Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard Analysis

This week the D&D team provides new options for the Warlock and Wizard.We get two Otherwordly Patrons and a bunch of Eldritch Invocations for the Warlock, and a new Tradition for the Wizard.

Otherwordly Patrons

The two new Patrons are the Hexblade and the Raven Queen.

The Hexblade

You make a pact with a weapon. But not just any weapon. A powerful sentient magic weapon from the Shadowfell! Some of them may even have a connection to Raven Queen herself.

  • Expanded spell list. This is actually a good list. It offers mobility, defense, and boosts your melee combat capabilities. However, since it still is a Warlock spell list, it contains some powerful ranged spells.
  • Hex Warrior. Proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. Nothing unexpected here. Also, when you attack with a weapon that you’re proficient with but also is not two-handed, you can use your Charisma for the attack and damage rolls. That’s quite handy because you need one stat less to worry about. The limitation about it not being two-handed, while weird, isn’t that problematic because using a shield is probably more useful for this Archetype.
  • Hexblade’s Curse. As a bonus action you can put a curse on an enemy within 30 feet of you. You can do that once every long or short rest. The curse lasts for one minute and during this time you get the following benefits:
    • You deal bonus damage equal to your proficiency against the cursed opponent.
    • Attacks crit on 19 or 20 against the cursed opponent.
    • If the cursed opponent dies, you gain hit points equal to your Warlock level plus your Charisma modifier.
    • The two first benefits are quite nice and can increase your damage output by a good amount. However, I believe they are just enablers for the third benefit. Remember, this is still a Warlock so their hit points are not as many as a fighter’s.
  • Shadow Hound. Your shadow becomes a hound. As a bonus action, you can command it to merge with a creature within 60 feet of you. When this happens, you know the distance and direction to the creature, and your attacks are not affected by half or three-quarters cover. This is very situational but it’s fine.
  • Armor of Hexes. This gives you a 50% chance to avoid being hit by the opponent you have cursed, if he succeeds an attack roll against you. That’s actually pretty good. The only thing that doesn’t make this extremely powerful is that only one creature can be cursed at a time.
  • Master of Hexes. You can use your Hexblade’s Curse feature as many times as you want but when you curse someone else, the previous enemy’s curse ends. This is a very simple but very powerful feature.

In general, the Hexblade Patron looks okay. I believe it provides good enough abilities to the Warlock in order to do melee combat, if used correctly.

Raven Queen

I am a big fan of the Raven Queen and I’m very pleased to see her making her appearance in 5th Edition as well.

  • Expanded Spell List. Death, fate, and winter. Necromancy, divination, and cold spells.The spells represent the Raven Queen’s domains very well.
  • Sentinel Raven. You pretty much get a raven as a familiar.
    • While it’s sitting on your shoulder, you gain Darkvision and a bonus to your Perception equal to your Charisma modifier. It also can’t be targeted by spells or harmful effects, can’t take damage,and it’s incapacitated.
    • When it’s not on your shoulder you can see and hear through it as long as it’s within 100 feet from you.
    • It can be used in combat and has its own turn.
    • If it’s killed, you gain advantage on attack rolls against the creature that killed it.
  • Soul of the Raven. You can merge with the raven into a Warlock-raven thingy. You can’t attack while merged but you get the benefits as if the raven was perched on your shoulder.
  • Raven’s Shield. You gain advantage on death Saving Throws, immunity to the frightened condition, and resistance to necrotic damage. I’m not sure if all three of the benefits fit the flavor but they sure are powerful.
  • Queen’s Right Hand. You can cast Finger of Death once per long rest. Not bad, since it’s a 7th level spell and the Warlock can have up to 5th level spell slots.

Overall, the Raven Queen Patron looks fine. While the Hexblade was a melee Archetype, this is a very classic ranged spellcaster. Also, its theme is really good.

Eldritch Invocations

Let’s have a quick look at the new Eldritch Invocations provided.

  • Aspect of the Moon. You are immune to sleep. While it’s an immunity, I believe it’s not one of those that can cause a lot of trouble. Also, the Warlocks with this Invocation should seriously think about reducing their daily caffeine input.
  • Burning Hex. The Hexblade can spend a bonus action to deal extra damage to the creature cursed by Hexblade’s Curse equal to their Charisma modifier. It’s not really that much damage.
  • Caiphon’s Beacon. You gain proficiency in Deception and Stealth. Not bad. You also have advantage on attack rolls against charmed creatures. Not bad at all.
  • Chilling Hex. Like the Burning Hex but this time it deals cold damage and it’s an area of effect so it’s a little better.
  • Chronicle of the Raven Queen. It’s like the Speak with Dead spell but you can do it only 1 minute after the creature has died and you can only ask one question. I also believe the creature has to tell the truth.
  • Claw of Acamar. This is good. It pretty much creates a weapon that let’s you Warlock smite stuff and reduce their speed to 0.
  • Cloak of Baalzebul. As a bonus action you surround yourself with a swarm of flies, granting you advantage on Intimidation checks and dealing poison damage, equal to your Charisma modifier, to any creature starting its turn within 5 feet of you. However, you have disadvantage to all other Charisma checks.
  • Curse Bringer. You create a badass silver greatsword with black runes. Whenever you down a creature that is cursed by the Hexblade’s Curse using this sword, you can move the curse to another target. However, the timer of the curse does not reset. Also, you can spend a spell slot and do a Warlock smite, dealing 2d8 slashing damage and reducing the speed of the target to 0. Apart from being really powerful, a weird thing I noticed is that, while this Invocation is for the Hexblade, the greatsword has the two-handed property so you can’t benefit from the Hex Warrior feature.
  • Kiss of Mephistopheles. The D&D team decided to call this Invocation “Kiss of Mephistopheles”. I have decided to call it “Laser Targeting System”. When you hit a creature with the Eldritch Blast cantrip, you can spend your bonus action and a Warlock spell slot and cast a fireball. The center of the fireball must be the creature hit by the Eldritch Blast. That’s not a real limitation. The real one is that it requires a Warlock spell slot and, to be honest, I’m glad it does.
  • Frost Lance. When you hit a creature with an Eldritch Blast, you reduce its speed by 10 feet until the end of your next turn. No, it doesn’t stack. Also, as a homework I’d like you to tell me which Invocation from the Player’s Handbook goes very well with this one.
  • Gaze of Khirad. As an action, you can see through solid objects up to 30 feet. It reminds of me the smartvision from the Deus Ex series. Also, if you can cast spells against creatures you can see with your super vision, this Invocation goes from okay to crazy.
  • Grasp of Hadar. This is like the Repelling Blast Invocation, but you pull instead of pushing.
  • Green Lord’s Gift. This one maximizes the dice for any healing you may receive.
  • Improved Pact Weapon. You can turn a non-magic weapon you create, using the Pact of the Blade feature, into a +1 weapon. I don’t like this one. The only use for it would be in a campaign with an extremely low amount of magic items and even then, there are better Invocations.
  • Mace of Dispater. Another Warlock smite, using a spell slot. This one deals 2d8 force damage and knocks prone any creature that is Huge or smaller.
  • Moon Bow. I like the name of this. You can create a bow with your Pact of the Blade feature. It provides its own arrows and grants advantage on attack rolls against Lycanthropes. And guess what. You can also do a Warlock smite, using a spell slot. This one deals 2d8 radiant damage. I like the idea of a bow Warlock. Bowlock?? Anyway, this makes the bowlock more appealing to me.
  • Path of the Seeker. You ignore difficult terrain, have advantage on checks to escape grapples, manacles or bindings, and have advantage on saving throws against being paralyzed. I like this Invocation.
  • Raven Queen’s Blessing. When you crit with your Eldritch Blast, you or an ally you can see within 30 feet of you can spend a Hit Die. Having various healing options is always nice.
  • Relentless Hex. You can teleport to your Hexblade cursed target. Recently we have seen various means of teleportation, that either take you close or away from enemies.
  • Sea Twins’ Gift. You can breathe underwater and you get a swim speed equal to your walking speed. You can also spend a Warlock spell slot to cast Water Breathing, once per long rest. This is one of the Invocations that are useful in very specific situations.
  • Seeker’s Speech. At the end of a long rest, you choose two languages and become proficient in them. While it may be useful, I feel this Invocation could use some boosting.
  • Shroud of Ulban. As an action you can become invisible for 1 minute. That’s nice but check this out. When you do something that ends your invisibility, you don’t turn visible right away. Instead, you become visible at the end of your turn. This could easily make a difference. Also, there’s no limit on how many times you can use this Invocation. Good stuff.
  • Superior Pact Weapon. That’s an upgrade for the Improved Pact Weapon. This one turns a weapon into a +2 weapon. Not impressed.
  • Tomb of Levistus. I immediately thought of Ice Block from Hearthstone and World of Warcraft. And why shouldn’t I, since this Invocation works pretty much like it. When you take damage, you can use your reaction to get inside an ice cube that gives you 10 temporary hit points per Warlock level. That’s a lot of hit points. Take note that the damage that allowed you to use your reaction are absorbed by the temporary hit points first. That’s very important. Also, you are vulnerable to fire, have a speed of 0, and are incapacitated. You can use this invocation once per short or long rest.
  • Ultimate Pact Weapon. The final upgrade in the Improved Pact Weapon series. Still not impressed.

Overall, these are some good Invocations. Some need to be fixed because they don’t require Warlock spell slots, which makes the Warlock even more powerful if they multiclass. Others are not that good *cough* Improved Pact Weapon *cough* but I am pleased in general.


Arcane Tradition

Lore Mastery

This is a Wizard that has a PhD in magic. I like it!

  • Lore Master. If you are proficient in Arcana, History, Nature, or religion, you double your proficiency in any check that uses that skill. Oh, and you can use your Intelligence modifier in your Initiative roll instead of Dexterity. Very good.
  • Spell Secrets. You can freely change the damage types of your spells. Also, once per short or long rest, you can change the ability score of a spell’s saving throw. This feature does not affect cantrips. I’d like to mention that there’s a note that suggests describing the changes in the spells. Red lightning always looks badass.
  • Alchemical Casting. When you cast a spell using a spell slot, you can an additional spell slot and add various effects depending on its level. At lower levels it’s not going to see a lot of use, since the small amount of available spell slots. However, it has the chance to shine on higher levels.
    • If you expend a 1st level spell slot you deal an extra 2d10 damage. The damage is applied to every target the spell hits but only on the turn its cast.
    • If you expend a 2nd level spell slot you can increase the spell’s range. If the spell has a range of 30 feet it becomes 1 mile.
    • If you expend a 3rd level spell slot you can increase the spell’s DC by 2.
  • Prodigious Memory. You can snap swap a prepared spell with another on your spell book, once per short rest. While useful, lore wise it’s a bit weird. You’re supposed to forget the spells and have to prepare them in order to cast them. So now one could say that this Wizard can handle some spells in a more raw and volatile state so that they can swap it with another. Anyway, useful but lore wise weird feature.
  • Master of Magic. This one pretty much lets you count any spell as a wizard spell and cast it. The limitations are that you can use it once per long rest, you must have the appropriate spell slot, and you mustn’t have it prepared. That’s a very powerful feature. The wizard’s spell list was big. Now it’s literally all the spells.

Wizard, PhD, is a really cool Tradition. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it.

Once more, I’m pleased with what the D&D team had to offer. I really want to try a Lore Master but the Warlocks are very good as well. Also, it was nice that we got some new Invocations. And remember, this is playtest material so treat it accordingly.

You can read the full article here and download the PDF here. And don’t forget, the survey about the Sorcerer can be found here.

9 thoughts on “Unearthed Arcana: Warlock and Wizard Analysis

  1. I hate Lore mastery as it is now. A Lore master is supposed to be about education and versatility, not a mobile artillery piece. That is what Warmage is about.
    Take away Spell Secrets and Alchemical casting and put them on a Warmage. They are thematically horrible for a Lore master.
    Consider the following:
    “Okay lads, prepare the long range fireballs. Target in sight. Distance: 1661 yards, elevation 3,21-correction 2,31. Wind correction: three clicks left. Fireball one: Fire!

    Elevation: -0,01. Wind correction: two clicks left. Fireball two, switch damage type to Necrotic. Fireball two: Fire!

    Elevation: -0,02. Fireball three, switch damage type to electric. Fireball three: fire!

    Well done lads, we’ll bombard them again when they come down to three hundred yards. Take five and reload your spell slots!”

    See: Warmage. Spell secrets and Alchemical casting are all about mobile artillery piece stuff, not scholar. They should be switched.


    • I don’t think the Lore Master is an artillery Wizard. In fact, the Lore Master is indeed about versatility and education. These Wizards have spent so much time studying magic that they are not bound by the colleges any more and can even surpass some of the fundamental limitations and rules of spellcasting. Spell Secrets and Alchemical Casting are proof of that. I also believe any Wizard can be a Warmage as long as they have the right spells.


  2. Here is my suggestion for a Warmage arcane tradition using those class features:

    Warmage (wizard arcane tradition):
    Boost damage (2nd)
    -Warmage adds Int mod to damage of all spells and cantrips.

    Spell secrets (2nd)
    -Warmage can switch spell damage type
    -Warmage can switch spell save type once between short or long rests.

    Alchemical casting (6th)
    -Warmage can expend additional spell slots to alter spells
    +1st lvl slot: +2d6 spell damage
    +2nd lvl slot: spell range switched to 1 mile
    +3rd lvl slot: +2 spell DC
    +4th lvl slot: double spell area size

    Artillery sergeant (10th)
    -Warmage can use his Alchemical casting to boost the spells of other allied casters as a standard action. The Warmage expends the boosting spell slots.

    Artillery commander (14th)
    -Warmage can form an artillery unit with up to character level/5 other casters, each of which must be able to cast the same intended spell. Then, as a full round action, Warmage can coordinate them to cast the same spell at the same target, for example four casters casting four fireballs at a pack of trolls.
    +All spells in the artillery unit roll the damage, then use the highest damage score to each spell. For example four casters roll 17, 8, 41 and 24, then they all use 41 as damage.
    +The Artillery commander can cast his own spell along with his subordinates, but if he abstains and chooses to merely coordinate casting of others, the targets get disadvantage to their saves against all of the spells in the same barrage.


  3. Additions to the previous:
    1. The Artillery sergeant should probably be once between rests, I’m not sure whether it short or long rest.
    2. Artillery unit, all caster in the unit must be adjacent to the Artillery commander and may not move from him or they lose the benefit of the artillery unit.
    3. In artillery unit all casters use each other’s line-of-sight to target the spell. They do not hinder each other’s vision. If one sees the target, all see it, for they are assumed to rotate positions into the optimal firing position as part of the casting.
    4. Damage caps for casters in an Artillery unit. If the highest rolled damage is higher than any particular caster’s damage cap, then that caster’s spell causes only the maximum damage possible to that caster, even if the highest damage score was greater than that.
    5. Timing of the spells in an artillery unit. Obviously casters who cast their spells before the Artillery commander forms the Artillery unit doesn’t get any benefit. Maybe all casters in the unit fire their spells simultaneously at the initiative of the slowest caster among them. Then quicker casters would have to delay their own launch. Alternatively they all fire their spells on their normal initiative, but after Artillery commander has started the Artillery unit full round action.

    OK that should do it. I would love to get someone’s opinion on my Warmage arcane tradition.


    • The 2nd level feature looks okay. It resembles the Warlock’s Agonizing Blast Eldritch Invocation. I wouldn’t add Spell Secrets and Alchemical Casting to this Tradition; I have explained why on the first comment. Artillery Commander, while interesting as a concept, would be hard to use unless the Wizard hired other Wizards to help them. Also, this is more like an artillery Wizard than a Warmage. I feel that a Warmage would be a Jack of all trades when it comes to combat, combining offense, defense, and ability enhancement.


  4. An Artillery wizard, what an interesting idea; I can go for that. Also notice that Artillery commander-ability would work with any caster with access to the spell artillery unit is supposed to be casting, so the wizard could be commanding the party sorcerer, party warlock and party cleric, as long as they could all get access to the same damaging spell with the right patrons and domains.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My problem wasn’t with the class the other casters are. It’s just that it requires other characters to be casters and also follow the Wizard’s commands. I can find two problems in that. The first one is that in a party with the Wizard being the only caster, this feature becomes useless unless they hire followers. This isn’t really uncommon, especially in smaller groups. The second problem is that other characters have to spend their actions in combat to do what a character tells them to do. This can be fun for a couple of times but there will be a point when the player will want to do what they want with their character. Why would they have to do what someone else tells them, when they can do X or Y that their class gives them and feels cool? As I said, it’s an interesting idea but I don’t think it would work that well. The best way to do it is by having the Wizard hire casters as followers. However, that too creates problems because it increases the number of combatants in an encounter.


  5. I see. However, it would be nice to have some arcane tradition based on party synergy, some build for multiple casters to join forces. You know, besides casting buffing spells on the party tank. The Artillery wizard’s value would depend on other casters in the party, but that was sort of the whole point of making it. That’s what I was trying to reach with this Artillery wizard, casters supporting each other with cooperative casting for mutual benefit. I don’t think any of the existing arcane traditions have that caster synergy angle covered. Even bard colleges lacked that option.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You should take a look at this week’s Unearthed Arcana. It has some interesting rules about mass combat, even though they are flawed. The section about units could give you some inspiration on how to proceed with your idea.


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