Hello magic casters! welcome to dndtopics.com and thank you so much for checking out the 2nd episode of our cantrip series. today we are going to look at blade ward 5e spell. Is blade ward a good spell? for this query the answer to this is…which many have called one of the worst spells in dnd 5e in general and certainly one of the worst cantrips.
I think i will be able to mount hopefully a decent defense of this cantrip and hopefully move it from that never take category into a more niche category if that make sense. This blade ward is usable by the Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock and wizard as so far as to say it is found on their spell lists. There are other ways to gain access to it.
Several classes pull from these spell lists as well as a handful of feats like magic initiate and blade ward is found in the good old players handbook so everyone should have access to it. Before we dive into its mechanics i’d like to point out if you’d like to check the full list in its entirety you can do so by clicking on dnd 5e spells by level link. Let’s now dive into the mechanics of blade ward.
- Effect: For the duration, you have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage dealt by weapon attacks.
- Casting Time: 1 Action
- level: Cantrip
- Range/Area: Self
- Duration: 1 Round
- Components: Verbal and Somatic
- School: Abjuration
- Attack/save: None
- Damage/Effect: Combat (…)
The effect at a glance is as mentioned above. The components are verbal and somatic meaning you have to speak forth in incantation and gesture with one hand and the school is abjuration which is just protection magic if you’d like to look at it that way.
Something i do want to point out here is that by raw this only applies to weapon attacks, what that means is it doesn’t really apply to traps and the like i always homebrew it so that it does. Just to provide a little bit more incentive for this cantrip to be taken.
However seeing as how it’s a cantrip you can cast it unlimited number of times. There’s no real reason why you can not cast it constantly. So long as you’re in a magic dense society where casting spells out of the blue isn’t going to be viewed with suspicion i don’t see a problem with doing that. In any case let’s now move on to its full description.
Attributes Of Blade Ward Spell DnD 5e
|Classes||Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard|
|Casting Time||1 action|
In this blade ward spell dnd 5e you have extended your hand and also trace a sigil of the warding in the air. But until the end of your next turn, you’ve the best resistance which is against to the bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by the weapon attacks.
If you’re not familiar with what the term resistance means it just means you take half damage which is pretty dang cool if you ask me. The biggest downside to this spell in particular is that takes up an action and actions are pretty precious in 5e. As so far as to say you can do a lot with them.
One of the things you can do with your action is take the dodge action which is imposes disadvantage on attack roles against you. Potentially making them miss outright, you can also take the disengage action and just get away without provoking an attack of opportunity or the dash action and just get away really quick.
So how does blade ward fit into that? There are charts online that go over its effectiveness. As a general rule of thumb the dodge action is superior in early levels but as their chance to hit modifier increases the dodge action becomes less and less viable.
It is at that point where blade ward tends to be the better option seeing as how if you’re gonna take damage anyways you might as well reduce the heck out of it. is it worth the action, you know it kind of depends on the circumstances. That being said let’s get into some alternative uses here.
The first alternative use and arguably best use for this spell is to prolong concentration in any case is blade ward a concentration?. If you’re not super familiar whenever you take a damage while concentrating on a spell you must make a constitution saving throw maintain that concentration.
The DC for the check equals 10 or half the damage you take whichever number is higher. If you take damage from multiple sources such as arrow and dragon’s breath, you may make separate saving throws for each of the damages.
What this means is using blade ward at least for early and mid game the odds of you needing to make a check higher than a 10 or relatively low that’s of course assuming you’re playing a caster that’s being fairly cautious but even if you’re not this is still a good way to guarantee you’re not just wasting spell slots when your concentration ends.
So, how does the blade ward work cantrip do? Another great way to use this is to use it fairly similar to how the disengage action works by casting it on yourself before you decide to flee from a scenario. This is more beneficial than the disengage action if you’re planning on running through several enemies melee range. Although if it’s just the one disengage is certainly a better option.
The third way of using this spell is to just use it in times of general crisis and panic. This is more of an rp decision rather than a mechanical one necessarily. So, let’s say you and your party are being ambushed by thieves with access to invisibility potions or the spell or something of the like and you don’t know when or where the next attack is gonna happen.
All you know is that it’s gonna happen. So needless to say your character is likely gonna be freaking out right now and something like blade ward would probably be their first line of defense to improve their odds of surviving.
Overall this is something that’s going to be most important at early levels as if you are a full caster you’ll gain access to spells in the mid or late game then i would shine this in incredible ways although as something to fall back on. Something just improve your overall survivability. I see no reason why blade ward isn’t a viable option.
Now let’s get into some potential combos here
The first interesting combo you can apply with blade ward is to combine blade ward with the heavy armor master feet. This is absolutely nuts at early levels by the way. It does kind of drop off towards the mid and late game. At the start of the game however if you just decide to apply this combo the odds of you actually taking any significant damage is gonna be slim to none.
If you’re unfamiliar with heavy armor master it does a handful of things. The first being increasing your strength score which may may not be important to you. But the second is where really matters while you are wearing heavy armor bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage that you take from non-magical weapons is reduced by 3.
This is damage reduction it’s different than temporary hit points. Meaning if you take an attack for let’s say 6 damage you reduce that by three and then you apply it to yourself. If you take 99 damage you reduce that by three and you take 96 damage.
What’s really interesting is when blade ward gets involved, it halves the damage before you reduce it. So for an instance let’s go back to that the example of taking six damage, so you apply blade ward something attacks you and it deals six damage. Since you’ve resistance to it through blade ward it gets halved and then it gets reduced by three. Meaning you don’t take any damage.
It’s really cool I’ve seen this work to various degrees of effectiveness, it really works well when you’re dealing with large amounts of weak enemies because blade wards are effect lasts a full round, you can kind of cheese it where that full round you’re more or less untouchable by them.
And since some of the most common creature types in the game are likely to have fairly low hit dices with just multi-attack or some additional effects. This is actually a pretty safe bet to go with at least at the beginning of combat.
Now let’s move on to another combo. This one involves a metamagic and more specifically the quickened spell metamagic. Whenever you cast a spell which has a cast time of one action, you can then spend two sorcery points to change the cast time to one bonus action for this casting.
As i mentioned earlier one of the biggest problems with blade ward is that it consumes an action. This is a good way to kind of cheese around that make it so it takes a bonus action instead and to be honest if blade ward just took a bonus action on the beginning i would consider a must-have for any gish character.
However there is a conversation to be have whether or not it’s even worth using this metamagic for it. I would say it’s circumstantial as with most things.
There are ways to get metamagic without taking levels in sorcerer namely metamagic adept which is released with tasha’s cauldron of everything. However outside of that it kind of just depends on play style the campaign and the party composition you’re in as well.
There are some subclass features that work really well with blade ward as well:
The first one being the eldritch knight and it’s gonna be worth noting the college of valor bard has something very very similar to this but eldritchknight more popular. In the eldritchknight case beginning at 7th level when you use an action to cast a cantrip you can make one weapon attack as a bonus action.
So you don’t really have to pick and choose. If you’re gonna use your action to attack anyways you might as well just use it to cast blade ward and get an attack just cuz. I think this is pretty strong especially at later levels where the odds of you taking damage are going to be pretty substantial.
Anyways so you might as well do your best of mitigating that damage you’re gonna be taking and essentially deleting it off the battlefield entirely. It’s really cool stuff.
And the fourth potential combo we’re gonna be covering is pairing blade ward with armor of agathist. If you’re not familiar armor of agathist is one of the most iconic warlock spells, of course there are other ways to get it but warlocks are the primary users of it and its description reads as followed.
A protective magical force shall be surround you, manifesting like the spectral frost which covers you and your gear. You shall gain 5 temporary hit points for a particular duration. Suppose, if a creature hits you with a melee attack while you have these hit points that time the creature takes 5 cold damage.
At Higher Levels:
When you cast a spell using a spell slot of second level or higher both the temporary hit points and the cold damage increased by 5 for each slot.
What blade ward does in conjunction with the armor of agathis, is it essentially doubles its effective duration which is really really nice. If they’re only going to be dealing half damage to you then your temporary hit points are going to last twice as long and as a result you end up dealing twice as much damage.
I think this is pretty smart especially if you’re playing a warlock and you don’t have a ton of spell slots anyways you might as well try and get the most bang for your buck out of the spell slots you do have access to. Now let’s move on to my personal thoughts about blade ward.
Also check out: find traps spell 5e
If you’re being a power gamer and trying to get every ounce of power you can out of a character i highly doubt blade ward’s gonna be for you. As much as it sucks to say there are better spells at early levels that kind of do blade ward’s job and then some as well as several feats and class abilities that give you either alternative ways to heal or temporary hit points out right.
For those reasons i can see why blade ward isn’t viable in most long term campaigns. However that being said in terms of one shot potential i can see blade ward being quite useful and in terms of characters with very limited spell slots as is quite common at early levels of play.
Blade ward is great way to help extend concentration and make sure those spells don’t just fizzle out and waste that spell slot in the process. In addition to that using in conjunction with class abilities like in the eldritch knights case really do help improve your overall survivability.
And if you are playing an eldritch knight and if you are wearing heavy armor you’re likely the sponge for the party’s damage anyways and it might be worth taking this cantrip just so you can essentially double your viability in that role through having most damage are gonna be taken.
That being said, since blade ward only applies to slashing piercing and bludgeoning damage you are going to be going up against magical foes as you get later into the game and blade ward’s usefulness it’s really gonna vary based on the circumstances from that point on.
In terms of ways to mix it up a little bit i would make it so it applies to all sources of those damage types meaning traps and things like that would be applicable as well and that would extend its viability a little bit further out and if you really want to cheese it and make it a must pick, make it a bonus action instead of an action to cast and i can guarantee you’ll see a lot more casters engaging with it.
However i would only recommend doing that if you are in a scenario where the party’s characters either rolled really poorly for their hit points or just naturally not tanky and you find the group as a whole is spending a lot more time down than you feel like they should and you really don’t want to have to scale every encounter down for him. So under those scenarios i would say be fine to do.
That being said, let me know what you think of blade ward down beneath in the comments section. Mention any thoughts, questions, comments, concerns or ideas and alternative uses of your own. I hope you all have a great day and as always happy spell casting everyone.