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A character can use a spell-trigger item (such as a wand) if the spell it casts appears on his or her spell list. From the SRD:

Anyone with a spell on his or her spell list knows how to use a spell trigger item that stores that spell. (This is the case even for a character who can’t actually cast spells, such as a 3rd-level paladin.)

The term "spell list" isn't defined in the PHB glossary, but it's used in the class feature descriptions of spellcasting classes. For instance, the Sorcerer says:

A sorcerer casts arcane spells which are drawn primarily from the sorcerer/wizard spell list.

Unfortunately, the Sublime Chord's "Spells per Day" class feature (Complete Arcane) does not exactly use this nomenclature. It says:

A sublime chord has the ability to cast a small number of arcane spells, all of 4th level or higher. To cast a sublime chord spell, a character must have a Charisma score of at least 10 + the spell’s level, so if she has a Charisma of 13 or lower, she cannot cast any sublime chord spells. Bonus spells are based on Charisma, and saving throws against these spells have a DC of 10 + spell level + the sublime chord’s Cha modifier. A sublime chord can choose spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list or the bard spell list; if a spell appears on both lists at different levels, she uses the bard version of the spell.


Question: Can a Sublime Chord use a wand of a low-level Sorcerer/Wizard spell that does not appear on the Bard list (e.g., Magic Missile), without using UMD?


Argument for: Nowhere in the rules is a "Sublime Chord spell list" mentioned. Instead, Sublime Chords have (somewhat restricted) access to both the Bard spell list, and the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list (both of which are mentioned in the rules). Thus, Magic Missile appears on Sublime Chord's spell list (or rather, one of the two spell lists it has access to), so the Sublime Chord should be able to use a wand of it without UMD.


Argument against: The Sublime Chord's spell list should be understood to mean "the list of spells from which it can select spells known," and is thus effectively "the union of the Bard and Sorcerer/Wizard spell lists from levels 4-9, using the Bard version where they overlap." Thus, Magic Missile is not on the Sublime Chord's spell list, and a Sublime Chord would have to use UMD to activate a wand of it.

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Yes. Even though the sublime chord only ever selects spells of 4th-level or higher, the list she selects from is the union of the sor/wiz and bard lists, which includes many lower-level spells. Note the phrasing:

A sublime chord can choose spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list or the bard spell list

This does not restrict the list to 4th-level or higher.

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Argument against: The Sublime Chord's spell list should be understood to mean "the list of spells from which it can select spells known," and is thus effectively "the union of the Bard and Sorcerer/Wizard spell lists from levels 4-9, using the Bard version where they overlap." Thus, Magic Missile is not on the Sublime Chord's spell list, and a Sublime Chord would have to use UMD to activate a wand of it.

This argument does not hold, since the rules make a distinction between copying another class' spell list, and choosing spells from another class' spell list. See the Ur-Priest entry (Complete Divine p. 70):

The ur-priest spell list is identical to the cleric spell list.

This wording is different from the one used in the Sublime Chord text. Ur-Priests use their own class' spell list, which contains all spells of the cleric spell list. Meanwhile, Sublime Chords choose their spells from two other class' spell lists.

One could argue that, since the Sublime Chord class itself has no spell list, they cannot use spell trigger items at all. But that would likely be stretching the RAW too much at most tables.

If you disregard the argument above for the Sublime Chord being unable to use spell trigger items, then the correct reading of the text would be:

Argument for: Nowhere in the rules is a "Sublime Chord spell list" mentioned. Instead, Sublime Chords have (somewhat restricted) access to both the Bard spell list, and the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list (both of which are mentioned in the rules). Magic Missile appears on one of the two spell lists it has access to, so the Sublime Chord should be able to use a wand of it without UMD.

While the Sublime Chord's casting is restricted to 4th level or higher spells (thus, they could not cast a lower level spell from a 4th level slot even if they knew the spell), the spell lists themselves are not restricted by the text. Thus, my answer is:

Yes.

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