As a standard practice, class spell lists generally only select from the Player’s Handbook. Some also supplement with spells from the publication where the (sub)class appears. This places a limitation on classes that could be released after Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, since they technically won’t be able to tap into those spells.
Note: since writing this a couple weeks back, D&D Lead Rules Designer Jeremy Crawford has indicated that they will be releasing an expanded Artificer spell list. In that case, you may consider these my conservative predictions.
Current Spell List
If we examine the themes behind the existing spell list, we can develop a criteria for selecting spells to add to the expanded spell list. As we discussed in the Artificer teardown, the leveled spells have a heavy utility focus. Damage spells are generally limited to elemental cantrips or buffs to weapons or objects that thereafter cause damage.
“Arcane Weapon is a new spell for the Artificer that allows you to add elemental damage to your weapon… Other leveled spells key on themes such as object manipulation, fabrication, healing, defensive fortifications, and personal buffs. Overall, the spell list is heavily utility-driven.”
We can break the existing leveled spells into these different categories (with some overlap):
- Object Manipulation. Arcane Weapon, Identify, Enlarge/Reduce, Heat Metal, Levitate, Magic Weapon, Rope Trick, Dispel Magic, Elemental Weapon, Animate Objects.
- Fabrication. Alarm, Arcane Lock, Continual Flame, Magic Mouth, Rope Trick, Glyph of Warding, Arcane Eye, Fabricate, Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound, Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum, Stone Shape, Bigby’s Hand, Creation, Wall of Stone.
- Healing. Cure Wounds, False Life, Aid, Lesser Restoration, Revivify, Greater Restoration.
- Defensive Fortifications. Alarm, Grease, Sanctuary, Arcane Eye, Leomund’s Secret Chest, Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound, Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum, Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere, Stone Shape, Wall of Stone.
- Personal Buffs. Detect Magic, Disguise Self, Expeditious Retreat, False Life, Jump, Longstrider, Shield of Faith, Alter Self, Blur, Darkvision, Enhance Ability, Enlarge/Reduce, Invisibility, Levitate, Protection from Poison, See Invisibility, Spider Climb, Blink, Fly, Gaseous Form, Haste, Protection from Energy, Water Breathing, Water Walk, Freedom of Movement.
With these themes in mind, I’ve dug through Xanathar’s Guide to Everything to supplement the Artificer spell list. I’ve listed similar spells from the existing spell list for comparison.
Control Flames is the fire extinguisher spell. You can also do some other fire manipulation that could be themed as bellows, accelerants, or powders that burn special colors. This somewhat fits with the theme of other fire spells available to the class. (Fire Bolt, Continual Flame, Heat Metal)
Create Bonfire gives the Artificer a more thematically mechanical way to start a fire. You can easily imagine reskinning this cantrip into a firestarter. There’s a weird relationship here because the Artificer does not get the Produce Flame cantrip. Truthfully, it seems easier to reflavor than Fire Bolt for the Artificer’s purposes, but perhaps there are other design considerations at play. (Fire Bolt, Continual Flame, Heat Metal)
Magic Stone allows you to buff a small magical object. This fits thematically with the Artificer’s class features, especially Magical Tinkering and Infuse Item. (Arcane Weapon, Magic Weapon, Elemental Weapon).
Mold Earth allows the Artificer to manipulate loose earth. You can imagine reflavoring this spell into something like a digging machine or a chemical that makes the earth easily manipulable. (Stone Shape, Wall of Stone)
Absorb Elements fits in the class of spells that provide a buff to the Artificer. (Shield of Faith, Protection from Poison, Protection from Energy, Gaseous Form)
Catapult is a physical weapon that has been adapted into a spell. (Bigby’s Hand)
Snare is also a device that was adapted into a spell. (Alarm, Arcane Eye)
Earthbind can be flavored as a weighted net. (Dispel Magic)
Healing Spirit fits with the Artificer’s healing spells. It can be flavored as a healing bot or some other sort of totem that assists your allies. (Cure Wounds)
Pyrotechnics gives us fireworks and smoke bombs. Yes, please! (Glyph of Warding)
Skywrite is easy to imagine. It could also manifest as fireworks. Or, imagine a little toy airplane that pulls a banner behind it. (Magic Mouth)
Flame Arrows works as a simple attack buff that can be shared with allies. This does a great job bringing home the support class role of the Artificer. Or, it can be used to boost damage for that sweet crossbow proficiency. (Heat Metal)
Tiny Servant needs no explanation. It’s a crime that it’s not on the Artificer spell list. (Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound, Animate Objects).
None. Level 4 spells are too damage-focused to work for the Artificer.
Transmute Rock treads between a few categories. It can be a fabrication or a fortification like Wall of Stone. It can also be used to turn mud to rock, which you can flavor as tiny mining machines breaking down the material. (Stone Shape, Wall of Stone)
Since keeping track of your prepared Artificer spells can be tough with so many options, I’m here to help! You can download these handy reference charts that I’ve made and check off what you’ve prepared at the end of each long rest: