Thunderwave Spell Guide 5e

Thunderwave is a spell that’s seen a lot of play in the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. In this guide, we will answer all of your questions and more!


  • Casting Time: 1 Action
  • Range: Self (15 ft.)
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • School: Evocation
  • Class: Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard, Tempest Domain Cleric
  • Level: 1st
  • Damage/Effect: Thunder
  • Attack/Save: Constitution Save
  • Components: V, S
  • Concentration: No

Spell Description: A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t pushed.

In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect, and the spell emits a thunderous boom audible out to 300 feet.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

Thunderwave Damage Table

We have calculated the minimum, average and maximum damage that Thunderwave can achieve at every level:

How Thunderwave Works In D&D 5th Edition

The Thunderwave spell creates a wave of thunderous force, which spreads out from the caster. Creatures caught within the 15-foot cube emanating from the caster must make a Constitution saving throw or be crushed by a thunderous boom.

Any creature hit by the wave is damaged and pushed away from the caster, forcing some distance between them and the enemy. Even if a monster makes a successful saving throw, they’ll still take half the damage from Thunderwave. 

Thunderwave is a good spell for crowd control and can be used in various ways to manage the battlefield.

For example, when your enemies get too close for comfort, you can unleash a wave of thunderous force to push them back and buy some time.

Thunderwave is helpful in the early game but falls off in power as creatures get more challenging and more resistant to the spell’s effects at higher levels. 

Misconceptions When Casting Thunderwave 

Thunderwave is a popular spell, but it is often misunderstood. There are some common misconceptions about how it actually works.

First, the wave of thunderous force is not centered on the caster’s location. Instead, you select the cube’s point of origin. This means you can target creatures not adjacent to you with Thunderwave.

Second, the wave of thunderous force affects all creatures caught within the cube, regardless of whether they are friends or foes. This is important to remember, as you do not want to accidentally hurt your allies with Thunderwave.

Lastly, unsecured objects caught within the cube are also affected by Thunderwave. The spell’s effect automatically pushes these objects away from the caster.