While clerics can prepare spells daily, allowing you to swap out spells to match what you think will be most useful on any given adventuring day, some spells tend to be much more useful than others!
So, here’s our list of the top 10 best cleric spells in 5E D&D – in no particular order – and why these cleric spells are the ones you’ll almost always want to prepare!
Looking for divine inspiration? With 150+ pages of divinely themed content, Heretic’s Guide to Devotion & Divinity got you covered! Get a free 20-page sample here.
1. Healing Word
While I’m personally not a fan of a 1st-level spell being capable of raising a fallen character from the brink of death to a battle-ready state using a bonus action because I feel it takes away some of the tension of dying, there’s no denying that healing word is one of the best spells in the cleric’s arsenal.
Obviously, you don’t want to be upcasting healing word as it heals 1d4 + your spellcasting modifier compared to a d8 for cure wounds, but what makes it an amazing spell (and banned at my table) is the ability to heal dying allies (from a distance!) while still having your action to do all sorts of other stuff.
It should be noted that other great cleric spells such as spiritual weapon might already be competing for your bonus action, making healing word a bit less useful in some situations. So, if you’re a damage-focused cleric, you might be better off just preparing cure wounds and using your bonus actions to smash your foes with a spiritual mace! Still, healing word is a top-tier cleric spell!
2. Spiritual Weapon
I love this spell – and if you like dealing damage as a cleric, you’re going to love it as well! Spiritual weapon is a 2nd-level spell that lets you conjure and attack with a spectral weapon as a bonus action on the turn you use it and for another 10 rounds. The damage is 1d8 + your Wisdom modifier force damage, so that’s potentially a lot of extra damage with a bonus action you might’ve not otherwise used. Plus, it doesn’t even require concentration!
The damage of spiritual weapon increases by 1d8 for every two slots above 2nd, so upcasting it to 4th or 6th level can definitely be worth it, if you know you’re going to have a long fight!
3. Spirit Guardians
If you want to deal loads of damage, spiritual weapon might be your bonus action buddy, but spirit guardians is the main spell you want to be concentrating on – at least if you’re not afraid to jump into melee combat!
Using a 3rd-level spell slot, you call forth spirits to a distance of 15 feet for 10 minutes. Any creature of your choice that enters the area or starts its turn there takes 3d8 radiant or necrotic damage (depending on your own alignment) and their speed is halved.
That’s an average of 13 damage per round to any foe that comes near you while also controlling the battlefield by halving the movement speed of your foes for a wobbling 10 minutes.
Spirit guardians is likely the best 3rd-level damage dealing spell on the cleric’s list – and even upcasting it to increase the damage by 1d8 for each slot above the third is viable!
Adding a d4 to attack rolls and saving throws might not sound like much, but due to the way 5E D&D is designed, an average bonus of +2,5 to hit your enemies or resist their attempts to charm or charcoal you with a fireball is actually pretty huge, especially at lower levels.
Upcasting bless is rarely wise as it only lets you target more creatures. For that reason, bless also becomes less useful at higher levels where you have access to other and more powerful spells that also use up your concentration. But in the early part of the game, bless is a great spell that can give your party a decent upper hand in combat!
Being able to resurrect a dead character is pretty neat, and being able to do so with a 3rd-level spell and a meager 300 gp diamond is as good as it gets! The only downside is that you have to bring back your buddy from the afterlife within 1 minute or you’ll have to resort to more powerful (and expensive!) spells such as raise dead or resurrection.
6. Greater Restoration
A medusa turned your friend into a statue? Fallen under a horrible curse? Well, greater restoration got you covered. This 5th-level spell is your party’s shield from curses, exhaustion, reduced maximum hit points, and all that sort of stuff you want to avoid. It does have a material cost of diamond dust worth 100 gp, so you definitely don’t want to be throwing greater restoration around too often, but when you need it, you’ll be seriously glad to have it!
Heal does exactly what it says – and it does it extremely well. Using a 6th-level spell slot as an action, you cause a creature within 60 feet of you to regain 70 hit points straight without having to make any kind of roll. That’s a lot of hit points in a very short span of time! In comparison, cure wounds cast as a 6th-level spell wouldn’t even heal half of that on average.
So, if you’re the party’s healer, you don’t want to miss out on heal – your party will love you for it!
8. Cure Wounds & Mass Cure Wounds
I feel I have to mention cure wounds, the classic bread-and-butter healing spell for clerics – and if it weren’t for healing word, I surely would have ranked it much higher.
Cure wounds is a 1st-level spell that heals 1d8 + your Wisdom score plus an additional 1d8 for each slot level above 1st, and in terms of raw healing capabilities, you won’t get a more effective spell until much later in the game, once you get mass cure wounds and eventually heal.
In combat, however, you’ll often be focusing on bringing allies back from 0 hit points – and in such cases, it won’t make much difference whether you bring your ally back to 8 hit points with cure wounds or 5 hit points with healing word as your party member will probably be dying again as soon as they’re hit anyway. As such, you’ll often be better off using healing word and dealing a little damage with your action.
All in all, cure wounds is a fantastic spell, and as a full-time healer, you’ll probably want both cure wounds and healing word prepared. If you’re more focused on dealing damage, however, you’re probably better off just getting either one of them and preparing some other spells. It’s worth noting that spiritual weapon also use up your bonus action, so if you have multiple uses for that one, cure wounds could still be your best bet!
Oh yeah, and mass cure wounds is also cool – it’s a 5th-level spell that lets you heal up to six creatures within 30 feet 3d8 + your Wisdom modifier. Healing multiple allies in a single turn can be a game-changer.
I know guidance is a cantrip, but being able to constantly let yourself or a party member add a d4 to ability checks is super useful!
Of course, it’s up to your DM whether you can be casting the spell constantly while on the road, but even if that’s now allowed at your table, it’s still a great spell. The constant spamming of guidance also seems to be changed in the upcoming One D&D based on the current playtesting material.
10. Mass Heal
Mass heal is, without a shred of doubt, the most powerful healing spell in D&D 5E, letting you restore up to 700 hit points divided between as many creatures as you please. Oh yeah, they’re also cured of blindness, diseases, and that sort of stuff.
So, what’s the issue? Well, it’s a 9th-level spell. Most of us will never get access to it. Plus, if you’re not in a huge party, 700 hit points is typically total overkill even at level 20. Nevertheless, I feel this spell does deserve a mention as the single spell on this list above 6th-level.
Before we round up , let’s take a quick look at some of the spells that almost made it to the list!
Sanctuary. With this 1st-level spell, you ward a creature so enemies have to succeed on a Wisdom saving throw every time they try to harm it or be unable to do so. It lasts for 1 minute, doesn’t require concentration, and it only costs a bonus action to cast. The caveat is that as soon as the warded creature harms another creature, the spell ends, making the spell much less useful. However, it can be super effective to protect an NPC or weakened ally – and if all you’re doing is healing anyway, why not shield yourself from harm while at it?
Guiding bolt. This 1st-level spell is far from the best damage-dealing spell out there, but in the early stages of the game it can be quite effective – plus the lack of damage spells on the cleric spell list means I should mention this one!
Guardian of Faith. Like guiding bolt, this 4th-level spell isn’t the best damage dealing spell out there, but it’s decent enough and it combos well with spirit guardians and spiritual weapon since it doesn’t use up your concentration or bonus actions.
Holy Weapon. Holy weapon is a 5th-level spell that imbues a weapon for 1 hour, causing it to shed light and deal an additional 2d8 radiant damage. Since you can cast it on one another character’s weapon, you could significantly increase the damage output of a martial class that makes multiple attacks each round. You can also end the spell early as a bonus action to cause the weapon to blind close-by creatures of your choice for 1 minute while dealing 4d8 radiant damage to them. The downside is that it requires a relatively high-level spell slot and uses up your concentration.
Heroes’ Feast. This 6th-level spell lets you bring forth a divine feast that takes 1 hour to consume. For everyone who does so, their maximum and current hit points increase by 2d10, they have advantage on Wisdom saving throws, and are immune to poison, diseases, and poison damage for 24 hours.
This spell is, without doubt, one of the most potent buff spells in 5E D&D. The main issue with it is that it requires a “gem-crusted bowl” worth at least 1,000 gp to cast. Given the income of an average citizen is described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide to be around 60 gp a month, this divine dinner just isn’t for everyone.
Hold Person. Not much to say here. Hold person is a great 2nd-level spell that lets you paralyze a humanoid for up to 1 minute, or until your concentration is broken or the target succeeds on a Wisdom saving throw which it can repeat on each of its turns. Being paralyzed is just about the worst condition as any attack against you is a critical hit – making hold person super powerful.
However, if you aren’t facing any humanoids, you’re not going to be using this spell at all.
Blindness. Being blind is far less impairing than being paralyzed, yet blindness/deafness can be a great spell since it can target any creature and doesn’t use up your concentration! Its main weakness is that Constitution saving throws are usually the strong suit for many monsters in 5E.
Death Ward. Resurrection is great, but not dying in the first place is preferred. Death ward is a 4th-level spell that secures just that as it lets a creature drop to 1 hit point instead of 0 hit points whenever that would happen within the next 8 hours. Obviously, it would be great for the whole party to be warded against death, but 4th-level spell slots aren’t infinite!
Other Damage Spells. I would’ve loved to include more damage-dealing spells on this list, but the unfortunate fact is that clerics don’t really get those. I mean, I could highlight harm and fire storm but they just don’t compare to other damage spells such as sunburst or sunbeam (which I feel every cleric should have access to) or spells such as disintegrate and chain lightning available to arcane casters.
That’s it for our list! Let us know in the comment section if you agree with our picks.
While we’ve selected the spells that are generally the best cleric spells out there, whatever spells you should prepare always depends on the setting you play in and the role you want your character to have – ie. if you’re the party’s only healer or a tanky war cleric focused on melee!
Also, I’ve avoided selecting loads of high-level spells on this list, even if they are naturally more powerful. The main reason for this is that very few characters will ever get access to these spells, but the cleric spell list is also seriously lacking when it comes to high-level spells.
I should also note that we didn’t include spells that are only available to specific cleric domains, such as the Twilight domain giving access to the paladin spell aura of vitality that might’ve otherwise made it to the list.
If you want more divine inspiration for your 5E D&D game, don’t forget to check out Heretic’s Guide to Devotion & Divinity which features 150+ pages of divine content tailored to make gods, celestial, religion, and all that stuff matter!