The Best Cantrips in DnD 5e for Each Type of Warlock Build

Warlocks are one of the most interesting spellcasters in Dungeons and Dragons.

While seemingly limited in their spellcasting ability, they could conceivably cast more high-level spells than any other caster on the field if you take enough short rests.

For this reason, your cantrips will be your most important decision as they will influence your role in the party and how you best work with your patron’s abilities.

This post is all about that: what cantrips should you choose and why?

Obviously, we will cover eldritch blast in detail as it is unique to the warlock and has a reputation for being the most powerful combat cantrip in the game (this is arguable).

After that, we will talk about which role you play in your party and suggest cantrips to support you in that role as well as which patrons work well in that role with those cantrips.

Ready?

Eldritch Blast

There are loads of videos and posts out there about how overpowered eldritch blast is, and each one is as much a banana sandwich as the last.

Eldritch blast is no more powerful than a heavy crossbow. They both deal 1d10.

The difference is that if you want to take multiple shots with a Heavy Crossbow, you need a feat called Crossbow Master, whereas, with eldritch blast, that’s a given.

But it goes both ways! A heavy crossbow adds your Dexterity modifier to your damage automatically. With eldritch blast,  you need to take an eldritch invocation to add your Charisma bonus.

It balances out. Heavy Crossbows require a class-given proficiency and a generic feat. Eldritch blast requires two class abilities.

So you, Mx. Warlock, should take no flak about your use of eldritch blast.

Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about how to improve your eldritch blast and customize it for your needs.

Eldritch Blast Spell Breakdown

Type: Ranged Spell Attack

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 120 feet

Damage: 1d10 force

Scales: Two attacks at 5th, three at 11th, four at 17th

The basics of this spell are perfect. 1d10 is a great damage die to roll. Force damage is nearly universally un-resisted, and it still remains viable at higher levels.

When the Fighters and Rogues are getting magic weapons and multiple attacks, you are keeping up with your blast attacks.

Since eldritch blast will be your main mode of attack, nearly to the exclusion of other ranged attacks like chill touch, you will still want to find nifty ways of improving the spell as you gain levels.

That is where Eldritch Invocations come in. These invocations will help you to personalize what it is you will do with your eldritch blast.

Agonizing Blast

When you cast eldritch blast, add your Charisma modifier to the damage it deals on a hit.

Eldritch Spear

When you cast eldritch blast, its range is 300 feet.

Lance of Lethargy

Once on each of your turns, when you hit a creature with your eldritch blast, you can reduce that creature’s speed by 10 feet until the end of your next turn.

Repelling Blast

When you hit a creature with eldritch blast, you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line.

Agonizing Blast is obviously your best choice here. This will make your eldritch blast more like a real weapon instead of a magical attempt. It will give you more combat power than any other spellcaster’s main attack cantrip.

In general, you won’t have 300 feet of map to work with if you use miniatures, so Eldritch Spear might be a bit overkill.

Lance of Lethargy is a good option, especially when paired with the effects of a Frostbite or any other spell that slows targets down.

You could, with the right preparation, effectively slow a target to 0 speed, which would make them very vulnerable.

Repelling Blast is also useful, but it is oddly specific. It would be better if you could push the creature in any direction, allowing you a bit of versatility.

Ask your DM if that works in their game. If so, then definitely take this invocation.

Homebrew Invocations for Eldritch Blast

All of these homebrew modifications for Eldritch Blast are good and viable for any warlock.

Many of these are inspired by D&D 3.5, so if you get a chance to check any of those out, you should.

All of these require you have the eldritch blast cantrip in addition to any added prerequisites provided.

Eldritch Punch

Prerequisite: None

Use eldritch blast in melee.

Ricochet Shot

Prerequisite: 5th level

Bounce your eldritch blast off of a single surface to get around ½, ¾, or full cover.

Your blast can still only travel 120 feet, and it deals 1d8 instead of 1d10 damage as its impact is absorbed in the ricochet.

Eldritch Grenade

Prerequisite: 7th level

Your eldritch blast explodes on impact. Instead of a ranged spell attack, all creatures within 15 feet including your target, must make a Dexterity save vs. your Spell Save DC or take the eldritch blast damage.

Eldritch Zip Line

Prerequisite: 5th level

Instead of attacking with your eldritch blast, you may hit a solid surface, such as a wall or column, and pull yourself any distance in that direction, provided it is in a straight line and no more than 120 feet.

Opportunity attacks may be made against you during this movement. Using eldritch blast this way uses all of your granted attacks.

Eldritch Grasp

Prerequisite: 9th level

When struck by your eldritch blast, your target must succeed on a Strength or Dexterity saving throw against your Spell Save DC or be grappled until the start of your next turn.

Blinding/Deafening Blast

Prerequisite: 11th level

When struck by your eldritch blast, your target must succeed on a Strength or Dexterity saving throw against your Spell Save DC or be blinded or deafened until the start of your next turn.

Rime Blast

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast can now deal cold damage and overcome cold resistance.

Brimstone Blast

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast can now deal fire damage and overcome fire resistance.

Venomous Blast

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast can now deal poison damage and overcome poison resistance.

Acidic Blast

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast can now deal acid damage and overcome acid resistance.

Storm Blast

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast can now deal lightning or thunder damage and overcome lightning or thunder resistance.

Dispelling Blast

Prerequisite: 11th level

Eldritch blast can now have a dispel magic effect.

Eldritch Breath

Prerequisite: 7th level

Eldritch blast can now be used like a breath weapon at a 15-foot cone from you. Using eldritch blast this way uses all of your granted attacks.

Eldritch Bolt

Prerequisite: 7th level

Eldritch blast now only travels in a 60-foot line, but all targets in the path must roll a Dexterity save vs. your Spell Save DC or take damage. Using eldritch blast this way uses all of your granted attacks.

Blast Wave

Prerequisite: 5th level

Eldritch blast affects all creatures within 10ft of you who fail a Constitution saving throw vs. your spell save DC. In addition to dealing damage, all grapples are broken and every creature except you is knocked prone.

Using the spell this way uses all of your granted attacks.

Pact Blast

Prerequisite: 7th level, Pact of the Blade

When using the attack action with your Pact Weapon, you may cast eldritch blast as a bonus action and add 1d10 force damage to a number of attacks per turn as you are granted with eldritch blast.

You may not add more than 1d10 force damage on any single attack with your Pact Weapon this way.

Other Combat Cantrips For Hexblade, Fiend, and Undead Warlocks

When it comes to combat, you do have other cantrips to choose from other than eldritch blast.

Here they are, divided by which subclass they best suit.

Hexblade

For The Hexblade, we recommend Green-flame Blade from Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide. This cantrip will improve your damage output with your Pact or Hex weapon, thus allowing you to get the most benefit from that core ability.

It scales beautifully, like a metal guitarist chill-shredding over a sick lofi beat, adding 1d8 fire damage at every five levels and allowing you to spread some damage around to nearby enemies while in melee.

Undead

For The Undead, we recommend mind sliver. This little beauty does a modest 1d4 psychic damage, but more importantly, it forces the target to make a saving throw.

Should they fail, they get a 1d4 penalty to their next saving throw, which should be your Form of Dread feature.

Fiend

For The Fiend, we recommend creating a bonfire. The Fiend is a fire-based subclass, both in mechanics and flavor.

Creating a bonfire will give you a bit of versatility, forcing your targets to make a saving throw instead of relying on their Armor Class. At higher levels, consider adding control flames to your repertoire.

Cantrips for Archfey, Genie, and Great Old One Warlocks

These warlocks are useful outside of combat just as much as within. They will be interacting with the world without first blowing it up.

Furthermore, they have a bit of the trickster in them, allowing them to manipulate, charm, and cajole targets both in and out of the party.

For The Archfey and The Great Old One warlocks, we recommend friends.

Both of these subclasses have a fair amount of charm and frighten abilities associated with them. As such, they will generally be the “Face” of the party, requiring them to interact with NPCs for various ends.

This cantrip will give them advantage on social rolls for a short period of time. Even though the target will know they have been charmed, sometimes that is okay.

A lot of people want to be charmed. Job interviews, first dates, sales, and the service industry are all situations where clients, customers, and employers are hoping to meet someone who can turn on the charm when it suits them.

For The Genie, we recommend minor illusion.  What better way to tempt a mark into making a wish than being able to improve your song and dance number with a few special effects (you ain’t never had a friend like me!).

Also, any genie or magical trickster will tell you that a little illusion can go a long way.

Cantrips for Celestial and Fathomless Warlocks

For The Fathomless, we chose a spell that works to keep your enemies in range of your giant, roving tentacle.

In addition, you eventually gain resistance to cold damage, creating a theme here of icy cold in the oceanic depths. Therefore, we have chosen frostbite.

It’s cold damage that scales, fitting your theme. It also slows your target down, which means you can reach out and slap them with your cold slither-buddy tentacle as a bonus action.

For The Celestial, it is important to remember that you will be running in and out of melee to heal people.

If you can afford to take a bit of time for preparation, blade ward will ensure you can get in and out of threat range to support your friends without leaving yourself too vulnerable.