D&D 5E Warlock - What is it actually good at?


Started reading the about the warlock and immediately loved the concept. Seemed like they would be great at controlling others and the battlefield. But the spells don't match that too well. Maybe a blaster? Once I started getting into the details I'm not so sure what to do with him.
A much smaller spell list than the wizard/sorcerer and only a few that don't appear on their list.

1 Armor of Agathys (not bad, but should be trying to stay our of melee anyway), Arms of Hadar (sounds as dangerous to allys as enemies), Hellish Rebuke (decent, but nothing all that special), Hex (admitidly this is a really good one)
2 Enthrall (situationally useful)
3 Hunger of Hadar (this might be pretty good for blocking tunnels and such)
8 Glibness (a decent spell, but kinda underwhelming for 8th level)

The patrons add a few good spells. Though the Fiend is just some wizard fire spells. The Archfey is druid-ish spells. The Great Old One seems like the best of the lot. (Even though I really wanted the Fiend to be better.)

Eventually, some of the invocations are getting pretty decent. However, I'm not sure they are good enough to make up for the small spell list.

I haven't seen one played above 4th level yet. But the 4th level ones I've seen were not all that impressive.

What am I missing? How are they successfully built and played? What roles do they fill well?

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First Post
They're *fantastic* to start as and then multiclass out of, or to multiclass into for a level or two. Other than that, by themselves they're not really "good" at anything, if we're talking optimization.

Gavin O.

First Post
To make the most out of a Warlock, you need to recognize and take advantage of the two aspects of their spellcasting that are unique among classes:

-All of their spell slots are of the highest level they have access to (up to level 5),

-Their spell slots recharge on a short rest instead of a long rest.

A level 9 warlock who gets two short rests in a day will have access to six level 5 spell slots to a wizard's one. To take advantage of this, it's very important to only use spells that take full advantage of being cast out of the highest level spell slot you have. Shield and Hex are great when cast out of a first-level slot, and awful when cast out of a fifth-level slot. This is a problem, since a lot of the Warlock's best spells (Hex, Darkness, Misty Step, Suggestion, Hypnotic Pattern) Don't scale well or at all. That being said, casting Fireball (at level 5) or Evard's Blade Tentacles (At level 7) or Cone of Cold (At level 9) six times in the same day is better than what a Wizard or Sorcerer of the same level can do, in terms of sheer power.

In order to make this work, you need to make sure that you're getting the recommended two short rests (or preferable more) in between each long rest. The best advice I can give for this for this is to Talk to your party and to your DM. Explain to them that your magic comes back on a short rest, and that you'd like to take a short rest to recover your spell slots. Some characters don't gain anything back from short rests, so they tend to forget about them.

You also need something to so when you're not casting your spells, since you won't have enough for every battle. The default choice is Eldritch Blast combined with the Agonizing Blast invocation, which offers the highest damage in the game for a cantrip and scales well. Blade Warlocks (particularly Hexblades) can get away with using a weapon instead (As long as they take the Thirsting Blade and Lifedrinker Invocations)

Out of combat, the Warlock offers similar utility to the Sorcerer: They're a Charisma-primary class that can take make use of the social skills. Since Persuasion isn't on their class skill list, I highly recommend picking it up from a background.
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One overlooked thing: at will disguise self. At will silent image. Invocations are what makes you unique. Take the right ones and you can shine without doing any damage at all.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Shield and Hex are great when cast out of a first-level slot, and awful when cast out of a fifth-level slot.

A 5th level Hex does have a duration of 24 hours, so casting it if you have a slot available and plan on taking a short rest after the current encounter means you have it for effectively free.

Just to bring up an (often table-dependent) thought, it is often possible to get casting of long-lasting spells at the beginning of the day and then get a short rest to recharge the slots prior to starting adventuring. So some spells don't take as much advantage of the high level slot, but with free slots it's not a big deal. (Hex sn't one of them though, since it needs to curse a target and can only change when they reach 0 HPs.)


They can be amazing at things.
A better level 10 necromancer than a Warlock 5/Wizard 5 you will not find.
Archfey are great at throwing out a game changer (Sleep, Faerie Fire, Greater Invisibility) then dealing almost as much damage as a Fighter archer.


Ok, better than I maybe initially thought. I've also been reading a different build guide.

So I'm thinking:
Great Old One
Pact of the Tome
Spells to control/dominate/immobilize

Not sure on invocations, except the Book of Ancient Secrets. Eventually have all the rituals from every class seems awesome. Even if I do have to buy scrolls to learn them.
Mask of Many Faces (eventual Master of Myriad Forms) seems like it should help bunches in social situations.
Bewitching Whispers and Dreadful Word would help with the controller theme. But once a day doesn't seem enough. So probably pass on these.
Was considering Devil's Sight with Darkness, but that would probably hurt the rest of the part as much as help me.
Sculptor of Flesh - Yes please!
Agonizing and Repelling Blast are obviously great.

War Caster and Spells Sniper seem almost mandatory at some point.
Resilient for con saves.
Not sure what else yet.

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