DND’s Scorching Ray spell is a fascinating blend of power and strategy, ideal for players and Dungeon Masters alike.
This article shares the best builds for maximizing Scorching Ray’s potential.
What Is a DND Scorching Ray Build?
Scorching Ray, a 2nd-level evocation spell, allows the caster to create three fire rays, targeting one or several enemies.
Each ray, on a hit, inflicts 2d6 fire damage.
Key for Scorching Ray builds is the focus on increasing the spell’s effectiveness through class features, feats, and strategies.
The Pyromancer Sorcerer build, focusing on fire spells with Scorching Ray as a cornerstone, excels in delivering intense bursts of fire damage.
Selecting the Draconic Bloodline subclass, with a fire dragon ancestor, increases fire damage output.
Prioritizing Charisma enhances spell attacks, vital for landing those crucial rays.
The Elemental Adept (fire) feat is a game-changer, allowing Scorching Ray to bypass fire resistance, a common trait among many creatures.
Metamagic options like Empowered Spell drastically improve damage output.
Magic items like the Wand of the War Mage enhance spell attack rolls, further ensuring the effectiveness of Scorching Ray.
However, this build is heavily reliant on fire damage.
- High fire damage output
- Elemental Adept feat bypasses fire resistances
- Less effective against fire-resistant or immune enemies
Wizard: Evocation Specialist
Evocation Wizards master spells like Scorching Ray, maximizing damage output.
Their ability to sculpt spells allows for safe deployment in crowded combat scenarios.
Focusing on Intelligence is key for spell effectiveness.
The Spell Sniper feat doubles Scorching Ray’s already impressive range, exploiting its 120 feet range and scaling with additional rays at higher levels.
Robes of the Archmagi can be a significant boost, enhancing spell save DC and spell attack bonus.
- High damage output
- Safe use in crowded combat
- Limited utility in non-combat scenarios
Warlock: Fiend Patron
Warlocks with The Fiend as their patron gain bonuses synergizing with Scorching Ray.
Gaining temporary hit points for kills complements Scorching Ray’s multi-target nature. Eldritch Invocations enhance spellcasting, and Agonizing Blast strengthens Eldritch Blast, providing a reliable backup.
The Rod of the Pact Keeper is an ideal magic item, increasing spell attack and saving throw DCs.
- Benefits from killing enemies
- Agonizing Blast as a strong backup
- Limited spell slots
Artificer: Battle Smith
Battle Smith Artificers use their Infuse Item ability to create magic items that enhance Scorching Ray, like wands or staves that boost spellcasting.
The Steel Defender acts as a frontline shield, allowing safer casting.
Items like the Staff of Power can greatly enhance the overall potency of Scorching Ray.
- Infuse Item ability enhances spells
- Steel Defender provides frontline support
- Late access to Scorching Ray
- Dependent on crafting
Light Clerics blend divine power with Scorching Ray, prepared for free, creating a versatile combatant.
They benefit from channel divinity options that either enhance damage or provide tactical advantages.
Holy symbol-enhanced items, like the Amulet of the Devout, improve spell attack rolls and spell save DCs. The challenge for Light Clerics is balancing offensive spellcasting with the traditional healing and support role expected of Clerics.
- Channel divinity enhances combat capabilities
- Balanced offensive and support roles
- Struggle to focus exclusively on offense
Here is a video about a Light Cleric build:
Wildfire Druids, having Scorching Ray readily prepared, complement their fire-focused abilities.
Enhancing spellcasting ability and using Wildfire features for battlefield control turns Scorching Ray into a versatile tool.
Magic items like the Staff of Fire can augment this build’s fire-based capabilities.
- Strong control over the battlefield
- Scorching Ray synergizes with fire-based abilities
- Potential compromise in overall versatility
Artillerist Artificers pair Scorching Ray with mechanical creations like turrets for enhanced effectiveness or strategic advantages.
The focus here is on combining spellcasting with Artificer inventions for diverse combat strategies.
Magic items like the Wand of Fireballs can complement Scorching Ray’s fire damage focus.
- Combines spellcasting with mechanical creations
- Diverse combat strategies
- Juggling creations and spellcasting can be complex
Eldritch Knight Fighter
Eldritch Knight Fighters mix martial prowess with spellcasting.
Access to Wizard spells like Scorching Ray diversifies combat options.
This build excels in both melee and ranged combat, but it requires balancing two very different combat styles.
Items like the Flame Tongue sword can synergize well with the fire theme.
- Versatile in melee and ranged combat
- Access to Wizard spells
- Limited spell slots
- Balancing different combat styles
Arcane Trickster Rogue
Arcane Tricksters use stealth and cunning with limited Wizard spells like Scorching Ray.
The build focuses on using hit-and-run tactics and exploiting enemy vulnerabilities.
You can use the Cloak of Invisibility to enhance stealth, allowing for better positioning.
- Stealth and cunning in spell use
- Effective hit-and-run tactics
- Limited spellcasting capabilities
- Reliant on strategic positioning
Bard: College of Lore
Bards from the College of Lore can learn Scorching Ray as part of their Magical Secrets.
This build uses Bardic abilities to support allies while leveraging Scorching Ray as a reliable damage dealer.
Items like the Instrument of the Bards can enhance spellcasting abilities.
- Versatile support and offensive roles
- Access to a wide range of spells
- Balancing support and offense
- Requires careful spell selection
My Favorite DND Scorching Ray Build and Why
Among all the dynamic and potent Scorching Ray builds available, my personal favorite is the Wizard: Evocation Specialist.
This choice stems from my appreciation for the strategic depth and raw power this build offers.
There are a few ways that the evocation wizard stands out.
1. Maximizing Spell Damage
As an Evocation Wizard, the primary allure is the ability to maximize spell damage, especially with area of effect spells.
Scorching Ray, being a multi-ray spell, benefits immensely from the Evocation Wizard’s ability to sculpt spells, ensuring that allies are unharmed even in the most chaotic battles.
This level of control and precision is both satisfying and tactically advantageous.
2. Versatility in Spellcasting
Wizards possess a vast spellbook that allows for incredible versatility.
This means that even outside of combat, the Evocation Wizard can be a valuable asset to the party, capable of problem-solving and support.
3. Long-Range Combat Mastery
You can double Scorching Ray’s range through the Spell Sniper feat.
Therefore, this build excels in long-range combat.
The satisfaction of unleashing a barrage of fire rays from a safe distance, possibly even picking off enemies before they close in, aligns perfectly with my preferred combat style.
4. Robustness at Higher Levels
As characters progress, the Evocation Wizard continues to grow in power.
The increased damage scaling with higher-level spell slots makes Scorching Ray a spell that remains relevant and potent throughout the character’s journey.
5. Magic Item Synergy
The synergy with magic items like the Robes of the Archmagi further enhances this build’s appeal.
Boosting spell attack rolls and saving throw DCs not only improves Scorching Ray’s effectiveness but also elevates the Wizard’s overall spellcasting prowess.
The primary drawback of this build is its limited utility in non-combat scenarios.
While Wizards are versatile, the Evocation Specialist’s particular focus on maximizing spell damage means other areas, like utility and control spells, might not receive as much attention.
The Personal Appeal
On a personal note, the Evocation Wizard build aligns well with one of my playstyles.
Namely, the one that favors strategic positioning and impactful spellcasting.
The thrill of carefully planning an attack, considering both the placement of enemies and allies, and then unleashing devastating spells like Scorching Ray, is unmatched.
This build strikes a balance between raw offensive power and the intellectual challenge of mastering spellcraft.
Final Thoughts: DND Scorching Ray Builds
As we wrap up our Scorching Ray builds, let’s remember: each ray of fire we cast not only scorches our foes but also weaves a story of magical might and adventure, lighting up our gaming tables with sparks of creativity and camaraderie.
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