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.
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 Talisman
The Pact of the Talisman serves a party best when that party has trouble making ability checks. While invocations can make the talisman aid your saving throws, that takes a while, and also takes some relatively heavy investment. Consider it if your party is having trouble making some key checks. However, Guidance can do much the same, so Pact of the Tome might be better.
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.
Best Feats for Fiend Warlock
The Fiend Warlock is a relatively simple one, though it has a vested interest in keeping its frontline alive. It can do so by rewarding party members for taking a short rest.
The Chef feat is our favorite feat for Fiend Warlocks. It hits the mismatch of flavor so incredibly well! It also helps that the Chef feat is just one of the best Warlock options in the game.
First off, Chef provides a +1 to Constitution or Charisma. Simple. It lets you round out odd numbers in either stat to an even one. We always like to see this benefit for a feat, especially one that you don’t mind taking a bit slowly, like Constitution.
Chef provides three additional benefits, however. First off is proficiency in Chef’s Utensils. Not exactly a game breaking proficiency, but it could come up. Entertain your guests, why don’t you?
Then, you gain two abilities that occur after a rest. Short rests where your allies spend hit dice to heal an extra d8. This extra healing adds up over the course of the day, but serves like a Bard’s Song of Rest: Pretty far from the reason you chose this line of work!
The real benefit that this feat offers is in the treats. You can create sweet treats that, as a bonus action, give a 2-6 Temporary HP, depending on your proficiency. Early on, this feat does next to nothing. However, at level 16 or 19… That’s 36 HP every rest. Great for your frontliner, since you can just funnel food down their throat.
Since this feat lets you choose where temporary HP goes, we actually like it a bit more than Inspiring Leader for Fiend. Nothing says you can’t get both, though.
This is one of the very, very few occasions where Elemental Adept might come in handy. Since the main crux of the Fiend is access to devastating fire spells, a la Scorching Ray, Fireball, and Wall of Fire, Elemental Adept can come in handy.
Ignoring resistance to the most commonly resisted element and rerolling the damage of the spells that make up the entirety of your spell-based damage is useful, to say the least. This is one of the few occasions where Elemental Adept is better than simply learning spells for type coverage, since Warlocks tend to have a hard time with that.
Only bother with this if you don’t plan on doing a Sorcerer Multiclass, though. Transmuted Spell is superior in most ways: Since Elemental Adept’s main draw is dodging Resistance, you might as well dodge that resistance and potentially target a vulnerability.
However, because of how limited the Warlock list is, this is one of the few occasions where you might want to consider it.
Even with an archetype that gives itself temporary hitpoints, Inspiring Leader serves as one of the few bastions of the Short Rest that really must be considered if you’re serious about a standard Warlock build.
Inspiring Leader allows you to, after any long or short rest, say a ten-minute speech to your party. After this speech concludes, the party gains temporary hitpoints equal to your level plus your Charisma modifier. These last until they are lost or another larger source of temporary hitpoints are granted.
But sheesh, good luck finding that! 25 hitpoints at level 20 is no easy feat. You’d need to cast a level six or higher Armor of Agathys to even have a chance. You’re also spreading them to your entire party, usually a four person one, for a total of 100 temporary hitpoints granted. Every time you rest! That’s an average of 400 temporary hitpoints every day, and that’s not including any additional +2s to Charisma from items or manuals.
The only reason you might want to avoid this feature is due to Dark One’s Blessing. Those temporary hitpoints are very easily accessed, but are usually a bit smaller than Inspiring Leader’s bulk.
That’s no real reason to not take this feat, though. Inspiring Leader is so good for your party.
Much like Chef, Fey Touched begins with a +1 to Charisma. That’s a great opening call, since many Warlock builds should start at 17 Charisma to allow for a feat to support you in the future.
Then, Fey Touched seals the deal with two spells known and a 1st and 2nd level spell slot to work with. The 2nd level spell is Misty Step, one of the strongest bonus action spells in the entire game. A bonus action teleport is extremely useful to keep yourself safe. And, with Eldritch Blast, you’re not losing too much damage by casting your spell as a bonus action. You get to cast it once for free, then you get to burn Warlock spells on it. Which, to be honest, a Misty Step is well-worth even a 5th level spell.
Your other spell known is complicated. It’s a 1st level divination or enchantment spell, of which there are a shocking number. We’d recommend Command or Silvery Barbs, two 1st level spells with great utility. Command lets you force up to five people (with a 5th level spell slot) to grovel or scatter or kneel wherever you desire. Silvery Barbs doesn’t scale with your Warlock spell slots, but can be used to reroll otherwise devastating attacks and give allies advantage in the future. A great reaction, a part of your turn that a Warlock typically doesn’t have many options for.
Either way, Fey Touched both aids your spell list while still moving your Charisma towards that shining 20 goal.
Similar to Fey Touched, we like Telekinetic for its great utility and its ability score.
A +1 to Charisma is solid. Strong, even. You get to move your 17 Charisma to 18, which is a great way to turn your level 4 (or level 1, with Custom Lineage) into a gigantic powerspike.
That being said, you’re not lacking in features with Telekinetic. Your first benefit is Mage Hand, a great cantrip. This version of Mage Hand is psychic in nature, so it is invisible and you don’t show any signs of having casted it. It also gains 30 feet of range if you want to invest in learning Mage Hand yourself.
Finally, you gain a bonus action. This bonus action is a shove, moving an enemy or ally 5 feet towards or away from you. While seemingly weak on the surface, you shouldn’t underestimate this shimmy. 5 feet can be the difference between an enemy in your Barbarian’s smashing range or out of it. It can also be the difference between your Wizard being threatened by enemies or them being completely out of arm’s reach. Using this on allies or enemies is the key to unlocking Telekinetic’s extremely powerful bonus action.
Best Multiclass Options for Fiend Warlock
The Fiend Warlock, as one of the most durable and damaging options available for the class, can really make use of standard multiclasses well. The Fighter, for instance, is always useful for double-casting Fireball. However, there are a few options that we want to note.
You’ve already gotten a lot of the Charisma-based hard work done for this class. Why not improve its armor, give it some healing, and let it spend spell slots on Divine Smite?
Paladin is an excellent multiclass for Fiends (though, we’d recommend starting as a Paladin and multiclassing to Warlock later). The Fiend is already a fairly durable Pact, so adding on the Paladin’s armor and weaponry systems can be very helpful. The Defense fighting style helps you stay alive, and the Dark One’s Blessing can further improve your health.
You actually don’t need to use Divine Smite very often if you don’t want to. But, having 16 Strength and dropping Greatswords on skulls can be extremely fun.
The Sorcerer is a more traditional multiclass for the Fiend Warlock. That is because of the relatively clear synergy between Draconic Sorcerer and Fiend Warlock. By choosing a fire-type Dragon, your fire spells can deal additional damage equal to your Charisma. This takes six levels of investment, which is a bit much. However, it’s well worth the wait. 14 levels gives you Hurl Through Hell, after all! Might as well consider it.
Even a few levels into Draconic Sorcerer is more than fine. The extra health and AC can come in handy. More handy are sorcery points, the perfect system to invest your Warlock spell slots. If you get to a rest with spells alone, you can convert your Warlock spells into points. For metamagic like Quickened Spell, Transmuted Spell, or even Distant Spell, this multiclass is worth considering.
Best Backgrounds for Fiend Warlock
For a Warlock’s traditional role in the party, getting a background that lets you more readily talk to others is very useful. Warlock don’t naturally get Persuasion proficiency, so it’s nice to grab.
Guild Artisan is the best background for a character who wants to talk to others during a campaign. It begins with Insight and Persuasion, two incredibly useful talking skills. And one of them isn’t on the Warlock’s default list! If you want to be well-rounded in your conversations, that’s a useful thing to get from a background.
That’s not quite all, though. You get proficiency in any artisan’s tool and can learn any language. Infernal might be nice to learn, just due to flavor. The artisan’s tool is less obvious, though nobody hates a Warlock with Brewer’s Supplies!
Your equipment is surprisingly strong, since it comes with 15gp. You get your Artisan’s Tools immediately, as well as a letter and some traveler’s clothes.
Your feature is perhaps the strongest part about this background. At the low cost of 5gp per month, you can always have a somewhat powerful guild on your side. As long as your guild is around, you get fairly high-quality housing, support during trials, and the potential for bail or aid. Your guild can start to dislike you – especially if you don’t pay your tithe – but it otherwise will be helpful. That’s so great to have!
The Investigator from Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft offers a few relatively great abilities for any class. Investigators can choose between Insight, Investigation, or Perception for their two skill proficiencies. For the Warlock, Insight and Perception are two incredibly useful skills. You also get proficiency in Disguise Kits – a very useful tool in social situations – and Thieves Tools – a very useful tool in every single situation in 5E.
However, that’s where the great parts of this background slow down a smidge. Random goods from cases and a set of common clothes aren’t fantastic, but it comes with 10 gp. That’s not nothing. Then, Official Inquiry can be handy for most campaigns, but it comes with a built-in option to have local authorities not trust you. Be careful with this, and you too can make use of one of the greatest exploring backgrounds in the game.
Urban Bounty Hunter
The Urban Bounty Hunter, from Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, offers quite a few things for our prospecting Fiend-bound warrior. You begin by choosing two skill proficiencies from Deception, Insight, Persuasion, and Stealth. In almost all occasions, Insight and Persuasion are your choices, since they let you better handle social situations.
Your tool proficiencies are very solid as well. You get to choose between a gaming set, a musical instrument, or thieves’ tools. Thieves’ Tools are excellent, but the other two are basically up to your preference. Gaming sets and musical instruments certainly have their place, but they both do around the same thing; distract and make you money.
Your equipment is quite unique among backgrounds, as you just get clothing and 20 gp. While low value compared to other backgrounds, 20 gp is almost enough to get you thieves’ tools right out of the gate.
Your feature is basically the same as the Criminal, where you get a contact in any city that you come across. That’s great. It allows you to usually have guidance wherever you are. Just… don’t expect your Contact to always know exactly what you need. They’ll often be a good place to gather information, not find exact answers.
FAQ for the Fiend Warlock
Why would a Warlock make a pact with a fiend?
Many Warlocks make pacts with fiends in order to maximize their personal power, allowing them to gain the flames of hell. Some make pacts in desperation, often in exchange for the soul of a loved one or promises of wealth. Others might have been promised to a fiend by parents or a significant other, and the field decides to use the Warlock for their own advantage.
Can a Fiend Warlock be good?
Yes, though it is difficult. A good Fiend Warlock must go against the will of their patron at times, testing the limits of the fiend’s patience. As long as they are willing to repent and controls their patron’s want for violence, it is possible to maintain a good or neutral attitude.
Does Hurl Through Hell have a saving throw?
It does not. Since it only sends your opponent for a turn, it was not given a saving throw. This makes it extremely useful for fighting enemies with Legendary Actions or that can easily save against your more traditional spells.
Example Fiend Warlock Build
Before we can effectively build our Warlock, we must establish what boundaries our DM wants to set up are.
- No multiclassing, so we’re Warlock all the way. That’s not a huge deal, but it does keep us from cool Draconic Sorcerer setups. Oh well.
- No Lineage rules. Custom Lineage and races with lineage rules are off the table. This is primarily to show off what you would do at a table following oldschool rules. Since Custom Lineage and lineage races can be molded into whatever you’d like, they can largely follow a lot of the rules that we list down.
- Can use races or backgrounds from any book. This gives us quite a few options to work with, though no options with lineage. That’s sad, but helps us explain decisions a bit better.
- Standard Array for ability scores. That means we just put 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 in ability score categories and then add our race modifiers to them.
- Standard class equipment. Fiend Warlocks don’t need much gear to start, but we can work with this. This’ll keep us away from cool items like Thieves’ Tools.
- Our party composition is a Cleric, Druid, and Fighter. The Fighter wants to be a ranged damage dealer. So, we’re the party’s answer to huge area of effect encounters. Well, they called on the right demon worshiper.
Alright, with that out of the way, it’s time to build our Fiend Warlock. We’ll go with a Variant Human build, a relatively simple build with quite a few ideas going for it. Our Variant Human will take Persuasion proficiency and have the Fey Touched feat to begin. Because we already have Persuasion, we can let our human be an Investigator, who allied with a demon in order to access more knowledge and see things they otherwise couldn’t.
Our extra language from Variant Human should be based on what our DM says is a good idea and what is allowed for us. Our DM recommends Dwarven, since our human would have been interacting with a traveling caravan of dwarves during their investigation. Let’s go with that.
Our stats are going to be the bog-standard 17, 14, 14 bid. 17 Charisma, 14 Dexterity, and 14 Constitution. This gives us some durability early on while focusing entirely on getting our Charisma to 20 as soon as possible. With Fey Touched, we can teleport around and prevent ourselves from being mollywhopped immediately.
Our Fey Touched spell will be Silvery Barbs, by the way. This is just to keep our party – and ourselves – safe. It’s an okay reaction for the entire game, so it’s just gonna be nice to have around.
We don’t have much care about our weapons and armor, thankfully. Our Eldritch Blast will start more accurate, but less damaging, than a Crossbow. But that’ll all change at level 2. Feel free to just take whatever works for you narratively.
|5E Fiend Warlock Build|
|Race: Variant Human|
Ability Scores: STR 8, DEX 14, CON 14 (13 + 1), INT 10, WIS 12, CHA 17 (15 + 1 + 1)
Proficiencies: Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion, Insight, Perception, Disguise Kit, Thieves’ Tools
Starting Equipment: Light Crossbow, 20 Bolts, Component Pouch, Scholar’s Pack, Leather Armor, Three Daggers, Magnifying Glass, Bloodied Note, Common Clothes, 10 gp
Languages: Common, Dwarven
-Expanded Spell List
-Dark One’s Blessing
|Admittedly, because we chose to be a Variant Human, we have many more choices at level 1 than usual. But we’re far from done. |
Cantrips. We can’t leave Eldritch Blast behind. Yes, you’ve probably heard this before, but it deals way too much damage with a great damage type. For our utility spell, we like Prestidigitation, just because it does a little bit of everything.
Spells. While Burning Hands might be tempting, I’d wait for a bit before taking that. Hex is very important for our single-target damage potential, allowing us to one-shot enemies who would otherwise survive an Eldritch Blast. Sleep isn’t getting much better, so taking it early can allow the rest of our party to be extremely effective.
|2||-Eldritch Invocations||The choice train keeps on a-coming. Which is great for us, because we still had some holes in the build to patch. |
Spell. While I am a bit skeptical of it, Burning Hands is a strong option that allows us to clear out a small crowd of enemies early on. We’re going to be replacing this one quickly, though.
Invocations. This one is quite simple for us. Agonizing Blast improves our damage very significantly. Devil’s Sight, while flavorful, also lets our Human see in the dark. Dashing off yet another weakness of the race! It’ll also let us abuse Darkness in the future, if we want to.
|3||-Pact Boon-2nd Level Pact Magic||Two more choices this level. Goodness gracious, Warlocks have a lot of decisions to make! |
Pact. We’ll go with Pact of the Chain. It is very flavorful, but it also lets us get strong invocations in the near future to make our Familiar more annoying to deal with. Tome is another very reasonable choice, but Blade and Talisman should be avoided unless a specific build is being worked towards.
Spell. Scorching Ray is a great blasting spell that works brilliantly with Hex. Having this permanently online is actually really good for us, since Scorching Ray is up to 12d6 single-target damage – 18d6 with Hex online. We’ll likely keep this until endgame to apply gigantic burst damage when required.
|4||-Ability Score Improvement||Our first priority is inching our Charisma towards the 20 maximum that we can naturally get to. To do this, we can get a +1 to two stats, a +2 to Charisma, or a feat with a +1 to Charisma. For our purposes, Telekinetic gives us that +1 to Charisma, Mage Hand as a cantrip, and a great bonus action to use on turns where we’re otherwise holding onto Hex or needing to give someone a push in the right direction. As someone who plans on spamming Fireball, the ability to nudge people to the right place will be very handy, to say the least. |
Spells. This is going to be a weird level for us. We’re going to drop Sleep for Blindness/Deafness and grab Darkness. A lot of sight manipulation going on here! But, Sleep is starting to no longer target enemies correctly. Always be looking for opportunities to swap out poorly performing spells for better options as you level up.
Cantrip. Taking that 60 ft Mage Hand is honestly very compelling… And we’ll let it compel us! Mage Hand is one of the strongest cantrips in the game. Why not play with a better version of it?
|5||-3rd Level Pact Magic||We’re at a huge level for us. |
Spells. We’re going to tag out Burning Hands for Fireball. Burning Hands does 5d6 damage in a 15 ft cone. Fireball does 8d6 in a 20 ft blast. Not much of a competition, admittedly. Then, we’ll also scoop up Counterspell to let us defend our party against enemy Fireballs. Those can easily eat through resources. Our Human, for example, has an average of 36 HP. A Fireball does an average of 28 damage. Counter those.
Invocation. Investment of the Chain Master is worth selecting as soon as possible. It gives us another Bonus Action for when we want our Familiar to be in the thick of things and makes the familiar more useful when we need to use it.
|6||-Dark One’s Own Luck||Calmest level we’ve had so far! Just need to take down a new spell. For level three, we have okay options. Fly will let us solve some puzzles and, depending on party composition, we’ll always want someone who is capable of some level of Flight. Getting our Druid in front of flying enemies can come in handy.|
|7||-4th Level Pact Magic||Alright, back to a two-choice level. |
Spells. Wall of Fire is another spell that takes Concentration, but can easily and effectively control the direction of a fight. It handles a slightly different role than Fireball, so we want to have it around.
Invocation. A weird level for Invocations, and usually one where you take a low-level utility option. Eldritch Mind is our choice, since we’re going to have strong concentration spells (and already have a handful). Keeping concentration on something like Hex can save you quite a few slots.
|8||-Ability Score Improvement||This will be our first (and only) level where we are going to take a simple +2 to Charisma. That gets us to 20, which is exactly where we want to be. Let’s take this opportunity to look at our spells. |
Cantrips. Eldritch Blast, Prestidigitation, Mage Hand
Spells. Hex, Silvery Barbs, Blindness/Deafness, Darkness, Misty Step, Scorching Ray, Counterspell, Fireball, Fly, Wall of Fire
An effective spell list, overall. All of our options do something slightly different, with a few situational options like Counterspell and Silvery Barbs designed to prevent disasters. With this in mind, we don’t have to swap anything out. We’ll take this time to learn Banishment, a good option to take an enemy or ally out of combat for a while, potentially saving our friend’s life or preventing the enemy from doing something dangerous.
|9||-5th Level Pact Magic||Our learning of spells is going to start slowing down, so it’s a good idea to make sure this one counts! |
Spell. Synaptic Static is a great area of effect for us. It’s basically a Fireball, but it targets intelligence and does 2d6 less damage to debuff all enemies for 1 minute. That debuff is pretty damning, lowering attack rolls, ability checks, and Concentration checks.
Invocation. We suggest taking Sculptor of Flesh at this level. We’ve outgrown Polymorph just a bit, but it’s a strong problem-solving spell that can let us clear out impactful enemies or smuggle allies into places they shouldn’t be. Its strong utility is not to be matched.
|10||-Fiendish Resilience||We’ve reached the halfway point, but we’ve made most of the decisions that our build has to consider. Let’s look at the following, though. |
Cantrips. The next cantrip to learn will be Blade Ward. Sometimes you just need to turtle up. The Warlock learns a lot of damaging cantrips that simply don’t match up to Eldritch Blast. If someone’s in your face, either Misty Step or consider using a damaging spell instead. This’ll keep you alive for a time, but only if someone can turn around and help out.
Spell. We don’t learn a new spell at this level. What a shame! However, we can still consider swapping spells out. For instance, if you’re fighting a lot of humanoids, you might want Hold Person instead of Blindness/Deafness. For our case, we’re not going to do this.
|11||-Mystic Arcanum (6th Level)||Mystic Arcanum is a once-per-day spell. You want to have options that you cast fairly consistently. |
Mystic Arcanum. Scatter is our favorite level 6 option. It lets you move your allies into position before a fight or possibly save you from a mob of enemies. Scatter a group of foes into your currently-casted Wall of Fire is a great idea, for instance.
Spells. Hold Monster can end some fights on its own. It’s well worth our Concentration slot, even if it does target a popular saving throw.
|12||-Ability Score Improvement||We are in an interesting place for our Ability Score improvement. Let’s consider scooping up Inspiring Leader now. Without any additional items, we are giving 17 temporary HP after a short rest. We want our allies to be very comfortable with short rests, so this’ll certainly help. |
Invocation. This’ll be our flexible invocation slot, that we change often to carry us through specific arcs. Whispers of the Grave lets us talk to as many dead people as we want. For the purposes of our build, it’s not very impactful. But, it’ll let us handle specific puzzles very easily, like finding our way into specific crypts.
|13||-Mystic Arcanum (7th Level)||Since we have good bonus actions, our Mystic Arcanum swaps from an almost guaranteed Crown of Stars to a few cool options. We like Forcecage, since it can keep several enemies out of a conflict without a saving throw. |
Spells. At this point, our spell list becomes quite exotic. We can just get a bunch of strong situational spells. Raulothim’s Psychic Lance is great for boss killing, since it targets Intelligence and applies a debuff that very, very few enemies are immune to. Incapacitated isn’t the strongest condition in the book, but anything that keeps enemies from acting for a turn is worth considering.
|14||-Hurl Through Hell||At long last… a chance for us to relax! We have no spells or invocations or anything at this level. Check through your spells and have fun hurling people through hell for 55 average damage.|
|15||-Mystic Arcanum (8th Level)||Right back into the firing line. This time with three options, instead of two! |
Mystic Arcanum. We like Power Word Stun a little bit too much. It’s for a good reason, though. Stunning an enemy puts them in a terrible spot, where our melee fighters get to beat the heck out of them for free. It also doesn’t have a saving throw. You just need to predict where their health is.
Spells. We once again want to consider very strong but situational options. Dispel Magic, while on our Cleric’s spell list, is still important for us to have. What if the Cleric gets paralyzed? We want to keep them on their feet.
Invocation. Chains of Carceri is technically situational. However, at this point in our career, celestial, fiends, and elementals will be commonplace. Being able to Hold Monster at will is very, very worth it, even if the target is a bit more particular.
|16||-Ability Score Improvement||Another ASI level. At this point, we want to consider bumping our Constitution using particular feats. |
Feat. Chef is our choice. While we get temporary hitpoints through Inspiring Leader and Dark One’s Blessing, that doesn’t mean we can’t buff up our Druid or Cleric with additional temp HP between fights. This also continuously makes our short rests more and more effective.
|17||-Mystic Arcanum (9th Level)||Big level for us! This is our last Mystic Arcanum, so we’d better make it count. |
Mystic Arcanum. Psychic Scream is a blasting spell that can stun a ton of people at the same time. While there are other great options like Power Word Kill, we’re here just to defeat mooks. Let the Cleric and Druid handle spells like that.
Spells. Teleportation Circle moves us from one place to another. Get yourself home! We have more than enough spells that we want to cast on a day-to-day basis.
|18||Our final invocation! Shroud of Shadow is a great way to scout ahead or ensure that you always have an okay escape route. It’s a pretty terrible way to learn that your foe has Truesight… But, what if you can make an enemy waste a turn searching for you? It’s well worth it.|
|19||-Ability Score Improvement||Our last level with choices. We’re at the finish line! |
Feats. Resilient will be our last choice. At this point, you can easily take 30 damage in a single attack. So, by making sure your Constitution Saving Throw is as high as possible, the advantage will almost guarantee that we keep our high-priority Concentration spells.
Spell. Danse Macabre is a fun spell that can mob through enemies. Even at the endgame, five skeletons with a +5 to attack and damage rolls can be extremely effective. Surprisingly so!
|20||-Eldritch Master||Let’s take one final look at our spell list. |
Cantrips. Blade Ward, Eldritch Blast, Prestidigitation, Mage Hand
Spells. Hex, Silvery Barbs, Blindness/Deafness, Darkness, Misty Step, Scorching Ray, Counterspell, Dispel Magic, Fireball, Fly, Banishment, Raulothim’s Psychic Lance, Wall of Fire, Danse Macabre, Hold Monster, Synaptic Static, Teleportation Circle
Mystic Arcanum. Scatter, Forecage, Power Word Stun, Psychic Scream
Looks good to us! We have good concentration options, areas of effect, and more. We have an okay amount of Constitution (though our AC is absolutely dreadful most of the time, something that Warlock usually just has to deal with). Through our ability to cast Darkness and Misty Step, we can keep ourself safe. Then, Fireball spam, Hex, and even Scorching Ray can burn through health bars.
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!