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Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition): How to Build a Warlock – A Combat Guide

Want to be the best warlock around? Check out our guide down below.
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Image credit to geekandsundry.com

Dungeons and Dragons is a massive titan of a game. Having been around for over 40 years, the role-playing behemoth has recently gone through another resurgence. Once again, players are picking up their dice and delving deep into Gary Gygax’s masterpiece. With that in mind, we have decided to offer a detailed build guide for one of D&D’s top tier classes.

Overview

There are many facets to a game of Dungeons and Dragons. The experience differs from player to player.

To some, D&D is a chance to show off their acting chops as they role-play their way across a fantastical world. To others, however, D&D is about delving into deep, dark dungeons and battling wondrous monsters. For those players that are more combat focused, we have cultivated a detailed build guide for one of the game’s top tier classes. Check it out below.

If you want to see how to build some of D&D’s other top tier classes, check out our guides down below.

Barbarian

Fighter

Paladin

Bard

Monk

Wizard

Warlock


Image credit to dndbeyond.com

The warlock can be rather deadly if built properly. This build will focus on the warlock’s ability to tank, deal melee damage and to deal range damage. There are other ways to build the warlock, but they mostly focus on out-of-combat utility.

If you are looking for more utility, the Raven Queen archetype offers a unique set of abilities that can help you forward. The “Pact of the Chain” pact boon can also create some interesting utility. This build, on the other hand, will have you swinging swords with the best of them.

Character OptionBest ChoiceDescription
Race: TieflingThis race offers a +2 charisma bonus, which will aid your spell casting.
Otherworldly Patron:HexbladeThis patron will allow you to effectively wield a melee weapon, while providing a series of really useful abilities to boost your prowess in melee.
Pact Boon:Pact of the BladeThis pact ensures that you will always have a weapon at the ready.
Feat #1:War CasterThis feat will allow you to have advantage on concentration checks, which will prove invaluable when you begin using smite spells.
Feat #2:Pole arm MasterBy using a pole arm weapon, you will be able to benefit from an additional attack. The real value of this is that you can benefit from your smite spell’s damage a third time.
Ability Score Improvement #1:+2 CharismaYour charisma is your most important ability. Consequently, you are going to want to max it out before your build is finished.
Ability Score Improvement #2:+2 CharismaYour charisma is your most important ability. Consequently, you are going to want to max it out before your build is finished.
Feat #3: Tough This feat will grant you a bonus 40 maximum health by level 20.

When it comes to choosing a race, there are plenty of options concerning this build. Dragonborns provide minimal improvements to your charisma bonus, for instance. However, the tiefling is a personal favorite due to its large boost to your charisma score, the “Hellish Resistance” ability and the “Infernal Legacy” ability. If neither of those sound interesting, pick the variant human race. You will get an additional feat as a racial bonus, in which I suggest picking the Sentinel feat. This feat functions quite well with the pole arm master feat.

The chosen feats are all about boosting your damage and your sustain. With this build, you will be able to wield a pole arm for some devastating damage. You will then use your smite spells to buff your melee damage, while using mirror image to increase your sustain.

Thanks to the Pole arm Master feat, your character will be able to attack an additional time at a lower damage die with their bonus action. Beyond that, you will see an increase usage of attacks of opportunity because enemies will provoke opportunity attacks when they enter your threat range.

Character OptionBest ChoiceDescription
Weapon:HalberdThis weapon acts as a pole arm, allowing you to fully utilize the Pole Arm Master feat.
Armor:Half PlateThis is the heartiest armor you can equip without having proficiency in heavy armor.
Skill Proficiencies:Deception and IntimidationBoth of these skills utilize charisma, making them strong skills for this build. Beyond that, both skills will be useful in a variety of situations outside of combat.

Most of the warlock’s damage is going to be coming from their smite spells, making it more important that you boost your attack bonus and your number of attacks than your total damage per attack. The smite spells will provide plenty of damage per strike on their own.

AbilityAbility Point AllocationDescription
Strength:10This is a dump stat for this character.
Dexterity:13This ability is an important one on many characters. However, dexterity will be taking a backseat for this build.
Constitution:15This ability will determine your maximum health and one of your most important saving throws.
Intelligence:8 This is a dump stat for this character.
Wisdom:12 This is a dump stat for this character.
Charisma:20 (14+6)This ability will determine your effectiveness with spells. Thanks to the “Hex Warrior” ability, charisma will also dictate your melee damage output. Note that this value was boosted by a +2 racial bonus and two different +2 ASIs.

Warning: Concerning your ability scores, the graph above is using the standard 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 ability allocation that players can use if they do not wish to roll their stats. That being said, your dungeon master will likely have you role for your stats rather than allocate your ability points manually. 

Charisma is paramount for this build. It will determine your combat effectiveness offensively. Constitution will determine your maximum health, making it quite important for any good build. If you have to roll your stats, simply keep these abilities in mind.

SpellDescription
Blur:This spell will greatly increase your sustain.
Mirror Image: This spell will greatly increase your sustain.
Banishing Smite:This spell will be responsible for most of your melee damage, while also providing some nice crowd control.
Shield:This spell can increase your sustain.
Eldritch Blast:This spell will account for almost all of your range damage.

These spells are pretty much paramount for this build. This character’s combat effectiveness relies largely on banishing smite and eldritch blast. Mirror image, shield and blur will be incredibly useful whenever you need to tank for your team.

Eldritch InvocationDescription
Agonizing Blast:This ability with boost the damage provided by eldritch blast.
Repelling Blast: This ability will improve your kiting abilities with eldritch blast.
Thirsting Blade:This will grant you an extra attack.
Lifedrinker:This will boost melee damage.
Maddening Hex:This will boost the damage from your hex ability.
Shroud of Shadow:This will allow you to go invisible at will.
Grasp of Hadar: This ability will improve your kiting abilities with eldritch blast.
Lance of Lethargy:This ability will improve your kiting abilities with eldritch blast.

All of the edlritch invocations chosen above are about boosting the class’s damage and kiting abilities from range. By properly utilizing eldritch blast and melee attacks while buffed by banishing smite and mirror image, you should be able to tango with any enemy unfortunate enough to step within your path.

For all your D&D needs, check out Dungeons and Dragons Guides Portal – Anything and Everything D&D.

Author

Hunter Boyce is a writer, which probably seems pretty obvious with "author" prominently displayed. He mostly writes about video games. However, he was previously a mixed martial arts news writer. When not writing about people pelting each other in the face or about leveling up in the latest RPG, he tends to spend his time as a web producer in Atlanta. You can shout all of your MMA and video game related quandaries at him at @SomthinClever on Twitter. Feel free to make your demands to him in ALL CAPS. He loves that.

1 Comment

  1. Mark Cronan Reply

    Please stop posting your “articles” to EnWorld and then walking away without ever reading or responding to people’s comments to them there. If you want to post them there, great, then interact with people there and respond to their comments in return. It’s a conversation, not your advertising platform.

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