Ice Storm: 5e Mechanics and Guide to Using the Spell

Casting Time

1 action

School

Evocation

Damage/Effect

Bludgeoning, Cold

Range

300 feet

Class

Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard

Attack/Save

Save, DEX, Half DMG on Successful Save

Duration

Instantaneous

Level

4

Components

Verbal, Somatic, Material

Spell Description:

A hail of rock-hard ice pounds to the ground in a 20-foot-radius, 40-foot-high cylinder centered on a point within range. Each creature in the cylinder must make a Dexterity saving throw.

A creature takes 2d8 bludgeoning damage and 4d6 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Hailstones turn the storm’s area of effect into difficult terrain until the end of your next turn.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, the bludgeoning damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 4th.

4th Level5th Level7th Level9th Level
Damage Dice2d8 + 4d63d8 + 4d65d8 + 4d67d8 + 4d6
Minimum Damage67911
Average Damage8.5 + 12.512.5 + 12.520.5 + 12.528.5 + 12.5
Maximum Damage16 + 2424 + 2440 + 2456 + 24

4th-level, Evocation, Damage, Control, Cold, Bludgeoning

Level: Druid (7), Sorcerer (7), Wizard (7), Tempest Domain (7), Oath of the Ancients (13), Artillerist (13), Eldritch Knight (19), Arcane Trickster (19)

Materials Required: A pinch of dust and a few drops of water.

Number of Targets: 1 20-foot radius, 40-foot tall cylinder that you can see

Die Type: d8 (Bludgeoning), d6 (Cold)

Number of Dice: 2 (Bludgeoning, increased by 1 for every spell slot level above 4th), 4 (Cold)

Damage Type: Bludgeoning, Cold

Save: Dexterity

Damage on Successful Save: Half

Statuses Inflicted: Area of effect becomes difficult terrain 

Status Duration: Until the end of your next turn

Affected By Cover: Yes

Advantage: None

Disadvantage: None

What is Ice Storm?

Ice Storm is an area of effect damaging spell that deals both Bludgeoning and Cold damage on hit. The area of effect for Ice Storm is a 20-foot cylinder within 300 feet of you that you can see.

Hail rains down in this cylinder, dealing bludgeoning and Cold damage to anyone hit by it. 

Who can cast Ice Storm?

Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards all get access to Ice Storm at level 7, when they get their first 4th-level spell slots. Tempest Domain Clerics also add Ice Storm to their expanded spell list at level 7 upon getting their first 4th-level spell slots.

Oath of the Ancients Paladins and Artillerist Artificers will have to wait a bit longer, as they do not get access to the spell on their expanded lists until level 13.

Bards can pick the spell up at level 10 using their Magical Secrets feature. Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters cannot take this spell without first reaching the 19th level.

Anyone within the radius of the spell must make a Dexterity saving throw in order to avoid taking the full brunt of the damage. Those who succeed on the throw take half the damage. 

Even if everyone succeeds on the saving throw, the ice remains on the field where it fell, turning the ground into difficult terrain. Moving through difficult terrain costs twice the movement, so every 1 foot that you move, costs 2 feet of your base movement speed.

In addition to the slowed movement, landing a jump on difficult terrain requires a Dexterity check otherwise the character lands prone.

When and Where should I cast Ice Storm?

Ice Storm, like Shatter, represents a strong spell for clearing large groups of enemies. Thus, it runs into all the same major roadblocks that Shatter does. 

Being an area of effect spell, it can and will hit your allies if you do not have some way to protect them. They will also run into issues crossing the difficult terrain if they need to.

Ice Storm shouldn’t be cast in extremely small places where it may impede allies either by damaging them or through preventing their movement. 

Additionally, a vast number of enemies are either resistant or immune to Cold Damage, so it may not be worth factoring in the Cold Damage as a major portion of your damage. A fourth-level spell-slot for 2d8 damage is a pretty steep price to pay as well.

Why should I take Ice Storm?

Ice Storm’s first major boon is that it is a magical source of bludgeoning damage and that damage does scale with spell level. Still, a fourth-level spell slot for just 2d8 of damage remains a very steep price. 

Secondly, Ice Storm does provide a pretty hefty area of effect that also includes a volatile status on the ground itself, a feature that can be utilized to great effect in small but long areas to prevent movement.

It also does have decent overall damage and can be used to nuke down large groups of small enemies.

Common Questions About Ice Storm