Ray of Frost is a Cantrip attacking spell which gives players a basis of Cold spells. It falls under the Sorcerer, and Wizard spells lists.
Cantrip spells such as Ray of Frost are the steppings stones of any excellent spell caster. Its effects are only a fraction of what is possible with spells within D&D.
See the Player’s Handbook Description below:
Ray of Frost 5e
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
A rigid beam of blue-white light shoots toward a creature within range. Now make a ranged spell attack against the target of your choice.
If hit, it takes 1d8 Cold damage, reducing its speed by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.
Classes That Can Pick Ray of Frost
Traditional classes, such as the Artificer, Sorcerer, and Wizard, can pick this spell at level 1.
Subclasses like Eldritch Knights (Fighter) can take this spell at the 3rd level, while Arcane Tricksters (Rogue) must wait until unlocking Evocation spells at the 8th level.
Bards and their subclasses can unlock this spell with their Magical Secrets feature, which becomes available to all Bards by the 10th level.
Is Ray of Frost Good in 5e?
Ray of Frost is a solid Cantrip spell with relatively high damage and a fantastic early-game debuff.
Advantages – Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost’s best feature is the cold debuff that comes with a hit enemy.
In most cases, some enemies will have faster movement speed than you. Therefore, using Ray of Frost slows their movement speed by 10 feet, giving your party time to react accordingly.
Low-level enemies such as Wolves (and Dire Wolves), Allosaurus’, and Minotaur Skeletons are examples of creatures with higher speed than you. Thus inflicting them with cold debuff is a great approach.
High Damage (For Cantrips)
Even though the damage is only 1d8, it is still relatively high for a Cantrip. Its base damage is better than higher-level spells like Earth Tremor and Wrathful Smite.
Ray of Frost has a long enough range (60 feet) to classify it as a long-range spell.
Combined with spellcasters who flourish when casting long-range spells like Sorcerers and Wizards, transform the spell into a low cooldown debuff.
Note: Keeping your squishy spellcasters out of the frontline is crucial, so having high-range spells will naturally keep them out of dangerous close combat.
As long as you have a Cantrip prepared for the day, you can endlessly spam it without burning any spell slots.
Constantly providing debuffing cover will provide great utility for a frontline.
Future battles are also easier as you have a spell slot open while being ready to provide even more support to your party.
Even though the scaling isn’t as good as spells that can be upcasted, the fact that you simply gain 1d8 damage for being a certain level can come in handy.
It doesn’t require players to sacrifice higher spell slots for a Cantrip spell, enabling players to use them for better scaling spells.
Disadvantages – Ray of Frost
Ray of Frost’s damage scaling is terrible compared to higher-level spells like Chaos Bolt or Witch Bolt. Mainly due to it scaling with specific character levels and not spell slots.
Therefore players shouldn’t focus much on scaling but on its utility and usefulness within their campaign. Maybe you’ll find a use for it later on in your campaign.
When Should I Use Ray of Frost?
Cantrips spells are the most basic spells of D&D. They also require less thinking and are easier to experiment with.
Use this time to explore what works best for you and your party’s needs.
D&D can sometimes be unforgiving, and only some battles can be won. If things seem doomed, the best decision would be to get out as fast as possible.
That is where Ray of Frost comes in handy. Before running, players usually discuss their plans and determine when to get out of there.
If you have Ray of Frost, targeting the fastest or strongest enemy could be part of the plan.
Having them unable to use their full speed or slow a faster creature that could catch you can result in your party escaping successfully.
Melee Focused Battles
On the battlefield, the range of movement is determined by squares or grids.
Creatures with a higher speed can move faster than others and have the chance to strike players other creatures cannot reach.
Therefore, if you are a caster, you should stay out of melee altercations. However, if a creature described above is present, Ray of Frost will come in handy.
Debuffing the creature with Ray of Frost will make them much slower, decreasing their reach and giving your party more time to react to the threat.
It can also save the lives of supportive players targeted by these creatures.
Are There Better Spells Available?
An alternative Cantrip to Ray of Frost would be Frostbite. It doesn’t have the slow debuff.
However, it can disadvantage a target attacking with a weapon (often the way most enemies attack in the early stages).
But is it better? In short, no. It requires a Constitution saving roll to hit the creature; even if it fails, the chance it doesn’t hit is still there.
Consistency is critical in lower levels; anything decreasing can quickly kill a player.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Ray of Frost Be Twinned?
Ray of Frost can only target one creature and doesn’t have the range of self, which means it can be twinned.
Can You Stack Ray of Frost’s Debuff?
Hitting a target affected by Ray of Frost’s debuff will simply damage them without reducing the speed again.
Players shouldn’t underestimate the usefulness some Cantrip spells provide. Spells like Ray of Frost, as simple as it is, can completely change how a battle is played in the early stages of a campaign.