I am aware from the Sage Advice that potent spellcasting adds damage to both the first and second enemy when using green-flame blade.

What I want to clarify is that this means that the second enemy takes my wisdom modifier (I am playing an arcana cleric) twice?

We are starting at level 11, so if this is the case then I would be dealing 5d8+18 for an average of 40 damage (I have a 20 Wis and a 16 Dex. I am using a rapier as my weapon) with a cantrip.

Is this high for a cantrip at this level or pretty average?

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The damage stacks

The secondary target takes your Wisdom modifier twice, as you wrote it yourself.

Very good damage for a cantrip

Only Eldritch Blast can come close to the raw damage. Compared to weapon attacks, it is ok.

A Fighter with a Greatsword could inflict the same damage, but with a much better chance to hit, so a higher DPR.

Also calculating full damage for the secondary target is misleading. Even if there is a second enemy in range, spreading damage is usually weaker than focusing it.
For this reason I would calculate as was accepted on the WotC forums (while they existed), halving the secondary damage.

DPR calculation

On level 11, you can expect to fight against CR11 monsters, an they are expected to have AC17.

Green-flame Blade + Potent Spellcasting

Hit chance: 55% (4+3 vs 17)
Damage: 31 (8+4.5*3+(10+4.5*2)/2)
DPR: 17.05

Great weapon Fighter

Hit chance: 65% (4+5 vs 17)
Damage: 40 (3 * (8.33+5)
DPR: 26

Warlock with Agonizing Blast

Hit chance: 65% (4+5 vs 17)
Damage: 31.5 (3 * (5.5+5)
DPR: 20.48

I would highlight that the Warlock and the Figher can spread their damage among multiple targets if they so wish, but you have no options.

Conclusion

It is very good damage from a Cleric without spending spell slots, but not spectacular in itself.

  • 1
    Also note that it is across two targets. Everyone else can focus on a single target. – NautArch Oct 18 '17 at 22:27
  • Also note warlock has hex which gives a 3d6 necrotic damage boost and lays forever – Garret Gang Oct 19 '17 at 12:38
  • @NautArch it was already in there, but I highlighted it more – András Oct 19 '17 at 12:47
  • @GarretGang By spending spell slots, the Cleric can also improve his damage output, but I wanted to compare free options – András Oct 19 '17 at 12:48
  • 1
    True, very true. Guess I am to used to Rangers who really don't get better damage concentration spells til much later. – Garret Gang Oct 20 '17 at 14:44

Yes, Damage stacks

As you've stated, Potent Spellcasting states (SCAG, 126)

Starting at 8th level, you add your Wisdom modifier to the damage you deal with any cleric cantrip.

And the Arcane Initiate ability stats (SCAG, 125)

...you gain two cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. For you, these cantrips count as cleric cantrips.

This lets you combine them for the following damage:

Primary Target: 1d8+3 Piercing plus 2d8+5 fire

Secondary Target: 2d8+10 fire damage

Jeremy Crawford's Sage Advice also confirms this

Potent Spellcasting adds to dmg. dealt by a cantrip. GFB: add to 2nd target, then to both targets at 5th lvl

Comparisons

Eldritch Blast with a Warlock can deliver up to 3d10+15 force damage per casting for an average of 31.

  • Thank you! Can i just ask though, how am i supposed to know which type of damage to add the wisdom modifier too on the primary target? – Ryan Chaplin Oct 18 '17 at 15:05
  • The bonus is added to the fire damage, not the weapon damage. The fact that Crawford says "...then to both targets at 5th level" shows he doesn't consider the weapon damage part of the cantrip's damage. This is consistent with the spell's description saying it fails if you don't make a weapon attack. A bonus to damage uses the same damage type as the damage it's being added to; it doesn't have to be the damage type of a weapon attack. – Doval Oct 18 '17 at 19:20
  • @Doval I think I agree with that. The Green-Flame is about the Flame and not really about the weapon attack. I'll adjust. – NautArch Oct 18 '17 at 19:28
  • Warlock does a bit more than 31 damage, add 3d6 from hex and possibly 3d8 from bestow curse and you do 59 damage power round. Against a single target. Against multiple creatures work just hex, you do 41.5 damage a round – Garret Gang Oct 19 '17 at 12:37

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