Warlocks don’t get a lot of spell slots, yet have access to so many spells. Warlocks also do not get level 6 spell slots or higher, but instead get an ability – Mystic Arcanum – which acts to cast level 6 and higher spells. So which spells should you pick?
We’re here to give you some quick insight to what we think are ideal spells to choose. These are based on our experiences and will definitely vary from game to game, so we’re going to assume that you’re playing in the traditional D&D high fantasy setting with a mix of role play and combat.
Be sure to check comments too, because while we’re only picking a few to highlight, there are many good choices and the D&D community is fantastic for giving arguments for how one spell may be better than others.
Eldritch Blast – Often considered the best cantrip, this cantrip unleashes a force beam, which can reach as far as 120 ft, doing 1d10 force damage. Many invocations add to this, but what makes this cantrip even better is that – at later levels – this cantrip starts firing additional beams which can hit different targets. What makes this so good is that each beam is considered it’s own attack. Something to remember for concentration spells like Hex which add damage to attacks. On a different note, this spell can get repetitive. We made an article talking about ways to get creative with this spell here: Clever Cantrip Uses: Eldritch Blast
Prestidigitation – Easily one of the most versatile utility cantrips, this spell lets you create minor sensory effects, light/snuff fires, clean/soil objects, chill/flavor material, leave magical marking, and create nonmagical trinkets. There’s so many ways to use this spell, we also wrote an article for it here: Clever Cantrip Uses: Prestidigitation
Minor Illusion – Creating an illusory sound, image, or object can have so many effects that it challenges the imagination of it’s limit of ability. Because warlocks get so few spells, it’s often good to be sure you always have more choices and abilities; Minor Illusion gives so many options, we also made an article for it here: Clever Cantrip Uses: Minor Illusion.
All spells from the Player’s Handbook unless otherwise noted.
Hex – (Phb) Arguably a must-have spell, this concentration spell adds damage to your attacks and you get to choose an ability for the target to have disadvantage on. To ensure the spell keeps it’s value, once you kill your target you can move it to a new one. The scaling with your spell slots and the combination with other spells has many, many applications.
Armor of Agathys – You’ll want a defensive spell to rely on and this one does not interfered with concentration limitations. This armor gives you frosty armor which gives you extra hit points and damages anyone hitting you.
Unseen Servant – For a utility pick, this spell offers a lot of possibilities. You summon an invisible presence which can do simple tasks and – although weak- can engage in combat. This spell lasts up to an hour and is a ritual spell, so you can potentially retain your spell slot too, if you have the time to ritual cast and the ritual casting ability, like with an invocation such as Book of Ancient Secrets
Misty Step – One of the few bonus actions a warlock can get and it let’s you teleport up to 30ft away. Maneuvering is very strategic for endless reasons, but this can also get you out of restraints and obstacles of all sorts.
Invisibility – Be invisible for up to an hour and, as your spell slots grow, you can make additional people invisible. Although you will lose this upon making an attack, there are still so many options and ways this can be helpful. Also, it’s turning invisible!
Suggestion – The basic Jedi-like mind trick to tell someone to do something, within basic bounds. This spell lasts for up to 8 hours, where your target will heed the suggestion of yours. Although highly susceptible to DM discretion, this spell can act as a charm, instant persuasion, and so on.
Counterspell – Possibly the most useful defensive spell, and must-have choice. This spell is a rare reaction spell for warlocks, allowing you to deflect/cancel a targets spellcasting. It instantly shuts down 3rd level or lower, and this grows with the spell slot. Mind you, the issue with this spell may be the few spell slots that you do get.
Dispel Magic -Where counterspell is for opponents spell-casting, dispel magic is for literally anything else. Magical trap ahead, item in opponents hands, de-buff spell on allies, etc. If counterspell can’t do it, dispelling will.
Summon Fey/Shadowspawn/Undead – (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) – The various options to summon creatures offer different ways to fit your characters theme. Lasting up to an hour, the summon can do all sorts of actions and confidently engage in combat too. Undead options include incorporeal movement!
Banishment – One of the most debated spells, likely because of how potent it is, Banishment sends a target to another plane of existence for 1 minute. If the target is from another plane of existence, it can be sent there permanently. This is a great way to cut the tension of a battle and, with a minute to work with, can give you a lot of time to plot strategy.
Summon Aberration – (Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) – An upgrade to the summoning spells, this one gives three options for very different needs: Slaad, Star Spawn, and Beholderkin. In some ways, this can be a choice of melee, ranged, or area of affect.
Shadow of Moil – (Xanathar’s Guide To Everything) – Firey shadows swarm around you and any light in a 10ft radius is darkened, potentially covering you in darkness. This makes you resistant to radiant damage and deals 2d8 necrotic damage to anyone hitting you. On top of this, the darkness can hide you from your targets which gives you advantage on attacks against them.
Synaptic Static – (Xanathar’s Guide To Everything) – Choose a point within 120ft and in a 20ft radius you create a psychic storm that writhes the minds of any creatures within it, doing 8d6 psychic damage. If the targets fail their saving throws, they also suffer a d6 subtraction to attack and saving throws.
Scrying – This is what lets you have the magical peek at anyone, anywhere. While the target makes a saving throw to prevent this from happening, if they fail, you get up to 10 minutes of watching them remotely. You’ll be able to see and hear them.
Eyebite – Your eyes turn black and, for a minute, you can concentrate on targets and cause various status affects. The affects include putting them to asleep, panicking in fear, or sickening them (causing disadvantage on attack/ability rolls).
Investiture of Flame/Ice/Stone/Wind – (Elemental Evil Player’s Companion & Xanathar’s Guide To Everything) – Likely a debatable choice here, but makes for a good starting point to match the theme of your character. For up to 10 minutes, you transform into an element of your choice and have various related effects. Each spell has three or so effects, ranging from offensive, defensive, and utility abilities.
Forcecage – Target an area up to 100ft away and an immovable invisible cube prison magically appears, imprisoning the space in a cube 20x20ft. There is no way to escape this prison, and even magical means need a saving throw to work. Anyone in the cage will have to wait an hour.
Plane Shift – You and eight allies can teleport to another plane of existence. This can effectively work as teleportation as you could cast it again from the other realm. This spell can also be used like Banishment, sending targets to another plane of existence.
Dominate Monster – The penultimate control spell to instruct another creature on what to do. For up to an hour, you can give general instructions to follow or use actions to have precise control. Any damage will give them a saving throw. The real appeal to this spell is the lack of limitations and restrictions that lower level domination/charm spells have.
Glibness – For up to an hour, any charisma rolls you make can be replaced with a 15, and nothing can discern if you are telling the truth or not. For the length of time, this gives a massive advantage to important role playing scenes. Making rolls at least a 15, this is statistically better than advantage rolls too.
Foresight – For 8 hours, this spell gives you some insight to future events, giving you advantage on attack and ability rolls, while also giving disadvantage to anyone trying to attack you.
True Polymorph – Target yourself, an ally, and object, or an enemy and turn them into a creature or object. The more familiar you are with the monsters, the more you will have an arsenal of possibilities to take advantage of, by either utilizing monsters skills and abilities for your advantage, by creating a new pet or ally from an object, or by completely changing an enemy target into almost anything you want.