Spiritual Weapon is a 2nd-level spell belonging to the Cleric spell list.
Spiritual Weapon is a melee incantation of divine wrath summoned by a Cleric to resemble and deal with foes without facing their filth.
The Player’s Handbook specifics are as follows:
- Spiritual Weapon 5e
- Classes Able To Use Spiritual Weapon
- Is Spiritual Weapon Good?
- Advantages of Spiritual Weapon
- Drawbacks of Spiritual Weapon
- Optimizing Spiritual Weapon
- Final Thoughts
Spiritual Weapon 5e
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: 1 minute
A spellcaster creates a spectral weapon floating in the air within the casting range. It will last for the duration or until the spell is cast again, refreshing its duration.
Spiritual Weapon Combat
When casting Spiritual Weapon, the spellcaster makes a melee spell attack targetting a creature within 5 feet of the spectral weapon.
If hit, the creature will take force damage equalling 1d8 + the spellcasting ability modifier of the caster.
Note: On the same turn, as a bonus action, the spectral weapon can be moved up to 20 feet. Players can then repeat the attack against another creature within 5 feet of the weapon.
Spiritual Weapon Form
Each weapon created can take whatever form the caster chooses. Clerics belonging to deities associated with particular weapons, such as St. Cuthbert (known for his mace) and Thor (known for his hammer), will have the effects of their weapons affecting the resemblance of the spectral weapon.
At Higher Levels: Casting Spiritual Weapon using a spell slot level of the 3rd level or higher increases the damage by 1d8 for every two spell slot levels above the 2nd.
Classes Able To Use Spiritual Weapon
Traditional classes that have access to Spiritual weapons are the Cleric and Bard classes (Upon reaching level 10, Bards unlock Magical Secrets, allowing them to choose two spells of any class).
Subclasses like the Eldritch Knight can learn spells from any magic school at its respective levels (8th, 14th, and 20th).
Is Spiritual Weapon Good?
Spiritual Weapon is a remarkable spell in the early and late game. It has a significant damage type, ease of use, and casting time as a bonus action.
Experienced players can turn spells like Spiritual Weapon into mighty weapons on the battlefield.
Advantages of Spiritual Weapon
Damage Type – Force
Force damage is part of D&D’s three least resisted and immune to damage types, which means that almost all creatures in the game take full damage when the attack does Force damage.
To put things into perspective, as of November 2021, there were 2074 creatures published, with only 10 being resistant to Force damage.
Considering that Spiritual Weapon is available as a 1st-level spell that deals Force damage, it instantly shoots up to being one of the best early-game spells out there.
Its low cost and relatively long range make this spell deadly when facing most melee and shorter-ranged monsters early on.
Actions, spells, or attacks having their casting time as a ‘bonus action’ directly increases their usefulness and usability.
Note: After attacking and using an action, players can cast items, abilities, and spells described as a bonus action.
Remember, if an item doesn’t expressly say it has a bonus action, there will be no bonus action to take.
Drawbacks of Spiritual Weapon
Low Base Damage (Without Double Cast)
When looking at base damage, it is good to compare Spiritual Weapon to other 1st-level damaging spells like; Burning Hands, Chaos Bolt, Ray of Sickness, and Thunderwave.
All of which have higher base damage than Spiritual Weapon.
These spells might not have Force damage; however, they have the firepower to destroy enemies effectively without worrying too much about what players roll with the die.
Note: The base damage of Spiritual Weapon increases tremendously when Double Cast is incorporated.
Ultimately, it is not because it deals more damage but because it does damage to more than one creature.
Scaling is critical when looking at how effective spells will be in the late game. Therefore having a spell with mediocre scaling jeopardizes its usefulness for the rest of the game.
In situations where Double Cast isn’t an option, the scaled damage stays low, being surpassed by other higher-level spells with better scaling, like Cloud of Daggers, Moonbeam, and Scorching Ray.
Traditionally Clerics are the only class able to use Spiritual Weapon. Therefore, newer players unfamiliar with multi-classing and subclasses could feel like Spiritual Weapon is entirely unobtainable.
Optimizing Spiritual Weapon
Optimizing spells and seeing how they work is crucial for a spellcaster to use their spells creatively and usefully.
Incorporate Bonus Action
Now knowing that Spiritual Weapon is cast using a bonus action, players can easily incorporate it into their attacks.
For example, a player could cast Poison Spray, obliterating the frontline and poisoning the creatures not already dead.
After that, they could cast Spiritual Weapon as a bonus action, cleaning up the remaining enemies within 60 feet.
In all honesty, they did the work of two mages in one turn, making this spell especially good when a party lacks adventurers or spellcasters.
Note: Casting a spell needing 1 bonus action means that the only other spell that is castable that turn is a cantrip.
Fight With Your Deity in Mind
Roleplay is a vital aspect of D&D; for some, it’s even more important than dealing vast amounts of damage.
Luckily, Spiritual Weapon has all the roleplaying potential plus decent damage output.
Being aligned with a deity is very important for some Clerics, so crucial that they may build their whole character around their deity.
This is where Spiritual Weapon becomes a great tool to show the strength and presence of their deity.
Not only will the weapon change depending on the deity chosen, but it will also represent the character’s divine link with this deity.
Maybe this power could be seen as some kind of divine intervention exerted by the Cleric in your party.
In my opinion, the best spells in D&D aren’t the ones that deal the most damage or do the most to benefit the party. The best spells are the ones that connect with the character you are playing.
How else would you become the greatest Cleric to walk the mortal realm?