[Top 10] D&D Best Control Spells

D&D Best Control Spells
Such pretty colors to distract your enemies. Death by rainbow!

[Top 10] D&D Best Control Spells

Most adventurers at some point in their career find themselves facing a large group of enemies such as goblins, wolves, kobolds, and more. When such a situation arises, you need control. Now when I say Control, I’m talking about reducing the options your enemies have whether that’s forcing them to stay away from each other, applying debuffs to multiple creatures, or even pushing them around. However, others may consider Control to be anything that forces creatures to move against their will, or prevents them from doing what they want and will probably say that some of these spells aren’t controlling spells. With that out of the way, here are my top 10 Best control spells.

10. Earth TremorA broken road that cannot be traveled easily

This is a terrific spell for this list as it affects a large area around you, knocks targets prone, deals a small amount of damage, and even makes it harder to travel in that area if the terrain is loose earth or stone. If you find some enemies are getting a little close for comfort, this will absolutely consume their movement if they fail the save.

Why Earth Tremor is Great:

1st Level Spell: pretty much as soon as you get your Spellcasting feature, you can pick this up for some early game shenanigans.

Targets grounded creatures in a 10 ft. radius around you (ground only).

Knocks targets prone: prone creatures have half movement and spend half their movement to stand. Prone creatures also have disadvantage to attack until they stand, and attacks made within 5 ft. of them have advantage while all other attacks have disadvantage.

Make your enemies quake in surprise!

Earth Tremor Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/earth-tremor 

9. Faerie FireA cloud of glitter that works just as well for revealing invisible creatures.

If ever a creature decides to disappear on you, or multiple creatures are a little to close to each other, you can cast this to give advantage to all attack rolls on targets in the range who fail the save. Plus, they can’t benefit from being invisible.

Why Faerie Fire is Great:

1st Level Spell

Targets a 20-foot cube of creatures and objects you choose within 60 feet of you.

Turn everybody into little flashlights that last 1 minute.

Grants advantage to hit.

Invisible creatures and objects can become seen.

Fear the glitter!

Faerie Fire Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/faerie-fire 

8. Ice KnifeA blade that almost looks like it's made of ice.

This one is much more damage oriented and is best suited for enemies who get a little too close to the one enemy who is easy to hit. But it’s still great at getting your enemies to scatter for fear of mass damage spread, making it easier for the barbarian, rogue, and fighter to pick them off one by one.

Why Ice Knife is Great:

1st Level Spell

60 ft. range, and hits in a 5 ft. radius after the attack.

Attack Roll followed by a Saving Throw: This combo makes it really easy to deal some damage with an attack unless all enemies in the area have a high Dexterity score or all roll natural 20s for their saves.

Two damage types: If you do hit a target with the Attack Roll, and they fail the Save, you can quickly figure out if they are resistant to both Cold, and Piercing damage. Not a lot of creatures have resistance to two damage types, but it’s great to know this sooner rather than later.

“Watch out for that icicle!”

Ice Knife Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/ice-knife 

7. ThunderwaveA dwarf causing a shockwave around himself

At first glance, this is a confusing spell, because it’s a 15-foot cube originating from you, and some people think that means you are in the center of the spell. NOPE! That means you are on one of the faces of the cube. Regardless of the area, it targets, this spell is guaranteed damage, and a potential push if your enemies fail the Constitution Save, which is great when enemies are getting a little too close for comfort. Just don’t use it if you want to be quiet.

Why Thunderwave is Great:

1st Level Spell

15-foot cube originating from you: You are on one face of the cube you effect and don’t need to run into the fray to use this.

2d8 Thunder damage: a lot of damage that will be taken if a creature fails the save.

Pushes targets that fail the save: pushing does not provoke attacks of opportunity from anyone, and is a great way to get enemies out of your face.

Pretend to be a Jedi using Force Push!

Thunderwave Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/thunderwave 

6. Flaming SphereA ball of fire. What did you expect?

Surprisingly enough, this is another good way to keep your enemies apart or deal lots of damage to them. But it also lasts a while, and you can move this around as well! In fact, you can even hit a creature to deal even more damage. It also works as a light source.

Why Flaming Sphere is Great:

2nd Level Spell: You can’t get this spell right away unless your DM starts you at a higher level, but if your campaign is going to run for a while, it’s likely that you will be able to cast this spell at some point.

60-foot range, 5-foot diameter object: You can conjure the spere within 60 feet of yourself, and any creature ending their turn within 5 feet of it must make the save, or take damage. You can also move the ball up to 30 feet as a bonus action, over small obstacles, and even outside of the 60-foot range.

Dexterity Save for 2d6 Fire Damage: This may not be a lot, but it adds up. And if you can hit enemies with the sphere, they must make this save.

“Let’s play some Dodgeball! With fire!”

Flaming Sphere Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/flaming-sphere 

5. Gust of WindA tree being blown in a strong wind.

When enemies chase you through a tunnel that’s 10 feet wide or less, you can get a great head start on them, and even if they don’t chase you through a tunnel, you can still use it to push other creatures around, and keep yourself out of danger. Also, it follows you, so you can propel your allies and if any of them have Levitation cast on them, you can play some barbarian pinball!

Why Gust of Wind is Great:

2nd Level Spell

10x60-foot line originating from you: it’s a wide line that you can rotate, and it also follows you as you move.

Pushes enemies.

Doubles movement cost when moving towards you: Creatures that move closer to you while in the area must spend 30 feet of movement to move 15 feet closer, which they can easily lose from the pushing effect.

Create a wind tunnel for all your friends to enjoy.

Gust of Wind Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/gust-of-wind 

4. Hold PersonA man using magic to prevent someone else from doing anything.

This spell is a little strange to be on this list as instead of affecting a group of creatures, it only affects one. But I do have a good reason for including this: If you cast it at a higher level, you can target one additional humanoid for each level above 2nd. If you cast this at 5th level, you can hit 3 enemies at once with this. And even at lower levels, it is ridiculously powerful.

Why Hold Person is Great:

2nd Level Spell

60-foot Range.

Target makes a Wisdom save or becomes paralyzed: Wisdom saves are usually not good for enemies that focus on fighting more than magic, and the Paralyzed Condition prevents targets from taking Actions or Reactions, passing Strength or Dexterity Saves, applies advantage to hit them, and makes all attacks made within 5 feet of them critically hit.

Use a better Darth Vader force choke.

Hold Person Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/hold-person 

3. Spike GrowthA plant with thorns and skeletons under it

Do you ever have that moment when somebody alerts all the monsters in the dungeon or all the guards in the city to your current location? When that happens, Spike Growth can come in real handy as long as you drop it before reinforcements arrive, and they don’t shoot from the other side of the room. Because you can slow people down, and potentially remove them from combat!

Why Spike Growth is Great:

2nd Level Spell

150-foot Range, 20-foot radius.

The targeted area becomes difficult terrain: Difficult terrain doubles the cost of movement across it.

Deals damage for traveled distance: If an enemy were to wades through those thorns without realizing how hazardous it is, they just lost that much health and either wait for the thorns to go away, hope a flying ally will pull them out, or just take the damage and hope they don’t get killed.

Camouflaged: Creatures that can’t see the location you target when you cast this spell must make a Perception check against your Spell Save DC, to notice the danger before they enter the area.

Every rose has its thorn, and so does anybody who obtains this spell.

Spike Growth Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/spike-growth 

2. WebA spider's web hung between the branches of a tree

If you learn that somebody is afraid of spiders, perhaps this is the spell to use on them. One major benefit of this spell is it can easily restrain a creature multiple times in one casting. If I had to choose Web or Faerie Fire, I’d choose this hands down if there were no invisible creatures to worry about.

Why Web is Great:

2nd Level Spell.

Lasts an entire Hour (with Concentration).

60-foot range affects a 20-foot cube.

Can be anchored between two solid objects to produce a temporary floor.

The area becomes Difficult Terrain.

Creatures that enter or start their turn in the webs must make a Dexterity Saving Throw, or be restrained while the webs last.

The webs can be burned, dealing 2d4 fire damage to any creatures that start their turn in the fire.

“Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider… I’m stuck.”

Web Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/web 

1. FearA man seeing visions of what he fears

If running through a web spell isn’t scary enough, you can put them through a horror movie, and corner them with no way to run. And, they can’t disengage if they can’t move, and can only really act if cornered. Just make sure they can see you for as long as possible.

Why Fear is Great:

3rd Level Spell: These spells take a while to reach, but can be really powerful when used well.

30-foot cone originating from you: if you want to measure a cone, you can measure it like a triangle if you don’t have a fancy tool.

Targets are Frightened: Frightened creatures have Disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls while the source of their fear is within line of sight, and they can’t willingly move closer to the source of their fear.

Frightened Targets must Dash away safely: Creatures affected by this spell must take the Dash action unless they cannot move further away, and will probably get hit by your allies as they flee, or show you the way around a trap that was set for you if they know of one.

Make your enemies run from Spooky Scary Skeletons.

Fear Details: https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/fear 

And we reach the end of yet another list. In D&D 5e, there seems to be no limit to how many different ways you can play, and it’s an incredible thing too. With so many spells alone to pick and choose from, it’s no surprise that spellcasters are some of the most versatile classes as long as they have a decent spell list. But once again, don’t take this list as the only spells that are worth taking, but use it as inspiration for how you want to play, and what you want to create (I know I for one want to test out my new homebrewed Dodgeball Cantrip). Perhaps you will find something that blows one of these options out of the water for you, and that’s alright because we all have different preferences. Good luck with those rolls.

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