D&D 5E What are the 3 best cantrips a Tomelock can choose?

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For their Book of Shadows, I should clarify.

I was thinking Guidance, Message and Resistance. Any other opinions?

Depends on what type of warlock you are. I would say though these 3 are very good.

Vicious mockery, vicious mockery and vicious mockery. Guidance you do not need so much if you have a cleric in the party.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
I would look at

Flame Strike -- Dex save for damage, for slower opponents (or, Hideous Laughter for a Wis save, but with less damage)
Spare the Dying -- for when the Cleric gets hit!
Shilleleigh -- for a Charisma-powered d8 quarterstaff.


First Post
If you didn't have some other way of getting out of melee, Bladeward might have potential.

Heck since you get easily refreshed Temp HP, taking some hits for the team might not be the worst idea possible.

Cody Turner

First Post
For my money Guidance, Vicious mockery or Frostbite and Minor Illusion are the best three... since you might already have Minor Illusion though, hmm how about Mold Earth which has a lot of great utility. Although personally I went with Thaumaturgy for roleplay reasons.


Spare the dying can be replaced by having healers kits. The healers kit price is insignificant when compared to a wasted cantrip. Guidance is a good one if the cleric doesnt have or forgets constantly to use it. Go for utility, as a warlock you already have the best damage cantrip in the game.

Unless if for some weird reason you are going melee, then shillelagh and/or blade cantrips from SCAG are options.
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Thorn whip from the druid list. If you hit you a get a 10 ft. forced movement pull with no save. Combine with the repelling blast invocation (a 10 ft. forced push w/no save) for a little taste of 4e-style combat in 5e.


The best use is to pickup spells that you otherwise can't access. Except for Guidance (you can never have too much Guidance), you should pretty much only consider spells the rest of your party can't cast and that aren't on the Warlock list. I'll break them down into utility and combat, since you'll probably want one of each (plus Guidance... have I stressed how awesome that is enough?).

Vicious Mockery - very little resistance/immunity to psychic damage, disadvantage is super strong until opponents get multi-attack

Sacred Flame - might be useful against low dex/high ac opponents, but in general Eldrich Blast is going to be your go-to damage dealer

Thorn Whip - pretty solid control, and since it may not come up often, shouldn't fight with EB as your primary attack

Shocking Grasp - kinda weak for your needs, but sometimes a get-out-of-melee free spell

Dancing Lights/Light - unless the party all has Darkvision, I've found that one of the spells per group is a good idea

Mending - fixing broken/damaged things, assuming you have a flexible DM, can provide a lot of extra information when delving old tombs and such

Message - I never see this come up much, but it fells SOOO good when it does :)

Resistance - not a fan of this spell, because you almost never get a chance to cast it before you need it

Did I mention Guidance? :)


Shillelagh combined with Booming Blade or Greenflame Blade makes you competitive with some of the melee classes, but if you're not willing to get into melee you're better off with other options (non-combat options even).

Guidance, Mage Hand, Message and Minor Illusion see quite a bit of use when I play. If you take damage spells, be sure they offer you something Eldritch Blast doesn't: a nice control or debuff effect, a new save to target, ability to get into melee, etc.

Guidance, Shillelagh, and Sacred Flame/Vicious Mockery are the goto choices for most Tomelocks.

My personal Tomelock/Fire Draconic Sorcerer is Fighter-dipped, so I skipped Shillelagh and took both SF and VM. If I need to get out of melee, I use Mobile + GFB with a rapier.

n00b f00

First Post
Shillelagh, vicious mockery, and then guidance. Maybe spare the dying if you really really want it.

For bonus points with that combo of cantrips you can play your tomelock off as something of a trash talking, hard hitting, street tough. And witnesses would likely be none the wiser. Well unless you grabbed a melee weapon cantrip like green flame blade, and used that as well. Which you should with a warlock slot, and then you are pretty much a badass slapper keying totally off of charisma. It's funner than disengaging when an orc gets in your face.


Great choices, but Resistance is likely to get used much less often than Guidance. It's hard to know in advance when a saving throw is coming.

Guidance is awesome, but it's actually least awesome for warlocks, because it needs concentration. Warlocks have a concentration spell, Hex, that they (sometimes) keep up all day, even between combats, and even use in town on non-fighting days. Yes, you already lose hex whenever you cast a ritual. And yes, other classes use concentration too. But they tend to let it go at the end of each combat. It's something to consider.

The best choice largely depends on what group you're in. If several others in your group already have a certain cantrip (Spare the Dying, Guidance, Message, Mending, Thorn Whip, etc) then there's less need for you to get it; just let them use it. For instance, if three people all cast Vicious Mockery, the target still only gets disadvantage once.

Personally, I love Mending... since it's a touch spell, you can even cast it through your familiar (which you get through a ritual). For instance, to safely repair the tiles, or a flag, on the roof of a tall tower without having to climb it. Actually, many cantrips can be cast through the familiar: Guidance, Light, Magic Stone, Mending, Resistance, Shocking Grasp, Spare the Dying.

Small note: If you multiclass to cleric/druid/wizard, be sure to get utility cantrips from multiclassing (they'll use wis/int), and any attack cantrips through the tome (they'll use cha).

In combat you're all about Eldritch Blast. But there are three reasons to consider other attack cantrips. 1) Sometimes your target has a really high AC (either from armor or cover or the Shield spell), so you're better off using a cantrip that uses saving throws. 2) Sometimes your target is knocked prone (usually by the fighter-types in your own group) so you have disadvantage with EB. 3) Sometimes an enemy is standing next to you so you have disadvantage with EB.

Condition 3 isn't so bad if you have good AC (from multiclassing or the Moderately Armored feat). EB is practically the only ranged-attack spell you have (Ray of Enfeeblement, which sucks, the first round of Witch Bolt, and possibly Scorching Ray if you chose fiend), so enemies standing next to you isn't always a big deal. But even then, EB is so good that it can still be a good idea to move away from that enemy, just so you can resume casting EB without disadvantage. Shocking Grasp and Minor Illusion are the only cantrips that really help you move away from an enemy. Ok, but sometimes you don't care about moving away, as I mentioned. EB with disadvantage is sometimes still better than something else. Well, if your target has medium or heavy armor, Shocking Grasp also gets advantage. It can be hard to accept disad when you could have advantage instead.

Condition 2 happens rarely with some groups, constantly in others. How often in your group? Even worse, sometimes the fighter just stands there after knocking him down, so your target _also_ has cover from the fighter. Shocking Grasp works if you're willing to move up, and even gets advantage, but a cantrip that uses saving throws instead of an attack also works. However, a saving-throw cantrip doesn't get the extra damage from Hex, and also can't get critical hits, and also usually won't get advantage. Critical hits might seem rare, but if you use Hold Person often, you'll definitely want to critical-hit your victims every single round.

Condition 1 is a bigger problem for melee types than for you. Just use your spells. Or suck it up and use EB anyway. But if you really want to save the day when disadvantage, cover, and high AC all converge, one more fighting-cantrip is acceptable. If your target has low Wis saves, you already have many choices (hold, charm, fear, dominate, hypnotize), so Vicious Mockery is probably best left to other casters. There are a whole bunch of options (only Poison Spray in the Player's Handbook, but more from other sources) which are already on the warlock's cantrip list. The only two that aren't are Acid Splash and Sacred Flame. Sacred Flame is my favorite, because of long range and good damage type and can't-miss against paralyzed/petrified/stunned/unconscious, but really any of them will do.
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First Post
I went with Mage Hand, Spare the Dying (no cleric in my group), and Minor Illusion. I avoided Guidance for the same reason Ganders gave - concentration cantrip that would cancel out Hex.

Jeffrey Cole

First Post
I can't understand why Guidance is popular but not Resistance. It seems like saves come up more than ability checks. Am I missing something? Guidance works on skill checks?

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Hi -- and welcome to the boards!

For me, Guidance is preferable to Resistance because you know when you're about to try a skill check, but saves often happen unexpectedly. So Guidance helps as a PC is about to attempt something, but it's less fun casting Resistance every minute to help protect another character.


I can't understand why Guidance is popular but not Resistance. It seems like saves come up more than ability checks. Am I missing something? Guidance works on skill checks?
Guidance is for the bonus to whoever is making an important skill check. It is broadly useful in many cases.

The resistance is useful for combat but eating up your concentration slot in combat waiting for one guy to need a save is a very dubious trade off utility wise.

The only occasional niggle i have about guidance would be if it is already available (esp more than once) on other chars **if** your game is mostly team.

But, it is hard even then for me to justify ***not** taking it RP in character cuz its just hard to construe how someone wouldnt want that gain available in their life... I mean at the point its taken, its basicalky almost or better than proficiency that you can shift between skills.


First Post
Welcome to the site!

It's the concentration slot. Resistance might be useful for a level or two, but you'll quickly find other spells you'd rather be concentrating on. Guidance is very useful out of combat, depends on your DM's style, but ability checks are pretty common under most DMs in the campaigns I play in.

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