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Witch Bolt 5E Spell [Harness Electric Power In DnD Magic]

Witch Bolt 5E Spell
  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 11/01/2023
Est. Reading: 13 minutes

Engaging in the world of Dungeons and Dragons can be such a thrilling experience- the rich lore, the gripping battles, and, of course, the dynamic range of spells waiting to be harnessed.

Among those, the Witch Bolt 5E Spell sparkles as quite a diamond in the rough. But what makes this spell so unique, you might ask?

Before you engage with this clever spell or use it to dazzle your fellow players at the gaming table, you must have a clear understanding of its benefits and uses.

Let’s immerse ourselves into understanding why “Witch Bolt” isn’t just another spell name floating around in the game but a powerful tool that could provide an edge to your character’s arsenal.

So buckle up; this is no ordinary journey – it’s an exploration of power wrapped in mystic bolts.

Witch Bolt 5E Spell Attributes

Casting Time1 action
Range30 feet
ClassSorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Attack/SaveRanged Spell Attack
Duration1 minute
ComponentsVerbal, Somatic, Material

What is Witch Bolt 5E Spell?

Witch Bolt 5E is a powerful, first-level spell used in the popular role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). It hails from the school of evocation, which is all about energy and conjuring elements.

What is Witch Bolt 5E Spell?

Witch Bolt produces a beam of crackling blue energy that lances out toward one creature within range. It forms a sustained arc of lightning between you and the target.

Once you successfully land an attack with a Witch Bolt, you establish a connection with your target that can continually deal damage without needing to repeat the spell attack.

This draining effect can last for up to one minute, provided your concentration isn’t broken. Understanding this attribute makes it a potential game-changer for your battles in D&D.

Is Witch Bolt 5E a Good Spell?


Witch Bolt 5E is a powerful and effective tool to have in your spell collection. Here’s why:

  • Regular Ranged Attack: You cast the spell by making a ranged spell attack, which can easily cut through your enemy’s defenses.
  • Sustained Damage: Upon hitting, it forms a connection between you and your target. This connection lets you deal consistent damage every turn without needing to make subsequent attacks.
  • Flexibility: You can still use regular actions while maintaining the damage channel of Witch Bolt.
  • Potential for Upcasting: With higher levels of slot, Witch Bolt’s initial damage increases.
  • Combo Spells: It works excellently with other spells and abilities due to its unique properties.

Witch Bolt 5E stands as one of the game-changing spells in D&D, providing consistent damage and strategic opportunities that can make your character one to be reckoned with on the battlefield.

Also Read: Fire Bolt 5E 2024 [Uses, Rules, Tips & Complete Spell Guide]

How Can I Use Witch Bolt in 5E?

The practical use of Witch Bolt 5E goes beyond its elemental origins and initial damage.

How Can I Use Witch Bolt in 5E?

Utilizing it to its fullest potential requires understanding how and when to wield this potent spell to your advantage.

Use it in Tight Spaces

The spell creates a sustained arc of crackling lightning. That means once you’ve hit an enemy with it, the connection doesn’t break unless you lose concentration or the creature manages to move out of the spell’s 30-foot range.

Now, imagine deploying this relentless magic in narrow passages or small rooms within a dungeon. Brushed up against walls isn’t quite the favorite spot for most creatures now.

Your opponents can’t easily escape, ensuring they continually take damage without giving you the pain of repeated spellcasting! Useful.

Pick up the Spell Sniper Feature

To enhance your Witch Bolt experience even further, consider picking up the Spell Sniper feat – especially beneficial for characters who aren’t naturally predisposed towards long-range combat.

The Spell Sniper essentially doubles your spell’s range from 30 feet to a staggering 60 feet! That’s a whole lot of buffer zone for those worrisome melee-only enemies.

But that’s not all! The feature also allows your spells to ignore half-cover and three-quarters cover. The enemy thought they could duck behind that giant mushroom for safety.

Your magical lightning arc could still catch them. By choosing this feature, you transform Witch Bolt into a long-range sniping tool that hardly misses.

Sorcerer Metamagic

Harnessing Sorcerer-specific options like Metamagic can amp up your Witch Bolt’s prowess. Let’s look at a few Metamagics that can boost this spell:

  • Distant Spell can again double your spell reach, which stacks on top of the range gained from Spell Sniper, pushing your Witch Bolt to an astounding 120 feet!
  • Quickened Spell can morph Witch Bolt from an action to a bonus action. What does that mean for you? More attack casts in one turn; quite a powerhouse move!
  • Twinned Spell allows you to target two creatures instead of one with the same spell, keeping two enemies on their toes courtesy of your sizzling Witch Bolts!

Distant Spell

The Distant Spell metamagic might seem rather simple, yet its utility is beyond ordinary. By spending 1 sorcery point, any spell with a range of 5 feet or more can have its reach doubled.

So, that powerful Witch Bolt you’ve got up your sorcerer’s sleeve? Its normally manageable range of 30 feet can be extended to 60 feet.

And think about it: if you couple this with Spell Sniper, your Witch Bolt-snipe now spans an incredible distance of 120 feet. That’s half a football field!

Not to mention, it enhances your strategic positioning in the heat of battles, keeping you safe from most enemies while maintaining the damage.

Quickened Spell

Where Distant Spell extends your reach, Quickened Spell amplifies your pace. For 2 Sorcery Points, you blueprint your spell as a Bonus Action instead of an Action within your turn, which allows you to launch additional attacks or cast another spell that requires an action.

Imagine unleashing a Witch Bolt and peppering in another spell or attack all in the same; the possibilities are vast and electrifying (pun intended). This can quickly turn the tide of battle in favor of your party.

Twinned Spell

Do you feel like zapping two foes at once and spreading chaos? Enter Twinned Spell metamagic.

By spending sorcery points equal to the spell’s level (1 in the case of Witch Bolt), you double-target any spell that ordinarily targets only one creature.

Your opponents’ surprise as not one but two raging arcs of lightning streak toward them is nothing less than gratifying. What’s more, each enemy hit will take continued damage each round for as long as you’re able to maintain concentration – double pay-off.

Read More: Summon Greater Demon 5E 2024 [DnD Spell Explained]

Zone Control

Utilizing Witch Bolt effectively also means mastering zone control on the battlefield. With its sustained arc feature that deals automatic damage until broken, opponents tend to want to flee out of its limited 30 feet range.

You can employ this behavior to manipulate enemies’ movements, potentially triggering opportunity attacks by your allies or herding the opponent toward other hazards strategically placed around the battle area.

Use it on Targets with High Hit Points

A successful Witch Bolt connects you to your target until concentration breaks or the enemy moves beyond range. This sustaining power offers an excellent advantage against foes with high hit points.

Each turn following your initial attack allows you to deal an additional 1d12 lightning damage – automatically. No further spell attack is required; constant damage is guaranteed.

Use these turns to whittle down significant health pools while focusing on other aspects of strategy or assisting partners in combat. And if you’re patient enough? Even the mightiest foe falls.

What You Need to Know About Witch Bolt in 5th Edition D&D

To fully grasp the power of Witch Bolt, you need to delve into its unique characteristics. Each spell in D&D has its quirks and idiosyncrasies, and it’s essential to comprehend the intricacies of this one especially.

This article acts as your complete handbook on Witch Bolt 5E as we delve into its mechanism, range, and effects.

Regular Ranged Spell Attack

Witch Bolt is delivered via a regular ranged spell attack. What this means is using your spellcasting ability (for Warlocks, Sorcerers, and Wizards, that’s usually Charisma or Intelligence) to reach out to your enemies from a distance.

It requires you to target a creature within a 30-foot range, making it excellent for characters who prefer long-distance attacks instead of direct melee combat.

Although considered regular, it packs quite a punch due to its sustainability feature. Once cast successfully, the spell essentially maintains the damage done in subsequent turns without requiring recasting or additional hits – an advantage not usually seen in other ranged spells.

Be aware that standard armor class rules apply in this attack-handling process. Irrespective of how powerful this spell is, if you can’t beat your enemy’s armor class with your dice roll plus modifiers, then unfortunately, it’s not their day for tasting lightning.

Explore More: Dimension Door 5E [A Teleportation Spell In D&D] 2024

Deals 1d12 Lightning Damage on Hit

Witch Bolt comes in swinging with an impressive damage score! It deals an instant 1d12 lightning damage on hitting the target —fantastic for a first-level spell.

Remember that ‘1d12’ refers to one roll of a twelve-sided die, meaning you can cause anywhere between one to twelve points of damage on successfully hitting your target initially.

Now compare Witch Bolt’s 1d12 potential with Magic Missile’s consistent but non-variable 3x1d4+3. The Witch Bolt starts to glitter.

The icing on the cake? The spell continues to inflict an automatic 1d12 lightning damage in subsequent rounds without the need for another spell attack roll as long as you maintain concentration.

It provides you with a tremendous continuous damage rate while still leaving room for more strategic actions.

Forms Sustained Arc of Lightning

When the spell strikes your foe, it generates a visible, electrically charged link between you and your target.

This crackling energy stays active throughout subsequent turns until your concentration is broken, the target steps out of range, or a full one minute (that’s up to 10 rounds of combat) has elapsed.

This enduring arc is not mere theatrics; it ensures that Witch Bolt’s damage continues pouring onto the enemy, provided that they remain within range.

Unlike most spells that are one-time events or last up to an instant only, Witch Bolt solidifies its unique spot by offering continuous damage execution.

Remains within 30-foot range

The Witch Bolt spell has a specific range that you need to keep in mind – a reasonably close 30-foot span. This reach means you need your target to stay within that distance for the spell’s effect to continue.

This 30-foot span creates what can almost be called a rope between you and your opponent. Step outside this limit or let your enemy break free, and the spell’s effect is disrupted. The magical current surging between you lapses, signaling the end of the arc’s electricity and its sustained damage.

Despite sounding like a drawback, this limitation offers an interesting dynamic to battles.

As long as the bolt lasts, you can keep track of fleeing opponents or have them make difficult choices about positioning. Thus, using Witch Bolt smartly makes it more tactical than limiting.

Can automatically deal 1d12 damage

One of its most appealing features is Witch Bolt’s ability to deal 1d12 lightning damage after the initial attack round automatically, with no dice rolls required. That’s potentially up to 12 points of direct damage each turn without missing a beat.

Unlike other spells that require new attack rolls for each round or provide far less sustained damage, Witch Bolt serves up continuous high-intensity lightning.

As long as you manage to maintain concentration and keep your opponent within range, every subsequent round guarantees that wrath-of-the-storm hit without additional efforts – making it rightfully dreaded by foes.

No need to repeat the spell attack

In typical combat situations in D&D, the spellcaster would have to cast their chosen spell repeatedly – meaning they’d use their action each turn to keep damaging their foe.

With Witch Bolt, once you successfully cast this spell and connect with your target, there’s no need for such repetition.

Once the arc is established, the damage persists each turn automatically, allowing for a more flexible combat scenario where you can use your actions for other significant moves. The beauty of this lies in the hands-off approach; manually repeating attack rolls is off the table.

Be aware that you still need to employ your action each turn if you wish to continue discharging damage. So it’s not entirely a free pass.

Upcasting Increases Initial Damage

One of the unique features of the Witch Bolt 5E spell is its upcasting capability. Upcasting adds a rich layer of tactical depth, which allows you to cast Witch Bolt using a spell slot higher than the first.

Each level above the first that you use to cast Witch Bolt adds an extra 1d12 lightning damage on the initial hit. Casting Witch Bolt with a second-level spell slot would cause 2d12 damage initially, while a third level would inflict 3d12 damage, and so forth.

This ability makes Witch Bolt tremendously versatile: whether you need to save your higher-level spell slots or go all in for flashy first-strike damage, Witch Bolt has got you covered.

It’s worth noting that upcasting does not affect ongoing damage every subsequent round. It remains at fixed 1d12 irrespective of the level used to cast – but yet again, that increased initial hit can really make for some great moments.

Lasts Up To 1 Minute

Witch Bolt’s effect onset might be instantaneous, but trust me when I say that its impact lingers for quite some time in-game! It lasts up to one minute as long as you maintain concentration on it – which translates into ten rounds of combat in D&D parlance.

This feature allows you continual infliction of lightning damage (1d12) on your enemy without any additional spell attack rolls! It’s basically handling all targeted blows by itself for ten rounds straight.

This duration can prematurely terminate if your chosen target moves out of range or if your concentration is broken. It stands as crucial to effectively manage positioning in combat and make requisite saving throws when required to really milk Witch Bolt’s one-minute duration.

Requires Concentration and Actions

Every casting of Witch Bolt requires you to concentrate on the spell. Maintaining concentration is essential to keep the spell’s effect ongoing for those ten turns.

If your concentration is broken (say, through receiving damage or casting another spell that requires concentration), then the arc of damaging energy vanishes.

The sustained lightning Arc does not maintain itself; it requires actions in each turn you wish to deal that free 1d12 lightning damage.

You might think it’s too much work. If used effectively- keeping enemy conditions and battle strategy in mind- it’s a ticket to an easy, consistent damage rate.

The best part – is if one attack drains your adversary but doesn’t quite knock them out of the game. You can continue focusing on them with Witch Bolt while you direct the rest of your attacks elsewhere! Multi-tasking at its finest, folks.

Mastering Witch Bolt requires more than learning its mechanism; it also necessitates strategic planning and resource management from your side.

But was it once harnessed correctly? It’s a spectacular show where you get to keep up steady damage while juggling other combat maneuvers.

Also Read: Command 5E Spell [How To Use It Effectively In Your DnD Game]

Rules for Witch Bolt in 5E

The manipulation of the Witch Bolt spell requires an understanding of a few rules.

Rules for Witch Bolt in 5E

These guidelines dictate how you can interweave this potent spell with different abilities and actions that your character possesses. Let’s delve into some of these crucial rules that govern its usage.

You Can Still Use Your Reactions While Maintaining Witch Bolt

While maintaining the connection with your target using Witch Bolt requires concentration, it doesn’t prevent you from utilizing reactions.

Although casting a Witch Bolt ties up one of your hands, it doesn’t mean you’re rendered defenseless.

You can still take advantage of opportunity attacks or make a counterspell when necessary because the concentration needed is on maintaining the spell, not casting it.

It’s akin to carefully holding onto an active power cord; as long as you keep hold, the current will flow.

Sorcerer’s Quickened Spell Metamagic Works with Witch Bolt

Sorcerers are known for their Metamagic; these are particular abilities exclusive to them that offer unique modifications to spells as they cast them.

One such ability is Quickened Spell, which allows them to cast a spell that typically takes an action to cast as a bonus action instead.

This proves extremely useful when dealing with Witch Bolt. By using Quickened Spell in combination with Witch Bolt, you can deal initial damage with the spell as a bonus action and reserve your primary action for something else, all in just one turn.

This gives you versatility and maximizes your potential damage output in combat.

Twinned Spell Metamagic Works with Witch Bolt

Another Metamagic possibility within reach is Twinned Spell, which allows you to target two creatures instead of one with a single-target spell that only affects one creature at no more than 2nd level – this includes our beloved Witch Bolt.

If you utilize this feature while firing off a witch bolt, you can hit and maintain the spell on two opponents instead of one.

And as long as you keep your concentration, both targets will continue taking damage every subsequent round, potentially doubling your effectiveness on the battlefield.

Despite these compelling rules and abilities, using Witch Bolt still poses risks – it requires a strategy based on understanding your character’s options and recognizing the circumstances in combat.

So plan carefully and let this potent spell shine as an incredibly handy tool in your magical artillery. While Witch Bolt might not be the easiest to wield, it can certainly be one of the most rewarding with enough practice and experience.

Witch Bolt’s Continuous Damage is Neither Cast a Spell nor Attack

One of the unique features of Witch Bolt that really differentiates it from other spells in D&D is its continuous damage over rounds.

After successfully landing the initial attack, on subsequent turns, you can use your action to deal an automatic 1d12 lightning damage to the target – as long as the spell hasn’t ended.

Note that this action doesn’t fall into the categories of casting a spell or an attack; it’s just continuing existing magic. This implies that abilities or features that trigger based on attacks or spellcasting won’t occur during these subsequent applications of damage.

Haste Works with Witch Bolt

The haste spell can elevate the effectiveness of Witch Bolt. While under this effect, not only does your speed double, but you also gain an additional action each round.

With this extra action, you can continue damaging a creature with your witch bolt while simultaneously attacking another creature, casting a single-target non-concentration spell, or simply dashing away from your opponents.

For all intents and purposes, haste’s boon empowers Witch Bolt by granting versatility in combat without breaking concentration on the spell.

Read More: Vicious Mockery 5E Spell 2024 [Weaponize Your Words In DnD]

Action Surge Works with Witchbolt (to some extent)

Action Surge is a fighter-specific feature, allowing for additional action in turn, which at first glance seems perfect for maintaining and making another attack once you’ve set up a witch bolt.

While Action Surge does give you another action – it doesn’t allow for another “Cast a Spell” in one turn.

So, how would this synergy work? Well, after you’ve initiated the witch bolt and are dealing continuous damage each round using your action.

Action Surge could be used for another activity: triggering class abilities, making melee or ranged weapon attacks, or even using defensive measures like Dodge.

Only the Initial Damage of Witch Bolt Can Critically Strike

While wielding the might of Witch Bolt, it’s vital to understand how critical hits apply to it. A critical hit increases the damage of the initial attack, but anything beyond that – like the ongoing lightning damage – will not be doubled on a crit.

This is because only attack rolls can score critical hits in D&D, and Witch Bolt’s subsequent damages aren’t attack rolls – they’re automatic.

Although this might peg down the witch bolt’s capacity for massive bursts of damage somewhat, it doesn’t deter its value as a sustainable source of hurt to your foes over numerous rounds in combat.

FAQs about Witch Bolt 5E

What kind of damage does Witch Bolt 5E inflict?

It inflicts lightning damage on your opponents till the spell ends.

Can I target multiple creatures with Witch Bolt?

Normally, no, but if you’re a sorcerer using the Twinned Spell Metamagic, then yes.

Is it possible to increase the damage of Witch Bolt beyond 1d12 per round?

Yes, increasing the spell slot used amplifies initial damage only and not subsequent turns.

Is Witch Bolt 5E available to all classes in D&D?

No, it’s primarily available for wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks classes.

Can I use other spells while maintaining concentration on Witch Bolt?

Yes, as long as they are non-concentration spells. Using another concentration spell will end Witch Bolt.


  • 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!