D&D 5E Single class Hexblade - missing something?


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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I think with warlocks, using a spell slot is similar to a Fighter using Action Surge - a special move for special fights.
I would agree with that if their other features held up to that standard there spell list was not based around concentration. The problem is Wizards fo the coast was afraid the short rest mechanic would make warlocks really powerful so they made them flexible but had to buy every little thing. Hexbade is battle subclass the was made due to complaint about Pact of the blade being hard to manage. Honest, if pact magic was only once a day it would not effect most of my games since we largely have one encounter days. However, buying all the things other melee and even gish get doesn't leave much of warlocks to just be warlocks. Their subclasses invade their class features. No other class does that. Even artificers got infustions but they are built with solid class and subclass features so that infusions feel like fun instead of being taxed. On top of that only pact of the blade is really this way. Pact of the Chain and Pact of tomb work with can trips well enough you can just play with their features.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
My build can look like anything, because I'm not bothering about being at least as good as something else.
So you don't do a session Zero with your group and you don't ask to fill a role in the party so that you don't step on others fun? I don't need my warlock to be as good as something else so much as comparing my build to other things is a form of measurement. I find tables and parties have minimum expectations based on party roles, assigned or naturally evolving.

Not sure if that is what you mean but I have tried naturally evolving roles. The result was we had 3 scouts in a 4 man party tripping all over each other always pissed that someone was trying to do "there job" the other party member was a paladin and we had a charisma heavy group and everyone thought they were the front man. It was a disaster, so two of us re-rolled. One as ranged damage and the other as crowd control.

Don't get me wrong, If you can just show up with any character not capable of anything specific and your whole party manages to magically not step on each others toes, That is great for you.

I find the table I have played at had more fun, when we deliberately separate party roles. We came up with 6 combat roles and 6 non-combat roles. Each player claims one of each, usually in a group of 4 so we never fill all the roles. If your character dies you pick from the combination of open roles including those open by other players that died at the same time. Since we started doing this we have fewer player problems and more fun. The perhaps down side of this from your view is that you character was "hired" into the party based on their skill set filling a role. You can always re-roll to any empty job or trade with filled one if the other player agrees, but it means when that job is needed every looks to you and in game as characters if your not filling your position you might get crap. In part because if the party wipes they player lose their characters too. This leads to wanting a minimum proficiency with chosen party job before filling features. No one complains about this at our table because they all feel important to the team, they all get their moments, they are all free to delver it with any build they think will work, and no one gets stepped on.
 


ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I think your tables take the game far more seriously than my tables.

Frankly, I wouldn't want to play at your tables.
I don't think we take it all that seriously but we are in Okinawa Japan, the pool of players is small and rotates out frequently. Poeple are often home sick and some are young, still in there 20s. We created these measures because old friends and old players tend to have thicker skins, but new and younger players need some room to shine and feel important to the group feeding the "someone cares" about part of their brain they don't get from home any more. If we don't mind that some people get "butt hurt". Don't get me wronge most of us are former or active marines we can all take a punch in the face and insults all day long, but part of the reason our games are important out hear is the lack of family support and feeling of isolation. Players that don't feel like they contribute often still fill isolated or left out meaning they aren't getting since of community or able to relax and enjoy the game like they need and we want. I have been here for 17 Years so I am bit more resilient and flexible to this than most, but I have seen it enough to know that is important to a lot of players and their sanity. Seriosuly for those who have never left the states a monthly D&D game can help them stay sane.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
It's so sad when players feel characters need to be absolutely optimised. They miss out on so much.

I have in the past, and will in the future, play non fully optimized characters. I've made a melee shield and board gnome ranger. Rogue thieves with high strength, sailor background and magical adept. A religious mystic who happens to be a barbarian. Etc etc.

What is bothering me is that the class doesn't deliver what it's supposed to be. The hexblade is supposed to be a melee combatant - it says so in the name! Imagine if the arcane archer was much better in melee than with their bow.

The hexblade is great for optimizers... as a dip to make a hexapaladin, or perhaps a sorlock. I wish it delivered what it what supposed to be, without multiclassing or using cheese tactics. Is that too much to ask?
 

What is bothering me is that the class doesn't deliver what it's supposed to be. The hexblade is supposed to be a melee combatant - it says so in the name!
And it does that. The fact that you could build a character that does it better is irrelevant. The fact that it is also good at doing something else is irreverent. Make a hexblade and fight in melee. You will have fun and you will not die.
Imagine if the arcane archer was much better in melee than with their bow.
The Arcane Archer is much better if it is a Battlemaster, so not a very good example...
 

NotAYakk

Legend
My current Warlock patch is pretty simple.

Along side buffs for the other pact tools:

Pact of the Blade: [...] In addition, while wielding your pact weapon, you can channel spells through your weapon. When would make a ranged spell attack you can instead make a melee spell attack using your pact weapon's reach. If you do so, you add 1/2 of your strength modifier (round up) to the damage if you hit; if your pact weapon is a finesse weapon, you can instead add 1/2 of your dexterity modifier (round up).

At level 5 your half elven blade pact warlock with agonizing blast using a pact short sword can have 16 dex 18 cha and make a melee range agonizing blast for 1d10+6 x2 at +7 to hit. This scales with extra blasts.

Adding a secondary stat/2 (round up) bonus gives you a slight edge over doing this at range.

The fact it is a melee spell attack blocks certain kinds of existing synergy, like GWM/Sneak Attack/Smite. And I'm ok with that; hexblade dips are already good enough.
 

The Hexblade subclass sells its self as paladin melee damage gish, but it doesn't have the magic, damage, or defense at the same time that a paladin or artificer does. If your building a character thinking your going to hold the line for your party and thats what you and they expect, then you show up and your the first to die... its sad when your whole party is disappointed in you... not fun.
Doesn't have the magic?
The Hexblade is a Warlock: a full 9th-level caster.
It might have too much magic to be regarded as a "proper gish" but I don't get how it "doesn't have the magic" compared to half-casters unless your DM is running seriously messed-up adventuring days.
 

yakuba

Explorer
The Hexblade subclass sells its self as paladin melee damage gish, but it doesn't have the magic, damage, or defense at the same time that a paladin or artificer does. If your building a character thinking your going to hold the line for your party and thats what you and they expect, then you show up and your the first to die... its sad when your whole party is disappointed in you... not fun

I wouldn't say the Hexblade 'sells itself' in this way anymore than any of the other 'fightery' caster subclasses like War priest or College of Swords. These subclasses don't have the damage output and/or defenses of the Fighter/Paladin/Barbarian classes. And just as in those other subclasses you can choose to burn all your other class resources in a (probably) futile attempt to get to that level of offense or defense

I think it's fine as the fightery warlock subclass which there was a real clamor for. I don't see a real argument that it is significantly less capable than other similar caster subclasses.

The real missed opportunity was to not also make a warlock subclass of the paladin, with warlock feeling Oath features and spells pulled from the warlock list. That would, without needing any particularly brilliant design decisions, give a fully capable, warlock feeling combatant for those people who want that.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Here, 1/3 Warlock subclass for a Paladin:

Pact Knight
You have exchanged your Paladin power for a pact with a dark being.

Pact Magic
At 3rd level when you join this subclass, you lose your Paladin spellcasting feature and gain the Pact Magic feature, and your Smite damage becomes necrotic instead of radiant. You have 2 1st level spell slots, and they recover on a short rest. You gain 2 Warlock cantrips.

At level 5 your spell slots become level 2, at level 9 level 3, at level 13 level 4 and at level 17 level 5.

You no longer prepare spells. Instead, you have a number of spells known equal to your Paladin level plus your Charisma bonus. These spells are selected from the Paladin and Warlock spell lists. At least 1/2 of your spells must be Paladin spells.

Your pact is channeled through either a Weapon, a Book or a Chain.

Pact of the Blade
You can summon and dismiss a pact weapon as a bonus action; it takes the form of any simple or martial melee weapon. At the end of any turn when it isn't on your person, it disappears until summoned again. It is magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance. You can use this as a focus for your spells, and perform S components with it. Over a short rest, you can convert a magical melee weapon into your pact weapon.

Pact of the Book
You gain a book of secrets, written in a language of your patron's choice. You gain the ability to read that language even if you cannot speak it. You can cast Warlock spells as rituals if they have the tag, and can transcribe any Warlock spell into your book and use it as a ritual, of level up to 1/2 of your character level. You gain additional Warlock spells known equal to your charisma bonus.

Pact of the Chain
You gain the find familiar spell. When you cast it, you can select additional familiar types (Pseudodragon, Quasit, or Sprite). Your Familiar gains +2 HP for every paladin class level you have, and has a bonus to its attacks, AC, saving throws and damage equal to your proficiency bonus.

Improved Pact
At 7th level your connection with your pact improves. You gain two Warlock invocations as if you where a level 3 Warlock. In addition you gain another feature based on your Pact:

Pact of the Blade
You can cast the Eldritch Blast Cantrip as a melee spell attack when wielding your pact weapon, instead of a ranged spell attack. You may use your weapon's attack stat (strength, or optionally dexterity on a finesse weapon) to attack instead of Charisma. If you do so, also add both your Charisma and the stat you used to attack with to damage instead of just Charisma.

Pact of the Book
You can now transcribe any ritual from any class into your book up to 1/2 of your character level, and cast them as a ritual. In addition, once on your turn you may cast a pact knight spell using a pact knight spell slot on a creature you hit with a melee weapon attack (but only on that target). If the spell involves any attack rolls, the spell automatically hits; if it involves a saving throw, the creature has disadvantage on the save.

Pact of the Chain
You can command your familiar to attack as a bonus action. If your familiar hits, you have advantage on attack rolls on the target until the end of your turn. In addition, whenever you use lay on hands, your familiar is healed as well; if your familiar has been dismissed when you use lay on hands, it reforms next to you with HP equal to the amount healed.

Life and Death
At 15th level, whenever you reduce a creature to 0 HP with an attack and it doesn't heal immediately (such as a Mythic creature), you gain a benefit depending on your Pact:

Pact of the Blade
You gain temporary HP equal to the creature's HP before it was reduced to 0 HP by the blow, up to a maximum of your level in this class. If you started your turn with these temporary HP, when you hit a creature with your pact weapon on your turn you can sacrifice these temporary HP to deal extra damage equal to the HP sacrificed.

Pact of the Book
The last thoughts and desires of the creature you kill are written in your book. In addition, when this happens, you can sacrifice a HD to regain an pact knight spell slot. You may only do this once before completing a short rest.

Pact of the Chain
As a reaction, your familiar can disappear and animate the creature if within 30' of it. The animated corpse has 1 HP, no legendary actions, cannot cast spells, and gets to act immediately after the current turn, and at the end of that turn it collapses and dies. The familiar then reappears in one of the creature's former squares.

While possessing the creature, the familiar can rip some surface thoughts out of the dying brain, inducing it to say up to 3 words that could help the party (in a language the creature knows that the familiar can pick).

The Ties that Bind
At 20th level, your bond has grown strong. You gain 2 additional invocations as if you where a 10th level warlock, and gain another Pact feature:

Pact of the Blade
You can Smite as if you used a Pact Magic spell slot, without expending a Pact Magic spell slot. You can only do this again if you take an action to summon your vile power. If you have reduced a creature to 0 HP on this or the previous turn, you can instead summon your vile power as a bonus action. If you ever hold the Pact Weapon in your hand, it cannot leave your hand or be dismissed until it draws blood (does damage to a creature), or your hand is removed from your body. If you attempt to throw the weapon at a creature, it only leaves your hand if it would both hit and do damage; otherwise, it stays put.

Pact of the Chain
If you are reduced to 0 HP, so long as it is on the same plane, your familiar will possess your body much like it does your foes. This does not require the familiar's reaction. At the end of the turn it takes you over you do not die, but are instead left standing with 1/2 of your maximum HP. It can do this once before you complete a short rest. While possessing you, it gets to rifle through your thoughts and memories of the past day, much like it does on your foes, but need not say anything. It may report back findings to its master.

Pact of the Book
You can scribe the names of your allies in your book of shadows with their blood at the end of a long rest. They must sacrifice a HD as part of this magic, and do not regain it back until their name is no longer in the book. You know the direction, distance, current HP, and plane of anyone who is inscribed in your book of shadows this way, and can ignore range and ability to see them when you cast spells that would target them.

Whenever they are reduced to 0 HP, if you expend a reaction and a HD they are instead reduced to 1 HP and healed. Roll the HD they used to be written in the book plus your own HD, and heal them that much. Their name is replaced with their last thoughts before the book saved them in your book. You may also choose to regain a Paladin pact magic spell slot when this happens; if you do so, you cannot do it again until you complete a short rest.

You can have up to your charisma bonus names (min 1) written in your book in this way at a time, and each person can have their name written at most once.
 
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ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Doesn't have the magic?
The Hexblade is a Warlock: a full 9th-level caster.
It might have too much magic to be regarded as a "proper gish" but I don't get how it "doesn't have the magic" compared to half-casters unless your DM is running seriously messed-up adventuring days.
#1 I have rare played past level 10 and that is common based on statistics from wizards of the coast and D&D Beyond. That means no Mystic Arcanum and rarely more than 2 spell slots.

#2 It may be on the "full caster" list but it has about as much magic as a barbarian with the magic initiate feat on average (I am exaggerating but not by a lot). If your using a level 5 pact slot to cast hex is basically a level one spell even if your level 5 and its a level 3 spell slot.

#3 Its also very common to have one encounter days or multiple encounter days in dungeon where short rests are not possible and this has been true for me under every GM I have ever played under (only about 6 GMs but still). These are not "running seriously messed-up adventuring days", is an in and out mission in enemy territory. You pass your stealth checks to avoid patrols hit your target and get out. Your attacking the enemy strong hold the alarm is sound and the guards are looking for you... it doesn't make since to stop some where for an hour to rest for the warlock when its putting the rest of the party in damager. The long rest "actual" full casters running spells with duration are pushing to move to the next room before their level 3 spell slot runs out such as spiritual guardians to conserve their resources before the be boss fight. These are common and all driven outside of the players control. It makes since that players would want to mitigate this. I have very rarely been able to use short rests to help the team unless the GM specifically wrote some in for me. 1/3rd casters like the Eldritch Knight and Arcane trickster have more spell slots at level 4 than warlocks do at level 10.

I love warlocks, but I have not been able to make Hexblades work as a melee fighter gish without being a nuisance to my party. I have done a scout with utility casting, a caster tank, and a ranged damage but I have tried 3 times with Hexblade to make a working melee character and they basically unless I do a polearm build were I support other melee. I will say we play with PC death an the encounters are kept to level where death is possible. This is to push for stealth, roleplaying our way out, but leaving it so if we fight its not a 100% party wipe. It also means we don't get in needless battles all day because our objective is pretty much never kill the guards. Fighting them generally just lowers our success rate. It still happens, but we try to avoid it.
 

NotAYakk

Legend
Again, cast hex on a rabbit, kill the rabbit, take a short rest. Before engaging.

At level 5 you have an 8 hour spell and recover slots every hour. If you are doing a combat as war, use your resources.

And another thing; most of your DMs should have been playing with gritty rests. Then scout, attack, retreat burns a short rest of encounter budget, and a weeks recovery is needed by the full casters (something that the plot can rarely provide; so full casters cannot nova every day).

Warlocks will suck with zero short rests, and standard casters will overpower with common long rests.

The hex trick helps a teeny tiny bit, starting at level 5.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
I wouldn't say the Hexblade 'sells itself' in this way anymore than any of the other 'fightery' caster subclasses like War priest or College of Swords. These subclasses don't have the damage output and/or defenses of the Fighter/Paladin/Barbarian classes. And just as in those other subclasses you can choose to burn all your other class resources in a (probably) futile attempt to get to that level of offense or defense

I think it's fine as the fightery warlock subclass which there was a real clamor for. I don't see a real argument that it is significantly less capable than other similar caster subclasses.

I actually think a War priests, collage of swords, blade singer, and battlesmith artificers are significantly more capable. While I agree they might not be keeping up with fighter, paladin, barbarians with damage and "defense" (in quotes because barbarians don't defend the just take it and keep going). They deliver some defense and offense backed in and enough spell flexibility to cover the rest and have some fun choices.

- War priest gets heavy armor, martial weapons , Devine favor, shield of faith, two spell slots, and war priest which makes them one the highest defense or highest damage subclasses as level 1. By level 5 with Spirit guardians, spiritual weapon, and 9 spell slots they can have better defense and better damage out put than most classes. Forge Clerics are about the same but the lean into defense a bit more and damage a bit less.

Human Variant War Cleric STR 10, DEX 16, CON 16, WIZ 14, INT8, CHA8 HP:11 (Max will for War Priest)
---HP11
---Human Variant Feat: Medium Armor Master - Scale mail AC14(Max3) and shield= AC19
---Rapier (1d8 + dex)
---War Priest Bonus Action (1d8 + 3)(1d8 + 3)
---War Domain 1st level Spell: divine favor +1d4 (1d8 + 3 + 1d4)(1d8 + 3 + 1d4)
DPR Range 10 - 30
DPR Average: 20
Adjusted DPR with +5 to hit vs AC15 (55%) = 11 adjusted DPR

- Collage of swards medium armor and scimitar proficiency means they can duel wield while using it as as spell casting focus. The get fighting styles, flourishes and extra attack by level 6. They also get 10 spell slots by that level which can be used efficiently for cure wounds, bane, Fearie fire, Heroism, blindness deafness, hold person, invisibility, shatter, ...

I could go on but realize there is no need to beat a dead horse on top of that Wizards agrees and created a fix for pact of the blades which might already be coming out in a few month's in Tasha's Caldron of everything.

Eldritch Armor
Prerequisite: Pact of the Blade feature
As an action, you can touch a suit of armor that isn’t being worn or carried by anyone and instantly don it, provided you aren’t wearing armor already. You are proficient with this suit of armor until it’s removed.

This does not have a strength requirement for plate armor. Hexblades don't have a strength or dex requirement for their weapons to include two handed pact weapons. So you might have an AC16-20 pact of the Blade swinging a great sword pact weapon only using one invocation, with only constitution and charisma requirements. This means they can play with a third stat and/or relax survivability spells/invocations for equivalent fun as most other "gish" options.

The real missed opportunity was to not also make a warlock subclass of the paladin, with warlock feeling Oath features and spells pulled from the warlock list. That would, without needing any particularly brilliant design decisions, give a fully capable, warlock feeling combatant for those people who want that.

I am not opposed to it. It is basically another flavor option for eldritch knight. Could be interesting. I still might play warlocks because with Eldritch Armor it will be as flexible as other warlock builds. I only want the "gish" part to hold its own, I play warlocks for the other fun parts.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
--snip-- That is the theory of how a well functioning gish should work...

aaaaaand with the hexblade it doesn't seem to quite work, you run out of gas fast. This is in part because from level 2-10, you only have 2 spell slots.

--snip--

If you have used either of those slots for utility outside of combat, you are now rather low on magic. Or if you have two fights between short rests.

Warlocks can also use their eldritch invocations to enhance their utility outside of combat. The hexblade can do this, but she will have a much harder time - she needs those invocation to enhance her fighting ability. For example thirsting blade at level 5 to get that second attack. This leaves the hexblade with far fewer out of combat tricks. So what's left is a few utility cantrips, and perhaps one spare eldritch invocation for utility.

--snip--

I forgot their is likely a fix for you on the way. Coming out in a few month's in Tasha's Caldron of everything.

Eldritch Armor
Prerequisite: Pact of the Blade feature
As an action, you can touch a suit of armor that isn’t being worn or carried by anyone and instantly don it, provided you aren’t wearing armor already. You are proficient with this suit of armor until it’s removed.

This does not have a strength requirement for plate armor. Hexblades don't have a strength or dex requirement for their weapons to include two handed pact weapons. So you might have an AC16-20 pact of the Blade swinging a great sword pact weapon only using one invocation, with only constitution and charisma requirements. This means they can play with a third stat and/or relax survivability spells/invocations for equivalent fun as most other "gish" options.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
Again, cast hex on a rabbit, kill the rabbit, take a short rest. Before engaging.

At level 5 you have an 8 hour spell and recover slots every hour. If you are doing a combat as war, use your resources.

And another thing; most of your DMs should have been playing with gritty rests. Then scout, attack, retreat burns a short rest of encounter budget, and a weeks recovery is needed by the full casters (something that the plot can rarely provide; so full casters cannot nova every day).

Warlocks will suck with zero short rests, and standard casters will overpower with common long rests.

The hex trick helps a teeny tiny bit, starting at level 5.

I have on occasion been able to pull of a hex save but you have to have a spell slot left for one thing. Then find and hit the rabbit without it running away which might be harder than it sounds in an underground fortress. On top of that you do realize your talking about spending a spell slot that could be as high as 5 to squeak out one additional level 1 spell effect and that also means if you use one of your new spell slots on a concentration spell like Hunger of Hadar you lose your hex. So your trick works and I have even used it but it also traps you into concentration for a lower level spell effect or becomes a time wasting head ache you have to track all the time. If your wanting flexibility this is a problem. It also annoyed some of my GMs similar to the good berries before a long rest with druids. It doesn't work before warlock level 5. Warlock level 5-8 it only works if you fight in the next 7 hours, so there are windows when even doing it times out before your next battle (but not always, 7 hours is a pretty good window). At level 9 when its 24 hours is more reliable but more of a concentration trap.

Not bad advice. it is useful, but its also not saving the Hexblade Pact of the Blade builds on its own. I really find taking magic initiate warlock as a warlock to be really good because its the same as this trick for on a daily basis but without the drawback, +2 cantrips and the 1st level counts as a warlock spell known which adds to flexibility greatly. Of course you can still use the trick if the situation allows.

As far as short rests go, There is no right way to play D&D and "DMs should have been playing with gritty rests" is dependent on context of the campaign and also what the GM/rest of the party wants. My GM is planning to do that for our next campaign but Warlocks should not be only good when playing one specific variant rule. To be clear all the eldritch blast + agonizing blast builds work fine with range and mobility as defense and unlimited but effective cantrips. The only build that fall short is Pact of the Blade melee warlocks. Hexblade was an attempt to fix this and the Eldritch Armor invocation that is very likely coming out in Tasha's Cauldron of everything is another. So wizards is working on it. The way Eldritch Armor works honestly it makes it all functional. I really wish Thirsting Blade and improve pact weapon were part of the pact of the blade feature so pact of the blade build were not so invocation heavy and more flexible in builds. As it is pact of the blade is more heavily taxed than other builds. My guess is that is to prevent eldritch blast / pact of the blade builds which would be better than rangers at ranged and melee. ....so I can live with it as long as we get Eldritch Armor.
 

The issue seems more an issue with short rests than with warlock. The only thing really wrong with hexblade is that its curse ability works just as well with eldritch blast, which means at epic tier it's better. Nerfing that feature so that the first couple bullet points only work with weapons is actually a way to make the class play more how it's supposed to, and it's my solution (despite my normal dislike of nerf-fixes).

The thing to realize about hexblade is that warlock is a full caster class and is balanced that way. It shouldn't be as good as a tank as a paladin, barbarian, etc that are melee classes. It should be in the same category as college of valor or swords bard, or bladesinger wizard. That's its target level of melee competence.

Warlock is highly short rest dependent and you should absolutely discuss that in Session 0. If you aren't getting your 2 short rests you are probably going to be underwhelming compared to classes with daily resources. If you're getting 4 short rests you're going to be great. You may want to ask your DM if your warlock can get 3x the spell slots and have them refresh on a long rest instead of the default short rest slots. That's how it's balanced.

So, as an aside, here's something to know. The game is designed around classes being in sorts of categories. This was only explicit in 2e, but it's been there in all of them.

Warriors:
Fighter
Barbarian
Ranger
Paladin

These classes typically get at least d10s and have martial weapon proficiencies. They are supposed to be the best at wading into melee. No full caster classes (ie, classes that progress all the way to 9th level spells) are ever in this category.

Second Rank Combatants:
Clerics
Druids
Rogues

These classes typically get d8s nowadays, and generally don't have the full range of weapon and armor proficiencies as the warriors. They are designed to be serviceable in melee, but not primary tanks. The right build can sometimes (depending on the edition) make them as good or better than a melee warrior class. When that happens it's either cheesing the system or a design flaw. It is not intended for them to be as good as the warriors, because that's the warrior's primary schtick, and these guys have other primary areas of strength. Being able to function as good as a warrior who spends no resources by spending plenty of your own limited resources is okay for certain builds.

Rear Rank:
Wizard
Sorcerer

These guys typically get d6s nowadays, and very few weapon and armor proficiencies. They stand back and cast spells. They should generally not be in melee. The right build can sometimes bring them into the range of second rank combatants by spending their resources for it.

(2e actually divided the categories into warrior, rogue, priest, and wizard, but I've divided them functionally instead to include more classes.)

Monk is an odd one that straddles the line between warrior and second rank. Most of its abilities are combat oriented, but it doesn't have the resilience to be a "stand your ground" tank. It's a melee warrior that is designed to be played with the finesse of a second rank character.

Bard has traditionally been second rank, but in 5e it was upgraded to a full caster and straddles the line between second rank and rear rank, depending on build.

In the warlock's short lifetime it has been second rank (3.5), and rear rank (4e). In 5e it is similar to bard in that it straddles the line between second and rear ranks. It's one of the most flexible classes--basically a "build your own class" class. However it is still a full caster, and isn't supposed to ever equal a warrior class. It can easily be built as anything from a rear rank class with plenty of magical firepower and caster flexibility to a second rank class that can burn resources to be as a good as a warrior some of the times at the expense of other things.

It occurs to me that this is the sort of thing that nowadays maybe needs to be in one of those "behind the curtain" sort of sidebars.
 

While some things could be better, I stand with my assessment that the idea of a single class blade warlock being as good as a fighter or paladin in melee is wrong. Just imagine the outrage if it was that way.
 

ClaytonCross

Kinder reader Inflection wanted
While some things could be better, I stand with my assessment that the idea of a single class blade warlock being as good as a fighter or paladin in melee is wrong. Just imagine the outrage if it was that way.
I actually agree with you. I don't think Hexblade Pact of the Blades need more damage. I only think they need better #1 defense as a melee subclass build and #2 a little more of the warlock flexibility in build players expect from a warlock design being the reason they are not just playing an Eldritch Knight. Which Eldritch Armor provides assuming it released is its UA form with higher AC and no strength or dexterity requirements (using AC14 Ring mail) short only that Pact of the Blade is a big invocation hog. I could even take a the hit to invocations if not for them being front heavy. With the fix being another invocation you end up not having any freedom from in your invocations until level 7 taking Eldritch armor, thirsty blade, and improved pact weapon and that's because I am skipping eldritch smite which I consider a trap. I really feel Thirsty Blade should just be part of the pact. Then you have room for fun invocation at level 5 and you don't feel like your doing it at the expense of your party.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
While some things could be better, I stand with my assessment that the idea of a single class blade warlock being as good as a fighter or paladin in melee is wrong. Just imagine the outrage if it was that way.

Oh absolutely that would not be balanced. But as of now, you pour all your resources into being a viable melee combatant and ... you aren't as good, and your magical resources are spent.
 

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