What is Circle of Death in 5e Dnd, and how to use it best

Hello evil Overlords and daydreaming skeleton mages! Are you looking for some interesting AOE attacks for your Necromancer? Circle of Death 5e is a fun attack that deals necrotic damage to a large number of creatures. A lot of DMs and veteran players enjoy picking these spells – next to Create Undead – when they are playing as a necromancer. 

Are you planning on making a necromancer or want to know more about optimally using Circle of Death? Then this guide is just what you need.  

What is Circle of Death 5e, and how does it work


  • Casting time: 1 action
  • Level: 6th level necromancy
  • Range: 150 feet
  • Target: Point within range
  • Components: Verbal, Somatic, and Material (powder of a crushed pearl, worth at least 500 gold pieces)
  • Duration: Instantaneous 
  • Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard
5e circle of death

Spell description

You choose a target in a range of 150 feet. A massive sphere of negative energy bursts out and expands for a 60 feet radius from that point in the range. 

All creatures within a radius of 60 feet must make a CON save. If they fail this safe, they will take 8d6 of necrotic damage. Creatures that do a successful Constitution safe will only take half of the damage.

You can upcast the Circle of Death. Then, for every slot above the 6th spell slot, you can add 2d6 damage. 

Circle of Death’s advantages and drawbacks


  • AOE damage: The radius (60ft) and the damage (8d6) of this spell are very respectable. If you are fighting against a horde of mediocre enemies, one well-placed attack can obliterate many of these minions. 
  • Long-range: 150 feet is quite a distance in DnD; if you have ever used Moonbeam 5e, you know how powerful long-range magic attacks are. Due to the 60 feet radius, the furthest and highest you can deal damage is 210 feet. 
  • Can be upcast: If you enjoy using this spell, you can have it grow with your character level and add 2d6 for every extra slot above the 5th. 


  • Expensive: Every time you cast the circle of Death, you need to sacrifice a pearl worth at least 500 gp. If you start spamming this attack, this cost can add up quite a bit. 
  • Can’t pick target: Unlike attacks like Destructive Wave 5e, you can not pick the targets you want to deal damage to. So you have a chance to hit your party members, conjured elementals, and NPCs in your service when casting this spell. 
DnD 5e Circle of Death

Best uses for Circle of Death 5e

Causing chaos at events and villages

No villain is genuinely evil if he can’t cause chaos on a large scale. Thanks to the 60 feet radius and the average damage of 28 per cast, you can terrorize entire villages. Commoners and most guardsmen are almost sure to die from a Circle of Death spell. DMs, you need this spell for your evil wizards to terrorize your NPCs! 

Destroying low-level mobs

You are expected to encounter low-level mobs of 1 Challenge rating or less up to level 12. However, many underestimated monsters can overpower your party if paired up with an intense boss or have great synergy. Just imagine a goblin king sending tens if not hundreds of goblins at you or a Lich who has amassed an enormous army of Undead to attack a village you are trying to protect. 

By casting a circle of Death, you can destroy large swaths of enemies or at least deal some heavy damage to them. Thanks to the long-range and massive AOE, this spell is one of the best. 

Shooting down flying foes

A range of 150 feet, combined with a radius of 60 feet, means you can hit a target up to 210 feet away. These targets include flying creatures like the Peryton or an enemy’s Pseudodragon familiar

There are only a few spells that have such a long-range. If you are overwhelmed by flying monsters or are fighting an annoying boss like the four-armed gargoyle, a spell with this range and area of effect is extremely useful and fun to use. 

Advice and final thoughts

Circle of Death is worth it if you have built a necromancer and your Dungeon Master enjoys throwing massive mobs of low-level (CR 1, ½, ¼, and ⅛) at you. On the other hand, if you are a DM who wants to have an evil wizard as a villain, then an AOE spell-like Circle of Death is just amazing to terrorize small folks and weak villagers, animals, and so on. 

AOE damage: Can obliterate multiple enemiesExpensive: Requires sacrificing a 500 gp pearl
Long-range: Can attack targets up to 210 feetCan’t pick targets, risking hitting allies and friendly NPCs
Can be upcast for increased damage
Best Uses for Circle of Death
Causing chaos at events and villages
Destroying low-level mobs
Shooting down flying foes
Advantages and Drawbacks of Circle of Death

While not the most vigorous attack in 5e DnD, Circle of Death is one of the most fun to use and will come in handy quite often in a campaign, no matter if you are a player or a DM. 

Circle of Death 5e FAQ

Can you attack flying creatures with Circle of Death? 

Yes, thanks to the long-range of 150 feet and the radius of 60 feet, you can hit flying creatures from up to 210 feet away. If a monster is hovering above you, you can thus hit it as long as it is 210 feet high or less. 

Can you upcast Circle of Death? 

Yes, you can upcast Circle of Death. For every slot above the sixth, you add 2d6 of damage to the total damage output. 

How many squares does Circle of Death hit?

Circle of Death is an attack with a massive radius of 60 feet. When we calculate how many 5×5 squares this is, we arrive at about 452 squares. This amount is almost 9 times as much as the area that a fireball covers. 

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