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Ritual casting does not expend a spell slot, I know that. However, the Wizard class feature does not say anything about whether you must prepare the subject spell to cast it as a ritual. On one side, it is anyway "casting" a spell, so you can say "yes, you must prepare." On the other hand, (although it is just about how wizards cast rituals,) your ritual involves your spellbook, so you can see the ritual ceremony "from the spellbook", which removes the need to prepare the spell.

My question is: Must I prepare the subject spell in advance to perform it?

This is only about Wizards. Clerics, Druids, Bards have these problems nailed down explicitly. Clerics' and Druids' ritual casting requires you to prepare the spell in advance, and Bards' rituals can only be drawn from what they know.

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No, per the Wizard's Ritual Casting feature (PHB, pg. 114):

Ritual Casting

You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell prepared.

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    \$\begingroup\$ To add to that, PHB p. 201-202 reads: (...) The ritual version of a spell takes 10 minutes longer to cast than normal. (...) The caster must also have the spell prepared or on his or her list of spells known, unless the character’s ritual feature specifies otherwise, as the wizard’s does. My version of the Wizard's Ritual Casting: (PHB p. 114) You can cast a wizard spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don't need to have the spell prepared \$\endgroup\$
    – Mark
    Dec 3 '17 at 0:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ May be worth revising this answer to match updated wording of the Wizard’s ritual casting in the PHB - later printings and official errata mean it now specifies that you do not need to have the spell prepared. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 24 '20 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CatLord the relevant rules are available free in the Basic Rules on the WotC site or D&D Beyond; also the Sage Advice Compendium on the WotC site has links to errata documents for all the books that have been updated. Here’s the one for the PHB: media.wizards.com/2020/dnd/downloads/PH-Errata.pdf \$\endgroup\$ Oct 28 '20 at 21:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GuybrushMcKenzie : Thank you. I have updated my answer \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Oct 29 '20 at 11:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CatLord I've updated the citation for the answer. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 29 '20 at 12:05

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