D&D 5E [GUIDE] Pacts, Patrons, and Power, a Warlock guide

Aldarc

Legend
Does anyone else think it's odd that the Hexblade's weapon can't act as an Arcane Focus? The College of Swords get this and Bards don't even have access to shields. The Hexblade has proficiency in them, but the only way they can actually use a shield is to take Warcaster. It kind of seems like a Feat Tax to get the full AC benefits of the class. Seems like an oversight. Has there been any errata regarding this?
This should have just been baked into the core Pact of the Blade, to be honest. You may get a willing GM to rule in that favor.
 

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Darthnazrael

First Post
It's actually most effective on a low-AC character. The higher your AC, the less value you get out of cutting hit occurrences in half. So ironically, it's probably worst on Hexblades, of all Warlock types, because of all their ways to boost AC (medium armor, shield, Shield, etc.). I think the Polearm Hex blade Bladelock will get more value out of this due to their lack of a shield, at least. And hey, if you go into a boss fight with no minions, you can probably save that spell slot you were gonna spend on Shield due to this feature.
 

It's actually most effective on a low-AC character. The higher your AC, the less value you get out of cutting hit occurrences in half. So ironically, it's probably worst on Hexblades, of all Warlock types, because of all their ways to boost AC (medium armor, shield, Shield, etc.). I think the Polearm Hex blade Bladelock will get more value out of this due to their lack of a shield, at least. And hey, if you go into a boss fight with no minions, you can probably save that spell slot you were gonna spend on Shield due to this feature.

I'm not sure how much this matters when it's not available to other subclasses and is given to every hexblade. Still, let's give it a look mathematically.

For a party of four 10th-level characters, a CR 12 or 13 provides a hard but not deadly encounter. According to the DMG, creatures at those CRs have around +8 to hit and deal about 81 damage per round, or 27 per attack if we assume three attacks.

Against AC 16 - typical warlock with armor of shadows, Dex-based TWF hexblade in leather, polearm hexblade in breastplate - 60% chance to hit + 5% chance to crit = 18.9 damage per attack, reduced to 9.45 by armor of hexes
Against AC 17 - Dex-Based TWF hexblade in studded leather, polearm hexblade in half-plate - 55% chance to hit + 5% chance to crit = 17.55 damage per attack, reduced to 8.775 by AoH
Against AC 18 - sword-and-board hexblade in breastplate - 50% chance to hit + 5% chance to crit = 16.2 average, reduced to 8.1
Against AC 19 - sword-and-board in half-plate - 45% chance to hit + 5% chance to crit = 14.85 average, reduced to 7.425

Compared to a typical warlock at an AC of 16, a sword-and-board hexblade in half-plate will take 11.475 less damage per attack, with 4.05 of that owing to armor and 7.425 coming from armor of hexes. Compared to a hexblade at 16 AC (or a hypothetical non-hexblade with a hexblade feature), the sword-and-board takes 2.025 less damage, gaining 4.05 from AC and losing 2.025 in AoH reduction. A hypothetical sword-and-board hexblade without AoH (in half-plate) will take 5.4 more average damage than a hypothetical non-hexblade with AoH.

An AC 18 hexblade, compared to a hypothetical AC 16 non-hexblade with AoH, will need to be attacked 9.45 / 8.1 = 1.167 times as often (that's 1/6th more) to get the same value out of AoH. That seems quite achievable, for a hexblade in melee to be attacked seven times for every six times a stand-back-and-blast warlock is attacked.

While it is too bad that there is some antergy in the hexblade features, I would conclude that the armor of hexes feature is not a bad one. Since it is a much more powerful effect than equipping a shield, I would view it as a DPR upgrade in addition to a defensive one, as it allows you to switch when fighting bosses to a heavy weapon (assuming pact of the blade) or to TWF with the shadow blade spell.
 

mellored

Explorer
I'm not sure why you say "a single attack." As I read it, you have a 50% chance to avoid any attack from that cursed creature that hits you, including spell attacks, opportunity attacks, and criticals. Seems decent.
It's takes your reaction. Though I guess I should say a single attack per round. I'll reword it.
And lower AC people do get more use out of hit, as they are more likely to be hit. Though it's not a reason to lower your AC.

Also, i bumped up accursed spirit. After seeing how much scouting is worth, letting you pre-cast darkness.
 



tclayton

First Post
Hello,

Thanks for the guide and for keeping it updated.

I had a couple of questions that I hope have not been already answered. I tried searching the thread, but it just hung. These are very basic.

How are you getting the bonus attack with Crossbow Expert? Improved Pact Weapon does not included hand crossbows from my reading and if you are fighting with another type of crossbow it isn't one-handed to get the bonus action attack. I feel like I'm missing something obvious.

Also, the guide talks a lot of advantage. Is this just through Devil Sight+Darkness or are there other approaches at lower levels?

EDIT: Also curious about what you say that Eldrich Smite improves if you multi-class. You specifically can only use warlock spell slots with it. So, I don't see how multi-classing helps.

I appreciate it!

Thanks,
Todd
 
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mellored

Explorer
How are you getting the bonus attack with Crossbow Expert? Improved Pact Weapon does not included hand crossbows from my reading and if you are fighting with another type of crossbow it isn't one-handed to get the bonus action attack. I feel like I'm missing something obvious.
You're correct. I'm the one who missed something.
Though, it still works if you find a magic handbow.

Also, the guide talks a lot of advantage. Is this just through Devil Sight+Darkness or are there other approaches at lower levels?
Just that.
Or shadows of Moil at mid leves.
And foresight at high levels. (with elemental weapon as the buff).

Perhaps I talk about it too much.

EDIT: Also curious about what you say that Eldrich Smite improves if you multi-class. You specifically can only use warlock spell slots with it. So, I don't see how multi-classing helps.
Missed that too. Seems like it was intentional this time.
[MENTION=4036]Jeremy[/MENTION]ECrawford
Eldritch Smite works with warlock spell slots only—the ones you get from Pact Magic. #DnD

But you can still use other spell slots to get advantage, or get advantage from raging, or monk stunning, or fighter trip attacks, or shield master pushes, or whatever.


I will update, thanks.
 







mellored

Explorer
I might be misreading it, but did you also update the polearm one for hexblade + blade pact ? Cos it looks like it's still an 18 Str one for pre-hexblade. Or did I miss something ?
Those numbers are for hexblades.

I was thinking that a non-hexblade blade with 18 Str and 18 Cha would deal the same damage as a hexblade with 18 Cha.
But, You can't get 18 Str, 18 Cha, and the feats by level 12. So non-hexblades would be a few points lower.

I will clarify.
 

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