D&D 5E Warlock without Eldrich Blast

Seule

Explorer
Warlocks get three options for damaging cantrips:
Chill Touch: 120 foot range, spell attack roll, deals necrotic damage starting at 1d8 and scaling up to 4d8. Target also can't heal for a round and undead get Disadvantage on attacks against you.
Eldrich Blast: 120 foot range, spell attack roll, deals 1d10 Force and gets additional attacks up to 4. No additional effect.
Poison Spray: 10 foot range, target gets a Con save for no effect. Damage starts at 1d12 poison and scales up to 4d12. No extra effect.

Buffs:
Agonizing Blast: add Cha bonus to damage with Eldrich Blast.
Eldrich Spear: Eldrich Blast has a 300 foot range.
Repelling Blast: Eldrich Blast pushes up to 10 feet.

So, to summarize, if you specialize in one of these:
Chill Touch has good range and caps at 4d8 necrotic damage. I assume that at least some undead are resistant or immune to this, but they get a minor penalty. And your target can't heal.
Poison Spray has terrible range and caps at 4d12 damage with a saving throw for none. It's also Poison which I suspect some things are resistant or immune to.
Eldrich Blast caps at 4d10+20 (four attacks with 20 Cha) damage (plus add any buffs like Hex multiple times as well), has the best range, and every one of those four hits will push 10 feet for up to 40 total. That's way better damage, better range, and better secondary effect. Plus I doubt much is resistant to Force damage.

In what world will anyone ever take either of the other two spells? Why not have Invocation support for people who don't want to be just cookie-cutter? Eldrich Blast is probably the best of the three and then it gets Invocation support.

Warlocks have so much opportunity to be diverse, except that one of the three damaging spells is clearly so much better than the others. What gives? Can anyone come up with a mechanical reason to forgo Eldrich Blast aside from going all-in on a pact blade?

Penn
 

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Lancelot

Adventurer
Versatility? There are a bunch of invocations available to choose for Warlocks, and I'm sure future expansions to 5e are going to add more.

The analysis above basically says that the three cantrips are quite comparable, sans invocation buffs. Chill Touch has nice bonus effects (regenerating or healing enemies are tres annoying, and undead are common and deadly foes). Eldritch Blast is the good ol' standby. Poison Spray may have the least range, but it's also the only option which is a saving throw rather than an attack roll; this is very useful if you're stuck in melee (disadvantage with ranged spell attacks), or the enemy has some buff that messes with attack rolls (improved AC, etc). I'm pleased to see that there's no single choice that is a must-have.

As for the invocations, eldritch spear doesn't worry me. The difference between a 120' and 300' range for eldritch blast is trivial. Repelling blast is nice, but hardly game-breaking. Which leaves agonizing blast. Yeah, that's nice... no doubt. If you're going for pure DPR (damage per round), it makes eldritch blast the attractive choice.

However, those invocation choices come with opportunity costs. Yes, you can add more damage to your eldritch blast... but now you can't cast slow once per day, or see in darkness, or whatever.

So, you're not really comparing 4d8 damage vs 4d10+20+push+300'range. You're comparing 4d10+20+push+300'range vs. 4d8+undeadbane+antihealing+[3 other invocations of your choice], which can provide immense versatility to your character. Including some invocations that can avoid or shut down entire fights, rather than just do increased damage.

Given the choice as a warlock player, I'd probably prefer to go for chill touch (that wraith/mummy/ghoul/vampire attacks with disadvantage? yes, please) and use my invocation choices for more versatility. Seems a better choice to me than simply having better lasers. That's the sorcerer's job.
 
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MarkB

Legend
Poison Spray has terrible range and caps at 4d12 damage with a saving throw for none. It's also Poison which I suspect some things are resistant or immune to.

In the 4e campaign we just finished, the dragonborn barbarian chose poison as his breath weapon. The campaign was admittedly undead-heavy, but there was such a preponderance of creatures immune to poison that it became a running joke to surprisedly point out the occasions when he was in combat with a creature his breath weapon could actually damage.
 

Chocolategravy

First Post
Warlocks get three options for damaging cantrips: Chill Touch: 120 foot range, spell attack roll, deals necrotic damage starting at 1d8 and scaling up to 4d8. Target also can't heal for a round and undead get Disadvantage on attacks against you. Eldrich Blast: 120 foot range, spell attack roll, deals 1d10 Force and gets additional attacks up to 4. No additional effect. Poison Spray: 10 foot range, target gets a Con save for no effect. Damage starts at 1d12 poison and scales up to 4d12. No extra effect.
You'd think something called Poison Spray wouldn't be a single target puff of gas, would you? It seems like people spend more time fixing stuff than playing 5E. I'd think you could safely let the eldritch blast invocations work on the other cantrips if players wanted to take them. Poison Spray seems particularly crappy with it's CON save and range, I'd be tempted to just let it be an AE to begin with.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Warlocks have so much opportunity to be diverse, except that one of the three damaging spells is clearly so much better than the others. What gives? Can anyone come up with a mechanical reason to forgo Eldrich Blast aside from going all-in on a pact blade?
To forgo it? Unless you plan to be a utility warlock with very limited combat ability, nope. Eldritch blast, and the Agonizing Blast invocation, are must-have for any non-bladelock who wants to be effective in a fight.

I could, however, see picking up one of the other two as a backup. You might, for instance, use chill touch against a troll if you don't have access to fire or acid damage. Poison spray could be good against small agile foes (high AC, poor Con saves), and as [MENTION=30022]Lancelot[/MENTION] points out, it's nice to have a saving throw-based option in case of being stuck in melee or against foes that can mess with your attacks.
 

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