The Warlock is a class that typically links itself to chaotic or evil forces to gain extra power. Within the pages of Xanathar’s Guide to Everything comes a new type of Patron; a really good one. From Angels to Unicorns, this Warlock finds their patron anywhere on the Good side of the plans. Tasked with bringing light to the dark places of the world, you’ll find that this archetype has much different flavor than most. So put on your favorite Cleric cosplay, and let’s explore one of the most support-focused builds that a Patron has to offer with our Celestial Warlock 5E Guide.
Channel Your Divinity: The Celestial Warlock 5E
As a warlock patron, The Celestial focuses on introducing Cleric utility to the Warlock. From slightly weak damage options, to Cure Wounds, to even reviving allies, this subclass is oozing with flavor. It’s a really safe option, though the question must be asked – Why not bring a Cleric instead?
Expanded Spell List
The spell list for the Celestial is, as stated above, pulled right out of a Cleric’s possible options. The list all possible uses for a Cleric, so it’s actually a pretty decent spread.
Let’s start with the generic Cleric role spells; Cure Wounds, Lesser Restoration, Revivify, and Greater Restoration. Cure Wounds is an alright healing spell, but a future class ability limits how useful it is. Take a pass, unless you don’t have a primary healer on your team. Lesser Restoration and Greater Restoration quickly and effectively remove rather disruptive status effects… But, Warlocks probably shouldn’t be the ones to hold onto these. It’s not awful, but if anyone else can cast it, let them. Revivify can turn a lost cause into an easy win. Learn it; your Cleric might not have the time to cast it themselves.
For damage, you have Guiding Bolts, Flaming Sphere, Wall of Fire, and Flame Strike. Guiding Bolts scales quite well, deals high damage, and grants advantage. That’s a good pinging spell; worth a grab. Flaming Sphere is a pretty solid use of concentration, usually against swarms and stuff. A really good choice. Wall of Fire and Flame Strike are rather good area of effects, though they are both slightly expensive for their spell cost. Not much of a problem for Warlocks, and area of effect spells are rare for Warlocks. Pick up Wall of Fire, consider taking Flame Strike.
And then, weird utility. Daylight is a great counterspell, clearing darkness and completely nullifying some encounters. The problem is, you only have so many spells known. So many classes can learn Daylight, and some races can learn it as an at-will ability… Maybe leave this out of your headspace.
Guardian of Faith is a strange anti-invisibility spell that deals alright damage. If you really want a way to deal 60 damage, Flaming Sphere tends to handle it better. If you want a good flavor spell, this isn’t completely useless… But, there’s better spells.
Not a horrific spread of spells, but there’s a reason a lot of them are on a Cleric spell list. You’ll get some good uses out of the list, so go crazy! Try to fill in the weaknesses of your party.
You gain some special cantrips at level 1! Woo!
At 1st level, you learn the Light and Sacred Flame cantrips. They count as warlock cantrips for you, but they don’t count against your number of cantrips known.
Well, that’s actually great!
Light is an okay cantrip, but is really good when it doesn’t cost a cantrip known. Your party never has to carry torches again!
Sacred Flame is pretty interesting. Just in case Eldritch Blast isn’t useful, you have a way to weave around cover and get around the extremely rare Force Immunity. Probably won’t come up often, but as a way to get around high AC, it’s not bad.
This is nothing but an upside for your Warlock, so that’s good, though it might not come up too often.
Back in 3.5, Clerics got the ability to heal targets by spending a separate pool of d6s. Now, that pool makes a triumphant return!
At 1st level, you gain the ability to channel celestial energy to heal wounds. You have a pool of d6s that you spend to fuel this healing. The number of dice in the pool equals 1 + your warlock level.
As a bonus action, you can heal one creature you can see within 60 feet of you, spending dice from the pool. The maximum number of dice you can spend at once equals your Charisma modifier (minimum of one die). Roll the dice you spend, add them together, and restore a number of hit points equal to the total.
These only refresh on long rests.
The only significant use of this ability is to pick your allies off the ground. Spending a bonus action to cause someone to immediately succeed 3 death saves and be able to fight again is well worth it. And doing that without spending a spell slot? That’s extremely efficient.
As an burst heal… You could do better. With +5 Charisma, you can expend 5d6 at once, as long as you’re level 4. That’s pretty significant; you’re healing 2d8+5 if you learn Cure Wounds by now. Considering the Warlock class has next to no healing, this is quite strong as just something you can throw out as a Bonus Action.
The scaling on this spell highly limits its usefulness as a burst heal; you get a maximum of 21 dice. That’s not awful, but that means you can only heal that 5d6 four times. As a primary healing method… That’s probably not going to be good enough by itself.
Use this primarily to pick people off the ground. But if you desperately need to bring someone over a certain health threshold, spend those dice.
This ability combines some offense and defense to make… Mediocrity.
Starting at 6th level, your link to the Celestial allows you to serve as a conduit for radiant energy. You have resistance to radiant damage, and when you cast a spell that deals radiant or fire damage, you add your Charisma modifier to one radiant or fire damage roll of that spell against one of its targets.
Every time I looked back at Xanathar’s, I kept thinking this gave you resistance to Fire. I really wish it did.
Resistance to radiant damage isn’t the worst thing in the world… But, it’s not exactly the most common damage type. Radiant damage is normally slung by angels and unicorns, which also happen to be your Patrons. If you’re an Evil character, this becomes a little more useful… But that’s unlikely with this Patron.
The bonus damage seems juicy, but you just don’t have access to many spells that deal radiant or fire damage. Your cantrip, Sacred Flame, is a good use of this… But, Eldritch Blast – with Agonizing Blast – far outclasses it. And since it only applies to one damage roll, you can’t use Flaming Sphere and get the benefit every single turn.
It does combo quite well with your area of effect fire/radiant spells, like Wall of Fire or Flame Strike; For Wall of Fire, you’ll have to make sure it hits as many people as possible with the initial cast.
This really isn’t all that bad, but it suffers a similar fate to the Tempest Domain; a lack of that damage type in the spell list.
And now for a far superior defensive ability.
Starting at 10th level, you gain temporary hit points whenever you finish a short or long rest. These temporary hit points equal your warlock level + your Charisma modifier. Additionally, choose up to five creatures you can see at the end of the rest. Those creatures each gain temporary hit points equal to half your warlock level + your Charisma modifier.
It’s like the Inspiring Leader feat, but worse… yet also not taking up a Feat slot. Gah, which is better?!
So, as a Warlock, you’re probably going to ask your party to finish a short rest pretty often. And after each of them, you’re getting 15 to 25 hit points. In addition, you give them between 10 to 15 hit points. That may not sound like a lot, but you want every single chance to survive an attack you can get; 15 can easily let a Wizard tank an extra hit and get another turn off. The fact that you can give it to your whole party is even better – add everyone’s health together, and depending on party size, you could be giving 70-100 hit points with this ability at 20. That’s huge!
And since this ability is on a short-rest clock, and isn’t limited to time per day, you’ll be giving that HP often. This is an extremely useful way to save resources, and could easily be the reason that your party wins a fight.
Don’t you dare ever forget you have this. This temp HP is basically guaranteed to be useful.
Remember how your level 1 ability helped other people get off the ground? Well, Wizards of the Coast decided to give you a good way to get off the ground, too.
Starting at 14th level, the radiant energy you channel allows you to resist death. When you have to make a death saving throw at the start of your turn, you can instead spring back to your feet with a burst of radiant energy. You regain hit points equal to half your hit point maximum, and then you stand up if you so choose. Each creature of your choice that is within 30 feet of you takes radiant damage equal to 2d8 + your Charisma modifier, and is blinded until the end of the current turn.
Sadly, you only get this puppy after a long rest. But boy, does it deserve that restriction!
So, this essentially gives you a full turn when you make a death saving throw. Even if this set you to 1 health, that alone wouldn’t be too bad. Getting a hybrid healer-damage character back into action is super important. You also get to use this when you make “a” death saving throw… If you really want to, you can use this after you fail two death saves just to guarantee your survival. You probably shouldn’t, but the option is there!
This doesn’t just put you at 1, however. Healing half your health is a pretty big deal. Let’s say a level 20 Warlock has 180 health. This ability lets you heal 90 health once per long rest; That’s an 8th level Heal spell. That’s probably enough that you could theoretically start healing people before you get a-
Wait! You also get to stand for free. That’s useful! It means one extra move action in your pocket, allowing you to retreat to safe Eldritch Blast distance (preferably within 60 ft of your party members). That’s a really good repositioning tool…
But that’s not all! Get to level 14 now, and you get a Blind effect… For free! No saves allowed! If you got downed by a melee combatant, or simply a spell with a range of 30 ft, those creatures no longer get to see you. You can escape opportunity attacks, further rays from the enemy Wizard, and prevent them from being a real threat to the rest of your party for a little while.
The damage is a nice cherry on top; an average of 14 damage isn’t significant by this point in the game, but you get it for free. And in a 30 ft radius.
This ability just does so much, all for not even an action. This alone is reason enough to take Celestial.
Pact Boon Synergies
All Warlocks gain access to a pact at level 3, which alters their gameplan and offers some new Invocations for them to choose. As with most Warlocks, a Celestial should probably consider Eldritch Blast as their primary damage source. However, there are reasons to pick all of them.
Pact of the Blade
Even that said… The Pact of the Blade is hard to justify. You’ll be more consistently in range for Healing Light, and you’ll make slightly better use out of your temp HP… But that’s kind of it. For Pact of the Blade to work, it’d take a lot of investment into armoring up through feats, or multiclassing. Kind of a bummer by itself.
Pact of the Chain
If you’re looking for a scout, then Pact of the Chain gets you a really good one. You’ll get an easy way to pass Cure Wounds while in the backline, get access to something that can easily turn invisible to sneak around for you, and potentially rock the frontline in the extremely early game. Your options are… Somewhat strange, flavorwise. Imp is the best, but why would a Celestial have an imp? Consider either talking to your GM to reflavor your options, or maybe just say the imp is repenting for a crime.
Pact of the Tome
Perhaps the most obvious choice, the Pact of the Tome offers a little more out-of-class utility and some interesting invocations. With this, you go from having 6 to 9 total cantrips at once – 5 of which can be from out-of-class. You could use this to add spells like Firebolt or Hand of Radiance to your list, but… You should probably just stick to slinging Blasts. Consider checking out our Wizard cantrip or Cleric cantrip list, if you need inspiration.
Best Race for The Celestial Warlocks
Like most warlocks, the Celestial enjoys Charisma the most. If you can get a race with +1 Charisma, you’ll be set. While any race could make for a potent pact-mate with the Divine, there’s a few options that tend to be better.
Humans have been the stars of the show in every single edition of Dungeons & Dragons. 5E is no different. If you want an easy choice, this is the direction to go. If your GM allows it, go Variant Human. Not only do you get to increase your Charisma and either Dexterity or Constitution by 1, but you can put a feat on top of it. You could go Alert so you can go first. Defensive Duelist isn’t a bad idea for a Blade Pact Warlock. Durable gets you extra health, and lets you heal more during your critical short rests… There’s a massive list of feats, and therefore a massive number of possible builds to discover.
Okay, so this might be the most obvious choice since our Fiend race picks, but let me explain. This Volo’s Guide to Monsters race is not only flavorfully fantastic; it’s mechanically so, too! The massive bonus to Charisma will never not be good. You get a few damage resistances to make magical duels less painful. And if you pick Scourge, you’ll be a tanky beast with some extra options to light up the arena!
The only reason that this might rank a little lower than Human is because you actually have a lot of class/race overlap. Celestial Resistance loses half of its power, since you’ll soon resist radiant damage anyways. And you lose the benefits of Light Bearer completely. Even still, Aasimar is just too good of a choice to overlook.
Conclusion – Our Take on the Celestial Warlock 5E Guide
The Celestial Patron has the unenviable position of trying to be the best of two worlds, and failing at both. It’s not the most efficient blaster, nor the best healer. If you have another healer in the party already – like a Bard or Druid – then this can help them heal a bit more, while still dealing decent damage. You could do much worse than this Patron, so give it a try if you’ve got a character in mind!
Want a better look at playing a warlock? Check out our Warlock 5E Guide!