I was looking though the spell lists and noticed that (as far as I could tell) there are no ranged variants to improving ranged attacks, as the "blade cantrips" do for melee attacks (e.g. booming blade, green-flame blade).

What I am talking about are the spells that state:

As part of the action used to cast this spell, you must make a melee attack with a weapon

Are there any ranged variants of this? Spell of any level would be acceptable.

I am not looking for identical language, just spells that enhance a "normal" ranged weapon attack.


3 Answers 3


There are are several!

While the booming blade and green-flame blade cantrips are the most obvious spell-assisted melee weapon attack options, that type of enhancement isn't limited to melee attacks. The spells listed below revolve around ranged-only. There are some other spells that apply to both, but I've focused this on the ones that require ranged.

The following are some examples, but others exist if you look at the spell descriptions in the various source books.


Magic Stone (EEPC, 160) is the most obvious option here:

You touch one to three pebbles and imbue them with magic. You or someone else can make a ranged spell attack with one of the pebbles by throwing it or hurling it with a sling. If thrown, it has a range of 60 feet. If someone else attacks with the pebble, that attacker adds your spellcasting ability modifier, not the attacker’s, to the attack roll. On a hit, the target takes bludgeoning damage equal to 1d6 + your spellcasting ability modifier. Hit or miss, the spell then ends on the stone.

Levelled Spells

If you utilize your spell slots, you've got some other options. The Ranger spell list contains a lot of examples:

Lightning Arrow (PHB, 255):

The next time you make a ranged weapon attack during the spell’s duration, the weapon’s ammunition, or the weapon itself if it’s a thrown weapon, transforms into a bolt of lightning. Make the attack roll as normal. The target takes 4d8 lightning damage on a hit, or half as much damage on a miss, instead of the weapon’s normal damage.

Flame Arrows (EEPC, 156):

You touch a quiver containing arrows or bolts. When a target is hit by a ranged weapon attack using a piece of ammunition drawn from the quiver, the target takes an extra 1d6 fire damage. The spell’s magic ends on the piece of ammunition when it hits or misses, and the spell ends when twelve pieces of ammunition have been drawn from the quiver.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ None of these spells match the examples provided. Magic stone and Flame Arrows are basically just buffs, while Lightning Arrow requires both concentration and a bonus action. None allow you to make an attack with a weapon as part of the spell while providing additional effects at the cost of a single Action. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2019 at 16:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Winterborne OP simply asked for "spells that enhance a "normal" ranged weapon attack". These do that (as do the smites mentioned in FrazzleUK's answer.) \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Oct 9, 2019 at 16:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch Different read of the last sentence, I guess. If the requirement of the attack being part of spell cast is removed this is just "Which spells increase damage dealt by ranged attacks". If that's OPs intention, the title doesn't match the question in the body. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 9, 2019 at 17:11

Two Paladin Smite Spells do not exclude ranged attacks

Branding Smite and Banishing Smite both state that

The next time you hit a creature with a weapon attack before this spell ends

As opposed to the other Smite spells (and Divine Smite itself), which require a melee attack, these two spells do not exclude ranged attacks.


In addition to the excellent answers above, the following two 1st-level spells are available to Rangers as bonus actions requiring concentration, up to 1 minute:

Ensnaring Strike (PHB 237)

A nice restraining spell

The next time you hit a creature with a weapon attack before this spell ends, a writhing mass of thorny vines appears at the point of impact, and the target must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be restrained by the magical vines until the spell ends. A Large or larger creature has advantage on this saving throw. If the target succeeds on the save, the vines shrivel away.

The target continues to take damage while restrained, and can try to escape by making a Strength check as an action.

Hail of Thorns (PHB 249)

A nice mini AoE

The next time you hit a creature with a ranged weapon attack before the spell ends, this spell creates a rain of thorns that sprouts from your ranged weapon or ammunition.

In addition to the normal effect of the attack, the target of the attack and each creature within 5 feet of it must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 1d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


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