Warlocks draw power from an otherworldly patron. They pledge their devotion to a being of arcane might who bestows upon them a modicum of their true power to fuel their spells and abilities. Warlocks are typically tricksters, hucksters, advisors, and schemers. They are a unique class among casters, who draw their power and replenish it using a different set of rules than most others.
Follow this guide to discover how to best optimize the skills, weapons, features, and abilities for a D&D 5e Wizard class character build. While the options presented here may be the optimal build for a wizard (in my opinion), the beauty of D&D character creation is that the only limit is your imagination so feel free to build your character whichever way you want to.
The guide that follows uses a color-coding system to rank the abilities granted.
Blue = An essential, class-defining ability you would be remiss to overlook.
Green = A strong choice for your class.
Orange = Average option, useful in specific circumstances
Red = Below average, extremely situational, or otherwise just bad.
All features and abilities are from the core rulebook set (Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide) unless otherwise attributed.
Warlocks typically fill one or more important party roles. As a Charisma-centered class, they are often the face of the party, interacting with NPCs on their team’s behalf. Warlocks have the potential to deal massive amounts of damage in combat without consuming resources, as they have access to the best cantrip in the game in the form of eldritch blast. Finally, given their selection of spells and invocations, Warlocks make excellent infiltrators and scouts.
- Warlocks’ abilities are focused around Charisma, which is a stat commonly ignored by other classes. This makes them a reliable party spokesperson.
- Ranged blaster. Warlocks gain a host of abilities to allow them to pour on single-target damage at extreme range with little to no fatigue.
- Utility spellcasting. Warlocks have a unique spell list that incorporates illusion, enchantment, and abjuration, making them very versatile compared to other spellcasters.
- Lack of defense. A good warlock is a fragile warlock. Lacking high hit points or armor proficiencies, warlocks are often a glass cannon. Capable of dishing out great damage, but incapable of taking it in return.
- Limited spellcasting. Warlocks only get a small number of spell slots and spells known, but hey make up for it by recovering their spell slots after a short rest, giving them just enough spellcasting to get through a fight, so long as they have the opportunity to rest afterward.
Check out this video by Don’t Stop Thinking which summarizes the D&D Warlock Class:
Strength: You’ll be able to safely drop a low number into this, as you’ll never need to be strong as a warlock.
Dexterity: Some of your secondary skills and your armor class will rely heavily on Dexterity, so don’t sell yourself short.
Constitution: Everybody needs health to live, and you don’t get much form your hit dice.
Intelligence: For saves, and a handful of useful skills like Arcana and History which you may pick up from a background.
Wisdom: For saves only.
Charisma: Your primary ability. Concentrate on increasing this above all others.
Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms Races
AarakocraEEPC: Flight is a good option for a ranged character who is rather frail, comparatively. However, that’s really all this race has to offer Warlocks.
AasimarVGtM: A decent choice for the base package.
Fallen: A solid choice for a melee warlock. The damage bonus is convenient to use.
Protector: Flight on demand to escape an uneven situation.
Scourge: You’re much to frail to make good use of this.
BugbearVGtM: Terrible for Warlocks.
DhampirVRGtR: There’s nothing appealing for Warlock here.
Dragonborn: You get a Charisma increase, but it’s not enough to offset the contrast between this race’s abilities and the scope of a Warlock’s abilities.
Dwarf: Dwarves don’t really get anything you need as a Warlock.
Hill Dwarf: Not good for Warlocks.
Mountain Dwarf: Medium armor and con increase make this the most attractive choice of the lot.
DuergarSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Elf: The basic Elf package doesn’t do much for you, but some subraces are acceptable.
Drow: Charisma and some free spells, but you still have to overcome the sunlight sensitivity.
EladrinMToF: Dexterity and Charisma increases. The teleportation ability doesn’t require spells and gives you a quick escape you’ll frequently need.
High Elf: Not good for Warlocks.
Sea ElfMToF: Not good for Warlocks.
Shadar-KaiMToF: Not good for Warlocks.
Wood Elf: Not good for Warlocks.
FairyTWBtW: Flight and free spells make this an incredibly powerful race for a spellcasting class.
FirbolgVGtM: Not good for Warlocks.
GenasiEEPC: Genasi don’t offer much to warlocks at all.
Air: Not good for Warlocks.
Earth: Not good for Warlocks.
Fire: Not good for Warlocks.
Water: Not good for Warlocks.
GithMToF: The Gith races are a tempting option, and a case could be made for them, but in comparison to the best races available for Warlocks, they fall short.
Githyanki: Not good for Warlocks.
Githzerai: Not good for Warlocks.
Gnome: Another attractive race on the surface, but all the perks that Gnome offers can be gained through more fficient means elsewhere.
Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC/SCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Forest: Not good for Warlocks.
Rock: Not good for Warlocks.
GoblinVGtM: Not good for Warlocks.
GoliathVGtM/EEPC: Not good for Warlocks.
Half-Elf: Always a good choice, Half-Elves get a base Charisma bonus, and you can customize with a subrace from there.
Standard: You can’t go wrong with Half-Elf in general.
AquaticSACG:Only for an aquatic campaign.
DrowSCAG: Spells! Definitely a good choice if you’re going for the brooding evil warlock vibe.
Moon/SunSCAG: Wizard cantrips are nice, but Drow is better.
WoodSCAG: The weakest choice of the bunch.
Half-Orc: Not good for Warlocks.
Halfling: Not the best choice, but still decent if you pick the right subrace. The dex bonus will keep you nimble and on your toes if you’re going the infiltrator Warlock route.
Lightfoot: Charisma bonus.
GhostwiseSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Stout: The bonus hit points are the best part of this subrace.
HarengonTWBtW: Rabbit Hop gives you an escape button from melee.
HexbloodVRGtR: Thematic, and powerful. You gain several useful magic pseudo-spells including scrying, message, and two very useful spells added to your spell list with a free cast once per long rest.
HobgoblinVGtM: Not good for Warlocks.
Human: Always a good choice, variant is much better than standard.
Standard: Great if you roll all odd ability scores, but variant is better.
Variant: Pump that Charisma and grab a feat to enhance your build.
KenkuVGtM: Not good for Warlocks.
KoboldVGtM: Pact of the chain gives you a buddy to use for pack tactics, but there’s not much else here.
LizardfolkVGtM: The natural armor makes you a solid melee warlock, but otherwise not an ideal race.
OrcVGtM: Not good for Warlocks.
RebornVRGtR: This is a mediocre race at best.
TabaxiVGtM: A melee Warlock benefits a ton from this race. The Dex bonus boosts your AC and melee weapon attacks, and the Charisma increase aids with spellcasting.
Tiefling: One of the best races overall, and even better for Warlocks with a ton of tricks based on the subraces.
Standard: The standard Tiefling package was made for Warlocks, but with the variants available there are better options still.
Devil’s TongueSCAG: Better spells than the standard build, depending on your scenario.
FeralSCAG: one of the worse options, if you’re going melee you’re going to be pact of the blade.
HellfireSCAG: burning hands is the more offensive option for the Warlock spellslinger.
WingedSCAG: The all-around best variant. You get flight and eldritch blast going, and you’re godlike.
AsmodeusMToF: Strong spell selection, but you don’t really need the Intelligence boost.
BaalzebulMToF: More offensive spell selection.
DispaterMToF: The Dex boost is great for melee Warlocks.
FiernaMToF: You don’t need the wisdom increase as much as a Dex or Con increase.
GlasyaMToF: The rogue-like choice, granting additional dexterity and some sneaky spells.
LevistusMToF: More Con, more HP, and a decent selection of spells.
MammonMToF: One of the lesser choices, as you don’t need Int too much.
MephistophlesMToF: Poor spell selection.
ZarielMToF: You don’t need the strength increase.
TortleXGE/TP: The natural armor is the big seller here, but the rest of the race’s abilities aren’t ideal.
TritonVGtM: One of the best options for a melee warlock using the Pact of the Blade.
Yuan-Ti PurebloodVGtM: Between the spellcasting, magic resistance, and Charisma increase, this is the best race available for Warlocks.
ChangelingERLW: A solid choice for an infiltrator. You can get a Charisma increase and shapeshifting, which can emulate a spell and give you a huge advantage on Charisma-based skill checks.
KalashtarERLW: Charisma increase and a bunch of specific abilities for resisting spellcasters.
OrcERLW: Not good for Warlocks.
ShifterERLW: Not the best race for Warlocks, but there are some selling points within the subraces.
Beasthide: The additional durability this shifter subrace offers provides some security for a melee Warlock.
Longtooth: Not good for Warlocks.
Swiftstride: A lesser choice for melee warlocks, but still viable under the right circumstances.
Wildhunt: Not good for Warlocks.
WarforgedERLW: Warforged are a great choice for any class. This race offers a unique customization ability, and tons of perks including enhanced durability. A particularly fragile class such as Warlock benefits greatly from this.
CentaurGGTR: Not good for Warlocks.
LoxodonGGTR: Not good for Warlocks.
MinotaurGGTR: Not good for Warlocks.
Simic HybridGGTR: This race is good at everything. Your mutations will only improve your survivability.
VedalkenGGTR: Not good for Warlocks.
LeoninMOoT: Not good for Warlocks.
SatyrMOoT: Dexterity, Charisma, Magic Resistance, AND FREE SPELLS. This race is a very strong contender for best race available for Warlocks.
OwlinSACoC: Flight and Eldritch blast is a potent combo.
Hit Dice: d8 is middle of the road. You’re going to be primarily focused on ranged damage, and will need to watch your engagement radius so you don’t get mobbed.
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple weapons mean you have few options in combat.
Armor Proficiencies: Light armor isn’t much, but if you’ve got a good Dexterity you can make it work.
Tool Proficiencies: None.
Saving Throws: Charisma saves rarely come up.
Pact Magic: Warlocks have a very useful spellcasting style. They only get a small number of spell slots, but hey recover after a short rest. This is just enough to use a buff or debuff at the beginning of combat, and still have use of one or two more utility casts before they’re tapped out. However, having access to the best cantrip in the game in the form of Eldritch Blast and all its modifications means there’s little temptation to spend your action doing anything else.
Pact Boon: There are several options available for your pact boon, and they shape your character as much as your choice of invocations or Otherworldy Patron.
Pact of the Blade: Melee warlock is a tough build. You have a very straight path to follow or you risk being entirely outclassed by a normal melee character. The perk is you get access to lots of magic weapon abilities early and reliably, while your other fighter friends will have to work for and pay for their magic weapons.
Pact of the Chain: Having a familiar is very useful. You can use it o scout, flank, and send messages. With the support of some invocations, the familiar you gain can become a powerful ally that will greatly enhance your abilities in combat.
Pact of the TalismanTCoE: A talisman imbued with your magic, which you can further enhance with invocations. The best part of this is that you can hand it off to another character to use if you need to.
Pact of the Tome: Overall, the best option. You gain a bunch of spellcasting options that really show off your caster abilities.
Mystic Arcanum: You get your best spells through this ability. They don’t use your spell slots, so this is a huge bonus.
Eldritch Master: A very mediocre and mostly useless ability for a capstone class ability. The best this can offer is the ability to multiclass without missing anything too important at the end.
This is your main character-building feature. choosing invocations that work well with your play style, party responsibility, and are named Agonizing Blast, are very important.
Agonizing Blast: This is the single best and most important class ability of Warlocks. If you don’t ake this, and work on maximizing your Charisma as early as possible, you might as well just play a different class. Not taking Agonizing Blast is a handicap you simply cannot overcome.
Armor of Shadows: Mage armor is only +1 better than Studded leather. If you’re going to get medium armor, this is obsolete. Otherwise, there are better offensive and support options for you.
Beast Speech: You don’t need this.
Beguiling Influence: You’re going to pick deception and persuasion from your class/background allotment of skills anyway.
Devil’s Sight: Ignoring one of the most common environmental and arcane hazards, darkness, gives you a tactical advantage few can match. If you learn to cast darkness yourself, you’ll have a very powerful (if selfish) tactic to employ.
Eldritch MindTCoE: Your most commonly used spell, Hex, requires concentration. Why let it fall for no reason?
Eldritch Sight: It’s faster than casting detect magic as a ritual,
Eldritch Spear: The base range on Eldritch Blast is usually good enough.
Eyes of the Rune Keeper: This one is soft. You can get a couple of languages from your background. If you need more, it will be situational and you can always hire a translator or find someone to cast comprehend languages or tongues.
Fiendish Vigor: Good duration, no limit on how many times you cast it, and a decent duration makes this a great invocation for heavy use.
Gaze of Two Minds: Situational, and not terribly strong.
Grasp of HadarXGtE: Repelling blast fits better with the squishy nature of Warlocks.
Lance of LethargyXGtE: Not terribly useful or powerful.
Mask of Many FacesPHB: Quick shapeshifting, which is typically only useful if you’re an infiltrator.
Misty Visions: Better than minor illusion, but still not that great.
Repelling Blast: This can be used to break a grapple, get someone out of melee engagement, knock a creature off a cliff, through a door, or many other things.
Thief of Five Fates: Not worth the spell slot.
3rd Level Invocations
Aspect of the MoonXGtE: If you want this, play an elf.
Book of Ancient Secrets: This is much better than taking the Ritual Caster feat, or many of the other invocations that give you ritual spells.
Gift of the Ever-Living OnesXGtE: Hopefully you aren’t stuck in the position to need this, but if you find yourself doing a lot of healing, it’s worth it.
Improved Pact WeaponXGtE: Hopefully you’re going to have a magic weapon to use instead of this invocation, but this might give you a bonus early. It really depends on your DM and how often you get magic weapons.
Investment of the Chain MasterTCoE: If you have a familiar, this is mandatory. You go from having a pet that you can use for recon to having a combat-ready ally.
Rebuke of the TalismanTCoE: Outside of hellish rebuke, you don’t typically have anything to do with your reaction, so this is worthwhile solely on the action economy it provides.
Voice of the Chain Master: Investment of the Chain Master is strictly better, but his is a solid addition once you’ve got that. It allows you to scout more effectively, and communicate with people at a distance.
5th Level Invocations
Cloak of FliesXGtE: Strictly for Hexblades who find themselves in melee frequently, this has the potential to cause quite a bit of chaos. It lasts until dismissed, so once it’s on you can make good use of it later.
Eldritch SmiteXGtE: Considering the damage eldritch blast with hex does, this isn’t worth a spell slot.
Far ScribeTCoE: Sending, message, or a cheap magic item can mimic this, which will usually be used for plot reasons.
Gift of the DepthsXGtE: Definitely a must in an aquatic campaign, though you’ll probably have a reliable way to work underwater before you get to 5th level.
Maddening HexXGtE: You’re likely going to have Hex up all day long anyway, so you might as well make the most of it.
Mire the Mind: You’re likely to have better uses of your spell slots.
One with Shadows: Invisibility is great, but the conditions on this aren’t conducive to the things you’d likely be trying to accomplish while invisible in the first place.
Sign of Ill Omen: A very poor use of your spell slots, especially at this level, and even worse as you advance.
Thirsting Blade: Hexblades need this mor than any other invocation. The only way for your pact weapon to keep up on damage is tog et more attacks with it.
Tomb of LevistusXGtE: This is your panic room. You’re likely to use it as a last-ditch effort, so it’s not the best thing to have. Plan to never get to the point of needing it.
Undying ServitudeTCoE: It’s on theme, but just underwhelming. Ask your DM to house-rule summon undead or the like to the Warlock spell list.
7th Level Invocations
Bewitching Whispers: As great as this is, it really doesn’t scale well as you increase the level of your spell slots.
Dreadful Word: Confusion is an unreliable debuff. Skip it.
Ghostly GazeXGtE: One of the better overall invocations, this allows you to never be ambushed on the other side of a dungeon door.
Protection of the TalismanTCoE: The Pact of the Talisman gives you access to a strong ability here. Considering you’re a very frail class, having more protection options is always a good thing.
Relentless HexXGtE: Sometimes you need extra movement, but given your capacity for ranged attacks in eldritch blast these occasions are few and far in-between.
Trickster’s EscapeXGtE: Freedom of movement is a powerful spell, but you’re not going to need it ninety-nine percent of the time.
Sculptor of Flesh: polymorph is one of the best buff spells in the game. Transforming a frail spellcaster into a powerful creature can save their life, and provide another melee ally right when you need it. Disguising a character as an animal allows a strong infiltration tool.
9th level invocations
Ascendant Step: You can cast fly.
Gift of the ProtectorsTCoE: This is a decent support option, but it’s one of the very few Warlocks have access to. Support isn’t really your thing, so this is a bit of a stretch.
Minions of Chaos: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything added summon spells to the Warlock spell list, so if you have access to those spells, this is obsolete.
Otherworldly Leap: You can cast fly.
Whispers of the Grave: You become a perfect homicide detective, able to speak to every corpse you come across.
Bond of the TalismanTCoE: This is a powerful teleportation option. It’s more useful out of combat, but still useful to make a quick getaway.
Lifedrinker: Pact of the Blade and Hexblades specifically must must MUST take this invocation. It’s by far the strongest and most efficient means of increasing your weapon damage.
Chains of Carceri: For such a high level invocation, there are a lot of restrictions on this. If you’re fighting the right creature types very frequently at this point, it could prove to be very useful. If not, skip it.
Master of Myriad Forms: You already have access to Mask of Many Faces and this only improves on that slightly.
Shroud of ShadowXGtE: You can basically always be invisible.
Visions of Distant Realms: You should have this active at all times if you can help it. You will hardly ever be ambushed by magic or anyone carrying a magic item.
Witch Sight: Arcane sight is better than see invisibility, since theoretically you’d see the aura from an invisible creature and everything else magical as well.
Pact of the Archfey
The archfae is an otherworldy entity from the faerie realms, typically a trickster or illusionist. As such, your class features are focused on deception, illusion, and enchantment. You gain a decent amount of fear and misdirection effects that allow you some battlefield control.
Expanded Spell List: The 1st– and 5th-level spells are fantastic, but almost everything in bewteen is mediocre.
1st-Level Spells: Faerie fire is one of the most useful spells at low levels, allowing you to deal with invisible and evasive opponents, and best of all, it’s an AoE.
2nd-Level Spells: Both of these spells stink.
3rd-Level Spells: Blink is a great defensive buff, but is really only useful if you’re in melee, which most Warlock builds will try very hard to avoid.
4th-Level Spells: Greater Invisibility is fantastic, but if you don’t have a rogue to cast it on it becomes an escape option for you. You already have other ways to turn invisible, so it’s kind of redundant.
5th-Level Spells: Dominate Person can shift the tide of a battle if you can get it to stick. pull the enemy’s caster out of the fight and command them to go hide their spellbook.
Fey Presence: The short range on this makes it difficult to use.
Misty Escape: You definitely need an escape option, and this is a great one. It’s easy to use, and will relieve you from getting multiattacked to death.
Beguiling Darkness: A very situational ability.
Dark Delirium: Too little too late. It’s strong, but you’re likely to have spells that can do as much or better. This doesn’t use a spell slot, however, so it’s useful.
Pact of the CelestialXGTE
A warlock pledged to a celestial is a bit of a contradiction flavorwise, but it’s not terribly unheard of. Plenty of biblical figures were carrying out divine justice in cruel and unusual ways, so just consider this an “old-testament cleric.” The Pact of the Celestial gives you access to parts of the Cleric spell list, allowing you to play a support Warlock. Unfortunately, this class suffers from trying to do too much, and not doing any one thing particularly well. At least you still have eldritch blast!
Expanded Spell List: Healing, fire, and radiant damage abound!
1st-Level Spells: Cure wounds is the one spell you need to become a Cleric. If you’re making a huge hybrid character, you can grab it here and stop, moving into another class having picked up everything you need.
2nd-Level Spells: Flaming sphere is going to get outclassed by hex as a concentration spell as soon as you get your second beam with Eldritch Blast. Until it does, it’s a great source of fire damage, and a good distraction from yourself. Lesser restoration is a must for any support class.
3rd-Level Spells: Revivify is one of, if not the best spell you have access to from the Cleric list.
4th-Level Spells: Wall of fire is amazing.
5th-Level Spells: Flame strike is ok. It’s an AoE, but it’s no fireball.
Bonus Cantrips: Why would you need light if you’ve got darkvision, or better, darkvision that works in magical darkness?
Healing Light: Healing word is a great spell, and this is better.
Radiant Soul: Eldritch blast with agonizing blast is better.
Celestial Resilience: This is some serious healing efficiency.
Searing Vengeance: A great defensive/escape ability.
Pact of the FathomlessTCoE
The Fathomless is a deep-dwelling aquatic creature, like a Kraken or an Aboleth. This clas is heavily geared towards an aquatic campaign, providing a ton of useful abilities for traversins the depths. However, they require you to be in and around water, severely limiting your effectiveness in other environments.
Expanded Spell List: This is a long list of mediocre, situational, and outright bad options.
1st-Level Spells: Thunderwave is great if you get surrounded, but you’re trying to avoid that at all costs.
2nd-Level Spells: Gust of wind sucks. Silence is the mage-beater, but it hurts you too so you really need to play around it.
3rd-Level Spells: Lightning bolt is the big winner here, but a line spell isn’t as useful as a radius spell, so you’re still stuck on a weaker option than you could get elsewhere.
4th-Level Spells: Neither of these spells are very good to begin with, and the added restrictions on your ability to summon an elemental makes it even worse.
5th-Level Spells: At last, a good spell! Bigby’s Hand is a wonderful spell with many uses, and the flavor this class gives it is neat.
Tentacle of the Deep: Your primary class ability which will improve over time. It’s something to do with your bonus action, and as it improves it will become more useful.
Gift of the Sea: If you’re in an aquatic campaign, this is great. Otherwise, it’s basically useless.
Oceanic Soul: The damage resistance is nice, but the rest of it falls flat on dry land.
Guardian Coil: A reaction ability that offer protection! the perfect addition to your action economy.
Grasping Tentacle: This comes late, but it’s incredibly useful.
Fathomless Plunge: A really great group panic button to escape a particularly dangerous situation. The range on it is terrible, however.
Pact of the Fiend
The fiend is the classic warlock patron, and this pact does not disappoint. Why mess with what has worked for eons? The fiend offers you a great selection of offense, defense, and trickery that will keep you up and running.
Expanded Spell List: A great mix of offense, defense, and trickery. As Advertised, the fiend’s spell list is flavorful and effective. The list is front-loaded with good stuff, ensuring you’re a valued and effective caster from the get-go. Selling your soul never felt so good!
1st-Level Spells: Burning hands is a potent low-level AoE, and Command scales with level. Both of these are flavorful for a fiend, fire and manipulation, so it’s a 3-for-1 in terms of character viability.
2nd-Level Spells: You don’t really need scorching ray since you have eldritch blast, but blindness/deafness is a really good save-or-suck debuff for anyone.
3rd-Level Spells: Fireball. ‘Nuff said.
4th-Level Spells: Wall of fire is an iconic and powerful control spell, and fire shield will get you through a bunch of situations.
5th-Level Spells: Flame strike stinks compared to fireball. This level is very redundant.
Dark One’s Blessing: Combine it with the Fiendish Vigor invocation for maximum effect. Focus your efforts on taking out minions and grunts with one shot with eldritch blast and you’ll stay topped off on temporary hit points.
Dark One’s Own Luck: This is a powerful tool to add to saving throws when you need it most.
Fiendish Resilience: Due to the vague nature of this ability, you can pick any energy type or weapon damage type, allowing you to pick slashing before going into a duel with swords, and fire before facing a dragon.
Hurl Through Hell: A once per day +10d10 finishing blow outside your spells is pretty tasty. Save it for the boss fight and give ‘em hell. Literally.
Pact of the GenieTCoE
This new addition to the Otherworldly Patrons allows you to make a deal with a powerful wish-granting Genie. It provides a lot of interesting and powerful spellcasting options and some really devious infiltration options. This is one of the overall best designed subclasses from a flavor perspective.
Expanded Spell List: The expanded spell list for this class is complicated, and varies based on which type of genie you’re bound to. The choice of type from best to worst is Dao, Djinn, Efreet, Marid. By level, the Dao spells are largely defensive and complement the offensive capabilities of the warlock very well, providing you a way to secure your position and protect yourself and allies. The Djinn gives you battlefield control and damage spells which will come in handy in protracted conflicts. The Efreet provides only damage spells, which you can get from the Pact of the Fiend rather than this pact. The Marid spells are the least useful and powerful overall. In addition to all the options listed below, you also add wish to your 9th level spell list, allowing you to learn it when you get your mystic arcanum for 9th level.
1st-Level Spells: Detect evil and good isn’t generally very useful.
2nd-Level Spells: Phantasmal force is only good against a low-intelligence opponent.
3rd-Level Spells: Creating food is a parlor trick in this fantasy world. Most games don’t stress inventory tracking.
4th-Level Spells: You get a powerful single-target damage spell that scales with level.
5th-Level Spells: Creation is an extremely versatile spell, and fits the theme of this character perfectly.
Genie’s Vessel: Two interesting abilities for your character.
Bottled Respite: You get a sweet private hangout spot that you can also use as a hiding place for valuables and contraband. Unfortunately, you can only get into it once per day, but it’s a great place to have to smuggle yourself or eventually others through checkpoints.
Genie’s Wrath: Piling even more damage onto your eldritch blast is fantastic. You’ll only get it once per round, but still. Dao and Djinn deal a less-resisted damage type, while Efreet and Marid are more commonly resited.
Elemental Gift: A damage type resistance and flight. This ability is a HUGE boon. The damage resistance is based on your choice of genie, and Dao and Djinn each give you a resistance you can’t get by any of your spells.
Sanctuary Vessel: The ability to cram a whole party into a bottle and spit them out as a bonus action. This is the ultimate infiltration ability. Duck inside with five others, have the sneakiest party member secret the lamp behind enemy lines, then emerge suddenly for a sneak attack. No more spending days building large wooden rabbits to get inside a castle! just pile in and have someone throw the vessel over a wall!
Limited Wish: This translates to a free, flexible 6th level spell slot that you can use to cast any spell of 6th level or lower from any spell list. When you use this, you don’t need to meet and requirements of the spell, including paying for components. This is without a doubt one of the most useful abilities in the game. It’s only drawback is the recharge time, which could be up to four days.
Pact of the Great Old One
The Great Old One is an extradimensional and abstract being; it is some sort of Lovecraftian Elder Terror that you’ve sold yourself to for some reason. This class seeks to channel the horror aspect of the pact to bring madness and confusion to your enemies. This subclass gives you a few options for divination and enchantment that the normal, more traditional warlock wouldn’t mess with.
Expanded Spell List: Mostly consisting of debuffs and control spells, this spell list is lacking compared to most of the other more potent classes.
1st-Level Spells: Two single-target save-or-suck debuffs, only one of which deals any damage. It’s tough to justify this kind of thing at low levels when most things will die to one or two solid attacks.
2nd-Level Spells: Detect thoughts can technically be used to ferret out an invisible creature, so there’s some merit there. Overall, these spells are less useful than some of the spells you already have on your list.
3rd-Level Spells: Divination is a weak school of magic until higher levels, and if you take the pact of the chain you won’t need sending since you’ll have a carrier pigeon to do it for you.
4th-Level Spells: Black tentacles is a potent control spell.
5th-Level Spells: Dominate person and telekinesis are two very good spells to control opponents.
Awakened Mind: Tongues and Telepathy rolled into one. This might be the best part of this subclass.
Entropic Ward: You’re a ranged character, so having ranged defenses will serve you well.
Thought Shield: You’re not going to run into a lot of occasions to use this.
Create Thrall: It’s basically dominate person.
Pact of the HexbladeXGtE
Hexblade is one of the most interesting and fun to play warlock pacts. If you’re going to fight in melee, this is the best option for you. You get better weapons and armor, more combat options, and arguably the best expanded spell list for a warlock who wants to survive. The only issue with this pact is the requirement for more good ability scores. Since you’re going to be in the thick of things, not only do you want a good Charisma for your class abilities and spells, you’ll also need good Constitution to make sure you’re resilient and at most 14 Dexterity so you can make the most of medium armor.
Expanded Spell List: There’s at least one winner at every level, and plenty of combat options for you. In addition to all of this, you’ve always got the reliable combo of hex and eldritch blast to fall back on.
1st-Level Spells: it’s hard to make a case for using your limited sell slots for shield, but getting a smite early on when you’ve only got one attack anyway is going to make a big difference. Once you have the option to get a second attack you’re never going to come back here, unfortunately.
2nd-Level Spells: A better smite, and blur, your best defensive option up till now.
3rd-Level Spells: Elemental weapon lets you exploit the rare weakness to damage types, and blink is a slight improvement on blur.
4th-Level Spells: The smites jut keep coming, making sure you’ve got a good option at every spell level. Chances are you’re going to squeeze out more damage with hex and your weapon attacks if you took the correct invocations to maintain concentration. Phantasmal killer is a really strong single-target kill spell for its level, and definitely worth the slot for this subclass.
5th-Level Spells: Two words: Banishing. Smite. You’re going to end combat with this spell. Against a single powerful enemy, you pop him out of combat, give the party time to heal up and surround where he will reappear, and clobber him when he returns. Oh, and you also get cone of cold which is one of the all-around best AoE spells in the game, with an absolutely MASSIVE area of effect.
Hexblade’s Curse: This is an absolutely delicious ability. It grants a series of bonuses to you that will help you dispatch a creature quickly and be rewarded with temporary hit points in doing so. It’s a short rest recharge, so you can use it frequently. As you level up, it will outpace hex but hat’s not the best part. It can stack with hex to give you a really good show. You can’t move it once you use it, so definitely target the big bad with this.
Hex Warrior: Proficiency with the armor and weapons you need to stay competitive as a caster in a world full of fighters. Not only can you use weapons, you can use them with your Charisma instead of strength or dexterity. Oh, but you also have eldritch blast.
Accursed Specter: You get a pet whenever you kill someone once per day. How nice. The only drawback is that the target must be a humanoid, and you have to kill it yourself.
Armor of Hexes: This ability is crazy good. It gives you a 50% chance to shrug off any attack from a creature who is affected by your Hexblade’s Curse. Not any weapon attack, any attack!
Master of Hexes: And finally we get to the point we’ve all been waiting for. At 14th level, your hexblade’s curse can jump to a new creature when you kill the original creature. It needs to be close by, but this is a huge benefit. Just carry around a canary in a cage or some other terrible little pet to keep the curse going between actual enemies.
Pact of the Undead VRGtR
As far as otherworldly patrons go, this is one of the spookiest. Coming to us live from Ravenloft, a Warlock who pledges himself to a powerful undead might very well be the thrall of Strahd himself. You have choices beyond the singular big bad, a Lich, a Mummy lord, or even a vengeful spectre make great choices.
Expanded Spell List: The spells aren’t what make Warlock, considering how few slots you get. Pact of the Undead has some decent spells available, but they don’t come through until higher levels.
1st level: Neither of these spells are attractive options. Bane is inferior to Bless, or Hex, which you get naturally. False Life isn’t as good as Fiendish Vigor or Aid.
2nd level: Two solid debuffs that work against different saving throws gives you options against different types of foes.
3rd level: Two situational and weak options
4th level: Death Ward should be up all day. Wake up early to cast it and take a power nap if you need to get your spell slots back. Greater Invisibility is one of the best spells in the game, especially for a ranged damage assault battery like you.
5th level: Another two solid spells to round out your list. Anti-life shell works very well with your undead-loving theme.
Form of Dread: Temporary hit points, immunity to fear, and the ability to cause fear on each round. Giving you something to do with a bonus action, healing, and an attack add-on is incredible, and this is only the beginning for this powerful feature.
Grave Touched: Additional damage on attacks when in Form of Dread, but the trade off if you need to deal necrotic damage instead of force damage. Force damage is the least resisted damage type in the game, and necrotic is a rare resistance, so the downside is minor.
Necrotic Husk: Damage immunity, and a death throes ability! It’s a shame it takes a few days to recharge, but realistically, if you’re coming that close to death that frequently, you should probably find a new line of work.
Spirit Projection: There’s a lot going on here. First, the ability to separate your spirit and body is amazing. It’s a low-risk infiltration technique that allows you to enter a structure, wreak havoc, and then pop back into your body simply by ending your concentration on the effect. Alternatively, you can use this to bring your body into a secure location by ending the effect and teleporting your body to your spirit. Finally, you can still use your Form of Dread ability while in spirit form, giving you an additional oomph to your spells.
Pact of the UndyingSCAG
You gain your magic from some sort of pharaoh-type lich. This is a strange twist on the warlock, eschewing the majesty and raw power of the untold abyss for some crusty old dude. As such, this class is much less useful and overall weaker than the other options available.
Expanded Spell List: The spell list offered by the undying is mostly death and undead related. Necromancy is a powerful school of magic, but your access to it is stymied with the limited selection here.
1st-Level Spells: Neither options available at his level are very useful or powerful compared to eldritch blast, which is a shame since there are a lot of necromancy spells available that would make more sense here.
2nd-Level Spells: These two spells are very useful, and likely the only things on this list you’ll use often.
3rd-Level Spells: Two very situational options you won’t see much use for.
4th-Level Spells: Two more situational spells you’re unlikely to want to use.
5th-Level Spells: Contagion is great, and you can cause a lot of strife with it in the right circumstances. Legend lore is a history check with a bow on it.
Among the Dead: Spare the dying is a useful cantrip, and the rest of this gives you a small amount of protection from undead.
Defy Death: A small amount of nearly inconsequential healing.
Undying Nature: This is barely a benefit. It just means you won’t ever drown or suffocate, but you have magic so it hardly matters.
Indestructible Life: More inconsequential healing.
Acrobatics: Use magic to fly, and you’ll never fall.
Animal Handling: Use magic.
Arcana: As far as non-Charisma skills go, this is the most important one for you.
Athletics: Strength is not your forte.
Deception: A must-have.
History: You can dabble into Intelligence-related skills if you’ve got the stats to back it up, and this is a somewhat useful one.
Insight: You’re Charisma based, so it’s a good idea to know when someone’s trying to out-Charisma you.
Intimidation: A great Charisma skill useful for…negotiations.
Investigation: Not your job, but if you’re dabbling in Int-related skills, this is a good one.
Medicine: Definitely not your job.
Nature: Important at low levels, but drops off later on or if you’ve got another scout in the party.
Perception: Always important to know if someone’s sneaking up on you.
Performance: You’re probably good enough with your Charisma alone, but for flavor, go for it!
Persuasion: Another must-have. You’ll likely be doing a lot of smooth talking and negotiating.
Religion: You definitely want this. You’re tied to an other-worldly being, you should do your due diligence.
Sleight of Hand: Only if you’re going the Rogue-like route.
Stealth: Only if you’re trying to be a Rogue. This and Sleight of Hand go hand in hand (pun intended).
Survival: Not really important.
Acolyte: Good skills, two languages, and the pretense that you’re some sort of priest when in reality you worship an extradimensional being makes great fluff.
Charlatan: Appropriate for a traveling performance specialist, but not the best choice overall.
City WatchSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Clan CrafterSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Cloistered ScholarSCAG: Two knowledge skills and two languages fills out your repertoire nicely.
CourtierSCAG: A perfect choice on the skills.
Criminal: If you’re going the Rogue route, this is a great choice for you.
Entertainer: If you’re looking to entertain, play a bard. Though in a pinch, you can probably pull it off.
Faction AgentSCAG: This is one of the best and most flexible backgrounds available.
Far TravelerSCAG: There’s a way to make this work, but it’s less than ideal.
FeylostTWBtW: We like deception here, but that’s about it.
FisherGoS: Not good for Warlocks.
Folk Hero: You can pull this off, but it’s not ideal.
Guild Artisan: A solid choice, Persuasion is an important skill for you.
Haunted OneVRGtR: Nothing about this is useful for Warlocks.
Hermit: There are a lot of things you’re generally not responsible for in aparty, and this covers most of them.
InheritorSCAG: If you had money, you wouldn’t need a demon as a sugar daddy.
InvestigatorVRGtR: Perhaps a supernatural investigato would use magic rather than mundane investigation tools.
Knight of the OrderSCAG: Persuasion is one of your most important skills.
Lorehold StudentSACoC: Skills you won’t use, and spells known you likely won’t cast due to your ability to get them from invocations, and your limited spell slots per day. Getting access to the wizard list is nice, but it’s only a single cast per day.
MarineGoS: Not good for Warlocks.
Mercenary VeteranSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Noble: Waterdhavian Noble is better.
Outlander: Not good for Warlocks.
Prismari StudentSACoC: Cantrips that don’t stack up to your eldritch blast, Charisma skills.
Quandrix StudentSACoC: Guidance is another cantrip you’ll use constantly.
Sage: Two languages and two skills you’ll use frequently.
Sailor: Not good for Warlocks.
ShipwrightGoS: Not good for Warlocks.
Silverquill StudentSACoC: Charisma skills, and a bunch of spells you may or may not use.
SmugglerGoS: Criminal and Urchin are better, but this works in the right setting.
Soldier: Not good for Warlocks.
Urban Bounty HunterSCAG: A solid choice for the Rogue-like Warlock.
Urchin: Another good Rogue-like background.
Uthgardt Tribe MemberSCAG: Not good for Warlocks.
Waterdhavian NobleSCAG: Good skills, and a language.
Witchlight HandTWBtW: Fun skills and tools that work well with a whimsical patron.
Witherbloom StudentSACoC: Spare the dying is a very useful cantrip, and you get other healing spells as well.
Alert: You definitely want to go first in combat. You’re squishy, so a whole round of sitting around a sitting target is likely to bode very poorly for you.
Athlete: Not good in general, and especially bad for you.
Actor: If you’re taking charge as the face of the party and run into a lot of social interaction, this is a decent feat for you. In a purely dungeon-delving campaign, it will fall short.
Charger: Not a good feat for you, even in melee builds.
Crossbow Expert: You can make this work if you’re a Hexblade, but it takes a lot of building and time to set up. Better to just do what you do best and pour on the Eldritch Blast.
Defensive Duelist: Pact of the blade can consider this.
Dual Wielder: Pact of the Blade can consider this, and it makes for some interesting builds, but it’s strictly worst than other feats that work well with your spellcasting or eldritch blast.
Dungeon Delver: You don’t have the skills or stats to back this up.
Durable: There are better ways to do this.
Elemental Adept: You need to go out of your way to get elemental spells to use with this, and even if you do it will be minimally effective next to Eldritch Blast.
Grappler: Not good for Warlock.
Great Weapon Master: A great build-around feat for Hexblades, who can actually use large weapons.
Healer: Not good for Warlocks.
Heavily Armored: Not good for Warlocks.
Heavy Armor Master: Not good for Warlocks.
Inspiring Leader: You can make great use of this to give your team a pep talk before a fight.
Keen Mind: Not good for Warlocks.
Lightly Armored: Not good for Warlocks.
Linguist: Use magic.
Lucky: A solid feat for anyone.
Mage Slayer: Not great for Warlocks, even melee builds.
Magic Initiate: You genuinely don’t need this. I know it’s tempting, but resist the urge.
Martial Adept: Not good for Warlocks.
Medium Armor Master: Not good for Warlocks.
Mobile: Pact of the Blade Warlocks might consider this, but there are better options.
Moderately Armored: Not good for Warlocks.
Mounted Combat: Not good for Warlocks.
Observant: Not good for Warlocks.
Polearm Master: Hexblades can use this to great effect.
Resilient: Getting proficiency in Constitution saves will hopefully prevent you from getting save-vs-death’d at some point by an enemy spellcaster.
Ritual Caster: Choose Pact of the Tome if you want to cast ritual spells.
Savage Attacker: Not good for Warlocks.
Sentinel: If you’re the frontline fighter and want to take this, your party has a very fragile makeup.
Sharpshooter: This is for ranged weapons only; it doesn’t apply to your Eldritch Blast.
Shield Master: Not good for Warlocks.
Skilled: Not good for Warlocks.
Skulker: Not good for Warlocks.
Spell Sniper: This is the Eldritch Blast enhancement you’ve been looking for. It alleviates your need to take Eldritch Spear as well, giving you more freedom in your invocation choices.
Strixhaven InitiateSACoC: Magic Initiate is a better choice.
Strixhaven MascotSACoC: You can take an invocation/pact of the chain to get a pet, but if you really want to get one, go for it.
Tavern Brawler: Not good for Warlocks.
Tough: Not a bad way to get bonus hit points, but half the time a +2 Con score increase does the same thing.
War Caster: Hexblades really need this to keep Hex up at all times.
Weapon Master: Not good for Warlocks.
Weapons and Armor
Warlocks don’t usually fight with weapons, Hexblades being the sole exception. They are the only subclass who gains proficiency with melee weapons at all. If you’re playing a Hexblade you have the option to fight using pretty much any weapon you want. Make your selection based on any auxiliary feats or abilities you take. Consider using a whip, a one-handed reach weapon that has the chance to trip an enemy, or a polearm or greatsword with the associated feat.
Generally, warlocks will favor light armor. This is your only defense in combat unless you choose a subclass that grants medium armor. Carefully weigh the benefits of which armor to use based on your Dexterity, and if you need to use stealth frequently. Studded leather is best for most warlocks, or half-plate if you’re a Hexblade.
Blade Ward: Use Dodge.
Booming BladeSCAG: If you’re making melee attacks (Hexblades, I’m talking to you!) you need to have at minimum this or green-flame blade.
Chill Touch: Unless you really want a specific damage type, use eldritch blast.
Create BonfireXGtE: It requires concentration, but you’re going to be concentrating on hex most times.
Eldritch Blast: Your main spell. Make sure you have the agonizing blast invocation, and you’ve got the best cantrip in the game.
Friends: This spell is tough. The fact that if you successfully use it, the target KNOWS once it wears off can put it into danger territory most times.
FrostbiteXGtE: Low damage, but the disadvantage could come in handy in certain circumstances.
Green-Flame BladeSCAG: Hexblades need this over all other cantrips (or booming blade). The scaling damage is solid too.
InfestationXGtE: It uses constitution saves, which are usually high on monsters.
Lightning LureTCoE: This is a good choice for Hexblades who want to pull creatures into melee, but a normal Warlock doesn’t want enemies up in their face.
Mage Hand: This is a solid cantrip for anyone. Action at a distance is a very useful effect.
Magic StoneXGtE: Eldritch Blast is better.
Mind SliverTCoE: Psychic damage on an Intelligence save makes a lot of sense. It’s an seldom resisted damage type as well.
Poison Spray: Low damage.
Prestidigitation: A great catch-all magic effect.
Sword BurstTCoE: This is another great spell for Hexblades to take. It deals decent damage in a good area.
ThunderclapEEPC: Thunder damage is worse than Sword Burst’s force damage, and Thunderclap uses Constitution saves, which tend to be high.
Toll the Dead: This is on par or slightly worse than eldritch blast in almost all cases. If you’re dealing with high AC, use this. If you’re dealing with low AC, use eldritch blast.
True Strike: Just attack twice. Especially once you have two beams on eldritch blast this isn’t useful anymore at all.
Armor of Agathys: It protects, it attacks, and it scales with level.
Arms of Hadar: Hadar has better things to offer if you wait for it. This spell is decent, but the problem is how picky you have to be since you have so few spell slots.
Cause FearXGtE: Fear is on theme for you, and pretty useful against groups of lesser intelligent enemies.
Charm Person: Strictly out-of-combat use, and can usually be replaced with your Charisma-based spells. But if you can’t break their hostile demeanor with charm, use magic!
Comprehend Languages: Situational, but useful.
Expeditious Retreat: You’re a ranged character, so distance means less to you than a melee character. It also requires concentration, which is better spent on hex.
Hellish Rebuke: You don’t have enough expendable spell slots to use this frequently. If you get it from the tiefling race, it’s fantastic, but otherwise too much of a resource suck for what it is.
Hex: Your first words as a baby warlock should be hex. even before you learn to cast eldritch blast, you should be spewing hex.
Unseen Servant: This is barely ever useful beyond doing menial tasks you don’t want to get your hands dirty doing.
Witch Bolt: It’s got good damage, but it gets outclassed by eldritch blast once you have two beams.
Borrowed KnowledgeSACoC: Burning a second level spell slot for a self-only temporary skill proficiency isn’t too great. The only time this is worth it is if you’re going to spend an hour doing a repetitive task, making many of the same roll. Otherwise, get a specialized party member to perform said task, or use guidance, a cantrip, which can be cast on anyone.
Cloud of Daggers: All they have to do is move and they get out of it. If you’ve got a way to trap the enemy in place, this is just decent.
Crown of Madness: This is one of the worst mind control spells out there.
Darkness: If you can see in the magical darkness with your invocation, this spell is indispensable.
EarthbindXGtE: You’ve got great ranged spells, you don’t need things to land.
Enthrall: Not a very good spell overall. It’s very limited in scope, duration, and effect compared to most other mind control spells.
Hold Person: A great control spell, but only for humanoids.
Invisibility: Absolutely one of the best spells available to you. You can scout and infiltrate with the best of them once you get this.
Kinetic JauntSACoC: A bonus action speed boost and escape tactic that is outclassed by expeditious retreat, a 1st-level spell which lets you dash. This is a corner-case escape a “red-rover” line of enemies trying to keep you in place.
Mind SpikeXGtE: Low damage for a second level spell.
Mirror Image: You’ve got better damage mitigation options on a lot of your expanded spell lists.
Misty Step: Bonus action teleportation.
Ray of Enfeeblement: Not a good spell. This is a waste of a second level spell slot.
Shadow BladeXGtE: Youre either going to use your pact weapon or use eldritch blast. there’s no need for this in any circumstance.
Shatter: Your earliest AoE with a range.
Spider Climb: A reliable mobility option before you get fly.
Suggestion: You can do a ton with this, mostly out of combat.
Counterspell: One of the essential spells for any caster.
Dispel Magic: Another essential spell for any caster
Enemies AboundXGtE: One of the few examples of mind control done perfectly. Any time you’re fighting a group of enemies with a brute, beast, or equivalent, target them with this. If you hit the lowest Intelligence save with it, they’ll be yours for a while.
Fear: A great non-lethal AoE that can disarm or disable a group of enemies quickly.
Fly: The best mobility spell available. There aren’t any better modes of movement better than flight, and this does exactly what you need it to, every time.
Gaseous Form: Situational, but very useful for infiltrating a secure location.
Hunger of Hadar: Here’s where Hadar shows us his real power. The only downside is that it doesn’t scale upwards with level.
Hypnotic Pattern: If fear was your method of dispersing a crowd, this is your way of containing them.
Intellect FortressTCoE: If you’re facing casters who are using any sort of illusion or enchantment magic, this is utterly devastating to them.
Magic Circle: The fact that you can’t use this in combat due to its long cast time makes it borderline useless. Protection from evil and good is the lower level analogue you’re looking for in that regard.
Major Image: Illusion magic caps out here, giving you unlimited potential to create illusions.
Remove Curse: Skip it if you have a cleric available, but don’t sleep on it if you don’t.
Spirit ShroudTCoE: A stepping stone between hex and shadow of Moil.
Summon Lesser DemonsXGtE: This is just a chaos spell. You don’t get to control the demons it summons.
Summon FeyTCoE: The better option than the above, but still not your strongest summoning option.
Summon ShadowspawnTCoE: Getting warmer…
Summon UndeadTCoE: There we go. Now you can summon ghosts, which can fly and move through walls to eternally torment your foes.
Thunder StepXGtE: It’s misty step with a damage component, but it takes up your action. It’s great for when you aren’t going to cast eldritch blast for whatever reason, but otherwise just using misty step and eldritch blast in the same turn will likely work better for you.
Tongues: You’ve got a high Charisma, so you’re going to need to do most of the interaction with NPCs. Better learn to communicate!
Vampiric Touch: This spell rocks for Hexblades. It lasts for a whole minute, so all your attacks within that time period can potentially benefit from casting this once.
Banishment: This is great if you’re fighting an extraplanar foe, as you can deport them to their home dimension. It scales with level, but will cap out when you get your last spell level.
Blight: By this point it’s hard to justify learning a single-target spell when you have so few spell slots and so few enemies. If it’s single target, it’s going to need to hit harder than this to be worth it.
Charm MonsterXGtE: This is the kind of single-target spell you should be taking. It can prevent or end a combat, and has roleplaying potential, not just a debuff.
Dimension Door: Misty step is adequate most of the time.
Elemental BaneXGtE: There’s a very short list of things that resist force damage, so just stick to eldritch blast and you’ll do fine. Watch out for those Helmed Horrors!
Hallucinatory Terrain: Great for setting up an ambush, but not much else.
Shadow of MoilXGtE: Refresh yourself on the sightlines rules, and you will see how strong this is. It creates an advantage for you and a disadvantage for your enemies, amplifying the perceived usefulness.
Sickening RadianceXGtE: Another very useful, powerful, and complicated spell.
Summon AberrationTCoE: The options available here are all great.
Summon ConstructTCoE: The creatures summoned with summon aberration are strictly better in combat, but some environmental circumstances might facilitate this over that. If you’re underwater or in the vacuum of space, summoning a robot is better than something that needs to breathe.
Summon ElementalTCoE: This is easily outclassed by the other options available at this level, unless you need a specific movement type or damage type.
Summon Greater DemonXGtE: Again, you can’t maintain control of the demon easily, and run the risk of it turning on you or acting unpredictably.
Contact Other Plane: For some reason this requires intelligence, which is not something you prioritize as a warlock.
Danse MacabreXGtE: This is annoying for the DM and the player, trying to figure out stats for things that shouldn’t use the basic zombie or skeleton stat block, or you’ll get stuck with a bunch of wimpy skeletons that are less effective than casting a 4th-level summon spell of a living creature.
Dream: Not a combat spell, complicated and subjective, and just overall weird. Seems more like a plot thread than a spell you should cast as a player.
EnervationXGtE: An efficient use of a spell slot if you decide you’re sick of using eldritch blast every round.
Far StepXGtE: Misty Step, but you can use it every round for a minute. unfortunately, it needs concentration.
Hold Monster: It’s difficult to choose this when the target gets to make the save every turn to break out, but unlike hold person it hits any creature type, not just humanoids.
Infernal CallingXGtE: This spell is a gamble. If you enjoy the “making a deal with the devil” aspect of this class, this is perfect. The major drawback is that it requires role-playing, and an unscrupulous DM can take advantage of you based on your needs.
Negative Energy FloodXGtE: This is a complicated way to try to summon zombies. You’re better off using one of the summon spells from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything.
Scrying: You can use this at literally any time for the same effect- the DM needs to find a creative way to not spoil the plot for you.
Synaptic StaticXGtE: It’s a less-powerful fireball that comes with a very relevant debuff.
Wall of LightXGtE: This is a great control spell that deals decent damage for little effort from you.
Arcane Gate: Fly works just as well.
Circle of Death: The area of effect is very big, and the damage isn’t too shabby.
Conjure Fey: This requires concentration, and the 5th-level summon spells are better.
Create Undead: This is useful as an out-of-combat preparation, but again, the 5th-level summon spells are better, since they don’t use your single 6th level spell for the day.
Eyebite: This spell is efficient. It’s powerful, versatile, and it gives you something to do every turn that isn’t eldritch blast.
Flesh to Stone: Single-target save-or-potentially-die is awful if they pass it on the first go and you get nothing out of your only 6th level spell.
Investiture of FlameXGtE: The four investiture spells are tough to justify on the Warlock. You don’t want to get into melee generally, and they don’t do a ton of relevant damage compared to your other spells that act at a distance. This is the worst one overall, as fire is the most commonly resisted element.
Investiture of IceXGtE: This is the only decent option among the investiture spells, as the difficult terrain and AoE abilities allow you to control which and how many enemies get close to you.
Investiture of StoneXGtE: Useful, but worse than Ice.
Investiture of WindXGtE: Just cast fly and use eldritch blast.
Mass SuggestionPHB: It’s used to avoid a fight only.
Mental PrisonXGtE: It’s a strong single-target debuff, but it’s also your only spell at this level so you should get more out of it.
ScatterXGtE: Very situationally useful. Get something with more oomph.
Soul CageXGtE: This spell is very good, but only against humanoid foes.
Summon FiendTCoE: Three very good summoning options.
Tasha’s Otherworldly GuiseTCoE: Versatile and powerful.
True Seeing: Very good at what it does, but not the best spell you can pick at this level.
Crown of StarsXGtE: A good damage boost that doesn’t require concentration so it stacks with hex. If you’ve got Hexblade’s Curse as well, you can give yourself a HUGE buff to take down a single target.
Dream of the Blue VeilTCoE: This spell is crap.
Etherealness: Situational, but powerful. You can usually get away with gaseous form.
Finger of Death: A strong spell, but the single-target nature of it makes it risky.
Forcecage: This is an amazing spell. There’s almost nothing the targets can do to get out of it if they aren’t high level casters.
Plane Shift: It’s useful for personal or party travel, or to try to banish an enemy.
Power Word Pain: You really don’t want to take the chance on this, and it’s not even as strong or useful as the other options at this level.
Demiplane: This spell is treally cool, but you don’t need it all the time so it’s a waste of your Mystic Arcanum.
Dominate Monster: The best mind control option in the game.
Feeblemind: This hobbles Wisdom- and Charisma-based casters, but it’s really up to the DM how to play it. Really, it’s best when combined with effects that would deal ability damage or require them to make saves they’re very likely to fail.
Glibness: You’re going to be able to sell shells to the ocean after casting this spell. If your game has you doing a lot of negotiating or lying, you’ll love this spell.
Maddening DarknessXGtE: If you liked Hunger of Hadar, and you have Devil’s Sight, this is hands-down the spell for you.
Power Word Stun: Power word spells are difficult to use without metagaming. It’s a risk using it too early, and it’s wasted being used too late. This is arguably the best one, since it lets you “bring ‘em in alive” which is a tough thing to do for high-level enemies.
Astral Projection: Situational and weak for a 9th level spell.
Blade of DisasterTCoE: There are stronger spells on your list at lower levels.
Foresight: This spell is basically the “felix felicius” potion from Harry Potter. It makes you have the best day ever, every day you cast it.
Imprisonment: Looking to turn someone into a genie, except worse because they can’t grant wishes? Use this. Otherwise, pick anything else.
Power Word Kill: You can’t really dispute the power of pointing at anyone and killing them outright. The issue is that this is a 9th level spell, and it’s hard to use. Most of the best options on this list are easy to use. Wake up, cast foresight. This requires you to think about it.
Psychic ScreamXGtE: The fact that this literally makes heads explode is awesome. It’s the AoE for this level, so if you’re looking forward to killing everybody in the room at once, this is what you want.
True PolymorphPHB: This is the best spell at this level. You can turn yourself or an ally (or your familiar!) into something truly terrifying. If you keep it running for an hour, it becomes permanent, so you can fulfil your dreams of playing a campaign with a party full of monsters after a few days of casting.
Barbarian: Hard pass, even for Hexblades.
Bard: Another Charisma-based class, a level or two gives you some spells and a handful of good support abilities.
Cleric: Not very synergistic.
Druid: As bad as Cleric.
Fighter: Picking up a combat style might help you out if you’re a Hexblade looking for an extra boost.
Monk: No synergy at all.
Paladin: Combat styles, although fewer of them, are available here. You can use your short-rest spell slots to smite, so this is a pretty solid choice.
Ranger: No synergy.
Rogue: Expertise is the big seller here. Sneak attack only works with weapons unless you get far enough to get Magical Ambush from the Arcane Trickster subclass.
Sorcerer: One of the stronger combinations. It’s charisma-based and offers metamagic. Once you realize that you can transmute your warlock spell slots into sorcery points, a lot of things fall into place.
Wizard: No synergy.
DMG Dungeon Master’s Guide
EGtW Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
ERLW Eberron: Rising from the Last War
EEPC Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
GGtR Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica
MM Monster Manual
MToF Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
PHB Players Handbook
SCAG Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
TCoE Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
TP Tortle Package
VGtM Volo’s Guide to Monsters
XGtE Xanathar’s Guide to Everything
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