D&D 5E Best level split for Paladin/Hexblade?


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
It looks like most people are answering this for a "I'm creating a 20th level character". But since level 20 will be a small percentage of my total play, I want the split to give me the most benefit for the most time.

So...paladin start for heavy armor. With hexblade for CHR attacking we can tank DEX.

Since we don't want to invest in STR more than needed for multiclassing and aren't pushing DEX, we need hexblade 1 ASAP, even though it will delay the 5th level power bump. okay, now CHR to a one handed weapon.

Now a choice. If we want to stay one handed weapon, go up paladin. Dueling style at 2nd (character level 3), extra attack at 5th (character level 6). And maybe continue from there - aura at 6th, oath ability at 7th, ASI at 8th.

If we want two-handed weapon eventually, we need to go up warlock. Blade pact will allow us to use CHR with out pact weapon, which can be two handed (or ranged, but that loses a lot of synergy). At that point it's probably better to continue up warlock and pick up Thirsting Blade at 5th (character level 6) for Extra attack then delay paladin for too long. That does give us two 3rd level slots a short rest and some other invocations, so it's pretty worth it as well. And if we do get Paladin 5 at a later point for Extra Attack, the next Warlock level after that we can retrain to another invocation.

So right now just to have a strong character for the first 1/3 of play we're looking at options that would impact what we wanted at 20th. If we went up the two-weapon path we're looking at warlock 5 at a minimum, disallowing any 19/1, 18/2, 17/3 or 18/4 paladin-heavy options.

On the other hand, if we were starting our characters at, say, 10th, none of that would be a big deal. 3 levels of warlock to use a two handed weapon with CHR and 5 levels of paladin for extra attack can easily fit with more levels possible and no downside of having to live through levels where you are seriously behind the power curve in your contributions. That's why it's important to know if we're just building for 20th, looking for a viable split over the whole time, or something in-between like starting in tier 2 or 3.

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First Post
Lifedrinker is not really "better". It's 5 dmg vs av. 4.5 dmg. But IDS comes for Paladin at level 11, while LD at level 12 for locks. Meaning since you always want 6 levels of Paladin you will get LD at 18 level fastest, while you can get IDS at 12 (with 1 level dip first in Hex). That is having extra 1d8 dmg for 12-18 level vs having +5 dmg on 18-20 level. Not only that but you have far better chances playing 11-18 level than playing 18-20 levels, which most players never see.

Also I don't think 13 levels if Warlock are worth, you still get max 3 slots. Yes, they are per short rest but in a one serious fight a 13 Lock/7 Paladin have:

3 x 5th level slots, 3 x 2nd level slots and 4x 1st level slots. Meaning in one serious fight you can Nova for maximum of... 32k8 Smites. Let's say we will use at least 1 x 1 level slot for some bless or something or even 1x 5th level slots for something like Moil, Agathys etc. So it's about 27k8 possible nova. Which is 121, 5.

On the other hand Paladin 13/7 Warlock will have: 4/3/3/1 + 2 x 4th level slots. 44k8 Nova. Let's say we burn one slot for probably Haste if Vengeance or one for Bless or Agathys. So 40k8. Potential of 180 extra Nova damage. And we were rocking IDS since level 12 instead of level 18. We have 2x 4th level slots instead of 3x 5th level slots but overall we have same 5k8 smites but we also have extra 3 x 3rd level slots , extra 2nd level slot and faster IDS bonus damage.

Both have access to E-Smite too. Both can use Shadow of Moil.

So Lock 13/7 Paladin will Smite one more time between short rests, but Lock 7/13 Paladin will smite 4 more times in one fight, have more slots, more Paladin spells and have extra 1d8 damage 6 levels faster than 13/7 have +5 damage.
I feel like your numbers are a bit weird for when lifedrinker would come online. If you want to rush to Improved Divine Smite you'd get it at 12. The Warlock 13/ Paladin 7 if rushing to Lifedrinker would get it at 14 with a 2 level paladin dip. With a 1 level Hexblade dip you can only use a longsword. The Warlock 13/ Paladin 7 can use a Greatsword and GWM or PAM. Both if you really want.

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