There are a ton of spells available for Rangers as they level up. So many, in fact, that it can be difficult to decide which ones are the best Ranger spells to take. While there is no easy answer since campaigns can be situational, there are definitely some spells that are outright better for a Ranger in any situation. There are plenty of powerful spells in D&D, and Rangers have access to a few of them.
We’ve gone through every spell available to Rangers in D&D 5e, from the Player’s Handbook to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and created a list of the best Ranger spells in D&D for every spell level. Whether you’re a 2nd-level Ranger picking your first spell, or a 17th-level Ranger learning about your 5th-level spells, this list has something for you. Here are the best Ranger spells in D&D 5e you should consider taking.
The Best 1st-Level Ranger Spells
Since Constitution isn’t one of the two main ability scores for Rangers, you might not be as tanky as some other frontline characters. An easy way to take a little less damage and dish it right back is Absorb Elements.
Absorb Elements is a reaction spell and can trigger whenever you take acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage. If you do decide to cast it, you’ll have resistance to the triggering damage type until the start of your next turn. A successful melee attack on your next turn also causes the target to take 1d6 extra damage of that type.
Being able to heal either yourself or a party member is huge, especially in the early game when your squishier party members are always just two hits away from death. Cure Wounds is about as basic as it gets when it comes to healing and allows you to heal any living creature by 1d8 + your spellcasting modifier.
This one has the potential to be useful but is pretty niche. Casting Goodberry causes up to ten magical berries to appear in your hand. Anyone who eats the berries will have one hitpoint restored and feel satiated for the day. The berries only last 24 hours, so be sure to eat up!
Goodberry is often a better choice for Rangers that don’t feel like taking Cure Wounds. Goodberry allows you to heal players for 10 points consistently compared to the wide range Cure Wounds offers. You’re going to have to look at your party and playstyle to decide which one would be better — or if you should just take both (we heavily advise against that, though).
Hail of Thorns
A great choice for Rangers that focus more on ranged attacks than melee combat, Hail of Thorns gives your arrows or other missiles an extra oomph. After casting Hail of Thorns, you create a rain of thorns that sprout from your ammo. The creature you’re attacking, and creatures within 5 feet, must make a dex save and take 1d10 piercing damage if they fail or half on a successful roll.
Arguably one of the best combat spells for melee Rangers, Hunter’s Mark can let you run through a room dishing out tons of damage — as long as you can maintain your concentration. You designate a creature in range as your “quarry” and deal an extra 1d6 damage to them whenever you hit it with a melee weapon.
If the creature’s HP hits 0 before the 1-hour duration is up, you can use a bonus action or subsequent turn to mark a new creature and continue pumping out extra damage. You also have advantage on any Perception or Survival checks you make against it.
Searing Smite is another great spell for melee Rangers since it allows them to deal an extra 1d6 fire damage to a target and set them on fire. This effect lasts for a total of 10 rounds — if you can keep concentration. Also, the target will continue to take 1d6 fire damage until they make a successful Constitution saving throw or somehow extinguish the flames.
Speak with Animals
Talking to woodland critters is pretty helpful. Speak with Animals lets you verbally communicate with beasts for 10 minutes. You’re going to be limited by the beast’s intelligence, but you’ll, at a minimum, be able to find out information about the area, monsters, and any events they experienced over the last day.
Zephyr Strike lets melee Rangers dash around the battle map without fear of being hit by opportunity attacks. You’ll be able to do that for up to 10 rounds, and once before the spell ends, you can make an attack with advantage and hit for an extra 1d8 force damage if successful. No matter whether you hit or miss, your walking speed increases by 30 feet until the end of your turn.
The Best 2nd-Level Ranger Spells
Aid is an easy way to make up to three members of your party a little more tanky. Aid gives 3 creatures an additional max of 5 HP and increases their HP by 5 for the duration, which is 8 hours. While it doesn’t sound like much, 5 HP can often be the difference between being conscious and unconscious. At higher levels, you can increase it by 5 for each spell slot level used.
Okay, this one is very situational. If your entire party has the ability to see in the dark, avoid this spell, but giving your human Rogue Darkvision for 8 hours while they go on a scouting mission that doesn’t allow them to use torches is indispensable. This is another niche spell that can be extremely useful, but only in certain situations. Consider yours before picking it up.
Gust of Wind
This spell lets Rangers cast a line of strong wind that is 60 feet long and 10 feet wide in a certain direction emanating from them. It causes any creatures in it to succeed on a Strength saving throw or get tossed 15 feet away in the same direction. Creatures moving against the wind spend twice as much movement, and the wind can extinguish fires, candles, torches, etc.
Healing Spirit is an amazing spell for Rangers and allows them to heal party members multiple times. You pick a square on the map, and any party member that enters the square or starts their turn in that square gets healed for 1d6 hit points. It does have limited charges though (1 + your Wisdom modifier, but minimum 2).
Spike Growth is a great way to control a portion of the map. In a 20-foot radius, you cause spikes and thorns to emerge from the area and make it difficult terrain for the duration (100 rounds). Any creature that didn’t see the area before the spell was cast must make a Perception check to see the thorns. The thorns cause 2d4 piercing damage for every 5 feet they travel.
The Best 3rd-Level Ranger Spells
Conjuring a storm of animals is always a great way to swing the action economy to your side and force your enemies to deal with them unless they want to get swarmed. While it might not seem useful at a high level, consider the fact that you can command up to 8 creatures to do whatever you want. Push buttons, bring supplies, surround an enemy, etc. Remember, if your enemies are attacking these animals, they are not attacking you.
Lightning Arrow deals a decent amount of single-target and area-of-effect damage. You’ll deal 4d8 damage to a target on a hit and half on a miss (in place of your regular damage). Any creatures within 10 feet have to make a Dex saving throw. If they fail, they take 2d8 damage. On a success, they will take just half.
Bringing someone back from the dead is always a good idea. Revivify brings a creature that you touch back from the dead — so long as they died less than 10 rounds ago. The creature comes back to life with 1 HP. You can’t bring back anyone who died of old age, so there is no waiting around next to Grandpa, unfortunately.
Water Breathing & Water Walk
These two are extremely niche but can be immensely useful. Both allow you to target up to ten creatures, which is 99.9% of the time your entire party. Water Breathing lasts for 24 hours, while Water Walk only lasts for an hour. Both can be used to save characters from drowning since Water Walk will force creatures to the surface. It’s definitely a great spell to have for a campaign at sea or in a setting that is based around large bodies of water.
Wind Wall is an easy way to make your party impervious to small flying creatures and projectiles like bolts or arrows. You designate a shape that is 50 feet long, and a wall of air 15 feet high and 1 foot thick is summoned along that line. Any creatures in it have to make a Strength saving throw. On a fail, they take 3d8 bludgeoning damage, while on a success, they take just half.
The Best 4th-Level Ranger Spells
Guardian of Nature
Guardian of Nature is an easy way to give yourself some buffs for 10 rounds. You have two options: Primal Beast or Great Tree. Primal Beast gives you bonuses to attacks, extra damage, increased movement, and Darkvision. Great Tree is more about survivability and gives you 10 temporary hit points, advantages to saving throws, advantages to Dex and Wis attack rolls, and makes nearby terrain difficult, slowing enemies.
Have you ever wanted to be impervious to nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage? Well, with Stoneskin, you now can be! Stoneskin lasts for up to 600 rounds as long as you can maintain concentration. It’s an easy way to make yourself or another creature instantly safe against certain damage types.
The Best 5th-Level Ranger Spells
Swift Quiver instantly boosts your damage output and makes a Ranger a force to be reckoned with. Swift Quiver transmutes your quiver into a never-ending quiver of nonmagical ammo. For 10 turns, you can use a bonus action to make two attacks with your ranged weapon that uses ammo from the quiver. Your enemies will turn into pincushions by the time you’re done casting this spell.
Wrath of Nature
Arguably the most powerful Ranger spell available at any level, Wrath of Nature instantly turns an outdoor battle into a nightmare for any enemies unlucky enough to face you. For 10 rounds in a 60-foot cube, the ground becomes difficult terrain, trees lash out at any enemy within 10 feet for 4d6 slashing damage, roots attempt to restrain people, and rocks launch themselves at people. You can easily turn a small army’s stroll in the woods into a living hell with Wrath of Nature.