.
  • With Agonizing Blast, available at level 2, you can add your Charisma bonus to damage. At 2nd level, a warlock is most likely to have a +3 bonus. That is +50% over baseline (actually closer to 55%).
  • When your Charisma reaches 20, the +3 becomes +5. That is +90% over baseline.
  • Since Agonizing Blast boosts damage per attack, it scales as you get more attacks.
Please explain what I am exaggerating.
Mostly the sunken costs. A bladelock can produce close to that level of damage with riders using SCAG cantrips and similar other sunken costs, and only starts lagging too far behind at levels that are unlikely to be reached. There's a few other assumptions at work here that aren't necessarily true. Multiple attack rolls vs. one big attack has pros and cons that I don't think is so cut and dry. There's also the idea that pure DPS is the Warlock's primary concern. If you envision your Warlock as more Controller than Striker (if you'll pardon the 4e-isms), then many of the other available attack cantrips (though there are clearly garbage ones) are going to be "better" choices even if they sacrifice some damage (and in the right circumstances, Booming Blade or Chill Touch might even provide more damage in the long run, though that's obviously more circumstantial.)

It's clear that the ranged DPS Warlock is meant to revolve around Eldritch Blast, but 5e gives us many different ways to Warlock, and be just as effective in doing so.
 

Hussar

Legend
Why the love for Healing Word? I get it, I suppose, if you let your allies drop first, but, maybe it's because we have lots of either barbarians or rangers or paladins in our group, and letting them drop means they lose all their buffs.

I have to admit, the cleric I just played for 11 levels did have both healing word and cure wounds memorized, but, I honestly think I only cast Healing Word a very small handful of times whereas the Cure spells were going strong and steady.
 

Gladius Legis

Explorer
Searing Smite among the most popular Paladin spells? Really? That spell is bloody useless.

Even more offensive to my sensibilities is that Searing Smite is on the popular list and Wrathful Smite isn't. Double WTF?
 

dwayne

Explorer
What do you mean by "wizard of old"? 3rd edition? Because TSR D&D, the magic users were a lot more "neutered" than in 5e, so it wouldn't make sense be referring to those editions. Between needing to pass a roll to even learn the spell, to maximum spells known, to having any spell wasted by ANY sort of distraction, TSR era magic users had it rough.

Also, if you think everyone nowadays does level dips, I suspect you're either just getting exposure from online forums where that's all you see, or are playing with powergamers. 5e did a really good job making it tough choice to stay in your main class or to multi-class, unlike 3e where it's pretty much assumed you will multiclass always. I would say 75% of all the PCs in 5e I've seen (in my own table and at AL) are single class
only one active spell effect, is what i am talking about no random duration's rolling any ways, back then it was cast it an forget about it. A wizard could cast many protections and such as he wanted. Now with the concentration that is not possible. As to single classes well i am happy some still do it but the last one i ran in 5th there were very few.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Why the love for Healing Word? I get it, I suppose, if you let your allies drop first, but, maybe it's because we have lots of either barbarians or rangers or paladins in our group, and letting them drop means they lose all their buffs.

I have to admit, the cleric I just played for 11 levels did have both healing word and cure wounds memorized, but, I honestly think I only cast Healing Word a very small handful of times whereas the Cure spells were going strong and steady.
I would say it depends on how efficient and organised the party is. Ideally action economy means in-combat healing is kept to a minimum. However, if the party is just bumbling along rather than a well-oiled machine then they may well find the cleric out of position or needing to heal both themselves and someone else in order to stave off disaster.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
...if you let your allies drop first...
I find that the players have little say in the matter if the monsters actually want to drop someone. Though, I suppose running in a party with multiple paladins would make it seem like anyone is nigh-unkillable.

As for why the love? Lots of people will tell you about action economy, but the big answer is simply ease of use and worse-case scenario proofing:
You can use it from the other side of a dragon if you have to.
You don't have to drop your mace to use it (Somatic spells require a free hand, and no your shield arm doesn't count because there is no Material component to Cure Wounds!)
You can even use it while tied up!
Because it's a bonus action, you can Dash around to get in range. Or should you need it, stabilize one person and heal someone else in the same turn. Or just smite someone, because a dead enemy isn't hurting your friends anymore.

All of this and more for the cost of ~2hp per casting. Even if you are repeatedly healing someone in combat to keep them up, that's just like a ~6hp difference. Though at that point you should probably look into defensive buffs instead of healing them over and over.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Is this most popular as in "most often taken" or "most often cast"? (Don't have DnDBeyond, don't know if it's used in play to track the second.)

For instance, my paladin has Cure Wounds in case our healer ever drops and I'm out of Lay On Hands, but I've never cast it all the way up to 5th.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
It would be interesting to see a comparison of the most used spells in the game to the most taken. I realize that is almost impossible at this time other than by polling players, why may over/under estimate their spell use. But I would think, for example, that Hunters Mark is used less than its popularity suggests. It would be interesting to see what other spells are popular--perhaps because they seem cool when reading about them--but get little use in play.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
  • Eldritch blast deals 1d10 damage, averaging 5.5, out of the box.


  • In line with the other good cantrips.

    [*]With Agonizing Blast, available at level 2, you can add your Charisma bonus to damage. At 2nd level, a warlock is most likely to have a +3 bonus. That is +50% over baseline (actually closer to 55%).
    This costs a valuable Inovcation
    [*]When your Charisma reaches 20, the +3 becomes +5. That is +90% over baseline.
    [*]Since Agonizing Blast boosts damage per attack, it scales as you get more attacks.
    Please explain what I am exaggerating.
    The value actually lowers over time. It is best at level 5 and then gets worse and worse. Other abilities increase, challenges increase, invocation options open up, but the cantrip stays the same.

    Even at level 11 with 3 shots, going from 6 to 10 spells/day means even less use of cantrips.

    At the end of the day Eldritch Blast is just a cantrip. Doing some extra damage with it isn't going to greatly impact the character's effectiveness. Their spells are what is important in combat. Invocations are very helpful to round them out.

    Bumping the party's damage up by a few points when it is time to cast cantrips just isn't a big deal.
 

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