Warlocks are granted or gifted powers by an external force through pact, promise, or advancing an agenda.
This separates them from other casters and makes their spells function in a slightly different manner as they are always cast at the highest level available.
The list they choose from is large, but the spells they have available are relatively few. Picking the right spell at each level is important and often driven by the characters role in the group.
Note: The Warlock has access to spell levels 6-9 with the Mystic Arcanum feature. To keep things concise, this list only focuses on the standard 1st-5th level spells.
Best Warlock Spells 5e
20. Misty Step
It is an instant teleport and doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity. Casting Misty Step effectively doubles the caster’s movement and still allows for an action.
The downside is the inability to upcast the spell, so the caster burns a high-level spell slot with no reward.
A 2nd level transmutation spell, Earthbind, is one for the bag. It lacks the ability to upcast and is based on strength which limits its overall potential.
It is an excellent support spell that provides a great tactical option. It might also be a way to avoid falling damage (if the DM is feeling generous) since the descent is controlled.
Enervation is a 5th level necromancy spell that both deals damage and heals.
Plus, it fits the theme of a classic great old one. The spell is based on a dexterity saving throw; on a failure, the target takes 2d8 necrotic damage, and the caster heals half as much.
On a success, however, the target takes 4d8 necrotic damage and can repeat the damage each turn in which they take no other action. The caster heals half the damage each time.
17. Wall of Light
The 5th level evocation spell Wall of Light is a crazy spell that couldn’t be left off the list. The spell creates a wall of light that is 60’x10’x5′, which can be attached or free-floating and in any straight-line orientation.
The wall itself emits bright light for 120’.
The crazy part is the multiple effects and uses it has. A creature in the line, when cast, takes 4d8 radiant damage and is blinded for 1 minute on a failed constitution save.
A successful save results in half damage and no blindness. A creature that ends its turn in the wall takes 4d8 radiant damage.
The caster can also make a ranged spell attack with a beam of radiant energy out to 60 feet for 4d8 damage. Each blast shortens the wall by 10 feet.
A classic for any caster, Invisibility is a 2nd level illusion spell. Aside from the standard benefits of being invisible, the spell is auto cast at the highest-level available, meaning that one cast could work on the majority of the party.
Invisibility is a spell worth keeping around for an emergency escape, if nothing else. The major drawback to Invisibility is that it ends if the target attacks or casts a spell.
15. Vampiric Touch
Vampiric Touch is a 3rd level necromancy spell that provides the potential for round after round healing. The melee spell attack deals 3d6 damage, and the caster heals for half of the damage.
If concentration is maintained, the caster can repeat the attack as an action until the spell ends. Vampiric Touch can be up cast and adds 1d6 per level above third.
Another classic for any caster, Fly is a 3rd level transmutation spell. It requires concentration but can also be upcast to cover additional targets.
A warlock that pairs Fly with Eldritch Blast can be a real pain to deal with. The concentration aspect, unfortunately, limits some of the other potential Warlock specialties, but it is still worth taking.
13. Hold Person
Hold Person is a solid 2nd level spell on its own. The idea of automatically casting at higher levels makes the crowd control potential even more appealing.
The spell is concentration, but the target can do nothing except make a wisdom save at the end of it’s turn.
This almost guarantees the party will have at least one round of unopposed damage or respite from the enemy.
12. Witch Bolt
A 1st level evocation spell, Witch Bolt deals solid damage. It also fits thematically with almost every version of the warlock.
The target takes 1d12 lightning damage with a successful spell attack and can be repeated on subsequent turns as an action.
The spell can be up cast to add 1d12 per level above first. The downside to Witch Bolt is the limited range of 30’.
11. Booming Blade
Booming Blade is a well known cantrip that works with any class. If the player chooses something other than Pact of the Blade, it makes sense to pick up Booming Blade.
The damage improves on advancement like any cantrip and is pretty stout at an additional 1d8 damage if the target moves 5’ or more. At 5th level, it adds 1d8 to the attack damage and 2d8 damage on moving 5′ or more.
10. Dimension Door
Dimension Door is a 4th level conjuration spell that serves as the ultimate emergency evacuation spell.
It allows the caster to teleport 500 feet in any direction along with their gear and another creature within 5’ of the caster.
There is risk if you pick a location that is already occupied as you take 4d6 force damage and the spell fails.
While there are no allowances for upcasting the spell, the benefits are hard to ignore.
9. Elemental Bane
This 4th level transmutation spell is a support spell that can change a fight in a hurry. The caster chooses a damage type, and Elemental Bane forces a constitution saving throw by the target.
On a failed save, the target takes an additional 2d8 damage the first time it is hit with that damage type.
The target also loses any resistance to that damage type until the spell ends. It can be upcast to target additional creatures.
8. Far Step
Far Step is a 5th level conjuration spell. The spell is effectively a more powerful version of Misty Step. It is still a bonus action to cast, but this concentration spell lasts for up to 1 minute.
During that time, the caster can use a bonus action to teleport again.
In addition to the duration, the spell also allows teleportation of up to 60’. Unfortunately, the caster cannot take another creature, and there is not an opportunity to upcast this spell.
7. Summon Greater Demon
A high risk/high reward spell, Summon Greater Demon is 4th level conjuration. The caster summons a demon of challenge rating 5 or lower.
The summoned demon functions on its own initiative. The demon serves the caster unless it makes a charisma save at the end of its turn.
If the demon saves, it spends its remaining duration attacking all non-demon targets starting with the nearest. If the caster loses concentration, the demon persists for 1d6 rounds.
There is an option for the caster to create a magic circle with the material components. This circle prevents the demon from crossing or attacking any creatures inside the circle.
To cast this spell, the caster must have a vial of human blood from someone who was killed within the last 24 hours.
Banishment is a 4th level abjuration spell. It can end a fight or at least grant reprieve for a few rounds. The caster attempts to banish the target to another plane of existence. The target makes a charisma saving throw to avoid the effect.
While banished, the target is incapacitated, which means it can not ready an action or heal.
If concentration is maintained for the duration of the spell and the target is from another plane, the banishment is permanent.
If concentration is lost or if the target is from the occupied plane, the target returns to the nearest unoccupied space.
5. Dispel Magic
Dispel Magic is a powerful 3rd level Abjuration spell for any Warlock arsenal. It allows the caster to choose a creature, object, or area within range and automatically remove a magical effect of 3rd level or lower.
For spells above 3rd level, the caster has to make a check versus the spell level.
Warlocks auto cast at the highest possible level, so a cast of Dispel Magic removes a spell effect of loser than the cast automatically.
It removes the guess work and leaves other casters open to use their spell slots on other things.
Similar to the benefits of Dispel Magic, the 3rd level abjuration spell Counterspell also benefits from the automatic upcast of the warlock class.
Counterspell is cast as a reaction to another caster casting a spell. If the spell being cast is 3rd level or lower, it fails automatically.
With the upcast from the warlock, any spell cast below the warlock’s spell level fails.
This takes the risk out, and if the warlock has reserved his spells, could mean the difference between life and death for a companion.
3. Armor of Agathys
Armor of Agathys is a dual-purpose 1st level abjuration spell. It provides temporary hit points and also deals cold damage to a melee attacker.
At the base cast, the temporary hit points and damage dealt are 5. The real benefit to the warlock comes again from the automatic upcast.
Each level above the base cast adds another 5 to damage and temporary hit points.
The damage is applied anytime the warlock is hit and still has the temporary hit points remaining.
The 1st level enchantment spell Hex is a great option for a warlock who wants to go on the offensive. The warlock puts a curse on the target.
This curse allows the warlock to deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage per hit. The spell can be upcast to add to the duration, which is normally an hour.
The warlock can also choose an ability when the spell is cast – the target is at disadvantage on all checks with that ability.
If the target drops to 0 hit points while the spell is up, the warlock can use a bonus action to curse a new creature. Only a Remove Curse spell ends this spell early.
1. Eldritch Blast
As obvious and played out as it is, there is no denying that Eldritch Blast is the best Warlock spell available.
The Warlock has numerous features that change and improve this simple cantrip. The class seems to almost be designed around this one spell.
It deals 1d10 force damage, and as it levels up, it can be fired at multiple targets. Plus, it is a Warlock exclusive.
Maybe it is basic, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from taking Eldritch Blast.
The Warlock class is highly variable at level one and then adds a pact feature at level three. This makes a wide array of useful spell and build combinations.
The Mystic Arcanum feature allows the Warlock to cast higher level spells once per day without a spell slot leading to potentially more interesting combinations.
This half-caster regains spell slots at a short rest and can change their spells known at each level.
Mix all of this with multiple Eldritch Invocations, and it is one of the most versatile classes available, ranging from support to full-on assault or anywhere in between.
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