Related to this question, but not the same since these classes have a different wording.

For an Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight the replacing spells option is not listed under Spells Known of 1st level or Higher (as it is in other classes). So, can a character in these classes replace cantrips with other spells?

Spells Known: [...] Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list (of a level you can cast).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Can certain classes replace cantrips with other spells when they level up? \$\endgroup\$
    – GreySage
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 0:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan This question incorporates different classes since the wording is different. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 4:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan it's certainly related, but these two "one third casters" reach for spells from a different class list, while the other question asks about spells on their own class list. In some ways the issue is the same, in some ways it is different. I see your point, but I think this is different enough. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


There isn't a provision in the rules to replace a cantrip once chosen

Also, from the lead dev, there is this statement of intent regarding the Eldritch Knight:

@OtterusMasterus: Eldritch Knights: when gaining a level, can they exchange a cantrip for a spell for which they have spell slots?

@JeremyECrawford: The intent is that the Eldritch Knight replaces a spell of 1st level or higher with another non-cantrip spell.

The above is consistent with the general absence of any rules text in the PHB addressing the replacing of a cantrip as a character goes up in level. By that absence, by the lack of provision to replace any cantrip in any class upon leveling up, the general case is that once chosen a cantrip is yours forever. The "choosing 1st level spells and higher" feature has a specific way to change one's spell list as one goes up in level. Level 0 (cantrip) spells don't share that feature for any class.

This matches how a cantrip's power goes up with your character level. Let's look at fire bolt:

Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn't being worn or carried. This spell's damage increases by 1d10 when you reach 5th level (2d10), 11th level (3d10), and 17th level (4d10).

The concept is that you stick with a cantrip forever, and that it gets stronger as you (the character) get more powerful as you move into successively more challenging tiers of play. (p. 10, PHB; Adventure Tiers 2, 3, and 4 start at levels 5, 11, and 17).

If a character has levels in more than one class, do the character’s cantrips scale with character level or with the level in a spellcasting class?
Cantrips scale with character level. For example, a barbarian 2 / cleric 3 casts sacred flame as a 5th-level character. (Sage Advice Compendium, 2.0 p. 13)

Crawford also offers this advice in two different tweets. The choice is generally permanent:

Q: Is it possible at all to replace a known Cantrip with a different one? Or is that a permanent choice?

A: Learning a cantrip is typically permanent. A DM could come up with a story-based way to replace one w / another.

The cantrip is a unique kind of spell.

A cantrip is special: it grows in power as you do, and it is magically bound to you. In most D&D worlds, that bond isn't easy.

A DM can rule otherwise

In my first campaign, when some new material came out for Temple of Elemental Evil, my DM allowed me to replace one of the cleric cantrips I had chosen, Spare the Dying, with one that was in the EE Supplement: Thunderclap. The decision was thematic due to being a tempest cleric.

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    \$\begingroup\$ That first tweet doesn't support your argument as well as other sources might. OtterusMasterus was trying to replace a cantrip with a higher level spell, not another cantrip. The answer was more broad than the question and does offer support, but sometimes the way the question is asked can taint the answer you get. I think the related question uses some better tweets than this one, so you might improve it by replacing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nick Brown
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 21:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NickBrown Finally got around to folding in the points you made. Thanks. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 18, 2018 at 19:58

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