Warlock 5E — DnD class guide 2024

Unleash eldritch power in our comprehensive Warlock 5E guide. Master the art of making pacts with otherworldly beings.

Warlock 5E: DnD warlock casting purple light from his hands
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You finally got your contract delivered by an otherworldly courier and you’re excited about the employee benefits on offer, such as the ability to shoot beams of destructive force from your hands, and a cute tiny dragon. Understandably, this can be a daunting prospect; the Warlock class has many choices within it and you don’t want to go wrong–that’s why you’re here. 

In this Warlock DnD 5E guide, we’ll take you through all the options available to the Warlock, and supportive choices you can make to build your character to achieve what you want. Whilst reading through this guide, you may find our articles on DnD terms and list of DnD books (and their common abbreviations) helpful.

This Warlock DnD 5E guide will evaluate each option for the Warlock on a scale of 1-5– this is a rating of the abilities’ potency and overall usefulness, primarily focusing on combat. That said, I will still evaluate everything. This can aid you to weigh any choices you might be considering at a glance, helping you know what to expect and make changes accordingly if desired. The rating scheme is:

1 – Usually a bad choice, to be avoided
2 – Below average, this can apply to powerful but very niche abilities
3 – Average to Good, you won’t go wrong with it
4 – Very good
5 – Amazing, a must-have if there is such a thing

Be sure to check our other DnD 5E class guides: Artificer 5E guide, Barbarian 5E guide, Fighter 5E guide, Monk 5E guide, Paladin 5E guide, Ranger 5E guide, Rogue 5E guide, and Sorcerer 5E guide.


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This rating system exists to best help you understand the effectiveness of all the options available to the class for you to build and enjoy your character. Remember though, your fun comes first; it’s actually very difficult to build a character that is entirely bad in DnD 5E, so if you have a concept that doesn’t rate highly, you might still have fun playing it. This is a guide, not a contract written by Asmodeus. Let it advise you and not force you away from your own ideas.

It’s recommended to have your book/PDF/DnD Beyond page open to reference and follow along with the guide.

Warlock DnD 5E Class Abilities Guide

Warlock 5E: DnD Warlock casting fire from his hand
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Hit Dice 4 – A d8 is pretty good for a caster, assuming the average Warlock isn’t on the frontlines. 


Armor 2 – Light Armor is better than no armor, but not by much. Thankfully the class has ways to mediate this.

Weapons 3Simple Weapons are better than having a limited selection, as long as you can hit someone with a staff or whip out a dagger when needed, you’ll be covered. If you need more you’ll likely get it from the class later on.

Tools 1 – You don’t get any, Herbalism or Alchemist’s kits would have been a nice inclusion.

Saving Throws 3 – Wisdom can be a terrible save to fail, but it only really becomes commonly useful in late tier 2, Charisma is rarely targeted.

Skills 2 – Two skills is fairly standard, but the only notable inclusions on the list are Arcana and Investigation.

Pact Magic 4 – Your bread and butter and what sets you apart from other full casters, only rated as a 4 due to the restriction and learning curve of having so few spell slots at once.

Eldritch Invocations 5 – As a concept, fantastic. It provides the customizability to make your Warlock your own and the power you need to supplement the lack of spell slots. The effectiveness in play depends highly on the invocations you choose, which we will go into in-depth later.

Pact Boon 4 – Another point of customization for your Warlock, arguably with bigger play differences than most of the Otherworldly Patrons. 

  • Pact of the Chain 4 [Chainlock] – You do not only get access to the Find Familiar spell, but you also get to choose from a more powerful selection of familiars. Great for scouting, roleplay, and some combat strategies. The Imp is usually the most functional choice here, but the Pseudodragon is the cutest choice.
  • Pact of the Blaide 4 [Bladelock] – Never be without your weapon and gain access to all you need to be a very effective gish. What’s not to love?
  • Pact of the Tome 5 [Tomelock] – This pact is for the Warlock more interested in magic, being able to grab Guidance and Shillelagh is great and the invocations available to you with this pact are generally very good to great.
  • Pact of the Talisman 2 [Talismanlock] – An overly limited version of Guidance, the invocations are okayish, making a pact with a powerful creature to hand over what you get from it is the cherry on this very flavorless cake.

Mystic Arcanum 4 – Gaining access to higher level spells, 6th through 9th, allows you to claim the title of full caster despite the oddities of Pact Magic. Only rated at 4 due to being slightly behind other full casters at extremely high levels.

Eldritch Master 5 – Getting up to four 5th level slots back for the cost of a minute? That’s a great capstone and allows a 20th level Warlock to throw around spells once a day to make even a Wizard blush.

Warlock 5E Eldritch Invocations Guide

Warlock 5E: Female warlock from DnD
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The contents in the following list of invocations are arranged alphabetically but divided by the books they are found in, to make it easy to see what you can choose from if certain sources are not allowed at your table. If an invocation has a prerequisite it is denoted in [brackets].


Agonizing Blast 5 [Eldritch Blast cantrip] – This is the invocation that makes Warlocks famous for Eldritch Blast (EB), Cha to every attack from EB is a huge damage boost.

Armor of Shadows 5Mage Armor is better than your standard light armor, and being at will means you can afford to permanently be under its protection, even whilst you sleep!

Ascendent Step 3 [9th level] – Levitate at will is nice; a devastating debuff in combat against a melee heavy opponent and allows you to mostly ignore terrain challenges. Only a 3 as it’s a pretty decent invocation, but there’s heavy competition.

Beast Speech 2 – Purely a roleplaying choice, but maybe your character concept is a take on Dr. Dolittle? 

Beguiling Influence 4 – Picking up two skills is pretty good value for a single invocation, freeing up your class skill choices and giving you what you need to be a capable party face.

Bewitching Whispers 1 [7th level] – Compulsion is not a good spell and an invocation to get a restricted use spell known is a terrible trade.

Book of Ancient Secrets 4 [Pact of the Tome] – Being able to ritual cast is a huge boost of casting and utility to a Warlock, especially as you can gather more rituals on your adventure (say, from a Wizard party member perhaps). Find Familiar is a great ritual to choose with this.

Chains of Carceri 3 [15th level, Pact of the Chain] – Hold Monster is a fantastic spell, being able to cast it at will against different creatures is even better. The restriction to only against celestial, fiend, or elemental is the reason this only gets a 3, if your campaign is heavy on those types, like Descent into Avernus, then this easily becomes a 4 or 5.

Devil’s Sight 5 – Being able to see normally in normal and magical darkness within 120 feet is fantastic, it more than patches a weakness on races without Darkvision and allows you to take advantage of spells like Darkness for advantage and protection. Note: This is not Darkvision, you are seeing normally in the dark, so you won’t be at disadvantage on Perception checks in the dark like those relying on Darkvision.

Dreadful Word 2 [7th level] – Confusion isn’t a bad spell, but none of these restricted spell known invocations are worth it.

Eldritch Sight 4Detect Magic can be invaluable, and being able to cast it at will without burning an additional ten minutes each time to ritually cast like other classes is a huge boon.

Eldritch Spear 1 [Eldritch Blast cantrip] – Very niche, the normal 120ft range of Eldritch Blast is normally enough, getting regular use out of this invocation would be incredibly campaign-dependent, especially since a lot of classes can’t do much, if anything, at 300ft.

Eyes of the Rune Keeper 2 – A fun choice, but more roleplay material than utility for most games.

Fiendish Vigor 4 – At will temp hp will do wonders to increase your survivability. With this, you should start all combats with some temp hp. This allows melee Warlocks to compete with the durability of larger Hit Die classes like Fighters and Paladins.

Gaze of Two Minds 2 – This invocation basically turns a party member into a familiar, which can be good for scouting or infiltration missions, but is pretty niche and leaves you a little vulnerable.

Lifedrinker 4 [12th level, Pact of the Blade] – The damage bump a bladelock needs to stay competitive in Tier 3 and beyond, necrotic isn’t the best damage type but should be applicable most of the time.

Mask of Many Faces 5Disguise Self at will is a terrific tool for roleplay and infiltration; this is not only a useful invocation, it’s also a very fun one too.

Master of Myriad Forms 2 [15th level] – Alter Self is a useful spell, but concentration makes it compete against your limited spell slot casting, and 15th level feels like very late to pick this up. 

Minions of Chaos 2 [9th level] – Conjure Elemental? Good. Limited spell known invocation? Still bad.

Mire of the Mind 2 [5th level] – I think you can see a pattern by no. Slow’s good, but not good enough to be worth the invocation and spell slot.

Misty Visions 3 – I can only rate this at a 3 as to how useful this is will greatly depend on how your DM handles illusions. That said, if you want to play an illusionist this is a fantastic way to do it.

One with Shadows 2 [5th level] – This sounds cool on the surface but requires too much from you. If you could stay invisible whilst moving it would be much better, but, as it stands, too niche.

Otherworldly Leap 2 [9th level] – A really fun invocation, but more fun than useful, unfortunately, and a high-level requirement for what it is.

Repelling Blast 4 [Eldritch Blast cantrip] – A great addition to EB to give it some control elements and make it more fun than just damage. Can be combined with hazards like Spike Growth to great effect.

Sculptor of Flesh 2 [7th level] – Say it with me, these invocations aren’t worth it.

Sign of Ill Omen 2 [5th level] – Still not recommending you take this kind of invocation.

Thief of Five Fates 1 – Restricting 1st level spells is a new low.

Thirsting Blade 5 [5th level, Pact of the Blade] – The Bladelock equivalent of Extra Attack, necessary for keeping up as a Bladelock without relying on certain cantrips. Unlike gish subclasses on other full casters, you get your second attack at the same level as martials like the Fighter and Barbarian.

Visions of Distant Realms 2 [15th level] – Arcane Eye is a good scouting spell, but its concentration and 15th level is a bit late for a 4th level spell, even if it is at will. If you’re playing a dungeon heavy game, the rating for this would be at least a 3.

Voice of the Chain Master 4 [Pact of the Chain] – A great and thematic upgrade to a chainlock’s familiar, making their scouting ability nearly unparalleled. The ability to speak through the familiar allows it to be used as a telephone as well as being just plain cool.

Whispers of the Grave 2 [9th level] – A bit niche, but if your DM lets you get useful information from the slain, this can be a great source of information for your party.

Witch Sight 2 [15th level] – This is actually a good ability, it’s just very very niche and a very high level. Worth noting spells like Invisibility wouldn’t work against this invocation, and you’re less likely to make a deal with a hag! Although if a hag is your patron, this may be too little too late to help you.


Aspect of the Moon 2 [Pact of the Tome] – A nice roleplay ability and defense against uncommon attacks like the Sleep spell and drow poison, also known as permanent guard duty.

Cloak of Flies 3 [5th level] – A great aura ability for a bladelock or other melee range Warlock, poison is a fairly commonly resisted/immune to damage type on monsters, unfortunately, but the addition of this as a short rest resource is great. 

Eldritch Smite 4 [5th level, Pact of the Blade] – A great source of burst damage, you don’t have the same number of spell slots to keep up with a Paladin, but as a fullcaster you’ll hit harder for most levels. Force damage is a great damage type and the ability to knock a Huge or smaller creature prone without a save is a nice debuff to give yourself and melee party members advantage.

Ghostly Gaze 2 [7th level] – On the surface, this sounds like a great exploration style ability, but lasting only one minute and requiring concentration is very restrictive and ends up making this ability pretty niche.

Gift of the Depths 2 [5th level] – Limited by how much water is in your campaign. If you’re playing a seafaring game, or one that is frequently around lakes and rivers, then this is a top-tier invocation that allows you to make your entire party somewhat aquatic.

Gift of the Ever-Living Ones 5 [Pact of the Chain] – A huge buff towards your own survivability; not only do you get the most out of healing from others, but you get the most out of your Hit Dice on short rests, and if you’re a Celestial Warlock you can heal yourself in combat very effectively. The restriction of needing your familiar within 100ft of you isn’t much of a risk if you have an invisible familiar like an Imp or Sprite.

Grasp of Hadar 3 [Eldritch Blast cantrip] – Adding control to EB is great, this is only a 3 because typically pushing enemies away is going to be better than bringing them closer.

Improved Pact Weapon 5 [Pact of the Blade] – Making your pact weapon a +1 weapon is great, being able to use it as a focus for your spells is gravy. The hidden gem here is the ability to be a switch between melee and ranged combat as you like (assuming you prioritized Dex or are a Hexblade Warlock) by creating a bow or crossbow.

Lance of Lethargy 4 [Eldritch Blast cantrip] – Again, control on EB is great, reducing your enemy’s speed can work great with one of the other invocations to keep them where you want them, be it near you or far away from you.

Maddening Hex 4 [5th level, Hex or a Warlock feature that curses] – Enhancing Hex makes it far more appealing to keep casting it at higher levels with higher-level spell slots. The automatic damage can be useful for challenging the concentration of enemy casters and even a weak AOE effect. 

Relentless Hex 2 [7th level, Hex or a Warlock feature that curses] – Enhancing Hex is still nice, but chasing the target of your Hex in melee range is pretty niche. Even if you’re a bladelock or other melee build, often your movement will be adequate to keep up.

Shroud of Shadow 3 [15th level] – Invisibility at will is a great ability, but it’s still going to require your concentration, which can interfere with your limited slot-based casting, and 15th level is a little late to get a 2nd level spell at will for a limited number of invocations.

Tomb of Levistus 2 [5th level] – This is your panic button, 10 temp hp per Warlock level is a large amount that should protect you from death (if not going down) in most instances. Where this falls short is the limited use and high costs. You’re a sitting duck and will lose any concentration spells and a lot of ongoing effects, such as the above Cloak of Flies. Better than dying, sure, but if you’re finding regular use for this invocation then there’s a larger underlying problem and we need to have a conversation.

Trickster’s Escape 3 [7th level] – Now this is the kind of spell invocation you want, a once per day casting of a 4th level spell without needing to spend one of your slots like normal. Freedom of Movement is a little niche, but Paralyzed is a condition that can quickly lead to death, and Grappled is often a precursor condition to worse things, like a Vampire’s bite or Behir’s swallow.


Bond of the Talisman 2 [12th level, Pact of the Talisman] – Teleportation anywhere on the plane is certainly nice, but you’re likely giving your talisman to someone in your party so how relevant will that be? A very niche invocation, it would be better rated if it only took a bonus action to use.

Eldritch Mind 5 – Concentration is incredibly important to a Warlock due to their limited slots, getting advantage to maintain it for an invocation is a great ability at a relative bargain.

Far Scribe 5 [5th level, Pact of the Tome] – At-will use of Sending to a select number of people? This is a fantastic invocation that scales with overall level and comes online relatively early for its power.

Gift of the Protectors 4 [9th level, Pact of the Tome] – This is like a party-wide version of the half orc’s Relentless Endurance ability, this won’t protect a PC against instant death, but it will certainly make TPKs very unlikely!

Investment of the Chain Master 5 [Pact of the Chain] – An essential invocation for chainlocks who want to use their familiars in combat. Besides the added mobility, the combat upgrades are enough to make an Imp a serious threat in combat in earlier levels, with the Sprite and Pseudodragon potentially able to knock enemies out completely with their poisons now keying off of your spell save DC. The ability to grant resistance to damage helps to ensure that your familiar will also be able to endure taking some attacks for its newfound effectiveness.

Protection of the Talisman 3 [7th level, Pact of the Talisman] – Adding a d4 to saves without needing a reaction is nice and this will stack with other benefits like Bless or the Divine Soul’s Favored by the Gods. The level restriction feels unnecessary, and the limited uses make this a questionable choice versus non-pact restricted choices. 

Undying Servitude 4 [5th level] – A free casting of animate dead once per day is a great value for an invocation and gives Warlocks access to this spell when they can’t get it from their class otherwise. The only downside here is the potential roleplay consequences of creating an undead sidekick!

Warlock 5E Optional Class Features (TCoE) Guide

Warlock 5E: Warlock with horns casting spell
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The optional features presented in TCoE gave the Warlock new invocation choices and a new pact, both covered above in Warlock DnD 5E guide. In addition, the Warlock also gains access to spells not previously included on its list and a new feature:

Additional Warlock Spells 2 – Not a bad addition, lots of new summoning spells but this list is largely just spells that are presented or reprinted within TCoE, with the majority of the cantrips in particular already being Warlock spells added in the SCAG.

Eldritch Versatility 4 – This isn’t an exciting new ability, but it gives you a RAW way to change some pretty significant class choices without relying on your DM allowing it entirely on their own. Bear in mind, this is still an optional feature and requires DM approval.

Warlock 5E DnD 5E Stats Guide

Warlock 5E: Asian warlock holding a magic staff
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It’s important to go through how pertinent each stat is for a Warlock before we get into the nitty-gritty of the subclasses. This part of Warlock DnD 5E guide will rate the stats in the game based on how good they are for a Warlock; you may decide to use a build that relies on a stat rated lowly here, but that doesn’t mean your concept can’t work! 

Strength 2 – There’s no real need for Str on a Warlock unless you’re a bladelock looking to use heavy weapons.

Dexterity 3 – Always a powerful stat in general, Dex is the major deciding factor for a Warlock’s AC, as well as the preferred stat for bladelocks. This should be as high as you can afford without sacrificing Charisma, aim for at least a +3.

Constitution 3 – Everyone needs some Con, especially a Warlock as you don’t get proficiency in Con saving throws, but rely fairly heavily on concentration for a lot of your spells. Ideally, go for a +3 here, but try to not go lower than a +2.

Intelligence 1 – If you had a use for book smarts you wouldn’t have sold your soul, now would you? If you want to be good at a particular skill, feel free to have this positive, personally, I recommend a +0 here, but you can happily use a -1 if you’re stretched for stats.

Wisdom 3 – Generally useful for Perception and Wisdom saving throws, not as important as Dex or Con though. +1 or +2 is more than adequate here.

Charisma 5 – You’re a Charisma caster, so this should be your main focus. Try and max Cha as quickly as you can, if you’re taking a feat with an ASI, try and get Cha to +4 first. Bladelocks who focus on weapon attacks can afford to prioritize Dex over Cha, but I’d always recommend at least a +3, preferably from the start.

Warlock 5E Otherworldly Patrons (Subclasses) Guide

Warlock 5E: Half-orc warlock from DnD pointing fingers at enemies
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What subclass you choose can greatly change how you play your Warlock, unlike other classes the Warlock’s limited amount of spell slots means every additional ability and resource is important. In my opinion, your choice of pact has a larger impact on overall playstyle, but some patron abilities and expanded spell options can open up playstyles and roles previously unavailable to the Warlock. In this Warlock DnD 5E guide, we’ll explore each subclass and discuss how they shape your character’s abilities and playstyle.


A Warlock with a strong emphasis on affecting the minds and emotions of others, this patron offers a lot of roleplay fodder but is near the bottom for its combat effectiveness. 

Expanded Spell list 3 – Overall, a theme-appropriate list whilst still being useful. Standouts here are Sleep (which upcasts well with your Pact Magic) and Greater Invisibility.

Fey Presence 3 – The choice of Charmed or Frightened gives this ability some versatility, though the limited range hampers it greatly. You’re putting yourself practically in melee range to attempt to use it, with potentially disastrous consequences if the creature(s) succeed their save(s).

Misty Escape 4 – A nice get out of jail free card; needing to take damage is unfortunate and I’d prefer if the invisibility lasted until the end of your next turn. That said, being able to put yourself at distance as a reaction is valuable for a class that prefers to be ranged for the most part.

Beguiling Defenses 3 – This is both powerful and fairly niche, if this ability is relevant for your Warlock, it has likely saved you from something pretty nasty.

Dark Delirium 2 – This ability is potentially very powerful, but charm and fear are fairly common immunities amongst higher CR creatures.

The Fiend

This patron is much more combat-focused. Originally, the standout choice for a combat-orientated Warlock, although much more competitive options have been published since. Still, a solid choice with the classic ‘sold your soul to the devil’ flavor.

Expanded Spell List 4 – Excellent mix of thematic fire damage and other effects. Best to avoid Burning Hands at level 3 and above, but besides that, a strong showing. Everyone loves Fireball, right?

Dark One’s Blessing 2 – A good temp hp formula that will scale well as your level, but the trigger of needing to get the killing blow is too unpredictable for my liking. unless you’re one of the/are the primary damage dealer in the party.

Dark One’s Own Luck 3 – Being able to add the d10 to an ability check or saving throw is nice, this is only a 3 as a single d10 is very swingy, a couple of smaller dice would be preferable. A tip, you can add this on to your initiative roll!

Fiendish Resilience 4 – Choose your own damage resistance, which you can change after any rest to match the environment you’re in? Fantastic ability.

Hurl Through Hell 5 – This is like a one-round version of Banishment, but triggering on an attack and likely doing 10d10 psychic damage, devastatingly good and can turn the tide of a losing fight.

The Great Old One 

Also affectionately known as a GOO Warlock, this patron is largely utility and roleplay, as well as one of the easiest (and earliest) ways to get telepathy in the game.

Expanded Spell List 3 – Some very thematic spells here, keeping with a theme of mental manipulation and skirting the psionic. Standouts include Dissonant Whispers and Sending.

Awakened Mind 3 – Of limited use in combat, but great for roleplay, stealth, and can act as a translator between your party and a creature with a language you don’t speak.

Entropic Ward 4 – Disadvantage can be a powerful defensive tool, especially if you’ve invested in a higher AC or are benefitting from cover. At the very least, it can make it very hard to get a critical hit against. The potential benefit of advantage on your next attack is a nice bonus. Solid additional resource.

Thought Shield 2 – A good ability, but very niche in scope. If the main enemy of your campaign is a colony of Mind Flayers, this is obviously much higher.

Create Thrall 1 – This is a very thematic power, sadly it isn’t fit for purpose as the charmed condition is far from making someone into a thrall.

The Undying

A Warlock who has made a pact with a powerful undead being, like a notable lich; this patron is often forgotten as it was printed in the SCAG and not reprinted in any subsequent books. If playing in an undead heavy campaign, this patron can actually be pretty useful but is not really recommended otherwise.

Expanded Spell List 2 – Blindness/Deafness and Death Ward are great spells here, but others fall flat such as False Life (you could just take the Fiendish Vigor invocation) and multiple spells that don’t upcast at all.

Among the Dead 3 – Despite being niche there’s enough here that I have to rate this at a 3. This ability amounts to permanent Sanctuary on the Warlock targeting only undead but isn’t negated by the Warlock attacking. Spare the Dying is usually a cantrip to be passed over, but for free it’s okay and enhanced later to be more meaningful.

Defy Death 2 – This ability was nearly rated as a 1, but it deserves at least a 2 for how difficult to kill it makes this Warlock. Hopefully, someone going down is a pretty rare scenario. This ability would be rated much higher if it wasn’t restricted to only once per long rest.

Undying Nature 1 – This is entirely a roleplay ability, one that can be found to some degree in various races and an invocation.

Indestructible Life 2 – Bonus action healing is nice; being restricted to doing so once per rest for such a small amount of hp at such a high level is not so nice.

The Celestial

Potentially a less nefarious kind of deal, this Warlock has made a pact with a celestial creature of significant power such as a Solar or Unicorn. This is an excellent example of a patron having a significant impact on a Warlock’s playstyle, as it unlocks the healer role as well as potentially allowing the Warlock to tank hits effectively by healing themselves.

Expanded Spell List 5 – A good mixture of healing spells and fire-based spells, allowing this Warlock to function well as both a healer and a blaster. Notably, both Cure Wounds and Guiding Bolt upcast work well with Pact Magic.

Bonus Cantrips 5 – Free cantrips are always nice, Light is a great utility cantrip and Sacred Flame gives access to radiant and save-based damage. Part of this rating is based on Healing Light being a great ability on its own, making the cantrips even better by being the cherry on top.

Healing Light 5 – Ranged, bonus action healing that doesn’t consume a spell slot and isn’t a spell itself, so doesn’t interfere with your casting. The amount of d6s you get for this ability is enough to make it useful and the flexibility of how many you can spend means you can use this to just pick someone up, or heal them for a chunk of hp. Combining this ability with the Gift of the Ever Living Ones invocation can create an incredibly hard-to-kill Warlock.

Radiant Soul 4 – Radiant resistance is a bit niche, but being able to add damage to some of your offensive spells is a nice damage bump. Some spells that can take advantage of this include Guiding Bolt, Sacred Flame, and Green Flame Blade.

Celestial Radiance 5 – Gives you a large amount of temp hp every rest and a significant amount of temp hp to your party; this is almost the Inspiring Leader feat as a subclass feature, a bit less temp hp for the party but also no 10-minute speech needed.

Searing Vengeance 4 – The only reason this is not a 5 is that it requires you to go down to use it. This is an outstanding tanking ability if that is the role you prefer, or generally just makes your Warlock incredibly difficult to kill unless an instant death or death on 0hp effect is used.

The Hexblade

A Warlock of questionable theming, as you’ve made a deal with a powerful sentient weapon yet you don’t actually wield it, but notable for its power and widespread effect on Charisma-based multiclassing. 

Expanded Spell List 3 – There are some good spells in general on this list, but a considerable number of spells that won’t be worth casting as the Warlock levels up. Shield in this instance is only really useful in a do or die situation, due to the Warlock’s limited slots. 

Hexblade’s Curse 5 – In some ways, this is like a buffed-up version of Hex, giving you scaling extra damage, an expanded crit range, and potentially a decent heal. This allows you to save the slot you would have used on Hex, or combine this with Hex for tougher opponents. This ability also allows you to qualify for a couple of invocations discussed above.

Hex Warrior 5 – Proficiency with medium armor and shields is a huge AC boost for a Warlock (though bear in mind neither is starting equipment for a Warlock) and the ability to use Cha for a weapon makes you a competent and SAD gish. Notably, this allows a bladelock to leave their Dex at +2 for medium armor and max out their Cha, making them excellent at casting and martial attacks without having to compromise.

Accursed Specter 3 -This is potentially a useful companion, but it won’t age well in higher levels and is very situational in creating it, to begin with, needing both a killing blow and a humanoid.

Armor of Hexes 3 – This is a great defensive ability when it applies, meaning the creature has to get past your AC and then succeed in a 50/50 dice roll on top of that. This only makes a 3 as it only works on your cursed target, which leaves you open to plenty of other attacks throughout the adventuring day.

Master of Hexes 3 – This lets you get some extra use out of your curse, however, you need to sacrifice a benefit of the curse to do so. If this was purely additive it would be rated a 4.

The Fathomless

If you don’t want to make a deal with a tentacle creature from space, how about a tentacle creature from the depths of the ocean? This is a combat-orientated Warlock, with some utility features sprinkled in. 

Expanded Spell List 3 – This isn’t a bad list but it isn’t particularly good either; the higher level spells are nice if you hit those levels. 

Tentacle of the Deeps 5 – This is the love child of Ray of Frost and Spiritual Weapon, giving you a significant boost of damage with some control mixed in. Did I mention it is only a bonus action? Combining this ability with the Lance of Lethargy invocation will allow you to severely hinder the movement of enemies.

Gift of the Sea 4 – This is very niche, but I’m rating it a 4 due to being on top of another great ability and offering a superior swim speed than these types of features usually do.

Oceanic Soul 3 – Damage resistance is always nice, though cold isn’t the most common of types, the communication aspect is a nice ribbon.

Guardian Coil 3 – Improving the already good tentacle is great, making this Warlock more and more of an all-rounder. I would have really preferred to see a better reduction formula than just 1d8 initially though.

Grasping Tentacles 5 – This not only gives you Evard’s Black Tentacles as a spell and lets you cast it once a day for free, a great boon for a Warlock, but more importantly, it makes it impossible to lose concentration on the spell from damage. The sheer power of not losing concentration to damage on top of a free casting of a 4th level control spell makes this a great ability.

The Genie

Had a crush on Genie from Aladdin growing up? Well, now you can get close to a genie of your own, though in a somewhat reversal of the typical arrangement. This Warlock has a large utility function, though it does get a damage boost.

Expanded Spell List 5 – The actual spells you get to choose can be varied based on what kind of genie your patron is, there are numerous good spells on this list. This has to be a 5 based solely on giving you Wish as an option for your 9th level Mystic Arcanum Spell!

Genie’s Vessel 5 – This feature actually collects two good abilities under its umbrella: Bottled Respite gives you a good tool for infiltration (say, getting a familiar to carry your vessel with you inside), as well as a limited form of extra-dimensional storage, and safe way to get in a short rest if the rest of your party wants to push on. Genie’s Wrath gives you a small damage bump which can help keep your Warlock competitive as a damage dealer.

Elemental Gift 5 – Damage resistance is nice, particularly in this case as you can potentially get resistance to all bludgeoning damage. The real gem here is the ability to give yourself a flight speed without concentration multiple times a day, great for utility as well as making yourself harder to hit in combat, or taking the fight to a flying enemy. Style points if you flavor this as conjuring a magic carpet of course.

Sanctuary Vessel 5 – You’re now able to bring your party with you when you retreat into your vessel, giving a safer short rest and letting your poor familiar carry all of you. The biggest function here is granting everyone inside a short rest after just ten minutes, similar to the Cat Nap spell, and then throwing additional hp recovered on top!

Limited Wish 5 – A more restricted version of the spell imitating power of Wish, this is a very powerful feature that has the benefit of not actually casting any spell, so it cannot be stopped with Counter Spell. This ability has a potentially long recharge, but that seems appropriate given its sheer power.

The Undead 

This may sound similar to the Undying because in theme they largely are the same. You’ve made a deal with a powerful undead being but you decided you wanted a better deal than those Undying chumps. This Warlock focuses on combat, mixing resilience with control and damage.

Expanded Spell List 2 – The spells here aren’t necessarily bad, but most of them don’t upcast and those that do you may not want to use at all.

Form of Dread 3 – The temp hp is nice and should scale adequately, being immune to frightened can come in handy, though is a little niche. The prize here is making another creature frightened and the debuffs that come with that. This is only rated as a 3 because immunity to frightened isn’t so uncommon for monsters to have. Additionally, this does compete with using something like Hex on your first turn, too.

Grave Touched 4 – This is a nice damage bump, allowing you to improve the damage type of some attacks and gain an extra damage die. Note turning Eldritch Blast from force to necrotic is a bit of a downgrade, the d10 should compensate for that. The not needing to eat, breathe, sleep ribbon is thematic, if largely useless.

Necrotic Husk 2 – Resistance, and sometimes immunity, to necrotic damage, can come in handy but as always is niche. The ability to drop to 1 hp instead of 0 whilst damaging enemies around you is very nice. However, the penalty for this is so severe I have to rate it only a 2. Exhaustion is a heavy penalty and it’s combined with a variable but long recharge time–this ability isn’t that good.

Spirit Projection 3 – There’s a lot of good here, resistance to BPS damage, subtle casting on necromancy and conjuration spells, and Vampiric Touch style healing. This only gets a 3 because leaving your body vulnerable is a risk and complication to deal with. This can be great for scouting or some ghost-like combat, and would pair well if there was also a Genie Warlock in the party to protect your body in their vessel.

Warlock 5E: Tiefling warlock from DnD casting fireball
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The list of spells available to you can seem intimidating to even seasoned players, so this section of Warlock DnD 5E guide will go through some spells that are great for most, if not all Warlocks:

Eldritch Blast [Cantrip] – This is a go-to damage option for Warlocks, the range is excellent, the damage is a great type, and large die size. Most importantly, there are several invocations you can use to customize and enhance it, from more damage to different types of control. Eldritch Blast scales by giving you additional attacks, which pairs excellently with the Agonizing Blast invocation and Hex spell.

Armor of Agathys [1st level Spell] – A double-duty spell, AoA offers you protection in the form of temp hp and deals damage to anyone who hits you with a melee attack. This spell upcasts well with your Pact Magic slots, keeping it relevant throughout your entire career. Something to keep in mind, although the amount of damage is the same as the number of temp hp gained, you do the same amount of damage no matter how many temp hp you have left. For example, if you only have one temp hp left, a creature hitting you would still take the full five damage.

Hex [1st level Spell] – Another iconic Warlock spell, Hex allows you to add damage to each attack hit you make be it with a spell or weapon allowing your damage to scale as you get more attacks. As it lasts an hour and the duration scales up with higher-level spell slots, it allows you to get a lot of value from your slots which is a significant factor for any Warlock spell choice. You can read more about this spell here.

Invisibility [2nd level Spell] – Great for scouting, sneaking into places, and even setting up ambushes to gain advantage from being unseen, or even surprising the enemy. Every spell level above 2nd adds an additional target to the spell, making it age very well as you level up.

Major Image [3rd level Spell] – A very versatile spell you can get very creative with, this doesn’t have an upcasting option usable for a Warlock, but the lack of a saving throw makes up for that. 

Dimension Door [4th level Spell] – Not only does this teleportation spell have a large range (500ft) compared to the lower levels options, you also don’t require line of sight like others, and can even take a willing party member with you. In some ways, Warlocks are the best class for this spell, as it’s relatively high level but the Warlock can cast it several times a day if they like. This can allow you to get around some hazards, completely avoid encounters altogether, or set up your own pincer movement by teleporting behind the enemy with an ally.

Warlock DnD 5E Race Choices Guide

Warlock 5E: Goblin warlock from DnD holding a staff
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Races are good places to pick up abilities for certain character concepts, so if you’re thinking about playing a certain Warlock but that race isn’t rated well here, it doesn’t mean your particular combination wouldn’t work or be fun to play. As I said, it’s actually pretty difficult to make a truly bad character in 5e. 

A race that provides additional casting will be rated well generally unless the spells provided are particularly niche or bad. This is because of the relative benefit the Warlock gains compared to other casters, racial casting can save limited Pact Magic slots, or give access to spells a Warlock may not have valued enough to cast otherwise.

Here are some examples of strong race choices for a Warlock:

Half Elf 5 +2 Cha, with floating +1s to bump your Dex and Con, or any flavour stats you want. Fey Ancestry and two skills of your choice are just the cherry on top of those great stats.

Variant Human PHB 5 Two +1s and a skill of your choice are a good start, but the real
prize here is the feat. ASIs are so limited for most classes that some builds often have to
compromise or wait for feats. This allows you to grab what you want immediately. A
notable choice here might be Metamagic Adept to get more out of your slots, or Eldritch
Adept to get even more invocations!

Tiefling (PHB aka Asmodeus) 4 That +1 Int is a bit of a waste, but the rest of the racial package is so strong and thematic that it still commands a 4, in my opinion. Fire is a common damage type, so a good resistance to have, a free cantrip (not on the Warlock list) is nice, but the free upcasting of Hellish Rebuke and Darkness add a meaningful increase to a Warlock’s casting, whilst keying off of Cha.

Warlock 5E Feats Guide

Warlock 5E: asian female warlock in the flames
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Feats can be a fantastic way to build out the toolkit of the Warlock, giving them additional resources and spell casting to round out and compensate for their limited number of Pact Magic spell slots. Where possible, I would advise choosing feats in a way that won’t interfere much with your Charisma progression, such as half feats that give +1 Cha, or getting your Cha to 18 first.

Here are some examples of strong feat choices for a Warlock:

Inspiring Leader 5 A fantastic feat for a high Cha character, the amount of durability it adds to you and your party over the course of the day is significant. This has extra value for chainlocks as your familiar can also benefit from the temp hp.

Magic Initiate 3 Two cantrips and a casting of a 1st level spell once a day can be a significant increase in spell casting for the average Warlock. It’s generally best to choose a Cha based class for this feat; choosing Warlock would allow you to cast the spell you choose with Pact Magic slots.

Eldritch Adept 3 This can be a fantastic way to get all of the invocations you want without having to gain extra invocations from your class first. If you have access to a feat at first level, this can allow you access to invocations before you’d normally gain them.

Fey Touched 5 Grab a great spell, bump your Cha and still get to choose another spell? You can choose Hex as your second spell, freeing up both your spells known and Pact Magic slots.

Shadow Touched 4 More free spells and a Cha bump, what’s not to love? This is rated slightly lower than Fey Touched just because I rate Misty Step as a more versatile spell and the ability to grab a free casting of Hex is very nice.

Warlock DnD 5E Multiclassing Guide

Warlock 5E: Minotaur warlock from dnd ready for war
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In this section of Warlock DnD 5E guide, we’ll review each class in terms of how good of a multiclass it is for a Warlock, mentioning how many levels and what subclass (if any) would work best. The ratings take multiclassing prerequisites into consideration; if a multiclass will require you to have a 13 in a stat other than Cha or Dex, then it may receive a lower score but this isn’t as severe for Wis requirements as it’s a useful stat to have a +2 in if you can afford it. If it can be avoided try to not just have a 13 in a prerequisite stat, an odd number is a dead number.

General multiclass tips for the Warlock:

  • With how limited your spell casting is, I recommend getting to, at minimum, Warlock level 2 before dipping. This will give you two spell slots per short rest and your invocations.
  • Warlock spellcasting doesn’t multiclass in the same way as other spellcasters, instead of adding to your spellcasting level you instead keep your Pact Magic slots separate from your multiclass. For example, if a level 2 Sorcerer took one level of Bard, they would be a 3rd level spellcaster and have four 1st level slots and two 2nd level slots. However, a level 2 Warlock who takes a level of Sorcerer would have two 1st level Pact Magic spell slots, that recharge on a short or long rest, and two 1st level spells that recharge only on a long rest. Despite the spell slots being kept separately, you can cast spells you know from either class with any spell slot you have.
  • Consider why you want to multiclass. If it is to gain a mechanical benefit, perhaps look at races and feats to see if you can achieve the same thing without slowing your Warlock progression.
  • Due to the sparsity of Pact Magic spell slots, gaining extra resources from multiclasses can be extremely valuable. Short rest resources, like a Fighter’s Second Wind and Action Surge, will naturally be intuitive for you to ration and will allow you to ‘nova’ fairly regularly. Conversely, long rest resources can be more powerful or plentiful, but you may take some time to get used to balancing their use versus your normal short rest recharging spell slots.

Artificer 2 – Int is a hurdle with this multiclass, but the diverse nature of the Artificer spell list combined with them using prepared instead of known spells makes this a decent choice for certain builds. Two levels will also allow you access to your own magic items, great for campaigns where magic items are few and far between. If you take three levels then the Alchemist would allow you to convert any unused Pact Magic slots into Experimental Elixirs before you take a short rest.

Barbarian 1 – Str as a prerequisite and a main feature that shuts down casting and concentration make this a definite avoid for most Warlocks. You could make this work on some very niche builds, like a bladelock that doesn’t cast spells but uses their slots for Eldritch Smite, which would work whilst Raging.

Bard 5 – There’s a lot of great stuff in the Bard class, and as it’s a Cha-based class there is perfect stat synergy between it and the Warlock class. Dipping into Bard can allow you to grab a lot of utility and support spells, ritual casting, Bardic Inspiration dice (which use your Cha modifier), and Jack of All trades as a fantastic all-round skill and initiative bump. There’s even a skill and instrument proficiency to be had!

Cleric 3 – Wisdom is a good stat to have a 14 in, which makes multiclassing into Cleric not as troublesome as other non-Cha stats (this also applies to the Druid). Access to the additional spell slots and spells you wouldn’t normally get access to is nice, but the real lure of dipping into Cleric is gaining medium armor and shield proficiencies and the domain abilities. Which domain to choose really depends on your build, you may want the initiative boost of the Twilight Cleric or the magic item of the Forge domain. If you take this to two levels, Channel Divinity becomes a potentially potent short rest resource depending on the domain.

Druid 4 – This is a pretty high rating and that’s driven primarily by the Wild Shape ability, which not only offers utility but with newer Druid circles offers you potent short rest abilities, in addition to the extra spell casting. Standouts here are the Circle of Stars and Wildfire for combat power or the Circle of the Shepherd for support. Like Cleric this also offers medium armor and shields, though would restrict you to non-metal versions.

Fighter 4 – Fighter is good for pretty much every class: the prerequisites are flexible and common, and the opening levels are very rewarding. Second Wind offers you an in-combat self-heal, the armor proficiencies are a meaningful AC upgrade for most Warlocks, and there’s a Fighting Style for every build. If you go two levels in, Action Surge allows you to cast two leveled spells in a single turn, though you will likely be out of slots doing so. If you go to 3rd level, Eldritch Knight can offer increased spell casting, and Battle Master provides an additional short rest resource.

Monk 1 – Monk is a hard multiclass for Warlock to make work; there’s nothing really inherent to improve your spellcasting unless you grab a subclass, and the overall class is too dependent on Ki and having at least a decent Wisdom. Unless you have a build idea that relies on a Monk mechanic, you should just pass this up.

Paladin 4 – This multiclass is very popular and referred to as a Padlock/Palock. The Str prerequisite isn’t great, but the potential is there for a great dip. If you want to dip Paladin, then really you should go a minimum of two levels in, one will only give you a little Lay on Hands and some proficiencies. However, taking that second level will unlock a fighting style, more Cha-based spellcasting, and Divine Smite which works well with your short rest spell slots. The Vengeance Paladin’s Vow of Enmity can be useful for a Warlock; gaining advantage on attacks for Eldritch Blast or a leveled spell is very potent.

Ranger 2 – Unfortunately, there isn’t much here for Warlocks; the Wis prerequisite seems steep when all you’re getting are the armor proficiencies. You’d have to go to second level for additional spellcasting and a fighting style, but the spells will use Wisdom and there are better ways to get the ones you may be interested in. I would suggest a single level in Fighter and Cleric, overtaking two levels of Ranger. If you go to three levels, the Gloomstalker offers a nice mix of abilities–best for weapon-using Warlocks.

Rogue 3 – Unfortunately for most Warlocks, Sneak Attack will go to waste, if you’re playing a bladelock who uses a finesse or ranged weapon, this would be a 4. Expertise and Thieves’ Tools are great utility and Cunning Action represents a nice set of at-will bonus action abilities.

Sorcerer 5 – Similar to the Bard, but better in some ways as you only need to dip one level to get a subclass. A single level can give you access to some nice abilities, like the Divine Soul’s Favored by the Gods which recharges on a short rest, as well as some long rest spell slots. If you go to two levels of Sorcerer, you’ll gain the ability to make an additional 1st level slot once a day, and if you take your dip to 3rd level you get the Metamagic ability, which is a huge boon to your spellcasting. This multiclass is very popular and commonly referred to as a Sorlock, it is also the basis for the coffeelock build principle.

Wizard 2 – Being Intelligence-based for both, the multiclass and the spellcasting, greatly limits the usefulness of this dip. This can still be a useful dip if you focus on spells that don’t use your casting modifier, like Shield, and make use of the ritual casting feature. Arcane recovery gives you one more spell slot than any other single-level dip, and if you go to second-level Wizard there are a few different schools that could be useful. I recommend the Divination and War Wizard for useful abilities, the latter especially as it will give you an at-will defensive option that pairs well with Eldritch Blast.

Hopefully, this Warlock DnD 5E guide has helped you understand the fine print of the contract from your next Warlock patron, and you’re looking forward to starting your freelance job. If you’re unsure how to level up your Warlock, we got you covered. Good luck to your DMs monsters, you’re about to become the thing that goes bump in the night… well, as long as you took Devil’s Sight.

Expert Editor-in-Chief