Players and creatures alike in D&D 5e tend to make some saving throws here and there when in dangerous situations. Booby traps force you to succeed in Dexterity or Strength saving throws, ingesting poison forces you to succeed in Constitution saving throws, and more.
Every spell forces its targets to make saving throws like Acid Splash, Grease, and Burning Hands, but one spell affects how it works.
For example, you cast Frostbite against a brutal bandit captain, but based on your intuition, he can overcome the Constitution saving throw.
Your spell is the thin line between victory and defeat, as his next attack will most likely kill you off. You have no other cantrips in your kit that can help you in your situation now, but if you have Mind Sliver, you can slim down his chances of succeeding the roll.
The cantrip featured in this Mind Sliver 5e guide is an enchantment cantrip, and it can assist you in making your spells more deadly. Wizards of the Coast introduced this spell not in the Player’s Handbook but in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, and it underwent many changes to what it is now; it even started as Unearthed Arcana content.
Many fans say it is one of the best cantrips out there. If you want to find out if the claim is true, this guide is for you.
Bottom Line Up Front: What is Mind Sliver in D&D 5e?
This spell is an enchantment spell similar to Synaptic Static and Zone of Truth because it hijacks the target’s rational thinking to weaken them. Below are the crucial details about the Mind Sliver cantrip in D&D 5e.
- Mind Sliver
- Enchantment cantrip
- Casting Time: One action
- Range: 60 ft.
- Components: V
- Duration: One round
How to use Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
Before you can distract your enemies and make them fail their saving throws by disorienting them with psychic energy, you need to meet the cantrip’s requirement first. I have written them below in a list for easy comprehension.
- You must know the Mind Sliver cantrip. Unlike leveled spells, cantrips are in your memory forever, no matter what class you are in. However, only a few select classes can pick up this cantrip for use. Read the “Who can cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e?” section further below if you want to find out.
- You need to use your action during combat to cast Mind Sliver. If you cast this cantrip outside of battle, you can disregard this rule. Still, since Mind Sliver deals damage, you will primarily use it in combat.
- You need to speak freely in an audible voice to cast Mind Sliver. Mind Sliver requires the verbal component.
- The Mind Sliver’s target must be within 60 ft. of you. Mind Sliver has a range of 60 ft.
- You must be able to see your target to cast Mind Sliver. According to the rules of the cantrip, the caster can only target someone they can see within range.
It does not need a spell slot since it is a cantrip. When you meet the Mind Sliver cantrip’s requirements, you can cast it. However, it does not require you to do anything upon casting it because the target must make an Intelligence saving throw against your Spell Save DC.
Your Spell Save DC depends on what class you are in, but the standard formula is eight plus your spellcasting ability modifier plus your proficiency bonus.
For example, the Wizard’s spellcasting ability is their Intelligence, so their Spell Save DC would be eight plus their Intelligence modifier plus their proficiency bonus.
If you want to find out what your Spell Save DC is, refer to the “Who can cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e?” section further below. A spike of psychic energy attempts to drive into the target’s brain; the next section pertains to what the cantrip’s victims must do to evade its effects.
How does Mind Sliver Work in D&D 5e?
The Mind Sliver’s target must make an Intelligence saving throw to save themselves from the spike of psychic energy, and the following effects occur:
- The target rolls a d20 for their Intelligence saving throw.
- The target adds their Intelligence saving throw modifier to the d20 roll. The result will be their final Intelligence saving throw. The modifier is usually written in the monster’s stat block if they have it.
- The DM compares the target’s Intelligence saving throw vs. your Spell Save DC. If the target’s Intelligence saving throw is equal to or higher than your Spell Save DC, they succeed; otherwise, they fail. For more information about the Spell Save DC, read the previous section.
- If your target fails, the following occurs:
- They receive 1d6 psychic damage. Thus, roll a six-sided die to determine how much psychic damage they receive.
- If they make a saving throw before the end of their next turn, they receive a 1d4 deduction. e.g, you roll a four-sided die and subtract their next saving throw with it. After receiving this penalty, they no longer receive any more penalties while the spell lasts. The saving throw can be of any ability.
- The Mind Sliver’s damage increases depending on your level. It increases by 1d6 every time you reach levels 5, 11, and 17. For example, a level 11 Wizard will deal 3d6 lightning damage if they use Mind Sliver.
Many people will find this process confusing, especially new players, and I will not hold it against them. Back when I started playing D&D 5e, I was also fazed about the concept of saving throws, Spell Save DCs, and the like.
Therefore, I have dedicated the following section to teaching beginners how the Mind Sliver cantrip works through a digestible demonstration of it in a controlled combat environment.
Example Scenario for Using Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
Have you ever misread “Mind Sliver” as “Mind Silver” and thought to yourself how a mind could be silver? Welcome to Arthur’s Lab, where I start doubting whether or not I am dyslexic.
Jokes aside, we will be testing out how the Mind Sliver cantrip works to give a clearer picture for the confused players out there. This demonstration relies on an orchestrated combat sequence to hopefully mirror yours.
Marshal the Half-elf Wizard will be the one casting the cantrip and along with him is a bandit (he “loves” to participate in magic experiments).
Marshal knows the spell and is ready to deliver some spiky psychic energy for science. Below are some essential details about the participants, like Marshal’s Spell Save DC, the bandit’s Intelligence saving throw modifier, and more.
- Intelligence modifier: +3
- Proficiency bonus: +2
- Spell Save DC: 8 + 3 (Intelligence modifier) + 2 (proficiency bonus) = 13
- Intelligence saving throw modifier: +0
- Dexterity saving throw modifier: +2
First Scenario: Bandit Succeeds the Mind Sliver’s Saving Throw
It is Marshal’s turn first, and he casts Mind Sliver. As I mentioned, cantrips do not require spell slots; thus, Marshal can cast this cantrip without the need for one. The bandit is 15 ft. near Marshal, which is within the spell’s 60-foot range. He can also see the bandit because the area is well-lit.
Even if the Lab was dark, Marshal could still see him (though he can’t discern colors) because Half-elves have a dark vision.
Finally, Marshal can speak clearly and loudly enough for the spell’s verbal component. Since he completes every requirement the spell needs, he casts the Mind Sliver as an action on his turn.
The spell forces the bandit to make an Intelligence saving throw, and if he fails, he will suffer the consequences. Therefore, the bandit rolls a d20 and gets a 15.
Since 15 is more significant than Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 13, the bandit succeeds the Mind Sliver’s Intelligence saving throw, and nothing happens to him.
Second Scenario: Bandit Fails the Mind Sliver’s Saving Throw
It is now the bandit’s turn, and he does nothing (he is definitely not afraid to step out of line). It is Marshal’s turn once more, and he still casts Mind Sliver targeting the bandit.
The bandit must make an Intelligence saving throw again, so he rolls a d20 and gets an 11. Since his Intelligence saving throw is +0, we do not add anything to the d20 roll.
His roll of 11 is lower than Marshal’s Spell Save DC of 13; therefore, he fails the saving throw, and because of it, Marshal rolls for a d6 for psychic damage.
He gets a four, so the bandit’s HP goes down by four. If the bandit was resistant to psychic damage, it would be two instead; if vulnerable, it would be eight. If he were immune to psychic damage, it would be zero.
Third Scenario: Bandit Receives Saving Throw Penalty from Mind Sliver
As part of the Mind Sliver’s effects, the bandit’s next saving throw becomes deducted by 1d4 as part of the Mind Sliver’s effects; it can be a saving throw of any ability.
To showcase the penalty in this scenario, we poured the Oil of Slipperiness between Marshal and the bandit. If you are unaware of what this item does, it replicates the Grease spell’s effects.
The 10-foot square terrain covered by the oil becomes difficult terrain, and anyone entering the area will make a Dexterity saving throw. If they fail, they fall prone. It is now the bandit’s turn.
He sees the Oil of Slipperiness on the ground and is hesitant to enter. However, we “gently remind” him of his duties in this experiment. Thus, he (reluctantly) approaches the area.
Upon entering the Oil of Slipperiness’s area, he makes a Dexterity saving throw. He rolls a d20 for it and gets a 13. He has a Dexterity saving throw modifier of +2, and we get a 15.
The Oil of Slipperiness’s DC is based on the Grease spell’s level since spell scrolls have a default DC based on the spell level; a level one spell like Grease has a DC of 13. So, the bandit’s Dexterity saving throw of 15 would surpass the DC.
However, we need to roll a d4 to subtract the bandit’s Dexterity saving throw of 15. Marshal rolls a d4 and gets a three. We subtract the 15 with three, and the bandit’s final Dexterity saving throw is 12. Below are the steps we took to better visualize the process.
- Dexterity saving throw = d20 + Dexterity saving throw modifier – d4 (Mind Sliver effect)
- Dexterity saving throw = 13 + 2 – 3
- Dexterity saving throw = 15 – 3
- Dexterity saving throw = 12
Since the bandit’s Dexterity saving throw is now 12 instead of 15, he fails the Oil of Slipperiness’s DC of 13, and he falls prone. He ends his turn while he is prone as he is utterly defeated by his situation.
Fourth Scenario: Casting Mind Sliver on a Higher Level
Arthur’s Lab is so magical that it surpasses common sense. Why? We can turn Marshal into a level 13 Wizard with a click of a button. To showcase how the Mind Sliver cantrips changes depending on the caster’s level, we do so.
Because Marshal is now a level 13 Wizard, the Mind Sliver’s damage becomes more powerful. His Spell Save DC is also higher now due to the higher proficiency bonus that comes with the level-up.
As per the rules of Mind Sliver, the cantrip’s damage increases by 1d6 every time the caster reaches levels 5, 11, and 17. Thus, Marshal’s Mind Sliver gets boosted by 2d6 psychic damage from surpassing levels 5 and 11, making it 3d6.
It’s Marshal’s turn, and he casts Mind Sliver again at the same bandit who’s now on the floor. The bandit makes an Intelligence saving throw like before and gets a 15.
Marshal’s Spell Save DC has changed due to leveling up to 13; his proficiency bonus is now +5 instead of +2. Assuming his Intelligence modifier is still the same, the calculation of his Spell Save DC is as follows:
- Intelligence modifier: +3
- Proficiency bonus: +5
- Spell Save DC: 8 + 3 (Intelligence modifier) + 5 (proficiency bonus) = 16
Since the bandit’s Intelligence saving throw of 15 is lower than Marshal’s new Spell Save DC of 16, he succumbs to the Mind Sliver’s effects again. This time, he suffers 3d6 psychic damage. The rest of the cantrip’s effects still apply; he still gets the 1d4 penalty on saving throws until the end of his next turn.
Marshal rolls 3d6 and gets five, two, and four, with a sum of 11. Therefore, the bandit’s HP goes down by 11.
Who can Cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e?
If you follow the ruling of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, three classes (Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard), four subclasses (Aberrant Mind Sorcerer, Arcana Cleric, Arcane Trickster Rogue, and Eldritch Knight Fighter), and two races (High Elf and Half-elf with the Moon Elf or Sun Elf Descent variation) can pick up the Mind Sliver cantrip.
Classes that can Cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards can pick the Mind Sliver cantrip as part of their known cantrips. They can cast Mind Sliver as early as level one because cantrips do not require a spell slot.
Warlocks start with two cantrips at level one and end with four at level 20. Meanwhile, the Wizards begin with three cantrips at level one and end with five at level 20.
Sorcerers have the most cantrips, though, since they start with four at level one (which is how many Warlocks get at level 20) and end with six at level 20. Below is a table containing these classes, their sources, and their Spell Save DC.
Classes that can cast Mind Sliver
Spell Save DC
|Sorcerer||Player’s Handbook, page 99||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Warlock||Player’s Handbook, page 105||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Wizard||Player’s Handbook, page 112||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
Subclasses that can Cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
The Aberrant Mind Sorcerer, Arcana Cleric, Arcane Trickster Rogue, and Eldritch Knight Fighter can get the Mind Sliver cantrip in D&D 5e. Below is a table containing each of these subclasses’ details, including their source, their originating class’s source, Spell Save DC, and more.
Subclasses that can cast Mind Sliver
|Originating Class||Subclass Feature for Mind Sliver||Subclass Source||Class Source||
Spell Save DC
|Aberrant Mind||Sorcerer||Psionic Spells||Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, page 66||Player’s Handbook, page 99||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier|
|Arcana Domain||Cleric||Arcane Initiate||Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, page 125||Player’s Handbook, page 56||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Wisdom modifier|
|Arcane Trickster||Rogue||Spellcasting||Player’s Handbook, page 97||Player’s Handbook, page 94||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
|Eldritch Knight||Fighter||Spellcasting||Player’s Handbook, page 74||Player’s Handbook, page 70||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
Sorcerers with the Aberrant Mind sorcerous origin can replace an existing spell in their kit with a Divination or Enchantment spell from the Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard spell list when they level up, thanks to their Psionic Spells subclass feature.
If we base the rules on the Player Handbook alone, you cannot replace a cantrip when you level up; you can only replace spells level one or higher since the feature only changes to spells you have spell slots for.
However, Psionic Spells state that you can replace one spell you have with another spell of the same level. It does not say that the spells must require spell slots.
Cantrips are technically classified as level zero spells; thus, they still have a level. Therefore, you can replace an existing cantrip you have with another cantrip. Using this feature, you can replace an existing cantrip with the Mind Sliver.
Clerics in the Arcana Domain can have the Mind Sliver cantrip thanks to the Arcane Initiate subclass feature. Aside from earning proficiency in Arcana skill checks, it grants them the ability to choose two cantrips to keep belonging to the Wizard spell list, and Mind Sliver belongs on that list too.
These cantrips earned through this feature do not count against their cantrip count.
The Arcane Tricker Rogue and Eldritch Knight Fighter can get the Mind Sliver cantrip due to their added subclass feature to cast spells.
However, they can only choose two cantrips starting at level three; the Arcane Trickster Rogue technically begins with three, but one of them is predetermined to be Mage Hand.
They only get one more cantrip when they reach level ten. Therefore, you can get the Mind Sliver cantrip either at the start of level three or as the added cantrip at level ten.
Races that can Cast Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
High Elves have the Cantrip racial feature, which allows them to pick one cantrip from the Wizard spell list; since Mind Sliver is part of that list, they can pick it up.
Meanwhile, Half-elves who are descendants of Moon Elves or Sun Elves can also get this cantrip through the Cantrip racial feature, but it depends on the player.
Instead of having the Skill Versatility, Elf Weapon Training, and Cantrip racial features that High Elves enjoy, the Half-elves of the mentioned variety can only pick one among the three as part of their Variant Feature.
Therefore, if a player chooses Skill Versatility or Elf Weapon Training instead of the Cantrip racial feature, they cannot get Mind Sliver through this method.
Below is a table containing crucial info about these races.
Races that can cast Mind Sliver
|Racial Feature for Mind Sliver||Race Source||
Spell Save DC
|High Elf||Cantrip||Player’s Handbook, page 23||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
|Half-elf (Variant; Moon Elf or Sun Elf Descent)||Cantrip (via Variant Feature)||Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, page 116||8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier|
Creative and Useful Ways to Use Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
If you think that Mind Sliver is purely an assist spell, i.e., a spell meant to aid someone else by giving the enemy a nerf, you are entirely justified in your thoughts.
I agree, and I think it is an excellent assist spell. Plus, it even gives psychic damage, although only a bit. However, if you still cannot see the greatness of Mind Sliver, here are some innovative reasons to pick this cantrip up in D&D 5e.
- Assisting another spellcaster
- Optimizing your Quickened Spells
- Optimizing the Bane spell
Assisting Another Spellcaster Using Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
Remember when I said Mind Sliver is an excellent assist spell? To demonstrate how effective it can be, let me give you a bit of perspective.
As you know, Mind Sliver deduces a target’s saving throw by 1d4, no matter what kind of ability it is. So far, there are up to 516 spells throughout the various D&D 5e sources.
Out of the 516 spells, 219 of them involve the target making a saving throw of any ability; they consist of around 42% of the overall spells.
Chances are, your spellcasting friend has a spell in their kit that forces its target to make a saving throw. By hitting the target with Mind Sliver, you are essentially helping them make their spells more successful. Plus, you gain a “you owe me” card against that person!
Optimizing Your Quickened Spells Using Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
While you can assist another spellcaster in their spells with Mind Sliver, you can also assist yourself with it if you are at least a level three Sorcerer.
Do you have other spells that require the target to make saving throws aside from Mind Sliver? You can cast this cantrip to make your spells more successful. How? You need to use your Metamagic class feature, particularly the Quickened Spells option.
Usually, the Mind Sliver’s effects go away by the time your next turn comes up since it lasts for a round until the target’s turn ends. For example, you hit your target with Mind Sliver.
They receive a 1d4 penalty for their saving throws. However, before your next turn, your target will make their turn; it is how combat rounds work.
However, Quickened Spell changes the formula; in exchange for two sorcery points, you can change a spell’s casting time of one action to one bonus action during that turn.
According to the D&D 5e rules, you can only cast a cantrip during your action if you cast a spell using your bonus action. In other words, you cannot cast two level one or higher spells at once with your action and bonus action.
Another rule for bonus actions in D&D 5e is that you can do them before or after your action. How does Mind Sliver come into play here?
You can cast a leveled spell using your bonus action through the Quickened Spell, and you can cast Mind Sliver using your action. Then, you need to cast Mind Sliver first, followed by your bonus action.
For example, you can cast the Thunderwave spell, a spell with a casting time of one action, as a bonus action through the Quickened Spell Metamagic.
Then, you decide to cast Mind Sliver for your action. Thunderwave forces its targets to make a Constitution saving throw. If you cast Mind Sliver first, then cast Thunderwave afterward, your target will receive a 1d4 deduction to their saving throw.
Optimizing the Bane Spell Using Mind Sliver in D&D 5e
A spell that can significantly benefit from the Mind Sliver cantrip is the Bane spell. For the unaware, the Bane spell is a level one enchantment spell with a casting time of one action, a range of 30 ft., and a duration of one minute through concentration.
It requires the verbal, somatic, and material components, with the last being a drop of blood (per usual, you can use your arcane focus to skip the drop of blood).
The Bane spell makes you choose three creatures to make Charisma saving throws. If they fail, their other saving throws or attack rolls gain a 1d4 deduction while the spell lasts.
If you combine Bane and Mind Sliver, you can make someone lose 2d4 in their next saving throw! It is a considerable upgrade compared to the typical effect.
To combine these two spells, I would advise you to cast Bane first, and you must concentrate on it.
Then, during the next turn, you can cast Mind Sliver, and you are free to do so since the cantrip does not require concentration; if you succeed in doing both tasks, congratulations! Your target’s next saving throw becomes deducted by 2d4.
You can also use Quickened Spell on Bane if you are a Sorcerer with Metamagic, but I would recommend not doing it; there is a big chance that you can use your sorcery points on something more helpful.
Since Bane has a long duration (it can last for up to ten rounds), you do not need to worry about the turn order. However, if time is of the essence, then why not? Always assess the situation you are in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does Mind Sliver Stack in D&D 5e?
Answer: No, the effects of two or more Mind Sliver cantrips do not stack in D&D 5e. As per the rules dictated in the “Combining Magical Effects” section in the Player’s Handbook on page 205, effects of the same spell cast multiple times do not stack; instead, the “most potent” effect will supersede the others.
Other spells that offer deduction to saving throws like Bane will stack with Mind Sliver, though.
Question: Do Mind Sliver and Bane stack in D&D 5e?
Answer: Yes, the effects of Mind Sliver and Bane stack in D&D 5e. In the same section (refer to the previous question), it states that the effects of different spells will add together.
Therefore, casting Mind Sliver on someone who is under the effects of Bane will give a total of 2d4 deduction in their saving throws. You can read the “Optimizing the Bane spell using Mind Sliver in D&D 5e” section above to know more.
Question: Which is Better, Mind Sliver vs Vicious Mockery in D&D 5e?
Answer: It depends on what kind of penalty you want to give to your enemy. If you want to make them more likely to fail their saving throws, you should pick Mind Sliver.
If you want to make their attacks less successful, you should choose Vicious Mockery. Mind Sliver deals more damage, but Vicious Mockery gives you a better chance to avoid more damage from enemies.
Question: Which is Better, Mind Sliver vs Frostbite in D&D 5e?
Answer: Much like Vicious Mockery, it depends on what kind of penalty you want to give. Frostbite deals the same amount of damage as Mind Sliver, but it provides a disadvantage to the target’s weapon attack roll instead.
Mind Sliver makes your enemies more likely to fail their saving throws, while Frostbite makes your enemies more likely to fail their weapon attack rolls. I would pick the former, though, as Frostbite only has an effect on weapon attack rolls. If your enemy is not using a weapon, the effect will not be helpful.
Conclusion: Is Mind Sliver a Good Spell in D&D 5e?
Yes, Mind Sliver is a phenomenal cantrip due to its versatility and overall valuable application in combat. Firstly, it does not require spell slots, so you can cast it freely whenever you want (provided you complete the cantrip’s requirements).
Secondly, it deals decent damage for a cantrip with an added effect. Thirdly, its effect is beneficial for spellcasters since it reduces the target’s saving throw.
One weakness Mind Sliver has its damage type; only one monster across the various sources is vulnerable to psychic damage, and it is the Flumph, a small Aberration with a Challenge Rating of 1/8 (or 25 XP).
Note that there are up to 2825 monsters across the various sources. In contrast, there are 91 monsters that are immune to psychic damage.
Damage type aside, I still think it is a great spell. When Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything introduced the Mind Sliver cantrip, many players praised it as one of the best cantrips out there.
Some even say that it has become the new “king of cantrips.” While it may be an over-exaggeration, I still think it belongs to my top three cantrips.