Is the Warlock the Best Class?

Zardnaar

Hero
As the title says.

5E has been designed around 3 pillars. A very simple warlock uses Eldritch blast, agonising blast and hex.

So the warlock has some of the highest single point damage in the game outside of sharpshooter abuse.

Now simple phb build fiendpact. Can pick up fireball, very good artillery here lacking a bit of versatility though.

But the warlock can also be a tomelock. That's another 3 cantrips plus book of ancient secrets for ritual casting. They can steal guidance. Ok skill monkey plus Exploration nice.

Now they are also a charisma based class. Skill use wise charisma is better than intelligence. And they can take a few more invocations supporting the social pillar such as Beguiling influence or mask of many faces.

So by level 5 your're looking pretty damn good. This is a very basic build as well.

Celestial tomelock gives up combat utility for a bit of healing.

Hexblade more beatdown focused.

But you get the idea.
 

Seramus

Adventurer
Tome warlock is absolutely delightful. Chain and Blade are really lackluster, though Chain has some use in the exploration pillar.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
They are a DPR class with minimal required investment into their DPR paths, which allows them to gain features that let them function at above average competency in the other two pillars of play,

This does not make them the best class.

A counterpoint: The Bard. Who is unparalleled at social encounters, at least as good as a Rogue at exploration (if not better late game), and second fiddle at worst when it comes to combat support.
 

Al2O3

Explorer
I'm not sure that they are the best class. However, when I first got the PHB I ended up getting hooked on Brimstone Angels to get more inspiration for a fiend warlock.

I'm currently playing a celestial warlock, and even trying to come up with an 8th level character built around greatsword, GWM feat and two attacks I ended up with a warlock... (Fighter 1 for heavy armour, blade pact fiend warlock for the rest...)

So yeah, not sure it's objectively the best class overall, but it sure tends to be closest to optimal for what I want from D&D.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I love the flexibility of the Warlock. It as a class can be almost anything conceptually, especially with backgrounds.

That said, I really think that Bard is the best class in 5e. It went from arguably weakest in 3.x to arguably top of the line in 5e.

As was noted they are great. I’ve played a half-elf Lore hard to 20th and it was fantastic. I was never at a loss for something to do with proficiency in 10 skills, expertise in 4 of them, cutting words, inspiration, songs of rest, full spell casting including 8 spells from any class list: Eldritch Blast, Alter Self, Freezing Sphere, Fireball, Bigby’s Hand, Conjure Elemental, Chain Lightning, and of course Wish. Plus the Bard spells that are already amazing like Animate Objects (probably the best combat spell out there), teleport, glibness, mass suggestion.

He was great at combat, exploration, and social pillar sections and could shine in any of them if he wanted to.

So while I like the Warlock, Bard is always going to win my vote for Best.

Plus Warlock isn’t the highest DPR, they’re just an ok damage dealer.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I love the flexibility of the Warlock. It as a class can be almost anything conceptually, especially with backgrounds.

That said, I really think that Bard is the best class in 5e. It went from arguably weakest in 3.x to arguably top of the line in 5e.

As was noted they are great. I’ve played a half-elf Lore hard to 20th and it was fantastic. I was never at a loss for something to do with proficiency in 10 skills, expertise in 4 of them, cutting words, inspiration, songs of rest, full spell casting including 8 spells from any class list: Eldritch Blast, Alter Self, Freezing Sphere, Fireball, Bigby’s Hand, Conjure Elemental, Chain Lightning, and of course Wish. Plus the Bard spells that are already amazing like Animate Objects (probably the best combat spell out there), teleport, glibness, mass suggestion.

He was great at combat, exploration, and social pillar sections and could shine in any of them if he wanted to.

So while I like the Warlock, Bard is always going to win my vote for Best.

Plus Warlock isn’t the highest DPR, they’re just an ok damage dealer.
Bard is probably the class with the most over-all utility. One might say, the best class to have in your party. For me though, warlock wins “best class” because I think it’s the best designed class. It’s the only casting class that breaks away from neovancian casting and it’s one of the most flexible classes (arguably the most flexible) in terms of potential ways to build your character. It has a wide range of tactical complexity, and can be pretty effective in most any role, depending on how you build it. And it has a really strong story element. It’s an exemplar of 5e’s potential design space that I wish the rest of the game lived up to.

Of course, this is all personal opinion. If anyone reading this dislikes the warlock class design, I respect your opinion.
 
I don't know about best, he general feeling amongst those in my group who have played warlocks is they are the most boring class to play.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
I don't know about best, he general feeling amongst those in my group who have played warlocks is they are the most boring class to play.
What is it that causes that I wonder? How are they being played at your table? Does your table focus more heavily on one pillar than another of the three?

Serious genuine curiosity here not sarcasm.
 
What is it that causes that I wonder? How are they being played at your table? Does your table focus more heavily on one pillar than another of the three?

Serious genuine curiosity here not sarcasm.
I don't know, I wasn't involved in the games referred to. "nothing but blasting" was said I think.

I can think of a couple of warlock characters who seem interesting to me, but I haven't had opportunity to play them yet.
 

S'mon

Legend
If you know what you're doing, they're a powerful class.
If there are fewer than 6-8 encounters per LR, assuming an SR per couple encounters, the LR casters will tend to outshine the Warlock IME. Warlock Cantrips are great but spells still tend to be better, especially for AoE damage and control.
At around 5-6 encounters per LR they are pretty balanced, and at 8+ the Warlock has a clear advantage.

Edit: I tend to agree with views above that Lore Bard is the best full caster class.
 

Don Durito

Explorer
In most of the games I've played in, the Long Rest classes are disproportianely strong because combats rarely get beyond 2 or 3 in a day and GMs don't use the rest variants from the DMG to counter that.
 
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Eric V

Explorer
It's easily the best designed class. More player build choices than any other class, lots of customization, great thematic feel...yeah. I wish the design team had been this creative with some other classes.

Don Durito is right though, that if the days are shorter, they get out-classed by the long-rest casters, but that's a flaw built into the game. Not much to be done.
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Honestly, on the same kind of criteria, I would go for cleric. Typically they gzve more flex-daily spells prep than the warlock knows, more armor and weapon options, and by choosing their domains they gain auto-spells and features too. Wisdom is as strong as cha for z primary stat.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Based upon the reactions warlocks get when they interact with people in town and they discover the warlocks are devil worshippers, have evil talking weapons or speak to great old ones in their head... not even close. ;)
 

Krachek

Explorer
In term of design it’s a hit.

This class allow so many roles and style, that it don’t need MC.

Its spell slot recharging on short rest, sake things up. Having out of phase recharge mechanic provoke more situation and event than the boring everybody is always on top shape.

Invocation is a really great mechanic. Adding a lot of customization in a simple way.

Patron and pact double up choice of customization. This is also a great idea.
 

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