Dispel Magic 5E — DnD spell explained 2023

Unravel enchantments with our guide to the Dispel Magic 5E spell in DnD. Undo magical effects and suppress ongoing spells.

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What is Dispel Magic 5E?

Dispel Magic 5E (PHB, p. 234) is a 3rd level abjuration spell, which is available natively to Artificers, Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards. It requires vocal and somatic components and takes an action to cast. When you do so you target an object, creature, or magical effect within 120 feet an automatically end the effect on that target if it is a 3rd level spell or lower. If the spell is higher than 3rd level, you must make a spellcasting ability check to dispel it, with the DC being 10 + that spell’s level.

If you cast Dispel Magic with a higher level spell slot, the level of spell it can automatically cancel matches that spell slot. For example, a 4th level casting of Dispel Magic could automatically dispel a Polymorph spell, whereas a 3rd level casting would have to make a spellcasting ability check.

Is Dispel Magic 5E a good spell?

Dispel Magic is an okay spell, but very niche and with a misleading name as a player is very likely to try it on any magical effect, but RAW it only works on spells. It’s worthwhile for someone in the party to have access to this spell, but multiple people with it would be redundant, unlike its cousin Counter Spell. This can be a great spell to cast on an enemy that has buffed themselves with spells, such as Mage Armor, False Life, and even Fly, with that last one potentially bringing some bonus fall damage. However, if you cast this on an ally to end a hostile spell, you may end buffs cast on them from friendly sources as well.

You can improve your reliability of dispelling higher-level spells by adding to your spellcasting roll. A Bard’s Jack of all Trades feature would add half their proficiency bonus to the roll, whilst an Abjuration Wizard’s 10th level feature Improved Abjuration allows them to add their entire proficiency bonus to it. 

How can you get Dispel Magic 5E?

If you’re worried about that suspicious NPC putting a spell on you, then fear not! Here is a list of how you can grab this spell:

  • Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard – All of these classes, and there is a lot of them, get Dispel Magic on their spell list.
  • Arcane Trickster (Rogue Subclass) – This Rogue can choose spells from the Wizard spell list, and can choose Dispel Magic as one of their unrestricted spells from 14th level.
  • Eldritch Knight (Fighter Subclass) – Similar to above, this Fighter subclass can choose spells from the Wizard list and can choose Dispel Magic 13th level as it matches their abjuration restriction.
  • Trickery Domain (Cleric Subclass) – This tricky Cleric gets Dispel magic as an always-prepared spell at 5th level from their domain spells.
  • Fey Wanderer (Ranger Subclass) – At 9th level this Ranger gets Dispel Magic through their Fey Wanderer Magic feature.
  • Oath of Devotion (Paladin Subclass) – This Paladin gets Dispel Magic at 9th level through their Oath Spells feature.
  • Clockwork Soul (Sorcerer Subclass) – The Clockwork Magic feature gives these Sorcerers a plethora of spells, including Dispel Magic from 5th level.
  • Lunar Sorcery (Sorcerer Subclass) – Just like the Clockwork version above, this Sorcerer gains Dispel Magic from 5th level thanks to the Lunar Embodiment feature, with the spell coming under the Full Moon category. 
  • Drow High Magic (Feat) – Drow can take this racial feat to cast Dispel Magic and Levitate once per day for free, as well as being able to cast Detect Magic at will.

How to roleplay the Dispel Magic spell

Need some help roleplaying the Dispel Magic spell? Here are some examples to help you out:

  • The scent of burning parchment fills the air as the ancient runes on the stone tablet suddenly flare to life. The Wizard, raises her hand, a look of focused determination in her eyes. She utters the words to cast Dispel Magic, and a wave of magical energy cascades from her fingertips. The glowing runes flicker and fade, their once-potent enchantment reduced to harmless marks upon the stone. The barrier blocking the passage dissipates, revealing a hidden chamber beyond.
  • As the fearsome illusion of a towering, red dragon bears down on the party, its fiery breath seemingly ready to consume them all, the Bard breaks into a rousing, heroic ballad. The resonating notes of his lute mingle with his words of power, creating an intricate web of countermagic. With the final, triumphant chord of his performance, the illusion shatters like fragile glass, revealing the true enemy – a grinning, malicious sorcerer – now standing exposed before the party.
  • The battle rages on, with the adventurers barely holding their ground against the necromancer’s undead minions. In the midst of the fray, the Cleric calls upon the divine power of her deity. Her prayers take the form of a radiant, silver light that streams from her holy symbol. As the spell washes over the battlefield, the necromancer’s vile enchantments crumble under its might. The animated corpses collapse, their dark puppeteer’s control severed, turning the tide of the battle in the heroes’ favor.

We hope we provided you with some useful tips on how to deal with your Wizard roommate’s pranks. For those considering using this spell in their next Artificer build, our Artificer 5E guide is a must-read. And for those interested in learning about other spells, our DnD 5E spells is a great resource. Good luck on your adventures, and remember to upcast for maximum effect!