D&D 5e: Archfey Warlock Guide

Female elf warlock deformed by their archfey patron

D&D 5e: Archfey Warlock Guide

Role in the Party

Warlocks who deal with fiends and powerful undead have it easy; Demogorgon is far more straightforward than the perplexing and bizarre Archfey patrons. Demons and undead just want you dead, fey are a bunch of unpredictable lunatics. You might marry one fey, you might get your name stolen by another fey, get your soul devoured by a third one, or a fourth one might do all three of these things and then give you a mediocre warlock subclass as an apology and wedding gift!

Archfey isn’t a bad subclass; warlocks in general make fine characters, and the expanded spell list probably saves the Archfey. However, they do have some disappointing features. You will spend most of your time using Eldritch Blast and using Pact Magic.





Archfey Warlock Features

Expanded Spell List

The Archfey lets you choose from an expanded list of spells when you learn a warlock spell. The following spells are added to the warlock spell list for you.

1st: Sleep is the best 1st level spell for a 1st level character, since enemies you fight at levels 1 and 2 have extremely low hit points, and this spell always works with no save. If there were a tier above Epic, Sleep at 1st level would be that tier. Faerie Fire is an extremely good spell at lower levels. Neither of these is upcast well, but by then you have different and new spells.

3rd: Calm Emotions is circumstantial but quite useful sometimes, and Phantasmal Force is an unusual spell that depends significantly on your dungeon master, but it can be quite powerful. These may be worth upcasting in rare situations.

5th: Blink is a fine defensive spell, and Plant Growth does an utterly inconceivable amount of trolling by making all terrain 4x harder to move through.

7th: Dominate Beast is only ever good against T-rexes and mammoths, and Greater Invisibility is a fine combat buff. Until now, I thought all warlocks got Greater Invisibility; turns out they don’t, who knew?

9th: Dominate Person is circumstantial but potentially quite useful, but still risky to use since you don’t have a ton of spell slots. Seeming is fine utility.

Fey Presence

Starting at 1st level, your patron bestows upon you the ability to project the beguiling and fearsome presence of the fey. As an action, you can cause each creature in a 10-foot cube originating from you to make a Wisdom saving throw against your warlock spell save DC. The creatures that fail their saving throws are all charmed or frightened by you (your choice) until the end of your next turn.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

This is hard to use, has a minor impact, and has one use per rest. If you run out of spell slots, you could run towards those orcs to try and frighten one or two of them to impose disadvantage on their attacks for a round… or you could just stand back and Eldritch Blast. The charming option doesn’t protect your allies, and it’s only useful as a last-ditch option to protect yourself. However, the dodge action exists and it’s just as reliable unless you know the enemy has a terrible wisdom score.

At least you know Sleep. 

Misty Escape

Starting at 6th level, you can vanish in a puff of mist in response to harm. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to turn invisible and teleport up to 60 feet to an unoccupied space you can see. You remain invisible until the start of your next turn or until you attack or cast a spell.

Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

This is an excellent way to avoid a multiattack from a dangerous creature. The Tarrasque walked up to you and hit you once? Say “no thanks” and teleport away from its next four attacks. This doesn’t prevent the initial damage though, and invisibility alone doesn’t conceal your location (you need to take the hide action), but it’s still good to have, and it’s free aside from the reaction.

Beguiling Defenses

Beginning at 10th level, your patron teaches you how to turn the mind-affecting magic of your enemies against them. You are immune to being charmed, and when another creature attempts to charm you, you can use your reaction to attempt to turn the charm back on that creature. The creature must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw against your warlock spell save DC or be charmed by you for 1 minute or until the creature takes any damage.

This is mostly just charm immunity. The reaction isn’t very useful, since it’s just the charmed condition and will end almost immediately in combat.

Dark Delirium

Starting at 14th level, you can plunge a creature into an illusory realm. As an action, choose a creature that you can see within 60 feet of you. It must make a Wisdom saving throw against your warlock spell save DC. On a failed save, it is charmed or frightened by you (your choice) for 1 minute or until your concentration is broken (as if you are concentrating on a spell). This effect ends early if the creature takes any damage.

Until this illusion ends, the creature thinks it is lost in a misty realm, the appearance of which you choose. The creature can see and hear only itself, you, and the illusion.

You must finish a short or long rest before you can use this feature again.

Once per rest, you can pick an enemy and use a bootleg single target Hypnotic Pattern on them. Meh. The charming option is the best one since they can’t perceive your allies but also can’t attack you, so most enemies will just do nothing and dodge.


You’re the warlock who gets Sleep at level 1 and Plant Growth at level 5. You also have an emergency action that you can use to avoid a dangerous multiattack.


There’s not much here other than the spell list and Misty Escape. If you’re a level 4 warlock, you might as well not have a subclass, and at high levels, your subclass benefits are very modest.

Best Race Options

The Eladrin is an excellent pick due to the fey theme. Advantage against being charmed is somewhat redundant after level 10, but we’re here for the cool Fey Step ability. Warlocks just can’t justify spending spell slots on Misty Step, so any bonus action teleport feature, spell or not, is amazing. The teleports all come with a bonus effect depending on your “season”, so teleport whenever you have an excuse to do it.

Hobgoblin is another solid option; the Monsters of the Multiverse version is fey themed, and Fey Gift lets you take the help action as a bonus action, with an added effect. Fortune from the Many boosts all kinds of rolls as well.

The stereotypical fey/warlock romance is between a fey and a human, so Human is a fine choice, or Variant Human if you love your spouse, but love a free feat even more.

Choosing the Right Skills

Persuasion and Deception are two thematic and useful skills that you have the charisma to specialize in. Intimidation and Performance are optional.

Perception proficiency is useful for everyone, and it’s the most important skill in the game.

If you don’t have teleportation, you will want Acrobatics proficiency for escaping grapples.

Fey in a lot of settings can’t lie, but they can still be deceitful; Insight proficiency is appropriate for someone accustomed to fey tricks.

Fitting Feats

Fey Touched is the perfect feat for obvious reasons: not only does it have “fey” in the name, but it’s a half feat that boosts charisma, and the free 1st level spell and Misty Step will give you an escape option and an extra spell you can cast every day for when you’re out of pact slots and don’t feel like Eldritch Blasting today.

An invocation can provide advantage on constitution saving throws; unless you’re incredibly hungry for invocations, Resilient (Constitution) is likely a better choice than War Caster as your concentration-protecting feat.

You have about 2 spell slots for most of your career and know a ridiculous number of spells, a lot of which are likely circumstantial out of combat spells; Metamagic Adept will let you use Subtle Spell, so you can charm and read minds and do all kinds of things out of combat as you please without anyone knowing, then use the other metamagic option to stretch your limited spells a little more.

Optimal Backgrounds

Feylost is suitable for an Archfey Warlock who has spent time in the Feywild. It’s a second home for you, or maybe you were born there.

Sage is an appropriate background if your character is a big nerd who made a pact with an Archfey without ever traveling to the Feywild yourself.

You’re a spellcaster; want more spells on your spell list? Grab Lorehold Student, a powerful setting-specific Strixhaven background that adds Spirit Guardians to your spell list. It upcasts brilliantly and is always a great choice to concentrate on, but be careful to maintain your defense and protect your concentration if you go this route. At least you get a free feat that comes with a Shield spell. Remember that not all tables use feat-granting backgrounds, so talk to your dungeon master.

Multiclassing Options

Levels in Sorcerer will provide you extra staying power during adventuring days where short rests are infrequent or just not possible, and you can justify casting lower level spells. Pick your favorite sorcerer subclass; Aberrant Mind is particularly appealing due to the focus on enchantment and spooky mind powers.

A one level Twilight Cleric dip will vastly boost your initiative, grant powerful darkvision, let you run around with proficiency in all armor, and gives you some low-level spell slots you can use for Bless and other spells.

I want to recommend Fey Wanderer Ranger, but there’s just not any synergy between these two class/subclass combinations. Paladin might be the best half-caster to multiclass with due to the armor proficiencies, Divine Smite, and spellcasting, but weapon use is hard to fit on an Archfey Warlock.

Would I recommend playing an Archfey Warlock?

I wouldn’t recommend the Archfey since it doesn’t have a ton of substance. I would much more strongly recommend the Fey Wanderer Ranger or the Undead Warlock, or even the Enchantment Wizard. All of these have similar thematics to the Archfey Warlock to some degree and make for much more versatile and satisfying characters.

Still, if you pick the Archfey Warlock, you won’t be a terrible character; Eldritch Blast and Pact Magic are always there for you, the expanded spell list is great, and Misty Escape might save your life.

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