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DnD Arcane Trickster 5e subclass guide

Think Sneak Attack pairs well with spellcasting? Try the DnD Arcane Trickster 5e subclass – here’s all you should know about the magical Rogue.

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Arcane Trickster 5e holding a magic dagger

The DnD Arcane Trickster adds a little more magic to the 5e Rogue. Invisibility, magical companions, and supernatural distractions all help this deceptive D&D class do the things it does best. But while the Rogue is incredibly versatile, a powerful Arcane Trickster 5e build needs the right ingredients to excel.

Luckily, creating an Arcane Trickster doesn’t need to be all that tricky. Read on for a full run-through of the Rogue 5e subclass, including recommended DnD races, 5e spells, and 5e feats. Before long, you’ll be ready to add spellcasting to the sneakiest of DnD classes.

Here’s everything you need to know about the DnD Arcane Trickster 5e subclass:

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Arcane Trickster 5e smirking as he casts a spell

Arcane Trickster 5e features

Here’s each of the subclass features for the Arcane Trickster:


Level: Three

The main thing an Arcane Trickster brings to the table is spellcasting. This subclass gives your Rogue limited access to the DnD Wizard spell list, with Intelligence as your spellcasting DnD stat.

You immediately learn three DnD cantrips. One of these must be Mage Hand 5e, but you’re free to choose the remaining two.

You also learn three first-level Wizard spells of your choice from the enchantment or illusion DnD schools of magic. Generally, you’ll always learn spells from these schools, but certain DnD level ups give you more flexibility. The spells you learn at level eight, 14, and 20 can be from any school of magic – so if you’re desperate to learn Fireball 5e, here’s your chance.

Here’s how spell slots work for the Arcane Trickster:

Level Cantrips known Spells known 1st-level spell slots 2nd-level spell slots 3rd-level spell slots 4th-level spell slots
3 3 3 2
4 3 4 3
5 3 4 3
6 3 4 3
7 3 5 4 2
8 3 6 4 2
9 3 6 4 2
10 4 7 4 3
11 4 8 4 3
12 4 8 4 3
13 4 9 4 3 2
14 4 10 4 3 2
15 4 10 4 3 2
16 4 11 4 3 3
17 4 11 4 3 3
18 4 11 4 3 3
19 4 12 4 3 3 1
20 4 13 4 3 3 1

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Arcane Trickster 5e casting Mage Hand

Mage Hand Legerdemain

Level: Three

Mage Hand Legerdemain means you can make your Mage Hand invisible, and you can use it to pick locks or disarm traps. You can also stash an object the hand holds in a container worn or carried by another creature, as well as retrieve an object in the same manner. You can even use the bonus action from Cunning Action to control your magical extra hand.

Stealing and planting objects are delicate tasks. If you’re trying to use Mage Hand without being noticed, you’ll need to beat a witness’ Perception check with a successful Sleight of Hand check.

Magical Ambush

Level: Nine

Here’s some magic that simply makes you sneakier. If you’re hidden from a creature when you cast a spell on it, Magical Ambush gives that creature disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the spell that turn.

Versatile Trickster

Level: 13

We hope you like Mage Hand, because now it’s even more useful. Versatile Trickster means you can spend a bonus action to target a creature within five feet of your Mage Hand. The ghostly hand will distract it, giving you advantage on attack rolls against the creature until the end of your turn.

DnD Arcane Trickster 5e - Wizards of the Coast art of a witch and a fey creature summon

Spell Thief

Level: 17

After a creature casts a spell that targets you (even if you’re just in its area of effect), you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw. It rolls using its spellcasting ability modifier, and the DC is your spell save DC. If it fails, the spell is negated, and you literally steal the magical knowledge from their brains.

What this means in practice you know the spell for the next eight hours and can cast it using your spell slots. The original caster also can’t cast the spell at all until those eight hours are up.

This feature only works if the spell is at least at first level and is a level of spell you can already cast. You’ll also need to finish a long rest 5e to perform the feat again.

Wizards of the Coast art of an Elf DnD Arcane Trickster 5e casting spells from a book

Tips for creating an Arcane Trickster 5e

Arcane Trickster 5e races

If you’re using races from the Player’s Handbook, the DnD Elf and the Gnome 5e are your best bet. Both offer subclasses that boost Dex and Int (your most important stats) and expand your limited spell lists. We’d recommend the High Elf or the Forest Gnome.

Thanks to DnD books like Monsters of the Multiverse, most of the more fantastical races in D&D come with flexible stats. This means you can always boost your Dex and Int, while benefiting from your race’s unique features.

Plenty of uncommon DnD races can expand your Arcane Trickster’s spell list, including:

  • Deep Gnome
  • Duergar
  • Fairy
  • Firbolg
  • Yuan-ti

Wizards of the Coast art of a hooded gnome DnD Arcane Trickster 5e

Arcane Trickster 5e spells

Here are some of the best 5e spells for an Arcane Trickster:


  • Booming Blade – A strong buff for your Rogue’s melee attacks
  • Minor Illusion 5e – Magical deception with lots of utility
  • Prestidigitation 5e – Lots of fun and flexibility out of combat
  • Message 5e – Handy for communicating stealthily

Level one

  • Find Familiar 5e – Summons a friend for spying, stealing, and Sneak Attacking
  • Silent Image – Stronger illusions to create distractions
  • Charm Person – Charm your enemies when you can’t sneak past them
  • Disguise Self – Magical espionage with no Disguise Kit required
  • Sleep – Unconscious enemies are much easier to handle

Level two

  • Invisibility 5e – An absolute must-have that does what it says on the tin
  • Misty Step – Teleport yourself out of danger and into desirable places
  • Shadow Blade – The Arcane Trickster’s perfect weapon
  • Blur – Blur your body to disadvantage attack rolls
  • Mirror Image – Create an illusory double to throw off opponents

Level three

  • Fly 5e – 60ft of flying speed is super handy for a dexterous Rogue
  • Major Image – Create illusions that look completely real
  • Haste 5e – Give yourself or a friend even more agility

Level four

  • Greater Invisibility – Enhance your invisibility powers
  • Stone Shape – Create your own secret passages and hiding places

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Arcane Trickster 5e Rogue

Arcane Trickster 5e feats

If you’re looking to pick up a feat, there are plenty that suit the Arcane Trickster well. Any feat that strengthens a Rogue is a solid choice, but the picks below are based on buffing the Arcane Trickster’s unique abilities:

  • Elven Accuracy – Boosts your Dex or Int and lets you reroll if you have advantage on a Dex or Int attack
  • Fade Away – Gnomes get a Dex or Int buff, as well as the ability to turn invisible after taking damage
  • Fey Touched – As well as an Int boost, you get to learn Mistry Step and another first-level divination or enchantment spell
  • Magic Initiate – No stat boost, but gives you two extra cantrips, a first-level spell, and access to other class spell lists
  • War Caster – Wielding weapons doesn’t stop you casting spells, and you can cast spells as an attack of opportunity

By now, you should have all the core components to create an Arcane Trickster. If you need more help, here are some handy DnD character creators to kickstart the process. Or, if you’re looking to try some other tabletop RPGs, here’s the Pathfinder classes you could try from the game’s second edition.