The Book of Spells and Magical Effects
Bottom Line Up Front
In 5e, the Cure Wounds Spell is a solid Level One healing spell. Cure Wounds heals more hit points than Healing Word but you have to touch your target.
Above third or forth level, Cure Wounds’ effectiveness starts to drop off. Healing Word’s 60 foot range is more flexible than having to touch your target and the difference in hit points healed becomes decreasingly important. Personally, I prefer the Druid’s Goodberry Spell (because rules and action economy) but Cure Wounds is still a top choice for any starting healer in Wizards of the Coast 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.
Common Questions about Cure Wounds in 5e
What does Cure Wounds do in DnD 5e?
Cure Wounds is a healing spell several different caster classes (bard cleric druid paladin ranger).
Is Cure Wounds good in 5e?
Costing only a one arcane spell slot and a piece of cured leather, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get an AC bonus in the game of Dungeons and Dragons. However, at low levels, it does use up one of your few spell slots so selecting Mage Armor over other options can be a tough decision.
In Point Form
School: 1st-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 Action
Components: V S
A creature you touch regains a number of hit points equal to 1d8 + your spellcasting ability modifier. This spell has no effect on undead or constructs.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the healing increases by 1d8 for each slot level above 1st.
Source: PHB, page 230
Cure Wounds 5e- The Breakdown
In older editions of D&D, this was called Cure Light Wounds so it’s been around a long time because it’s always been a solid choice but it does have significant limits. It’s specifically stated that it doesn’t effect undead or constructs but there’s a bit more to it than that.
The Cure Wounds Spell is the most valuable at low levels because it heals more hit points than Healing Word. Initially, 1d8 plus your spellcasting modifier is enough to fully heal any first level meat shield class with a single action in the middle of combat. That’s
game fight changing!
It’s still incredibly valuable at second level, where you can still fully heal a squishy caster or rogue and bring your front line fighter up to 50% health. That’s enough to be the TSN turning point of the fight.
At Level 10, however, your favourite meat shield could have over a hundred hit points and a single enemy attack causes more damage than this spell can heal. Then, your options are to cast it at a higher level or depend on Fifth Edition’s healing mechanics.
At Higher Levels
Yes, you can increase healing by 1d8 per level above the 1st. You do not get to add your spell casting ability bonus. Your 1d8 could end up being just one HP. Compare that to the second level spell Aid. Aid increases the maximum Hit Points of three of your buddies by a guaranteed 5 HP. You can cast it before combat and then use your actions in combat to attack.
I wouldn’t use Cure Wounds at higher levels because there are better spells available to support your party.
In addition, Fifth Edition’s Healing Mechanics make it more effective to let one of your compatriots go down and then simply heal them back into action before their next turn. For better or worse, the Wizards of the Coast decided in 5th Edition to make it more effective to bring a wounded comrade back up than to keep them up during combat. Action economy is an important part of 5e combat mechanics and it’s tough to ignore.
During combat, healing is more effective bringing a character back into the fight than healing them up during the fight. The upside is that healers do a lot more than just cast cure spells and there are a lot of other support spells available so you’ve got lots of things to do besides curing wounds.
This is a grey area but a tweet from Mike Mearls confirmed that Cure Wounds will heal a Warforged. As a DM, I would allow Warforged to be healed by a variety of methods including healing spells for their living parts and the Mending Cantrip for their constructed parts. Talk to your DM and you can make this fun for everyone involved.
Familiars and Cure Wounds in 5e
Familiars can cast touch spells for their caster and, with the right build, you can use this to great effect with Cure Wounds in 5e.
Comparing First Level Healing Spells
- Probably recovers more hp than Healing Word but probably doesn’t beat Goodberry.
- Touch required.
- Least effective of all three spells especially at higher levels.
- Probably cures the least number of hp.
- Range 60′. Awesome but you do have to see your target so darkness, fog, obstacles etc can be issues.
- Remains effective up to Level 20.
- The range gives Healing Word the flexibility to fight Goodberry for the top spot but I think it’s second best.
- Always give you 10 berries for one hp each. You will almost always recover more Hit Points than Healing Word and usually more than Cure Wounds.
- You can cast in advance and hand out the berries to your party like 1 hp healing potions so anyone can bring a downed friend back up into the fight.
- Remains effective up to Level 20.
- In my humble opinion, this is the best 1st Level Healing Spell in 5th Edition because it’s so flexible.