Want to play a character that ties a humanoid to something beyond mankind? The Player’s Handbook holds the key. By accepting The Fiend, you bind yourself to a mighty demon, or demon lords like Belial or Baphomet. You needn’t serve them as an evil Warlock, but their goals are malevolent… and they include your destruction. Therefore, it is up to you to get stronger than them before you meet your doom. Let’s find out how the connection between you and your new demonic overlord can be used to your advantage. Learn all about them with our Fiend Warlock 5E Guide.
Embrace the Inferno: The Fiend Warlock 5E Guide
The fiend offers you quite an interesting mix of damage and defense. While there is some utility behind the walls of the dark lords, you’re taking this archetype for the intense firepower of Hell’s best. You’ll gain a hatred of magic weapons and silver, just like they have, but you’ll learn to adore their strength.
Expanded Spell List
The expanded spell list borrows a lot from Wizards and Clerics. Because of that, you get access to some of the best area control and crowd control spells in the game.
Fiend Expanded Spells
- 1st Level – Burning Hands, Command
- 3rd Level – Blindness/Deafness, Scorching Ray
- 5th Level – Fireball, Stinking Cloud
- 7th Level – Fire Shield, Wall of Fire
- 9th Level – Flame Strike, Hallow
Burning Hands will eventually become outleveled, so only take it for the early game. Command is significantly better, and offers a way to trade your turn for an enemy’s. That’s obviously most beneficial against bosses, or extremely potent casters.
Blindness/Deafness, similar to Command, gets you some fantastic enemy disruption. There’s not many ways to work around being completely blind, so you’ll get some advantage rolls… And they’ll hardly be a threat! Scorching Ray is, as usual, a great single-target damage option that scales really well.
Get Fireball; it’s one of the best area spells in the game. If you want a fireball that distracts rather than damages, Stinking Cloud can really slow down a fight. Both of these are exceptional options, though Stinking Cloud will be a little better once you reach your 5th level spell slots.
Your 4th level spells are… Aggressively defensive. Wall of Fire can effectively delay low-level units and somewhat harm high-level ones. A good use of your spell slots. Fire shield grants you some pretty solid resistance options. You’ll find it hard to use one of your precious spell slots on this, since it is situational.
Flame Strike is not worth it. Fireball almost does as much damage against creatures with Fire Resistance as Flame Strike does. If you’re constantly fighting enemies with Fire Resistance… Then this isn’t awful. Hallow is very, very cool… But, a Warlock doesn’t use their spell slots on a 24 hour spell. It’d be hard to work into your limited spells learned list.
Overall, this list has a strong amount of firepower, with okay utility and defensive options. Great for Warlocks, though not very versatile.
Dark One’s Blessing
To kill, is to be a demon. The first level of your patron’s blessing gets you some incentive to keep fighting.
Starting at 1st level, when you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier + your warlock level (minimum of 1).
Because most D&D campaigns are focused around fighting, you’ll get good usage out of this.
Early on, this probably will give you 4 health. At level 1, that’s probably about half of your health. Because there isn’t a timer on this, it’s quite the health shield, giving you Barbarian-level durability. At the late game, this will likely give 25 health, which isn’t much by then, but it could save your life!
This health boost supports a frontline build, but isn’t really required to be on a sword user. As a very high damage class, Warlocks tend to take down at least one or two enemies in a fight. That means you’ll regenerate health quite rapidly during your fights. Do remember that temporary hit points don’t stack with themselves. You should target injured characters when your temporary hit points are down, and then damage other creatures when they’re active.
Not to mention, if your GM lets you, you could carry around a bunch of angry insects and step on one whenever you need the health.
Even without the cheese, this ability will proc… a lot. Use this effectively and you’ll become the one of the most durable characters in the party.
Dark One’s Own Luck
After a few levels, you get a new reason to take short rests.
Starting at 6th level, you can call on your patron to alter fate in your favor. When you make an ability check or a saving throw, you can use this feature to add a d10 to your roll. You can do so after seeing the initial roll but before any of the roll’s effects occur.
This ability refreshes on any type of rest, such as when you want to refresh your spell slots.
In 5e, saving throw DCs are usually fairly static. You’ll have a fairly good understanding of what spell DCs you’ll be up against, and traps tend to have just slightly higher DCs than spells. If you’re fighting an enemy caster, feel free to check your own spell DCs, and see if your saving throw beats that. If you don’t, it might not be a bad idea to use Own Luck to potentially save yourself. Against an enemy caster that’s a big boss, or a major enemy, you might want to increase your expectations by 1 or 2.
Ability checks are both less likely to be deadly, and have a higher variance of DC. That’s not to say that you sometimes die if you fail an ability check, but… You’re much more likely to have to save against Hold Person, or Phantasmal Killer.
Please, use this if you’re about to fail the Acrobatics check to jump over a massive ravine! You do not want this to be how you lose your character, and this ability lets you add to ability checks for a reason!
Because this refreshes on short rests, you might want to use this the first time you’re in legitimate danger. It’s safe to assume this will add about 5 to your roll. But, if you’re fairly confident you failed by only 1 or 2, this ability is next to guaranteed to turn a failure into a success.
And now, a defensive ability with a neat twist.
Starting at 10th level, you can choose one damage type when you finish a short or long rest. You gain resistance to that damage type until you choose a different one with this feature. Damage from magical weapons or silver weapons ignores this resistance.
This is an incredibly versatile defensive ability. Warlocks adore taking short rests, so you can constantly shift your damage reduction between encounters.
Of course, the magical or silver weapon weakness is rather painful. You can’t just throw on resistance to piercing or bludgeoning and call it a day; you’re at a level where magical weapons can be realistically used by random humanoid enemies. This will remain rather effective against non-humanoids, such as dragons or beasts, that use natural weapons. If you know you’re up against that kind of threat, then getting damage reduction against slashing or piercing damage can save you so much health.
The better use of this ability is anti-caster. Getting resistance to fire damage can be really good against a pyromaniac. Resistance to cold damage might work well against an ice elemental. And… This is one of the few resistance abilities that can get you resistance to force, psychic, radiant, and necrotic damage. That alone can be absolutely insane, with the right preparation or information. Try to avoid magic weapons and watch as your durability goes through the roof.
Hurl Through Hell
Time to send enemies to meet your Patron.
Starting at 14th level, when you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to instantly transport the target through the lower planes. The creature disappears and hurtles through a nightmare landscape.
At the end of your next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space. If the target is not a fiend, it takes 10d10 psychic damage as it reels from its horrific experience.
Unlike the other above, this ability only refreshes on long rests.
You essentially smack them in the mouth and cast Banish – with no save – for a full turn. And if that wasn’t enough, they take 10d10 damage – with no save – when they come back. 55 average damage is nothing to sneeze at, especially when that is on top of whatever you hit them with.
The banish effect is pretty small, since they only miss a single turn. However, this can take a major threat out of the fight for long enough for your party to deal with a different problem. Does the BBEG have a Cleric casting Dispel Magic on your casters? Smack him into next turn! Or maybe smack the BBEG and quickly handle the defenseless caster. Even against fiends, removing an enemy from combat can swing the fight in favor of your party.
You do need to land an attack, but it doesn’t specify what type; weapons or spells work. That means Scorching Ray and Eldritch Blast work just as well as a longsword. The fact that this doesn’t have a range limit is pretty fantastic for that purpose, since now the Sniper Eldritch Blast build can have even more damage on it.
Both parts of Hurl Through Hell makes it a clear candidate for a boss fight destroyer. Try to use this once per day, whenever possible.
Pact Boon Synergies
At level 3, all Warlocks get one option between three different boons. The Fiend is an aggressive class, with the ability to become a frontliner or an Eldritch Blast machine, with enough dedication.
Pact of the Blade
If you really want to use your temporary HP to its fullest, invest in a melee weapon. If you want some good AC without multiclassing, you’ll probably want to bond with a Finesse weapon. With the Warcaster feat, you’ll be a major threat, able to fight with enemies on the frontline, toss Fireballs at enemy archers, and constantly regenerate health as your opponents fall. You’ll also make better use of Fiendish Resilience, as long as you get correct information about the enemies you’re fighting! Not an awful idea, though Eldritch Blast tends to deal a bit more damage.
Pact of the Chain
While not an ideal choice, having a familiar is useful for any spellcaster. You can use your familiar to scout on your enemies, so you can make better choices with Fiendish Resilience or during combat. The delivery of touch spells is also decent, though only if you’re not planning on going into melee. This is not a bad choice, at all. Get an Imp for their incredible list of abilities, and for the excellent flavor.
Pact of the Tome
Worried that this subclass will affect your potential utility? Pact of the Tome will help a lot! Getting Tome will give you access to other classes’ cantrips, and even better utility through invocations. Probably the best idea, if you’re going for Eldritch Blast and you’re not interested in having easy access to a scout. Use the Cleric and Wizard spell lists for both cantrips and future invocations; they tend to be the best for your needs.
Best Race for The Fiend Warlocks
Like most Warlocks, the Fiend is in love with Charisma. Eldritch Blast is by far the best playstyle for the Fiend, so boosting Charisma increases the accuracy and damage of each shot. You’ll also want to boost DCs for the fantastic damage spells you just gained access to.
Okay, this might be slightly obvious. Tieflings get the huge bonus to Charisma, Darkvision, damage resistance that can help your Fiendish Resilience, and a few utility skills. If your GM gives you access to the Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, then you might want to increase your Dexterity or Constitution, through Dispater, Glasya, or Levistus.
Now, this one is a long shot! If your GM allows you to use the Eberron: Rising from the Last War races to choose a Changeling, you get some great options. The Changeling is the only race whose floating ability score can be put into Charisma. That’s right; +3 to Charisma from race, giving you a potential 18. And it was confirmed to not be a typo by Crawford himself. Even if your GM forbids you from putting the floating point into Charisma, the Changeling offers amazing RP opportunities with their shapeshifting, good skill bonuses, and tool proficiency. This is an awesome race to try out… If your GM allows it.
Conclusion – Our Fiend Warlock 5E Guide
The Fiend Patron is one of the most aggressive subclasses on the Warlock list. With almost no utility spells, one might find this to lack the essential utility of other patrons. However, if your group is lacking a Wizard, Sorcerer, or other Area of Effect blaster, then the Fiend is an absolutely critical damage source for any adventuring party. If blasting is what your party is lacking, this pact is your best bet. Need more info? See our comprehensive Warlock 5E Guide for more!
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