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22 Best 1st Level Spells 5E [Essential Magic For Early Adventurers]

best 1st level spells 5e
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 01/05/2024
Est. Reading: 10 minutes

In the world of Dungeons and Dragons, versatility is as crucial as raw power. This is particularly true when it comes to choosing the right spells – after all, having a broad array of magical abilities at your fingertips can often mean the difference between victory and defeat.

If you’re a beginner or even an experienced player looking to maximize your magical arsenal, it’s essential to start with indispensable tools that can work in almost any situation.

The 1st-level spells are a perfect example of these fundamental building blocks. So today, we are detailing 22 of the best 1st level spells 5e that you should absolutely have on your spell list.

The realm of Dungeons and Dragons is ripe with magic and mystery, woven intricately into every quest and across epic landscapes waiting to be traversed. And on this perpetual journey, choosing the right 1st level spells can grant you a significant edge over your adversaries.

These particular spells may seem simplistic at first glance but wielded correctly; they can have impactful results in shaping your adventure. Through this blog post, we hope to help unravel the intricacies of these dynamic hexes and aids from the diverse spell book of D&D’s 5th edition.

Best 1st Level Spells 5E

There’s no denying the fact that first-level spells are a vital part of any Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition campaign.

Best 1st Level Spells 5E

The beauty of these spells lies in their versatility – they serve as practical tools to get you out of sticky situations and seem impressive on the battlefield alike.

Some may argue that picking the right first-level spells is an art, one that we’re going to delve into below.


The Shield spell is a highly effective defensive spell that never goes out of style. As soon as you cast it, an invisible barrier of magical force appears, providing +5 to your Armor Class, including against the triggering attack.

Now you might think it’s just for defense – yes, but it also helps you dodge Magic Missile, which can be quite annoying when thrown your way by enemy spellcasters.

This instant defense mechanism doesn’t require concentration and remains in effect until your next turn begins.

No attacks can penetrate its protection during this period. As you adventure through myriad realms filled with dangerous foes and perilous challenges, having Shield in your repertoire provides a reassuring safety net that enables braver exploration and tighter battles.

Also Read: Tower Shield 5e [Redefine Defense With This Massive Shield]

Mage Armor

The versatility of Mage Armor makes it another top pick amongst level 1 spells for adventurers who don’t possess natural armor or those who find themselves in surprise combat situations without proper physical armor.

Mage Armor

With Mage Armor, you touch a willing creature who isn’t wearing armor, enveloping them in protective magical force until the spell ends.

Effectively speaking, it sets the base Armor Class of the target to 13 + its Dexterity modifier for a duration lasting up to 8 hours.

To put it simply, if your Dexterity modifier is +3 or higher, Mage Armor will likely provide superior protection compared to any light armor available at lower levels.

That’s eight hours of improved armor class with no need for concentration! This spell, once cast, allows you to focus on either offensive spells or other support spells as the situation warrants.

It’s worth noting that these two are just scratching the surface of what you can accomplish with level 1 spells in Dungeons and Dragons 5E.

Cure Wounds

In the unpredictable world of Dungeons and Dragons, nothing is more valuable than a healing spell. The Cure Wounds spell is perhaps the most straightforward, yet one of the crucial spells from the 1st-level roster.

This healing spell allows you to touch a creature and restore a substantial amount of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier – indisputably invaluable in the aftermath of combat or in case of an unexpected accident.

This spell becomes even more potent as you level up, adding an extra 1d8 for each slot level above 1st. While it may not seem flashy or grandiose, its practical utility is undeniable throughout any campaign.

Healing Word

Healing Word takes the potential for recovery one step further. What makes this comforting incantation notably exceptional is it doesn’t require touch to work.

Healing Word

Instead, you can tend to a wounded compatriot from a distance – up to 60 feet away – and breathe life back into them with an expression imbued with restorative magic.

This versatility offers impressive tactical advantages on the battlefield, potentially swinging the tide of battle in your favor when your party needs it most.

Also Read: Healing Word 5E [Is Healing Word Better Than Cure Wounds?]


The Sleep spell is one that emphasises strategic over brute force application. Instead of assaulting your opponents, why not lull them into deep slumber? This mighty incantation sends creatures into a magical sleep, starting with those who have the lowest current hit points within a specified radius (20 feet).

Being able to incapacitate enemies without harming them provides numerous benefits; it helps avoid unnecessary combat situations and frequently provides tactical advantages like initiating surprise attacks or making hasty retreats.


When enemies have besieged you and there’s no way out but through – Thunderwave comes to rescue.


Upon casting this evocative first-level spell, a wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you in a 15-foot cube.

Not only does it deal a respectable amount of damage (2d8), but it also pushes creatures away from you for up to 10 feet – making it incredibly useful when you’re stuck in a close-quarters fight.

Magic Missile

Magic Missile is your indispensable force of destruction. Being that it’s an auto-hit spell, each dart hits a creature of your choice that you can see within range, causing it 1d4+1 force damage.

This spell is immensely effective against low-level monsters and even mid-level bosses due to its assured hit nature, making it an arsenal requisite for every mage.

Ray of Sickness

Ray of Sickness provides an intriguing blend of offense and control. You launch a ray imbued with sickness at your target; if the hit lands, your opponent must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or become poisoned until your next turn ends – significantly reducing their effectiveness in combat.

Ray of Sickness


Entangle is another excellent crowd-control tool available early on for nature-loving spellcasters. You conjure up weeds and vines in a 20-foot square starting from a point within range.

These plants turn the ground into challenging terrain and restrain anyone caught in their grasp – throwing enemies off balance, allowing you to seize the upper hand strategically.

Faerie Fire

Faerie Fire is absolutely invaluable for the tactical advantage it offers. Once cast, it bathes a group of enemies in a soft, glowing light, making them unable to benefit from invisibility or any form of concealment within its 20-foot cube radius.

Faerie Fire

Not only does this spell expose hidden foes, but any attack roll against an affected creature has an advantage if the attacker can see it.

This illumination spell can turn the tide of a battle when your opponents are employing sneaky tactics or an unseen enemy is lurking, ready to ambush.

Faerie Fire reveals them and puts you and your teammates firmly back in control. Versatile and illuminating—Faerie Fire earns its place in your D&D spellbook.


Identification might seem like a mundane task in the face of colossal dragons or intricate political intrigues; however, possessing a tool like the Identify spell can be more beneficial than meets the eye.

This much-cherished ritual allows you to learn what spells are affecting an item or detect whether an item is magic itself.

Even for something as simple as quenching your curiosity about a suspiciously glowy gemstone you’ve found, Identify proves very handy.

Beyond object analysis, Identify can provide necessary info on creatures as well–an additional perk that often goes unnoticed but can be helpful in many scenarios.

Also Read: 21 Best Magic Items For Cleric 5E [Champion Your Deity With Power]

Detect Magic

How do you discover if there’s magic hidden within unsuspecting objects or cloaked individuals? That’s where Detect Magic comes into play.

Detect Magic

Proving that awareness trumps raw power sometimes, Detect Magic allows you to sense the presence of magic up to 30 feet around you.

Not only will this spell help locate magical items during loot division but also anticipate potential magical traps or threats before they surprise attack your party.

It’s worth noting that despite taking up one of your prepared spells for the day, Detect Magic is better viewed as insurance—security against those magical surprises that could turn your adventure sour.

Protection from Evil and Good

This protection spell, as its name suggests, shields a willing creature from certain types of creatures: aberrations, celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, and the undead. What does this protection entail? These creatures have disadvantage on attack rolls against the target.

It safeguards the target by preventing them from being charmed, frightened or possessed by these selected adversaries.

The Protection from Evil and Good remains effective for up to 10 minutes with concentration; serving as your personal magical shield when you need it most.


In an epic showdown against formidable opponents in Dungeons and Dragons 5E, Bless is a spell you’ll find yourself reaching for time and again.


By invoking divine power on three of your allies within range (including yourself), each can add a d4 to any attack roll or saving throw they make for the spell’s duration.

When combat is hanging in the balance and every roll counts – this boost can be incredibly helpful.

Also Read: 10 Best Cleric Cantrips 5E [Bless Your DnD Game With Divine Magic]


Bane is like a cruel twist to Bless—instead of bolstering your allies’ abilities; it dampens those of your enemies’.

When cast, up to three creatures of your choice must make Charisma saving throws – if they fail, they’re required to deduct a d4 roll from their attack rolls or saving throws. Turn the tide in crucial battles by making foes less efficient with Bane.

Dissonant Whispers

A bard’s staple crowd-control spell makes noises only particular targets can hear unless immune to being frightened – Dissonant Whispers forces creatures to be flooded with painful psychic energy upon hearing its mystic discordant melody.

Dissonant Whispers

It dishes out impressive damage (3d6 psychic harm on a failed save) while simultaneously instigating immediate retreats by using their reaction—if there’s available space behind them.

Disturbing an enemy’s position can expose them to additional melee attacks, leading to an overall strategic advantage.

Feather Fall

Feather Fall is a unique first-level spell that can potentially mean the difference between life and death in high altitude scenarios. This spell enables you and up to five falling creatures within range to descend slowly, under the effect of this magic.

Their descent rate becomes 60 feet per round; they take no damage from falling and can land on their feet. This protection instantaneously kicks in during a fall and lasts until you reach the ground.

This spell has its value when trapped in lofty towers, crossing deep chasms, or when an unexpected airborne enemy strikes.

With Feather Fall in your arsenal, verticality becomes less of a risk and more of a strategic tool that lets you brave the heights with confidence.

Expeditious Retreat

Expeditious Retreat is quite like having an extra pair of wings when you need it the most. This enchantment gives you the ability to move at an incredible pace, increasing your speed dramatically for up to ten minutes which can be invaluable in many tactically challenging situations.

Expeditious Retreat

Upon casting, you can use Dash as a bonus action, effectively allowing you to move twice your speed on each of your turns without using up your main action.

This utility makes it indispensable for fast retreats, catching up to speedy foes or making vital deliveries amidst pitched battles where getting from A to B quickly could make all the difference.

Shield of Faith

Shield of Faith is arguably one of the most potent defensive first-level spells in D&D 5E. As soon as this spell is cast, a shimmering field appears around a chosen creature within range (this could be yourself or someone else) offering them an additional +2 bonus to AC for a duration lasting up to 10 minutes long as you maintain concentration.

This formidable protective layer can render low-level enemies nearly harmless and significantly reduce your damage received from higher-rating attackers.

Particularly important when venturing into combat unarmored or aiding a vital ally on the frontline, the Shield of Faith provides a sturdy magical defense against looming threats.

Silent Image

The Silent Image is for those looking to trick their enemies into underestimating them. It allows you to create an image of an object, a creature, or some other visible phenomenon within range that lasts for the duration.

Silent Image

The illusion is completely silent and can be no larger than a 15-foot cube. While it has no physical substance and can’t create sound, light, smell or any other sensory effects, you can move the image within the range for as long as you maintain concentration.

Given its versatility and creative potential, doctrine it can be handy for creating distractions, strategic misdirection, or even instigating fear in your opponents.

Color Spray

The Color Spray spell employs a dazzling array of flashing colored light that springs from your hand to blind enemies. Each creature affected by this spell is blinded until the spell ends.

While it has limited effect on creatures with more hit points than your roll, its ability to potentially stun several lower-level enemies simultaneously is unmatched amongst first-level spells.

This brief respite gives you a much-needed edge in combat or time to make a strategic retreat when outnumbered.

Charm Person

Charm Person is an enchantment that makes one humanoid you select within range regard you as friendly acquaintance until the spell ends or until your companions harm it.

Charm Person

The affected humanoid receives advantage on its saving throw if you are currently fighting with it. It’s essentially like having smooth-talking charm magic at your disposal.

There are countless instances where having someone treat you favorably has come in handy during gameplay—a useful tool for bypassing challenging social interactions or avoiding potential combat situations altogether.

Also Read: Ball Bearings 5E Use [Create Tricks & Traps To Disrupt Combat]

FAQs About best 1st level spells 5e

Is Mage Armor useful for all classes in Dungeons and Dragons 5E?

Mage Armor is most beneficial for classes such as wizards and sorcerers who cannot normally use armor effectively. It sets the base Armor Class to 13 plus the targeted creature’s Dexterity modifier.

How does the Feather Fall spell function?

Feather Fall slows the descent of you and up to five falling creatures, making them immune to fall damage. It works instantaneously and is dismissed once you’re back on the ground.

Can I use Shield of Faith on another player or character?

Yes, Shield of Faith can be cast on any creature in your range, including yourself or another character, offering a bonus of +2 bonus to AC for up to 10 minutes.

Does Silent Image produce any sound?

No, the image produced by Silent Image is purely visual and does not create sound, light, smell or any other sensory effects.

What makes Charm Person unique among first-level spells in D&D 5e?

Charm person allows you to enchant one humanoid within range to regard you as a friendly acquaintance. This effect makes it useful for bypassing challenging interactions or avoiding potential combat altogether.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!