Spells are always a lot of fun. Even if you’ve been playing D&D for twenty years, there’s still something exciting about another player casting a spell you’ve never used before, or when you get the chance to cast Fireball and laugh like a maniac at the table while you drop a bucket of dice on the map.
Spells have always been responsible for some of the most intense moments, and nothing is quite as worrying as seeing an NPC prepare to cast something and you’re not sure what it is. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is one of the iconic spells from one of the most iconic spellcasters in the history of the game, and she has a couple of new ones named after her, so let’s get into it and see how these news spells look.
You can check out part two of the review about “feats” here.
The Spells Of Tasha’s Cauldron Of Everything
BLADE OF DISASTER
9th Level Conjuration
Here’s the thing about 9th level spells: You’re probably never going to use them, and if you do it won’t be often. And if you’re making a spell this high, you’re already competing with the likes of Wish, Power Word Kill, and Time Stop, so you’d better come correct. All that staid, Blade of Disaster is an absolute beast of a spell. As a bonus action, you create a blade shaped planar rift that lasts for a minute, or ten rounds if you’re fancy. The sword gets to make two attacks and on a hit they do 4d12 Force damage. On an 18 or higher, they do a massive 12d12 Force damage. Additionally, the blade can pass through any barrier, including Wall of Force, and on your turn with a bonus action you can move the blade up to 30 feet and take two more attacks.
This is an absolutely insane amount of damage and it feels like this spell was designed specifically for facing a Tarrasque. I don’t know if this is the best 9th level spell in the game, but it’s certainly not the worst. I’m trying to compare it to something like Meteor Swarm for overall pure damage output, and I think it even outdoes that spell, given that more things have resistance or immunity to Fire and Bludgeoning than Force, and the Blade of Disaster lasts a terrifying ten rounds for a total of twenty attacks. This one is intense.
I had to read this one a couple of times to be clear on the rules, and now that I’m clear on how it works, this seems like a fun little cantrip for your first couple of levels of play. You need to spend an entire action to cast it, but the effect can be fairly cinematic. If you hit someone with an attack, and they willingly move before the start of your next turn, they take a d8 of Thunder damage. So for pure spellcaster, you’re probably not going to use this, so it’s one where you need to be a Bard or something, someone who can fight and cast with equal skill. The damage does in fact scale up, but I don’t see this getting a lot of action beyond the lower levels.
DREAM OF THE BLUE VEIL
7th level Conjuration
NO. Just no. Absolutely not. This is a spell that doesn’t just take you to another plane of existence, oh no. It takes you to an entirely different world. Did you make an entire campaign in Eberron? Well, too bad, because now the party is playing Spelljammer.
Absolutely banned at my table. Hard no. There’s no reason for this exist. If your party did want to hop worlds, the DM ought to be aware of it and could plan a good in game reason why it happened. If I just spent the last week planning a game for the table and everyone wanted to jump to an entirely different setting, how do you think that plays out? This spell is entirely pointless for this reason. Either the DM can plan for this spell and thus it isn’t needed, or you surprise the DM. Terrible.
GREEN BLADE FLAME
This is the exact same thing as Booming Blade with a different effect. The only difference mechanically is that rather than delaying damage until they move, it gives a second enemy a small amount of fire damage. There’s not much more to say, it’s also limited to spellcasters given the fact that the fire damage is tied to your spellcasting ability modifier, so it’s again very limited in terms of who will use it.
3rd Level Abjuration
What saves this spell from being effectively worthless is the secondary ability. The first half of this spell states that you or a willing creature gains resistance to psychic damage for an hour, but it’s also a concentration spell meaning that won’t last for very long. There’s lots of ways to break concentration and at 3rd level, there’s other stuff you probably want to be doing. There are numerous spells at 3rd level that require concentration and have a lot more utility. This is very situational, I can only see it getting a lot of play in something like a Mind Flayer heavy campaign. That said, you do also get advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws, which is honestly more useful than the main utility of the spell.
Reading this one made me laugh out loud, no kidding. I genuinely don’t care how useful it is or isn’t, that part is debatable. But what’s undeniable is how hilarious it would be to cast this. Here’s how it works. You create a small sliver of lightning that on its own does no damage, and they need to be within fifteen feet of you. If the creature you hit fails a strength saving throw, they are pulled 10 feet towards you, and then if they are within five feet of you, they take 1d8 lightning damage which scales up as you level. Imagine casting this from the second story of a tavern during a brawl, or standing across a narrow river or any number of other things. I’m always a big fan of forced movement, and the hilariously bad idea of pulling enemies towards you as a wizard is always amazing. Love this one.
Another very useful cantrip that combines two things I love: Intelligence saving throws and minuses to saving throws. It’s a nice alternative to Vicious Mockery, which uses a Wisdom saving throw, and given how perception is tied to Wisdom, it’s a more commonly made saving throw. Vicious Mockery also only does a d4 while this does a d6 of damage. Admittedly, forcing disadvantage on the next attack roll is usually the better option, but given how often Intelligence is used as a dump stat, I think having the effect be that they take a minus d4 from their next saving throw sort of evens out. It’s not quite as good, but it hits more often. A very nice cantrip.
3RD level Necromancy
This one isn’t too shabby, and thematically works wonders for a Necromancer. Having it cast as a bonus action is really, really useful here as spending a full action would sort of ruin the utility I think. You have spirits swirl around you for a minute, depending on concentration, and any attack you hit with does an extra d8 of radiant, necrotic, or cold damage and they can’t regain hit points until the start of your next turn. That’s already really good, but it has the added effect of any creature you can see within ten feet of you has their speed reduced by ten until the start of your next turn.
This is a whole lot of utility and could be used for any number of reasons. Keeping a creature from being able to reach another target, getting around resistances, and preventing things like regeneration are all wildly useful depending on the situation. And since you can still attack on the turn that you cast this, it has far more use than hoping for the best between turns. It does take up a third level slot, so it has competition and is competing with the likes of Bestow Curse and Life Transference, but I expect it will see plenty of use.
4th Level Conjuration
You’d be really hard pressed to complain about this one, even if it’s a concentration spell. Within ninety feet of you, you can summon a Beholderkin, Slaad, or Star Spawn that is friendly to you and takes commands and lasts up to an hour. Again, anything with options like this is already pretty nice, but having a disposable ally that can distract or tank damage for a couple of rounds is never to be overlooked. Need something that can fly? Beholderkin, Need a bunch of DPS? Star Spawn right in the middle of a crowd. Need something to distract the big bad for a round or two? Create a Slaad right next to them. And this is one of those spells that really benefits from using a higher spell slot, given that each slot you move up gives them more HP and AC, and if you use it to create a Slaad it also increases their damage. This is a fantastic go-to spell when you need a round for the party to compose themselves.
2nd Level Conjuration
Now, given how closely this resembles the previous spell from a mechanical standpoint, it may surprise you to learn that I really don’t like this one anywhere near as much. The reason is that whatever you create will be destroyed a whole lot faster since the beasts are that much weaker, and by the time you’re casting 2nd level spells, you’re fighting things that will have a much easier time fighting off something like an eagle or a wolf. Or a fish for some reason, one of the options is to create a fish. Not much more to say about this, it’s just not that great.
5th level Conjuration
Again, not much to say that hasn’t already been said above, this is the same spell only now you create giant Angels who either do a bunch of radiant damage or act as a giant shield and handing out temporary HP. Also they can heal you for potentially over twenty points of HP once a day, so yeah. Pretty good.
4th Level Conjuration
I know this is getting tedious, but this is another summon spell, only the constructs are considerably weaker than the aberrations. Not a lot to say, you summon a golem. ‘
4th Level Conjuration
There’s a whole lot of summoning spells this time around, aren’t there? Well, we started the job, so let’s finish it. At 4th level it’s better than the constructs, less good than the aberrations. Situationally they’re better, say you need a being made out of fire, this is your spell. Otherwise, yeah, it’s fine.
3rd Level Conjuration
It’s never going to stop, is it? Well, here’s the thing. At 3rd level, I would argue this is a better spell than summoning constructs. While the Fey you summon may not be as strong or durable, they’re the first legitimately intelligent creatures you can summon. And I’m not talking about the Intelligence score, because some of these are very iffy and I think they were only boosted for mechanical reasons, but I’m talking about how the Fey you summon operates versus some of the others. The Fey fights with a short sword, sure, but it has the ability to do things like charm enemies or obscure vision or fey step away or even focus their attacks to gain advantage. Unlike the others, this one really feels like an NPC joining the party for a round or two, and at 3rd level it will have far more use than some of the others.
6th Level Conjuration
Okay, let’s get this out of the way. Are the fiends you can summon really strong? Yes. Do I think this is worth a 6th level spell slot? Not really. If you’ve already taken Summon Aberration, you have the versatility to cast that with a 6th level spell slot if you really need to, otherwise that same slot is being used for something like Wall of Thorns as an example. This one feels unnecessary.
3rd Level Conjuration
It’s just a less good version of Summon Fey. I wish I had more to add here, but there’s only so much to be said about summoning.
3rd Level Necromancy
Thank GOD we are done with the summoning spells now. Look, you can make ghosts, zombies, or skeletons. They’re all kind of useful. I am so done with summoning, so done.
The first one to mention that you summon these swords is gonna get it. In all seriousness, this is almost a must have for spellcasters who are worried about getting cornered by martial characters. It forces a Dexterity saving throw and does 1d8 Force damage if they fail. If you end up surrounded, and at the first couple of levels this is a real problem for someone like a Wizard, this can buy some breathing space.
TASHA’S CAUSTIC BREW
1st Level Evocation
About time, here we go! Tasha, the main event of the evening, finally has a couple of new spells named after her and this first one is absolutely incredible. I’d go as far as to say this might be my new favorite 1st level evocation. Cure Wounds and Healing Word are obviously essential, and something like Magic Missile is a classic with very good reason, but this new spell is utterly mean and fits perfectly with the person who created it. You create a stream of acid that is thirty feet long and five feet wide, and any create that is in the path of that acid makes a Dexterity saving throw.
If they fail, they are covered in acid for a full minute or until the spend an action to wash it off, and at the start of their turns they take 2d4 acid damage. Holy moly is that great. If you find yourself in a corridor or if you just happen to line things up properly, this could cover a significant number of creatures, and if they fail, they are either taking damage or losing an action. And to help it scale? If you happen to cast this at higher level, you increase the damage by 2d4 per level. This is a spell you can easily hold onto for the remainder of the game.
TASHA’S MIND WHIP
2nd Level Enchantment
This one is still really good, but it’s competing with something amazing right above it, which is unfortunate. This is like the local band going on after The Killers. Still, let’s judge this one on its own merits. It has a lot going for it. The range is really nice at a whopping ninety feet, its an Intelligence saving throw and those always nice to see in the game, and the effects are absolutely debilitating. 3d6 psychic damage on a failed saving throw, half as much on a success, and if it succeeds the target can’t take a reaction and must decide on their next turn if they will take an action, movement, or a bonus action. It only gets one. And for every level you cast this over 2nd level, you can target an additional creature, meaning at later level you can walk into a room and just absolutely hobble an entire party in the first round. Absolutely incredible.
TASHA’S OTHERWORLDLY GUISE
6th Level Transmutation
And lastly, we are here with the third new spell that Tasha created, and it’s a doozy. As a bonus action you effectively transform yourself into a fiend or a celestial and the effects are pretty amazing. You gain immunities based on which way you go, Lower Planes are immune to fire, poison, and the poisoned condition, where Upper Planes are immune to radiant and necrotic damage, as well as the charmed condition. You grow spectral wings and gain a flight speed of 40 feet, you a +2 to your AC, and all your weapon attacks are magical and can use your spellcasting modifier for damage or to hit instead of Strength or Dexterity. Oh, and you can attack twice with a single action if you don’t already have a benefit that allows that. I don’t have to tell you how useful this is. By the time you’re casting 6th level spells, an immunity here and there is probably going to be invaluable, and the rest of it is just a lot of fun and very thematic.
I really hate to say it, but this new batch of spells, outside of the new Tasha spells, feels kind of phoned in. Giving the entire party the ability to summon fantasy Pokemon could potentially really slow down combat, and summoning is mostly what’s been offered here. I appreciate that we have a new bomb for 9th level and the cantrips are pretty decent, but I’m just mildly disappointed overall. Not sure why most of this list had to be a copy and paste. Still not a terrible list, and I’ll be excited to try out a couple of these new spells in my games.
Next time: Puzzles!