D&D 5e: Modify Your Mastery Of Magic With Our Metamagic Feat Guide
D&D 5e: Modify Your Mastery Of Magic With Our Metamagic Feat Guide
SOURCE: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
Rating the Benefits of Metamagic Adept
Benefit #1 –
Learn two Metamagic options from the Sorcerer class list
The Metamagic list has 11 options on it that can modify spellcasting. The ability to choose two options from it offers a lot of flexible power
Benefit #2 –
The character gains two sorcery points, which can only be used on Metamagic, and refresh on a long rest
Many Metamagic options cost 1 or 2 Sorcery points, so your abilities can potentially be used up to twice per day. The Sorcery points granted by this feat also stack with those granted by the Sorcerer class.
Mechanics and Requirements
Understanding How Metamagic Adept Function
Metamagic allows a character to modify their spells, as they cast them.
Each Metamagic option has an effect and a cost. The use is decided when you cast the spell, and each spell can only be under the effect of one Metamagic option at a time.
The Metamagic Adept allows a character to choose two options from the list below and provides two Sorcery points with which to fuel them.
All Sorcery points come back on a short rest, and the Sorcery points provided by this feat can only be used on Metamagic. That’s important because the Sorcerer class can burn points to regain spell slots. This feat does not let you do that.
Careful Spell – SP Cost: 1
Pick a whole bunch of creatures to pass their save against dangerous AOEs. This is really useful for casters who focus on dropping big areas of terrain or effects like Web. Your party will be able to safely remain in the hostile zone, destroying enemies who are affected by the spell in question.
Distant Spell – SP Cost: 1
Double a spell’s range. Touch spells gain a range of 30ft.
Doubling a spell’s effective range very rarely matters, as almost all encounters are set up in a way to standardize ranges.
Turning a touch spell ranged, on the other hand, can be great with the right choices. As an example, using Bestow Curse at range, from a position of complete safety, can destroy an enemy’s ability to meaningfully fight back.
A big problem with this is that many spells you think would genuinely be great with this Metamagic choice have a range of “Self,” which means they don’t actually qualify. Take a careful look at your spell list before taking this.
Empowered Spell – SP Cost: 1
Reroll a number of damage dice equal to your character’s Charisma modifier.
Cheap and cheerful, and perfect for characters throwing out big damage AOE spells such as Fireball or Disintegrate. A bad roll, a bunch of 1s and 2s, can utterly neuter a character’s turn. This fixes that problem.
Extended Spell – SP Cost: 1
Double the duration of a spell. Not useful for damage or condition AOEs, as encounters tend to end before the doubled duration is relevant.
Instead, look for buffs that have a medium duration. Anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour is a good benchmark. Examples include Armor of Agathys, Darkvision, Aid, and Water Breathing. Doubling these can get you through a second or third encounter, massively increasing spell efficiency.
Heightened Spell – SP Cost: 3
Too expensive for this feat, Heightened Spell is only useful for Sorcerers who have taken this to pick up more Metamagic options.
Despite being expensive, Heightened Spell is incredibly powerful. Disadvantage on the save for a chosen spell, especially big, save-or-suck spells, can take a single target utterly out of an encounter for multiple turns.
Quickened Spell – SP Cost: 2
Shift the casting time of a spell from an action to a bonus action. Basically, every spell a character might want to cast in combat has a single action cast time, and many casters have little to do with their bonus actions. This frees up your action economy and allows a character to split their focus, or mop up after dropping their strongest blast.
Unfortunately, it’s also expensive. A character who chooses this metamagic gets one shot with it per day.
Note that Quickened Spell doesn’t ignore the one leveled spell per turn casting restriction. If you’re casting again, your second spell has to be a cantrip.
Seeking Spell – SP Cost: 1
Ignore half and three-quarter cover. This has two effects. First, cover is a direct bonus to AC, meaning it gets much harder to land spells that require attack rolls.
Second, the cover bonuses can also apply to Dexterity saves (and only Dex saves.)
How useful Seeking Spell is depends on your campaign and your GM. If encounters commonly feature a ton of cover and enemies who make tactical movement decisions, this is great. If you fight orcs who run straight at you in a screaming horde across rooms as bare as college kid’s fridge then it’s not a very helpful choice.
Subtle Spell – SP Cost: 1
Ignore the verbal and somatic components of spells you cast.
Subtle Spell is exceptional for out-of-combat use, as it makes a ton of mind-affecting spells such as Charm Person and Suggestion impossible to spot, letting the Bard or Sorcerer throw them at social foes with impunity.
In combat, it’s a band-aid for problems like being grappled and restrained, or Silence, overcoming the casting restrictions.
Transmuted Spell – SP Cost: 1
Change the damage type of an elemental spell to another damage type. The list of available damage types is:
Transmuted Spell has two major uses. Overcoming enemy damage resistances, which can be incredibly useful in campaigns that feature a lot of fiend or elemental foes, which regularly pack resistances or even straight-up damage immunity.
Alternatively, many subclass features and feats boost effects triggered by specific damage types. If your build has abilities like this, then this choice lets you forcibly shift your favorite spells into a shape that applies.
Twinned Spell – SP Cost: Spell Level
5e spell lists are packed with low-level buffs and debuffs that get much stronger when doubled onto a pair of targets. Any spell that only targets a single creature qualifies for Twinned Spell, making this a flexible option for a lot of characters.
Good choices include buffs like:
- Shield of Faith
- Cure Wounds, or Healing Word
Offensive options include:
- Most damaging cantrips
- Single-target damaging bolt or ray spells, (Guiding Bolt, Ray of Sickness)
- Single target disables, (Dissonant Whispers, Blindness/Deafness)
The Metamagic Adept feat has no stat requirements. However, it does require that a character has the spellcasting feature or the pact magic feature.
This does mean that characters who only have racial spellcasting or spellcasting provided by feats like Magic Initiate, do not qualify.
Ideal Characters for Metamagic Adept
Sorcerer – The Sorcerer is absolutely the best user of the Metamagic Adept feat. A Sorcerer gains Sorcery points equal to their level, meaning at low levels this is a massive boost to total Sorcery points, and even at max level, it’s still a 10% boost.
Until level 10, a Sorcerer also only gains two Metamagic options of their own. Taking Metamagic Adept literally doubles their choices, in a core class ability. A Sorcerer who doesn’t know which feat to take should strongly consider this before all other choices.
Warlock – Warlocks have an incredibly limited amount of spells per day. Potentially as low as only two leveled spell casts. Being able to modify one or two of those spells per day with the extra effect of Metamagic can make the Warlock’s major casts significantly stronger.
Different subclasses can make use of all of the options. Djinn patrons can Transmuted Spell everything they cast for the bonus damage and effects. GOOlocks love Subtle Spell. Even the mighty Hexblade wants Quickened, so they can attack and cast in the same turn.
Bard – With a spell list thick with control and disabling spells, Bards love having Metamagic options to play with.
Great recommendations include Subtle Spell, which works oh so well with all of the mind-affecting spells a Bard wants to use, and two Sorcery points are more than enough to get most characters through non-combat days. Twin Spell is also amazing. Doubling key buffs and debuffs is an incredibly strong ability in a class that’s widely considered the best at both.
Wizard – Wizards were already masters of magic. The ability to twist their colossal spell list into new and interesting shapes only makes the class stronger.
A Wizard can make great use of any of the Metamagic choices, depending on their subclass and spell list. We’d recommend leaning towards Metamagics that shift spells you regularly cast, and help you fulfill your designated role in the party better.
Warlock/Sorcerer – The SorLock takes a little while to get online, but gets vicious with a few levels behind it. Warlock spell slots can be burned to fuel Sorcery points, and Metamagic can be used on unique Warlock spells in a self-sustaining cycle. This feat smoothes out that cycle, adding more important resources for the class to play with.
3 levels in Warlock to grab level 2 spell slots, Invocations, and a Pact Boon is super strong. Make sure to take Quicken, as Eldritch Blast is one of the strongest cantrip choices to keep piling on the hurt.
Paladin/Sorcerer – The Sorcadin is an absolute monster of a multiclass, restricted only by its limited access to class resources. Metamagic Adept helps with that, giving the class more points to burn on its ungodly powerful smites and spells, plus offering extra slots that can help give the class an identity that’s not just a “killing machine.”
Race or Subrace Choices
Variant Human – Nothing prevents a character from taking Metamagic Adept at level 1, allowing a character to gain these benefits ASAP, or a Sorcerer to come online with all key class abilities from level 1, and only get stronger when their own versions of these abilities are granted at levels 2 and 3.
Fairy – Permanent flight and a handful of Charisma-based spells are a temping combination for any casting class. The only limit is light armor, but most spellcasters don’t have any other options, so this is rarely an issue a character might face.
Tiefling – A damage resistance, Darkvision, but most importantly, a whole mess of spellcasting to play around with. The 9 Bloodlines offers a way to pick up a particular spell you were looking for, without resorting to feats or multiclassing.
Combos, Tactics, and Synergies
Elemental Adept – Ignoring damage resistance and rerolling low damage dice synergizes perfectly with Transmuted Spell’s ability to shift elemental typing. If you plan to kill everything before it can react, Elemental Adept is a major boost to DPS.
Spell Sniper – Ignoring cover makes attacking spells much easier to land, and picking up a damaging cantrip lets any Charisma caster grab Eldritch Blast (or perhaps something else, but realistically, Eldritch Blast.)
Fey Touched – Substitute any spellcasting feat here, but many feats grant bonus daily spellcasting, which is an awesome utility for characters like the Sorcerer, who might be limited in spell slots and choices.
Strategies for Maximizing Metamagic Adept Effectiveness
Tips and Tricks For Maximum Spell Extension
The Extend Spell Metamagic option has some interesting nuance and edge cases, many of which aren’t obvious at first glance. Examples include:
- Casting Extend Spell on Armor of Agathys as a Warlock. AoA has a 1-hour duration. Extending it doubles this to 2 hours. A short rest takes 1 hour and gives the slot back. 1 Sorcery point for a free spell is a good deal a lot of the time.
- Suggestion has an 8-hour duration. Extending this to 16 hours can make someone disappear for an entire day if you, for example, suggest they should take a day off work, which is the perfect way of removing an annoyance from non-combat situations.
- Extended Healing. Aura of Vitality is a spell that delivers its healing over a 10-round duration. Extending it doubles the healing received, from 20d6 up to 40d6, which is often enough to fully heal an entire party.
- Carrying the duration. Certain spells, like Aid, Mage Armor, and Death Ward, have a long enough duration that they can be cast before a long rest and still have a significant amount of time left over. While it’s not something to do every day, when you’re sure you’re heading into danger, the extra spell slot gained might be clutch.
The Quickening: More Spells Is Better Spells
Quicken is principally a damage option. Throwing out a major blast like Fireball, then mopping up one of the survivors with an attacking cantrip, is a fantastic use of 2SP.
But there are other options. For example, Quicken can be used defensively. Casting as a bonus action frees up a character’s action, which can be used to take the Dodge or Disengage actions, helping get out of combat or survive attack rolls.
Another alternative is to use Quicken to power through a spell that takes an action. Spells like Telekinesis, Enervate, Sunbeam, and Earthen Grasp have things that can be done with your action, that generally aren’t available until the turn after. Quickening the spell lets you pull tricks like, for example, blasting out double sunbeams in a turn.
Twinning Spells: Why Two Is Always Better Than One
Despite the increased cost, Twinned Spell is one of the most powerful Metamagics in terms of broad use for many classes. There are just so many things it can be used for:
- Double your most powerful buffs. Great choices include Sanctuary, and protecting two vulnerable members of the party. Shield of Faith, for +2 to AC on two frontline bruisers. Magic Weapon, for bonus damage. Or Protection From Evil, for when the Devils come calling.
- Double strong low-level debuffs like Dissonant Whispers, Hideous Laughter, Command, Heat Metal, or Cause Fear. Some of these also affect multiple targets when upcast, but can be Twinned for the cost of 1 SP and a 1st-level spell slot.
- Double single-target damage spells. Ray of Sickness. Chromatic Orb. Phantasmal Force. Eldritch Blast. Guiding Bolt. All are great options to Twin, laying down solid damage into two targets. In a pinch, any damage cantrip is a viable use, especially for 1 SP in a major encounter.
Spellcasting in Secret: Subtle Spells
Subtle has fantastic out-of-combat utility. The ability to cast spells without others realizing lets a social mage run absolute riot, messing with minds and throwing out options like Suggestion, or illusion spells.
Subtle is also a useful option in combat. First off, it lets you ignore the effects of the Silence spell, or ignore grappled and restrained conditions that prevent the somatic components of spellcasting.
Another use it ignore Counterspell when fighting mages. Counterspell requires visible confirmation that someone is casting a spell in order to counter it. So if you Subtle a spell cast, none of the usual verbal or movement signifiers are there, ergo no counterspell
Metamagic and Sage Advice
One of the potential issues with Metamagic is the rulings put through Sage Advice regarding its use.
For the uninitiated, Sage Advice is a Twitter (X…) column where Mike Mearls, one of D&D’s designers, makes rulings on unusual game interactions. There’s been a bunch of rulings on various Metamagic options, and most of them only add more restrictions.
However, the advice isn’t intended to be rules as written and doesn’t have to be taken as gospel. Unless you’re playing in the Adventurer’s League, your GM doesn’t have to stick to anything written here.
Final Thoughts on Metamagic Adept
Metamagic is one of the distinctive abilities of the Sorcerer class, which adds an absolute ton of flexible, fun effects to the class’s spellcasting prowess. The ability to bolt that directly onto any other class that has spells is too good to pass up.
Metamagic Adept isn’t a simple, one-stop boost in power, as some feats are. But with a little thought to how certain Metamagic choices slot into your build and role, this feat can be incredibly strong, but most importantly, incredibly fun.