[RPG] Are there higher level spells that use attack rolls


A character wizard level 10 of mine recently acquired 2 Tomes of Clear Thought, a Staff of Power, and Wand of the Warcaster +3 on some very lucky random treasure generation. This makes my spell attack bonus +16 with 24 Intelligence.

I am trying to take advantage of this, but the best options at the moment all seem to involve casting lower level spells using a higher slot, such as:

  • 4th level Chromatic Orb, 6d8 damage (~27)
  • 4th level Scorching Ray, 5 rays, 2d6 each = 10d6 (~35)
  • 1st level Ray of Sickness, 2d8 damage + poisoned 1 round
  • 2nd level Ray of Enfeeblement, target does half damage next turn
  • 5th level Vampiric Touch, 5d6 damage + heal half (nerfed from 3.5)
  • 4th level Contagion, has many uses

The advantage here is the target generally gets full damage with no save.

What am I missing? It seems they changed Disintegrate to not be a ranged touch attack? Looking in 3.5 and 3.0, I see Finger of Death was never a touch attack anyway.

Are there better spells at higher levels than merely upping the levels for the rays mentioned? So, assuming no fire resistance, is Scorching Ray really the best for damage? Was this a design decision?

The core of the question is "what is the best use of my high spell attack bonus?", but I am interested in the surrounding context.

Best Answer

The highest level spell I could find that uses a melee spell attack to deal damage is Mordenkainen's Sword (level 7). The relevant part of the spell reads:

When the sword appears, you make a melee spell attack against a target of your choice within 5 feet of the sword. On a hit. the target takes 3d10 force damage. Until the spell ends, you can use a bonus action on each of your turns to move the sword up to 20 feet to a spot you can see and repeat this attack against the same target or a different one.

However, it's worth noting that Plane Shift (level 7) requires a spell attack and a save to let you banish an enemy, which is equivalent to killing them most of the time:

You can use this spell to banish an unwilling creature to another plane. Choose a creature within your reach and make a melee spell Attack against it. On a hit, the creature must make a Charisma saving throw. If the creature fails the save, it is transported to a random location on the plane of existence you specify.

Otherwise, for a wizard, there aren't really spells that start at high level that require an attack roll.