Magic Initiate Feat in DnD 5e – Explored and Explained

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Dungeons and Dragons is a game where creating your character is a fun and intricate process that is extremely satisfying. One of the most important aspects of this is the process of picking a class, distributing attributes, and choosing important skills and abilities that will clear your path. One of the fan-favorite steps is picking feats, today we will be talking about one of those. Specifically, we will look into everything about the magic initiate feat in DnD 5e. No matter which class you pick you can pick up this and any other feat. However, you might want to pay attention if this is at all beneficial for your character.

But don’t rush too quickly a feat by itself is not what makes a build work it is a fun process everyone has to go through. But let’s get into that later, for now, let us see what magic initiate is from a technical and gameplay perspective. Who knows you might even find your new favorite character build here.

What is Magic Initiate Feat in DnD 5e?

magic initiate feat dnd 5e

The magic initiate feat in DnD 5e stans as one of the best if not the best feat in the game. No other feat in the game can compare to it or come close in effect. This is because this feat can change the way a character is played down to the core. Magic initiate’s profound impact can by itself be considered a multiclass lite and not a feat. The best part is that almost every type of character can utilize it and benefit from it greatly. It does not matter if it is a martial warrior looking to try magic or a sorcerer looking for more power.

Magic initiate’s effect is quite strong as it allows the player to choose a class be it a bard, cleric, druid, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard. From these, you can learn two cantrips from their class spell list. Furthermore, you can choose one 1st-level spell to learn from the same listing on top of the two cantrips. Characters using magic initiate can cast the spell once on its lowest level and then it will become unavailable. To bring it back you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again. Of course, the power of these spells is determined by your stats, which ones depend on your chosen class.

  • Charisma if you chose bard, sorcerer, and warlock
  • Wisdom for cleric and druid
  • Intelligence for wizard

When to pick Magic Initiate in DnD 5e?

Magic initiate is a feat that can be picked in many situations for a variety of reasons. Let’s take al look at some of the situations in which this feat would make the most sense.

The first situation is if we can take a feat on the first level. Cantrips and a level 1 spell are very valuable in the early game when you have next to nothing. By picking up magic initiate now you can utilize its power to easily level up and become stronger. The best way to grab this feat from the start is to play a variant human or to use the custom origins from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.

The second situation is one where you have the right Ability Scores. If you find yourself here you will need to use the spellcasting ability modifier determined by the spell list. Be careful not to grab a spell that relies heavily on your dump stat. Think through every decision and choose your spells accordingly to your character’s strengths.

Finally, the third situation is if you wish to easily increase your versatility without changing your core character too much. This situation often occurs with martial subclasses like arcane trickster rogue or eldritch knight fighter. By doing this you will lose some subclass-specific abilities so make sure to know what you are getting. Magic initiate is a great way to incorporate magic into any character and immediately make them extremely fun to play. Just be mindful that you may not like the changes so always think through these decisions.

Build Examples with Magic Initiate

strixhaven a curriculum of chaos

Magic initiate opens up many fun and unique builds for every class in the game here are some of our favorites you should try out. Some are slight tweaks to existing spellcasters and others are granting magic to those that didn’t have it before. Every character that is already a magic user should pick this feat up on the 1st or 4th level. This is just because this feat is much more satisfying in the early game later on it just feels underwhelming.

Any magic user knows the struggle of knows the struggle with spells lot management. Magic initiate is the perfect tool to broaden your toolkit especially early on. For example, warlocks have a very limited number of spell slots. This sadly makes them very cantrip dependent, which can be a very stressful experience at times. By picking up this feat on them you will not only expand your toolkit but also spice up your character. No matter what you choose your warlock will change in interesting ways without having to select a subclass.

If you are playing a wizard you could expand your spell list and gain the ability to heal. If you are playing a martial class you can get into some really interesting mechanical and narrative options. How about a bow-wielding fighter that can generate their own cover? Or a samurai fighter that can add Guidance for even more ability checks to be in your favor. The possibilities are so interesting and fun to explore especially the lore of each character.

You could create a dark rouge with Minor Illusion, Eldritch Blast, and Hex with warlock spells. Just imagine the story you could think up for a character like this and what their strong suits could be. No matter if you are interested in the gameplay or lore this feat gives you opportunity to explore both equally.

Magic Initiate Spells and Cantrips in DnD 5e

dnd characters fighting

While you don’t get access to spells from the paladin or ranger lists from this feat  you still get a wide range of spells to choose from. Let’s see at some cantrips and spells we can choose once we pick up magic initiate. This is not a complete list but just some abilities that stand out to us as the most unique or fun.


Cantrips are spells that can be cast at will without the need for a spell slot ur preparation in advance. They can be cast an unlimited number of times unless they have a feature that specifically forbids them from doing so. They are free and depend on you rolling the correct side on your die. A cantrips spell level is always zero.

  • Booming Blade – deals regular damage to an opponent with a melee attack, followed up by a 1d8 thunder damage hit if they move on your turn. This cantrip is great for consistent damage on the battlefield. 
  • Chill Touch – deals damage from range and prevents the target from healing. The highlight here is the healing negation, as well as the boost against the undead. If you use this on an undead it will gain a disadvantage on attack rolls until the end of your next turn. Chill touch gets increasingly more powerful as you level up making it useful at all stages of the game.
  • Light – lights up the area so characters can see. This is the perfect spell if you happen to have a party without dark vision or without torches and oil.
  • Fire Bolt – a very strong damage cantrip. A great alternative to Eldritch Blast and has excellent synergy with pyromaniacs.
  • Eldritch Blast – one of the strongest and best damage cantrips in the game. Easily a must-try, especially when you consider you can add invocations on top of it.
  • Sacred flame – decent damage cantrip with very good range and strong enemy debuff
  • Shillelagh – turn WIsdom into a melee attack buff that makes your attacks stronger and magical. A great cantrip for anyone who needs to buff their melee abilities without much SRT and DEX.
  • Mage Hand, Mending, Massage – generally useful utility cantrips aimed to help mechanical and social situations. Very useful on any class that doesn’t need more damage output.


Spells gained from Magic Initiate in DnD 5e are always level 1. This means that they are the second lowest level of spell in the game. However this does not mean that they are bad, most of these are quite useful. We believe that spells that can help settle social encounters can be extremely useful. Especially when you consider the goodies they can get your party.

  • Command – speak a word that hampers enemies in combat and forces social situations to be positive for you. A very useful spell for characters that are intimidating or charismatic.
  • Entangle – the best low-level battlefield control spell in the game. Create difficult terrain to manage and restrain enemies to gain the upper hand. 
  • Hex – target takes extra damage and has imposed a disadvantage on one random ability.
  • Cure Wounds – the pocket heal that can turn a dire situation into a winning one. This spell can never be bad to pick up as it is very strong and can target allies.
  • Disguise Self – one of the most useful sneaky skills in the game that can assist with infiltration and ease or skip social situations.
  • Guiding Blot – a great spell for any class looking to dish out more single-target damage. Just a consistent way to apply advantage on attacks.
  • Mage Armor, Shield of Faith – two great defensive spells that can save lives. Mage armor in particular is great for dexterity users since it lasts all day. This is because they can use this in place of any armor at all. If your character has low dexterity and uses armor, then Shield of Faith is the way to go.
  • Sleep – is a fantastic tool that can assist in social situations and preventing conflict. The only downside is that this spell is only useful on lower levels, but is still nice to have.


The magic initiate feat in DnD 5e is a very versatile and powerful tool that can singlehandedly enhance your character. The abilities you gain access to through this feat can help you unify your party and fill in any blanks. Magic initiate’s highlight is definitely the ability to learn two cantrips from a chosen class’s spell list. Naturally, some of the available spells are much more powerful than others but that’s the fun of it. 

No matter which option you get you will end up in a positive, especially if you pick this feat at the lower levels. If you are lucky your ability scores will be appropriate and you will fully capitalize on the spellcasting ability modifier.

Just remember that you can only take this feat once, which means multiclassing is inevitable if you want more spells. Furthermore, you cannot change your magic initiate spells once you have selected them. Even though it may seem that way if you have read the rules, it is just weirdly worded. Overall this feat is one everyone should try at least once on their favorite class. The amount of options it offers is simply too valuable to miss out on.

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