Artificer, Sorcerer, Wizard
You magically twist space around another creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (the target can choose to fail), or the target is teleported to an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within range. The chosen space must be a surface or in a liquid that can support the target without the target having to squeeze.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level or higher, the range of the spell increases by 30 feet for each slot level above 2nd level.
What is Vortex Warp?
Vortex Warp is an absolutely stunning spell that allows it’s caster to teleport a target up to 180 feet. Whether you do or do not teleport your target is dependent on a Constitution saving throw, which they can choose to fail.
This new spell brought to us by the Quandrix College at Strixhaven University is incredibly impressive, and might feel a bit more powerful than some other 2nd-level spells on your list.
The spell itself is fairly straightforward, you choose a target, they make a Con save if they fail then you teleport them. The distance for the spell is actually determined by the range, which has a radius of 90 feet extending out from you. Since you choose both the target and their new destination as points within the range of this spell, you can move them a maximum of 180 feet.
Of course, the range of this spell increases by 30 feet for each level slot you use to upcast this spell. That means that the possible distance increases by 60 feet with each level.
It should be noted that you do have to see the target and the spot you’re sending them to, meaning you can’t just stick a combatant on a different floor or in a different room unless you have some sort of feature like Ghostly Gaze.
The last piece of this spell is where you can place characters. Having to place characters on a surface makes a lot of sense, you can’t just stick someone 90 feet in the air and watch them fall to their deaths (more like grievous injuries). Not being able to put a character in an occupied space also makes sense, that’s some body horror we’re not interested in here.
The only part of the placement is that where you put your target must be able to support them without them having to squeeze. Support implies that placing them won’t cause them to immediately start falling while squeezing is a mechanic reserved for spaces large enough for a creature one size smaller than your target.
What’s very interesting is that it also allows you to place characters on a liquid.
Vortex Warp: Liquid Placement
Liquids are weird! Just about everything else in the spell is a generally accepted D&D 5e mechanic. Squeezing, surface, range, all of these have been delved into. Liquids, though, that’s a scientific term, and puts us in a similar situation to the one Create or Destroy Water brought us with the term container.
If you’re not familiar, Create or Destroy Water allows you to create or destroy up to 10 gallons of water within an open container. People have used this to drown their enemies because “an open container” has no strict 5e definition, and by its actual definition can 100% include a body (the opening tends to be the mouth, or any other orifice).
Once again, we look to the real-world definition to see what mayhem we can cause. Spoiler warning, it’s going to get dangerous. A liquid is defined as a nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container but retains a (nearly) constant volume independent of pressure.
If that’s not confusing, I commend you. If that is confusing, we can break down the definition a bit to call it a state of matter between solid and gas, one that is both a fluid and condensed matter. Liquids turn into gasses at their boiling point and turn into solids at their freezing point.
Some common examples of liquids are water, milk, paint, magma, and most acids. That’s right, I said magma. Much to the dismay of my roommate with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, magma is in fact a liquid.
So you can place someone inside of magma, so long as another creature isn’t already occupying that space. Then you just let your DM decide what the effects are. Of course, you can also just drown someone with this spell. The options are vast and a technical knowledge of what a liquid is will help you out in the long run.
Who can cast Vortex Warp?
This spell was added to the spell lists of wizards, artificers, and sorcerers, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only ones that can cast it. Part of its introduction was its inclusion in the Strixhaven Backgrounds as a spell gained for taking the Quandrix Student background.
This means that any character that has access to spellcasting or pact magic can in fact grab this spell up with the background. Essentially, with the right background, anyone that plans on casting spells at any time can get this spell.
Vortex Warp isn’t unique in this aspect, each Strixhaven Student background has a pretty healthy roster of spells for casters. What this does mean is that you don’t have to be limited by your class when it comes to gaining the ability to teleport people around the battlefield like crazy.
Whether or not you should take this feat is something we’ll discuss a bit later.
Incredible Things You Can Do with Vortex Warp
Vortex Warp, at its core, is a utility spell. It doesn’t directly deal damage, buff your allies, or debuff your opponents. Often, utility spells can feel more or less useless, aside from niche situations. That is not the case for this spell.
So we went over what the spell is allowed to do, which is teleport a single target a pretty substantial distance away. If we break that down into sections, we can teleport allies and enemies.
These two main categories of utility are what we’re going to be talking about today, and are what you’re going to need to know to use this spell to the best of its ability.
Using this spell on our allies actually breaks down into two smaller, extremely simple categories. You can pull your allies out of a bad situation, or put them into a good one. It’s a bit more nuanced, but those are the basics to live by.
Any character has the chance of putting themselves in harm’s way, even if martial characters tend to do that most often. Sometimes that looks like being down to 5 health and surrounded by enemies. Sometimes that looks like being in the way of an incoming AOE spell.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen barbarians take massive amounts of damage because there was no better play and a caster had a perfect shot for a finishing Fireball on the enemy forces. Vortex Warp is the better play here. It’s the opportunity to plan ahead and stop that damage from landing on your ally.
Of course, sometimes we need a line up. A rogue might need to get behind the enemy lines, a fighter might need to get right up into the fray, or a druid might need to be put into position to let off a powerful spell.
Controlling the battlefield is something we’re always trying to do in D&D. A huge part of combat is getting into the right spot at the right time, and coordinating with your allies for the perfect tactics.
Again, Vortex Warp provides you with an opportunity to serve this role for your party. Not everyone can dart across the battlefield like a monk, or soar overhead like an aarakocra. Finally, we have a simple, low cost spell that can put people into position.
When dealing with your enemies, Vortex Warp is often going to be used to get them far away from your party. Of course, there might also be times where you want to bring them a bit closer. The full spectrum is at your fingertips, now it’s down to using the right strategy for each situation.
Often, when you’re fighting a big group of enemies, one might run off to go call for backup. That’s typically not good, unless you’re farming XP. Rather than hope your ranged attackers can drop them before they get away, you can just zip them back over into the fray and let the martial combatants deal with them.
There are also the opposite situations. Sometimes we have too many enemies getting up close and personal. Moving one away for as long as it takes them to run back is only a temporary solution, but it’s one that can turn the tides towards victory.
Last but not least, we have fun scenarios. You can put an enemy in the perfect position to get pushed over a ledge by the barbarian, place them inside of a Forcecage, set them on difficult terrain, or even, yes, submerge them in lava.
Fun options are a bit harder to pin down with some overlapping description, but rest assured that there are plenty of options to explore.
Why Should You Take Vortex Warp?
If you’re not in Quandrix College, then this spell is actually a choice you have to make. This spell is an excellent 2nd-level choice for a character that focuses on utility and support. It’s even better for a player who can be creative and look beyond the straightforward uses of a spell.
Vortex Warp on its own is never going to win you a battle. Unless you get into some sort of 1 on 1 mage battle with the ability to RKO, you’re going to need more in your arsenal. This spell shines when you’re working with a team, and when you can use it to support your team effectively.
This spell won’t replace something like Flaming Sphere, which you can move around to dish out fire damage, but it will pair excellently with it. We’re looking to put this with spells that consistently deal damage to creatures within a certain range.
Of course, we may not be the only people casting spells, further cementing this as a support spell, one that even benefits other casters.
You should also take this spell if you can have it make it more castable. Each class that has this on their spell list has some way to make this spell more effective, and that’s before we even look at subclasses.
Vortex Warp: Special Casting
Artificers at 11th level can store it in an item, allowing it to be cast using the item a number of times equal to twice their intelligence modifier.
Wizards at 18th level can choose this as their Spell Mastery spell and cast it without using a spell slot for constant warping.
Sorcerers can use the Heightened Spell metamagic option to impose disadvantage on a creature’s saving throw for this spell.
Each of those options is limited, you aren’t going to use them with every spell you have in your list of known or prepared spells. With that, you should consider what kind of a caster you are.
If your goal is to dish out damage, this might not be for you. If your goal is to be as strategic as possible, and control the battlefield as you see fit, then take this spell.
Spells Like Vortex Warp
There aren’t many teleportation spells. In fact, Vortex Warp is the only current 5e spell that allows you to teleport your foes. Here are the other teleportation spells to contend with.
Misty Step – 2nd-level Conjuration, Bonus Action
Misty step allows you to teleport yourself up to 30 feet away.
Thunder Step – 3rd-level Conjuration, 1 Action
Thunder step allows you, up to one willing creature your size or smaller, and objects that don’t exceed your carrying capacity, to teleport up to 90 feet away. When you do so, creatures within 10 feet of the spot you left take thunder damage on a failed Dex save.
Dimension Door – 4th-level Conjuration, 1 Action
You teleport up to 500 feet away to any location you can see, visualize, or describe (such as 200 feet due north). You may also take a willing creature within 5 feet of you that is your size or smaller.
As you can see, these are great spells to teleport yourself and possibly an ally, but they don’t hold a candle to the potential of Vortex Warp.
Vortex Warp is a sign of the times for 5e. It’s a new spell that was introduced along with some other incredibly powerful spells. Will this be the future of D&D? There’s no way to tell yet.
What we do know is that this spell is going to have an impact at tables all around the world.
I hope you come up with some incredible ways to use it. And as always, happy adventuring.