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The School of Evocation wizard's Potent Cantrip feature (PHB, p. 117) says:

Starting at 6th level, when a creature succeeds on a saving throw against your cantrip, the creature takes half the cantrip's damage (if any) but suffers no additional effect from the cantrip.

As I read it, the feature only affects evocation cantrips that require a saving throw. There are none of these in the basic rule book. Is this a typo?

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The Feature does not only apply to Evocation Spells

The feature you are talking about says the following:

Starting at 6th level, your damaging cantrips affect even creatures that avoid the brunt of the effect. When a creature succeeds on a saving throw against your cantrip, the creature takes half the cantrip’s damage (if any) but suffers no additional effect from the cantrip.

There is no mention of Evocation spells in the write-up. If it only worked on those, it would say so.

For comparison, see the Level 10 Evoker Feature

Empowered Evocation

Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to one damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast.

Note how this feature specifically says it only works on Evocation Spells. And, again, with the Second-level Evoker Feature

Sculpt Spells

Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

Source for all quotes

Potent Cantrip says that it works on "damaging cantrips." If it only worked on Evocation Cantrips, it would instead say something like "Evocation cantrips that deal damage."

Therefore, the following Cantrips from the Core Rulebook are valid under Potent Cantrip:

  • Acid Splash
  • Poison Spray

Once you extend out to the rest of the Rulebooks, you also add the following to the list.

  • Create Bonfire
  • Frostbite
  • Infestation
  • Lightning Lure
  • Sword Burst
  • Thunderclap
  • Toll the Dead

An additional note to add is that the feature does not say it only applies to wizard cantrips that you cast. So if you gain access to Sacred Flame or Word of Radiance through Multiclassing or Feats, Potent Cantrip would apply to those as well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I was puzzled--and still am--that they would give a specialty sub-class an enhancement that doesn't apply to any of the spells in that specialty. \$\endgroup\$ – Wes F. Mar 29 at 19:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WesF.: flavour-wise, maybe an evoker can put some evocation power into non-Evocation cantrips, making them harder to fully avoid. \$\endgroup\$ – Peter Cordes Mar 29 at 20:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WesF. I don't know of any cantrip that has a saving throw for half damage, including poison spray (or that has any form of guaranteed damage) \$\endgroup\$ – Cireo Mar 29 at 22:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @WesF. Where do you see that? My copy of the PHB just says "The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d12 poison damage." \$\endgroup\$ – John Montgomery Mar 30 at 7:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently it is a glitch in the rules, but they just left it in. I'll just have to find the right cantrip. \$\endgroup\$ – Wes F. Mar 30 at 23:40
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A cantrip doesn't need to be evocation to be affected by Potent Cantrip

Potent Cantrip simply states

Your damaging cantrips ...

So it applies to all damaging cantrips with saving throws. 2 of these are acid splash and poison spray, but here is a comprehensive list of all wizard cantrips with saving throws.

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It doesn't have to be an Evocation cantrip.

From the School of Evocation:

Potent Cantrip

Starting at 6th level, your damaging cantrips affect even creatures that avoid the brunt of the effect. When a creature succeeds on a saving throw against your cantrip, the creature takes half the cantrip's damage (if any) but suffers no additional effect from the cantrip.

--- Player's Handbook, p. 117

There's no mention of it only being evocation cantrips; therefore, it applies to any cantrip that requires a saving throw.

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