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Metamagic is a thematic, useful class feature for Sorcerers, but using Metamagic efficiently can be daunting for players. This article will help a Sorcerer understand how each Metamagic can optimally enhance their spells. Additionally, I’ve created/compiled a list of homebrew Metamagic options for consideration in your game. Customized bonus Metamagics make excellent boons to reward Sorcerers.
I’ll run through each Metamagic option in the PHB by providing descriptions of how they transform your spells, followed by choosing and utilizing them. I’ve invented several new Metamagics that I’ll describe later in the article.
“When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force. To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.”
If you’re going to use many blasts or AOE spells, your allies will appreciate it if you have this Metamagic. Blast spells like Fireball will still harm your allies, but if you’re casting a spell that does nothing when a target succeeds on their saving throw, your allies will be completely spared from the spell. Hypnotic Pattern is an excellent spell for using Careful Spell. Your allies will be completely safe from the effect if you use Careful Spell while enemies become incapacitated.
“When you cast a spell that has a range of 5 feet or greater, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double the range of the spell. When you cast a spell that has a range of touch, you can spend 1 sorcery point to make the range of the spell 30 feet.”
I have mixed feelings about Distant Spell. Most encounters I’ve experienced do not take place over large areas, especially in dungeons. If the area isn’t large, the range might not matter. But many spells of higher level have longer ranges to warrant the high-level spell slots they require, so Distant Spell could make certain spells resemble similar spells of higher levels. It is interesting to extend a touch-range spell to 30 feet since spellcasters often need to stay out of close-quarters combat situations.
If your character is in darkness, they won’t be able to cast spells very far (even with darkvision). So if you’re in darkness or close quarters often, Distant Spell will not be useful. However, you might surprise a foe when you cast Counterspell from up to 120 feet away. This Metamagic may also be useful if you’re in a setting like Eberron that involves airships.
High-level spells get a lot of literal mileage out of this Metamagic because they tend to have much higher casting ranges than low-level spells. Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere, for example, would have a range of 600 feet. This may be more useful if you play with actual battle maps. Theater of the mind will usually allow you to be in the ballpark for your spell ranges.
Luckily, Distant Spell is cheap to use. It’s good to have just in case. However, picking Distant Spell means you’re not picking another Metamagic option. Weigh the options and see if you want to have Distant Spell just in case.
“When you roll damage for a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to reroll a number of the damage dice up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one). You must use the new rolls.
You can use Empowered Spell even if you have already used a different Metamagic option during the casting of the spell.”
Empowered Spell is an excellent way to increase your damage output as a spellcaster. This Metamagic is useful for spells that use many small dice as well as few large dice. Just like a Barbarian that wants to reroll ones for his battleaxe, you’ll love rerolling ones when you cast any damage spell. The only Sorcerers that might pass on this Metamagic are the ones that are choosing utility and control spells.
You can view your damage roll before spending your Sorcery Point. Like other Metamagic options, this one is cheap to use as an ace up your sleeve.
“When you cast a spell that has a duration of 1 minute or longer, you can spend 1 sorcery point to double its duration, to a maximum duration of 24 hours.”
In my opinion, this is the least useful Metamagic choice. The majority of spells have durations that are long enough to get the job done. Most combat encounters only last a handful of rounds, so extending a spell’s duration from one to two minutes is a negligible-to-irrelevant buff. Some spells may even be worse with longer durations, such as Banishment, which benefits from lasting its entire duration.
This usually won’t matter, but you should choose it if your spells are constantly ending before you’ve finished using them.
[Extended Spell Revised]: I believe Extended Spell would work better if it worked with tiers of durations that naturally occur with spells. Doubling duration isn’t as useful as progressing up the natural tiers of D&D 5e spell durations. My revised Extended Spell will upgrade a spell’s duration to the next duration tier that is commonly used for spells. The tiers are as follows: 1 minute > 10 minutes > 1 hour > 8 hours > 24 hours > 10 days > 1 month > 1 year. Still costs 1 sorcery point. For example, casting a spell with one-minute duration and boosting it with my revised Extended Spell will increase the duration to ten minutes.
“When you cast a spell that forces a creature to make a saving throw to resist its effects, you can spend 3 sorcery points to give one target of the spell disadvantage on its first saving throw made against the spell.”
This is an important Metamagic if your spells do nothing when a target passes a saving throw. Three sorcery points is a small price to pay if you can prevent your spell from being wasted. For this reason, I don’t recommend this for damage spells because they usually deal some damage when targets pass saving throws (better than nothing). Heightened Spell should often be used for spells like Banishment, Dominate Monster, and Polymorph.
“When you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can spend 2 sorcery points to change the casting time to 1 bonus action for this casting.”
I have an entire article that identifies the best spells to use with Quickened Spell to achieve synergistic advantages; you can read it here. The synergy comes from spells that require actions during subsequent turns and their durations. You can use those effects as your action while still casting spells as a bonus action.
You can use Quickened Spell to avoid Counterspell if you’re worried about an enemy spellcaster ruining your fun:
- Get out of Counterspell’s 60-foot casting range after the Dash action. If you use your action for dashing out of range of Counterspell, your bonus action is free to cast a spell.
- Attack the Counterspell caster with Shocking Grasp as your action, disabling the target’s reaction for the round. After removing the caster’s reaction option, you can cast a non-cantrip spell as a bonus action. I know it’s not ideal to couple Quickened Spell with a mere cantrip, but avoiding Counterspell is important.
“When you cast a spell, you can spend 1 sorcery point to cast it without any somatic or verbal components.”
First of all, this Metamagic can protect you from Counterspell. That’s amazing. Your spells that don’t require material components will be imperceptible to enemy spellcasters until it’s too late to Counterspell you. This Metamagic is worth it just for this spellcasting protection.
If manacles restrain your hands or pineapples occupy your arms, this Metamagic will allow you to cast most spells still. A recent DM of mine ruled that I couldn’t produce somatics while restrained by something like Telekinesis, so Subtle Spell is more valuable in his games. Subtle Spell is also very affordable at only one sorcery point!
Subtle Spell is also uniquely useful for illusion and enchantment magic because onlookers won’t know that you have ensorcelled your targets. I’d love to have this Metamagic for my enchantment wizard because he’s often limited in what he can do. After all, too many witnesses are around. Hiding his spellcasting would be game-changing. I recommend this Metamagic if you’re trying to conceal your spellcasting in a crowd. It’s also thematic if you want to be that creepy character that stares at someone until their head explodes or as objects fly around the room in a fit of rage.
“When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell’s level to target a second creature in range with the same spell (1 sorcery point if the spell is a cantrip).
To be eligible, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level. For example, magic missile and scorching ray aren’t eligible, but ray of frost and chromatic orb are.”
Many spells are mediocre because they do nothing when a target passes a saving throw, but if you can cast that spell on two targets, you have two chances for the spell to succeed. Twinned Spell is a game-changer for anyone trying to magically manipulate minds, which is why the enchantment wizard archetype is so strong (they can cast enchantment spells on two targets all the time).
It’s important to think about spells that buff your allies since you don’t have to worry about saving throws ruining your fun. Haste is an excellent example of a spell that can be twinned to great effect. Polymorph is also excellent when twinned.
Keep in mind that Twinned Spell doesn’t work with spells like Ice Knife since it has a secondary AOE effect. This Metamagic’s rules are not widely understood, and many players question official rulings. You can read through a compilation of rulings on this Metamagic here.
New Metamagic Options from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Along with the multitude of other optional class features introduced by TCoE, the Sorcerer received two new Metamagics: Seeking Spell and Transmuted Spell. These two new options are fairly simple, so they won’t break your game if you use them.
Seeking Spell allows the Sorcerer to reroll a spell attack roll if the spell attack initially misses, and it only costs two Sorcery Points. Additionally, Seeking Spell can be used for a spell that has already benefited from Metamagic.
Transmuted Spell is meant to enable different damage types for spellcasting, transmuting a spell’s elemental damage to another type of elemental damage at the cost of one Sorcery Point. Since I’ve noticed many players already homebrewing alternative spells with different damage types without costing Sorcery Points, I believe Transmuted Spell is for players who seek versatility instead of a single elemental damage type for all their spells. Transmuted Spell will also provide a customization option for Adventurers League players since written rules are important for the formal format.
Metamagic Adept Feat
Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything includes a feat that allows spellcasters that meet prerequisites to gain Metamagic. I rated this feat highly in my feat ratings article. Metamagic Adept allows your character to learn two Metamagics and gain two Sorcery Points to fuel their Metamagic. This feat can empower a spellcaster with a taste of the Sorcerer class without needing to multiclass. It also allows a Sorcerer to grow in power, learning additional Metamagic and gaining bonus Sorcery Points. It’s an excellent new feat among many well-designed feats in TCoE.
Homebrewed New Metamagic by Flutes Loot
You can use these ideas as default choices for sorcerers in your game, but I recommend providing these Metamagics as in-game rewards or boons for epic quests completed. Imagine your sorcerer PC’s joy when they feel their powers grow, especially for any new Metamagics that are more powerful than the basic options!
If you think these Metamagic ideas are too powerful, I recommend using them as boons and rewards for characters at higher levels. I guarantee a sorcerer player will be giddy to receive a new Metamagic.
Ascended Spell (1-2 Sorcery Points)
Casting a spell with a spell slot is treated as if the spell is upcasted one level higher per Sorcery Point spent, meaning a level-three Fireball spell will deal an additional 1d6 damage when using Ascended Spell.
The Book of Exalted Deeds (Dungeon Master’s Guide p.222) has a similar effect that inspired me with this Metamagic concept. The effect is rare as I cannot think of another way to boost spell slots used for spells. Your players will love it, and it won’t break the game.
Fortified Spell (3 Sorcery Points)
When you cast a spell, you can spend three Sorcery Points to make the spell immune to Dispel Magic or Counterspell unless those spells are cast with equal or greater spell slot levels as your own spell.
This is meant to discourage enemy spellcasters from potentially countering/dispelling a high-level spell with a third-level spell slot. I find that when I play a spellcaster with Counterspell, I often gamble on trying a third-level spell slot for Counterspell instead of upcasting it.
Homing Spell (1-9 Sorcery Points)
When you cast a spell that requires a spell attack roll, add +1 to the spell attack roll for each Sorcery Point used for this Metamagic. You can choose to use Homing Spell after you’ve made your spell attack roll but before the DM declares whether you hit or miss.
This is another concept inspired by the Robe of the Archmagi (Dungeon Master’s Guide p.194), which has a similar effect (+2 to spell attack rolls). This rare effect is worthy of a custom Metamagic. Spellcasters hate wasting spell slots on missed spell attacks; they’ll be thrilled with this option to boost attack rolls and secure the desired spell’s effect on a hit.
Impactful Spell (2 Sorcery Points)
When you cast a spell with an instantaneous duration that deals damage to at least one creature that fails a saving throw against the spell, you can spend two Sorcery Points to knock one of those creatures prone that failed the saving throw.
Metamagic in the PHB doesn’t play with conditions or forced movement. This is a tame way to use Metamagic to add on conditions to spells.
Imparted Spell (2 Sorcery Points Per Spell Level)
When you use a spell slot to cast a spell with a range of self, you can spend a number of Sorcery Points equal to twice the spell slot’s level to change the spell’s casting range to touch.
One of the most broken concepts in D&D 5e is to change spells that are normally limited to yourself to affect other creatures. For this reason, this Metamagic is costly.
Layered Spell (1-3 Sorcery Points)
When you cast a spell that requires concentration, you can spend 1-3 sorcery points to protect your concentration. According to the number of sorcery points spent in this way, you can automatically succeed on your concentration saving throws for the first 1-3 instances of damage you take while concentrating on the spell.
Instead of multiclassing or taking feats to fortify your concentration, maybe this is good enough for your style.
Recycled Spell (1-5 Sorcery Points)
When you use a spell slot to cast a spell, and that spell targets only one unwilling creature that passes its first saving throw to resist your spell, you can use your reaction to spend several Sorcery Points equal to half the level of your used spell slot (rounded up) to regain the spell slot.
The most important note with this Metamagic option is that it is better than the base Flexible Casting ability that allows sorcerers to convert Sorcery Points into spell slots. Recycled Spell is like an upgrade to Flexible Casting that doesn’t require a bonus action, though Recycled Spell has a niche triggering circumstance involving passed saving throws.
Savant Spell (1-2 Sorcery Points)
When you cast a spell that requires a saving throw, your spell save DC is increased by one for each Sorcery Point used for this Metamagic.
The Robe of the Archmagi (Dungeon Master’s Guide p.194) has a similar effect (+2 to spell save DC of your spells) that inspired me with this Metamagic concept. This rare effect is worthy of a custom Metamagic. Spellcasters hate to have enemies pass their saving throws, so they’ll be happy to have this DC booster in their toolboxes.
Tripled Spell (x2 Sorcery Points of Spell Level)
When you cast a spell that targets only one creature and doesn’t have a range of self, you can spend a number of Sorcery Points equal to twice the spell’s level to target a second and third creature in range with the same spell (2 Sorcery Points if the spell is a cantrip).
This is like the Twinned Spell Metamagic, but with another target. You spend more Sorcery Points, but your action economy bloats!
So ends our high-level look at Metamagic tactics. I hope this review has helped you to pick the appropriate Metamagics for your characters. Please ask your DM to prepare boons and quest rewards for you that involve homebrew Metamagic options. Comment below if you’ve used homebrew Metamagics so you can tell us how they work and if you enjoyed them in your game.
If you want to know more about Quickened Spell, I highly encourage you to read my summary of spells that work with Quickened Spell. I saved you a lot of time if you read it!
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