Paladins might be best known as armored, front-line melee combatants, but don’t ignore how useful their spell slots are!
Whether using spells to boost their own performance, damage enemies, or support their allies, Paladins have got plenty of options.
Sure, they aren’t full-casters like Wizards or Sorcerers, but they can still bring spellcasting value to the group with the right spell selections.
So today we’re rounding up the best Paladins spells in D&D 5e by level!
Let’s get into it!
As a quick thing worth noting, Paladins don’t normally have access to cantrips.
However, taking the Blessed Warrior fighting style from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything allows them to learn two cantrips of their choice from the Cleric list. These cantrips count as Paladin spells and use Charisma as their spellcasting ability.
With that said, let’s get into the top cantrip picks!
Considering that Paladins are most often found on the party’s front lines, Word of Radiance is a great cantrip option.
This cantrip is best for when you find yourself getting swarmed by enemies. It lets you zap each creature of your choice within 5 feet with radiant damage that fails their Constitution saving throw.
When you’re going against enemies like zombies, twig blights, or goblins that like to dogpile targets, it’s a great way to deal with several of them at once!
But what if you’re looking for single-target damage?
Toll the Dead might be a bit of a cliché pick, but it’s just such a great spell! Solid damage, great range, and the typically-reliable necrotic damage make it a very dependable spell option.
It’s hard to beat!
Wrathful Smite simply had to make the top of this section’s list. The extra 1d6 damage it adds to your next attack is nice, but it’s the rest of the spell’s effect that makes it so great.
A frightened creature isn’t going to be able to do much against you in combat and they’ll have to use an action to attempt to save against the effect once they’re frightened. If they fail the save, they’ve effectively wasted their turn!
But while we’re talking about smiting…
Thunderous Smite is another excellent option worth considering.
The extra damage is nice, but being able to knock enemies away or prone is very impactful. While they’re prone, all of your melee allies will be following up with advantage on their attacks against the prone enemy!
Though maybe you prefer a more defensive spell for those “just in case” moments.
In that case, Protection from Evil and Good is a reliable option that will ruin the day of any creature that it affects.
As it just so happens, that’s a long list! Aberrations, Celestials, Elementals, Fey, Fiends, and Undead will have a terrible time trying to get to you or whoever you cast this on.
Also, it feels wrong to not give a special shoutout to the Bless spell. The extra d4 that it adds to attack rolls and saving throws is wonderful.
If you can maintain concentration on it and want an option that buffs yourself and/or your allies, it’s a good one!
You Might Like: Ranking Every Paladin Subclass in D&D 5e!
As a Paladin, part of your role in the party is keeping the pressure off of your squishier allies. While you can take a hit and shrug it off, other party members won’t necessarily be able to do the same.
That’s where Warding Bond comes into play!
It doesn’t require concentration. You just have to make sure that you stay within 60 feet of the ally you cast this on.
Don’t worry about the downside of you taking damage when they do. You’ve got more than enough hit points (and your Lay on Hands feature!) to manage.
I’m also going to include Lesser Restoration on this list.
There’s not a ton to say about Lesser Restoration other than there should always be at least one person in the party that has it. The conditions that it deals with are both inconvenient and common enough that you don’t want to get caught without it when you need it.
Topping the list for level 3 Paladin spells, we have Crusader’s Mantle.
This spell is more effective the more melee combatants are in your party. 1d4 extra damage might not sound like much, but that’s being applied to every attack from you and each of your allies.
It adds up very fast! Especially so if your party has a Monk, Fighter, or other characters that make lots of attacks (such as with two-weapon fighting).
There are few situations more important than when an ally dies. If you can get to them quickly, this lets you get them back on their feet.
Hopefully, you won’t need this, but it’s important to have it when you do!
Though I think Blinding Smite also deserves a spot on this list. I’m trying not to overdo it with smite options, but they’re just so good!
Blinding Smite does less damage than your Divine Smite, but the potential to blind an enemy is great. While they’re blinded, you and your allies’ attacks against them will be at advantage and the enemy will also have disadvantage on their attempts to hit back.
The downside to be aware of with Blinding Smite is that it’s a Constitution saving throw to resist the blinding effect. A lot of enemies have respectable Constitution scores, so it’s a little less reliable.
But when the effect hits, it’s fantastic!
Especially when you’re going up against the enemies in the higher levels of play where you get level 4 spells, it’s nice to have some insurance.
Death Ward has saved the lives of many adventurers and you will be glad you have it when gearing up for a big fight or particularly ominous dungeon!
It might not be the most glamorous of spells, but it will be your best friend when that Beholder starts firing off its eye rays or that Lich decides to deal with your party personally.
My second pick is also a defensive option that’s just too good to pass up.
Aura of Purity is great for the sheer amount of situations that it protects you and your allies against.
Immunity to disease, resistance to poison damage, and advantage on saves against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, and stunned is… well, it’s a lot!
Oh, and, if you want to be truly epic and over-the-top…
Find Greater Steed is your chance to finally have a Pegasus or Griffon as a mount. (Sure, there are other options, but let’s be real… Why wouldn’t you want to take to the skies on your trusty Pegasus?!)
There are two particularly stand-out options for level 5 Paladin spells and I honestly don’t think I can choose between them. They’re both nothing short of incredible.
First things first, Holy Weapon is pure value and buffs your damage output for the next hour like there’s no tomorrow.
An extra 2d8 radiant damage per hit is effectively the same as dropping a low-level smite with each attack. Furthermore, it only takes a bonus action to cast which means that you aren’t having to cast this ahead of combat to avoid spending a turn buffing yourself.
If you find yourself surrounded or just want to end the spell with a bang, you can dismiss it to deal some decent AoE damage.
But if AoE damage is what you’re looking for, my second level 5 pick has you covered!
Destructive Wave is a spell that knows what it’s about and isn’t here to play games. A total of 10d6 damage (half thunder and half your choice of radiant or necrotic) to all enemies within 30 feet of you is some wonderful AoE damage.
Not to cheapen the experience, Destructive Wave also knocks those enemies prone.
That means your melee party members should have no trouble mopping the floor with anyone that still has hit points after you cast this!
Conclusion – The Best Paladin Spells in D&D 5e By Level
I’m not going to lie; I once reasoned that Paladin spell choices didn’t truly matter that much. The spell slots will almost certainly just be used to power the Paladin’s Divine Smite feature, right?
And to be fair, that’s still definitely a way to play your Paladin.
However, that approach leaves so much on the table. I undervalued the Paladin’s spell list for years until I really saw just how much impact a lot of these options can have beyond just being a battery for smiting.
You may not have as many spell options available to you, but those you do have combine with your combat abilities to create an incredibly powerful character!
But this is my pick of the best Paladin spells. Are there any that you think should be on the list?
Let me know in the comments!
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