I'm trying to build a Draconic Bloodline sorcerer with the Elemental Adept feat (PHB, p. 166) and the Elemental Affinity subclass feature to maximize one element. I'm a new player, and our group so far is still only using the PHB.
When I look through all the sorcerer spells in the PHB, I was a bit surprised that the basic game would so overwhelmingly emphasize one element over the others—fire seems hands down to be the strongest element across most levels:
- 0: Fire bolt
- 1: Burning hands
- 2: Scorching ray
- 3: Fireball
- 4: Wall of fire
- 7: Delayed blast fireball and fire storm
- 8: Incendiary cloud
- 9: Meteor swarm
There are great spells, diverse in effect and often among the best in class, available at almost every step of my character's development.
Compared to cold-damage spells:
- 0: Ray of frost
- 4: Ice storm
- 5: Cone of cold
Basically I can use cone of cold a handful of times, and otherwise I just have my cantrip. Well there's ice storm, but I suspect I'd be using it for utility more than damage.
Or lightning-damage spells:
- 1: Witch bolt
- 3: Lightning bolt
- 7: Chain lightning
I can use chain lightning once or twice at levels 13-16; otherwise most of the time I'd be firing off lightning bolts, which I presume are inferior fireballs due to the line-shaped area of effect. The low-level spell slots are also pretty barren, as witch bolt seems bad and there's no ranged cantrip.
Am I missing something, or does an Elemental Adept & Elemental Affinity specialization grossly favor fire-damage spells, at least for the PHB selection? Do I need to include other spell sources if I want to attempt this build outside of fire?
Pretty much. Fortunately, there's an official free answer. One of the early published adventures was set in the classic Temple of Elemental Evil, and there is a freely-available Elemental Evil Player's Companion. The spells from that supplement are published as freely available in D&D Beyond (including errata from later printings of the same spell, which are considered official updates). Most of them are also in Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
You can find that list here:
D&D Beyond Spells filtered by "Source: Elemental Evil Player's Companion".
This includes spells like Frostbite, Gust, Ice Knife, Magic Stone, and Tidal Wave — as well as a lot more fire spells.