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Magic Circle 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Magic Circle 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Your hands trace out a glowing circle on the ground with arcane energy.

As the final syllable leaves your lips, the circle flares to life with a pulsing light, forming a barrier between the realm of the mundane and the realm of the magical.

Within its confines, your powers are heightened, your allies are protected, and your enemies are held at bay. Shielding whoever finds themselves within the Magic Circle.

The Player’s Handbook states the following:

Magic Circle 5e

3rd-level Abjuration

Casting Time: 1 minute

Range: 10 feet

Components: V, S, M (the spell requires holy water or silver and iron powder worth at least 100 GP.)

Duration: 1 hour

You direct magical energy at a point on the ground that you are able to see within range to form a cylinder with a height of 20-feet and a radius of 10-feet.

Everywhere the cylinder touches the floor or another surface, glowing runes are visible.

Choose one or more of the following creature categories: celestials, elementals, fey, fiends, or undead. The circle has the following effects on the creature of the selected type:

  • The creature cannot enter the cylinder voluntarily using nonmagical means. The creature must first succeed on a Charisma saving throw if it intends to use teleportation or interplanar travel to accomplish this.
  • Attack rolls made by the creature against targets inside the cylinder have disadvantage.
  • The creature cannot charm, frighten, or possess targets inside the cylinder.

You have the option to make this spell’s magic work in reverse when you cast it, keeping creatures of the targeted type inside the cylinder and defending targets outside of it.

At Higher Levels: When you cast Magic Circle using a 4th-level spell slot or higher, the duration will increase by 1 hour for each spell slot level above 3rd.

Which Classes Can Pick Magic Circle 5e?

Traditional classes, like the Cleric, Paladin, Warlock, and Wizard, can freely unlock Magic Circle.

The Cleric, Warlock, and Wizard can unlock and use Magic Circle at level 5, while Paladins can only unlock it at level 9.

The subclass, Arcana Domain (Cleric), can freely unlock Magic Circle at level 5.

Is Magic Circle Good in 5e?

Magic Circle is a great spell, but it isn’t a must-have, as it is situational. It only affects certain creatures, so it is best used in campaigns where those creatures are prevalent.

It is, however, a great spell to pick up and teach yourself about possibility. You won’t always use the spell, as it’ll be situational, but at least you have it.

Note: Undead are prevalent in most campaigns, so it might not be a bad choice!

Advantages – Magic Circle

No Action Used

Even though Magic Circle takes some time to cast, it doesn’t use a standard action.

Most spells in 5e use actions, so saving an action means you can cast another spell or activate a different ability (which will help you in extended fights).


Magic Circle has a duration of 1 hour with no Concentration. Its duration alone makes this spell very powerful, as it already covers a large area.

Note: In most cases, you’ll only have to cast this spell once in battles (if it isn’t dispelled).

Large Area

One significant advantage of Magic Circle compared to similar spells is its large area of effect.

Even if it can’t be moved, you’ll still be able to fit most, if not all, of your party members within its boundaries.

Disadvantages – Magic Circle


Magic Circle has a tiny range of 10 feet. While the spell covers quite a large area, it can’t be cast very far, making it even less effective in combat.


Magic Circle cannot be moved after it is cast. Unlike the Protection from Evil and Good, Magic Circle sacrifices its mobility for its large area of effect.

Spells Similar to Magic Circle 5e

Spells similar to Magic Circle are Protection from Evil and Good (1st-level), Hallow (5th-level), Forbiddance (6th-level), Guards and Wards (6th-level), and Temple of the Gods (7th-level).

When or How Should You Use Magic Circle?

Defending an Area

Magic Circle has a long casting time of 1 minute. This is too long to be used in combat, as when you finish the spell, combat will probably be over already.

So if you want to use it in combat, start casting it before combat starts. The best way to do this is if you are defending an area.

Remember, the spell can’t be moved, so you need to be certain of the location before casting it.

Withstanding Conditions

When inside Magic Circle, you’ll be immune to the Charmed, Frightened, and Possessed conditions made by the specified creatures.

Note: You can use this to avoid breaking your Concentration.

Fighting Demonic or Divine Entities

Entities known as Celestials and Fiends are from the Upper and Lower Planes.

They include Demons, Devils, Angels, and Pegasi (you’ll mostly confront Fiends, as they are naturally evil compared to the Celestials).

All these creatures are naturally stronger than others due to their more divine existence. So having a spell that can disadvantage them and give advantage to your party is a massive plus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Magic Circle Be Dispelled?

Once you complete the Magic Circle and the words are on the ground, the spell can be dispelled using a Dispel Magic spell.

Note: It can also be counter-spelled in the correct situation.

Is Magic Circle Better Than Protection from Evil and Good?

While both are very similar, Protection from Evil and Good is much more consistent and takes less time to cast. It also burns a 1st-level spell slot instead of a 3rd-level one.

The main downside of using Protection from Evil and Good would be the spell not affecting more than one person, as Magic Circle does.

Final Thoughts

Magic Circle is a powerful spell that creates a protective barrier against supernatural beings, both for offensive and defensive purposes.

The spell allows for strategic planning and can be helpful in various situations, making it a valuable tool for any supportive spellcaster.

Just be careful of any effect that makes you leave the area; without it, you’ll be a sitting duck against some of the most powerful monsters!

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