Spell Sniper 5e Guide to the Feat and the Loopholes

You and your party have made camp near the peak of a mountain. The cold air batters you, but you gain the best vantage point from here, peering over the valley and spotting your enemies as they trail behind. Just as your group begins to bed down for the night, the keenest eyes in your party spot the brief flicker of a flame further down the mountain.

Muddled in distinct features but clear in their numbers, figures have chosen to make camp just behind you. You can determine where they sit from your perch, unaware of your party’s advantage over them. A brief conversation between members, debating whether a fight now or in the morning would be better. Finally, you all arrive at a decision. There will be a fight now, while the advantage is still yours.

To kick off the fight, you angle yourself where you can see the entire group below. As the wizard, the first shot is up to you. After you send off your first spell, you can stay out of the fray as your fellow party members charge in; all the while, you can be slinging spells from a sniper’s perch.

With a simple hand gesture and whispered word, three rays of fire shoot from the tips of your fingers and streak down the mountainside before finding their intended targets, just 200 feet down the mountainside. The bolts of Scorching Ray find their targets, and the battle is on. Welcome to a Spell Sniper 5e Guide.

Up Front

Variant Human
Variant Human

Although you generally need to choose to take a Feat instead of an Ability Score Improvement when leveling up (with the exception being a Variant Human, where you gain a Feat at creation), Spell Sniper is worth it for the squishy members, spellcasters, and distance fighters in your party. As a bonus, anyone can take the Feat, so long as they can cast at least one spell.

What Does It Do?

Spell Sniper
Spell Sniper

Spell Sniper is a Feat that allows players who can cast at least one spell to enhance their attacks with certain spells. This enhancement means that the range is doubled when you cast a spell with an attack roll. Ranged spells also ignore half cover and the three-quarters cover.

When taking this Feat, you can also learn one cantrip that requires an attack roll from the spell list of Bards, Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. The spellcasting ability modifier for your chosen cantrip depends on the list that you selected it from.

Charisma is the spellcasting ability modifier for Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks. Cleric and Druid cantrips rely on Wisdom for their modifier. Cantrips from the Wizard spell sheet rely on your Intelligence.

Cantrips That Can Be Yours Today

Spells

Cantrips are “no-level” spells, meaning they don’t require a character level or spell slot to cast. The spell is cast at will and doesn’t need to be prepared in advance. Whether you are low-level or high-level, attack cantrips can be life savers, preserving spell slots for the most critical moments or aiding melee attackers when they cannot get up close and personal with their enemies.

It’s important to note that not all the cantrips you can take with the Spell Sniper Feat require ranged attack rolls. The only requirement Spell Sniper puts on what cantrips you can take is that they require an attack roll. Cantrips like Booming Blade require an attack roll and thus are viable to take, regardless of whether or not Spell Sniper enhances it.

Blooming Blade Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

 

Range: Cast on self

When you cast this spell, you create a magical weapon you can brandish for one round. Make an attack on a creature within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the weapon’s typical effects and becomes covered in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before your next turn, they take 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends. 

Chill Touch Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper)

When you cast this spell, you create a ghostly, skeletal hand in a creature’s space within range. You make a ranged spell attack, and on a hit, the target takes 1d8 necrotic damage and cannot regain hit points until the start of your next turn. If you hit an undead target, it gains an additional disadvantage on attack rolls until the end of your next turn. 

Eldritch Blast Classes: Warlock

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper) 

You shoot out a beam of crackling energy at a creature in range. The creature takes 1d10 force damage if you hit with a ranged spell attack. 

Firebolt Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper) 

You shoot off a mote of fire at a target within range. If your ranged attack hits, the creature takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object will ignite if it isn’t being worn or carried.

Green-Flame Blade Classes: Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard

 

Range: Cast on self

Similar to Booming Blade, when you cast this spell, you create a magical weapon in your hand. You can make a melee attack with it against a creature or target within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the expected effects of the weapon’s attack. Furthermore, you can cause green fire to leap from the target to the creature of your choice within five feet of your target. The second creature will take fire damage equal to your spellcasting ability modifier.

Magic Stone Classes: Druid, Warlock

 

Range: Touch

To cast this spell, you touch up to three pebbles and imbue them with magic. You or another person can take the pebble and make a ranged spell attack by throwing it or using it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet (120 with Spell Sniper!) If someone else throws your pebble, the attack adds your spellcasting ability modifier to the attack roll rather than their attack modifier, though their range is not doubled. The target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your modifier on a hit. From there, the spell ends on the stone.

Produce Flame Classes: Druid

 

Range: Self, 30 feet when thrown (60 with Spell Sniper).

When you cast this spell, a flickering flame appears in your hand, harmless to you and your equipment. It produces bright light in a 10-foot radius and dim light in an additional 10-foot radius. If you attack with the flame, it will end the spell. You can hurl the flame at a creature within 30 feet (60 with Spell Sniper) and make a ranged attack roll. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 fire damage.

Ray of Frost Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard

 

Range: 60 feet (120 with Spell Sniper) 

In a ranged spell attack, you shoot a freezing beam of light at your target. On a hit, your target takes 1d8 cold damage, and its speed is reduced by 10 feet until the start of your next turn.

Shillelagh Classes: Druid

 

Range: Touch

The club or quarterstaff you hold is imbued with the power of nature. Your weapons damage immediately becomes a d8 and gains a magical effect. For the duration of the spell (1 minute), you can use your spellcasting ability instead of Strength for your attack and damage rolls. 

Shocking Grasp Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard

 

Range: Touch

When you grab hold of a creature, lighting springs from your hands and shocks your target, you must make a melee spell attack, gaining an advantage if your target creature is wearing metal armor. On a hit, your target takes 1d8 lightning damage and cannot take reactions until the start of its next turn.

Thorn Whip Classes: Druid

 

Range: 30 feet

You create a long whip-like vine, covered in thorns. You must make a melee spell attack against your target. If you hit, the creature takes 1d6 piercing damage; if the creature is larger or smaller, you can pull it 10 feet closer. Unfortunately, Spell Sniper cannot affect this spell as it is a melee attack and not ranged.

Interesting to note, but none of the classes are Bard. Even though you can theoretically take a cantrip from the Bard spell list, no Bard cantrips require attack rolls, and thus you can’t actually take anything. Browsing through the cantrips provided by the Player’s Handbook, all Bard cantrips that can deal damage require saves on the part of the target rather than an attack roll.

So Which Cantrip is Best?

best cantrips in dnd

If you want to take the best cantrip possible for this Feat, avoid the melee ones. Although you could pick them if you wanted, Spell Sniper will not enhance them, and without other ranged spell attacks, you may find the Feat completely useless. My top three picks would be Chill Touch, Eldritch Blast, and Firebolt.

Not only do they have a 240-foot range with Spell Sniper, but these spells can do a hefty chunk of damage no matter what level you are. Chill Touch can reach up to 4d8 damage at level 17, meaning you can do a max of 32 damage with a single cantrip.

Firebolt can reach 4d10 damage at level 17, meaning you can do 40 damage with a single cantrip. Finally, Eldritch Blast has four blasts at level 17, each of which you can direct at different targets, with a max damage roll of 40. As an additional bonus, these cantrips ignore partial cover, making these powerful cantrips all that more dangerous.

Not All Spells

Spell

Although it’s tempting to try and apply Spell Sniper to all your spells, it isn’t viable. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to send a Fireball to enemies who are well over 300 feet away? Unfortunately, to double the range on your attack rolls, your spell must be a ranged attack, not a save.

This brings up the critical question of which spells are affected by the Spell Sniper Feat. Aside from the previously listed cantrips, quite a few spells are affected by this Feat, all of which I have listed below.

Acid Arrow 2nd-level evocation

 

Range: 90 feet (180 feet with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 4d4 on hit, 2d4 at the end of the target’s next turn. On a miss, the damage is halved, with no damage at the end of the target’s next turn.

Blade of Disaster 9th-level conjuration

 

Range: 60 feet (120 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 4d12 force damage. Critical hit if you roll an 18 or higher. On a critical hit, this spell deals an extra 8d12 force damage, for a total of 12d12 damage.

Chaos Bolt 1st-level evocation

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 2d8 + 1d6 damage. The damage type varies, chosen through the damage chart after rolling a d8. 

Chromatic Orb 1-st level evocation

 

Range: 90 feet (180 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 3d8 of a damage type you choose. You can pick from acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, or thunder damage before your attack.

Crown of Stars 7th-level conjuration

 

Range: Self to cast, 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper) when utilizing the stars.

Damage: 4d12 radiant damage per mote, seven total motes.

Guiding Bolt 1st-level evocation

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 4d6 radiant damage.

Ice Knife 1st-level conjuration

 

Range: 60 feet (120 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 1d10 piercing damage, whether you hit or miss, with an added 2d6 cold damage on a failed Dexterity saving throw.

Ray of Sickness 1st-level necromancy

 

Range: 60 feet (120 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 2d8 poison damage and the target must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the target gains the poisoned effect until the end of your next turn.

Scorching Ray 2nd-level evocation

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 2d6 fire damage for each of the three rays of fire, totaling 6d6 damage for one target or spread out across multiple.

Spiritual Weapon 2nd-level evocation

 

Range: 60 feet when first cast (120 with Spell Sniper) with a 20-foot movement as a bonus action (40 with Spell Sniper).

Damage: 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier.

Steel Wind Strike 5th-level conjuration

 

Range: 30 feet (60 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 6d10 force damage

Storm Sphere 4th-level evocation

 

Range: 150 feet (300 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 4d6 lightning damage

Wall of Radiance 5th-level evocation

 

Range: 120 feet (240 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: If cast with a creature in its area, the creatures must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed throw, the creature takes 4d8 and half as much damage on a successful save. When a creature ends its turn in the wall’s area, it takes 4d8 radiant damage. An action can be used to launch a beam of radiance from the wall to damage one creature within 60 feet of the wall using a ranged spell attack (making the range 120 feet with Spell Sniper!), damaging the creature by 4d8 radiant damage.

Witch Bolt 1st-level evocation

 

Range: 30 feet (60 with Spell Sniper)

Damage: 1d12 lightning damage on a successful hit. On each turn afterward, as long as the target remains in range, you can cause immediate 1d12 damage again.

Taking the Feat and the Loopholes

Variant Of Human
Variant Of Human

Unless you’re a Variant Human, the first time you can take a feat is generally around level four. However, you do not have to be a magic class to take Spell Sniper as your first or even your second Feat. According to the Player’s Handbook, to take the Spell Sniper Feat, you only need the ability to cast at least one spell.

This knowledge gives us a loophole that may or may not be worth it: anyone with innate magic can take the Spell Sniper Feat and learn the cantrip associated with it. However, even if you don’t play a race with racial magic, you can still obtain the Spell Sniper Feat; your first step just has to differ a bit from your magical counterparts.

If your character does not have innate magic, when it comes time to take your first magically oriented Feat, I recommend that you take the Magic Initiate Feat. Not only does this Feat give you two cantrips, but it also gives you the first-level spell. More importantly, this Feat gives you spells and doesn’t require that you can cast spells before taking it.

Races with Innate Magic

Races with Innate Magic

If you want to go the easier route, however, and not worry about whether or not you’ve taken the right Feat while not being a magic class, listed below are a few races with innate magic.

Air Genasi Air Genasi have the racial ability to cast levitate once every long rest, requiring no material components and using Constitution as their spellcasting ability.
Drow Drow inherently knows the Dancing Lights cantrip. Once reaching level 3,  Drow gains the Faerie Fire spell once every long rest. At level 5, Drow can cast Darkness once every long rest. Charisma is the spellcasting ability for all Drow racial magic.
Earth Genasi Earth Genasi can cast Pass Without a Trace once every long rest, requiring no material components. Their Constitution is their spellcasting ability.
Fire Genasi Fire Genasi can cast the Produce Flame Cantrip. Upon reaching level 3, they can cast Burning Hands as a first-level spell once per long rest.
Forest Gnome Forest Gnomes can cast the Minor Illusion Cantrip, using Intelligence as their spellcasting ability.
Gray Dwarf Gray Dwarfs, or Duergar, after reaching level 3, can cast the Enlarge/Reduce spell on themselves but can only utilize Enlarge. Once they reach level 5, Gray Dwarfs can cast invisibility on themselves once per long rest. Neither spell requires material components, and both cannot be cast while in direct sunlight, though sunlight will not end the spell. Intelligence is used as the spellcasting ability for Gray Dwarfs.
High Elf High Elves know one cantrip of choice from the Wizard spell list, using Intelligence as their spellcasting ability.
Tiefling Tieflings inherently know the Thaumaturgy cantrip. Upon reaching level 3, they can cast Hellish Rebuke as a second-level spell once per long rest. After reaching level 5, Tieflings can cast Darkness once per long rest. All of their racial spells use Charisma as their spellcasting ability.
Triton Triton can inherently cast Fog Cloud. Upon reaching level 3, they can cast Gust of Wind. At level 5, Triton can cast Wall of Water. These spells can be used once per long rest, utilizing Charisma as their spellcasting ability. 
Water Genasi Water Genasi inherently know the Shape Water cantrip. After reaching level 3, they can cast Create or Destroy Water as a second-level spell once per long rest. Constitution is used as a Water Genasi’s spellcasting ability.

For the Min-Maxers

Let’s say you don’t want to waste time on Feats that aren’t worth it – you would rather just take the Ability Score Improvement. That’s understandable, but you can still strengthen your character through a Feat like Spell Sniper.

If attack spells, cantrips especially, are your primary source of the attack, Spell Sniper not only doubles the range for those spells but also gives your character an advantage in a fight. In terrain where your enemies can easily run around and hide, like in ruins or a forest, Spell Sniper negates any partial cover they have.

Depending on how your DM rules it, partial cover can give your target a higher AC or could give you a disadvantage on your attack roll. However, with the Spell Sniper Feat, your attack spells and cantrips ignore that disadvantage entirely and level the playing field for ranged attacks.

FAQ’s

Question: Why won’t Bardic cantrips like Vicious Mockery or Thunderclap work with Spell Sniper? 

Answer: They don’t require attack rolls. Although the Feat description says you can take a cantrip from the Bard spell sheet, you can’t. As previously mentioned, Bards don’t have a cantrip that requires an attack roll, even if they do have cantrips that can attack. Bardic cantrips that can deal damage, like Vicious Mockery and Thunderclap, require saving throws instead.

Question: What other Feats would Spell Sniper pair best with? 

Answer: Although I would like to claim War Caster would be the best pairing, War Caster is only useful for maintaining concentration on spells and for using spells as a reaction attack. In truth, the best Feat you could pair with Spell Sniper would be Magic Initiate. With Magic Initiate, you gain two spell cantrips from a magic class and one of the first-level spells from that class. Should you play your cards right, you can end up doing an absurd amount of long-range damage using only cantrips.

Question: My DM isn’t familiar with Feats, so they don’t want to let us use them at the table. How do I convince them to let me take one?

Answer: The best way is to talk to them. Go through the Player’s Handbook and learn about Feats with your Dungeon Master. It might be worth explaining to your DM that they don’t need to manage your Feats either – it’s entirely up to the players whether or not they remember if they have a Feat and how they work. In the end, Feats are a core part of Dungeons and Dragons 5e, but it’s up to your DM if they end up integrated into the game or not, especially if you try to pull off the innate magic loophole I mentioned previously.

In the End

Spell Sniper is not an impressive Feat at first glance. Compared to more commonly adopted ones like War Caster, Lucky, and Magic Initiate, it seems bland. If you can’t send a Fireball hurling at your enemies from 300 feet away in less than 6 seconds, what’s the point? Well, the point is that you can use other spells.

For those Warlocks who have limited spell slots, Eldritch Blast is a very important cantrip, and Spell Sniper only makes it more powerful and dangerous. Spell Sniper is the perfect Feat for Clerics who want to conserve their essential spell slots for healing and stay out of range of melee attackers, meaning they rely on their cantrips for damage.

It’s also great for any magic-user who finds that they’re running out of spells far too quickly in the early game. Plus, if you constantly complain about how Warlocks have an overpowered cantrip (1d10 can be a serious amount of damage (and you get even more bolts as you level up!) Spell Sniper can give you that overpowered cantrip.

All you need is the willingness to exchange your Ability Score Modifier for a Feat. After delving so thoroughly into a Feat I had previously underestimated, I know I am more than willing to make that exchange.

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