Melee Spell Attack, 6d10
S, M (a melee weapon worth at least 1 sp)
You flourish the weapon used in the casting and then vanish to strike like the wind. Choose up to five creatures you can see within range.
Make a melee spell attack against each target. On a hit, a target takes 6d10 force damage.
You can then teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within 5 feet of one of the targets you hit or missed.
Materials Required: A melee weapon worth at least 1 sp
Number of Targets: Up to 5 that you can see within range
Die Type: d10
Number of Dice: 6 (per target)
Damage Type: Force
Damage on Successful Save: None
Statuses Inflicted: None
Status Duration: None
Affected By Cover: No
Who can cast Steel Wind Strike?
Steel wind strike is a spell that can be cast by rangers and wizards. As a 5th-level spell, this will be an option for wizards at 9th level, while rangers will have to wait until 17th level to gain access to this powerful spell.
Originally, this was intended to be a ranger exclusive spell, but it was extended to the wizard’s spell list for builds like the bladesinger who might focus more on weapon utilization. As of right now, there are no classes who receive this spell as part of a subclass spell list, nor can you pick this up from any feats.
What is Steel Wind Strike?
Steel wind strike is a spell that allows a character to make up to five separate melee spell attacks in quick succession. After you have made the attacks you can teleport to a spot 5 feet away from one of the targets.
This is a spell that allows you to deal some serious damage (up to 300 points) to many opponents without having to worry about getting hit by opportunity attacks. Rather than moving between several targets to deal damage to them, this spell treats it as if you instantaneously attack each target and land on the other side safe and sound.
As far as melee spell attacks go, this is definitely one of the more powerful. It presents itself as the classic anime sword dash where the enemy doesn’t even know they’ve been sliced in half until it’s too late.
Melee weapon attack vs melee spell attack
An extremely common misconception about this spell is that it is a melee weapon attack. It makes sense, considering that a weapon is a component of the spell, however this is in fact a melee spell attack.
This can be important for a lot of different scenarios, but most boil down to some ability being triggered by a “melee weapon attack.” The common example is people attempting to pair a smite with this for insane amounts of damage. Since you can only smite as a result of weapon attacks, this spell is not a valid trigger.
You can compare this with Booming Blade, a similar spell, which actually does call for a melee weapon attack by saying “… you make a melee attack with (the weapon used in the casting of the spell)…” The slight difference in language is very important.
When and Where Should I Cast Steel Wind Strike?
- Move fast
- Deal with multiple targets
In order to cast Steel Wind Strike in the best scenarios, you need to understand the two components of it. The first is obviously that you get to deal a lot of damage to multiple targets. The second part is that you essentially teleport up to 35 feet from your starting point.
Since the spell allows you to end 5 feet away from one of your targets, and the range for the spell is 30 feet, if a target is at the edge of your effective radius then you get what is basically one free movement as a part of your action.
Enemies that are grouped tighter around you might not be as effective of a target because you lose this excellent movement.
As we covered in the paragraph above, this free movement is also free from triggering opportunity attacks. This is such a huge benefit, especially on top of an attack, that is hard to even come close to. A monk’s Flurry of Blows does a decent job, but deals nowhere near as much damage.
So that’s one piece, use this when you need to cover a lot of ground without getting attacked. The other part is the damage. Now a spell that just deals 6d10 force damage is substantial, especially considering that force damage is the least resisted damage type in all of 5e. What makes this one so impressive is its ability to deal with 5 targets that aren’t necessarily lined up.
Most spells that deal damage to multiple targets are AoE (area of effect) spells. This means that every creature (normally including your allies) is going to take some damage. It also means they have to be within a certain area, which might be a cone, line, sphere, or some other shape that makes sense for the spell.
With Steel Wind Strike, you get to choose the multiple targets you’re attacking, and they can be at very different spots on the battlefield.
If you’re in a situation that requires you to dish out some damage to multiple targets, and a normal AoE would be ill-advised, this spell comes in handy.
Put the two pieces of this together and you have the ability to take down multiple targets with impressive precision, all while keeping yourself safe and moving yourself out of harm’s way.
Why Should I Take Steel Wind Strike?
This is largely dependent on your class. For rangers, this is a 4th tier option for end-game combat, while wizards have this as one of many options for 2nd and 3rd tier play. Largely, this is a great choice for builds who are up in the middle of combat and need a powerful option for traversing the battlefield.
Rangers only have 6 options for 5th level spells, and a max of two spell slots to use for them. No matter what 5th-level options the druidic warriors take, they’re going to be using them sparingly.
This is an excellent option for a melee combat-focused ranger, where Conjure Volley might more often be used by ranged combatants. If you’re looking for an excellent spell to fill that position on your roster, this just might be it.
As for wizards, an entirely different set of thoughts is needed. Again, you should take this if you’re focused on melee combat, but the logistics are a bit different. A wizard has over 20 5th level spells to choose from, making this a bit of a tougher decision.
Much like the design notes from Jeremy Crawford imply, this is only really on the wizard spell list for the more weapon combat-focused wizards.
Bladesinging and war magic are great examples of subclasses that make sense for this, but any build with at least some focus on their melee weapon can count this as a fine addition.
Other options similar to Steel Wind Strike
There aren’t many spells quite like Steel Wind Strike out there that allow you to both move and deal damage. However, there are several spells that allow you to involve weapons in your spells.
Booming Blade is a great cantrip that allows you to empower your melee weapon attacks. You cast this cantrip before attacking, and the attack leaves a temporary condition on your victim. If that target willingly moves 5 feet before the start of your next turn they take thunder damage dependent on your level.
Mordenkainen’s Sword summons up a sword within 60 feet of you that then makes a melee spell attack against a creature. This is a concentration spell that then allows you to make a bonus action on each of your turns choosing a new target.
If you’re looking to deal damage to multiple targets with a melee spell attack and have 7th-level slots available, this is an excellent grab along the same lines as Steel Wind Strike
Spiritual Weapon is another spell along the same lines that conjures up a weapon in mid-air for you to dish out damage with. This is cleric specific and comes in as a 2nd-level spell also dealing force damage. As with mordenkainen’s sword, you can move this as a bonus action while you maintain concentration.
Common Questions About Steel Wind Strike
Do you get advantage on Steel Wind Strike for being an unseen attacker?
No. While the spell says you “vanish” it is meant to imply that you teleport to each target to make an attack, although that is not specifically stated.
Regardless, it does not specifically state that you benefit from the invisibility condition, or any other condition for that matter.
See the cited tweet below from Jeremy Crawford of the Sage Advice Column for clarification.
Does casting Steel Wind Strike against a paralyzed foe result in an automatic critical hit?
This is really up to the DM’s discretion. The paralyzed condition creates auto crits when you attack within 5 feet, but this spell does not explicitly state that your melee spell attacks are within 5 feet.
The tweet from Crawford does say that you blink in and out in front of targets, implying that you are within 5 feet of them to make the attack. So I would say RAW no, RAI yes, which brings me back to DM’s discretion.