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New DnD rules nerf one of the best Cleric spells

The Dungeons and Dragons Cleric looks promising in the new Player’s Handbook, but let’s have a moment of silence for Spiritual Weapon.

Wizards of the Coast art of a DnD Cleric

To the chagrin of D&D Clerics everywhere, Spiritual Weapon is now a concentration spell. This detail was mentioned by Wizards of the Coast in a YouTube video from July 10, where designer Jeremy Crawford explains the changes made to the Cleric class for the 2024 Player’s Handbook. It’s a small tweak, but nerfing Spiritual Weapon will change the way a lot of Clerics play.

In fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons, Spiritual Weapon is a second-level spell that costs a bonus action to cast. It creates (you guessed it) a spiritual weapon which immediately attacks a target, dealing 1d8 plus your spellcasting modifier in force damage. On later turns you can use a bonus action to move the weapon and attack again. Cast it with a higher spell slot, and you can add 1d8 damage for every two slot levels above second.

In Wednesday’s video, Crawford says that DnD Clerics who choose the War Domain subclass can use their Channel Divinity to cast Spiritual Weapon without a spell slot or concentration. This seems to confirm a change that we first saw in early One DnD playtesting – that this Cleric staple now requires concentration. The Unearthed Arcana documents did show better damage scaling for this spell too, but that’s not been confirmed yet for the final printing of the Player’s Handbook.

YouTube Thumbnail

Spiritual Weapon feels a lot less special now, but on the bright side, the new Player’s Handbook will improve the Cleric class in plenty of other ways. For example, Channel Divinity’s new Divine Spark option allows you to heal or harm – handy for those moments where Turn Undead isn’t useful. Turn Undead has been redesigned so that it’s less awkward to use, and it’s complemented by the Sear Undead ability, which deals radiant damage to undead in your area.

The new version of Divine Intervention aims to be more consistent by letting you cast any Cleric spell of level five or below that isn’t a reaction, scot-free. Plus, the class gets plenty of flexibility to choose between buffing martial and spellcasting skills. You can see more details about changes to the Cleric in the video above.

For character options you can play with right now, here’s everything you need to know about DnD classes and DnD races. Or, if you can’t remember when the new Player’s Handbook will arrive, check out this year’s DnD release schedule.