D&D 5e: Warlock Class Guide

D&D 5e: Warlock Class Guide

Intro

Ah, the warlock. You weren’t born with powers and you didn’t learn from a book. No, you got the next . . . er . . . the easiest third best option; someone gave you power. 

In this guide, we are going to look at the best races to play a Warlock, we’re looking at spells, Invocations, and Pact Magic. Warlocks can be played very differently depending on the Invocations you choose and your Pact Magic. Think about what and how you want to play in a campaign. We’ll also look at weapons, armor, Feats, and almost everything in between.

Epic

Good

Meh

Bad

Ability Scores

STR DUMP

DEX You need this to be high too. This is used for your armor class. 

CON If you’re going to be in melee, have this higher than Wis. Hit points based on this.

INT DUMP

WIS This is used for some spell saving throws. 

CHA This stat needs to be the highest. This is used for Spellcasting and Saving throws.

Races

Aarakocra Your DEX increases by 2 and Wisdom score increases by 1. Good option for Warlock but, if this is your time playing, I suggest picking a race that gives you CHAR.

Aasimar You get a plus 2 to Charisma. This is a great option.

Protector Wisdom +1; Only reason this subclass is ‘good’ is because Aasimar as a whole gives a +2.

Scourge CON + 1; Paired with the +2 CHAR for being and Aasimar, this is a good option.

Fallen Nothing good for warlocks.

Bugbear STR +2 and DEX + 1; DEX is good to have for armor class.

Centaur STR +2 and WIS +1. WIS is a good stat to have since you get proficiency in WIS saving throws.

Changeling CHAR +2 This is a great choice for Warlocks. Charisma is everything.

Dragonborn STR + 2 and CHAR +1. This is only a good option because of the +1 to CHAR. 

Dwarf CON +2 which isn’t too bad to have. 

Hill +1 to WIS

Mountain Nothing good for Warlock.

Duergar Nothing good for Warlock. 

Elf DEX +2 which gives you a boost to Armor Class and might even help make a DEX saving throw.

Drow CHAR +1. Only reason this is a good choice and not great is because you get disadvantage on attack rolls during the day due to sunlight sensitivity. 

Eladrin CHAR +1 

High Nothing good for Warlock.

Wood WIS + 1 

Sea Elf: CON +1; while you don’t want to dump CON, I suggest choosing a class with CHAR.

Shadar-kai: CON + 1.

Firbolg WIS + 1 and STR + 1; WIS is another saving throw but shouldn’t be the main focus. 

Genasi

CON score gets a +2.

Air DEX +1

Earth Nothing good for Warlocks.

Fire Nothing good for Warlocks.

Water Nothing good for Warlocks.

Gith

Githyanki Nothing good for Warlocks.

Githzerai WIS +2

Gnome Nothing good for Warlocks. The DEX and CON boosts from subclasses aren’t bad, you should focus more on a race that gives you CHAR.

Deep DEX +1. 

Forest Gives a +1 to DEX

Rock +1 to CON.  

Goblin DEX + 2 and CON + 1. 

Goliath CON +1 and STR + 2 

Half-Elf WIS +2 to CHAR and +1 to any other stat, this race makes a really good Warlock. 

Half-Orc STR +2 and CON + 1. CON is good to have but wouldn’t recommend this for Warlock.

Halfling DEX +2; This is a good option if you’re going with the Lightfoot option too.

Lightfoot CHAR + 1. Charisma is definitely the highest stat to have. 

Stout DEX + 1 

Hobgoblin CON + 2 and INT + 1 

Human +1 in all Stats and they get a feat. 

Kalashtar WIS +2 and CHAR + 1 

Kenku DEX +2 and WIS + 1; While DEX is something you want to have, I would choose a class that gives a CHAR boost instead.

Kobold DEX + 2 and STR + 1; same for this class. Choose a class that gives CHAR instead. 

Leonin CON +2 and STR+1. CON isn’t bad to have but it shouldn’t be the focus.

Lizardfolk CON + 2 and WIS + 1, hit points are always good to have. 

Loxodon CON increases by 2 and WIS gets a +1

Minotaur STR +2 and CON + 1. CON helps with the hit points. 

Orc STR +2 and CON +1, INT – 2 

Satyr CHAR + 2 and DEX+1. Super good. Get that boost in charisma and DEX for armor class. 

Shifter

Beasthide You get CON and STR.

Longtooth Get STR and DEX

Swiftstride DEX increases by 2 and CHAR gets a +1

Wildhunt You get DEX and WIS.

Simic Hybrid Nothing good for Warlocks.

Tabaxi DEX + 2 and CHAR + 1 

Triton STR, CON, and CHAR + 1 

Tiefling +2 to CHAR and +1 to INT. Tieflings make REALLY good warlocks. 

Asmodeus This one gets you a +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR

Baalzebul INT +1 and CHAR +2; ; Don’t need much INT

Dispatcher  +2 CHAR and + 1 to DEX;  very good combination.

Fierna CHAR +2 and WIS +1; decent combination.

Glasya CHAR +2 and DEX +1; very good combination.

Levistus CHAR + 2 and CON + 1; good combination.

Mammon  +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR; Don’t need much INT.

Mephistopheles +1 to INT and a +2 to CHAR; ; Don’t need much INT

Zariel Charisma + 2 and STR +1; you don’t really need STR.

Feral +2 to Dexterity + 1 to Intelligence

Tortle STR +2 and WIS +1

Warforged CON +2  and you also get to increase another ability of your choice by 1.

Yuan-Ti Pureblood CHAR + 2 and INT + 1

Class Features

Hit Die: 1d8 

Armor: Light armor

Weapons: Simple

Tools: None

Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma

Subclasses

Warlocks are very customizable and all depends on how you want to play the game. 

The Archfey: This option is about control and it tends to play from the back. This uses a lot of trickery and enchanting. 

The Fiend: This option focuses on damage. Light ‘em up.

The Great Old One: This one is utility based. Like the Archfey, it all deals with control but this is more like mind magic. 

The Celestial: This subclass focuses on healing. You can do radiant damage with this subclass.

The Hexblade: Damage dealer. You get a magic sword.

The Undying: You’re a zombie. You don’t die. 

The Fathomless: Tentacles and water. You’ve made a pact with the Deep.

The Genie: Your pact with a genie. You even get your own vessel. 

Pact Magic

This falls under spells but it is separate from  your spell slots. At 3rd level, you can choose from one of the following features.

  • Pact of the Chain: You can have a familiar. Really helpful when trying to scout.
  • Pact of the Blade: You use magic to create a weapon.
  • Pact of the Tome: You get a book which gives you three cantrips at the start. 
  • Pact of the Talisman: You have an amulet that aids you with ability checks.  

Eldritch Invocations

Invocations are extra abilities given to a warlock. Every warlock is kind of the same until they start choosing their invocations. You start with 2 at 2nd level and you gain one invocation at 5th level,7th level, 9th level, 12th, 15th, and 18th level for 8 in total. You get to replace invocations as you gain levels. 

I won’t go into the entire list of Invocations because there is a lot. Instead, I’ll talk about the invocations that are good to have in general. Now, keep in mind that some invocations have prerequisites. Some of these invocations require you to have a certain pact magic e.g. must be Pact of the Tome or Pact of the Chain, etc. The warlock class is very customizable so your playstyle will determine your invocations. Many of these invocations are situational. 

PHB:

  • Agonizing Blast: must have cantrip Eldritch Blast but in essence, you can add your CHAR modifier as part of the damage. 
  • Devil’s Sight: you can see a magical and normal darkness.
  • Armor of Shadows: you can cast mage armor at will so that gives you a boost to armor class. Uses no spell slot. 
  • Book of Ancient Secrets: you must be Pact of the Tome but this invocation allows you to cast spells as rituals.
  • Voice of Chain Master: must have Pact of the Chain but you can communicate telepathically with your familiar. 
  • Repelling Blast: must have cantrip Eldritch Blast and the attack can push creatures away from you.
  • Eldritch Spear: You cast eldritch blast with a range of 300 ft. 
  • Minions of Chaos: cast conjure elemental once a day using a spell slot.
  • Eldritch SIght: cast detect magic at will using no spell slot. 

XGtE:

  • Eldritch Smite: when you feel like being a paladin
  • Aspect of the Moon: need Pact of Tome, and you don’t have sleep and can’t be forced to sleep. 
  • Gift Of The Depths: you can breathe underwater and swim, situational.
  • Shroud of Shadow: cast invisibility at will without using a spell slot.
  • Trickster’s Escape: cast freedom of movement without using a spell slot.
  • Tomb of Levistus: When you take damage, as a reaction, you can entomb yourself in ice. Gain temp hit points per warlock level, but you have vulnerability to fire, you’re incapaciated and speed reduced to 0. 

TCoE: 

  • Eldritch Mind: advantage on Con saves when maintaining your spell concentration. 
  • Protection of the Talisman: add d4 to your saving throws. Need to have Pact of the Talisman.
  • Rebuke of the Talisman: when you’re attacked, you can use your reaction to seal psychic damage and push the attacker away. Need to have Pact of the Talisman.
  • Gift of the Protector: Need Pact of the Tome. A creature can write their name in your Book of Shadows.When they drop to 0, but not killed outright, they drop to 1 hit point instead.

Spells

Warlocks only get 8 spell slots at level 20. You start with (1) and get another spell slot every few levels. Warlocks run on short rests and cantrips. I’ll be talking about general spells that may be good to have. As mentioned before, warlocks are very customizable so your spells will depend on how you want to play. 

Keep in mind that the subclass you choose, also expands the spells you can take. *Please note, a warlock will always cast at a higher level. For example, as a level 3 warlock you have two spell slots. The highest you can cast is at a 2nd level. So, if you were to cast Witch Bolt (a first level spell), you will automatically cast it (up-cast it) as a 2nd level spell.

Recommended cantrips: PHB

  • Eldritch Blast 
  • Chill Touch
  • Poison Spray
  • Toll the Dead (XGtE)
  • Thunderclap (XGtE)
  • Booming Blade (TCoE)
  • Green flame blade (TCoE)

1st level spells: PHB

  • Armor of Agathys
  • Hellish rebuke
  • Hex
  • Burning Hands
  • Witch Bolt

2nd level spells: PHB

  • Crown of Madness
  • Hold Person
  • Spider Climb
  • Shatter
  • Misty Step
  • Invisibility
  • Shadow Blade (XGtE)

3rd Level spells: 

  • Counterspell
  • Dispel magic
  • Fear
  • Remove Curse
  • Vampiric Touch
  • Hypnotic Pattern
  • Hunger of Hadar
  • Thunder Step (XGtE)
  • Spirit Shroud (TCoE)

4th Level spells: PHB

  • Banishment
  • Dimension Door
  • Charm Monster (XGtE)
  • Sickening radiance(XGtE)
  • Summon greater demon (XGtE)

5th level spells: PHB

  • Hold Monster
  • Danse macabre (XGtE)
  • Synaptic static (XGtE)

6th Level spells: PHB

  • Circle of Death
  • Soul Cage (XGtE)
  • Mass Suggestion
  • Flesh to Stone

7th Level spells: PHB

  • Finger of Death
  • Plane Shift
  • Power word pain (XGtE)

8th Levels spells: PHB

  • Dominate Monster
  • Demiplane 
  • Power Word Stun

9th level spells: PHB

  • True Polymorph
  • Psychic scream (XGtE)
  • Power Word kill
  • Blade of Disaster (TCoE)

Skills

Acrobatics With a decent DEX score, you can wiggle through things.

Animal Handling Situational.

Arcana You won’t have high INT stat for this, but it’s good to have.

Athletics Won’t have the STR for this.

Deception With CHAR you can lie.

History Situational

Insight You are a good judge of character.

Intimidation Not enough STR to look scary

Investigation INT based. 

Medicine You’ll have good 

Nature INT based.

Perception How well you can notice something.

Performance Situational. 

Persuasion You’ll be very persuasive as a warlock.

Religion very situational

Sleight of Hand Leave the stealing and breaking and entering to the Rogue.

Stealth decent DEX means good sneaky

Survival Usually, I let the Druid or Ranger take care of this.

Top 3 Backgrounds

Charlatan gives you proficiency in deception and sleight of hand.

Sage: you get proficiency in Arcana and History. You also choose two languages of your own.

Acolyte: Receive proficiency in insight and religion. You also get two extra languages. 

Top 3 Weapons

A mace is d6 bluengeoning. Quarterstaff is decent at a d6.
Most of your attacks are going to be magic based so you don’t have to worry about actual weapons.

As a Pact of the Blade, your weapon can be anything and you’ll be proficient with it. You can even change what weapon you chose. 

Armor

Recommend Studded leather and/or leather

 As a Hexblade, you can go up to medium armor automatically. If you have Mage armor, your armor class will be 13 + DEX. At 3rd level, with a DEX of 14, your armor class will be at 15. 

Top 5 Feats

War Caster is good since you can get advantage on CON saving throws.

Tough is always good to have.

Spell Sniper increases your range of your spell to double. 

Ritual Caster if you don’t choose Pact of the Tome.

Elemental Adept which gives you the ability to ignore resistances based on the damage type you chose. 

Multiclass options

Bard since yoru CHAR only needs to be at 13. 

Fighter if your DEX or STR is at 13.

Paladin but your STR and CHAR need to be at 13.

Sorcerer needs a CHAR of 13.

Rogue needs DEX at 13.

Sage Gamers

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