Banishing Eldritch Blast

clearstream

(He, Him)
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?
 

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Hawk Diesel

Adventurer
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

41st 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

Adventurer
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 (She/Her/Hers)
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.
 

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