Casters worth their salt know that there’s more to spells than just dishing out damage.
With the right set of spells you can be in complete control over the battlefield, stopping any enemies in your path before they can even attempt to harm you or your allies.
Today, we’re going to be talking about Entangle, a low-level spell that gets you started at doing just that. We’re going to go over how this spell works and how you can use it to command the battlefield with the forces of nature.
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 90 ft. (20-ft. square)
- Duration: 1 minute
- School: Conjuration
- Class: Druid
- Level: 1st level
- Damage/Effect: Restrained
- Attack/Save: Strength save
- Components: V, S
Grasping weeds and vines sprout from the ground in a 20-foot square starting from a point within range. For the duration, these plants turn the ground in the area into difficult terrain.
A creature in the area when you cast the spell must succeed on a Strength-saving throw or be restrained by the entangling plants until the spell ends.
A creature restrained by the plants can use its action to make a Strength check against your spell-save DC. On a success, it frees itself.
When the spell ends, the conjured plants wilt away.
What Is the Entangle Spell 5e?
The entangle spell is a rather simple concentration spell that allows you to restrain creatures and turn an area of the battlefield into difficult terrain.
This is a concentration spell that has the potential to last for an entire combat, although it’s decently likely that any creatures you restrain will manage to free themselves before the spell ends.
When you cast this, you’ll be creating a 20-foot square of difficult terrain centered on a point within 90 feet of you. That means four 16 (4×4) squares of the battlefield will be covered in ensnaring vines destined to grab up your foes.
Difficult terrain itself is a pretty substantial effect to place on the battlefield, requiring creatures to spend 2 feet of movement for every foot they travel through the space (or moving at half speed).
This sort of effect can do wonders as far as battlefield control goes. It has the potential to keep your allies safe for a few turns and can let any ranged attackers in your party fire off several powerful spells.
Essentially, the difficult terrain aspect of this spell alone can create a free round of actions for your allies if done right.
Of course, that’s not all this spell does. It also can inflict a pretty serious condition on your foes – the restrained condition.
When a creature is restrained, their movement speed is reduced to 0, they cannot benefit from any bonuses to their speed, and they have disadvantage on dexterity saving throws.
Also, any attacks made against them have advantage, and any attacks they attempt are made with disadvantage.
You definitely don’t want to be restrained, but inflicting it on your opponents can turn the tide of battle. The only part about this that’s a bit difficult is that the restrained condition in this spell is tied to a strength-saving throw.
At lower levels, when you’re initially going to be using this spell, strength-saving throws are actually one of the best to target.
Most low-CR creatures have incredibly low strength scores, so it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll be able to successfully restrain them. It’s also relatively likely that you’ll be able to keep them restrained for a few turns.
Unfortunately, as you start to face progressively more difficult creatures, their strength scores will undoubtedly get better, so you’ll have a harder time restraining them with a spell like this.
All in all, there’s a lot of value that you can get out of this simple 1st-level spell.
Who Should Take Entangle?
Entangle is a druid spell, so naturally it’s going to be druids that take this spell. Specifically, we’re going to see druids who want to focus on battlefield control utilizing this spell to the best of their ability.
As a spell that conjures up the forces of nature to restrain your foes, it makes sense that this would be a druid-only spell.
While there are other ways to grab this up, like through the Magic Initiate feat or the bard’s Magical Secrets feature, it’s probably not going to be something other classes are itching to add to their list.
Don’t get me wrong – this is a great spell, but it’s a great spell because of how it works with the druid class. Druids have the potential to be masters of battlefield control.
Many of their spells, like Gust or Thornwhip, have the ability to move creatures around the battlefield.
This means you have the resources at your disposal to get creatures into the position you want them to be in. Once you do so, you’re in good shape to cast an entangle that can restrain a good portion of the opposition.
An arctic Circle of the Land druid gets a lot of circle spells that are very fitting to this sort of build.
These spells are mostly druid spells, but they’re ones that you always have prepared, meaning that they exist on top of whichever spells you’re preparing for the day.
As an arctic Circle of the Land druid, you’ll have Hold Person, Spike Growth, Sleet Storm, and Slow all by 5th level. All of these are very powerful control spells.
They are mostly concentration spells, and you can only concentrate on one spell at a time, but having a variety of spells that can exert some control over the battlefield is excellent.
The Circle of Stars also makes a great candidate for this sort of control playstyle.
At 3rd level you can use your wild shape to take on a “Starry Form” with one of the possible aspects of this form allowing you to treat rolls of 9 or lower on concentration saves as a 10.
Being able to hold that concentration out longer is going to make a huge difference.
This subclass also gets the Cosmic Omen feature at 6th level, which they can use to either add or subtract a d6 from a target creature’s attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.
Using this ability with entangle will make it almost a sure bet that you can successfully restrain even a decently strong foe.
There’s even a solid argument to use this sort of spell with a Circle of Wildfire druid. Their wildfire spirit deals damage to creatures nearby it when it is summoned and when it uses its teleporting ability.
Combining the destructive power of your elemental counterpart and the control spells at your disposal can make for a brutal combo.
It means that while your enemies struggle to move, you can unleash the full explosiveness of nature upon them.
Playing this spell as a druid that’s more focused on using their wild shape to actually take on a beast form isn’t quite as advised.
You see, until 18th level you can only focus on concentration spells while in a beast form, rather than casting any new ones.
As far as concentration spells go, this is a tough one to count on for the entirety of combat.
If you get very lucky, you might be able to restrain a couple of enemies for several turns, but once they make a successful save, you’ll just be needlessly focusing on a spell that makes difficult terrain.
For that matter, there are other spells you can concentrate on that will have longer-lasting effects or that can trigger whenever a creature enters the space.
When To Cast Entangle
Entangle is a spell that you can cast whenever you have several enemies inside of a 20-by-20-foot square. This can happen naturally, but it will work particularly well if you can influence that situation in some way.
As I mentioned briefly earlier in the article, there are several spells in a druid’s arsenal that can be used to manipulate the battlefield. Two of my favorites are actually cantrips, and not having to burn a spell slot is always great.
Gust can be used in a few ways, but we’re concerned with its ability to push a Medium or smaller creature up to 5 feet away from you. This isn’t much movement, but it’s enough to send them somewhere.
Thorn Whip is a bit more powerful. This cantrip grabs a creature with a thorned vine, dealing damage to them and pulling them 10 feet closer to you if they are Large or smaller.
Both of these do take a full action, but creatures won’t necessarily be anticipating an Entangle spell coming from you. If they’re a ranged attacker, they probably won’t have much reason to move.
Otherwise, it’s a good idea to work with your party’s tank. Getting enemies closer to an ally that can take a few hits is an extremely effective way to keep them in one place.
Then, most tanks have a high enough strength score to muster up a pretty good saving throw if they happen to be in your spell’s range.
Working with your party is always a good suggestion. There are many other class abilities, spells, and feats that your allies might have that can be used to really corral enemies into a single spot.
You might have a cleric that can cast Bane on a few enemies and make them take a d4 away from their saving throws.
A Battle Master fighter has several maneuvers that allow them to manipulate the position of enemies. There are a pair of invocations that a warlock can use with their eldritch blast to push or pull an enemy.
Remembering that you’re part of a team makes pulling off incredible stunts (like restraining an entire party of enemies) completely possible.
Not all combats are surprise encounters, so you can easily go in with a battle plan of how you’re going to take down your foes.
The more planning you do beforehand, the better chance you have of executing this spell well.
Similar Spells to Entangle
Stripping the spell of its specifics, entangle is a spell that makes movement within a certain range difficult for your enemies while also inflicting a status condition on them.
There are plenty of druid spells that do similar things, so let’s look at a few of them.
Earth Tremor, 1st Level
This spell is great for creatures nearby you. It causes the ground in the 10 feet surrounding you to tremor, forcing all creatures other than you to make a Dexterity-saving throw.
If they fail the save, they’ll take 1d6 of damage and be knocked prone.
Loose earth or stone in that area also becomes difficult terrain until cleared, which takes 1 minute per 5-foot square.
This spell covers the same distance, but it doesn’t have the option of being thrown at a range. Instead of restraining, it just knocks a creature prone and deals damage.
Depending on the situation you’re in, this could be even more effective. The best part is that this won’t take your concentration; it’s just a single action for some potentially devastating effects, especially at lower levels.
Spike Growth, 2nd Level
I love spike growth, especially when it is combined with spells that force a creature to move like gust or thorn whip.
The spell creates a circle of difficult terrain with a 20-foot radius. Whenever a creature moves through that area, they take 2d4 piercing damage for every 5 feet they travel.
Add in the fact that the terrain still looks natural and takes an active perception check to be spotted, and you’ve got something that is a perfect “in combat” trap.
No one will see it coming, and if you send a creature flying into the middle, they’ll have a difficult time getting out while also taking a serious penalty for moving.
At early levels, this spell and thorn whip, two turns of action, can be more than enough to kill an enemy. Once you get 2nd-level spell slots, I’d definitely say this takes priority over Entangle.
Snare, 1st Level
If you have even just a minute to prepare before combat, you can set up a magical trap with snare. This spell creates an invisible trap that hoists a creature into the air, knocking them prone and restraining them.
Since it takes a minute to cast, you won’t be pulling it off mid combat, but it’s an excellent way to inflict a condition on your enemies with a bit of prep time. Just make sure to inform your allies as to where you’ve placed your little trap.
As far as 1st-level spells go, this is definitely a great one for druids that want to control the battlefield.
While there are definitely other spells that can get a similar outcome, this one restrains multiple creatures in a very unique way, especially at early levels.
I hope you’ve learned something from this article and that it helps you set up a druid that utilizes the powers of nature to the best of your ability.
As always, happy adventuring.
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As a kid, I was often told to get my head out of the clouds and to stop living in a fantasy world. That never really jived with me, so I decided to make a living out of games, stories, and all sorts of fantastical works. Now, as an adult, I aspire to remind people that sometimes a little bit of fantasy is all you need when life gets to be too much.