• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

Banishing Eldritch Blast

clearstream

Explorer
Eldritch Blast is really the best damage dealing cantrip. So good, that our Warlock with Pact of the Tome and Magic Initiate recently mentioned that he never cast any of his other cantrips (except for Guidance). Looking at the other cantrips, there's a lot of possible interest there: damage types, side effects and so forth. So here is my proposal.

Eldritch Blast is removed. In compensation, Warlocks get to add their various Blast invocations to any one-target cantrip that does damage (with one minor change, which is that Spear is tripled range, instead of a flat 300'). Additionally, at 2nd level they get the Minor Arcanum: two cantrips from any arcane spell list (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard).

Example: with 16 Charisma, I take Chill Touch, Ray of Frost and Toll the Dead. At 2nd level I take Agonizing Blast and Lethargy Blast. Chill Touch deals d8+3 necrotic damage at 120', target loses 10 speed and can't regain hit points for one round. Ray of Frost deals d8+3 cold damage at 60', target loses 20 speed for one round. Toll the Dead deals d8+3 necrotic, or d12+3 if they've already taken damage, at 60', and is a Wisdom save instead of a ranged attack roll. I think I now have some interesting decisions, instead of spam EB. Heresy perhaps?
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
2 things.

1) Eldritch blast is a ranged cantrip. Casting it while an enemy is within 5' means it is made at disadvantage even if aiming at an enemy that is not within 5'. So a warlock will always want a melee cantrip in their pocket (shocking grasp, green-flame blade with shillelagh <a popular combination for tomelocks>, ect).

2) If a warlock already has eldritch blast + a melee backup cantrip, why would they not choose strictly utility cantrips with their remaining slots? Message, mage hand, minor illusion... all useful.

I personally don't think eldritch blast needs to be nerfed or banned. It is one of the unique aspects of the warlock and is often one of the things that makes the class fun. If your player is not using their other offensive cantrips, perhaps it makes more sense to allow them to trade them out for defensive or utility cantrips instead.

If on the other hand the player is feeling bored because he's spamming eldritch blast, perhaps that is not a problem with the player but rather an indication to switch up the encounters to force the player to be in close quarters or otherwise change the challenges up. Or put in enemies that are vulnerable to damage types available to the party to allow for strategy, or incorporate how the secondary effects of the other cantrips available to the group might make it easier to deal with an enemy. As examples, trolls don't regenerate after getting hit by chill touch, and ray of frost is great when chasing an enemy. As a DM it is important to pay attention to what resources the players have at their disposal and create encounters that those resources could be useful.
 

TallIan

Explorer
I wouldn’t think so. I think you’re just nerfing the warlock.

Your warlock has gone a bit mad for cantrips (Tome and MI) but any spellcaster I’ve played leans heavily on one combat cantrip, the rest of his cantrips are out of combat utility. That cantrip can be “the best” or it can be themed for the character ( a conjuror taking acid splash). I might pick up a second one in later levels to allow for different damage type or attack (save vs attack roll). But comparing cantrip damage output I’d say most characters probably stick to just one anyway.

Most other casters will start to use their spell slots more and more as they gain levels but a warlocks low spell slot count means that he’s going to be using his cantrip more. So by depriving him of the best damage cantrip you’re just making the class worse.
 
Well the big issue is that without EB's bonus damage multiplier your DPS starts to dip, especially your single target damage.

I really like the concept of adding the invocation buffs directly to the various other cantrips, but keep in mind that you're removing the warlock's signature, and that may have a major impact on their performance.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Eldritch Blast is really the best damage dealing cantrip. So good, that our Warlock with Pact of the Tome and Magic Initiate recently mentioned that he never cast any of his other cantrips (except for Guidance). Looking at the other cantrips, there's a lot of possible interest there: damage types, side effects and so forth. So here is my proposal.

Eldritch Blast is removed. In compensation, Warlocks get to add their various Blast invocations to any one-target cantrip that does damage (with one minor change, which is that Spear is tripled range, instead of a flat 300'). Additionally, at 2nd level they get the Minor Arcanum: two cantrips from any arcane spell list (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard).
Hopefully you don't intend for WoTC to deprive the rest of us the EB option just because your warlock player likes EB & isn't very imaginative concerning using other cantrips.

Personally {I} think making an EB spamming warlock is a pretty boring way to make a character. Even worse, optimizing EB sucks up your invocations. And aside from RP, that's where I see soooo many ideas for different warlocks. Just seems a waste to not use them in favor of MOAR DAMAGE!

Fortunately EB (& it's augments) is an option. You don't HAVE to use it in order to make a decent warlock.
So while I won't make heavy use of EB, I won't support it's general removal either. And hopefully one day your EB lover will tire of it & try other options.
 
In theory, no, in practicality that's what a large chunk of class features focus on.

Frankly it's one of the few things a warlock can do better than a sorcerer or wizard, consistent at-will single target damage.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
DPS is important to some people, in some styles of play, and at certain tables. For others, there may be other things that are important. Neither is inherently good or bad. But it is also much easier to eyeball balance between classes and abilities using DPS as the guide point.

I would state when discussing the merits and effectiveness of Eldritch Blast, DPS is a fair place to start. Unlike other offensive cantrips, it is built to maximize damage, improve the rate of critical hits, and mitigate damage resistance due to being force damage. It is also the only offensive cantrip that is pure damage without any kind of effect rider (unless including invocations, which can provide additional options for battlefield control).
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
1) Eldritch blast is a ranged cantrip. Casting it while an enemy is within 5' means it is made at disadvantage even if aiming at an enemy that is not within 5'. So a warlock will always want a melee cantrip in their pocket (shocking grasp, green-flame blade with shillelagh <a popular combination for tomelocks>, ect).
Well, if you take the Repelling Blast Cantrip, this is only a problem for your first beam (unless it misses). It’s still a good idea to have a melee Cantrip in your back pocket, but often it’s worth the disadvantage on the first attack to get the following ones off.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Well, if you take the Repelling Blast Cantrip, this is only a problem for your first beam (unless it misses). It’s still a good idea to have a melee Cantrip in your back pocket, but often it’s worth the disadvantage on the first attack to get the following ones off.
That's fair, but unless you have an ally with Sentinel or Polearm Master, there's nothing stopping that enemy from running right back in the Warlock's face, especially if they move faster than 30ft. Also, this assumes there's room. Tight corridors, pit traps, fighting in water... all things that may negate the benefit of Repelling Blast.
 
Ehhhh i think the intent is that you repel the guy in front of you and the extra beams from leveling up are free to fire normally. Not the the guys is somehow immobilized far away from you.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Ehhhh i think the intent is that you repel the guy in front of you and the extra beams from leveling up are free to fire normally. Not the the guys is somehow immobilized far away from you.
Not sure if you are responding to me. What I am saying is that Repelling Blast is not going to be effective in every situation. You can't knock an enemy back if there's no room to knock them back to. In wide open spaces, sure. You can knock an enemy back if you hit them with a ray at disadvantage, then use any remaining beams as normal and possibly even use your move action to put distance between you and the enemy. But this assumes there's:

1) Room to use this tactic

2) There is only one enemy within 5ft of you.
 

Hawk Diesel

Explorer
Yeah, but that still means the guy can't just rush back up in your face before you get your next shot off is what I'm saying.
I am not saying that. But once you have taken your Action (regardless of the number of blasts you have) and ended your turn, that same enemy has nothing stopping him from using their move action on their turn to get right back in your face and continue to harass you. So yes, Repelling Blast is useful, but you will still continue to have at least one, if not more, Eldritch Blast rays at disadvantage unless you can put more distance between you and that enemy than they have movement speed.

Of course, this also assumes the enemy has no Legendary Action that gives free movement, or some reaction ability that allows it to move in response to an attack. In which case, it could in fact move back in your face at least once between blasts.
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
I'm with the OP. Not necessarily on the solution, but on the "problem".

First, any argument that states (in essence) "Well you don't have to optimize your character; you can always roleplay instead" is a weak argument. While true at face value, it misses the point that good game design should minimize that tradeoff. (It's the same problem with ASIs vs. weak but flavorful Feats.) If the Warlock had been designed well you shouldn't have to sacrifice such an effective attack in order to...be different. ( And it's a testament to so many players I've met that they do make that sacrifice.)

Second, I don't buy for a second that Eldritch Blast makes Warlocks unique and fun. Other than doing lots of damage, the only difference between this and other cantrips is that you get to target multiple enemies and you almost never encounter damage resistance. That's good and useful, and it's unique in the sense that it's markedly better than what any other caster gets, but it doesn't really mean that the class plays differently than other casters (at least when it comes to default attacks). In other words, in the absence of EB the class would feel 99% as distinct from other casters as it currently does.

I skipped most of 3e and all of 4e, so I didn't know what a D&D warlock was when I came back during Next. I landed in a forum discussion at WotC where folks were saying that EB defines the Warlock; it wouldn't be a Warlock without EB, etc. When I asked what this "Eldritch Blast" was, all I could gather was that it was just like a bunch of other spells, but did Force damage.

Really? THAT'S the class's signature spell? It just does damage that is sort of like elemental damage but isn't an element? I thought that was just ridiculously lame and weak. And I still think so.

Thirdly, from an RP/lore/storytelling perspective I find it improbable and problematic that every single entity in the multiverse that signs pacts with mortals shares the ability to grant this one exceptionally powerful 0-level spell, but otherwise the spell is (almost entirely) non-existent. It just doesn't make any sense. If this were true about a spell that somehow was related to the signing of pacts I would get it. But it's just a very effective blast spell.

So, yeah, I kind of hate EB....
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Eldritch Blast is really the best damage dealing cantrip. So good, that our Warlock with Pact of the Tome and Magic Initiate recently mentioned that he never cast any of his other cantrips (except for Guidance). Looking at the other cantrips, there's a lot of possible interest there: damage types, side effects and so forth. So here is my proposal.

Eldritch Blast is removed. In compensation, Warlocks get to add their various Blast invocations to any one-target cantrip that does damage (with one minor change, which is that Spear is tripled range, instead of a flat 300'). Additionally, at 2nd level they get the Minor Arcanum: two cantrips from any arcane spell list (Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard).

Example: with 16 Charisma, I take Chill Touch, Ray of Frost and Toll the Dead. At 2nd level I take Agonizing Blast and Lethargy Blast. Chill Touch deals d8+3 necrotic damage at 120', target loses 10 speed and can't regain hit points for one round. Ray of Frost deals d8+3 cold damage at 60', target loses 20 speed for one round. Toll the Dead deals d8+3 necrotic, or d12+3 if they've already taken damage, at 60', and is a Wisdom save instead of a ranged attack roll. I think I now have some interesting decisions, instead of spam EB. Heresy perhaps?
"Eldritch Blast is really the best damage dealing cantrip."

Proof?

Tolling the dead goes d12s after essentially the first hit on an enemy.
Chilling touch counters healing and regen which is effectively extra damage against many threatening foes at levels that really matter.
Firebolt does basically the same damage but only requires one to- hit which let's it get a bit better use out of temporary advantages like say from Guiding Bolt.

So, where is the proof that EB **alone** is the best damaging cantrip.

I think what you may have actually meant was The Warlock class features make EB better than other cantrips for the Warlock.

That's kind of like saying "the Rogue sneak attack makes finesse and ranged weapons better than others."

The effectiveness boosts using EB for Warlocks are every b

it as much a design feature for that class as sneak boosting finesse is for Rogues.

Are you gonna change how sneak works because your rogue doesn't go for greataxe?

If your Warlock is bored with the choices he made, that's a sign they may have chosen poorly or that the challenges are a bit too much of the same old same old.
 
Last edited:

clearstream

Explorer
"Eldritch Blast is really the best damage dealing cantrip."

Proof?

Tolling the dead goes d12s after essentially the first hit on an enemy.
Chilling touch counters healing and regen which is effectively extra damage against many threatening foes at levels that really matter.
Firebolt does basically the same damage but only requires one to- hit which let's it get a bit better use out of temporary advantages like say from Guiding Bolt.

So, where is the proof that EB **alone** is the best damaging cantrip.
Eldritch Blast fires three separate force damage type bolts, 120'. Each typically receives the Warlock's Charisma modifier as a bonus.

At tier 1, this readily looks like at least 3d10+9 = 25.5 versus Toll the Bell at 3d12=19.5, given Charisma 16. There are two other subtle factors that do count. More creatures resist Necrotic than Force (nearly nothing resists Force), the bolt has better range than Toll, and the bolts can be divided over targets for efficiency at higher levels (e.g. bolt 1 knocks the target, so bolt 2 goes to a different target). Toll must do all its damage to one target even if only part of that damage was needed to knock that target down.

Mechanically, I honestly believe it is uncontentious that Eltdritch Blast is the most damaging cantrip, given Agonising Blast (which is so much a must-take that it is essentially an "invocation tax").

I use highly varied challenges in my campaign, which has run 64 sessions with characters going from level 1 to level 12. Warlock is a great class, flavourful and a lot of fun. I think it can gain mechanical interest by letting Warlocks do more with other damage cantrips: as always, balance is more about making more strategies valid, than reducing power. I believe this change would make more strategies valid, but coming back to your main criticism - proof? What do you think of the numbers?
 

5ekyu

Explorer
Eldritch Blast fires three separate force damage type bolts, 120'. Each typically receives the Warlock's Charisma modifier as a bonus.

At tier 1, this readily looks like at least 3d10+9 = 25.5 versus Toll the Bell at 3d12=19.5, given Charisma 16. There are two other subtle factors that do count. More creatures resist Necrotic than Force (nearly nothing resists Force), the bolt has better range than Toll, and the bolts can be divided over targets for efficiency at higher levels (e.g. bolt 1 knocks the target, so bolt 2 goes to a different target). Toll must do all its damage to one target even if only part of that damage was needed to knock that target down.

Mechanically, I honestly believe it is uncontentious that Eltdritch Blast is the most damaging cantrip, given Agonising Blast (which is so much a must-take that it is essentially an "invocation tax").

I use highly varied challenges in my campaign, which has run 64 sessions with characters going from level 1 to level 12. Warlock is a great class, flavourful and a lot of fun. I think it can gain mechanical interest by letting Warlocks do more with other damage cantrips: as always, balance is more about making more strategies valid, than reducing power. I believe this change would make more strategies valid, but coming back to your main criticism - proof? What do you think of the numbers?
In my PHB eldritch blast fires one d10 bolt per tier.

At tier-1 thats a to-hit roll out to 120' for avg 5.5.

Toll the dead is only 60' with wis save vs to-hit (pretty good for wide variety of foes) and after any dmg is a d12.

The 60 vs 120 not normally a big deal. It will hit sometimes for sure but if its often enough to hit cantrip voability there are a lot of other things being hit too - like the very viability of melee builds.

Both advance their dice as each tier goes up but especially for saves against targets that dont favor wisdom, toll will get better long term results damage wise.

As for any warlock class feature - as soon as you are throwing that in you have left the building as far as comparing "cantrips". You are now comparing classes.

Its like someone saying rapiers do more damage than greataxes because they want to add in sneak attack to the calculations.


If you are really wanting to argue that EB is the most damaging cantrip **for warlocks that sink invocations into boosting it" then yes, thats the case. But all you are stating is "the warlock has class abilities that boost EB and not other cantrips" and thats really not news or something that needs changing, is it? Its certainly not a problem with THE CANTRIP that the class adds stuff to it, right?

Have you compared war-eb to say sorcery red dragon fire bolt with the affinity boost from the bloodline and the elemental adept feat (plus empower and twin if you are inclined).its not too shabby.
 
Last edited:
I honestly just see Eldritch Blast as the Warlock's normal attack, especially when he specializes on it.

I mean sure, my fighter uses his normal attack most of the time during combat, does that mean I need to nerf it so he also uses Grapple, Shove, Help and other available actions? Nope.

My rogue also uses sneak attack pretty much all the time. It also deals much more damage than his normal attack, so there's no reason for the rogue to not use it. Does that mean I need to banish it? Nope.
 

Advertisement

Top