Inquisitor Lim’s Bladesinger Guide

Inquisitor Lim's Bladesinger Guide

Leave comments at GITP’s Inquisitor Lim's Guide to the Bladesinger thread.

Front Matter

Table of Contents

Introduction

Using This Guide

To-Do List

Terminology

Bladesinger Progression, A Discussion

Color Coding

Bladesinger Features

Comparison to Other (Near) Full Caster Gishes

Should You Multiclass?

Interaction with Other Classes

Races

Feats

Magic Items

Spells

Multiclassing

Mystara Campaign Setting

3rd-Party Races

3rd-Party Feats

3rd-Party Spells

Talents

Appendix A – Glyph of Warding Choices

Appendix B – Contingency Choices

Appendix C – Wish Choices

Appendix D – Spell Mastery Choices

Appendix E – Common Calculations

Appendix F – Monster Save and Ability Analysis

Appendix G – Fun Uses For Simulacrum

Tasha’s Update Introduction

I held off on updating this guide for a long time after Xanathar’s, despite the availability of Unearthed Arcana stuff theoretically usable for the Bladesinger. The thing is, a lot of tables don’t use Unearthed Arcana material so I didn’t feel a need to go over it. I strongly thought about releasing an update after the Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount came out, but again not all tables used it and the Dunamancy spells require cooperation with the DM to get. Still, from 2017 to 2020 I just didn’t feel like enough changed with the Bladesinger to warrant an update.

That changed and in a big way with the release of Tasha’s. Tasha’s released not just an update to the Bladesinger but also several juicy side-options and alternative rules as well. While it’s bad news for T1 Bladesingers, it’s largely great news for the late-game Bladesinger, especially in T3/T4. The upshot is that Tasha’s pushed the Bladesinger in a glass cannon direction.

Also, there were some typos and comments on the Public Edit Copy that I wanted to integrate into this guide. Not to mention how my experience playing other wizard builds caused me to change my rating I gave certain spells.

Introduction

This guide to Bladesinger represents a combination of theorycrafting and practical play. I've played several Bladesingers, including a Bladesinger that has gotten to level 14 17 in Adventurer's League, and my personal experience is that other Bladesinger guides and builds don't quite reflect the game as she is played.

  1. The presumed unavailability of magical items. Many guides are written under the assumption of Bladesingers getting no magical items. Magical items are a huge part of this guide.

  1. The presumed unavailability of UA material. This one is more supported than Premise A, but I've played in enough home and online games to feel that a discussion is warranted. The guide will include and discuss UA material. That said, Tasha

  1. That most tables experience 6-8 discrete, resource draining encounters per long rest. My personal experience is that it's more like 1-4, leaning towards 1-2. My guide is written with the assumption (especially Premise D) that most workdays are nowhere near as grueling as the rules assume.

  1. The long-term desirability of your base melee capabilities. This gets discussed more in an upcoming session. Needless to say, this guide steers bladesingers towards an increasingly pure magical role, with the melee combat used as a backup.

  1. A lot of guides (not just wizard or Bladesinger ones) rate game effects in the context of how awesome they would be in a vacuum, agnostic to party composition. I disagree with that assessment. There are plenty of game effects that are much more useful in the context of your party being on board with your cunning plans. How your class interacts with other classes is just as important, in my opinion, in how your class interacts with itself and I consider this vital enough to your effectiveness as a bladesinger to make a section dedicated to this question.

A lot of the advice in this guide, especially with respect to spells and magical items, are applicable to non-Bladesingers, especially those who are still wizards.

Using This Guide

The best place to leave me comments, questions, or feedbacks is on the Giant In The Playground forum LOCATED HERE. I will post two copies of this guide. The first one will be an editable document people can insert their comments into. The second one will be the latest approved revision.

In the course of making this guide, I made extensive use of TreantMonks’s guide and Nadrigol'sguide. I have not copied any of their work, but a lot of the wording might be overly similar. If so, tell me and I'll change it or attribute it to them.

You are free to copy portions of this guide, including exact paragraphs, into your own guide so long as you acknowledge the original source and what (if any) changed. You do not have permission to use this guide to make money.

This guide deliberately strives not to have any bad language (either in the form of swears or innuendos) in it. However, I have a salty vocabulary in real life and some may have slipped in. If you see any language that wouldn't be appropriate for a hard 'G' rated movie such as Beauty and the Beast, please let me know.

To-Do List

Top-Priority

  • Multiclassing section

  • Xanathar's Stuff (Spells done)

  •   Make Colors More Consistent (95% done)

  • Any spells, feats, or magical items I overlooked (80% done)

  • Discussion on monster save progression and what you should target

  • Common calculations, i.e. Fire Bolt cantrip versus Bow and Arrow.

High-Priority

  • More pictures

  • An expanded section on downtime

  • Interacting with other classes

  • Tips and Tactics

  • Magical items from the Tomb of Annihilation

Low-Priority

  • Mystara Guide

  • 3rd-Party Races

  • 3rd-Party Feats

  • 3rd-Party Spells

  • Guide to Talents I and II

  • Better descriptions for feats I pooh-poohed in the feat section.

Terminology

This guide doesn't define common acronyms like 'DM'. Those can be found in any reputable general guide or even the PHB. See what I did there?

Terms

Description

24HSI

24-Hour Save Immunity. That is, if you save against the effect you’re immune to it for 24 hours.

AL

Adventurer's League

(!) / (?)

Appropriated Chess notation. They denote incredulity or dubiousness on behalf of the author.

[C]

Concentration effect. The default time is 1 minute. If you can concentrate on a spell for even longer, it’ll be noted in the term, such as [C – 1 hour].

CoDZilla

Cleric or Druidzilla. A build in pre-4E D&D games denoting a character that spent all of their spell slots on long-lasting buffs to make them fight better than supposedly melee classes. Like Gish but unbalanced.

Common d20 Roll

Ability Check, Attack Roll, or Saving Throw. Which will be 95-99% of the rolls a PC or even a DM making with a d20.

DPR

Damage per round. The amount of hit point damage you can deal in a turn. Generally includes off-action, between-turn damage such as the passive damage from Spirit Guardians.

Double

Proficiency

Indicates a situation where you get to double your proficiency bonus to a d20 roll, typically from the general effect applying while you already get a proficiency bonus.

EE(PC)

Elemental Evil (Player’s Companion)

EOTS

End of turn save. An effect that nominally lasts a fixed amount of time but lets you try again on a save every round.

Gish

A magician, or character that is skilled in both physical combat and the use of magic. Most gish characters use their magical abilities to increase their own personal combat abilities (known as "buffing").

[M]

This magical item requires a Bladesinger to multiclass in order to use. All such items also require attunement.

[N]

This magical item does not require attunement in order for a Bladesinger to use it.

OA

Opportunity Attack / Attack of Opportunity

[P]

This magical item requires attunement to get its full effects, but still has some magical effects for users who do not fully attune to it.

[R]

Ritual spell.

Sage Advice

A rules-clarification column by Jeremy Crawford that is considered official. Most games I've played, even Official Convention Ones, don't use Sage Advice. Nonetheless, Sage Advice can drastically affect the utility of certain options.

SCAG

Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide

T1/T2/T3/T4

Tier 1, 2, 3, and 4. They are a good demarcation point to describe how the metagame of 5E D&D changes with PC levels. T1 covers levels 1 to 4, T2 levels 5 to 10, T3 levels 11 to 16, T4 covers levels 17 onwards.

TWF

Two-weapon fighting

UA

Unearthed Arcana

SCAG Bladesinger Progression, A Discussion

Before I start, I want everyone to read the first two pages of this excellent Reach Cleric guide. It was written for Pathfinder and specifically for the cleric, but I can't think of a better way to get people in the mindset of what I think is the most effective way to play and build a Bladesinger.

This is your spiritual ancestor if you play the class according to this guide.

The Bladesinger has much the same identity crisis of the Pathfinder cleric; its early levels push it towards more of a pure melee role due to limited spell slots. However, at higher levels it's better served by being a pure caster. That said, the dichotomy for Bladesinger isn't as stark as it would be for a Pathfinder character. Unless your DM is dropping Staves of Power left and right, you simply do not have the juice to be casting spells the whole fight unless your DM regularly does one-encounter workdays. On the other hand, due to the way Concentration and Save DC works, 5E D&D's lower-level spell slots stay useful for much longer than Pathfinder's lower-level spell slots, pushing you towards a control role.

The best way to play a Bladesinger in my opinion is to view your melee capabilities as A) a way to stretch out your spell slots, B) take pressure off of the frontline and C) get the most out of spells wizards would struggle to use. Spells like Greater Invisibility and Blur and Foresight and Globe of Invulnerability and Investiture of Stone are pretty good in a backline wizard's hands, but are downright amazing in yours.

That said, while 5E D&D has been very disciplined over the course of three years of not publishing sourcebooks that would replicate the melee CoDzilla, this may change a few years after this guide is put together. If 5E D&D does release an assortment of long-lasting, concentration-free buffs then the philosophy of this guide may change dramatically. But until then, this guide recommends that you stay on the straight-and-narrow path. Stay full Bladesinger, don't wander too far into pumping up your melee capabilities.

Tasha Bladesinger Progression, A Discussion

The Tasha Bladesinger Progression also has an identity crisis. The changes to Bladesong make the Bladesinger much squishier in T1 and early T2. While the SCAG Bladesinger was best played as a high-defense wizard who used their melee capabilities to stretch out their spell slots, the Tasha Bladesinger looks to be best played as a late-blooming melee glass cannon (and later, just a regular cannon). Bladesong used to be your insurance policy against running out of spell slots in T1/T2, since throwing up a high-AC and hitting people with your weapon was something you could do even in a 6-8 encounter workday, long after other wizards ran out of gas. Now, while this is still an option, the possibility of you having A) no Bladesong and B) no spell slots is much more likely.

But in my opinion, Character Optimization does exaggerate your vulnerability. As mentioned in my premises, the DMG’s 6-8 encounters per long rest is a fake balance point that’s just there as a gotcha for people defending classes like the Warlock and Monk. Few tables consistently run that many encounters, especially in T1/T2 when the Bladesinger is must vulnerable. This is because in T1/T2 you’re not just gated by your class resources but also your hit points and hit dice. If your Level 2 party had its fighter and barbarian eat a critical in its first encounter and couldn’t even top off their hit points during the short rest, guess what, you’re stopping after your second encounter unless you got really lucky. But still, the 6-8 encounter assumption is an unfalsifiable premise that we will just have to live with because it was in the book, the game designers from six years ago knew the proper way to pace the workday better than years of experience from actual DMs in Adventurer’s League and home games. (heavy sarcasm)

But it’s not all bad. It’s actually quite good. Opening up the Bladesinger class to non-elves greatly expands your options right out of the gate. Well, it greatly expands your options if you’re playing a Variant Human, since elves were already the second-best choice for Bladesinger unless your DM lets you play a Winged Tiefling. The changes to Extra Attack to allow you to use a cantrip in place of an attack gives you a badly-needed damage boost in T2/T3. You also got a very good spell in Spirit Shroud that will cause your damage to skyrocket without the drawbacks of Haste — even though Haste is now also a really good spell in your arsenal.

Color Coding

I will use a slightly more complicated color coding than most guides.

RED represent trap options. You will want to avoid it because it makes your character worse or is notably outclassed by something similar.

PURPLE represent substandard options. You may squeeze some use out of it in a once-in-a-campaign kind of way, but over time it's a waste of resources.

BLACK options are average options. There are better choices, but you're not really hurting yourself or your team by picking them.

BLUE colored options are good. You will find them useful and even if it's not the optimal choice you won't feel like you're underperforming.

SKY BLUE is a great choice. You should strongly consider picking up options like these unless you're going for something unusual.

GOLD are near-mandatory options if you want to call yourself optimal. They're permanently build-defining.

GREEN represents options that have too many variables dependent on an individual table (or even session) to consider to give a firm rating. GREEN is also used to lump together options of the same category who only differ in small ways but have different ratings.

DUALCOLORED is used for options that can noticeably differ in effectiveness depending on a common in-game or out-game situation. The first color represents the status quo. The second rating represents the new rating if this common situation applies to your game. If the situation doesn't come up that often or is too variable to count on, a GREEN rating is used instead.

PINK represents options that may not be optimal at the time of this guide, but the open-endedness of the effect may make it more useful in the future after the game releases more sourcebooks. A canonical example are the Conjure spells, which could easily go up two notches in rating depending on what kind of monsters get printed in the future.

Bladesinger Features

Hit Points – No way around it. You have, at 1d6, the worst hit points in the game. You will be taken out by lucky criticals for the first fourth of the game. This guide will focus on damage mitigation instead of absorption.

Level 1 Weapon and Armor Proficiencies – Worst in the game. Not having armor proficiency isn't too terrible (Mage Armor is as good as +1 studded leather) but lack of weapon proficiencies will bite you. Oh, you found a magical scimitar you think you'd really like? Too bad, you can't use it.

Saves – Intelligence is a rare save, unless your DM goes bananas with illusions. Wisdom is the most important save in the game and is very common. You really would like Constitution or at least Dexterity, but you don't get it. Bladesong is very good for concentration checks, but you probably want additional insurance in the form of Lucky, Resilient: Con, or Warcaster.

Multiclassing – Intelligence isn't used for any of the PHB multiclasses and it's unlikely you'll have a strength and especially a charisma of 13, meaning you'll have a rougher time multiclassing than anyone else in the game save Paladins.

Magical Item Attunement – You get access to all of the great staves and spellcaster doodads such as the Robe of the Archmagi and the Tome of the Stilled Tongue. Eldritch Knights and Arcane Tricksters are usually tempted to pick up a level of wizard just to use that Staff of Power they found.

Skills – You start with two skills, like all of the other non-skill monkey classes. This might be a problem (or an opportunity, depending on how much you want to hog the spotlight) since you will probably be the only person in the group with a decent score in intelligence skills. Bladesinger gives you an additional skill for free, but it (Performance) is likely to be keyed off of your dump stat and in any case isn't too useful in the ‘advance the plot’ sense.

Spellcasting – You get full spellcasting off of the best list in the game. Clerics and druids will usually have more day-to-day options, but your list will always be the envy of theirs. It's even worse for casters like sorcerers and warlocks; they both have a more restricted list AND fewer spells prepared. Four Mystic Arcanums, ever, that the Warlock can't change? Rough. Probably the only spellcaster who can even aspire to have your versatility is the Lore Bard, and they will be using most of their free spells poaching from your list.

Cantrips – You get a decent number of cantrips over the course of the game, from what's probably the best list. The only cantrips you'll wish you could get but can’t are Eldritch Blast, Thorn Whip, Sacred Flame, and Guidance.

Spellbook – Even though your base spellcasting already puts you ahead of every other caster, this is what really puts you over the top. Copying spells into your book is both inexpensive and quick; you can copy three fourth-level spells into your book for the cost of 24 hours and 600 gp, a pittance at your level. You can also copy from scrolls, which is a godsend. Even games that are stingy on magical items tend to have scrolls and spellbooks lying around.

If you're in Adventurer's League, always keep a bank of 20 downtime days just for scribing spells. Both from other wizards you meet and also so that you have enough downtime to pay it forward. It is the height of rudeness not to let wizards copy every spell they want from your spellbook, downtime depending.

Also if you're in Adventurer's League; your spellbook is a way to get around the 'you can only have the PHB plus one other book' limitation, a godsend for Bladesingers. You may in fact want to have a second wizard character around whose only purpose is to accumulate spells you can't get.

Ritual Casting – Ritual Casting is always fun, if situational, but this feature in combination with Spellbook clinches your role as the group's Batman. Casters like the cleric and sorcerer have to devote a precious preparation, or even worse, an even more precious known spell slot to use this. You? If it's in your book, you're casting it. You also get arguably the best rituals in the game, too.

Arcane Recovery – Get half your wizard level in total spell slots recovered, maximum level of five. Even better, this is at the end of a short rest rather than something you spend a short rest doing. Meaning you can do other things during your short rest like attuning a magic item or actually napping. While most wizards probably want to have a double-shot of their highest spell slot, you also have the option of refilling all of your level 1 spell slots from all of the Shields and Absorb Elements you’ll be casting.

Training in War and Song – You get training in light armor. Very good, especially if magical armor starts dropping. You also gain proficiency with one type of one-handed weapon of your choice. Think very carefully about what weapon you pick, especially if you're not an elf. Your choice will lock you into that item for likely the rest of the game. If you’re not a mind-reader, the best generic choice are shortswords. You also get proficiency in the Performance skill. Meh. Can be fun for backgrounds that force you to pick up Performance (such as Gladiator) so you can pick something else.

Bladesong (SCAG) – This is what you came for! Amazing benefits with some significant drawbacks. So long as you eschew medium or heavy armor, shields, or using two hands to make an attack with a weapon, you get: +INT to your AC, +10 to walking speed, advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, and +INT to Constitution saving throws to maintain concentration. You get two Bladesongs per short rest. You will generally have enough Bladesongs to last you through threatening combats.

Bladesong (Tasha’s) – You only get to use it per your proficiency bonus? That’s… pretty rough before you hit level 9. It’s still a great feature, but it’s no longer a ‘assume you always have it’ feature like it was in SCAG. Unless your DM runs 0-3 encounter workdays (but let’s be honest, the vast majority of tables don’t really do more than 3 combats per long rest) you will have to be playing like a traditional wizard. Boring, but what can you do?

Ability Score Improvement – You get five. The same number as everyone but the fighter and rogue. Unless you rolled like a protagonist in the climax of a gambling movie, you will probably only have room for one feat plus dual stat maxing. Make it count.

Extra Attack (SCAG) – Is Extra Attack worse than using the SCAG cantrips? The answer to this question one of the main reasons I became dissatisfied with other Bladesinger guides. The answer to that is: depends on what kind of magical items and poisons drop. Meaning, that while guides assume that none will drop, my experience is that they DO drop enough to make this feature worth it. Extra Attack also makes using a Longbow competitive with your cantrips for most or even all of the game depending on what kind of magical items or poisons drop.

Extra Attack (Tasha’s) – However, unlike the SCAG, there aren’t any ‘well, in certain reasonably common campaigns, Extra Attack isn’t that much better if at all than the SCAG cantrips’ tradeoffs here. It’s just pure damage. Depending on what kind of cantrip you picked, you might even have some utility beyond just crushing foes with your mega-damage.

Song of Defense – While Bladesinging, you can expend a spell slot to reduce damage by 5 points per spell level. This competes with your reaction, but it will protect you against effects that Absorb Elements and Shield will not, such as necrotic AoEs. It is by no means a bad idea to reserve a few spell slots explicitly for Song of Defense and bank them as extra hit points. This will also turn those dreaded critical hits from something concentration-ruining to something you can easily tank.

Song of Victory – A no-questions-asked damage boost is one of the best things that can happen to you and it's enough to put you back in the game after several levels of asking why you're still bothering with melee.

Spell Mastery – Choose one 2nd-level and one 1st-level spell. You can use them an unlimited amount of times. You will probably end up picking Shield and Misty Step, though a lot of normally marginal choices become much more viable in your hands. SEE THE SECTION ON SPELL MASTERY FOR MORE DETAILS.

Signature Spell – Pick two third-level spells. Not only do they no longer count against your total spells prepared, you can now cast them once each per short rest without expending a spell slot. Kind of a weak capstone for a level 20 class, but mostly because you've probably already broken the game six ways from Sunday by now. Still very good in of itself.

Comparison to Other (Near) Full Caster Gishes

If what you want to do is run around and hit people with a sword while throwing around fireballs (i.e., a Gish), Bladesinger is not your only choice. In fact, depending on what exactly you want to do Bladesinger may not be the best option. If what you want to do is tank and do area denial, a Storm Cleric Is probably better. If you want to do huge amounts of spike damage, a Sorceradin or a Hexblade is definitely better.

Bladesinger Itself

Bladesinger Pros: Access to best spell list in the game. Best AC in the game with no magical items and best AC in the game with generous access to magical items. Best out of all gishes at damage mitigation.

Bladesinger Cons: Defense in Tier 1 is quite spotty if doing extended workdays. Single-target damage will start to suffer in the mid-game unless they switch full-time to TWF or the DM drops a lot of offensive magical items. Can not use two-handed weapon fighting, typically the most damaging style in the game. Poor hit points and little opportunity to raise it will cause things like critical hits and non-energy, non-AC attacks to rock them.

Fighter 1 / Abjurer X

Fighter-Abjurer Pros: Huge hit point stack. Constitution saving throw proficiency. If campaign doesn't drop magical items, their offense will be comparable to that of a Bladesinger by using SCAG cantrips. Abjurer hands out great defensive features and top-none counterspelling. If magical items do drop, they can go sword-and-board for an AC comparable to that of non-max level Bladesingers.

Fighter-Abjurer Cons: Behind a spell level. Is forced to choose between offense (two-handed weapon fighting) and defense (shield) and will have the weakest offense if they choose defense.

Melee Arcana Cleric

Melee Cleric Pros: Spell-Breaker and Arcane Abjuration will get more powerful as the game goes on. They can fully swap out their spell list when they feel like. Spirit Guardians and Spiritual Weapon will keep their DPR consistent and high throughout the game.

Melee Cleric Cons: You'll start to suffer on spell selection starting at level 11 and won't catch up until level 17. Except for Protection from Evil and Good and at very high level Holy Aura, they have trouble inflicting disadvantage on demand. No Counterspell. Maintaining level-appropriate gish damage will be heavy on the spell slots. Can't use a lot of the endurance-extending magical items like Staves of Fire.

Hexblade Warlock

Hexblade Pros: Can more easily multiclass. Charisma is a more useful roleplaying stat than intelligence. Between Hexblade's Curse, Lifedrinker, and Cursebringer can do huge amounts of sustained and spike melee damage. Armor of Hexes is peerless melee single-target defense. Very durable for extended workdays, the 6-8 encounter ones the DMG assumes you’ll do but 80% of tables don’t even attempt.

Hexblade Cons: They very much lack on spell slots. They get spells like Shield and Hex but Pact Magic makes it so that you won't be using it them as often as you would like. Mystic Arcanum heavily limits the versatility of their spell slots.

Sorceradin

Sorceradin Pros: Between Quicken Spell and Smite, they have enormous, almost peerless amounts of spike damage. Empowered Spell allows them to have good damage on their backup spells.

Sorceradin Cons: Unless they're playing the oldschool Favored Soul, their spell selection will suffer even with Paladin piggybacking. Depending on how much they push the Paladin part over the Sorcerer, their ability to use high-level spells will be delayed or even unattainable.

Valor/Blade Bard

Bard Pros: Can more easily multiclass. Charisma is a more useful roleplaying stat than intelligence. Bard can cherry pick certain spells that wizard will not get (most notably Spirit Guardians, Conjure Animals, and Swift Quiver). Bard can use Great-Weapon Fighting for a badly needed damage boost.

Bard Cons: Bard doesn't start to blossom until around level 10 or so. With no heavy armor or spells like Shield, Haste, Blur, and Mirror Image your frontline will suffer. Can't use a lot of the endurance-extending magical items like Staves of Fire.

How do I pick my melee options?

Your basic melee buffs are: Shadow Blade, Haste, Spirit Shroud, Greater Invis, Investiture of Stone, Tenser’s Transformation.

Shadow Blade: This is a great pick at lower levels when you don’t have a good magical weapon — which is frankly quite likely. Even up against Haste, it’ll do more damage than Haste unless you have a magical weapon. Unfortunately, Shadow Blade is subject to bonus action clog, so you can’t have it up round 1 — not that it matters too much in T2 onwards, when you have enough slots to just cast some other kind of spell.

If you can’t get a good magical weapon and what you want is raw, filthy damage then Shadow Blade is a great choice. It’s easy on the spell slots and upcasts well.

Haste: Got a big ol’ buff with the Bladesinger update. RAW, you can cast a cantrip through your extra attack if and only if you’re a Bladesinger. You can either see it as a raw, filthy damage boost if you pick sword cantrips… or you can use it for even more versatility. Even marginal cantrips like Blade Ward and Minor Illusion get a fresh new spin in your hands. If only there was a way to get Eldritch Blast with all of the goodies (i.e. Hex) while not needing a godly charisma score.

If your DM doesn’t allow you to use the Haste extra attack to cast cantrips, it’s not a big deal. It’s preferable if they do, to set up combinations like double Booming Blade or Mind Sliver + Blindness/Deafness, but you can always just tag in your regular attack routine.

That spike in versatility would be worth it on its own, but also doubling your walking speed, a +2 to AC, and advantage to dexterity saving throws? Starting at level 6, if you’ve got the slots Haste should be your default choice for buffs unless you have a good reason to pick something else.

Spirit Shroud: If you’re being Hasted by someone else and you have a great magical weapon (i.e. a Flametongue Shortsword) a level 5 version of this spell can displace other options. It’s also okay if you’re a tank that’s concerned about stickiness, especially in conjunction with other movement-reduction options… sadly Ray of Frost is very hard to work into this spell. It’s final saving grace is that if you can work in an extra attack from two-weapon fighting or Polearm Master, it’s quite a bit more damage. The problem though is that it costs a bonus action to get into Bladesong, a bonus action to cast this spell, and a bonus action to use Two-Weapon Fighting… get the picture?

Greater Invis: This spell is a godsend for Bladesinger. The advantage and disadvantage on demand is nice enough, but the invisibility is what makes this spell so great defensively. You can move away after an attack, not drawing an opportunity attack most of the time, and then move to some random spot on the battlefield. If you gave them some Booming Blade action, that’s additional damage they have to take just to catch up with you or target someone else. And they probably aren’t even going to pick the right spot. If a creature, especially a spellcaster, doesn’t have a way to foil invisibility, they’re boned.

Investiture of Stone: If your party fights in places with a lot of earth or stonework chambers, this spell has your back. You can dodge a lot of bad effects and retaliation just by zipping to the other side of a wall and coming back when it’s your turn. If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being the main party tank (it happens) you may have to use this one or Stoneskin. Investiture of Stone can crush certain exploration and combat challenges so hard if used properly that it’s worth dedicating a spell slot for this.

Tenser’s Transformation: This spell got a lot harder to recommend for Bladesingers after Spirit Shroud got released in Tasha’s. The armor and weapon proficiencies are useless to you, along with getting Extra Attack. The spell’s saving grace is the 50 temporary hit points (which is not bad for a 6th-level slot) and the +2d12 damage to all weapon attacks, not just in 10 feet. If you’re running a dedicated archer build — which isn’t the worst idea in the world for a Variant Human Bladesinger — this is better than Spirit Shroud. Downside is that you can’t use spells like Shield and Absorb Elements without risking the spell.

Should You Multiclass (Pre-Tasha)?

Because multiclassing is very popular, this guide does (intend to have eventually) have an extensive section on multiclassing. However, before you do, PLEASE READ THIS SECTION EVEN IF YOUR POT OF GOLD IS WATCHING THAT DAMAGE-PER-ROUND GO UP!

A lot of people look at the Bladesinger, note they don't have a passive melee damage adder like Sneak Attack or the Two-Weapon Fighting Style, note that they can't use Great Weapon Fighting, then panic and start looking for ways to slap on multiclassing to increase their melee efficacy. The popular opinion (and fix) is to splash in a level of two of Fighter or even Paladin or Hexblade.

I think this is wrongheaded. If your intent is to use your Bladesinger to melee, splashing in a level is generally not worth it until the very end of the game, and only in specific circumstances. If you look at your Bladesinger as a platform for highly defensive damage from a variety of sources — rather than the orthodox view of only viewing melee DPR as important – you'll find multiclassing is never worth it.

Level 6: You miss out on Fireball, Haste, and/or Extra Attack. If you're feeling cheesy, you also miss out on Animate Dead for extra skeleton minions.

Level 8: But let's say you're a Bladesinger 6 / Fighter 2. Now you miss out on Polymorph and Greater Invis. One of them is a turbo-charged swiss army knife that you will always find a use for, the other one makes you a melee god.

Level 10: Let's say you're a Bladesinger 8 / Fighter 2. Now you miss out on Animate Objects. With Arcane Recovery, you could've cast this three times per day. This is a titanic boost to your DPR. You also miss out on Song of Defense. You have two good tricks of 'don't die instantly when monsters look at you funny' (Absorb Elements, Shield) but this completes the trinity. There are a lot of big-time damage makers you have no answer to and sometimes a critical hit sneaks through. If you're abusing Planar Binding, you miss out on extra Conjure Elementals.

Level 12: You miss out on Contingency. You can think of it as an Action Surge that only works with buffs and/or an Action Surge that works even better with defensive ploys. SEE MY SECTION ON CONTINGENCY FOR MORE DETAILS. If you managed to get that spell, you also miss out on Tenser’s Transformation. I could live without Tenser’s, but I have a hard time imagining someone who loved them some melee showboating doing so.

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Level 14: You miss out on SIMULACRUM. Best feature anyone gets in the game, with the possible exception of Wish. It's so good that I recommend snagging Shape Water just so you'll have a source of ice for it. You also miss out on Song of Victory, which is one of the biggest passive DPR adders per game. If you're using TWFing + Haste, this is an extra 16-20 damage per round. That smite or fighting style ain't looking so hot now.

Level 16: Actually, you don't miss out on much here. I haven't played at this level of play, but I would imagine really regretting that I didn't have Maze. But this is probably the level in which I'd feel most comfortable being behind two levels. You do have enough spell slots to cast Tenser’s Transformation to last you an entire workday if that’s the only thing you care about.

Level 18: Now it’s back to regrets again. You miss out on Spell Mastery. This is infinite shield and misty step/mirror image all day long. This is better than any class feature any martial gives you with the possible exception of Aura of Protection. You also miss out on Foresight and Wish and Shapechange and True Polymorph. Any one of those four spells is better than any class feature any martial gives you, period.

Level 20: You might think that you're in the clear, but a lot of guides miss out on the fact that you gain an extra level 6 and level 7 spell slot. Even if you're not interested in another Mass Suggestion or Whirlwind, you could always just cast Contingency or Tenser’s Transformation twice and have those spells for every challenging workday encounter instead of just one. Signature Spell is okay, but it's still good.

Long story short: the Bladesinger doesn't become lackluster at melee combat in non-extended workdays because they're bad at melee combat. If you consider your spell arsenal as an aspect of melee combat, they completely explode in effectiveness at around level 11.

The 'problem' is that their spellcasting arsenal becomes BETTER than melee combat. Greater Invis will turn you into a melee god against anything that can't see you, but Fly upcast to level 4 or turning the out-of-resources rogue into a Giant Ape will save your party's life more often. Animate Objects is good and all for your DPR, but it won't trivialize encounters like Wall of Force. You could use Contingency to fast-cast Haste or Greater Invis for a second encounter in the day. Or you could use it to cast Mass Suggestion.

On the subject of Sorcerer Multiclassing…

Before this book came out, the answer to the previous section was basically ‘Are you not in T4? If so, no’. Tasha’s potentially changed this considerably, to the point where you should consider splashing one or even two levels of Sorcerer into your build as early as T2. So, ask yourself three questions first.

1) Do you care about your save-or-suck caster capabilities? If you’re just using the Bladesinger to play a highly defensible gish and spells that aren’t Shadow Blade and Haste just bore you, then this probably isn’t for you. You probably should still consider this section so you know what your options are, but if you sometimes like the ability to crush an encounter with a timely casting of Fear or Polymorph then definitely read on.

2) Is your game fairly liberal with magical items, i.e. is the magical item chart from Xanathar’s page 135 about as or even less generous than what your game is AND your DM is pretty cool with things like Ring of Spell Storing? If no, keep reading on.

3) Is the Metamagic Adept feat available in your game? If not, do you already have 17 levels of wizard and have 3 more levels of sorcerer?

If these stipulations do apply, then you should strongly consider investing in a level of Sorcerer, including starting with a 13 in Charisma.

Tasha’s released a number of, let’s be frank, freakishly overpowered magical items for casters. If you’re a single-classed Wizard you got some real goodies, but arguably Sorcerers made out even better. I don’t begrudge Sorcerers this, because frankly they needed them. But all the same, they released some killer magical items.

Shadowfell Shard – Using Metamagic? This gives the best parts of Heighten Spell at the cost of 1 metamagic point. It’s actually better than Heighten Spell, because it also affects ability checks. You don’t even have to hold it in your hand.

Feywild Shard – Wild Magic is unreliable and a waste of time. The results are slightly net beneficial, but it’s not worth an attunement slot.

Far Realm Shard – Using Metamagic? You get to force an additional Charisma save or do 3d6 damage (not bad) AND frighten a monster for one round (yeah!)

Elemental Essence Shard – Using metamagic? Roll a 1d4 to select one of four effects. They’re all fairly good, with result 2 (gain resistance to a damage type of your choice for one turn) probably being the best one.

Bloodwell Vial – More metamagic points baby! After you spend a hit dice for whatever reason, get 5 metamagic points. You also get a scaling DC and spell attack bonus to your sorcerer spells. That’s not bad if you have a good charisma attack score, but wow, extra metamagic!

RAW, note that if you take more than one level of sorcerer — that is, before you gain the Font of Magic ability, technically you can only gain metamagic points up to your Sorcerer level, so two. With one level of sorcerer, you get all five. Or four if you burned through all of your Metamagic adept points already.

So, yeah. With a Shadowfell Shard and Metamagic Adept, you get some of the best parts of the Diviner / Chronurgist Wizard (messing with enemy saves). Definitely worth sacrificing a sorcerer level. If you’re willing to attunement swap, a Bloodwell vial — which can show up as an uncommon item — gives you more fuel for your Metamagic as well.

So which metamagic options should we be going for? Well…

Careful Spell – Not bad, not bad at all. You have a number of killer spells (like Fear and Hypnotic) that can be potentially very hard to use if your party gets in the way. This takes care of that.

Distant Spell – Depends on the spells you pick. If you like using cone spells like Fear, Psionic Blast, or Pulse wave it’s good. Or if you like using spells at 30’ or 60’, this can also be quite nice.

Empowered Spell – Did you roll like a Greek God for your Charisma score? No? Then forget it. But if you did… this metamagic effect still isn’t really worth it except for edge-case builds like Blade of Disaster spammers.

Extend Spell – A lot of benefits here. While having spells that persist past a long rest like Mage Armor or Gift of Alacrity or Foresight already shoots this option to sky blue, you can get more out of it than that! Later in this document I talk about how you can use ‘shut out a monster but you can’t/shouldn’t mess with them until the rest of the battlefield is cleared out’ spells like Banishment. Extend Spell makes it easier to set up minute-long casting time traps like Magic Circle. And there’s also a big difference in having spells like Conjure Elemental or True Seeing go from lasting 1 hour to 2 hours — for example, having multiple encounters with the option of a short rest between them. Incredibly good.

Heightened Spell – It takes 3 metamagic points, Metamagic Adept gives you two and they don’t even recharge outside of a long rest. However, if you are able to break the threshold (i.e. you took two or more levels of Sorcerer or you have a Bloodwell vial) then this is a whole new game plan. Do you know how good it is to mess with enemy saving throws? Diviners sweat blood to do this, now it’s in your hands.

Quickened Spell – Not all that impressive unless you’re doing Bloodwell vial spam and single-encounter workdays. If that does apply, enjoy your spike in DPR with cantrips.

Subtle Spell – Subtle Spell has a number of subtle (ha!) benefits. Stop counter-counterspell plays in their tracks. Cheaply fuel the Far Realm and Shadowfell Shards. Cast certain spells in social situations without being caught — be careful, though, it doesn’t eliminate the material component. Cast spells in situations like a Silence or Dark Star Bubble or just when you’re staying hidden. It’s not constant, in-your-face power like Heightened Spell but it does break open a number of common situations. If you’re planning to abuse the Shadowfell or Far Realm shards, you should grab this spell since there are a number of spells where certain otherwise wonderful metamagic doesn’t apply. This one applies to any spell and thus will always trigger those magical items.

Twinned Spell – With your metamagic points, you can count on Twinning a Protection from Evil and Good or a Dragon’s Breath. Which are in of itself worth the price of admission but where this spell really shines is if you can rig yourself extra metamagic points. Like, say, with a Bloodwell Vial. Twinned Haste? Twinned Polymorph? Twinned Greater Invis? TWINNED SIMULACRUM?? … well, that last one is only if your DM has a liberal interpretation of Bloodwell Vial and “regain”. Baby, you just made my day.

Elemental Spell (UA) – Change the damage type of an acid, fire, cold, thunder, or lightning spell? Not a bad option for, say, a Flames of Phlegethos Evoker wizard, but you should be doing something else.

Seeking Spell (UA) – Ignore the AC and DEX save bonus from cover that’s not full cover? You generally have better things to do with your metamagic selection, spell slots, and even actions.

Unerring Spell (UA) – Reroll an attack roll on a spell if you miss. This would be an okay option at one metamagic point, not two.

Aberrant Mind (Tasha) – The 1st-level feature is largely forgettable. 30-foot initial, out to 1 mile telepathy with just one person? Le yawn. But this class also comes with three additional spells known that don’t get in the way of your other spells known! Arms of Hadar chews, but Mind Sliver and Dissonant Whispers are genuinely great spells… oh, wait, you don’t have a decent Charisma. If your DM lets you retrain out the Sorcerer Spells, go for it dude.

Clockwork Soul (Tasha) – Has a smaller spells-known list than Aberrant Mind. One of them (Protection from Evil and Good) is one you want to have prepared at all times, the other one (Alarm) is just sad. Train that nonsense out. The 1st-level ability is extraordinary, though: cancel advantage or disadvantage on a roll within 60 feet of you as a reaction. Probably best used to give the middle finger to creatures with Magic Resistance (and hey, you can even combine it with a Shadow Shard! Not feeling so confident now, are we fiends?) but it can also be used to help your buddies out. Or yourself.

Dragon Soul – Free Draconic language? Extra hit point per level? Permanent AC calculation of 13 + Dex? These are not bad benefits, but we can do way better.

Divine Soul – This is what I’m talking about. 1st-level feature gives you a short-rest rechargeable +2d4 bonus to attack rolls or saving throws. Oh yes. You also get to poach cleric spells! Do you know how good it is to have Guidance and Bless? It’ll win you hearts and minds. And if you get to level 3 in this class, you can start casting Aid and Warding Bond. Extremely competitive alternative to Aberrant Mind, probably superior if you’re taking three or more levels of Sorcerer.

Giant Soul (UA 51) – Extra hit point per level to start out, and you get an expanded spell list. This is not a free spell like Aberrant Mind and Clockwork Soul, mind you. There are good arguments for Stone (Entangle!) and Frost (Armor of Agathys), the latter of which gets nuts when you upcast it with real spell slots and with a form of resistance. If you’re not picking those, stay away.

Phoenix Soul (UA 19) – Set things on fire as an action is some weak tea. I don’t need a class feature or even supernatural abilities to do that. Soul of the Phoenix is more interesting, though. One a long rest, as a bonus action for 1 minute you can get shed bright and dim light out to 30 and 60 feet, deal CHA in backlash fire damage to people who hit you in melee, and your fire damage rolls (not spells, not attacks, damage rolls) deal an additional CHA damage. Unfortunately, Bladesinger already has some serious bonus action clog. And the people who probably want to use Phoenix Soul (Flametongue wielders) means sacrificing another bonus action unless your DM is okay with you walking around with a flaming sword all of the time. There are a LOT of hoops to jump through for this subclass — a source of reliable fire damage, a way to get around the bonus action clog, and a decent charisma score but if you can hack it it’s a good subclass. Everyone else should stay away.

Psionic Soul (UA 71) – Eh? Your DM let you pick this after Tasha’s came out? It’s pretty different from Aberrant Mind, so I can see it. Anyway, Psionic Die is a really interesting effect. Your DM will probably make you use Charisma, but a floating d6 to d12 on all Charisma checks is not to be laughed at. You also get telepathy, the option to remove verbal components and sometimes even somatic and material components from spells, and the ability to sometimes cast Divination or Enchantment psionic spells.

Pyromancy (Plane Shift: Kaladeth) – Avoid this. All you get from this is doing literally 1 point ot damage to everyone in 10 feet of you when you cast a fire spell.

Sea Sorcerer (UA 29) – Breathe underwater and swim speed right away. Could be okay in the right campaign, even with Water Walk. Curse of the Sea is more interesting — hit someone with a spell that does cold or lightning damage or forces it to move and they, correspondingly: have a movement reduction of 15 feet (assuming the spell doesn’t already reduce their movement), do additional lightning damage equal to your charisma modifier, or push it an additional 15 feet. All really good benefits if you can hack it. Like, say, a level 6 Bladesinger Wizard with a Frostbrand and a SCAG cantrip. Or cast Spirit Shroud and call it a day. Spirit Shroud stacks VERY well with this feature, by the way, since they’re separate movement reduction effects.

Shadow Sorcerer – Immediate 120 feet of darkvision? I’ll take it! A 1/long rest ability to not go to zero hit points by making a Charisma save of DC 5 + damage taken? Not bad. Gets worse at higher levels, but not bad. If you stick with it until level 3 though, you can cast Darkness either with a spell slot or two metamagic points — doing it that way will let you see through the magical darkness

Stone Sorcerer (UA 29) –

Interaction with Other Classes

General

As the wizard, you are likely the only class with decent access to intelligence skills unless a Knowledge Cleric, a Bard, or an unusual rogue wants to dip their toes into that area. You should at least have Investigation and Arcana trained. Having Religion and History trained is a good idea, too.

Barbarian

Barbarians rely on facetanking to get the most out of their role, and it’s something they do VERY well. That said, they often have an AC that leaves a bit to be desired, especially if they use Reckless Attack. They will very much appreciate having a Protection from Evil and Good or, even better, a Greater Invis to increase their defense. Because barbarians halve a lot of common damage, every attack that misses a barbarian is double the money in the bank. If you back up a Barbarian with Ray of Enfeeblement, feel free to break out the lemonade and hammocks.

Barbarians often suffer against mental stat saving throws, so having a Dispel Magic and/or a Protection from Evil and Good prepared will keep them on their feet.

A lot of barbarians tend to have crummy ranged attacks, so it’s a good idea to keep a Fly or a similar effect on standby in case the enemy gets cheeky and starts flying out of reach.

If you want to make your DM cry, consider Sentinel and join the Barbarian on the frontline. Most monsters aren’t going to want to attack the AC 26 with disadvantage bladesinger, so you’ll be getting a lot of free attacks.

Bard

If you expect a challenging combat and have Counterspell and/or Dispel Magic prepared, ask for an Inspiration Dice. If you’re ever making an ability check out of combat, ask for an Inspiration Dice. With Bounded Accuracy, you will need it. Since most bards will have more skills than they know what to do with, it’s not bad to ask them for some Help on skills like History and Arcana as well. It’s not unlikely for them to be better than you at these skills, so be prepared to return the favor.

If your teammate is a Lore Bard, ask them to reserve some uses of their ability for when you tag an opponent with effects that only end on a check, such as Phantasmal Force or Web. It’s a good way to get some dice thrown in your faces. If you REALLY want to bring the pain, try to get some Hex action, too. A lot of bards will balk at using their Magical Secrets on a first-level spell, so remind them that Hex will also make it really hard for targets to resist their charisma checks.

Lore Bards tend to have absolutely crummy AC (light armor proficiency, no shields, no Shield Spell) so watch out so they’re not swarmed.

Cleric

The cleric tends to be everyone’s best friend, for good reason, so if you play your cards right you’ll in turn be the cleric’s best friend. The fact that you don’t need as much maintenance and babysitting as other party members will go a long way. That said, don’t turn down an Aid or Warding Bond spell if it’s offered.

If you have a cleric in the party, you will as soon as you get to level 10 have a Dispel Magic and Counterspell prepared and probably a Remove Curse, too. No exceptions. You might be able to get by without a cleric, but your teammates will not. And if the cleric goes down, especially to some backline nonsense, guess whose fault it is?

Stoneskin isn’t the greatest of spells, but it’s really not a bad idea to use it on the party cleric, especially if they’re a frontliner like a Tempest cleric. And because clerics have trouble before level 15 getting Disadvantage on demand, feel more than free to hit them up with a Greater Invisibility.

Clerics don’t have many spell slots and are simultaneously very dependent on them for effectiveness. Don’t ask for spells outside of life-or-death emergencies. If it comes down to someone needing to use a spell slot, you are first up. You can still contribute even with no spell slots left. The cleric struggles to do so past the low levels.

Spirit Guardians is an amazing spell on its own, but one of the best things about it is how it halves enemy movement. If the cleric is using that spell, you should strongly consider backing them up with a difficult terrain-creating or similar movement spells like Web or Erupting Earth or Black Tentacles.

Finally, while Divination and Contact Other Plane are good rituals, they’re even better when used together. Use Contact Other Plane to narrow the range of questions down, and use Divination to get specific answers.

Druid

Like you, druids get a lot of spells that are sublime at hindering enemy movement. Plant Growth and something like Transmute Rock or Evard’s Black Tentacles is so evil you should expect for the DM to ask you two to leave the table the third or so time you do it.

Another ‘if you do this expect your DM to give you two a stern talking-to’ trick you can do is combine Conjure Minor Elementals/Animate Dead with Animal Shapes. The huge amount of power you can get from doing this combo probably won’t be excused with a ‘but it’s 3/4ths to the end of the game, c’mon DM’.

Druids love summoning, it’s true. Unfortunately, 5E D&D limited the utility of buffs. That said, one ‘buff’ that will always be appreciated are the infliction of status conditions such as Restrained and Paralyzed. Restrained is always good, but Restrained while being surrounded by four dimetrodons is even better.

Don’t get too concerned about buffing up a Moon druid to increase their durability. It’s not a bad use of the spell slot, but druids get two uses of wild shape per short rest which translates to a huge increase in endurance. Especially if they transform into an elemental.

Fighter

Between Action Surge and Great Weapon Fighting/Sharpshooter, Fighters can really bring the pain if they want to. Your job is to make it so that they can bring the pain. Greater Invisibility will usually do the trick, but you should be prepared with Restrained or Prone against enemies with Blindsight and Truesight.

The Eldritch Knight is very vulnerable to Counterspell due to their reduced spell progression. If they want to cast spells (which ranges from ‘not a bad idea’ to ‘excellent idea! I’ll back you up’ for them depending on their stats, since they can impose disadvantage against spells) do not let them do that without you being able to Counterspell any Counterspells. 

Monk

Two words: Stunning Strike. The Monk leads, and you follow. You want that Disintegrate or Telekinesis or Bigby’s Grasping Hand to land? You better wait your turn.

Don’t worry too much about backing the Monk up with buffs. They can get disadvantage on demand and can go ‘lol no’ to a bunch of common status effects and attack methods, especially at higher level. Quite likely, a monk at level 18 will be harder to kill than you will.

If you are lucky enough to party with a 17th level Monk of the Open Hand, you are obligated to drain any and all foes of Legendary Saves.

Paladin

More than anyone else in the party, Paladins appreciate two things: Haste and Hold. Get well acquainted with those two spells if you’re in it with the party for the long haul. Once they gain a few levels, it’s rarely a bad idea to (unlike most wizards) stick close to them for Aura of Protection, Courage, etc.

A nice way of getting double-disadvantage is to stay close to a Paladin that has the Protection fighting style and put a Protection from Evil and Good or even a Greater Invis on them.

Ranger

The strongest rangers try to focus on taking down hordes. You can best back them up by helping them soften up the hordes with AoE spells.

Also, ask your DM if they’ll let you use Silent/Major Image, or even better, Minor Illusion to help the Ranger with Hide in Plain Sight.

Technically, Bestial’s Fury ability to allow you to substitute Multiattack for Attack works just fine with Haste. I haven’t tried this yet, but since most animal companions are kind of underpowered, I don’t see a game balance reason why not.

Rogue

You can very easily go on stealthy adventures with Rogues and it’s likely they’ll very much appreciate having you as a tag-along. The spells you’ll be wanting are Invisibility, Dispel Magic, Gaseous Form, Locate Object, Nondetection, Rope Trick, Phantasmal Force (look, here’s our gate pass), Silent and Major Image, soforth. They have expertise on the dexterity stuff and almost certainly better social skills, so you’ll be the sidekick.

Sorcerer

As you might have guessed, the Sorcerer has a much more restricted spell list and preparation scheme than you do. Never expect them to pick utility spells unless it’s one you absolutely do not get, such as Enhance Ability. In fact, it’s a good idea to let them peek at your spellbook each time they pick new spells to give them more options. Someone in the party should have Fly, but unless your DM is super-stingy with spellbook and scroll drops it probably shouldn’t be them.

Sorcerer gets first pick of any magical staves. This includes even OMG Awesome staves such as the Staff of Power and Staff of the Magi. They need it more than you. Yeah, I know, losing out on +2 to AC and Saves stinks. Suck it up, Bladesinger.

Warlock

If your Warlock has Eldritch Blast, try to convince them to snag Repelling Blast. At-Will, Concentration-Free Pushes (especially since Eldritch Blast will be many Warlocks’ primary attack) pair up VERY nicely with zones. If escaping a pit of Transmute Rock was hard enough, escaping it with a 30 foot push every round is impossible.

Hex is also a fun effect. A lot of your spells require checks to get out, not saves. Meaning that a well-timed Hex can make getting out of, say, a Phantasmal Force or a Telekinesis go from ‘doable’ to ‘near-impossible’. Remember, Warlocks struggle to have enough spell slots, so don’t get pushy asking for a Hex.

If you have a Warlock in your group, you will be leaning towards utility magic more heavily than you normally would. The Warlock simply does not have the spell slots to be doing more than perfunctory utility magic. While you, the Bladesinger, can always upcast even if it’s at reduced effectiveness.

Warlock gets first pick of any magical staves, even before the Sorcerer does. Wizards, especially Bladesinger wizards, who don’t do everything in their power to ease the burden of limited spell slots on Warlock are scum.

Other Wizards

All PC wizards copy from each others’ spellbook free of charge save for the required inks. Even if the wizard in question killed your mom and shaved your cats. That’s just common courtesy.

Races (Pre-Tasha)

Legal Races

Elf, Dark (SCAG)  – Useless charisma bonus, useless drow magic keyed off of a dump stat, and Sunlight Vulnerability. We have a loser here! Do like that Dex boost, though, not like every other dang elf can’t get it.

Elf, Wood – If you absolutely must have that speed boost and can’t start out as a Variant Human with Mobile, this works as a last resort option. Getting a +1 to WIS instead of to INT does hurt, though.

Elf, High – Probably your default pick. An extra wizard cantrip isn’t a killer app like an extra skill is, but it is good. But you’re really here for the +2 to Dex, +1 to INT, free Perception, Fey Heritage, Darkvision, and weapon proficiencies. Geez, this is a good race.

Elf, Eladrin (DMG) – We ‘say’ legal, but you can’t play this race in Adventurer’s League. Which is too bad, because it gets all of the standard High Elven goodness but gets Misty Step instead of a cantrip.

Half-Elf  – +1 stat bonuses how you’d like and +2 to CHA. Fey Ancestry and two bonus skills add some extra spice. None of the half-elven subraces are really worth giving up your precious two skills for, though. If you need charisma for something (i.e. multiclassing into Warlock or Sorcerer) Half-Elf becomes Gold.

Legal-with-Reincarnation Races

Tiefling (PHB Base, SCAG expanded options) – +1 to intelligence, fire resistance, and the trio of thaumaturgy/hellish rebuke/darkness are okay, but the +2 to charisma holds the basic tiefling back. However, SCAG lets you swap some of those options, including the stats. So the question is: can we do better? And the answer is: yes we can!

  • Devil’s Tongue swaps out the spells for a different list: Vicious Mockery, Charm Person, and Enthrall. These would be great for, say, a Bard but you don’t do Charisma unless you rolled high. Then it’s a great trade.

  • Feral trades out that near-useless +2 CHA for an awesome +2 DEX, making you a +2 DEX/+1 Int race with fire resistance. Feral also stacks with every other Tiefling trait.

  • Hellfire swaps out my situationally useful Hellish Rebuke for something I will never use, Burning hands. Stacks with Feral.

  • Winged swaps out spells for 30 feet of flight, no questions asked. Sold.

Bottom line? If you make a Tiefling with Feral and Winged, you will get a solid race that can compete with Variant Humans. Otherwise, it’s not that great.

Dragonborn – Oh, baby, I love your bonus to two dump stats, a terrible AoE, and resistance to elements you can replicate with Absorb Elements. Slather that mediocrity all over me, sugar.

Dwarf, Mountain  – CON is good. The rest of the features? You will not be using them, since it requires armor.

Half-Orc  – CON bonus is fun. So is once per long rest getting a mini-Death Ward. +2 Strength, Intimidation skill, and an extra damage dice for critical hits? Not fun.

Dwarf, Hill  – WIS is a near-dump stat, but you get a LOT of hit points. But if I wanted a LOT of hit points, I’d be a variant human and pick Tough or Resilient: Con instead.

Gnome, Rock  – Like Deep and Forest Gnome, only a +1 CON instead of a +1 DEX. You still get gnome cunning and the speed reduction, and the bonus to certain history checks is nice, but your Tinker ability is completely useless.

Lightfoot Halfling  – The +1 to Charisma is wasted and the 25 base speed just hurts. But Rerolling 1s on Common d20 Rolls, advantage against being frightened, moving through Large or large creatures spaces, being able to hide as long as there’s at least one creature a size larger than you, and still getting +2 to DEX? Adds up to a lot of fun.

Human  – +1 to all stats means starting out with a 16 in INT, CON, and DEX so long as you’re willing to dump WIS. +1 to all stats also makes multiclassing into a CHA class feasible (with a 16 16 and 14 for your other stats) if you’re still obsessed with that noise.

Gnome, Forest  – +2 INT, +1 DEX. Minor Illusion is a cantrip you won’t mind having. Being able to have simple conversations with any creature small or smaller is useful at low levels if you remember it. But the real star of the show is Gnome Cunning. Advantage on all INT/WIS/CHA saving throws against magic. Pity about that 5 foot speed reduction.

Halfling, Stout  – All of the fun of the Lightfoot halfling, but you trade a +1 to CHA for +1 to CON (nice!) and being able to hide behind larger creatures for advantage on poison saving throws and resistance to poison damage. Hrm. Better at mid and higher levels, worse at lower ones. I’ll take it!

Human, Variant – +1 goes into INT and DEX. Heck, if you wanted the triple 16s you could even snag Resilient: CON. Extra skill and language is always nice. Gold-rated if you’re going for an unusual combination (like Warcaster and Polearm Master) and you still want to max all of your stats. Also gold-rated if you’re rolling for stats and exceeded what you could get out of point buy.

Expanded Races

Dwarf, Duergar (SCAG)  – No spells unique to a bladesinger, bad constitution bonuses, and worse of all sunlight vulnerability? Not a chance.

Minotaur (UA, Waterborne Adventures) – Int bump does not redeem the fact that nothing in this race  – the horns, the freed-up hand you can’t use a shield in, the Strength bonuses  – synergizes with what you do.

Orc (Volo’s)  – A reduction to intelligence? I’m not reading the rest of this drivel.

Aasimar, Fallen (Volo’s) – Aasimar do come with some goodies. Resistance to necrotic and radiant, heal up to someone’s level in hp once per rest, and light cantrip. Unfortunately, the +2 CHA makes them explode in the hangar before they can take off. +1 to STR is pouring gasoline on that fire and an action-activated once per long rest ability where they use their CHA to frighten people overshadows their (genuinely good) ability to do an +level extra amount of necrotic damage to a target once per round.

Aasimar, Protector (Volo’s) – Does trading out the Fallen’s +1 to STR for WIS, swapping the necrotic damage for radiant damage, and trading the fear ability for flight really redeem this race? I’m going to say: no.

Aasimar, Scourge (Volo’s) – Okay, so what about trading out the Protector’s +1 to WIS for CON and trading the flight for the ability to automatically do half-level radiant damage to everyone within 10 feet of you? Still going to say no.

Changeling (UA: Eberron) – +1 DEX and +1 CHA and we’re already looking at a purple. Can its features redeem it? No. Spell-slot free, concentration-less, unlimited Alter Self (as long as it’s only used for disguise, of course) is not bad, but it’s not worth what you’re giving up.

Firbolg (Volo’s) – WIS-keyed spells and bad stat bonuses? The only thing that should remotely interest you is the limited bonus action invisibility.

Goliath (EEPC / Volo’s)  – Constitution bonus ain’t bad, and you’ll end up using Stone’s Endurance. But it’s not that good of a choice.

Kenku (Volo’s)  – +2 Dex and a bump to WIS is fine, but the traits are pure roleplaying jank that are meaningless to you.

Lizardfolk (Volo’s) – Natural armor you could’ve gotten with Mage Armor? CON and WIS bonuses? Swim speed? A strength-based unarmed strike? A crafting ability that fails to be useful even at level one? Pick something else.

Genasi, Water (EEPC)  – While the other Genasi had their redeeming qualities, the Water Genasi is just substandard. Its ability to swim and breath underwater for long periods of time are replicable by wizard spells and a +2 CON/+1 WIS split is not desirable.

Bugbear (Volo’s) – +1 Dexterity bonus and stealth skill is good. +2 Strength? No. You’d think increased carrying capacity would be good, but even at 8 strength 5E D&D gives you more than enough space. Surprise attack is going to happen less than you want. +5 feet of reach on your turn is legitimately good, though and opens up certain fun combos with Spell Sniper.

Genasi, Air (EEPC) – Dex and Con bonuses are always good. You want a good constitution anyway, so while it’s not as good as an INT bonus you can work with it.1 levitate per long rest helps salvage this race.

Genasi, Earth (EEPC) – +1 STR is bad. Ignoring difficult terrain on earth and stone and casting Pass Without Trace is better.

Genasi, Fire (EEPC) – +2 CON and +1 INT is more like it! Resistance to fire damage is good. Burning hands and produce flame, not so much. So close to being blue.

Triton (Volo’s) – Ooo, a triple-stat bonus. Anyway, while the race has a LOT to recommend, between a +1 CON, water breathing, several okay spells, cold resistance, and speaking with water-breathing creatures, the +1 STR and +1 CHA holds its back in most campaigns.

Yuan-Ti Pureblood (Volo’s): Resistance on Saving Throws to magic and complete immunity to poison would give us a winning combination… but a +2 to CHA (and a +1 to INT, but let’s not focus on the positives) really knocks down what would otherwise be a promising race. Still, those traits are so strong that this race should be rated more highly if you rolled REALLY well for stats.

Aarakocra (EEPC)  – +2 DEX, +1 WIS. Workable. 1d4 unarmed strike, meaning you can have your hands free for spellcasting while fighting with two weapons? Okay. Constant flight? Completely redeeming in the low levels and even higher ones.

Goblin (Volo’s) – DEX and CON bumps and a walking speed equal to medium creatures, what’s not to like? How about a Nimble escape for bonus action additional movement and a bonus action Fury of the Small? If you want me to rate a race that doesn’t get INT and DEX bumps Sky-Blue, the Goblin comes oh-so-close.

Hobgoblin (Volo’s) – We like bumps to CON and INT. We also like free weapon proficiencies that don’t force you to be an elf. Saving Face is what really sells this race, though, boosting your Common d20 Rolls in critical moments.

Kobold (Volo’s) – Whoa, a stat drop. That’s rare. At least it’s in STR and you still get a +2 to DEX. Grovelling and Pack Tactics are sublime traits to boost your melee efficiency. The only downside is Sunlight Sensitivity. If it will never come up, this race is sky blue. If you’re spending the rest of your life outdoors and don’t have a way to get around this: purple or even red.

Kor (Plane Shift Zendikar) – They’re like lightfoot halflings, only medium-sized with no speed penalty, starts with Acrobatics (woo!) AND Athletics (eh), keeps the Brave and Lucky trait, and swaps out the ‘move through creatures two spaces larger than you’ trait. Would be a Sky Blue race were it not for that unfortunate +1 to WIS instead of to something useful.

Tabaxi (Volo’s) – +2 DEX and +1 CHA (sigh) and a strength-based natural attack we probably won’t be using. However, they get Perception and Stealth as skills for free and Feline Agility lets them, without even a bonus action, double their move for a turn. And it recharges when they move 0 feet on a turn.

Gnome, Deep (EEPC and SCAG)  – +2 INT and +1 DEX are stat bonuses right where you want them. 120 feet of darkvision is a serious tactical edge when you want it to be, though you might be limited by the range of your party. Gnome Cunning (advantage on saving throws for WIS, INT, and CHA against magic) is amazing. Advantage on dexterity checks in rocky terrain will come up now and again. The speed reduction does hurt, but not as much as it would for a non-bladesinger.

Feats

The feats in this section are arranged by their rating rather than alphabetically. You might have noticed the dearth of descriptions in the Red and Purple-rated feats. This is generally because there's not much to say about the feats. How many times should I say 'most bladesingers will not care about a +1 to charisma and some roleplaying horseplay'?

Pink-Rated Feats

Mounted Combatant – This feat is rated pink because while the advantages you get for riding a mount with this feat are huge, 5E D&D hasn't as of yet released a decent mount wizards can reliably access before level 17. If you the Bladesinger could conjure long-lasting unicorns and nightmares on demand, this feat would at least get a blue, maybe even a sky blue if it's a really amazing mount that's made out of tissue paper. Keep this feat in mind.

Ritual Caster – You do already get most of the benefits of this feat with the best spell list in the game. No, the real purpose of this feat is to add other rituals from another class (almost certainly cleric) to your spellbook. One problem: it's difficult to get higher-level spells to drop. That said, there are some rituals that are really good if you can find the scrolls you're looking for. Slotless Divination and Water Walk are worth the price of admission. And the value of this feat will most certainly go up as the game matures. It's already very good.

Skilled – Skills aren't great enough in 5E D&D to be using your feats on them. However, the game may release new skills eventually, especially if 5E decides to go in a Starfinder or Urban Arcana direction. And of course if you're in a setting like Dark Sun, not having Survival can easily mean death.

Green-Rated Feats

Brawny (UA 17, April 2017)A bonus to strength, double-proficiency on Athletics, and counting as one size larger for carrying capacity? Even if you have Antimagic Field on speed dial, it'd be better for the Strength-based melee types to grab this for their grappling needs. On the other hand, a +9 to +12 bonus on a grappling check is still pretty huge if no one is on board with this CUNNING PLAN. If you rolled like a greek god for your stats and somehow all of this manages to apply (Anti-Magic Field, High Strength without magic items, Want to Grapple) then I say Go. For. It. Looking at you, Tortles.

Dragon Mark (UA: Eberron, 2 Feb 2015) – Let's go down the list!

  • Detection

  • Finding

  • Handling Once again, Conjure Animals comes to save the day.

  • Healing

  • Hospitality

  • Making

  • Passage

  • Scribing

  • Sentinel

  • Shadow

  • Storm

  • Warding

… yeah, these are all pretty bad. None of these should interest you, with the possible exception of Handling. Conjure Animals is just that good. Some of these, like Dragonmark of Healing, would be okay for a Barbarian, but you're a wizard. MAKE the spell slots happen.

Polearm Master – This feat will not interest most bladesingers because these weapons key off of an ability score a bladesinger is unlikely to use (unless they're a monk) and also because three of these weapons require you to use them in two hands. However (and it's a big however), if you are able to use this feat you get some big benefits. First, if you take the Attack action with a quarterstaff, you can use the other end to do a d4 in damage + ability modifier. This is superior to two-weapon fighting despite the smaller damage die because A.) add your ability modifier B.) keeps a hand free for using material components and C.) allows you to get by with one magical weapon.

That would only make the feat black. What makes it blue is the ability make opportunity attacks against creatures that enter your reach when you're wielding a quarterstaff.

What would make this feat sky blue is if you have Warcaster as well. You do not make an attack as a reaction, you get an opportunity attack. This will cause your melee damage to shoot up and/or also giving you some very fun control, like using Tasha's Hideous Laughter against someone moving up next to you.

Resilient What's there to say? Increase the score by one and get saving throw proficiency. Note that, sadly, you can only pick this feat once even though it'd be awesome to have proficiency on Wisdom, Constitution, AND Dexterity, a combination only Rangers can get.

  • StrengthStrength saving throws are common, but they're rarely bad for you. Just use Misty Step when they come up.

  • ConstitutionNot only affects concentration saving throws, but concentration saves are very common. And unlike Dexterity saving throws, Constitution saves tend to be pretty bad when you fail them.

  • Dexterity – Despite how common they are, Dexterity saving throws typically just deal damage or restrain you. Now while that is a concern with your hit point stack, you have Song of Defense, Absorb Elements, and Misty Step to deal with those situations.

  • Wisdom – If you did something foolish like multiclass and didn't get this proficiency, you will likely want this.

  • Intelligence – If you did something foolish like multiclass and didn't get this proficiency, you still wouldn't want it. Failing intelligence saving throws are devastating, but it’s also very possible to go twenty levels without making a single one. Even if you crave that juicy +1 to Intelligence you’re better off with some other feat, even Keen Mind.

  • Charisma – Charisma saves aren't as rare as intelligence saves (still pretty rare though) and they tend to be pretty catastrophic if you fail them, but it's not a good use of your One Resilient Feat ever.

Red-Rated Feats

Actor

Critter Friend [Gnome] (UA 24 April 2017)

Dragon Fear [Dragonborn] (UA 24, April 2017)

Dungeon Delver

Durable

Dwarf Resilience [Dwarf, any] (UA 24, April 2017)

Empathetic

FellHanded (UA 6, June 2016) – All of these weapons (handaxe, battleaxe, greataxe, warhammer, maul) require strength, so no. This changes, and in a huge way, if you are boosting your strength with a magic item, you rolled your stats like a boss, you're a Tortle, or you somehow manage to grab a finesse version of one of these weapons. Then this feat becomes top-tier in your hands. Knocking someone prone when the lower of two rolls with advantage would hit WITHOUT A SAVE and WITHOUT A SIZE LIMIT is some hard control. All of the other benefits are gravy. Well, the +1 to attack rolls is more like the chunks of ham in the gravy.

Flail Mastery (UA 6, June 2016) – Unlike Fell-Handed, even if you meet the requirements this is kind of a naff feat. Magical flails are also pretty rare, too.

Grapler – If for some reason you've built your Bladesinger for grappling, this feat is legit quite usable.

Heavily Armored

Heavy Armor Master

Lightly Armored – Calm down, fellow human. You'll get armor proficiency next level for free. Sheesh.

Linguist – Use Comprehend Languages, Tongues, and Rary's Telepathic Bond instead.

Master of Disguise (UA 6, June 2016)

Medic (UA 17, April 2017)

Medium Armor Master

Moderately Armored

Naturalist (UA 17, April 2017)

Performer (UA 17, April 2017)

Quicksmithing (WoTC Online Supplement: Plane Shift Kaladesh) – Thank the Lord this feat is so awful, I was not looking forward to writing a detailed description of this turkey.

Shield Master – This is a great feat and having a way for a AoE user like yourself to push enemies into AoEs would be even greater. Sadly, you can't use shields. If you're someone able to get around this limitation (Animated Shield? Flying Shield familiar?) then this feat is outstanding even with your awful Athletics check.

Silver Tongued

Spear Mastery – No dexterity-spears, cap'n. That said, Monk does give you dexterity-based spears and you may be a STR-based bladesinger. And the benefits (+1 to AC, increased damage dice, another damage dice if between when you take a bonus action and your next turn a creature at least 20 feet away enter your reach, and as a bonus action 5 extra feet of reach) are pretty okay. Not jaw-dropping like Fell-Handed if you manage to get around the limitations, just pretty okay.

Tavern Brawler – Even with the errata, this is still a bad feat.

Purple-Rated Feats

Acrobat (UA 17, April 2017)

Alchemist (UA 6, June 2016)

Athlete

Arcanist (UA 17, April 2017)

Barbed Hide [Tiefling] (UA 24, April 2017)

Burglar (UA 24, April 2017)

Charger

Crossbow Expert – If for some reason you have hand crossbow proficiency, you REALLY want to plug people full of arrows, and you have the Sharpshooter Feat this can be pretty decent. Feat intensive for anyone but a Variant Human bladesinger, though.

Defensive Duelist You have more than enough uses of shield. Shield also lasts until the end of your turn. This is only good for one attack.

Diplomat (UA 17, April 2017)

Dragon Hide [Dragonborn] (UA 25, April 2017)Better rating assumes you're using a strength-enhancing belt and you absolutely HAVE to fight with two weapons. Tell that fighter level to go jump off a bridge.

Drow High Magic [Drow, obviously] (UA 24, April 2017)

Elemental Adept Doesn’t come up as much as you’d think for people with as diverse of a spell list as wizards. If it does (you’re using Greenflame Blade with your Flametongue all the dang time) then bump this rating up some.

Everybody's Friend [Half-Elf] (UA 24, April 2017)Are you trying to multiclass into a Charisma class as a half-elf? I've tried to do this a few times myself and keep butting my head against, even with a +Strength item, the fact that the best you can do is a 8 16 16 8 14 12. And you do get legitimately huge bonuses, enough to make you the face. If you're really itching to play the party face while getting yourself some Smite action, try this on for size.

Fade Away [Gnome] (UA 24, April 2017)

Fey Teleportation [High Elf] (UA 24, April 2017]

Flames of Phlegethos (UA 24 April 2017)

Healer – It is in fact quite a lot of healing between combat on the cheap, but do you really want to spend one of your feats doing this? If you're playing in a setting without easy healing potions and absolutely no one wants to play a class that has healing, consider making this sacrifice.

Inspiring Leader – 13 Charisma prerequisite is a little rough. But up to six people you use it on gain temporary hit points equal to your level + Charisma modifier every short rest. It's a good feat, but someone else should probably have it. Bump this rating up some if you frequently have a simulacrum, summons, and a familiar out on the field and no one else wants to cover you.

Keen Mind – +1 intelligence plus some other effects feats tend to at least be usable in certain situations, but not this one. If your DM is a huge stickler for details… I'd just write it down with pencil and paper.

Mage Slayer – You get three pretty potent advantages against combat mages: reaction for a melee weapon attack if a spell is cast within 5 feet of you (no Warcaster goodness, sadly), impose disadvantage on concentration saving throws when they have to make one from being damaged by you, and advantage on saving throws against spells cast by creatures in 5 feet of you. The problem is, most mages will do whatever they can to avoid casting in melee, including using Misty Step or certain Legendary Actions or even just flying. Even if you do fight a lot of mages, you'll struggle to get a lot of use from this feat.

Menacing (UA 17, April 2017)

Observant – It's too bad Wisdom is a near-dump stat, otherwise a +1 to wisdom and a +5 bonus to passive Wisdom and Perception checks would easily make this black-rated.

Orcish Fury [Half-orc] (UA 24, April 2017)

Perceptive (UA 17, April 2017) – See my notes on Observant.

Savage Attacker

Skulker

Squat Nimbleness (UA 24, April 2017)

Stealthy (UA 24, April 2017)

Survivalist (UA 24, April 2017)

Theologian (UA 17, April 2017)

Wonder Maker [Rock Gnome] (UA 24, April 2017)

Weapon Master – Are you absolutely dying to use that magic weapon you found in a horde you don't have proficiency with? Here you go, chief.

Black-Rated Feats

Blade Mastery (UA 6 June 2016) I'd rather have the +2 to Dex, Int, or Con. But if you really want that extra +1 to attack while also getting a +1 to AC… eh. You know my feelings on pushing melee as a Bladesinger already.

Dual Wielder – Surprisingly, this isn't a very good feat! Even on a Haste + TWF sequence, it's only a maximum +4 extra damage. +1 AC isn't all that bad. But really, you could just boost your dexterity by +2 instead, unless you're already at the maximum. Probably okay if you rolled like a greek god for stats.

Elven Accuracy Crit fishing? Just want some extra insurance? You could do worse than this. Here’s the thing, though: critical hits kind of suck in 5E D&D. Oh, baby, I love the extra 15% chance to do 5 more damage with my rapier, that’s totally worth one of the two ASI’s I’ll be getting in 11 levels for some reason.

There are some exceptions to where you’d want this feat, i.e. you’re using a Booming Blade’d Flametongue from a Tenser’s Transformation but they don’t happen until very high level. And even then I’d mostly rather have the +2 to DEX or INT.

Gourmand (UA 6, June 2016) – +1 to Constitution prevents it from being too awful. Proficiency with cook's utensils and determining if meals (just meals) are poisoned is fringe, but giving people additional hit dice on long rest AND advantage on saving throws against disease is… still not great, but I'm feeling generous today.

Grudge-Bearer (Dwarf) – Do you REALLY want to hate a small group of people? Pick a non-humanoid category of creature. You can also pick humanoid, but have to choose two specific species. In addition to boosting your STR, CON, or WIS by +1 you get auto-advantage on the first round of combat, impose disadvantage on opportunity attack rolls, and when you make an intelligence check of any type to recall information about your foes your proficiency bonus is doubled. That kind of hate is unhealthy. Rating assumes that your selection is reasonably common, such as picking humans and (gulp) elves.

Investigator (Uearthed Arcana 17, April 2017) – +1 to intelligence. Okay. Double proficiency in Investigation skill. Also okay. Search as a bonus action? Somewhere between okay and good. I rate this feat: okay.

Magic Initiate – Woohoo, more spells, more spells! Having to use the original class's spellcasting modifier for save DCs as the only intelligence-based class really hurts, but you can just, you know, not pick those spells. Cleric for Bless/Ceremony, Guidance, and whatever else will make you very popular around the table. See if your DM will let you cast the spell you pick from this spell slot out of your ordinary spell slots.

Martial Adept – Only getting one superiority dice, ever, with no option to recharge that d6 between short rest hurts the usefulness of this feat. But there are some martial maneuvers (Menacing Strike, Disarming Strike) that are very good.

Mobile – Yeah, I'm rating this feat a bit lower than most Bladesinger guides. Going 50 feet a round on foot is always a gas, and ignoring difficult terrain when you dash can come up, and finally getting a free disengage against anyone you make a melee attack is useful, especially if you want Booming Blade damage to proc. But as you can see with my philosophy on the long-term viability of investing in melee, to me all of that just adds up to 'decent'. Not 'killer app'.

Big exception: if you’re able to use Mobile in such a way to completely escape retaliation (such as for Fly or Investiture of Stone), this feat becomes loads better. Much better.

Prodigy [Half-elf or human] (UA 24, April 2017) – +1 to an ability score, an extra skill proficiency, an extra tool proficiency, and fluency of one language of your choice. Not bad.

Quick-Fingered (UA 17, April 2017) – +1 to dexterity, Double Proficiency for Sleight of Hand, and bonus action Sleight of Hand checks to plant objects, conceal an object on a creature, lift a purse, or take something from a pocket. Expect DMs to whine about you taking material component pouches.

Sharpshooter – Being a ranged weapon attacker is an unusual direction to take your Bladesinger in (Song of Victory won't help you), but it's not a terrible one. Getting rid of the long range disadvantage, ignoring anything less than full cover, and trading -5 to hit for a +10 to damage are solid benefits.

Spell Sniper – Ignore cover, double the range of spells with attack rolls, and get a free cantrip. These wouldn't interest you normally, but it does allow you to use the SCAG cantrips with reach. Most notably, Booming Blade.

Wood Elf Magic [Wood Elf] (UA 24, April 2017) – Guidance (you are picking Guidance with your druid cantrip, right? RIGHT? So, Guidance) and once per long rest longstrider and pass without trace. All good spells to have.

Blue-Rated Feats

Alert Non-proficiency, non-stat bonuses this huge in 5E D&D to anything are rare. Not getting surprised and, crucially, not giving advantages on attack rolls to hidden enemies are good. None of these benefits would be worth it by themselves, but taken together they're great.

Bountiful Luck [Halfling] (UA 6 June 2016) – Aww, looking out for your teammates? You will be using this feat a LOT, believe it or not. At higher levels, you can expect to use it pretty much every round your reaction isn’t tied up for something else.

Dragon Wings [Dragonborn] – Flight, even at 20 feet, is dominating at low levels. Not so much at higher levels, though it'll never go out of style.

Historian (UA 17 April 2017) – You a +1 bonus to Intelligence and double-proficiency on History checks. But the real money of this feat is that when you use to Help action on someone else's ability check, you can make a DC 15 Intelligence (History) check to someone who can understand you. As you share pertinent advice and historical examples, they add a proficiency bonus to your check. Great roleplaying flavor as the party's trusted adviser (or know-nothing know-it-all, depending on how often you botch the check) and gives a pretty big bonus. If your campaign is heavily ability-check based, you may even want to make room in your build for it.

Human Determination [Human] (UA 24 April 2017) – You get a cut-rate, declared beforehand Lucky of getting advantage on a Common d20 Roll once per short rest. However, you also get a +1 bonus to an ability score of your choice. Solid.

Infernal Constitution [Tiefling] (UA 24 April 2017) – +1 Constitution, advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and resistance to cold and poison damage. You have resistance to three of the four most common damage types in the game, without spells or magic items. That rules.

Lucky – Three luck points per long rest. When you make a Common d20 Roll, you can spend a luck point roll a d20 beforehand or retroactively and pick any d20. Value of the feat goes way up on short workdays, of course. Note that a strict wording of the feat turns disadvantage into Super Advantage, but good luck getting a DM to agree with that.

Orcish Aggression [Half-orc] (UA 24, April 2017) – Kind of stingy with the feat benefits, aren't we? But with a bonus action dash as long as you end up closer to an enemy, you can afford to be stingy.

Second Chance [Halfling] (UA 24, April 2017) – Get a +1 to Dexterity, Constitution, or Charisma. Also: on demand, once-a-short-rest reroll against attacks that hit you. That critical hit? Canceled. Stacks with disadvantage, too.

Sentinel – Pitiful hit points aside, you're not a bad tank. A darn good one, in fact. And enemies will be tempted to try to get around you after they whiff on their sixth Multi-attack. Meaning, your triple arsenal of making someone's speed 0 when you hit them with an opportunity attack, getting an opportunity attack even if they disengage, and getting melee weapon attacks as a reaction when your enemy attacks someone other than you. Notice that last clause? If you have Mirror Image up, you will trigger it, making this feat and that particular effect a nifty source of extra damage. Just be careful about losing your Trinity of Defense reaction, though Mirror Image makes this safe(r) to use with brutes.

Svirfneblin Magic [Deep Gnome] (Elemental Evil Player's Companion or SCAG) – Casting nondetection on yourself at will, material component-free is a good start. Getting to cast blindness/deafness, blur, and disguise self also without a spell slot makes it even better. If the DM rules that Nondetection hides you from truesight, bump this feat up to Sky Blue.

Tough – 2 extra hit points per level from now on, and it's also retroactive.

Sky Blue-Rated Feats

Notice how small this section is? That's right, most of your ASIs should be going into ability score increases.

Warcaster – You'll probably have anywhere from a +5 to a +8 concentration saving throw while bladesinging, but as a frontliner that will not be enough for you. You will need some form of insurance, and Warcaster is the platinum plan. Advantage on concentration checks. Now, Warcaster also comes with some other benefits, too. One of them being the ability to use spells on OAs. Even if you're conserving spell slots, the obvious utility of using Booming Blade on an OA comes to mind. You're also still able to cast spells with somatic components while having your hands occupied, though note that you're still not able to use material components unless you're doing something tricky. Most DMs end up ignoring that, however.

Metamagic Adept — It took a few years, but we finally have a Sky Blue feat that provides serious competition to an ASI.

If you’re splashing a level of Sorcerer (to take advantage of the liquid awesome magical items in Tasha’s) go ahead and rate this feat as Gold. This feat does amazing things with Bloodwell Vial, Far Realm Shard, and the Shadowfell Shard.

Gold-Rated Feats

None currently. While you WILL want Resilient:CON and/or Warcaster eventually, neither of them are inherently Gold-Rated.

Magic Items

Armor and Shields

You probably won't have much use for armor. Mage Armor + Bracers of Defense give you as good of a defense as Studded Leather +3, though note that it does require an attunement slot. But studded leather +3 is Legendary and Robe of the Archmagi gives the same defense and other benefits. But robe of the Archmagi is one of those 'attune to this item NOW and keep it attuned; you make room for it if you don't have a slot' items so it doesn't even save you on attunement slots. Just Legendary drop vis-a-vis +3 armor. And honestly, I'd rather hold out for an Iron Flask or a Tome of the Stilled Tongue.

Shields tend to be straight-up useless. You can't use Bladesong with them. You probably don't even have proficiency with them unless you did something ill-advised like multiclass. And since they take an action to stow, you can't even just hot-swap them them out when you want to shift to Bladesong. The only situation where you might be interested in a shield is if your DM regularly has you going three or more encounters between short rests, though this will probably irritate the other party members more than you. If that's the case and you have shield proficiency, go for it. Though you probably shouldn't be up front anyway.

[Very Rare] Animated Shield – Depending on how your DM rules, this might be the one shield that might be worth it. But it's still inferior to Bracers of Defense in almost every way, unless you wanted to take Shield Master for some reason and your DM (again) rules that Animated Shields count as wielding it. Shield Master is a VERY good feat, mind you.

[Legendary] Armor of Invulnerability Yes, you can't bladesing in it. Yes, you probably don't even have proficiency, meaning no spells. But that kind of resistance… actually isn't as completely dominating by the time you get it, since a lot of monsters where this tradeoff would be worth it have straight-up magical attacks. Something to think about if no one else wants it and you're fighting a lot of frost giants.

[Rare] Armor of ResistanceIf you expect to fight something where resistance matters more than AC (such as dragons) enjoy your resistance. About as inconvenient to hotswap as rings, and of course It screws up your mage armor, but beggars can't be choosers.

[Rare] Armor of the Ild Rune – See notes on Armor of Resistance. Cold resistance isn't as useful as fire or poison resistance, but it's much easier to find Ild Runes.

[Rare] Armor of the Vind Rune – Would've been more useful for one of the heavy armor wearers. +5 feet speed isn't worth a precious attunement slot.

[Rare to Legendary] Armor (+1/+2/+3) – They're all good armor, especially if you don't have Bracers of Defense. Even the Armor +1 will at least save you on a first level spell slot and spell prepared for Mage Armor. If you can't get Bracers of Defense (which are fairly easy to find) or you really want that attunement slot, these are good to have.

[Legendary] Black Dragon Mask – This is much more useful in the hands of a dexterity-and-charisma-based character than you, for obvious reasons. That said, if there's no one in the party that wants it you get a bunch little abilities you don't care about and, more importantly, Legendary Resistance once a day.

[Legendary] Glamoured Studded Leather – It's +1 studded leather! It has an additional property Disguise Self for free, but since it only affects the armor itself and not the rest of you, it's not even close to a replacement.

[Uncommon] Mariner's Armor – Non-attunement makes the swimming speed really good, even if it doesn't provide any other special defenses. Keep it in your pack for when necessary.

[Uncommon] Sentinel Shield – Out of bladesong? Or maybe you're just spending a lot of time exploring? You could do worse than this shield.

Potions

The bad news: potions are much rarer and harder to get in 5E D&D than in other editions. The good news: the potions that do make the cut are very, very good. Potions never require concentration and a lot of them last decently long, so it's never a bad idea to stock up on them even if you don't see yourself needing, say, Oil of Slipperiness this campaign.

[Rare] Bottle of Air – Breath in the contents. Don't have to breath for an hour or you can exhale it as a gust of Wind. Off to an uninspiring start with these ‘potions’.

[Rare] Elixir of HealthIt's nice to have one of these things lying around when the druid or cleric ends up getting paralyzed.

[Rare] Oil of Etherealness – Ethereal isn't quite as fun when it's just one person instead of the whole party, but the scouting, dungeon bypass, and get-out-of-dodge capabilities of on-demand Etherealness cannot be denied.

[Very Rare] Oil of Sharpness – As 5E D&D doesn't have anything like enhancement bonuses of 3E/4E D&D, this will technically stack with any weapon. Lasts for an hour, too. Even if it doesn't, you can still put it on magical weapons that don't get a bonus to attack and damage, such as the Flametongue. If your DM says no to both, it's just merely okay.

[Uncommon] Oil of Slipperiness – It's Freedom of Movement in a can! The oil lasting for 8 hours instead of 1 makes it a good 'screw you' to dungeons full of, say, driders.

[Uncommon] Philter of Love – Requires some setup, but it's save-free charm that lasts for an hour. Creative people can do something with that.

[Uncommon] Potion of Resistance (Acid / Cold / Fire / Force / Lightning / Necrotic / Poison / Psychic / Radiant / Thunder) See the notes below on Ring of Resistance, and pray that your DM doesn't randomly determine the resistance at the moment of drinking it. In a lot of ways it's better than the Ring of Resistance because it doesn't eat up an attunement slot, so even the situational ones like Psychic or Radiant can be useful.

[Uncommon to Legendary] Potion of Giant Strength (Never less than blue, however) – Yes, you probably made Strength your dump stat and you're using finesse weapons. Nonetheless, these potions will let you do even more damage, even if you jacked your Dexterity up to 20. And juicing a bad stat is never bad for moments when you have to lift a portcullis or bend bars.

[Rare] Potion of Diminution – Having the option of going on micro adventures is fun.

[Uncommon] Potion of Fire Breathing – Three 4d6/Dex DC 13 bonus action fire breaths? Not turning that down.

[Very Rare] Potion of Flying – Concentration-less, non-attunement flight is good, but you'd probably want something a little more permanent and party-targeting once you get out of the lower levels. Always nice to have for emergencies, however.

[Very Rare] Potion of Giant Size – Turn into a Huge creature (kind of inconvenient), but your strength gets jacked to 25 (nice), your reach increases by 5 feet (nice), your weapon dice are tripled (VERY nice), and best of all your hit point maximum becomes doubled (ULTRA NICE!). This would be rated gold even if the effect only lasted 1 hour. That it lasts for 24 hours is just amazing.

[Uncommon to Very Rare] Potion of Healing, Greater, Superior, and Supreme – The base healing potion doesn't heal for all that much, but the fact you can buy them whenever you feel like makes them valuable. Greater and Superior Healing potions tend to not be worth hoarding, but Supreme Healing heals enough to be worth it in combat (10d4+20), especially when applied to by someone without better actions to do.

[Uncommon] Potion of Growth – Going on macro adventures isn't as fun or useful as going on micro adventures. However, it's more useful in combat.

[Rare] Potion of Heroism – Bless is a spell that's top-tier even at level 20. Getting it for an hour with no concentration just makes it that much better.

[Very Rare] Potion of Invisibility – The Invisibility spell is good. The ring of invisibility is good. So why can't this be as good? Well, since this invisibility effect doesn’t require concentration, you can always concentrate on a long-lasting spell and then drink this potion. That’s not too bad.

[Rare] Potion of InvulnerabilityOne minute of resistance to all damage. Simple. Powerful.

[Cursed] Potion of Poison – Notable only because this might be the only cursed item that can actually be useful in the hands of a player.

[Rare] Potion of SpeedOne minute of haste. Only downside is when that minute ends, but If your combat is lasting that long you've got bigger problems.

[Common] Potion of Vitality – Removing multiple levels of exhaustion is surprisingly difficult in 5E D&D, so this is a potion that you'll never mind having in your satchel.

[Uncommon] Potion of Water Breathing – I'm just putting this in here to laugh at it. Yes, having water breathing might be a concern in a game that doesn't drop magical items and forces you to abandon a precious spells known slot… but since you are by definition playing in a campaign that drops magical items, you're also 95% likely to come across a spellbook or a scroll that has that ritual – which lasts for 24 hours, not 1. Might have some use if your DM is Gygaxian enough to suddenly throw you into water between long rests/morning prep, but you’re hosed either way.

Rings

[Rare] Gold Dragon's Ring – It's extra darkvision (a lot of it) and a minute of flight. Not amazing, but concentration-free flight is always welcome.

[Rare] [N] Ring of Animal Influence – This ring is first in a long line of magical items I like to call, 'this would be total garbage if it required attunement, but it doesn't, so it's salvageable'. And that's what it is. 3 charges of Animal Friendship, a Fear that only targets beasts of an intelligence 3 or lower, and Speak with Animals isn't isn't that great, but hey, it doesn’t use attunement.

[Legendary] Ring of Elemental Command (Air / Earth / Fire / Water) – All of these properties should be easy for you to unlock if you're at level 8 or higher. At level 9, you can even summon an elemental with Conjure Elemental! Best part of all of these properties: they don't require concentration. Air gives you call lightning and constant, hovering flight. Earth lets you move through solid rock and stone, not only burrowing but also through difficult terrain. You also get to cast Stone Shape, Stoneskin, and Wall of Stone. Fire gives you outright immunity to fire damage and the ability to cast Fireball and Wall of Fire. Water is kind of disappointing, but when you need Control Water you really need it! Air is probably the best of the lot, though Earth is very competitive for exploration, Fire isn't bad to give to a follower for an extra Fireball battery.

[Rare] Ring of Resistance (Acid / Cold / Fire / Force / Lightning / Necrotic / Poison / Psychic / Radiant / Thunder) – Well, what do you expect? Fire and poison resistance is good, necrotic and psychic and cold and lightning resistance is okay, the other ones you don't really care about.

[Legendary] Ring of Djinni Summoning (Follower) – The djinni can summon an air elemental for extra muscle, use Plane Shift once a day at DC 17 Charisma, and can do three +9/3d6+5 attacks a round, along with some other goodies. Useful up to level 20. Uses up your concentration slot, but it's really good. It's fairly beefy and is unlikely to die as long as you're careful, but DO NOT LET THIS THING DIE, otherwise the ring becomes nonmagical. Release concentration on it if you think it's about to hit zero hit points.

[Rare] Ring of Evasion – Surprisingly, it's not as good as you think it'd be. It uses up a reaction, which, you guessed it, could've been used for Absorb Elements or Song of Defense. At least it's retroactive if you don't feel like using a spell slot.

[Rare] Ring of Feather Falling – It's good for the non-spellcasters, not so good for you. If you're not falling far enough to be able to cast Levitate or Fly or Polymorph (and you should have at least one of those three spells prepared) just soak up the damage.

[Rare] Ring of Free Action – Look at all these goodies. Difficult terrain doesn't cost extra movement, magic can't reduce your speed, and you can't be paralyzed or restrained? This is nine kinds of awesome for you. This ring will allow you to fight in environments you never dreamed yourself capable of. Want to fight in the middle of a Watery Sphere or a Web or a Transmute Rock or an Evard's Black Tentacles? Now you can. It doesn't protect against non-magical restraining, so don't get cocky on the grapples.

[Legendary] Ring of Invisibility Concentration-free invisibility all day, every day, any day. Wears off after the first attack or the casting of ANY spell, but so what?

[Uncommon] Ring of JumpingCast jump spell as a bonus action? I'm already skeptical, but go on. Cast it only on yourself? Fine, I could think of worse uses. Requires an attunement slot, too? No.

[Rare] Ring of Mind ShieldingThe combat uses for this spell are kind of minimal. You don't even get advantages on certain saving throws or psychic resistance. That said, it's a prime candidate for magical item hot-swapping in social situations, like trying to convince the solar you mean them no harm.

[Rare] Ring of Protection You gonna turn down a free +1 to AC and saving throws? Only if you're lacking the attunement slots.

[Very Rare] Ring of Regeneration – It's not terrible. Regain 1d6 hit points every 10 minutes. Replacing missing limbs probably won't be something you use that much.

[Very Rare] Ring of Shooting Stars (Follower) – The damage from the Ball Lightning and Shooting Stars option is kind of weak beer. But it is 1 to 6 charges of Faerie Fire.

[Rare] Ring of Spell Storing (Follower) – What a great ring. The best way to use it is to stick concentration buffs in it and give it to your familiar. But it's also not a bad idea to stick, say, two Absorb Elements and a Fly or five castings of Shield in it and use it on yourself.

[Legendary] Ring of Spell Turning – Advantage on savings against spells that only target you. You also have a 1 in 10 chance to rebound it entirely to the caster. At the tier in which thing drops, it'll probably save your bacon a couple of times unless you already have something like a Robe of the Archmagi.

[Very Rare] Ring of Telekinesis (Follower) – Can only target objects not being worn or carried. Which is a bummer, but think of it as a super-charged Mage Hand. You can still do quite a lot of mischief with At-Will moving of 1,000 pound objections.

[Rare] Ring of the Ram – For an attunement item, it's okay. 6d10 damage and 5 feet of forced moved if you blow all three charges at once isn't bad. Neither is a +15 strength bonus to break an item.

[Uncommon] [N] Ring of Swimming – Swim speed of 40 feet for free? Yes, please. And, oh look, the wizard has Water Breathing on their spell list.

[Legendary] [N] Ring of Three Wishes (Follower) – Yeah, it's only three wishes and that's it, but it's not an attunement item. Easy come, easy go, I say. Use it with Astral Projection shenanigans if you want the DM to throw the book at you.

[Uncommon] [N] Ring of Warmth – If you want a ring of Cold Resistance, which is not a terrible thing to want, this thing is slightly but strictly superior to that ring. What with letting you and your possessions being unharmed with up to -50 degrees fahrenheit.

[Uncommon] [N] Ring of Water WalkingYou normally wouldn't care about this item, but it's not an attuned item, so you do care.

[Rare] Ring of X-Ray Vision Too bad the X-Ray vision only extends to solid objects and not, say, a Fog Cloud. The penetration is a little weak (1 foot of stone?), and repeat uses between long rests require you to make a DC 15 constitution save or become exhausted. That said, there is one legit awesome use, and that's with the Investiture of Stone spell and similar abilities. With it, it's at least one minute per day of constant non-concentration advantage.

Rods

[Uncommon] [N] Immovable Rod – Remember this fun rod? 8,000 pounds of resistance, can float in midair while being unmovable, and requires a DC 30 Strength check to move.

[Legendary] Korolnor Sceptor – +3 club, and that's the least of it. Not only do you get the properties of the Wyrmskull Throne, but you get additional properties on top of that. 1 charge gets you direction and depth to the surface, 2 allows you to cast sending, and 3 allows you to cast teleport with no chance of mishap if it's within 60 feet of the throne. The charges of the Wyrmskull Throne's properties and this item's unique ones are fungible, so beware.

Read more up on the Wyrmskull Throne to see what else you get. If the DM disagrees on you getting both properties, this item is still pretty okay just for the teleport spell.

[Very Rare] Rod of Absorption – Eh. Better than nothing. Because of your limited attunement slots just churn through the 50 charges to covert to 5th level or lower slots and enjoy the brief boost in power.

[Very Rare] Rod of Alertness (Follower) – It's not a bad rod to have until you get something better. If your familiar or follower or simulacrum can attune to it, all the better.

[Legendary] Rod of Lordly Might – Ask if the Button 1 Flame Tongue property can be used as a finesse weapon. If it can: you are in business. Flame Tongues are good, Flame Tongues with additional effects on a hit are better. It's not worth an attunement slot otherwise unless you, once again, have a decent strength score.

[Uncommon / Rare / Very Rare] Rod of Pact Keeper (+1 / +2 / +3) Extra. Warlock. Spell Slot per long rest. Oh, also Warlock DC save boost, which can be enough to make those charisma-based spells useful.

[Rare] Rod of Rulership (Follower) – Mass charm person at Wisdom DC 15. Not bad.

[Rare] [N] Rod of Security – Create a Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion with fewer restrictions on floor plan! Like having a tropical island or carnival. It comes with a bunch of noncombat utility, including the slowing of aging, and people regain a hit dice per hour spent in it. You can also stay in the tent for a number of days equal to 200/number of people in it. It takes only an action to use and teleports up to 200 willing people in sight, so it's a great escape button. Pity about the once per ten days restriction.

[Rare] Rod of the Vonindod (Follower) – Constant Locate Object is very, very good if you're willing to play Twenty Questions.

[Rare] Tentacle Rod (Follower) – As an action, create three 15-foot reach tentacles with a +9/1d6 attack. If all three tentacles hit the same target, DC 15 Constitution check or for one minute no reasons, Dexterity saving throw disadvantage, only one of an action or bonus action, and halved speed. The target can get out of it with a saving throw success at the end of their turn.

Staves

[Rare] Gulthias Staff Who knows what 'short term madness' means if you fail a DC 13 wisdom stave while using this staff? If your DM is being lenient with this property, such as making the madness weak or letting you cure it easily, you get loads of healing (even if you're not in combat, but it excels there) since you get health back equal to the damage you deal with the staff. If your DM is not being lenient, this staff is borderline useless. It's not even clear if spells like Greater Restoration can get around the madness.

[Rare] [P] Spider StaffIf you're just using this staff to do damage, it's not a bad weapon if you have a way to make decent attack rolls with it. 1d6 poison damage on a hit with no attunement? Cool. If you just want to use it as a source for extra webs and spider climb, that's nice, too. Bump the rating up a notch if you're using both properties.

[Rare] Staff of Charming – Even with the generous number of charges, you're probably not going to be using your actions in combat to cast these spells. What saves this thing is its effects of auto-passing a save against an enchantment effect and spending charges to reflect a successfully saved enchantment spell onto the caster.

[Rare] Staff of Defense – If you're not fighting with two weapons, this is not bad to keep in your offhand for a +1 AC. And it comes with two spells (Mage Armor, Shield) you'll be casting a lot.

[Very Rare] Staff of Fire – Fireball and Wall of Fire are great spells, even cast at their lowest level.

[Very Rare] Staff of Frost – Cone of Cold, Fog Cloud, and Wall of Ice are great spells, even cast at their lowest level.

[Very Rare] Staff of Healing – Did you multiclass cleric? Extra castings of Cure Wounds and Lesser Restoration are always welcome.

[Very Rare] Staff of PowerNow you're cooking with gas! +2 bonus to Armor Class, Saving Throws, and Spell Attack rolls would be enough by itself to make it Sky Blue. But not only that, it comes with a smorgasbord of great spells: Cone of Cold, 5th level Lightning Bolt and Fireball, Globe of Invulnerability, Hold Monster, Levitate, and Wall of Force. You get twenty charges to play with. In the interest of Min-Max disclosure, this is probably better in the hands of the Warlock or Sorcerer than you. But if that doesn't apply (or for some weird reason they don't want it) this thing is going into your attunement slot and not leaving until it's almost out of charges. Be really careful of the Retributive Strike, though.

[Rare] Staff of Swarming Insects – Hey, you know that thing Warlocks do with the Devil's Sight + Darkness combo? This is now you, but with the cloud moving around with you. You can also use it for Giant Insect and Insect Plague.

[Uncommon] Staff of the Adder – Yeah, I sure like using my attunement slots (and wizards can't even use it) to as a bonus action create an autonomous 20 hp/15 AC snake that does 1d6 damage around with 3d6 DC 15 poisons – and the staff gets destroyed if the snake does. Not.

[Legendary] Staff of the Magi – You don't get the bonus to AC and saving throws like with the Staff of Power, which is a bummer. What is NOT a bummer, though, is how you get FIFTY charges to play with. You also get a buttload of spells, too: Conjure Elemental, Dispel Magic, SEVENTH level Fireball and Lightning Bolt, Invisibility, Knock, Passwall, Plane Shift, Telekinesis, Fireball, and Web. The following spells don't even use charges: Detect Magic (!), Enlarge/Reduce (!!), Light, Mage Hand, and Protection from Evil and Good (!). Again, beware the Retributive Strike.

[Uncommon] Staff of the Python – It's like Staff of the Adder, except it takes an action to activate and you get a giant constrictor snake instead of a poisonous one. This one isn't as bad, since it's much harder to kill (60 hit points) and comes with a DC16 Grappling. Wizards still can't use it, though.

[Rare] [M] Staff of the Woodlands – This is a druid-only item. But it you took a level of druid, it's not bad. It's a 20-charge +2 quarterstaff with a +2 spell attack roll booster, and comes with animal friendship (1 charge), awaken (5), barkskin (2), locate animals or plants (2), speak with animals (1), speak with plants (3), and wall of thorns (6). So why is this staff blue? Because you get to cast Pass Without Trace without expending charges.

[Very Rare] Staff of Thunder and Lightning – You get a bunch of weird properties that can only be used once until the next dawn. 2d6 lightning damage on a melee attack, hit a target and force a DC 17 constitution save or be stunned, DC 17 9d6 lightning bolt, deafen everything not you in 60 feet and 2d6 thunder damage on a DC 17 Constitution save, and finally the first and previous properties at the same time that doesn't impact uses of its individual properties.

[Rare] [M] Staff of Withering – Non-wizard item. Gives spend 1-3 of its charges to do charges x 2d10 damage on a hit. Each time you spend a charge, target makes a DC 15 saving throw or gets Constitution and Strength disadvantage on ability checks. Meh.

[Rare] Wand of Binding – Remember what I said about using short rests to cycle through your items? You only get one shot of Hold Monster, but it's a good shot. Could also use it to gain advantage on resisting being restrained/paralyzed/grappled.

[Rare] Wand of Enemy Detection (Follower) – Yeah, straight-up foiling a huge laundry list of effects is great. Two problems, though: A) Generally, people aren't going to be hostile to you unless they know you exist, so good luck with this thing infiltrating a fortress and B) You will get a lot of false positives with this. Want to find the shadow demon? Too bad, you're detecting the nearby bearded demon instead. That familiars and such can attune to this wand, unlike most wands, barely saves it from the garbage heap.

[Rare] Wand of Fear – Fear is a good spell to have on tap.

[Rare] Wand of Fireballs You get a ton of castings of fireball on a full charge and you can even spend charges to juice the level.

[Rare] Wand of Lightning Bolts All of the advantages of fireball. Sky blue, maybe even gold if you for some reason multiclassed two levels of Tempest Cleric.

[Uncommon] [N] Wand of Magic Detection (Follower) – Not requiring attunement makes this much better. The biggest drawback of casting Detect Magic from your ritual book is the casting time. And even if you prepare it (which is usually not a terrible idea) it's still not exactly easy on the spell slots.

[Uncommon] [N] Wand of Magic Missile (Follower) – Not requiring attunement makes this much better. Upcasting it to level 7 or 8 makes for a good alpha strike at lower levels.

[Rare] Wand of Paralysis – The save DC is less than that of Wand of Binding and it targets Constitution instead of Wisdom. However, you get 6 safe charges of what's effectively Hold Monster.

[Very Rare] Wand of PolymorphPolymorph is one of the top-tier swiss army knife spells and you get 6 safe charges of it. The spell save DC of 15 is kind of mediocre, but Polymorph is a great spell even when just cast on friends and family.

[Uncommon] [N] Wand of Secrets – Doesn't require attunement, anyone can use it, so why not?

[Uncommon/Rare/Very Rare] Wand of the War Mage (+1/+2/+3) – While it's not like the number of ranged spell attack rolls you'll be making is zero (and ignoring cover is okay) it's not really worth a precious attunement slot.

[Rare] Wand of Viscid Globs (Follower, surprisingly) – Oh YESSSSSS. Ranged restrained. What makes this superb is the requirement of a mere ranged attack roll to land rather than a save. What's more, the only non-spell effects that gets rid of It in under an hour is a pint or more of alcohol, oil of etherealness, or universal solvent. Expect the DM to have a lot more drunkard monsters when you start using this. Don't even have to be a spellcaster to attune to it. Only drawback is, ironically given what I said earlier, the requirement of the spell attack roll. This kind of makes it chew in the hands of most followers, since it's an intelligence roll they're probably not going to have proficiency on.

[Uncommon] Wand of Web – It's web! On the cheap! Most monsters tend to not have ridiculous dexterity saving throws, so the DC 15 spell save will do you just fine.

[Rare] Wand of Winter – I ain't turning down a couple of free sleet storms.

Miscellanous Wondrous Items

[Uncommon] [N] Alchemy Jug – Once a day, pour out small amounts of (no more than 8 gallons, and usually much less) each of Acid, Basic Poison, Beer, Honey, Mayonnaise, Oil, Vinegar, Water, or Wine. Unless you're playing Dark Sun, you're going to struggle to find uses for this item even though it's not an attunement item.

[Rare] Amulet of Health Boosts your constitution to 19, no questions asked. Constitution affects concentration saving throws and hit points and it's very unlikely for a Bladesinger to have a Constitution score over 16, so this is always welcome. If you can absolutely guarantee for your Bladesinger to get this item (i.e. DM rewards in Adventurer's League) so you can sink your starting constitution to 8, this item becomes even more amazing.

[Uncommon] Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location – What a mouthful. For an uncommon item, you're not going to use this item much when you get it. Gets marginally better as the game goes on. However, if a DM rules that the truesight/blindsight abilities of certain monsters counts as magic, this magical item immediately shoots up in value. Yes, I would very much like for my Greater Invisibility spell to work against liches.

[Very Rare] Amulet of the PlanesIt's a free at-will Plane Shift spell. If you can nail the DC 15 intelligence check reliably (and it's a check, not a save) then it's a powerful item. Even if you can't, there's still nothing stopping you from using this item repeatedly until you end up where you want. In fact, sometimes you actually want to fail on the check since the random planar teleportation affects you and everyone else in 15 feet, no save. Imagine transporting a group of NPC champions to the Plane of Fire and then using this item again to send you someplace else.

[Legendary] [N] Apparatus of the Crab – As usual for this item across editions, the hype doesn't live up to the effect. Still, it's non-attunement, has a bunch of hit points, and lets you have undersea adventures so it's not entirely bad.

[Rare] [N] Bag of Beans – You get 3d4 randomly determined beans. You have a 10% chance of getting 1d8 randomly determined magic potions (one of which is a potion of poison, which is easily dealt with), a 10% chance of getting 1d4+3 eggs that will boost your lowest ability score by 1 if you can make a DC 20 Constitution saving throw (with a consequence of 10d6 force damage if you fail), and a 9% chance of spawning a mummy lord you can take on at any time with treasure of the GM's choice. There are some other effects here, too, but they're all ignorable or pointless and in any case are easily dealt with. Think of this magic item as a Deck of Many Things minus the screwjobs.

[Rare] [N] Bag of Devouring – Not a cursed item, but might as well be. You can't even use this as a clever trap against people you hate and even if you get around the rather grievous limitations there's not much benefit to doing so.

[Uncommon] [N] Bag of Holding – Good old fashioned bag of holding. Increased carrying capacity limits of 5E D&D doesn’t make it as much of a ‘must have’ as it was in previous editions for low-strength characters, but it’s still great to have around.

[Uncommon] [N] Bag of Tricks ( Gray / Rust / Tan ) – You get long-lasting, concentrationless, extra tokens on the battlefield that you can reuse every day. If you really feel like abusing the wording, you can get an army of critters, too. Only problem? They top out at CR1. You get three of them, sure, but they’ll get worse and worse as the game goes on.

[Uncommon] [N] Balloon Pack – Until you recharge it at an air elemental node, levitate for 10 minutes without concentration or feather fall as a reaction? Eh. Even if you have the means to recharge it at will, it's still just 'okay'.

[Rare] [N] Bead of Force (Follower) – Let's see: you get 1d4+4 beads of force with function as a concentration-free Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for 1 minute at DC 15 Dexterity. You can't move the sphere, but everything else about it is great.

[Rare to Legendary] Belt of Giant Strength (Hill / Stone and Frost / Fire / Cloud / Storm) – You get, in order, 21, 23, 25, 27, and 29 (!) strength. Even though you're likely to be using finesse weapons, these are is amazing for you, the Bladesinger. First of all, it turns a crummy save/check into a respectable or even great one. Secondly, it greatly opens up the number of weapons available to you, including the all-important staff. But most importantly of, it causes your damage to skyrocket. Going from a 16 dexterity to a 29 strength is an astounding +6 attack and damage bonus. If you get one of these early, you can neglect raising dexterity for quite a few levels and focus on feats or Intelligence.

[Rare] Belt of Dwarven Kind – +2 bonus to constitution (max of 20), advantage on Persuasion (Charisma) checks on dwarves, proficiency with the dwarven language, 60-foot darkvision, and advantage against poison saves and resistance against poison? Just the last property would be good enough to bump this rating up to a blue. Everything together… well, it's still not quite sky blue, but it's pretty dang close.

[Uncommon] [N] Boots of Elvenkind – Advantage on Stealth checks to move silently, no attunement. Definitely, man. Generally this will equate to 'advantage on all stealth checks' unless you're trying to hide in plain sight.

[Rare] Boots of Levitation – Well, it is at will. Levitation leaves much to be desired as an in-combat trick, but as an exploration trick that only works on yourself… you can work with it.

[Rare] Boots of Haste – It's bonus-action disadvantage-inflicting on opportunity attacks (not just opportunity ones) and doubles your walking speed. It lasts for ten minutes a day, but you can end the effect and the countdown as a bonus action.

[Uncommon] Boots of Striding and Springing – It boosts your speed to 30 unless it's already higher. And heavy armor doesn't encumber you. And you also get three times your jumping distance. It's pretty okay on some characters, like a heavy armor dexterity-cleric, but it's pointless for you.

[Uncommon] Boots of the Ise Rune – Ignore difficult terrain while walking and you can walk on water?Not bad, but I wouldn't use my attunement slot on one of these unless it was one of my first three attunement items.

[Uncommon] Boots of the Stein Rune – Oh, hey, advantage on strength saving throws and avoiding being knocked prone as a reaction? For 85% of Bladesingers, advantage on a save they likely have a -1 to isn't going to be helpful. But avoiding being knocked prone as a reaction does make these more palatable. If you are a strength-based Bladesinger, these are significantly better.

[Rare] Boots of the Vind Rune – 20 feet of your movement on each of your turns into flight isn't as useful as you'd think, though it does let you reliable melee attack flying monsters near the ceiling – not that it's much of a problem for you. A free feather fall doesn't really change the usefulness of the item.

[Uncommon] Boots of the Winterlands – It's about as useful as a ring of cold resistance, with a teaspoon of gravy on top. Ignoring ice and snow difficult terrain hardly matters (unless you fight in your own Sleet Storm) and with heavy clothes, tolerating temperatures to -100 degrees farenheight? Eh. To put things in perspective, the coldest temperature on Earth ever recorded was -128.6F, so don't think this item makes you an invincible winter traveler or anything.

[Rare] [N] Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals (Follower) – Once per day, you get a water elemental. It's not clear if this will eat up your concentration slot or not, but it probably does (the wording is “and summon a water elemental, as if you had cast the conjure elemental spell”). That said, it is a free water elemental and they stay useful until the very endgame. The only caveat is that the bowl requires you to fill it with three gallons of water, which might be difficult to do on the fly.

[Uncommon] Bracers of Archery – Proficiency with, and +2 damage with longbows and shortbows. Bladesingers that don't get bow proficiency, such as most half-elves, will appreciate this in the mid-levels. Unfortunately, bow-and-arrow damage tends to drop off as the game goes on without significant investment. And in any case, it's not that much extra damage for a precious attunement slot. It's nice to have at lower levels, though.

[Rare] Bracers of Defense – +2 to AC if you're wearing no armor and using no shield. Simple. Effective. Powerful. You'll probably be wearing these into the endgame, unless you manage to score the triple-triad of a Staff of Power / Robe of the Archmagi / Ioun Stone of Mastery.

[Rare] [N] Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals (Follower) – Once per day, you get a fire elemental. It's not clear if this will eat up your concentration slot or not, but it probably does (the wording is “and summon a fire elemental, as if you had cast the conjure elemental spell”). That said, it is a free fire elemental and they stay useful until the very endgame. The only caveat is that you have to put a fire in the brazier and keep it burning, which probably means some finagling. Only give it to a hands-free familiar if you want to accidentally start a fire or something.

[Rare] Brooch of Shielding – Force damage is rare unless you pissed off the enclave of Warlocks and magic missile damage is a non-factor to you, the Bladesinger with Shield. Give this item as much consideration as you would a Ring of Force Resistance, meaning little.

[Uncommon] [N] Broom of Flying – Limitless, concentration-free flying speed of 30 for up to 400 pounds, 60 for up to 200 pounds? Better get started on that diet. You can also use it as a riderless taxi for up to 1 mile.

[Very Rare] Candle of Invocation – First of all, this item is pretty ridiculous. The effects are so good that unless your party are heavy roleplayers or you roll up a Neutral/Chaotic Evil candle, everyone is going to change their alignment to match that of the candle. Why? Because it only works for people whose alignment matches the candle and the effects are so good that it's a near-irresistible temptation to break the fourth wall to use it.

You can extinguish this candle for the first time you use it to cast a gate spell, but that's almost certainly a waste. Instead, use it for one of two ways: unlimited 1st-level cleric and druid spells while the candle burns, or within a 30 foot radius attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks with advantage. You use it in 1 minute increments and you get 240 of these increments.

[Uncommon] [N] Cap of Water Breathing – It's effectively unlimited castings of Water Breathing. If you're using this item for that, it's inferior to that of a ritual. If you're using it as a way to be able to cast verbal spells underwater, it goes from pointless to situationally lifesaving. Which is what I like to see in my non-attunement items.

[Rare] [N] Cape of the Mountebank – If you can't think of a way to use Dimension Door at least once a day, have a couple of cups of coffee and think again.

[Very Rare] [N] Carpet of Flying – Bottom line, it's concentration-free, no-action flying that can carry at least one, maybe even two medium or small-sized people. The carpets trade off flying speed for increased size and carrying capacity, but they're all good to have. Bump down the rating some if the DM is going to target your carpet separately. And trust me, your enemies will if it's an option.

[Rare] [N] Censer of ControllingAir Elementals (Follower) – (I hate how these items are named. It makes it hard to group.) Once per day, you get an air elemental. It's not clear if this will eat up your concentration slot or not, but it probably does (the wording is “and summon an air elemental, as if you had cast the conjure elemental spell”). That said, it is a free air elemental and they stay useful until the very endgame. The only caveat is that you have to put a fire in the censer and keep it burning (seriously, for an air elemental?) which probably means some finagling. Only give it to a hands-free familiar if you want to start a fire or something.

[Rare] [N] Chime of Opening – It's unclear if this item can open up magically sealed doors/lids/locked. It's also unclear whether this opens barred portals; while it doesn't say so specifically, it does say that it opens the object if no locks or latches remain. If neither caveat applies in your games, drop this item down a couple of ratings.

[Uncommon] [N] Circlet of Blasting (Follower) – Once per day scorching ray at a measly +5 attack bonus? Even being non-attunement and on a follower, it kind of struggles to be useful.

[Rare] Claw of the Wyrm Rune – You know, if I was a dragon I wouldn't be very afraid of this. First use: an action-based, 30-foot, DC 15 Constitution Saving throw or they gain vulnerability to all damage until the end of your next turn, up to three times a day? Considering the constitution saving throws of dragons, it's likely this won't even convince a dragon to burn a Legendary Save. Second use: Resistance to damage from any and all dragon breath weapons? Okay, that's much better, but you have absorb elements. If you're super-concerned about dragon breath, you the Bladesinger can stack this with a Song of Defense. Finally, if you want to destroy the item you can after 8 hours create a (permanent, apparently) 100-foot radius ward that will give dragons disadvantage on saving throws and give them a flying speed of no higher than 10 feet. This will be almost impossible to use unless the dragon politely comes up to your lair for a final battle. I'd keep this item locked away in my Secret Chest unless I knew I was going to be fighting dragons that day.

[Rare] Claws of the Umber Hulk – You know, while burrowing through rock at the rate of 1 foot per round is a very useful item, there's no way you're going to use this because you can't cast spells with somatic components while wearing them. Give it to someone else.

[Very Rare] Cloak of the Arachnida – Four out of five properties ain't bad. Resistance to poison damage (good, already brings it up to a blue), climbing speed equal to your walking speed (even better), can move up, down, and across vertical surfaces and upside-down ceilings without using your hands (excellent, and makes the previous property even better), can't be caught in webs of any sort and can move through them as difficult terrain (extremely nice for people with that spell), and a double-sized Web spell at DC 13 (okay, but not great). If you know for a fact you're going to regularly use every one of these properties, this item barely gets across the finish line as a Sky Blue item.

[Rare] Cloak of DisplacementConstant, no-questions asked disadvantage on attack rolls against you against sight-based attacks unless you took damage between your current/last and your next turn, you're incapacitated, unable to move, or restrained. This magic item makes questions like 'do I use haste or do I use greater invisibility' no-brainers.

[Rare] Cloak of ElvenkindOoo, a triple-rating. You do want disadvantage on Wisdom (perception) checks to see you and passive advantage on visual-based Stealth checks. These two things will make you near-impossible to detect passively (even if you're not actively stealthing). So why is it rated lower than Boots of Elvenkind? Because these use attunement slots. If you're able to hide quickly (You're a Haste junkie or have Cunning Action) this item gets much better. Maybe even sky blue if your DM agrees that the camouflage property allows you to hide in plain sight.

[Legendary] Cloak of Invisibility Man, why are cloaks so good in 5th Edition? Anyway, you get constant, concentration-free invisibility, with one caveat; it doesn't break if you cast spells or attacks.

[Very Rare] Cloak of Protection – +1 bonus to AC and saving throws. Easy, guilt-free pickup until you find something better for your attunement slots.

[Very Rare] Cloak of the Bat – Advantage on Stealth checks, 40-foot fly speed if you're in dim light or darkness (though you drop like a rock if you enter brighter light or aren't using both hands to hold the cloak), and if you're in dim light or darkness you transform into a bat pre the Polymorph spell while keeping your mental ability scores. The whole is better than the sum of its parts.

[Rare] Cloak of the Ise Rune – Just here for the fire resistance. Because when's the last time you had to make a stealth check, advantage (you get this, BTW), disadvantage, or neither in snowy terrain?

[Uncommon] [N] Cloak of the Manta Ray – Non-attunement speed of 60 AND water breathing. Seriously, even the not-so-amazing cloaks in 5E D&D are good.

[Rare] Cloak of the Vind Rune – Converting 20 feet of your movement on each of your turns into flight isn't as useful as you'd think, though it does let you reliable melee attack flying monsters near the ceiling – not that it's much of a problem for you. A free feather fall doesn't really change the usefulness of the item. This is the first dud cloak in the game, though I'm going to pretend that it's the mediocrity of the Boots of the Vind Rune infecting the precious efficacy of cloaks in general.

[Very Rare to Legendary] Crystal Ball (Basic / Mind Reading / Telepathy / True Seeing ) – Have some free time and feel like playing Twenty Questions with a Scrying Spell? Nice to have if you don't want to burn up some 5th-level or higher spell slots. The non-basic Crystal Balls package additional spell effects with it. The Crystal Ball of Telepathy is awesome if you want to have remote-control slaves (though the once per dawn use kind of limits it, even though DC 17 Wisdom is really tough). Don't even have to scry on the original target to use this property if the victim is within 30 feet of what you're looking at, so have fun using this on the king's serving girls. Crystal Ball of True Seeing is literally like having True Seeing as a ritual (not as extensive, but you get 120 feet thereof), complete with unlimited use. Hint: Start scrying yourself or a buddy.

[Rare] Cube of Force – Considering how crummy this thing was in previous editions, it's amazing how much 5E buffed it. Anyway, here's the situation: you start out with a whopping 36 charges (getting 1d20 back every dawn). As an action, you get a 15-foot cube of force, centered on you, that lasts for one minute. The number of charges you expend determines how much screening you get. They're mutually exclusive, unfortunately. One charge, hedge out gases. Two charges, hedge out non-living matter except for walls/floors/ceilings if you want (!). Three charges, hedge out living matter (!!). Four charges, hedge out spell effects (!!!). Five charges, hedge out everything except for walls/floors/ceilings if you want (!!!!!!!).

The only way to take the cube down non-voluntarily is if it comes in contact with certain spell effects, none of which except for Disintegrate or Wall of Fire you're likely to come in contact with. Even if your charges do get drained, it doesn't destroy the item.

This item is just so ridiculously, groin-grabbingly good once you start abusing it that your DM will probably offer to trade you a Robe of the Archmagi for it to restore game balance.

[Rare] [N] Cubic Gate – 3 charges, regaining 1d3 charges per day, of plane shift. You can make a portal with it, or cast the Plane Shift spell at DC 17. Five of the six sides are randomly determined, but one of them are always keyed to the material plane. It doesn't say how long the portals last, so in the best case scenario you can turn one or two of your Demiplanes into a portal network.

[Uncommon] [N] Decanter of Endless Water – You get endless fresh or salt water. The usefulness of which depend on the campaign; unfortunately, the constant action-activated babysitting really reduces its usefulness unless you're in Dark Sun. You may also be interested in the bonus-action property to use the Geyser (30 gallons per minute) property to knock a creature within 30 feet of you prone with 1d4 bludgeoning damage if they fail a strength saving throw. Kind of makes a huge mess, though.

[Uncommon] [N] Deck of Illusions – Yes, it's concentration-free, non-attunement illusions for up to 34 (typically 1d20-1) uses, however you can't control what comes out of it. The big power of illusions tends to come from adjusting the illusion to the situation, so you're stuck justifying why, say, a kobold should significantly affect the combat situation.

[Legendary] [N] Deck of Many Things – Oh, great. This item again. If there was ever a magical item that deserved the green rating, this would be it. You've probably heard of this magical item and its ability to end campaigns before. First of all, there's nothing in this deck that you absolutely need. All of the good things (except for The Fates and the Throne) you can get from other magical items. If you're pretty happy about the direction your character is going, throw the deck away and never look back.

If you're prepared to risk everything, though, here's the skinny: There are two decks, a 13-card version and a 22-card deck. Entries that have an asterisk only appear in 22-card decks. Generally, the 13-card version is safer than the 22-card version while not being that much worse in utility. There's no avoiding the 'rip up your character sheet' card of The Void, though. Let's go through the list:

[*] Balance – Unless you're neutral, this card radically shifts your alignment. This can range from having no effect to completely ruining your character, if not mechanically, then roleplaying wise.

[*] Comet – If you single-handedly defeat the next hostile monster of group of monsters you encounter, you gain experience points enough to gain one level. Since there's no CR limitation on this and nothing bad happens if you don't meet the requirements, we'll rate this card as good.

[*] Donjon – This removes your character from the game unless someone is kind enough to let you use wish to find where you are. Since Wish in 5E D&D has a 33% chance of never letting you cast it again, good luck finding someone willing to do this for you.

Euryale – Permanent -2 penalty to every saving throw unless a god uncurses you or the magic of the Fates card pops up.

[*] The Fates – Undo one bad event as if it never happened. If you completely screwed over your life (perhaps because you played with this wretched thing) you can use this as a last-resort of last-resorts.

Flames – You gain the emnity of a powerful devil. You're an adventurer and you don't care, as you're not doing your job right unless devils hate you.

Fool – You lose 10,000 XP, but never enough to cause you to drop a level. Really bad, but not character-ruiningly bad. You can draw this card multiple times, though.

[*] Gem – 50,000 gp worth of trinkets? Bah. That kind of thing is worthless in 5E D&D unless your DM lets you buy magical items, which you by default can't even in Adventurer's League without jumping through a lot of other hoops.

[*] Idiot – Permanently reduce your intelligence score by 1d4 + 1. This is a character-ruining card to you, the bladesinger.

Jester – Gain 10,000 XP. It's mostly a neutral card to you unless you're a very low-level character.

Key – You get a rare or rarer magical weapon you're proficient with. The DM chooses the weapon, however, which means you're probably not going to get that Moonblade you're salivating over. That said, Flametongues and +2 rapiers are rare, so c'est la vie.

Knight – Gain the service of a 4th-level fighter. Fun at low level, becomes a pointless XP sponge unless your DM lets the fighter level up as well.

Moon – You are granted the ability to cast the wish spell 1d3 times. I would save these wishes for using the Wish spell out of your own spell slots, that way you have a backup plan in case you roll that dreaded 33% Never Cast Wish Again chance.

Rogue – Gain the enmity of an NPC character you don't know about. You're an adventurer, this is your default state of being. Then again, if it's really bad (like gaining the undying hatred of Asmodeus), you can always use Wish to get rid of it.

Ruin – All-nonmagical holdings and titles are instantly destroyed. Considering the number of spells you have that have expensive material components, this can be quite bad. It's recoverable, but still bad.

Skull – Summon an avatar of death, where you have to fight it alone to the death (additional copies fight anyone who assists you) and if you're killed, you're dead and can't be restored to life. That said, the stats for this thing are more bark than bite. It autohits for 11 damage, but it also has half the hit points of you, the Bladesinger. At level 6 or so, a couple of fireballs against this hp 25, tops, grudge monster should end its reign of terror. And it’ll only get easier from then.

Star – Increase one of your ability scores by 2, to a maximum of 24. It's not clear if this increase is retroactive. Even if it's not, it's still an unreservedly good effect.

Sun – 50,000 xp and a wondrous item of your DM's choice! 50,000 xp will always cause you to gain at least one level, so even if the wondrous item sucks this is a good effect.

[*] TalonsEvery magic item you wear or carry disintegrates. Unless you've just started collecting magical items, this will hurt your character more than permanent level drain. RAW, you can just take off all of your magical items and put them somewhere same, but expect some DMs to balk at this trick.

Throne – Hey, free proficiency in the Persuasion skill AND your proficiency bonus is doubled! This will turn even your morose 8-charisma bladesinger into the party face. You also get rightful ownership of a monster-infested keep, but who cares about that?

The Void – You lose your soul. It's placed in a location guarded by powerful creatures. The Wish spell doesn't undo it; all it does is reveal the location of your soul. So use Scrying instead. This, uh, sucks, to put it lightly. If this happens at low level, that's effectively the end of you, but if it happens at higher level your buddies might be able to mount a rescue expedition.

[Very Rare] [N] Devastation Orb – Blah blah blah. Bunch of complicated setup, hour-long ritual, 2,000 gp, find an appropriate elemental node, WHATEVER. Way too wordy for a single-use item. Here's the bottom line:

Air Orb – You get an hour-long windstorm of unspecified size that does 1d4 bludgeoning damage of round unless you made a DC 18 Constitution Save.

Earth Orb – You get an Earthquake spell for one minute, DC 18.

Fire Orb – You get a 24-hour heat wave of unspecified size that will creature 10-foot square spreading wildfires.

Water Orb – Torrential Rainstorm for 24 hours, creating up to 10-foot floods. Sweeps away Large or smaller creatures if an existing body of water floods.

All of these effects are useless to an adventurer. Ignore it or trade it for something else.

[Rare] [N] Dimensional Shackles – Sick and tired of Large or smaller critters escaping your Hypnotic Pattern after one round due to shaking? Slap this on them. It stops dimensional travel that doesn't involve portals. DC 30 Strength (Athletics) check to break, which most creatures can't even pretend to do even on a max roll. The incapacitated condition requirement really hurts its usefulness, so only consider it if you have a reliable method of incapacitation. Otherwise, pass.

[Legendary] Dragon Mask – ( Black / Blue / Green / Red / White)– First of all, if there's anyone in the party that doesn't wear armor and primarily uses charisma for AC, you are obligated to give them this item. However, if there's no one that fits the bill, there's a lot of goodness to be had with this item. Escalating energy resistance keyed to the mask's type (if you have resistance, you get immunity; if you get immunity, you get half-absorption), the aforementioned charisma bonus to AC, much quicker refresh of breath weapon if you have it, Darkvision +60 radius and once/day blindsight for 5 minutes, advantage on charisma checks against black dragons, and Legendary Resistance once a day. If you are one of those lucky-ducky Bladesingers with a high charisma (you rolled like a champ or are using a stat-replacement item) then this item is mandatory.

In addition, each mask type comes with an additional effect and keyed resistance.

Black – Acid Resistance. Constant Water Breathing. You get this as a ritual, so no.

Blue – Lightning Resistance. Creatures who take lightning damage can't take reactions. Unfortunately, you probably don't have a reliable source of lightning damage that doesn't compete with your myriad spells.

Green – Poison Resistance. Poison resistance is good, poison immunity is excellent. You can breathe underwater, same as the Black dragon mask.

Red – Fire Resistance. Fire Resistance (and immunity, and ABSORPTION) is the best of the lot. Also, if you deal fire damage to a creature or flammable object, it burns for 1d6 damage until the damage is extinguished as an action.

White – Cold Resistance. When you're below maximum hit points, do an extra 1d8 cold damage. You probably don't want to sit in this zone for too long, being a low-HP bladesinger, but it is nice to have.

[Uncommon] [N] Driftglobe – I don't care if it's an attunement-free slot and floats. Casting Light or even Daylight is in insult to your character sheet.

[Uncommon] [N] Dust of Disappearance – One use concentration-less mass-invisibility. Considering how hard that spell is to get in 5E D&D, it's welcome. Breaking when someone attacks or casts hurts, though.

[Uncommon] [N] Dust of Dryness – 1d6+4 uses of shrinking and storing 15 foot cubes of water. Also DC13 Constitution save to water-themed elementals or they take 10d6 necrotic damage. I'm not seeing it.

[Uncommon] [N] Dust of Sneezing And Choking – One use of DC 15 Constitution/Round incapacitation in a 30 foot radius from you? This is likely to hurt your friends more than you. This used to be an explicitly cursed item, hint hint.

[Uncommon] [N] Efficient Quiver – This thing exists mainly for two reasons. The first is to hold extra arrows if your DM is getting on your case about reloading. The second is that, technically, you can draw two weapons (or a weapon and a magic staff) in the same round if you're interested.

[Uncommon] [N] Efreeti Bottle – 10% Chance to get a hostile efreeti. Open this bottle in the middle of a Magic Circle, and maybe even Planar Bind it. 80% chance to get a combat efreeti for one hour, up to three times – including the first time you use it. The 10% chance to get an efreeti that gives you three wishes right away sounds good, except that you have to use your three wishes right away. Efreetis are pretty good monsters, so this is a good monster-in-a-can effect. Though likely you'll be wasting one of your free Efreetis to see if you're going to get a Bad Genie when it's safe to do so.

[Uncommon] [N] Elemental Gem, Blue Sapphire / Emerald / Red Corundum / Yellow Diamond – Get a free elemental for up to an hour. Works for me. Blue gives you air, yellow gives you earth, red gives you fire, emerald gives you water.

[Uncommon] [N] Eversmoking Bottle – You get a 60 foot radius cloud of heavily obscuring smoke that only goes away gradually if you stopper the bottle. Good for doing something like trying to get past a battlefield of archers or spellcasters.

[Uncommon] Eyes of Charming – Component-free charming would be nice if it weren't for the low DC (Wis 13) and the fact that the Charm Person spell inherently tells people they knew they were charmed. Garbage item unless you're at very low level, and even then it's not very useful.

[Uncommon] [N] Eyes of Minute Seeing – Advantage on Investigation checks aren't as good as advantage on Perception checks, but it's still a nice to have. Especially since it’s not an attunement item.

[Uncommon] Eyes of the Eagle – Even though it requires attunement, Perception is easily the best skill in 5E and getting advantage to it will get you out of a lot of scrapes.

[Rare] Feather Token (Anchor / Bird / Fan / Swan Boat / Tree / Whip) – I'd normally rate this green, but these are all garbage and I'd struggle to think of a use for them. The only one I think you might appreciate is the Swan Boat for mass evacuation or Anchor for… I don't know, high seas hijinx? Otherwise, feel free to feel cheated if you get this as part of your treasure share.

[Uncommon to Very Rare] [N] Figure of Wondrous Power ( Bronze Griffon / Ebony Fly / Golden Lions / Ivory Goats / Marble Elephant / Obsidian Steed / Onyx Dog / Serpentine Owl / Silver Raven)

I'm a huge fan of effects that place extra tokens on the battlefield and probably overrate them. That said, even the Figurines generally test my patience. Basic idea: you get a tiny figurine, speak a command word, and you get a (generally) loyal companion. The real killer on usefulness tends to be the time limit between uses, so even the marginally useful figurines tend to not be very good.

Bronze Griffon – 6 Hours|5 days. The Griffon has a decent hit point stack and does non-pitiful damage, so you'll be using this in a 'eh, better than nothing' way until about level 15 or so. Past that you're better off just using it for emergency transportation.

Ebony Fly – 12 hours | 2 days. Worthless in combat, but you do get a flying mount and it recharges fairly quickly. Do not use this over the ocean or if you don't have an anti-falling spell prepared.

Golden Lions – 1 hour | 7 days. Hey, you know what else gives me two lions for an hour? Conjure Animals at level 3. That's not exactly a fair comparison, since Conjure Animals is very good and this at least doesn't rob you of concentration, but at around level 10 or so this item is too mediocre and recharges too slowly to be even good as a 'wall of fur' strategy.

Ivory Goats – 24 charges, 1 hour per charge | 7 days / 3 hours | 30 days / 3 hours | 15 days. The first two goats are worthless. A giant goat and a goat with riding horse stats? Please. The third goat, the Goat of Terror, would be pretty okay. As long as you ride it, it radiates a party-friendly 30 foot aura of terror. DC 15 Wis/Turn or be frightened of it for one minute, 24HSI. Did I say ‘would be’ pretty okay? That's right, it only works if you ride it and it has giant goat stats. This will get in the way of your bladesinging, and its duration pretty much forces you to stay on it to get any use out of it.

Marble Elephant – 24 hours | 7 days. Elephants hit pretty hard and they have a decent hit point stack, so as long as you can fit them into your adventuring locales this is a good companion to have at your back. CR4 lets you polymorph it into other animals (including itself) if it's running low on hp or you're getting bored of it. Giant Scorpions are always fun.

Obsidian Steed – 24 hours | 5 days. Even if it requires some creativity to get it to fight in combat and the 10% chance for it to ignore your orders (including reverting back) if you're good, this is still a great item. Fire resistance while mounted, 90' flight, and unlimited transportation to and from the Ethereal Plane are great pocket tools. Unlike the Ebony Fly, you don't have to worry too much about being shot down. Ethereal Stride is GREAT for ambushes or getting past enemy lines.

Onyx Dog – 6 hours | 7 days. Wow, an 8 intelligence talking dog with darkvision and see invisibility! Too bad it'll die if anyone so much as looks at it funny.

Serpentine Owl – 8 hours | 2 days. Use it exactly like you would the Ebony Fly, only the Giant Owl is bigger and can carry more things. You can also telepathically communicate with it, but I doubt it has anything meaningful to say.

Silver Raven – 12 hours | 2 days. Do you want your own personal very own animal messenger spell that can only be used on this raven? In addition to whatever a raven does? No? Good, just making sure you were still paying attention.

[Rare] [N] Folding Boat – It's a boat. And unlike that worthless feather token, it's reusable and holds a decent number of people in it.

[Uncommon] Gauntlets of Ogre Power – Kind of a comedown after Belts of Giant Strength, but this still isn't a bad magical item. Setting your strength to 19 makes certain multiclasses much easier, opens up builds that would normally be impossible (Axe Mastery, Grappler, etc.), widens your selection of weapons, and boosts your Strength saving throw.

[Rare] Gavel of the Venn Rune – Three properties, one of them useful, two of them not even that. First, attack rolls against you before the start of your first turn have disadvantage against you. Second: once per long rest as an action, if you strike a point, the first person who makes an attack within 60 feet of that point has reflected psychic damage equal to half. In case you were wondering, yes, this applies to you and your friends, too. Finally, you can destroy the magical item over 8 hours to create a 30-foot radius aura that does 5 psychic damage to anyone who lies within the radius. Useful only in worldbuilding, obviously. First property isn't bad, but it also ain't worth an attunement slot.

[Rare] [N] Gem of Brightness (Follower) – Rant time: I really hate it when game designers make super-long magical items that don't add up to anything useful either for roleplaying, combat, or worldbuilding. This is one of them. You get 50 unrechargeable charges, three properties. First property creates bright light, no charges. Second property uses one charge to create a 60 foot, single target DC 15 Con EOTS or be blinded for one minute. Third property uses five charges to do it in a 30 foot cone. It struggles to be okay when you first get it and like most items with fixed charges it gets worse and worse. Maybe I should make an acronym for that phenomenon, too.

[Rare] Gem of Seeing – Hey, it's truesight! Three charges, 10 minutes of 120 foot radius truesight each time. That's more than enough to get you through the day. Only reason why it's not rated higher is because you have to peer through the gem to use it (making certain actions, like spellcasting, more difficult than need be) and it doesn't do anything else.

[Uncommon] Gloves of Missile Snaring – As a reaction, when a ranged weapon attack hits you reduce the damage by 1d10 + dexterity modifier. Intended for monks, but you'll probably easily have a free hand for this if you want. This is an okay alternative to shield/song of victory to stretch out spell slots, but ranged weapon attacks are generally not as devastating as spell attacks and melee weapon attacks.

[Uncommon] Gloves of Swimming and Climbing – Congratulations! Your ability to climb and swim (now no longer at reduced speed) have been raised to 'barely competent', especially if you have proficiency. I dunno, I'd rather outright be able to fly or at least have ACTUAL climbing and swimming speeds, especially if it's going to cost me an attunement slot.

[Uncommon] [N] Gloves of Thievery – Unsurprisingly, you're probably one of the better characters at using Dexterity (Sleight of hand) checks to pick locks unless you're partied with a rogue or mischievous bard. So a +5 bonus is nothing to sneeze at.

[Uncommon] [N] Goggles of Night – Darkvision is one of those things where you don't realize how convenient it is to have until you need it. And you will need it. Even if you do have it, having darkvision go out to a range of +60 feet will allow you to outsee creatures who do have darkvision. Let's see who's the best nighttime sniper now!

[Uncommon] [N] Handy Haversack – Should be renamed 'moderately convenient Haversack'. An action is still too long to retrieve items from this edition's haversack, and the center pouch holding only 80 pounds? Are you kidding me? At least really skinny, really thin drow can store their corpses in the Haversack for Magic Jar shenanigans, but yeesh.

There's still the 'Astral Bomb' trick of putting a Handy Haversack in another extradimensional space item, but it's kind of a waste of both items. Especially at higher levels, when it won't even permanently put down the typical Big Bad.

[Uncommon] Hat of Disguise – Even if you plan to spend all day in town, this is not worth an attunement slot. Just cast Disguise Self, Alter Self, or any of the other long-lasting disguise spells and save yourself the trouble.

[Uncommon] Headband of Intellect – Sets your intelligence to 19. A good find at low levels, but by level 12 and definitely by level 16 you should be at, or even exceeded an 18 in intelligence. If you absolutely know this item is going to drop, you can also use it to start with unbalanced stats and then put it on later. Easy money for the half-elf who wants to multiclass paladin.

[Uncommon] Hearthstone – You are not a night hag and the most obvious two ways to become a or have access to a night hag (Magic Jar or True Polymorph) you're not going to waste on night-haggishness. If for some reason you are able to use this magical item, becoming ethereal at-will is sublimely excellent. But you won't be able to use it, because you can't be able to use it. Sorry to get your hopes up.

[Very Rare] Helm of Brilliance – Fun magical item. You get 1d10 charges of Prismatic Spray, 2d10 charges of of Wall of Fire, 3d10 charges of fireball, and 4d10 charges of daylight, all at DC 17. If you have one ruby, you get fire resistance. If you have one fire opal, you get 1d6 extra fire damage on one weapon. If you have one diamond, you deal 1d6 radiant damage to any undead that starts within 30 feet of you and it emits dim light if there's an undead in that radius. Here's a tip for you: as soon as you get it, drain all of the regular opals (not fire opals). That way, when you roll a d20 after taking fire damage and get a 1, the backlash damage will be less. Oh, did I mention the backlash damage? If what I mentioned just happened, everyone in 60 feet has to make a DC 17 Dex save or people take damage equal to the number of gems remaining, and then the helmet goes away. Don't get too attached to this item, but it's still very useful even with only one charge of fireball, prismatic spray, and wall of fire.

[Very Rare] [N] Helm of Comprehend Languages – The only advantage this item has over having it in a ritual is to avoid the long casting time of the ritual.

[Uncommon] Helm of Telepathy (Follower) – Detect thoughts at-will? Mmmm. Can be kind of useful for scouting if you're infiltrating a place with thin walls and doors.

[Rare] Helm of Teleportation (Follower, but only if they've traveled with you) – Teleportation is very unwieldly to use in 5E D&D, putting you miles off target. Still, teleportation remains a 7th-level spell cast out of a slot and it's not a bad idea to be able to immediately cast it again if you're put unacceptably out of range. ESPECIALLY if you end up in the ocean or something.

[Rare] [N] Horn of Blasting (Follower) – Is this a joke or something? 5d6 thunder damage, Con 15? With a 20% chance of the horn backfiring and doing 10d6 damage to the blower? If you have a follower whose well-being you don't care about, like a familiar or something, go ahead and give them this horn. Make yourself useful for your master.

[Rare] Horn of Valhalla (Silver / Brass / Bronze / Iron) – Once every seven days you get one hour of, in order, 2d4+2, 3d4+3, 4d4+4, or 5d4+5 berserkers loyal to your cause. Berserkers aren't the best companions, but when you spam that many of them they can chew through most opposition. If you can, try to get hobgoblin berserkers. If you don't meet the requirements, though, they'll turn on you. And they disappear after hitting 0 hit points, so no refilling your zombie ranks with this item, sadly. That said, you get an impressive number of them if you do meet the requirements, which is most easily done by multiclassing.

[Very Rare] [N] Horseshoes of a Zephyr – Surprisingly, not all that useful even if you built your bladesinger for mounted combat. The few quadruped animals you'd want to risk this item on (i.e. nightmares, pegasus) probably already have better movement modes – especially at the tier these are expected to drop. Could be fun on a unicorn or a centaur that would actually let you ride them, but that's about it.

[Rare] [N] Horseshoes of Speed – Fundamentally, it has the same issues of the Horseshoes of a Zephyr, but since it drops at a lower tier you'll probably get to use it more.

[Very Rare] [N] Ignot of the Skold Rune – The basic properties of this Ignot are pretty nice to have. A +1 to AC, all the time, is always worth it but the real fun comes with its Shield Bond ability; once per short rest as a bonus action a creature in 30 feet of you takes 1 damage from all attacks while you take half of what would be reduced. Really helpful for keeping your familiars and simulacrums alive. The transfer properties aren't bad, either. Creature an (attunement) +1 shield with a Death Ward per long rest. Fun property, but probably not in your wheelhouse. The other one is much better; turn a non-magical weapon into a magical weapon that gives +1 to AC while you hold it in your hand.

[Uncommon] [N] Insignia of ClawsUnless you splashed in a level of monk, you're something like a minotaur or lizardfolk bladesinger, or you're one of those lucky ducky bladesingers that has Shapechange, you're probably not going to find much of a use for a magical item that gives you a +1 to attack and damage rolls and makes your strikes magic. Someone else in your party could use it more.

[Rare] [N] Instant Fortress – Interesting and versatile magical item. You can use it the simple-yet-awesome way and use it as repeatedly deployable cover. It's only 30 feet high, too, so it'll even fit into many mid/high-level dungeons. You can also use it as an unlimited-use 10d10 DC 15 Dex half area of effect, complete with no-save pushing. The fact that it's impossible to repair without a wish spell is a bummer, but the further fact that non-magical non-siege weapons don't even damage it (and it gets 100 hp/resistance to any other kind of damage) makes it useful even when you don't expect a surprise fireball.

[Uncommon to Very Rare] [M] Instrument of the Bard (See Table)– Yes, disadvantage to charm saves that use the instrument as a spellcasting focus, sounds fun, right? However, note the exact wording on the spell. “When you use the instrument to cast a spell that causes targets to become charmed on a failed save, the targets have Disadvantage on the saving throw. This effect applies whether you are using the instrument as the source of the spell or as a spellcasting focus.” This means that, RAW, the spell only works on exactly two spells in the PHB or Xanathar’s: Animal Friendship and Hypnotic Pattern. Unfortunately, Jeremy Crawford in his dumb March 3 Sage Advice agrees with this interpretation. That said, 5E D&D may eventually print more charm spells with material components and Hypnotic Pattern is a good spell.

That said that said, even if your DM is holding you to the stricter interpretation, you still get 1/long rest use of various spells, and they're all winners. Even the instruments with relatively mediocre payouts (such as the Cittern) are automatically Sky-Blue. Though none of them are quite good enough to be gold. Thus, no individual colors.

Instrument

Rarity

Spells

All

Fly, Invisibility, Levitate, Protection from Evil and Good, plus the spells listed for the particular instrument

Anstruth Harp

Very Rare

Control Weather, Cure Wounds (5th level), Wall of Thorns

Canaith Mandolin

Rare

Cure Wounds (3rd level), Dispel Magic, Protection from Energy (lightning only)

Cli Lyre

Rare

Stone Shape, Wall of Fire, Wind Wall

Doss Lute

Uncommon

Animal Friendship, Protection from Energy (fire only), Protection from Poison

Fochlucan Bandore

Uncommon

Entangle, Faerie Fire, Shillelagh, Speak with Animals

Mac-Fuirmidh Cittern

Uncommon

Barkskin, Cure Wounds, Fog Cloud

Ollamh Harp

Legendary

Confusion, Control Weather, Fire Storm

[Rare to Legendary] Ioun Stone (See Chart) – Let's go over the bad first. The first of the bad: they can actually be taken away from you as an action. Granted, the AC/Acrobatics check to do so is 24, so it's unlikely, but you can be easily screwed by this. Better hope the DM just forgets you have one of these. The second of the bad: 5E D&D, like every other edition of D&D, seems to have this weird obsession that the 'orbits around your head and can be easily stolen' property of ioun stones outweighs the fact that, pound-for-pound, they tend to be WEAKER than equivalent magical items. The Protection ioun stone is weaker than the Ring of Protection but is the same rarity. Same for the Reserve ioun stone compared to the Ring of Spell Storing. This kinda-sorta made sense in the earlier D&Ds since they didn't take up precious magical item slots, but since 5E D&D uses attunement slots, it's just a puzzling accidental nerf.

That said, some of these are pretty okay effects. For example, the +2 to Dex/Int ones can be thought of as trading an attunement slot for an extra ASI once you gain enough levels. Even the ioun slots that aren't particularly good for a Bladesinger can be great for multiclassing.

Name

Rarity

Effect

Absorption

Very Rare

20 total spell levels, ever, of using a reaction to negate a spell of 4th level or lower that you can see.

Agility

Very Rare

+2 to Dexterity, Max 20.

Awareness

Rare

Can't be surprised.

Fortitude

Rare

+2 to Constitution, Max 20.

Greater Absorption

Legendary

50 total spell levels, ever, of using a reaction to negate a spell of 8th level or lower that you can see.

Insight

Very Rare

+2 to Wisdom, Max 20.

Intellect

Very Rare

+2 to Intellect, Max 20.

Leadership

Very Rare

+2 to Charisma, Max 20.

Mastery

Legendary

+1 to all proficiency bonuses (including spell save DC!)

Protection

Rare

+1 bonus to AC.

Regeneration

Legendary

Regain 15 HP per hour.

Reserve

Rare

Store up to three spells, max total spell level of three.

Strength

Very Rare

+2 to Strength, Max 20.

Sustenance

Rare

Don't need to eat or drink.

[Rare] [N] Iron Bands of Binding – After nailing the enemy with a pretty easy-to-make ranged attack roll, a Huge or smaller enemy gets restrained by the bands… until they or a buddy make a DC 20 strength check as an action. Which then permanently destroys the item. That's bad. It's much better if you get the initial check to stick, since it is only a once-per-day check. An balor has 'only' a +8 to the check, so you have a 55% chance of nailing it. Since the item is attached to them, they can't exactly teleport out of it, which is good. There's a question of whether they can be destroyed without breaking them, but probably not.

[Legendary] [N] Iron Flask – A creature native to a plane of existence other than the one you're on makes a DC 17 WIS save (with advantage if they're been caught by this thing before) or they're captured by the bottle like a Pokemon and you get 1 hour of loyalty. As long as you take the proper precautions for this spell (such as never using this without an inverted Magic Circle as backup and/or re-using this flask when you have plenty of time to try capturing the monster until it fails its save) it's like having a permanent companion.

[Uncommon] [N] Lantern of Revealing (Follower) – Light this lamp as an action, invisible creatures and objects within its 30 foot radius are revealed for up to 6 hours. What more can you say, other than 'situational non-attunement lifesaver'?

[Uncommon] Lost Crown of Besilmer – You get: resistance to psychic damage, advantage on saving throws against charm effects, and the ability to as a bonus action 3 times/dawn give a creature within 60 feet the ability to, before the end of your next turn, add a d6 to their attack roll/saving throw/ability check. If all three effects apply to you (unlikely since you're probably an elf or a half-elf, but possible) then bump the rating up a skitch.

[Rare] Mantle of Spell Resistance – Do you want resistance on saving throws against spell effects? You sure do. Well, you'll be able to get by for the first half of the game but in the later half it becomes your ace in the hole.

[Very Rare] [N] Manual of (Bodily Health / Gainful Exercise / Quickness of Action) – These tomes permanently boost the stats of, respectively, Constitution, Strength, and Dexterity by +2 AND increases the maximum by +2. All of these are wonderful finds. Even the strength one isn’t to sneeze at if no one else wants it, since it doesn't cost you anything.

[Very Rare] [N] Manual of Golems – Are you at least level 10 and have 30 to 120 days to burn? If not, cool your jets. More importantly, do you also have this kind of money (up to 100k gp!!!) to burn? Because these are VERY expensive golems and even in the money-for-nothing world of 5E D&D you may have trouble meeting the upfront cost. If you do, hey, one-time free golem. The iron golem is, unsurprisingly, the best one to have because of its 0% chance to go berserk, its enormous hit point stack, huge amounts of damage, and the ability for an arcane spellcaster to easily recharge its hit points. But even the weakest one, the flesh golem will last you for a very long time due to its immunity to non-magical weapons that aren't adamantine.

[Very Rare] [N] Marvelous Pigments – Yeah, yeah. You get a (frankly pretty huge!) 10,000 cubic feet surface area. It's all filled with mundane objects, but, awesomely enough this also lets you paint empty space. Meaning, RAW, you can make your Secret Chest / Handy Haversack / Bag of Holding / Demiplane bigger than what you already get! A 5 by 5 by 5 square is 125 cubic feet, for example, giving you 80 extra squares to play with.

[Uncommon] Medallion of Thoughts (Follower) – You want me to waste an attunement slot on a DC13 Detect Thoughts? Give this trash to your familiar or something.

[Very Rare] [N] Mirror of Life Trapping – DC 15 Charisma check to permanent trap a blah de blah. Look, there's nothing that this magic item does that can't be replicated by a really good prison. In fact, the DC 15 Charisma save will make it worse than a really good prison. Yes, it's not attunement, but neither is the Alcatraz.

[Very Rare] [N] Navigation Orb – If you have a cloud giant castle – specifically, the one this navigation orb is keyed to – these things are mandatory to move them around. If you don't have one, they're utterly worthless.

[Uncommon] Necklace of Adaptation – Breathe normally in any environment, advantage on saving throws against harmful gases and vapors. The two properties individually won't come up much, but taken together… eh, they probably still won't come up much, but it's likely they'll come up sometime in your adventure.

[Rare] [N] Necklace of Fireballs (Follower) – 1d6+3 non-recharging uses of a DC 15 Fireball? I do believe I will be putting this through its paces. You can use up multiple charges at once to increase the level, but why would you do that?

[Rare] [M] Necklace of Prayer Beads – Multiclassed? You get: 1d4+2 beads. Each bead, repeat beads allowed, gives a 1/dawn, DC-yours spell with a 30% chance of being Bless, 25% chance of being Lesser Restoration / Cure Wounds, 15% chance of Greater Restoration, 10% chance of Branding Smite, 5% chance of Planar Ally, and 5% chance of Wind Walk. Even getting repeats aren't that bad; if I had 4 castings of slot-free bless I'd still be able to find a use for it. That said, you can get really lucky and end up with, oh, multiple Greater Restorations.

[Rare] [N] [N – Sometimes] Opal of the Ild Rune – In addition to cold resistance, you get some fire starting/extinguishing tricks. It's not clear whether the Fire Tamer property lets you snuff out Wall of Fire, but if it does, eh. Doesn't really change anything. However, you can also use it on a nonmagical weapon to give you non-attunement +1d6 fire damage, no questions asked. You can also transfer the rune's property to a suit of attunement armor that will just give you the cold resistance and nothing else… but… why?

[Artifact] Orb of Dragonkind – First of all, can you make a DC 15 Charisma check? This is not impossible, but, if you fail the check this effect is incredibly difficult to remove. Second, if you do actually attune… I don't know, but two minor beneficial properties and a major and minor detrimental property doesn't add up. You also get some spells that are rather weak for an artifact. 1D4+3 charges and recharges of 5th-level cure wounds (3 charges), daylight (1 charge), death ward (2 charges), scrying (3) and at-will detect magic. If you're feeling suicidal or extremely confident about the local geography, you can also no-save compel dragons to come in range. For an attunement item, this item is really mediocre even if you can nail the Charisma check.

[Rare] Orb of the Stein Rune – Bonus action, short-action recharge meld-into-stone is really good for life-saving and stealth. Immunity to petrification and as an action getting advantage on saves against effects that would move you, along with (on the same action) throwing in a pitiful DC 12 Strength saving throw for creatures trying to move into a square 10 feet of you? Not so much. Passable only because of the Meld With Stone bonus action.

You can put it on a shield to create an attunement item that gives you resistance to all ranged weapon attacks. Or you could put it on a pair of boots to create an attunement item that gives you, as a reaction, advantage on stealth saving throws to knock you prone.

[Uncommon] Pearl of Power – As an action, gain back an expended spell slot, instead regaining a 3rd level spell slot if it was 4th level or higher. If you're willing to juggle your attunements, this amounts to extra spell slots at the start and throughout the day. Collecting two or three of these things and spending a couple of hours (to attune and to un-attune) throughout the day can really stretch out those spell slots if you have the time for it.

[Very Rare] Pennant of the Vind Rune – As an action, fly up to 20 feet, falling at the end unless you have independent flight. This item is already on my bad side. You are also immune to suffocation. Getting better, but still not good. Every short rest, as a reaction when you fall, you can take no damage. Even better, but this still collectively adds up to a purple. Finally, you can as a bonus action cast levitate every short rest. Oh baby! Bonus action levitate is very good, since levitate functions as a save-or-die, mobility booster, and object manipulator.

You can also transfer it to an armor or boots, creating attunement items. If you do it to armor, the armor gains an extra 5 feet to speed and removes disadvantage on stealth checks. Bladesingers don't care about the stealth and if they did care about the speed, they'd use their attunement slot for something else. Putting it on boots makes the 20 feet of flight mentioned earlier part of your movement instead of an action (making it merely okay rather than awful) and you can once a rest cast feather fall. I'd rather have bonus action levitate.

[Uncommon] [N] Periapt of Health – Immunity to disease. Diseases are not all that common in 5E D&D, but this item doesn't require an attunement slot, so it's still coming along for the ride. Few DMs also won't let you wear multiple amulets anyway.

[Rare] [N] Periapt of Proof against Poison – Hoo yeah. Unlike disease, poison is very common. And you not only become immune to the poisoned condition and poison damage, but they have no effect on you, period. It doesn't even require attunement!

[Uncommon] Periapt of Wound Closure – Stabilize at the start of your turn when you're dying, regain maximum hit points when you roll a hit die? Not that great of an item. Bonus action or off-action healing takes care of the former and you're not gaining that much more healing with your puny wizard hit dice.

[Uncommon] [N] Pipes of Haunting (Follower) – As an action, spend one of its 3 (1d3 daily recharge) charges to make every creature in 30 feet of you make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or they become frightened for 1 minute, EOTS and 24HSI. You can select out targets as you feel like. Simple and useful.

[Uncommon] Pipes of the Sewers – Lotta jibber-jabber for an item that doesn't do much. Rats and giant rats ignore you unless you initiate hostilities. Use one of the three charges (1d3 daily recharge) as a bonus action to assemble a rat swarm if there are enough rats nearby. The item doesn't say how long this takes. Then, the rats move to where you're playing the music. You don't have any control over them yet. That comes when you make a DC 15 Charisma check (already killing its usefulness) while playing the pipes to thereafter gain control over the swarm(s) as long as they hear you and you spend an action every round. If they can't hear the music, you lose control. Seriously, what's with all the verbosity and action hogging? It's a rat swarm! People don't care about them after level 5. Please write better items in the future, game designers.

[Uncommon] Piwafwi of Fire Resistance – So, as the item implies, you get fire resistance AND everything you'd normally get from the cloak of elvenkind? Excellent. Very close to sky blue even without all of the caveats in the original cloak of elvenkind, even.

[Rare] Portable Hole – It's a portable hole! Two 5-foot cubes stacked on top of each other you can fill with and tote around. You can also trap people in it who are foolish enough to end up in it and fail a DC 10 strength check, but its real use is for weightless storage space. You can also use it to create astral bombs (see the notes on the Handy Haversack if you're really desperate.

[Uncommon] [N] Restorative Ointment – 1d4+1 charges, swallow or apply to the skin as an action. If you do, you get back 2d8+2 hit points, cure any disease, and cure any poison. Eh. It's non-attunement, so it's like having extra potions.

[Rare] Robe of Eyes – All of these are good properties individually and the combination makes it great. You get all-around vision with advantage on sight-based Wisdom (Perception) checks. You get darkvision out to 120 feet. And you can see invisible objects and into the ethereal plane out to 120 feet. Here's the bad, though. You can't avert your gaze while wearing this – you could take off the cloak in a pinch if need be. The other thing is that a light or a daylight spell cast within five feet of you no-save blinds you for a minute, with a DC11/15 Constitution save respectively EOTS save. That's really bad. Bad enough that I'd consider disguising your cloak so that chaff enemies stop casting light on you.

[Very Rare] Robe of Scintillating Colors – Sort of the opposite of the Robe of Eyes, including in usefulness. You get three charges, regain 1d3 at dawn. As an action, you can spend a charge to shed bright light to 30 feet and make anyone who can see you take disadvantage on attack rolls against you until the end of your turn. This is useless when the Dodge action exists. However, creatures within the bright light when you activate it have to take a DC15 Wis saving throw or be stunned for a round. Would be much better, except the wide radius almost assures you'll get your friends, too. Not even useful for a follower.

[Uncommon] [N] Robe of Serpents – 1d4+3 charges of bonus action creating a giant poisonous snake. They last for an hour or until they're killed. You don't control them, but they distinguish friend from foe. They have pitiful hitpoints (being CR 1/4) and the poison is probably not going to land at DC 11. Even if you use up all of the serpents at once and enter combat with them already out this isn't going to be as good as a Conjure Animals spell.

[Very Rare] Robe of Stars – +1 to saving throws. Nice way to start out creating a floor for the rating. You also get 6 stars (1d6 daily recharge) you can use as an action to create a magic missile. Transporting to the Astral Plane in such a way that you have to end up where you're started once you're done just isn't as useful as being able to do the same with the Ethereal plane, sorry. You can use it as a portable magic missile platform for a follower or as a boring bonus to saving throws. Either way, it's just a hair out of being purple-rated.

[Legendary] Robe of the Archmagi – These come in three versions, White/Grey/Black, with only a good/neutral/evil character able to attune to those robes.

Your AC formula now becomes 15 + Dex. It's like having +3 studded leather all the time, every time. Secondly, you have advantage on saving throws against magic and other magical effects. Wicked. I was looking for an ace-in-the-hole against liches. Finally, the DC of your spells increases by +2.

If this magical item drops, you are obligated by the wizard code of honor to kill anyone else who wants this. If this magical item drops and you don't match the robe color, you are obligated by the munchkin code of cheese to change your alignment to do so.

[Uncommon] [N] Robe of Useful Items – Talk about false advertising. Except for the scroll, everything you could get on this list are mundane things you won't care about past level 5. Well, the chance to get a 10-foot cube pit is legitimately nice for increasing the capacity of your demiplanes/bag of holding/secret chest. It's not a big enough chance to reliably get it, though, and even if you do get it it's just not a good item.

[Uncommon] [N] Rope of Climbing – This rope is better than regular rope because it has a tensile strength of 3000 pounds, which can come in handy. Or you could just carry four or so pre-knotted silk ropes and use multiples at once. As you can see how I rated the Robe of Useful Items, I am inherently disdainful of magical items that are 'do a mundane task modestly better', even if they don't cost attunement slots. So this item gets the purple, too.

[Rare] [N] Rope of Entanglement – Take an action and if the creature (no size limit, but it's 30 feet of rope) fails a DC15 Dexterity save, they're restrained? And can only get out by making a DC 15 Strength or Dexterity strength check as an action. AC 20 and 20 hit points (at least it regains them if not destroyed) means not getting attached to it. It's definitely better to think of this as a single-use restrained item where you can often get reuses. If your DM is nice and doesn't specifically target the item, bump the rating up a category.

[Uncommon] [N] Saddle of the Cavalier – If you want to do mounted combat but can't spare the feat on actual mounted combat, this item will tide you over. Prevention of dismounting is extremely nice (though technically, you can't dismount on your own, either) and on-demand disadvantage is even nicer. Since it's non-attunement, you can slap this saddle on a mount and have some chaff mob (or lazy party member) onto it for extra defense.

[Legendary] Scarab of Protection – First of all, advantage on saves against spells. Want more than that? Okay, you also get 11 charges (12 if you want to destroy the item) of auto-succeeding against necromancy spells or harmful effects originating from undead creatures. If you're fighting an end-of-campaign undead boss like Acererak or even Vecna, this magical item becomes unmatched for protection if you saved your charges.

[Uncommon] [N] Sending Stones – 1/day sending only to the creature that is holding the stone paired with yours isn't all that useful, even for fantasy walkie-talkie action.

[Very Rare] Shard of the Ise Rune – Most people won't care about the first property, that of touching water and making a ten-foot radius sphere of ice. You, Mr. Simulacrum abuser, do care. A lot. The Fire Resistance is always a fun add-on. Icy Mantle lets you once per short rest create as an action a barrier that reduces the next piercing/bludgeoning/slashing damage you take in the next minute to 0. Great pre-combat buff. And finally, once per short rest cast Winter's Howl for a DC 17 sleet storm. Probably the best Rune from Storm King's Thunder.

If you're feeling completely wasteful, you can transfer the property to an attunement cloak and ONLY get the fire resistance – and a advantage on stealth checks in snowy terrain. Whoopie. Or you could transfer it to a pair of boots and get water walk and ignoring difficult terrain.

[Uncommon] Slippers of Spider Climbing – Being able to walk on, without using your hands, vertical and horizontal surfaces vastly opens up your movement shenanigans. Become Bat-Wizard and hang on the ceiling while picking off your foes with ranged attacks!

[Legendary] Sovereign Glue – 1d6+1 ounces of making the bond of up to 1 square foot on two items/surfaces unbreakable except for universal solvent, oil of etherealness, or a wish spell. It takes a minute to set, so no combat tomfoolery.

[Uncommon to Legendary] [N] Spell Gem (Level 0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9) (Follower)– This magical item… hooboy. It's extra spell slots up to the level of the gem, usable once per day. It's kind of a pain how the DC and spell attack roll are fixed but it's EXTRA SPELL SLOTS. They need to be banked in advance, but still, EXTRA SPELL SLOTS.

Even though it's not attunement, you probably don't want to give this to a follower. If it's not on their spell list/they know the spell, they straight-up can't use it. Even if they could, if it's not of a level of spell they can cast they have to make a DC 10 spellcasting ability check or lose the spell. Not worth it.

[Legendary] [N] Sphere of Annihilation – Sphere of Annihilation… what happened to you, buddy? You used to be, like, a Sphere of ANNIHILATION, not a sphere of 4d10 force damage to anything bigger than a pixie. There's some theoretical fun to be had with using this as a floating wrecking ball, but making a DC25 Arcana check just to move it 5 x your intelligence modifier? Ha. Good luck getting it to where you need to go anytime soon.

[Rare] [N] Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals (Follower) – Okay. Last time we’re doing this repetitive writeup, thank goodness. Once per day, you get an elemental. It's not clear if this will eat up your concentration slot or not, but it probably does (the wording is “and summon an earth elemental, as if you had cast the conjure elemental spell”). That said, it is a free earth elemental and they stay useful until the very endgame. This is the easiest of this category of item to use. Just have it touch the ground, rather than carry some heavy bowl of water.

[Uncommon] Stone of Good Luck (Luckstone) – +1 to ability checks and saving throws. Nice. Don’t forget that this includes Counterspell and initiative.

[Rare] Stonespeaker Crystal – For what was meant to be a pure roleplay item, you get some good effects! 1d6+4 charges daily, max 10. Use Speak With Animals (2 charges), Speak With Dead (4) or Speak With Plants (3). Get advantage on Intelligence (investigation) checks. But the real money of the item is that you can repeatedly use charges from the Stonespeaker crystal (charges = level of the spell) to fuel consumable expensive material components of divination spells. Keep this handy for downtime.

[Legendary] Talisman of Pure Good / Talisman of Ultimate Evil  – If you’re neutral, always take 6d6 damage when touching this thing. If you’re the wrong alignment, take 8d6. Can be used as a holy symbol for clerics/paladins for a +2 to attack roll, but, eh. No, the real fun is that as an action, you can spend one of the seven charges to make an earthbound creature of the opposite alignment of the talisman within 120 feet make a DC 20 Dexterity Saving throw. They fail? They’re permanently destroyed. Since you’ll be fighting way, WAY more evil superbosses than good-aligned ones, the Talisman of Pure Good is by far the better one.

[Legendary] Talisman of the Sphere – This lets you move the Sphere of Annihilation quickly enough that it goes to 'you'll fall asleep while using it' from 'you'll pray for death while using it'. You also get double-proficiency bonus on your Arcana check, risking less backlash. Would be enough to make the Sphere of Annihilation rated higher, but it's an attunement item. So, no. Both it, and the Sphere of Annihilation, are a waste of your time.

[Very Rare] [N] Tome of (Clear Thought / Leadership and Influence / Understanding)  – Three stat raising tomes of Intelligence, Charisma, and Wisdom respectively. All of these are good, but seriously, give the latter two tomes to someone else if you gain them.

[Legendary] [M – wizard, ha ha] Tome of the Stilled Tongue – Okay, sit down for a minute. Ready? Any spell written in this book can be cast while you’re holding it: without being prepared, without requiring a spell slot, without verbal and somatic components, as a bonus action, and once per dawn. Good. God. Bonus action Symbol. Bonus action Simulacrum. Bonus action Planar Binding. Load up Foresight into a Glyph of Warding. Geez, this thing.

I normally don’t do this, but this is an available treasure in Adventurer’s League. And I have it. I’m not going to say where I got it, but for you wizards looking for a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow? It’s there. Oh lord, is it there.

[Legendary] [N] Universal Solvent  – A legendary item whose only purpose is to get rid of adhesives? PASS.

Spells

Cantrips

All cantrips, if they scale on damage, scale at level 5, 11, and 17. It’s typically by a single die.

Acid Splash {Dex} – One of the few ranged cantrips that can target multiple creatures. Granted, they have to be pretty close to each other and it’s only 1d6 scaling acid damage. It’s a staple in most wizards’ cantrip lists once they fill out the vital ones but you, the Bladesinger, generally have better options for double-target, At-will, no-resource damage.

Blade Ward – You spend your action and get one round of resistance against bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by weapon attacks. This spell is pretty awful unless you already have disadvantage-on-demand and you absolutely cannot attack or do anything else for any other reason. And since you’re a wizard, this will never be the case be the case.

(SCAG) Booming Blade {Melee Attack} (No Somatic, technically, but only matters for material component/focus access) – The first of the famous SCAG cantrips. It’s a really good one, too, especially in campaigns with no access to magic weapons. Hit a target, do regular melee weapon damage, then do 1d8 scaling tier minus 1 thunder damage. If they willingly move, even to reposition themselves, they take an additional 1d8 scaling thunder damage. There’s a combo here with Warcaster, and while it’s great when it happens you shouldn’t expect it to happen more than once a campaign unless the bard is Dissonant Whispers happy. It’s really just here for the damage spike and for punishing foes trying to escape your Web or other zones.

Chill Touch {Ranged Spell Attack} – 1d8 scaling necrotic damage at range. Target can’t regain hit points. Can be used for self-only disadvantage-on-demand against undead. This may come in handy once in a campaign, but it’s hard justifying a precious cantrip use.

(EEPC) Control Flames (Somatic Only) – Pure roleplaying spell. Unlike similar spells like Shape Water, there’s nothing particularly interesting you can do with this spell that you can’t with regular fire and some Minor Illusion trickery. You can extinguish cubes of 5 feet flame as an action, but generally you will want something that can fight fires quicker than that.

It’s not RAW, but if you could affect magical fires with this spell, there’s some definite utility here such as expanding the zone of a Flaming Sphere or adding squares to a Wall of Fire.

(EEPC) Create Bonfire {Dex} [C] – Fill up a 5-foot cube with scaling 1d8 fire damage. If you can guarantee getting more than one round of damage out of it, such as having a Shovebarian or another Booming Blade user on your side, it’s a very good cantrip. Also useful for having a source of fire to use with certain game effects like Conjure Elemental and Pyrotechnics.

Dancing Lights [C] – Create four lights of moderate brightness you can move as a bonus action. I’ve heard some people claim you can use this spell for stealthy signaling, but I’d like something that could move a bit further than 120 feet.

Fire Bolt {Ranged Spell Attack} – Simple, but demanding standard for cantrips. 1d10 scaling damage, very easy to hit with. If you’re an elven bladesinger or otherwise have proper ranged weapon proficiencies, your ranged weapon attacks will likely be better until the endgame, but not by much. Everyone else, this will be your go-to default ranged attack.

Friends (No Verbal) – Advantage on charisma checks towards a non-hostile creature would be nice, except that this spell automatically makes them hostile towards you. Definitely best used for requests and/or methods  that are going to make the target upset for you carrying them out, so you may want to train up Intimidation for this. You’re generally going to create more trouble than you’ll solve, though.

(EEPC) Frostbite {Con} – When you’re first starting out, imposing disadvantage on a target’s first attack roll until the end of its next turn is great. Less so once they get multiattack. That wouldn’t really impact this cantrip’s usefulness were it not for the CON saving throw and weak scaling damage.

(SCAG) Green-Flame Blade (Melee Attack) (No Somatic, technically, but only matters for material component/focus access) – The second of the SCAG cantrips.You get the same single-target damage of Booming Blade, but with a twist; an adjacent target in 5 feet takes 1d8 scaling minus 1 tier plus spellcasting modifier damage. This will almost always end up doing more total damage than splitting your Extra Attack. There’s only one problem: you can’t, or rather, it’s not advised to use this cantrip if there’s not another target within 5 feet of the original to take the secondary damage. Not quite as good as Booming Blade, but it’s still pretty good. 

(EEPC) Gust – The object manipulation portions of this spell make it worse than Mage Hand, which is more versatile on weight limits and gives you 10 pounds instead of 5. However, what you’re probably interested in being able to push as a cantrip. A medium or smaller creature is pushed back 5 feet if they fail a Strength save. Lot of utility in that, though if you’re interested in on-demand forced movement Lightning Lure gets you 10 feet of pulling for the same Strength save. Pushing generally tends to be better than pulling, though. Your call.

Infestation {Con} – CON saving throw for a scaling 1d6 damage, so we’re already sucking. It forces movement in a valid direction that doesn’t draw opportunity attacks and you don’t even get to choose the direction of the forced movement. Terrible. Use Frostbite instead.

Light {Dex} (No Somatic Component) – Even if everyone in the party has Darkvision, there are still some fun uses for this spell, like being able to signal with mirrors and rapid covering/uncovering. Or casting Light on a rock and throwing it into a suspicious-looking pool. And if someone in the party rolled like a boss on their Perception check, most DMs will let you highlight it with this cantrip.

There’s a DEX save for this spell if you want to target someone’s held object for some reason.

(SCAG) Lightning Lure {Str} – A pull effect on a cantrip, or any spell really, is rare enough to get you to take notice. Pulling generally isn’t as useful as pushing since it’s easier to push people into bad situations than pull them into it (otherwise you would be in the soup, too!) but it comes in handy. Like, say, for getting someone back in range of a Wall of Fire.

Mage Hand – Telekinetically manipulate an object up to 10 pounds 30 feet away. Even with the weight limit, this will come in handy surprisingly often. You will likely want to supplement the Mage Hand weight limit with things like silk rope, glue, Bags of Holding, oil, and soforth.

Mending – Given D&D’s low level of technology, your vast wealth, and adventurer defensiveness of Their Gear, you might be wondering what would be the purpose of a spell like this. Not much. I could see it being a vital cantrip in a modern campaign setting with things like motorcycles being shot up by bullets and smartphones being DROPPED YET AGAIN AND THE SCREEN KEEPS BREAKING ARGH. And also being useful in a setting like Dark Sun where you can’t just go down to the smith or wainwright to get your stuff repaired. But default D&D? Nah.

Technically, this spell only repairs break and tears, but I have yet to see a DM not let a PC use this spell to fix dents, punctures, scratches, or even outright crumbling. Burn damage had a half-and-half chance of not being allowed.

Message – Man, why did this cantrip have to have components? It would’ve been so much better for secret messaging relays. This spell is too obvious for intrigue except at a long distance (at short range, you’re better off with Minor Illusion), so you’re basically using it for communication. Since 120 feet is more than enough to hear someone yelling, uh. It’s pretty much just there for barrier bypassing or catching someone offguard. It at least goes around corners and openings.

Minor Illusion (no verbal component) – An illusion guide referred to this cantrip as a ‘gatekeeper’ spell and I agree. Generally, if you can’t think of ways to make a variable sound as loud of a scream or (exclusive or) a stationary object that’s only useful for appearance, you’re probably not going to enjoy this spell or illusions in general.

To get the ol’ creative juices flowing, here’s a small list of things you might enjoy using this spell for:

  • Corpses and puddles of blood. People can’t resist investigating them, for good reason.

  • Shiny gold coins. If you’ve played Quest for Glory 1, the thieves use it to good effect in conjunction with a Light spell.

  • A stationary Buckingham palace-style guard.

  • Illusions of flames or electricity in a brightly lit area, especially covering an object you want people Not To Touch and/or Go Get A Bucket of Water.

  • Spikes, pits, and illusory spike pits.

My experience with Minor Illusion is that DMs will generally work with you to overlook the limitations of this spell. Don’t expect this generosity to last when you break out the big guns of, say, Major Image, though.

(EEPC) Mold Earth (Somatic Only) – Have you tried digging through a 5 foot cube of dirt? It’s not that easy by hand. We’re talking hours, not 6 seconds. It’s so good at excavating dirt that any military or construction legion should have someone with this cantrip on hand. You can also use it to make difficult terrain for ambushes, to boot. It’s not clear if you can use the moved dirt for quick breastworks; does the spell leave the cube of dirt intact or does it crumble it up as part of excavation? If the latter, you may have to dig a big deeper to get at loam or even clay.

Needless to say, if your party loves their outdoor ambushes and/or your DM gives you plenty of outdoor downtime, this spell is a great help for quickly shaping the battlefield how you want. Most parties prefer to meet their foes as the visiting team so to speak, so in that case it’s mostly just a roleplaying spell.

Poison Spray {Con} – 10 feet, con save or 1d12 scaling poison damage. Good damage, but the Con save and the short range makes it so that 99% of the time you’re better off running up and hitting the enemy with a piece of metal.

Prestidigitation – I call this ‘the Inspiration Generator’. Seriously, I have received more inspiration dice through the use of this cantrip than any other spell effect. Cleaning myself and my companions up after a jungle trek to make ourselves more impressive, enhancing the flavor of trail rations (a lot of DMs have already seen this trick, so you will want to be more creative; I didn’t get inspiration just from seasoning the sneak, so I had to go the extra mile and say use the warm portion to make delicious sous vide while using chill to blanch the vegetables), fascinating kids with card tricks or cool toys, emblazening our party’s name Zorro-style onto the walls, pretending I was a fashionable elf by ‘flavoring’ my robes with expensive perfume, soforth.

You might want to trade this cantrip for something more utilitarian, but it’s very much a quality-of-life enhancer if you’re willing to stretch out the uses of the spell.

Ray of Frost {Ranged Spell Attack} – This is a great alternative to Fire Bolt. It does less damage than that spell, but it’s a better damage type and slows the person who gets hit by 10 feet. Non-flying monsters in 5E D&D aren’t very fast and if your party is onboard with the idea, you can kite them with spells like this quite easily. Or you could use it to completely destroy their ability to get out of zones. A monster with a 30-foot movement speed who spends their action getting out of a Web will often still be in said web at the end of their turn if you hit it with Ray of Frost.

Shape Water (Somatic Only) – Pure roleplaying spell, except for the fact that you can create up to two five-foot cube block of ice for an hour. So if you have the time for it, you can create ice bridges over pools of water if you’re not in a rush.

The ‘this spell creates ice’ part is vital for Simulacrum. You will have to be indirect about it, however, since ice from the spell won’t last long enough for the 12-hour casting unless your DM does something sensible like allowing the ice to remain if it’s packed in sawdust.

Shocking Grasp {Melee Spell Attack} – 1d8 lightning damage, scaling by tier. You get advantage if the target is wearing metal armor. And if you hit, it can’t take reactions until the start of their next turn. A lot of non-melee wizards use this as a cut-rate Disengage, but my feeling is that if you want to Disengage, you need to disengage. And even a 10-15% chance of Shocking Grasp not landing is just too rich for my blood. You can also have a familiar deliver this spell, but that’s just asking for a dead familiar.

As for determining whether armor counts as ‘made of metal’, a good rule of thumb is: if the druid can wear it, it doesn’t have enough metal.

(SCAG) Sword Burst {Dex} (Verbal Only) – Third of the SCAG cantrips, and a bit of a disappointment. Hits everyone around you in 5 feet, for a 1d6 scaling by tier. Unless the DM simply loves swarming you with CR 1/4 chaff, Greenflame Blade or Extra Attack will serve you better for your multi-monster killing needs.

Thunderclap {Constitution} – Thunderclap got changed from a range of Self (5-foot) to a range of merely ‘5-foot’. That doesn’t really change anything unless you’re wasting your resources on Distant Spell or Spell Sniper. It is after all a 1d6/tier Constitution Save cantrip. Get Sword Burst instead, though Sword Burst isn’t a good cantrip to begin with.

True Strike (Somatic Only) [C] – Get advantage on the next attack roll. Two things kill the usefulness of this spell. The first is that it’s self-only. I could see myself forgoing actions to give advantage to a Sharpshooter rogue at low level. But just for myself? No. The second is that it’s a concentration spell. Ouch. Yeah, you will not be using this.

1st-Level Spells

(EEPC) Absorb Elements (Somatic Only) <Reaction> – This is the first layer in your ablative defense. You don't need it at low level (though it's a fine pick for one of your first free picks if your DM is stingy on spell drops), but once Fireball and Lightning Bolt hit the field you will want this at all times. The damage bonus from absorbing a spell is nice but not really necessary or usable. Generally, if a monster is able to trigger the damage bonus they’ll also be resistant/immune to the damage bonus.

Alarm <1 Minute> [R] – Eh, it's a ritual. If you get it for free, great, have fun with it. Otherwise, this will just linger in your spellbook.

Burning Hands {Dex} – Like all damage dealing spells prior to the fireball era, it starts off strong and gets worse. It's a great show-stopper at 1st through 4th level, but by around 5th level you'll be wanting to use your melee cantrips instead instead.

(EEPC) Catapult (Somatic Only) {Ranged Attack Roll} – Not very good. Longer range than Chromatic Orb and doesn't require a material component (which can be a deal-breaker at very low level), but it's inferior to it in every way.

(UA: Starter Spells) Cause Fear {Wis} [C] – It's really not that bad of a spell and I'm surprised it doesn't get cast more often. There's no real way to break out of its fear effect early, unlike Tasha's, and frightened is a potent status condition.

Charm Person {Wis} – Requires some finesse and timing to use if you don’t want to eat a hefty ‘they save with advantage’ penalty, but it scales nicely, doesn't eat up concentration, and is great out of combat.

Chromatic Orb (50 gp) {Ranged Attack Roll} – This spell is strong out of the gate, but gets weaker as time goes on. Selectable damage and requiring an attack roll saves it from complete uselessness, but by the time level 5 and especially level 11 roll by you should have really moved beyond this spell even in a 'conserve your spell slots' sense.

Color Spray – While 6d10 hp of affected creatures would make it relevant for a smidge longer than sleep, the fact that the effects of the spell only last one round kill off any of its usefulness.

Comprehend Languages [R] – You won't need it right away, maybe not for the first few levels, but the time will come when you do need it. And unless your entire campaign is a mindless dungeon crawl or your DM is extremely unimaginative. you will be very, very glad. Good, but not prime pick for your free 1st-level spells.

Detect Magic [R] [C] –  See the notes on Comprehend Languages. However, Detect Magic, unlike that spell, will be useful as soon as you get it and even has uses in pure dungeon crawlers. Even though it's a ritual, you have decent reason to prepare this in a regular 1st-level spell slot for that sweet 1-Action casting time.

Disguise Self {Investigation (Int)} – Always valuable to have in social scenes or if you just feel like sinning, but taking Charisma as a dump stat tends to limit its usefulness.

(EEPC) Earth Tremor {Dex} – Prone and Difficult Terrain are fun things to call upon, but the range is simultaneously too short for any meaningful control and too likely to nail your allies. This spell would be better with a 5' radius or a 20' one.

Expeditious Retreat [C] <Bonus Action> –  Don't count this one out. It's a lot of extra movement in a combat at a cheap price. It requires your concentration, but you get a lot of speed.

False Life – It's just not very good for what you get. If it lasted longer than an hour or gave more temporary hitpoints, it'd be worth preparing or at least putting in a Contingency.

Feather Fall <Reaction> – You'll know if you need it or not. But if you need it, you'll probably really need it! Probably better to just keep some backup flight spell.

Find Familiar (10 gp consumable) <1 Hour>: You can do so many cool things with familiar, to the point where you can write entire guides about it. You should read that, by the way. If you're lucky enough to get a special familiar as, say, an Adventurer's League reward you can do even cooler things.

Floating Disc