Sorlock Eldritch Blast vs. Draconic Sorcerer Firebolt

redCartel

Visitor
I'm wondering if the advantage of the Eldritch Blast Sorlock vs. a pure Draconic bloodline sorcerer for a cantrip attack based character aren't overstated.

Certainly Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast is the stronger cantrip on its own, *BUT* Twinned Spell has half the sorcery point cost of Quickened Spell. In practice, in 5e, fights against single enemies aren't the most challenging. In a tough fight there will be multiple targets. Plus (and this is a more minor advantage) Quickened Spell leaves your bonus action open for other uses.

And you stay a full spell level ahead on the Sorcerer spell list progression.

I don't have time to work out math / a coded simulation right this moment but I want to really look at a Variant Human Sorcerer with Magic Initiate for Hex (and EB for fire resistant enemies) vs. a Sorlock. My gut tells me the difference isn't as great as might be assumed when the ability to do sustained damage over the course of the whole adventuring day is considered.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I'm wondering if the advantage of the Eldritch Blast Sorlock vs. a pure Draconic bloodline sorcerer for a cantrip attack based character aren't overstated.

Certainly Eldritch Blast + Agonizing Blast is the stronger cantrip on its own, *BUT* Twinned Spell has half the sorcery point cost of Quickened Spell. In practice, in 5e, fights against single enemies aren't the most challenging. In a tough fight there will be multiple targets. Plus (and this is a more minor advantage) Quickened Spell leaves your bonus action open for other uses.

And you stay a full spell level ahead on the Sorcerer spell list progression.

I don't have time to work out math / a coded simulation right this moment but I want to really look at a Variant Human Sorcerer with Magic Initiate for Hex (and EB for fire resistant enemies) vs. a Sorlock. My gut tells me the difference isn't as great as might be assumed when the ability to do sustained damage over the course of the whole adventuring day is considered.
The numerical advantage isn't that great, certainly not before character level 11.

Force is a significantly better energy type than fire, however.

You do make a point I haven't considered before - that Firebolt is twinnable while EB is not (past 4th level).
 
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TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Well, assuming Hex is up, you'd be down 3d6+Cha damage from 5th-10th,, and 5d6+2xCha from 11th-16th. Plus you'd lose the ability to focus on a single target.

I feel like the extra bonus action from not quickening has to be worth something, though. Are there any concentration spells that can be used as a bonus action?
 

redCartel

Visitor
Melf's Minute Meteors(*)

Animate Object - this is a :):):):)ing house

Flaming Sphere(*)

Storm Sphere

Crown of Stars

Retargetting Hex

that's from a cursory search for spells that give you a repeating use of a bonus action. plus you can always quicken something and twin firebolt on the same turn if you need to go nova.

Gonna try to make some time tonight to do a computer simulation against actual ACs.
 

Gavin O.

Visitor
While it's true that the actual damage isn't that much lower, doing 10 damage to one target is way more useful than doing 5 damage to 2 targets, even if you're actually fighting two targets. If you're trying to disable a monster through damage, the only damage that matters is that last point, The damage that beings the enemy's HP to 0. In general a monster on one HP is just as effective as a monster on full HP

Here's a demonstration of what I mean. Lets say you're fighting two monsters, each with 20 HP and you can do 10 damage per hit. Eldritch blast does 10 to one enemy while Fire Bolt deals 5 to each enemy. The enemies each deal 5 damage on their turn.

Turn 1: Eldritch blast hits one enemy for 10, Fire Bolt hits two for 5 each. You've taken 10 damage.
Turn 2: Eldritch blast hits the same enemy for another 10 and kills it, Fire Bolt hits them both for 5 each. Eldritch Blast has taken 15 damage and Fire Bolt has taken 20
Turn 3: Eldritch blast hits the second enemy for 10, fire bolt hits both for 5. Eldritch Blast has taken 20 damage and fire bolt has taken 30.
Turn 4: Eldritch blast hits the second enemy for 10, killing it. Fire bolt hits both enemies for 5, killing them both.

In total, spreading your damage between two enemies has led to you taking 50% more damage than you would have if you killed them one by one, even though you kill the enemies in the same amount of time.
 

redCartel

Visitor
OK, so I wrote a little code and did a monte carlo simulation of the two characters at level 11 fighting a bunch of AC 18 enemies.

The sorlock enters the combat with Hex already up & double EBs every round, the Sorcerer spends round 1 casting Animate Objects on a pocket full of ball bearings and then spends 9 rounds using his bonus action to attack with the swarm and his action to twin firebolts.

XXX The Sorcerer averages 567, the Sorlock averages 353 XXX (updated)

I had accidentally kept code that had the Sorlock quitting quickened spell when he ran out of his 9 sorcery points. I ran the tests with a greater number of trials and the averages were:

Sorcerer 589, Sorlock 504

So it's closer than I initially thought *but* the Sorlock has to expend 11 levels of spell slots to achieve that amount of damage, vs. the Sorcerer casting a single 5th level spell.

In my opinion what tilts it back in the Sorlock's favor is damage resistance. Firebolt + Animate Object is fire and bludgeoning damage, which are commonly resisted vs. force. I'm certainly not trying to call Sorlock overrated. Just that a straight Sorcerer isn't as outclassed by it as might be assumed, and the quicker spell progression & earlier ASIs are nothing to sneeze at either.
 
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Gavin O.

Visitor
OK, so I wrote a little code and did a monte carlo simulation of the two characters at level 11 fighting a bunch of AC 18 enemies.

The sorlock enters the combat with Hex already up & double EBs every round, the Sorcerer spends round 1 casting Animate Objects on a pocket full of ball bearings and then spends 9 rounds using his bonus action to attack with the swarm and his action to twin firebolts.

XXX The Sorcerer averages 567, the Sorlock averages 353 XXX (updated)

I had accidentally kept code that had the Sorlock quitting quickened spell when he ran out of his 9 sorcery points. I ran the tests with a greater number of trials and the averages were:

Sorcerer 589, Sorlock 504

So it's closer than I initially thought *but* the Sorlock has to expend 11 levels of spell slots to achieve that amount of damage, vs. the Sorcerer casting a single 5th level spell.

In my opinion what tilts it back in the Sorlock's favor is damage resistance. Firebolt + Animate Object is fire and bludgeoning damage, which are commonly resisted vs. force. I'm certainly not trying to call Sorlock overrated. Just that a straight Sorcerer isn't as outclassed by it as might be assumed, and the quicker spell progression & earlier ASIs are nothing to sneeze at either.
Plus the level 20 ability (which a sorlock can't get) is a good source of extra sorcery points. You also gain an extra ASI (probably +2 con, but could also be an extra feat) and you get your level 9 spell 2 levels earlier, and wish is incredibly strong.

And hey, the sorcerer sure has a much better time vs the Tarraque and its reflective carapace.
 
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redCartel

Visitor
Well, a Sorlock that goes to 3rd level in Warlock can use their Warlock spell slots with Flexible Casting to replenish 4 sorcery points on short rest. But, being dedicated to doing that means your non-cantrip magic ability is straight-up two levels behind a full caster. Sorlock is a very powerful build but there are significant tradeoffs.

A way Sorlock shines vs. a damage focused Sorcerer is actually in its standard non-augmented damage output. EB + AB + Lance of Lethargy is one of the strongest repeatable attacks compared to just about anything else that doesn't expend limited resources. Really only well-built fighters that take full advantage of action economy are better. I think this is what makes Sorlock a strong build moreso than the theorycraft maximum nova damage.
 
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redCartel

Visitor
OK, some more numbers:
Assuming a 60% chance to hit on spell attack rolls and a 50% chance for a monster to make a save and a level 11-16 character fighting multiple enemies:

Quickened, Hexed Eldritch Blast does 50.3 damage per round.
vs.
Twinned Fireblast does 25.8 damage per round.

Twinned Empowered Fireblast does 30.3 damage per round.


Sorcerers options for multi-turn bonus actions are:

Lvl 3: Melf's Minute Meteors: 7 extra damage per round, possibly multiple targets, only 3 rounds +5 damage on first hit

Lvl 4: Storm Sphere: 8.4 extra damage per round

Lvl 5: Animate Objects: 35 extra damage per round!!!

Lvl 7: Crown of Stars: 15 extra damage per round

Lvl 7: Animate Objects cast as level 7 spell: 50 extra damage per round

and if the Sorcerer wants to magic initiate Hex & EB for backup against damage resistant enemies:
Quickened Empowered Hexed Eldritch Blast does 39.57 damage per turn (4 sorcery points)

So the lesson here is Holy Jeebus learn Animate Objects. And whether the sorcerer is going to match or exceed the Sorlock in damage depends on how much your DM will allow you to spam Animate Objects. My advice is to theme it. Get a dwarven smith to make you a bag full of tiny adamantium wasp statues. Make it your signature deal.
 

Gavin O.

Visitor
OK, some more numbers:
Assuming a 60% chance to hit on spell attack rolls and a 50% chance for a monster to make a save and a level 11-16 character fighting multiple enemies:

Quickened, Hexed Eldritch Blast does 50.3 damage per round.
vs.
Twinned Fireblast does 25.8 damage per round.

Twinned Empowered Fireblast does 30.3 damage per round.


Sorcerers options for multi-turn bonus actions are:

Lvl 3: Melf's Minute Meteors: 7 extra damage per round, possibly multiple targets, only 3 rounds +5 damage on first hit

Lvl 4: Storm Sphere: 8.4 extra damage per round

Lvl 5: Animate Objects: 35 extra damage per round!!!

Lvl 7: Crown of Stars: 15 extra damage per round

Lvl 7: Animate Objects cast as level 7 spell: 50 extra damage per round

and if the Sorcerer wants to magic initiate Hex & EB for backup against damage resistant enemies:
Quickened Empowered Hexed Eldritch Blast does 39.57 damage per turn (4 sorcery points)

So the lesson here is Holy Jeebus learn Animate Objects. And whether the sorcerer is going to match or exceed the Sorlock in damage depends on how much your DM will allow you to spam Animate Objects. My advice is to theme it. Get a dwarven smith to make you a bag full of tiny adamantium wasp statues. Make it your signature deal.
I feel like it was a huge mistake to give the animated objects 20 HP each and 18 AC. If a monster could just smash an object in one swing it wouldn't be nearly as good, but with 20 HP and 18 AC it could take a monster a couple rounds to even kill one of the things.

Also I think the best theme for animate objects it to create lethal flying spoons.
 

redCartel

Visitor
That feat is only rerolling 1s. It's very weak. 1/6th of the time it gives an average of a +2.5 damage. It's less than .5 damage per die rolled. It's a :):):):) feat.
 

Gavin O.

Visitor
That feat is only rerolling 1s. It's very weak. 1/6th of the time it gives an average of a +2.5 damage. It's less than .5 damage per die rolled. It's a :):):):) feat.
I disagree, actually, but only if you have an odd Charisma. It's enough of a damage boost that I would run it on every Tiefling sorcerer and I would start with 17 Charisma to use this feat. It adds an average of 3 damage to your fireball at level 5, to each target you hit. That's a decent increase considering elemental affinity is only +4 at this level.
 

redCartel

Visitor
It's not *totally* worthless as a +1 feat, but you're still probably better off trying to get 13 or 15 in one of your secondary scores to boost at the same time as your 17 if you're trying to be optimal. 3 damage per fireball target (which is the very highest utility of this, pretty much every other case where it matters, it matters less) isn't as significant as +1 to your Dex, Con, or Wisdom modifier.

You're best off going with stats like:

17 Cha
15 Dex
14 Con
10 Wis
9 (barf) Int

and getting to 18 Cha / 16 Dex at level 4 rather than taking a non-impactful +1 Cha feat.

In general I don't like Tiefling for Sorcerers. That +1 Int is a big waste, racial bonuses should only be applied to stats that are 13 or higher at point-buy. If you want a Sorcerer with a dark background & some good racial spells, go with a Half-Drow.
 
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Gavin O.

Visitor
It's not *totally* worthless as a +1 feat, but you're still probably better off trying to get 13 or 15 in one of your secondary scores to boost at the same time as your 17 if you're trying to be optimal. 3 damage per fireball target (which is the very highest utility of this, pretty much every other case where it matters, it matters less) isn't as significant as +1 to your Dex, Con, or Wisdom modifier.

You're best off going with stats like:

17 Cha
15 Dex
14 Con
10 Wis
9 (barf) Int

and getting to 18 Cha / 16 Dex at level 4 rather than taking a non-impactful +1 Cha feat.

In general I don't like Tiefling for Sorcerers. That +1 Int is a big waste, racial bonuses should only be applied to stats that are 13 or higher at point-buy. If you want a Sorcerer with a dark background & some good racial spells, go with a Half-Drow.
Tieflings are the only +Cha race that can start with wings at level 1. That benefit alone I think is enough to make them a strong contender, at least for the bloodlines that don't grant flight. Trivialize melee encounters and attack from a distance.
 
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mellored

Explorer
It's not a good assumption to have both hex and quicken EB each round. Unless your fighting a single creature all the time, AND always surprise them, you will be well out of bonus actions.

Also, darkness + devils sight + half-elf + elven accuracy. Not only does It do more damage than hex, you only need 1 action for the battle and it's easier to cast before battle.
 
Eldritch blast is overrated. Firebolt does the same 1d10 damage. Force damage being superior is a situational advantage. You shouldn't be basing your build on the chance that you run into a creature immune to fire *and* you're by yourself *and* have no other attacks. And the bonuses from Hex and so on look good on paper, but are unreliable since they go away if you get hit. Sorlock is only good for the armor skill, HP bonus, and invocations, otherwise, go full sorcerer or pick another multiclass.
 

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