5E The highest sustained DPR build I could make

This will probably be a long post, hopefully I can condense it and just get to the important parts though. A couple things to mention first though:


  • Personally, I am not interested in dpr builds at level 20. That's why this character is level 12. I feel like the game is less about damage at level 20, and it's just a less often played tier of the game.
  • This character does not utilize feats to increase damage output, but it goes without saying that those are very valid options.
  • When considering the damage output of this character, none of the stats really matter except the dexterity.
  • This character is intended to scale harder than other classes, and benefit more from magical effects like haste and magical weapons.

Onto the build.
Level 12 Monklock - Proficiency +4
7 Kensei Monk, 5 Hexblade Warlock Multiclass
| 10 STR | 20 DEX | 10 CON | 10 INT | 20 WIS | 10 CHA | 7 Ki Points | 2 Spell Slots |
Invocations: Thirsting Blade, Improved Pact Weapon, Sign of Ill Omen​

The biggest sources of damage for this build are: Multiattack, Flurry of blows, Hex, Thirsting Blade, High Dex Mod, and surprisingly the proficiency bonus. As far as my thought process when building this character, I really wanted to incorporate the hex spell. It's a classic for dealing damage. This character focuses on simply having more attacks than anything else though, because more landed attacks is more guaranteed damage. With hex and baleful curse places on the same target, every landed attack is another dex bonus, proficiency bonus, and 1d6 necrotic damage on top of the attack itself. I feel like this damage is significant, and can scale much harder than Rogue's sneak attack. I will compare this build to rogue a lot throughout this. But Rogues don't really benefit greatly at level 12 by having more attacks. Multiple attacks for rogues, or having two weapons, is really more about ensuring sneak attack lands. A level 12 rogue with two weapon fighting has two attacks, but the difference in damage between one attack landing and both attacks landing is the difference of 1d8 weapon +5 dex of damage.

So what kind of damage outputs can this class output?
To start, we will have rapier as a kensei weapon and pact of the blade weapon in the mainhand, and a free offhand. With every attack action, Monklock gets 2 rapier attacks, and an extra that can be either another weapon attack or an unarmed strike. The only reason this distinction matters is with the kensei's Agile Parry feature for +2 ac. Flurry of blows for 1 ki point gives 2 unarmed strikes as a bonus action. Hex deals 1d6 necrotic for every landed attack. Baleful Curse adds proficiency bonus to damage rolls. For now, I am assuming this only applies to each attack, not each source of damage. I am doing this because I don't think it would add to the attack landed, as well as the hex damage, but I could be wrong. Finally, since the rapier is a +1 pact weapon, each rapier hit does an extra point of damage.

(Assuming Every Attack Hits)
So far this damage in terms of number and dice looks like this:
Attack ActionFlurry of BlowsHexDex ModProficiencyPact Weapon
3d8 M Slash+2d6 M Bludg.+5d6 Necrotic+25 M Slash/Bludg.+20+3
A big part of the damage is simply the amount of times that the dex mod and proficiency bonuses are added to the damage. That's a minimum of 58 damage from all of these sources. Minimum. I believe the average would come out to 85 damage. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

In comparison:
Level 12 Rogue |2 Rapiers | +5 Dex | Sneak Attack | (Don't add an extra dex mod to the crit damage, just double sneak attack and an extra d8)

Assassin Autocrit3d8+12d6+10Minimum 25 damageAverage 65 damage
No autocrit2d8+6d6+10Minimum 18 damageAverage 40 damage

Now, there is a noticeable difference in these damage outputs, but certainly not utterly absurd in my opinion. But I mentioned earlier that this class is designed to scal harder than other classes with certain damage boosts applied to them. Let's start with haste. What we're interested is the extra attack action. This does not boost the level 12 Rogues damage by much, it just gives another swing of a rapier for 1d8+5, it doesn't let them proc sneak attack any more often. But if you remember from before, each attack action gives the Monklock 3 more attacks. 1 default, another from thirsting blade, and another from extra attack. It looks like this:

Monklock​
ActionHasteFlurry of BlowsHexDexProficiencyPact WeaponMinimumAverage
3d8+3d8+2d6+8d6+40+32+694111

Rogue​
ActionHasteSneak AttackDexMinimumAverage
Assassin3d8+1d8+12d6+153175
No Crit2d8+1d8+6d6+152447

As you can see, the haste action just lets Monklock absolutely outpace the Rogue in terms of damage. Now let's look at this Monklock with a Flametongue. Just to be nice, we will give one to the rogue as well. Hopefully the autocrit bring it back to comparable with Monklock.


Monklock with Flametongue and Haste
ActionHasteFlurry of BlowsHexFlametongueDexProficiencyPact WeaponMinimumAverage
3d8+3d8+2d6+8d6+12d6+40+32+6106172


Rogue with Flametongue and Haste
ActionHasteSneak AttackFlametongueDexMinimumAverage
Assassin3d8+1d8+12d6+8d6+1539103
No Crit2d8+1d8+6d6+6d6+153070

That's basically it, I really just wanted to showcase the damage breakdowns. There are a few things to consider as well. My rationale is for haste is that DnD is usually a game about an adventuring party, therefore it's not usual for at least one party to know haste and cast it on Monklock. Of course, Monklock is not god. Obvious weaknesses are enemies that have darkness at will, dispel magic at will, or counterspell. Enemies with high ac can be a bit annoying, because missing means less damage, but faerie fire could potentially make up for this.

I admit, having all 8 attacks land is not really a good way to measure the average damage. That's more for the possible damage. However, I can see that measuring the damage assuming around 5-6 of the attacks landing might be a better average. This also does not take into account any utility or tankiness of the Monklock vs other characters.

A few last things I want to say about Assassin vs Monklock: The assassin does lots of damage, this is true. However, they deal a lot of damage once. I don't think it's likely that an assassin will find more than one opportunity to get an autocrit off on a surprised enemy once an all out fight breaks out against the bbeg or something. Monk can do this as long as they have flurry of blows, which at this level is 7 times. That's a lot of times. Also, if Monklock actually manages to land bestow curse for the 1d8, that could be even more damage.

Some other thoughts: Crits are probably more effective, or add more damage, to rogues. A single attack critting for monk adds more but not as much as rogue. Assassins may find it harder to find more sneak attacks in battle since they need advantage or a nearby ally. As compared to a swashbuckler at least, who gets it as long as they are in a duel essentially.

Okay that is actually the end of the post. Let me know what you think: Of Monklock, of damage, of multiclassing martial classes in 5e, balance, etc. Let me know if I missed or overlooked anything, or have incorrect mins/averages. I certainly hope not - I really don't want to redo them. Also, I would appreciate advice on formatting posts. This is my first one on a forum, so I tried to make it as digestible as possible. So yea, what do you guys think?
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
I am sorry to say that, but:
- thirsting blade and extra attack don't stack by the multiclass rules.
- extra attack action granted by haste is explicitely only a single attack. So you have 3 attacks less than you calculated with.

That said, it is still a good damage build. Especially when bearing in mind that an assassin won't get his alphastrike when he does not win initiative.
 
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Radaceus

Visitor
To start, we will have rapier as a kensei weapon and pact of the blade weapon in the mainhand, and a free offhand. ... <snip> The only reason this distinction matters is with the kensei's Agile Parry feature for +2 ac. Flurry of blows for 1 ki point gives 2 unarmed strikes as a bonus action.<snip>
I'm not sure, but I think you are implying that you're only reason for having a free hand is to make unarmed attacks?

this assumption is incorrect,
the Monks martial arts allows them to make unarmed attacks even if both hands are holding something. i.e., a kick, the hilt of a weapon, an elbow, etc...

Monk Martial arts said:
• When you use the Attack action with an unarmed strike or a monk weapon on your turn, you can make one unarmed strike as a bonus action. For example, if you take the Attack action and attack with a quarterstaff, you can also make an unarmed strike as a bonus action, assuming you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn.
Basic rules said:
Instead of using a weapon to make a melee weapon attack, you can use an Unarmed Strike: A punch, kick, headbutt, or similar forceful blow (none of which count as weapons).
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I think your DPR would look similar for the Rogue if you build him as, dare I say it, an Asslock. Wheeeeeee! Asslock ®. Best mutliclass name ever. Seriously though. Stack the hexing and whatnot on top of the assassin's nova potential and it's easily as good, especially when you factor in the couple of things from above that you need to fix. Plus mask of many faces and rogue sneakiness go together like beer and pretzels. I applaud any attempt to do something cool with the monk though. Love me some monks. I need to find more threads to suggest the Asslock build too... let me go look.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Easy peasy to multiclass as assmonklock


Hexblade 5/monk4/assassin3
Standard array
15+1 dex +4 due to stat incrrases
14 con
13 wis
13+1 cha


That will allow for hex OR haste. Note that you can't selfcast both due to concebtration requirement. (Another error in the calculation above).

You will probably have a better time just going monk 5, warlock 4 and rogue 3 so you have hex and stunning strike. Even with that low wisdom you should be able to stun with a bit of persistance and follow up with advantage.
If you can get along with dex 18, kensai 6 helps a lot. Or you go monk 6, warlock 2 and rogue 4 and have everything you need.

As warlock you probably use shield spell and hex with your two slots. You probably have armor of shadows so you don't need high wisdom.
Rogue 4 for dex increase.
Monk 6 for deft strike and magical attacks.

Warlock 3 instead of monk 6 allows for improved pact weapon which is a small damage increase and a bit more to hit. I can't decide if it is better than deft strike. Probably not because if you happen to find a magic weapon that invocation becomes useless.
 
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Elfcrusher

Adventurer
I think your DPR would look similar for the Rogue if you build him as, dare I say it, an Asslock. Wheeeeeee! Asslock ®. Best mutliclass name ever.
That could also be the name of your signature martial arts move! Maybe it counts as a grapple.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
But if you remember from before, each attack action gives the Monklock 3 more attacks. 1 default, another from thirsting blade, and another from extra attack. It looks like this:
I am sorry to say that, but:
- thirsting blade and extra attack don't stack by the multiclass rules.
- extra attack action granted by haste is explicitely only a single attack. So you have 3 attacks less than you calculated with.
Yea, not to rain on your parade, but there are several problems with this build. The problem that [MENTION=59057]UngeheuerLich[/MENTION] listed above (Extra Attack/Thirsting Blade/Haste stacking) is the main one. Any tier 3 build that's getting more than 4 attacks per round needs to make really sure they've checked their work. It would usually take Fighter 11 to pull that off.

The other problems with your build is that your stats are invalid, assuming point buy, and that you can't take a warlock multiclass with a 10 Cha. Granted, you can certainly get a 20 Dex by level 12, but you're wasting one of the best features of Hexblade by doing so, and your AC and spell attacks suffer by the stat split.

I don't want to dissuade you from building cool characters, and the concept is certainly an effective and fun one. But stuff like "best sustained DPR build" or "best nova DPR" are pretty much already solved problems, and the threshold to find something competitive with those builds is very high.
 
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UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Yea, not to rain on your parade, but there are several problems with this build. The problem listed above (Extra Attack/Thirsting Blade/Haste stacking) is the main one. Any tier 3 build that's getting more than 4 attacks per round needs to make really sure they've checked their work. It would usually take Fighter 11 to pull that off.

The other problems with your build is that your stats are invalid, assuming point buy, and that you can't take a warlock multiclass with a 10 Cha. Granted, you can certainly get a 20 Dex by level 12, but you're wasting one of the best features of Hexblade by doing so, and your AC and spell attacks suffer by the stat split.

I don't want to dissuade you from building cool characters, and the concept is certainly an effective and fun one. But stuff like "best sustained DPR build" or "best nova DPR" are pretty much already solved problems, and the threshold to find something competitive with those builds is very high.
I think it would have helped if you adressed the OP after my quote so it he notices it and it does not sound as if you are adressing me.

If there is no space in the name, it is easy. I am not sure how to use the following mention with the name of the op correctly.
[MENTION=205]TwoSix[/MENTION]
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I think it would have helped if you adressed the OP after my quote so it he notices it and it does not sound as if you are adressing me.

If there is no space in the name, it is easy. I am not sure how to use the following mention with the name of the op correctly.
[MENTION=205]TwoSix[/MENTION]
I edited to improve the clarity of the point.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I think I prefer Monkasslock to Assmonklock, although Assmonklock does keep the spotlight squarely on the Asslock portion, which I have to applaud. I'm warming up to an Assassin/Warlock/Druid multiclass that I'm going to call the Assloid. So many possibilities. I also think we should start calling the Rogue 3 dip for Assassin the Ass dip.

OK, I'm done. :lol:

Seriously though, I am going to stress test the Asslock just to see what it feels like.:eek:

Now I'm done. *whew*
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
Assbarbs? Yikes, I think we need to take care of some preliminaries first. My safe word is cheeseburgers.
 
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Yea, not to rain on your parade, but there are several problems with this build. The problem that [MENTION=59057]UngeheuerLich[/MENTION] listed above (Extra Attack/Thirsting Blade/Haste stacking) is the main one. Any tier 3 build that's getting more than 4 attacks per round needs to make really sure they've checked their work. It would usually take Fighter 11 to pull that off.

The other problems with your build is that your stats are invalid, assuming point buy, and that you can't take a warlock multiclass with a 10 Cha. Granted, you can certainly get a 20 Dex by level 12, but you're wasting one of the best features of Hexblade by doing so, and your AC and spell attacks suffer by the stat split.

I don't want to dissuade you from building cool characters, and the concept is certainly an effective and fun one. But stuff like "best sustained DPR build" or "best nova DPR" are pretty much already solved problems, and the threshold to find something competitive with those builds is very high.
Yea, the multiclass rules dealing with extra attack do significantly lower the damage of the build. You're right about the stats too, but to be honest I just didn't want to figure out what stats would come of a point buy system. I just made them up because I didn't really care about having anything other than 20 dex since the main damage contributions from the warlock multiclass are hex and baleful curse, which don't scale with charisma. I must say though, I am always impressed by how robust the rules for multiclassing are in the phb. It's actually pretty difficult to poke holes in them.

As far as the haste spell giving only one extra attack, I guess I should just learn to read lol.
 

Satyrn

Visitor
I think it would have helped if you adressed the OP after my quote so it he notices it and it does not sound as if you are adressing me.

If there is no space in the name, it is easy. I am not sure how to use the following mention with the name of the op correctly.
@TwoSix
The @ works fine even with spaces.

Protip: With long names, or just to ensure you get the name right, right-click (or long-press) the username and se!ect "copy link text," then just paste the name perfectly into your post.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Yea, the multiclass rules dealing with extra attack do significantly lower the damage of the build. You're right about the stats too, but to be honest I just didn't want to figure out what stats would come of a point buy system. I just made them up because I didn't really care about having anything other than 20 dex since the main damage contributions from the warlock multiclass are hex and baleful curse, which don't scale with charisma. I must say though, I am always impressed by how robust the rules for multiclassing are in the phb. It's actually pretty difficult to poke holes in them.

As far as the haste spell giving only one extra attack, I guess I should just learn to read lol.
No worries. As a general assumption for damage builds, you'll generally have a 16 in your attack stat for Tier 1, an 18 somewhere in Tier 2, and a 20 by tier 3. Fighters a little earlier, builds with heavy feat investment might be delayed.

Using feats in generally a prerequisite for really high sustained damage builds, as you'll almost always need either the Sharpshooter or the Great Weapon master feat to pull it off. The only real exception is Warlocks and Sorlocks using Eldritch Blast.

The highest (semi-)sustained damage build for tier 3 I can think of is a Hexblade Divine Soul Sorlock using Darkness/Devil's Sight to gain advantage on a cursed target. Using twinned Eldritch Blast, that would be 6 attacks at 1d10+9 baseline, with triple advantage (assuming Elven Accuracy and a half-elf). That's about a 90% chance to hit assuming a moderately armored target, and a 27% chance to crit per attack. You could also use Spiritual Weapon to get an additional 1d8+9 attack, or 2d8+9 if you're willing to upcast. It's only semi-sustained, of course, but it's a damn good trick against one enemy that needs to go down.

The only other really high damage build I can think off is a Zealot Barbarian leveraging Reckless Attack, Great Weapon Master, and probably Polearm Master. GWM and Sharpshooters are also really good, but don't have on-demand advantage.
 

UngeheuerLich

Adventurer
Yea, the multiclass rules dealing with extra attack do significantly lower the damage of the build. You're right about the stats too, but to be honest I just didn't want to figure out what stats would come of a point buy system. I just made them up because I didn't really care about having anything other than 20 dex since the main damage contributions from the warlock multiclass are hex and baleful curse, which don't scale with charisma. I must say though, I am always impressed by how robust the rules for multiclassing are in the phb. It's actually pretty difficult to poke holes in them.

As far as the haste spell giving only one extra attack, I guess I should just learn to read lol.
It is still a very solid build. I just wanted to emphasize, that your stats (which you arbitrarily set to 20 and 10 respectively) are easily achievable with standard array. 20 dex and enough wis and cha to allow multiclass and even allow enough constitution to make your concentration checks.

I also thought about how to multiclass monk or warlock nice and efficiently. I lile the idea of being independent from armor and maybe weapons. So armor of shadows, unarmed defense and unarmed attacks go a long way. A blade warlock in shadow armor being able to summon a kensai weapons sounds like a lot of fun. An alternate Idea would be using the sorcerer shadow blade with a hexblade warlock multiclass. Level 3 to 5 sorcerer, level 7 to 9 warlock and using charisma as attack stat could be a lot of fun.
 
No worries. As a general assumption for damage builds, you'll generally have a 16 in your attack stat for Tier 1, an 18 somewhere in Tier 2, and a 20 by tier 3. Fighters a little earlier, builds with heavy feat investment might be delayed.

Using feats in generally a prerequisite for really high sustained damage builds, as you'll almost always need either the Sharpshooter or the Great Weapon master feat to pull it off. The only real exception is Warlocks and Sorlocks using Eldritch Blast.

The highest (semi-)sustained damage build for tier 3 I can think of is a Hexblade Divine Soul Sorlock using Darkness/Devil's Sight to gain advantage on a cursed target. Using twinned Eldritch Blast, that would be 6 attacks at 1d10+9 baseline, with triple advantage (assuming Elven Accuracy and a half-elf). That's about a 90% chance to hit assuming a moderately armored target, and a 27% chance to crit per attack. You could also use Spiritual Weapon to get an additional 1d8+9 attack, or 2d8+9 if you're willing to upcast. It's only semi-sustained, of course, but it's a damn good trick against one enemy that needs to go down.

The only other really high damage build I can think off is a Zealot Barbarian leveraging Reckless Attack, Great Weapon Master, and probably Polearm Master. GWM and Sharpshooters are also really good, but don't have on-demand advantage.
I've heard about Sorlock and twinning eldritch blast before, but wouldn't twinning it mean you need to have a second target? PHB 102: "...you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell." I also read somewhere that twinning eldritch blast would only create an extra missile, not give an entirely new casting of it with say 3 more missiles at level 11. Perhaps I saw it in a sage advice or something. Anyways, it's still a cool build and I do love the darkness spell, it's one of my favorites. It kind of sucks when you finally fight an enemy with blindsight or truesight though lol.

It is still a very solid build. I just wanted to emphasize, that your stats (which you arbitrarily set to 20 and 10 respectively) are easily achievable with standard array. 20 dex and enough wis and cha to allow multiclass and even allow enough constitution to make your concentration checks.

I also thought about how to multiclass monk or warlock nice and efficiently. I lile the idea of being independent from armor and maybe weapons. So armor of shadows, unarmed defense and unarmed attacks go a long way. A blade warlock in shadow armor being able to summon a kensai weapons sounds like a lot of fun. An alternate Idea would be using the sorcerer shadow blade with a hexblade warlock multiclass. Level 3 to 5 sorcerer, level 7 to 9 warlock and using charisma as attack stat could be a lot of fun.
I was thinking the same thing. Thematically, the multiclass just sounds really cool, as you said they don't rely on any armor or weapons. Alternatively to kensei, shadow monk could also be a really cool choice too. As for Armor of Shadows, from what I know it wouldn't stack or work alongside Unarmored Defense. You'd have to pick either Unarmored Defense to calculate AC, or the Mage Armor. I think it could be good though, because it could free you from having to go for a high wisdom mod, and instead you could points somewhere else. Honestly, I don't know what having a high wisdom does for monks other than increase stunning strike's save dc. It's a good ability, don't get me wrong, but it's not the worst thing to have a monk with low wis. Especially in this scenario where they don't need it for unarmored defense because of Armor of Shadows.
 
@TwoSix

I went to look for sage advice wording on twinning eldritch blast, and on twitter Crawford says that if a spell is able to target more than one creature with its casting, then it is not eligible for being twinned. By definition, eldritch blast can target more than one creature when you hit level 5, since you can use one missile on two different creatures. Because of this, you can't twin eldritch blast when you hit level 5.

You can of course still quicken it though.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
I've heard about Sorlock and twinning eldritch blast before, but wouldn't twinning it mean you need to have a second target? PHB 102: "...you can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell." I also read somewhere that twinning eldritch blast would only create an extra missile, not give an entirely new casting of it with say 3 more missiles at level 11. Perhaps I saw it in a sage advice or something. Anyways, it's still a cool build and I do love the darkness spell, it's one of my favorites. It kind of sucks when you finally fight an enemy with blindsight or truesight though lol.
You are absolutely correct, I misspoke (mistyped?). You would need to quicken EB, not twin it.
 

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