The Best Ranger Spells in D&D 5e (Updated for Tasha’s)

“The Hunt” by MaR-93, CC Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
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Updated December 2021. Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything reworked the Ranger. We understand that not every player will use these rules, and our recommendations will not assume a player is only playing with Tasha’s changed Ranger. Regardless, this book has expanded the list of Ranger Spells to include Entangle, Searing Smite, Aid, Enhance Ability, Gust of Wind, Magic Weapon, Summon Beast, Elemental Weapon, Meld into Stone, Revivify, Summon Fey, Dominate Beast, Summon Elemental, and Greater Restoration. We’ve made sure to include our favorite of these spells in the article.

Choosing spells for a part-caster class can be daunting. Spells can cost valuable battle actions and may not always be worthwhile when a player can damage more effectively with a weapon. Plus, some spellcasters, Rangers included, can only switch out spells when they level up, which makes choosing spells significantly more important than classes that prepare spells.

In this article, we’ll go through our top Ranger spells for each level, keeping in mind a Ranger’s skillset. 

Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Ranger Spells:

Purpose of a Ranger:

Each player can decide for themselves how to best utilize their Ranger. We are of the opinion that a Ranger excels in combat most when enacting surgical strikes to focus down an enemy or setting up ambushes. Being smart about a fight is where a Ranger shines.

Out of combat, a Ranger is key in navigation and survival.

The Wisdom Stat:

Rangers base their Spell DC on Wisdom. Because a Ranger is more combat-oriented, they should focus more on combat stats, like Dexterity and Constitution. Wisdom should be a tertiary focus. 

But this will also mean that the Wisdom modifier may not be incredibly high. Keeping this in mind, we’ll focus on spells that don’t require a Saving Throw against a Ranger’s DC, or we’ll give tips on when to best use a spell so that a target is almost guaranteed to fail the save.

Unique Spells to Rangers:

The final criteria we’ll use for determining which spells are best will be how unique they are to a Ranger. When a spell is available to a Druid, Cleric, Paladin, or Wizard, the party should discuss having a full spellcaster learn that spell. Again, remembering the purpose of a Ranger, a player should be wary of which spells they learn to best utilize the limited number of spells known.

The Best 5e Ranger Spells: Level 1

Hunter’s Mark

1st-level divination

Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 90 feet
Components: V
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You choose a creature you can see within range and mystically mark it as your quarry. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 damage to the target whenever you hit it with a weapon attack, and you have advantage on any Wisdom (Perception) or Wisdom (Survival) check you make to find it. If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to mark a new creature.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd or 4th level, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 8 hours. When you use a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 24 hours.

Spell Lists. Ranger

Hunter’s Mark has always been popular as a Ranger-exclusive spell. It’s cast as a bonus action and lasts for an hour. A player can also use another bonus action to seamlessly shift the mark to another target. This spell will help whittle down a foe and help a Ranger find the target, should they escape.

Keep in mind that Hunter’s Mark requires concentration, so for as long as this spell is cast, you cannot cast another concentration spell unless you end this one.

When to use Hunter’s Mark: If you’re fighting a single Strength-based foe (or a few, but not a horde!), use Hunter’s Mark to focus your fire. If your target is prone to disappearing or running, Hunter’s Mark will help you track them down later.

Swapping out Hunter’s Mark: If you are taking the coveted Crossbow Expert feat for weaponizing your bonus action, and you’re pairing it with the Sharpshooter feat, you might want to switch out Hunter’s Mark for another spell. This is because Hunter’s Mark will make your bonus action busy when you’d rather use it on attacks. This might make you sad if you like Hunter’s Mark, but you’re going to have other spells to concentrate on.


1st-level transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a sprig of mistletoe)
Duration: Instantaneous

Up to ten berries appear in your hand and are infused with magic for the duration. A creature can use its action to eat one berry. Eating a berry restores 1 hit point, and the berry provides enough nourishment to sustain a creature for one day.

The berries lose their potency if they have not been consumed within 24 hours of the casting of this spell.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger

Healing isn’t your job. But if it’s up to you to save your downed friends, you can’t go wrong with Goodberry. Cast it at the beginning of the day to have up to 10 hit points to disperse among your allies in a bind. 

A Ranger who needs to heal themselves in battle is already risking death. It’s better to either take out the enemy fast or run faster. Taking an action to heal oneself is not going to save you. You’ll have to rely on your allies to stabilize or heal you, and they will rely on you for the same.

Consider Goodberry over Cure Wounds: Goodberry guarantees 10 hit points of health, which can be dispersed amongst up to 10 allies. Cure Wounds guarantees 1 + Wisdom modifier hit points, up to 8 + Wisdom modifier, and only applies to one ally. If you’re going to use a spell slot, you’ll want those 10 hit points to revive whoever has fallen.

When you reach level 5, replace Goodberry with Healing Spirit, unless the berries are more your style.

Absorb Elements

1st-level abjuration

Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you take acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage
Range: Self
Components: S
Duration: 1 round

The spell captures some of the incoming energy, lessening its effect on you and storing it for your next melee attack. You have resistance to the triggering damage type until the start of your next turn. Also, the first time you hit with a melee attack on your next turn, the target takes an extra 1d6 damage of the triggering type, and the spell ends.

At higher level: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each slot level above 1st.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger, Wizard, Sorcerer

This is one of the few Reaction-based spells a Ranger has. This spell can help you reduce special damage and then redirect it back to your opponents, if you happen to be in a melee situation. Your resistance is active until the start of your next turn, and, since this spell reduces damage by half (resistance), it scales nicely with higher levels. This is arguably one of the most useful Ranger spells for the resistances alone.

Fog Cloud

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You create a 20-foot-radius sphere of fog centered on a point within range. The sphere spreads around corners, and its area is heavily obscured, It lasts for the duration or until a wind of moderate or greater speed (at least 10 miles per hour) disperses it.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the radius of the fog increases by 20 feet for each slot level above 1st.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer, Wizard

Fog Cloud is just a great utility spell in and out of combat. Is your party being chased by a horde? Fog Cloud and run! Archers or ranged wizards picking your party off from afar while your friends melee fight? Put that cloud between your party and the ranged assailants. Did you set a trap for some expected enemies? Fog Cloud can possibly hide it.

We recommend having this one in your back pocket, as using weapons isn’t always the best course of action. Plus, any beast that has Blindsight can navigate through the fog. However, if a full-caster in your party can learn this spell, let them do it so that you can focus on other spells.

Zephyr Strike (XGTE)

This Ranger-exclusive spell takes a bonus action to allow the Ranger to avoid opportunity attacks for up to one minute. Plus, after casting the spell, a Ranger gains advantage on one weapon attack, dealing additional damage, and extra movement in that same turn. It’s a nice ace up your sleeve for a sticky situation.

The downside is that the spell requires concentration, which is usually occupied by Hunter’s Mark. If your strategy as a Ranger relies heavily on Hunter’s Mark, your focus may be better spent on non-concentration spells.

When to use Zephyr Strike: Zephyr Strike is possibly best strategically utilized at the beginning of a battle and only until the Ranger is in their desired location on the battlefield, then swapped out for Hunter’s Mark when survival is less jeopardized. This is a spell you might swap out at higher levels, but you might keep it for escapes in crowded fights.

Level 2 Spells

Summon Beast (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything)

Though requiring concentration (1 hour) and material components valued at 200 gp (not expended), Summon Beast has the ability to materialize a corporal beast using a stat block provided, which takes its turn on the Ranger’s initiative immediately after. This beast can be an air, land, or water creature, each with unique abilities; has darkvision; understands the Ranger’s languages, and hefty attacks. Plus, this spell can be upcast for even greater beast stats and multiattack.

Summon Beast gives a Ranger spellcaster everything they want: a magical beast companion, utility on any terrain, and the strategic upper hand wherever needed. I highly recommend taking this spell and keeping it with each level up.

The only downsides I see are that hit points don’t scale, and the multiattack only triggers when upcast at spell levels 4 and 5. Regardless, this spell may just overtake Hunter’s Mark for our recommended arsenal of Ranger spells, as it deals slightly better damage and is not confined to the Ranger’s attack or range.

Spike Growth

2nd-level transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 150 feet
Components: V, S, M (seven sharp thorns or seven small twigs, each sharpened to a point)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

The ground in a 20-foot radius centered on a point within range twists and sprouts hard spikes and thorns. The area becomes difficult terrain for the duration. When a creature moves into or within the area, it takes 2d4 piercing damage for every 5 feet it travels.

The transformation of the ground is camouflaged to look natural. Any creature that can’t see the area at the time the spell is case must make a Wisdom (Perception) check against your spell save DC to recognize the terrain as hazardous before entering it.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger

Requiring concentration for up to ten minutes, Spike Growth is another utility-damage spell that can really benefit a party in a bind. This spell is perfect for defeating groups traveling your way: reduce their movement while damaging them. If they have low Wisdom, they can’t tell the Spike Growth is there.

When to use Spike Growth: If you have a large group of dumber enemies closing in on you (think zombies and ghouls), Spike Growth can slow them down while whittling away their hit points. Smarter enemies may perceive the spikes (probably after one of them enters the area) and try to avoid them. Teamwork is great with this spell if you can force enemies to move across the spikes.

Pass Without Trace

2nd-level abjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (ashes from a burned leaf of mistletoe and a sprig of spruce)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

A veil of shadows and silence radiates from you, masking you and your companions from detection. For the duration, each creature you choose within 30 feet of you (including you) has a +10 bonus to Dexterity (Stealth) checks and can’t be tracked except by magical means. A creature that receives this bonus leaves behind no tracks or other traces of its passage.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger

Out of combat, this spell can be vital to your party’s survival, depending on the scenario. Run from the crooked law, or set up your party to surprise a band of Kobolds. With this spell, the utility outweighs the concentration required. You can set up ambushes with Pass Without Trace that would otherwise fail due to Stealth rolls failing to beat Passive Perceptions.

Healing Spirit (XGTE)

This spell is a great alternative to Goodberry, as it can heal multiple people with potentially more than 1 hit point. This spell really takes the cake with its range of 60 feet, so a Ranger doesn’t have to move from their perch in order to help an ally.

Locate Object

This spell is deceptively useful. You can use it to gain the same benefits of several other spells. Here is a video talking about this spell and how great it is. However, it’s semi-dependent on your DM. For example, you can scan for magic items in a dungeon to see if you missed anything. You can also scan for cursed magic items to see if you have anything that is cursed (which makes it better than Identify that can’t detect curses).

You can scan for items that will be carried by enemies so you know if they’re hanging around. Even the lead that blocks this spell can be overcome by scanning for boxes made of lead (implying something valuable is hidden inside). Try this spell! It’s good!


2nd-level illusion (ritual)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes

For the duration, no sound can be created within or pass through a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on a point you choose within range. Any creature or object entirely inside the sphere is immune to thunder damage, and creatures are deafened while entirely inside it. Casting a spell that includes a verbal component is impossible there.

Spell Lists. Bard, Cleric, Ranger

Silence is an incredible spell in and out of battle. With Silence, verbal spells are useless. And, it can be cast from a range of 120 feet. So a Ranger who spies a Wizard camping out of combat can make them mostly useless for a round or so as he relocates. Plus, this spell can stop Thunder damage, if that’s the main damage type from a big bad boss.

Out of combat, Silence can help you make secret plans without an unwanted captive hearing, help you take out a guard without falling noise or them calling for help, or stop communication between two individuals. If possible, however, let a full-caster take on this spell.

Level 3 Spells

Wind Wall

3rd-level evocation

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S, M (a tiny fan and a feather of exotic origin)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

A wall of strong wind rises from the ground at a point you choose within range. You can make the wall up to 50 feet long, 15 feet high, and 1 foot thick. You can shape the wall in any way you choose so long as it makes one continuous path along the ground. The wall lasts for the duration.

When the wall appears, each creature within its area must make a Strength saving throw. A creature takes 3d8 bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

The strong wind keeps fog, smoke, and other gases at bay. Small or smaller flying creatures or objects can’t pass through the wall. Loose, lightweight materials brought into the wall fly upward. Arrows, bolts, and other ordinary projectiles launched at targets behind the wall are deflected upward and automatically miss. (Boulders hurled by giants or siege engines, and similar projectiles, are unaffected.) Creatures in gaseous form can’t pass through it.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger

I would argue that Wind Wall is one of the most underrated utility spells available to a Ranger or Druid.

Fog Cloud’s obscurement might be good enough at times, in which case you can settle for casting Fog Cloud. However, being able to create a barrier with Wind Wall that doesn’t hinder your melee allies while deflecting ranged attacks with ordinary projectiles can be essential in the right situations. A problem arises if your DM allows magical projectiles (like a +1 arrow) to fly through without issue.

Give this spell another look to see if you can use it effectively in your campaign. Don’t worry about the damage because it’s negligible.

Conjure Animals

What a great, controversial spell. Sure, there’s the problem where your DM is technically the one to choose your animals. Regardless, you’re getting a lot of summons here, some of which have fantastic special abilities.

You can control the battlefield by placing your summons in the right places. Attacking with all your animals can absolutely murder some enemies. It requires concentration, but the upside is massive.

Plant Growth

3rd-level transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action or 8 hours
Range: 150 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

This spell channels vitality into plants within a specific area. There are two possible uses for the spell, granting either immediate or long-term benefits.

If you cast this spell using 1 action, choose a point within range. All normal plants in a 100-foot radius centered on that point become thick and overgrown. A creature moving through the area must spend 4 feet of movement for every 1 foot it moves.

You can exclude one or more areas of any size within the spell’s area from being affected.

If you cast this spell over 8 hours, you enrich the land. All plants in a half-mile radius centered on a point within range become enriched for 1 year. The plants yield twice the normal amount of food when harvested.

Spell Lists. Bard, Druid, Ranger

Not only does Plant Growth spread to a large radius of 100 feet, but it reduces movement by 4 times. If your party is volleying ranged attacks on the other side of the growth while melee-limited creatures are slowly making their way toward you, think of how many rounds extra you get to deal damage. Plus, this spell does NOT require concentration, so you can keep your Summon Beast or Hunter’s Mark active.

You can also cast this for eight hours and help a famished population yield food for the year, or regrow plantlife dead from a horrific battle. This is incredible utility from a spell that is also effective in combat!


3rd-level abjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a pinch of diamond dust worth 25 gp sprinkled over the target, which the spell consumes)
Duration: 8 hours

For the duration, you hide a target that you touch from divination magic. The target can be a willing creature or a place or an object no larger than 10 feet in any dimension. The target can’t be targeted by any divination magic or perceived through magical scrying sensors.

Spell Lists. Bard, Ranger, Wizard

This spell has some great utility when you know someone is trying to find you. One benefit of this spell is that it’s not a concentration spell, so you are free to continue your day as normal. However, if a Wizard or Bard in the party can learn it, they should instead of you.

Keep in mind the material component of consumed diamond dust worth 25 gp.

Water Walk

3rd-level transmutation (ritual)

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 30 feet
Components: V, S, M (a piece of cork)
Duration: 1 hour

This spell grants the ability to move across any liquid surface – such as water, acid, mud, snow, quicksand, or lava – as if it were harmless solid ground (creatures crossing molten lava can still take damage from the heat). Up to ten willing creatures you can see within range gain this ability for the duration.

If you target a creature submerged in a liquid, the spell carries the target to the surface of the liquid at a rate of 60 feet per round.

Spell Lists. Artificer, Cleric, Druid, Ranger, Sorcerer

“Water” Walk is a bit of a misnomer, as this spell expands to any liquid surface, including acid and lava. Snow that would become difficult terrain is now easy to glide across. And you can target up to ten creatures for 1 hour without concentration.

Additionally, a creature drowning will be whisked away to the top of the surface at great speeds, which is an incredible solution to helping a dying friend in water.

Level 4 Spells

Freedom of Movement

4th-level abjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Components: V, S, M (a leather strap, bound around the arm or a similar appendage)
Duration: 1 hour

You touch a willing creature. For the duration, the target’s movement is unaffected by difficult terrain, and spells and other magical effects can neither reduce the target’s speed nor cause the target to be paralyzed or restrained.

The target can also spend 5 feet of movement to automatically escape from non-magical restraints, such as manacles or a creature that has it grappled. Finally, being underwater imposes no penalties on the target’s movement or attacks.

Spell Lists. Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Ranger

Combined with Plant Growth, you could tag-team with an ally or use this spell on yourself to move through the growth you’ve created to attack an enemy or escape. This spell is also useful for helping a less-than-strong ally, such as a Wizard, escape from a grapple.

At level 19, replace Freedom of Movement with Tree Stride. Keep in mind you’ll only have two 5th level spell slots. If another 5th level spell you know is more enticing than Tree Stride, keep Freedom of Movement.

Conjure Woodland Beings

You can summon interesting creatures with this spell. Like Conjure Animals, it’s highly dependent on your DM since they choose what monsters are summoned. The most famous example with this spell is the Pixie that can cast Polymorph and fly.

Level 5 Spells

The fifth-level spells for the Ranger are extremely circumstantial and often overshadowed by lower-level spells. However, here are the spells I’d potentially choose if they matched my subclass features, feats, etc. However, they’re all pretty bad if you’re playing a Crossbow Expert Ranger. You might use your fifth-level spell slots on lower-level spells.

Swift Quiver (Player’s Handbook)

This spell is deceptively good if you catch the stipulations: making two shots as a bonus action is not dependent on you using the attack action, so you could make two attacks per round plus use your action for something else. You could also use your action for other things while making attacks with your bonus action.

This means you can cast an additional spell (that doesn’t require concentration, as Swift Quiver does), grapple a close-by enemy, or use other creative actions in battle.

Tip: Combine this spell with the Sharpshooter feat for more damage than Hunter’s Mark.

Steel Wind Strike (XGTE)

Though this spell relies on the Wisdom modifier (melee spell attack), it can deal impressive damage and can maneuver you to an advantageous position. The only downside is switching between your ranged and your melee weapon, and ending within 5 feet of an enemy.

Tip: If you’re fighting in a copse of trees, cast Tree Stride on a turn before using this spell. Drop your bow on your tree perch within 30 feet from your target, who also happens to be standing next to a tree, and use your free action to pull out your melee weapon. Steel Wind Strike up to 6 targets, then use Tree Stride to return to your perch. On your next turn, retrieve your bow as if you never left.

Tree Stride

5th-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute

You gain the ability to enter a tree and move from inside it to inside another tree of the same kind within 500 feet.

Both trees must be living and at least the same size as you. You must use 5 feet of movement to enter a tree. You instantly know the location of all other trees of the same kind within 500 feet and, as part of the move used to enter the tree, can either pass into one of those trees or step out of the tree you’re in. You appear in a spot of your choice within 5 feet of the destination tree, using another 5 feet of movement. If you have no movement left, you appear within 5 feet of the tree you entered.

You can use this transportation ability once per round for the duration. You must end each turn outside a tree.

Spell Lists. Druid, Ranger

I can never get enough of this spell. With a duration of 1 minute, you won’t feel like you’re wasting a high-level spell slot on this incredible utility spell. 

Tree Stride is good for archery in a large battlefield, as you can maneuver around once per turn, concealing your location from those you shoot. Plus, if you need to retreat expeditiously, you can move 500 feet between trees each round. It’s like using Dimension Door every turn.

Wrath of Nature (XGTE)

In the right location, Wrath of Nature can clean house. Make a 60-foot cube up to 120 feet away from you difficult terrain that slashes at, restrains, and launch rocks at your foes. This spell allows saving throws against you, however, for a duration of 1 minute, this is a perfect spell to combine with archery attacks. Keep in mind that this spell requires concentration!

When to Use Wrath of Nature: Use against a large party of enemies. Even better if they have low Strength.

Solutions to Limited Spell Slots

One downside to Ranger spellcasting is that a Ranger only receives two level 5 spell slots, and that occurs at level 19. What solutions are there to wanting to use a Ranger’s awesome high-level spells?

Craft Your Own Ring of Spell Storing

According to Xanathar’s Guide to Everything’s rules, crafting magic items is now easier and more accessible to all players. The Ring of Spell Storing, which stores up to five level 5 spell slots, is a rare item, so crafting it would only cost 2,000 gp, 10 workweeks, and whatever material components your DM deems necessary, which can be acquired through a CR 9-12 encounter. See our guide for crafting magic items according to XGtE and talk with your DM about making this happen!

Notable Spells Based on Party Needs:

Lesser Restoration, Locate Object, and Darkvision (level 2 spells) are beneficial to parties who don’t have other spellcasters who can learn these spells and have a need for these benefits.

Protection from Energy, Revivify, and Water Breathing are spells that a Ranger could learn, but are best learned by full casters. Wizards can cast Water Breathing as a Ritual.

I also debated putting Magic Weapon on the spell list, as I completely understand the frustration that comes with not being able to do much to a monster with damage resistance or immunity to non-magic weapons (such as a Werewolf or Ghost). However, this can easily be overcome by gaining a magic longbow or arrows, perhaps even by crafting one, and isn’t worth the limited amount of spells a Ranger can have.

D&D Beyond Data

In April, 2019, D&D Beyond developers posted a video to their Facebook page describing the most popular spells overall and by class. The top 10 spells for a Ranger probably won’t surprise you too much:

Hunter’ Mark: 32% voted most popular
Cure Wounds: 26% voted most popular
Pass without Trace: 10% voted most popular
Speak with animals: 8% voted most popular
Hail of Thorns: 7% voted most popular
Absorb Elements, Zephyr Strike, Goodberry: Tied for 6% voted most popular
Ensnaring Strike and Fog Cloud: Tied for 5% voted most popular

What are your favorite Ranger spells, and how do you best utilize them?

Best Ranger Spells by Level

  • Hunter’s Mark (level 1)
  • Goodberry (level 1)
  • Absorb Elements (level 1)
  • Fog Cloud (level 1)
  • Zephyr Strike (level 1)
  • Summon Beast (level 2)
  • Spike Growth (level 2)
  • Pass Without Trace (level 2)
  • Healing Spirit (level 2)
  • Silence (level 2)
  • Wind Wall (level 3)
  • Plant Growth (level 3)
  • Nondetection (level 3)
  • Water Walk (level 3)
  • Freedom of Movement (level 4)
  • Swift Quiver (level 5)
  • Steel Wind Strike (level 5)
  • Tree Stride (level 5)
  • Wrath of Nature (level 5)

Additional Resources:

This Treantmonk video shows the math on how a Ranger’s Beast Master is one of the most lethal archetypes, assuming no multiclass. If you’re nervous about a Ranger’s damage output, check out this video!

If you enjoy our content on spells, check out our other spell articles here.

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