5E Warlock 3/Fighter 17 Ranged Crit-Fisher (95DPR) - Melee Variants Included
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  1. #1

    Novice (Lvl 1)

    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Vancouver, Canada

    Warlock 3/Fighter 17 Ranged Crit-Fisher (95DPR) - Melee Variants Included

    Here's a ranged crit-fishing build that takes high levels of Fighter for 3 attacks per Attack Action, the Brute Fighter subclass for extra damage on hits (even more on crits), and 3 levels of Warlock for the Darkness + Devil's Sight combo for constant advantage (usable twice per short rest). Darkness, which has a radius of 15, should hopefully not impact allies as you will be attacking from range 30. Overall, we combine multi-attacks, advantage, and the Elven Accuracy feat for crit-fishing goodness.

    The build does have poor damage per round (DPR) for the early levels, but around level 5-6 starts catching up into its own. By level 20, against enemies with 20 AC, we have 94.8 DPR. Once per short rest, we can curse an enemy with Hexblade's Curse; against that enemy, we have 128.6 DPR.

    I've included explanations for the main parts of this build if you're interested, or are not familiar with fighters or warlocks. You can also go either Dexterity (DEX)-focus, or Charisma (CHA)-focus - the CHA-based build will have lower DPR at early levels, but will have the same from level 6 onwards.

    I've also included two melee variants at the end, one build if you want to use a Glaive or Halberd (93.6 DPR, 125.4 DPR with Hexblade's Curse), and another if you want to use a Greatsword or Maul (90.9 DPR, 128.8 DPR with Hexblade's Curse), or Greataxe (89.3 DPR, 126.8 DPR with Hexblade's Curse). Actual DPR for these builds will be a bit higher (especially for the Greatsword/Maul route) due to not taking into account rerolling 1's and 2's once per damage roll. However, going melee has a few downsides as I'll discuss.

    If you have any feedback I'd love to hear it!

    Race: Elf (Drow) for DEX, Half-Elf (Drow) for CHA

    I like the Drow aspect for the extra cast of Darkness once per day (and a cast of Faerie Fire which could give your whole team advantage), and we need to be an Elf or Half-Elf to take Elven Accuracy.

    The +2 Dexterity (DEX) from Elf works with our ranged attack/damage rolls. DEX also helps our AC and is overall a nice ability to max. Because we take the Hexblade Warlock subclass, we also have the option of using Charisma (CHA) instead of DEX for ranged attack/damage rolls, so the +2 CHA from Half-Elf isn't wasted. Going Half-Elf will mean starting Warlock instead of Fighter, to use CHA right away.

    Class: Fighter 17 (Brute)/Warlock 3 (Hexblade)

    Fighter 17: We get Extra Attack (x2) for 3 attacks with our Attack Action. Taking the Brute subclass gives us extra damage on each attack (+1d4/1d6/1d8 at Fighter level 3/10/16), extra damage on crit (equal to our Fighter level), and an additional Fighting Style (take Archery first, then Close Quarters Shooter, for total +3 to ranged attack rolls). We also get Action Surge (x2) for two uses of an additional Action on your turn, recharging on a short rest, though since I'm only interested in sustained damage throughout an encounter I won't be taking it into account. Just remember you have that, since you can use your Action Surges for two rounds of nova damage. Lastly, we get 6 Ability Score Improvements (ASIs), which is more than enough than what we need (see "Feats"), leaving 2 ASIs for whatever you feel like.

    Warlock 3: We need at least 2 levels in Warlock to use the Devil's Sight invocation (to see through magical darkness), and the extra level gives us 2 Warlock spell slots to cast 2nd level spells (namely, Darkness, to create magical darkness for advantage) per short rest. We take the Hexblade subclass for Hexblade's Curse, which allows us to crit 19-20 and deal bonus damage equal to our proficiency to a single enemy once per short rest. Hex Warrior lets us use CHA instead of DEX for attack and damage rolls if you want to be a Half-Elf. Unfortunately Pact of the Blade doesn't let us make use a hand crossbow for a pact weapon, but Pact of the Chain and Pact of the Tome are both alright options.

    Ability Scores:

    Elf DEX build: +2 DEX, +1 CHA; start 15 in DEX, and at least 12/13 in CHA (need 13 CHA to multiclass Warlock). Examples:

    STR 8
    DEX 15(+2)
    CON 14
    INT 8
    WIS 14
    CHA 12(+1)

    If taking Resilient (WIS) feat:

    STR 10
    DEX 15(+2)
    CON 14
    INT 8
    WIS 13
    CHA 12(+1)

    Half-Elf CHA build: +2 CHA, +1 to two others; start 15 in CHA, and at least 12/13 in DEX (need 13 DEX to multiclass Fighter). Examples:

    STR 8
    DEX 13(+1)
    CON 15(+1)
    INT 8
    WIS 12
    CHA 15(+2)

    If taking Resilient (CON) feat:

    STR 9(+1)
    DEX 14
    CON 15
    INT 8
    WIS 9(+1)
    CHA 15(+2)

    Weapon: Hand crossbow (1d6)

    This is the only option to take a ranged weapon that will give us a bonus action attack (thanks to Crossbow Expert).

    Feats: Crossbow Expert, Sharpshooter, Elven Accuracy, +2 DEX/CHA, (2 others)

    Crossbow Expert lets us use a bonus action to attack with our hand crossbow after we use the Attack action. We need this to be our first ASI; otherwise, due to the loading property of crossbows, we can't make use of multi-attacking like Extra Attack.

    Sharpshooter lets us take a -5 penalty to attack rolls for +10 damage to hit. With this build it is always worth it to take this trade, resulting in a huge DPR increase.

    Elven Accuracy means we can roll 3d20 instead of 2d20 when attacking with advantage, which significantly increases our crit (and regular hit) chance. It also gives +1 DEX/CHA.

    +2 DEX/CHA is needed to max out our main ability to 20.

    Level Progressions:

    Elf DEX build: Fighter 6 > Warlock 3 > Fighter 17

    Half-Elf CHA build: Warlock 1 > Fighter 6 > Warlock 3 > Fighter 17

    Fighter 2 - Take Archery Fighting Style
    Fighter 3 - Choose Brute subclass
    Fighter 4 - Take Crossbow Expert Feat
    Fighter 6 - Take Sharpshooter Feat
    Fighter 8 - Take Elven Accuracy Feat
    Fighter 10 - Take Close Quarters Shooter Fighting Style
    Fighter 12 - Take +2 DEX/CHA

    Warlock 1 - Take Hexblade subclass
    Warlock 2 - Take Devil's Sight Eldritch Invocation (and one other - Agonizing Blast is a good choice if you go CHA)
    Warlock 3 - Learn Darkness spell

    All choices not listed (2 more ASIs, your Pact Boon, cantrips, other spells, your second invocation) are up to you. Suggested ASIs: Resilient (CON) (if going CHA), Resilient (WIS) (if going DEX), Lucky, Medium Armor Master

    Typical DPR across levels:

    Level (Enemy AC) - DEX DPR/CHA DPR
    L1 (AC 14) - 4.1/4.1
    L2 (AC 14) - 4.7/4.1
    L3 (AC 14) - 6.6/4.7
    L4 (AC 14) - 13.2/6.6
    L5 (AC 15) - 19.8/13.2
    L6 (AC 15) - 26.6/19.8
    L7 (AC 15) - 30.9
    L8 (AC 16) - 27.9
    L9 (AC 16) - 46.8
    L10 (AC 16) - 46.8
    L11 (AC 17) - 52.6
    L12 (AC 17) - 52.6
    L13 (AC 17) - 60.3
    L14 (AC 18) - 77.5
    L15 (AC 18) - 84.0
    L16 (AC 18) - 84.0
    L17 (AC 19) - 84.0
    L18 (AC 19) - 92.5
    L19 (AC 20) - 94.2
    L20 (AC 20) - 94.8

    Example DPR Calculation (Level 20, Enemy AC 20):
    Attack bonus
    +6 (proficiency)
    +5 (DEX/CHA)
    +2 (Archery)
    +1 (Close Quarters)
    -5 (Sharpshooter)
    = +9

    Need to roll 11 or higher to hit AC 20:
    P(hit) = (21-(20-9))/20 = 0.5
    P(crit) = 0.05

    Damage per hit (normal damage)
    1d6 (hand crossbow)
    +5 (DEX/CHA)
    +1d8 (Brute 3)
    +10 (Sharpshooter)
    = 23

    Damage per hit (crit damage)
    2d6 (hand crossbow)
    +5 (DEX/CHA)
    +2d8 (Brute 3)
    +10 (Sharpshooter)
    +17 (Brute 15)
    = 48

    Rolling with advantage (3d20):
    Use cumulative binomial distribution to find the probability of getting at least 1 success out of 3 attempts, with probability p of a success:
    Probability of at least one hit, either crit or not (p=0.5) = 0.875
    Probability of at least one crit (p=0.05) = 0.142625
    Probability of at least one hit, no crits = 0.875 - 0.142625 = 0.732375

    DPR (1 Attack Action + 2 Extra Attacks + 1 Bonus Action Attack = 4 attacks)
    4[23(0.732375) + 48(0.142625)] = 94.8

    If using Hexblade's Curse, add +6 (proficiency) to damage and crit on 19-20 (p=0.1):
    Probability of at least one hit, either crit or not (p=0.5) = 0.875
    Probability of at least one crit (p=0.1) = 0.271
    Probability of at least one hit, no crits = 0.875 - 0.271 = 0.604

    4[29(0.604) + 54(0.271)] = 128.6

    Side note: Melee Variants (almost equal DPR)

    I posted the ranged build as the main one mainly because it has more versatility by going either DEX or CHA and being able to choose between Pact of the Chain and Pact of the Tome for utility. Importantly, however, using Darkness tends to be a lot more problematic in melee than range for your allies.

    For both of these variants, you will have to do the CHA build. This is because Elven Accuracy requires DEX or CHA (or INT/WIS) attacks, so the only way to use a heavy melee weapon with one of those (to take advantage of Great Weapon Master) is to take Pact of the Blade at Warlock 3 for CHA attack and damage rolls. Make sure you take the Improved Pact Blade invocation when you do this for +1 attack/damage.

    Variant 1 - Glaive or Halberd (Polearm Master + Great Weapon Master)
    Replace Crossbow Expert with Polearm Master, and Sharpshooter with Great Weapon Master. Rather than Archery and Close Quarters Shooting fighting styles, I would take Defense and Great Weapon Fighting. You'll need a heavy two-handed weapon with reach, so your options are either a glaive or halberd (both do 1d10 for the Attack Action/Extra Attacks, and 1d4 for the Bonus Action attack).

    Based on my calculations the DPR is almost identical - 93.6 DPR at level 20, 125.4 DPR with Hexblade's Curse. Not included is an increase in DPR from rerolling 1/2 once on damage due to Great Weapon Fighting. You will have a slightly lower chance to hit (+7 at level 20 instead of +9), but slightly higher damage on hit, and it evens out.

    Variant 2 - Greatsword, Maul, or Greataxe (Blade Mastery/Fell Handed + Great Weapon Master)
    Replace Crossbow Expert with Blade Mastery (if going Greatsword) or Fell Handed (if going Maul or Greataxe), and Sharpshooter with Great Weapon Master. Again, I would take Defense and Great Weapon Fighting for the fighting styles. This route, we don't have a way of getting bonus action attack every round - however, we still will do 3 attacks per round, and Great Weapon Master gives us a bonus action attack if we crit anyways. So, we sacrifice doing 4 consistent attacks for 3 attacks with the chance at a 4th, and each attack will do more damage (Greatsword/Maul base damage die is 2d6 damage, an average of 7, compared to Halberd/Glaive's 1d10 and average of 5.5), and will have a higher chance to hit (+8 at level 20) compared to the Halberd/Glavie route, due to Blade Mastery/Fell Handed.

    DPR at level 20 in this case is 90.9 DPR, going up to 128.8 DPR with Hexblade's Curse, if using Greatsword/Maul, and 89.3 DPR/126.8 DPR ​if using a Greataxe. Again, actual DPR will be higher with rerolling 1/2 once on damage rolls.
    Last edited by KnightofCydonia; Saturday, 29th September, 2018 at 02:09 AM. Reason: Added additional melee variant build

  2. #2

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    I would change it to hexblade 1 Shadow Sorcerer 4 Brute 15, this gives you very similar dpr (2 less dmg on crit) and same 6 feats, only slightly less hps (4d6 vs 2d8+2d10), you get metamagic options for some versatility or to stretch Hex utility (eg cast it on 2 instead of 1, or extend duration to 2hrs). you can have upto 8 darkness per day (9 with a short rest 1per 2 spell points plus dark elf). and still have normal 120ft darkvision. so you only really lose 1 invocation and 1 action surge double your darkness casts and get a bunch of versatility.
    Last edited by Chryssis; Wednesday, 24th October, 2018 at 06:25 AM. Reason: extra thought

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