Evoker Tactics for D&D 5e

Topher
3 min readFeb 10, 2020

Evokers are a type of specialist wizard in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition with stats in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. With a list full of Area of Effect spells, an Evoker would rather fight a large group of weak enemies than a few strong foes such as the player characters. Despite being a high level spellcaster, the Evoker’s combat strategy is relatively simple. Basically, they spend their action on whichever Area of Effect spell will deal the most damage, starting with the powerful Chain Lightning and Cone of Cold, then moving onto Fireball. Ice Storm is used to prevent melee opponents from getting too close, and Misty Step is used to escape any opponents that do manage to get within melee range.

The Evoker’s other spells, which are primarily used to complement this strategy, are analyzed below.

  • Mage Armor and Mirror Image are the Evoker’s primary defensive spells. It will try to cast them before combat if possible. However, these spells aren’t worth giving up an action once combat begins (better to cast a damage dealing spell)
  • Stoneskin is a defensive concentration spell that is never worth an action in combat. An Evoker might cast it before combat if it expects to be fighting large amounts of weak non-magical opponents (Level 4 or lower, or CR 1 or lower) that will be too spread out to be killed by a single Cone of Cold or Fireball.
  • Counterspell is the Evoker’s only reaction, which will be used to prevent incoming spells. An evoker might upcast it to 4th or 5th level if necessary, but will always save a 5th level slot for Bigby’s Hand.
  • Bigby’s Hand is a concentration spell, that can both immobilize a single opponent and deal extra damage each round. If an Evoker has the option to cast it before combat begins and doesn’t need to cast Stoneskin, they will. Once the spells start flying, any action spent on this spell is one that could be used on a devastating Cone of Cold or Fireball, which will deal significantly more damage unless the fight lasts 5 or more rounds (Evokers almost always plan on fleeing or ending the fight before 5 rounds is up). But damage isn’t everything. If there’s a prominent and obvious leader who can be used as leverage to get the rest of the Evoker’s enemies to surrender, the Grasping Hand option is a great method of threatening them specifically. Evokers will try killing said leader with an Area of Effect spell first, and cast Bigby’s Hand against them only if they survive.
  • Wall of Ice is great for temporarily distracting a group of powerful opponents so the Evoker can wipe out their weaker allies. To be worth it’s 6th level spell slot, Wall of Ice must trap at least 4 enemies of 5th level or higher (or CR 3 or higher), and catch at least 3 of them near the edge of the wall so they take 10d6 damage when it appears.
  • Firebolt, Ray of Frost, and Magic Missile are weak, single target damage spells. The Evoker will only use Firebolt or Ray of Frost after casting Misty Step, and will only use Magic Missile if an enemy is concentrating on a particularly nasty spell.

Since they’re optimized to fight weak enemies that go down rather quickly and don’t have many defensive measures, Evokers start to get nervous if the majority of their opponents are still standing after one or two spells. If any opponents are still fighting after 4 or 5 rounds, an Evoker will almost certainly flee, dashing and using Misty Step to get away. Evokers really want to stay alive, so they’ll also flee when reduced to 26 hp or less.

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