Clerics are the quintessential healers in DnD. They combine some of the best healing spells across the board with a full complement of spell slots and the ability to prepare any spell from their class’ spell list.
In DnD 5e however, Clerics also make great martial characters. They can often be found, if not in the front lines, then at least near them. This dual ability to provide support spell casting as well as wade into the fray set them apart from their arcane counterpart, Wizards.
As such, considering the best Cleric spells must take into account this dual role. Clerics are great at supporting their party members and even throwing out their own damaging spells, but personal buffs are also excellent uses of a spell slot.
Keeping in mind their place in a DnD party on and off the battlefield here are some of the best Cleric spells.
Best Cleric Cantrips
Before getting into the spells it’s worth looking at some of the best Cleric cantrips available.
This cantrip lets a character add 1d4 to their next ability check. While it doesn’t sound like much, the fact that this is a cantrip means practically all your out of combat ability checks can benefit from a little boost. The only downside is that it’s easy to forget about.
A solid source of radiant damage is always good to keep on hand in case of zombies or shadows. This spell does decent damage, especially at higher levels, and is a good choice for a Cleric’s damage cantrip.
More on Sacred Flame 5e.
Thaumaturgy is one of those multipurpose spells that can be great in the right hands or useless in the wrong ones. It lets you create a number of small effects including magnifying your voice or altering the appearance of your eyes.
It’s great for enhancing your roleplaying or (perhaps) giving a bonus on Intimidation or Persuasion checks.
Notably, it’s one of the only ways to magnify your voice in DnD 5e, so if you want to make yourself heard over the din of battle this is the spell to use.
Word of Radiance
Another solid source of radiant damage, this cantrip is an AOE version of Sacred Flame, limited to 5ft. Useful if you want to wade into a pile of undead.
More on Word of Radiance 5e.
Best Cleric Spells
This list focuses on great general use spells that expand the options available to you and can solve a wide variety of problems.
While staple healing spells like Heal are great to have prepared, if this list included all the healing spells Clerics could take there would hardly be room for anything else.
Bless (1st Level)
Bless gives three creatures 1d4 to all attacks and saving throws for one minute. While the attack buff is quite nice (and can be hard to get otherwise) the bonus to saving throws is where this spell really shines.
Few spells grant more than advantage on saves, and this spell stacks with those. This is a spell that remains a valuable use of your spell slot even at higher levels.
More on Bless 5e.
Aid (2nd Level)
For 8 hours, Aid increases the current and maximum hit points for up to three targets by 5. This is a great buff because it doesn’t provide temporary hit points.
Since the hit point maximum increases, Aid stacks with other sources of temporary hit points.
This spell can also be used like a discount Mass Healing Word in combat to bring three of your party members back from unconsciousness. Just remember, Aid can’t stack with itself so if it’s already active you’ll have to use an actual healing spell!
More on Aid 5e.
Enhance Ability (2nd Level)
A versatile spell, Enhance Ability is great for when you know a party member is about to try something difficult, like a social encounter or lifting a great weight.
I’ve seen it used to excellent effect to increase the carrying capacity of my group’s strongest member, allowing them to move several objects that would otherwise be outside our ability.
Silence (2nd Level)
Silence is one of my favorite spells for sheer utility. It’s perfect when trying to maintain stealth. Breaking down a door, getting into a brief scuffle, even preventing a guard from sounding the alarm are all great uses of this spell.
It almost completely shuts down casters. You can’t cast a spell with verbal components in the effect of Silence. Admittedly, this can prevent your party from casting as well if you position it poorly, but few spells are verbal component free.
This spell is comparable to Dispel Magic for its ability to shut down spellcasters and comes a level lower, so in my opinion, it’s always an excellent choice.
Just watch out; Sorcerers with the Subtle Spell metamagic will still be able to cast!
Spiritual Weapon (2nd Level)
Spiritual Weapon creates a floating weapon that deals 1d8+your spellcasting modifier damage. There are several spells across classes that conjure a weapon, but this spell stands out.
Not only is the spell not concentration, it also only requires a bonus action to cast and a bonus action on your turn to move the weapon up to 20 feet and attack. Basically, it’s designed not to interfere with your spellcasting at all.
At 2nd level, this can match or outpace most ordinary weapon damage you might use, without interfering in most of your actions; you can still attack with your own weapon with your action (or cast spells) freely, making it an excellent damage source for Clerics.
More on Spiritual Weapon 5e.
Revivify (3rd Level)
Clerics have access to several spells that bring the dead back to life, up to the 9th level True Resurrection. What earns Revivify a spot on this list is its accessibility.
The spell brings back to life with 1 hit point any creature that has died within the last minute. It doesn’t restore missing body parts but it does heal damage.
While other resurrection spells have fewer limitations, Revivify is meant to be used directly after (or occasionally during) a fight.
It can be distressingly easy for your character to go down and either fail death saves or be forced to fail them by attacks, but this spell significantly reduces the danger of going down (as long as you can avoid a total party wipe!).
The limitations can be inconvenient, but for most uses of the spell, they won’t matter.
Spirit Guardians (3rd Level)
This spell is a great buff, doing 3d8 damage and halving movement on a failed save to creatures of your choice within 15 feet. The spell lasts ten minutes, so it can last through multiple encounters.
Since the spell is centered on you, this buff works best with Clerics who are frontline fighters. The movement speed debuff allows you to act as your own personal chokepoint, making it much harder for melee enemies to get within range of your party’s backline.
Greater Restoration (5th Level)
You won’t always use this spell, but you probably want to always have it prepared.
Greater Restoration fixes problems. It removes either a level of exhaustion, the charmed condition, the petrified condition, a curse (including attunement to a cursed item), any ability score reduction, or any reduction of maximum hit points on your target.
Basically Greater Restoration is your party’s get-out-of-jail-free card and it can help keep characters alive through some truly deleterious effects.
Scrying (5th Level)
Scrying is a little situational, but Clerics are particularly well suited for casting it. Since they can prepare any spell from their spell list, your party members don’t need to spend resources to learn it. You can just prepare the spell when you need to use it.
The spell lets you spy on a creature or location (as long as the creature fails a save!) for up to ten minutes. In the hands of a creative party, information is the deadliest weapon.
The spell comes with ways to give save penalties to the creature you scry. With proper planning, only spellcasters with active countermagic can hide from you.
The most famous use of Scrying is the “Scry and Fry” technique. This technique has the party prepare their weapons, equipment, buffs, and allies before scrying their enemies.
Then, they use the knowledge of their location to teleport directly to them, engaging them in a perfect ambush. Just watch out, a conniving DM might decide to use the tactic against you!
True Seeing (6th Level)
This spell is another excellent utility option. It gives one creature the ability to see through any concealing magic, into the ethereal plane, and grants the creature truesight.
In short, for one hour, nothing can hide from a creature with this spell. The best part is True Seeing isn’t concentration! You can drop this spell on yourself or a party member and still be able to cast freely.
Word of Recall (6th Level)
For Word of Recall to work properly you must cast it in a safe area you designate as a sanctuary, somewhere that’s dedicated to your deity. Once you do so, any subsequent casting instantly transports you and five other creatures to the sanctuary.
This spell is great to prepare when you’re about to try something risky and need an exit plan. You can use this as a quick way of getting back to your party’s base or to a temple in a major city where you can get healing and resurrection in an emergency.
This is something that can save you from a total party wipe with just a little planning.
Word of Recall might seem too situational for a 6th level spell slot, but compared to the other 6th level spells it is the best at keeping your party alive (or at least, not dead for long).
Compared to something like Heal, which restores 70 hitpoints, Word of Recall affects more targets, does more to keep them out of danger, and allows you to effectively end an encounter so that healing can be done without worrying about combat.
Plane Shift (7th Level)
Not only does this spell let you and your party move between planes of existence, but you can also use it as a single target save or suck against your opponents.
While you have to make a spell attack and hope your target doesn’t make the saving throw, sending someone to another plane of existence ends encounters against single enemies. Send undead to the plane of positive energy or celestials to one of the nine hells. Send dragons or troublesome emperors anywhere else.
Plane Shift just solves problems. Of course, if your opponent has their own way to travel the planes, you might be facing them again, but at least you’ll have time to prepare.
In addition, Plane Shift is great for campaigns with a lot of planar plot points. Even if you don’t need to visit the City of Brass for plot reasons, you can use Plane Shift like a slower teleport. Simply shift to a plane, take a long rest, and shift back to your world. You get to pick the destination!
Even for a 7th level spell, Plane Shift is a good mix of power and versatility making it a must-take.
Antimagic Field (8th Level)
Antimagic Field is one of my favorite 8th level spells, and as a cleric, you can make the best use out of it. It creates a field that moves with you within which no magic can function. The spell isn’t dispellable with Dispel Magic and lasts up to an hour.
While Wizards get this spell because it moves with you your effectiveness as a caster is greatly diminished in the field. Luckily, clerics are perfectly capable of swinging maces; you aren’t useless if you can’t cast spells.
This spell is great for going up against Wizards and other spellcasters. Even powerful creatures like beholders can be somewhat neutralized with this spell.
The other benefit to this spell is that it prevents teleportation and planar travel, so if you have an enemy that’s fond of ditching the fight when the going gets rough, this plus a grapple is a good way to lock them down.
Holy Aura (8th Level)
This is the king of aura buff spells. Although it’s an 8th level spell and only lasts a minute, Holy Aura lets you pick creatures in a 30-foot radius to affect. Those creatures shed dim light, have advantage on all saving throws, and all other creatures have disadvantage on attacks against them.
Plus, if fiends or the undead attack those under your aegis they must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or be blinded.
This spell is great for supporting a group of adventurers delving into a dark dungeon to destroy the vampires or skeletons that lurk there. It’s especially great if you expect to face creatures that can force a lot of saving throws, like Beholders.
Basically, until this spell ends it’s very hard for your enemies to harm the party.
Mass Heal (9th Level)
This spell heals up to 700 hit points in any number of creatures within 60 feet of you, as well as curing disease, blindness, and deafness. While there are four 9th level Cleric spells, each with their own uses and utility, Mass Heal makes this list because of the sheer amount of support you can provide.
While you can use this to simply bring your party to full health, that’s not the best use of the spell.
Mass Heal shines when cast among a large number of ordinary people, on a battlefield or in a sickbay. If there’s a disease sweeping the land or the enemy spell casters have just downed a large swath of your army, Mass Heal saves the day.
It’s hard to declare a specific 9th level spell is better than the rest, but to my mind Mass Heal is by far the most generally useful.
These spells are good for particular situations or campaigns, but are limited outside their wheelhouse.
If you’re in the right moment these spells will give you a powerful advantage, but if the situation doesn’t fit you’ll never bother casting them.
Locate Object (2nd Level)
This spell has a few interesting uses, but isn’t likely to be generally relevant. If you’re in a campaign where your party has possession of an important artifact or object, this spell can help track it down if it’s stolen from you.
The spell is only effective to 1000 feet, so this is only useful if you can cast the spell as soon as it’s taken from your possession. That way you can follow the thief for the duration of the spell (or spells if you cast this spell repeatedly).
The other way to use this spell is to slip a special item onto someone’s person. Then you can track that person in the way described above, either right away or in the near future if you know the general area that person will be.
If someone swallows a special coin before being taken captive the party will have an advantage in finding where that person is being held in the BBEG’s stronghold.
Bestow Curse (3rd Level)
This spell is an excellent and versatile debuff. On a failed save it lets you inflict disadvantage on a saving throw of your choice, disadvantage on all attacks against you, the threat of wasting their action unless they succeed on a save every round, and having any spells or attacks you use deal an extra 1d8 necrotic damage to the target.
With these options alone the spell is solid, but you can also invent your own effects (with DM permission) instead of one of the four options. This ability is in the spell description, it’s not homebrew to cast Bestow Curse with the intention of forcing a save or having the target fall prone every turn!
On top of this, the spell offers an increased duration for the effects of the curse with higher spell slots. At 5th level or higher, the curse no longer requires concentration, and at 9th level, the curse is permanent until dispelled!
Meld into Stone (3rd Level)
Meld into Stone is a fun spell that lets you hide yourself for up to eight hours inside rock. It excels at defense, allowing you to both hide and make it extremely difficult for anyone to attack you as they would have to destroy the surrounding stone first.
You could use this spell to get a guaranteed long rest, for example. The spell is a ritual, so you can cast it without a spell slot.
Other uses for the spell include infiltration (hiding yourself in a stone statue or sculpture scheduled to be moved inside a heavily guarded building), saving your life if you get caught in a trap where the walls close in around you, spying on an enemy by melding with the stone of their home or workspace (just make sure you have good perception checks since your healing will be muffled!), or melding with a creature made of stone to avoid its attacks (like an earth elemental or stone golem, if your DM allows it).
Sending (3rd Level)
Sending allows you to send messages across any distance, a useful ability indeed in a world without smartphones.
However, the utility of this spell is determined almost entirely by the campaign; if you don’t have long-distance messages to send you’ll never use this spell.
Control Water (4th Level)
This spell can be great to use around water, or in conjunction with a spell like Wall of Water. It really shines if cast against an enemy ship; its ability to create whirlpools can drag away and damage ships, eventually sinking them.
While ships might be able to outpace the drag effect of whirlpools, Control Water lets you make multiple whirlpools within the area of the spell’s effect, and other tactics can be used to slow the ship down or delay its escape from the whirlpool.
Outside of naval combat though it requires some serious effort to use well. The easiest option is probably to force a pool of water to wrap around an enemy’s head, eventually suffocating them.
Most adventurers can hold their breath for a few minutes though which means you need to prevent the enemy from both leaving the area or forcing you to drop concentration for 20-30 full rounds. A lot can happen in that time.
Stone Shape (4th Level)
This spell allows you to shape a Medium-sized stone object or section of stone that fits within a 5-foot cube to your desire. The spell suggests uses like making a crude door or a passage through a stone wall.
This spell in the right circumstances and in the hands of a creative player can be highly effective, but it is dependent on being around, well, stone. Wooden or metal walls will mean nothing to this spell.
An interesting combo is using this spell in conjunction with Flesh to Stone, your DM might allow you to heal limbs with this combo or rework flesh into interesting shapes.
For best results consider having proficiency with mason’s tools or potter’s tools (since the material component for this spell is a piece of clay which you sculpt).
Dawn (5th Level)
Dawn is a relatively broad AOE with moderate damage for its level, but it’s one of the few spells that generate sunlight.
While it isn’t a great damage dealing spell (there are better options for both damage dealing and 5th level spells), with Dawn, killing vampires becomes a lot easier.
Regenerate (7th Level)
This spell lets you reattach limbs and regenerate up to 600 hp over the course of an hour. IWhile this is powerful, it’s difficult to lose limbs in DnD 5e without making use of several optional rules. This spell is great if your DM likes to chop off hands, but a little lackluster otherwise.
Etherealness (7th Level)
Etherealness is the ultimate scouting spell, rendering you all but indetectable and enabling you to move as you want through objects without difficulty.
You might only end up using this spell a few times in your career as a Cleric, but when you do pull it out it will give you a lot more options for gathering information or sneaking around.
While not quite as versatile as Wizards, clerics provide a broad spectrum of magical effects ranging from protection to healing, utility to damage.
They even have several excellent situational and open-ended spells you can use creatively.
Whether you’re dungeon crawling or battling the BBEG, these spells are excellent choices to handle whatever your DM throws at you!