The Book of Spells and Magic Effects
Bottom Line Up Front
In 5e Dungeons and Dragons, Healing Word is one of the most used healing spells in the game. It is effective from 1st up to max level because it can bring any character back up into the fight as a Bonus Action with a 60 ft range. All your healers (bard cleric druid) will love using it.
Incredibly, this 1st level spell is one of the best healing spells in Fifth Edition. It’s definitely worth one of your healer’s spell slots.
Common Questions about Healing Word 5e
Is there a healing Cantrip 5e?
No, there isn’t a healing Cantrip in 5e but Mending can be used to repair constructs such as the Artificer’s Steel Defender.
How much does healing word heal for?
It heals your target for 1d4 plus your spell casting ability modifier.
How do you use healing words in 5e?
This spell can be used as a Bonus Action in combat so you still have your Action for an attack or to cast a Cantrip.
Is healing Word or cure wounds better?
Healing Word is generally considered better than Cure Wounds. I have a bit more to say about it later in the article.
In Point Form – Healing Word 5e
School: 1st-level evocation
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 60 feet
A creature of your choice that you can see within range regains hit points equal to 1d4 + 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 1d4 for each slot level above 1st.
Races: Halfling (Mark of Healing)
Source: PHB, page 250.
Healing Word 5e- The Breakdown
You have to see your target and be within 60′. Your DM may try to mess with you with darkness or blindness to prevent you from using Healing Word but, in my experience, this is the exception rather than the rule.
The Healing Word Spell is very valuable at low levels and, unlike Cure Wounds, it holds its’ value right up to max Level. When you cast this spell, the 1d4 plus your spellcasting ability modifier is just enough to heal your meat shield through the round or two of combat. More importantly it’s enough to bring a character up from zero Hit Points and back into the fight.
What’s more, you can do it at a range of 60 feet.
What’s even more, you can do it as a Bonus Action so you can still move and attack with your Action.
Healing Word exploits the Fifth Edition’s healing and death mechanics potentially making it, level for level, the best healing spell in the game.
At Higher Levels
When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd or higher, your healing increases by 1d4 per level. You only add your spell casting ability modifier once so higher level slots only add 1d4 for each slot level. Even worse than with Cure Wounds, your extra 1d4 has a 25% chance of just being one HP.
Please don’t use Healing Word at higher levels because you’ve got better things to do for your party.
Fifth Edition’s Healing Mechanics make it more effective to let one of your compatriots go down and then your healer (clerics or otherwise) 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.
Healing Word makes use of this mechanic at range and with a Bonus Action. Bringing a companion back to life is a great use of your Bonus Action.
Fun with Familiars and Healing Word
Since Healing Word is a Bonus Action, you could use your Action to see through your Familiar’s (or Druidic Wild Companion) eyes. You would be able to cast this spell on a target that you, personally, can’t see but your spirit buddy can. You’d still have to be in range because that is based on your location not the Familiar’s position.
Comparing First Level Healing Spells
Probably cures the least number of hp.
Bonus Action to cast. Fantastic. You can bring a downed meat shield back into the fight and still cast Banishment on your fiendish opponent.
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 healer spot. When I wrote about Cure Wounds, I said Goodberry took the top spot but now I think it’s a dead heat. They both bring a ton of flexibility to exploit the Fifth Edition Healing/Death Mechanic.
Always give you 10 berries for one Hit Point 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.
Now that I’ve finished the Healing Word article, I have to say that Goodberry is, at best, tied with Healing Word as the most effective for 1st Level Healers and it might even take second place. I guess it depends on how things roll at your table.
Probably recovers more hp than Healing Word but probably doesn’t beat Goodberry.
Least effective spell of the group and you’ll pretty much stop using it after 4th or 5th level.