Picture this: It’s D&D night for you. You slash through the monstrous ogre’s bark-like thick skin with your needle-sharp longsword. Anguished moans fill the air as the monster slaps his giant hand on his gushing wound. Right then, his eyes become wide in fear as the sight of a thin crackling burst of energy expanding gradually from his wound, slowly taking over his entire being catches his attention. The monster lets out an angry roar as your character retreats hastily. No sooner than he takes a step in your direction that the layer of energy bursts with a burgeoning, thunderous explosion.
That’s the D&D 5E Booming Blade for you. Here’s an in-depth guide of all you need to know about the Booming Blade Spell Card:
How Does Booming Blade Work?
First appearing in The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the DnD Booming Blade was then reprinted in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. First, let’s understand the nuances of the DnD Booming Blade, as explained in The Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything:
Booming Blade: Evocation cantrip
Duration: 1 round
Range: 5-foot radius
Casting time: 1 action
Components: S, M (one melee weapon of minimum 1 sp)
You brandish the weapon used in the spell’s casting and make a melee attack with it against one creature within 5 feet of you. On a hit, the target suffers the weapon attack’s normal effects and then becomes sheathed in booming energy until the start of your next turn. If the target willingly moves 5 feet or more before then, the target takes 1d8 thunder damage, and the spell ends.
At Higher Levels. At 5th level, the melee attack deals an extra 1d8 thunder damage to the target on a hit, and the damage the target takes for moving increases to 2d8. Both damage rolls increase by 1d8 at 11th level (2d8 and 3d8) and again at 17th level (3d8 and 4d8).
How to Use Booming Blade
You may choose to flee after you cast the DnD Booming Blade spell card, but that will inevitably force your target to chase you. If you try to run from melee combat, it will provoke another attack of opportunity. So, how should you use the Booming Blade spell card?
Here’s how it works:
Booming Blade demands a successful melee strike from the caster, making it quite an interesting cantrip for Sorcerers, Wizards, Artificers, Warlocks, and Fighters and Rogues. If you are at a lower level, the spell deals a hefty 1d8 worth of terrifying thunder damage, which scales up at the 5th, 11th, and 17th levels. Therefore, as you level up, your character benefits considerably from the DnD Booming Blade.
Most players who use the Booming Blade spell card does so for one of the following listed reasons:
- To discourage the target from attacking
- To control the foe’s movement
- To deal increased damage
If you are a DnD enthusiast, you’d know that cantrips can be rather hard to come by. So, locating one that can be beneficial at low and high levels isn’t child’s play. The DnD Booming Blade is versatile and readily available in the early game.
If you play for a while, you will realize that targets usually like to stay out of melee range for obvious reasons. Wizards and Rogues, for instance, are known to maintain a good distance from their targets. For foes that like to maintain a certain distance from you, the Booming Blade spell card could be a great alternative. For example, if a disastrous Booming Blade hits a Wizard, he would think twice before fleeing.
If you have the Mobile feat, you won’t be able to provoke an attack of opportunity following a melee strike. So, if you cast the Booming Blade spell card instead, you can effectively disengage from combat without suffering any penalty.
If you are playing as a Dungeon Master, you ought to give it a good thought to which NPC could utilize the DnD Booming Blade. If employed properly, these NPCs might turn the tables on parties. You can make good use of this cantrip if you are looking to put more pressure on a party’s heavy hitters, deal some added damage to a party’s spellcasters.
A party of Eldritch Knights who can cast Booming Blades might be a formidable force. They can restrict the party’s mobility. If you are a Dungeon Master, you can make use of this tactic by placing a nearby objective that must be reached by the said party.
With their Cunning Action ability, a party of Arcane Tricksters can deal even more damage. They could attack and disengage each turn, inviting thunder and pain with each rapier strike. If coupled with Sneak Attack, it gets even worse! If characters are casting the DnD Booming Blade, it’s better to have targets equipped with ranged attacks. You can consider presenting a mix and match of troops to challenge players.
Which Character is Suitable to Use the Booming Blade Spell?
We have listed some character builds that might do well with the DnD Booming Blade. However, it is always a good idea to experiment with other characters to see if you can use the spell card to your advantage in a unique way:
1. The Arcane Trickster
If you choose to be an Arcane Trickster and take up Booming Blade, you can utilize the Rogue’s Cunning Action ability (learnt at level 2) that lets you dash, hide, or disengage from a target with a bonus action.
This class can cast the DnD Booming Blade within the melee range to deal normal levels of weapon damage before they go ahead and use a bonus action to disengage and flee proactively. If the target moves, they will visibly combust.
2. The Bladesinger Wizard
This class knows their way around a blade and knows all about magic. They do not scare away from walking straight into the monsters’ path. The Bladesinger Wizards are not scared to take a punch either.
Since this class prioritizes Intelligence, dealing hefty melee damage often proves to be a challenge. With the Booming Blade spell card, their melee damage increases.
3. The Eldritch Knight
If you play as an Eldritch Knight, you would learn a few spells and employ them tactfully to slay your targets. With the Booming Blade spell card, you can gain more control of the battlefield by coercing your targets into rather difficult choices.
It is a known fact that targets usually eye the most vulnerable in the party. However, if hit by a Booming Blade, they will remain where they are, in turn keeping those vulnerable few in the group from harm’s way.
4. The Booming Swashbuckler
For the Booming Swashbucklers, combining their Fancy Footwork with a thunderous Booming Blade spell card allows them to strike a target and move away from the melee range immediately. If struck by a Booming rapier, a target can either come face to face with the thunder or wait around to be attacked. Therefore, for Swashbucklers, it might pay off to cast the DnD Booming Blade.
The Booming Blade spell card essentially covers a certain niche of cantrips. There are barely any alternatives to the Booming Blade, making this spell a great choice for melee casters. Just like any cantrip, the D&D 5E Booming Blade will also have a few let-downs, but at the end of the day, it is all about maneuvering past those limitations and making the best out of what the spell offers. If the Booming Blade spell card plays well with your character, it is the right choice for you!