Green-Flame Blade: 5e Mechanics and Guide to Using the Spell

Green-Flame Blade

Evocation cantrip

  • Casting Time: 1 action
  • Range: Self (5-foot radius)
  • Components: S, M (a melee weapon worth at least 1 sp)
  • Duration: Instantaneous

You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you.

On a hit, the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects, and you can cause green fire to leap from the target to a different creature of your choice that you can see within 5 feet of it. The second creature takes fire damage equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

At Higher Levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 fire damage to the target on a hit, and the fire damage to the second creature increases to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

Both damage rolls increase by 1d8 at 11th level (2d8 and 2d8) and 17th level (3d8 and 3d8).

Spell Lists. Artificer, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

Source: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything

The Green-Flame Blade cantrip is a unique cantrip for spellcasters who like to get up close and personal. Strike an enemy with a weapon and splash green fire onto another foe within melee range.

Green-Flame Blade is one of the few cantrips that scales its damage at higher levels. 

The spell was added to Dungeons & Dragons 5e as part of the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide and then again in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything (with some minor changes).

Green-Flame Blade Benefits 

  • Guaranteed flat damage to a secondary target 
  • Damage scales at higher levels 
  • Good way to hit multiple targets for classes with single attacks per round

Green-Flame Blade is one of the weirder damage cantrips in D&D 5e because it deals damage indirectly to an enemy standing nearby the actual target of a weapon attack.

This is interesting because, while hitting multiple enemies with the same attack is a fairly common feature of video games, it’s actually quite rare in D&D.

In 5e, the only abilities that come close to approximating the effect of swinging a huge blade and striking multiple foes are the Ranger’s Horde Breaker ability and the Great Weapon Master Feat, neither of which deliver guaranteed damage to the secondary target. 

Green-Flame Blade, on the other hand, delivers guaranteed damage equal to your spellcasting modifier (plus 1d8, 2d8, or 3d8 at higher levels) to a secondary target.

It’s one of the best cantrips to throw out against a group of enemies

Thanks to its unique benefits and scaling over time, Green-Flame Blade gets held up a lot as a “must-have” cantrip for a lot of half-caster/half-martial classes like Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, Hexblade Warlocks, and Bladesinger Wizards. 

However, if you want to maximize your effectiveness and are considering Green-Flame Blade, it’s worth taking a look at some of the drawbacks of this cantrip. 

Green-Flame Blade Drawbacks 

  • Prevents you from taking additional attacks
  • Weak vs solo monsters 
  • Fire is the most common monster resistance 

Even though Green-Flame Blade involves making an attack, you’re not actually taking the attack action; you’re casting a spell. This means just ONE attack per round.

As a fighter (who’s, say, level 5), you’re going to be getting two attacks per turn. 

Instead of casting Green-Flame Blade, you could potentially deal more damage against each one by just attacking twice with your melee weapon. 

As such, if your character can make two, three, or more attacks each round, this cantrip gets less and less viable the more attacks it prevents you from making. 

When conditions are right, Green-Flame Blade can be a decidedly potent cantrip, but change the conditions in which you use it even a little, and you’d be much better off casting something else or just swinging your sword again.

Best Classes for Green-Flame Blade

Now, while there are several subclasses that can make good use of this spell, there is one class that Green-Flame Blade pairs with almost perfectly. 

Rogue (Arcane Trickster)

Whether you’re playing an Arcane Trickster subclass, or you took the Magic Initiate feat, or are playing a race with innate spellcasting like a High Elf, any rogue that can gain access to Green-Flame Blade is in for a good time. 

First of all, rogues are the only martial class that doesn’t gain multiple attacks per round. Instead, they’re almost wholly reliant on using their sneak attack to pile massive damage onto a single hit.

Because Green-Flame Blade causes you to make a melee weapon attack, it’s been confirmed that the cantrip does proc your Sneak Attack feature. 

Fighter (Eldritch Knight) 

At 7th level, the Eldritch Knight subclass gains the feature War Magic which means that, if you use your action to cast a cantrip, you can make a melee weapon attack as a bonus action, which goes a long way toward mitigating the opportunity cost of using this spell instead of making multiple weapon attacks. 


By using the metamagic effect Quickened Spell, you can use this cantrip to essentially give your sorcerer multi-attack by casting it as both an action and a bonus action.

It’s worth noting that you cannot cast Green-Flame Blade using Twinned Spell because it can affect multiple targets. 

Wizard (Bladesinger) 

Lastly, the only melee-focused wizard school is a prime candidate for this spell thanks to the fact that, even though they get to make multiple attacks per round, the bladesinger can replace one of them with a cantrip.

This means that you could use Green-Flame Blade against an enemy and then make a melee weapon attack, overcoming the main drawback of this cantrip.