Powerful summoners, teleportation experts, and masters of making something from nothing at all, wizards who adhere to the School of Conjuration make for some of the most versatile spellcasters in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.
Like each of the main wizard subclasses (putting aside newer additions like the elven Bladedancer and the Order of Scribes wizard), the School of Conjuration wizard is tied to its particular school of magic.
That’s not to say that conjuration wizards can’t choose to learn spells from any and all of the other schools of magic, like evocation, abjuration, or necromancy.
But, if creating matter from thin air, traveling huge distances (or between the planes of reality) in the blink of an eye, or summoning powerful entities from across the multiverse interest you, then the conjuration wizard may be for you.
In this guide, we’re going to break down this wizard subclass’s defining features, its strengths, and its weaknesses.
We’re going to teach you how to build a conjuration wizard from the ground up, including how to choose your character’s race, background, feats, and proficiencies.
Lastly, we’re going to put it all together and show you how to build a Conjuration wizard (as well as which spells to pick) from 1st to 20th level.
Black Citadel’s Ranking and Tier System
In our ongoing series of 5e class guides, we use the following color-rating scheme:
Red – C Tier. Red options can sometimes be situationally useful and might make for an interesting narrative choice but are largely less effective than other tiers.
Green – B Tier. A solid choice but nothing that is absolutely critical for a build, or it can be very good but only situationally.
Blue – A Tier. An excellent choice. Widely regarded as powerful in some way, useful, highly effective.
Purple – S Tier. The best of the best. Objectively powerful or transformative in some way. No choice in D&D is essential, but these options are definitely worth considering when you create your character.
Our goal here is to provide scannable but comprehensive guides for you as you develop your character.
What Is a Conjuration Wizard?
At 2nd level, each wizard gets to choose one of the eight schools of magic to which they devote themselves. As a result, wizards become better at learning spells from their chosen school and usually get a few useful, evocative abilities that make them more effective at casting spells from that school.
Necromancers summon larger numbers of stronger undead, evokers learn to shape their spells to keep their allies safe from AoE damage, and divination wizards start to glimpse (and change) the future.
Conjuration wizards, appropriately, get a diverse range of boons that reflect the multifarious nature of their chosen discipline.
Many of the schools of magic have quite narrow foci, and while conjuration might initially seem like straightforward summoning magic, it’s so much more than that.
Yes, dragging demons, celestials, fey, and all manner of other extraplanar entities through to your world and commanding them to do your bidding (which works… like, most of the time) is part of it.
However, conjurers also summon portals and inanimate objects as well as walls of thorny vines, roaring orbs of fire, and bursts of chromatic energy.
The most powerful conjuration wizards can even reshape reality on whim, using the Wish spell.
The Conjuration Wizard’s Strengths
- Diverse spell list
- Powerful summons
- The best problem solver in the game?
I think the best way to get to the heart of every class in D&D is to examine how it deals with a locked door.
A druid transforms into a powerful bull to smash it down, a rogue reaches for their thieves’ tools, and when you’re playing a barbarian who only has an axe, the whole world starts to look like a pile of wood waiting to be chopped.
The wizard, on the other hand, has about a million different ways of getting past that door.
They can open a portal to bypass the door by walking through another dimension, turn themselves into a cloud of gas, summon a demon to break the door down for them, make the party fighter into a giant so they can smash the door down, blow the door up with a fireball, fill the lock with water and freeze it to pop it out of the frame, cast the knock spell, or — in the case of the conjuration wizard — create an exact replica of the key from thin air and stroll on through.
The wizard class is all about having access to the biggest, most diverse toolkit possible. It’s about having a key for every lock (both literally and figuratively) and the answer to every riddle.
There’s no school of magic more diverse and applicable to problem solving than conjuration.
As a conjuration wizard, you have access to one of the most diverse schools of magic in D&D 5e.
Just to illustrate this, spells from the conjuration school include Summon Greater Demon, Mage Hand, and Wish — three very different spells on the face of it but all within the wheelhouse of a conjurer.
This means that you have a lot of choice when it comes to playing a conjuration wizard.
You can play the magical equivalent of a Swiss Army knife with a tool for every job, or you can become a more specialized spellcaster, focusing on one of this subclass’s three main strengths:
- Summoning matter and energy
- Summoning entities and creatures
- Teleportation (aka. Summoning Yourself?)
Any one of these three styles of magic are powerful and interesting enough to base a subclass around, and a conjuration wizard gets to pick one (or two or all three) on which to focus in addition to anything they want from other wizard schools.
To begin with, conjuration wizards are typically better focused on summoning raw energy (like the spell Flaming Sphere, Floating Disc, or Grease), which later starts to intersect with their interdimensional expertise as they create magical buildings, size-altering mazes, and eventually entire pocket dimensions.
This combines at higher levels with the conjuration school’s expertise in creating doorways between worlds, including to other universes entirely.
Aside from a few powerful damage spells, most of the conjuration spell list’s offensive powers come from the summoning of powerful entities to do the wizard’s bidding.
While these creatures — which can range from celestials and fey to constructs, elementals, and fiends — are highly powerful, summoning them can be a double-edged sword.
The Conjuration Wizard’s Limitations
From a lack of straightforward damage options to subclass features and a spell list that don’t really come online until higher levels, the conjuration wizard has a few unique drawbacks in addition to the survivability issues experienced by all wizards pretty much from levels 1 to 10.
First, let’s look at what the conjuration wizard lacks in terms of spellcasting.
If you’re going to lean into your subclass’s school of magic, there’s a chance that you’ll feel a little lackluster in terms of combat effectiveness (that’s what evocation and abjuration wizards are all about) and ways to manipulate other people both in and out of battle (illusionists and enchanters have the top prize here).
That’s not to say you won’t be devastating in combat — anyone who’s ever had to fight approximately 15 million velociraptors and a glabrezu at the same time can attest to this fact.
But yours is a much more chaotic brand of damage dealing compared to the relative simplicity of just throwing a fireball in the general direction of the enemy and going through the survivors’ pockets for loose change.
Also, your diversity can at times feel like a weakness. Wizards are renowned for getting a very, very small dose of relatively weak class features.
This is because, well, spells are their class features, and by 20th level, you’ll have amassed over 40 of them, and your subclass features all relate to the ways in which you cast spells.
Now, because the conjuration wizard’s spell list is so diverse — and your subclass features touch all three major elements of the spell list, including summoning objects, creatures, and portals — if you choose to focus on, say, summoning objects and energy, you won’t get a feature that benefits those kinds of spells after 2nd level.
Likewise, if you want to make a conjuration wizard who’s all about pulling hordes of slavering demons from the abyss and throwing them at their enemies, you won’t get any subclass features that actually help you do that until well into the higher tiers of play.
This can conspire to make a conjuration wizard feel like several different classes cohabiting the same character that don’t all start to come together until the very latest levels.
Okay, that’s a common enough complaint for all wizards, but opposed to an evocation wizard, whose powers basically revolve around throwing bigger and bigger balls of fire at people, the conjurer feels a good bit less focused.
Progression: Subclass Features
Let’s go through the unique subclass features that define the conjuration wizard as you level up.
Note that this section won’t go into the different elements of the wizard class in general, which you can find in our full guide to wizards here.
You can also see the rate at which wizards accumulate spell slots below.
Conjuration Savant: You become an expert at decoding the mysteries of conjuration magic, halving the time and gold cost (in components and rare inks) to copy new conjuration spells into your spellbook.
The conjuration version of the ability all wizards get. I think this would be more valuable in an older edition of the game when copying spells cost more than 50gp and 1 hour per spell level. Still, it’s a nice way to make sure any extra spells you enter into your spellbook don’t break the bank.
Minor Conjuration: You gain the ability to create small, mundane objects from nothing using an action. The objects appear in your hand to the exact specifications of a nonmagical object you have seen before.
The object is visibly magical and radiates dim light for up to 5 feet. It can’t be longer than 3 feet on any side, and it may weigh no more than 10 pounds.
The object disappears after 1 hour when you use this feature again or if it takes or deals any damage.
This might be my favorite ability in all of D&D 5e because, more than just about anything else, its effectiveness is more or less only limited by your imagination.
Need a perfect replica of the guard’s keys to bust out of your cell? No problem. How about an expensive component for a high level spell? You’re actually creating the diamonds, not an illusion, so they should work just fine.
What about an untraceable dagger to kill the king? It disappears when it does damage, so take that, Fantasy Agatha Christie!
This is how all magic should work in D&D in my opinion: clear cut restrictions and narrative-rich, open-ended possibilities for problem solving (aka. Shenanigans of dubious legality).
Benign Transposition: Making short-hop portals is basically second-nature to you now. Using your action, you can teleport to an unoccupied space that you can see within 30 feet.
Alternately, you can instead choose a willing, friendly creature of size small or medium within range and exchange places with them.
Once you’ve used this feature, you cannot use it again until you’ve either taken a short or long rest or cast a conjuration spell of 1st level or higher.
There are plenty of classes, subclasses, races, and feats out there that give you access to the Misty Step spell. There are none that give access to short-range teleportation FOR FREE every time you cast a leveled spell.
This is an insane value-add to all your low-level spells, and at higher levels, it’s basically a way to ensure you always have an escape/mobility option at the ready. Walking? Who needs walking?
Minus the effective punching and kicking, obviously — you’re still a wizard after all.
Focused Conjuration: Your concentration can no longer be broken when you take damage as long as the spell you are casting is a conjuration spell.
This basically ensures you’ll never lose control of/banish your summoned entities. Again, there are plenty of classes that can summon stuff, but that concentration tag always makes it a risky proposition.
Before you even reach the 3rd tier of play, the conjuration wizard subclass just gets rid of that problem.
Durable Summons: Any creature you summon with a conjuration spell gains an additional 30 temporary hit points.
This is, at the very least, an extra round in combat for every single creature you summon, and when you’re summoning things en masse, it can turn your little army into a rampaging horde of unstoppable death machines.
The rationale behind multiclassing — aside from just doing stuff you think is cool, which is definitely the most valid reason to do anything in D&D — is that you want to either compensate for a deficiency in your existing class or complement and build on top of something your class can already do well.
Unfortunately for people who want to build on something that wizards do well, wizards do exactly one thing well (magic), and they do it better than anyone else.
Also, it’s important to note that any multiclass that goes past 3rd level in a nonwizard class means you’re going to miss out on 9th-level spells.
Therefore, any “successful” wizard multiclass build is going to focus on compensating for the things that the wizard does badly, like surviving and being more useful than a wet sock full of cold spaghetti once their spells run out — hopefully in a fun and interesting way.
If you want to just compensate for a lack of survivability in a much more effective, less interesting way, just go stand behind that big rock over there.
Battle Smith Artificer 3 / Conjuration Wizard X
The Battle Smith allows us to sacrifice a little bit of spellcasting power for some serious melee-combat prowess that’s reliant on our wizard’s Intelligence score rather than Strength or Dexterity.
You also get heavy armor and a robot dog that bites people trying to attack you.
Rogue 14 / Conjuration Wizard 6
If you want to lean into the whole teleporting-assassin thing that 6 levels of Conjuration wizard gives you, then the rogue pairs particularly well with this style of play, whether you want to evade capture or just get within stabbing range.
Try the Arcane Trickster subclass for a few extra spell slots.
Circle of the Shepherd Druid / Conjuration Wizard
Want to play the ultimate summoner? Why not blend together the two subclasses that approach this style of play the best?
Character Creation: Building a Conjuration Wizard
Let’s take a look at some of the key decisions and things to prioritize when building a conjuration wizard from 1st level.
- Primary: Intelligence
- Tier II: Dexterity, Constitution
- Tier III: Charisma, Wisdom
- Absolute Dump Tier: Strength
Regardless of how you generate your ability scores, when building a conjuration wizard, Intelligence is more or less going to be the be-all-and-end-all of your character’s effectiveness.
Not only does your Intelligence modifier determine your Spell Attack Bonus and Spell Save DC, but it also sets how many spells your wizard can have memorized at once.
Intelligence also aligns nicely with some very wizard-y skill proficiencies like Arcana and History.
The number of spells a wizard can hold in their head at once (in addition to cantrips) is equal to their Intelligence Modifier + their Wizard Level.
Granted, at higher levels, an extra four or five spells matters less, but at 1st level, a high Intelligence score can almost double the size of your magical toolkit.
After that, Wizards need Constitution to make up for their abysmal hit dice (not to mention it’ll help you maintain your concentration prior to unlocking Focused Conjuration at 10th level) and Dexterity to compensate for their inability to wear anything more protective than a delicate silken kimono covered in mystical runes.
Wisdom drives invaluable investigative skills like Perception and Insight, helping you uncover information about the world, and Charisma can be invaluable in social situations.
However, your ability scores are probably better used elsewhere, and it’s pretty likely someone else in your party is going to have this stuff down. Leave diplomacy to the extroverts, ya big nerd.
Lastly, Strength has absolutely zero place on a wizard unless you’re multiclassing into fighter or barbarian, and even then you’d be better off going with a Dex build.
Put your lowest score into Strength, and leave it alone.
Unless you’re using a custom lineage from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, you’re going to want to pick a race that benefits one or more of your requisite ability scores (Dexterity, Constitution, and most importantly Intelligence).
Anything that gives us a +2 bonus to Intelligence is going to be the way to go.
Beyond that, unique features, like innate spellcasting and other special abilities, are never a bad thing.
All three of these options are honestly amazing for a wizard build — a conjuration wizard especially.
High Elf: While a +2 Dexterity and +1 Intelligence bonus to kick things off is pretty damn good, it’s not the best.
What makes High Elves a top-tier contender for conjuration wizards is their additional free cantrip and the elven resistance to charm and sleep effects.
Perhaps not the absolute perfect fit for a wizard build, but damn close; it’s an enduringly iconic archetype for a reason.
Rock Gnome: Another classic candidate for the wizard, Rock Gnomes pair a juicy +2 Intelligence bonus with a useful +1 Constitution, not to mention advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma Saving Throws against magic.
Rock Gnomes also have something akin to Expertise when it comes to checks involving machinery and tinkering as well as the ability to make small, miraculous inventions.
Custom Lineage: The new-ish rules for creating custom characters (this is how I get to play a Gnoll Oath of Conquest paladin in my friend’s weekly game) are a solid foundation for just about any class that can get away with being single-ability dependent, especially if that class can benefit from a feat at 1st level.
For the conjuration wizard, a +2 into their Intelligence and the Resilient (Constitution) or War Caster feat make for a very strong start.
Backgrounds are both a great way to help flesh out your character’s personal history and your primary source of skills.
Each background also has its own special feature – something which I maintain remains a woefully underused aspect of D&D.
For example, the Criminal’s natural ability to draw upon a network of contacts for information, leads, and jobs or the fact that the Sage’s Researcher feature means that, even if they can’t recall a piece of lore, they know exactly where to go to get it.
Background features are a fantastic way to make your character feel like a part of the world in which they live as well as gain access to useful things in that world — whether that means lore, quests, assistance from factions, or even some free retainers.
Some options that fit neatly into the wizard’s mechanical and thematic needs include the Sage, which gives you proficiency in Arcana and History.
Also, when you attempt to learn or recall a piece of lore, if you do not know that information, you often know where and from whom you can obtain it.
This can be a hugely helpful way to avoid your party spending whole sessions blundering around in the dark — assuming your DM is okay with you all heading “off to the library” yet again.
Aside from the Sage, other solid contenders for wizard backgrounds include the Cloistered Scholar, the Courtier, or the Noble.
The wizard class is given the ability to choose two skills: Arcana, History, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, and Religion.
- Arcana (INT) – Arcana lets you analyze magical artifacts, read arcane runes, and generally be a big know-it-all when it comes to the mystical arts. This is basically the wizard skill.
- History (INT): Works like Arcana for mundane affairs. A great way to gather new information about the world from the DM. Also, because your Minor Conjuration requires you to have seen a thing to replicate it, this is the skill I would ask to use to determine whether or not I know the exact dimensions of an object I need.
- Insight (WIS): A useful way to read someone’s intentions and intuitively understand the world around you but perhaps best left to less-cerebral party members.
- Investigation (INT): Analyze the world around you for new information. Another great way to get valuable stuff out of the DM.
- Medicine (WIS): Basically worthless. Other people in your party will be able to actually heal downed allies, which this skill can’t even do. Maybe if you want to be some sort of alchemist, but then you should be playing a transmutation wizard.
- Religion (INT): Worth picking up if it fits with your backstory, but otherwise History will do you fine.
Feats are an optional rule that allows you to forgo an ability-score increase in favor of a special ability or bonus that can (in some cases radically) alter the way your character works.
Here are some solid options for a conjuration wizard.
Resilient (Constitution): Probably one of the most important early-game feats for a conjuration wizard. Resilient lets you increase one ability score of your choice by one and gain proficiency in saving throws made with that ability.
Choosing Constitution not only gives your HP a much-needed bump but also lets you apply your proficiency bonus to concentration saves.
War Caster: Similar to Resilient, you get advantage on concentration saves and can cast cantrips as opportunity attacks. You can also cast spells while using weapons and shields, but that’s not exactly useful for you.
Telekinetic (Intelligence): You gain a soft ASI in one mental stat of your choice, an invisible version of Mage Hand that you can cast without components, and you can use your bonus action to shove people with the hand.
Wizards rarely have stuff to do with their bonus action, and the shove can do a lot to get enemies out of Opportunity Attack range.
You can read our full guide to the best wizard feats here.
Example Conjuration Wizard Build From 1st to 20th Level
For this build, we’re looking for a classic conjuration wizard that focuses heavily on summoning powerful, specialized creatures to aid them in combat — as well as in exploration and maybe even social encounters.
We’re applying ability scores generated in Standard Array from the PHB (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).
If you’re using 4d6 drop-one, Point Buy, or another method, just make sure to prioritize Intelligence, followed by Dexterity and Charisma, with your lowest value in Strength.
The only levels mentioned for the purpose of these builds are those when you reach a decision point.
- Race: Custom Lineage
- Background: Sage
- Ability Scores: STR 8, DEX 14, CON 14, INT 17, WIS 12, CHA 10
- Feat: Resilient (Constitution)
- Skill Proficiencies: Arcana, Insight, Investigation, History
- Language Proficiencies: Common, Sylvan, Infernal
- Darkvision: 60 feet
- Tool Proficiencies: None
- Equipment: A quarterstaff, arcane focus, a scholar’s pack, a spellbook, a bottle of ink, a quill, a small knife, a letter from a dead colleague posing a question you have not yet been able to answer, a set of common clothes, and a pouch containing 10gp
You gain access to 1st-level spell slots (you can copy six into your book to start and learn two more each time you level up as well as copy spells you find into your book) and learn three cantrips.
Aside from perennial favorite cantrips like Prestidigitation, Fire Bolt, and Minor Illusion, or 1st level spells like Magic Missile, and Burning Hands, try these strong options from the Conjuration Spell list.
- Find Familiar: In addition to being a fantastic utility option able to scout, spy, check for traps, and fetch small items, the familiar in combat can take the Help action to give you (or an ally) advantage on attack rolls. It’s also a ritual, so you won’t be burning spell slots unless you need to resummon in a hurry.
- Fog Cloud: This is basically the Darkness spell with a much lower spell slot. Great for creating instant cover against incoming missile fire or for creating a quick distraction.
- Ice Knife: An amazing offensive spell with some amazing single target and AoE damage potential.
You gain access to 2nd-level spell slots. In addition to non-conjuration spells like Scorching Ray, good conjuration spells of this level to prepare include:
- Flaming Sphere: A top-tier battlefield damage and control spell. Conjure your sphere as soon as possible (take advantage of the Resilient feat to maintain your concentration), and use it to chase pesky enemies around the map while you stand far away and throw extra fire bolts at them for good measure.
- Web: Not the most sure-fire way to restrain a group of enemies, but the reduced movement speed from difficult terrain is nothing to sniff at, and if you do get enemies trapped in your webs, you can then set the web on fire for some juicy damage.
ASI: We’re going to take the Telekinetic feat and choose Intelligence (which now becomes 18).
You gain access to 3rd-level spell slots. In addition to other stuff like fireball, spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Summon Fey / Lesser Demons / Shadowspawn: Depending on the kind of effect you want to create (reserve Summon Lesser Demons for when you want to basically set off a bomb in a crowded place), these lower-level summon spells are great.
- Thunder Step: It’s like Misty Step but with some additional damage.
- Tidal Wave: A great mixture of damage and disable.
You gain access to 4th-level spell slots. This is where Conjuration magic focused on summoning really starts to come into its own and where you’ll be able to start making the most of the Focused Conjuration you’ll soon obtain at 10th level.
Good spells of this level to prepare include:
- Dimension Door: Basically a souped-up version of Misty Step with a 500-foot range. Great for getting into and out of trouble.
- Summon Aberration / Construct / Elemental / Greater Demon: A great mixture of summonable creatures. These spells are more about summoning one powerful thing, compared to all the 3rd-level horde-summoner spells. You can’t really go wrong (well, again, the demon can definitely go wrong, just be careful), so practice picking entities that suit your current situation.
ASI: +2 Intelligence (20)
You gain access to 5th-level spell slots. Good spells of this level to prepare are as follows:
- Cloudkill: One of the few powerful damage-dealing spells in the conjuration stable but a very, very nasty one.
You gain access to 6th-level spell slots, including these great options.
- Summon Fiend: Finally, a reliable demon-summoning spell!
ASI: +2 Constitution (16)
You gain access to 7th-level spell slots with the following great conjuration options, all of which are focused on planar shenanigans.
- Magnificent Mansion: Great place to hang out, hide away, and generally chill between (or even during) adventures.
- Teleport: Never want to roll for a random encounter or sit in a stinky stagecoach ever again? Sorted. There’s only a slight chance of getting dropped in the middle of the ocean or the elemental plane of fire… or hell… It’ll probably be fine.
You gain access to 8th-level spell slots.
- Demiplane: Start experimenting in low-key godhood by creating your very own semi-permanent pocket dimension.
- Incendiary Cloud: Like Cloudkill but also with fire. What’s not to love?
- Maze: Trapping poor unfortunate souls inside an inescapable magical labyrinth is what being a wizard is all about.
ASI: +2 Dexterity (16)
You gain access to 9th-level spell slots.
- Gate: Go anywhere, bring anyone from anywhere. The pinnacle of transcontinental, transdimensional magic.
- Wish: Do I really need to explain the Wish spell to you?
ASI: +2 Constitution (18)
Beginner’s Guide to Conjuration Wizards: Breaking Out of Your Character Sheet
I think that Minor Conjuration might be one of my favorite abilities in all of D&D 5e.
Why? Because, like Prestidigitation, Minor Illusion, and Thaumaturgy, it encourages players to break out of their character sheets.
For all that people say about D&D 5e being a game that’s simple and easy to learn: you’re wrong.
Sure, the core concept is easy enough, but this is a system that’s built on a gigantic babel-like tower of exceptions, additional stuff, and fiddly bits.
5e is a remarkably tactical game (and wears its 4th Edition influences shamefully) with a big list of skills, class features, racial abilities and, in the case of the wizard, a ton of spells.
Because your character sheet is working so hard to give you stuff to do, the thing I see most often spoiling a player’s fun at the table is when they get sucked into the mindset of treating that sheet like a menu at a restaurant that doesn’t do substitutions.
Allow me to explain.
When I run D&D 5e, the thing that really grinds my gears sometimes is when I’ll describe a scene, a problem, something dangerous — whatever — and ask, “What do you do?”
The first thing the players do isn’t to describe their response, bicker with each other, or sit in silent contemplation of their options. No, they look at their character sheets.
This is because there are tons of abilities (and spells) crowing people’s character sheets that have almost exclusively mechanical effects.
Having so many options with strictly defined applications makes players treat D&D like the shape-and-hole game. (I think the enduring idea that 5e is supposed to be “fair” doesn’t help this problem.)
They think, “Well, I have so many ways to solve problems, the answer to this specific problem must be a specific entry on my character sheet,” and they look, head down, at their big menu of options.
I ranted about this more in my article on Silvery Barbs, but abilities and magic that interact with the mechanics of the game obviously get players into the habit of thinking mechanically.
Spells like prestidigitation, thaumaturgy, and minor illusion as well as Minor Conjuration, on the other hand, act on the narrative world.
There is no prescribed statistical effect to snuffing out a candle, making your eyes change color, or producing a glowing feather from mid air, but doing something like that can be way more rewarding than getting a +2 bonus to your next saving throw.
Basically, I think of Minor Conjuration as a physical version of the prestidigitation spell, and I personally think it’s the best thing about playing a conjuration wizard.
Okay, rant over.
Have fun playing one of the most versatile wizards out there and, as always, happy adventuring.