How to Build the Perfect DnD 5e Warlock

One of the key components in Dungeons & Dragons has always been magic. From wizards and bards to sorcerers and warlocks, there are plenty of opportunities to build a spell-wielding adventurer that not only keeps the party safe but wreaks havoc whenever they step into battle. Of all the magic users, warlocks are one of the least complicated classes to play, but they aren’t any less powerful or terrifying to behold when facing off against them.

Warlocks have limited access to spells in 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, which may sound like a hindrance, but it can actually be a boon in their favor if the player chooses the right spells when crafting their character. They have unlimited access to Eldritch Blast, one of the most powerful cantrips in the game, which only grows more powerful as they gain levels. Warlocks also receive unique powers from the patron they choose to augment their otherwise limited spellcasting abilities, keeping them on par with their sorcerer and wizard counterparts. Below is an ideal DnD warlock build that any player, whether a novice or a longtime veteran, can enjoy throughout a campaign.

Warlock Build Summary

Ability Scores (in order of importance)

Charisma, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Strength




The Fiend, Hexblade


Criminal, Noble


War Caster, Spell Sniper, Inspiring Leader, Lucky


Armor of Agathys, Eldritch Blast, Shadow of Moil, Force Cage

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Perks of Playing the Warlock Class

a female warlock in dungeons and dragons with lightning around her

Warlock Level

Class Feature


Otherworldly Patron Feature


Eldritch Invocations


Pact Boon

The warlock class has a few unique perks and advantages that set it apart from other full-time spellcasters like sorcerers and wizards while also sharing a few perks with the sorcerer class. Like sorcerers, warlocks use Charisma as their spellcasting ability, so if the party lacks another Charisma-focused character such as a paladin or a bard, then the warlock may double as the party’s “face,” giving them utility outside of combat. Warlocks also make for terrific roleplaying, giving the player endless options for why their character made a pact with a higher power.

Another advantage of the warlock class largely negates this class’s main weakness: regaining all spell slots after a short rest. Warlocks have very few spell slots compared to wizards and sorcerers, but during an adventure or a dungeon crawl, the party can rest for one hour in a safe location, and the warlock will fully recharge without needing items like a Pearl of Power to regain their slots. Also, warlocks always cast their limited spells at the highest possible spell slot for their level.

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Best Stats For the Warlock Class

a warlock in dungeons and dragons

Charisma is by far the warlock class’s most important stat, with it being their spellcasting ability and in roleplay sessions, their ability to be the party’s face. This stat should always be the highest, and a warlock may even take some feats to boost their charisma further or find rare magic items to enhance their charisma. Constitution is the secondary stat, especially for Hexblade warlocks, so they can endure a few hits from their enemies up close. Warlocks may run out of spell slots more quickly than sorcerers and wizards, but strong cantrips like Eldritch Blast ensure that the warlock has every reason to keep standing until the fight is over. Dexterity is third, since being able to dodge sudden traps or enemy attacks with Dexterity saving throws helps keep squishy warlocks alive.

Wisdom comes in fourth, since it can help a warlock resist spells and abilities from a distance that call for Wisdom saving throws, though Wisdom is used for little else with this class. Strength comes fifth, since ideally, warlocks will remain out of reach of enemy effects that grapple or restrain them. Intelligence comes in last as the class’s dump stat.

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Choosing a Race & Background For a Warlock Character

A Tiefling Warlock holding a blade as fiery magic whirls in the air.

Each race in Dungeons & Dragons 5e offers unique perks and abilities, which is why it’s important to carefully consider race when building a warlock. Charisma is the most important stat for a warlock to build, so choosing a race that offers a Charisma boost is essential to the build. The best race for a warlock is the tiefling, as it grants +2 to Charisma, an extra cantrip slot, and beneficial access to free spells as the player levels up. Tieflings also have resistance to fire damage, which is hugely useful when fighting certain devils and demons, and they can also speak and write the Infernal language, which feels thematic for warlocks. This race can also use the Hellish Rebuke ability as a 2nd level spell once per long rest.

Other races offer Charisma boosts, like the half-elf, which also offers a +2 to Charisma and two additional Ability Score Increases (though these cannot generally be used to further increase Charisma). Drow elves gain a +1 to their Charisma, can cast the Dancing Lights cantrip at will, and they also have access to spells like Faerie Fire and Darkness, making them an excellent choice for a warlock. The Lightfoot halfling gets a +1 for Charisma, a beneficial Dexterity bonus and the Lucky feat, which really comes in handy in a tight spot.

Creating a character’s background is more than just building a backstory, though role-playing Warlocks is a blast in its own right. Criminal and Noble backgrounds, for example, grant Charisma boosts, and when considering the backstory elements, both of those origins have a ton of potential for creating a memorable warlock. A noble in financial ruin, whose only way out of a bad situation was making a pact for the power to climb back to the top, or a petty criminal who grew tired of writhing at the bottom when the top looked so appealing are just two examples to launch an origin story from.

Taking time to study everything the warlock class has to offer, including accessible spells, potential patrons and all they have to offer, strong feats to boost abilities and features and a solid background are some of the simplest steps toward creating a powerful and unforgettable warlock who can shine as the sinister but reliable star of their adventurer party in any campaign or one-shot.

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Choosing the Right Warlock Patron

a warlock fiend patron in D&D

Warlocks make pacts with powerful entities to grow stronger. Sometimes that search for power is driven by vengeance; other times, it’s simply prompted by ego, and all that makes for great role-playing opportunities as well. This means choosing the ideal patron for a new warlock character in terms of that patron’s benefits and the story reasons why the Warlock chose this particular patron. The abilities a patron grants their warlock heavily impact how they can play, and unfortunately, while all of the patrons have their positive attributes, they are not all created equally. Two particular patrons stand far above the others because of the unique abilities they grant their warlocks: The Fiend and the Hexblade.

Since only one patron can be chosen, it’s important to look at how a warlock will be played when making the final choice. The Fiend is classic in its presentation, as making deals with the devil to gain power is as old as time itself. Warlocks who choose this patron gain access to all kinds of fiery spells, like Burning Hands, Fireball, Wall of Fire, and Flamestrike. They also gain the ability to heal themselves with Dark One’s Blessing and can basically inspire themselves with Dark One’s Own Luck, which rolls a d10.

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Starting at level 10, a warlock character with the Fiend patron can use Fiendish Resistance, allowing them to choose one damage type and gain resistance to it, excepting damage done by magical and silvered weapons. This is an incredibly flexible way to keep a squishy warlock alive in battle, and based on the campaign, the player can easily predict what kind of damage types should be chosen. When playing a module like Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden, resistance to cold damage is ideal, and when playing in Curse of Strahd, resistance to necrotic damage is a must. Fiendish Resistance resets with every short or long rest, making it even more adaptable than ever.

The Hexblade patron for warlocks is perfect for those who want to wield magic but also put themselves on the front lines for powerful melee combat with both magical and non-magical weapons. These warlocks gain access to two Eldritch Invocations and Hexblade’s Curse, which makes an attack role critical on a roll of 19 or 20. In addition, the Hexblade’s Curse makes itself a bit tankier with the ability to regain a nimber of hit points after a cursed enemy dies equal to the Warlocks’ Charisma modifier plus their warlock levels, which is essential for any front-line fighter. Still, that can only be used once per short rest, so it’s a good idea to have a cleric or paladin around with Cure Wounds or Healing Word at the ready. Warlocks are tougher than wizards and sorcerers, but not that much tougher, so players must still exercise caution.

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Choosing the Best Warlock Feats

a tiefling warlock using magic in D&D

Warlock Level

Suggested Feat


War Caster




Inspiring Leader


Spell Sniper

As a character levels up and gains access to ability score increases and feats, a warlock player can choose from a handful of the best feats for their class, some of which will boost the warlock’s Charisma ability score until it hits 20. The War Caster feat, for example, is the perfect boon for a Hexblade Warlock, as it grants advantage on Constitution saving throws that help them maintain concentration on active spells while they’re taking return fire at close range from monsters. Spell Sniper is another useful feat, as it increases the range for spell attacks, ignores half and three-quarters cover and allows the player to learn an extra cantrip, which always comes in handy with a limited spell list.

The Inspiring Leader feat is fairly useful, too. Normally, a charismatic Paladin character can role-play an inspiring speech with this feat before battle and grant their allies temporary hit points, but if a paladin is missing, the Warlock can fill in that role. The role-playing part might be tricky for a warlock, but the boost to the party’s temporary HP can save a life or two once a dungeon crawl begins, making it an outstanding feat to take at any level.

Finally, the Lucky feat is useful for warlocks because these relatively squishy characters can’t easily afford to fail their saving throws to avoid the effects of enemy spells or abilities. Warlocks may be tougher than wizards, but they’re still liable to get knocked out from failing a Constitution saving throw for Cone of Cold or a Dexterity saving throw for Lightning Bolt, for example, if Fiendish Resistance won’t help. This feat can also let the warlock’s player reroll an enemy’s attack against them, and hope for a low roll. On offense, meanwhile, Lucky makes it easier for warlocks to actually hit someone with their attacks, which is crucial for a class with so few spell slots available.

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Choosing the Best Warlock Spellsa warlock with fire in dungeons and dragons

Spell Level

Recommended Spells


Eldritch Blast, Mage Hand, Mind Sliver


Armor of Agathys, Hex


Darkness, Misty Step


Vampiric Touch, Hunger of Hadar


Banishment, Shadow of Moil


Synaptic Static, Scrying


Eyebite, Circle of Death


Force Cage


Dominate Monster


Psychic Scream

A good warlock will make the most of their limited spell slots with powerful, flexible spells that can be used in a variety of situations. It’s mainly wizards who can afford to invest in niche spells as toolbox characters, while a warlock’s spells must all be surefire hits. Among the cantrips, Eldritch Blast stands out as the warlock cantrip, doing decent damage and benefitting hugely from the Agonizing Blast and Eldritch Spear Eldritch Invocations, all while gaining additional beams at higher levels. Mage Hand is also fantastically flexible in its usage, especially if the party lacks another spellcaster who can use it. Mind Sliver is also a strong option because it calls for an Intelligence saving throw, which monsters are rarely proficient with, and it only requires a verbal component, so restrained warlocks can still use it.

Armor of Agathys is strong because it not only gives the warlock 5 temporary hit points, but it also deals 5 cold damage to anyone who hits the warlock with a melee attack while any temporary hit points remain. Best of all, this spell scales up well, adding another 5 to the temporary hit points and cold damage for each spell slot level it’s used, capping at level 5. With or without the Armor of Shadows Eldritch Invocation, this is one of the warlock class’s best defensive options at lower levels. For defense at higher levels, starting at 7th, a warlock can cast the 4th level spell Shadow of Moil, creating darkness around themselves to effectively make their enemies blind while the warlock can attack with spells like Eldritch Blast with advantage. Notably, that darkness is regular darkness rather than the darkness made with the Darkness spell, so enemies with darkvision aren’t affected. Mundane or magical sources of light can also dispel Shadow of Moil’s effect.

Other spells among the most recommended warlock spells tend to focus on weak saving throws for enemies or have effects that are almost guaranteed to work, allowing warlocks to make the best use of their limited spell slots. Psychic Scream and Synaptic Static are good examples of this on offense, both requiring Intelligence saving throws, and most monsters fail miserably at those, aside from psionic monsters like mind flayers. Force Cage is an excellent control spell that doesn’t involve saving throws or spell attack rolls — it simply happens, so a warlock will reliably get great mileage out of it. With Force Cage, a warlock can trap certain enemies and hit them with AOE spells like Circle of Death, or simply pursue a divide-and-conquer strategy with their party on a busy battlefield.

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Warlock Multiclassing Options

a warlock with purple robes casting eldritch blast

The warlock class has a few strong multiclassing options, most of which either overlap with the warlock’s Charisma focus, make the warlock more durable, or both. The sorcerer class is a popular multiclass option for warlocks, nicknamed the “sorlock” build, with their spellcasting styles sharing a Charisma focus to become a hard-hitting and flexible character. Most of all, the sorcerer class gives a warlock access to sorcery points, excellent for options like quicken, which allows a sorlock to cast both Hex and Eldritch Blast on the same turn. The warlock will need at least three sorcerer levels to start using that Metamagic, though, so patience is required.

Warlocks also blend well with the bard class, though taking levels in bard sometimes means meshing the two classes’ subclasses, such as mixing a Hexblade warlock with a College of Swords bard for maximum synergy. In addition, the bard class lets the warlock get lots of skill proficiencies they normally wouldn’t, making that warlock far more adaptable during roleplay sessions or while exploring dungeons. Gaining bardic inspiration is a neat bonus if the party lacks its own bard or a cleric who can cast Bless, though it’s not the mean reason to go warlock/bard.

Hexblade warlocks can take two levels in the fighter class to get Action Surge, a popular way for many classes to do more of whatever they already do. Hexblade warlocks are bound to deal serious damage after casting Hex, then using Action surge to take two Attack actions in one turn. The fighter class also makes a warlock more durable with proficiency in constitution saving throws, a great bonus for warlock spells like Hex.

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