How To Build A School Of Evocation Wizard In D&D

Wizards have been in Dungeons & Dragons since its very earliest days, and the School of Evocation is one of the most iconic wizard subclasses. Evocation wizards focus on raw damage, unleashing magical power as pure elemental energy.



Related: Dungeons & Dragons: How To Build A Bladesinger Wizard

If you want to focus on raw damage over anything else and like the idea of flinging fireballs and casting magic missile at the nearest gazebo, this subclass has you covered. Building a school of evocation wizard requires you to make important decisions starting all the way at level one. This guide’s here to help you maximize your magical potential.

A Damage-Dealing Magic Class

Chronurgist via Wizards of the Coast

Like all wizards, the School of Evocation wizard is a magic user first and anything else a distant second.

You’ll use your powerful Intelligence to cast damage-dealing spells. You sacrifice a little bit of your class’s usual tactical focus –you’ll have fewer control, buff, and debuff options– for raw power.

Sculpt Spell is the School of Evocation wizard’s trademark ability. Using Sculpt Spell, you can pick a number of creatures and make them immune to your evocation spells.

They don’t have to make saving throws against your spells, and they take no damage if they’d normally take half damage on a successful save. If your fighter’s tangling with a giant tarantula, you can scorch the spider without burning a hair on your friend’s head.

In essence, you’re a glass cannon. You are incredibly good at dealing out damage from the back lines, but you’re incredibly squishy– your job is to hide behind the fighter and do massive damage.

Best Species For School Of Evocation Wizard

Two Bladesinger Elves in Dungeons & Dragons
Bladesingers via Wizards of the Coast

If you’re sticking with Players’ Handbook races, we recommend you make your school of evocation wizard a Human, Gnome, Elf, Tiefling, or Dwarf.

If you’re playing with Monsters of the Multiverse, you can choose where you place your ability score bonuses, so you don’t need to rely on bonuses given by your species.

We’ve noted which species give which bonuses, but if you use that book, you’ve got more flexibility.





Extra feat slot makes you incredibly versatile.

Adaptable and diverse, with many cultures to choose from.


Dexterity and Constitution bonuses, Small size, cantrips or artificer.

Merry pranksters, illusionists, or tinkerers.


Intelligence bonus, extra cantrips, weapon proficiencies.

Ethereal masters of magic with a connection to the Feywild.


Intelligence bonus, extra cantrip, fire resistance, wings.

Hellspawn, outcasts, dramatic and edgy.


Constitution bonus, weapon proficiency, extra HP.

Stern, traditional, loremasters and artisans.


Dex bonus, natural weapons, wings.

Solitary claustrophobic bird-people.


Wings, stealth.

Descended from the Feywild’s giant owls.


Fey type, extra cantrip, Small size, wings.

Tied to the Feywild, influenced by different fey.


Damage resistance, healing touch, Celestial Revelations.

Holy descendents of celestials.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: Best Species For A Wizard Character

Ability Score Spread For School Of Evocation Wizard

Dungeons & Dragons a spellcaster tiefling in front of a foggy coastal background
The Adversary via Wizards of the Coast

Prioritize Intelligence first, Constitution second, Dexterity third. A few extra points in Wisdom –for Perception– never hurt anyone, either.

Strength or Charisma is the best dump stat for a School of Evocation Wizard, depending on how you want to tackle the early levels.

A decent starting ability score spread for the School of Evocation Wizard might look something like this:

Strength Dexterity Constitution Intelligence Wisdom Charisma
8 (-1) 14 (+2) 16 (+3) 16 (+3) 10 (0) 10 (0)

If you want to play a High Elf and use martial weapons when your spell slots run low, dump Charisma and be the curmudgeon you want to see in the world; otherwise, dump Strength and give yourself a nice pair of noodle arms.

Best Starting Background For School Of Evocation Wizard

Dungeons & Dragons wizard performing a ritual from a spellbook
Silverquill Apprentice by Mike Bierek

The Players’ Handbook recommends you take the Sage background if you’re playing a wizard, which gives you the Classic Wizard Backstory.

As a sage, you’re a cloistered academic; you’ll get bonuses to Arcana and History and an ability that helps you figure out where you can find obscure information.

With access to other sourcebooks, you get other opportunities.

  • Haunted One –from Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft: gives you bonuses to Arcana, Investigation, Religion, or Survival, and a horror-themed backstory where you’ve dealt with a supernatural tragedy.
  • Inheritor –from the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide: gives you some of the cool traits of the Folk Hero, but you get an Arcana bonus and some mysterious inheritance.

Pretty much any background that gives you Arcana is a good idea; as a wizard, that’s your primary skill and anything that helps you get better at it. Since backgrounds are largely for flavour though, feel free to experiment.

Best Starting Equipment For School Of Evocation Wizard

dnd three magical items and equipment side by side

Wizards start with the equipment provided by their background, a spellbook, and a couple of equipment choices.

You can pick between either a quarterstaff or dagger, a scholar’s pack or an explorer’s pack, and a component pouch or an arcane focus.

We’d recommend picking a staff as an arcane focus and a dagger. You can use an arcane focus staff as a quarterstaff, and the dagger gives you an extra option at low levels.

Picking between the two packs is a little trickier. If you’re doing a lot of exploring or dungeon-delving, the explorer’s pack is more generally useful, but if you’re in a place where you can easily resupply, the book of lore and parchment can come in handy.

Best Spells For School Of Evocation Wizard

Alaundo the Seer DnD MTG art by Aurore Folny
Alaundo the Seer by Aurore Folny

You’ve got a lot of fun toys to play with as a wizard, but you’re mostly going to want to focus on damage-dealing spells from the school of evocation.


Lightning Lure, Frostbite, Ray of Frost, Shocking Grasp, and Thunderclap are all good cantrips– they dish out the damage and get boosted by your Potent Cantrip ability later on.



Lightning Lure

Lightning damage and pull any creature up to 10 feet in a straight line.


Cold damage and give creatures disadvantage on weapon attacks.

Ray of Frost

Cold damage reduces creatures’ speed.

Shocking Grasp

Lightning damage, stops creatures’ reactions.


Thunder damage, loud noise.

First Level Spells



Magic Missile

Swarm of magical darts, can be directed at creatures.

Chromatic Orb

Hurl energy of your choice at a creature with a ranged attack.

Witch Bolt

Lightning attack that does damage each turn.


Wave of lightning that pushes enemies away.

Earth Tremor

Cause a small earthquake that knocks enemies over and creates difficult terrain.

Second Level Spells



Melf’s Acid Arrow

Bolt of magic that does acid damage to enemies.

Rime’s Binding Ice

Does cold damage and slows enemies down.

Snilloc’s Snowball Swarm

Flurry of snowballs does cold damage.

Aganazzar’s Scorcher

Line of fire that burns enemies.

Warding Wind

Strong wind protects you from enemy attacks.

Third Level Spells




Explosion for massive damage.

Lightning Bolt

Streak of lightning that blasts anyone in its path.

Melf’s Minute Meteors

Tiny meteor swarm bombards enemies.

Wall of Water

Wall of water protects you from enemy attacks.


Send a message to any creature.

If you’re playing a roleplay-heavy campaign, Sending is a surprisingly useful option; it’s not going to do damage, but the ability to communicate with people over a distance is handy.

Fourth Level Spells



Sickening Radiance

Light does radiant damage and exhausts creatures.

Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere

Enclose the creature in a bubble it can’t escape.

Storm Sphere

Create difficult terrain with lightning bolts.

Vitriolic Sphere

Acid burst explodes for acid damage.

Wall of Fire

Makes a wall of fire that does damage to creatures who try to cross.

Fifth Level Spells



Bigby’s Hand

Large hand punches and crushes creatures or shields you.

Wall of Force

Create a wall of force.

Wall of Stone

Create a wall of stone.


Burn all the people.

Cone of Cold

Freeze all the people.

Higher Level Spells



Chain Lightning

Lightning bolt that arcs across enemies

Delayed Blast Fireball

Explosion… on a timer

Prismatic Spray

8 rays of light with different elemental damage effects

Maddening Darkness

Magical darkness full of evil whispers does psychic damage

Meteor Swarm

Rocks fall, your enemies die

Don’t overlook the value of Contingency. Contingency lets you set up a condition, and when that condition is met, another spell is cast– say, «If I fall into the water, cast water breathing.»

You’ve got as many possibilities with that as imagination and DM permission.

Feats For School Of Evocation Wizard

sailors sit at a table discussing and reading scrolls
Arguing Councilors by Zoltan Boros

At low levels, you’ll want to take Intelligence increases or focus on feats that boost your intelligence. Telepathic from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything is a great choice.

This feat gives you +1 Intelligence, the ability to speak telepathically to any creature within 60 feet –though they can’t reply. They also get the ability to cast Detect Thoughts once per long rest.

Observant is also a good choice, giving you a bonus to your passive Perception and the ability to read lips.

If you’re playing an elf, consider picking up Fey Teleportation, and if you’re playing a gnome, consider taking Fade Away– these feats both increase your intelligence by 1 and let you disengage from combat.

At higher levels, you can pick up more interesting feats. War Caster is a good feat for School of Evocation Wizards– it makes it much easier to make Concentration checks and lets you cast spells while holding a weapon or shield.

Ritual Caster and Spell Sniper are also good options.

Playing The School Of Evocation Wizard

Dungeons & Dragons wizard casting spell that emits bright colorful lights
Prismatic Spray art by Clint Cearley

As the School of Evocation Wizard, you’re going to be a back-lines glass cannon.

You can pick up some martial weapon skills, sure, especially if you’re an elf or a dwarf, or if you picked up the War Caster feat– but your real utility to the party is behind the tank, dealing huge amounts of damage with your arcane arts.

Cast damaging spells, and use your Sculpt Spell ability to keep your party members from getting hit by fire or frost.

Pay close attention to your enemies’ weaknesses and resistances. Some enemies, like devils, resist certain kinds of elemental attacks; others, like trolls, are only vulnerable to one kind of attack.

If you know what you’re going up against, prepare your spells with those weaknesses in mind.

Keep an eye out for scrolls and enemy wizards’ spellbooks. If you can get your hands on more spells– especially more spells from the school of evocation– you can copy them into your own spellbook.

You can still only prepare so many spells a day, but as a wizard, you can know as many spells as you can find.

At sixth level, you get the Potent Cantrip ability, which lets your cantrips affect creatures who avoided the worst effects–even if they make their save, they take half damage.

Starting at level 14, you gain access to the Overchannel ability– once per long rest, you can do max damage on a first-to-fifth level spell without rolling for damage.

You can use this ability more than once per long rest… but you take a bunch of necrotic damage, and we don’t recommend it.

Overall, your priorities should be to avoid enemies, cast heavy-damage spells, and support with buffs/debuffs/terrain control when needed, in that order.

Next: Dungeons & Dragons: How To Build A Clizard

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