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[GUIDE] Born to be Wild, a sorcerer guide.


If brute force doesn't work, you're not using enough.

[sblock=color code]
Goldenrod: A truely stand out option.
Cyan: A top choice.
Blue: A good choice.
Black (no color): Passible, but not special.
Violet: Situation, most of the time you should pass on this, but there are corner cases that can really make this good.
Red: Grade F, avoid. At best you just wasted your choice, but it might actually hurt you.

Best buffer in the game with twinned metamagic bypassing concentration.
Great novas.
Ability and unique ways to use spells.
Possibly the strongest class at high levels, since it can sacrificing low level slots for SP.
Dominates on short days.

Limited number of known spells, can be a bit spammy.
No rituals, hurts their overall utility.
Weak at low levels, with very few sorcerer points.
Doesn’t have the stamina for long days.

Str: You are your own weapon, so you never learned to swing a maul. Multi-classing should look at dex and booming blade, which scales by character level.
Con: Good for everyone, but more so for sorcerer's who have a lot of concentration spells. If you're focused on buffing, this is more important than Cha.
Dex:you're have no armor, not even light, so you want this. Going first is also a rather important. Can also use booming blade.
Int: Nope.
Wis: Any leftover points go here so you don’t get charmed as easily.
Cha: Only affects your spell DC's, which is very important for control spells, less so for half-damage-on-miss spells, and not at all for buffs.

Races: Anything that boosts Cha/Dex/Con, which makes half-elf an obvious choice. Otherwise you are looking for defensive and/or utility features, such as the mobility offered by a winged tiefling, THP from a Variant Human with inspiring leader, or possibly the save bonus from gnomes. If your party lacks a front line, mountain dwarf’s armor can be great, more so for wild who likes to move a bit closer to the fray, or just dip for it.

Con/Cha saves: Con saves really help you hold onto your concentration. Cha is probably the worst, with near nothing using it.

Spell Casting: Full spells takes up most of the sorcerer's power budget. The number of spells you know are very limited, only knowing 1-2 of each spell level. So choose wisely, and make sure it meshes with your metamagic. You can’t twin burning hands or empower feather fall.

Font of Magic: Pretty useless when you get it, but as you level you want to sacrifice your low level spells for SP, allowing you to empower your high level ones. Just note that you lose points when you convert, and you might need a level 1 slot for something, so don’t rush to use it.

Metamagic: Finally, after 2 short levels of being a crappy wizard, you get access to the wizard subclass thing that really make a sorcerer a sorcerer. You only have 2 for most of your levels, so choose carefully.

  • Twinned (1-9SP): Double a spell’s effect. Great for both controls spells like suggestion and buffs like greater invisibility. A bit pricey for high level spells like finger of death. Cheaper than a quickened firebolt.
  • Careful (1SP): For AoE control spells, particularly zones (web, stinking cloud) since the protection last the entire durration. Also can be helpful for some blasting (fireball). Good when you have a front line that likes to run in and get surrounded, or as a wild sorcerer who does the same. These tend to take concentration, as do twinned buffs, so you might not want both careful and twinned.
  • Subtle (1SP): An underrated metamagic, that's great for ambushes and RP opportunities. Particularly if you have stealth (prodigy feat). Sneak up on an enemy, and drop a non-flashy spell (cloud of daggers, circle of death, enemies abound, immolation, etc..) without breaking hidden. Forcing them to waste their actions searching for you while they take damage. Or go with a major image and control it while standing in the middle of a crowd. It can also be used to prevent counterspell and ignore silence.
  • Quicken (2SP): Using 2SP for an extra xd10 firebolt is a bit on the pricey side especially at low levels. But it can also use your action to disengage, dodge, dash, hide, help, use the healer feat, or anything else that takes an action, which can be a life saver. Better for multclassing, since you can make a quicken+multiattack, or agonising blast, though even then you might want it as your third pick, when eldrich blast has scaled.
  • Empowered (1SP): Not a good choice at level 3, but a possible pick up at 10 or 17, as you get more AoE damage. Improving as you roll more dice, but it still cost 1 SP. Slightly better for damage per SP than quicken firebolts since this can’t miss, but lacks quickens overall versatility. It’s also the only metamagic that can stack, for a twinned empowered finger of death.
  • Heightened (3SP): A bit pricey, but it greatly increases the chance of a control spell sticking, but only 1 roll on 1 target. Not the whole group you cast hypnotic pattern, or second rolls at hold person. Though that does leave suggestion, levitate, disintegrate, and banishment. And the cost doesn't scale like Twinned.
  • Extended (1SP): It’s hard to make good use of this in most scenarios. As 1 minute spell are usually long enough for 1 battle, but 2 minutes won’t be long enough for 2. Though doubling a 10-minute spell might be good for a dungeon crawl where enemies are relatively close. One big exception is if you manage to get aura of vitality, since that gives most of its benefits out of battle.
  • Distant (1 SP): It’s really hard to justify this in one of your precious metamagic slot, even if your DM really favors open space.

Sorcerer Restoration: 40% more SP (with 2 short rests), is a good reason to stay a full sorcerer 20.

Draconic: The defensive option, with simple, but useful, passive abilities. Better in parties with less of a front line and less healing, also just flat better than wild at lower levels. Fire is the clear winner, with others being a bit short on spell choice.
Draconic Resilience: A solid boost to defense, which really helps sure up your weaknesses.
Elemental Affinity: A big damage boost at this level, especially for AoE spells, though it doesn’t scale. Non-fire elements can be seriously lacking in spells, so ask your DM if you can switch damage types (i.e. firebolt-> frostbolt). Resistance is hard to use, since you need to cast a fire spell to get fire resist, and enemies who throw fire at you will generally resist your spell. Though it lasts an hour without concentration, so it can be helpful if you know your enemy in advance, such as tossing a fire bolt before you enter a red dragon cave.
Dragon Wings: Flying has some good utility can keep you safe from melee. Just avoid going too high. Also, make sure you have feather fall.
Draconic Presence: A bigger version of fear + careful metamagic, which is not a bad way to start off a battle, but not necessarily the best use of SP either.

Wild: The offensive option with a lot of free, if random, spells. Only occasionally in an unfriendly way. I’m rating under the assumption that the DM will play along and surge all the time, if he never surges, half this sub-class features are useless (bend luck is great, but not enough). The wild has extra quadratic scaling, since the more spells you cast, the more free surges you get, making it even more powerful at higher levels.
Better in parties who have good defense/support, in particular with a paladin 6 who boosts saving throws, or a life cleric that can help recover from bad luck.
A few notes about surges.

  • Most of the time it helps (46% Good, 18% Mixed, 14% Bad, 22% RP/Neutral).
  • Being close to enemies and away from allies boosts your odds of getting something good, but only a little (~6%). Helpful, but not worth dying over.
  • It’s not an action, slot, SP cost, or anything else. Just a completely free effect.
  • They happen AFTER you cast the spell. No risk of silencing your spell. Though you could possibly disrupt your concentration.
  • No metamagic. Careful won’t help.
  • They are not concentrate. So they won’t stop your twinned haste, but you also can’t end them early.
  • Make sure your allies know to punch you if you turn into a sheep, and protect you if you turn into a pot. Neither will break concentration.

Magic Surge: A very low chance of anything happening, particularly at low levels when you only have a few slots per day. Even at high levels, this might only happen once per day.

Tides of Chaos: Advantage on lots of things. Don't spam this at low level as bad surge could TPK your party until level 5 or so. Becomes amazing with controlled chaos, with a massive amount of advantage and also a massive amount of free effects.

Bend Luck: A versatile ability with great range and capable of both helping and hindering, and unlikely to be wasted. Best used for saving throws for control spells, like suggestion, though an assassin would also appreciate you helping her land her attack, or to finish off the big bad. Sorcerers aren't likely to have many competing reactions, except shield.

Controlled Chaos: Improves your surges, and nearly eliminates the chances of a bad one. 71% good, 27% mixed/RP (your choice), 2% bad. So go wild.

Spell Bombardment: A minimal damage boost at this level, about 3 damage. Fireball (+2.7), Finger of death (+2.7), fire storm (+2.8), chain lightning (+3.3), meteor swarm(+3.4). At least it works for any spell, and once per turn (not round). So it works a bit better for repeate and off-turn damage spells, like firewall (+4.4) or vitriolic sphere (+4.4). It has some synergy with empowered metamagic, but that only increases it to about +3.8 damage per spell.

Storm: Extra mobility and damage, but close range effects aren't the best for squishy sorcerers. Make sure to get some defense, (Con, Inspiring Leader, Mirror Image, Stone Skin, Mountain Dwarf, Tortle, dipping Cleric or Fighter 1) and possibly an ally healer to back you up. Cha matters a bit less with 1/2 damage spells and the auto-damage feature, so you have some room.
Wind Speaker: Not much.
Tempestuous Magic: Some extra mobility is helpful, particularly with Heart of the Storm. Though it competes with quicken.

Heart of the storm: Short range and a limited-but-not-bad spell selection makes this difficult to use well on a squishy caster. At least you're rewarded with good scaling damage if you can manage to pull it off. Note that the damage is independent of spell level, so a level 1 thunderwave is still useful at level 20, though still might be worth scrapping for the SP.
Storm guide: Nice for a freebie.

Storms fury: Good damage that almost makes you want to be hit. Best used with resistance (quicken+blade ward) and THP (inspiring leader).

Wind soul: Great utility that you can share.

Divine Soul: Acces to a few choice cleric spells. Though each one you take is one less sorcerer spell, and you don't have much room. So it's not quite as good as it seems.
Divine Magic: 1 known additional spell. And let's you get clerics spells in place of sorcerer spells, not additiona to. , sorcerer spells with cleric spells. Good choices include guidance (cantrip), 1 or 2 heal spells, command, bless (until you get greater invisibility), conjure celestial (extend), revivify (can be twinned), and spiritual weapon (no concentration). Possibly spiritual guardian if you get armor. Though that list is 7-8 of your 16 known spells. There isn't much else that clerics do better than sorcerers.
Favored by the Gods: Nice boost.

Empowered Healing: Few healings spell roll lots of dice. So this won't add much. But it can be nice if you roll a bunch of 1's.

Otherworldly Wings: Flying is nice.

Unearthly Recovery: Some extra HP.

Shadow Magic: Nice mix of defense and control. Darkvision makes variant humans the defacto shadow sorcerer.
Eyes of the Dark: Disadvantage to be hit, and advantage for firebolts is a strong start. Though you can't quicken this, so the action cost keeps it down. Later levels you're usually better off concentrating on something else to help allies (twin greater invisibility).
Strength of the Grave: Not dying is good, but it's not very reliable, particularly at higher levels.

Hound of Ill Omen: A better heightened plus a conjure animal. Not only does it work each round of hold person, the wolf can dish out a modest amount of damage (17 with a crit) as well as take a some hits (though possibly only 1 at higher level). Note that you can have multiple hounds at once.

Shadow Walk: Huge distance lets you cast and run. Use minor illusion to set up places of dim light.

Umbriel Form: Powerful, but expensive. So it won't see too much use.
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© = concentration
ⓣ = twinnable

Cantrips: You start with a solid 4 cantrips, going up to 6. Plenty of room here at least. I suggest 2-3 attack spells, and the rest can go to utility.
Fire Bolt: Good range and damage makes this the go-to cantrip.
Minor Illusion: Lots of uses.
Prestidigitation: Lots of uses.

Acid Splash: A pseudo-AoE without needing to be twinned. Scales well with 2 targets.
Blade Ward: Good to help keep concentration, also works nicely with quicken.
Booming Blade: A nice melee option if you have decent Dex or a magical weapon. You can quicken + disengage, or use greater invisibility, and other such tricks, to get the extra damage.
Light: Useful.
Mage Hand: Useful.
Ray of Frost: Reducing movement can keep you safe.
Shocking Grasp: Good for getting out of melee.

ⓣChill Touch: Less damage than firebolt, and there aren't many creatures that regain HP. But at least it's a different damage type.
©Create bonfire: Low levels this is a nice area denial, gives your allies a place to push enemies into, and as well as an alternative Dex save which can be used in melee, but as you level, you will have more important things to concentrate on.
ⓣFriends: Almost more use to piss someone off than persuade them.
ⓣFrostbite: Pretty good at low levels. But doesn't scale with monster's multi-attack.
Green Flameblade: The other weapon cantrip. But you can't twin this, and you will generally have an AoE option.
Mending: Some uses
ⓣMessage: Some uses
Mold Earth: Some uses
ⓣPoison Spray: Short range and con save dampen the high damage.
Thunderclap: You generally don't want to be surrounded.

©Dancing Lights: Concentration really hurts this. Better to take light.
Control flames: A much more limited presditigitation.
Gust: A few uses.
Shape water: A few uses.
Infestation: Fun, but not useful. Also Con save is bad.

©True Strike: No. Just no. Attacking twice is better than attacking once with advantage. And this will spoil any concentration.

Spells Tips
Sorcerers have a very limited number of known spells, not even 2 per spell level. I rated versatile spells a bit higher.
You can trade out your spells. This is particularly useful for damage spells, which don't scale well (except vitriolic sphere).
Since you can convert slots for SP, you don't need to know a spell for every level. Though avoid trading too much, it's not efficient.

[sblock=level 1]
Chromatic Orb: Good damage and can get dragon's damage bonus, wilds tides of chaos, shadow's darkness, or storms heart. Ice dragons should go for ice knife instead.
Catapult: No bloodline bonus, but adds a bit of utility such as grabbing keys off a table, stabbing a guard with his friend's dagger, and is S only so it works if silenced or hidden. Can't be twinned (which requires targeting creatures).
and storm should stick with chromatic orb. Though it doesn't scale well, so trade it out later.
Sleep: Effective AoE spell at level 1. Scales well for a non-concentration spell.
Magic Missile: This does the most baseline damage of any level 1 spell. (Chromatic orb wins with the sub-class boost).

Chaos Bolt: Lower damage than chromatic orb, with a low chance of an extra attack. Better with empowered, which gives you an extra chance to get that bonus attack.
False Life: a good chunk of extra THP at level 1. But fades quickly, so trade it out for shield later.
Ice Knife: Decent single target damage, plus a little splash. Ice dragons want this though. At least at low level since this scales poorly.
Shield: You can't do much if you're dead. This spell effectively get's better as you level, definitely worth picking up at some point. It's also a reasonable use of SP to create more level 1 slots if needed.
©Fog Cloud: There are some good sneaky uses for this, and it stays useful at higher levels. Note that not being able to see a creature (disadvantage), or be seen by the creature (advantage), cancels out.
©Silent Image: Good utility. Combines nicely with subtle.
Thunderwave: Low damage, but pushing has it's used, particularly if you have zones.

Absorb Elements: Similar to shield, this spell get's better as you level. Half damage from a fireball can both keep you alive, and keep concentration.
Burning Hands: The highest damage AoE option at level 1. Which isn't saying much.
ⓣCharm Person: Utility.
Comprehend Languages: Utility.
©Disguise Self: Another utility. Better if you also have subtle metamagic, as it allows some great subterfuge.
©Expeditious Retreat: More utility.
Mage Armor: Most sorcerers shouldn't be taking 20+ attacks in a day. Though this effectivly scales, so it might be worthwhile at later level. Worthless for dragon.

Color Spray: With it's limited range and short duration, it's generally worse than sleep.
Detect Magic: Rarely used utility. And remember, you can't use it as a ritual.
Earth Tremors: Prone doesn't do much if their already this close. Might have some uses if multi-classed into a melee.
Feather Fall: Rarely used utility. Unless you're level 14+ dragon or storm, where falling is a serious threat.
©Witch Bolt: This can add up if you are stuck in a small room, and you don't yet have competing concentration spells. Though it completely fails to scale.

Jump: Really hard to make a case for.
Ray of Sickness: Too many rolls for such a minimal effect.

[sblock=level 2]
ⓣ©Suggestion: Only 1 save for a full 8 hours of control makes this great in and out of combat. "Help us kill your boss", "Surrender unconditionally" or "Go get me a beer". Some DM's may not play along though.

Blindness/Deafness: A weaker control effect, but the fact that it's not concentration makes useful. It's better to cast it in a higher slot then twin.
ⓣ©Hold Person: Great control, and gives allies advantage and crits.
ⓣ©Levitate: A nice combo of control and utility. Though many melee creatures have good Con and ranged won't care. A good candidate for heightened.
ⓣ©Phantasmal Force: Great control that target's the generally low Int, with some possible damage. A cave-in is a good default, or twin it to make 2 enemies see each other as enemies, but some creativity can really make this shine. Some DM's may not play along though.
Scorching Ray: Great damage at this level. Scales ok. Combo's with hold person/monster's advantage and crits.
Shatter: Good AoE damage, for the moment.

©Cloud of Daggers: Good damage and is one of the few damage spells that actually scales well, but is hindered by concentration. Better if you have allies that can control movement, like a grappler, or ranger with ensaring shot.
ⓣ©Enlarge/Reduce: The buff of choice at this level, as well as some decent utility, but a bit short lived. Also, the debuff if poor.
©Gust of Wind: 15 back, and double movement is 30', enough to shut down many melee enemies, at least in a hallway. It's still effective even against high Str enemies. Can be used with careful metamagic to not affect your allies. Better if an ally has a zone to push things into.
Mirror Image: Absorbs up to 3 hits, but requires knowing you'll be targeted in advance. Which makes it great if you plan on running into melee (storm). Scales somewhat as damage-per-attack increases, and the lack of concentration keeps it useful as you level. There is negative synergy with heavy armor and shield, and to a lesser extent dragon or mage armor (more Dex has no net effect).
ⓣ©Invisibility: Good, long lasting utility. This is one of the few spells where extend would come in handy.
©Web: Good area of control, especially with careful that allows your allies to move freely.

©Alter Self: Utility. Better for water campaigns.
ⓣ©Crown of Madness: A great effect even if you drop it after 1 round, but it takes some finesse to use well, and can only target humanoids. Meaning that hold person wins in most use cases. It's easy to get 1 attack if you pay attention to initiative, and target the enemie(s) who goes next before others have a chance to move away. Also, some creatures have crappy melee attacks, so make the caster punch your fighter. Get's much better if you have a rogue with sentinel, who will love the off-turn attack, or some movement denial .
©Detect Thoughts: Utility.
ⓣ©Enhance Ability: Utility.
©Maximilian’s earthen grasp: Damage and control is good, but Str isn't the best thing to attack.
Misty Step: Utility.
©Spider Climb: Utility

Aganazzar’s scorcher: Short range leaves this only slightly better than burning hands.
©Blur: Taking both concentration and an action makes this a bit weak. Stick with Mirror Image if you take any at all. Better if you have high AC.
©Darkness: Not much use unless you have a special sense (warlock's devils sight). Note that not seeing your enemy (disadvantage), and them not seeing you (advantage) cancels out to a normal attack.
Darkvision: Most races have this; can be good for humans.
©ⓣ:Dragon's Breath: PC's will have an action that's nearly as good, that doesn't take up a spell slot, and a better action at level 5. However, this can work well with summons, skeletons, and the even familiars (it's not an attack, so they can use their own action).
Knock: Rarely used utility.
See Invisibility: Rarely used utility. Detect thoughts can usually work just as well.
©Shadow Blade: A nice weapon that you probably won't be using.
©Warding Wind: Can be used to protect your allies as well as yourself. Just not with ranged weapon allies.

©Dust devil: End of turn means this will rarely do anything.
©Earthbind: Too specific.
©ⓣMind Spike: Low damage and breaks your concentration on other spells.
Pyrotechnics: Too hard to use. Even with quicken + bonfire, it's not worth much.
Snilloc’s snowball swarm: Lower damage and smaller size than shatter. Not even cold dragons will want this.

[sblock=level 3]
Fireball: The best AoE spell of this level, and for the next few. Might still be good at higher levels for clearing out low level hordes.
ⓣ©Haste: A great buff, particularly for twin-high damage allies (great weapon master / sharpshooter). Still useful with single sword and board. Works particularly for a rogue who can use the haste action to attack, and the normal action to ready an attack off-turn for double sneak attack, or just attack again if they miss. Alternatively, use it to hit-and-run with booming blade, or just double dash to escape a bad situation. Just make sure your concentration isn't interrupted.
©Hypnotic Pattern: The go-to control spell for most of the game; 1 save to take someone out of the fight and a free crit to whoever wakes them up. Just make sure to kill one enemy at a time, and avoid waking others. Careful metamagic can help here.
©Careful + Stinking Cloud: Given how much the utility of this spell changes with careful, I'm rating it twice. With careful, you and your allies can safely hide in it, while reducing enemy actions. Note that not seeing your enemy (disadvantage), and them not seeing you (advantage) cancels out to a normal attack. That means you can also cast firebolt in melee (1 advantage cancels out all disadvantage). Make sure to warn your allies, as no sight stops many spells and effects (both friendly sacred flame, and enemy medisa's gaze). But if they are prepared, they can make good use of it. For instance, bonus action attack (spiritual weapon) and standard action to hide, or using wild shape/polymorph/summon (animate objects) for a special sense which gives advantage.

©Clairvoyance: Nice utility. It can help you know if it's time to buff up. Though you might want to wait until later levels when a level 3 slots means a bit less.
Counterspell: Trading a slot for a slot is usually a bad deal for PC's, but trading a reaction to stop an action is a good trade. While this can technically be twinned, I don't think it will even come up.
ⓣ©Enemies Abound: Best if cast in the middle of a horde, but then, so is hypnotic pattern. Could pull off some really fun tricks with stealth and subtle.
©Fear: A good control effect can give your allies some OA's (rogues). Better with careful metamagic.
Lightning Bolt: The same damage as fireball, but generally harder to hit multiple enemies with.
©Melf’s minute meteors: A good bit of damage, and good targeting, but spread out over a few turns. If your DM likes swarms that are spread out, this works great. Scales poorly.
ⓣ©Fly: Good utility, and an auto-win for some battles.
©Major Image: Lots of utility.
©Slow: Slightly bigger area than hypnotic pattern, with built in careful, but quite a bit weaker effect. Better for ranged parties who can outrun the enemy.
Thunder Step: Escape + damage. Even better for storm, who can maneuver into a good position, and deal extra damage.

Blink: Not attacking you just means they hit your allies. So it doesn't help too much.
Dispel Magic: Utility.
Erupting earth: A good bit less damage than fireball in exchange for some difficult terrain, which is generally not worth it. However, this scales rather well, and beats fireball by level 5, and is only slightly behind cone of cold.
ⓣ©Protection from Energy: A good buff, if you know what's coming.
Tidal Wave: The loss of damage and area compared to fireball usually is made up for by prone.
ⓣTongues: Utility. Could be importaint for suggestion.
Water Breathing: Utility

©Flame arrows: The same damage as melf's minute meteors, but it requires a bow, and doesn't do half on a miss, or in a burst.
©Sleet Storm: Unless you're facing a lot of spell casting enemies, this just isn't much control.
©Stinking Cloud: Enemies can usually walk out of this, or dash though (no save on enter). A little better if you have forced movement.
Water Walk: Water breathing is usually better.

Catnap: It only saves a little time.
Daylight: Not worth it for an upgraded cantrip.
ⓣ©Gaseous Form: I don't expect you need to fly though many keyholes.
©Wall of water: Warding wind is a level lower and gives you similar protection.
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[sblock=level 4]
ⓣ©Greater Invisibility: A fantastic buff spell for any weapon attacker, or 2. You may wish to keep with haste for a little while though, least until you get more slots and SP.
ⓣ©Polymorph: A great buff spell, also great utility.
Vitriolic sphere: While slightly worse than fireball at this level. This scales extremely well, meaning 1 spell could cover 4-5 spell levels of blasting (though it doesn't completly replace them), potentially freeing up your limited known spells for other stuff like utility. Also works well with wilds spell bombardment, and careful.

ⓣ©Banishment: A rare Charisma save makes gives this a good chance to land. But otherwise isn't anything special. Note there is some utility here, to return to your own plane.
Blight: Good single target, or twinned, damage. Can also be a good with subtle.
Dimension Door: Good utility.
©Storm sphere: Decent damage overtime. Careful can be used to hide inside of it.
©Wall of Fire: A nice damage zone. Careful does NOT help. But forced movement (warlock with repelling blast) does.

©Dominate Beast: There just arn't many beasts, particularly at higher levels. At least they have low Wis, so this can stick despite the many rolls.
©Sickening Radiance: Big zone, but not much control unless they fail mutiple times, and Con save is a poor save. Works well with careful.
ⓣ©Stoneskin: Greater invisibility is better most of the time, though it doesn't work against special senses.
Vitriolic sphere: Only slightly more damage than fireball at this level, but over 2 turns. (Unless your an acid dragon) Though works a bit better than other blast spells with careful, as you avoid the secondary damage. Scales well, and will beat out fireball by level 6.
©Watery sphere: Control that you can move around, but restrained doesn't do much, except against melee, and melee has Str. Careful metamagic can help allies not get caught in it.

Charm Monster: Some utitily.

©Confusion: Small area an ineffective control.
Ice Storm: Less damage than erupting earth at this level, and a less duration on the difficult terrain.

[sblock=level 5]
©Animate Objects: Lots of potential damage from a swarm of tiny rocks. Larger ones are less helpful. It also has some utility for animating jail keys to come to you.

Cone of Cold: Good damage in a big area, but cones are a bit harder to aim.
ⓣ©Hold Monster: Good control. Just make sure to use hold person for people.
©Insect Plague: Generally worse than firewall, which slows more and does more damage.
Synaptic Static: A little low on damage, but Int save means higher accuracy, and a modest non-concentration debuff (worth a little less than disadvantage).
Teleportation Circle: Good utility, as well as a good way to escape.
©Wall of Stone: More utility than control, but it can do both.

Creation: Utility
ⓣ©Dominate Person: Powerful, but requires a lot of saves.
ⓣ©Immolation: About on par with Blight, doing more damage, but taking concentration. Though there are a good number of low Dex high HP creatures which you can subtle cast or hit and run from until it dies.
Seeming: Utility
ⓣ©Skill Empowerment: Utility.
ⓣ?©Telekinesis: More utility than control, but it can do both. And I can think of a few things to do with a 1000lb boulder. I'm unsure if this can be twinned.

ⓣ©Ennervate: Low damage + low heal that's easy to break.
©Far Step: Misty step won't break your concentration and will be good enough most of the time.

©Control winds: Warding wind is level 2.
©Cloudkill: Worse than wall of fire and insect plague.
©Wall of Light: A wall that people can walk through isn't much of a wall.

[sblock=level 6]
Mass Suggestion: All the benefits of suggestion, in an ally friendly area, without concentration.

Chain Lightning: Effectively an AoE that doesn't hit allies.
Disintegrate: Huge damage (75) and some utility. However, unlike similar spells, this does nothing on a save. Fortunately, dex is a low save, and it's can use heightened or twinned, as well as wild's bend luck.
©ⓣMental Prison: A little more damage then disintegrate (82.5), and the target loses a turn, but it takes concentration.

Circle of Death: Low damage, but huge area makes this great against hordes.
©Sunbeam: Another option for blasting, but concentration keeps it down a notch.
(4th level)Vitriolic sphere: Makes a good blast.

©Move Earth: Just reshape the dungeon as you see fit. One of the few spells that works well wtih extended metamagic.
Scatter: A modest improvement over dimension door.

©Arcane Gate: As fun as it is to play with portals, it's usually cheaper to walk. You can't even put one in the sky.
©Globe of Invulnerability: If your DM likes spell casters. Note that it doesn't do anything for weapons.
True Seeing: If your DM likes hidden things

©Investiture of wind: A combination of fly and warding wind can work great in some situations. Just not many.
©Eyebite: This uses too many actions to accomplish anything.
©Investiture of flame: Piddly effects and only slightly better than firebolt.
©Investiture of ice: Piddly effects and only slightly better than firebolt.
©Investiture of stone: Stoneskin is a few levels lower.

[sblock=level 7]
Fire Storm: Great flexible targeting makes this superb against hordes. Note that you can go over top of allies.
Plane Shift: As close to a save-or-die spell as there is in the game. Also some great utility (cast twice to go anywhere on your original plane), as well as escape.

Crown of Stars: An decent upgrade to quicken + firebolt (still OK at level 17+). Just make sure you have 2 battles in the time frame to make full use of it. Better if you have advantage (wild, shadow) or extended to help ensure you get the full use.
Finger of Death: Good damage, and a way to get permanent servants.
©Reverse Gravity: A good mix of control, utility, and damage over a large area. Though it's less useful inside.

Etherealness: Utility
Teleport: Plane shift is generally better.
©Whirlwind: Watery sphere, with damage. Note that damage and restrained are 2 independant saves.

©Delayed Blast Fireball: Very difficult to use consistently, but amazing if you can pull it off. Consider hiding it in an allies darkness spell. Extended metamagic can really boost the damage, though that doesn't make it any easier to use.

Power Word Pain: 1 turn of disadvantage is pretty weak at this level, and the disavantage on saves could be over before you have a chance to cast another spell at it.
Prismatic Spray: Less damage than firestorm, and much worse targeting.

[sblock=level 8]
Sunburst: Big area, decent damage, and a nice effect.

ⓣ©Dominate Monster: Great effect, but lots of saves.
ⓣPower Word Stun: Very few creatures have more than 150 HP. And those tend to be pretty obvious.
©Incendiary Cloud: High damage area, but moving usually doesn't help.

Abi-Dalzim’s horrid wilting: A bit more damage than Sunburst, but lacks blind. And I can't think of any high level plant monsters.
©Earthquake: More utility than damage. But it does have a long range.

[sblock=level 9]
Wish (simulacrum). You get an extra ally. There are 3 main options, depending on your party. Make sure to take a long rest before casting, and possibly boost the target's max HP (aid, heros' feats).
  • Another high level caster. You still get the effects of a 9th level slot (foresight) AND all their other spells. And caster's don't need equipment. If that caster also has wish, they can safely use its alternative effects. There is also truly game breaking combo, where you can chain-cast simulacrum to make an army of high level casters in a few minutes. I assume any DM will squash this, or the player will.
  • Ranged DPR, who can deal tons of damage while staying safe in the back; lasting for days on a single cast. This frees up your slot for other spells. Note that you will need pare equipment, but that shouldn't be hard to find.
  • Yourself. You won't get the extra 9th level slot that you do with a second caster, but high level sorcerer's aren't exactly lacking in power (quad greater invisibility) and you will always have yourself as a target.
Half max HP makes copying melee types a bit less helpful (though still great). It should also be noted that you don't need permission to copy, just the target to be within reach for 1 action. So you could copy a king or BBEG.

Wish (other) Even without simulacrum, this is an extremly flexible spell. It's great for spells with costly components, such as clone, resurrection, heros' feats, awaken, and greater restoration. Or any utility that you need, such as glibness, mirage aracan, teleport, or even something like create food and water. It also works if you need a different type of attacks, such as earthquake, force cage or tsunami. Avoid any of the alternate uses. It's not worth not losing the spell over unless it's campaign ending. Unfortunately, you can't twin this even if you use it to duplicate a twinable spell.
Meteor Swarm: The ultimate AoE. 140 on a hit, 70 on a miss, and can target 4 different places in a huge range. But make a wish->simulacrum first.

Psycich Scream: More of a mass stun then a blast spell (only 49 damage on a fail). But Int saves can shut down a lot of targets.

ⓣPower Word Kill: 100 HP just isn't that much, especially compared to meteor swarm. Though this works nicely with subtle.

©Mass Polymorph: Unlike normal polymorph, you can transfor for only 1/2 the target's level. Though there can be some utility for big parties, such as turning into birds, or digging.
Time Stop: Even with creativity and extended metamagic this is just hard to use well.

©Gate: Just use plane shift.
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+2 Cha: If you're using control spells, this helps.
+2 Con: Helps keep you alive, and maintain concentration.
Inspiring Leader: Protect yourself and your meat shields. Just keep in mind this is 1/party.
Healer: Since you're in the back, your usually the last to fall. Though take inspiring leader first. Also 1/party.
Resilient (wis): You lose concentration if you are stunned.

+2 Dex: Going first and not getting hit is good.
Alert: Hit before you are hit. Good if you don't know what else to take
Elven Accuracy (half-elf): If you have an odd charisma score and are wild and shadow who can generate easy advantage for firebolts. Poor for anyone else.
Ritual Caster: Add a lot of utility.
Lightly/moderately armored: Only take light if you are aiming for moderately armored. +7 AC (with shield) for 2 feats is pretty good. Though consider multiclassing if you want this.
Lucky: Another good one if you don't know what else to take.
Prodigy (half-elf, human): Expertise is stealth can go a long way. Particularly with subtle.
Warcaster: Helps you keep concentration, but the other aspects aren't likely to be used.

Actor: If you have an odd charisma score.
Defensive Dualist: It's easy to grab a dagger, if you're not using the shield spell.
Durable: If you have an odd con score.

Elemental adept: A trap option that adds piddly extra damage and has anti-synergy with empowered metamagic.


Favored soul: Broadens your choices, but not your known spells. You don't get many extra numbers like dragons +AC and +HP, wilds +free spells, or storms +damage. It's just allowing you to lose sunbeam in order to gain heal. Also, most of the best metamagic spells are already available to the sorcerer, and most cleric spells are designed for melee. Can be good for small groups where you need to take on multiple roles, though consider a lore bard.
Divine Magic: A few cleric spells mix with meta-magic, like quicken bless, or twin heal can work nicely. Spirital weapon is also a top spell in general. But given the limited number of known spells, your not gaining much versatility, and not any additional power. The free cure wound is nice, but doesn't scale well.
Favored by the Gods: Pretty nice. Mostly use this for saves, particularly at later level, when your firebolts don't do much.

Empowered Healing: Healing spells are not heavily dice based. With the best being mass cure wound's 3d8 + mod, which you may not even have. For cure wounds, casting it twice is better.

Divine Purity: Flying is a good way to stay safe and get free utility. Make sure to grab feather fall.

Unearthly Recovery: A decent amount of extra HP. Could be a little better with a high-level aid, but that's probably not worth the slot.

Phoenix: Pretty lacking unless you fight one short battle a day. I suggest changing mantle of flame to once per short rest.
Ignite: Ribbon.
Mantle of Flame: Short lived, piddly damage, and you don't want to be hit. Might work with each scorching ray, or might not.

Phenox Spark: This is not a feature you should try to be using. Good when you need it though.

Nourishing Fire: A modest amount of HP thought the day.

Form of the Phenoix: Resisting all damage is great, but this is too short lived.

Sea: A nice set.
Soul of the Sea: Nice to have. Especially on sea campaigns.
Curse of the Sea: Several nice effects. Quicken can help get past needing to hit with the cantrip first.

Watery Defense: A nice escape.

Shifting Forms: Pretty weak for a 14, as you likely won't provoke many OA's.

Water Soul: A bit late, but resistance is great.

Stone: Lots of defense for you and the party.
Bonus Profiency+Stones Durabilitly: Effectively the medium armored feat, without jumping through light. Weapons proficiency doesn't add much.
Metal Magic: Nothing fancy here, particularly since the smites take concentration.

Stone Aegis: 2-5 damage reduction, which scales by multi-attack. Better than heavy armor mastery. Plus you get an occasional free attack.

Stones Edge: 50% more damage for firebolts. A good reason to quicken + cantrip.

Earth Master Ageis: DR for more people. Though at this point, most of the attacks should be going to one guy.

Dark: Great for multi-classing and control.
Eyes of the Dark: This is the warlock's darkness + devils sight trick, but as a level 1 spell. Unfortunately, concentration is rough to give up for yourself.
Strength of the Grave: Not not likely to succeed often, nor do you really want to test it.

Hound of Ill Omen: Effectively an improved version of heightened metamagic, since it lingers for more than 1 save, and someone needs to spend an action to get rid of it. Goes well with hold person.

Shadow Walk: Some great mobility here.

Shadow Form: Great defense at a reasonable cost.
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Like most full casters, there is plenty of good reason to stick with sorcerer the whole time, and you even get one of the nicer capstone. The big exceptoin is armor. If your party lacks a good front line to hide behind, getting AC can be a big help. Hexblade 1 is the easiest stat wise. Cleric 1 is the other option, giving you higher level slots, but requires some Wis.

On the other side, dipping into Sorcerer 3 works nicely for several builds. Adding metamagic and Con saves, and letting you do things like quicken + bless + attack, extended + healing spirit, or use subtle + rogue for stealth spells (Arcane Trickster 9 for disadvantage on saves).

Generic Example Build
Variant Human with inspiring leader.
8 str, 14 dex, 16 con, 8 but, 10 wis, 16 cha.
Feats: +2cha, +2cha, resilient (wis), +2con,+2con
Metamagic: Twinned, quicken, heightened (level 10), empowered (level 17).
Cantrip: Firebolt, chill touch, minor illusion, prestidigitation, light, mage hand
Spells by level. Ones with a line through them get replaced.
1: chromatic orb, shield
2: sleep
3: suggestion
4: phantasmal force
5: haste, fireball (replace chromatic orb).
6: hypnotic pattern, blind/deafness (replace sleep)
7: greater invisibility, polymorph (replaces haste)
8: blight
9: cone of cold
10: animate objects
11: chain lightning, mass suggestion (replaces phantasmal force)
13: plane shift, firestorm (replaces cone of cold)
15: sunburst
17: wish

Wild Sticky Bomb: Switching up the normal, dipping hexblade 1 for armor, physical shield, and Cha to-hit. Use your SP to make level 1 slots, and go into melee. Attack with booming blade and use tides of chaos to make it stick, with warcaster for extra stickiness. When they attack you, cast shield to protect yourself, and trigger a wild surge in their face, and recharging tides of chaos. By level 11, you can have 24 AC and 33 rounds of surges. Buff with Greater invisibility for longer battles, and you still have the option to fireball.

Storm Surge: Similar to above, go cleric, and use SP to make a lot of level 1 slots. Then you spam booming blade + quicken thunderwave to trigger heart of storms (triggers before the push). This doesn't directly trigger booming blade's secondary, but melee enemies will need to move back towards which will. Overall it's more damage, but less defense than the wild.

Shadow Mini Gunner: Start normal shadow, going up to 9 or 10, with quicken as your (third) metamagic. Then 2 levels of hexblade for eldritch blast, agonizing blast. Start a battle with darkness (2SP), and spam quicken eldritch blast. That's 6d10+30 with advantage, for 2 SP. At level 17, it get's boosted to 8d10+40, which is better than disintegrate, still for 2 SP. Alternatively, use hound and hold person to turn them all into eldrich crits.
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mellored said:
. . .
Evocation wizards tend to do slightly better at pure blasting, especially at lower levels.

Are you basing this statement entirely on AoEs with spell sculpting? I view twinned spell, tides of chaos, and Con proficiency as better for blasting at lower levels, especially given that the large and powerful AoEs don't come online until 3rd spell level.

[*]Make sure your allies know to punch you if you turn into a pot or sheep.

This is kind of table-talky, and you actually don't want anyone hitting you if you're a pot. It is not a polymorph, so your HP are your HP.

Spell Bombardment: A very small damage boost at this level, adding only 1.9 damage to firebolts and 2.7 to fireballs. Works a bit better with empowered metamagic.

Yet it adds damage to disintegrate (and erupting earth), which neither dragons nor evokers can do. It can also add damage to the same spell repeatedly in subsequent rounds (storm sphere, insect plague, sunbeam), and it can deal damage on enemy turns (vitriolic sphere, investiture of flame). Basically, if you get to eighteenth level, you should have better spells than fireball. Edit: The 2.7 number is also for a fireball cast at third level. By eighteenth character level, third-level slots should probably be going toward twinned haste, control spells, or sorcery points.

By the way, thanks for giving wild magic its due.
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Are you basing this statement entirely on AoEs with spell sculpting? I view twinned spell, tides of chaos, and Con proficiency as better for blasting at lower levels, especially given that the large and powerful AoEs don't come online until 3rd spell level.
always on and better careful metamagic, and always on and better empowered metamagic. (At least as far as blasting goes).

I could see a high level wild doing better with bend luck + empowered + bombardment, but that's level 18 for all the pieces.

Fair point about lower level twin but not sure what Con saves have to do with it. Con is good for buffing and control, but it doesn't effect a twinned chromatic orb.

This is kind of table-talky, and you actually don't want anyone hitting you if you're a pot. It is not a polymorph, so your HP are your HP.
I'll double check.

Yet it adds damage to disintegrate (and erupting earth), which neither dragons nor evokers can do. It can also add damage to the same spell repeatedly in subsequent rounds (storm sphere, insect plague, sunbeam), and it can deal damage on enemy turns (vitriolic sphere, investiture of flame). Basically, if you get to eighteenth level, you should have better spells than fireball. Edit: The 2.7 number is also for a fireball cast at third level. By eighteenth character level, third-level slots should probably be going toward twinned haste, control spells, or sorcery points.
I'll calculate a few more examples.

By the way, thanks for giving wild magic its due.
I'll have to calculate the odds of TPK by surge before you get enough hp to survive.

always on and better careful metamagic

It has its advantages, but it is restricted to evocation spells and can only protect a number of creatures equal to one plus the spell's level. And, again, in the first tier, your AoEs are not a huge threat to your allies.

and always on and better empowered metamagic.

What are you even talking about? The tenth-level evoker feature? It is always on, providing the wizard is always casting wizard evocation spells, but it is (varying with Int mod) flat added damage, meaning that it does not scale as the metamagic does. If you want to spam cantrips all day, sure, empowered evocation is better. If you want added damage to your higher-level spells, though, empowered spell beats it.

Or do you mean the fourteenth-level evoker feature? It functions something like a better empowered metamagic on spells of fifth level and lower, but it is always on only if the wizard wants to die.

And how are you using either one of those at lower levels?

I could see a high level wild doing better with bend luck + empowered + bombardment, but that's level 18 for all the pieces.

Or with tides of chaos at first level. It's hard for me to see the evoker competing until tenth level at the earliest, except with AoEs in certain circumstances.

Fair point about lower level twin but not sure what Con saves have to do with it. Con is good for buffing and control, but it doesn't effect a twinned chromatic orb.

Conjure bonfire, cloud of daggers, hold person, invisibility, phantasmal force, web. All of those have blasting applications.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
One big use for subtle at the tables I play is to prevent the casting from being noticed for Counterspell. That might be worth noting. (I agree with the blue color, just want to add another thought for people taking it.)

EDIT: BTW, kudos on finding a non-armored yet not skimpily dressed caster image.

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