DnD Dispel Magic 5e spell guide

DnD Dispel Magic 5e is an essential for your D&D spell toolkit, but do you know how to cast and optimise it? Here’s all the key info you need.

DnD Dispel Magic 5e - a young, black woman with an afro, glasses, and green mage robes casts a green spell with her right hand

When a D&D party fights to save the Forgotten Realms (or their preferred setting) from a great evil, they need to be prepared to thwart that evil’s plans at every corner. 5e spells like Dispel Magic 5e mean you can stop an opponent’s spell even after it starts to take effect. With a magic word and a swish of your hand, you can end a spell cast by your mighty nemesis (or even just a particularly annoying Wizard).

Dispel Magic 5e is considered a DnD essential for many reasons. It’s a potential game-changer that’s fairly cheap to learn and cast, and it’s accessible no matter what kind of spellcaster you want to play. However, no spell is perfect. It’s worth understanding the risks and downsides of Dispel Magic before you rush to prepare it.

This guide provides all the key info on Dispel Magic 5e – who can cast it, how to cast it, and what to expect when using it in your next campaign. You’ll be spoiling your opponents’ fun in no time.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Dispel Magic 5e spell:

DnD Dispel Magic 5e - a spellcaster in robes stands with their arms stretched out above an army of goblins engulfed in flames

Dispel Magic 5e features

Level Third
Casting time One action
Duration Instantaneous
Range / Area 120ft
Attack / Save None
School Abjuration

DnD Dispel Magic 5e - a white person with dark hair and leather clothing yells with an arm in the air as a dwarf attacks a Beholder in the background

How to cast Dispel Magic 5e

Dispel Magic has no material components, but it does require verbal and somatic components. Once you know what words and gestures you’re going to use, choose your target. This can be a creature, object, or even a magical effect within range. If there’s a spell of third level or lower affecting or being cast by the target, it immediately ends.

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You can use dispel magic on a fourth-level spell (or even higher), but you’ll need to pass an ability check of Difficulty Class (DC) ten + the spell’s level. If you fail, the spell is unaffected, and you’ve lost a spell slot for your trouble. One way to avoid this is to cast Dispel Magic as a higher-level spell (once you’ve levelled up enough to have the spell slots, of course). If you cast Dispel Magic as a fifth-level spell, for example, you can automatically end spells of fifth-level or lower instead.

DnD Dispel Magic 5e - a young, black woman with an afro, glasses, and green mage robes casts a green spell with her right hand

Who can cast Dispel Magic 5e

Maybe a better question to ask is which classes can’t cast Dispel Magic? Pretty much everyone who can cast spells in D&D at all has the chance to learn this one – only the Barbarian, Monk, and Ranger are left out.

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The Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard are all able to learn Dispel Magic from fifth level onwards. Clerics of the Arcana Domain or Trickery Domain also gain access to the spell at fifth level. Oath of Devotion Paladins and Artificers can also cast it, but they’ll have to wait until ninth level. Order of the Profane Soul Blood Hunters can learn it too as they eventually gain Warlock spell slots, though they can only cast third-level spells like Dispel Magic once they reach level 13. Not to be left out, Eldritch Knight Fighters and Arcane Trickster Rogues can also learn Dispel Magic at level 14.

DnD Dispel Magic 5e - Tasha, a white, ginger wizard in grey robes and hat, casts magic from a glowing spellbook

Pros and cons of Dispel Magic 5e

Naturally, being able to cancel out a magical effect at will is pretty strong stuff. There are a fair few things to consider before adding it to your spell list, though.

Firstly, you’ll need to think about party synergy. Everyone and their mum seem able to cast Dispel Magic, so why should your character learn to do it? If you’re a Paladin with a Bard and an Abjuration Wizard in your party, there may be less reason to go after the spell – sure, you’ll have an extra Dispel Magic prepared, but your peers can learn it from a lower level and can add bonuses that buff their ability checks.

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It’s also important to realise that Dispel Magic has a lot less versatility than it might first appear. You can only target the effect of spells – this means you can’t interrupt a ritual or spell being cast, and you can’t target an instantaneous spell as the effect has already been resolved (you’re better off with Counterspell 5e for that). You also can’t target the effects of magical items or innate abilities.

Finally, there’s the risk of targeting higher-level spells. Casting Dispel Magic at a level lower than the effect you’re targeting means you’re using a spell slot on something that has a chance of failing completely. This is far less cost-efficient than a spell that does half-damage on a failed saving throw, for example. Even if you only use third-level spell slots (which have just as much chance of success as higher spell slots that are still under the target’s level), you’re still at risk of throwing one of those precious spell slots away.