The Hexblade Warlock has come across some form of sentient or cursed item. These typically come from the Shadowfell region. Their pact with these items imbues them with powerful martial abilities and magicks.
Hexblade Warlock Overview
The Hexblade Warlock is a mashup of melee and magical fighters. Their major ability is their curse which lets them deal additional damage to a target, but they also have several different bonuses to their weapons.
The Hexblade’s Curse is one of the strongest Level 1 abilities. A target that’s curse allows the Hexblade to add their Proficiency Bonus to their damage, crit on a 19 or 20, and can give you a hit point boost when they die.
This is the other essential ability that changes the Warlock from a ranged spellcaster into a melee powerhouse. Hex Warrior grants new weapon proficiencies, but more importantly, it lets them choose a one-handed weapon and infuse it with their Hexblade powers.
The Hexblade Warlock can then use their Charisma for both attack and damage rolls with that weapon. This ability is activated automatically for a pact weapon.
This is 100% necessary if a Warlock wants to use weapons and not just Eldritch Blast things to death. Otherwise, they’d have to split their Ability Scores between Dexterity or Strength, and that would just make them weaker.
Without this skill, the Hexblade would be pretty terrible.
This is one of those abilities that sound really cool in the DnD world, but if you saw it in real life you would run for the hills screaming.
At level 6, the Hexblade Warlock can curse a person that they kill and bind their soul to servitude. The soul manifests itself and the Hexblade can then give it simple commands to attack or move around. Its stats are based on the Warlock’s, so slaying an incredibly powerful soul will result in the same spirit as a peasant.
The downside is that the Warlock has to give the killing blow and it only works on humanoids.
It’s very cool but probably won’t win you any friends with the Clerics.
Armor of Hexes
At Level 10, the Hexblade gets a boost to their Curse ability. When a cursed creature attacks the Warlock they can roll a d6. On a 4 or higher the attack completely misses the Warlock.
This is incredibly powerful, especially in a one-on-one fight. It basically always gives a 50% chance of missing the Warlock when cursed after the attack roll has already been made.
Master of Hexes
The final ability of the Hexblade is granted at level 14. When the Hexblade curses an opponent and they die, the Curse can be immediately transferred to another creature within 30ft. This does negate the health bonus if the Curse is transferred.
This makes fighting multiple characters much easier. Hexblades can simply target single creatures and slowly work their way through a mob. It fixes the only real problem with the curse which is the number of uses.
Best Races for Hexblade Warlock
The Warlock’s skill set is heavily influenced by Charisma, so any race that gives a bonus to the Charisma Ability score is going to be a good choice. It’s used for their damage and attack bonuses as well as their spells. The next thing that would be useful to a Hexblade would be a Constitution bonus. This will help add bonus hit points for a melee fighter.
If you’re using the Eberron sourcebooks, a Warforged Warlock is actually one of my favorite combinations. They get a decent health bonus and you can get a +1 to Charisma. The idea of a cursed object being used in the construction of a sentient construct sounds like a fun RP character and a well-built one when you consider stats.
Pros of the Hexblade Warlock
Hexblades are an incredibly versatile class. They have all of the standard Warlock spells at their disposal and they can still dish out damage in melee range. They basically fix the Pact of the Blade Boon that was in the Player’s Handbook. Pact of the Blade was pretty terrible until the Hexblade class was introduced.
Cons of the Hexblade Warlock
Most of the abilities are really good, but they do suffer from the “Jack of all trades, but master of none.” saying. They can be extremely versatile, but they aren’t as specialized as some of the other subclasses.
- Yes, they can do melee, but a Fighter or Barbarian is going to outclass them.
- Yes, they can cast spells, but a specialized caster is going to have more of them.
It’s a balancing act that can tip depending on how you build your Hexblade, regardless it’s always going to be interesting to play them when it comes to RP.
Is the Hexblade Warlock Good?
The Hexblade Warlock is an excellent subclass. The abilities that they have let them mix their magical abilities with a melee class and because their best ability is granted at level 14, it makes them excellent classes for multiclassing.
You could multiclass with another martial class like Fighter or Monk to gain extra AC or combat abilities or mix it up with another spellcaster to supplement the Warlock’s spell list.
Got your fill of the powerful Hexblade Warlock 5e? Next, make sure to have a look at our Warlock 5e Class Guide and our complete guide to Warlock Subclasses in DnD 5e.
Before starting GameCows with his wife Kendra, he used to teach English Language Arts in the US. He combined his love of gaming with education to create fun game-based learning lessons until he eventually decided to run GameCows with Kendra full-time. He’s known for pouring over rulebooks in his spare time, being the rule master during game night, and as the perma DM in his DnD group. Bryan loves board games, writing, traveling, and above all his wife and partner in crime, Kendra.