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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Most efficient damaging spell?

    Simulacrum and all the slots you get for a 7th level slot probably wins Ruby cost skipped.

    What about other spells though?

    Animate Objects for a 5th level slot can last for a minute and againt low A/C opponents does killer damage, it has synergy with Dissonant Whispers also getting extra opportunity attacks.

    Sunbeam at 6th level is neat. It has the blindness rider and can help your non-darkvision having human friends out

    What wlse comes to mind?

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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Hold person. Some might say its not damaging... no, no it is.

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    Kane0's Avatar

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Might need some parameters there, are we talking what duration, hit chance, concentration, etc?

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    I don't think you can beat Fireball for its sheer damage to spell level ratio. Single target spells don't even do comparable damage to a Fireball on one target.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    With the right build probably magic missile. Hard to beat a 1st level spell that can deal a lot of damage even if single target. That does require a specific sort of build so maybe not the sort of thing we are looking for.
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Spike Growth can be 16d4 per target for a 2nd level slot if the enemy has to cross it to get to you.
    Last edited by J-H; 2019-12-08 at 12:09 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    I agree that we need more context on this question.

    The most efficient resource wise would be an Evocation Wizard with at-will magic missile, hitting 3d4+3+15 auto-hit.

    The most efficient damage per spell casting would porbably be Spirit Guardians.
    Reality is relative, and there is an exception to every rule.

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    Laserlight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Cal Lightning can potentially do 3d10 x 4 targets (assuming you're on a grid, putting it at a corner, and always have a corner with 4 adjacent foes) x ten minutes. That's 1200d10 for one spell.

    Granted, my characters usually get about 1 chance per campaign to cast that spell, and I never need it for anything like the full duration, but if you had an endless horde of zombies coming at you...
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Conjure animals.

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Magic missile ofc. No save for half, no chance to miss.
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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Makorel View Post
    I don't think you can beat Fireball for its sheer damage to spell level ratio. Single target spells don't even do comparable damage to a Fireball on one target.
    While not necessarily the metric I would use I think disintegrate actually wins this competition.

    Fireball deals (at level 3) 8d6 damage. The average of which is 28. Divide by level you get 9 and 1/3 damage per spell level.

    Disintegrate deals (at level 6) 10d6+40 (of a better damage type). The average is 75 damage. Divide by level and you're left with 12.5 damage per spell level.

    So Fireball is still the better "damage per spell level" if you hit multiple targets, but Fireball on a single target doesn't have the best damage to spell level ratio. Unless of course you start weighting the value of higher spell slots according to their opportunity costs. Then you'll find that even you break down the math Fireball is actually an unbalanced spell (but most people are actually already aware of this. It is THE go to blast spell for a reason. Whether they would use the word unbalanced or not everyone still knows it's power. Which I'm sure it's why you brought it up to begin with lol)

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    Magic missile ofc. No save for half, no chance to miss.
    Nope. You still need to see the target. Conjure animals works around that little hurdle.

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    Nope. You still need to see the target. Conjure animals works around that little hurdle.
    Conjure animals require concentration, and the animals still need to hit the target.

    Don't get me wrong, conjure animals is an amazing spell, however isn't as efficient in terms of damage.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by zinycor View Post
    Conjure animals require concentration, and the animals still need to hit the target.

    Don't get me wrong, conjure animals is an amazing spell, however isn't as efficient in terms of damage.
    So when you can't see the target, how much damage is magic missile inflicting?

    Meanwhile I conjure up animals that have the ability to see the target.

    Don't get me wrong, I respect Magic Missile and all the Nuclear Wizard power. I know from experience that it can be shut down 100% where Conjure Animals can not be shut down completely.

    Also, to be clear, Conjure Animals requires concentration for the second and later volley of attacks, not the first volley of damage. This is important to point out. Magic Missile goes away after 1 volley of damage. Conjure Animals will typically continue to damage and harrass until the opponent spends resources to shut it off. Most often the reqired resource spent by the opponent expends an action. An ACTION. An ACTION spent after an initial volley of damage has been inflicted. That is efficient.
    Last edited by col_impact; 2019-12-08 at 01:31 AM.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    So when you can't see the target, how much damage is magic missile inflicting?

    Meanwhile I conjure up animals that have the ability to see the target.

    Don't get me wrong, I respect Magic Missile and all the Nuclear Wizard power. I know from experience that it can be shut down 100% where Conjure Animals can not be shut down.
    ... Yes it can. Every spell and ability in 5e has a counter.

    I counter your Conjure Animals with a Fireball, Anti-magic Field or Dispell Magic.
    Edit: to your edit if saying it can't be shut down completely both An Anti-magic Field and counterspell can shut it down completely. And it requires concentration for the initial damage as well. You have to concentrate to cast a concentration spell. You can't say "I cast Conjure Animals let them attack once and disappear, but maintain my concentration on Haste"

    I counter Magic Missle with walking behind a wall, invisibility, an anti-magic Field or shield.

    Having a spell work around a single obstacle that another spell faces doesn't make it Superior or more efficient.

    We really still need more information from OP. Are they looking for efficiency in terms of Spell Slots, Spell Level, Actions or Time? Single target or multiple targets?

    They all have different answers. In terms of Time power word kill is the most efficient. It deals up to 100 damage in a single instantaneous action. Against multiple targets probably Fireball though.
    In terms of actions? Conjure Animals probably has one of the highest potentials though I'm not doing all the math at the moment.
    In terms of Spell Level Disintegrate is a high contender, though Magic Missle hands down on specific builds (if your DM allows them. This mostly relies on what I feel is an abuse of RAW allowed by some bad calls from WoTC) for multiple targets it is almost assuredly Fireball.
    In terms of Spell Slots it's probably also a summoning spell. Though something like Spirit Guardians has potential if there are enough enemies in area for it's full duration.


    EDIT: I almost forgot about one of the highest damaging spells. Meteor Swarm does an average of 140 damage in an area for an average damage per spell level of 15.55 repeating. Making in the most damaging in terms of Single Target and AoE instantaneous damage, as well as per spell level instantaneous damage.

    Additional Edit for formatting.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-12-08 at 01:41 AM.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    ... Yes it can. Every spell and ability in 5e has a counter.

    I counter your Conjure Animals with a Fireball, Anti-magic Field or Dispell Magic.

    I counter Magic Missle with walking behind a wall, invisibility, an anti-magic Field or shield.

    Having a spell work around a single obstacle that another spell faces doesn't make it Superior or more efficient.

    We really still need more information from OP. Are they looking for efficiency in terms of Spell Slots, Spell Level, Actions or Time? Single target or multiple targets?

    They all have different answers. In terms of Time power word kill is the most efficient. It deals up to 100 damage in a single instantaneous action. Against multiple targets probably Fireball though.
    In terms of actions? Conjure Animals probably has one of the highest potentials though I'm not doing all the math at the moment.
    In terms of Spell Level Disintegrate is a high contender, though Magic Missle hands down on specific builds (if your DM allows them. This mostly relies on what I feel is an abuse of RAW allowed by some bad calls from WoTC) for multiple targets it is almost assuredly Fireball.
    In terms of Spell Slots it's probably also a summoning spell. Though something like Spirit Guardians has potential if there are enough enemies in area for it's full duration.
    I 100% respect your opinion and you bring up excellent points.

    HOWEVER, I know from experience that a build built around Magic Missile auto-loses to a build built around Conjure Animals. Take that as you will with regards to discussions of efficiency.

    At the end of the day it comes down to what kills what.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    So when you can't see the target, how much damage is magic missile inflicting?
    Just because Conjure Animals doesn't face one hurdle doesn't mean it's free from hurdles. In fact it has quite a lot. Probably the most significant one being that what animals you get is up to DM fiat (you don't even choose the CR of the animals, only the CR cap). Another big one is that they don't act when you summon them; they have to roll their own initiative and go after you, which gives opponents a chance to respond and interrupt or mitigate it in a wide variety of ways.

    To put it in your terms:
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if the enemy has a high AC and disadvantage to be hit from not seeing the target, such that 1 in 400 attacks hit?
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if your animals can't hear your verbal commands, due to some effect like Warding Wind?
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if your Concentration is interrupted before their initiative comes up?
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if the animals get blasted by an AoE before their initiative comes up?
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if the animals just can't get into melee range, since all animals up to CR2 have fairly limited movement options and the spell's casting range is only 60 feet?
    - How much damage is Conjure Animals inflicting if the DM gives you useless animals for the situation?

    Additionally, the thing you mentioned as a hurdle for Magic Missile honestly isn't much of one, because it doesn't come up after you cast the spell. It just makes you... use a different spell. If your Wizard build "auto-loses" because just one of your prepared spells was unavailable to cast, you've done something seriously wrong with your Wizard.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    I 100% respect your opinion and you bring up excellent points.

    HOWEVER, I know from experience that a build built around Magic Missile auto-loses to a build built around Conjure Animals. Take that as you will with regards to discussions of efficiency.

    At the end of the day it comes down to what kills what.
    That's just false. You pretend like Conjure Animals has no weaknesses. It actually has more than magic Missle (other then that if I'm your DM I make each Missle roll damage separate instead of allowing Evocation cheese because there is no reason level 1 magic Missle should be better then so many higher level spells)

    Even after admitting I have good points you don't actually acknowledge that it's so flawed that in a fair fight (a 50/50 chance of winning) conjure animals is extremely risky and has a good chance of falling you. For example as stated above, you go first in initiative, cast Conjure Animals. They roll w 1 initiative. I go next and cast Magic Missle, you fail the Con save and poof you wasted a spell.

    Edit: Send me a purpose built Conjure Animals build and it's comet strategy and I'll put it up against an Evocation Wizard magic Missle cheese build. I'll run 10 mock combats and report the results of each. I'll be very surprised if Conjure Animals wins more then 2-3 of these fights.

    Now I know that 1v1 isn't very representative of D&D combat, but I actually think it's the best case scenario for your build. Add in more threats and your animals have even less chance of dealing with the opposing side before being dispatched.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-12-08 at 01:55 AM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post

    Additionally, the thing you mentioned as a hurdle for Magic Missile honestly isn't much of one, because it doesn't come up after you cast the spell. It just makes you... use a different spell. If your Wizard build "auto-loses" because just one of your prepared spells was countered, you've done something seriously wrong with your Wizard.
    Which spell are you using that gets around blocked visibility?

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    That's just false. You pretend like Conjure Animals has no weaknesses. It actually has more than magic Missle (other then that if I'm your DM I make each Missle roll damage separate instead of allowing Evocation cheese because there is no reason level 1 magic Missle should be better then so many higher level spells)

    Even after admitting I have good points you don't actually acknowledge that it's so flawed that in a fair fight (a 50/50 chance of winning) conjure animals is extremely risky and has a good chance of falling you. For example as stated above, you go first in initiative, cast Conjure Animals. They roll w 1 initiative. I go next and cast Magic Missle, you fail the Con save and poof you wasted a spell.
    How are you getting me to fail a Con save when you can't see me?

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    Which spell are you using that gets around blocked visibility?
    There are about a hundred choices. For example, good ol' Fireball doesn't require you to see a target. Also, many spells can get rid of visibility impairments (which spell depends on what kind of thing is blocking the vision).

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    How are you getting me to fail a Con save when you can't see me?
    How are you invisible? You're concentrating on Conjure Animals. If you're behind something then I can still hit you with Fireball, or many other AoEs. Additionally if you are invisible by your Fiat to make your build seem better any spell with an attack roll can still hit you, though AoEs are still preferable. Fireball will force a concentration check everyone time without fail (unless you also somehow have evasion?)

    Edit: I'm not denying the SITUATION benefit of summoning, but quit giving your build these situations advantages and it loses quite easily.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-12-08 at 02:00 AM.

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    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    There are about a hundred choices. For example, good ol' Fireball doesn't require you to see a target.
    You keep posting just slightly before me lol

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    There are about a hundred choices. For example, good ol' Fireball doesn't require you to see a target.
    Yup. The Nuclear Wizard tried fireball too. Didn't get far. Hint: what 1st level spell accompanied by high saves shuts down Fireball and similar?

    If your plan B was Fireball you just lost.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    How are you invisible? You're concentrating on Conjure Animals. If you're behind something then I can still hit you with Fireball, or many other AoEs. Additionally if you are invisible by your Fiat to make your build seem better any spell with an attack roll can still hit you, though AoEs are still preferable. Fireball will force a concentration check everyone time without fail (unless you also somehow have evasion?)

    Edit: I'm not denying the SITUATION benefit of summoning, but quit giving your build these situations advantages and it loses quite easily.
    I could be invisible through the invisible spell or . . .

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    Yup. The Nuclear Wizard tried fireball too. Didn't get far. Hint: what 1st level spell accompanied by high saves shuts down Fireball and similar?

    If your plan B was Fireball you just lost.
    I don't know what my plan B would be, because you haven't actually outlined any specific situation. You just asked how someone could be hit when unseen, as if it were impossible. I said there are many options, and that which you pick depends on the situation.

    If you have a specific build or strategy you're curious about how to defeat, I suggest you actually post it.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SolithKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    I could be invisible through the invisible spell or . . .
    Except you can't be... You just cast Conjure Animals and are concentrating on it. Invisibility breaks if you cast another spell AND requires concentration.

    Or are you saying your build relies on ANOTHER caster maintaining concentration on Greater Invisibility for you?

    I feel like you're not debating in good faith here.

    Edit: Also there is no first level spell that shuts down fireball. Absorb Elements will let you reduce damage, but I only need to deal a single damage to trigger a concentration check.
    Last edited by Galithar; 2019-12-08 at 02:13 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by LudicSavant View Post
    I don't know what my plan B would be, because you haven't actually outlined any specific situation. You just asked how someone could be hit when unseen, as if it were impossible. I said there are many options, and that which you pick depends on the situation.

    If you have a specific build or strategy you're curious about how to defeat, I suggest you actually post it.
    Sure. After I get my share of wins.

    Again, take what I say as you will. In a vacuum Magic Misile sems stronger but if you build around Conjure Animals with support abilities/items you get further and net more efficiency. At least that's been my mileage. YMMV.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Galithar View Post
    Edit: Also there is no first level spell that shuts down fireball. Absorb Elements will let you reduce damage, but I only need to deal a single damage to trigger a concentration check.
    If you are a spellcaster and you aren't auto-passing your basic concentration check you are doing something wrong.
    Last edited by col_impact; 2019-12-08 at 02:20 AM.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: Most efficient damaging spell?

    Quote Originally Posted by col_impact View Post
    After I get my share of wins.
    What is this even supposed to mean?

    if you build around Conjure Animals with support abilities/items
    Why don't you actually show us this build/situation?

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