Last Updated on January 22, 2023
Druids are one the coolest class options you have in Dungeons and Dragons 5e. They exist outside the normal spellcasting dichotomy of Arcane vs. Divine and Wizard vs. Cleric.
Technically, they are divine spellcasters, but their spell list is oriented toward fey and the natural world, unlike the celestial or fiendish nature of the Cleric paradigm.
The Druid spell list is wide and varied, allowing you to fill any role in the party.
Like all spellcasters, your cantrips will not only be your most-used spells but the spells that flavor your Druid character more than any other and give them the ability to fill whichever niche in the party you intend to fill.
In this post, we will give our expert advice on which cantrips are best for all types of druids by party role, by subclass, and by multiclass.
Are we done with the links, yet? Let’s get started.
What Are the Best Cantrips for My Druid?
I am so glad you asked.
Your Druid most likely fulfills one of two types of roles in the party. You are either playing a Martial role, such as Tank or Nuker, or a support role, such as Utility or Face.
Martial Druids run the gamut.
You may be using your Wild Shape as a way to soak up aggro via the temporary hit points provided by your beast form, or you may be using a sword (or stick) and board tactic to provide magical healing and damage output from the front line.
For this strategy, we recommend your first two cantrips be shillelagh and resistance.
With a bonus action, you enchant 1 club or quarterstaff to deal 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier in damage. The weapon also becomes magical, meaning it will overcome some resistances offered by various foes.
We chose this spell over primal savagery because 1d8+Wisdom from shillelagh will give you a better average damage output than a simple 1d10 from primal savagery.
In addition, primal savagery requires you to cast the spell every time you attack, whereas shillelagh is a bonus action that lasts for 1 minute with no concentration.
If you use a quarterstaff, the Versatile property allows you to swing a 1d10 + your Wisdom modifier. If you use a club, you can carry a shield. There is no wrong choice here.
Finally, talk to your DM about using shillelagh for boomerangs!!! They are simple wooden bludgeoning weapons, just like a club or a quarterstaff.
While they are ranged weapons, once they hit, you do not get them back. So, it isn’t like you are enchanting a whole quiver. You would need to cast shillelagh every time you threw one.
Eventually, you may consider replacing shillelagh at Tier II or III if you find a better magic item.
Alternatively, you could ask your DM to give you the option to improve your shillelagh every five levels, either with a bonus to damage or the ability to cast this spell on a magical weapon.
There may be a post on that soon here at Black Citadel RPG, so do a quick search in the search bar above.
This cantrip seems like a small payoff: 1d4 to a saving throw.
But you must remember that it is also a concentration spell, which means you can cast it right before melee starts and then use your actions to attack and defend.
Furthermore, when you cast resistance, you can maintain concentration should you decide to Wild Shape (or Rage, maybe?).
Think about it: if you’re an enemy spellcaster with a saving-throw-based spell you want to shoot off, you might think the frothing Brown Bear pushing its way past your minions is a good target.
Best Additional Cantrips for Each Druid Subclass
Circle of Dreams
For Circle of Dreams, we recommend Druidcraft.
Much of what this Circle has to offer is utility, healing, and social benefits when dealing with certain types of creatures.
With a spell like Druidcraft, you can create little special effects that will facilitate how well you can control an environment for everyone’s mutual pleasure.
Circle of Spores
For Circle of Spores, we recommend Infestation.
This Circle will have you up in front dealing melee damage as much as possible.
While you should already have shillelagh or primal savagery prepared, you do need a ranged cantrip that can give you an attack and a debuff that also fits in with your flavor as a swamp-dwelling natural necromancer.
Circle of Stars
For Circle of Stars, we recommend Produce Flame.
One of your key abilities with this Circle gives you a ranged magical attack as bonus action. With this cantrip, you can double your damage output.
Other options for this circle give you a bonus to concentration spells and healing spells, which means you will definitely be in the ranged-combatants section of the battlefield.
Magic stone is good for this but produce flame will be more in line with your flavor as a light-wielding spell slinger.
Circle of Wildfire
For Circle of Wildfire, we recommend Produce Flame.
It just makes sense, right? You get a bonus to all fire spells, you summon a wildfire spirit, you’re lighting things on fire… It just makes sense.
Circle of Land
For Circle of Land, we recommend Druidcraft.
Regardless of which land type you choose, this Circle is a primary spellcasting subclass. Your magic is what makes you effective with this build.
With druidcraft, you will get that extra magical utility that you can use to get creative both on the battlefield and off.
Circle of the Moon
For Circle of Moon, we recommend Primal Savagery.
I know. Earlier we said shillelagh was a better melee cantrip, but you are already shapeshifting so much that you might as well take this cantrip instead.
You aren’t likely to be carrying a shield since you rely on Wild Shape (although you can), and your character will just be more comfortable fighting unarmed.
Circle of the Shepherd
For Circle of Shepherd, we recommend Frostbite.
The Shepherd’s main ability only works within a 30-foot aura. With a cantrip like frostbite, you can slow the enemy down to keep them within that aura.
Thorn Whip will also work, although the movement penalty frostbite works in any direction. Thorn Whip only works in one direction.
Rangers and the Druidic Warrior Fighting Style
In Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, Rangers were given the option to take two Druid cantrips as a fighting style.
For these characters, you definitely want to take something like guidance as a support for your heavy use of skills like stealth and survival.
For combat, we recommend shillelagh. If you take the Dueling fighting style instead of Druidic Warrior, you can take Magic Initiate (Druid) at 4th level, and then you will get a +2 to your damage with your newly enchanted club or quarterstaff.
You should especially do this if you are thinking of multiclassing as a Kensai Monk with a club or quarterstaff specialty.
Consider this: at 7th level, a Hunter Ranger/Kensai Monk can pick up a club, cast shillelagh, and deal 1d8 (shillelagh) + the higher of Dexterity or Wisdom + 2 (dueling fighting style) +1d8 damage (Colossus Slayer) with a single attack.
Druid Cantrips for Multiclass Druids
When you multiclass, you will have entirely different considerations.
The classes mentioned above are, I think, the best options you have when multiclassing a druid.
For the most part, you will still be either a Martial character or a support spellcaster. The cantrips we recommend here are in addition to the cantrips mentioned above for those positions as we mentioned above.
For Artificer we recommend the Utility spell for your favorite elemental flavor.
These are cantrips that are unavailable for Artificers normally, and they will give you more environmental control to contribute to your skills as a support caster.
For Barbarian, we recommend control flames in addition to create bonfire if you can swing it.
Here’s what you’ll do: Cast create bonfire on Round 1. In Round 2, cast control flames to make the fire spread, and then rage as a bonus action.
In Round 3 and after, you can concentrate on control flames in order to spread your range around and inhibit your target’s movement.
Consider the Circle of Wildfire subclass for Druid.
For Monk, which is the coolest subclass for Druid, you will definitely want shillelagh for obvious reasons, but after that, you will need a ranged attack because, honestly, the monk has precious few options for that.
Magic stone is your answer because a sling is a Monk weapon, which means you can throw magic rocks in case someone is too far away to punch.
For Rogue, you’ll need guidance. You are the primary skill user in the party (except maybe the bard).
Guidance will save you from embarrassment and make sure you can still pick that lock while Wild Shaped as a monkey.
For Sorcerer/Warlock, you also need guidance. Serious guidance. How did you even end up the way you are?
Just kidding. Guidance is a good cantrip that will round out your spellcasting.
Cantrips in Dungeons and Dragons 5e are such an improvement over previous editions.
They used to be fairly worthless. Now, they are the most important spells you have.
Choose wisely, and roll on.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].