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The Ultimate Guide to the Fiend Warlock in D&D 5e

Dark pacts and infernal bargains await those who dare to become a Fiend Warlock, making a deal with a powerful Fiend patron. While these Warlocks wield devastating powers, their allies may find themselves just as apprehensive. Are you considering trading your very soul for arcane might? Before you sign that contract, read this comprehensive guide to the Fiend Warlock in D&D 5e!

What is the Fiend Warlock in D&D 5e?

The Fiend Warlock is the quintessential archetype of the Warlock class. It echoes tales like Doctor Faustus, where an individual strikes a deal with the devil, exchanging their soul for transient power. These Warlocks make pacts with formidable entities from the Lower Planes, with Devils being the most common patrons. Archdevils like Asmodeus, Mephistopheles, and Dispater are popular choices. However, a Fiend Warlock may also align with chaotic forces such as Demon Lords Fraz’Urb-luu, Graz’zt, or Demogorgon. Pit fiends, Balors, and Yugoloths are potent enough to forge a pact as well. The Fiend Warlock subclass is described in the 5e Player’s Handbook, alongside two other Warlock subclasses—the Archfey and the Great Old One.

A Warlock of Demogorgon

Role in the Party

Regardless of which patron they choose, Fiend Warlocks are masters of harnessing their patron’s dark powers to wreak havoc. Their kit in D&D 5e is tailored for decimating enemies while granting themselves additional defensive bonuses. While we will explore the various Pact Boons later in this guide, it is important to note that the Pact of the Fiend can synergize effectively with almost any of them. Unlike other Warlock subclass options that lean towards specific roles in the party, the Fiend Warlock is highly adaptable. However, due to their impressive expanded spell list, Fiend Warlocks are commonly known as the party’s foremost damage dealers.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Warlock Patrons in D&D 5e

Fiend Warlock Features in D&D 5e

The Fiend Warlock gains abilities that fortify them and enhance their destructive potential in combat. Their spell list offers potent damage options, while the features they acquire provide defensive buffs. Moreover, the capstone ability they attain is a game-changing damage-dealing ability unique to the Fiend Warlock. Allow us to delve into the details!

Expanded Spell List

Firstly, let’s examine the Fiend Warlock’s expanded spell list. These additional spells, granted by the patron, assist you in fulfilling their will.

Spell Level | Spells

  • Burning Hands (1st)
  • Command (1st)
  • Blindness/Deafness (2nd)
  • Scorching Ray (2nd)
  • Fireball (3rd)
  • Stinking Cloud (3rd)
  • Fire Shield (4th)
  • Wall of Fire (4th)
  • Flame Strike (5th)
  • Hallow (5th)

Thoughts on the Fiend Warlock’s Expanded Spell List:

  • Burning Hands is a potent area-of-effect spell at lower levels but loses its effectiveness as you progress.
  • Command can prove useful, especially against boss-level foes.
  • The level 2 spells are somewhat underwhelming. Blindness/Deafness may disrupt enemies but is outclassed by damaging spells. Scorching Ray, on the other hand, scales well and provides a reliable damage option.
  • Level 3 spells introduce the iconic Fireball, perfect for unleashing devastating AoE damage. Stinking Cloud offers potent crowd control capabilities.
  • Level 4 spells grant Fire Shield and Wall of Fire. While situational, Fire Shield becomes more useful when combined with the Pact of the Blade. Wall of Fire inflicts significant damage while allowing control over the battlefield.
  • Unfortunately, the level 5 spells disappoint. Flame Strike is inferior to Fireball, while Hallow, though intriguing, lacks the necessary value to warrant precious spell slots.
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Dark One’s Blessing (Level 1)

Upon forging a pact with a Fiend patron and becoming a Warlock, you gain the Dark One’s Blessing feature.

When you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points, you gain temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier + your Warlock level (minimum of 1).

This ability becomes an invaluable asset, providing continual assistance in combat. With the ability to unleash substantial damage, you’ll often find yourself benefiting from the pool of temporary hit points. Prioritize eliminating weaker adversaries to maintain your temporary hit points, bolstering your survivability. From there, focus your attention on the main threat, taking advantage of the additional HP buffer.

Related: Temporary Hit Points Explained

A Quick Rant About Dark One’s Blessing

It has been suggested that one could exploit this ability by carrying around a bag of creatures, provoking them to become hostile, and subsequently using Eldritch Blast to eliminate them, thereby gaining temporary hit points. While this interpretation abides by the rules, it deviates from the intended spirit of the ability. The essence of Dark One’s Blessing lies in rewarding the Warlock for harvesting souls and delivering substantial vitality. Carrying insignificant creatures such as rats or worms contradicts the notion of providing substance to the patron. It is advisable to discourage such tactics during gameplay.

Dark One’s Own Luck (Level 6)

A striking connection exists between Fiends and Lady Luck. In recognition of your service, your Fiend patron bestows upon you the Dark One’s Own Luck feature at level 6. When circumstances become dire, your patron may intervene, potentially altering fate in your favor.

When you make an ability check or a saving throw, you can use this feature to add a d10 to your roll. You can do so after seeing the initial roll but before any of the roll’s effects occur. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

While this feature may appear modest, it can prove instrumental in life-or-death situations. Deciding when to employ it may pose a challenge, as you must gauge the odds of a d10 roll ensuring your success. The versatility of this feature lies in its applicability to both ability checks and saving throws, enabling you to avoid failure when deceiving an NPC or evading a pit trap. When confronted with peril, you’ll be grateful for this intervention. Moreover, the feature replenishes alongside your spells after a short rest, allowing you ample opportunities to use it without reservation.

“Moloch seems like a trustworthy guy.” - No one ever

Fiendish Resilience (Level 10)

At level 10, the Fiend Warlock demonstrates resilience against their chosen damage type.

Choose one damage type when you finish a short or long rest. You gain resistance to that damage type until you choose a different one with this feature. Damage from magical weapons or silver weapons ignores this resistance.

The Fiend Warlock’s ability to recover spell slots through short rests renders this feature highly versatile. Anticipate the type of damage you are likely to encounter and select accordingly. For example, resist melee damage from bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing weapons if engaging in close combat. If you expect enemies armed with bows defending a gateway, opt for piercing resistance. Alternatively, if you anticipate a confrontation with a green dragon and its minions, poison resistance is advisable. Tailor your Fiendish Resilience to match the projected threats and stand resilient in battle, only taking half damage from your chosen type—excluding magical or silvered weapons.

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Related: The Complete Guide to the Warlock Class in D&D 5e

Hurl Through Hell (Level 14)

The Fiend Warlock’s capstone ability at level 14 is Hurl Through Hell. It is an unparalleled ability, delivering devastating damage and providing exceptional tactical opportunities.

When you hit a creature with an attack, you can use this feature to instantly transport the target to the Lower Planes. The creature disappears and hurtles through a nightmare landscape. At the end of your next turn, the target returns to the space it previously occupied, or the nearest unoccupied space. If the target is not a fiend, it takes 10d10 psychic damage as it reels from its horrific experience. Once you use this feature, you can’t use it again until you’ve finished a long rest.

In essence, this feature permits you to strike a foe so forcefully that they are banished to the hells for an entire round. Upon their return, they suffer substantial 10d10 psychic damage and lose their entire turn. You may set traps, spell effects, or ready actions, adding further damage upon the target’s return. It is imperative to note that this feature is not limited to melee attacks; it can be triggered by hitting the target with an Eldritch Blast or any other attack. Moreover, there are no saves or maximum range limitations, allowing for creative combinations such as following up with a Wall of Fire or Hunger of Hadar. The capstone ability is a brutal game-changer, dealing massive damage to bosses and granting your party a brief respite for healing before combat resumes. Although restricted to once per day, this feature holds immense potential.

The imp serves its Warlock master but may know more than it lets on…

Pact Boons for Fiend Warlocks in D&D 5e

As mentioned earlier, the Fiend Warlock flourishes with almost any Pact Boon option. Nevertheless, their prime role as a blaster makes Pact of the Tome our personal recommendation. Consequently, Pact of the Blade favors those who relish close-quarter combat, while Pact of the Chain thrives at lower levels due to the invaluable assistance offered by a familiar. Unfortunately, Pact of the Talisman does not leverage the Fiend Warlock’s core strengths effectively. Let’s explore each Pact Boon in detail.

Pact of the Blade

The Pact of the Blade caters to those who prefer engaging enemies in close combat. There is significant synergy between the Fiend Warlock’s features and the Pact of the Blade. With temporary hit points, resistances, and the ability to bend luck in critical moments, survivability is enhanced. While you can still unleash damage with spells, focusing on defensive abilities and battlefield control spells proves advantageous. Consider obtaining the War Caster feat if you opt for the Pact of the Blade, as it amplifies your effectiveness on the frontlines. Choosing a Finesse weapon, such as a rapier, is advisable to avoid spreading your ability scores too thin.

Also Check Out: The Best Eldritch Invocations for Warlocks in D&D 5e

Pact of the Chain

The Pact of the Chain empowers you with a formidable familiar, making it an excellent choice, particularly at lower levels. Your familiar, most notably the imp, provides numerous options for your character, including scouting and utilizing your Fiendish Resilience feature effectively. The thematic connection between the Fiend Warlock and the imp familiar adds an extra layer of intrigue. While still viable at higher levels, this option shines brightest in the early stages of your adventure.

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Pact of the Talisman

The Pact of the Talisman presents a passive option that lends support to your party. However, it does not align well with the Fiend Warlock’s core strengths. While the Talisman’s supportive capabilities are valuable, your focus should primarily be on dealing damage and offering utility. Regrettably, the Pact of the Talisman does not capitalize on the Fiend Warlock’s potential. Thus, we recommend exploring other pact options.

Pact of the Tome

Our personal recommendation for Fiend Warlocks is the Pact of the Tome. This Pact Boon, complemented by its associated Eldritch Invocations, solidifies your role as a hellish blaster. Expanding your cantrip options to include utility spells proves advantageous. Eldritch Blast remains your primary damage-dealing cantrip, but this Pact Boon facilitates the casting of ritual spells through the Book of Ancient Secrets invocation. Warlocks generally lack party utility, but Pact of the Tome rectifies this gap admirably.

Devils are eager to bind new Warlocks to their service.

Connections

How can you integrate your Fiend Warlock into your party and campaign? It all starts with what your character desperately desired, compelling them to forge a pact with a fiendish entity. Ideally, this desire should align with the overarching campaign. Making a pact with a Fiend allows for little renegotiation, and the patron offers power to fulfill your longings. You may further your patron’s agenda in the hopes of receiving your coveted reward or be introduced to the party through their manipulations. Interactions between your Warlock and the Fiend patron are virtually limitless.

A crucial question, particularly for Fiend Warlocks, revolves around your character’s sentiment regarding their pact. Was it driven by a thirst for power at any cost? Or was it a desperate attempt to correct past mistakes? Is your character proud of their bargain? Lastly, do they believe their soul is forfeit, or do they think they can eventually outwit their patron? For players and DMs seeking additional knowledge about demons, devils, and the Lower Planes, Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes provides a wealth of lore, allowing you to intricately develop your Fiend Warlock and their patron.

Is the Fiend Warlock Good?

As the quintessential example of the Warlock class, the Fiend Warlock surpasses all expectations. With superb versatility and formidable damage-dealing potential, they shine as an exceptional blaster. The features acquired while leveling up significantly boost survivability, enabling you to unleash devastating damage upon your foes. Given the Fiend Warlock’s reliance on fire damage, acquiring the Elemental Adept feat is highly recommended. This feat allows you to bypass resistance against fire damage, a common trait among creatures encountered in your adventures. In summary, the Fiend Warlock is an outstanding option for those Warlocks seeking to reduce all obstacles to ashes.

To see how the Fiend Warlock compares with other Patron options, consult our ranking of every Warlock subclass in 5e!

Conclusion – Guide to the Fiend Warlock in D&D 5e

So, are you ready to sign the contract? Don’t worry about that tiny text at the bottom; it’s nothing—just a minor detail. Simply affix your name to the line, and the power you dream of shall be yours! Ahem Anyway… We hope you found this guide to the Fiend Warlock in D&D 5e helpful. With countless subclasses to choose from, it’s refreshing to see the classic Warlock receiving ample appreciation. Do you have any remaining questions or want to share your experiences playing a Fiend Warlock? Leave a comment below!
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