When using the evocation wizard’s Sculpt Spells, can you protect fewer creatures than the maximum you are allowed?

The Evocation Wizard’s Sculpt Spell ability allows the wizard to protect some creatures from their own evocation spells:

When you cast an Evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their Saving Throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

Does the number of chosen creatures need to be exactly equal to 1 + the spell’s level, or can it be lower?

For example, if an evocation wizard casts Fireball, can they choose 1, 2, or 3 creatures to be protected from the spell, or do they need to select either zero or exactly 4 creatures?

Is there a way to get the effects of the evocation wizard’s Empowered Evocation on a magic missile at a much lower character level?

At level 2 a Lore Master wizard has the Spell Secrets ability. This allows the wizard to change the damage type of a spell, like magic missile, from force damage to fire damage.

If a character multiclasses into Phoenix Sorcerer she can use her Mantle of Flame ability to add her charisma bonus to one fire damage die roll.

Or a character could multiclass into Dragon Sorcerer and use the Elemental Affinity ability at level 6 to get the same effect on a variety of damage types.

Frozen, flaming or electric magic missiles sound kind of cool. Adding bonus damage sounds powerful.

Do these builds work? Is getting a level 10 ability this early too unbalanced?

How does an Evocation Wizard’s Overchannel ability interact with Chaos Bolt?

With the release of Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica, characters were given new background options. Some of these options add spells to a character’s spellcasting classes. One of these is the Izzet Engineer, which allows for any spellcaster to learn and cast chaos bolt, among other spells.

Izzet Engineer relevant snippet:

Spell List
For you, the spells on the Izzet Guild Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)
Spell Level: Spells
Cantrip: produce flame, shocking grasp
1st: chaos bolt, create or destroy water, unseen servant

Chaos bolt follows:

You hurl an undulating, warbling mass of chaotic energy at one creature in range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 2d8 + 1d6 damage. Choose one of the d8s. The number rolled on that die determines the attack’s damage type, as shown below.

d8 Damage Type
1 Acid
2 Cold
3 Fire
4 Force
5 Lightning
6 Poison
7 Psychic
8 Thunder

If you roll the same number on both d8s, the chaotic energy leaps from the target to a different creature of your choice within 30 feet of it. Make a new attack roll against the new target, and make a new damage roll, which could cause the chaotic energy to leap again.

A creature can be targeted only once by each casting of this spell.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, each target takes 1d6 extra damage of the type rolled for each slot level above 1st.

Combine this spell with the Wizard Evocation tradition ability of Overchannel:

Starting at 14th level, you can increase the power of your simpler spells. When you cast a wizard spell of 1st through 5th level that deals damage, you can deal maximum damage with that spell.

I found another question referencing wish-ing to chaos bolt. The answer references the fact that chaos bolt is not a Wizard spell, and therefore the asker’s desired outcome does not work. However, a key point of text from the Izzet Engineer (emphasis mine):

For you, the spells… are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class.

This means it is now possible for a 14th-level Izzet Engineer Evocation Wizard to choose to maximize the damage of a casting of chaos bolt.

What happens?

Does the spell continually leap to new targets until the caster chooses no target? Since the damage is maximized, is it dealing Thunder damage each time?

Am I simply too excited about this possibility? Should the 2d8 should be rolled as normal to determine damage type and leap potential, but then the spell deals 22 damage (8+8+6) regardless of the roll result?

What effect does giving the Rage action additional traits (e.g. “arcane and evocation”) confer?

Several of the Barbarian Instinct Abilities modify the traits of the Rage action.

For example:

Draconic Rage (Instinct Ability)

While raging, you can increase the additional damage from Rage from 2 to 4 and change its damage type to match that of your dragon’s breath weapon instead of the damage type for your weapon or unarmed attack. If you do this, your Rage action gains the arcane and evocation traits, as well as the trait matching the damage type.

As well, the arcane trait only seems to indicate the effect is magical in nature:

arcane (trait) This magic comes from the arcane tradition, which is built on logic and rationality. Anything with this trait is magical. 299

What mechanics in the game (if any) interact with this modification of the Rage action?

Rage isn’t a spell, so it can’t be dispelled. Antimagic field doesn’t seem to interact with abilities such as this. Rage mainly just modifies weapon damage, so its not like resistance is interacting with the traits of Rage, but rather its modified damage type. Other class Feats tied to the instinct that might have saves (e.g. the dragon’s breath) have the traits, and it makes sense in that context.

Can an evocation wizard protect themself with spell sculpting?

At 2nd level, a Wizard of the Evocation School gains the Sculpt Spells feature (PHB p 117).

Sculpt Spells

Beginning at 2nd level, you can create pockets of relative safety within the effects of your evocation spells. When you cast an evocation spell that affects other creatures that you can see, you can choose a number of them equal to 1 + the spell’s level. The chosen creatures automatically succeed on their saving throws against the spell, and they take no damage if they would normally take half damage on a successful save.

By RAW, it seems as if evocation wizards are unable to protect themselves against fireballs they cast in their space even if they can protect their nearby friends. These seems to go against the flavor of the spell sculpting feature.

In the ALFAQ_v82.pdf, it says:

Sage Advice/Twitter. Sage Advice (SA) and tweets from the Wizards of the Coast staff are a great barometer for the ‘rules-as-intended’, in any case. Whether or not your DM chooses to utilize them for rules adjudication in is at their discretion; as always, the DM remains the final arbiter of rule disputes.

That seems to allow for a little discretion on the part of an AL DM to weigh Sage Advice against the RAW.

With this tweet from Mike Mearls, along with any other evidence and logic that can be added, how should an AL DM should rule on this?

Question: An evocator wizard using Sculpt Spell can be one the creatures who automatically succeed on their saving throws?

Mike Mearls: Yes – effect applies to creatures you can see, so you can apply it to yourself.

(Added after some discussion) I understand the RAW in the PHB. It’s very clear. I am asking how an AL DM should resolve this RAW vs this designer tweet in light of the AL FAQ which says that such tweets help indicate designer intent. Is it clear in this case that an AL DM should rule one way or the other or does an AL DM have enough flexibility to define the ruling how they would like?

This question about whether JC’s tweets are still official may be relevant to my question.

Can an Evocation Wizard that casts wish to duplicate Chaos Bolt add their intelligence modifier to the damage?

The Evocation Wizard gets the Empowered Evocation feature which states:

Beginning at 10th level, you can add your Intelligence modifier to one damage roll of any wizard evocation spell you cast.

The wish states:

The basic use of this spell is to duplicate any other spell of 8th level or lower. You don’t need to meet any requirements in that spell, including costly components. The spell simply takes effect…

Notably Empowered Evocation only applies when you cast wizard spells but the chaos bolt spell is Sorcerer exclusive.

I would like answers to assume that Duplicating a spell using wish counts as casting the duplicated spell. What I am unsure of is if a Wizard duplicates a spell with wish does that spell now count as a Wizard spell?

Can someone with vulnerability to necrotic damage benefit from resistance, in regards to the Evocation wizard’s Overchannel feature?

Overchannel (Evocation Wizard feature) states that the necrotic damage it deals ignores immunities or resistances to its damage – but something like vulnerabilities would still be applied.

If I am vulnerable to necrotic damage, then gain resistance to necrotic damage, do I:

  • Receive normal damage from Overchannel as the two void each other?
  • Ignore my resistance and deal double damage from being vulnerable?

What is the purpose of the Evocation wizard’s Potent Cantrip feature?

The School of Evocation wizard’s Potent Cantrip feature (PHB, p. 117) says:

Starting at 6th level, when a creature succeeds on a saving throw against your cantrip, the creature takes half the cantrip’s damage (if any) but suffers no additional effect from the cantrip.

As I read it, the feature only affects evocation cantrips that require a saving throw. There are none in of these in the basic rule book. Is this a typo?