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Magic Missile vs. Melf's Acid Arrow

So I wanted to see what you guys think of perhaps two of the more popular low level spells. Magic Missile vs. Melf's acid arrow. I've done a chart where I compare the two spells. Clearly, magic missile is better around level 3-5 but the acid arrow has a higher damage potential from level 6 and up. Also, consider the magic damage vs the acid one along with the "direct damage" vs. the damage over time.

(average damage, highest damage, lowest damage)
Melf's Acid Arrow
Level 3-5: 4d4 (8, 16, 4)
Level 6-8: 6d4 (12, 24, 6)
Level 9-11: 8d4 (16, 32, 8)
Level 12-14: 10d4 (20, 40, 10)
Level 15-17: 12d4 (24, 48, 12)
Level 18-20: 14d4 (28, 56, 14)

Magic Missile
Level 1: 1d4+1 (3, 5, 2)
Leve 3: 2d4+2 (6, 10, 4)
Level 5: 3d4+3 (9, 15, 6)
Level 7: 4d4+4 (12, 20, 8)
Level 9: 5d4+5 (15, 25, 10)




  • ShangerooShangeroo Member Posts: 84
    edited February 15
    I don’t really focus much on the damage when considering these 2 spells. I tend to favor magic missile because it has a lower casting time as I use it to interrupt spell casting. Melf for me is for situational when I’m fighting trolls.

    Plus I like doing solo fights so Melf competes with other spells like web, invisibility and stinking cloud.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    they both have 0 casting time if rov is used, so for the primary mage, MMA gives spell disruption over 2 rounds and is useful against foe not immune to acid, MM uses magical damage and is useful against foe not immune to it.
    most of the enemies are not immune to both, but in some battles it can be relevant.

    it is like the comparison between flame arrow and skull trap at lev 3, which is better? fire damage and cast on target or magic damage and not friendly aoe? it completely depends on the particular situation and on your tactical approach, if you are able to have more enemies pack together and time well the retreat of your front liners ST can do a lot more damage, and can target also an enemy protected by improved invisibility as it target an area, but in other situations you can do as much damage to your party as you do to the enemies.

    the tactical use in a certain battle is more important then the raw damage that is somehow similar, MMA disrupt for 2 rounds so buy to your mage a round more to cast an other spell, let's say breach, MM do all the damage in a single round, so is better to kill fast, for a final strike when the enemy is close to death but maybe has cast again his physical protections so can not be harmed by your fighters (very important against dragons).

    a wise mage uses both, and pick the one more appropriate for the situation he is facing.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 827
    Gorgonzola is right here, they are both very useful, but in different contexts. Most people default to MM because it scales a long ways - to the point where a high-level mage can fill the air with them. Also, it is very fast by default, being a first level spell, so they can interrupt an enemy spellcaster trying to put their buffs up.

    However, MAA is far more useful against creatures with either magic immunity or that require an elemental attack. Trolls, for instance - MAA is great for the final kill shot.

    Different tools for different jobs. Both are extremely useful, so much so that my sorcerer spent slots on both.

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