Best 1st-Level Ranger Spells For D&D 5e (Our Top Picks)

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Rangers are martial warriors and half-casters who are attuned to nature with deadly effect.

They’re depicted as wardens, protecting the outskirts of civilization, hunting down threats near settlements.

Unlike other spellcasters who are given Cantrips, Rangers learn their first spells at level 2.

Even then, they’re not given a lot of spell slots either. This is why maximizing spell use is going to make or break a Ranger. Here’s a few ideas for interesting spells you might consider for your next build.

 

10. Snare

Source: Xananthar’s Guide To Everything

Snare is a pretty simple spell, but could be lifesaving if used correctly.

By using 25 feet of rope (half the length of a rope you would usually buy), you create a 5 foot circle on the ground.

The rope vanishes, and now the snare is magically invisible.

Any creature that’s small, medium, or large that walks into the trap must make a Dexterity saving throw or will be hung upside down for the duration of the spell.

While Snare may not sound impressive, it’s very cost effective since rope only costs 1 gold and could increase your party’s chances of detecting or surviving an ambush.

 

9. Longstrider

Source: Player’s Handbook

Longstrider is a very straight forward spell, but useful if you’re playing a slower race.

This increases your target’s speed by 10 feet for an hour.

You can use it for pursuing, retreating, or repositioning. And it doesn’t require concentration. Nice!

 

8. Fog Cloud

Source: Player’s Handbook

If you’ve always dreamt of imitating a ninja with a smoke bomb escape, this is the spell for you.

Fog Cloud makes a 20-foot sphere of fog that blinds any creature in the area of effect.

While it may sound pretty mundane, strong vision spells like True Sight can’t penetrate this fog.

Yet Fog Cloud doesn’t work on creatures with Blindsight and can be dispersed with moderate or strong winds. While it can be easily dispersed, this is still an excellent spell for dungeon delving.

 

7. Hail of Thorns

Source: Player’s Handbook

For an entire round, if you hit a target with any ranged weapon, thorns explode from the ammunition hitting both the target and any creature adjacent to your target for 1d10 piercing damage.

It gives you more options as a ranger granting an area of effect spell rather than the usual single target.

You could always use higher level spell slots with Hail of Thorns to increase its damage, allowing it to scale well. Hail of Thorns is excellent for action economy as you only need a bonus action to cast it.

 

6. Zephyr Strike

Source: Xananthar’s Guide To Everything

Zephyr strike gives you an advantage on your weapon attack rolls, and grants an additional 1d8 force damage.

Moving won’t trigger any attacks of opportunity while under the effects of this spell, too.

It synergizes well if you choose Beast Master as your Ranger Archetype. Mostly because Zephyr Strike will also apply on your beast companion with the help of “Share Spell”.

 

5. Beast Bond

Source: Evil Elemental Player’s Companion

Beast Bond is a situational but useful spell to help you increase your choice of beast companions.

Much like a beast’s Pack Tactics, Beast Bond gives your beast companion an advantage on attack rolls against a creature if they’re adjacent to you.

Beasts under this spell may also communicate with you telepathically with simple gestures and emotions.

Beast Bond allows you to emulate Pack Tactics so you don’t need to limit your option to beasts that travel in packs. Unfortunately, this spell doesn’t work if a beast has 4 intelligence or higher.

 

4. Ensnaring Strike

Source: Player’s Handbook

When you hit a creature with a weapon, magical thorny vines attempt to grab your target.

If the target fails a Strength saving throw, they’re restrained. When restrained, the thorns constantly deal 1d6 piercing damage for each of their turns until they break free with a Strength check.

While the damage on Ensnaring Strike isn’t too impressive, it’s a good way to control an opponent you want your party to take down quickly.

It’s especially effective against creatures with low Strength, and a great way to shut down a spellcaster by taking out their spells that require a Somatic component.

 

3. Goodberry

Source: Player’s Handbook

Goodberry is a personal favorite.

If prepared ahead of time, it can come in to help during hairy situations. Goodberry creates 10 berries and infuses them with magic.

Each magical berry heals 1 hit point when consumed, and can be enough nourishment for one day.

What makes this a go-to spell for Rangers is that berries last for 24 hours. So you could use all your remaining spell slots on Goodberry to make a lot of berries before a long rest.

There have been plenty of jokes regarding characters eating so many berries that they might explode. Exploding from berries will never happen though, since the spell’s description doesn’t mention anything about getting full, nor a limit to eating Goodberries.

So you could eat 50+ berries and still be fine. Have at it!

 

2. Absorb Elements

Source: Xananthar’s Guide To Everything

Absorb Elements is probably your best defensive spell as a Ranger.

If you take thunder, fire, lightning, or cold damage, you gain a resistance to that damage type until the start of your next turn. Not to mention you get to use it as a reaction.

You also store some of that damage you received, letting you deal 1d6 of the stored damage type on your next melee attack.

Absorb Elements is extremely powerful when combined with a high Dexterity Ranger because the resistance stacks with a successful Dexterity saving throw.

So that terrifying 48 damage Fireball aimed at you? It’’ only hurt you for 12 damage. This spell can be used on your beast companion too when you reach Ranger level 15 and get “Share Spell” to increase their survivability significantly.

 

1. Hunter’s Mark

Source: Player’s Handbook

This is the quintessential Ranger spell.

Hunter’s Mark gives you a free 1d6 of extra damage on your target whenever you land a hit.

It also gives you an advantage on Perception and Survival rolls against them which is perfect for the “hunter stalking its prey” trope. If you’re able bring your target to 0 health points before the 1 hour duration, you can spend your bonus action on your next turn to mark a new creature.

Hunter’s Mark is why Rangers excel at taking down priority targets in either ranged or melee.

Using this spell at higher levels makes the duration last longer too. And using a 5th level spell slot makes Hunter’s Mark last for 24 hours.

Just be careful, as this spell requires concentration. So you can’t use other spells that use concentration along with it. You’ll potentially lose concentration if you take damage, too.

I’ve had my fair share of encounters where I forgot I lost concentration for Hunter’s Mark and tried to roll for extra damage. It’s a little embarrassing, so keep this in mind as you play!

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