D&D 5E Hexblade vs Undead for a 1-level Warlock dip on a Drow Eldritch Knight


I have a 1st level Drow Fighter S16,D8,C12,I13,CH17. Right now she has blind fighting fighting style and uses a Lance and a Maul as her primary weapons, with handaxes she can throw. I plan to take a Warlock Dip next level, not sure which subclass though. Will pick up GFB and Eldritch Blast.

After this dip she is going to go to 8th level Eldritch Knight fighter getting Fey Touched with either Hex or Dissonant Whispers, Drow High Magic and a Charisma ASI on her three ASIs. My EK spells will be mostly defensive with Booming Blade and Blade Ward. After 9th level I am not sure what I am going to do, maybe a few Paladin levels, maybe War Magic Wizard or maybe more Warlock levels.

I am debating whether to take my Warlock level in Hexblade or Undead. Since Charisma is higher than Strength Hexblade would let me attack with Charisma with her Lance, but I am not sure how long I will be using that and if we find a good two-handed weapon it won't work with that. If I take Hexblade I am probably going to get Wrathful Smite (working with reach weapons) and probably AOA as her spells.

If I go Undead you get the form of Dread, which would seem better than Wrathful Smite, not requiring concentration or spell slots, but I won't be doing as much damage. For spells I would probably get Cause Fear and Hex and then get Dissonant Whispers on Fey Touched. This would give me Hex earlier and the synergy with Dissonant Whispers causing a Form of Dread Attack of Opportunity is pretty awesome.

Storywise, Undead is a bit easier.

Which do you think would work better?

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Both options are 100% fine - so I'd talk to the DM and feel through which option makes more sense for the game. As you're taking a level in warlock, I'd also ask the DM about how impactful your warlock pact will be. Many DMs (and even more now after they've played BG3) see a warlock as a gold mine for RP possibilities. To that end, you might hav more than just their abilities to consider when selecting between them. Perhaps your Hexblade would mean there is a powerful magical weapon for you to locate - or perhaps there is a powerful undead in the storyline that your pact would engage.

All that being said, for the one level dip I like the utility of The Undead. I run a Moon Druid with one level of Undead Pact Warlock so that I can cast enlarge, utilize Form of Dread and then become huge (or gargantuan) nightmare monsters/elementals - which is even more fun as he has a magical item that allows him to grow wings. The best part of it is not the power boost - it is the RP opportunities it creates.

For Warlock spells I'd look at Eldritch Blast and Minor Illusion. Creative uses of Minor Illusion can be very useful at lower levels and maintains utility throughout the game. Eldritch Blast is the strongest cantrip and your ability to cast and attack may be useful later. The spells I'd select are Armor of Agathys and Hex. You already know why Hex is a good idea, but Armor of Agathys is a real winner on a melee build when you can upcast it. The Moon Druid I mentioned above often casts it with a 4th level slot. It can be cast well before combat (preserving actions), gives me extra survivability, and can be insanely effective at damage dealing. In a recent battle I dealt 60 damage to a major threat while avoiding 20 .... but even 40 damage dealt and 20 saved is worth a 4th level slot easily. 30 Dealt and 15 prevented is also good for 3rd level. However, as I think you'll want to dip a 2nd level into Warlock eventually, you could also pick it up later.

I'd recommend 13 Levels of Eldritch Knight to get that 3rd attack and 3rd level spells (haste - replacing a lower level spell). If you're going to multiclass from there, I'd recommend Sorcerer be considered for the spell slots and a wider range of options - and eventually quicken spell. I'd also grab at least 2nd level of Warlock somewhere to enhance your eldritch blast and gain the ability to see in your own darkness.

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