Skip to Content

Eldritch Blast 5e D&D Guide

Eldritch Blast 5e D&D Guide

Here we look at the cantrip Eldritch Blast, which exists only on the warlock spell list and is widely accepted as one of the best, if not the best, damage cantrip in D&D right now.

As always, I’ll be breaking it down into the basic rules of the cantrip itself, then expanding into potential optimizations to really squeeze the most from this spell.

If we take a look at the Standard Reference Document, we see that the rules of Eldritch Blast are as follows:

Eldritch Blast 5e

Evocation Cantrip

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 120 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

A beam of crackling energy streaks toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage.

The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels: two beams at the 5th level, three beams at the 11th level, and four beams at the 17th level. You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.

Looking simply at the rules, this cantrip follows the general similarities between most damage cantrips. It takes an Action to cast, it requires only Verbal (V) and Somatic (S) components, it has an Instantaneous duration, and it takes the form of a spell attack roll.

Spell attack rolls are always calculated as the total of your spellcasting modifier (which will most likely, but not always, be Charisma, given that this is a Warlock cantrip) + your proficiency bonus.

Why Eldritch Blast Is Unique

This spell breaks the mold somewhat in how it scales with level. All damage cantrips scale at the 5th, 11th, and 17th levels, but this usually takes the form of an extra damage die.

For example, up until the 5th level, Eldritch Blast is indistinguishable from fire bolt, with all the same rules, except that fire bolt does fire damage instead of force damage, and it sets flammable things ablaze.

However, Eldritch Blast is unique in that instead of adding another die, the caster instead gets to make another attack roll.

While this might not seem like a huge difference given that it will do the same damage as a single attack cantrip if all attacks are made against the same target.

The real game-changer is that it can attack multiple targets, as well as the fact that because the caster gets to make multiple spell attacks, they have a higher chance to land a critical hit and increase their damage further.

In terms of getting access to this cantrip, you have a few options, the most obvious being to play or multiclass into the Warlock class.

The Magic Initiate and Spell Sniper feats would also allow any class to pick up this cantrip, but given the specific spell list restrictions of those feats, Charisma will always be the spellcasting modifier you have to use when casting it.

How to Optimise Eldritch Blast

Given the fact that this cantrip allows the caster to make more spell attacks, it does actually scale similar to a Fighter’s Extra Attack feature, eventually granting four attacks at level 17, which is a whole 3 levels sooner than the Fighter gets it.

It also has the second-best damage die with a d10, and it deals objectively the best damage type in the game, force damage because it is the damage type that the fewest creatures have resistance to or immunity against.

Despite these things, it is only marginally better on its own than some of the other good damage options, such as fire bolt and toll the dead.

This cantrip really becomes strong when it is taken on a Warlock and combined with the Agonizing Blast Eldritch Invocation (available from the 2nd level of Warlock), which allows the caster to add their Charisma modifier to the damage the spell deals on a hit.

Assuming a maximum Charisma of 20, this means you’ll be adding +5 force damage to each beam that hits, for a maximum of +20 damage, assuming you can cast and hit with all four beams.

Eldritch Invocation Options

This extra damage is not all that Eldritch Invocations can offer, as there are a number of others that can also boost the utility of Eldritch Blast:

Repelling Blast

When you hit a creature, you can push it up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line.

There is no limit on this in terms of the size of the creature or how many times you can use it per turn, nor does the target get any sort of saving throw to resist the effect.

Enjoy shunting anything up to and including an Ancient Dragon 40 feet per turn.

Lance of Lethargy

Once per turn, you can reduce the speed of a creature you hit by 10 feet.

Not quite as insane as Repelling Blast, but this also has no save, and if the two are stacked, then assuming the creature hit has a movement speed of 40 or less, they will never be able to reach you in melee. Nasty!

Grasp of Hadar

Once per turn, you can move a creature 10 feet closer to you in a straight line.

Like Repelling Blast, but pulls them closer and only once per turn.

Given that you are committed to ranged combat (why else are you using Eldritch Blast?), this is a more niche option, as you’ll most likely want enemies further away from you, not closer, and considering it’s also limited to once per turn.

Still, if you enjoy shuffling your opponents around the board like chess pieces, then this might be a good pick.

Eldritch Spear

The range of Eldritch Blast is increased to 300 feet. More than doubling the initial range of 120 feet, this is useful if your target is way over in the distance or perhaps if you are flying a considerable height above them.

Hot Tip
Amusingly, if you take this Invocation after the Spell Sniper feat, you can blast your enemies from a whopping 600 feet away!

This cantrip can be optimized further, but that will have to wait for the article on the hex spell, and finally in the Sorlock (Sorcerer + Warlock) multiclass build guide.

Eldritch Blast 5e FAQs

Is Eldritch Blast Good in 5e?

Eldritch Blast is one of the most famous Cantrips in D&D and is a favorite among many players, and that’s for good reason.

Comparing it to a spell like Fire Bolt, you’ll see that both have a damage dice of 1d10, while Eldritch Blast deals Force damage and Fire Bolt deals Fire damage – clearly, Eldritch Blast wins just because of its damage type.

Another great addition is Eldritch Blast’s beams, as well as the fact that it performs exceptionally well when used as a Warlock or other Cantrip spamming classes.

Can Eldritch Blast Be Quickened in 5e?

By spending 2 sorcery points when a spell has a casting time of 1 action, you can quicken that spell, making its casting time 1 bonus action.

Eldritch Blast has a casting time of 1 action, meaning it can be quickened. This also means that you can potentially cast Eldritch Blast twice in one turn.

Can Eldritch Blast Pass Through Wall of Force in 5e?

If you want to damage a target behind a Wall of Force, think twice. 

If it’s providing full cover, there’s no way for the beams to get to your target, meaning you can cast Eldritch Blast, but it’ll all be for nothing.

Top 20 Best Warlock Spells in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

[…] obvious and played out as it is, there is no denying that Eldritch Blast is the best Warlock spell […]

Misty Step 5e D&D Guide

Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

[…] and the other has a casting time of 1 action. Feel free to Misty Step out of that grapple and Eldritch Blast your would-be […]

The 15 Best Sorcerer Feats in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

[…] classes, then Magic Initiate is perfect. It also gives access to some good 1st-level spells like Eldritch Blast or Vicious […]

Top 20 Best Cantrips in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Thursday 14th of September 2023

[…] Reaching higher levels (5th, 11th, and 17th) gives Eldritch Blast an additional beam. Beams target the same creature, or different ones. You’ll also make […]

Armor of Agathys 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

[…] they have Eldritch Blast, but when they can attune to magic pact weapons, Eldritch Blast can quickly lose its […]