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The description of the Artificer Initiate feat states, in part (TCoE, p. 79):

You’ve learned some of an artificer’s inventiveness:

  • You learn one cantrip of your choice from the artificer spell list, and you learn one 1st-level spell of your choice from that list. Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • You can cast this feat's 1st-level spell without a spell slot, and you must finish a long rest before you can cast it in this way again. You can also cast the spell using any spell slots you have.

Can a wizard with the Artificer Initiate feat upcast a Cure Wounds spell that they learn using the feat?

So, in my last session, one player casts a Cure Wounds using a 5th-level spell slot, and he expected to cure 5d8+5 hit points. My understanding is that he can use a high-level spell slot, but the spell is always cast in level 1 (like the shield spell) since he is an artificer initiate. Am I wrong, by RAW?

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Yes, you can gain the benefit of using a higher-level spell slot to cast a cure wounds spell that you learned from the feat

The text of cure wounds says:

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.

Using a higher-level spell slot fits this condition; therefore, the extra healing applies.

See also the rule on casting a spell at a higher level (PHB, p. 201):

When a spellcaster casts a spell using a slot that is of a higher level than the spell, the spell assumes the higher level for that casting. For instance, if Umara casts magic missile using one of her 2nd-level slots, that magic missile is 2nd level.

Effectively, the spell expands to fill the slot it is put into.

Some spells, such as magic missile and cure wounds, have more powerful effects when cast at a higher level, as detailed in a spell's description.

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