Warlocks have some fantastic class options in Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. It can be tricky to keep them all in line! How many pacts can you form before the end of your adventuring days, anyway?! Well, if you choose to form a Chain Pact, you’ll be well off! The Pact of the Chain summons a servant that is as loyal as they are surprisingly durable. So, how do we make the most of the Pact? Let’s find out in our Pact of the Chain Warlock 5E guide!
Pact of the Chain Warlock
You automatically learn the Find Familiar spell, and may ritual cast it. Whenever you cast the spell, in addition to your normal actions, you may summon an Imp, Pseudodragon, Quasit, or Sprite. If your familiar has an attack, you may spend an action to command it to attack. Attacking with your familiar will expend your familiar’s reaction.
The familiars each have their own benefits.
- Imps have great damage resistances and immunities. It can shapechange into a rat, raven, or spider. Your Imp can see even in magical darkness, and has advantage on saving throws against magic. It can turn invisible at will, and attack with a powerful poisonous stinger. Pseudodragons have telepathy, decent Perception checks, and magical resistance. Its sting forces the target to save or become poisoned. Alternatively, if the target fails by a lot, it gets knocked unconscious.
- Quasits have good damage resistances and immunities. It can turn into a bat, centipede, or toad. The Quasit has advantage on saving throws against magic, can claw for alright damage and the poisoned condition, and can scare opponents for a Frighten effect. It can also go invisible.
- Sprites can wield multiple weapons, the Longbow capable of poisoning or knocking a target unconscious. It can automatically learn a creatures’ emotional state, and can turn invisible.
The Pact of the Chain might be the best go-to option for Warlocks looking for a smooth early game.
While your four familiar options are all solid in their own way, there are some stronger options here.
In general, Imps are the best familiar as they have high defensive stats and fantastic utility, as well as the best damage at 15 per attack. Pseudodragons and Sprites both have utility with the ability to knock out their targets. Sprites do so from range and invisibility, but otherwise die extremely quickly. Quasits are less durable imps that cannot see in magical darkness, but may use the Frighten action to scare a foe.
The Familiars all do decent damage, but slowly fall off over the course of your campaign. You can use Invocations to keep them relevant, and there’s one Invocation that you can invest in to really push your familiar into overdrive!
If you decide to not invest in your familiar, you still have a fantastic ally! Your familiar can do great damage, debuff enemies, and scout out areas without risking your party members. Easy access to invisibility with Imps and Sprites will be handy for sending them out on surveillance. It also makes them relatively hard to kill, despite their low hitpoints.
Good Subclasses to Use
Honestly, the Pact of the Chain is universally useful. Any subclass can get some use out of it… Besides Hexblade. Hexblade needs Blade.
Flavor-wise, the Archfey is a pretty great choice for Pseudodragon and Sprite, and the Fiend is good for Imps and Quasits.
What is more important is that you look at your party and make a decision based on what tools you already have. If your Wizard doesn’t know what to do with their level 1 spell slots, you can let them summon a familiar instead. If your Rogue is great at stealth, then your Familiar might not be as useful.
However, due to the Familiar’s damage potential, you can still get use out of them as pure bonus utility that any Warlock would love. The Imp in particular is a nasty addition to your party due to its high damage early on. Later, the Quasit can be a bit more useful with its alright damage and ability to poison.
The main Invocation that the Pact of the Chain unlocks is Investment of the Chain Master from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This insane Invocation is very helpful for pushing your familiar to the endgame. It grants the following benefits:
- 40 ft flight or swimming
- Using your bonus action, your familiar can attack.
- Your familiar’s weapons are now magical.
- Use your spell DC instead of the Familiar’s for any saving throw DC.
- You can spend a reaction to grant the familiar resistance to damage.
This invocation is crazy! The Movement speed is fantastic, and it’s arguably the worst benefit! What we’re really liking is the bonus action attack and using your spell DC. These two benefits means that Imp goes from your only attack each turn dealing 15 damage… to your bonus action dealing 15 damage! It also means that you can make devastating poison attacks with your Pseudodragon or Quasit as a bonus action, freeing you up to cast a spell or barrage with Eldritch Blast.
This combo vastly boosts your familiar’s power. Getting to attack with your familiar during the same turn that you attack is great! And your familiar’s powers will probably be more effective now that they scale with your spell DC rather than their flat 10s and 11s.
The bad benefits are still good! Movement speed is solid, magical weapons are fine, and the reaction to grant the familiar resistance is… Well, occasionally it’ll mean your imp doesn’t die in one hit. That’s worthwhile! Just remember you can’t apply resistance to the same effect twice.The Imp in particular is a nasty addition to your party due to its high damage early on. Later, the Quasit can be a bit more useful with its alright damage and ability to poison.
Otherwise, the Chain-only invocations are a bit weak. Voice of the Chain Master isn’t really required as long as you plan well. Gift of the Ever-Living Ones isn’t necessarily bad, but you would probably prefer more raw utility than just rolling max on the d8s that heal you. If you think you’re taking too much damage, it might be worth it. Chains of Carceri are actually very handy, but require level 15, making them a bit later on in your career. Still, Carceri is solid, since it can turn your warlock into a very annoying machine-gun of full body paralysis.
For non-chain Invocations, your goal is to fill holes that your party might have. For instance, if your party doesn’t have the ability to see in full darkness, we recommend Devil’s Sight. You can also use Darkness with Devil’s Sight to make an enemy blind, and bombard them with your magic and your Imp, who can also see in magical darkness.
Other good options include Armor of Shadows, Mire the Mind, and Minions of Chaos. If you need a talker, Beguiling Influence will make you great at the job.
Wrapping Up Pact of the Chain
This pact has a ton of power, and is useful for almost any Warlock you can dream up. Whether you go all in with Chain Master or just have a little friend that’s a good scout, you won’t be disappointed by this Pact. Also, don’t forget to see our Pact of the Blade Guide for more warlock action.