Who needs four years in Wizard College when you can just find an Eldritch sugar daddy/mommy to fund your magical ambitions? That’s the Warlock in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you’re looking to harness the power of dark magic in Baldur’s Gate 3, then the Warlock class is your shortcut. In this comprehensive Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock build guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of creating the ultimate Warlock character.
Whether you seek to annihilate foes with Eldritch Blasts or manipulate the battlefield with otherworldly powers, this pure Warlock guide has got you covered.
Choosing your Warlock playstyle
Warlocks in Baldur’s Gate 3 possess a diverse array of playstyle options since they’re spellcasters, but most of the time, you’ll just be relying on Eldritch Blast.
Sure, you can plan around with your other spells, but they’ll use up your rather small repository and immediate knowledge of spells. So you’re just gonna have to stick with what works and is more cost-effective.
Hey, you’re cutting corners already as a Warlock, so you might as well just take advantage of Eldritch Blast. Weapons don’t matter. Because as a Warlock, you’ll just be Eldritch Blasting your way through everything. Most weapons pale in comparison, though you might want to keep a dagger or mace for when an enemy decides to invade your personal space.
Choosing your patron (subclass), pact, and Eldritch Invocations
This is where most of the Warlock’s variation comes from. There are three types of patrons and three pacts that explain the nature of your contract to your otherworldly patron. You can consider these as subclass options.
Invocations, meanwhile, are the passive powers you’re given by your patron, and there are also several of them to choose from.
Warlock patron recommendation: The Great Old One
The three choices are:
- The Fiend (devils and demons)
- The Great Old One (Cthulhu or some other weird Lovecraftian dude)
- Archfey (fairies)
The Fiend and The Fey might be thematic, and there’s no stopping you from picking those. But if you want the most cost-effective choice, then The Great Old One has nifty effects such as:
- Mortal Reminder: Frightens enemies in an area if you score a critical hit. This makes attacks against them have an Advantage.
- Entropic Ward: The enemy gets a Disadvantage on attacks at will (as a reaction), and you gain an Advantage against them if they miss.
- Thought Shield: Resistance and defense against Psychic damage (plenty of those in the late game).
Warlock pact recommendation: Pact of the Tome (because Haste)
Again, you have three choices here, namely:
- Pact of the Chain
- Pact of the Blade
- Pact of the Tome
These explain the nature of the deal you made with your patron. Pact of the Blade is one of the most popular options here, but it’s usually reserved and recommended for multiclassing. For a pure Warlock build, you’d want Pact of the Tome.
Pact of the Tome gives Guidance and Haste—two of the best spells in the game. Heck, Haste alone makes Pact of the Tome the most powerful Warlock pact.
Best Eldritch Invocations for Warlock
Think of Eldritch Invocations as additional augmentations for your deal with your patron. Since you essentially sold your soul, you want this deal to be more generous.
Here’s what we recommend for every level they become available:
- Level 2: Agonizing Blast, Repelling Blast (mandatory for making Eldritch Blast more powerful)
- Level 5: Devil’s Sight (so you can spam Darkness with almost no consequences to your character)
- Level 7: Book of Ancient Secrets (free spells)
- Level 9: Minions of Chaos (free allies)
- Level 10: Sculptor of Flesh (Polymorph bosses and tough enemies and then throw them off a chasm)
Best Race, Background, and Skills for Warlocks
With Warlock being a Charisma-based class, the choices are clear already. And with Warlock offering an opportune storytelling moment for edgy characters, there is no shortage of thematic choices.
Let’s start with race.
Best race to choose for a Warlock
Selecting the right race for your Warlock in Baldur’s Gate 3 is crucial to optimizing your character’s abilities. Warlocks rely on Charisma for spellcasting. Here are some of the best races to consider:
- High Half-Elf: High Half-Elves make excellent Warlocks since they can get a free cantrip, and the Fey Ancestry makes them resistant to crowd control abilities.
- High-Elf: Similar to the High Half-Elf but with an automatic proficiency in Perception, which helps immensely.
- Drow: Drows come with inherent Darkvision, Perception proficiency, Faerie Fire, and a free Darkness spell at Level 5! Perfect for Warlock combat style of covering the whole area in Darkness and sniping everyone.
- Amodeus Tiefling: Like the Drow, they also get a free Darkness spell at Level 5.
- Duergar (Dwarf): The lower movement speed is a negligible tradeoff since pure Warlock is mostly an Eldritch Blast build. Moreover, Duergars gain a free Invisibility spell at Level 5 that is usable once per combat encounter. It’s a busted racial feature.
While backgrounds in Baldur’s Gate 3 offer mostly role-playing options, the Charlatan background complements the Warlock with Deception and Sleight of Hand proficiency. Deception helps in concealing truths during interactions, while Sleight of Hand aids in activities like lockpicking and pickpocketing.
Besides, it completes the flavor of the Warlock being a dubious character when it comes to magic.
Skills: Persuasion and Intimidation
You already have Deception, thanks to the Charlatan background, so just pick Persuasion and Intimidation for the full suite of gaslighting and social manipulation tactics. You’ll be weaving in and out of non-combat encounters as smooth as a glove with that silver tongue.
If you picked an Elf race, you already have Perception, but just in case, consider these other skills:
- Insight (being able to detect lies makes you the master of conversations)
Best Ability Score Allocation
Optimizing your Warlock’s Ability Scores is crucial for their effectiveness in combat, conversations, and spellcasting. Here’s the recommended min-maxed allocation:
- Strength (10): Spellcaster classes don’t need Strength, though don’t leave it out too much, or your jump distance will suffer.
- Dexterity (16): You’re not using bows and knives, so why is this high? Because you always want to go first so you can lay down a Darkness field. Dexterity determines your Initiative roll.
- Constitution (15): A higher Constitution increases your hit points (HP), making you more tanky in battle. If you can eventually get it to 16, that would be great.
- Wisdom (10), Intelligence (8): You’re a Warlock, not a Wizard. You’re not known for your wise or smart choices in magic or life.
- Charisma (17): The Warlock’s primary stat. This determines everything from Eldritch Blast damage to your success in conversations. Eventually, you’d want this at least 18, but going for 20 is more ideal.
Best Warlock spells
Your spell selection plays a pivotal role in defining your Warlock’s capabilities. Here are some recommended spells for your pure Eldritch Blast Warlock build:
- Cantrip: Eldritch Blast (essential for consistent ranged damage).
- Level 1 Spells: Hex (a potent debuff that adds extra damage to your attacks) and Arms of Hadar (in case melee enemies get close).
- Level 2 Spells: Scorching Ray (an offensive spell that shoots multiple rays of fire) and Blindness (inflicts blindness on a target).
- Level 3 Spells: Fireball (a powerful area-of-effect damage spell) and Darkness (important for a Warlock).
- Level 4 Spells: Greater Invisibility (deals necrotic damage to a single target) and Invisibility (pick it retroactively as it’s generally useful)
- Level 5 Spells: Hold Monster (paralyzes a monster target) and Hunger of Hadar (pick it retroactively; it creates a zone of darkness and damage).
- Level 6 Spells: Circle of Death (deals massive damage in an area).
The general Warlock playstyle we have in mind is dropping Darkness in an enemy cluster (it’s okay if you get caught in it), and with the Devil’s Sight Invocation, you’ll still be able to see them so your Eldritch Blasts all have an Advantage. Furthermore, enemies can’t see you, so their attacks have a Disadvantage.
All other spells are situational, though you can get a lot of mileage out of Fireball.
Warlock leveling guide 1-12
To create the ultimate Sorclock build, follow this leveling progression. This is separate from the spell recommendation we have to refer to that one per level:
- Level 1: Pick The Great Old One — Hex
- Level 2: Eldritch Blast cantrip — select Agonizing Blast and Repelling Blast as Eldritch Invocations — Arms of Hadar
- Level 3: Pact of the Tome — Scorching Ray
- Level 4: Mage Hand/Minor Illusion cantrip — Feat: Ability Score Improvement (Charisma +2) — Blindness
- Level 5: Eldritch Invocation: Devil’s Sight — Darkness
- Level 6: Fireball
- Level 7: Eldritch Invocation: Book of Ancient Secrets — Invisibility
- Level 8: Greater Invisibility — Feat: Spell Sniper
- Level 9: Eldritch Invocation: Minions of Chaos — Hold Monster
- Level 10: Any cantrip — Arms of Hadar, or any level 5 spell you want
- Level 11: Circle of Death, or any Level 6 spell you want
- Level 12: Eldritch Invocation: Sculptor of Flesh — Feat: War Caster
This leveling order focuses on maximizing your damage potential and crowd control abilities. Early on, you’ll also be hard to hit, thanks to Darkness. Come late game, you can just abuse Invisibility (full party) to make every encounter an ambush in your favor.
Multiclass options for the Warlock
While the Warlock build is formidable on its own, consider multiclassing to diversify your abilities further. Two compelling multiclass options include:
- Warlock and Sorcerer: The Sorcerer is an excellent and sometimes automatic multiclass pick for the Warlock since they both share the Charisma main stat for damage. Moreover, Sorcerers get access to more spells, and their Metamagic augmentations synergize well with the Warlock.
- Warlock and Paladin: Like Warlocks, Paladins, particularly for Oathbreakers, also thrive on having a high Charisma stat. Moreover, the Paladin could really use the Warlock’s more available spell slots. Warlocks can also easily switch to Pact of the Blade in case they multiclass with Paladins.
Then again, your patron might get jealous and pissy if you multiclass (not really), so you can always opt to stay pure Warlock using this Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock build guide. It would still be an optimal class with more stamina for combat compared to the Wizard or Sorcerer.