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Arcane Trickster 5e Guide

What is this guide?

This guide is meant as a deep dive into the Rogue Subclass, the Arcane Trickster. You can find a full overview of the Rogue class here: DnD 5e Rogue.

For our full class guides, we use the following color rating scheme:

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

For our Subclass Guides, we focus mainly on the Blue and Sky Blue options, because the other options are discussed in the 5e Rogue Guide or other Subclass Guides.

What is an Arcane Trickster?

Arcane Tricksters are Rogues that gain access to spells from the Wizard spell list. The spells Arcane Trickster’s learn are mainly from the enchantment and illusion school. They are considered a half-caster, only getting spell slots up to level 4 and have a maximum of 11 spell slots at 20th level.

On top of the ability to cast spells, Arcane Tricksters gain rougish abilities to use with their spells. This includes an invisible mage hand, the ability to impose disadvantage on spell saves when you are hidden, and the ability to steal the knowledge of other casters’ spells.


Arcane Tricksters have an insane amount of utility. The amazing proficiencies and expertise offered by the Rogue class on top of their spells make them able to be of use in any situation.

Also, like Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters merge a linear, martial class with the options provided by spellcasters. This can lead to more varied gameplay and more unique combat scenarios. 


Rogues are an extremely strong base class to start with. Their ability to be great at every skill, deal massive damage, and avoid damage makes them a force to be reckoned with even at a base level so there aren’t a ton of downsides to the Arcane Tricksters.

However, when compared to other Roguish Archetypes, Arcane Tricksters will lag behind in terms of raw damage output. Also, the nature of the spell casting is quite restrictive so there are better options for a sneaky caster, like Bards and Druids.

Before You Start


Check out our Guide to DnD Races for non-standard races. Keep in mind, most races and subraces are limited by the setting and source material chosen by the DM. Below are some of the best options for Arcane Tricksters from the standard races.

Elf: A +2 to DEX, Darkvision, and proficiency in the Perception skill. Everything here is great for Arcane Tricksters

  • High Elf: Beneficial here is longbow proficiency and a free cantrip from the Wizard spell list. The INT bonus could be useful depending on if you are playing an Arcane Trickster. The cantrip could be Minor Illusion, Mage Hand, or Prestidigitation, all of which are amazing for Rogues, even if you’re not going to be an Arcane Trickster.
  • Wood Elf: Wood elves are your stereotypical choice for Rogues. Everything here is useful: WIS bonus (for Perception), longbow proficiency, higher than average walking speed, and the ability to hide in nature. This is the Skyrim stealth archer come to life.

Gnome: Darkvision and a +2 bonus to INT is great for Arcane Tricksters.

  • Deep: +1 to DEX, 120ft Darkvision, and advantage on stealth checks in rocky terrain is perfect.
  • Forest: +1 DEX bonus, and the Minor Illusion cantrip for free is a solid base to build an Arcane Trickster

Halfling: The +2 DEX bonus, and Lucky make this an amazing choice for Arcane Tricksters. 

  • Lightfoot: +1 CHA will help with face skills and the ability to hide behind larger party members can grant advantage and allow for Sneak Attack damage more often.
  • Stout: +1 CON score increase is solid and the poison resistance is helpful. This subrace is mainly carried by the base Halfling stats.

Variant Human: +1 DEX and +1 INT is a decent base for Arcane Tricksters. The free feat and skill is another huge benefit of going with the Variant Human


We cover the best background for Rogues in our 5e Rogue Guide, the only changes would be:

  • Hermit: Your pumped INT score can make the two INT skills (Medicine and Religion) more viable. If your party is hurting for a Cleric, this could be a solid option.
  • Noble: History is a decent INT skill, and persuasion is always useful.
  • Sage: Your pumped INT score can make the two INT skills (Arcana and History) more viable. If your party is hurting for a Wizard, this could be a solid option.

Ability Scores

Ability Score Increases (ASI) at 4th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 20th level.

Rogues are considered a SAD (single ability dependant) class, this means that most Rogues can do quite well by pumping their DEX and spreading the rest of their skill points as they so choose.

Because the Arcane Trickster’s spellcasting modifier is INT, dumping INT will limit the effectiveness of your spells so we suggest pumping DEX, INT, and CON in that order.

STR: Leave the heavy lifting to your friends.

DEX: Rogues love DEX! You will want to get this to 20.

CON: More hitpoints and better CON saves make the Rogue less squishy.

INT: This is your spellcasting modifier. A solid INT score will help your precious spell slots land more often.

WIS: Can help with WIS saves and Perception.

CHA: Rogues can be a good character for CHA skill checks if needed by your party.

Rogue Class Progression

1st Level

Hit Points: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

Saves: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

Proficiencies: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

Skills: The Arcane Trickster’s Mage Hand Legerdemain uses Sleight of Hand, which makes it even more important to Arcane Tricksters.

It is also worth noting that, because of the Arcane Trickster’s high INT score, that the INT spells (Arcana, History, Religion, Investigation, Nature) become more important. If you can gain access to one of the INT skill proficiencies through races or backgrounds, it would be worthwhile.

Expertise: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

Sneak Attack: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

Thieve’s Cant: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

2nd Level

Cunning Action: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

3rd Level

Rogueish Archetype: Arcane Trickster

Source: Player’s Handbook

Spellcasting: Spellcasting allows you to…. cast spells! You choose from the Wizard enchantment and illusion spells lists. Your options are mainly functional rather than damage oriented, but that’s kind of the point. At 3rd level, you may choose one of your three spells from any school of magic, and at 8th, 14th, and 20th level all spells may be chosen from any school, so choose wisely!

Our recommendations for spells for the Arcane Trickster are at the end of the article.

Cantrips: Cantrips add even more utility, especially if you don’t have another dedicated spell caster in your party. 

Mage Hand Legerdemain: Your Mage Hand being invisible makes it far better, especially when factoring that it can get up to no good while in combat (as a bonus action).

5th Level

Uncanny Dodge: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

7th Level

Evasion: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

9th Level

Magical Ambush: Pairs really well with your affinity for stealth and your newfound talent for casting spells. Since you’re not a pure INT-based character, you need all the help you can get with making sure your enemies fail their saving throws.

11th Level

Reliable Talent: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

13th Level

Versatile Trickster: Advantage on attack rolls means more crits, more Sneak Attacks, and therefore more damage.

14th Level

Blindsense: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

15th Level

Slippery Mind: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

17th Level

Spell Thief: This is kind of a clunky ability, especially because the spell can only be 1st – 4th level, and your INT restricts the usefulness in terms of spell save DC. When it hits, it’s a great way to not only temporarily know how to cast a useful spell, but also prevent your opponent from casting it again.

18th Level

Elusive: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide

20th Level

Stroke of Luck: Refer to the 5e Rogue Guide


We cover the best feats for Rogues in our 5e Rogue Guide, the only changes would be:

  • Elven Accuracy: A half-feat that can boost DEX or INT is looking very good to start. The feats effect of granting “mega advantage” will be awesome for never missing when you approach from unseen or use your Versatile Trickster class feature. The fact that this is limited to the elf race isn’t a huge issue because of the elf’s synergies with this build.
  • Lucky: Lucky is rarely not useful and is especially amazing on Rogues.
  • Magic Initiate: Choosing the Warlock spell list will give you access to Eldritch Blast as a Cantrip, and Hex as a 1st level spell. Eldritch Blast isn’t going to do you a huge favor because you can’t use Sneak Attack with it, but Hex is a great way to boost damage.
  • Resilient (CON): Providing +1 CON can help with boosting your HP because of your lackluster hit dice. Proficiency in CON saving throws will help with maintaining concentration on your spells. 
  • Warcaster: Most Rogues will dual wield weapons in order to take advantage of the bonus action offhand attack, this could get funky with your somantic spells so Warcaster is a great pickup. Warcaster also allows you to cast Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade as an opportunity attack, as well as provide advantage on concentration checks. 

Arcane Trickster Spells

As mentioned above, Arcane Tricksters are restricted to the Wizard’s enchantment and illusion spell lists, except at 3rd, 8th, 14th, and 20th level. To make it easier to know which spells will have to be taken at the aforementioned levels, spells that are not enchantment or illusion will be labeled with an asterisk (*). 

Arcane Tricksters max out at 4th level spells when the character reaches 19th level. Even still, there are some great choices here that can make this build loads of fun to play. As a general rule of thumb, Arcane Tricksters benefit the most by spells that help in combat by ways other than dealing direct damage.

As always, we think it would be the most beneficial to only talk about our favorite spells at each level, and which ones to avoid.


  • Acid Splash: The first of many damage dealing cantrips available. This one is always bad, but the Arcane Trickster really doesn’t want to take any of them. This includes Chill Touch, Fire Bolt, Ray of Frost, you get the idea.
  • Booming Blade: This cantrip is really nice because Rogues can Disengage as a bonus action. You can attack and run away, forcing your foe to take damage if they want to pursue you.
  • Green Flame Blade: Hitting two enemies at once is great, but as far as blades go Booming Blade is the better choice.
  • Mage Hand: You automatically get this cantrip, but luckily it is great in many situations the Arcane Trickster can find itself in.
  • Message: Rogues do often sneak ahead so they won’t be able to communicate to the party, especially if your playgroup is disciplined about avoiding metagaming. 
  • Minor Illusion: Allows you to get creative with your sneaky nonsense. You can hide behind the illusion if you are small enough.
  • Prestidigitation: In the same vein as Minor Illusion. There’s just so much utility here for anything your character is trying to pull off.
  • True Strike: You’ll get free advantage on your next attack, but it does cost you an action. This makes it generally not worth it.

1st Level Spells

  • Charm Person: Another tool for the Rogue’s arsenal of deceptive tactics.
  • Find Familiar*: If you choose an owl familiar, this spell can be the most broken one available to Arcane Tricksters. Command the owl to fly down, provide a Help action (by distracting your enemy, for example), and then fly away without provoking an attack of opportunity with its Flyby ability. Help actions give you advantage on your next attack, so you guessed it….free Sneak Attacks! It’s a bit cheesy, but hey, it works. If your enemies can use ranged attacks, expect your DM to quickly ruin your fun.
  • Hideous Laughter: A nice way of incapacitating an enemy that’s causing you problems.
  • Mage Armor*: You already won’t be able to cast many spells with this Rogue build, and Mage Armor is not where you want to be. The AC bonus is negligible. 
  • Shield*: The AC also won’t be of much help here, and your reaction is better used for Uncanny Dodge.
  • Silent Image: A great spell that allows you to create something in your environment to hide behind or in, enabling Sneak Attacks. It does require concentration, but if your concentration is broken you’re not hiding anyways. 
  • Sleep: Sleep is really good at low levels, but struggles to scale with enemy HP. Once you get to above level 5, doing non-lethal melee damage is a much more reliable way to knock enemies out.

2nd Level Spells

  • Blur: Rogues are somewhat squishy. Take this spell if you find yourself getting hurt a lot.
  • Darkvision*: If your race doesn’t come with Darkvision and your allies can’t give it to you in some way, you should take this spell. Fighting from the shadows enables your Sneak Attacks, but how are you gonna do that if you can’t see?
  • Hold Person: Takes an enemy out of the fray, but if you picked up Hideous Laughter this will become redundant.
  • Invisibility: Do we even need to tell you why a Rogue might want to be invisible?
  • Misty Step*: Every class that can get it’s hands on Misty Step should strongly consider picking it up. Use it for lining up your Sneak Attacks on the battlefield or to escape a sticky situation.
  • Shadow Blade: Extra damage of a rare damage type. It also gets automatic advantage in low light, making it a solid way of pumping out Sneak Attacks.
  • Mirror Image: Makes you harder to hit.

3rd Level Spells

  • Catnap: Catnap is never one of the best spells, but Rogues really do not want to be filling the role of a support class.
  • Fly*: Lots of utility both in and out of combat. Rogues can often find creative ways to make Fly powerful.
  • Haste*: Haste is universally loved by players, and can be great for Rogues since they lack Extra Attacks. However, using your turn to buff yourself only to immediately have your concentration broken is devastating. If you’re the daring type, go for it.
  • Hypnotic Pattern: Crowd control is a desirable trait to complement any party.
  • Major Image: An even better way to create an illusion than Minor Illusion or Silent Image. There is simply so much you can do with this spell.
  • Phantom Steed: Situational and not worth the spell slot it rode in on.

4th Level Spells

  • Confusion: Decent crowd control if you find your party lacking it.
  • Dimension Door*: Can be better than Misty Step depending on the situation.
  • Greater Invisibility: The best buff a Rogue can ask for. Attacking won’t break your invisibility, unlike its weaker counterpart. This is a must-have for all Arcane Trickster builds.
  • Evard’s Black Tentacles*: Crowd control that grants the Restrained condition, allowing you to attack with advantage for Sneak Attack.
  • Hallucinatory Terrain: The usefulness of this spell is really limited, and other spells you or your party members can cast will likely be able to achieve a similar outcome.
  • Phantasmal Killer: There is potential for loads of damage here along with the Frightened condition, but by the time you can cast 4th level spells you probably want to spend your turn doing something else.

Example Arcane Trickster Build

1st Level:

  • Race: High Elf
    • Proficiencies: Perception
    • Cantrip: Shocking Grasp
  • Background: Charlatan
    • Proficiencies: Deception, Intimidation
  • Ability Scores: STR 8, DEX 17, CON 13, INT 16, WIS 10, CHA 10
  • Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, Stealth,
  • Equipment: Shortsword, shortbow, burglar’s pack, leather armor, two daggers, and thieves’ tools
  • Expertise: Stealth, Perception
  • Sneak Attack
  • Thieves’ Cant

2nd Level:

3rd Level:

  • Rogueish Archetype: Arcane Trickster
  • Cantrips: Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, Booming Blade
  • Add Spells: Find Familiar, Hideous Laughter, Shield

4th Level:

  • ASI: +2 DEX (DEX 19)
  • Add Spells: Charm Person

5th Level:

6th Level:

  • Expertise: Persausion, Deception

7th Level:

  • Evasion
  • Add Spells: Invisibility, Blur
  • Drop Spells: Charm Person

8th Level:

  • Add Spells: Misty Step
  • Feat: Elven Accuracy (+1 DEX, DEX 20)

9th Level:

10th Level:

  • Feat: Lucky
  • Add Spells: Charm Person
  • Add Cantrip: Chill Touch

11th Level:

  • Reliable Talent
  • Add Spells: Suggestion

12th Level:

13th Level:

  • Versatile Trickster
  • Add Spells: Hypnotic Pattern

14th Level:

  • Blindsense
  • Add Spells: Fly

15th Level:

16th Level:

  • Add Spells: Fear
  • ASI: +2 INT (INT 18)

17th Level:

18th Level:

19th Level:

  • Add Spells: Greater Invisibility
  • ASI: +2 INT (INT 20)

20th Level:

  • Add Spells: Evard’s Black Tentacles
  • Stroke of Luck

Hope you liked the guide! If you have any questions or feel like we missed something for the 5e Arcane Trickster, go ahead and post a comment below. If you like our content subscribe to Arcane Eye!

Other Rogue Subclass Guides

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. Outside of writing for Arcane Eye, Mike spends most of his time playing games, hiking with his girlfriend, and tending the veritable jungle of houseplants that have invaded his house. He is the author of Escape from Mt. Balefor and The Heroes of Karatheon. Mike specializes in character creation guides for players, homebrewed mechanics and tips for DMs, and one-shots with unique settings and scenarios. Follow Mike on Twitter.


The Arcane Trickster Rogue archetype is a wonderful example of what a good subclass should do in D&D 5e.

This archetype plays to the existing strengths of the Rogue class while also expanding their abilities to create something versatile and fun.

Whether your Rogue is looking to add utility to the party, just cause some trouble, or maybe a bit of both, they’ll have no shortage of opportunities to shine in any campaign!

So if you’re ready to see what’s in this Rogue’s bag of tricks, let’s jump right into this Arcane Trickster Rogue Guide for D&D 5e.


What is the Arcane Trickster Rogue?

The Arcane Trickster is a Rogue who uses a mix of agility and magic to achieve their goals.

Plenty of foes have dismissed these tricksters at their own peril. These Rogues show that their skills are more than just the sum of their parts!

Primarily using Enchantment and Illusion magic to supplement their roguish skills, Arcane Tricksters have a knack for turning situations upside down. The chaos that they create then provides ample room for the trickster to operate freely!

You can always count on an Arcane Trickster to find unconventional or unexpected solutions to problems!

Role in the Party

The Arcane Trickster is capable of putting out some fantastic damage thanks to the Rogue’s Sneak Attack ability. Because they incorporate Enchantment and Illusion magic into their technique, they rarely have a difficult time getting a chance to use their Sneak Attack!

Of course, that same magic is what makes the Arcane Trickster so useful as a Controller as well. Enemies will be so busy handling the trickster’s illusions or blinded by their enchantments that they won’t be able to focus on the party!

Lastly, it goes without saying that the Arcane Trickster, like all Rogues, is great for finding and dealing with traps. Though Mage Hand and an increased reliance on the Intelligence score mean that they may even have an easier time than other Rogues!

To learn more about character roles in the party, check out our other article on party composition!

Arcane Trickster Spellcasting Guide

The thing that immediately sets the Arcane Trickster apart from the other Rogue archetypes is their ability to cast spells.

You will primarily be relying on spells that are level 1 through 3. At levels 19 and 20, you have a level 4 spell slot.

While the Arcane Trickster won’t be keeping up with the vast majority of other spellcasting classes, they get a ton of utility out of the spells that they do get.

Fortunately, you will be using the Wizard spell list for your selection. This means that you have a large amount of very good spells to pick from! Because you will be using your Intelligence for spellcasting, you’ll want to make sure that your Arcane Trickster has a good Intelligence score!

Arcane Trickster Spell Selection

At level 20, you will have 13 known spells. 4 of these can be from any school that you would like, but the rest must be Enchantment or Illusion spells.

You will also start out with 3 cantrips in total, but will gain a fourth one at level 10. One of these must be Mage Hand, which you will be getting a lot of use out of.

Look for options that give you extra utility like Message or Minor Illusion. If you want to keep some extra damage in your back pocket, you might pick up Booming Blade, Toll the Dead or Fire Bolt.

When choosing your spells, you still want to prioritize utility over outright damage. Spells that aid you in deceiving others or enhance your sneakiness are simply more valuable. Though it’s not necessarily a bad thing to keep a damage spell just in case.

Some standout options include Disguise Self, Invisibility, and Silent Image.

The spells that the Arcane Trickster learns at levels 8, 14, and 20 do not need to be Enchantment or Illusion. All of their other spells must be from these schools.

Of the three spells that the Arcane Trickster knows at level 3, two must be Enchantment or Illusion spells.

You can replace your spells known when you level up with other options from the Wizard spell list. The new spell must be of a level that you can cast and must be either Enchantment or Illusion. It can be from a different school if you are replacing a spell that you gained at level 8, 14, or 20.

The Arcane Trickster’s Spellcasting table can be found in the Player’s Handbook on page 98. This will show you the spells and cantrips that your characters knows and can cast per level.

You’ll also want to check out my article on the Best Spells for Arcane Tricksters by Level!

Arcane Trickster Abilities

In addition to spellcasting, the Arcane Trickster Rogue subclass gains several abilities that help them own the battlefield. Causing havoc with their Mage Hand, inflicting disadvantage on enemies, and outright stealing spells are tricks of their trade!

Mage Hand Legerdemain

Mage Hand is largely the core feature of the Arcane Trickster archetype. Not only is the hand invisible (unlike the normal spell), but it gets extra abilities as well!

This use of Mage Hand allows the hand to stow objects in containers that are held by other creatures. Similarly, it can also retrieve objects in this way.

This is great for pickpocketing and for stashing items on others. Successful Sleight of Hand checks against their Perception checks will help you go completely unnoticed. Worst case scenario: you can very likely talk your way out with a Deception check if they suspect you!

Plus, the finer control that the Arcane Trickster has with their Mage Hand allows them to pick locks and disarm traps at range. Because very few traps will affect you when you’re 30 feet away, this means that it’s far less likely that you’ll find yourself getting blown up by a particularly clever trap! That’s always a good thing!

Then, the deal gets even sweeter by allowing you to use the bonus action from the Rogue’s Cunning Action ability to control the hand. This is some wonderful action economy that helps to keep the Arcane Trickster having plenty of options.

Mage Hand Legerdemain is a fantastically useful ability with a seemingly limitless amount of applications. You’ll be using this constantly!

Magical Ambush

The Arcane Trickster’s next ability is Magical Ambush and you get this at level 9.

Up to this point, you have mostly used your spellcasting for trickery, utility, and maybe a bit of damage. But level 9 is where the gloves come off!

If you are hidden from a creature when you cast a spell on it, Magical Ambush gives it disadvantage on any saving throw that it makes against the spell this turn.

This might seem small, but it’s incredibly powerful.

If you are casting a spell that requires a saving throw that the target is already weaker in, they may never recover! On the other hand, having disadvantage on a saving throw for an ability that a creature typically excels at can easily give you the edge you need to severely weaken them.

Check out this other article on Advantage & Disadvantage to learn more about how this works!

In most situations, using your Cunning Action to Hide should work well. Hiding behind a pillar, in a bush, or somewhere else can let you stay safe while you cast spells that the enemies will have a very difficult time resisting.

Versatile Trickster

At level 13, the Arcane Trickster Rogue gets a nifty buff to their Mage Hand.

While your Mage Hand has been great for picking locks, disarming traps, and rifling through pockets up to this point, it can now be used to distract your enemies.

Using a bonus action, you can have the hand distract an enemy that is within 5 feet of it. This gives you advantage on your attack rolls against that creature until the end of your turn.

With the Versatile Trickster ability, you have another reliable way of gaining advantage to use your Sneak Attack ability.

Combine that with the tips from this Sneak Attack Guide!

You will want to be mindful of this ability’s effect on your action economy. Using your bonus action to gain advantage on your attack prevents you from using your Cunning Action to Hide or Disengage on your turn.

Realistically, you probably aren’t making many attacks that aren’t at advantage or don’t benefit from your Sneak Attack at this point. Whatever situations would have prevented this before, you can now overcome with your Mage Hand and Versatile Trickster.

Spell Thief

Upon hitting level 17, the Arcane Trickster gets their final subclass ability: Spell Thief.

With this ability, the Arcane Trickster uses their reaction when a creature casts a spell that either targets them or includes them in its area of effect. The creature must now make a saving throw with its spellcasting ability modifier. The DC for this saving throw is equal to your spell save DC.

If the creature fails this saving throw, you negate the spell. But it gets so much better than that…

You don’t just negate the spell, you outright steal it!

If the spell is at least level 1 and is of a level that you can cast, you know the spell and can cast it with your own spell slots for the next 8 hours. Meanwhile, the creature can’t cast that spell again until that 8 hours has passed! This works even if it’s not a Wizard spell!

Not only can this get you a powerful spell that you might not have been able to take otherwise, but it could very likely save you from something particularly nasty.

Even if you aren’t able to then use the spell yourself, it’s still a clutch counterspell in your back pocket. If you can use the spell, be sure to tell the creature where you got it from!


Arcane Tricksters occupy a weird, niche overlap between Rogues and Wizards. This means that whatever spurred them onto their current path is sure to be an interesting story!

Perhaps they were an urchin on the streets who broke into a wizard’s home one night in search of valuables to sell. Picking up some books on magic, they came to realize that they had an aptitude for it.

What if the Wizard allowed the Rogue to “break into” their home after noticing a spark of magical potential in them? This might form the start of a type of apprenticeship.

Whether self-taught or through studying under someone, the Arcane Trickster can be easily tied into the world through organizations both magical and… not strictly legal…

I love how Sam Riegel in Critical Role ties his Arcane Trickster, Nott the Brave, into the story.

While the character is certainly clever, she is closely connected to the party’s wizard, Caleb, who often helps teach her new spells and abilities. The two spend much of the early games of season 2 running schemes and make a fantastic duo.

The Arcane Trickster’s very nature prompts questions that will naturally lead to a very interesting backstory for any character.

Is the Arcane Trickster Rogue in D&D 5e Good?

Final verdict on the Arcane Trickster Rogue: it’s not good… it’s fantastic!

Seriously, this is one of the most impressive Rogue archetypes. Its abilities perfectly add to the Rogue’s role in the party while also expanding how that character is played in interesting ways.

Interesting and useful mechanics? Check!

Roleplay potential? Check!

Not only do you get all of the fun shenanigans that all Rogues enjoy, but you also get to expand on your bag of tricks with the help of some handy-dandy magic.

Players who love finding creative approaches to situations, combat or otherwise, will be especially drawn to this class!

P.S. Don’t forget to also read my Complete Guide to the Rogue in 5e!

Conclusion – The Arcane Trickster Rogue in D&D 5e

It’s hard to overstate how impressive the Arcane Trickster archetype is. Not only is it incredibly useful, it’s also a blast to play!

Enchantment and Illusion spells have a tendency to be able to very quickly change a situation, so they’re great to have. Adding in the use of Mage Hand Legerdemain and how easy it is to consistently get advantage in the mid-levels, the Arcane Trickster provides incredible amounts of value for a party.

Much like with the Druid subclasses ranking, I’m reserving all judgement until I’ve written guides for every Rogue subclass that has been released so far.

That said… I’m pretty sure we all have a solid idea where this one will fall in that ranking…

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Update: You can view the complete ranking here!

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DnD 5e – Rogue Spell List Breakdown

Last Updated: June 20, 2021


This page applies almost exclusively to Arcane Tricksters. Other rogues who take Magic Initiate may also find this section beneficial. Because Arcane Tricksters are mostly limited to Enchantment and Illusion spells, I’ll focus on those spells here, but I will note some notable options for the total of 7 spells which you can learn that go beyond the school limitation.

It may be helpful to see my Wizard Spell List Breakdown for more advice on spells which go beyond this limitation. Also remember that your cantrips are not limited to Enchantment/Illusion.

When selecting spells, remember that your Intelligence is likely much lower than a comparable wizard, and that you can’t deal Sneak Attack damage with spell attacks. Try to avoid spell attacks and spells which require a saving throw from targets unless you can reliably use them while undetected since Magical Ambush can offset your relatively poor save DC. Also remember that you’ll typically only get one get spell of each spell level which goes beyond the Enchantment/Illusion school limitations. You can now retrain your non-Enchantment/Illusion spells thanks to the 2020 PHB errata.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.

The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.

RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.

Rogue Spells

Optional spells are marked below with (Optional) following the spell’s name. These spells are considered optional rules, as described in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. Consult your DM before deciding to use these spells.


Because Sneak Attack only works with weapon attacks, I’ve omitted cantrips which rely on spell attacks. Use a weapon instead. I’ve also omitted most offensive cantrips which rely on saving throws. Because your Intelligence will lag behind dedicated spellcasters, it’s unlikely that targets will fail their saving throws. If you want to deal damage, use Sneak Attack. Reserve your cantrips primarily for utility purposes.

  • Booming BladeSCAG / TCoE (Optional): Attack, then use Cunning Action to Withdraw. Instant hit-and-run tactics, and if enemies chase you they take xtra damage.

    Note that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything published an updated version of Booming Blade.

  • Creat BonfirePHB: The damage isn’t as good as a Sneak Attack, but rogues don’t have a lot of spells which require Concentration so if you can set this up before combat or on a turn when you can’t deliver a Sneak Attack it could provide some useful area control.
  • Dancing LightsPHB: An amusing distraction, but you can usually accomplish the same thing using Mage Hand and a candle or torch.
  • Green-Flame BladeXGtE (Optional): Allows you to attack two enemies at once, which rogues are generally bad at doing.

    Note that Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything published an updated version of Green-Flame Blade.

  • PrestidigitationPHB: Versatile and fantastic, a creative rogue can do a lot between this and Minor Illusion. For suggestions on how to use Prestidigitation to its fullest, see my Practical Guide to Prestidigitation.
  • Mage HandPHB: You get it for free.
  • MessagePHB: Rogues do a lot of sneaking around, which frequently involves being separated from your party. Use this to send messages without revealing your position. Of course, the spell requires Verbal components and it’s not clear how loud verbal components are intended to be, so take precautions if possible.
  • Minor Illusion:PHB: Room for plenty of creative, deceptive uses. The 5-foot cube is easily enough to create something to hide behind, provided that your enemies don’t see you create the illusion.
  • Shape WaterEEPC / XGtE: This is as abusable and versatile as Prestidigitation. Freeze a solid 5 foot cube of water and drop it on someone. Pour water into a lock, freeze it, and allow the ice expansion to break the lock. Put a dome of ice over something you’re protecting. Build a small bridge in 5-foot segments. Block a hallway. Freeze a door in place. The uses are numerous and fantastic. If you have a barrel of water and this cantrip, you have a solution to most problems. Honestly the fact that this spell is so much better than its other elemental equivalents (Control Flames, Gust, and Mold Earth) is a good indication of just how awful those spells are. See my Practical Guide to Shape Water for more on how great Shape Water is.
  • Sword BurstSCAG / TCoE (Optional): If you are in a position where it makes sense to use this, you should probably be running away. Rogues are really good at eliminating single targets but really bad at handling crowds, and this cantrip won’t solve that problem.
  • True StrikePHB: If you can afford the time to cast this the round before attacking, you can guarantee yourself Advantage on your attack. If you’re in combat, you’ll have better results attacking twice over two turns instead of wasting an Action on this. But if you can do this before combat starts, it may be worth it. True Strike only has Somatic components, making it easy to cast without revelaing yourself while hidden.

1st-Level Spells

  • Absorb ElementsPHB: Outside of your school limitations. Uncanny Dodge and Shield mitigate damage from attacks, and Evasion mitigates damage from effects which require Dexterity saves, which includes most energy damage effects like fireballs and most breath weapons. You can use Absorb Elements to mitigate damage from other sources, but since there’s so much overlap with the Rogue’s other features, it’s a situational benefit with not a lot of payoff consider that you only get two unrestricted 1st-level spells. The best use cases for this are effects like a green dragon’s poison breath which calls for a Consitution save, but fortunately those effects are uncommon.
  • Disguise SelfPHB: Learning a single spell is cheaper than proficiency in a Disguise Kit, but remember that your Spell Save DC probably won’t match a dedicated spellcaster so this may not be as reliabe as using a Disguise Kit.
  • Find FamiliarPHB: Outside of your school limitations. An owl can move into melee range, then Dash away using its Flyby ability to avoid provoking Opportunity Attacks. This allows you to easily target foes for Sneak Attack with very little effort on top of the other fantastic benefits of having a familiar. I just wish that the owl wasn’t so significantly better than every other option so that there was a good reason to consider other types of familiars.
  • Mage ArmorPHB: Outside of your school limitations. This will raise your maximum AC by 1 compared to Studded Leather. That’s a great benefit, but you get so few spells outside of your school limitations that it’s hard to justify.
  • ShieldPHB: Outside of your school limitations. In most cases, this is redundant with Uncanny Dodge. However, Shield boosts your AC until your next turn, potentially negating multiple attacks. In situations where you’re being targeted with numerous attacks, Shield will be considerably more protective than Uncanny Dodge. Still, in those situations ideally you have a tanky ally like a fighter to draw attention, or you’re using other spells like Blur or Mirror Image to protect yourself.
  • Silent ImagePHB: While not nearly so powerful as Major Image, if you just want an object or a visual effect, Silent Image does the job just as well. Throw up a fake wall, door, or portcullis to slow pursuers. Create a piece of furniture like a box or a chest, then hide inside it and stab people when they try to open it like a pointy jack in the box. Illusions are limited more by your creativity (and your DM’s willingness to play along) than by the spell’s text.

2nd-Level Spells

  • BlurPHB: A fantastic defensive buff, especially if you’re fighting in melee where you’re going to be targeted by a lot of attacks.
  • DarkvisionPHB: Outside of your school limitations. Darkvision is crucial for a class that benefits so much from fighting in the dark, so if you don’t have this from your race or from an ally, you should strongly consider it.
  • Gift of GabAI: Are you playing a silver-tongued rogue, but in real life you’re barely able to string two syllables together? Here’s your sollution. But be warned: while the spell doesn’t allow a saving throw, it only fixes the past 6 seconds.
  • InvisiblityPHB: Essential.
  • Mirror ImagePHB: As effective as Blur (at least until you take a couple hits), and it doesn’t require Concentration.
  • Misty StepPHB: Outside of your school limitations. Fantastic short-range teleportation with only Verbal components, so you can use it to easily escape grapples and restraints.
  • Magic MouthPHB: Find a way to cast Thaumaturgy to raise your voice’s volume, then cast this spell on a piece of paper and scream into it for as long as you are physically capable. Set the trigger to “when the paper is unfolded”. Leave the paper for someone to find, or use mage hand to open it at a distance. Instant distraction. The material component is inexpensive by the time you can cast this, and the duration is “until dispelled”, so you can carry about a big stack of pre-cast Magic Mouth spells for all sorts of shenanigans.
  • See InvisiblityPHB: Outside of your school limitations. Rogues don’t have any other good options for dealing with invisible foes.
  • Shadow BladeXGtE: Basically a magic rapier that deals psychic damage, which is very rarely resisted. The blade has both finesse and thrown, so it has all the best parts of a dagger with twice the damage of a rapier.

    You can upcast the spell to increase the damage dice, but you really don’t need to. Guaranteed Advantage while attacking a target in dim light or darkness means that you can easily apply Sneak Attack, and compared to your pile of sneak attack dice the extra d8 isn’t worth your extremely limited higher-level spell slots.

    It’s not clear yet if the Shadow Blade qualifies to use with Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade, but Jeremery Crawford has indicated that he would allow Shadow Blade to work with Booming Blade. That’s not technically a rules answer, but it may be the closest that we get.

  • Tasha’s Mind WhipTCoE (Optional): The problems solved by this spell can generally be solved by Cunning Action.

3rd-Level Spells

  • FlyPHB: It’s hard to overstate how powerful flight is.
  • HastePHB: Used as intended, Haste is a decent short-term buff that will give you either some extra movement or an additional chance to hit if your one attack per turn misses. In most cases, you can get the same benefits from your Bonus Action by using Cunning Action for movement or Two-Weapon Fighting for an additional attack.

    But Haste also has an abuse case which you can use to reliably get a Sneak Attack outside of your turn. On your own turn, use the bonus Action from Haste to attack. If you miss, you’ve still taken the Attack action on your turn, so you still qualify for two-weapon fighting if you need another attack (and provided that you meet the other requirements). Then spend your normal Action to take the Ready action. Use a sufficiently broad condition like “anyone other than me moves or acts”, and choose to attack as your response to the condition. Then when someone else tries to do something you can attack using your Reaction, potentially dealing another Sneak Attack (remember that Sneak Attack is once per turn, not once per round).

  • Major ImagePHB: Fantastically versatile, and creatures don’t make a saving throw. Instead, they need to know to touch the illusion or make an Intelligence (Investigation) check, or they need to physically interact with the illusion. Even then, you can buy yourself a great deal of time while the target tries to figure out your illusion.
  • NondetectionPHB: Good, but not totally essential. Divination spells include things like See Invisibility, so if you or your party relies on invisibility of any kind this protects from several maigcal countermeasures to both stealth and invisibility. However, most enemies aren’t spellcasters and won’t have access to those divination options, so you can’t justify casting this every day. The spell also has an expensive material component specifically to deter you from casting this all the time. Still, with an 8-hour duration, if you need this spell it’s going to do exactly what you need it to do.
  • Phantom SteedPHB: By the time you can cast this, your allies can likely produce much better ways to travel long distances.

4th-Level Spells

  • Arcane EyePHB: Outside of your school limitations. Scouting safely is important, and it’s a major part of the Rogue’s role in the party. Still, you’ve been scouting for 18 levels without this and you’ve somehow survived this long.
  • Dimension DoorPHB: Outside of your school limitations. While Misty Step solves the vast majority of your teleportation needs (especially in combaty), Dimenions Door has considerably longer range and doesn’t require line of sight, thus allowing you to quickly infiltrate or escape an area which might otherwise be impenetrable.
  • FabricatePHB: Outside of your school limitations. I really wish that this spell was better, but it’s simply too situational. It only works on raw materials, so you can’t pull tricks like turning a door into toothpicks or something equally useful.
  • Greater InvisibilityPHB: Probably the most important spell that anyone can cast on a rogue.
  • Hallucinatory TerrainPHB: Situational. Unless you specifically need the 24-hour duration and the massive area of effect, Major Image will suffice.
  • PolymorphPHB: Tempting and potentially very powerful, but you can’t use Sneak Attack with the natural weapons which you usually gain from being polymorphed and you’ll deal more damage with Sneak Attack and a dagger than you will by turning into a tyranosaurus.
  • Stone ShapePHB: This is one of the must useful spells in the game. Castles, dungeons, caves, mountains, and all manner of other locales include an abundance of stone. The ability to reshape that stone to your purposes in an instant is immensely useful. This is a spell limited only by your imagination. A 5-foot cube is plenty of space to wreak all kinds of havoc if you’re clever..

Arcane Trickster

Hit Die



To qualify to become an arcane trickster, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.


Any nonlawful.


Decipher Script 7 ranks, Disable Device 7 ranks, Escape Artist 7 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks.


Ability to cast mage hand and at least one arcane spell of 3rd level or higher.


Sneak attack +2d6.

Class Skills

The arcane trickster’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Int), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Open Lock (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Speak Language (None), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), Swim (Str), Tumble (Dex), and Use Rope (Dex).

Skill Points at Each Level

4 + Int modifier.

Class Features

All of the following are Class Features of the arcane trickster prestige class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

Arcane tricksters gain no proficiency with any weapon or armor.

Spells per Day

When a new arcane trickster level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained, except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If a character had more than one spellcasting class before becoming an arcane trickster, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day.

Ranged Legerdemain

An arcane trickster can perform one of the following class skills at a range of 30 feet: Disable Device, Open Lock, or Sleight of Hand. Working at a distance increases the normal skill check DC by 5, and an arcane trickster cannot take 10 on this check. Any object to be manipulated must weigh 5 pounds or less.

An arcane trickster can use ranged legerdemain once per day initially, twice per day upon attaining 5th level, and three times per day at 9th level or higher. He can make only one ranged legerdemain skill check each day, and only if he has at least 1 rank in the skill being used.

Sneak Attack

This is exactly like the rogue ability of the same name. The extra damage dealt increases by +1d6 every other level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th). If an arcane trickster gets a sneak attack bonus from another source the bonuses on damage stack.

Impromptu Sneak Attack

Beginning at 3rd level, once per day an arcane trickster can declare one melee or ranged attack he makes to be a sneak attack (the target can be no more than 30 feet distant if the impromptu sneak attack is a ranged attack). The target of an impromptu sneak attack loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, but only against that attack. The power can be used against any target, but creatures that are not subject to critical hits take no extra damage (though they still lose any Dexterity bonus to AC against the attack).

At 7th level, an arcane trickster can use this ability twice per day.


Trickster dnd arcane

 Class Features

Saving Throws

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice: 1d8 per rogue level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per rogue level after 1st.


  • Armor: Light Armor
  • Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, Rapiers, Shortswords
  • Tools: Thieves' Tools
  • Skills: Choose four from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.


You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:

  • (a) a rapier or (b) a shortsword
  • (a) a shortbow and quiver of 20 arrows or (b) a shortsword
  • (a) a burglar’s pack, (b) a dungeoneer’s pack, or (c) an explorer’s pack
  • Leather armor, two daggers, and thieves’ tools

Leveling Up

Level Proficiency Bonus Sneak Attack Value Features
1 +2 1d6 Expertise, Sneak Attack, Thieves' Cant
2 +2 1d6 Cunning Action
3 +2 2d6 Roguish Archetype
4 +2 2d6 Ability Score Improvement
5 +3 3d6 Uncanny Dodge
6 +3 3d6 Expertise
7 +3 4d6 Evasion
8 +3 4d6 Ability Score Improvement
9 +4 5d6 Roguish Archetype Feature
10 +4 5d6 Ability Score Improvement
11 +4 6d6 Reliable Talent
12 +4 6d6 Ability Score Improvement
13 +5 7d6 Roguish Archetype Feature
14 +5 7d6 Blindsense
15 +5 8d6 Slippery Mind
16 +5 8d6 Ability Score Improvement
17 +6 9d6 Roguish Archetype Feature
18 +6 9d6 Elusive
19 +6 10d6 Ability Score Improvement
20 +6 10d6 Stroke of Luck


Proficiency Bonus

  • Your proficiency bonus is +2. Every four levels, your bonus increases by one point.

Sneak Attack

You know how to strike subtly and exploit a foe’s distraction. Once per turn, you can deal extra 1d6 damage to one creature you hit with an attack if you have Advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. As you gain levels, the amount of damage increases, as shown on the level table.

  • You don't need Advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and you don't have Disadvantage on the attack roll.
  • Rogues typically only get one Sneak Attack per round of combat. However if some circumstance or feature allows them to react during another creature's turn, such as an Attack of Opportunity, the Battlemaster's Commander’s Strike, or the Thief Archetype's "Thief's Reflexes", and all other qualifications are met, the Rogue may get a second or third Sneak Attack during a single round of combat.


At 1st level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with thieve's tools. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies.

At 6th level, you can choose two more of your proficiencies (in skills or with thieves tools) to gain this benefit.

Thieves' Cant

During your rogue training you learned thieves’ cant, a secret mix of dialect, jargon, and code that allows you to hide messages in seemingly normal conversation. Only another creature that knows thieves’ cant understands such messages. It takes four times longer to convey such a message than it does to speak the same idea plainly. In addition, you understand a set of secret signs and symbols used to convey short, simple messages, such as whether an area is dangerous or the territory of a thieves’ guild, whether loot is nearby, or whether the people in an area are easy marks or will provide a safe house for thieves on the run.

Cunning Action

Starting at your second level,your quick thinking and agility allow you to move and act quickly. You can take a Bonus Action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

Ability Score Improvement

When you reach 4th level, and again at 8th, 10th, 12th, 16th, and 19th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or you can increase two Ability Scores of your choice by 1. As normal, you can’t increase an ability score above 20 using this feature. Alternately you can take a [[1]] in place of your Ability Score Improvement.

Uncanny Dodge

Starting at 5th level, when an attacker that you can see hits you with an Attack, you can use your Reaction to halve the attack's damage against you.

  • Only damage resulting from attack rolls such as melee attacks, ranged attacks, or spells with attack rolls (i.e. firebolt, guiding bolt) qualify for Uncanny Dodge.
  • Due to the restriction of using your Reaction, only one attack per round can qualify for Uncanny Dodge.


Beginning at 7th level, you can nimbly dodge out of the way of certain area effects, such as a red dragon's fiery breath or an Ice Storm spell. When you are subjected to an effect that allows you to make a Dexterity saving throw to take only half damage, you instead take no damage if you succeed on the saving throw, and only half damage if you fail.

Reliable Talent

By 11th level, you have refined your chosen skills until they approach perfection. Whenever you make an ability check that lets you add your proficiency bonus, you can treat a d20 roll of 9 or lower as a 10.


Starting at 14th level, if you are able to hear, you are aware of the location of any hidden or Invisible creature within 10 feet of you.

Slippery Mind

By 15th level, you have acquired greater mental strength. You gain proficiency in Wisdom saving throws.


Beginning at 18th level, you are so evasive that attackers rarely gain the upper hand against you. No Attack roll has advantage against you while you aren't Incapacitated.

Stroke of Luck

At 20th level, you have an uncanny knack for succeeding when you need to. If your Attack misses a target within range, you can turn the miss into a hit. Alternatively, if you fail an ability check, you can treat the d20 roll as a 20. Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a Short or Long Rest.

Arcane Trickster Archetype

Some rogues enhance their fine-honed skills of stealth and agility with magic, learning tricks of enchantment and illusion. These rogues include pickpockets and burglars, but also pranksters, mischief-makers, and a significant number of adventurers.


Arcane Tricksters gain the ability to cast Wizard spells to enhance their abilities, trick their foes, and defend themselves more effectively.

  • Cantrips: You learn three cantrips: Mage Hand and two other cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. At 10th level you learn another cantrip from the wizard spell list.
  • Spells Known: You know three 1st level wizard spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the enchantment and illusion spells on the wizard spell list. The third can be from any school of magic.
    • Thereafter you learn another spell at levels 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 19, and 20.
    • The spells you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th level can come from any school of magic.
    • Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list (of a level you can cast).
  • Spellcasting Ability: Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. Your spell saving throw DC is 8+ your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier. Your spell attack bonus is your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
  • Spell Slots: You start with two 1st level spell slots at Rogue level 3, and gain more as you gain more Rogue levels.
Lv 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
3rd 2 - - -
4th 3 - - -
7th 4 2 - -
10th 4 3 - -
13th 4 3 2 -
16th 4 3 3 -
19th 4 3 3 1

Mage Hand Legerdemain

Starting at 3rd level, when you cast mage hand, you can make the spectral hand invisible, and you can perform the following additional tasks with it:

  • You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can use thieves’ tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

You can perform one of these tasks without being noticed by a creature if you succeed on a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check contested by the creature’s Wisdom (Perception) check. In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

Magical Ambush

Starting at 9th level, if you are hidden from a creature when you cast a spell on it, the creature has disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the spell this turn.

Versatile Trickster

At 13th level, you gain the ability to distract targets with your Mage Hand. As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand created by the spell. Doing so gives you Advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn, and therefore allowing you to Sneak Attack the creature when nobody else is within 5 feet.

Spell Thief

At 17th level, you gain the ability to magically steal the knowledge of how to cast a spell from another spellcaster.

  • Immediately after a creature casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your Reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with its spellcasting ability modifier.
  • The DC equals your spell save DC and on a failed save, you negate the spell’s effect against you, and you steal the knowledge of the spell if it is at least 1st level and of a level you can cast (it doesn’t need to be a wizard spell).
  • For the next 8 hours, you know the spell, can cast it using your spell slots, and the creature can’t cast that spell until the 8 hours have passed.
  • Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a long rest.
Arcane Trickster Rogue - D\u0026D 5e Subclass Series

Dungeons & Dragons: How to Build the Perfect Arcane Trickster

One great thing about Dungeons & Dragons is that the game is constantly growing, with each class becoming more versatile thanks to new subclasses. Playing a simple stab-and-grab Rogue is definitely feasible and fun, but players also have the option of creating magical Rogues who can grab treasures from a distance using their invisible Mage Hand.

The Arcane Trickster subclass is a great way to combine stealth and magic, infiltrating hard to access places where the best loot is usually kept. There are a number of ways to build an Arcane Trickster, and they all have potential. However, there are certain things players need to consider to make the most of this Rogue's capabilities.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: 4 Tips for Creating an AMAZING Character Backstory

Maximize the Arcane Trickster's Dexterity & Intelligence

The core attribute for all Rogues is Dexterity, as this is what makes them nimble and stealthy enough to slip into otherwise inaccessible places without setting off alarms and traps. A high Dexterity stat also allows them to pick locks and pockets without getting caught. Nearly everything Rogues do is dependent on their Dex, but Arcane Tricksters are a little bit different.

Because Arcane Tricksters are also magic-users, they need to focus on building their Intelligence too. This is the stat their spellcasting modifier and Spell DC are contingent on, so boosting those two attributes as soon as possible is essential. While not as important as Dexterity or Intelligence, Wisdom is also useful when it comes to checking for traps, so make sure it doesn't become a dump stat.

Best Racial Choices for Arcane Tricksters

There are a lot of good options for an Arcane Trickster's race, but Elves tend to be outstanding. Not only do they get a +2 to Dex, but they are also proficient in Perception, which makes it easier to check for traps. High and Wood Elves are both proficient with longbows, which is a great weapon for Rogues in general. Additionally, High Elves have access to an extra Cantrip, which definitely comes in handy considering the Arcane Trickster's spell limitations. Other useful races include Deep Gnomes, Lightfoot Halflings and Humans.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: 4 Questions Every DM Should Ask Their Party

The Arcane Trickster's Best Feats

Beyond maxing out the proper stats, all classes get the opportunity to choose a feat instead at certain levels. Arcane Tricksters have access to a number of feats that grant them advantages in spellcasting that come in handy during complicated battles.

War Caster is useful because it allows the Arcane Trickster to basically dual-wield spells the way regular Rogues can dual-wield weapons. Spellcasting opportunities tend to be limited in combat, so this is a helpful feat. It also gives them advantage on concentration checks to ensure those powerful spells they're throwing around don't get knocked out of play when they take damage.

Lucky is also an all around useful feat for Rogues in general, as it allows the player to spend a Luck point to roll another d20 on an attack roll, saving throw or ability check, then choose which one they want to use. That also means that, if a player has disadvantage on a roll, they can roll a third die and use that if it's higher than the lower roll. Finally, since Arcane Tricksters have limited spell capacity, Magic Initiate is helpful, as it allows them to choose a spell class and one first level spell from that category.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: Every Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Subclass, Ranked

The Best Spells for an Arcane Trickster

In comparison to other spellcasters, Arcane Tricksters gain access to spells slowly. Over time, their maximum spell slot level only reaches four -- but they aren't supposed to rely on spellcasting alone. Their magical abilities are meant to combine with their other skillsets, making them a versatile asset to the entire party.

When choosing spells, it's important to consider what the Rogue's role is in the party. Illusion magic useful for many Arcane Tricksters. After all, many spent their pre-adventuring lives finding the sneakiest ways to carry out the important tasks. Perhaps they're hoping to cause illusory distractions to trick enemies so the party can make a quick getaway, or maybe they need to disguise themselves to avoid drawing unnecessary attention or recognition.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: Shape Water Is One of the BEST Cantrips - If You Know How To Use It

Another thing to consider is how an Arcane Trickster can utilize their dangerous spell attacks with the sneak attack bonus. Sneak attack doesn't work with Cantrips, but leveled spells like Shadow Blade can really layer on extra damage when combined with sneak attack. Other useful spell choices include Greater Invisibility and the Fly spell, which can help these Rogues quickly get where they need to be, whether that's in battle or while exploring dungeons.

While building an Arcane Trickster, it's important to think about what the character needs to be capable of and build them accordingly. Consider how they fit into their party and what skills others will rely on them for -- like retrieving those hard-to-reach items that promise to yield great rewards.

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Source: Player's Handbook

Arcane Trickster SpellcastingSpell Slots per Spell Level
Rogue LevelCantrips KnownSpells Known1st2nd3rd4th
3rdMage Hand + 232---
4thMage Hand + 243---
5thMage Hand + 243---
6thMage Hand + 243---
7thMage Hand + 2542--
8thMage Hand + 2642--
9thMage Hand + 2642--
10thMage Hand + 3743--
11thMage Hand + 3843--
12thMage Hand + 3843--
13thMage Hand + 39432-
14thMage Hand + 310432-
15thMage Hand + 310432-
16thMage Hand + 311433-
17thMage Hand + 311433-
18thMage Hand + 311433-
19thMage Hand + 3124331
20thMage Hand + 3134331


When you reach 3rd level, you augment your martial prowess with the ability to cast spells.


You learn three cantrips: Mage Hand and two other cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list. You learn another wizard cantrip of your choice at 10th level.

Spell Slots

The Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level and higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell's level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest.

For example, if you know the 1st-level spell Charm Person and have a 1st-level and a 2nd-level spell slot available, you can cast Charm Person using either slot.

Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher

You know three 1st-level wizard spells of your choice, two of which you must choose from the enchantment and illusion spells on the wizard spell list.

The Spells Known column of the Arcane Trickster Spellcasting table shows when you learn more wizard spells of 1st level or higher. Each of these spells must be an enchantment or illusion spell of your choice, and must be of a level for which you have spell slots. For instance, when you reach 7th level in this class, you can learn one new spell of 1st or 2nd level.

The spells you learn at 8th, 14th, and 20th level can come from any school of magic.

Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the wizard spells you know with another spell of your choice from the wizard spell list. The new spell must be of a level for which you have spell slots, and it must be an enchantment or illusion spell, unless you're replacing the spell you gained at 3rd, 8th, 14th, or 20th level from any school of magic.

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through dedicated study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a wizard spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier

Mage Hand Legerdemain

Starting at 3rd level, when you cast Mage Hand, you can make the spectral hand invisible, and you can perform the following additional tasks with it:

  • You can stow one object the hand is holding in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can retrieve an object in a container worn or carried by another creature.
  • You can use thieves' tools to pick locks and disarm traps at range.

You can perform one of these tasks without being noticed by a creature if you succeed on a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check contested by the creature's Wisdom (Perception) check.

In addition, you can use the bonus action granted by your Cunning Action to control the hand.

Magical Ambush

Starting at 9th level, if you are hidden from a creature when you cast a spell on it, the creature has disadvantage on any saving throw it makes against the spell this turn.

Versatile Trickster

At 13th level, you gain the ability to distract targets with your Mage Hand. As a bonus action on your turn, you can designate a creature within 5 feet of the spectral hand created by the spell. Doing so gives you advantage on attack rolls against that creature until the end of the turn.

Spell Thief

At 17th level, you gain the ability to magically steal the knowledge of how to cast a spell from another spellcaster.

Immediately after a creature casts a spell that targets you or includes you in its area of effect, you can use your reaction to force the creature to make a saving throw with its spellcasting ability modifier. The DC equals your spell save DC. On a failed save, you negate the spell's effect against you, and you steal the knowledge of the spell if it is at least 1st level and of a level you can cast (it doesn't need to be a wizard spell). For the next 8 hours, you know the spell and can cast it using your spell slots. The creature can't cast that spell until the 8 hours have passed.

Once you use this feature, you can't use it again until you finish a long rest.


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