[Top 25] D&D Best Defensive Spells That Are Awesome

Defensive spells are as important if not more important than offensive spells, because oftentimes Defense spells can save a party member (or the whole party, for that matter) from losing consciousness or death.

Through gameplay and research, I have discovered the best Defensive spells that would not only be good for keeping the party afloat, but also for fun and great roleplaying as well! Read on to discover more about the best Defensive Spells!

25. Absorb Elements (Artificer, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard)

Absorb Elements is a spell that many classes of magic users can use for defense. This is a 1st level abjuration spell.  (The D&D Player’s Handbook provides a useful definition: “The School of Abjuration emphasizes magic that blocks, banishes, or protects.) Read on to find out why this is a great spell! 

Why is Absorb Elements a Great Spell

  • This spell can be learned and used at lower levels. The elements include acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder damage. 
  • Absorb Elements lessens damage taken from a round and then is stored and used against an opponent. When attacking in the next turn, on a hit the opponent suffers 1d6 extra damage. 
  • After 1st level, the extra damage increases by 1d6. 

Absorb Elements details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:absorb-elements

24. AntiLife Shell (Druid)

Reserved only for Druids, the AntiLife Shell is a 5th level abjuration spell that requires an action and takes up to one hour of concentration. The D&D Player’s Handbook states that “A shimmering barrier extends out from you in a 10-foot radius and moves with you, remaining centered on you and hedging out creatures other than undead and constructs.” Read on to find out why this is an excellent defense spell! 

Why is AntiLife Shell a Great Spell

  • The shell will keep out the affected creature from passing through.  
  • This is great for Druids to use for protection if cornered. 

AntiLife Shell details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:antilife-shell

23. Anti-Magic Field (Cleric, Wizard)

This is the ultimate introvert’s dream spell! Anti-Magic Field is a higher level (8th level) Abjuration Spell that is used to protect the self from outside magic. The spell requires an action, and there is a 10-foot radius that surrounds the spellcaster. Read on to find out why Anti-Magic Field is an excellent spell! 

Why is Anti-Magic Field a Great Spell

  • The duration of the spell lasts up to an hour. That can buy the player time. 
  • Spells, except for artifacts or deities, can’t penetrate the wall. Also, nothing can be cast within the wall. 

Anti-Magic Field details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:antimagic-field

22. Armor of Agathys (Warlock)

Armor of Agathys is a 1st level abjuration spell designation for Warlocks. When the spell is cast, requiring one action, the Warlock is covered with magical spectral frost for up to an hour. (I guess this is how to literally freeze someone out!) Read on to find out why this is useful for Warlocks!

Why is Armor of Agathys a Great Spell

  • Since Warlocks, like many spellcasters, have little or no armor for protection, this can be useful in combat. Great for lower-level Warlocks. 
  • Warlocks temporarily gain 5 hit points while using this spell, and any opponents hitting them in battle takes 5 points of cold damage. 
  • In higher levels, the hit points and cold damage increases. 

Armor of Agathys details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:armor-of-agathys

21. Aura of Life (Cleric, Paladin)

Aura of Life is a 4th level abjuration spell reserved only for Clerics and Paladins. The D&D Player’s Handbook states that “life-preserving energy radiates from you in an aura with a 30-foot radius. Until the spell ends, the aura moves with you, centered on you.”  Read on to find out why Aura of Life is a great spell for Clerics and Paladins to have!

Why is Aura of Life a Great Spell

  • This is perfect to use in campaigns where there are a lot of undead creatures. 
  • Anyone in the Aura has resistance to necrotic damage. 
  • If someone in the circle (ally) has 0 hit points, they will regain 1 hit point per turn.

Aura of Life details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:aura-of-life

20. Aura of Vitality (Cleric, Druid, Paladin)

A 3rd Level Evocation spell (evocation is defined in the D&D Player’s Handbook as “You focus your study on magic that creates powerful elemental effects such as bitter cold, searing flame, rolling thunder, crackling lightning, and burning acid), Clerics, Druids, and Paladins can use this 30-foot Aura for restorative purposes. Read on to find out more about this awesome spell!

Why is Aura of Vitality a Great Spell

  • The spell only requires an action and will restore the caster and anyone in the aura to regain 2d6 hit points. 
  • This is great to use if a Player Character (PC) or Nonplayer Character (NPC) is gravely ill or injured and needs quick assistance. 

Aura of Vitality details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:aura-of-vitality

19. Counterspell (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard)

This is a 3rd Level Abjuration Spell designed for Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards alike who need to block an opponent’s spell.  A reaction rather than a turn taken is all that is required to cast the spell. Read on to find out why Counterspell is an amazing one to use!

Why is Counterspell a Great Spell

  • Casting time is quick (instantaneous) and works up to 60 feet away. 
  • If the opponent is casting a spell of 3rd level or lower, the spell is automatically negated. If the spell is higher than 3rd level, opponents must make an ability check against the spellcaster’s ability. 
  • This is a great spell to use against low level magic users. 

Counterspell details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:counterspell

18. Cure Wounds (Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger)

Although Cure Wounds is not an exciting spell to have in one’s magical repertoire, it is an essential one, because PCs have encounters and they will take damage in an adventure (If this spell was available to Sorcerers, my character would have it). Read on to find out why Cure Wounds is a must-have spell! 

Why is Cure Wounds a Great Spell

  • In case PCs run out of healing potions, it’s handy to have a healer with this spell to use. 
  • The spell takes an action, but it is Instantaneous. 
  • The creature touched will regain 1d8 hit points and spellcasting modifier, and for each slot level after 1st level, there is an additional 1d8 of healing. 

Cure Wounds details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:cure-wounds

17. Death Ward (Cleric, Paladin)

Death Ward is a 4th Level Abjuration spell that Clerics and Paladins can have on their spell lists. This spell requires an action (Touch) and works up to 8 hours. Read on to find out why Death Ward is a great spell to have and use on an adventure! 

Why is Death Ward a Great Spell

  • This is great to have if a PC or NPC is unconscious or dead. 
  • At the casting of this spell, instead of 0 hit points, the creature would be restored at 1 hit point.

Death Ward details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:death-ward

16. Disguise Self (Artificer, Bard, Sorcerer, Wizard)

I added this spell to this article because of the fun storytelling aspect. The D&D Player’s Handbook states that “You make yourself – including your clothing, armor, weapons, and other belongings on your person, look different until the spell ends or until you use your action to dismiss it.”  Read on to find out why Disguise Self would be an awesome spell to have!

Why is Disguise Self a Great Spell

  • This 1st Level Illusion spell is accessible to lower-level magic users. 
  • Disguise Self is great to have if someone is specifically looking for a PC. 
  • If there is not a Rogue in the party to sneak around and spy, this spell could be used as a disguise to travel unnoticed. 

Disguise Self details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:disguise-self

15. Globe of Invulnerability (Sorcerer, Wizard)

Globe of Invulnerability is a 6th level abjuration spell that Sorcerers and Wizards may choose to add to their spell lists. According to the D&D Player’s Handbook, “an immobile, faintly shimmering barrier springs into existence in a 10-foot radius around you and remains for the duration.”  (I may have to revisit the spell list for my Sorcerer, as this is an excellent one.) Read on to find out why this high-level spell is a useful one for Sorcerers and Wizards alike! 

Why is Globe of Invulnerability a Great Spell

  • This is a great defense against spellcasters, as any spell of 5th level or lower cast outside the barrier cannot reach anyone or anything inside the barrier. 
  • In addition, when using a spell slot of 7th level or above, the barrier continues to block those spells at another level higher. 

 Globe of Invulnerability details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:globe-of-invulnerability

14. Glyph of Warding (Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Wizard)

The Glyph of Warding is an expensive 3rd Level Abjuration spell, as creating the spell requires incense and powdered diamond worth at least 200 gp, which will be consumed by the spell. It takes about an hour to cast and lasts until it is dispelled. The D&D Player’s Handbook explains this spell much better than I: “When you cast this spell, you inscribe a glyph that creates a magical effect triggered by other creatures, either upon a surface (such as a table or a section of floor or wall) or within an object that can be closed (such as a book, a scroll, or a treasure chest) to conceal the glyph.”  Read on to find out why this spell is awesome!

Why is Glyph of Warding a Great Spell

  • The spellcaster has the decision of using Explosive Runes or a Spell Glyph to put into the spell. With the Explosive Runes, enemies must make a Dexterity saving throw or take 5d8 damage. That is a lot of damage! The Spell Glyph involves the spellcaster casting a 3rd Level spell to happen when the Glyph is triggered. 
  • At higher levels, the damage from Explosive Runes increases by 1d8 and the spell slot is the same level as the Glyph of Warding. 

 Glyph of Warding details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:glyph-of-warding

13. Hallow (Cleric)

It makes sense that only Clerics have access to this spell, because when I think of the word Hallow, I think of prayer. Having said that, Clerics can use this for either holy or unholy purposes. The 5th Level Evocation spell takes time to cast (24 hours) and is expensive to cast, since it requires herbs, incense, and oils worth at least 1,000 gp that will be consumed by the spell. The cleric chooses a spot up to 60 feet and touches a circle using holy or unholy power. Read on to find out why Hallow is a must-have spell for Clerics!

Why is Hallow a Great Spell

  • Creatures in the radius are protected against celestials, elementals, fey, fields, and undead.  This would be great to use in an encounter with undead monsters. 
  • If Clerics choose to do so, they can add an extra effect to the radius. (Of course, it’s up to the discretion of the DM.) The effects include Courage, Darkness, Daylight, Energy Protection, Energy Vulnerability, Everlasting Rest, Extradimensional Interference, Fear, Silence, and Tongues. 

Hallow details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:hallow

12. Healing Word (Bard, Cleric, Druid)

Healing Word is another one of those spells that is not necessarily exciting or fun, but useful in a campaign. If you are lucky to have a Bard, Cleric, or Druid in your party, this is a good spell to have. It is a 1st Level Evocation Spell that is Instantaneous and requires a bonus action. Read on to find out why this is a good spell to have!         

Why is Healing Word a Great Spell

  • It is a great spell because of accessibility. First level magic users can cast this spell. 
  • PCs could add a bit of drama to the encounter by figuring out a unique word to use and then act it out in the scene. 
  • The targeted creature within range will restore 1d4 hit points. At higher levels, healing will increase. 

Healing Word details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:healing-word

11. Mage Armor (Sorcerer, Wizard)

Like most spellcasters, the armor class for my Sorcerer was awful and during the first encounter she took a lot of damage. My DM recommended that she switch out another spell for Mage Armor, and I am so glad I did! Read on to discover why this 1st Level Abjuration spell is a lifesaver for Sorcerers and Wizards! 

 Why is Mage Armor a Great Spell

  • The spell only requires one action and a piece of cured leather, so it is not expensive with time or gold to cast. 
  • When touched, the Sorcerer or Wizard is covered with a protective magical layer, so the AC becomes 13 plus the Dexterity modifier. This can be lifesaving for a PC. 
  • The armor lasts up to 8 hours, so it should last through an encounter. 

Mage Armor details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:mage-armor

10. Mass Cure Wounds (Bard, Cleric, Druid)

There are other healing spells that I have mentioned in this article, but this one is one of the most powerful ones on the list. Mass Cure Wounds is a 5th Level Evocation spell that requires an action and spans up to 60 feet. Read on to find out why Mass Cure Wounds is an excellent defense spell to use!

Why is Mass Cure Wounds a Great Spell

  • Potentially, this spell could heal an entire party after a rough encounter, as the spellcaster can choose up to 6 creatures to heal. 
  • Each lucky creature affected will heal up to 3d8 hit points plus the spellcasting modifier. 
  • As the spellcaster increases levels and spell slots, the healing increases 1d8 above 5th level. 

Mass Cure Wounds details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:mass-cure-wounds

9. Mass Healing Word (Bard, Cleric)

This 3rd Level Evocation spell is Healing Word on steroids! It requires a bonus action, affects up to 60 feet, and is Instantaneous. Read on to find out why Mass Healing Word is another spell to add to a Bard or Cleric’s list! 

Why is Mass Healing Word a Great Spell

  • Spellcasters will have fun trying to find another healing word and using it in roleplay to heal the party! 
  • Bards and Clerics can select up to 6 living creatures (no undead) to heal at one time. 
  • Each lucky creature receives 1d4 hit points plus the spellcasting modifier, and as the spellcaster increases in level and spell slots, the healing increases by 1d4. 

Spell Name details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:mass-healing-word

8. Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound (Artificer, Wizard)

A ghost dog is super cool and would be fun to role play in an encounter, so I added it. With one action, a tiny silver whistle, a piece of bone, and a thread, an Artificer or Wizard can conjure up a phantom watchdog as a companion and guard dog. Read on to find out why Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound is a doggone good spell to have! (Couldn’t resist.)

Why is Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound a Great Spell

  • The ghost dog is invisible except to the spellcaster and does not take damage. If an opponent comes closer than 30 feet without knowing the spell word, the ghost dog will bark loudly. 
  • The hound can see invisible creatures and the Ethereal Plane, which could be useful. 
  • If a creature is within 5 feet of the spellcaster and is threatening, the hound attempts to bite. Its attack bonus matches the spellcaster’s ability modifier and proficiency bonus. If the ghost dog hits, it inflicts 4d8 hit points of piercing damage. (That’s quite a bite!) 

Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:mordenkainens-faithful-hound

7. Otto’s Irresistible Dance (Bard, Wizard)

It may not be the best spell for defense or restoring hit points, but it is one of the most fun spells to use as narrative to spice up an RPG encounter! It only takes one action and a minute of concentration to conjure up this spell. Otto’s Irresistible Dance is a 6th Level Enchantment Spell. The D&D Player’s Handbook  provides an apt definition for the School of Enchantment: “As a Member of the School of Enchantment, you have honed your ability to magically entrance and beguile other people and monsters.”  Read on to find out more about this enchanting and irresistible spell! 

Why is Otto’s Irresistible Dance a Great Spell 

  • The spell is a nice alternative to the traditional hacking and slashing of monsters. 
  • The affected creature dances in place and is disadvantaged on both attack and Dexterity saving throws. This allows others to attack the dancing creature. 
  • The dancing creature must make a Wisdom saving throw to stop dancing. 

Otto’s Irresistible Dance details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:ottos-irresistible-dance

6. Power Word Heal (Bard, Cleric)

Since this is a 9th Level Evocation spell, it is a powerful one! Bards and Clerics should have this spell in their repertoire because it is the ultimate defense spell. Read on to find out why this one-touch Instantaneous spell is so powerful!

Why is Power Word Heal a Great Spell

  • When a lucky creature is affected by Power Word Heal, all their hit points (yes, you hear that correctly) are restored. 
  • If the creature is compromised in some way (charmed, paralyzed), the spell is dissipated, and the creature is back to normal.

Power Word Heal details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:power-word-heal

5. Protection from Energy (Artificer, Cleric, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard)

Fortunately, most spell casters can use this spell. To cast this 3rd Level Abjuration spell, the spellcaster needs to use one action and to be able to concentrate for one hour. Read on to find out what this spell does and why it is a good one to select!

Why is Protection from Energy a Great Spell

  • When the spellcaster touches the creature, they choose which type of energy (acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder) the creature is protected from. 
  • The spell would be a great defense if the spellcaster knew which kind of monster the creature was fighting.

Protection from Energy details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:protection-from-energy

4. Protection from Poison (Artificer, Cleric, Druid, Ranger)

Poison happens a lot in D&D 5e. A PC or NPC could ingest a potion that was mislabeled. A player could accidentally set off a trap on a treasure chest and be pricked with a poison needle. Or a monster could attack with a poisonous weapon. Read on to find out why Protection from Poison is a great defense spell to have on beginning, intermediate, and advanced campaigns!

Why is Protection from Poison a Great Spell

  • The spell can be lifesaving for a character. If they are poisoned, the spell neutralizes the poison. 
  • Also, during the healing time, the afflicted character will have an advantage on saves versus poison and becomes poison resistant. 

Protection from Poison details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:protection-from-poison

3. Shield (Sorcerer, Wizard)

Shield is a great spell for Sorcerers and Wizards, because on lower levels, due to the lack of armor they can use, they are vulnerable to attacks. Shield is a way to magically protect Sorcerers and Wizards during an encounter. Read on to find out more!

Why is Shield a Great Spell

  • The casting time is one reaction and lasts for one round. The spellcaster gets +5 bonus to Armor Class. This is great if spellcasters cannot take cover. 
  • While casting this spell, the Sorcerer or Wizard is immune to the Magic Missile spell. 

Shield details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:shield

2. Shield of Faith (Cleric, Paladin)

As the name of the spell implies, Clerics and Paladins are the most obvious choices for having access to this spell. This is a 1st Level Abjuration spell, lasts up to ten minutes, and requires a parchment of paper with holy text written on it. (This would make a cool prop for gameplay.) Read on to find out why Shield of Faith is a good one to have on defense! 

Why is Shield of Faith a Great Spell

  • The Cleric or Paladin chooses a creature and surrounds them with a field. (Range is 60 feet, so they probably won’t miss.) The creature’s AC is boosted by +2 for the length of the spell. 
  • This is great for lower-level characters and characters (like spellcasters) who are not heavily armored. 
  • The shield is also useful for characters who are struggling against a stronger monster. 

Shield of Faith details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:shield-of-faith

1. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter (Bard, Wizard)

We conclude this article with some fun and laughter! Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a mischievous spell that Bards and Wizards can cast. This would be a great spell to use to roleplay in an encounter! The 1st Level Enchantment spell requires an action, tiny tarts and a feather waved high in the air, and concentration up to one minute. Read on to find out the hilarious effects of this defensive spell!

Why is Tasha’s Hideous Laughter a Great Spell

  • This is the ultimate spell of distraction. When cast, a chosen opponent starts bursting out in gales of laughter. If they fail the Wisdom save throw, they will fall laughing. Every time the opponent is injured, they attempt another Wisdom save until they succeed (or literally die laughing). 
  • The spell works on any creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or higher. 

Tasha’s Hideous Laughter details: http://dnd5e.wikidot.com/spell:tashas-hideous-laughter

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As a Pokemon Trainer by day and a bard or cleric by night, I enjoy the spoken and written word by candlelight.
Gamer Since: 1983
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: D&D
Top 3 Favorite Games:Baldur's Gate, Diablo, Resident Evil HD Remaster

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