With a mere flick, frozen crystals manifest in the air, dancing as they weave their icy tapestry. In a breathtaking display of power, frigid winds gust, encapsulating opponents in frost.
The touch of an ice spell chills the very essence of one’s being, freezing time itself. Its majestic prowess brings forth an ethereal beauty, leaving all who witness it in awe of its frozen might.
The elegance and formidable nature of ice spells make them a force to be reckoned with in the realm of magic. In this article, we delve into the realm of the bitter cold, exploring the eight best ice spells in D&D.
8. Ray of Frost
As cold is a natural enemy of life, there would, of course, be a cantrip perfectly suited to exploit it. Ray of Frost creates a beam of cold ice that streaks toward its target.
The cantrip has two effects on the target if it hits. The target takes 1d8 cold damage, which is the average amount of damage among cantrips, and it is also slowed down by 10 feet. Slowing down opponents is most useful when done from range, as they will have to use their movement to close the gap.
Casting this cantrip can even give you an extra turn to attack them before they get close enough to attack you. The damage of Ray of Frost is not inconsequential either, as many creatures at lower levels can barely withstand one or two hits from it. Ray of Frost is one of the most standard cantrips in most arsenals, with its two useful abilities.
7. Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm
With a name like “Snowball Swarm,” you might assume that this 2nd-level spell is quite weak and probably not meant for damage, but you would be mistaken. Casting Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm covers a spherical area with snowballs that erupt from the ground.
Every creature within the area is hit by the snowballs, either taking half damage or full damage based on a Dexterity saving throw. The spell deals decent damage, although not as high as other 2nd-level spells, but it can cause a lot of chaos with the number of snowballs flying around.
It can also deal guaranteed damage to multiple creatures at once. Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm is not a particularly strong spell, but it can potentially clear groups of enemies if cast at the correct point.
Frostbite is another ice-based cantrip, but this one is more focused on weakening the opponent rather than damaging them. Frostbite has the same range as Ray of Frost, 60 feet, but unlike Ray of Frost, when used, the target must make a Constitution saving throw to avoid being affected. If the target fails the saving throw, it takes 1d6 cold damage, which is usually minor, but it also has disadvantage on its next weapon attack roll.
The damage of this cantrip is not impressive, but being able to impose disadvantage on attack rolls is very useful in most combat situations. The only downside to using this cantrip is that if the target succeeds the saving throw, your action is fully wasted as it takes no damage or is unaffected at all.
Aside from that, along with Ray of Frost, Frostbite is another must-have ice spell for mages.
5. Sleet Storm
This 3rd-level spell summons clouds to cause freezing rain to drop onto a chosen location. The rain extinguishes flames and freezes the ground, turning it into difficult terrain. Any creature that walks into the frozen ground for the first time must make a Dexterity saving throw.
On a failed save, they slip on the ice and fall prone. The rain and icy ground also disrupt spellcasters, forcing them to test their concentration with a Constitution saving throw. Sleet Storm focuses on ice’s ability to hinder movement and make life difficult, rather than dealing damage like most other spells on this list.
Since Sleet Storm affects targets that are moving into and within the area, as well as spellcasters, it can be used in any combat situation, but it must be used with care. The spell does not differentiate between friend or foe, so correct positioning and planning are a must to make use of this spell; otherwise, the caster might create a disadvantageous situation for themselves.
4. Ice Knife
Using ice shards or icicles is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of ice magic, and Ice Knife does exactly that. With this 1st-level spell, you create a shard of ice capable of piercing through your enemies and fling it at a target, dealing 1d10 piercing damage on a hit.
Even if the attack roll fails, the shard will explode on the target, potentially hitting the target twice and every other adjacent creature. Due to how Ice Knife‘s damage is distributed, it is highly unlikely that both the shard and the explosion will miss any creatures. Even if one hits, it will deal decent damage somewhere between 1d10 and 2d6.
The spell can be cast using higher-level spell slots to further increase the damage of the explosion. A versatile spell capable of dealing single-target damage or hitting multiple creatures for decent damage, Ice Knife is an iconic ice spell that is useful from level 1 all the way to level 20.
3. Ice Storm
Ice Storm is like the improved version of Sleet Storm. Both spells share the same area of effect and summon a storm that rains down ice to deal with opponents. Ice Storm aims to deal good damage to every creature under the storm and creates difficult terrain. It is, in every way, an improved version of the Sleet Storm spell, aside from the lack of knocking creatures prone.
The damage of the spell, similar to Ice Knife, is split into two different damage types: bludgeoning and cold. This means that the spell can even be used against creatures with resistance to cold or bludgeoning and still be effective. Its height and large area coverage allow it to target most types of creatures, whether spellcasters, warriors, or flying creatures. Little planning is needed to cast this spell, and its use is almost always welcome.
2. Wall of Ice
Wall of Ice is a 6th-level spell that covers the colder side of the elemental wall spells. The spell creates a wall consisting of ten 10-foot-by-10-foot panels, which can be arranged in any way but must remain in a continuous pattern or can be formed into a dome or sphere. When the wall is created, any creatures in its space are pushed away and can take upwards of 60 cold damage.
The wall itself has AC 12 and 30 hit points per 10-foot section, and it is vulnerable to fire damage. Weakness to fire damage might seem like a negative, but it isn’t. Once a section of the wall is destroyed, it leaves behind frigid air that damages creatures passing through it. So, the wall being destroyed is not bad for the caster. Wall of Ice can be used to wall off enemies, giving the party some time to heal or leave the fight safely.
It can also be used to push enemies into an area by summoning the wall under them, dealing damage and moving them. Aside from zoning enemies, it can be used to deal damage; the spell has very high potential damage on multiple targets if cast in a pattern that aligns with the targets’ paths.
Lastly, the spell can be cast using higher-level spell slots to increase its total potential damage by 3d6 per level higher. With the amount of protection and damage this spell deals, it is undoubtedly one of the better cold spells available to casters.
1. Investiture of Ice
Investiture of Ice takes on the mantle of the cold investiture spell. Like every other investiture spell, casting Investiture of Ice creates an icy field around the caster’s body, providing them with cool perks. While active, the spell grants full immunity to cold damage and resistance to fire damage.
It also allows the user to ignore any movement hindrances caused by cold or ice completely. These two perks alone mean that you can use this spell to fight against frost-based creatures such as silver dragons and barely suffer any damage from their strongest abilities. Additionally, the spell makes the area surrounding the caster into difficult terrain, which is a welcome benefit.
During the spell’s duration, the caster can use an action to blast enemies with a cone of cold wind, which will always deal damage as it requires a saving throw to avoid half of it.
Like all other investiture spells, Investiture of Ice is an amazing spell that encompasses all aspects of ice and cold by dealing cold damage, slowing down enemies, and ignoring ice hindrances. If any players plan to wield ice magic, this spell is one of the best options to pick as early as possible.