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D&D 5e Guide: How To Play A Warlock

5 Minute Read
Jun 4 2021
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Warlocks are bastions of eldritch power, and one of the most popular classes with good reason. You can do a lot as a Warlock in 5E.

Warlocks are one of the more exciting classes in 5th Edition. They are magical characters, yet they don’t have to juggle as much as traditional spellcasters. Their powers all feel exciting to use. It’s not hard to see why they have shot up in popularity, supplanting even the Wizard in most traditional party makeups. But playing a Warlock can be tricky if you’re just starting out, so we’re here to help learn how to play a Warlock.

Warlock 5E

Eldritch Power

One of the best tools at a Warlock’s disposal is, of course, their Eldritch Blast. This is hands down the best combat cantrip in the game, allowing you to deal out incredible damage without putting too much investment. And it’s a versatile tool as well, since you can outfit it with extra damage, or other status effects, meaning you can have something up your sleeve in every fight. A lot of this comes down to having the right Eldritch Invocations, and you’re pretty good picking any of them as long as you first pick up Agonizing Blast. Even if you’re exclusively a Hexblade or focusing on melee, that one ability makes Eldritch Blast too good to not take.

The other Eldritch Invocations are great too, don’t get me wrong. With the right selection, you can have an infinite number of magical disguises, you can see in darkness where others can’t–they’re all useful. And looking at your Eldritch Invocations is the key to customizing your Warlock, even more so than the spells you pick.

Warlock 5E

Their subclasses add a little focus to the mix. Depending on what Warlock patron you choose, your playstyle can be markedly different. You might add in extra healing, work on telepathic abilities, or you might summon a magic sword to fight your foes in melee. Whatever patron you pick is perhaps the most important choice you’ll make as a Warlock, so read on to find out how they play.

The Archfey is a capricious, powerful, and alien creature from the Feywild. Warlocks who bargain with these creatures for power are exceptionally good. They can lock down a single target with spells like Dominate Person and the Dark Delirium ability. Or they can use spells like Plant Growth or Sleep to control the whole battlefield.

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Warlock 5E

Warlocks who make a bargain with a Celestial find themselves better able to support their party–though theirs is a curious kind of support. Celestial pact Warlocks have healing. And some of the bonus spells they have on their list can help buff the party. But where Celestials really shine is up near the front line. With their extra resilience and the ability to rise from 0 hit points in an explosion of radiant light. They want to be around enemies. They’re a decent anchor and a Paladin’s best friend.

Warlocks who bargain with The Fathomless deeps will play into a a pact with thalassic power. If you want to go ocean, this is the pact for you. Your main ability will be summoning a magical tentacle to help fight your enemy. You can use it to attack your enemies as a bonus action on your turns. Or you can use it at higher levels to reduce incoming harm.

Every now and then a Genie might bestow power on a Warlock, giving them a rather unusual suite of abilities. Genie patron Warlocks are all about adding in extra elemental effects with their spells. They gain powerful abilities that can give the party (or themselves) a quick escape action. And they gain access to some unusual (but useful) utility spells to supplement their list.

Fiends are a classic source of Warlock power. And Warlocks who bargain with devils find themselves a very regal and commanding presence. They’re excellent at dealing damage, especially with their Hurl through Hell ability. But they can hold their own against many weak foes. As they hew down foes, they reap temporary hit points. They’re capable of using mental control to lock down powerful opponents. A very well-rounded subclass, all in all.

Lurking in the darkness between the stars, Great Old Ones offer Warlocks who touch their twisted minds and risk their very sanity powers beyond mortal comprehension. Which means adding a number of utility spells to the Warlock’s list. This includes spells like Clairvoyance and Sending, or heavier hitters like Evard’s Black Tentacles and Telekinesis.

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Hexblade Warlocks are Gishes through and through. They are all about using magic to buff their melee. These Warlocks get heavier armor and access to more weapons. They really live up to the idea of fighting with a weapon and magic at the same time. They excel at dueling single targets. Spells aid them in isolating and focusing down a target. And they reap the benefits– including the souls of their opponents.

At any rate, that’s the Warlock. A powerful class with a lot of flexibility and sustainability. They’re capable of shaping themselves to fit whatever the party needs or defining themselves in a party of Warlocks. Either way, they are worth a shot no matter what kind of character type you want to play. They’re one of the more 5th Edition of 5th Edition classes. Next week, Wizards. Who may or may not be of the Coast.

Okay, but what do you do when your Otherworldly Patron decides they need their metaphysical gutters cleaned?

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