D&D, much like any game, is so much easier when you have the proper tools. One of the questions I get asked most frequently by aspiring players is, “What do I need to get started?”
To which, I often just say some smart remark like, “Your creativity and a sense of adventure,” before breaking it down to a blank character sheet and some dice.
Beyond the basics, it can be really useful to have more tools at your disposal. Nowadays D&D players use everything from Windows Onenote to color-coded binders to keep track of everything they need to know.
For spellcasters, this can feel like a monumental task. It’s a lot of writing and page flipping to be able to pull up the information you need about any given spell.
Luckily, there’s a simple solution: Spell Cards.
Today we’re going to be going over the Spell Cards available through WotC, why they’re such a useful tool, and which ones you should pick up so you’re ready for battle next time you sit down at the table.
What Are Spell Cards?
Spell cards are a pretty simple concept. They’re like flashcards with spells on them, and not just the spell’s name – the whole spell.
Everything you need to cast the spell, exactly as it’s worded in the 5e sourcebooks, is written on these easy-to-use cards.
WotC has released several packs of these spell cards, along with some racial ability cards, and even a few monster stat blocks.
All of these products are meant to save you time, and they definitely deliver on that promise.
Having a small stack of organized cards to flip through instead of an entire sourcebook is a huge lifesaver in the midst of combat.
It’s also a lot easier than writing down each spell on your own.
One of the most frustrating parts of playing a caster is the point in character creation where you start to feel like a scribe, trying to get the wording of each spell in your list correct.
It’s painstaking work, and abbreviating or taking shortcuts is a great way to get extremely confused later on down the line.
Don’t Feel Like Dishing Out More Money?
We get it, times are hard. Making the decision to buy a pack of spell cards over a fresh new miniature or some shiny math rocks is tough. Don’t worry, there are other options.
Of course, spell cards aren’t an invention of WotC, but they do make some extremely high-quality options for those willing to spend a bit of money for an easier time.
There are plenty of free options for making your own spell cards; this is especially useful if you’re someone who’s into homebrewing up new items.
RPG Cards is an excellent generator I’ve used on more than one occasion.
It’s system takes a bit to understand, but 5 minutes of playing around on the site (and reading the help section) will give you everything you need to make decently high-quality cards on your home printer or at the local office supply store.
Of course, there’s always a pack of index cards waiting for you to scribble all over.
It’s a classic favorite of mine and the suggestion I make to anyone who isn’t sure that they want to dedicate themselves to being a D&D fanatic yet.
If you’re interested in trading money for extremely high-quality cards (and the luxury of not having to handwrite anything) then read on – WotC 5e spell cards are for you. Now it’s time to figure out which ones.
WotC 5e Spell Decks
Below, we’ve compiled all of the various decks of cards put out for use with D&D 5e.
While the focus of this article is on the spell cards, we would be hard pressed to not show you the other cards available to help out any member of the party, even the DM.
All of these cards can be found on Gale Force Nine’s Amazon store. You can also find their official 5e products in most local game shops.
For all of the spell cards below, you can expect wax-coated double-sided cards, slightly larger than your average 3×5 index card.
Almost every card includes the full spell description, but in the case where a spell’s text is just too long, a page reference is provided.
Wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks! All your needs are now met. Well, most of them at least.
This deck of cards contains every cantrip through 9th-level spell for each of these classes that is available in the core rules of 5e (PHB, DMG).
Should you cast Guiding Bolt or Guidance? What’s the casting time for Sanctuary? All of your deity related magic will be in the palm of your hands with these 153 spell cards specifically made for clerics.
All of the cantrips through 9th-level spells provided to clerics, even subclass specific spells, in the core D&D sourcebooks are available in this small package.
Keeping track of all of your wild shape options is hard enough. Trying to juggle the stats of the many beasts you can turn into and remember which spells you want to concentrate on as you charge into battle? Insane.
These cards are for the nature-loving warriors out there.
Bard magic is unique, so there’s no way you’ll be satisfied by just grabbing up any random list of spells.
You need a set of cards handcrafted for performers, wordsmiths, and musicians.
Listen, I get it. It’s a lot easier to burn all your spell slots through divine smite than it is to pay any attention to a real spell list.
With this set of cards, maybe you can actually throw some Searing Smites and Branding Smites into the mix.
Much like clerics, all the spells on the paladin spell list and subclass-specific lists, at least from the core rulebooks, are provided in this deck of cards.
Rangers get a bad rep. I think a big part of that is most rangers forget they have spells that aren’t Hunter’s Mark and Conjure Volley.
Rangers have so many interesting options to put to good use, and these spell cards will make sorting them all out so much easier.
Just as XGtE was an expansion upon the core rules, this deck of cards is an expansion to, well, just about any set you might have.
Xanathar and his trusty goldfish Sylgar brought us some amazing spells like Absorb Elements, Cause Fear, and Charm Monster, along with almost 100 other powerful spells that are staples for any class.
This is 100% worth picking up if you’re going to grab any of the other spell decks.
Otherwise, you’re just limiting yourself to the basics, and you’ll end up resorting to index cards or web generators anyways.
Casters aren’t the only characters with complicated abilities! Sure, they might have a lot of spells to choose from, but how am I supposed to keep tabs on all of my racial feats and class abilities that I get from being a tiefling fighter?
If your answer is to write it down, you’re right, but you also have more energy than I do on most days.
These cards make everyone’s life a whole lot simpler. Heck, they even give you a really fun tarot-esque way to generate characters.
Getting into the DM-based cards, this is probably one of my favorites for a few reasons.
Magic items have a lot going on, and there are a lot of them. It can be difficult to even decide while you flip through sourcebook after sourcebook searching for the right effect.
These cards eliminate so much of that anxiety and frustration by giving you simple cards to read off of.
The second reason I love these cards: handouts. Everyone loves handing fun things to their players in real life when their characters get something new.
I’ve seen handmade potion bottles, expertly aged letters, and so many amazing works. This is a simple, fun, and useful way to give your player a new magic item.
Most of these cards even have unique art on them, which totally seals the deal for me.
Along with the other cards we’ve gone over, there are several monster card decks available for purchase. These are all cards with stat blocks for various monsters you might encounter in a variety of 5e settings.
Not every creature is featured in these, but everything from the monster manual and the books listed below and some from various adventures and modules have made it into these decks.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if there are more to come soon, as plenty more monsters have been released since MToF.
If you’re a new DM, old DM, or somewhere in the middle, you are probably well aware of the painstaking process of pulling up stat blocks.
Most of us have clever solutions, like laptops or quick reference notes; some of us even use the same index card treatment as casters. This is one of the best, simplest solutions out there.
The only problem is ensuring you pick up the right pack for your needs.
Realistically, that’s pretty easy to overcome by grabbing the appropriate challenge-rating decks and any other supplemental options you really feel like you need.
- Creature and NPC Cards
- Monster Cards: Challenge 0-5
- Monster Cards: Challenge 6-16
- Monster Cards: Volo’s Guide to Monsters
- Monster Cards: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
- Monster Cards: Epic Monsters
Spell Cards: Should You Buy Them?
Products from affiliated third parties can be a tough sell. Unlike the many source books in 5e, you don’t need to buy any of these to know what’s going on.
These are quality-of-life purchases at best, and just how quality it is, really depends on what kind of D&D player (or DM) you are.
For starters, if you play digitally these are almost useless.
Sure, having a deck of spell cards next to you can serve a purpose, but you can just as easily throw together a spell list through any number of web clients. Most VTT’s even have an integrated system to make your life extremely easy.
That goes for players and DMs who sit down in person with a tablet or laptop in front of them.
While spell cards are a useful tool, I’m sure you’re doing just fine with your browsers and Onenote open and ready to go.
Spell cards are meant for the pen-and-paper enthusiast who enjoys the extras.
If you have a bag for your lucky dice, a bag for your new dice, and a coffin-shaped holder for your retired dice, these products might be for you. If you are running out of shelf space for your minis, this might be for you.
Individually, these are all pretty small purchases, running from roughly 10 to 20 USD. Grab up all of these and you’ll have spent several source books worth of money (yes, source books are a standard measurement of currency).
Like any gaming accessory, these products are made to make your life easier. They aren’t 100% replacements for doing a bit of work, but they will drop your session prep time down substantially.
If you have the money to spend and are interested, give them a go – you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, there are plenty of simple solutions out there for you.
As always, happy adventuring.