5E The Shadow Whirlwind - A Melee Sorcerer Combo

Christew

Villager
For your consideration ...

At 3rd level, a sorcerer has access to:
  • Booming Blade
  • Green Flame Blade
  • Quicken Spell
  • Twin Spell
  • Shadow Blade

All other considerations aside (multiclassing, armor, HP, etc) you can now employ the Shadow Whirlwind for serious multi-round nova damage against two melee opponents!

Option 1 (More damage, but slower)
Turn One: Cast Shadow Blade as a bonus action, Twin Booming Blade as an action.
Turn Two: Twin Booming Blade
Turn Three: Twin Booming Blade
Cost: 3 Sorcery Points and a 2nd level spell slot
Output: 18d8+18 (6 attacks at 3d8+3 assuming a 16 attack ability between two enemies)

Option 2 (Less damage, but faster)
Turn One: Cast Shadow Blade as a bonus action, Booming Blade as an action.
Turn Two: Twin Booming Blade as an action, Quicken Green Flame Blade as a bonus action.
Cost: 3 Sorcery Points and a 2nd level spell slot
Output: 13d8+15 (4 attacks at 3d8+3 with a 1d8+3 rider between two enemies)

While this combo represents a massive resource expenditure at level 3, it becomes a reasonably sustainable damage output method as Sorcery Points and Spell slots improve. Using this base combo, sorcerer becomes a chassis on which to build a variety of melee burst characters.

High Level Example: Paladin 2/Sorcerer 18 (assumes 20 in attack stat and Charisma and Dueling Fighting Style)

Turn One: Cast 7th level Shadow Blade as a bonus action, Twin Booming Blade as an action, Smite with two 4th level spell slots.
Turn Two: Twin Booming Blade, Quicken Green Flame Blade, Smite with one 4th and one 3rd level spell slots.
Turn Three-Six: Continue burning progressively lower level spell slots.
Turn Seven-Eight: Twin Booming Blade.
Cost: 18 Sorcery Points, a 7th level spell slot, and all spell slots 4th and below.
Output: 227d8+173 (21 attacks at 8d8+7 with 5 3d8+5 riders and 44d8 from 13 smites using 1st-4th level slots between two enemies)

Unlike the level 3 combo (which could be used with smites by a Paladin2/Sorcerer3) our mighty Sorcadin still has 39 levels of spell slots remaining to turn into Sorcery Points and do it all again (with fewer and lower level smites, of course).
Base Calculations/Cost:
Twinned BB with 7th Level SB - 8d8+7 and 8d8+7 for 1 Sorcery Point and Action
Quickened GFB with 7th Level SB - 8d8+7 and 3d8+5 for 2 Sorcery Points and Bonus Action

Considerations:
  • Shadow Blade attacks are made at advantage in dim light
  • Shadow Blade can be thrown and resummoned as a bonus action
  • Damage dealt is exclusively Psychic, Thunder, and Fire
  • Sustainability could be improved by limiting smites (only use level one slots, wait for crits, etc)
  • At character level 17, the base combo elements are maxed (level 7 Shadow Blade and 17th level Booming Blade) and could be used to do 8d8+7 to two enemies for only 1 Sorcery Point each turn. Your bonus action is then free for other uses, you retain spell slots, and Quickened GFB, Divine Smite, and Font of Magic recharge can be applied as you see fit.
  • These numbers neglect to consider other possible damage sources (subclass choice, party buffs, self buffs, Booming Blade rider damage, etc)


... Thoughts?
 
Last edited:

Dausuul

Legend
Hmm. At its core, this exploit is built around stacking shadow blade, booming blade, and Twinned Spell, all of which do indeed appear to stack by the rules.

Pretty nifty. The sorcadin version is of course obscene cheese (a description that applies to most sorcadins), but I feel like this might be a really cool single-class sorcerer build, powerful but not brokenly so.
 

Christew

Villager
Nice! Thanks for the confirmation that the fundamental elements are functional.

Totally agreed on cheesiness, was mostly trying to demonstrate the outer limit. In the example only 44d8 (more of a melted cheese topping) are generated through Divine Smite though, so I think a true Sorcerer can maintain pretty sturdy numbers.

Taking a Draconic Sorcerer (for HP and Armor) would yield a reasonably tanky mid-liner that could put out two or three high damage attacks per round with some reliability. Spells like Misty Step or Blink would improve survivability/mobility and increase the likelihood of Booming move damage.
 

delph

Explorer
thanks for confirming I can have "melee multiattack" with quickened or twined GFB. I was not sure If I can when I havn't extra attack's

one point - twined spell need two enemy. With GFB you want stand before 2 enemy, but when there is only one (and you are higher than 5. lvl) You can still use it. And there is weak point. Maybe it can be done with dualwileding - You can say, you cast it to one weapon ant than to the second.

And did you think about Sorc X/ Hexblade 5 ? attack from charisma, many nasty invocation for blade, hex, curse, ... I was... But circumstances move me more to sorlock (but still have 2 lvl hexblade, but I think I didn't take more than 3rd)
 

5ekyu

Adventurer
Twinned GB is likely no-no because it affects more than one.
thanks for confirming I can have "melee multiattack" with quickened or twined GFB. I was not sure If I can when I havn't extra attack's

one point - twined spell need two enemy. With GFB you want stand before 2 enemy, but when there is only one (and you are higher than 5. lvl) You can still use it. And there is weak point. Maybe it can be done with dualwileding - You can say, you cast it to one weapon ant than to the second.

And did you think about Sorc X/ Hexblade 5 ? attack from charisma, many nasty invocation for blade, hex, curse, ... I was... But circumstances move me more to sorlock (but still have 2 lvl hexblade, but I think I didn't take more than 3rd)
 
Yup, I've looked at ideas like this myself, being fond of gishes. GFB can't be twinned.

One thing to check on with the DM: they might choose to rule that a magically summoned weapon made of shadow cannot be used as the material component for Booming Blade.

It's an aside, but it occurred to me that if you do treat Shadow Blade as an actual weapon, what is to stop a Bladepact Warlock summoning one with Pact of the Blade?!
 

Christew

Villager
Some interesting ideas developing.

thanks for confirming I can have "melee multiattack" with quickened or twined GFB. I was not sure If I can when I havn't extra attack's

one point - twined spell need two enemy. With GFB you want stand before 2 enemy, but when there is only one (and you are higher than 5. lvl) You can still use it. And there is weak point. Maybe it can be done with dualwileding - You can say, you cast it to one weapon ant than to the second.
The distinction here is that BB can be Twinned or Quickened because it has a single target, GFB can only be Quickened because it has two targets. You are right that a true Shadow Whirlwind requires being in combat range of two enemies, but individual elements can still be used against a single enemy.
  • Cast SB as a bonus and BB as an action for 3d8+3 (level 5) or 8d8+5 (level 17) against a single opponent
  • On subsequent turns cast BB as an action and Quicken BB as a bonus action for 2x 3d8+3 (level 5) or 2x 8d8+5 (level 17) against a single opponent

This is less than ideal (from a damage and cost perspective), but you still put out serious damage (9d8+9 @5 or 24d8+15 @17) in only two rounds. If you get a second melee enemy you can start Twinning BB and/or Quickening GFB as you see fit.

Extra Attack would let you make 2 SB attacks (against any enemy) with your action. That would give you 2x 2d8+3 @5 and 2x 5d8+5 @17 while still allowing a Quickened BB or GFB with your bonus action. The required 5 levels in another class means 5 fewer Sorcery Points (and significantly fewer spell slots) though, so multiclassing is definitely a cost/benefit consideration.

One thing to check on with the DM: they might choose to rule that a magically summoned weapon made of shadow cannot be used as the material component for Booming Blade.

It's an aside, but it occurred to me that if you do treat Shadow Blade as an actual weapon, what is to stop a Bladepact Warlock summoning one with Pact of the Blade?!
Fair point, but RAW SB counts as a simple weapon with which you are proficient and shouldn't have any issues interacting with the SCAG cantrips. Oh my, that would be lovely to be able to free summon SB! Unfortunately, Pact of the Blade includes this: You can transform one Magic Weapon into your pact weapon by performing a Special ritual while you hold the weapon. You perform the ritual over the course of 1 hour, which can be done during a Short Rest.

SB only lasts for a minute and would be unable to be held for the required hour. If you had a very kind DM that let you stack uses of Extend spell and ruled that the doubled duration was the new base value for each subsequent use then maybe you could blow 6 Sorcery Points to create an SB that lasts for 64 minutes ... but that seems like quite a stretch.
 
RAW, a warlock doesn't need to have an example of the weapon in order to create one. You only need to hold it for an hour if you want to bond with an existing weapon. Also see: Elven double bladed scimitar from Eberron.

Now, a DM will probably argue that the text "see chapter 5 for weapon options" limits it to standard melee weapons, but the text is a little loose...
 

Krachek

Explorer
The combo is also dependent of table rules for creating characters.
If you play PHB +1 you can’t do it,
 

Christew

Villager
The combo is also dependent of table rules for creating characters.
If you play PHB +1 you can’t do it,
Good point. I don't play AL and my home group allows all book published material (with campaign based DM restrictions), but that is definitely relevant.
RAW, a warlock doesn't need to have an example of the weapon in order to create one. You only need to hold it for an hour if you want to bond with an existing weapon. Also see: Elven double bladed scimitar from Eberron.

Now, a DM will probably argue that the text "see chapter 5 for weapon options" limits it to standard melee weapons, but the text is a little loose...
I think RAW you can choose the form your standard pact weapon takes (as in any of the standard melee weapons like a longsword with whatever fluff you desire) per "You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it" or you can make an existing magic weapon into your pact weapon (as in items from the DMG like a Longsword +1) per "You can transform one Magic Weapon into your pact weapon by performing a Special ritual."

Because SB reads that "You weave together threads of shadow to create a sword of solidified gloom in your hand. This magic sword lasts until the spell ends," I would rule that you would need the ritual because it is an existing magic weapon.

You could totally summon a shadow blade (Longsword that deals 1d8+Modifier magic slashing damage and dances with shadowy energy), but could not summon a Shadow Blade (Spell Effect Weapon that deals 2d8+Modifier psychic damage).
 

Dausuul

Legend
The combo is also dependent of table rules for creating characters.
If you play PHB +1 you can’t do it,
Not the whole thing, but you can still take pieces. Booming blade plus Twinned Spell is usable with PHB+1. And if you aren't using shadow blade, I feel you can justify going sorcadin to make up for it. Paladin 2/sorcerer 3, with a rapier and the Duelist fighting style, has quite respectable damage output.
 

Advertisement

Top