The Hexblade is a class of Warlock and, as such, follows the same traits. They have a patron that grants them powers, and spellcasting is done in the same manner.
The Hexblade has an expanded spell list and features that combine or introduce spells not typically available to the fey, fiend, or great old one warlock.
The rules for the Hexblade Warlock can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.
Hexblade Warlock 5e
- Expanded Spell List – Additional class spells are available for spell levels 1-5. The addition of these spells, notably the variations on Smite, leads this warlock subclass towards more of a potential melee casting class.
- Hexblade’s Curse – Allows you to choose an enemy to curse. It grants bonuses to hit, damage, and critical chance. Also, if the cursed creature dies, you regain hit points.
- Hex Warrior – Grants proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. It also allows the warlock to use their Charisma modifier instead of Strength or Dexterity to hit with a selected weapon. A Pact of the Blade Warlock also gains this benefit with their pact weapon, no matter the form that is summoned.
- Accursed Spector – Lets you bind the soul of a slain humanoid foe in your service. The soul becomes a specter that has its own initiative and obeys your command. You can only have one specter per long rest.
- Armor of Hexes – If the target of your curse hits you with an attack roll, you can roll a d6. On a 4 or higher, the attacker misses.
- Master of Hexes – You can move your curse from a slain target to a new target. Moving the curse in this way prevents gaining hit points from the original target.
The description and features of the Hexblade Warlock show the class as a Ranger/Paladin hybrid. With traits similar to Hunter’s Mark and the addition of Smite spells, the class is more than capable up close.
It offers a variation to the typical caster and allows the player to equip a more diverse spell lineup. Most of the effects are available after a short or long rest.
Is Hexblade Good?
Hexblade is widely regarded as the most powerful type of warlock. This stacks on the premise that a pact of the blade warlock can gain all kinds of bonuses to their attacks, and with Improved Pact Weapon, they can summon any kind of weapon, including ranged and weapons, with reach.
Another reason Hexblade is so strong is based on the front load for the Warlock in general. A warlock chooses a “subclass” at level 1 and instantly gains features. Then at level three, they gain their pact. This means taking this class as a 1-3 level multiclass dip dramatically adds to any other class.
Can a Hexblade Use a Glaive?
The Hexblade feature for using Charisma instead of other stats for attack rolls is affected by the Hex Warrior feature, so Hexblade Warlocks can use Glaives, Greatswords, Halberds, or any other two-handed weapons.
An issue is not having a hand free since you won’t be able to hold components and use spell focuses. This can be negated somewhat by using the Improved Pact Weapon Invocation, but it won’t solve the entire problem.
What Are the Hexblade Expanded Spells?
- 1st Shield, Wrathful Smite
- 2nd Blur, Branding Smite
- 3rd Blink, Elemental Weapon
- 4th Phantasmal Killer, Staggering Smite
- 5th Banishing Smite, Cone of Cold
The Hexblade mixes martial characteristics with arcane characteristics and thus provides a large amount of role-play potential.
Thinking about the option of having a classic pact agreement like other warlock types is interesting, but having the Hexblade powers suddenly manifest in a heroic fighter at the right time seems equally as interesting.
This allows the character to follow the path of a devoted worshipper like a paladin or cleric or take the spontaneous freewill approach like a sorcerer.
The Hexblade Optimized?
If the goal is to build an optimized Hexblade Warlock, there are a few important choices to make. First, focus on Charisma and Constitution.
These will improve almost all of the class abilities and help you live longer in close combat. Tieflings make great races to start with for their bonus to the Constitution.
Skills are not super important to this class, so the background you take is important. The criminal provides proficiency in deception and stealth. These two are important in most 5e games.
Your first pick at invocations is important as well. Since any encounter is potentially deadly at low levels taking Agonizing Blast is a good choice. This allows the character to deal damage out of harm’s way before moving in close.
Devil’s Sight is a good choice to avoid disadvantage on attacks in darkness or give dark vision to a race that doesn’t have it. Later on, Thirsting Blade is a good option if you are not multiclassing into extra attacks.
The Hexblade is like any other Warlock. They have a series of benefits but ultimately fall somewhere in the middle, like Paladins and Rangers. They don’t quite have the impressive nature of a late-level caster or the durability early on of a Barbarian.
This can leave players feeling like an afterthought or like they only have a niche role in the party. If, however, you enjoy a character that can be effective in various situations, the warlock is a great choice, and the Hexblade is a viable alternative to the options presented in the PHB.