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Thorn Whip 5e D&D Guide

Thorn Whip 5e D&D Guide

Thorn Whip is a Cantrip attack and utility spell. It is a part of the Artificer and Druid spell lists.

Spells such as Thorn Whip have multiple effects, making them more complicated to use but very rewarding once you have decided how to use them.

The Player’s Handbook Description below states:

Thorn Whip 5e

Transmutation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 30 feet

Components: V, S, M (the stem from a plant with thorns)

Duration: Instantaneous

You construct a long, vine-like whip covered in sharp thorns. At your command, the whip lashes out toward a creature within range.

Now make a melee spell attack against a target of your choice. If it hits, the target takes 1d6 piercing damage, and if the creature’s size is Large (or smaller), you can pull the target up to 10 feet closer to your position.

At Higher Levels: Thorn Whip’s damage increases by 1d6 upon reaching the 5th (2d6), 11th (3d6), and 17th level (4d6).

Classes That Can Pick Thorn Whip

Traditional classes, such as the Artificer and Druid, can use this spell at level 1. Bards can also unlock Thorn Whip at level 10 when they unlock Magical Secrets.

Subclasses like the Arcane Trickster (Rogue) can unlock and use this spell at level 8.

Is Thorn Whip Good in 5e?

Thorn Whip is an excellent spell when used in the right conditions. Its damage and controlling effect make it a great choice for parties eager for constant close-range battle.

Advantages – Thorn Whip


Cantrips can be acquired at level 1. They are the first spells adventurers will learn and use, propelling them into their preferred playstyle.

Common Material Component

Unlike Material components using expensive Diamonds or rare items like lightning-struck branches, Thorn Whip uses a thorny plant’s stem.

Finding a thorny stem won’t be challenging whether you’re in the capital (with rose bushes) or a forest (with thorny flowers or growing trees).

Decent Early-game Damage

1d6 Damage is relatively low compared to higher-leveled spells. However, it’s more than enough for a Cantrip with such great utility.

Even when only comparing the damage, it can still be quite helpful. After all, any damage is good damage in the early game!

Disadvantages – Thorn Whip

Low Range

Thorn Whip doesn’t have the highest range, which can be problematic for adventurers who pick it solely out of interest.

If a party isn’t made with close-range combat in mind (especially in the early game), then fighting with a short-range spell isn’t a good idea.

Players are more susceptible to injury and can quickly be overrun if many creatures appear.

Stick with something your party synergized with. It’ll give everyone a better chance at survival.

Terrible Scaling

Similar to many Cantrips, Thorn Whip cannot be upscaled. Instead, it automatically scales when the player reaches a certain level where the damage can increase.

Unfortunately, even with the upscaling being ‘free,’ it is still less useful than a spell that can be upscaled.

This is primarily due to its low damage increase of 1d6, which is pathetic when looking at higher-level spells.

When Should I Use Thorn Whip?

Thorn Whip flourishes when used to remove enemies from their group. It can also help to reposition an enemy to a point where your party is more equipped to deal with it.

Think of it as an offensive utility spell!

Singling Out Enemies

Enemies usually approach or attack in groups where they are most powerful. Within the group, they can support each other, use reactions and block oncoming attacks that would’ve reached their backline.

The best way to deal with a group of enemies is to use AoE or single them out to deal with them more quickly.

Low-level adventures don’t have access to powerful AoE magic, which leaves singling the enemies out as the following approach.

Individual Weakness

When you decide to use Thorn Whip and hit an enemy, the best bet is to position them close to 2 or more of your party members.

This will give them enough range to react to attacks while also being able to go in simultaneously and make quick work of the foe.

Note: Remember, many low-level creatures rely on their numbers. So having two adventurers jump them will be more than they can handle.

With a Strong Frontline

Parties usually don’t have a shortage of frontline players (Barbarians, Clerics, Fighters, Paladins, or Rogues). They specialize in close combat and can take hits while delivering them.

Frontlines like these are tough, so players with Thorn Whip should keep that in mind.

Note: The plan could malfunction if the frontline only consisted of Clerics, Monks, and Warlocks!

Into the Frying Pan

Think of a strong frontline like a hot pan; if you pull enemies near them, they can quickly cook them.

Your additional damage combined with their melee abilities makes enemies helpless against this combo. Just inform your frontline before throwing a goblin on their heads!

Frequently Asked Questions

Must Thorn Whip Pull the Target?

As you surround a target with vines and pull them, you must choose a number that they move. If you don’t wish to pull the target, you can simply say that you ‘pull the target 0 feet’.

Is Thorn Whip a Melee Attack?

Even though Thorn Whip gives the caster an attack range of 30 feet, it is still classified as a melee attack.

Can Thorn Whip Trigger an Opportunity Attack?

Unfortunately, Thorn Whip cannot trigger an opportunity attack. For the opportunity to trigger, it must still follow the standard rules for such an action.

Final Thoughts

Thorn Whip is an exciting spell with a helpful early-game effect that synergizes well with close-range parties. Its utility can be the turning point of a fight which isn’t bad for a Cantrip spell.

Since the top 5 most popular classes usually include the Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, and Barbarian.

It’s safe to assume that Thorn Whip would be helpful in most cases, even if you don’t tell your party what you are planning!

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