5E Warlock and Rogue Subclasses

Vitor Bastos

Explorer
Yo guys!
Trying to better understand some of these Rogue and Warlock Subclasses (not multiclassing) so I can pick one for a new character, most probably for a Descent into Avernus campaign (no spoilers pls! =P).

So far, Im interested in the following Subclasses:
  1. Rogue Assassin
  2. Rogue Swashbuckler
  3. Rogue Thief
  4. Warlock Hexblade
  5. Warlock Great Old One
  6. Warlock Fiend
I'd like to know what are the main differences between those Subclasses and here are also some of my personal preferences:
  • Mechanics, background, roleplaying, spells, strengths and weaknesses?
  • No multiclassing. The other players havent picked their classes yet.
  • I like to be one of the party Damage Dealers
  • Looking for a class that I wont be overwhelmed as an intermediate player. "Easy to play" and "feel strong" class.
  • A Class that is balanced like: combat (50%), social (25%) and exploration (25%).
  • Cool tricks/moves are also appreciated. Trying not to pick a dull/boring Class. Little bit of flavor on it!
  • Race-wise: I wont be picking Halflings, Gnomes, Goblins... I'll probably roll with Half-elf, Tiefling or Elf, depending on the build. I'd like to optimize a bit once I choose the Subclass.
Which one of these Subclasses do you recommend and which Race would you pick?
 

Dausuul

Legend
Not a spoiler exactly (I haven't read or played "Descent"), but it seems safe to say you'll run into a lot of devils; which is a bit of a limiting factor for a fiend pact warlock. Fiend pact loads you up with beefy fire spells, and fire doesn't work on devils. Still, the other fiend pact abilities work fine, and being able to give yourself permanent fire resistance at 10th level is pretty nifty. :)

Hexblade is remarkably versatile. You can go blade pact and mix it up in melee, but it also works just fine with a more typical eldritch blast build. Hexblade's Curse is like an extra spell slot for casting hex, which frees up your actual spell slots for other things... or you can stack the Curse and hex on top of each other for even more damage, ideal for beating down a tough boss. If you go the melee route, the Devil's Sight/darkness combo is your friend.

Haven't seen a Great Old One warlock in action, but I wouldn't recommend it based on your style preferences. They seem built more for control than for raw damage.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Not a spoiler exactly (I haven't read or played "Descent"), but it seems safe to say you'll run into a lot of devils; which is a bit of a limiting factor for a fiend pact warlock. Fiend pact loads you up with beefy fire spells, and fire doesn't work on devils. Still, the other fiend pact abilities work fine, and being able to give yourself permanent fire resistance at 10th level is pretty nifty. :)
Here is a semi-spoiler: There is a significant amount of stuff that you can AoE with Burning Hands or Fireball. For everything else, you have Eldritch Blast and Hex. Spend the rest of your spell picks on utility or control.
 

Undrave

Adventurer
If you want to know about Rogues you should just ask Jocat.


But more seriously the Rogue is, IMO, one of the best class in the game. Easy to optimize for damage, they have a TON of defensive abilities and they got their awesome Cunning Action, more skills than anybody else and EXPERTISE.

Personally I'd really want to give the Mastermind a spin (you can use the Help Action as a Bonus Acton from 30 feet! ) but I mostly like support roles.

Crossbow Expert is a pretty potent feat for a Rogue I think.

I played a Warlock once but I'm not sure how optimized it was... considering I was playing a Gnome Blade Pact Feylock who waded in Melee, protected only by his 16 DEX and At-Will Mage Armor (16 AC at Lv 3 baby!). It was fun, but I don't think you'd find my damage output worthwhile compared to a dedicated Eldritch Blast build.

An Eldritch Blast Warlock is essentially a Magical Gunman and you can keep your Spell Slots for utility spells instead.

I'm in a party with a Great Old One Tome Lock and she's always using Detect Magic as a ritual and sneaking around while invisible... And now she got a Familiar for more shenanigans (Get an Owl it can do Fly By Help!)... All the while mostly slinging Eldtrich Blast and Hex for her damage dealing. And don't forget that Hex also imposes disadvantage on a specific ability score so it's more than just bonus damage.

I think the Rogue has more survivability than the Warlock, what with all its defensive features.
 

akr71

Explorer
I have only played one warlock (celestial) and it was a multi-class with rogue. I'm not super familiar with them, but I would say that if you want to be a damage dealer, then fiend or hexblade is the one to choose. That depends on whether you want to hurl fireballs or get in there with your blade. I think hexblade is likely more versatile, but don't skimp on Dex and maybe choose a finesse weapon.

However, I think a rogue hits on most of your preferences. Sneak attack allows you to deal damage, being able to disengage as a bonus action and (eventually) uncanny dodge and evasion helps you avoid damage. The number of skills a rogue gets and expertise helps immensely with exploration and social.

I would be inclined to go swashbuckler - it is even easier to land your sneak attack and your target can't make opportunity attacks against you. The thief's fast hands is pretty useful too. I think the assassin's assassinate, infiltration expertise or impostor are too situational to be much use.

If I were in your shoes, with those preferences, I'd play a rogue swashbuckler with Dex, Cha and Int as my key stats. Elf or half-elf ability score increases mesh nicely.
 

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