Level Up (A5E) Is the Warlock the king of at-will damage?

I'm trying to get a feel for things, and it looks like the at-will damage from a Pact of the Blade, Eldritch Scythe, Polearm Savant Warlock is so high I have a hard time seeing who else is keeping up. This isn't a criticism; I'm just trying to orient myself to the facts. I haven't studied all the classes yet, so I very well may have missed something.

Assuming a max level character wielding a glaive with Pact of the Blade with Polearm Savant, and Lifedrinker, we are looking at a primary attack for (1d10+10), and an off-hand attack for (1d4+10) = 28
We're using Eldritch Scythe to convert the extra attack from Thirsting Blade into 4 scythe attacks, with Agonizing Blast, for 4 x (1d8+5) = 38

That's a total single target damage of 66, not counting any bonuses from having a magic weapon as your pact blade.

But wait, there's more! Eldritch Scythe does damage to a secondary target. I'm not sure if damage from Agonizing Blast is supposed to be added to the secondary damage, not added, or the initial damage just divided in half, but I'll go with the last option as it seems the easiest. With rounding down, that's an additional 16 damage you're potentially adding to a secondary target. All of this, of course, is at-will, all day long.

Is this character the best for at-will damage, or are there others that top it? (I'm mainly looking for obvious single-class choices, rather than multiclassing crazy synergies.)
 

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Thirsting Blade and Eldritch Scythe do not stack, it's one or the other
Yeah, I hadn't realized this wasn't a resolved issue. Hopefully the revised pdfs will clear it up.

There are kind of pros and cons to either interpretation.

If you can combine them, you get this crazy high damage. It may be too much, although it does require a good deal of investment to get to so maybe it's fine.

But if you can't combine them, the only way to be effective actually attacking with a pact weapon is if you are using Polearm Savant. Otherwise you are better off just using Eldritch Scythe (for zero investment), and if you have a magic weapon making it your pact weapon so it will be imparting its attack and damage bonuses to your Eldritch Scythe attacks. It just doesn't feel like you are really using your weapon though, because the damage is always d8s and you aren't getting any base weapon properties, which feels rather unsatisfying. I mean, unless you go all in with Polearm Savant, it's basically a trap choice to actually use your pact weapon.

Also, if you can't combine them, the text of Eldritch Scythe allowing it to replace one of your melee attacks must be referring to multiclassing uses only.

What might be nice would be if Eldritch Scythe and Extra Blast worked backwards from how they are written. So if you have a pact weapon, you can replace one of your Eldritch Scythe (melee) or Eldritch Spear (ranged) attacks with your pact weapon attack.
 

There are kind of pros and cons to either interpretation.
I was initially in the camp that Thirsting Blade and Eldritch Scythe didn't stack, but I got persuaded otherwise. Personally, I think the game is better with the interpretation that they stack. A pure-class melee warlock will do incredible damage with this build—but it requires a notable Invocation investment, it may require a Feat investment, and you'll always have less hit points than other dedicated melee warriors (and, most likely, lower AC). You also have to always be within range of at least two melee enemies to maximize your damage (via the bonus damage from Scythe). This makes you, in every sense of the word, a glass cannon—and I love it :)
I almost forgot to note—this build is also more MAD than most warlocks. While it's not as MAD as an O5e melee warlock (before Hexblade), you'll still need decent Dexterity to minimize your low AC (unless you manage to get Heavy Armor proficiency from somewhere—but even then, you'll need a high Strength to make use of the best Heavy Armors unless you shell out gold for Lightweight versions) and decent Constitution to maximize your low HP. With those on top of needing a high Charisma to maximize your melee damage and spells, that's three stats that you can't really ignore (unless you have a DM who grants you magic items to cover your flaws, but that's not the most reliable strategy at many tables).
Eldritch Scythe does much less single-target damage than the other Eldritch Blasts when on its own, and puts its user at a lot more risk by forcing melee combat. If the designers never intended Eldritch Scythe and Thirsting Blade to stack, then that's fine, but I think melee warlocks needed the help.
 
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So a monk can make 3 attacks and an extra 2(maybe 3) extra attacks as a bonus action using unarmed and not need to take a feat. 1d10+5 x5 = 55

A fighter dual wielding with a feat can make 5 attacks at 1d8+7 for 58

So while the warlock is dealing a little bit better at will damage I feel like its such a small amount that its ok. They also dont have combat stances and maneuvers
 


VicWeave

Villager
I suspect the argument would be that Thirsting Blade specifies attacking twice with your pact weapon, so using eldritch scythe would preclude the second attack. This is really a matter of which effect you think is more specific though.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I suspect the argument would be that Thirsting Blade specifies attacking twice with your pact weapon, so using eldritch scythe would preclude the second attack. This is really a matter of which effect you think is more specific though.
Ahhh... In that case:

Make a Swing with your Pact Weapon to trigger Thirsting Blade.

THEN use Eldritch Scythe to replace the Thirsting Blade attack.

Problem solved.
 

VicWeave

Villager
I just explained the argument for why that wouldn't work. The Invocation specifies both attacks are with the Pact Blade. It's about what effect gains trump through being the more "specific" rule in "specific vs general".

If Thirsting Blade is the more specific, it doesn't work. If Eldritch Scythe is, then it does.

EDIT: At least I think that's the argument, because that's the only thing that could maybe make them not work together.
 

Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
I just explained the argument for why that wouldn't work. The Invocation specifies both attacks are with the Pact Blade. It's about what effect gains trump through being the more "specific" rule in "specific vs general".

If Thirsting Blade is the more specific, it doesn't work. If Eldritch Scythe is, then it does.

EDIT: At least I think that's the argument, because that's the only thing that could maybe make them not work together.
Oh. Okay. Then lemme try this way:

Thirsting Blade states you get to make 2 attacks with your pact weapon on your turn instead of 1 "When you take the Attack Action."

Eldritch Scythe specifies that you can use it "When you would use a weapon attack as part of the Attack Action or an Opportunity Attack"

Further, Pact of the Blade itself says that if your pact weapon has a bonus you can apply it to your Eldritch Blast or Ray attacks.

Eldritch Scythe is an attack replacer that still uses the base weapon (If it's a pact weapon it also gains bonuses). So you swing your Pact Weapon and the Eldritch Scythe appears around it. Because you're -using- your Pact Weapon to make a Weapon Attack as part of the Attack Action. It's a Weapon Attack, not an Unarmed Attack.

Does that solve it?
 

VanguardHero

Adventurer
I haven't actually seen that. Could you direct me to the thread which confirms that interpretation?
It was actually one of the devs responding to you on Discord
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Steampunkette

Rules Tinkerer and Freelance Writer
Supporter
It was actually one of the devs responding to you on Discord
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Responding to me, no less!

I remember that conversation, now. Almost a month before Level Up dropped.

He also said you can replace your off-hand attack while dual-wielding with Eldritch Blast, though.

So just do that. Thirsting Blade for 2 swings with your pact weapon. Off-hand Eldritch Scythe.

Bonus Points if your Pact Weapon is a Double-Weapon so the weapon-enchant bonuses still apply to the Scythe!
 

Xethreau

Josh Gentry - Author, Minister in Training
Keep in mind that my opinion is only my own, and that revisions to warlock's attack replacements are incoming.

(Missing 4e's power structure/ "basic attack")
 

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