What Is Shadow Blade in D&D 5th Edition and How to Use It?

The world of Dungeons & Dragons has a ton of fun and fantasy lined up for fans, including some amazing spells that can be useful in many instances. Shadow Blade is pretty popular for anyone using magic, but many fans still wonder what Shadow Blade is in D&D 5th Edition and how to use it in-game.

Shadow Blade is an illusion spell that can be cast by Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards in D&D 5e, creating a magic sword with the finesse, light, and thrown properties that the caster is automatically proficient with. Attacks deal psychic damage that scales from 2d8 to 5d8 depending on the level, plus the attack modifier (Strength or Dexterity) that you choose.

Although the mechanics of Shadow Blade can be pretty perplexing at first, you can get the best use out of this spell with the right approaches. Stick around to find out about Shadow Blade in D&D 5th Edition, how it works, and how you can use it to your advantage.

What Is Shadow Blade In D&D 5th Edition?

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, also known as D&D 5e, has a plethora of incredible spells and weapons for players to enjoy, and Shadow Blade is no exception. Shadow Blade can easily become one of the best weapons/spells for any magic D&D class or assassin build, landing some insane damage to opponents.

D&D Shield Spell: Everything You Should Know

According to the rules given for Shadow Blade, outlined by Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and shared by DnD Lounge:

“You weave together threads of shadow to create a sword of solidified gloom in your hand. This magic sword lasts until the spell ends. It counts as a simple melee weapon with which you are proficient. It deals 2d8 psychic damage on a hit and has the finesse, light, and thrown properties (range 20/60). In addition, when you use the sword to attack a target that is in dim light or darkness, you make the attack roll with advantage.”

Shadow Blade counts as a simple melee weapon, dealing 2d8 psychic damage upon each hit which rivals just about any standard weapon, and is topped off with some useful properties as well. These properties allow it to be versatile in combat, and its advantages when attacking an opponent in dim light or in darkness only make the weapon better.

This illusion spell can be cast by Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards, and no subclasses can get Shadow Blade for free. However, according to Fandom Spot, Bards can also pick up Shadow Blade as one of the Magical Secrets, while Arcane Trickster Rogues and Eldritch Knight Fighters get it from the Wizard spell list.

RELATED: What Is Crown of Madness in D&D 5th Edition and How to Use It?

Shadow Blade’s specs are as follows:

Casting Time1 bonus action
Range/ AreaSelf
ComponentsV, S
DurationConcentration, up to 1 minute
School2nd-level illusion

Once you can cast Shadow Blade using a 3rd or 4th level spell slot, the damage will be increased to 3d8 psychic damage. Casting it using a 5th or 6th level spell slot increases the damage even further to 4d8, while a 7th level spell slot or higher will increase the damage to 5d8.

The fact that it can be continuously useful with higher-level spell slots makes it valuable and handy for just about any player who’s going for magic/ assassin builds, and its usefulness will only continue to grow on the character. Shadow Blade is a really good spell to use in D&D 5e, especially considering that arming yourself with a blade made of shadow energy can be used as a bonus action.

Shadow Blade Disadvantages

The main drawback is the fact that Shadow Blade is melee by nature, which means that the caster will be within close reach of their enemy while Shadow Blade is being used. Considering that the spell for Shadow Blade is concentration, the close distance can lead to a few issues – unless the character happens to have the War Caster feat.

Shadow Blade does have the thrown property which can help out in lowering the chances of melee conflict. However, this can result in tying up the caster’s bonus action of recalling the weapon.

How Do You Use a Shadow Blade?

The main point of confusion that quite a few D&D 5e fans have had when using Shadow Blade is the debate surrounding it being held. It will dissipate at the end of the turn when the weapon is dropped or thrown, after which the spell will persist, and players can use a bonus action to get the sword to reappear in the player’s hand.

However, many fans argue that this rule should apply when the Shadow Blade is handed over as well. Players will need to consider their approach and preferred style for the best setup possible, and Shadow Blade can be dual-wielded as well with any other weapon if the player wishes – and, if the combination makes sense, such as dual-wielding Shadow Blade and Shillelagh.

RELATED: What Is Toll the Dead in 5th Edition of D&D and How to Use It?

The best approaches to have when using Shadow Blade include the following:

  • Get around creatures that are immune to non-magical weapon damage.
  • Use in dim/dark environments.
  • Be a Bladesinger Wizard, Sorcerer/Paladin, Arcane Trickster Rogue, or Eldritch Knight Fighter.
  • Protect Concentration.
  • Throw Shadow Blade in dim/dark settings.

Shadow Blade’s finesse property on the weapon will allow the caster to make a choice between using Strength or Dexterity, which can be handy for melee combat. On the other hand, using Dexterity would be better if you plan on using Shadow Blade’s thrown property for ranged attacks.

Can You Twin Cast a Shadow Blade?

There are no exact rules for twin casting a Shadow Blade, but players usually can’t twin Shadow Blade because of ‘self’ range. However, it can theoretically be twinned by using Shadow Blade in conjunction with Booming Blade.

Can You Use Shadow Blade with Green-Flame?

Jeremy Crawford confirmed that Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade can be used with Shadow Blade, stating that: “Shadow Blade creates a simple melee weapon…I’d pick a value from the list of simple melee weapons…and apply that value to the shadowy blade.”

Does Shadow Blade Get Sneak Attack?

Shadow Blade can be used for sneak attacks if the action of the attack triggers a sneak attack – particularly if the attack is made while in dim light or in darkness. The type of damage inflicted will be the same as the weapon’s damage type. If the Shadow Blade user is in dim light, it may be possible to use a sneak attack each round.

The Shadow Blade weapon spell is a really great option for magic setups, making it an excellent choice to give a caster. It can be handy for melee, ranged, and sneak attacks, topped with some highly versatile properties and attributes that make it viable as the character progresses.

  • Jeijei is an eccentric oddball obsessed with anime, sci-fi, and fantasy. She spends her free time enjoying movies and video games, especially MMOs & RPGs, whether it be PC, console, or mobile.