Banishment is a unique 4th-level utility spell. It is part of the Cleric, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard spell lists.
Banishment is more of a utility spell because players can use it in various ways. It can act as an offensive, defensive and supportive spell; all that matters is where and what it is used on.
The Player’s Handbook description states as follows:
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S, M (an item repugnant to the target)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute
Players can attempt to send one target they can see within range to a foreign plane of existence.
Targets native to the plane of existence the caster is currently on will instead be banished to a harmless demiplane. While in the plane, the target is incapacitated.
The target will remain there until the spell comes to an end. At this point, the target will reappear in the same space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if its previous space is occupied.
Targets native to a different plane of existence to which the caster is currently on will be banished while being able to hear a faint popping sound, ultimately returning them to their home plane.
If Banishment ends before 1 minute has expired, the target will reappear in the previously occupied or the nearest unoccupied space. Otherwise, the target will not return.
At Higher Levels: When Banishment is cast using a spell slot that is the 5th level or higher, players can target one additional creature for each slot above the 4th.
Classes That Can Pick Banishment
Traditional classes, such as the Cleric, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard, have Banishment in their spell lists.
Many subclasses cannot access Banishment freely. They will have to level up, gaining the ability to learn other classes’ spells, or they must instead see if they can modify their spell lists.
Is Banishment Good in 5e?
Banishment is an interesting utility spell that uses the power of teleportation against its target. It is a good spell but can become highly overpowered when used correctly.
Advantages of Banishment
Excellent Scaling (Free Twinning)
Banishment has a mechanic similar to twinning, enabling the caster to target additional creatures when using a spell slot high than the 4th level.
Note: Just be careful not to waste a level 4 spell slot on banishing a creature that can eventually return.
Banishment is more of a utility spell used aggressively, and since it uses Concentration, players shouldn’t get too close to a battle.
However, it has a decent range (60 feet), meaning a long-range spellcaster (Sorcerer or Wizard) will be safer using it. In fact, they can keep providing damage to a party while in the backline.
Disadvantages of Banishment
Creature-Specific Material Component
The biggest drawback of Banishment is its specific Material component.
Most players will not know which items creatures hate, but what if they do not know against which creatures they will fight?
They will be going into the battle without being able to prepare, making Banishment completely unusable.
Banishment uses Concentration; therefore, it can easily be canceled if the caster were to take damage or cast another Concentration spell.
Players can avoid these drawbacks if they cast Banishment from further than needed (but within its range) so as not to be damaged.
Players can also prepare spells that do not use Concentration, enabling them to fight without canceling Banishment.
How To Use Banishment
Even though Banishment can remove enemies from a battlefield, the appropriate way to use it is straightforward.
Banish the Appropriate Target
When banishing a target, one of two things can happen. The banished creature will either reappear after one minute or never appear again.
Note: Having the target reappear could make things difficult since you have used a powerful 4th-level spell slot.
Banishing a target and having them return could be helpful, as they have been out of combat for around 10 rounds.
However, upon their return, they will still be as much of a threat as they were before.
If a target never returns, players successfully send a creature to their home plane. This eliminates the threat of that creature returning, which will be 10 times more useful than if it returned.
Banish Powerful Creatures
If you can banish a powerful creature, do so. It is no doubt that the creature will pose a great threat to your party, and it would benefit everyone more if it were gone.
Note: Discuss this with your party first, as the creature might have something one of them needs.
Choosing Material Components
The easiest way to identify which components creatures find distasteful is to look at what they are.
Demons, Devils, and Fiends hate holy objects and despise cold iron. Using this logic, Werewolves might be vulnerable to silver or Vampires to garlic. It depends on the DM and what they believe to be “distasteful.”
Elementals have many vulnerabilities. Therefore you can use water against a Fire elemental or cold against water elementals. Some creatures might also have lore that describes what they find distasteful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Creatures Plane Shift While Banished?
When banished, the affected target will be incapacitated for the duration of the spell or until it is canceled. Therefore they cannot use Plane Shift until the duration of Banished runs out.
Can You Banish a Tarrasque?
If you can hit a Tarrasque, you will successfully banish it. It has three instant saves each day, so the chance of it failing is more or less zero.
Can You Banish Tiamat?
If players can bring Tiamat’s health down to zero and then banish her to Avernus, players will receive 50% more scales than usual. Therefore, Tiamat can indeed be banished, even when above zero health.
Banishment can be an enjoyable spell. Players just need to understand the risks of using it.
It would be a travesty for players to banish a creature only for it to come back and ultimately destroy them!