I Sold My Soul for This?!?! A Handbook for Warlocks as Pure Strikers

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I Sold My Soul for This?!?!
A Handbook to Warlocks as Pure Strikers

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I am writing this guide because I'm tired of seeing questions about "why does my warlock's damage suck?" and "what can I do to put out good damage as a warlock?"  The fact that most warlock builds put out less damage than many non-strikers doesn't mean that warlocks can't be good strikers.  Warlocks can be good strikers, but they need specialized builds to become good strikers.  Because warlocks need specialized builds to do good damage, general guides don't serve the warlock class as well as they do for other strikers.  This is where the current guide comes into play.  If you are interested in more of the control aspects of the warlock, I highly recommend Malkonnen's excellent general guide to warlocks


This guide is going to first lay out the problem, then lay out the reasons for it, and then it will lay out solutions for the problem.  


This Handbook will use the following system for ratings:


  • Red: A very weak choice, or one completely overshadowed by another.

  • Purple: A sub-par, situationally useful, or heavily build-specific choice.

  • Black: A middle of the road choice. Not bad, but not great either. 

  • Blue: A very good choice. 

  • Sky Blue: The optimal choice. 

Disclaimer


 All ratings are based on damage.  Other guides, such as Malkonnen's excellent guide, should be used if you want a more well-rounded treatment of the warlock class. I am very open to discussion, and am glad to add or reconsidering anything you guys find that I have overlooked.


 


This Handbook covers the following sources:


  • AP - Arcane Power

  • AV - Adventurer's Vault

  • AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2 (in progress)

  • DP - Divine Power

  • D### - Dragon Magazine, issue ###

  • DMG - Dungeon Master's Guide

  • DMG2 - Dungeon Master's Guide 2

  • EPG - Eberron Player's Guide

  • FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide

  • MM - Monster Manual

  • MM2 - Monster Manual 2

  • MOTP - Manual of the Planes

  • MP - Martial Power

  • PHB - Player's Handbook

  • PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2

  • PHH# - Player's Handbook Heroes - Series # (the cards in with the new miniatures line)

Glossary


  • Cha'lock - A Warlock who focuses on Charisma for a primary stat including Fey Pact Warlocks, Dark Pact Warlocks, and some Star Pact Warlocks.

  • Con'lock - A Warlock who focuses on Constitution for a primary stat including Infernal Pact Warlocks, Vestige Pact Warlocks, and some Star Pact Warlocks.

  • Dark'lock - A Dark Pact Warlock.

  • DPR - Damage Per Round refers to the average damage you will do factoring chance to hit, average damage on a hit, miss and critical hit. The measuring stick for Strikers.

  • Star'lock - A Star Pact Warlock.

  • Fey'lock - A Fey Pact Warlock.

  • Hell'lock - An Infernal Pact Warlock.

  • Vestige'lock - A Vestige Pact Warlock.

  • DIS - An acronym for Dual Implement Spellcaster, a feat that will get referenced a lot.

  • AIP - An acronym for Arcane Implement Proficiency, a feat that will get referenced a lot.

  • THP- An acronym for temporary hit points, which are your friends.

  


Acknowledgements: Malkonnen's excellent general guide to warlocks, from which I've shamelessly stolen.  Crimson_Lancer for opening my eyes to the possibilities of the warlock.  Lordduskblade for the gold standard of handbook formatting. 


  


Do warlocks actually do poor damage?

I've seen this question asked many times, and the answer is complicated.  If built and played like other classes, warlocks put out poor damage.  Most classes by mid paragon play something like this: rounds 1 to 5 spend all four encounter powers, and maybe spend 1 daily.  Rounds 5+ use at-wills.  This means that for most classes, their damage is coming primarily from encounter powers, with at-wills and dailies supplementing their encounter powers.  Let's compare a warlock to another single-target striker class whose damage is obvious: the barbarian.  For this analysis, I'm going to exclude all magical items, all feats, and leave stats at optimized level 1 values.


The most damaging level 1 barbarian encounter power is Avalanche Strike, which does 3W+str+con (for Ragebloods).  As barbarians use big 1d12 or 2d6 weapons and there are str and con races (like goliaths), this is typically 3d12+4+4= 27.5 damage. 


Warlocks have no encounter power that can even match this damage until level 17, with Your Delectable Pain doing 4d8+ 2d6 (curse) +4 (charisma)= 29 damage.  Yes, you read that right: the base damage of the most damaging warlock encounter powers doesn't even match the base damage of the most damaging level 1 barbarian encounter power UNTIL LEVEL 17. 


In short, a warlock, if designed and played like other strikers, will be at least whole tier behind in damage. 


 


Why does my warlock's damage suck?

There are three reasons why warlocks typically do less damage than other strikers


First, warlocks were designed with a large focus on control.  So although they get the striker label, most builds are at least half controller.  This focus on control, in part, accounts for the relatively poor damage output of warlock encounters and dailies. 


Second, warlocks are primarily designed to be lurkers, unlike all other striker classes, which are all artillery (e.g., sorcerers), skirmishers (e.g., rogues) or brutes (e.g., barbarians).  Lurkers are hard to kill because they're evasive.  Lurkers also don't do as much damage as other strikers, making lurker fights long, drawn out affairs.  This is of course, fine and dandy for monsters, but players are in a party, which might not be able to compensate for the long drawn out style that warlocks, as lurkers, were designed to use. 


Lastly, warlock damage can suck because designing and playing a damaging warlock is much more complicated than with any other striker.  Previous guides unfortunately haven't really helped a whole lot in this regard because they focused on optimizing the class in a straightforward way, like you would any other class.   This approach, although sensible, puts a good deal of controller into a build, and doesn't adequately address the class-specific methods for making the warlock into a good striker. 

 


Building a Warlock as a Striker

The warlock class is subtle, complex, but very flexible.  You can effectively use virtually every method that any other class gets to do good damage.  However, before we get into the warlock features and specific strategies for making a damaging warlock, we need to address the four maxims that should be always in your mind when designing a warlock as a striker.  These maxims highlight the overall differences that make good warlock damage effective. 


Maxim 1: Warlock damage is in the at-wills


A warlock's damage doesn't rest in its encounter or daily powers like it does with most other classes.  A warlock's damage rests in its at-will powers. Warlocks have a couple of very nice at-will powers, which will be discussed in great detail later.  In contrast to other striker classes, warlock encounter and dailies are control-focused and do not put out very good damage.  Therefore, warlock encounter and dailies are only situationally useful, and should be used to supplement a warlock's at-wills. 


Maxim 2: Warlock damage is focused on one target


The warlock's main damage feature is the warlock curse, which adds 1d6 per tier the first time per turn a warlock hits a single cursed enemy.  In addition, all of the warlock's at-wills only hit one target.  Warlocks therefore have trouble doing significant damage to large groups of enemies, unlike their arcane striker cousin, the sorcerer.  


Maxim 3: Pick one or more strategies for good damage and stick with it


Warlocks are highly flexible.  However, unless you pick one or more specific strategies for good damage, you will become the typical low damage, some control warlock. These strategies will be detailed shortly.  In addition, the strategies for good damage are different enough from each other that relatively few feats and items are good for all warlocks.  


Maxim 4: Consider a hybrid class


Hybrid warlocks give up 3 class features (the pact boon, shadow walk, and point blank shot), and at least half their powers.  However, you get a better skill list and can cherry pick your powers off out of both your classes.  In addition, you can pick up t 1 of these 3 features back at level 1 through the hybrid talent feat, and you can pick up a pact boon (and another at will) at paragon tier through the two-fold pact feat.   In short, you lose very little through a warlock hybrid that you can't pick back up through feats.  In return you gain more damaging, more useful, and more flexible powers.  


Warlock Baseline Mechanics 

HP, Surges, and Proficiencies 


Hit Points - 12 + Con score at 1st level; 5 at each level thereafter. Standard faire for strikers, but Con'locks will find that their Con focus makes them Blue as you get about the same benefit as the Toughness feat for free. 


Healing Surges - 6 + Con modifier. Again standard faire for strikers, although Con focus counts even more here than for HPs, making them Sky Blue as they get the equivalent of the Durable feat several times over. 


Proficiencies - You don't get anything fancy for weapons, but you don't need to swing a weapon to be a good striker. If you are swinging a weapon, you probably want a superior weapon anyway.  As for armor, Leather may not seem particularly impressive, but talk to your arcane striker cousin, the Sorcerer, and he'll be glad to tell you how lucky you are to have it. 


Defense Bonuses +1 Ref and Will is pretty standard.


 


Class Features 


Eldritch Blast - Kind of sad that having one of your at-wills chosen for you is a 'feature' per WotC, but at least it's a decent power considering that Basic Attacks are pretty easy to buff and you work well with Warlords or anyone else who gives out free basic attacks. Hybrids happily can lose this 'feature.' 


Pact Boons - Sadly this is a flavorful, but mechanically weak feature. You get stronger as your cursed enemies fall (regardless of who deals the death blow!), but that means that the smaller the encounter the less benefit you gain to the point where with very few exceptions you get ZERO benefit from this in Solo fights. For the specific ratings of Pact Boons see below. 


Prime Shot - This is your striker accuracy booster. It probably more effective for you than for an archery ranger since Shadow Walk encourages you to be mobile so you can afford to dash in for a quick shot every once in a while. 


Shadow Walk - This may not look very impressive (since the errata'ed Stealth rules prevent you from using it to hide for the most part), but you have to remember that concealment is like a free +2 to all defenses all for the bargain basement price of moving at least 3 squares a turn. Shadow Walk also enables you to maintain the hidden state and also is required for some of the best warlock items. 


Warlock's Curse - Unfortunately warlocks have a very run of the mill (if very flavorful) Striker damage booster ability.  It works just like Hunter's Quarry but you aren't limited to just 1 active curse at a time.  However for some reason WotC has denied you the d6 to d8 upgrade that Rangers and Rogues enjoy (barring a specific Rod enhancement). 


 


Eldritch Pacts

Eldritch pacts are based on either constitution (which are for Con'Locks) or charisma (which are for Cha'locks). 


Constitution-Based Eldritch Pacts


Con'lock overview:  Con'Lock pacts allow you the use of the most damaging at-wills.  Con'locks are among the toughest strikers and are definitely the toughest warlocks.  This gives Con'locks a definite edge over Cha'locks in the striker game as Con'locks will draw more enemy attacks (due to superior at-wills) and can best handle the melee and close artillery builds.


Infernal Pact - Constitution based, pretty striker focused, unfortunately you tend towards targeting fortitude (the highest defense on average) and tend towards easy-to-resist fire damage


  • At-Will spell: Hellish Rebuke - This is the most strikerish at-will warlocks get and is one of the most damaging at-wills in the game against a single target.  It also can serve as a defensive spell as it can discourage enemies from attacking you.  Once you learn to trigger the secondary damage roll, Hellish Rebuke is a double hitting power that even adds your primary stat both times and the second attack automatically hits if the first does. 

  • Pact Boon: Dark One's Blessing - Extra temporary hit points!  This is a great pact boon for the infernal pact, as you need to take damage to trigger Hellish Rebuke.  This would be better if it was actual healing rather than THPs, but it is a very strong pact boon for the pact where is pays to get pummeled.   Make sure to curse a  minion early in the fight if you want some THP before the end of the fight.

Star Pact - Unique in that this is both Constitution and Charisma based so you have to decide to either sacrifice your Intelligence (and thus AC, Reflex, and many rider effects) or sacrifice the diversity of your power selection.  The star pact at-will is con-based, and most of the other powers are charisma based.  This pact does however boast one of the best pact-based paragon paths: Student of Caiphon. 


  • At-Will spell: Dire Radiance - A very similar power to Hellish Rebuke, with several things in its favor.  It's radiant damage so it's great against undead. It's potentially a multiple damage power.  However, it targets Fort and its trigger is very situational. It might make for a good combat opener, as that is when it is most likely you can force the target to trigger the extra damage. But be careful about who you target as the melee only foes often have high Fort defenses, and ranged foes are already within range when you attack.  Like Hellish Rebuke above, this power is constitution based. 

  • Pact Boon: Fate of the Void - This is many player's favorite pact boon, as it is very versatile and can add to your damage. Cumulative bonuses to an attack roll or saving throw are incredibly powerful, and for those unusual circumstances you can even use it for a skill/ability check. The only down side is that it is only usable on your next turn, so you can't use it right away, and you better hope you can next turn.

Vestige Pact - Another fully Con based Pact. This is a slightly unusual path with its variable pact boons and the At-Will buff from Dailies. Oddly enough, it gives the warlock a secondary in leader.  It also is the only pact that gives a hybrid without the pact boon class feature potential benefits.


  • At-Will spell: Eyes of the Vestige - This is one of the most useful single-damage, ranged spells a warlock gets.  Getting everyone cursed ASAP is one of your primary motivations as a Warlock as your power increases as every cursed foe dies, so being able to curse an extra target (who doesn't have to be the closest enemy to you!) is very potent. And being able to damage an already-cursed target allows you to kill a minor without wasting a valuable actions (as does the Rod of Reaving).  In addition, you get to target Will and deal psychic damage, and get a variable upgrade on top of that! The default free save to an ally is pretty crappy since it requires that ally to hit that same target in order to trigger it (so it effectively requires 2 successful attack rolls to trigger). But the default automatic Prime Shot is pretty good, unfortunately as written it doesn't apply to your current attack only subsequent ones (though it does work well with Action Points!). The only down side here is the low actual damage. A very good choice a second or third at-will if Con based.  

  • Pact Boon: King Elidyr/Zutwa - Once again the Leader-like effect is unimpressive for your role, but the boost of an extra +2 from Prime Shot is nice. Combine with the Eyes of the Vestige rider for extra fun! Not as potent or versatile as Fate of the Void, but your pact-specific daily spells upgrade this.  Sadly, most of these daily spells are not spectacular. 

Charisma based pacts


Cha'Lock Overview: The cha'lock pacts are by and large control focused.  You can make some effective striker cha'locks, but they require a lot more work than con'locks to be effective as strikers.  If you want to be an excellent striker, I would highly recommend con'lock over a cha'lock. 


Dark Pact - Charisma based, boasts the 'best DPR' powers of the Cha'locks, but tends towards the very easy-to-resist damage types of poison and necrotic so you need someway of dealing with that limitation (such as through the Assassin feat Venom Hand Master).


  • At-Will spell: Spiteful Glamor - the power wouldn't be that bad if it weren't for the fact that you have to take Eldritch Blast with it. The good news is it does at least target will and deal psychic damage opening it up to the Psychic Lock feat upgrade and making it rarely subject to resistance.

  • Pact Boon: Darkspiral Aura - Here's the best part about being Dark Pact, you get an  ability where you can punish enemies for attacking you. At low levels it's kind of weak and DMs frequently go out of their way not to trigger the Darkspiral Aura.  It also is an immediate action the Darkspiral Aura, so you can't use it on your own turn or with White Lotus Master Riposte.

Fey Pact - Charisma based, very control focused even to the point of being hard to call a striker, fortunately you heavily tend towards targeting will (the lowest defense on average) and tend towards hard-to-resist and easy-to-buff psychic damage.  This is a good control pact, but the worst pact for strikers. Gnomes can make the fey pact work at strikers levels however, but they really need to work at it.


  • At-Will spell: Eyebite - it is the weakest damage wise of all of the at-wills.  It is however a good defensive spell against a single target.  However, if you're trying to eyebite something to death, I'm fairly sure you're not the biggest threat to the monster.

  • Pact Boon: Misty Step - Free teleports are a lot of fun and can be very powerful, but unfortunately you really don't get to control when you use this so it's hard to rate very high.

 


Ability Scores


Strength - A common dumpstat. Redundant with Con for Fort, and HP/surges are a lot more valuable than a melee basic attack. The main thing going for it are armor/shield proficiency and a few other feats that require a small Str investment. (Recommended Starting Score: 8-13, before racial adjustments)


Constitution - Primary for Hell'locks, Vestige'locks, and half of Star'lock powers, but useful for everyone. Adds HP, healing surges, and boosts some of your Utilities so it's much better than Strength for Charisma based Warlocks. But remember you need both if you want the armor upgrades. (Recommended Starting Score: 12-18, before racial adjustments)


Dexterity - Redundant with Int for Reflex/AC, but it does add to Initiative and some good skills, but probably the most important thing these days is the 13 Dex requirement for Dual Implement Spellcaster. (Recommended Starting Score: 10-13, before racial adjustments)


Intelligence - Your 'Secondary stat' regardless of your pact.  However, intelligence riders are largely controller focused.  Feel free to dump Int in favor of heavy armor and/or dex if you're going pure striker, dual stat starlock, or have a specific multiclass/hybrid build in mind (Recommended Starting Score: 10-16, before racial adjustments)


Wisdom - A very common dumpstat. Redundant with Charisma for Will defense, and your probably not going to be counted on for any Wis based skills. The only thing it really has going for it is that some feats require a little of it. (Recommended Starting Score: 8-13, before racial adjustments)


Charisma - Primary for Cha'locks and a potential dump stat for Con'locks. Boosts several of your skills, and boosts enough of your Utilities that even Con based locks will likely prefer this over Wisdom. (Recommended Starting Score: 10-18, before racial adjustments)


  


At-Wills


Constitution based-


  • Dire Radiance (PHB) -A very similar power to Hellish Rebuke, with several things in its favor.  It's radiant damage so it's great against undead. It's potentially a multiple damage power.  However, it targets Fort and its trigger is very situational. It might make for a good combat opener, as that is when it is most likely you can force the target to trigger the extra damage. But be careful about who you target as the melee only foes often have high Fort defenses, and ranged foes are already within 10 squares when you attack (so move afterwards!). Like Hellish Rebuke above, this power is constitution based.  Sadly WotC didn't think to give you the choice of basing this on Charisma instead of Constitution, so for star'locks who opted to ditch Con in favor of a Cha, this power is dead weight.

  • Eyes of the Vestige (AP) - A useful utility spell. Getting everyone cursed ASAP is one of your primary motivations as a Warlock as your power increases as every cursed foe dies, so being able to curse an extra target (who doesn't have to be the closest enemy to you!) is very potent. And being able to damage an already-cursed target allows you to kill minions quickly and get a nice pact boon early in the encounter. In addition, you get to target Will and deal psychic damage, and get a variable upgrade on top of that. The main down side is the low actual damage. 

  • Hellish Rebuke (PHB) - This is one of the most damaging at-wills in the game against a single target.  It also can serve as a defensive spell as it can discourage enemies from attacking you.  Once you learn to trigger the secondary damage roll, Hellish Rebuke is a double hitting power that even adds your primary stat both times and the second attack automatically hits if the first does. 

Charisma based-


  • Eyebite (PHB) - a great defensive spell, but it puts out pathetic damage for a striker.  Unless you're a gnome, an eladrin or  want bards to make fun of you, pick something else.

  • Spiteful Glamor (FRPG) - the power wouldn't be that bad if it weren't for the fact that you have to take Eldritch Blast with it. The bad news is a conditional upgrade from d10 to d12 over Eldritch Blast is almost worthless. The good news is it does at least target will and deal psychic damage opening it up to the Psychic Lock feat upgrade and making it rarely subject to resistance.

Constitution or Charisma based-


  • Eldritch Blast (PHB) - Not that you get any choice with this one, but at least it isn't a terrible power to be stuck with. 1d10 damage is ok. Untyped damage means you don't have to worry about resistance, unless you admixture it. And counting as a Ranged Basic Attack means you work well with Warlords and can buff the hell out of this power with certain items and feats.

  • Eldritch Strike (PHH 1) - This is hot way to make a nice melee warlock, and there is a reason why this is the most poached warlock at-will by non-warlocks.  1W+con or cha +curse damage and a slide 1 makes this as damaging as the much loved Howling Strike, but with more control and utility.   If you could swap Eldritch Blast for this it would be better.  However, by RAW the only way to take this power is as a human, a hybrid, or as a Half-elf of a different class. Just make sure to pick up a pact weapon, take Arcane Implement Proficiency, or hybrid carefully (e.g., swordmage) to get an implement that can be used as a weapon.

  


Strategies


There are eight basic strategies for making a damaging warlock, which are pretty much the same eight strategies that all strikers can use to do good damage.


 


Multiple-Damage Rolls


Warlocks are one of the few classes that have even one at-will with multiple damage rolls.  Warlocks actually have two at-wills with multiple damage rolls: Dire Radiance and Hellish Rebuke.  Both of these powers have a trigger for the second damage roll.  In addition, both of these powers are con-based, making multiple-damage rolls a con'lock strategy.  As the at-wills are where a warlock's damage lies, con'locks have a consistent damage advantage over cha'locks by using this strategy.  The trick with both Dire Radiance and Hellish Rebuke is getting them to trigger their secondary damage rolls consistently.  Once you can consistently trigger a warlock's multi-damage powers, you simply need to pick feats, items, paragon paths, and an epic destiny that adds to damage rolls.   


Dire Radiance's trigger relies completely on the enemy's actions, so your DM could deny it to you consistently.  This makes Dire Radiance situationally useful at best.  


Hellish Rebuke's trigger requires any sort of damage before the end of your next turn.  So your enemy could trigger it, or you could trigger it.  So you could use your temporary hit points from your pact boon to get beat on, and kill your enemies twice as fast. 


Nice, certain RAW triggers for hellish rebuke


Heroic Tier:


  • Bloodclaw weapons- Level 2+: especially good for warlocks with eldritch strike or hybrids

  • Soulfangs-Level 2+: can be useful, but do significant damage to yourself

  • Standing in a fire

  • Falling small distances

  • Enemy Auras

  • Sacrifice to Caiphon: Damage yourself when you miss with an encounter power using a dump stat

Paragon Tier:


  • Bloodmage: Bolstering Blood Hurting yourself to hurt the enemy twice!

  • Student of Caiphon: Steps of the Purple Stair

Epic Tier:


  • Boots of Caiphan- Level 24: Useful, minor action power that can deal low damage to yourself.  

Accuracy


Warlocks can be designed, like rogues, to rarely miss.  This increases DPR because you're doing consistent, although not necessarily spectacular damage.  You need to pick feats, items, paragon paths, and an epic destiny that adds to attack rolls.  Starting with a natural 18 in your primary stat (preferably constitution) is a good start down this path.  Conditional benefits such as Prime Shot and combat advantage also are important.  Dragonborn, Gnomes, Humans, Half-Elves, and Tieflings have racial feat support that increases their accuracy. Revenants also can be from any of these races, so are similarly awesome.


Exploit Enemy Vulnerabilities


Warlocks can be designed to use vulnerabilities of enemies because warlocks can use a variety of elemental attacks.  Every time you damage a foe with an element to which they're vulnerable, they take extra damage equal to that vulnerability.  Therefore multi-damage powers combine very well with exploiting vulnerabilities.  


Undead are typically vulnerable to radiant damage, and you have many radiant powers including the at-will Dire Radiance.  In addition, the feat Lasting Frost can be used to create a vulnerability to cold.  Due to awesome feat and item support,


In general, the more elements your at-will of choice can do the better, because this makes it more likely to hit a vulnerability. Dragonborn (and Revenant Dragonborn) have good feat (the breath feats) and item support (Rod of the Dragonborn), so they are the masters of this approach.


Avoid Enemy Resistances


Warlocks use many elemental attacks.  Some enemies are resistant or immune to certain elements.  For example, many undead are immune to poison.  


One of the easiest method of avoiding resistances is to use powers with multiple energy types, preferably radiant or psychic.  The enemy therefore needs resistance or immunity to all the elements to resist any of the damage.  Just like with vulnerabilities,  Dragonborn (and Revenant Dragonborn) have good feat (the breath feats) and item support (Rod of the Dragonborn), so they are the masters of this approach.


Another easy method of avoiding resistances is to look for feats that negate or counter resistances, such as Surging Flame and Venom Hand Master. 


Resistances are multiplied in importance with multi-damage powers, as the enemy resists damage from each separate damage roll.  


Maximizing Criticals


Critical hits are an important part of DPR.  There are two aspects that could be optimized:  1) critical hit probability, and 2) critical hit damage.  The most important aspect of these aspects is critical hit probability, because critical hit damage isn't important if you don't get criticals frequently.  


The easiest and best way to increase critical hit probability is to take either the Student of Caiphon or the Daggermaster paragon paths, which give you the largest 18-20 consistent critical hit range.  Another powerful way to increase melee critical hit probability is multiclassing into Avenger, which is useful only for melee warlocks.  Using a multi-attack power, like twin strike, is also a great way of increasing the critical hit per turn probability. 


Many different items, and some feats can increase critical hit damage.  One of the best ways to increase critical hit damage is to use one of the many feats (e.g., Two Weapon Opening) or features (e.g., Punisher of the Gods) that grant additional attacks on a critical. 


Multi-attacks


Using multiple attack powers is a method of increasing DPR that is typically used by rangers (against a single target) and sorcerers (against multiple targets).  Warlocks have some area attacks in their encounter and daily powers.  These attacks typically do not do much damage to each target, but spread a great deal of damage among several targets.  


Several feats (e.g., Two Weapon Opening), items (e.g., Rending weapons) or features (e.g., Punisher of the Gods) grant additional attacks on a critical and are usable by at least some warlocks. 


Hybrids can also be made to use encounters and/or daily powers in the same turn you are using warlock powers.  This can be done by picking attack powers that require a minor action, a free action, or an immediate action.  Rogues and rangers both are good hybrids that can utilize this approach to multi-attacking.  This is a good strategy for a striker because warlock encounter powers produce little DPR, and these powers may allow you to get multiple striker features (e.g., curse, sneak attack, quarry) functioning in the same round. 


Some melee warlocks may also poach Twin Strike (e.g., by the half-elf dilettante power), and then use the Bard feat Combat Virtuoso to attack with Charisma instead of strength or dexterity.  Warlock can then deck themselves out like a ranger and be very respectable strikers. 


Charging


Eldritch Strike is one of the most damaging at-wills usable on a charge in the game.  For example, Eldritch Strike, with curse damage, puts out identical DPR to Howling Strike, which is a much touted barbarian at-will.  


Another charging option for a non-hybrid warlocks is a normal basic attack. If you are a non-hybrid warlock with a  good strength or have taken the feat Melee Training, a basic attack puts out as much damage as Eldritch Strike.  This is because, as a normal warlock, you can apply curse damage on any hit you make.  In contrast, hybrid warlocks don't have this luxury as they must use a  warlock power to apply thier curse damage.


There are a ton of feats and items that increase charging damage, virtually all of which are usable by warlocks.  In addition, warlocks have access to an at-will teleport at level 10, meaning they can easily charge each and every turn.  In short, you can make Shaka's San Diego Supercharger into a warlock with little to no difficulty. 


Lose-Lose Situations


Many players like to borrow defender strategies to create lose-lose situations for enemies that increase DPR.  Ideally the enemy is forced to do something not advantageous.  For example, combining a paladin's Divine Challenge (through the MC feat or a paladin hybrid) and White Lotus Riposte or the Dark pact boon means that the enemy will take damage from you regardless of what it does.  This increases your DPR. 


Another use of the lose-lose situation is using the various riposte effects to encourage the enemy to attack someone else who isn't as big of threat (like most defenders).   This also decreases the liklihood of getting nasty status effects, like stunned or dead, that would decrease your DPR. 

Races 


Races - PHB


  • Dragonborn - This race has such good features, feat support and item support that this race is awesome for any type of striker warlock, especially those who wish to put out solid DPR by exploiting enemy vulnerabilities and not ever missing.  +2 Charisma is gold for Cha'locks, and potentially useful for Con'locks. +2 Strength is useful for armor and multi-class feats.  Dragonbreath and the the bloodied attack bonus are both great on a Striker, especially for Con'locks. The bonus to surges is also tasty. The Draconic Spellcaster feat, Breath Admixture, Radiant Breath and the Rod of the Dragonborn makes Dragonborn warlocks a sight to behold.

  • Dwarf - The +2 Wisdom is a waste, but the +2 Con is gold for Chalocks, and all of the other features make you one tough-ass striker. Dwarves might want to get some heavy armor. 

  • Eladrin - +2 Dex isn't bad as it helps your initiative and helps you easily qualify for Dual Implement Spellcaster. +2 Int is good for your rider effects, which help your control but not damage. The extra class skill is great (I recommend Stealth!), and the teleport is handy, but as a Warlock you have access to more teleporting powers than any other class so the racial is a waste.  Not terrribly good strikers, except for feycharging hybrid warlock builds and they make passable charm specialists.

  • Elf - The stats are in the wrong places and the reroll can only go so far.

  • Half-Elf - Stat bonuses in the right place, and AWESOME feat support.  Just remember to consider implements when selecting your Dilettante power!

  • Halfling - An ok Cha'lock race.  +2 Dex isn't bad as it helps your initiative and helps you easily qualify for Dual Implement Spellcaster. The racial powers will make you a very difficult target, but Gnomes are better.

  • Human - Simply awesome. Humans can pick 1 extra warlock at will, and are the only race to have access to Eldritch Strike without being a hybrid.  And they get +1 to all defenses, a bonus skill, and a bonus feat!  They also have great racial feats.

  • Tiefling - Ironically they are more optimal as Cha'locks than Con'locks, but they can do well in any pact. The racial features are all strikerish and they have some great feats. Remember to grab the Hellfire Blood feat!

Races - PHB 2


  • Deva - The Wis is mostly useless, the +2 Int is great for riders, and you have Memory of a 1000 Life Times to make up for the lack of a Primary stat boost. Passable.

  • Gnome - Like Tieflings they have the perfect stats for Charisma based pacts and fluff-wise they are obvious picks for the Fey Pact. This makes them excellent controller warlocks.  I highly recommend picking a background that lets you take Stealth as a class skill to get the most out of your racials though. Feyborn Charm is also very nice, but it's hard to compare with Dragonborn Cha'locks in the striker game.

  • Goliath - Better than Dwarves in a few ways as the Strength is probably more useful than Wisdom (armor and MCing).

  • Half-Orc - If you're interested in half-orc's, you want to be a half-elf with twin stike or a human with eldritch strike.   

  • Shifter, Longtooth - Cool, but lacking.

  • Shifter, Razorclaw - Cool, but lacking.

Races - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide


  • Drow (FRPG) - Good stats for Cha'locks and their features and feats are all Striker focused.  Plus, the Dark Pact is made from drow.

  • Genasi (FRPG) - +2 Str can help with armor proficiencies, and +2 Int is great for the riders as always, but it's the feats and racial powers (especially Promise of Storm) that can make them not suck.

Races - Eberron Player's Guide


  • Changeling - Apparently the 'official' Doppelganger stats (since they have disappeared from the Compendium...), these guys get an extra +1 to Will, and a combat application of their shapeshifting and can choose to gain +2 Dex instead of Int, but of course you're gonna want Int. Sadly they are the least supported official race, with only two feats at the moment, keeping them as only passable striker warlocks.

  • Kalashtar - You get +2 to Cha, which is great for Cha'locks.  The floating skill bonus is nice, telepathy means language isn't a barrier, and between Dual Soul and Bastion of Mental Clarity you are damn hard to hit with the worst status effects (except stun for some reason). If you plan on intimidating things, Kalashtar are the bomb. 

  • Warforged - Yet another Str/Con race. Faster than dwarves, and can be just as tough.

Races - Dragon Magazine


  • Gnoll (D 367) - Good stats for a Con'lock, and the 7 speed can't hurt. They get a nice bonus to damage rolls when bloodied and are excellent for melee/charging hybrid builds.

  • Minotaur (D 369) - They'd be better if all of their feats and features weren't so heavily melee/charge focused, but they make good melee hybrids. Note: it looks like these guys are going to get a full write up in the upcoming PHB 3, which could really make them a contender.

  • Revenant (D376) - Simply an awesome race. Perfect flavor, and perfect stats for a Con'lock since the dex will help qualify for DIS and help out Initiative. Plus the ability to use another race's feats (e.g, dragonborn) can lead to some great combinations.

  • Shadar-Kai (D 372) - Due to good feat support, you can make some cool Shadar-Kai warlocks.  But without a primary stat boost or anything boosting their accuracy, they're still only passable striker warlocks. 

  • Githzerai (PHB3) - Cool, but not very well suited for Warlocks.

Races - Other


  • Bladeling (MOTP) - Like elves but with worse feat selection.

  • Bugbear (MM) - Decent melee hyrbids, but with no feat support. 

  • Bullywug (MM2) - The stats are good for a Con'lock, but the only power they have is their aura which penalizes enemies for spending a healing surge--how often have you noticed a monster spend a surge? Yeah...

  • Doppelganger (MM) - Apparently they have been replaced by Changeling as of the EPG release, so see above.

  • Duergar (MM2) - Same stats as Dwarves but they trade their goodies for high damage, but very inaccurate racial power, darkvision, and an extra language (and extra speed but they lose the heavy armor affinity). Personally I'd stick with the Dwarf unless they give the racial power an extra +2 to hit like Minotaur's or change it to target Reflex.

  • Githyanki (MM) - The only Con and Int race.  Great race for Con'locks, but a lack of feats hurts. Awesome warlock|swordmage hybrids

  • Goblin (MM) - Passable Cha'locks.

  • Hobgoblin (MM) - Passable

  • Kenku (MM2) - Good stats for a Cha'lock. Pick up some Razordark Bracers and go to town.

  • Kobold (MM) - They just cry out for the Mark of Passage.  Good Con'locks.  Expect them to jump to Sky Blue if/when Dragon gets to them.


  • Orc (MM) - Yet another Str/Con race, and this one has no racial feats and the racial power is Strength based.



Coming soon feats

Coming soon: Powers to kill

Coming soon: Hybrid fun for everyone

Coming soon: Example builds

Even more example builds

Example hybrid builds

Coming soon: Killing things with flair

res

res

I'm done reserving space, please post away.


 


And yes I know the formatting is jacked.  I will be working on it tomorrow.

If you're looking for builds to include, consider the Polearm Warlock: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


It can still use some tweaking, but it's an excellent fighter/warlock (leaning heavily towards warlock) build.  With Iron Vanguard and Draconic Arrogance, it will do str+con extra damage on any push or knock prone.  Since it's using a glaive with Polearm momentum, and push or slide of at least two will knock prone- and it can be built so every power can slide or push at least 2, giving you lots of opportunity to get extra damage.  It can also be very accurate, using Draconic Spellcaster and a glaive that changes damage.  It can also do all of this with Eldritch Strike as a MBA for OAs with polearm gamble, meaning any enemy trying to come adjacent will likely end up prone; similarly the MBA lets it do this on a charge.  A lot of nice strikery potential there.


Good luck with the guide, I'm interested in how it turns out.

I was quite happy with my Epic level Gnome Feylock made in a Warlock Challenge thread, calculating out the damage that could be done per round.  Maybe I'll go and write up a full build setup for it as well as fully tweaking the damage out now that I have a couple more tricks that I've realized now.  Sadly, I know the Heroic and early Paragon levels are "eh" at best.


Anyways, if this turns out to be what I hope for...I will definately keep this in mind for Heroic and early Paragon tier optimization for a Warlock.  I have a horrid time trying to optimize well in that area, without constant guidance.

Looks very interesting. Perhaps you could make build for melee-con-locks?


I have a low level Hexhammer and I think it could be interesting to see your take on the direction I could take it.

This looks very promising, although we're still mostly only at the intro.

This is a really good idea, and good job so far.


I think that the format should be a little altered, though. The best advice that this handbook will be able to give is example builds showcasing strategies that work well to provide reasonable DPR. As such, I think that those should be near the beginning of the handbook. New players especially love to look at those first to see how everything lines up, then they get more specific later.


The stuff you have now is really for more advanced players looking to possibly make their own builds. As such, I'd put it closer to the end.


Also, I don't think that you give Chalocks enough credit. MC Paladin helps their DPR quite a bit. While Divine Challenge + Eyebite (the good ole trick) has lost a bit of its luster, DC + White Lotus Master Riposte is decently potent and is an option that Conlocks don't have.


Also, be sure to include the nice multiattacks that Wizards and Artificers get, as they'll likely help a ton. Flaming Sphere is notable for low levels. Dancing Weapon at level five is nice. At higher levels, all of the prismatic powers really up your DPR.

You might want to make a note about hybrids.  You ONLY get your curse damage when using Warlock powers.  So taking powers from another class will automatically put you at a disadvantage.


Stealing Sorc powers is a terrible idea as they are weak for you, since you have no STR/DEX to damage mod, and cant use curse.  Bardic powers are not damaging.  Pally powers arent super damaging either.


So while you can steal minor, free, interrupt type attacks and cool utilities, you won't want straight up non-warlock standard action attack powers, in general.

My Sorc Guide Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19649162/Joes_Sorcerer_Guide_AP_update_51509 My Genesi Wizard Blaster Link: http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/25082729/Miniguide_to_Genesi_LightningThunder_Blaster_Wizard_%2806-2010%29

Half-Elf + Hand of Radiance + Bard Multiclass feat + Combat Virtuoso + Student of Caiphon can turn into some large scale control/striker damage. The base damage might not be especially great, but when you throw in Student of Caiphon, the odds of critting go way, way, way up. Yes, this only works in certain combats, but most 4e combats tend to have more than 2 opponents. 4 attacks in Epic means you have a 60% chance of generating a crit in a round when there are 4 opponents. This can fuel a lot of Epic crit nonsense, especially given it is Radiant...


In that combo, Bardic Ritualist isn't a bad way to get the Bard access - Warlock is the one arcane class that doesn't by default get Arcana and being able to cast Song of Sustenance at 8+ for free each day is amazing(+5 to all endurance checks for the entire party might be better than the majestic word)


 


Half-Elf + Hand of Radiance + Bard Multiclass feat + Combat Virtuoso + Student of Caiphon can turn into some large scale control/striker damage. The base damage might not be especially great, but when you throw in Student of Caiphon, the odds of critting go way, way, way up. Yes, this only works in certain combats, but most 4e combats tend to have more than 2 opponents. 4 attacks in Epic means you have a 60% chance of generating a crit in a round when there are 4 opponents. This can fuel a lot of Epic crit nonsense, especially given it is Radiant...




Yet without an Invoker MC feat, you can never use an implement with Hand of Radiance, meaning its less accurate, less damaging, and never gets Critical Hit damage.  Hence why I prefer sticking to Blazing Starfall when dealing with Student of Caiphon and Charisma Starlocks, as you do not even need to take the Sorcerer MC feat to use an implement with it if you take Arcane Implement Proficiency.


Now if only there was a good Radiant version for Con/Int Starlocks...

Yet without an Invoker MC feat, you can never use an implement with Hand of Radiance, meaning its less accurate, less damaging, and never gets Critical Hit damage.  Hence why I prefer sticking to Blazing Starfall when dealing with Student of Caiphon and Charisma Starlocks, as you do not even need to take the Sorcerer MC feat to use an implement with it if you take Arcane Implement Proficiency.

Now if only there was a good Radiant version for Con/Int Starlocks...




Eh, thought it was cleaner than that, but Windrise Ports and a starting Wis of 12 solves both of those issues...even lets you pick up Visions of Blood or Grasping Shards as a once per encounter option. And as a Rod is an Invoker implement...

First off I just wanted to thank everyone for thier helpful comments and encouragement.  Hopefully, with your help, this guide can help some people make good use of a sorely under-rated class. 


I plan on putting up a lot of different, high DPR builds, using the different strategies I've set out already. So if anyone has a nice high dpr build that is primarily warlock, please keep letting me know. 



I think that the format should be a little altered, though. The best advice that this handbook will be able to give is example builds showcasing strategies that work well to provide reasonable DPR. As such, I think that those should be near the beginning of the handbook. New players especially love to look at those first to see how everything lines up, then they get more specific later.


The stuff you have now is really for more advanced players looking to possibly make their own builds. As such, I'd put it closer to the end.




You're probably right.  However, I'd like to try to put as much info as possible up and then play around with formatting to make it the most usable. 



Also, I don't think that you give Chalocks enough credit. MC Paladin helps their DPR quite a bit. While Divine Challenge + Eyebite (the good ole trick) has lost a bit of its luster, DC + White Lotus Master Riposte is decently potent and is an option that Conlocks don't have.




You're right in that there probably is an eigth strategy: the lose-lose stragety that warlock can borrow from defenders. 


With that said, check out my Sun Warlock build.  This is an initial draft of the build, but I am reasonably certain that it can out damage any actual cha'lock build using the same DC + White Lotus Master Riposte strategy.   


 



If you're looking for builds to include, consider the Polearm Warlock: community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...


It can still use some tweaking, but it's an excellent fighter/warlock (leaning heavily towards warlock) build.  With Iron Vanguard and Draconic Arrogance, it will do str+con extra damage on any push or knock prone. 



I love gish builds and was wanting to include some nice push builds with good DPR, so I really appreciate your suggestion.



I was quite happy with my Epic level Gnome Feylock made in a Warlock Challenge thread, calculating out the damage that could be done per round.  Maybe I'll go and write up a full build setup for it as well as fully tweaking the damage out now that I have a couple more tricks that I've realized now.  Sadly, I know the Heroic and early Paragon levels are "eh" at best.



That is a nice epic cha'lock build.  An eyebite build that hurts.....who would have thought Laughing 


Thanks again for all of your comments.  This looks like it's going to be a fun guide to put together.


 

The feat "Sorcerous Power" allows you to add your Dex or Str bonus to the damage of all arcane powers. However, it is a bad fit for the secondaries, and requires Sorcerer PMC.

This is my take on a Strikerlock, using the hybrid advice from the guide. I chose all Caiphon powers simply for flavor. 


 



Strikerlock, level 16


Tiefling, Swordmage|Warlock, Student of Caiphon


Swordmage Aegis (Hybrid): Aegis of Assault


Eldritch Pact (Hybrid): Star Pact (Hybrid)


Hybrid Warlock: Hybrid Warlock Reflex


Hybrid Talent: Swordmage Warding


Eldritch Strike: Eldritch Strike Charisma


Twofold Pact: Fey Pact


Background: Birth - Cursed (+2 to Bluff)


 


FINAL ABILITY SCORES


Str 14, Con 12, Dex 11, Int 22, Wis 9, Cha 22.


 


STARTING ABILITY SCORES


Str 13, Con 11, Dex 10, Int 16, Wis 8, Cha 16.


 


 


AC: 32 Fort: 20 Reflex: 25 Will: 25


HP: 100 Surges: 8 Surge Value: 25


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Arcana +19, Streetwise +19, Bluff +23, Intimidate +19


 


UNTRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +8, Diplomacy +14, Dungeoneering +7, Endurance +9, Heal +7, History +14, Insight +7, Nature +7, Perception +7, Religion +14, Stealth +10, Thievery +8, Athletics +10


 


FEATS


Level 1: Hybrid Talent


Level 2: Weapon Expertise (Heavy Blade)


Level 4: Vengeful Curse


Level 6: Soldier of the Faith


Level 8: White Lotus Riposte


Level 10: Focused Expertise (Longsword)


Level 11: Relentless Curse


Level 12: Twofold Curse


Level 14: Twofold Pact


Level 16: Devastating Critical


 


POWERS


Hybrid Swordmage at-will 1: Sword Burst


Hybrid Warlock at-will 1: Eldritch Strike


Hybrid encounter 1: Flame Cyclone


Hybrid daily 1: Dread Star


Hybrid utility 2: Caiphon's Leap


Hybrid encounter 3: Delban's Deadly Attention


Hybrid daily 5: Enervating Slash


Hybrid utility 6: Swordmage's Decree


Hybrid encounter 7: Dazing Rebuke


Hybrid daily 9: Brood of Hadar


Hybrid utility 10: Troublesome Aid of Caiphon


Hybrid encounter 13: Dark Reach of Xevut (replaces Flame Cyclone)


Hybrid daily 15: Free the Storm Within (replaces Dread Star)


Hybrid utility 16: Caiphon's Disquieting Liberty


 


ITEMS


Sunblade Longsword +2, Veteran's Leather Armor +3, Bracers of Mighty Striking (heroic tier), Boots of Eagerness (heroic tier), Feinting Gloves (heroic tier)

Try this trick for CHA'locks:


Turn 1: Curse target (who we hope is not a minion)


Turn 2: Chains of Levistus: 2d6 cold and call in 1d6 curse damage


Turn 3: Curse of the Dark Dream: 3d6(?) radiant and 2d6 cold from Chains (because you make him move) and call in 1d6 curse damage.


Total: 9d6 damage (average 31.5 HP).   You can do this once a day (Dark Dream is a daily) starting at Level 1.  You could also look for other encounter powers that make the target move, so you can do it fight after fight.


Feel free to correct me if I am misapplying any rules.

Best complements I have yet received

Making it up as I go along:

{BRJN} If I was writing the Tome of Lore, I would let Auppenser sleep. But I also would have him dream. In his dreaming he re-activates the innate powers of (some) mortal minds. Or his dreaming changes the nature of reality - currently very malleable thanks to Spellplague &c. Or whatever really cool flavor text and pseudo-science explanation people react positively to.

{Lord_Karsus} You know, I like that better than the explanations for the Spellplague.

 

{BRJN} If Bhaal approves of The Joker, does he approve of Jack Nicholson's portrayal or Heath Ledger's protrayal more?

{Stigger} That question is utterly classic, and completely on target.

 

Prepped ahead of time:

I started the 4e thread "1001 Failed Interrogation Results" (now lost in that great electronic goodnight, alas)

{ADHadh} These are all good and make sense! I just can't come up with something that's not covered here and is not completely ridiculous.

 

(News bulletin: Updated thread to be posted after I review the 5e DMG)

 

My 5e characters

Active:

none yet - gotta find a group !

Character Ready-to-go:

Erevyn Meliamne, Wood elf Monk1, inspired by "Radar O'Reilley" from M*A*S*H

Concepts I'm kicking around:

Barbarian w/Tough feat, to be nearly indestructible

"Truenamer" cleric - all spells are Verbal

"Buggy" Wizard - insect flavor on everything.  His DMPC / BBEG version is going to become a beetle version of a Worm That Walks.  (See the 4e Lamia.)  Because lichdom is so cliche.

In a debate on Warlock damage powers, I produced a build using SongNSilences now unfortunately defunct Wizard's Fury/Feycharger build. The build used Ageis of Assault, Riposte, and Eladrin Swordmage Advance. The "nerfing" of Reaper's Touch pretty much killed the old Arcane Feychargers, save for one: the Warlock. Eldritch Strike is still around to serve as an Arcane Keyword Basic Melee Attack. Here is the build I did:


 


 


The Revenant Warcharger
Eladring Soul Revenant Assaulting Swoardmage|Warlock/Fighter/Academy Master/Sage of Ages

Strength: 12 > 14 > 17 (4)
Constituion: 18 > 21 > 26
Dexterity: 18 > 20 > 22 (2)
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 8

Related Feats: Called Shot, Prime Punisher, Arcane Admixture (Thunder), Student of the Sword, Feycharger, Feywild Protection, Eladrin Swordmage Advance, White Lotus Enervation, Focused Expertise (Light Blade), White Lotus Riposte, White Lotus Master Riposte, Eladrin Soul, Weapon Focus (Light Blade), Dual Implement Spell-casting, Two Weapon Fighting, Two Weapon Opening, White Lotus Evasion

Relevant Powers: Eldritch Blast

Relevant Items: +6 Bloodiron Daggers x 2, +6 Bracers of Mighty Striking

To hit: +37 vs. 43

To hit: 15 (Half Level) + 6 (Enhance) + 1 (Academy Master) + 3 (Implement Expertise) + 2 (Sage of Ages) + 1 (Enervation) + 8 (Constiution) + 1 (Prime Shot)

Damage: 2d10 + 6 (Enhancement) + 6 (Bracers) + 6 (Dual Implement) + 5 (Prime Punisher) + 5 (Academy Master) + 1 (TWF) + 3 (Weapon Focus) + 8 (Constitution)

47 average
59 on Charge
71 on Charge + Curse

Average Eldritch Blast DPR, No Opening: (175*2/20)+(47*14/20) = 50.4
Average Eldritch Blast DPR, +Opening: (225.4*2/20)+(47*14/20) = 55.44
Average Eldritch Blast Charge DPR, +Opening and Sage: (225.4*.19)+(71*.77) = 97.496

DPR Before Thunder: 208.376

Thunder DPR: 8.5989+11.9178+14.5578 = 35.0745
Total DPR: 35.0745+208.376 = 243.4505


 


 


You can basically replace the Feywild Protection feat with Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword) and start with  14 Dex and 16 Strength to get about the same DPR. The build probably needs some work to be "playable," but it pretty much contains all of the tricks to recreate the classic Arcane Feycharger is a new form.


---


I also may work on combining some of the tricks presented so far in this guide and in this build to create a functional and versatile gish-striker build.

I am a: Lawful Good Dragonborn Paladin

I just want to say that I think you are doing a great job with this guide.  Warlock has been one of my favorite classes flavor wise, and I'v freequently wondered how to pump their dammage up to true striker levels.  I look forward to seeing your builds section when you get arround to posting it.

When talkinga about revs, you should mention some stuff about certian races that have good feats, but lack the stats needed.


Shradi kai for example have the ability to bypass necrotic resistance. I think Reapers touch also is now only limited to them as well.

I'd get along more with people if they didn't jump onto a hyberbole every single time you say something they don't understand.

Yay, Furious Kender! Excellent idea for a guide, and I'll see about digging up some good Builds when I don't feel so crappy. :S

Also, anyone who needs any specific help with a Warlock Build can always PM me for assisstance.

Resident Logic Cannon

I'm very happy about you writing this guide, always hoped someone would do this.


Added the handbook and your Sun Warlock to the Wiki.

Adopt one today!

Looks like a great start.  I'd like to contribute a beginning gank combo for this effort:


Infernal Lock+Wizard/Bloodmage/Etc.


Lay down a zone that damages when you enter it, like Hunger of Hadar, Wall of Fire, or Stinking Cloud. 


Next turn, use Blood Pulse on enemies near the zone and then action point to hit one of them with something like Harrowstorm.


Slide the enemy into and out of the zone repeatedly. 


They take zone damage up to 5+ times, damage for 10 squares of sliding or so, curse, and whatever damage you dealt with powers.

Builds and Guides The Cosmonaut a build that teleports foes into space. November Errata Item Guide a guide to equipping Avengers and Strikers after the November errata. 100% Crit Rate Ardent Champion an Avenger combo that autocrits and/or inflicts infinite damage at level 11.

Hiya Guys,


Just a little update on what I'm doing. 


Taking your advice, I've been making builds.  These are typically modified versions of ones you guys have posted, and posting them on different threads so I can add the relatively finalized version into the guide. Hopefully this will keep down the clutter.


For builds, I wanted to start off with ranged builds that should be playable at every level as those are the most popular. 


I've got a leveled Gnome Fey Pact warlock/Bard/Long Night Scion/Radiant One with 112 at-will dpr using eyebite and teleportation damage. 


I've also got a my Sun Warlock, which is a Dragonborn Infernal Pact Warlock/Paladin/Morninglord/Demigod with 159 at-will dpr. 


If any of you have comments or suggestions I would love to here them on those threads. 


I plan on putting out a crit fishing ranged build, and then move into the melee realm.


From there I plan on putting out some Hybrid builds.


Then I am going back and finish the guide out. 

As long as we're talking about striker-focused Warlocks, I've got a level 11 Warlock/Swordmage hybrid that I've been loving the hell out of.  Mostly focuses on the "lose-lose" scenario, using Defender tactics to become a better striker.  I'm at my work computer, but I think I can reconstruct it from memory...


 


Class: Hybrid Warlock (Infernal) | Swordmage (Aegis of Shielding) -> Academy Master


At-Wills: Swordburst, Eldritch Strike


Relevant Starting Stats: Con 18/Int 18/Dex 13


Feats: Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword), White Lotus Riposte, Focused Expertise (Bastard Sword), Weapon Focus (Heavy Blades), Dual Implement Spellcaster, Sacrifice to Caiphon, White Lotus Master Riposte


Encounter Powers: Vampiric Embrace, Dimensional Vortex, Dazing Rebuke, Learned Boost


Daily Powers: Frost Backlash, Tyrannical Threat, Vestige of Ilmeth


Utility Powers: Ethereal Stride, Armathor's Step, Dimensional Dodge


Fights with main hand bastard sword/offhand pact blade.  Almost exclusively focuses on attacking with Eldritch Strike (+17 v AC, 1d10 + 14 + 2d6 damage), with most encounter/daily powers as immediate interrupts.


He marks his main target, uses teleports to stay close, and gives him a lovely lose-lose situation - attack, getting hit with White Lotus Master Riposte, Pact Blade damage, damage from Tyrannical Threat, etc., or attack someone else with Aegis of Shielding and the threat of Dimensional Vortex.


So far he's been a ton of fun, consistently out-damaging the johnny-come-lately sorcerer in the party.  I could probably tweak him to eek out some more damage, or end up significantly stronger on the defensive side, but he's doing a bit of both right now and I've been pretty happy with it.

Piggy--


I'm also running a Swordmage|Warlock at 11th, and with the goal of creating a fun catch 22. It's interesting seeing someone else's approach, because I had a similar basic idea-- use the mark to create extra damage.


My version is a human with 20/20 Con & Int at 11th. Fey was the initial hybrid pact, which I took to set up Feytouched PP. At 11th, I trained Greater Aegis of Shielding and retrained a Heroic tier feat to pick up Twofold Pact for Infernal-- to give me a total At-Will line up of Sword Burst, Booming Blade, Hellish Rebuke, Eldritch Strike.


Should be a lot of fun to play. Lots of Ethereal Sidestep for Slashing Wake damage, and auto-damage from White Lotus Riposte.

I need to get around to posting up a build I am playing, but the gist of it is as follows.


 


Revenant Shadar-Kai Vestiage Pact Warlock/Academy Master/Raven Consort.


Basically he was once a Shadar-Kai who died and was sent back by his Queen, and through her has access to the vestiages of souls to power his works.


For starters he is very hard to kill - very high con and plenty of HPs and surges, but that isn't the limit of it.  If he gets to 0 health, he goes insubstantial and remains concious - with a full set of actions - until he fails 2 death saves and doesn't die until he fails 5.  He rolls twice for each death save, taking the highest - and he gets +3 to saves from feats (plus whatever he can source from other items.)  Whenver he makes a death saving throw, due to his epic destiny, he gets a culmulative +2 to all saving throws and defences until the end of the encounter, and on any 20+ death save he gets healing equal to 2 healing surges for the price of one.  In addition there is a new heroic tier feat for Revenant worshipers of the Raven Queen in Dragon 380 - Restless Dead.  If reduced to 0 HP or fewer and still concious, he gets another +2 to attack rolls and all defences.


So killing him is hard enough - but he can also hurt things badly.


He has Reapers Touch, DIS, Weapon Focus (light blades), focused expertise (daggers), AIP, Called Shot and Prime Punisher.


He wears Shadow Warlock armour, which gives him CA to any cursed creature while he has shadow walk going.  That allows the property of Ankhmon's Bracers to trigger - doing an extra 1d10 damage (and healing the same amount) on any arcane attack power.  It also triggers the property of Hands of Hadar - this does an extra 2d6 damage to any enemy you hit while you have CA against it and do curse damage.


He chooses a target not engaged by others, curses it and moves at least 3 squares to attack in in melee.


 


Long and the short of it his Eldrict Blast is an MBA doing base 2d10 + 10 CON + 6 ENH +6 DIS Offhand + 3 Weap Focus +5 Academy Master + 5 Called Shot +1d10 Bracers +3d6 curse +2d6 hands of Hadar + 12 Offhand Bloodclaw or 3d10 + 5d6 + 47.  As a MBA.  It can be boosted once an encounter by 2d10 (Academy Master power) and 1d8+CON MOD (Revenant Dark Reaping power).


 


None too shabby.


 


 


 


 


 


Looks like a great start.  I'd like to contribute a beginning gank combo for this effort:


Infernal Lock+Wizard/Bloodmage/Etc.


Lay down a zone that damages when you enter it, like Hunger of Hadar, Wall of Fire, or Stinking Cloud. 


Next turn, use Blood Pulse on enemies near the zone and then action point to hit one of them with something like Harrowstorm.


Slide the enemy into and out of the zone repeatedly. 


They take zone damage up to 5+ times, damage for 10 squares of sliding or so, curse, and whatever damage you dealt with powers.



Seconding this. When going nova, bloodlocks are easily some of the most damaging paragon-tier strikers in the game--and with powers like spiteful darts, things only get better in epic. Throw in the terrific synergy between bolstering blood and hellish rebuke, and going bloodmage really is a no brainer for any con-lock with at least 16 INT.


I'll also second the incredible usefulness of bloodclaw weapons for hellocks in heroic, regardless of whether you ever make melee or weapon attacks. In fact, I'd say that if anything, bloodclaw weapons are more useful to helllocks than to any other class in the game except for maybe rangers--most weapon users only get a pretty decent damage bump from bloodclaw, whereas Helllocks literally double their effectiveness and turn Hellish rebuke into the second best striker at-will in the game after only the godlike twin strike.

First off, great guide so far! I especially like the observation that Warlocks seem to be designed to function as Lurkers.


Second, thank you very much for all the plugs.


I really think this is a great idea for a guide, as I can tell you from working on my guide that you are absolutely right that it really is hard to stick to the DPR-focused true Striker, both when building a character and in writing a warlock guide! 


Lastly, I wish you better luck than I've had of keeping the guide up to date.

uh, i have an idea for a sunlock and i'm not sure if it works.


the core of it is the noble bred for war background,  a radiant shortsword, a bloodclaw shortsword, a constitution infernal pact warlock build, student of caiphon pp, and these feats:


arcane implement proficiency (light blade) the focused expertise and weapon focus feats that are appropriate, dual implement spellcaster, riposte, master riposte, and all the other feats that add up your damage bonuses (like called shot and empowering shadows)


it's pretty straightforward, using the shortswords as implements and as ways to get all that 18-20 crit ranges and ongoing damagesfor the pp, and the bloodclaw's ability to tack on more damage and possibly shoot off a hellish rebuke.


i've heard on other threads that offhand implements can add their effects to a spell cast, just without the enhancement bonus, and i thought that if i can use these shortswords as implements that i can add their abilities to spells i cast through the weapon, (like radiant weapon changes all damage dealt by this weapon are changed to radiant damage) and the bloodclaw as well. is this true or am i horribly wrong?

if star'locks take the hexer pp if they were to use their warlock's curse damage when they use their dire radiance and then the target slides towards them, does that set off the second part of the attack?


 

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