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Treantmonk’s Guide to 

Wizards, Being a god (5th 


edition) 

 
A note about style:​ First off should be my note about style, hopefully before all the
players of other classes out there get all upset. Throughout this guide my tongue is planted
squarely in my cheek, and yes, I can be a cheeky monkey. Also, this is by and large an
opinion paper, so I will be expressing opinion regularly. I will be expressing it strongly, but
yes, you are entitled to disagree.
If you do, by all means let me know in the comments and we can have a discussion if you
desire. In the comments section you
will find me far less opinionated than you find the style of this guide.
This guide is written from the point of view of a wizard, but not just any wizard, a snobbish
bookworm, "I am the greatest" wizard.
Treantmonk himself plays other classes too. Wizard is my favorite, but I really do...honest.

 
 
 
The “god” wizard: An introduction 
  
I’ve told this story before, but here it is again. A player in a 
D&D group I belonged to invited me to join another group he 
ran with another group of friends. The group was playing a 
“killer” campaign and the party had been TPK’d and character 
individual deaths were rampant and he figured they could use 
another player. He told me to build an optimized character. 
  
What he neglected to mention was that this group did not 
optimize their characters, so when I arrived with my Goliath 
charge-build, I overshadowed the rest of the fighter-types in 
the group entirely. Nevertheless, the party sorcerer died in 
one of the fights. I felt really bad and retired the character at 
the end of the session and promised to build something less 
dominating. 
  
I had an idea how I could help the group without dominating 
the action, and I came back with a Wizard character. In the 
first combat, I was encouraged to use my fireball, and the 
group was quite confused when I told them that I didn’t have 
Fireball, lightning bolt or even magic missile. I still remember 
the DM asking me, “So what DO you do then?” When I 
explained I would be putting up walls, fogs, buffing, debuffing, 
etc. My character was declared “useless” 
  
A couple months of playing and my character did not directly 
cause a single HP of damage to an enemy, nor did he use a 
single “save or die”. The campaign completed, and since my 
wizard was introduced, not a single character had died. 
  
What I found really surprising is that everyone in the group 
still considered my character “useless”. Not a single player 
seemed to notice that my character had been introduced at 
the same time that the party death-toll had stopped. They had 
thought the campaign had become “easier” during the second 
half. 
  
This was something I found absolutely terrific and I was 
inspired to write my first Wizard guide: T ​ reantmonk’s Guide to 
Wizards, being a god (3.5)​. 
  
What I find myself constantly explaining is that “being a god” 
doesn’t mean godlike power. I chose the name based on 
Greek Myths, where a god would get some hapless mortal to 
do their dirty work, merely interfering by magic to ensure that 
the hero always had the advantage. This is what a god wizard 
is, a wizard who lets the rest of the party have the glory, but 
subtly ensures through Battlefield Control, Buffing and 
Debuffing that the party always achieves victory. 
  
I’ve since softened my view on blast spells, and I assure you 
my Wizards once again hurl fireballs and the like, but it’s not 
their primary focus. The primary focus in 5e remains the same 
as it did in editions past: Provide tactical advantage to the 
team. 
 
And with that...on to the guide: 
 

BEHOLD THE WIZARD. 


BEWARE HIS POWERS. 
UNSPEAKABLE POWERS! 
 
The Party Roles: 
Anyone reading this who has not been playing D&D over the past thirty 
years may not know that there are some 
fairly "official" party roles that date back to the original basic set.  They 
are Fighter, Thief, Magic User and Cleric.  The idea is that 
the Cleric heals, the Fighter takes hits and does damage, the Thief 
opens locks, disarms traps and backstabs, and the Magic User 
throws magic missiles and fireballs.  These roles are every bit as 
outdated as Basic D&D itself, yet you still see players flocking to 
"fill" these roles, thinking that this remains the most effective party, 
despite a game that resembles Basic D&D cosmetically only. 
  
How many times have you gotten/sent an email when wondering what 
kind of character you could make, and a reply comes up with 
something like, "We have a Rogue, a Druid and a Sorcerer."  The 
implication of course is, "Make a fighter-type", but in fact, the email is 
useless.  Is the Rogue a melee rogue or an archery rogue?  Is the Druid 
going to be engaging in melee?  What kind of spells will the Sorcerer 
have?  Maybe the best thing for this party is a Wizard, or another 
rogue...who knows? 
  
Instead the email should say, "In combat we've got a Tank, a Striker and 
a Battlefield Controller, another Tank would be great.  Out of combat 
we need a party face.  How about some kind of Melee character with 
some social skills?"  Characters are too flexible in D&D to define role by 
class.  Instead the role should be defined by what they do. 
  
The mechanics of the game changed enough in 3.0 that the optimal 
party changed with them, yet many players never realized that 
the iconic party is no longer optimal, so we still see Wizards throwing 
blast spells, and Clerics running around healing, wondering why they 
can't heal as fast as the party seems to take damage. 
  
The reality is that D&D isn't all combat, but combat plays a major role in 
pretty much every campaign.  Therefore you can break 
party roles into two major categories.  The "out of combat" roles, and 
the "combat" roles.  Let's look at how the God Wizard fits into 
each. 
  
5 OUT OF COMBAT ROLES: 
Social ("The Fop"):​ Can the wizard fill this role?  Well if you specialize in 
enchantment kinds of spells, then you very well might be able to, but, 
you shouldn't.  First, you aren't the best choice to fill this role, and 
secondly, this guy tends to think he's the leader, do you know what 
happens to the leader?  He gets targeted first.  Let the Paladin, Sorcerer 
or Bard take this role.  Pretend you're jealous. 
  
Sneak ("The Corpse"):​ Can the wizard fill this role?  Well you may very 
well be good at stealth, and thieves tools is an easy proficiency to get, 
furthermore, you can emulate some of the requirements with spells, 
but, you shouldn't.  The purpose of the Sneak is to scout out ahead in 
the enemy’s lair, look for traps and disarm them, scout out the enemy 
and report back, and do this all alone.  Wonder why I call him "the 
Corpse"?  Read what he does again. 
  
Healbot ("The Gimp"):​ Can the wizard fill this role?  Not really, but 
don't worry, you don't want it.  The party Gimp gets to use up all his 
resources "servicing" the party between combats.  Sound pleasant?  
That's why he's the gimp. In reality, this role is optional in 5e. WIth 
short rests and any number of healing abilities, you should get along 
fine without. 
  
The Lump ("The lump"):​ I can't think of another name for him.  He's 
the character of the player that made his character specifically for 
combat, and is really uninterested whenever he's not rolling his attack 
rolls.  He makes the best use of his time when not in combat by 
snoozing, or reading a novel, or making it very clear to the DM that he's 
bored.  You DEFINITELY don't want to be this guy. 
  
Utility Caster ("Everything else"):​ The party transporter, the party 
Diviner. One way or another - this is the casters' role - in other words - 
this is you. 
 
That's pretty much it.  A party should look to cover all those bases 
(except the lump, but all too often it gets filled regardless, and often a 
single character can fill more than one (The party Bard may be the Fop, 
the Corpse and the Gimp...lucky guy), but let's be honest here, D&D is 
largely about combat, so even if you have a character that is the Fop, 
the Corpse, the Gimp and the Utility Caster, if you aren't contributing to 
combat, then you are a liability to your party, because when characters 
die, it's usually in combat. 

 
 
 
 
The Four Combat Roles:
 
The Tank: ("The Big 
Stupid Fighter"): 
  
This role involves two things: 
Doing Hit Points damage to BBEG 
(big bad evil guy), forcing BBEG to 
attack you with his vicious 
weaponry. The Big Stupid Fighter 
is not always a fighter (though 
stereotypically he is). He may be a 
Barbarian, a Paladin, or even a 
Druid. In order to qualify as a Big 
Stupid Fighter he should be any 
character that actively tries to be 
the target of enemy attacks. For 
those who wonder why I would 
label this character as "stupid" 
regardless of their INT score - 
reread the previous sentence. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Striker: ("The Glass 
Cannon"): 
 
This role involves one thing: Doing 
HP damage to BBEG. The Glass 
Cannon is like the Big Stupid 
Fighter except she does not want 
to take damage. Usually this is not 
due to superior intelligence - but 
instead due to inferior HP or AC 
(or in most cases - both). The 
Glass Cannon is often a Rogue (Or 
Rouge for our 13 year old 
readers), a Ranger, a Warlock or a 
Sorcerer. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The controller of reality: 
("GOD"): 
When reality would entail the 
above two meeting a rather 
messy end - someone will need to 
make some adjustments to said 
reality in order for the above two 
to instead meet glorious victory. 
What other label could such a 
force be labelled as than "God"? 
Well - how about "Primary Caster" 
One label or another - this guy 
needs to control reality to make 
sure the right team wins. 

The Waste of Space: 


What else do you call him?  The Waste 
of Space is the guy who thought that a 
low Charisma Warlock made an 
excellent "character concept", or maybe 
he figures that a dedicated healer is an 
appropriate contributor to a combat 
environment*, I could go on, but you 
know who I mean, there is probably 
one in your current group.  If there 
isn't...well...maybe there is...*cough* 
*cough*...ahem. 
  
​* W
​ hy isn't the Healer useful in combat?​  T​ here are two ways you can 
live your "pretend" life - "reactively" or "proactively". The God Wizard 
will alter reality to prevent damage, a healer will try to do "damage 
control" (pun intended) after the damage has been taken. S ​ imple 
truth:​ The mechanics of the game make preventing damage more 
efficient than healing damage after the fact. That's not to say a well 
placed "Healing Word” doesn’t have it’s place in combat, but preferably 
the Cleric is doing that in between laying the smack-down on the 
enemy. 

 
 
In combat, the God wizard doesn't have one job, or two, he's got three...yippee!
Remember these three jobs, and it will help you evaluate spells, pick spell preparation, and
fulfill your combat role effectively. None of these jobs is to do damage to the enemy. In
fact, a Wizard can be very effective and powerful without ever "killing" anything.

The God Wizards three jobs are: Control the Battlefield, Debuff the enemy, Buff your allies.
Let's look at each separately.

 
Battlefield Control: 

In order to be an effective battlefield controller -


you should consider your primary goal to line up
your enemies flanked by your Glass Cannon and
Big Stupid Fighter one at a time and backwards,
all while standing on their heads. This will make
the BSF and the GC win the combat with little
damage to themselves - and they will feel like
"they" won. That's the point - you're God after
all, let the mortals have their victory.
The point of Battlefield Control is that you are
ensuring your allies gain tactical advantage over your enemies. If you secure tactical
advantage, and hold it, you will win. A simple wall spell can separate enemies so that they
can be taken on one at a time. Some characters have difficulty with flying enemies or
difficult terrain. Sometimes hampering vision can force an enemy to close the distance with
your effective melee characters. The best thing about battlefield controls, is quite often
they offer no saving throw, so luck ceases to be a factor, it's all about smart tactics and
evaluating the situation correctly.

Debuffing: 

In order to be an effective Debuffer - you should


consider your primary goal to have your BBEG standing
in front of your GC and BSF restrained, incapacitated, or
with their back turned running away frightened. This will
make the BSF and the GC win the combat with little
damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they"
won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the
mortals have their victory.

 
Buffing: 
Buffing means making your allies more powerful. In order to
be effective at buffing - you turn your Big Stupid Fighter and
Glass Cannons into a Giant Stupid Fighter and a Glass Chain
Gun. This will make the BSF and the GC win the combat with
little damage to themselves - and they will feel like "they"
won. That's the point - you're God after all, let the mortals
have their victory.
The great thing about buffing is that when you buff, you
NEVER need to worry about "to hit" rolls or saving throws.
Your party members are all too glad to get that statistical
advantage in combat, whether you are offering an extra
attack, or resistance to a certain kind of damage. Buffing is also a great way to become
very popular with the rest of the party, who act like kids on Christmas Morning when you
start passing out buff spells.

So What Job is Best? It really depends on the circumstance. Personally, I think a "God"
wizard should put the greatest emphasis on Battlefield Control spells. If you have the right
battlefield control spell for the situation, you will win the combat every time. It doesn't win
the combat on its own, but it creates a tactical advantage that shift the odds far enough in
the favor of your allies that after that, they are assured of victory. Buffing is a good
standby for when no Battlefield Control spell is appropriate, and you are concerned about
resistances or immunities of your enemies. Debuffing is usually more significant than
buffing at the same level, so if you think you can "stick" some debuffs to an enemy or a
group of enemies, it is a great way to go.

Why to be glad that the "all powerful" Save or Die 


spells are gone: 
Yes, Save or Die was powerful, we've all
heard why (who cares how many HP the
monster has? If they fail their save, the fight
is over) - however, it was overrated. This is
why:

Lots of enemies: ​You took down one and did


little else to help your Big Stupid Fighter and
Glass Cannon. You spent a high level spell
doing so. Congratulations - you've been
demoted from God to Glass Cannon. Ouch!

One Big Enemy: ​You either did nothing or


everything. The Big Stupid Fighter and Glass
Cannon were either in lots of trouble or were
feeling useless.
 
 
 
 
Why "Blast" spells should 
be recreation only:

The first point​ is that the consensus is that in 5e, Blast spells do great damage again, and
I’m only half in agreement. Look at the all powerful Fireball. It does 8d6 damage (average
damage 28). However, it doesn’t really does it? What about the saving throw? That, if
successful, brings it down to 14. What about fire resistance or if one of those Oath of the
Ancient Paladin are nearby? That brings it down to 7. Then of course there is evasion. I’m
not saying Fireball is a bad spell, actually, if you look at my spell ratings you will see I
consider it a good spell. I’m just saying that the idea that Wizards concentrating on blasts
are going to do gobs of damage is overstated.

Then the second point​ is a tactical one. HP damage in D&D does NOT decrease your
ability to fight. The big bad monster with 1 HP has just as deadly attack as the big bad
monster with 100 hp. "Softening" up the enemy with a blast spell may or may not change
the time it takes the rest of the party to drop the enemy, but it does nothing to ensure their
safety during that time. Giving your allies a tactical or mechanical advantage prevents
party deaths. Throw a blast when you have nothing better to do, but never throw one when
you have one of your 3 jobs to do.

I'm not saying you should never do pure blast. I'm just saying that blasting is something
you do after you've ensured tactical advantage in the combat. Blasting in combat should
be....what comes after tertiary?

 
 
 
 
The Color Guide: 
Blue:​ I​ love this option 
Green:​ ​This is a good option overall 
Purple:​ ​Middle of the Road - I could take or leave it 
Orange:​ T ​ he option is poor or overly Circumstantial 
Red: R​ ed alert - This is a turkey 
Brown: ​Crap is brown, this stuff is so rank, I couldn’t even rate 
it red 
 
Ability Scores:​ As there are different methods to generate ability 
scores, I’m not going to get too specific with my recommendations. 
That said, here are my recommendations: 
 
1) Pick your Race first. By picking your race, you can be more 
specific with your ability score planning. 
2) Go for even numbers. There is no advantage to a 17 over a 16 
ability score for example. The only odd number that could end up 
working nicely is Constitution, as you are likely to pick up the 
Resilient feat, which will boost you to an even number 
3) Int ​is your most important ability score. Get a 16 if you can, or a 
14 if playing a less optimal race. 
4) Con i​ s very important because it affects not only HP, but also your 
Con save, which is the save you make when making concentration 
rolls. 
5) Dex ​is very important if playing a character in medium armor or 
less that uses stealth. Otherwise I would place it at moderate 
importance. This will improve your stealth score, your AC and 
your initiative (which is very important for Wizards). Note that if 
you are going to have medium armor proficiency, I would shoot 
for a 14 maximum. 
6) Wis​ is of moderate importance, but you can dump it easy enough. 
It adds to perception (the most used skill in the game), and can be 
useful for a dip in Cleric 
7) Charisma​ is a dump stat 
8) Strength ​is a dump stat 
 
RACE SELECTION: 
 
My Rant: ​Variant Humans​ are a terrible addition to the game in that 
they are too good. A feat at first level while still getting access to a 16 
attribute (or 2 16’s depending on your feat selection) trumps anything 
any other race can bring to the table. Naturally Variant Human 
therefore becomes far and away the best option for ANY class, ANY 
build. However, variant human is an optional rule. This is my 
recommendation to all DM’s out there: Just don’t allow it. If you think 
the regular human is too weak (and they are), then give them a skill 
proficiency or two instead of allowing this poorly designed optional 
rule. Inclusion of Variant Human can cause a not insignificant character 
imbalance of power - especially at low level. 
 
Edit: My group has been using a houserule for the past year or so that 
the Variant Human receives their bonus feat at level 4 instead of level 1. 
This seems to have worked well in preventing the frontload of the 
variant human and brought it back in line with the other races.   
 
High Elf:​ A lovely option to which you will start with a 16 Int and Dex 
(with a 13 Con), or a 16 Int and 14 Dex and Con depending how you lay 
out your starting abilities. If you start with 16 Dex bonus, I would 
recommend using a Longbow in place of a blast cantrip for your first 4 
levels of play. Perception proficiency is always a gem, Darkvision is 
handy, and Trance, well, it’s OK. 
 
Gnome (any):​ The Int increase means starting with a 16 Int. Depending 
on the subrace, you can also get a 16 Dex or Con (or 14 in each. You 
can also work out a 15 Con, which works nicely with the Resilient feat 
later on), which are all good options. Darkvision is nice, Gnome 
Cunning is quite good for the inclusion of Wisdom, the small size really 
doesn’t hurt that much. Both subraces are good options. 
 
Half-Elf: N​ ot a lot going for you here as the Cha increase is largely 
wasted on a Wizard. That said, you can get your +3 to Int at least. The 
draw here is the 2 additional skill proficiencies. Perception and Stealth 
are good options. 
 
Tiefling: A ​ gain the Cha increase is largely wasted, but again at least you 
get the +3 Int Bonus. Darkvision is nice, and the Hellish Resistance can 
always come in handy. Infernal Legacy gives some additional spell 
options. 
 
Human:​ Not a great option, but you can get your +3 Int bonus. Not 
much else here though. Still, if you are envisioning a human Wizard, 
this will work out just fine. 
 
Mountain Dwarf:​ I mention this only because I hear it get called out all 
the time for the Medium Armor proficiency. Note that Mountain Dwarf 
does not get you access to shield proficiency, which is a notable 
exclusion. The big issue here is that you should expect a lower Int 
score than any of the above races until at least level 12. The strength 
bonus you get is a complete waste. That said, this, as any other race, is 
completely playable as a Wizard, so if you really want a dwarf wizard, go 
for it, just don’t do it for the armor proficiency alone. 
 
Anything Else: ​You will be looking at a +2 Int bonus maximum, which I 
won’t pretend doesn’t weaken your character a bit, however, a Wizard is 
still completely playable with the lower Int bonus, after all, we are only 
talking about a difference of 1 to your DC (which you will eventually 
even out at 12th level, though you will then be behind a feat). If you 
were really hoping to play a Halfling Wizard, I say go for it, you’ll be fine. 
 

Elemental Evil Player’s Companion Update:


 
Races: 
Aarakocra:​ No Int boost, but aarakocra can fly as long as they are not wearing medium or
heavy armor (shouldn’t be a problem). This gives a huge advantage to Wizards. Normally
flying would require concentration (which could be broken – ouch!), but no longer. Hurl spells
from the safety of above. Well worth the lower starting Int score.

Deep Gnome: ​The ability bonuses are tailor made for Wizard, and you get to boast a double
range darkvision and advantage on 3 saves vs magic (Wisdom saves being the tasty mushroom
in the stew). It’s all win here, making Deep Gnomes probably the best gnome wizards of all. It’s
worth noting that unlike Drow, Deep Gnomes have no light sensitivity. I have no idea why, I
imagine oversight?

Fire Genasi: ​Working with a +2 Con/+1 Int is easy for a Wizard, and Darkvision and Fire
Resistance are both handy to have. The free spells are nothing wonderful, but they are free, so
worth taking, even if they are based on Con instead of Int.

The Others: ​Nothing here really stands out for a Wizard build, but as always, you can make it
work if that’s what you want to do, it’s just not your prime option.

 
 
 
MULTICLASSING: 
 
In previous editions, multiclassing a wizard was a big no-no, but now it’s 
not nearly as taboo, and there can be some nice goodies involved. Still, 
multiclass too much and you lose access to those high level spells, 
which is a large draw for playing the Wizard in the first place. Here are 
some Multiclass combinations with a quick rundown of what you gain 
and lose. 
 
Spellcasting progression continues unabated if you multiclass with 
another spellcasting class (except Warlock), however, in most cases, a 
higher level spell is just better than a lower level spell using a higher 
level spell slot. Read the multiclass rules and you will see that a 
Sorcerer 8/Wizard 9 is not selecting 9th level spells, even though they 
have the 9th level slot. 
 
Wizard X: 
First and foremost, there is nothing wrong with going straight Wizard. 
Straight wizard not only gets you the highest level spells, it gets you 
those spells faster. If your campaign continues past level 17, then read 
my Wizard/Sorcerer entry. 
 
Cleric 1/Wizard X: 
This is the multiclass option I would recommend most. There is a lot to 
be gained here for the delay of spell selection by one level (and delay of 
ability increases by one level too). Regardless of the cleric domain 
chosen, this multiclass option gets you medium armor and shield 
proficiency, access to the guidance cantrip, and some nice first level 
spells (Bless is a standout). For domain, I would first point out that if 
you plan to use stealth, medium armor is enough. Here’s the rundown 
of the domains I think are attractive: 
 
Knowledge​: Lovely option that can give you expertise in History and 
Arcana and two additional languages. 
 
Light: ​Only useful if you can pull a decent wisdom (14 is enough). Then 
use the Warding Flare ability to create disadvantage on attacks against 
you twice/day. Also get access to Faerie Fire, a nice first level spell. 
(though the DC won’t be as good) 
 
Any of the others: ​Useful for Heavy Armor proficiency, the abilities 
gained aren’t to my taste beyond that. 
 
Fighter 2/Wizard X: 
Painful to give up 2 levels of spellcasting, the gains are fairly significant, 
I’m torn on this one. You get heavy armor/shields, the “defense” 
fighting style for +1 AC more, and the “Action Surge” ability which gets 
you access to “quicken spell” faster than 3 levels of Sorcerer. Keep in 
mind that since the second spell isn’t a bonus action spell, you don’t 
have the “second spell must be a cantrip” restriction. (Edit: It has been 
clarified by the designers that even an Action Surge action is limited by 
the “second spell must be a cantrip” restriction - making this a poorer 
option - thus the color has been downgraded from purple) Finally is the 
addition of Con save proficiency, which is the save you make to 
maintain concentration (and will save you taking the Resilient feat later 
on - plan your Con score appropriately) 
 
Sorcerer 3/Wizard X: 
You are now significantly slowing down access to higher level spells. 
The draw here is access to Metamagic and the Draconic bloodline. You 
also slow down those ability increases significantly. If I was in a 
campaign where I knew I would reach level 20 (which is never for me), I 
would instead go Wizard X/Sorcerer 3, which is a great option. 
 
Warlock 2/Wizard X: 
I only include this here to explain that it’s a poor option. The “Warlock 
2/Anything X” really works best if the “Anything” is a class that wants to 
focus on Charisma. Specifically Sorcerer, Bard or Paladin. With Wizard, 
you are stuck choosing between Charisma and Int at ability increase 
levels, and that’s a decision you don’t want to get stuck with. I keep 
getting suggested an exploit where you use the invocation that gives 
you unlimited Mage Armor to fuel the Arcane Ward of the Abjuration 
school. I would never allow such shenanigans at my table, but I’ll 
mention it regardless, so that it’s clear I’m aware of this loophole. (Yes, 
by RAW it’s legal) 
 
FEATS: 

Alert:​ Get a +5 to initiative and you can’t be surprised and no enemies hidden from you don’t
get advantage on their attack rolls. Everything here is full of win. Initiative is really great for
Wizards.

Elemental Adept:​ Makes your blast spells moderately better (at least for one energy type, but if
you choose anything but fire, have your head examined). This is really not a good option for
Wizards. the benefits are pretty mild even if you are a blaster, but if blasting is a recreation for
you, then this is pretty pointless.

Keen Mind​: I only put this here to say it’s crap. Smelly, squishy crap.

Linguist:​ Because you have no other way to decipher languages. Wait…

Resilient: ​SO good! Raise your Con score by 1 and get proficiency on Con saves. Con saves
are what you make to avoid losing concentration. Make room for this one on your character
plan.

Spell Sniper: ​ I heard a ​podcast on Orc Labs​ where they drooled over this and called it a “must”
for any spellcaster. I wish they had explained why. You double the range of attack spells that
require an attack roll, those same spells ignore half and three quarters cover, and get another
blast cantrip.

First off, the double range is not nearly as good as it sounds. Most of your spells aren’t attack
spells, but of those that are, many don’t have attack rolls, but those that do are usually around
120’ range or so, and really, most combats fall within that range. The feat also allows you to
ignore ½ and ¾ cover, but your spells that don’t require an attack roll (which is most of your
spells) ignore that cover too. Getting an attack cantrip from another spell list is pretty lame
considering it’s going to be based on a dump stat rather than Int.

That said, Orc Labs is a great site. Check it out if you haven’t already.

War Caster​: Advantage on Constitution saves to maintain concentration and some other stuff.
Sorry, the first item makes this a great choice all by its lonesome. The feat also lets you cast
with your hands full and use spells against creatures that provoke an opportunity attack (who
provokes an opportunity attack from a Wizard? If the enemy is in melee with you, it’s you who is
trying to get away!)

Crossbow Expert:​ Now that Sage Advice has clarified that ​Crossbow Expert can be used to
attack with a spell in melee without disadvantage​, predictably, some insisted that this has “​now
become a go-to feat for every caster that worries about finding themselves in
melee​”. My advice here is that if you find yourself in melee, the spells you want to
cast in that situation require no attack roll. This is a great feat for certain builds,
but not Wizards.
 
Backgrounds: 

Do we really need me to go over backgrounds? Take whatever you like, they all give you pretty
similar amounts of things.

I will say that it’s useful to pick up Perception proficiency. Perception is the most used skill in
the game by far. An easy way to get it is to simply choose a Background that would give you a
skill proficiency you already have (through Wizard or your starting race), then you can switch it
to anything you like. What you like is Perception.

Wizard Schools: 
Because of the way Arcane Traditions work in 5e, it doesn’t really matter what kind of spells you
intend to cast most often when choosing your Arcane Tradition school. All of the traditions
provide at least an advantage in scribing the spells of your chosen school, but in reality, the cost
and time required to scribe a spell of a different school is still pretty reasonable, so I wouldn’t
worry about that too much. Some Traditions offer other benefits for casting spells of the chosen
school, take these for what they are worth.

X Savant:​ ​Every School has this ability, it’s OK, but I would scribe pretty much any spell I found
regardless of school anyways.

My Final Analysis of the Schools: ​ Well, they are all pretty good it turns out. I’ve given every
school a green or blue rating, but honestly, there are no bad choices here. I would like to point
out the two standouts that I figure are super-sweet. First is Focused Conjuration which
bypasses one of the biggest disadvantages of playing a Wizard. The Second is Illusory Reality,
which makes Illusion the ultimate “wall” school. (It makes me sad that Evocation, the new “wall”
school, provides absolutely nothing for the wizard who likes “wall” spells. Instead, go with
Illusion.)

School of Abjuration:
Arcane Ward: ​Extra HP are always nice, especially when they don’t require healing when lost.
This ability really does push you towards casting Abjuration spells. Twice your Wizard level +
your Int modifier isn’t insignificant either, considering how often you will likely cast Shield and
Counterspell, this will really add up! Also, if your Ward is damaged and you aren’t, then you get
to keep concentration with no save! This is a top tier ability. I should mention however, that
there are remarkably few Abjurations over level 1, that means this Ward is not that easy to
recharge. Couldn’t we get one recharged by Transmutation spells?
Projected Ward​: ​Now you can share your Arcane Ward, I guess that’s probably a good thing. It
will drain the Ward much faster though.
Improved Abjuration:​ ​If you don’t already have both Counterspell and Dispel Magic, I would
definitely get both after gaining this improvement, as they both just got a boost.
Spell Resistance: ​Advantage on saving throws against spells and resistance against the
damage of spells. Pretty self-explanatory.

School of Conjuration:
Minor Conjuration​: I’ve seen conversations of what to do with this ability, and I rarely see
“create a 3’ metal box with an open top that I hop into and hunch down, also, there’s a peephole
in the front for me to cast spells through” Seems like the obvious use to me.
Benign Transposition: ​When you are restrained by the big bad barbarian, poof! Now the big
bad barbarian is restraining the Big Stupid Fighter, and that BSF is mad! This is teleportation,
and it’s easy to recharge. Very nice!
Focused Conjuration:​ ​Your Concentration cannot be interrupted on conjuration spells by
taking damage. Friggin’ awesome!
Durable Summons:​ ​Summoned creatures get extra HP. This is pretty lackluster.

School of Divination:
Portent:​ ​This has some striking similarities to the Luck feat, and it is a very nice ability. Keeping
good rolls handy for concentration saves is the most obvious use to me. Terrible rolls are good
too, because you can give them to an enemy who is attacking you, or for a saving throw for that
spell you are hoping to land. Rolls of 20 might be useful to give to an ally who has some nice
crit-potential. Lots of uses no matter what you roll.
I’ve recently had a chance to play a Diviner wizard, and here’s the thing about Portent:
It’s fun. Hypnotic Gaze, Focused Conjuration, Transmuter’s stone, these abilities are effective,
but turning the enemy saving throw into guaranteed fail at the last moment gives great joy.
Expert Divination:​ ​This is like getting change back whenever you cast a Divination spell.
Makes using spell slots for divination significantly less costly. Good ability.
The Third Eye:​ ​A nice little buff, though nothing that can’t be achieved by a Divination Wizard
with a spell
Greater Portent:​ ​Your luck ability becomes slightly more potent, not a dramatic increase, but
decent.
School of Enchantment:
Hypnotic Gaze:​ ​This is a bit like Hold Monster, except the range is lousy. That said, Hold
Monster – at 2​nd​ level.
Instinctive Charm:​ ​Make an opponent who is attacking you attack someone else instead. This
uses a reaction, and requires another suitable target, finally there is a saving throw. That said,
all in all, a decent ability.
Split Enchantment​: This is like the Sorcerer “Twin” spell metamagic, except you get it for free
on all enchantments. I’m not a fan of a lot of single target enchantments, but it’s still decent.
Alter Memories:​ ​Having a creature forget it was charmed is certainly valuable for an Enchanter
if you like the Charm spells. Personally, those spells are for the most part not for me, which
lessens the value of this somewhat.

School of Evocation:
Sculpt Spells:​ ​Remove the sting out of AoE spells that would include an ally (Evocation only
naturally). That’s pretty darned useful.
Potent Cantrip:​ ​I don’t think I recommended a single damaging Cantrip that provided a save to
avoid the damage. This doesn’t change my lack of recommendation of those spells.
Empowered Evocation:​ ​Obviously the biggest bang for your buck is on the most minor spells
(like Cantrips). In the end, this isn’t going to make a huge difference, but it’s OK. To players
thinking about magic missile plus this ability, this IS NOW SETTLED: ​Errata
Overchannel:​ ​Maximum damage with a 5​th​ level or lower spell. That’s fantastic! The way I
read this, 5​th​ level is the spell level maximum, not the spell slot maximum, so a fireball using a
7​th​ level slot would be applicable for Overchannel for example. (Correction, I read it wrong. A
spell using a 7th level slot IS a 7th level spell. Still a really good ability, but wanted to make that
point clear.)

School of Illusion: (Blue for Illusory Reality, which is SO good)


Improved Minor Illusion​: Get a free Cantrip and add sound to Minor Illusion. I must admit, I’m
not seeing a whole lot of value from that addition, but it’s certainly not bad.
Malleable Illusions​: ​Change an existing illusion. Again, I’m not immediately seeing a lot of
practical value from that ability except that I should point out that we are turning Minor Illusion
into a spell that both can move/change shape and provide sound. That’s a pretty notable boost
for a cantrip that is already (IMO) the best cantrip in the game.
Edit:​ Redditor “Gnomish Might” provided insight into how this power could interact effectively
with Mirage Arcane. You begin by covering a large area you will be adventuring in, then use
Mirage Arcane to create illusionary structures/etc from the original spell. Mirage arcane does
not provide a saving throw nor is it negated with interaction, making this combination quite
effective.
Edit 2:​ Redditor “Redditname01” points out that the Creation spell is illusion, so you can use
Malleable Illusions to change a real object (he suggests a piece of string) you created with the
Creation spell into a 5’ block of metal for example - all without using a spell slot. This is
obviously very useful - so useful I’m changing my rating of this ability to green. Thanks
Redditname01! I have your new Reddit Name: Awesome.
Illusory Self:​ ​Get out of one attack automatically for free per SHORT rest. Very, very nice.
Illusory Reality:​ ​So suddenly illusion is the ultimate Battlefield control. Make a silent Image of
a stone wall, then POOF! Your first level spell is wall of stone for 1 minute with no concentration
to maintain. Holy crap!
(There has been some suggestion that Illusory Reality was even MORE powerful by allowing
you to make something real once per round, not once per spell. The clarification is found ​here
good thing!)

School of Necromancy:
Grim Harvest:​ ​This isn’t giving temporary HP, it’s only healing you (which is pointless unless
you are wounded). You also have to be killing creatures (preferrably with your Necromancy
spells.) Good luck with that. Better ability for blaster style wizards than a god wizard.
Undead Thralls:​ ​Gives you a free known spell and makes your Animate Dead a bit better.
Good ability overall.
Inured to Undeath:​ ​A pretty circumstantial resistance.
Command Undead:​ ​One clear bonus to this ability I notice right away is that unlike Animate
Dead, the undead you control with this ability does not need reasserted each day. You can
control a maximum of one creature at a time with this, but a terrific ability nonetheless.

School of Transmutation:
Minor Alchemy:​ ​Temporarily change one substance into another. Really not seeing a lot of
value in this.
Transmuter’s stone:​ ​A very solid buff you can keep (YES) or give to someone else (GOD NO).
It can provide PROFICIENCY in CON saving throws, and some other lesser, but OK things.
Shapechanger:​ ​So you just got unlimited wild shape. Take that Druid! Not for combat forms,
but birdies, fishies, and other useful utility forms. Certainly useful.
Master Transmuter:​ ​Give up your Transmuter’s Stone until you have a long rest? NO. This
can Raise Dead? OK, maybe I can wait until a long rest to replace my Transmuter’s stone after
all.

War Magic School:


The Evoker/Abjurer, I’ve been most interested to see this!

Arcane Deflection (2nd):​ Use your reaction get get a +2 AC or +4 to saving throw. The AC
bonus is pretty lame considering Shield, but the saving throw bonus could be a lifesaver.
However, using this gimps your spell use other than cantrips. Hefty cost!

Tactical Wit (2nd):​ Int bonus to initiative. This is going to be the premiere ability of this
subclass.
Power Surge (6th):​ A lot of talk about power surges, how they are calculated, how many you
can store, how to get more. This is sounding very interesting. Once per turn when you deal
damage to a creature with a spell, you can spend one power surge to deal extra damage...equal
to ​half your wizard level​. Shwang, wang, wang.

Durable Magic (10th)​:​ +2 to AC and Saves when you are concentrating on a spell. That’s
really good. +2 to all saves? Sign me up now.

Deflecting Shroud (14th): ​Here’s your capstone. When you use Arcane deflection, you can do
damage to up to 3 creatures within 60’...equal to ​half your wizard level​. Shawang, wang, wang.

Wizards Overall/Final Thoughts:​ Well, there are two types of abilities the War Magic wizard
gets. Boring abilities and interesting abilities. Unfortunately, the interesting abilities (Power
surge, Deflecting Shroud), are pretty lame mechanically. Fortunately, the boring abilities
(Tactical Wit, Durable Magic) are pretty solid. So basically, this gives some pretty solid, if not
overly interesting, bonuses. Does it match a Diviner? Nope, worse. Does it match a
Transmuter? Nope, better. It’s somewhere in the middle. Here’s the thing, any Wizard that
gets to add Int to initiative is going to be pretty good, regardless of what else it has.