• The VOIDRUNNER'S CODEX is coming! Explore new worlds, fight oppressive empires, fend off fearsome aliens, and wield deadly psionics with this comprehensive boxed set expansion for 5E and A5E!

Level Up (A5E) Thoughts on Eldritch Blast options for Warlock


So damage break down with agonizing blast a 50% save chance and a 60% hit chance @ 3/5/11/17

ED: 6/11/16/21
- range or melee great against low will opponent
ER: 6/10/18/25
- range only, gets better with some magical items
ES 5(3)/9(5)/15(8)/23(12)
- melee only, gets better with magical items, n eds a second opponent to fully make use of its power.
EW 5(2hp)/10(5hp)/18(9hp)/25(13hp)
- melee with reach, weaker if you already get thp.

Eldritch whip is assuming that you will be able to use your temp hp for extra damage every other time.

Now this does not take in to account magical items being pact of the blade or any invocation other than agonizing blast.
Your math is different from my calculations. In particular, I think it makes sense to consider the Hex spell as you can cast that as a bonus action, and the extra damage per hit scales better for ER, ES, and EW. For example:

Eldritch Disturbance at 5th level:
  • Correction: Hex doesn't work with Eldritch Disturbance as it is not an attack!
  • Without: (2d10 + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x (0.5 + 0.5x0.5) = 11.2 average
Eldritch Ray at 5th level:
  • With Hex: 2x (d10 + d6 Hex + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 15.6 average
  • Without: 2x (d10 + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 11.4 average
Eldritch Scythe at 5th level:
  • With Hex: 2x (d8+ d6 Hex + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 14.4 average; +7.2 to 2nd target within reach
  • Without: 2x (d8 + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 10.2 average; +5.1 to 2nd target within reach
Eldritch Whip at 5th level:
  • With Hex: 2x (d6+ d6 Hex + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 13.2 average; +6.6 temporary HP and 3.3x0.6=2 extra damage next round
  • Without: 2x (d6 + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 9.0 average; +4.5 temporary HP and 2.2x0.6=1.3 extra damage next round
Compare to using a greatsword or maul at 5th level with Pact of the Blade and Thirsting Blade for extra attack:
  • With Hex: 2x (2d6+ d6 Hex + 4 ability modifier) x 0.6 = 17.4 average
  • Without: 2x (2d6 + 4 ability modifier) x 0.6 = 13.2 average
For damage vs. single target at 5th level, Eldritch Ray is your best option, and Eldritch Whip is suboptimal compared to it. With a secondary melee target within your reach, Eldritch Scythe gives your highest damage output.

One key thing to consider is whether you are in melee reach of a hostile opponent. If you are in melee, then Eldritch Ray is suboptimal as your ranged spell attacks are at disadvantage, taking you from 60% chance to hit down to 36% chance to hit. So in melee, you really want to have Eldritch Scythe or a melee pact weapon as backup; and Eldritch Disturbance is also a decent alternative as it is not a ranged attack roll.
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad



First the spell hex and hunters mark were removed from Level up and are not intended to be used in the game, so they should not be considered when looking at a warlocks damage. I do not know why it is listed on the tools site but it is not in the books and was mentioned during the play testing that it was folded into your archetype as an option if you wanted to take it. If you choose to use it just know that the creators of level up thought it was broken for a spell.

I'm my groups everyone takes a feat at level 4 instead of an ABI so we never see a +4 until level 8. That might be why my numbers are a bit different than yours. Also I rounded my numbers up at the end of my calculations.

As far as a Eldritch Whip is concerned you choose to sacrifice your temp hp on a successful hit so you do not need to multiply the extra damage by .6 which makes it more competitive of not better than other options. That is an extra 3 damage over 2 rounds due to rounding.
Last edited:


Firstly, thanks WanderingMystic for the detailed discussion and analysis. :)

As you mentioned, Hex is explicitly listed in A5E tools, Hex | Level Up. As an alternative to Hex, there is the Warlock archetype curse ability which scales to higher additional damage per hit at higher Warlock levels but can only be used once per short rest. Permitting Hex doesn't break anything, as the resulting damage output for Warlock is very similar to 5E D&D. I don't see why it would be considered broken, given that Hex requires concentration so you're missing out on other concentration spell alternatives. I do see the motivation for making Hex a class feature rather than a spell, so it wouldn't surprise me if this was indeed design intent, but in which case I'd ask them to correct it and omit on a5e.tools. However, note that by not permitting the Hex spell, you are moderately reducing the damage output of Warlocks that don't take the archetype curse feature.

There are a number of 5E D&D spells missing from A5E, and in many cases it is not clear why they would be a problem other than them not being in the SRD (e.g., due to being in a book like Tasha's Cauldron of Everything). In a few cases it is fairly clear that it is intentional, such as Hellish Rebuke having been clearly replaced by the Arcane Riposte spell and the Eldritch Riposte invocation for Warlock. But either way, I have yet to see examples where permitting 5E D&D spells with A5E would break anything - they're quite compatible, though the A5E version should be used when it exists.

Regarding Eldritch Whip, you are correct though we should factor in the chance of completely missing and not getting that bonus damage:

Eldritch Whip at 5th level:
  • With Hex: 2x (d6+ d6 Hex + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 13.2 average; +6.6 temporary HP and 3.3x(1-0.4x0.4)=2.8 extra damage next round
  • Without: 2x (d6 + 4 ability modifier from Agonizing Blast) x 0.6 = 9.0 average; +4.5 temporary HP and 2.25x(1-0.4x0.4)=1.9 extra damage next round
So I agree that makes Eldritch Whip more competitive, and it still gives me headaches as to what are the better options to take for Eldritch Blast. If you take Pact of the Blade, at least for damage output, I don't think that there's the need to take Eldritch Whip, whether or not you have a Warlock who wants to wade into melee. I think the main reason for Eldritch Whip is for when you want some additional temporary HP.


I think the main reason they chose to omit hex is that it was a must have spell and that it is vastly more powerful option for a first level spell slot. One of the things they tried to do with A5E was tone down the power of certain spells and make everything balanced against each other. Hex is a perfectly balanced spell for a first level spell until you start getting extra attacks from dual wielding, or the extra attacks option at 5th level. At this point it becomes vastly superior to any other 1st level spell slot for the dps potential.

Also remember that in A5E the warlock gets spell points and not just blanket spell slots so at higher levels when hex becomes more broken it actually becomes easier for you to not worry about concentration since it only cost you a bonus action and 1 spell point of which you have 10 at level 5 per short rest instead of just 2 slots so you can cast it 10 time instead of just 2.

So for me if I am going to go pact of the blade I have 3 options. Looking at level five with a +1 weapon and my level four ABI spent on upping my casting stat.
Note: instead of the usually 60% chance to hit I add an extra +5% per +1 enchantment bonus

1: Eldritch Scythe: Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Elementalism (for versatility) 12.35 + 6 to a second target.

2: Eldritch Ray:  Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Elementalism (for versatility) 13.65

3: Two Handed pact weapon: Lifedrinker, Thirsting Blade. 20.8

4: Longbow Lifedrinker, Thirsting Blade. 17.55

At lvl 9 things change due to a +2 weapon and the extra ABI. By lvl 17 I am assuming a +3 weapon.

1: Eldritch Scythe: Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Elementalism (for versatility) 16.1 + 8 to a second target. At lvl 11 24.15 + 12 to a second.
At lvl 17 37.5 + 16 to a second.

2: Eldritch Ray:  Agonizing Blast, Eldritch Elementalism (for versatility) 17.5
At lvl 11 26.05 At lvl 17 40.5

3: Two Handed pact weapon: Lifedrinker, Thirsting Blade. 26.6 At lvl 17 30

4: Longbow Lifedrinker, Thirsting Blade. 23.1
At lvl 17 26.25
Last edited:


if you don't want to go pact of the Blade and instead go Pact of the chain or Tome.

It takes level 6 to do all of this. Personally I love having Armor of Shadows for my caster warlocks so I couldn't do this until 7th lvl.

Note: instead of the usually 60% chance to hit I add an extra +5% per +1 enchantment bonus.

Eldritch Disruption:

Eldritch Ray:


Eldritch Scythe:
11.05 +
6 to a second target in range.

Eldritch Whip: Agonizing Blast, Fiendish Vigor, Noxious Invigoration

Average round: 12 with 6 temp hp
with Noxious Invigoration 13.5 & 8 temp hp.

[First round: 12.75 & 7 temp hp. (Fiendish Vigor)
with Noxious Invigoration 14.75 & 11 temp hp.
No prior emp hp round: 9.75 with 5 temp hp.
with Noxious Invigoration 9.75 & 9 temp hp.]

At level 9 You jump up drastically thanks to the added ABI, a +2 Wand and the bump in proficiency

Eldritch Disruption:
Lvl 11: 23.62, Lvl 17: 31.5

Eldritch Ray:
Lvl 11: 22.05, Lvl 17: 31.5

Eldritch Scythe:
+ 7 to secondary target, Lvl 11: 19.95 +10 to secondary target, Lvl 17: 28.5 +15 to secondary target

Eldritch Whip:
Average round: 15.9 with 12 temp hp. Lvl 11: 23 & 16 temp hp. Lvl 17: 31.75 & 22 temp hp

[First round: 17.9 & 13 temp hp. Lvl 11: 23.85 & 16 temp hp. Lvl 17: 32.5 & 23 temp hp
No prior temp hp rounds: 11.9 with 10 temp hp.
Lvl 11: 17.85 & 13 temp hp. Lvl 17: 25.5 & 24 temp hp.]
Last edited:


1st level spells cost 2 spell points to cast, but yes, at 5th level you can cast Hex spell 5 times before needing a short or long rest to recover spell points. However, there are also plenty of other good Warlock spells to consider casting, if you have them. For example: Level 1 - Corpse Explosion, Expedititious Retreat, Sleep, Thunderwave; Level 2 - Darkness, Mirror Image, Misty Step; Level 3 - Counterspell, Fear, Fireball, Fly, or Vampiric Touch.

Hex does give good bonus damage at 5th level if you have Thirsting Blade and two-weapon fighting. Round 1: cast Hex as a bonus action, and attack with your main hand twice for 2d6 x 0.6 = 4.2 additional damage from Hex; Round 2+: draw your off-hand weapon as a free object interaction, then attack with main hand and off-hand twice each, giving 4d6 x 0.6 = 8.4 additional damage from Hex. It is good, but you'll need to spend a bonus action to shift targets once your target hits 0 HP, and if your target withdraws from melee before hitting 0 HP, you either need to follow or cast Hex again to engage a different melee target.

I really don't see Hex as being over-powered compared to some of the other spell options. And the damage output of a Warlock using the Hex spell is not excessive compared to other classes - it is roughly on par in each tier, based on my past experience of 5E D&D and analysis that I've seen for both A5E and 5E D&D.

On a related note, Morrus and Xethreau (one of the A5E Warlock designers) discussed that Hex should add both to the Eldritch Whip damage and hence to temporary HP gained. See this thread: Level Up (A5E) - An eldritch whip + added damage clarification


Morrus said that the Hex spell was mistakenly missed in the AG, but would be in the errata, hence it is in A5E tools.
Thank you for the update, I could have sword during the play test he had mentioned getting rid of it but I am glad to be proven wrong.

@Tessarael looks like I was misinformed and that Hex not being the the core book was a mistake Mea culpa.

I will update my breakdowns so people can see the damage with hex factored in. Oddly enough out of the three that it works with at all it benefits ray the least since it add to the extra damage in scythe and the extra temp HP for whip.

Not factoring in hex disruption was just as powerful as ray for a chain or Tome warlock and you could use frog fang to bring the damage up to the same level as a blade warlock.
(actually it is higher but the survivability of your familiar makes me question if they will be able to attack every round or if they will have to hit and run. It also makes me want an invocation that gives them like your proficiency bonuses + (2*lvl) in temp HP outside of combat for added survivability)
Now I will need to see what disruption needs or what other spell you could cast to make up the difference. (Bane is on the star list and it makes 3 targets per combat have weaker saves but it is an action to cast. Maybe an invocation that lets you cast it as a bonus action, hmm)


I agree. The survivability of your familiar at high levels is an issue. At lower levels, it should be fine. If you take say an Imp familiar ( Imp Familiar | Level Up ), they have resistance to cold and non-magical/non-silvered weapons, along with immunity to fire and poison, and advantage on saving throws and effects. With HP 14 and AC 13 and invisibility as a bonus action, an Imp should hopefully survive a round or two of combat, which is better than my level 1 Warlock has fared so far.

At higher levels, I'd love to have an eldritch invocation that gives the familiar something like this:
  • +1 HP per Warlock level
  • They can use your saving throws.
These two benefits of Investment of the Chain Master from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything would really help too:
  • If the familiar forces a creature to make a saving throw, it uses your spell save DC.
  • When the familiar takes damage, you can use your reaction to grant it resistance against that damage.

Remove ads