Illusion is one of the basic schools of magic. It involves spells that mainly work to deceive enemies or trick them into harming themselves or their allies. In the sections below, we will cover some of the best illusion spells available, which classes have access to them, and how they work.
Table of Contents
Cantrips are available to full casters starting at level 1. For half-casters and quarter-casters, cantrips are usually not available without taking the Fighting Style Blessed Warrior or a feat.
This is an excellent spell for creative players. A five-foot cube is quite large, and you could easily use this cantrip to hide a door, object, or person you don’t want others to see. In a pinch, you could cast it to look like the wall and stand in a corner to go unnoticed by the hapless guards.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards
Level 1 spells are available to full casters beginning at level 1. For half-casters and quarter-casters, they become available between levels 2-3
A nice upgrade from minor illusion, silent image lets you have a bit more freedom with your illusion. Your illusion can be fifteen feet on all sides, so it’s much roomier, and you can move the image around during your casting, even changing the image as if it were moving. This flexibility could let you make a scary monster in the distance that paces around in front of the house you’re infiltrating to discourage anyone from investigating.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards
This illusion spell is a ton of fun. You can make yourself look like whoever you want. There’s even an Eldritch Invocation for Warlocks that lets you cast this on yourself at will, meaning that you don’t expend a spell slot when you want to transform your looks.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards, Trickery Domain Clerics, Artificers
Level 2 spells are available to full casters starting at level 3. For half-casters, they start at level 5. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 7.
Staying invisible for up to an hour is a massive benefit for anyone who might not usually be very stealthy. You can also cast this on your Rogue or Ranger and send them scouting ahead without fear. Just remember that you dispel it if the target attacks or casts a spell.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, Circle of the Land (Grassland) Druids, Artificers
Many spells have a verbal component (as you likely know), so casting a large area of total silence can significantly hinder an enemy spellcaster. Remember that the Metamagic option Subtle Spell allows someone to cast without needing a verbal component, though, so if your foe is a Sorcerer, this may be less useful. You also can use this to help your party with stealthy endeavors, but the silenced area doesn’t move with you, so you’d have to stay within it.
Available to Bards, Clerics, Rangers, Circle of the Land (Desert) Druids, Undying and Fathomless Warlocks
Shadow Blade takes everything great about a rapier (including its Finesse trait) and adds damage. You get advantage when you’re in dim light or darkness. Interestingly, you can also throw your Shadow Blade if you want to attack before getting into melee with an enemy. If you take Blindsight and have an ally cast Darkness, you can become a terrifying assassin in the dark, even against foes with darkvision.
If you also take the Sentinel feat, you can stop enemies from ever leaving the darkness. Errata recently clarified that, despite not being a weapon worth any monetary value, Shadow Blade can be used as the material component for Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade, potentially allowing you to force your foe to hold still in the darkness and not try to escape.
Available to Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards
Level 3 spells are available to full casters starting at level 5. For half-casters, they start at level 9. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 13.
If you thought silent image was versatile, wait until you meet its older brother. Major image gives you a 20-foot cube to play with, and it has any accompanying smells, sounds, temperature, or feelings that you desire. Your major image can move around and appear to interact with its environment, just like with Silent Image. You might conjure up a small squad of guards to patrol an area and have them converse or whistle a tune to seem more real. Note that none of the sensory details of major image can injure a real creature (a fake fire can’t burn someone who stands too close).
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Warlock, Wizards
Level 4 spells are available to full casters starting at level 7. For half-casters, they start at level 13. For quarter-casters, they become available at level 19. This is the highest level for quarter-casters.
Remember how fantastic invisibility is? This spell lets you cast it on yourself for a full minute (the equivalent of ten rounds of combat), and as long as you maintain concentration, nothing can break your invisibility. Normal invisibility is broken when you cast a spell, attack another creature, or force another creature to make a saving throw. In the heat of battle, you want to be able to do all of those things and stay out of sight.
Available to Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards, Circle of the Land (Underdark) Druids, Archfey, Genie, and Undead Warlocks, Armorer Artificers, Twilight Domain Clerics
Level 5 spells are available to full casters starting at level 9. For half-casters, they start at level 17. This is the highest level for half-casters.
The creators of this spell said the sky is the limit. Depending on what you make, it has a different duration, but except Adamantine, everything has a time limit that makes sense. You can make clothes, food, giant boulders, arrows for your archer, rope, an offensive stone statue, gemstones, just about whatever you want. The gems only last for ten minutes, but that’s more than enough time to trade them and get out of Dodge.
Available to Sorcerers, Wizards, Forge Domain Clerics, Artificers, Genie Warlocks
If you thought becoming invisible was fun, wait until you start thinking about what shenanigans you can get up to with this illusion spell. You still become invisible, but an illusory copy of you appears. You can talk through it, make it move around and behave however you want. If you already had disguise self running, there’s no telling what kind of hijinks you could get into.
Available to Bards, Wizards, Twilight Domain Clerics
Level 6 spells are available to full casters starting at level 11.
This is also a single-target spell, but it is phenomenal for trapping someone in place. Intelligence saving throws are often poor for monsters, and the target cannot see or hear anything outside. They are at disadvantage for future saving throws, attack rolls, and ability checks, and you have advantage to attack them.
Available to Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards
Have you ever wanted to be a movie director? Well, with this illusion spell, you can! The performance can last for up to 5 minutes and is a 30-foot cube. You can have anything you want happen in there, as well as a trigger, and any time that trigger goes off, your movie will play. It’s not a harmful spell, but it lasts until someone dispels it so you could potentially warn someone about a trap, leave information for an NPC, or simply entertain passers by.
Available to Bards, Wizards
Level 7 spells are available to full casters starting at level 13.
This is a complicated spell, but essentially you can create a one-mile-wide interactable illusion. You can make imaginary buildings to sleep in, illusory food to eat, illusory fire to burn your enemies, an illusory lake to drown them in, or obscure the actual terrain and trick them into wandering somewhere hazardous. If you injure enemies with your illusion, they take damage as if it was real, so even if they know it’s an illusion, they still seem to take just as much damage.
Available to Bards, Druids, Wizards
This can be a somewhat challenging illusion spell to understand, but essentially you are making an illusion copy of someone. If you use this on a PC, the simulacrum won’t have any equipment and half of their maximum hit points, but it has the same spells, spell slots, and capabilities as the original. It can’t regain used spell slots and it can’t be healed with normal spells, but it could be extremely useful in a fight.
Available to Wizards
Level 8 spells are available to full casters starting at level 15.
This illusion spell is kind of funny because you’re essentially creating your own dragon to do all of your dirty work for you. Like real dragons, enemies who can see your illusion must make Wisdom saving throws or become frightened and your dragon can breathe energy of your choice. The illusion is so real that people actually take damage, 7d6 worth of it. You command it on your bonus action and it’s immune to all damage and all attacks automatically miss it.
Available to Wizards
Level 9 spells are available to full casters starting at level 17.
As the name implies, this illusion spell is a bit, well, weird. You can target all creatures in a 30-foot-radius to make them start to see their worst nightmares. If they fail their Wisdom saving throws, they become frightened and take 4d10 damage at the ends of their turns. However, this spell allows them to make a new saving throw on each of their turns, so it might not be worth your only 9th-level spell slot.
Available to Wizards