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Ice Knife 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Ice Knife 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Ice Knife is a 1st-level ranged offensive spell falling under the Druid, Sorcerer, and Wizard spell lists.

This spell is a versatile low-level spell that players can use to deal a burst of unexpected damage if the attack hits the desired target.

The Player’s Handbook specifics are as follows:

Ice Knife 5e

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 60 feet

Components: S, M (drop of water or piece of ice)

Duration: Instantaneous

You create a fragment of ice and launch it at one target within range. Now make a ranged spell attack against the target.

If Ice Knife hits, the target takes 1d10 piercing damage. Whether it is a hit or miss doesn’t matter, as the fragment always explodes.

The target, along with the creatures within 5 feet of the point of impact, must succeed on a Dexterity saving roll or take 2d6 cold damage instead.

At Higher Levels: When you cast Ice Knife using a spell slot of the 2nd level or higher, its cold damage will increase by 1d6 for each slot level above 1st

What Is Ice Knife 5e?

Ice Knife is a 1st-level spell belonging to the Conjuration magic school. It is instantaneous and has a range of 60 feet. The caster must use Somatic and Material components to cast the spell successfully. Players need to make one standard action.

The spell deals 1d10 piercing damage on a hit, and the shard explodes at the place of impact. Ultimately dealing 2d6 cold damage if the target does not succeed in a Dexterity saving roll.

How Do You Cast Ice Knife?

Players need to have a level one slot open since Ice Knife requires the spell slot to be cast.

Note: The spell slot level of a spell is directly correlated to the level of the spell.

When casting the spell, players must have a Somatic and Material component. The material component can either be a water droplet or a piece of ice.

Depending on your location, either one will be easy to obtain.

Note: This spell doesn’t require any Verbal component; therefore, even if you cannot speak, you can still cast this spell.

Which Classes Have Access to Ice Knife?

Three main classes have Ice Knife in their spell lists, Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards.

Wizards: Wizards have access to spells like Chromatic Orb and Magic Missile, which have a higher damage output and a longer range. It makes them more reliable and safer for squishy early-game spellcasters.

Sorcerers: Sorcerers also have Chromatic Orb and Magic Missile. However, they also have access to a potent spell called Chaos Bolt.

Druids: Druids, on the other hand, have less damaging spells but much-needed supportive spells that will aid a party. Spells like Entangle, Faerie Fire, Fog Cloud, and Goodberry are all highly reliable options that outperform Ice Knife.

Subclasses like the Eldritch Knight (Fighter) and Divine Soul (Sorcerer) can choose the Ice Knife spell after reaching a certain level.

Is Ice Knife Good?

Ice Knife is a decent spell at best. Unfortunately, its usefulness is quickly overshadowed for Sorcerers and Wizards because their spell lists contain much more reliable options.

Advantages of Ice Knife

Good low-level Druid spell: Since druids don’t have many damaging spells, Ice Knife can be pretty useful in the hands of a Druid in the early game. Just be sure your character needs the damage because if your party already has enough, supportive spells would have been a much more reliable option.

Crowd control: One good aspect of Ice Knife is its additional crowd control. Even if the knife misses, it can still deal some cold damage if the targets within range fail their Dexterity save.

Dexterity saving roll: Luckily, Ice Knife forces nearby affected creatures to make a DEX saving roll instead of a CON saving roll. Most creatures have lower average DEX stats than CON stats. (More creatures will ultimately fail their saving rolls.)

Drawbacks of Ice Knife

Bad usability: All three classes, especially Sorcerer and Wizard, quickly unlock or already possess spells providing much more than Ice Knife. Druids also tend to focus more on supporting their team than wanting to deal independent damage, making Ice Knife unnecessary in most cases.

Waste of spell slots: Players will be better off using their precious spell slots on higher-level spells providing more utility and damage for their party (Fireball, Magic Missile, Mage Armor, Entangle, etc.)

Is Ice Knife Better Than Burning Hands?

Ice Knife has a more extended range (60 feet) and various damage types (piecing and cold damage), while Burning Hands only deal fire damage. The damage increase for each higher-level spell slot is also the same (1d6).

On the other hand, Ice Knife requires players to have a Material component (drop of water or piece of ice).

Ice Knife also has a more diminutive (5-foot) AoE effect than Burning Hands (15-foot cone).

In turn, increasing the overall damage output of Burning Hands significantly compared to Ice Knife.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can You Twin Ice Knife?

Ice Knife has a range of 60 feet, making it eligible to be twinned. Players must spend sorcery points equal to the spell’s level (1st-level spell = 2 sorcery points).

Does Ice Knife Hit the Caster?

After casting Ice Knife, the area affected by cold damage is 5 feet. If the caster were to be within 5 feet, they and the creatures in the area would need to make a Dexterity saving roll or take 2d6 cold damage.

How Much Damage Does Ice Knife Do?

The initial damage dealt by Ice Knife on a hit is 1d10 piercing damage.

Creatures within 5 feet of where the knife struck would take 2d6 cold damage if they fail their DEX save.

Ultimately the spell can deal up to 2d6 cold + 1d10 piercing damage.

Final Thoughts

Ice Knife, sounds like it would be a fascinating and quite helpful spell. In reality, it is interesting; however, the same cannot be said for its suitability.

For players wishing to use Ice Knife still, remember that you can always switch out spells as your levels increase.

So I urge players to experiment before taking my word for it!

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[…] Ice Knife is a 1st level conjuration spell that fits well with the chaotic nature of the Sorcerer. The caster creates a shard of ice and makes a ranged spell attack. […]