Skip to Content

Hex 5e D&D Guide

Hex 5e D&D Guide

The Hex spell is a personal damage booster to a single target. Anytime a character has the opportunity to increase their damage per attack, it is a good thing.

The rules for Hex can be found in the Players Handbook on page 251.

Hex 5e

1st-level Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 bonus action

Range: 90 feet

Components: V, S, M (The petrified eye of a newt)

Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour

You place a curse on a creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack.

Also, choose one ability when you cast the spell. The target has a disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.

If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to curse a new creature.

A Remove Curse cast on the target ends this spell early.

At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd or 4th level, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 8 hours. When you use a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 24 hours.

The rules for Hex reveal the real benefit of the spell; it’s a bonus action to cast. This means you can cast and attack in the same turn.

An added benefit to the spell, it can be moved between targets when the first target drops to 0 hit points.

This means it is not necessarily just a one-time cast, as the damage boost can be carried over to multiple targets.

The target gains disadvantage on ability checks made with a chosen ability, which can be huge against enemies with special attacks such as grapple.

Is Hex Good?

Hex provides a damage boost to each attack on the target and penalizes the target on an ability check you choose. You may move Hex to another target when the initial target drops to 0 hit points.

This makes Hex a highly valuable spell and one that should be maintained in the arsenal well into the middle levels at a minimum.

The trade-off for concentration could be negative, and the limited benefit from up-casting could also be a potential issue.

These should be outweighed in most circumstances by the benefits mentioned above.

Not to mention, the duration is up to an hour at the base level. This is a long time for an enemy or an opponent (if out of combat) to suffer the penalties.

Hot Tip
Hex is a bonus action to cast. This means you can cast Hex on a target and then take the attack action or cast a spell that is a cantrip in the same turn.

Can Hex Crit?

Damage from attacks is affected by a critical hit. This means that Hex damage is included in critical hit damage.

It is a spell that grants a damage bonus, not a modifier or natural ability, so it should do damage on a critical hit accordingly.

Hot Tip
Hex doesn’t have a save DC, making it a great spell to pick up with the magic initiate feat.

How Does Hex Stack With Hex Blades Curse and Bestow Curse?

Hex is a concentration spell. Bestow Curse, until cast at the 9th level, is also a concentration spell.

Therefore, they cannot stack. Hexblade’s curse is an ability, not a spell, and does not require concentration, so they can be stacked. Hexblade’s Curse does not benefit from a critical hit and is added as a modifier.

Using Hex Outside of Combat

Hex, like many spells, is geared towards combat, but the increased time allowed by up-casting the spell indicates there are uses for it outside of combat as well. Some non-combat uses for Hex are as follows:

  • Casting it on an opponent in a contest such as archery or drinking.
  • Casting it on someone so they fail insight or intimidation or making them easier to manipulate.

If the creature you cast Hex on falls to 0 hit points, you can choose a new creature to curse. This means you can choose a new ability for them to receive disadvantage on.

Bottom Line
Hex is a versatile spell that gives low-level characters a damage bump against a target. It has a great duration for a concentration spell and gives disadvantage to an ability check for the target. There is no save required, so the effects are practically guaranteed.

Hex 5e FAQs

Is the Hex Spell Worth Taking in 5e?

Hex is probably one of the best 1st-level spells in the entire game, as it provides recurring Necrotic damage, a disadvantage on a chosen ability’s ability checks, lasts 1 hour (with Concentration), and can be moved if the target drops to 0 while the spell is active.

In most cases, if your character can take Hex, it’s a good idea to take it. Even though it does require a Material Component and has Concentration, the benefits are just too good to ignore.

Note: A good way to protect the caster who activated Hex is to have them shielded by a Defender, like a Paladin or a Barbarian. You can also have your Support or that same character shield themselves or just buff your party and hide for the duration of Hex.

What Is Hex Good for in 5e?

Hex is essentially a “mark for death” spell, as the more the target is attacked while Hex is active, the more Necrotic damage it will take.

In other words, if there is a particularly strong enemy, you can pop Hex onto it and have your melee members go ham trying to get as many attacks on it as possible.

Remember, Hex also gives the target disadvantage one ability’s ability check you choose, so it can even be used out of combat if you want someone to have a disadvantage on an ability check.

Note: The great thing about Hex is that it will deal Necrotic damage to the creature with any attack, so you can even use spells or ranged attacks to whittle down its health.

Does Hex Work With Eldritch Blast in 5e?

This is a common question among many Warlocks, as they’ll have the opportunity to belt creatures with Eldritch Blast, but with Hex active, it becomes even more OP.

Since the Necrotic damage is added to every attack you hit, it’s more than acceptable to pelt an enemy using Eldritch Blast. 

At low levels, having 1d6 Necrotic damage + 1d10 Force damage is insane, as there are only a few creatures who have resistances and even fewer who have immunity to these damage types.

Final Thoughts

For a 1st level spell, Hex is a solid choice. It grants a damage boost, penalizes specific ability-related checks, and doesn’t have a save.

The duration per cast is about as good as you can get, plus you have the opportunity to change targets, which is like getting a recast.

There are opportunities to use it outside of combat as well. These features make this a high-quality spell to choose from at low levels and a reasonable choice at higher levels.

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

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

[…] combined with Flurry of Blows, Hex becomes an exceptional spell, and if you want to grapple or avoid being grappled, you can always […]

Top 20 Best 1st-Level Spells in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Thursday 14th of September 2023

[…] enemies are a pain to deal with, so simply Hex […]

Top 15 Best Enchantment Spells in D&D 5e [Ranked]

Thursday 30th of March 2023

[…] Hex can make a specific creature take extra damage if they’re a more significant threat than the rest. […]

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

Tuesday 21st of March 2023

[…] It lasts for an hour when cast. This allows the warlock to utilize other spells (like Hex) while the AoA is up. The duration is long enough for the spell to be cast in advance of real […]

Eldritch Blast 5e D&D Guide [2023]

Saturday 18th of March 2023

[…] 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 […]