D&D (2024) Playtest 7 Warlock Invocation Groups

Just thought I'd do a bit of work breaking the Playtest 7 Warlock's Invocations down into groups to see what could be built. And there seem to be some pretty clear groups and themes. Ignoring the starting two pacts and Witch Sight (because of the level 15 prerequisite) there seem to be half a dozen subgroups to make warlocks out of and three or four invocations per subgroup.
  • Blade (Thirsting Blade, Lifedrinker, Smite) - all necessary for the path
  • Blast (Agonizing Blast, Range, Push) - only Agonizing is necessary for this path (and Acid Splash or True Strike is arguably better before level 5)
  • Defense (Mage Armour At Will, False Life At Will, Advantage to Concentration) - frankly this is an awful selection; Mage Armour for your invocation on light armour is bad, and 5thp are great at L1 but get out-scaled fast
  • Divination (120' super-darkvision, Gaze of Two Minds, Speak With Dead At Will, Arcane Eye At Will). A nice collection here - although missing the old speak with animals, detect magic and read magic (no, rituals that take 10 minutes don't cover it)
  • Illusion (Disguise Self, Silent Image, limited self Invisibility, arguably Alter Self at will). This is a nice theme but very concentration-heavy. Disguise Self and Alter Self are a surprisingly good pair on their own, and the Invisibility fits anywhere. I'd like something that's better than L5
  • Movement ([new] Jump At Will, Levitiation At Will, aquatic and help others water breathe, and arguably Alter Self for swimming). I like - but would like some higher level stuff here. Something to do with Spiderclimb also fits the theme.
  • Other - Pact of the Chain (plus upgrade), Alter Self At Will (fits multiple categories), Level 1 feat, and the lifesaving page in the Tome
I like this combination although the defensive choices are very meh. But want a bit more at high levels. And by level 9 you can basically have two complete themes or a grab bag. The Jump/Invisibility/Bladelock feels pretty thematically coherent as a dark assassin. Illusion and Divination work well together. There's a lot to build here.
 

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Kurotowa

Legend
Yeah, they're not all winners yet, but definitely some improvement. Here's a couple of subclass specific interactions I've seen come up.

The GOO Patron gives you free Subtle Spell for "a Warlock spell that is an Enchantment or Illusion". Does that include invocations? Well... maybe yes. It says "Warlock spell" not "with a Warlock spell slot". And the invocations don't say you're activating an ability that's like the spell, they say "You can cast [Spell Name] without expending a spell slot." So is the Silent Image from the Misty Visions invocation a Warlock spell? I think it is. And that makes it a very nice pick up for a GOO Warlock.

Celestial Patron's Radiant Soul adds you Cha modifier to your Radiant or Fire damage spells. Too bad that's not much help to a Bladelock. Or is it? Green-Flame Blade is a Warlock spell that deals Fire damage. And the revised Agonizing Blast isn't locked to Eldritch Blast, it can select any Warlock cantrip. So a Celestial Bladelock could build around Green-Flame Blade and Agonizing Blast instead of Thirsting Blade, and be adding triple their Cha modifier to their attack. I'm not the best math sim guy, but as best I can tell until 11th Level that build holds even with Thirsting Blade on one target and is well ahead on two. Especially if you go for a heavy weapon with the Cleave mastery trait. At 11th Level, Thirsting Blade gets a third attack and pulls ahead, especially if you've got a weapon that adds damage dice. But as we often discuss, many campaigns don't get that high, and it's always possible to just pick up Thirsting Blade as your 11th Level invocation.
 

Yeah, they're not all winners yet, but definitely some improvement. Here's a couple of subclass specific interactions I've seen come up.

The GOO Patron gives you free Subtle Spell for "a Warlock spell that is an Enchantment or Illusion". Does that include invocations? Well... maybe yes. It says "Warlock spell" not "with a Warlock spell slot". And the invocations don't say you're activating an ability that's like the spell, they say "You can cast [Spell Name] without expending a spell slot." So is the Silent Image from the Misty Visions invocation a Warlock spell? I think it is. And that makes it a very nice pick up for a GOO Warlock.
Oh, nice!
Celestial Patron's Radiant Soul adds you Cha modifier to your Radiant or Fire damage spells. Too bad that's not much help to a Bladelock. Or is it?
I've been running this on tomelocks to avoid Eldritch Blast for a while. And assuming it stays in a game I think the cantrip of choice here isn't Greenflame Blade but (assuming it's recognisable) the revised True Strike.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
I've been running this on tomelocks to avoid Eldritch Blast for a while. And assuming it stays in a game I think the cantrip of choice here isn't Greenflame Blade but (assuming it's recognisable) the revised True Strike.
I considered that but discarded the idea. Here's why.

Damage wise, Green-Flame Blade is superior to True Strike at every level. True Strike adds no damage until 5th level, and only a 1d6 from 5th to 10th. Meanwhile Green-Flame Blade has cleave damage before 5th level, and from 5th to 10th is adding 1d8 to your main target and even more if there's a cleave target. Neither cantrip works with Agonizing Blast before 5th level because it specifies "damage rolls" and there's no rolled damage.

So what advantages does True Strike have? It lets you attack with Cha and deal Radiant damage. And Pact of the Blade already gives you those. So can we replace Blade Pact with True Strike? I don't think so. Blade Pact also gives what's effectively Martial Weapon proficiency and access to the Mastery trait. Plus you have the option of Necrotic or Psychic damage, not just Radiant.

In theory, you could make a build that goes Tome Pact and uses True Strike and Agonizing Blast. But there's really no advantage to it. Pacts aren't exclusive anymore, and you're losing so much damage compared to any other build. If you want a Bladelock, just take Blade Pact. If you don't want to take Blade Pact, you're better off devoting your Agonizing Blast to a directly offensive cantrip.
 

I considered that but discarded the idea. Here's why.

Damage wise, Green-Flame Blade is superior to True Strike at every level. True Strike adds no damage until 5th level, and only a 1d6 from 5th to 10th. Meanwhile Green-Flame Blade has cleave damage before 5th level, and from 5th to 10th is adding 1d8 to your main target and even more if there's a cleave target. Neither cantrip works with Agonizing Blast before 5th level because it specifies "damage rolls" and there's no rolled damage.

So what advantages does True Strike have?
It lets you use Pact of the Tome not Pact of the Blade while being able to work in melee and use your charisma as your attack stat. It also gives you a ranged attack that hits hard (for a cantrip). Basically you're saving an entire Invocation and possibly a second cantrip. Which, yes, ought to do slightly less damage because Invocations are pretty valuable.

The question with your combo is how many invocations deep you want to go. With two invocations each (PotB and Agonizing Blade vs Thirsting Blade) you're right that the greenflame + agonizing + celestial combo keeps the greenflame in the fight - but the effect of most Masteries, of a magical weapon's damage boost, and of Lifedrinker and of Hex gets multiplied by the number of attacks that hit.
In theory, you could make a build that goes Tome Pact and uses True Strike and Agonizing Blast. But there's really no advantage to it. Pacts aren't exclusive anymore, and you're losing so much damage compared to any other build.
No you aren't. I think you're slightly of an Eldritch Blast build before level 11 (other than at level 5). By my reckoning a light crossbow is at 2d8+d6+2xCha which is very slightly ahead of 2d10+2xCha. Meanwhile with a handaxe or other basic weapon you are at d8+2d6+2xCha which is again fractionally ahead of Eldritch Blast.
If you want a Bladelock, just take Blade Pact. If you don't want to take Blade Pact, you're better off devoting your Agonizing Blast to a directly offensive cantrip.
You're not, even with Eldritch Blast. This is why True Strike is probably going to be nerfed from the playtest version; it outdamages Firebolt.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
No you aren't. I think you're slightly of an Eldritch Blast build before level 11 (other than at level 5). By my reckoning a light crossbow is at 2d8+d6+2xCha which is very slightly ahead of 2d10+2xCha. Meanwhile with a handaxe or other basic weapon you are at d8+2d6+2xCha which is again fractionally ahead of Eldritch Blast.
I think your math is off. I have no idea where you're getting that Light Crossbow damage, for example. Let's take 8th level, where Radiant Soul has kicked in, we can have a Cha 20, and no Lifedrinker yet.

Eldritch Blast is two attacks for a combined 2d10+10. Fire Bolt is one attack for 2d10+10. True Strike and Agonizing Blast with a Light Crossbow and no Blade Pact is one attack for 1d8+1d6+15 with no Mastery trait. Blade Pact, Green-Flame Blade, and Agonizing Blast with a Greataxe is one attack for 1d12+1d8+15, with an automatic cleave for 1d8+10 and potentially another 1d12. Blade Pact and Thirsting Blade with a Greatsword is two attacks for a combined 4d6+10, and a Mastery trait that deals 5 damage on a miss.

So the attack cantrips are dealing 21 damage on two hits, True Strike Crossbow is dealing an average of 24 damage on a hit, Green-Flame Blade is dealing an average of 26 on a single target hit and as much as another 21 if it can Cleave, and Thirsting Blade is dealing 24 damage on two hits and 17 on one hit.

That's why I'm saying Green-Flame Blade is the stand out build for Celestial Warlocks until 11th level. True Strike Crossbow does match up better against the cantrips than I expected, but that's only if they don't restrict True Strike to melee weapons like a lot of people are predicting.
 
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I think your math is off.
I'd misremembered Celestial extra damage. Thought it was d8 not Cha mod.
Green-Flame Blade is dealing an average of 26 on a single target hit and as much as another 16 if it can Cleave, and Thirsting Blade is dealing 24 damage on two hits and 17 on one hit.
Single target damage Thirsting is slightly higher, Green Flame Celestial wins if it can cleave. Multi-target I agree goes to the radiant from levels 6-8 even with steep discounts for the damage being both situational and on a secondary target. (I'd roughly halve its effectiveness for each of those)

But then when you give a +2 weapon the two attacks do more. As do they with Thirsting Blade.
That's why I'm saying Green-Flame Blade is the stand out build for Celestial Warlocks until 11th level.
Not sure - I don't thinnk they should be primary damage dealers and healers and squishy and front lining. It is an effective build.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
But then when you give a +2 weapon the two attacks do more. As do they with Thirsting Blade.

Not sure - I don't thinnk they should be primary damage dealers and healers and squishy and front lining. It is an effective build.
Yeah, any per-hit damage bonus scales better with the multiple attacks from Thirsting Blade. That's why it completely overtakes at 11th level with the third attack, even if it's just Lifedrinker and a simple +2 weapon. Anything that adds damage dice, like a Flametongue or Frostbrand, seriously favors Thirsting Blade.

And yeah, I perhaps overstated things. A Celestial Bladelock with a greataxe using Green-Flame Blade is a specialized but viable build. You'd probably want to pick up Medium Armor if you're going to be on the front line without a shield. It's not so good it's broken or completely overshadows anything else, but it works and really shines in its niche of cleave damage.

(Also I corrected the cleave damage in the above example. Radiant Soul only adds to one damage roll, but Agonizing Blast adds to all of them and thus buffs both the main attack and the cleave damage.)
 

mellored

Legend
The new wild shape "you retain your class features" as well as Charisma.

Can we do Pact of the Blade monkey and attack with Cha?
 

Kurotowa

Legend
The new wild shape "you retain your class features" as well as Charisma.

Can we do Pact of the Blade monkey and attack with Cha?
Technically yes, but you still have to be attacking with a weapon. It doesn't carry over to natural attacks. So as long as the Wildshape form can wield a weapon, it could work. But why?

The point of Wildshape is get better physical stats and better natural attacks. You'd be ignoring both of those to continue to attack with Cha with a weapon. All you're getting is some Temp HP, and in return you can't cast spells and lose the benefits of any gear that's incompatible with the form. Like your armor. That seems like a very poor combat style.
 

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