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Shillelagh 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Shillelagh 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Shillelagh is an offensive utility spell that belongs to the Druid spell list.

Shillelagh is similar to spells such as Arcane Weapon, Searing Smite, and Holy Weapon. All these spells have some type of buffing effect to either their caster’s or their target’s weapon.

The Player’s Handbook states the following:

Shillelagh 5e

Transmutation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 bonus action

Range: Touch

Components: V, S, M (a shamrock leaf, mistletoe, and a club or quarterstaff)

Duration: 1 minute

The wood of a quarterstaff or club you hold is imbued with nature’s power.

You use your spellcasting ability instead of your Strength for the damage and attack rolls of melee attacks using that weapon. The weapon’s damage die will also become d8.

The weapon will also become magical if it isn’t already. The spell will end if you cast it again or if you were to let go of the weapon.

Which Classes Can Pick Shillelagh?

A traditional class like the Druid can unlock and use this spell upon starting the game at level 1.

Bards can also unlock this spell when they unlock Magical Secrets at level 10.

The subclass College of Lore (Bard) gains additional bonuses to Magical Secrets and may choose a Cantrip from any class at level 6.

Is Shillelagh Good in 5e?

Shillelagh is an excellent early-game spell. Unfortunately, as you level up, you’ll have access to many other spells that act similarly (that doesn’t mean you don’t have to use it, you can always have it ready as it’s a Cantrip).

Note: One advantage is that its damage and attack rolls use your spellcasting ability, which is why players can still use it at certain times.

Advantages – Shillelagh

Bonus Action

Players can buff their club or quarterstaff after casting a spell that uses a standard action.

If you wish, you can use your bonus action to buff your weapon and attack with it. This saves a spell slot that would have been used, and uses Shillelagh to its fullest.

Magical Weapon Buff

Understandably, magical weapons deal more damage than regular ones. Many creatures are already not resistant to Bludgeoning damage, so adding magic damage only increases its effectiveness.

Material Component

Druids are quite resourceful in the wilderness. They can identify plants by looking at them; these senses aren’t often wrong.

Usually, material components are difficult to find. However, since the caster must be a Druid, it’s understandable to say there isn’t someone more qualified to obtain these plants.

Disadvantages – Shillelagh

Very Low Range

Even though it’s expected that a weapon buffing spell has low range, it would’ve been better if it could target allies’ weapons and yours at a distance.

Note: You could’ve buffed your weapon when placed in the Catapult spell if it had a longer range.

How Should I Use Shillelagh?

If You Need Extra Damage

Sometimes you want to get the last hit on an enemy by attacking it with a melee weapon.

Not only does this leave you with more spell slots to use, but it puts your bonus action to use (if you have one).

If you know you won’t have enough damage, simply buff your weapon with Shillelagh.

This way, you know the creature won’t be able to resist your damage effectively, and you’ll have a higher chance to one-shot the enemy.

Harder Striking (Smithing or Breaking Objects)

Sometimes you might want to break objects or work on your party’s current gear.

Using Shillelagh doesn’t only have to increase damage; it can also harden your item. So when you want to fix your allies’ weapon or smash through a wall, simply cast Shillelagh before you do it.

Note: The fact that you use your spellcasting ability to swing the weapon also means that you’ll be more likely to hit whatever you’re aiming for.

Inability to Buff Allies’ Weapons

Unfortunately, Shillelagh cannot target the items of others. It can only target your own.

Even if you were to take a weapon, buff it and give it back, the effect would subside. This makes Shillelagh a personal offensive utility spell and nothing more.

Are There Similar Spells Available?

Druid spells that also buff your physical state or items/objects are Primal Savagery and Magic Stone.

Note: Similar spells which aren’t available to Druids are, Arcane Weapon (UA), Holy Weapon, and Searing Smite.

Primal Savagery

Primal Savagery sharpens your nails and teeth, which acts as a buff. It deals 1d10 Acid damage (with 5 feet of range) but only has one use.

Unlike Shillelagh, this spell has Upscaling, which makes it better than Shillelagh in the late game.

Magic Stone

Magic Stone buffs an object/item similar to Shillelagh. The only difference is that it uses pebbles and turns them into mini-magic projectiles.

Its damage is 1d6 Bludgeoning + your spellcasting ability modifier, and it only has one use.

Similar to Shillelagh, it also doesn’t have any direct upscaling. It relies more on your spellcasting ability increasing as you level up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Twin Shillelagh?

Shillelagh can be twinned; however, the spell ends if you cast it again. Meaning you can’t apply it to two weapons.

Can You Dual Wield Shillelagh?

Since you can’t cast Shillelagh again without it canceling the effect it has on the current weapon, you can dual-wield with it. The closest you can come to dual wielding is grasping your buffed quarterstaff with two hands.

Can You Use Strength With Shillelagh?

Shillelagh replaces the need to use Strength when making an attack or damage roll. Instead, it uses your spellcasting ability, which spellcasters use much more than their Strength.

Does Shillelagh Scale With Level?

Unlike most Cantrips, Shillelagh doesn’t have any upscaling. The only relative scaling it has would be the indirect spellcasting ability scaling as you level up.

Final Thoughts

Even though Shillelagh isn’t the usual Druid spell, it can still be useful. The early game will have even Druids fighting in melee range, as they haven’t unlocked many spells yet.

Shillelagh makes it easier for Druids to deal with enemies infiltrating their space. It takes a rather useless caster and turns them into an effective low-level melee attacker.

The added magic damage is a big help, so don’t underestimate it!

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