Dispel Magic in DnD 5e: Rules and Best Uses of this Powerful Spell

Casting Time

1 action

School

Abjuration

Damage/Effect

Control

Range

120 feet

Class

Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Attack/Save

Caster’s Spellcasting Ability

Duration

Instantaneous

Level

3

Components

Verbal, Somatic

Spell Description:

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range. Any spell of 3rd level or lower on the target ends. For each spell of 4th level or higher on the target, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a successful check, the spell ends.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, you automatically end the effects of a spell on the target if the spell’s level is equal to or less than the level of the spell slot you used.

3rd Level, Abjuration, Control, Utility

Level: Bard (5), Cleric (5), Druid (5), Sorcerer (5), Warlock (5), Wizard (5), Paladin (9), Artificer (9), Eldritch Knight (14), Arcane Trickster (14)

Materials Required: None

Number of Targets: 1 within 120 feet

Die Type: None

Number of Dice: None

Damage Type: None

Save: Caster’s spellcasting ability

Damage On Successful Save: N/A

Statuses Inflicted: 1 magical effect ended if the target spell’s level is less than or equal to the spell slot used OR the caster succeeds a save made with their spellcasting ability of a DC equal to 10 + the target spell’s level

Status Duration: Instantaneous

Affected By Cover: No

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

What is Dispel Magic?

Dispel Magic is a 3rd level Abjuration spell that allows the caster to target a magical effect and end the effect. If the spell slot used to cast Dispel Magic is equal to or greater than the spell effect that it is targeting, the spell ends.

If not, the caster must make a saving throw with their spellcasting ability to end the effect. The saving throw’s DC is 10 + the level of the spell.

Who can cast Dispel Magic?

Dispel Magic is a darling of arcane magic in D&D, present on almost every spellcasters’ spell lists. Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards will be able to cast Dispel Magic starting at the 5th level when they get their first 3rd level spell slots.

Paladins will need to wait until the 9th level and Artificers will have to wait until the 9th level as that’s when those respective classes get their first 3rd level spells.

Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters will have to wait until 14th level before they have a spell slot level high enough to take Dispel Magic.

When and Where should I cast Dispel Magic?

Use Dispel Magic to end the effects of dangerous spells in and out of combat. Dispel Magic can be used on concentration spells like Black Tentacles or Call Lightning. It can also be used on spells like Invisibility and Ceremony that grant other statuses.

Why should I take Dispel Magic?

Dispel Magic is an essential tool for puzzle and problem solving as well as combat. You can find uses for it in a multitude of situations, making it a spell that leaves little room for error in the choice to have it on your spell list.

How to Use Dispel Magic

For Players:

Dispel Magic can be used on a vast amount of spells, but it’s most important to remember that in order to for Dispel Magic’s effect to work, it has to target a spell. While many magical effects exist, ones produced by things such as Wild Shape or other innate abilities will not be affected by it. 

One of the best uses of Dispel Magic is to stop immediately harmful spells. Spells like Black Tentacles, Call Lightning, Ice Storm, Blade Barrier, and Delayed Blast Fireball can all be canceled by casting Dispel Magic. 

Outside of combat, you may come across enchanted doors, items, and even people who can be affected by Dispel Magic. While shapechangers may not be affected, NPCs using spells such as Alter and Disguise Self will be returned to their original state if Dispel Magic is used on them, allowing players to confirm their identities.

It’s also important to remember that Dispel Magic does not affect Antimagic Field at all. If the spell is used on an Antimagic Field, even at a higher spell slot level, the spell will simply fizzle and do nothing.

For Dungeon Masters:

Dungeon Masters will want to make sure to add ways for their players to interact with the world using Dispel Magic. Replacing a spell or two off a pre-generated monster’s spell list with a concentration spell will allow players to get a satisfying cancellation in combat.

Outside of combat, there are lots of options for giving your players chances to use Dispel Magic. Having an invisible wall or a message hidden behind a magical script will provide them with the opportunity to flex their magical muscles with Dispel Magic. 

More creative options might be creating a magical labyrinth that can only be traversed by dispelling the magical effect on the hallway. Perhaps having a powerful mage give the party a test to dispel their magic to gain passage or information could work as well.

Common Questions About Dispel Magic