I have a 6th level Ranger right now, and I'm multiclassing into Wizard next level. I have already decided on everything else for the Wizard, including level 2 of it going School Of Transmutation for my Arcane Tradition.

Currently I have Magic Initiate, and have Prestidigitation and Fire Bolt cantrips. I decided I am definitely going to take Toll The Dead as one of the next. Now I need to choose 2 of the three choices I have made as the 1st level cantrips.

What are the benefits/drawbacks of the cantrips Mending, Mold Earth, and Shape Water? (I'm looking for the least useful one to wait with getting until later)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe simply rewording this to ask for pros/cons of different wizard cantrips. Although even that might be downvoted due to lack of effort. However, there are a lot of cantrips that have often overlooked features that might be worth considering. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Brown Feb 5 '18 at 16:27

Choose Mage Hand before anything else.

Mage Hand comes in use in dozens of scenarios in almost every adventure session:

  • Disarming: Is there a weapon on the ground from a Disarm maneuver? Coordinate with your fighters to Disarm opponents on their turn - and on your turn use your Mage Hand to put the weapons out of reach up in trees or on ledges.
  • Doors Concerned what’s behind the door? Open unlocked doors from a 30 foot distance so you don’t get struck by creatures.
  • Chests Afraid that chest might be trapped? Touch it from a distance or open it if unlocked.
  • Stealth Need to move items around behind people’s backs? Mage Hand gives you a way to float items up to 10 lbs around a room silently.
  • Wards Afraid items are warded? Mage Hand them around or lift them up from the floor to stop from walking on explosive runes.

Mold Earth: Mold Earth should not be confused with Move Earth. The limitation of Mold Earth is that for making trenches and such it requires loose earth. For many GMs, that means desert sand which means you aren’t going to get much use of that feature. The area of effect is often too small to make its Difficult Terrain that useful either. Lastly, it is probably rare that you are going to see changing the color of dirt save someone’s life.

Mending: The challenge with Mending is that many GMs don’t use any rules for wear and tear on armor and weapons. As a result, there's not always much use for this cantrip.

Shape Water: Too few uses in typical campaigns.

As further anecdotal evidence, in almost six months of play in a group with three spell casters, we use Mage Hand at least half a dozen to a dozen times a session. Every other cantrip (apart from damage cantrips) have been used roughly 1/10th as much.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like you trailed off mid-sentence in your "Mending" section. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 4 '18 at 13:37

This will depend somewhat on how you roleplay. For rangers and other characters who mostly travel, and spend as little time in cities as possible, I think Mending is a very valuable cantrip. It lets you recover and repair almost all your arrows, and fix or maintain your equipment without being dependent on civilization.

I am also fond of Mage Hand for its many uses, and Minor Illusion can be very handy.

Shape Water I see as being situation dependent -- very good when the conditions are right, useless the rest of the time. Mold Earth, OTOH, I can see being very useful often, for digging trenches and foxholes, or pit traps.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The campaign is in a semi-tundra mountainous area. We're based out of a small dwarven fortress, and it generally looks like we're headed to some dwarven ruins to try and hunt down a possibly hostile duergar prince. On top of that, I tend to keep people healthy and clean, as well as do the weird stuff. \$\endgroup\$ – BTGBullseye Feb 4 '18 at 8:10

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