The Warlock may be one of the most choice-heavy classes in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Just when you thought your patron couldn’t be nicer, you get a new pact! This pact, the Pact of the Blade, allows you to conjure any melee weapon out of thin air! Your patron infuses you with the power to make your very own weapon, or to keep your personal magic armament safe and sound. How useful is this pact, and what should you use it for? We’re your loyal sword in this Pact of the Blade 5E guide.
Pact of the Blade 5E Guide
The Pact of the Blade allows the Warlock to bond with a weapon. The weapon is of their own creation, and requires an action to build. No matter what, you are proficient with your pact weapon, and it is automatically considered to be a magical weapon. You can only have one pact weapon with you at a time, and it disappears if you dismiss it, if you spend more than 1 minute away from you, or if you die.
You can transform magical weapons into your pact weapon over the course of a short rest, which dismisses the weapon and allows you to create it. This cannot be used on an artifact or a weapon with an intelligent score. The weapon is no longer your pact weapon if you die, perform the ritual again, or you break your bond with it over the course of an hour. Your weapon falls to the floor nearby should you break your bond with it.
The Pact of the Blade is hard to use.
The issue with Pact of the Blade isn’t that it’s necessarily bad. It’s simply outclassed by the power of Eldritch Blast. Most Warlocks would simply prefer to use a cantrip that can attack four times over a weapon that attacks once (twice with an Invocation). And Warlocks aren’t well equipped to wade into melee fights! You’ll need this pact if you want to go melee, and it comes with some heavy Invocation prices!
In addition, even if you do want to go into melee, this Pact does very little to help your combat effectiveness. It’s mostly a consistency buff, as you will have your weapon more often. In terms of combat power, the only bonus this Pact can boast is automatically turning your melee weapon magical. While a legitimately good boon, most campaigns will hand out magical weapons more often.
This does have good use in some places. For instance, if you’re worried about getting your weapon stolen – or your fighter is – you can summon a weapon. You can have the weapon out of your possession for 5 minutes, which is more than enough time for a Barbarian to get some licks in.
Good Subclasses to Use
However, there is one Warlock that makes great use of this Pact; the Hexblade! The Hexblade gives you better armor, Charisma for weapon attacks, and a ton of extra reasons to go into melee. In this case, the Pact of the Blade ensures that your Hexblade will always be capable of combat. It will also be a minor buff for your early game, since the Hexblade becomes a bit weaker against some enemies without magical assistance.
If you really want to use the Pact of the Blade without being a Hexblade, then you can do some fun stuff with Fathomless. By setting up the Tentacle and moving towards enemies with a long reach spear, you can really bully people. The Pact would be there as insurance, in case the enemy uses Heat Metal or someone tries to steal your weapon and ruin your strategy.
Pact of the Blade will be required if you want to use Melee as a Warlock, because melee invocations are locked behind it. There are 4 Invocations that are out for Blade.
- Eldritch Smite (XGE): Expend a Warlock spell slot for 1d8 + 1d8 per spell level damage. It can also knock prone.
- Improved Pact Weapon (XGE): Allows you to use your pact weapon as a spellcasting focus, can start with a +1 to attack and damage if it doesn’t have anything better, and can be a shortbow, longbow, light crossbow, or heavy crossbow.
- Lifedrinker: Adds Charisma to damage with Pact weapons.
- Thirsting Blade: Grants you Extra Attack.
Of these options, Eldritch Smite, Lifedrinker, and Thirsting Blade are all great and basically required to get value out of Pact of the Blade. Thirsting Blade should be your level 5 pick with Blade all the time since Extra Attack adds a ton of damage to your build. Lifedrinker is a huge damage buff, and Eldritch Smite can allow for paladin level bombs to be dropped!
Improved Pact Weapon isn’t bad, but it’s realistically only handy for the free +1 weapon if you don’t have one better. The spellcasting focus is mediocre since you’d want a better focus. And the ranged options imply you’d want to spend an Invocation on weapons that don’t really keep up with Eldritch Blast.
For early-game pacts, Armor of Shadows is decent for non-Hexblade Warlocks. Fiendish Vigor can improve your health pool, so you don’t get knocked out early.
Otherwise, you can consider utility invocations like Devil’s Sight or Beguiling Influence to make you slightly better out of combat situations.
Wrapping Up Pact of the Blade
While we’re not a huge fan of this Pact, it’s undeniably strong in the right hands. Just make sure you’re either a Hexblade or are durable enough to survive on the frontlines before grabbing it!