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Booming Blade 5e D&D Guide

Booming Blade 5e D&D Guide

Here we take a look at Booming Blade, a damage-boosting melee cantrip. It holds promise for any full caster and really shines when paired with an array of subclasses.

Booming Blade 5e

The rules for Booming Blade are found in The Sword Coast Adventurers Guide and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

Evocation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: Self (5-Foot Radius)

Components: V, M (A melee weapon worth at least 1sp.)

Duration: 1 Round

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you.

On a hit, the target suffers the weapon’s normal effects and then becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before then, the target takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.

This spell’s damage increases when you reach certain levels. At the 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 thunder damage to the target on a hit, and the damage the target takes for moving increases to 2d8. Both damage rolls increase by 1d8 at the 11th level (2d8 and 3d8) and again at the 17th level (3d8 and 4d8).

The rules for the Booming Blade cantrip show it is a bit unconventional, provided it utilizes a melee weapon attack through a spell. The key to remember here is this is a Spell Action, not an Attack Action, follow the rules as such.

Is Booming Blade Good?

Booming Blade increases the damage output for any weapon on a single attack (starting at level 5). This can dramatically affect a caster’s usefulness outside of using spells that require slots.

Since it is a damage cantrip, it levels up nicely. The additional damage dealt when an enemy willingly moves is just a bonus reason to use the spell.

Booming Blade deals thunder damage, and while not the rarest resistance type, it is not as common as fire or lightning.

Beyond that, even a creature that has resistance to thunder still takes the normal weapon damage.

This means that character classes that have only one attack can do increased damage on every attack and bonus damage if the creature moves more than 5 feet willingly.

What Classes Get Booming Blade?

Booming Blade is an evocation cantrip on the Wizard, Sorcerer, and Warlock spell lists.

This makes the spell serviceable for the general caster. It does bonus damage on any melee attack. The problem is that, generally, if a caster is making a melee attack, the situation is dire.

The Eldritch Knight is a good option, as is the hex-based Warlock, but the real master of this spell is the Arcane Trickster Rogue. Outfitted with a 1d8 damage rapier, an Arcane Trickster using Booming Blade does 2d8 damage for an attack at level 1.

The benefit of this class combo only gets better as the character levels up. The damage increases per the standard cantrip rate, meaning additional damage at the 5th,11th, and 17th levels. Also, at level 5, the target takes 2d8 thunder damage if it moves 5 feet willingly. By the way, it stacks on a sneak attack.

Bottom Line
Any class that can cast this spell will benefit thanks to its damage bump and its backup-plan potential. The only real downside is being a caster and needing to be engaged in melee combat to use it.

Booming Blade: Optimized for Combat

As stated above, any class can take Booming Blade and see a benefit, but the best use of the Evocation Cantrip belongs to the Arcane Trickster Rogue. While thunder damage is not stealthy by any means, the spell was practically made for the rogue class.

The Rogue class gets Sneak Attack at the 1st level and the Cunning Action ability at the 2nd level. Cunning Action allows them to use a bonus action to hide, dash, or disengage.

At 2nd level, the rogue outfitted above does 1d8 damage (rapier 1d8) plus sneak attack (if applicable, 1d6) if they use the spell, 1d8 Thunder damage is added from Booming Blade if the target moves 5 feet or more. Booming Blade allows the rogue to match other high-damage classes.

At the 5th level, Booming Blade adds 2d8 damage if the target moves more than 5 feet, plus 1d8 Thunder damage is added to the attack itself.

An Arcane Trickster Rogue at level 5 has a combat turn damage of 1d8 from Booming Blade + 1d8 from the rapier + 3d6 from sneak attack (if applicable) + 2d8 from the target of Booming Blade if it moves more than 5 feet.

A clever rogue will move into melee range with a creature who is engaged with the rogue’s ally and attack, hitting for 2d8+3d6 damage.

Then disengage, hoping to draw the monster toward the rogue causing the monster to take the additional 2d8 damage.

Hot Tip
If you are a DM and find that a player character is brutally assaulting your baddies with Booming Blade, use a creature that automatically does damage in melee range or has a close-quarters effect like a salamander or an umberhulk. A ring of spell turning or the Sentinel Feat on the BBG should force a strategy change as well.

Booming Blade: Sword Coast vs. Tasha’s

  • A few updates were made to Booming Blade with the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The rules here are the most recent presented in TCE. Some of the notable changes were:
  • Range changed from 5 feet to “self (5-foot radius).”
  • The spell cannot be Twin Spelled via metamagic due to the new range of self.
  • The spell can be cast using the War Caster Feat.
  • The spell no longer works with the Spell Sniper Feat as the spell has a range of self and cannot be doubled.
  • A Pact Weapon can be used with the spell since the conjured weapon simulates the value of a real weapon.
Hot Tip
The Spell Sniper feat grants you a cantrip that requires an attack roll. Booming Blade meets these criteria. This means the spell can be added to any class that meets the criteria for the spell sniper feat.

Booming Blade 5e FAQs

Is Booming Blade Good for Fighters in 5e?

You might think Booming Blade does well paired with an Eldritch Knight (Fighter) as they are already quite adept with melee fighting (plus they have a decent melee weapon), but it’s actually the other way around.

Spellcasters usually struggle with melee, so if they have Booming Blade, their melee weapon will do more damage, and they’ll provide some much-needed utility for the party.

While Booming Blade is good on Fighters, it’s best used on characters who specialize in utility and need a bit of a boost to their melee power when harassed by pesky enemies.

What Is the Best Use of Booming Blade in 5e?

The effects of Booming Blade limit the distance the target can walk, lasting until your next turn. 

Keeping this in mind, you’ll want to use Booming Blade to isolate a target you feel can have the MOST impact on their turn, whether that’s by dealing damage, healing enemy units, defending low HP enemies, or just being a nuisance.

A good example of where to use Booming Blade would be if an enemy is constantly targeting the backline, so by isolating them or ending their life, you can put a stop to their incessant attacks.

Can You Use Booming Blade on Every Attack in 5e?

When you read Booming Blade’s description, it states that “a melee attack” must be made, and as you know, it is already part of a spell attack action, so the damage of both the weapon and the spell will be added.

To answer the question, Booming Blade is only activated on one attack, meaning it doesn’t work with Extra Attacks/Multi-Attacks.

Final Thoughts

Cantrips are about as easy to get as hit points for a wizard, so picking them can be tricky. Booming Blade is about as good as you can get in terms of damage at close range.

It should definitely be considered if you are a caster who finds themselves too close for comfort with enemies often.

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