Since Malkonnen's guide has not been updated in a while, missing material from several Dragon magazines and, most importantly, the Essentials books, this guide is meant as a spiritual successor to The Power of the Dark Side: The Warlock's Handbook, and much credit will be given to him for its role in this guide's creation.
Credit will also be given to several others: LordDuskblade for the handbook format that's now taken for granted here; Zelink551 for the encouragement; Malkonnen as mentioned above for the (excellent) original guide and the inspiration for this guide; anyone here who posts with honest opinions. I need 'em. :p
Part One: What Are You?
As a Warlock, you belong in the realm of the Arcane Striker, a designation you share with your AOE-centric cousin, the Sorcerer. However, the two classes are monumentally different. You fit more along the lines of the Ranger, of which you share the same Player's Handbook: instead of focusing on AOE DPR, you go instead for single-target heavy damage, with a huge bent on Controller abilities. Indeed, you are second-to-none in this regard, acting as an excellent single-target Controller while putting down solid damage to honor your original intent.
How you work as a Striker is also rather unique. Your power grows as enemies fall to their deaths, giving you special abilities and boosts depending on the Pact you sign with. You also share the "Quarry" feature of the Ranger in the Warlock's Curse; however, the Curse is arguably much more powerful than Hunter's Quarry, as the damage bonus component can be boosted to absurd numbers, on top of several feats and items that can give you incredibly nice boosts, such as automatic combat advantage, defensive boosts in convenient equipment slots, and accuracy boosts.
Before I get into the Striker Traits, you may be seeing a lot of colors in this guide. On features, powers, feats and the like, you'll be seeing these colors, adopted and borrowed from LordDuskblade's handbooks:
Gold (near mandatory or jaw-droppingly good) Light Blue (very good, or at least worth serious consideration) Blue (good, though probably not excellent) Black (middle-of-the-road, but not bad) Purple (mediocre, or build specific) Red (terrible or otherwise not recommended)
Green (no rating, shows emphasis)
So, to clarify how you compare with other Strikers:
Alpha Striking: Unfortunately, this kinda isn't your best suit. A common characteristic of 4e Strikers is multiple attacks in one round, out-of-turn attacks, or "zone abuse". While you're decent at the second and OK in the third, the first of this list is not something you really do. On top of which, your Curse only works once per turn, and your Encounters and Dailies do not do significant damage over your At-Wills, so that's regretable.
Damage/Round (DPR): This is an area you're quite a bit better at, especially since Arcane Power and several trains of Dragon Magazines have come out. Prime Shot really helps here, since you ride more on accuracy than straight damage rolls, and starting at level 9 or thereabouts, whenever Shadow Warlock Armor comes into play, automatic combat advantage nearly every round is quite awesome.
Debilitating Effects:Aw yea, now we're talking. Though again, you work more in the single-target range, what you can sling around in regards to Controller abilities is phenomenal. You run the gamut from teleportation, to daze, stun, immobilize, dominate, and even attack dissuasion - eliminating yourself from the board as a legitimate option to attack does help in several ways. Charisma-based Warlocks come close to goldin this field.
Survivability:As the first of only two Constitution-primary (if you so choose) classes in the game, you can choose to be one of the healthiest Strikers in the business, with a solid stockade of hitpoints and healing surges. On-demand Concealment also tends to help you a lot, on top of the propensity to stay five to ten squares away from everything you want to hit (having a Defender blocking the enemy's path to your face tends to work quite well for you). Charisma'locks are a little worse, but can still pull some strings to keep themselves out of danger. Being stuck in Leather armor could be a little bit of an issue, especially if your race doesn't get a bonus to Intelligence, but you can manage, especially as a lot of neat enchantments are contained in Leather.
Targeting Capacity: Another advantage of being a ranged combatant is the freedom of choice as to what you want to hit. And especially as you gain a bonus to defenses just for shimmying along in the battlefield, you can stray inwards a little bit to gain your Prime Shot bonus and ruin a monster's day. Several facets of the Warlock also rely on teleportation, which also helps a lot with mobility, but some Warlocks may not want to get too much in danger to force their Prime Shot to activate, especially with melee-focused allies.
The Hexblade and Binder - I'll Cast a Shadow
Luckily, handbooks already exist for the two Essentials daughter classes. They may be slightly outdated, but barring suggestion for an updated version of either, I will present these guides, written by LordVentnor and Malisteen, respectively.
So, what exactly makes a Warlock tick? What makes them different from the Ranger, the Rogue, the Sorcerer, the Blackguard, the... everything else?
Several little things. But first, a bit of a look at the basics.
Stats and Proficiencies: The Bare-Bones Bargaining Chip
Hit-Points:12 + Constitution score. At the standard for your role. Better than the Assassin here (then again, so is every other Striker), but worse than the Avenger and Barbarian.
Healing Surges:6 + Constitution modifier. A little problematic for Charisma'locks, but Constitution'locks will jump for joy at just how much in both this field and the field above they have in terms of elbow-room. Enjoy your Defender-level hitpoints, gents... at least for awhile.
Proficiencies:Cloth, Leather. Simple Weapons. Rod, Wand implements. The armor is less of a deal than you'd think, but it's actually a bit iffy in terms of implements. The two implements they would most want - the Staff for damage and the Orb for debuff potential - are lost here. Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of Rods built for Warlocks to swing with ease and efficiency, and you will actually want one at least in the off-hand for property's sake... but the fact of the matter is that Wands are not very impressive in the hands of a Warlock, and nothing will compare to the Staff of Ruin when it comes to damage-buffing. This problem is very easy to fix, however - one feat, and you're good to go.
Defensive Bonuses:+1 Reflex, +1 Will. Charisma'locks will enjoy a strong Will score, but Constitution'locks that aren't devoting themselves to Charisma as an off-score will probably not care as much. Still, two buffed defenses is nothing to sneeze at.
Class Features: Leafing the Pages of the Necronomicon
Eldritch Blast: Wizards of the Coast decided that Warlock at-wills must be chosen for them, one of them based on their pact... and this one. You'll certainly get chummy with your local Warlord, as this is a legitimate Ranged Basic Attack, but otherwise you're slinging around a Longbow. Happy joy.
Since PH Heroes: Series 1 however, you are allowed to take a melee version of this: Eldritch Strike, which is a Constitution- or Charisma-based melee basic attack which slides the target 1 square as a hit. It's one of the most poached at-wills in the game, especially with the slide portion of the power opening itself up to so many tricks, and is a great alternative for Warlocks who either want to stay in the front lines (usually as a Con'lock), provide an escape option (Cha'lock), or go into the massive amount of charge support in the game.
Pact Boons: Every Warlock starts his or her career by choosing to sign with one of six different Pacts: Infernal (PHB1), Star (PHB1), Fey (PHB1), Dark (FRPG), Vestige (AP),Sorcerer-King (Dark Sun), or Elemental (HoEC). From each pact, you get your second at-will power and a special effect that happens when an enemy subject to your Warlock's Curse falls to zero hitpoints by any happenstance. In fights where enemies come in the dozens and your mobility is at its peak, this is a tremendously powerful addition to your repetroire, but in solo fights will be largely forgotten and abandoned.
Prime Shot: Oh, hey Ranger class feature, what're you doing here? Making accuracy awesome, that's what. You can make it work much more easily for you compared to our lovely Martial brethren, since you're less timid in ranged combat. The feat support for this feature is massive, and worth comin' in close for. Just be careful...
Shadow Walk: On-demand Concealment is amazing, and quite a fantastic way to patch up your otherwise mediocre defenses. It's easy to trigger, too: just move 3 squares from your starting position! You gain a +2 bonus to defenses in partial concealment, which is what this feature grants; but that's not the only thing you get out of this. The aforementioned Shadow Warlock Armor gives you Combat Advantage against every Cursed enemy in sight. You also have a much easier time using your Stealth skill, as you require cover or concealment to keep any Hidden status you might obtain.
Warlock's Curse: And this, my friends, is our Striker-feature right here. Once per round as a minor action, you can subject the closest enemy to you that you can see to your Warlock's Curse, which lasts all encounter, and does not vanish on application on other enemies. What does this do? It allows you to deal extra dice of damage once per turn with any attack you inflict on them. This is so exploitable it's not even funny: there's a myriad of ways, both control-based and damage-based, to utilize this feature, the biggest of which revolves around the fact that it was recently changed to once per turn (those Immediate Action attacks and attacks granted to you by enabling Leaders are lookin' mighty pretty).
Part Three: Warlock Pacts - The Paths To Hell
Speaking of getting chummy with people: as explained in the Pact Boon section, each Warlock must pick a Pact that best follows how they want to play their character and what powers they'd like to favor. Each of the seven, along with its designated at-will power, will be described below, both in regards to its At-Will power that it selects for you, as well as how well they represent the Warlock class in these specific categories:
CONTROL: Propensity for debilitating effects, forced movement
DAMAGE: DPR potential, whether ongoing or straight hits
DEFENSE: Tenacity to remain standing in combat, ability to act as a quasi-Defender
LEADERSHIP: Debuffs, buffs, heals
SUPPORT: Availability of support for the pact, through feats/items/Paragon Paths
INFERNAL PACT (Player's Handbook 1) / ControlDamageDefenseLeadership Support Constitution-based, with a smattering of (good) Charisma-based powers. Contains one of the most abused at-wills in all of 4e D&D.
Pact Boon: Dark One's Blessing. When an enemy cursed by you falls to zero hitpoints, you gain temporary hitpoints equal to your level. Now that's kinda spiffy: several of your powers, especially outside of PHB1, love to drain you of your hitpoints in exchange for a reroll, and this will help you with that sting. Defensive-based Warlocks will love this Boon, but keep in mind temporary hitpoints do not stack, so killing multiple enemies in one fell swoop, or killing enemies when your stock of temp hitpoints hasn't vanished yet, can make this boon wasteful. Ah well.
At-WillPowers:Hellish Rebuke,Gift to Avernus. Hellish Rebuke (Constitution) is incredibly cool. Target takes some blasé fire damage, and if you're damaged by anything, they take even more damage! And that trigger point can be from anything - that enemy's attack, another enemy's attack, ongoing damage, a stray arrow, your own abilities, anything. There are a ton of builds centered around the abuse of this very power alone... though the rating drops if you don't really bother to get in the thick of things.
On the other hand, you're allowed to pick Gift to Avernus (Charisma). It's Eldritch Blast without the RBA addition or the Constitution-based option... meh. Oh, but wait! If you miss with it, you can reroll it, with a very, very convenient cost: a dent to your hitpoints equal to your level. Doesn't that sound kinda familiar? It should, as it perfectly overlaps with your pact boon. Unpenalized(ish) rerolls are incredibly nice for your DPR, and if you want to go down this path and favor Charisma, take this - you won't regret it.
STAR PACT (Player's Handbook 1) / ControlDamage Defense Leadership Support Can be effective as either a Con'lock or Cha'lock, and the riders on these powers are quite nice. You also gain access to a marvelous little Paragon Path, of which will be described later on.
Pact Boon: Fate of the Void. When an enemy cursed by you falls to zero hitpoints, you gain a cumulative +1 bonus to one attack roll, saving throw, skill check, or ability check you make - your choice to apply whenever any of these come up - until the end of your turn. Afterwards, the bonus is lost. Great on its own, but just one feat makes this fantastic. This is one Pact that encourages Cursing enemies as fast as possible and nuking them to gain a giant bonus to an attack roll you make with, say, a Daily...
At-Will Powers:Dire Radiance. Can be used as either a Charisma-based or Constitution-based power. The rating isn't such that the effect is weak - it's not exactly a hard trigger point - it's just that the effect is hard to trigger in the context of battle. Melee enemies will probably not move after it's locked onto your allies, and ranged enemies will probably not bother to move. The secondary damage triggers when they move closer to you, which is soft control (giving enemies a bad option and a good option); not a very positive slant. It is radiant damage, and that's open to a lot of tricks, but as it is it really needs a clever mind and a well-aligned battlefield to function.
FEY PACT (Player's Handbook 1) / ControlDamageDefenseLeadership Support Fully Charisma-based. The powers are very Control-heavy, sacrificing damage for stellar effects, but you can still be a good Striker without heightened numbers of dice to roll.
Pact Boon: Misty Step. When an enemy cursed by you falls to zero hitpoints, you teleport 3 squares as a free action. Done and done. Multiple enemies falling at once can give you a bonkers amount of mobility, but it's unexpected free movement, and can be incredibly tricky to take advantage of - though don't forget that this boon will refresh the duration of Shadow Walk, so that's something.
At-Will Powers:Eyebite. The damage is stark, and the benefit is a bit limited - you'll have fantastic defenses against the enemy if you hit, decent defenses against everyone else, and... that's about it. Certainly handy, but boring.
DARK PACT (Forgotten Realms) / ControlDamage Defense Leadership Support Entirely Charisma-based. Heavy on the DPR; falls into the problem of emphasizing necrotic and poison damage, which is strange considering the anti-undead bent of this Pact. Still, though, a very cool Pact to follow.
PactBoon:DarkspiralAura. Mmm-mmm, Catch-22s. When an enemy cursed by you falls to zero hitpoints, you add one point to a special little bank called your Darkspiral Aura. Whenever an enemy targets you with a melee or ranged attack, you can drop your Aura as an immediate interrupt to deal xd6/xd8/xd10 damage to the target, X being the amount of points in your Aura. Like the Star and Fey Pacts, this encourages Cursing as fast as possible, and very large encounters to give yourself a humongously strong punishment for enemies attacking you. Recognize, however, that the scaling of this is suspect (never growing above 1d12 per point at 21st level with a feat) and in fights against solo creatures with a Defender doing his job, you might as well forget this exists, even if that solo has lackeys.
At-Will Powers:Spiteful Glamor. d12 damage if the target is at full hitpoints, and d8 otherwise. No other effects. Yawn. At least it attacks Will...
VESTIGE PACT (Arcane Power) / Control Damage Defense LeadershipSupport Constitution-based. Still very Strikery, but actually trades in a bit of Control for being a quasi-Leader. And to be honest, the Vestige Pact does that very well; it's honestly my favorite pact out of all of them.
(NOTE: The ratings fluctuate depending on the Vestige Pact chosen.) The Vestige PactShow
Pact Boon: Vestige of King Elidyr; Vestige of Zutwa; various. This is much trickier: when an enemy cursed by you falls to zero hitpoints, you follow the Pact Boon of a specific ancient Vestige that you've signed your pact to. At the end of any rest, you select either of the two primary Vestiges to follow, King Elidyr or Zutwa. This determines not only your Pact Boon, but your special At-Will power's secondary effect. Whenever you use a Daily Warlock power that has Vestige in the name, you can choose to sign into that pact instead of your original one - at that point, your Boon and At-Will's secondary effect changes to incorporate the effects listed. It's book-keeping to the max, and unfortunately only the Vestige of Zutwa pact boon is of any worth by default, as on-demand Prime Shot (and the spike to the bonus as the pact boon) is going to be much more handy than the weak Leader-like abilities that King Elidyr contains.
At-Will Powers:Eyes of the Vestige. Human Constitution'locks? This is your At-Will, period. This power is incredible; the ability to spread damage and Curses around to more important targets is fantastic, and the power would be just fine by itself, without the special Augments you get from your current Vestige. The damage you inflict is a tad low, but it's against Will, and can carry some monstrously good effects if you ally yourself with the right Vestiges.
SORCERER-KING PACT (Dark Sun) / Control Damage DefenseLeadershipSupport Every power for you guys is Constitution- or Charisma-based, with an attack range of Melee touch or Ranged 5. This is also very Leadery, and is incredibly versatile on every front, able to be slotted in to any build. A very popular candidate for Twofold Pact due to how wonderful its feats are.
Pact Boon: Fell Scorn. Very simple: you start your encounters with a Fell Might as a King'lock, and whenever you use a Warlock power tied to the Sorcerer-King pact, you can spend it before rolling the attack roll to get a special rider on a hit. The Pact Boon simply refreshes the use of the Fell Might. You cannot get multiple uses of the Fell Might, which is kinda disappointing.
At-Will Powers:Hand of Blight. Huh. Melee touch or Ranged 5, Constitution or Charisma; wicked. The at-will also services to introduce you to the Fell Might feature: if you spend it on this power and hit, you deal 1d8 extra damage, which is actually an excellent bonus, and one of the best ways to spend your Fell Might. Heck, it even allows the target to grant combat advantage to everyone, which is neat. The range is rather short, but hey, it works - and there are some strategies you can exploit from having this be a Melee range option.
ELEMENTAL PACT (Essentials: HOEC) / Control Damage DefenseLeadership Support Charisma-based, but since none of your new powers have Elemental Pact riders and your At-Will is awful, you could conceivably go with Constitution as your attack score. A striking similarity to the Sorcerer with this pact, and contains some extremely unique features and bonuses. It also helps with one of the worst parts about, oddly enough, the Dark'lock powers in being able to switch around damage types. Awesome pact... except there's a little bit of a problem.
Elemental Affinity As the only Pact with a fully-fledged feature, this does a rather neat little thing: it gives you a fragment of the Wild Sorcerer feature, in which you roll a d10 each time you rest to determine a damage type. The result you get (which can be either acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder) replaces all instances of the psychic, necrotic, poison, or force damage type on your Warlock powers (this includes ongoing damage, Dark'locks) with your new Affinity's type. This Affinity can change to one of your choice when you spend your Second Wind. This meshes wonderfully with the Pact Boon...
Pact Boon: Accursed Affinity. Whenever an enemy cursed by you drops to zero hitpoints... nothing happens. At least not yet. Whenever you next Curse an enemy, that enemy gains Vulnerable 5/10/15 (by tier) to your Affinity's damage type for the rest of the encounter. Simply glorious DPR potential here, not just for you, and sickening with Bloodied Boon. Keep in mind the current error on the Compendium, as it notes the Boon as an Immediate Reaction - this is wrong.
At-Will Powers: Chromatic Bolt. Another aspect of the Sorcerer comes into play, this time reflecting the Storm Sorcerer's favorite at-will choice: you deal a decent amount of psychic damage (which can be changed with your Elemental Affinity feature), and you deal some extra minion-poppin' psychic damage on another target within 5 squares equal to your... Constitution modifier.
Oh dear. Enter the return of the Split'lock, and now you have a rare power that relies on both your Charisma and Constitution scores to be good for this to be worthwhile, which means you must sacrifice your Intelligence score (you know, the score that determines your AC, your riders, your Arcana score, extra Curse damage at Epic... small things). This is bad. This is very bad. Now, at 21st level, it becomes 3+CON, which can bump it up a notch, but this power is, from the start, equivalent to the worst side of Spiteful Glamor, a purple-rated hex, and this carries no advantage over the other due to both being changeable by the Affinity feature. Upgrade the color if you can get good AC and Reflex while also being able to do meaningful side damage, but otherwise, you are not here for the At-Will.
So, you got your Pact signed with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but... who exactly are you? Are you speedy or smart? Strong or charming? Draconic or... um... not?
Ability Scores: How Well Can You Swim the River Styx?
The scores presented do not count in racial bonuses.
STRENGTH:(8-13) Um... not really. This is not a stat you want to bother yourself with. Melee-focused Warlocks and Warlocks hybridizing with a Strength-primary class, however, might want to pay a bit of attention here. 13 Strength is also the threshold to cross to gain Hide Proficiency, which is of serious consideration for some of you if you're entertaining the thought of starting with a 14 or 16 INT post-racial.
CONSTITUTION:(13-18) You pick either this or Charisma for your primary ability score, and pick the other for a tertiary to shore up either Will or Fortitude. The old strategy of going "Split'lock" (Constitution and Charisma even, Intelligence a distant second) is nowadays too risky to go for, as it forces you to wear Chainmail, and in any case, both ability scores are represented very heavily considering the wide breadth of powers available. Anyway, for Constitution'locks, this is the stat you stick a 16 or 18 in, no questions asked. It determines your Fortitude, your HP, your surges, and most importantly for half of you, your attack and damage rolls.
DEXTERITY: (10-13) One reason and one reason only to put points here: Dual Implement Spellcaster. OK, two reasons: initiative. But Dexterity isn't used for much else; and, with notable exceptions, your initiative bonus isn't going to be fantastic otherwise. Worth noting is that there are a huge library of powers available to the Warlock, some of which contain no INT riders, and in that case Dexterity is a fine alternative stat, as it'll pad your AC, Acrobatics, initiative(!) and Stealth(!!), and in fact will make certain races (Half-Orc and Drow, especially) much better. This guide assumes you walk the smart path, however, even if a bit clumsily.
INTELLIGENCE:(14-16) Almost all of your power's riders, and your AC, relies on this very stat. This stat is incredibly important, and one you want to raise alongside your primary.
WISDOM:(8-10) Barring specific builds... no. Dump stat extraordinare; you kind of have a much more awesome stat in Charisma for your Will. And I hope to Mephistopheles someone in your party's more Perceptive than a doorknob, or you've got problems.
CHARISMA:(13-18) Your alternative primary score. The entry for Constitution applies in kind here.
Race Options: Hell, an Equal Opportunity Employer
I'm actually going to be following Dedekine's format here: instead of sorting races by book, I'll be sorting races by ability score loadouts, in Primary/Secondary (CON/INT or CHA/INT), Primary only (CON or CHA), and Secondary only (INT). If a race isn't mentioned (Shifter lolol), don't even bother.
Eladrin (INT + CHA or DEX): Yea, ignore the whole Dexterity thing. However, don't ignore the Eladrin: they're fantastic Fey'locks, with a racial option to ferret themselves out of trouble, on top of great feat support that helps to focus on their teleportation bent. They do great as any Charisma'lock, not just Fey'locks, but flavorwise, the Fey is where they belong. And as if the Eladrin wasn't good enough, the Sun Elf option presented in Neverwinter gives them automatic proficiency with Staffs and Orbs. The implement problem solved without even spending a feat to do so puts them at the top pedestal of Cha'lock races.
Genasi (INT + STR or CON): Automatic sky-blue just for being a CON/INT race, of whom you will find its unexpected twin down the line. It's assumed by going Genasi that you're either playing an Arcane class or a Warlord, and in that regard the spectacular racial choices and features will make you a fantastic Con'lock. Shame the feats want you to be a Wizard...
Gnome (INT + DEX or CHA): You don't care about being small, you get the exact support you'd want from going with either the Star or Fey pacts, you have a racial encounter get-out-of-jail-free card... you're the Eladrin in miniature, and that's something to brag about.
Shardmind (INT + CHA or WIS): Sweet Jiminy Cricket, there's a lot of CHA/INT races. This one's no different: a propensity for skills akin to the Eladrin, automatic resistance to a decent damage type (Psychic, instead of the Tiefling's Fire), an offensive-based "Run away!" power, and good feat support. The flavor, however, might turn some people off; I myself don't really like the "weird" races such as PHB3 likes to favor, but to each his own.
Tiefling (CHA + INT or CON): Wait, so you mean the race that was born from signing a deal with archdevils and carries bonuses to the very ability scores Warlocks love... is a good race? No way! It's quite obvious that you're a natural Charisma'lock and a great Constitution'lock: your feat support is marvelous, your racial abilities are splendid (resists and accuracy!), and you can even focus on a fire theme and not come out ravaged. Man, this race is awesome.
Hobgoblin (CON + INT or CHA): Well, look at that. We were finally graced with another CON/INT race recently, and thankfully, it's a great pick: it comes packed with an initiative bonus right off the bat, a great racial to stave off Save Ends effects, and a special little feat just for you Arcane types that, for your unfriendly Close area hexes, can allow you to eliminate a square adjacent to you as a target.
Warforged(CON + STR or INT): Chicks dig giant Warlocks. A bonus to Will, even as someone primed for the Constitution pacts, is very welcome, as well as another source of temporary hitpoints for you Infernal machines in the audience. The feat support is woesome for Warlocks, and unfortunately, now that we have a new CON/INT race in the house, the attraction just isn't as strong as it used to be. But by no means is it a bad choice; the flavor is certainly awesome.
Changeling (CHA + DEX or INT): Unfortunately, while this race is chock-full of flavor and carries a nice bonus to Will to shore up your already awesome Will score, the feat support... kinda doesn't exist. Well, it does, but it's really nothing spectacular, and doesn't boost your Warlock features or powers.
Kalashtar (CHA + INT or WIS): So... yea, another CHA/INT race. Fortunately, you are a bit different: your ability to shrug off certain secondary effects is second-to-none, and you possess a racial power that'll allow you to just blow off almost any Will-based attack once per encounter.
Pixie (CHA + DEX or INT): Even though it's yet another CHA/INT race, and there's absolutely no argument against them being a Fey'lock, especially considering where they come from, their racial features and powers mean little to you, and their feat options aren't spectacular either.
Kenku (CHA + DEX or INT): The Kenku rides the exact same boat as the Pixie does; it's a serviceable Cha'lock race with nothing going for it in terms of support.
Shade (CHA + DEX or INT): A CHA/INT race, a bonus to Arcana and automatic Darkvision? Neat! Horrible feat support, a loss of a healing surge, and a mediocre Standard-action racial? Nah. They technically are a decent CHA/INT race; the purple rating reflects the fact that all of the others are so much superior, however.
Dragonborn (CHA + STR, CON, or DEX): Pick your poison, you scaly fiends - you'll do great as either a CON or CHA based Warlock, even without your precious 18 in INT. Your racial power is heavily supported by feats, and you gain access to a very neat Rod in the Rod of the Dragonborn. And now as a Kapak Draconian, one of the new subracial options for Dragonborn, you can even justify boosting Dexterity instead of Intelligence - amongst a bunch of other insanely cool racial options for both of the Draconian subraces! Just keeps comin' up Milhouse for you folks.
Half-Elf (CON + WIS or CHA): Oh, Dilettante. How we love you so. Should you come into the problem of grabbing a power that isn't CON or CHA based, you have ways to repair that. Even disregarding this, the fact that you can take both Human and Elf feats could be a consideration all on its own, especially for the former's list.
Mul (CON + STR or WIS): So you wanted a Dwarf that can qualify for Human feats instead, with speed 6 and able to show debilitating effects the back of your hand instead of accelerated durability? Forget the fact that this race carries no INT bonus - this is a fantastic option for Con'locks just on its features alone.
Revenant (DEX + CON or CHA): You can be a Con'lock or Cha'lock, can qualify for any one race's racial feats and encounter racial powers, and your own feats are brilliant in terms of keeping you afloat. We're done here.
Deva (WIS + INT or CHA): While the flavor is a tad suspect (except for Vestige Pact Warlocks, who pretty much thrive on the idea of past lives fueling their powers) your innate resistances are excellent, and your Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes will help that critical daily land. Where this race really shines is in Epic with the Soul of the World ED, which is just sick and wrong in terms of its potential.
Drow (DEX + CHA or WIS): Flavorful Dark'locks to the end, and solid Cha'locks of any sort. Their racial power choices are awesome, though Darkfire a bit moreso than Cloud of Darkness.
Dwarf (CON + STR or WIS): The secondary stats don't quite line up with what you want, but you will appreciate the bonus to Constitution and some very interesting abilities to keep you on your feet. A proclivity for hammers could also come into use if you go down that path of optimization. Curiously enough they, along with "dead" (Revenant) Dwarves, make the best Elemental Pact Warlocks: there is no reason you can't go Constitution-based as an Ele'lock (since your At-Will kinda blows), and a Minor Action Second Wind will tame your Affinity feature much more easily than it would otherwise.
Goblin (DEX + WIS or CHA): +2 to Bluff. +2 to Stealth. +1 to Reflex. An IR shift on a missed melee attack. Feats aren't the greatest, but damn, you're given a lot at the outset anyway. Halfling (DEX + CON or CHA): The DEX will help with qualifying for Dual Implement Spellcaster, and you will be evasive as hell, not only with your racial power but with your feat options. On top of which, you can be a Con'lock or a Cha'lock with no problems whatsoever. Neato.
Human (Any ability score): Great for pretty much every class, though slightly worse as Warlocks since you depend a lot on your secondary. Having access to great feat support, a bonus skill, and a bonus feat on a class that's very feat-starved is something to die for. In regards to the bonus At-Will: you gained two unique options in the Binder list for Cha'locks, but Con'locks are pretty much stuck deciding between Hellish Rebuke and Eyes of the Vestige (the latter admittedly being a power house).
Kobold (CON + DEX or CHA): An iconic race finally gets a proper write-up... and amazingly enough, some feat support as well. With their "introduction" in the Dungeon Survival Guide, these small critters lost Shifty but instead gained a rather interesting little feat in Eldritch Momentum that almost directly copies the Shadow Warlock Armor property. The loss of Shifty is a little disappointing, but enough was given to them to make them a sweet new choice for the class.
Satyr (CHA + DEX or CON): Like the Pixie, they make extremely flavorful (and competent) Fey'locks, but they make quite decent Con'locks as well. They have a bit of a mix of durability and mind clearance, on top of a rather interesting racial power. Shame about the feats and the uselessness of Bluff being an automatic skill for you...
Wilden (WIS + CON or DEX): A fey origin, but no Charisma or Intelligence boost? What a shame. What's not a shame is how flexible you can boost their NADs and the shenanigans you can pull with their racial powers.
Half-Orc (DEX + STR or CON): Very close to being blue, but the racial feats kinda want you to be in melee. Still, quite a unique race to be as an Arcane character, and will work just fine.
Hamadryad (WIS + INT or CHA): You are the Wilden, except not. Just like your Satyr and Pixie cousins, you will make a flavorful Fey'lock (y'all did come from the same Feywild book), but unlike the Satyr, there just isn't enough support to differentiate themselves from the pack.
Vryloka (CHA + DEX or STR): The frailty inflicted on you is much less terrifying than the Shade's, but is no less disturbing, considering your bent at being Charisma-based. Still, you have a useful encounter power and innate necrotic resistance, which puts you above that threshold by a mile.
Goliath (STR + CON or WIS): All of your feats want you to be a Warden so badly. Automatic proficiency with all two-handed weapons (except Superior weapons) with just one feat may be attractive, however.
Hengeyokai (DEX + WIS or CHA): You're a Cha'lock!... congratulations? You have no feats at all, and while the +1 Reflex can be quite handy, there's nothing here that other races can't deliver - Charisma is too common a stat boost amongst the crowd. To be fair though, if you want an animalistic Warlock, this is kind of your best option.
Minotaur (STR + CON or WIS): The heart says yes, but the brain says no. It can work, I suppose, but be careful what you're getting into. The support for this race in regards to being Arcane is nonexistant.
Elf (DEX + INT or WIS): What sells them the most is Elven Accuracy, which actually contains some great support for Arcane classes, multi-attacker or otherwise. Other than that, they make decent Fey'locks, but their High Elf cousins just soar right past them.
Githzerai (WIS + DEX or INT): That Wisdom score is just not going to do anything for you, and the racial power plus many of your features and feats want you to be an evasive character or a Defender. You can actually delve into the former with surprising confidence, and even feign the latter, but it'll take a dedicated build to do so. They do come packaged with an initiative booster right from the start, which does say a lot about a class normally low in that score.
Shadar-Kai (DEX + INT or WIS): I'm actually tempted to rate these guys as Blue, due to how a lot of their racial abilities fit the missing parts of some Warlocks. You get a bonus to death saving throws, a very handy bonus to Fortitude, and your feats focus on resists, insubstantiality, and Controller-esque abilities. Give these guys a second look - you might be surprised.
Skills: Play and Work... Enjoy Your Time on Earth
The Warlock class gets four skills, the baseline for a class. Surprisingly enough, you don't get Arcana automatically - and depending on your class loadout, you may have to force yourself into that skill.
Arcana (INT): A knowledge skill, and one you'll be quite good at. Take it if you can, but if you have a Wizard in the party, you can look elsewhere: he'll be better at it than you. Important for those that become a Sage of Ages.
Bluff (CHA): Social skills are very handy, especially as a Cha-primary. If you're Constitution-based, this is still not a bad option.
History (INT): Another knowledge skill, but a bit more in the realm of DM context than anything. Still, you'll be great at this.
Insight (WIS): Have other people in your party else take this and Perception. If you absolutely must, and you're attracted to the (admittedly good) skill powers, then by all means take it, but...
Intimidate (CHA): One of the most broken skills in the game; if your DM allows it, you can force bloodied opponents to surrender with a successful Intimidate vs. Will check. Another social skill, and one that's both highly flavorful and very handy. Constitution'locks won't prize it as much.
Religion (INT): Either this or Arcana is required to start slinging around Rituals. I'd rather you go for Arcana than this, but a little prayer never went amiss - and Religion skill powers tend to be very nice.
Streetwise (CHA): Eeeeh... this is way too situational to ever really recommend. Ask your DM.
Thievery (DEX): Everyone needs a trap-maestro. And if it must fall on you, your modicum of DEX (be it 11 or 13) will make it work. Jumps to Sky Blue if you use Dexterity as a secondary score instead of tertiary or quaternary.
Acrobatics (DEX): Maybe...? You'll be wearing armor that doesn't deduct from your Acrobatics score, and Dexterity is a quaternary (and a rare secondary), so you won't suck at this. But still... it's Acrobatics. Search the room for a ladder and cheat the system, or just fly.
Athletics (STR): Hahahahaha... no.
Diplomacy (CHA): Bluff and Intimidate will normally get you far in the world (though perhaps not in everyone's good graces). If you're the face of the party, though, consider buying this via a feat. Prime Eladrin racial option here, by the way.
Dungeoneering (WIS): Two problems compound this skill - every DM has a different idea of just what Dungeoneering is and what it applies to (basically, determining cardinal directions, noticing clues and hazards in an underground environment, or recognizing how deep in a structure you are). The second is on top of the first: it's Wisdom based. There's not too much to gain if you invest in this skill, so don't worry about it.
Endurance (CON): The only Constitution-based skill in the game, and if your DM likes to pit you against rats and mummies, this will be very important to make sure your awesome adventure doesn't get sidelined by random rat #10155. Plus the skill powers are fantastic. Cha'locks need not apply, unless they absolutely must henpick the skill powers.
Heal (WIS): Nah.
Nature (WIS): Strongly advised if you want to go into the madness that is Rituals. Otherwise, bleh.
Perception (WIS): Again, let the Druid do it. However, if no one else can be bothered to pretend to care about their surroundings, then it'll have to fall on you, because the skill is used so much in 4e. Your trash Wisdom score won't like it, though.
Stealth (DEX): Eladrins land here. Everyone else, seriously consider buying this up: any investment in Dexterity and common Stealth-boosting armors will make you quite masterful at this, as you have the easiest job in the world gaining concealment. Sky Blue if your race either bumps your Stealth score or gives this skill to you for free.
The Warlock is a "V-class": that is, they work under two possible primaries and a single secondary score. With that in mind, and because some powers either do not care about your CON or CHA, or they allow you to choose either, the powers will be split into three sections (and for one instance, four): Charisma-based hexes; Constitution-based hexes; and both (Con / Cha).
I'll also be putting the Vestige Pact rider dailies into their own sections, as they should be the first thing that Vestige'locks look at before considering any other Con'lock powers. All Con'locks are, of course, allowed to take those powers, and the initial rating of the power is as such.
Humans have the option of taking an extra Level 1 class At-Will for one of their racial features. Turns out that most At-Will powers Binders automatically pick as part of their Pact now contain a level, and are thus obtainable by Humans (and enterprising Half-Elves of other classes) as well as the selection of Warlock powers in the Pact section of this guide. These are both Charisma-based, and will not require seperation.
Echoing Dirge (Essentials: HOS) This is very significant: Warlocks do not have any other AOE at-will. That fact alone gives it substantial advantages: you do not provoke opportunity attacks when using it, since it's a Close Blast 5; swarms will take full damage, even though you only target two enemies with it; and the control itself is quite solid, allowing you to push whichever enemies you hit. And if you have them both Cursed, you have a much better chance of applying your Curse dice this turn. A missing tool for an Arcane Striker finally put into play, and it's actually very nice.
Shadow Claws (Essentials: HOS) Soft control it may be, it is in the Effect line, not the Hit line, which makes it also worth consideration. Otherwise, though, it's a cold Eldritch Blast, and probably not worth wasting your extra At-Will slot on.
Cursebite (FRPG) Brilliant range, but the damage is mediocre, and the power will feel wasteful in small encounters. Dark Pact:On the other hand, gaining your Intelligence modifier to damage will bump up the effectiveness quite a lot, and Dark'locks tend to exist in campaigns where enemies come en masse.
Darkworm Feast (AP) Solid damage and accurate, but it is necrotic, so that could present some problems. Slowed is still pretty nice to inflict on some enemies, however. Dark Pact: The extra damage is still necrotic, and happens outside the original damage roll, so if the enemy is resistant to Necrotic, forget about it.
Dreadful Word (PHB1) Great damage. The Fear and Psychic keywords will raise the eyebrows of several, and for them it's certainly worthwhile. However, the penalty to Will is a bit small, especially since Will tends to be the lowest stat for many monsters anyway. Star Pact: ... won't care, because that Will score is going to drop hard.
Flickering Venom (FRPG) Damage, damage, damage, damage. Great force damage, and extra damage if you have CA is very nice. No Control, though. Did I mention damage? Dark Pact:Everyone loves a range improvement, but it isn't enough of a change to really scale the rating higher.
Glow of Ulban (D366) You hit the target and deal Radiant damage. Are you not entertained? Star Pact: Very cool effect, but also rather situational. Still, something worth taking advantage of, especially against Standard monsters.
Grasp of the Iron Tower (D386) Fantastic damage, great control (it's NOT going to move closer to you, no ifs, ands, or buts), and even contains a Miss option that drains your HP equal to your level to replicate the attack against someone else, halving the damage on a hit. Infernal Pact: Still great, but actually kinda against the intended effect of the power. A target that cannot move closer to you will probably not be able to hit you anyway, so the Resist All might go to waste. Against everyone else, though, it's more padding on top of your Boon's padding, which you can't really say no to.
Hound of Dark Omen (Essentials: HOS) A Warlock power with a level, so regular Warlocks are allowed to take this (and other Binder powers). Unfortunately for you, the push, while solid, is limited in its usefulness, though the roll against Will and the psychic damage opens itself up to neat strategies. The pact rider never applies to you.
Shadow Tentacles (Essentials: HOS) The zone keyword does not apply to you, as it's contained in the specific Star Pact that Binders belong to. Otherwise, it's a pretty nice AOE cold that slows.
Sprite War Call (AP) More slowing, and more Combat Advantage, but only applies to you. Fey Pact: Ranged 10 instead of Ranged 5. Meh.
Unseelie Sprites (D406) Close burst 2 and friendly, but wow, that damage is unapologetically low. This and the other D406 powers are meant to support the Fey Pact Binder released in the same article, and as a result, most of them are going to be laughable for you.
Witchfire (PHB1) Decent damage and a decent effect make this... a decently good power. Fey Pact: This is going to hurt so much it's not even funny. 2+INT penalty to attack rolls is amazingly good, and Fey'locks should not take any other option.
Arms of Hadar (AP) The fact that it's against Reflex really does help a lot, but it's quite unfriendly, and one would hope you don't get surrounded by so many mobs that a close burst 2 is necessary. Still, it's a solid AOE power, something Warlocks rarely get, and pushes. Star Pact: The push improves dramatically. Chains of Levistus (AP) I'm quite the fan of this power. Smack the target with a solid 2d6 hit, and that target isn't going anywhere. Well, he can... but he'll take another dose of damage. Mirrors Dire Radiance, but the trigger can be of any direction, and at any point in time before the end of your next turn. (Forced movement counts!) Infernal Pact: Beautiful boost to attack rolls, especially if you can force the punishment. Clarion Call (AP) Thunder'locks will like this power, as it's a thunder AOE and thus gets helped somewhat by Resounding Thunder. Everyone else look elsewhere - deafened isn't a great effect. Vestige Pact: Potentially massive amount of THP generation here. Diabolic Grasp (PHB1) The size limitation will not be a factor this early in your career, and the slide is excellent as a Controller side-effect. Infernal Pact:The range of the slide jumps considerably, and comes so close to Gold at Paragon and Epic with how incredibly far you can toss an enemy. Life Bind (AP) Oooh, that's nasty. Regenerating monsters will hate you, Warforged will hate you if you bloody them with this attack, and even has a saving throw penalty thrown in. Rather situational, but it's great to have in your toolbox. Vestige Pact:Extra damage equal to your Intelligence modifier. Pandorym's Cry (D403) It's like Glow of Ulban. Except it's Constitution. Yeah, that's about it. Star Pact:Do not despair, however, as throwing on Combat Advantage and slowing fixes up the power proper.
Vampiric Embrace (PHB1) Nice little Necrotic punch, and some temporary hitpoints to bolster your defenses, something Constitution'locks will like. Zero control, though. Infernal Pact: Definitely will like the huge boost, but it doesn't scale too well, especially as it overlaps with your Boon.
Cruel Bounty (DSCS) Solid radiant damage, and you become a competent Leader, giving a pretty decent bonus to all of your allies against the target. Sorcerer-King Pact:Provided the Fell Might is spent and falls through successfully, your multi-attacking allies and Leaders will adore you. (Please be accurate.)
Armor of Winter's Grasp (Essentials: HOFK) Panic button! And a pretty decent one as well, though considering it's against Fortitude, the limitation of the range, and will probably not hit Brutes and other high-Fortitude baddies, this won't deal a lot of damage. Ah well.
Contagion (FRPG) Undead will not care about this power at all, as the damage is static (ongoing 10, save ends) and the effect will be lost on them. Otherwise, this has the potential to spread damage like crazy, but I'm not really a fan of how low the damage will tend to be when all is said and done. Dark Pact: Bit of a bump to the distance the plague can travel is useful, and actually scales quite nicely. Still, though, there's the problem of the initial hit.
Crown of Stars (D366) The initial hit and effect is already quite spectacular, but it's the Sustain Minor that marks it as truly excellent. Once per round as a minor action, you can subject any enemy 10 squares away from you to a Charisma vs. Will attack that, on a hit, deals Radiant damage equal to your Charisma modifier. Non-standard-action attacks are what Strikers love, and even if it might not really allow you to add Curse dice to it (depending on how you and your DM interpret the wording in the PHB1 entry for Warlock's Curse in regards to how it interacts with damage that isn't a damage roll), it doesn't matter. Enjoy your deathlaser!
Curse of the Dark Dream (PHB1) A tremendous smack of a hit, and the Control element is actually quite nice as an effect. The Charm keyword is important here for some of you. Very solid. Decree of Khirad (AP) An enemies-only AOE that quasi-Dominates on a hit (after sliding them, hit or miss), and will do guaranteed damage in the battlefield, depending on what happens. Beautiful; absolutely beautiful. If you're set up to take advantage of the Charm keyword, why look elsewhere?
Dread Star (PHB1) Hit or miss, your favorite spells (Star Pacters love their Will-attacking hexes) are going to hit against the target for a little while. Even comes packed with immobilization on a hit, which is always handy.
Fortune's Reversal (AP) Immediate Reaction. Automatic blue. The trigger point will come up at least once in the battle, I guarantee you; and they WILL eat at least a tick of this damage. Very cool. Dark Pact: Slight bump to the saving throw penalty. Alrightythen. Fey Pact: More debuffing! And as the target will take a guaranteed hit of the psychic damage at least once, this will last awhile.
Hateful Shade (Essentials: HOS) Pretty nice hit, especially with how uncommon Force resistance is. But wow, what a lame effect. Just ongoing damage to supplement the damage, and the target can just say "lawl nope" to it if it's any skilled at two common enemy skills. Hellfire Blast (Essentials: HOTFK) Take Flames of Phlegethos, switch the ability score, and spill it all over the battlefield. Incredibly good damage, hit or miss, for those that care more about damage than control, and is a great blaster option for Cha'locks. Malicious Shadow (Essentials: HOS) Solid damage on a hit, and the shadow you conjure will do horribly mean things to Artillery enemies that're stuck between it and your Defender buddy. The only problem is the short range on the power: if it ever ends up outside the power's range from you, it vanishes, due to it being a Conjuration. Mists of Madness (Essentials: HOTFK) Horrible damage, but that's not the point. You also get to add on the enemy's own attacks, should they hit each other. Won't help you get mobs off your back, and some enemies possess very weak melee basic attacks, but you take what you get. Prophecy of Zhudun (D366) Dragon Magazine 366 loves Cha'locks so much. This is no different: pound them on the head with a save-ends daze, and give a huge defensive boost to all of your allies until it saves.
Star Shackles (D374) Don't even pretend you're going to have a Fortitude worth any great shakes as a Cha'lock. Your Reflex won't be spectacular, but it'll be a decent enough defense against any enemy that tries to save from the grab. The initial hit is lackluster, but on-demand AOE damage (with full modifiers) each round without requiring an attack roll and that can reach out and grab other creatures is certainly handy. Unfortunately, you cannot roll Curse dice with autohits - a power definitely meant more for the Hexblade that would come later (and for them? Holy wow). Still, there's some great Controlling potential here.
Web of Shadows (Essentials: HOS) A friendly attack that drops an unfriendly zone is kind of awkward, but the zone only injures others if they enter it, not if they end their turn there. It's still a great immobilizing/slowing AOE, which ironically works much better for you than the Binder it was built for, since you can augment the damage somewhat with your Curse.
Yan-C-Bin's Breath (Essentials: HoEC) After dealing some respectable AOE Acid damage, you then create a zone of difficult terrain in the blast that you ignore, plus some autodamage for anyone that ends their turn in the zone. Respectable, I suppose, but the Sustain is very weird: you roll a d6 each time you do so, and on an even result, you increase the size by 1 (of which I assume can be any direction from the point of view of the original origin square of the blast). On an odd result, you reduce it by 1, and if its size is zero, the zone ends. I'd rate it higher if it was clearer what increasing the size of blast zones was limited to.
Your Glorious Sacrifice (FRPG) Not a Dark'lock? Don't even bother. You're injuring your ally for a benefit that can be ignored or shrugged off. Least the damage isn't bad... Dark Pact: Now how about making that ongoing damage actually matter, by allowing you to contribute two ability modifiers to it? There's still the problem of a miss doing jack-all but straight damage, though.
Flames of Phlegethos (PHB1) All it does is damage. But boy does it do it well. Guaranteed ongoing damage and a crusher of an initial hit is great for Fire'locks.
The Lash's Bite (D382) Great damage, but the effect is horribly situational, and the reroll isn't a proper reroll, but just an attack boost with this particular power to try again next time if you failed. Infernal Pact: Considering the weakness of the effect, the rider means little. Tyranny of Flame (AP) Autoprone can be quite hilarious in the right circumstances, and the damage itself is pretty good. Given enough luck... Infernal Pact: ... and this rider, it ain't standin' up anytime soon.
Vile Brand (D382) Basically The Lash's Bite up above, but carrying a much better effect. A mass attack debuff is quite awesome, even if it only lasts one turn. Infernal Pact: It's a bit odd, honestly, to see the debuff also spread to those around you when the range of the power is 20 squares - it's an Artillery power, so why do you really care about potential targets up close? But hey, if that's a problem, then enjoy this as a solution.
Armor of Agathys (PHB1) Seems to be meant for Infernal'locks than other Pacts, but really isn't spectacular in any case. Both features rely on your Intelligence modifier to function, which tends to not scale well. The aura damage isn't affected by most damage roll boosters, so that'll quickly become obsolete. Take early on if you desire, then abandon. Ashen Scourge (DSCS) The effect line... is kind of dumb. A two-square pull doesn't matter at all in melee range, and is awkward to take advantage of otherwise if you don't concentrate on Sorcerer-King powers. At least it grants save-ends Combat Advantage to everyone and ongoing Necrotic damage, which is quite a nice consolation prize in any case.
Vestige of Khaeleth (AP) Wow, that's amazingly low damage. If no one's surrounding you, it's not gonna be much more than a slap in the face. Otherwise, it could actually pack a whallop, but enjoy trying to get that to work your way. Pact Boon: An ally within 5 squares of you gains your INT mod in temp hitpoints. Huh. Your Defender will appreciate the extra help. Augment:Eyes of the Vestige will allow you to soak up damage for any ally you want, however much you want. More defender lovings, and much more solid a Leader Vestige than King Elidyr.
Vestige of Mount Vaelis (AP) Nice little punch, and an effect that limits the target to teleportation or flying, a very uncommon trait at level 1. Pact Boon: One cursed enemy within 5 squares of you gains Vulnerable 5 Thunder. This would normally not mean much to you, except... Augment: ...your Eyes of the Vestige now inflicts 1d6 extra Thunder damage. The synergy with your Boon is amazing, and now you have a hard-hitting at-will that deals Psychic and Thunder damage and has great utility. You couldn't ask for better.
Vestige of Thaxter (D383) A shift before the attack can help apply your Shadow Walk when you would normally not be able to if you're caught in melee, but before you can take full advantage of it, if you're not a Vestige'lock it ain't gonna be worth much. The damage is too bland otherwise. Pact Boon: A bit hard to plan who should get the boost to attack rolls, especially when it's this random, but it's a nice effect anyways. Augment: Ally repositioning!... is something you don't care about.
Delban's Deadly Attention (AP) Immediate Interrupt, automatic blue. Fantastic trigger point and a catch-22? Yea, sure, why not: Sky Blue. Star Pact: And should they disagree with your suggestion, poke them with more damage equal to your Intelligence modifier. Not quite to a gold standard, and it took me a bit to realize how badly they worded the Star Pact rider, but it's still pretty darn nice.
Ebon Claws (Essentials: HOS) Um... why? I guess the damage is OK, but there's enough slowing in the Level 1s to placate you; why do you need one with a rider that doesn't apply to you?
Eldritch Rain (PHB1) Two-target attacks are always lovely, but the Range itself is really limited, and the damage isn't spectacular. Fey Pact: The bonus to damage fixes that up just fine, though. Still no control.
Hands of Ihbar (D366) More slowing! The dice incorporated in this power is actually quite solid, equating to 2[W] powers on your other Striker cousins, but the effect is still kind of redundant. Star Pact: Horribly situational, but pretty useful, and save-ends powers on an Encounter power is something rare indeed.
Lure of Loyalty (D406) Huh. Hit or miss, the target is not allowed to attack you until the end of your next turn. The attack itself does absolutely no damage (sigh), but you drag an enemy four squares next to you, and anyone that attacks you is charged or otherwise attacked by your new pet. It's definitely interesting, and it's not Domination, so it can't be shrugged off by enemies that resist that effect, but the fact that it does no damage and has a rider that helps this power immensely but doesn't apply to you is rather lame.
Lure of Minauros (D386) Just like the other D386 powers, this is a Charisma-based power with an Infernal Pact rider, with a recast contained within. Oftentimes, though, the enemy will be resistant to its own attacks, and RAW, it can decide whether to attack itself or an adjacent creature... which can include your own allies. Whoops. Weirdly enough, the recast is actually much better, since you choose the target of the attack if it doesn't want to attack itself. Infernal Pact: Neat, but not really enough of a deterrent, nor will it come up commonly.
Otherwind Stride (PHB1) Shameful damage, but immobilization plus an "I'm not here anymore" button can be useful to pull out of the hat every so often. ... but that's not what this power does. You effectively become a walking immobilization bomb, and after telling a group of enemies to stay down, you can just walk right back to where you started, with some prime targets to shoot at next turn. Sweet. Fey Pact: Or you can jettison yourself miles away (figuratively) and feel even safer.
Pipes of Winter (AP) Decent damage, and single-target immobilized. It is Ranged 5 instead of close burst 1, so it has that over Otherwind Stride. Certainly will be much easier to find a target for. Fey Pact: Plus, there's some additional control here in a friendly AOE auto-slow. Provided the power did hit, there's a hilarious combo you can pull if you have World Serpent's Grasp and drop a proper AOE on an Action Point. Shared Agony (AP) The cost to reroll will be too injurous for non-Dark'locks, though it may actaully be somewhat useful for Charisma-based Infernal'locks. Still a blasé psychic hit. Dark Pact: You can shave off some of that damage by an amount equal to your Intelligence modifier. Low cost rerolls? Now that's how you DPR, folks.
Upsetting Onslaught (FRPG) Horrible onset damage, but to give the enemy a choice between being dazed and dealing another 2d8 damage to himself either makes it a decent damaging power or a solid control power. Dark Pact: You can target Fortitude instead of Will. Yay?
Void Blast (Essentials: HOS) Hooray for powers that deal a modicum of unfriendly AOE damage and creates a zone that hinders everyone on the board! Enemies in the zone gain total concealment, which is the last thing you want to do: remove legitimate targets from the board without them actually being removed. The Pact rider also does not apply to you, and otherwise creates no punishment for enemies to just simply leave and operate as normal.
Your Delicious Weakness (FRPG) Slightly situational, but if the situation comes up, this is going to sting badly. It does psychic damage by default, but if the target is vulnerable to something, it will find that vulnerability and inflict that instead. Dark Pact: More damage, but won't always come up.
Cloud of Flies (AP) Decent damage, and the target grants combat advantage to EVERYONE. Now that's awesome. Infernal Pact & Vestige Pact: And if you miss, you still get CA!
Fiery Bolt (PHB1) Another fire blaster power. Both instances of damage incorporate static modifiers, so it's a great little quasi-AOE, but the splash damage isn't friendly, so it'll be tricky to target. Infernal Pact: More damage... but only on the splash. Huh.
Fortune Binding (AP) Sullied with an effect you don't want, but you'd love to see on your enemy? No problem! Just one cast of this power, and your wish is granted. Just a little situational, but not that much. Fantastic little toolbox power. Vestige Pact: Even better, you can send some extra damage their way! Frigid Darkness (PHB1) Inferior to Cloud of Flies above. The damage is higher, but no CA on a miss. Star Pact: Unless, of course, you've consigned yourself to the cosmos, in which case your AC-attacking allies will pretty much auto-hit against the target. This is exactly how you Lead as a Striker. Vestige's Calamity (AP) Taste the rainbow. A decent punch, and then if the target is cursed, it takes your Intelligence modifier in four different damage types, all of which are represented in keywords here. Nothing's resisting that. Vestige Pact: Spreads out the rainbow effect. The splash damage is still dangerous, but much less so to your ally, and will still deal the damage to the targets that actually need it. Worms (D403) Simple name, simple damage, nonexistant effect. Star Pact: ... or you could belong here and actually regain hitpoints by an amount that matters.
Sinister Extraction (DSCS) Boring damage, and the Leader-type effect just isn't that great. You cannot reliably control who gains the temporary hitpoints, and so it falters greatly. Sorcerer-King Pact: Spending your Fell Might on this power (provided it hits afterwards) both helps and hinders this power. Any one person can benefit now... including your Ranged allies, who won't care about temporary hitpoints normally.
Crackling Fire (AP) A very unique dual-damage type (fire, lightning), and if you have any at-wills that deal Lightning or Fire damage (HELLISH REBUKE), or you're otherwise a Fire blaster, you'll enjoy the mass Vulnerability you can inflict with this attack.
Crown of Madness (PHB1) Lure of Minauros done correctly, and splendidly. This time, you choose everything that the target attacks until it saves, instead of it choosing for you. Tieflings that take a certain little Paragon feat will find this daily incredibly amusing.
Curse of the Bloody Fangs (PHB1) Friendly AOE damage? Perish the thought! You start off by hitting the enemy for pretty nice damage, and then until it saves, enemies around the target will be cut to ribbons by a damage roll that incorporates all of your modifiers (sans Charisma and Curse dice, of course). Level 5 Fey'locks are well-off here...
Deathly Conduit (Essentials: HOS) Well, this is interesting. An AOE (necrotic) save-ends blind, autodamage all around you, and a free teleport! And best of all, you'll be teleporting next to enemies that will be granting combat advantage to you, cannot take opportunity actions, and take a -5 to hit you. A surprisingly good pick from the Heroes of Shadow book. Just make sure you do hit, or you might have an unwelcome surprise should you decide to teleport (it is optional, to be concise)...
Emerald Shield (Essentials: HOTFK) An immediate shield-typed boost to defenses (that is not a Stance), radiant auto-damage punishment 1/round, and only needs a Minor Action to activate? Con'locks won't care too much about the shield itself (though they'll definitely appreciate extra defenses in melee), but the more fragile Cha'locks can use this to tremendous effect.
Fury of Gibbeth (D366) This is not a mistake: it is indeed an Intelligence+2 attack versus Reflex; however, the effect relies on a good Charisma modifier. In any case, the effect is actually quite strong: if your target has terrible Acrobatics, it's going to stay down for at least one or two rounds, allowing your allies to swarm in and beat it up. Highly accurate, great damage, and decent control make this a good power.
Forceful Assault (FRPG) Save-ends daze, and force damage. Simple and clean, but that's the way it should be. Dark Pact: The times an extra 5 squares will come to play on a power that already has a range of 10 will probably not be numerous.
Lure of Gibbeth (AP) I would be telling you a grievous lie if I told you that an at-will pulling option wasn't useful. Well, it is. It exhausts your Minor Action to do, though, which is quite a detriment, but the effect will be there forever, so once everyone's cursed, start reeling in the fishing line.
Nightshade Dreams (Essentials: HOTFK) This would be pretty damn spiffy... if it didn't contain the Poison keyword. And considering how laughable the damage is, undead will completely ignore this power anyway. At least you get guaranteed save-ends CA against it (dazed on a hit) and solid ongoing damage, so that's something.
Roaring Storm of Cania (Essentials: HOTFK) Yes, Hi, I would like to order a blast 5 guaranteed mass slide please? And could I get some extra Cold damage and perhaps some proning on top of that? That'd be lovely, thanks.
Shard of Darkness (Essentials: HOS) Slowed, save ends, decent damage, quasi-Reliable. Average.
Tentacles of Cryonax (Essentials: HOEC) A badass name (certainly much better than its Level 1 cousin) accompanies a Standard Action set-up power: you conjure two tentacles in Close burst 10 that last on a Sustain Minor. On that sustain, you roll a d6, and on a 1, you remove one tentacle, and on a 6, you add one within 10 squares of you. As long as you have one tentacle remaining on your turn, you can spend a Standard Action to make a rather high-damage Melee 2 attack from a tentacle that pulls and grabs (save ends), with autodamage should they fail. Incredibly cool, but slightly wonky to get started and relies on successive sixes to become brutal.
Twilight of the Soul (FRPG) Has the Reliable keyword, which is undeniably handy. However, I can't in good faith recommend this Hex. 1[W]-equivalent damage, plus ongoing Necrotic, minus any control, really isn't going to work well. Dark Pact: Alright, cool, you made a mediocre power 10% less mediocre. Here's a cookie.
Venomous Webs (AP) Medium acid damage, and save-ends CA. We haven't seen that before... oh, but wait, there's a DOT attached!... if the target moves. Awww.
Well of Death (D372) So instead of dealing derpy necrotic damage as a Daily, you can siphon a healing surge from one of your allies to deal an average of 9 extra damage? Sure, it's the ally's choice whether he or she wants to give up the healing surge, so technically it's a cost they control and not you, but still...
Well of Shadows (Essentials: HOS) AOE necrotic damage, with more slowing attached. However, this one is different: it creates a friendly zone that, if you hit with a Charisma vs. Reflex attack, an enemy takes some necrotic damage (no Curse) and slows or immobilizes himself. A zone that helps with damage outside of sustains and never hurts your allies is always worthwhile, especially for a Striker.
Avernian Eruption (PHB1) Flames of Phlegethos, the ranged AOE. That's it.
Blistering Torment (PHB1) Honestly, you might as well take Avernian Eruption. The damage type here is worse, and deafened doesn't matter at all. Infernal Pact: That is, unless you belong here, in which you also get a save-ends AOE slow. Much better control than AOE deafen, though slows in blasts are a bit weird: you're still within their reach if you don't skedaddle out of there.
Hunger of Hadar (PHB1) Fancy that, a zone that does damage! It blocks line of sight (eehhmm...), deals 2d10 damage to anyone that starts their turn there, or enters there (nice!), and once per round as a minor action - let me repeat that, minor action - you can sustain the zone and nuke everyone within. Sweet! Be careful how and where you use it, though, because it can't be moved. Tyrannical Threat (AP) Lovely. Just lovely. Curse everything you hit, and you raise up a shield that punishes any Cursed enemy that attacks you. Doesn't do much else, but it'll help with the Cursing in a pinch. Infernal Pact: Close burst 3 auto-Curse. Wait until Paragon for this to be most effective, but when you do, have fun!
Flames of the Smoking Crown (DSCS) No Curse damage applied anywhere here, sadly. However, the effect is grand control: you inflict ongoing damage on them, and on the start of their turns, until they save, you turn them into a ragdoll, tossing them anywhere you want, limited only by your Intelligence modifier. Even better, wherever they land, that fire damage spreads to every enemy adjacent to them! The damage cannot incorporate Curse dice, but happens regardless of whether you hit or miss. Very cool, very powerful, and well deserving of the rating. Hellsworn Blessing (D382) A standard action ally-buffing power? The hell? To be fair, the flavor is insanely cool, and for Rangers, Barbarians, and other multi-attacking folk, it's glorious. Otherwise, it's a turn skipped for you, and that can sometimes be a big deal. Infernal Pact: They also become a Tiefling. That's useful. Sometimes.
Vestige of Baatar (D383) Damage? What damage? Yea, that's not what you're here for. Try ongoing 5 damage that upgrades all the way to falling unconscious, save ends. If you can trip a failed save, this is an incredible level to start knocking enemies unconscious. Just don't miss. Pact Boon: Oh, your enemies are going to hate you... and your Defender. Artillery sequestered next to melee allies will have their options reduced to merely their MBA. Splendid. Augment: I actually feel this is rather underrated. Until your next turn rolls around, any hits your allies inflict also gain a Slide 1 attached. We really do love Slides here in the 4e CharOp forums, and this is where you'll find it easiest... as an at-will.
Vestige of Ugar (AP) A humongous Constitution-based zone that deals excellent Fire damage (in the context of zone powers) and cancels concealment? Awesome! Shame you can't move it around... Pact Boon:... never mind! Augment: Turns Eyes of the Vestige into a Fire damage power. What was wrong with dealing Psychic damage, guys? If you can still deal Psychic damage with your Curse, it won't matter too much, but the benefit is too situational. Let the zone do your revealing for you.
Vestige of Xandor (AP) So, either you hit and give them a decently brutal catch-22 (though they'll most likely prefer just to be dazed), or you miss... and they're dazed anyways. The miss effect could actually be just a tad better than the Hit, since if they're resistant to Psychic damage, it ratchets itself down to soft control. Either way, solid effect. Pact Boon: Now that's a cool Pact Boon: free saving throws. That, or you get a little bit of temporary hitpoints. Sure, why not. Augment: Any extra dice of damage (1d8 psychic) on at-wills is worth a buck fifty.
All the Sand, All the Stars (AP) A close blast daze, and has the Charm keyword? Well, now. Star Pact: Why not throw on extra damage and be part of a Pact that loves Charm effects almost as much as their Fey brethren do?
Confounding Laughter (D390) Mediocre damage and a free MBA wouldn't be all that great... without that slide attached. You can operate in a much better environment when more of the battlefield opens up for you to drop your quasi-Dominates, which is what this power does.
Cyst of Darkness (Essentials: HOS) Why?
Deathboon (FRPG) A rather bad effect. The extra damage is worthwhile, but unless your DM is horrendously forgiving and reveals to you the stats of every monster in play while the fight proceeds, then I wouldn't even bother. Least it's accurate. Dark Pact: And now you can apply the damage if the target is bloodied by this attack. Be still my beating heart.
Death's Commands (FRPG) Provided you have a way of saying "No" to necrotic resistance, this is actually halfway decent: daze+complete stoppage of movement akin to Grasp of the Iron Tower is always handy. Otherwise... Dark Pact:Um... alright. Go ahead and have a moderate boost against a specific type of enemy, especially one that has innate necrotic resistance already.
Far Realm Phantasm (D366) Very, very interesting effect on this power. Forget the damage entirely; this power forces an enemy to "make an attack against the empty air", which Fighters and Wardens will perk their ears up at, and will, either way, waste the enemy's turn. Star Pact: Pretty darn awesome, but once more, not what you're here for.
Influence of Acamar (D366) Decent damage, and the effect would be absolutely awesome... without the range limitation. There are still some great applications, especially if you're 5-10 squares away from everything, but otherwise, the kind of people who'd want to use this are Constitution-based Eldritch Strikers, not Star Pact Cha'locks. Star Pact: The extension of the range possibility would matter if you were still allowed to pick any target in range you wanted.
Lash of the Long Night (D374) Hey, slowed (save ends) on a 1[W] equivalent encounter power! How... bland. Still, save ends. *shrug* Fey Pact: And leave it to the Fey'locks to show how it's really done. Combining a huge push with slowed (save ends) turns a mediocre effect into a fantastic one. Love it.
Mire the Mind (PHB1) Holy crap, that's an amazing effect. You and every single ally in Close burst 10 gains a +5 bonus to defenses against the Big Bad Evil Dude. As an encounter power. Goodness... Fey Pact: And just to make it even more ridiculous, give yourself a huge Stealth boost. Got a decent Stealth-score already? Want to be hidden? Sign yourself up.
Nypacian Serpents (AP) Basically an obtuse buff to someone else's damage equal to your Intelligence modifier... Fey Pact: ... or twice that. One tiny problem in either regard: Poison keyword.
Pain to Pleasure (D386) What a mess. The entire power basically services to rewind whatever damage you might have inflicted upon yourself with your Cha'lock Infernal Pact hexes. The reroll actually heals you instead of hurts you, so it's guaranteed hitpoints replenished. A bit of a different story than other similar hexes, and one worth looking at if you trend that path.
Pall of Darkness (Essentials: HOS) Charisma'locks, here's Mordant Rains of Dis. Enjoy.
Shadow Strangler (AP) Meh damage, but a decent effect. Really not much else to say... Dark Pact: And finally, we get a Dark Pact rider we can feel good about. Every time the target even attempts to make an attack roll until the end of your next turn, he eats untyped damage equal to your Intelligence modifier. Abuse away, fellas.
Sign of Ill Omen (PHB1) The very Hex quoted in the Warlock introduction in PHB1. Luckily, it's fantastic: it grants the enemy an anti-Oath of Enmity, where it must roll twice on its attack rolls and use its lowest result. That enemy is not critting next turn, nor is it hitting very accurately. Star Pact: HOLY CRAP. Now it's not going to hit at all. And there's nothing the enemy can do against it: this isn't a save ends effect, or a daze or stun or whatever. Woooooow.
Touch of Command (D406) In response to an enemy attacking you, you can dominate it on a successful Charisma vs. Will attack until the end of your next turn. While it deals no damage, this is domination done outside of your own turn, so it won't really crimp your Standard Actions, and you gain it as a pet on its next turn. The space between the IR being triggered and the target taking its next turn can be used to set up the board somewhat to allow your new pet to blow the field apart (shunt him next to an ally and have the target make RBAs?). Unexpectedly good, considering the magazine this came in.
Acrid Decay (AP) Literally the only thing going for it is that it's a double-target attack. 1d12 is a woefully bad damage die for a Level 7 Encounter power. Vestige Pact: Throwing around attack penalties is a better use of your Standard Action. Don't bother otherwise. Elder Constellation (D403) This really requires accuracy to fully function, otherwise this drops to near-Red. If you do hit both targets, however, enjoy a hilariously awesome teleportation power that can swap any two targets on the board you wish, and they can be up to 21 squares away from each other. Star Pact: Auto-CA, but that's not what you're here for. Hero's Arrow (AP) An amount of damage that by now is growing old for an encounter power (2d8), but the healing attached is surprisingly handy, and quite unique here. Vestige Pact: The Healing becomes a splash effect, which is honestly extremely nice. It's not much, but in a pinch, and as it contains the Healing keyword? Sure! Howl of Doom (PHB1) Ebon Claws, except in a Thunder-damage close blast. Not complaining here. Infernal Pact: And unlike Ebon Claws, the rider will actually work for you. And by "work" I mean "wreak havoc." A massive close blast push equal to 1+INT modifier is absolutely brutal. Don't feel bad about hitting up Resounding Thunder at Paragon: this power will love you for it. Infernal Moon Curse (PHB1) Unless I am quite mistaken, Medium-sized allies can move under enemies suspended five feet in the air. If that's the case, improve this power to Blue. Drop it to Purple otherwise. Infernal Pact: More damage. OK. Maggot Conduit (D403) A rather bland AOE that inflicts a decent damage type, but doesn't do much more than that. Star Pact: Or you can also lay down a one-turn zone that punishes anyone that enters the zone or ends its turn there. Sounds good to me, especially as an Encounter power.
Mordant Rains of Dis (AP) The damage is wretched as all get-out, but an Encounter blind certainly isn't. Nice to have in your back pocket in case something goes awry. Infernal Pact: Splash acid damage. It's friendly at least.
Sorcerer-King's Decree (DSCS) A lightning-damage hex (very uncommon) that drops a really nice push against both the enemy and every single enemy adjacent. Fling them to your heart's desire. Shame it couldn't be Ranged 10... Sorcerer-King Pact: If you spend your Fell Might, you win... splash Psychic damage. I'm actually rating this lower than the base power, since there are better places to spend your Fell Might.
Consuming Ray (D372) Bland necrotic damage, and you can sacrifice a healing surge (as a Cha'lock?!) to add low ongoing necrotic. No.
Curse of the Black Frost (PHB1) A decent little Cold-damage poke, but the effect is quite awesome. The save-ends effect is soft control, but the secondary effect is basically ongoing 10 cold damage that isn't ongoing damage. Lovely little workaround, and just barely edges it to Blue.
Death's Fond Caress (FRPG) Have some Necrotic damage!... Dark Pact: ...and have them not be able to do jack about it! Yea, if you're not a Dark'lock, don't even bother. 3d10 is great for a Cha'lock to swing around, but your Con'lock cousins were doing this eight levels ago, and they were using a damage type that wasn't resisted by some of the most commonly used monsters in all of D&D.
Horrifying Hatchling (AP) Poison keyword. Hit them for terrible damage, and then no matter what, sully them with a poison DOT that forces them to slide every time they take said damage. That's pretty nice, but you can do a couple other neat things with this ongoing damage: Dark Pact: 1) End the DOT to inflict 2d10+INT modifier poison damage. And sacrifice sliding around to do that? Fey Pact: 2) End the DOT to provide an immediate 3-square slide. Now that's a little better.
Ring of Pain (FRPG) It's Contagion, except you actually have a Hit line that deals damage instead of ongoing damage, so that's a vast improvement. The spreading DOT portion is also quite neat, but will only spread to one creature should the original roll fail. Dark Pact: It's not clear exactly which DOTs the Intelligence modifier gets added to, as it only says "the ongoing damage" and never specifies which one. In any case, heightened ongoing damage is excellent for a little damage dealin'. Storm Countess's Kiss (AP) Just like back at Crown of Stars, it's up to you and your DM how you interpret static damage and Warlock's Curse. The amount of feet the target is sent up isn't negligable, and restrained is a great effect to inflict, but if the target has reach or is Ranged, they'll actually appreciate the fact that your melee allies can't reach them. The damage and effects that will result afterwards aren't anything to write home about... Fey Pact: Then again, you can just catapult them about 40-50 feet in the air, let them drop whenever they save, take massive amounts of damage, have them fall prone, and kick them two squares. That works, too.
Thief of Five Fates (PHB1) Splendid effect, but will go away extremely quickly, and the start-up damage is terrible.
Feast of Souls (AP) A damaging, dazing, difficult terrain zone that finally moves! It's only two squares, but I'll take it. Just by having this be mobile, it diminishes the danger against your allies substantially, and can really sully the right enemies if you're good at positioning. It costs your Minor Action to sustain it, but it's around the time you got enough enemies cursed where you'll be dropping your dailies anyway. Infectious Curse (D382) Turning the target into a Cursing beacon for the entire rest of the encounter, AND you get a recast on the next attempt should it fail? Awesome effect, but just as it is, it'll lose effectiveness fast, and you need to wait for a perfect battlefield orientation. So how do you make it better? Infernal Pact:By letting them be careened into a group of enemies to get the engine going, of course. Again, better if you Twofolded from or into Infernal, but this is just insane. Iron Spike of Dis (PHB1) Effective, but boring. Immobilization (save ends) will wreck some people's days. Ooze Incarnate (D375) Hello, automatic Shadow Walk. And hello, controlled multi-target damage that also grants you unparalleled mobility on the battlefield, and even has a little bit of control attached. I'm impressed. Summons of Khirad (PHB1) Hey, Melee'locks? You want an enemy near you all day, every day, even if you can't see him through that pesky wall in your way? Is he 10 squares away, but you want him right here, right now? Bring him over... and cook yourself a barbeque for the guy, because he's not getting away from you.
Brood of Hadar (D366) Would be unremarkable, if it weren't incredibly accurate. But again, it falls under the same duress as Deathboon: there just isn't that reliable a way to determine exactly how much HP the opponent has, and what you're gonna roll on 3d10+1d8+CON. Also, the secondary attack (assuming you do knock an opponent down) is based, for some stupid reason, on Charisma. Bordering red. Command Insanity (DSG) A Dominate (save ends) this early in your career is undeniably strong, and for the more Controllerish of you that don't necessarily care about damage can happily pick this up, especially with a Miss/Aftereffect as strong as this. However... it does no damage. None at all. Remember the role you signed up for, and select accordingly.
Kalak's Burning Sands (DSCS) The initial effect is actually sort of stupid - it drops prone, but grants itself cover to your allies, neutralizing most of the prone benefit for your melee buddies? This power is worth little without a way to force a failed save. And if it does fail a save... how do you like "removed from play" at the same level Rogues get unconscious?
Vestige of Ilmeth (AP) A permanent punishment effect against any attacks that might come against you from the target is worthwhile enough even for non-Vestige'locks... though it doesn't do anything on a miss. Pact Boon: Requires planning (and ally close by), but is very workable. Augment: Vicious Mockery!
Vestige of Shax (AP) Howl of Doom's Daily brother, with all the benefits of being a guaranteed Intelligence-square push and the detriments of it being a daily. Pact Boon: Timed right, this is incredibly handy; it's a wide array of effects you can just wave away whenever an enemy cursed by you falls. Augment: Turn Eyes of the Vestige into a ranged pneumatic jackhammer. You incorporate the great effect of the original power, and pack it into one at-will. Single-target it might be, but wow, that's awesome.
Vestige of the Onyx Queen (D383) While the damage of this power isn't all that hot, it's a close blast 3 petrify (save ends), which is astounding. Remember that you're getting this at the same level where Rogues are knocking single targets unconscious, and while that's arguably a better effect due to the coup de grace action, mass petrification is a heightened stun in some people's eyes. You even get an aftereffect of immobilized (save ends), which is still great (although the miss effect is a bit regretable). Whether you're a Vestige'lock or not, give this power serious consideration.
All Must Sacrifice (FRPG) If you possess a couple of allies on hand that doesn't mind taking a hit to their health (the 1d8 does incorporate your modifiers, as it's not extra damage and is part of the power card), the resulting hit on the opponent can be quite staggering. Dark Pact: A little bit more oomph on the extra damage is worthwhile, and makes having lots of allies in a Close burst 3 around you actually rather dangerous. However, the dice could still come up short... or sparse.
Bewitching Whispers (PHB1) At first glance, it looks absolutely glorious: the enemy must attack every one of its allies that moves near it or makes ranged attacks next to it? That's almost too mean an effect to inflict. However, those two situations don't happen enough - enemies don't tend to just coast across the battlefield in other enemies' adjacencies, and ranged enemies tend to stand way behind the Brutes you'd be targeting with this. Still, if the board is set up right, this will annihilate Team Monster. Fey Pact: And while I would normally bump up the rating, considering how amazingly huge a buff to accuracy on those OAs are, I actually will keep it even. This power does not force the enemy to discriminate between its new enemies and its old enemies, and your allies will lose mobility options the same way as your enemies will.
Blaze of Ulban (D366) By this point, 2d8 damage is abominable for an encounter power; however, it's saved a little bit by the fact that it's Radiant damage, and you slide an enemy a short distance independant of who you hit. Could work, especially if you incorporate your own forced movement shenanigans into this power somehow. Star Pact: A penalty to the next saving throw. Well, that's random.
Cursegrind (FRPG) Cursebite, the level 13 power. However, two new factors have come into play: extra damage equal to your Charisma modifier, an expansion of the amount of freedom you have in Curse distribution, and a bump in damage dice. If you liked Cursebite, replace it with this immediately - this is actually quite solid. Dark Pact: As before, add your Intelligence modifier to the damage, which by now will allow it to clobber everyone you can see. Brilliant for AOE damage. Dark Reach of Xevut (AP) Immediate Reaction, automatic blue. The damage isn't so hot, but it's still damage that comes on outside of your normal turn; plus, it can give another enemy a debilitating effect that your target is already suffering from (remember that it doesn't transfer the effect, but copies it). Awesome toolbox option. Star Pact: Huge bonus to saving throws, but it's not particularly related to the trigger point of this power, so it comes off as very situational.
Devouring Dark (Essentials: HOS) AOE cold and necrotic damage that's actually not half bad. Having a zoneful of creatures grant combat advantage is spiffy, too, though it hurts the placement of the power. And again, the rider will not apply to you.
Fleeting Call (D406) Well that's dumb. It's a close burst 3, but you only target one or two creatures in the burst, and on a hit they're pulled? For the Binder it's built for, it makes some sort of sense, since it also applies invisibility, phasing, and the ability to occupy enemy spaces for the Binder Fey Pact rider, but for you, you're pulling enemies towards you and then just standing there like a schmuck. The damage is... OK, but really, this was not made with you in mind.
Haunting Shadow (Essentials: HOS) Hey, guess what, Charisma'locks? Now you can have your Harrowstorm and eat it too!... except the slide is neutered and the effect line is negligable and slightly dangerous.
Ice Blades of Levistus (D386) Oh, now this is just bully tactics. Not only do you immobilize, but you mark the target as well (or mark + slow if you hit with the secondary attack but miss with the primary). Utterly painful... and fun. Infernal Pact: Of course, the main problem with marks is that you can't punish disobedience. You sure can now. And rest assured that it will disobey if it wants to attack, as it's immobilized and cannot get to you. Korred's Tune (AP) Soft control on a lower order than most equivalent 2[W] powers? Really not a fan, even if the psychic damage is a proper damage roll. Fey Pact: Raising the requirement from 3 squares to 6 squares actually improves it a lot.
Wraith's Shadow (AP) Charisma'Flaying. To, the, T. Dark Pact: Why in the nine hells below would you bother to pick this if you would rather immobilize than deal damage? Why not just, you know, take another power that immoblizes, and actually deals damage on top?
Coldfire Vortex (PHB1) The damage is alright, and it's definitely cool that you can deal Radiant damage. But the splash damage is now a series of extra unfriendly attack rolls against each adjacent creature, which is too risky for you, and has the potential of dealing limited AOE damage. Star Pact: If you do decide to splash away, your Intelligence modifier will be excellent, so it'll be a perfectly fine option. Harrowstorm (PHB1) Mediocre damage, but no matter what pact you follow, this is a generous slide to inflict - and since you're now at Paragon, adding Flitting Shadows to the equation can allow you to send enemies 8-14 squares away once per encounter. Gotta love it. Infernal Pact: Or maybe 14-20 squares. In any direction. The board is completely yours with this power, even if you have to sacrifice damage to do so.
Killing Flames (AP) A trigger point that will happen in every battle, a solid smack of damage that happens outside of your turn... Infernal Pact: ... and you in particular can ignore Fire resistance? Sold.
Maw of Atropus (D403) Awesome hit... and that's it. Star Pact: Now that'll ruin any monster's day. Shame you really don't like to target Fortitude all that much...
Skirmisher's Volley (AP) Hey, I like triple attacks, too. But good lord, is the damage deplorable. Might as well be zero. Vestige Pact: So you can go from a shift 1... to a shift 4? And 4 isn't a guaranteed distance? Why am I here? Why do you not have Shadow Walk already?
Soul Flaying (PHB1) Weakened at early Paragon is marvelous. 2d8+CON isn't. Infernal Pact: Though this will fix it up just a little bit.
Break the Will (DSCS) Awful, awful damage. Single-target daze is great, but not as prized anymore. Sorcerer-King Pact: If you spend your Fell Might here and it hits, however, laugh yourself silly; for now you have an AOE auto-Curse with splash damage attached. The Sorcerer-King Pact, as mentioned before, is a common candidate for Twofold Pact, and this is a prime power to take advantage of it for a lot of other Pacts.
Armor of Summer's Glory (Essentials: HOTFK) Hey, now this is nice. Becoming a nightlight has a skewed series of uses, but a legitimate Close burst 1 attack is something worth spending a daily on, even if it's just 10 radiant damage, and the defensive boosts are excellent (and you need not spend your Standard Action to activate both this and the Shield).
Curse of the Golden Mist (PHB1) Fey spells tend to inflict unique static effects that just aren't replicated elsewhere. This is no exception: the target loses the ability to spend its normal standard action until it saves, which is an effect that no enemy can remove innately. All Charisma'locks can use it to its furthest benefit, but Charm optimizers may actually want to steer clear, especially Tieflings - most of what they want to do really would rather their charges have a proper set of actions.
Dark Lady's Gift (FRPG) Ring of Pain, but improved. The damage is psychic instead of Contagion's poison, as before, and the AOE punishment for failing a save happens on every failed save, not just the first. It's a very low amount of damage (just 5 psychic damage), but the sphere of influence is something to remark. Dark Pact: That's a lot of damage being spread across a wide swath of the board.
Dark Rain of Mutuz-Vot (AP) A huge zone that inflicts blindness to everyone that sticks around is nothing short of amazing, but its immobile, contains no autodamage, everyone in the zone gains partial concealment, and it costs your Minor Action to sustain. Maddeningly situational, but you'll know when to drop it... and it will do the job for you splendidly. Dark Pact: Wow, you can exist in the zone! That's totally not a waste of a rider!
Darkening Fetch (Essentials: HOS) This power desires that you be something that doesn't quite mesh (a melee or blaster Cha'lock), as it'll lock an enemy adjacent to you and immobilize it. In fact, you may be more attracted by the miss effect, which is a limited pull and a slow (save ends). All told, the effects are solid, and will break enemy ranks like mad, but it's rather hacknayed in its application.
Dream of Mual-Tar (Essentials: HOEC) Anyone else feel kinda awesome about being able to create a Blast 5, potentially Blast 6, zone of Vulnerability to Lightning and Thunder damage? I know I do, and to see more Lightning hexes for one of my favorite little Paragon Paths is so worthwhile. You now have a feasible set of Dailies for that Path, with Crackling Fire also being quite a standout. But to the nitty-gritty: the zone also has a Sustain Minor, like its other HOEC cousins, in which on a d6, rolling a 6 slows every creature within. Awesome, but... rolling a 1 allows a mass shift. Now, if there are marked enemies next to your Fighter inside that zone and they take that shift, happy things will happen, but otherwise you have a 1-in-6 chance of giving a rather good mobility benefit to your enemies, dropping this power down from colors that it should have been.
Far Realm Glimpse (D366) This is indeed soft control (it must move to avoid the mean guy's effect), but there's something special about it: the power contributes a further prod into submission with dazed (save ends). The one action the target must take on its next turn has to be a full-speed jaunt, or else it'll eat another dose of damage and the dazed duration refreshes. The original dazed effect does not have to be in play for the soft control to apply, so that's great insurance. It's also very accurate, though does little more than throw confetti and sprinkles on a miss.
Hellfire Soul (D372) This rating assumes that you know that the target will die next turn. If you do, and you slay the target, you will gain an awesome pet that, provided you can shimmy him out of trouble when necessary, will help add a source of out-of-turn damage for you (better yet, kill an Artillery and gain a turret!). Otherwise, you can basically forget this exists.
Kimmeriel's Smile (FRPG) Hit with this attack, please. Otherwise the damage will be stupid; and honestly, the effect isn't so hot - permanent dazing that ends as soon as one of their attacks land is pretty good for Brutes, but wretchedly terrible for anything that can use AOE attacks.
Menacing Shadow (Essentials: HOS) Keep this little guy within your range, and congratulations: you now have a mobile slaughterhouse you command with minor actions. He's a conjuration, so he lacks hitpoints, defenses, or even the ability to be targeted, so he won't randomly disappear. Just be careful: requiring move actions to move him (instead of you), minor actions to allow him to attack, and your Standard Action to use your own attacks mean you won't be able to use Shadow Walk or Warlock's Curse without spending action points to shuffle around your actions. Thank goodness he requires no action to sustain. Regardless, this is exactly what Cha'locks want to ramp up their DPR.
Oubliette of the Void (Essentials: HOS) A gigantic Charisma-based zone that you can move, and actually provides a solid catch-22 to enemies that exist in the zone (if you're inside, -2 to attacks; if you run away, eat damage) and neither the attack nor the zone can ever harm your allies? And it deals Psychic damage instead of Necrotic damage like so many other HOS powers? Other than losing your precious Minor Action so that you can keep this in check, this is brilliant.
Plague of Frogs (AP) Speaking of amazing Charisma-based movable zones, here's the original. The damage is low, but the autodamage is a carbon copy of the hit line, which will contribute over time if enemies decide they want to stay put (or, if you desire with your other powers, have to stay put). Shame it harms allies, or otherwise it'd be much more highly rated.
Visage of Zhudun (D366) A zone that does not require an attack roll to start doing damage is marvelous, and a Sustain Minor that adds more damage and a slow is fantastic. But like so many other Warlock zones, you can't move it, which I suppose would have made this power super-broken otherwise...
Vortex of Fire (Essentials: HOTFK) And to assauge my wishes, here's a movable zone that slows and deals auto damage. However, the autodamage only applies if they end their turn in the zone, and it's a static 10 fire damage, not a damage roll. I'll take what I can get, though.
Whispers of the Void (Essentials: HOTFK) Ouch. Not only do you subject it to a save-ends daze, the one action they get is determined by the roll of a d6. Either they do nothing (stunned!), or they either charge the nearest creature, or they attack it with either an MBA or RBA. This can seriously screw up an enemy badly: RBAs will provoke opportunity attacks, and all of those attacks can be against your enemies. Just don't miss. Please?
Blasphemous Utterance (D382) A far-reaching field of debuffing and a moderately good amount of damage considering the range of the Close burst, but it's not friendly, and none of the effects discriminate. Don't go throwing this Daily around haphazardly... Infernal Pact: Psychic vulnerability for the Infernal Pact? Did someone screw up here? Ah well, you won't complain too much... if you belong to the Sorcerer-King or Vestige Pacts. Caution of Dispater (AP) The damage is... well... anyway, what sells this power so well is the effect. If you're in an enclosed battlefield, with few blocking fields of terrain, the target is going to take a horrifying amount of damage until the allies finish mopping up the other NPCs and declare your target as theirs. Infernal Pact: And now it won't end even if you throw your hexes at it! Evil Expulsion (D382) Now that's more like it in terms of damage. 4d10 damage is very cool (compared to Warlock dailies, anyway), and it's AOE auto-Cursing with a potential recast if needed, which everyone loves. Infernal Pact: Or you can curse everybody in a 49-square area of the board. Fantastic. Fireswarm (PHB1) First Fire+Lightning, now Fire+Poison? How do you justify that in the slightest? Mechanics aside, assuming you have competent accuracy, you basically equip yourself with a rocket launcher that doles out rather decent AOE damage (unfriendly, though) on a set of damage types that I don't think anyone can resist completely. Soon as you miss, though, your rocket launcher (yeah, I know it's a swarm of fiery scorpions, but screw it; flavor is mutable and I say rocket launcher, baby) will fizzle, so be forewarned. Tendrils of Thuban (PHB1) AOE immobilization as a daily is quite nice, but isn't notable beyond that fact. However, what it also does is drop a Constitution-based zone that initially does nothing, but then allows you to spend minor actions to sustain the zone and punish creatures inside the zone with CON vs. FORT cold attacks. If ever you feel like your allies are in danger of being subjected to too many attacks, you can just let it run out and instead spend your actions to Curse and blast your foes like normal.
Thirsting Maw (PHB1) Sweet, sweet, health regeneration. As long as the target is affected by this, any injury that gets inflicted on you will be healed quite nicely by the initial hit, and will be topped out not long afterwards. There's no Control in this power, but it's still very valuable.
Touch of the Two Moons (DSCS) Weirdly enough, the ranges of the power are seperated: the initial hit is Melee touch, and the secondary attack contains the Ranged 5 portion... sort of. The attack itself is incredibly cool to imagine, and while the initial dose of damage is quite high, the secondary attack is supreme, allowing every enemy within 5 squares of you to be shoved away equal to their speed and grant Combat Advantage, save-ends. Hard to really know when to apply it, but it's a handy effect no matter the situation.
Vestige of Leraje (AP) Um... no. Pact Boon: However, automatic cover against everyone that's not right next to you is divine, and will provide a great bolstering to your defenses that stacks with all concealment you'd ever gain. Augment: Suffice to say this power is fantastic if you're a Vestige'lock and cringe-worthy otherwise. At-will immobilization is very nice, especially when packed into a vs.Will At-Will hex.
Vestige of Solis (AP) A backhand of a Fire hit with ongoing Thunder damage attached, and then a series of attacks all around that enemy that dazes and deafens (save ends) should the splash hit. Serviceable. Pact Boon: Mass AOE CA to enemies close by will make several classes go into a wild frenzy, but as I've said several times previous: deafening is not a solid effect. Augment: An alright punishment that won't really stop the enemy from making attack rolls, though having this be at-will is potent enough.
Vestige of the Unknown Arcanist (D383) Immediate removal from play (save ends) on a hit makes this a solid power for all Con'locks, just not Vestige'locks. Still, though, the miss effect is worrisome, and the damage is forgettable in either case. Pact Boon: Unlike most of these Pact Boons, you are not limited to creatures 3 or 5 squares away from you. Being able to pick up any enemy you've Cursed and drop him three squares away (or even more, if you have the right items) is pretty darn awesome. Augment: Not nearly as cool as Vestige of Leraje, but it'll still waste some enemy's turns if they're stuck farther away than they want to be.
Claws of the Magpie (AP) Boring damage, and the effect really needs to be timed perfectly and used against specific monsters. For them, it'll put them down marvelously, but others will be mildly inconvenienced. Fey Pact: While it definitely fits the flavor text, what use is temp hitpoints to the type of Warlock who wants to stray as far from the action as possible?
Delban's Eye (D366) Looks suspiciously like Ice Shards of Levistus, except the mark carries no punishment, the target isn't immobilized, and the side benefit is situational at best. It's very strange control that can't always be perfectly applied. Star Pact: As long as your Defender teammates doesn't mind that your target is marked for the full round (or if he's immediately behind you in the initiative order), if your teammates decide to focus-fire on the target after you apply this, prepare to see damage the likes of which you will never see with any other power you have in your repetroire. That 1d6+CHA does incorporate your modifiers akin to Hellish Rebuke, and instead of relying on you to trigger it and fizzling away after one application, it triggers upon each hit by your allies.
Devouring Death (AP) Guess what pact loves to deal Necrotic damage? And guess which pact this supports most? Well, it helps the Sorcerer-King pact a bit, I suppose, but... Dark Pact: It helps this Pact immensely, as Necrotic resistance is completely cancelled on the target, to be exchanged for a hefty Necrotic vulnerability, allowing you to take otherwise mediocre Encounters and Dailies and make them a force to be reckoned with. There are other (and arguably better) ways to mitigate Necrotic resistance, but this isn't exactly a bad option whenever the need arises.
Devouring Tide (Essentials: HOS) Let's do what the Druid can do... 16 levels later, and as an Encounter power. And also not be able to get the mass-slide that Gloom-Pact Binders can have.
Dire Portents of Malbolge (D386) Welcome back, Cha'lock Infernal Pact rerolling powers! The damage and effect have both started to lose their luster, unfortunately, so ... whoa, wait a minute. Dazed until the start of its next turn? Seriously? If it goes after you in the initiative order, it literally does not care about this effect. Wow... Infernal Pact: And of course, only the Infernals are going to care, because the secondary effect it comes with inflicts a mass slide (more like a push) to enemies close by the target.
Greater Void Burst (Essentials: HOS) Because we needed more bland zones that granted everyone inside total concealment and only meekly encourages enemies to run away. Am I the only person that just doesn't go wild at the thought of heavily obscuring zones?
Song of the Siren (D406) Just like several of the other D406 powers, absolutely no damage attached. Instead, it subjects the target to a very strange version of Lure of Loyalty: whenever an enemy ends its turn adjacent to you (which is a stupid idea to try to coerce enemies into doing), the target must shift up to its speed and make a melee basic attack against the target as an opportunity action. However, there's a problem: if there is anything that prevents the enemy from wandering to your side and attacking enemies that trigger the condition, this power literally does nothing, and that's not a power that a Striker should be slinging around. The Miss, by the way, is a simple daze until the end of its next turn, which may actually be a much more solid effect than the Hit line. Horribly designed power.
Strand of Fate (PHB1) Oh yea, look at that sexy damage. Look how it's... overtaken by your At-Wills in four levels. But you don't care about that... no. Hammering a "EVERY ATTACK LANDS HERE" sign on one target can, with the right party, inflict silly amounts of hurt in no time. Star Pact: And then the Vulnerablity spikes to 17, and the one unlucky sod on Team Monster just melts. Ah, the glory of slaughter.
Thirsting Tendrils (PHB1) So I heard you like HP. But your Constitution score is still stuck at 14, and you really want some hitpoints! No matter, my friend. You can have some healing in a flavor that you find much more palatable to your more personal side of your soul (both Charisma and spending a healing surge for true hitpoints instead of temps). Fey Pact: And exactly like Life Force Reclaimed, the rider gives a bit more HP as icing - the same amount as well (double your INT modifier).
Unholy Glee (FRPG) That secondary hit is a monster, but many enemies will gladly take the ongoing 10 poison - especially as the original hit is absolutely nothing to shout about and a lot of monsters have ways to deal with Poison damage and Poison-keyword powers. Dark Pact: The rider means nothing.
Your Delectable Pain (FRPG) This sounds mighty familiar: 4d8+CHA+vulnerabilities. However, vulnerabilities is something that actually tends to "scale" well as monsters level up, so hitting the right monster will service you beautifully. Plus, as before and here, some monsters have problems keeping their features going if you hit their vulnerabilities directly, so it's a very odd form of Control that sometimes works marvelously. Dark Pact: Same dealio as before.
Despair of Zhudun (AP) A bit tricky to tell whether 2d8 damage (with full modifiers sans Curse and Constitution modifier) and granting Combat Advantage is enough of a deterrent to standing up, in the face of At-Will level damage. Star Pact: And this juuuuust pushes it over the edge into becoming a legitimate price to pay. Stacking an attack penalty on top of CA and extra damage will keep your enemy on the floor for one more round. Life Force Reclaimed (AP) One little bolt, and bam, you gain a substantial bank of temporary hitpoints equal to your healing surge value, once every encounter should you hit. Every Constitution'lock will find uses for your newfound "armor", so go ahead and enjoy it. Vestige Pact: And if you belong to this pact, throw MORE temporary hitpoints on top of THAT, this time equal to your healing surge plus twice INT. Hug it tightly, Vestige'locks: you'll want it in 12 levels. Llymic's Frigid Prison (D403) This isn't red because of the effect: the effect is pretty good, but is starting to lose its luster in the face of so many enemies that can now teleport. But take a nice, good look at Life Force Reclaimed, and recognize that it's better in every way possible. Single-target Encounter immobilization just isn't good enough to slingshot it over any of the other powers here anymore. Sea Tyrant's Fury (AP) Run the battlefield awash with a massive blast that prones and pushes a considerable distance. 2d8 might sound terrible, but for a blast 5, that's actually not all that bad. Vestige Pact: This rider is kind of misplaced, but can be extremely helpful should you need the quick boost.
Warlock's Bargain (PHB1) You should not be damaging yourself to deal damage equal to a level 1 daily. Infernal Pact: Except if you belong here, in which you'll both have the temp hitpoints to afford the hit, and not take much of a dent in them at all. Now that's a bit more like it. Still... it's just short-range damage.
Obedience's Reward (DSCS) Lazylock, activate! No, but seriously: you command an ally to tromp over to any enemy he wants to hit with a charge or a melee basic attack, with a huge bonus to his attack rolls (your INT modifier). Should he hit, he deals an extra 2d8 damage (basically an unadjusted Curse). However, if he misses, he takes the highest of your CON or CHA modifiers, and the power comes back, good as new. The Leader/Striker has its moments of glory, and this is one of them. Sorcerer-King Pact: Now revel in the catastrophe that will result should your Fell Might succeed (which it has a good chance of doing, as it relies on a very accurate attack roll, especially now that MBAs have taken a massive spike in optimizing possibility in 4e). An MBA + 2d8 + Curse, potentially on a Slayer that will have silly amounts of static modifiers, or a Thief that can then add Sneak Attack? There's no Control here... except for sweet, sweet death.
Baleful Eye of Imix (Essentials: HOEC) A conjuration power with a brutal secondary attack: a Close burst 3 centered on the eye that does great damage and pulls towards itself, helping to apply the primary effect of dealing ongoing 10 Fire damage to creatures that start its turn adjacent to it. The eye also gives a weird little transit benefit of creatures being able to enter its space, take 10 fire damage, then teleport 5 squares. As the other HOEC powers, it has a d6 effect: roll a 1, and you can't use the secondary power. Roll a 6, however, and you deal some decent autodamage to everything within 3 squares of the eye. Park the eye in the back row, stay close by, and watch it annihilate everything. Jumps up considerably in rating if you can apply penalties to hit against your allies and expand the zone (War Wizardry, War Wizard's Expertise, Master of Flame PP).
Dark Side of the Moon (D366) That's how you name a Warlock power. A shame that, while accurate and hard-hitting, the effect won't be negative enough for many enemies to be bothered with. Don't get me wrong, though: it's got its uses. Darklands Eclipse (Essentials: HOS) Does bupkiss on a miss, so don't miss too many enemies. So, what can this do, you ask? How about laying down a 25-square area of carpet for enemies to be carted off to whenever they get damage by an attack? This actually gains effectiveness from having its zone be heavily obscured: it's built to split the battlefield into "haves" and "have-nots", allowing you (and your allies) to jail enemies that you dont' want on the board until they save from the cold and necrotic damage. Tricky to really get the hang of, and requires a Minor Action to sustain the zone (which, after everyone's saved, no one is going to care about anymore, unless you decide to banish them there by other means), but can be exploited well.
Delusions of Loyalty (PHB1) A Reliable quasi-Dominate that will fully and completely annihilate the target's Standard actions, possibly provoke opportunity attacks when it charges (or makes Ranged attacks - it can make any basic attack, not just MBAs), and is against Will. This is way too fun to even consider rating it any other color. Debuff its saving throws for added hilarity.
Dread Briars (D375) Single-target immobilization (save ends) as a daily, and all damage is Necrotic. I say nay. Fey Pact: What are you doing picking this power? Look at the pretty little gold one above this entry.
Explosive Contagion (FRPG) Every orifice, huh? Not my words. Anyway, the start-up damage is a bit muted (and the entire power contains the Poison keyword), but it's a power that can have Curse dice applied to it, with a DOT that properly spreads as well. Still, though, I'm not going to yell down the street about this power.
Force of Nature (AP) I'm not even winded! An absolute pounding (*bonk*), compounded with a prone and huge push (Scattergun knockback?) make for one heck of a daily to pull out of your back pocket. Also, this is way too open to TF2 references, so the flavor is off the charts. Should probably be Black, but seriously, the fun factor is too huge to ignore.
Maelstrom of Despair (AP) A... weird effect. If your party doesn't tend to inflict a lot of save-ends effects, see how incredibly high I rated Hellfire Eruption. If they do... Dark Pact:... first of all, you can punish them severely for every single one they roll, equal to about 12 or 14 psychic damage by this point. Fey Pact: Alternatively, you can... gain a small bonus to saving throws when you sustain the effect as a minor action. What a letdown.
Memory of Blades (Essentials: HOTFK) More shield-typed defensive boosts, this time to AC and Reflex. You also gain an at-will IR that pushes everyone in a blast 3 two squares should someone within three squares of you hit you. Can work to a degree of competency, though you may want to honestly grab the other Charisma'lock powers here that have better effects attached.
Nightshade Cloud (Essentials: HOTFK) Fear and Poison keywords on one card is not a good sign from the start. However, completely nullifying shifts right from the get-go and the possiblity of applying dazes and slides is worth considering. The one thing that sets this power back is that it's a Close blast instead of a Burst, of which would make a lot more sense.
Passionate Betrayal (FRPG) Dominated (save ends). And if there are at least five of his allies that're unbloodied in the encounter and he has no bonus to saving throws, he's a pet for you to keep for a good long while. Don't miss, whatever you do. Dark Pact: Because your pet certainly won't. Goodness...
Rain of Lead (Essentials: HOTFK) Close blast Restrained is marvelous (as it carries substantial advantages over straight Immobilization), but with many character's abilities to not suck at damage at nineteenth level, that's gonna go away soon. I just hope you aim in such a fashion that a 25-square field of difficult terrain doesn't mess y'all up too much...
Shadow Mire (Essentials: HOS) Guaranteed slowed (save ends) would normally be hilariously stupid, but here it's actually fantastic, as the burst size is roomy enough for two-square movement to work marvelously. The burst basically creates a prison in which monsters must roll a 10 on a d20 to escape. Unfortunately, this would be the perfect time and place to put a cloud of obfuscation down... but it doesn't exist here, and the punishment for staying inside (10 necrotic damage) is woebegone.
Star of Death's Omen (Essentials: HOS) Decent hit, long range, and dazed (save ends), plus Reliability (with a bonus). Boring, but it works.
Wrath of Acamar (PHB1) As glorious as removed from play is... just look at what your alternatives are.
Hellfire Eruption (D382) Ongoing damage is not control. --WEContact Infernal Pact: Penalties to attack rolls sort of are. Kinda. --DDS
Malicious Guide Star (D403) The D403 powers have been, thus far, either mediocre or pretty good. This one is just sick: you implant a guaranteed, sustainable Aura 1 that allows the target and every enemy inside it to grant Combat Advantage. Even better, anyone in that same aura is subject to a 5-square teleport whenever you feel you don't want to spend your Move Action on refreshing Shadow Walk. If you teleport the target, remember that the Aura does move, so keep that in mind. Oh, and it's Radiant damage. You're welcome.
Void Star (AP) On the wrong enemies, or on a miss... probably not, no. But on enemies that regenerate or have other methods of gaining hitpionts? Especially if it's outside their control, this rocks the caspah.
Minions of Malbolge (PHB1) After an initial injection of temp hitpoints, you can basically shove everyone with incredibly good autodamage who even dares to step in your personal bubble once per round. The effect ends when you have no temp hitpoints remaining - this does mean that your amount of temp hitpoints has to hit zero before this effect can end. The 25 starter temps can run out, and the effect will still be in play if you still have temps left over. This costs your Standard Action to get going, and none of the damage you inflict here will carry Curses, but that's fine - if you need this power, you need it.
Voice of the Dictator (DSCS) Dominated (save ends), plus a siphoning effect on each failed saving throw. Incredibly cool. Constitution'locks gravitate here for their prized daily, as it is here where they gain their Domination.
Vestige of Amaan (AP) You want Vulnerability, you got it: save-ends Vulnerable 10 all. Well, provided you hit, anyway. Otherwise you get Cracker Jacks. And immobilization (save ends) in either case. Pact Boon: Someone died? Great! *yoink* Augment: Literally everything on the board is a plaything to you. You have utter control of the field now, and by golly will you love it.
Vestige of Kronata (D383) 2d10+CON and ongoing 10 fire damage. On a level 19 daily. Ahahaha. Pact Boon: Much better. Now we add a decent Boon to a lullaby of an effect. Autodamage to any two Cursed enemies of your choice, of which you can then push away a short distance. Augment: It's diced damage, but situational. Yea, I get that. Here's the thing - that "moves closer to you" does not have to be by his own volition. Just think about that for a little bit. Especially those of you that took the Hexer Paragon Path.
Vestige of the Burned Emperors (AP) Didn't we go through this at level 1 with Khaeleth? At least the enemy has to be surrounded this time instead of you... Pact Boon: While I did mention back in Level 1 that ally repositioning isn't something you're remotely interested in, having this much freedom to relocate an ally is worth something. Augment: ... unlike this weaksauce augment.
Blades of Vanquished Armies (FRPG) Despicable damage, but mass Weakened and a necrotic shield does have its high points. Unlike Otherwind Stride, however, there is no teleport associated with this power, so it boils down to a true panic button, unlike the former. Dark Pact: This is kind of weird. You gain a bonus to damage on ranged attacks, but the associated power is a close burst 1 that doesn't move you to a safer point on the board. Weakened they may be, to use your newfound boost effectively you may not want to be in Close burst 1 range of anything.
Dark Transport (PHB1) Simple attack that cranks them over the head for decent damage, and then allows you to swap places with the target. There are several little tricks you can pull with this hex, especially against Artillery - move in to a place where you're surrounded by your own allies, hit him, and drag him over. Star Pact: And if the original location wasn't a prime spot for you, now you have a huge radius of options as to where to go. Very neat.
Dreadtheft (FRPG) There is one major thing that rates this above Deathboon: double targets. If you recognize that there's a minion on the board, and you want a heightened semi-At Will power while knocking minions to the floor, use this power: it will count minion deaths as dropping a target to 0 hitpoints or fewer, refreshing the use - and meanwhile you can roll Curse dice against the guy you actually wanted to damage. Unexpectedly good. Dark Pact: Enemies do tend to resist the types of damage they dole out, so this has its uses.
Inner Void (Essentials: HOS) Single-target prone with a rider that doesn't exist. And it's necrotic. Mediocre for Binders, garbage for you.
Maddening Whispers (AP) An average hit that immobilizes and grants CA. While this would be a meek effect, what gives it a bit of life is the delayed slide. You have potentially several turns to wait for the battlefield to rearrange itself, and precisely on the target's turn is when you want to control where he begins. A pity it's only 2 squares. Star Pact: Or you could, you know, extend that by about 6-8 squares and completely ruin their day by flinging them wherever you goddamn please.
Swarm of Fangs (AP) Single target prone with a rider that does exist. Whatever. Fey Pact: And now we have an actual effect... on the completely wrong pact. It's very flavorful, I'll agree, but Fey Pacters tend to not want to deal AOE damage when they sling their hexes - they'd rather screw up the enemy's attention spans. Still, it's a big friendly AOE that only requires one attack roll.
Thorns of Venom (PHB1) Poison keyword. Immobilization and a minor penalty to AC and Reflex will probably help your melee allies, and you... sort of. Fey Pact: Once more, taking a mediocre effect and turning it into sweet, nectary goodness in what's basically stripping away every bit of armor from the target. By the way... now that you have him debuffed so massively, come 27th level, take a little peek at the Sorcerer-King hex for this level and see what you can make of it, 'ey?
Umbral Radiance (Essentials: HOS) The difference between the Warlock version of this and the Binder version of this is mind-numbing. Single-target blind is definitely pretty darn nice, but look at what the Binders get out of it.
Unwilling Betrayal (D406) Once more for D406, no damage. When an enemy next to you attacks you, you dominate it until the end of its next turn, and if an enemy was adjacent to you, the triggering attack hits him instead. It's undoubtedly an improvement over its little brother Touch of Command, but this is the time where you weigh the decision of whether to keep the former power, whether to take this in its place, or disregard both and take another power from a list of rather strong Encounter powers. The two powers are very, very similar in strength, with only the situational secondary effect as the difference between this and a power 16 levels its junior.
Web of Lies (D386) The target is now in jail. Literally. For one turn, you can completely trap an enemy in his little 3x3 cage, and the poor guy has no method of travel elsewhere, as he cannot leave the zone at all. Being able to recast with this power is just sickening. Infernal Pact: The punishment for him not attacking his roommates is admittedly slight (not to mention the fact that other enemies disregard the zone entirely), and you don't get this demand should you use the Miss recast and hit with that, but it could potentially prod an enemy who's Vulnerable to psychic to start raking other enemies.
Arrow of Arcane Light (AP) While the attack roll portion of the power looks quite nice, by this point you'll either be wielding an implement that grants you an unnatural crit range (Jagged Dagger or Melegaunt's Darkblade Dagger via a feat, or Rod of the Star Spawn otherwise) or a feat that does the same thing. In that case, all the power has going for it is a moderate-damage Radiant hit, and that's not all that fascinating. Vestige Pact: Adding an actual effect does help it a lot, but unfortunately one of your best Vestiges already does this, and by now you should have taken Vestige Mastery and claimed Vestige of Amaan as one of your primary Vestiges. This entire power unfortunately fails due to it being obsolete.
Awaken the Dragon (AP) Oh hell yea, this is much better. Mass Vulnerability is something several of your party members (Wizards and Sorcerers mostly, whom by now have some monstrously big spells to cast) will adore. Vestige Pact: A little padding never hurt anyone.
Pandorym's Prism (D403) NPC basic attacks never go out of style, but that's pretty much all it does. It does do Radiant damage, though, and that's somewhat notable. Star Pact: Will? What Will score? What kind of a Will score will he have once you collapse it by such a degree? You Intimi'locks out there should be licking your lips at this...
Spiteful Darts (PHB1) A close blast 5 pusher power is almost a bit too wild, since you need to orient the square in such a way where you get a nice big crowd of enemies to push along. Three squares is nice, but not spectacular. Infernal Pact: How about ten squares?
Starless Void (D366) Wouldn't a void already be starless? Anyway: grants CA to all your allies. Hooray. Not like a commonly poached at-will did this or anything (Hand of Blight...) Star Pact: And once again, the Star Pact comes marching down to turn a lame effect into a potential for a chaotic frenzy. Choose your weapon of choice, you cosmic mages: you want to debuff Will by a huge margin to browbeat someone into surrendering (or just make you stupidly accurate)? Or do you want to debuff AC... and then potentially look in the CON/CHA box below and find a horrendously broken combo to spend an action point on?
Command of Execution (DSCS) By now you should be well aware just how utterly broken charges and melee basic attacks have become in light of Essentials, and to grant two charges on a whim to anyone in Close burst 5 of the poor guy is quite spectacular. Sorcerer-King Pact: Hope you have your dice bag ready, because if you spend your Fell Might and you hit, those charges are going to become murderous. The fact that you can double your Curse damage on top of charge attacks is reason enough to put this at a high echelon. This is how you Lead'strike, gents. Downgrade it as needed depending on your party's assortment of MBAs.
Curse of the Twin Princes (PHB1) This is a beautiful effect that, as long as you hit, will add a completely new source of damage to the target in the form of funneling damage you take on successful Charisma vs. Will attacks. Charisma-based Infernal'locks should pay close attention to this, because this is either going to punish the target severely while barely doing anything to you, or it'll completely shun enemy attacks for the rest of the encounter. However: DO NOT STAND ADJACENT TO THE TARGET. The effect in play whenever you are adjacent to the target of this attack will dissuade all attacks, not just your enemies', and PC attacks tend to butcher whatever they hit.
Instruction in Darkness (AP) Last I checked, removing a creature completely from the board and a future mass friendly blind (save ends) tended to be nice. This is no exception.
Invisible Death (FRPG) This could potentially be the most boring hex in the Warlock's repertoire. The flavor text is horribly bland, the name is generic, the effect is also a bit muted (if it was granting CA, it takes a moderate amount of ongoing Force damage)... considering how utterly amazing the other Cha'lock spells are at this level, this is a huge letdown. Dark Pact: A little bit more bite on the ongoing, but really, why are you picking this power?
Ring of Torment (FRPG) Sharing is caring; it can be fun. Especially when you share ongoing Psychic damage with all of your friends. And what's best about it is that the amount of targets you can spread the ongoing damage to widens tremendously, going from a Close burst 5 around the original victim to a Close burst 20 around you. I'm still not sold on this as a DPR power, but this is the best of the bunch when it comes to the Contagion line of hexes. Dark Pact: By now, you are at MENSA-level Intelligence, which will put muscle into those ongoing damages. For the original power and the Pact rider, upgrade by a color grade if you use the Rod of Ulban.
The Prince's Horde (AP) Hit or miss, the target gains a sphere of autodamage, and all of your allies gain a great little boost to defenses. However, keep in mind that the autodamage incorporates all of your modifiers, and by this point, if the monster is aware of how the autodamage functions, he will wade into melee range and start slicing up your own allies. Be extremely careful how you apply this power, because as good as it is in its first rounds, it can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Infernal Chains (AP) The miss effect is unapologetically lame, but on a Hit, you've got a soccer ball you can kick around at-will until he escapes. Unlike Star Shackles all the way back at level 1, it has the freedom of using either of its checks to target your Fortitude or Reflex. However, both stats as a CON/INT character will not be weak, especially now that you have access to untyped bonuses from Epic Tier feats. Give this a look.
Tartarean Tomb (PHB1) Your Charisma-based cousins have a much superior version of this power in Instruction in Darkness, but removal from play is still a strong effect. However, the monster token specifically still exists on the board, which can be a major hindrance. It's a great punch in the gut for a damage roll, though.
Thirteen Baleful Stars (PHB1) Fire and psychic damage (another weird Fire double-type?), and stunned on a hit, dazed on a miss. Stunned that can't be saved against (except by rare innate abilities) is just strong enough for an Encounter power, and the 5d10 damage dice encapsulate it perfectly and make it a great daily power. Unfortunately, every Warlock (Con' or Cha'lock) has a brilliant alternative in Word of the Sorcerer-King at this level, and thus if you don't mind working slightly in the front lines, this power becomes redundant.
Word of the Sorcerer-King (DSCS) Must be one hell of a word. Close blast 5 stunned (save ends), with dazed on a miss, coupled with rather spiffy damage on a friendly power. Positioning is no problem, damage is just fine, and the status effects you inflict on everyone is a sight to behold. Tieflings with Royal Command of Asmodeus can transform this into a close blast Dominate, an effect your Invoker cousins get 4 levels later.
Vestige of Land's Soul (AP) Slowed (save ends) on a daily halfway through Epic Tier? Wow, that's stupid. But Regeneration 10 while the target is slowed is a fine consolation prize. Still, as a non-Vestige'lock, this isn't worth the daily slot. Pact Boon:Massive health drain in a large radius. If you plant yourself correctly and knock someone down with minions everywhere around you, they're gone. Plus, you'll love the health you get. I guarantee it. Augment: There's a special little item you can obtain called the Gloves of Eldritch Admixture that can allow your Curse to deal fire, cold, or acid damage. This Augment basically adds 5+INT modifier to Eyes of the Vestige when you chain it on each of your turns... and adding massive amounts of damage to any power your allies do that aligns with the Vulnerability you inflict. At-Will Vulnerability infliction opens itself up to a maelstrom of wrongness, and for that reason, this is a major candidate for Vestige Mastery.
Vestige of the Queen of Namhar (AP) Delayed weakening (save ends) is kind of a weird effect, and the rest of the power is lame otherwise. It is psychic damage, however, and it's at Epic Tier where Psychic damage completely changes into a dominating damage type for Warlocks (Rod of Ulban, anyone?) Pact Boon: Ouch. Just ouch. Dazed (save ends) as a boon!? That's going to frustrate your DM something fierce. Augment: At-will weakening. There is no more that needs to be said.
Vestige of Vykolad (D383) The damage is horrible and untyped, but immediate weakened (save ends) and the ability to spend a healing surge is credible. Pact Boon: OK, at this point you should be well aware just how solid an option these three dailies are. Vestige'locks are very well off here, no matter which of these three they take, and they should seriously consider taking a second one from this list at 29th level. As for this power, insubstantiality as a Pact Boon is a defensive boost you will love. Augment: A crushing downgrade that'll approach a -20 penalty to damage rolls. AT WILL. This will neuter solos like mad, and is worth the price of a daily slot.
Curse of the Fey King (PHB1) This has the potential to be incredibly amazing (steal a natural 20 from the Big Bad Evil Mofo, and not only do you prevent a huge amount of damage, but you get an auto-crit on your next turn), or incredibly lame (they roll low, they miss anyway; and your new, useless d20 fizzles into nothing). You can't really plan for this, since it's the first d20 they roll, not any d20 they roll on that next turn. Ah well. Fey Pact: Now you have much more freedom as to what your d20 will become, since you gain a bonus to attack rolls (or saving throws, or a skill check, etc.) equal to your Intelligence modifier.
Envoy of Nihal (D366) If the target takes damage from an attack that deals damage(?), you can spend a healing surge. Charisma-based Infernal'locks will love it, especially if they can fix Constitution being tied to healing surges. Otherwise, not so much. Star Pact: Fantastic padding on top of the healing will allow your Leader to catch a breather.
Hellfire Fury (D386) A solid hit (for an Encounter power), which if you miss will turn you into an uncontrollable laser gun until you hit with it - and if you miss enough creatures, you will love the insipidly high number on your bonus to damage rolls. Just do me one favor, alright? Don't use this against a solo. Infernal Pact: Whoever you finally hit with the power will be reeling from the pain... and won't be able to prepare for whatever you crack over his head next turn. Awesome.
Hungry Void (Essentials: HOS) It's a giant field of proning that... oh wait, Star Pact (Binder). It's decent damage for an encounter Burst 2, but prone and nothing else will still allow options for melee NPCs (if they're within charge range) and ranged characters (who'll just stand up and launch attacks like normal). Still, worthwhile for a giant Encounter AOE... though the Sorcerer and Wizard in your party are silently laughing behind your back.
Inevitable Undercut (FRPG) Oh, just don't, please? This is two casts of your at-will power with one instance of your Curse. Accurate or not, Psychic or not, just don't even bother. The damage is stupid. Dark Pact: Alright, fine, super-duper-accurate.
Soul of the Treant (AP) About equal to 2[W] damage at this point, but it's a friendly AOE that only requires one attack roll, works immediately, and knocks everyone around the target flying. This will take an enemy formation and ruin it instantly. Fey Pact: Knocking the original target prone is a decent side benefit, but not particularly amazing.
Supplication of the Worms (D406) Friendly close burst 3 that pulls everything that you hit 2 squares and knocks them prone. Are you insane? This is anti-EVERYTHING you want to do - if a set of enemies surround you and they're pulled by this power, it creates blocking terrain for you if you can't fly... and then next turn, they stand up and whallop you into their own version of diplomacy. This, like pretty much all of the other D406 powers, were not made for you. Umbral Swap (Essentials: HOS) At-Will height of cold and necrotic damage, and removal from play. Charisma'locks get to play with the sloppy seconds that Con'locks get, and while it's still great Control, it basically amounts to a Charisma version of Shattering of the Sword without the option to butcher the crap out of your enemy before your turn rolls around again.
Banish to the Void (PHB1) And in a weird little exchange of roles, we give the best Removed From Play encounter powers... to Con'locks. In this case, the target is removed from play, throws out an automatic MBA against the nearest creature when it comes back next turn, and everyone is an enemy in terms of OA triggering. Literally the only thing that sucks about this power is the low damage, but this is a power that Cha'locks would die to have - and it's all yours, Con'locks. Enjoy. (Though Star Pactees may want to look below this very hex...)
Grasp of Ragnorra (D403) If you're not a Star Pact, look up there. Yea, right there. That's your hex, son. Don't even bother with this hex. It's a fantastic effect, but completely unnecessary on the list. Star Pact: On the other hand, you have an 8000-square field of influence as to where the enemy ends up (it can roll a saving throw to avoid this, but you can send him 20 squares up and add about 10d10 damage to this power, which combined is the highest amount of damage on one power in the game), and that's something that Banish to the Void just cannot do.
Hellfire Curse (PHB1) A harrowing shredder of a power, but that is it. Infernal Pact: And your smarts will add enough of a punch to make it truly terrifying, even without any Control whatsoever.
Manipulating Thunderbolt (AP) The one-square slide is not enough at high Epic Tier, as everyone and their grandma has Reach now. Infernal Pact: Shunting them 7-8 squares away, however, is competent Control.
Shattering of the Sword (AP) At-Will level damage, which is kind of lame, but stunned with no questions asked is always solid. Be careful though that your current Vestige wouldn't provide you with a better benefit than stunned... Vestige Pact: ... since this is the Pact that the rider belongs to. Extra damage on a 2d10 power you can use once per encounter is negligable.
Zutwa's Incandescence (AP) Even for an AOE, the damage is a bucket of fail, but really, how can you say no to an Encounter friendly AOE blind? How can you even dare? Vestige Pact: Also a minor debuff to saving throws, which needs a bit of preparation to get the full advantage of.
Price of Defiance (DSCS) The effect is really nice, but honestly, it's an effect better replicated by Command of Execution. The bonus is in the wrong place (damage roll instead of attack roll), quite frankly. Sorcerer-King Pact: That is, unless you spend your Fell Might and hit; pinballing enemies off your allies can be incredibly fun, and adding allies to the damage is something you want to do as a Lead'striker such as yourself.
Armor of the Void (Essentials: HOTFK) You gain a fantastic bonus to one defense, and you grow a shield against a specific type of attack which does negligable Cold damage but lets you teleport them as a free action. Having it be a free action and not having it take up your Immediate Action to do so is incredibly cool. You'll basically be able to wade much closer without too much of a threat of being bum-rushed, and if you want to end the effect, there's a very handy friendly AOE teleport power you can drop. Not splendid, but incredibly solid. And just like all the other Hexblade shield powers, it activates on a minor action, which is quite good.
Arrangement of Disorder (AP) As soon as you declare the use of this attack, you gain the use of an 11x11 chessboard, of which you have complete freedom to move all your allies and all enemies you hit with this daily. The damage is meh, but the utility of this power is brilliant.
Caiphon's Abominable Melody (D366) Accurate is one point on this power, decent damage is another point, but then you have this: deafened (save ends), blinded (save ends), and slowed (save ends), all requiring seperate saves, and incorporating a slide every time the target starts his turn until he's completely cured is brutality personified. This is a hex that was written to sunder one target and surrender him to the laughing sounds of clinking d20s. And speaking of d20s: you make saving throws (sort of) against damage, and on a success, damage is completely nullified against you. My God.
Two problems, however: If you miss, you get nothing at all. Secondly, your allies will start feeling the effects of this hex, dealing to them 1d10 psychic damage that incorporates all your modifiers. Be utterly careful when and how you use this, because while the tune is beautiful, the chords are disparaging.
One more note: deafened + blinded means rolling Stealth checks to hide pretty much is an auto-success, so have fun.
Curse of the Dark Delirium (PHB1) Sustainable quasi-Domination that isn't a Dominate and that grants a full set of actions. Let me repeat that: sustainable Domination in totality. As long as you can chain this power, enjoy your new puppy. Shame missing drops down the use about tenfold.
Draining Void (Essentials: HOS) Even the Binder has something to contribute to the already fantastic list of Cha'lock level 29 Hexes. An apocalyptic amount of AOE cold and necrotic damage (8d6 Burst 2 is tremendous, even if dice doesn't seem to matter at Epic) that then does the very thing that these Shadow zones should have done in the first place: creatures inside the zone cannot attack any creature outside of the zone. Cannot. Movable and sustainable is incredible as well: drop this when everyone is cursed and move your Cardboard Box of Doom(R) around. Shame leaving the zone carries no punishment at all, but it does give a 5x5 area of the board where you can basically say "no creatures allowed", which is great for certain strategies.
Drawn to Darkness (Essentials: HOS) Mass friendly removed from play (save ends), aftereffect dazed until SONT. The miss will do nothing worthwhile, but to be able to wade into a formation, raise your Rod, and make everyone around you just vanish for at least one round is something that cannot be rated low by any stretch of the imagination.
Eyes of the Victim (AP) Bland necrotic damage, but a contagion that blinds (save ends) and spreads the contagion itself to all adjacent enemies is an utterly fantastic capstone to the Contagion line of powers. Worth serious consideration.
Fury of Ogrémoch (Essentials: HOEC) First things first: no-hit-required friendly mass immobilization. So let's get that awesomeness out of the way first. Then, a pair of circumstances: either the targets fail their saves and escalate from immobilize to restrained to petrified, or they (eventually) save, in which they EXPLODE off-turn and allows an AOE attack that does respectable damage. Best to set this up with multiple enemies in the back row (perhaps in a field of minions?) so that your allies are spared the explosion, but this has some incredible potential.
One Final Sacrifice (FRPG) Unrateable, as it's impossible to determine whether the bonus damage you get incorporates your modifiers, and how much of it (not at all, once, or multiplied). Ask your DM.
Soul Cutter (Essentials: HOTFK) The Pact Blade is not a Pact Weapon, and you do not possess Pact Weapons - your Hexblade sister class does, and only them. It's brilliant for them, though.
Spread the Corrosion (FRPG) Shifting 5 squares is not "darting around the battlefield", and while that's a nice amount of damage you do to up to three creatures, that's still all it does. There are very specific boosts you can apply to this power, since it possesses a range you only share with Eldritch Strike and Sorcerer-King Pact powers - if you're interested in optimizing that, take a look. Dark Pact: Pray tell me how you're going to find eight enemies linked up getting all buddy-buddy with each other in such an enclosed space?
Doom of Delban (PHB1) If you miss... sorry. If you don't, at the price of 2d10+modifiers, you can continuously subject the board to an ever growing onslaught of cold damage. And as an Infernal'lock (the pact this power is built for) you will hopefully have reserves of temp hitpoints to drain to keep this power running. This could amount to silly amounts of damage over time, but don't get too greedy... or miss.
Forbiddance of the Ninth (AP) A very unique power for the Warlock: you command a continuing, movable stream of fire that incinerates anyone that even dares to approach you. Everything you do with this power incorporates your modifiers, and as long as you stay away from your allies and set yourself up next to a crowd of enemies, everything around you will burn to ashes. Pick up that flamethrower and hold on tight.
Hurl Through Hell (PHB1) A very proper upgrade to all the sequestering Encounter powers you got at level 27: for four turns, he's gone. Just gone. And when he finally comes back, he's knocked to the floor and stunned (save ends). Missing with this power will have you deal pitiful damage, however, so wait for the right moment before firing this sucker.
Dregoth's Ashen Curse (DSCS) I could sit here and repeat how ongoing damage is not control. I could also be wasting my time typing out why slowed no longer matters anymore. I could also be describing why weakening as an aftereffect with no obvious punishment otherwise is not worth it, and a Miss effect that's just insulting, all compounds into a hex that's not worth the paper its written on.
But I won't. Even though I did. Do not take this power. This is a wretched lump of fail, with the only thing that could possibly ever make this any more than nonexistant being delayed weakening.
Shadow Legion (Essentials: HOS) Put here because there is absolutely no ability score dependancy. Every single enemy in a 7x7 zone is subject to a buffed version of its own melee basic attack. It's very easy to place, as your allies will be completely fine with having this placed above them; but unfortunately, it doesn't count the enemies as attacking themselves, so Defender punishment will not trigger. It's an obtuse way to drop a (very accurate) AOE, but the damage types inflicted may be a damage type that the enemy resists. Still, the radius of the AOE alone makes it great.
Vestige of the Earthen Maker (D383) Ahahahaha... Pact Boon: Let's turn a daily that does slightly more damage than powers you took twenty-eight levels ago into a daily that's worth taking, with a very cool Pact Boon that actually really wants you to trigger this more than once in a turn. Augment: Pushed, knocked prone, and most importantly, can't fly. Remember what level you're at.
Vestige of the Master of the Hidden Flame (AP) Are you kidding?! Pact Boon: EVERYTHING ... Augment: ... BURNS!!! (Much more valuable if you multiclass into Wizard, or are a Tiefling.)
Vestige of Zuriel (AP) It's no secret to the fact that these powers are not meant to be taken by non-Vestige'locks. Pact Boon: And apparently, neither are you. This benefit is horribly lame. Augment: Completely redundant in the face of Vestige of the Earthen Maker, and results in the worst Vestige Daily in the entire game... and could possibly be the worst Warlock power ever described here.
I won't be going into Skill Powers here - I'll keep mainly to the class powers. There are some that're amazing (Deliverance of Faith, level 6 Encounter from the Religion skill, is extremely good), but otherwise there are way too many to list and sort through.
Shadow Blend (Essentials: HOS) This is surprisingly much more useful than you'd imagine: if ever there's a square of dim light or darkness nearby, produced by any means, you can stand perfectly still and gain an at-will bonus to defenses that you would normally have to get by keeping mobile. This does not count as getting your Shadow Walk effect, which does matter for some feats and powers, but at level 2 it's something to keep a close eye on.
Beguiling Tongue (PHB1) Social utility. But goodness gracious is it marvelous: you basically gain the Shaman's Speak with Spirits class feature on three skills that Cha'locks will adore. However, Con'locks will be looking elsewhere - there are better alternatives to band-aiding your skill checks.
Caiphon's Leap (AP) Charisma The damage reduction scales rather meekly, but the teleport is enough at its base and incredibly buffable. These kinds of utilities are very valuable to Cha'locks - worth consideration.
Devil's Trade (AP) This really does depend on how prone you are to getting smacked with (save ends) effects. There are some better routes to follow to give you better results on your saving throws, but an auto-success with a meaningless punishment is excellent.
Ethereal Stride (PHB1) Basically an "I NEED SHADOW WALK NOW" power, with a further boosting to your defenses. Not bad.
Fey Bargain (AP) Not entirely sure what they thought when they designed the trade-offs for these powers. It's a bonus and a penalty that you control the timing of, and if you're not going to tank or get inflicted with debilitating effects anytime soon, enjoy the awesomeness of improved accuracy once per encounter.
Ruinous Phrase (D382) How much HP does a one-square wooden door have? Infernal Pact: And do you really, honestly need a 5-point boost in the threshold of destruction?
Shadow Veil (PHB1) Hey, Rogue, mind doing this instead of having the guy with deplorable Dexterity and no ability to train in Stealth outright do it? So much better if you're actually going to bother having a Stealth score that's not zero.
Spectral Fade (Essentials: HOS) Very important note: invisible does not make you hidden. If you move and do not make Stealth checks, enemies still know your exact location. However, you still gain a monumental bonus to defenses against OAs and future attacks, and that's at least worth an Encounter slot.
Spider Scuttle (Essentials: HOS) Climb speed comes up very rarely in 4e, honestly, and just for one turn is not worth it. Also: crawling? Just stand up and move, lazy bones.
Wrathful Aspect (Essentials: HOTFK) A third of Beguiling Tongue with a minor shield. Unexceptional.
Assassin's Bane (DSCS) A giant zone of mobility and defensive denial, preventing enemies that're within 3 squares of you from shifting, teleporting, or gaining any of the benefits of invisibility or concealment. Incredibly annoying for certain enemies, and a fantastic candidate for your level 2 utility. Yes, it's a Daily, but once per day, you will rule the ground you stand on.
Charm of Hearts (D382) If you're not being overly daredevilish, the first benefit will matter little, but +2 power bonus to all defenses that isn't a Stance is great. However, it requires your Minor Action to sustain, and Warlocks tend to hold on to all of their actions tightly (Minor: Curse; Move: Shadow Walk; Standard: blast away).
Eyes of the Spider Queen (AP) Buy some sunrods - they're pocket change to purchase. The side benefit is too rare to plan for.
Fevered Certainty of Caiphon (D366) I want to see the skill check that would make a reduced Will more dangerous. If you need a humongous boost to your non-CHA skills, add this to your toolbox, but if you only think you'll need it for Bluff/Intimidate/Diplomacy, Beguiling Tongue's right up there. And that's an Encounter power.
Fiendish Resilience (PHB1) There are some strategies that want you to start stockpiling temp hitpoints, and this is a decent start to prepare for powers like Doom of Delban and the like. If you anticipate siphoning your own hitpoints for personal gain, here's a place to turn.
Shade Twin (Essentials: HOS) If it wasn't a Sustain Minor, this would be broken as all get-out. As long as you keep rolling poorly on your d20s, you can mimic the target, go up and hug him, and either enemies will consider you as not existing, or they'll inadvertedly pummel the other target - and a key difference from Curse of the Twin Princes is that the effect is not mirrored if your own twin is attacked. The Bluff bonus is meaningless here, and not what this power is for.
Stony Roots (Essentials: HOEC) You ignore forced movement and can make saving throws against being knocked prone. Situationally useful.
Astral Eyes (Essentials: HOTFK) Six-second darkvision is rather pointless, and a minor bonus to two skills you'll be lame at is not worth shoving a utility like this in such a valuable slot.
Fate's Frayed Thread (D382) Being able to apply a Curse to anyone that attacks you once per encounter is the kind of benefit you see from Paragon Paths, and the side benefit is excellent for punishing them for daring to strike you down. Great!
Fey Switch (Essentials: HOTFK) Extremely simple, and Leader-like abilities are the kinds of abilities Warlocks can minor in very well. This is perfect for those types of players.
Iron Aspect of Dispater (Essentials: HOTFK) Both effects are quite situational, especially the latter (you almost want to be pushed or slid away as a Ranged caster), but you won't regret having this in your back pocket as an Encounter power.
Life Siphon (AP) I find it hard to call it "unkind" when there's no negative effect placed on the ally. The benefit is excellent, and it contains the Healing keyword, which could open itself up to major shenanigans. Dark Pact: Regain hitpoints equal to 2+CHA modifier. That'll work. Infernal Pact: Awesome as well, but look down at the Skill Powers to see what you're missing by taking this. Still, this is a THP utility, so it's worth a look.
Mirror Darkly (Essentials: HOS) For one turn every encounter, you can gain the Psion's Intellect Prism, but also allowing yourself a great boost to defenses and the ability to launch blasts with alarming freedom. The aftereffect is completely optional, so keep that in mind.
Racing Fire of Ulban (AP) Move 10-14 squares. You don't shift, you don't teleport, you move. Boring and obsolete.
Shadow Ride (Essentials: HOS) Once an encounter, you turn any enemy on the board you can approach into a taxi. Here's my question: what's the point? You only shift 2 squares, so you don't trigger Shadow Walk; you're still a legal target, as you still exist in a square (and creatures that exist in the same space are considered adjacent to each other); and at the start of your next turn, you pop out right next to the enemy, exactly where a Ranged Striker does not want to be. Use your move action to gain defensive bonuses, not to make a taxi out of enemies that tend to not want to move when they're locked into attack mode anyway. Shifting 2 is cool, but there's a Teleport 3 back at 2nd level. There are super specific uses for a power like this, and if you can find it, great, but otherwise...
Shadowslip (FRPG) Distances based on ability modifers tend to scale incredibly well, and while this power will start out pretty good, it'll turn marvelous as the tiers fall away.
Spider Climb (PHB1) Is this a joke?
Unspeakable Bond (D382) Well, this sure isn't. Delegate a slightly less fragile ally as the target of damage you take, but you still adopt any effects that would have been laid upon you. What a shame... except you have a brilliant solution to this problem, from a very unexpected source: Fortune Binding, a level 3 Con'lock encounter power. Ignoring all that, giving your ally a great boost to attack rolls is always worth a little poke in the side. Infernal Pact: And then he gains a bonus to defenses and everyone on Team Monster is sadface.
Chaos Armor (Essentials: HOEC) Resist 10 to a damage type of your choice chosen amongst the Affinity options, and whenever an enemy hits you, smack another enemy close by dependant on your Constitution modifier. If your CON modifier is any great shakes, this is extremely worthwhile. This is also great for all Element'locks come Epic tier when their Pact Boon grows ever higher in power and the autodamage becomes merciless, but I'd actually wait until then to pick this up for them.
Dark One's Own Luck (PHB1) Criticalities tend to happen once a day, so having this be a daily is perfectly fine. Being able to reroll four different kinds of rolls is gravy.
Mercurial Form (AP) For the entire encounter, you cannot be marked, escaping grabs becomes elementary (and takes a free action instead of a move action), and you can fit into Tiny spaces and become a rather good scout. Fantastic.
Red Leeches of Nihal (D366) More temp hitpoints, on a trigger that will come up every day (unless your day is excruciatingly boring). Excellent, but there is a Religion-based Encounter power that does this without the requirement of a trigger.
Rending Fear of Khirad (D366) Completely and utterly social, and thus unable to be rated. Campaigns can vary incredibly wildly from a political conquest to dungeon-crawlers, so it really depends on what your DM's going to run with, and how often you'll take enemies prisoner. Sand Shape (DSCS) A Sustain Minor that you'll laugh at (as you probably will not use this to just blank out on attacks while Cursing everyone... though you could technically do that. Your defenses are patched up) for a great scouting daily. Situational, but as I like to say: if you need it, you need it.
Shroud of Black Steel (PHB1) Bonuses to two specific defenses is not worth the huge penalty to speed. If you're slowed while you're in this quasi-Stance, you're immobilized. Yaaaaay.
Spider Queen's Caress (AP) A decent bonus to saving throws and a decent bonus to a skill you may not be proficient in could be worth it sometimes. Dark Pact: This benefit, however, aligns perfectly with the secondary effect of this power. You carry no penalty to Stealth checks for only moving 2 squares, and maintaining concealment after only two squares while Hidden combos so swell. Bump up to Sky Blue if you have a Stealth score worth yelling about.
Walk Through Darkness (Essentials: HOS) Now that's more like it! Shifting 10 squares, plus phasing and insubstantiality. This is what a Move Action utility should look like, folks.
Ethereal Sidestep (PH Heroes: Series 1) Ah, such a meager little At-Will. However, many of you don't realize just how incredibly freaking important at-will teleportation is. Grabbed will almost disappear from your list of worries, the distance travelled can be buffed to monumental heights, and certain feats and Paragon Paths (Evermeet Warlock, anyone?) can turn a simple little utility like this into a monster. Take it, and you will never be disappointed.
Bridge of Shades (Essentials: HOS) You gain a Portal Gun that works in a limited distance. However, as long as your allies are attentive and close by, you can cross any 4-square-wide area of treacherous terrain with absolutely no problem. A side benefit of being able to make melee attacks from five squares away won't go amiss for some of your allies, either.
Brimstone Caress (D382) Now this is a little awkward: you can only target one ally with this power, and it takes damage in order to teleport. If you want to shimmy someone across a field of death, why not grab Bridge of Shades? Repositioning to this degree can be useful, but it's that punch of fire damage that isn't. Infernal Pact: However, this is an excellent side effect: now you won't feel guilty about shunting Defenders over yonder with improved defenses to start blocking forward monster progress.
Curse of Nessus (AP) An enemy you miss (and you will miss sometimes. It'll happen.) suddenly takes a huge dip in the ability to shake off effects. This is hilarious if your Miss effects on a daily inflict a save-ends effect, because it'll make them so much better.
Darkest Mirror (FRPG) Allies turning invisible means you can't target them with any friendly effects, as you can no longer see them. It's useful in some situations, but invisibility isn't usefully an encounter-wide trait.
Destiny Inversion (AP) Normally turning damage into ongoing halved damage is either pretty decent (one tick), useless (two ticks), or extremely dangerous (three or more ticks). But once again, you have a power that loves it when you have ongoing effects inflicted upon yourself: Fortune Binding. You completely absorb someone's attack, take one tick of the damage, and then on a Hit, pass it along to someone else. This is too open to abuse.
King's Step (DSCS) Please don't be dumb and use this in response to a melee attack, because 1) you should already have him Cursed if you're getting that close, and 2) you either won't move an inch or you'll provoke an opportunity attack from trying to go on the other side of him. Out-of-turn Cursing against Artillery and Controller types, however, is phenomenal.
Troublesome Aid of Caiphon (D366) Wear a Cloak of the Walking Wounded or Amulet of Life please. And don't think of overhealing yourself: if you fall to the ground, you will die. Reducing the number of DTS you can survive from three to two is abominable, especially if you feel that the ability to gain the equivalent of two or three surges in HP is necessary.
Accursed Souls (D372) A little more oomph to your Pact Boons, whereby them dying inflicts a bit of splash Necrotic damage. If you have a bunch of Cursed minions grouped together, you'll amass a terrifying combo where enemies will just knock themselves over like dominoes from the autodamage that you chain. Incredibly fun if you can fenagle it right.
Ambassador Imp (PHB1) Social power, campaign-specific, and horribly situational. Unrateable.
Bond of Brotherhood (AP) If you're jealous that your Cleric buddy tends to favor someone else as the target of your heals, go ahead and grab a little bit of that healing for yourself.
Duelist's Dance (Essentials: HOTFK) Until the end of the encounter once per day, you can teleport two more squares than whatever distance you have Ethereal Sidestep set at outside of your turn once per round. And this is an Immediate Reaction to an attack, not to an attack that hits.
Murky Deep (Essentials: HOEC) So you walk up to the back line, create a giant zone of slowing and light obscurity, then also gain a boost to your shift while in that zone. This could be great to create a roped-off point in the battlefield (since they'll be slowed immediately when they enter the zone or start their turn there), and since you'll be able to run out of the zone rather quickly, you can reposition yourself in time for you to take advantage of it without being in too much danger. Worth considering.
Shade Dance (Essentials: HOS) Add insubstantiality to Shadow Walk. This is a good thing. This is a very good thing.
Shadow Armor (Essentials: HOS) Bland bonus to a skill you're not good at, but a great power bonus to defenses (again, not a stance), which you can end when you get bored to teleport and become invisible until the end of your next turn or until the DM says if you hit with an attack roll you make that turn that will incorporate Combat Advantage. Awesome.
Shadow Form (PHB1) You can fly (but can't hover)! You're insubstantial (but can't take standard actions)! This is... kinda lame.
Shielding Shades (PHB1) You plant a giant, red X on a damage roll that you cannot foresee (as the trigger point is when you're hit, not when damage is rolled), and all effects you're inflicted with still apply. This is both stupidly lame, and (with Fortune Binding) incredibly cool. So we'll compromise and rate it Black.
Smothering Darkness (Essentials: HOTFK) If you're confident your allies won't need to heal or buff you for a while, who needs Shadow Walk? Everyone else literally cannot see you, even if they're hovering directly over you (-5 to attack rolls). As a side benefit, you can walk alongside your Drow brethren for an extended duration. Now this is excellent.
Spined Devil's Boon (Essentials: HOTFK) The shield is kinda meaningless for a power that grants you a fly speed, but it does give you an encounter-long Fly speed, which is quite spiffy. Useless for Pixies, for obvious reasons.
Transcendant Dance (AP) A bonus to speed and saving throws (two things that scale fantastically with single-digit modifiers) equal to an ability score modifier for the entire encounter? Ridiculous, and actually makes Racing Fire of Ulban fantastic at Epic, as you can blast forward about 26 or so squares in one move action.
Warlock's Leap (PHB1) Who needs a locksmith? Once per day, just walk in the door.
Caiphon's Disquieting Liberty (D366) Five damage that can be reduced or absorbed is a horrendously small price to pay for freedom of movement once per encounter. Take it if you're concerned about immobilization - you'll love it.
Cloak of Shadow (PHB1) How many more of these "You fly but will fall, are insubstantial but can't do diddly squat" powers do we really need?
Death Shroud Aspect (Essentials: HOS) Obsolete with Hero's Defense.
Diabolic Escape (Essentials: HOTFK) Oh yea, being able to walk into a crowd of enemies, hit them with Vulnerability that requires no attack roll, and then being up to run far the hell away to a safe perch is just so lame, isn't it? Oh wait, no, it's not. Load up your best Fire daily and blast those suckers - this is going to hurt.
Guise of the Laughing Fool (Essentials: HOTFK) For one glorious round after you're done with your turn, you can just walk into a field of swords and arrows and not exist. Oh yea, and you inadvertingly are immune to opportunity attacks if you do use it to start your turn. Lovely.
Heart of the Storm (Essentials: HOEC) An unfriendly close-range AOE push, and then an eight-square flight. Not nearly as hot on this one as the other HOEC utilities, honestly. It's got its corner cases, sure, but this application isn't very favorable to most strategies.
Hero's Defense (AP) There are some sickening strategies you can pull with this (buff up one defense incredibly high, then jack it up by four points and tell the monster to hit that instead), and even if it fails... half damage. Fantastic.
Infuriating Elusiveness (PHB1) Mobility ahoy, plus a way to get automatic combat advantage against everything on the board, plus a great bonus to defenses, for one turn every encounter? Sure!
Offering of Blood (Essentials: HOS) At the cost of your Infernal Pact Boon (hint hint), reroll. (Again, if applicable.) Simple and sweet.
Painful Transference (AP) Charisma'locks might not make a lot of friends with this power, but in a major goof, they forgot to add "or your Constitution modifier, whichever is highest" to the power. Have fun with your amazingly stupid "I'm cured!" power, Con'locks!
Reaper's Vengeance (Essentials: HOS) Fling yourself across the map to a ranged attacker that struck you, and douse him in darkness while then being able to blast him away next turn. Kinda bleh for Binders, but super good for you - though your allies may lament at the fact that your Shadow zones are messing up being able to target them again.
Amaan's Continuance (AP) Unfortunately, this doesn't remove all the side effects of dying. However, the one major benefit is the ability to spend Standard Actions: not only do you have your Second Wind as a source of HP, but several HP-siphoning powers that allow you to heal up and might get you back on your feet. You're still dying, and if you're at 0 or below, you're still making saving throws (and fainting) after you finish your turn. Also, if you get knocked to zero by ongoing damage, that doesn't count. Fantastic to have for emergencies, but there are contingencies.
Eye of the Warlock (PHB1) What's utterly baffling is what the point of the (save ends) effect is. It's not tied to your ability to shoot laser beams from your opponent's face, so it's a very cosmetic save-ends effect that just refreshes itself whenever you use this power. Pretty much broken as (terribly) worded, as every blast, close burst, and ranged attack you use no longer require you to even care about positioning for the rest of the encounter/day.
Fail Me Not (DSCS) An unfortunately limiting zone that subjects allies to an awesome buff to attack and damage rolls, but in case they miss with an attack (against all of their targets), they become vulnerable to damage. It also costs a Minor Action to sustain, and again, you want to hold on to your minor actions tightly. You King'locks that like to use your powers in Melee range might like this alot, but everyone else steer clear.
Ruinous Resistance (FRPG) If you're absolutely sure you can inflict the Vulnerability on an ally that won't be the target of a lot of attacks, go ahead and go for it. Otherwise, please don't do this to your own allies, especially since they're going to be vulnerable to a damage type that your enemies probably inflict (otherwise, why did you raise a shield in the first place?)
Soul of the Void (Essentials: HOS) A really cool "get out of purgatory" card, but the benefit otherwise is a bit dank, especially when combined with a penalty that really clashes with a lot of your Paragon- and Epic-tier HP draining powers... and being able to be healed by what would probably have saved you from being knocked to zero hitpoints anyway.
Vile Resonance (D382) That vulnerability is going to mean nothing in the face of two extra dice of Curse damage every round. And yes, those dice do turn to d8s (or d10s if you're a Paladin|Warlock) if you possess the right items and feats, as they adjust d6s. Infernal Pact: I'm sure there are absolutely no ways to exploit a buffable slide at-will... Sorcerer-King Pact: There is no King'lock rider on this power, but I want to mention something very important. At this level, you start getting powers that buff ally damage dice when you command them to attack using certain Encounter powers. That buff is equal to your Warlock's Curse dice. You should immediately know where I'm going with this.
Warp Space (AP) Battlefield rearrangement on three targets instead of the usual two. Huh.
Entropic Ward (PHB1) Sign of Ill Omen on steroids. Plus a fragment of the Star Pact boon power. Yeeouch.
Walk of the Kantakaran (AP) Here's a thought: Don't do this first thing on your turn. Attack with a power, fling yourself forward into the front lines with Racing Fire of Ulban, then drop this power and become a roadblock. ... but wait, then they'll just walk right past you and attack your allies (not like you could hit people with OAs, even if you wanted to). And you can still be affected by powers and features that do not require that an attack roll be declared against you. Um...
Ascension of the Elder (AP) Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone... You catapult yourself upwards 20 squares and gain a fly speed of 8 (that you can sustain with a move action!). There are items and Epic Destinites and other hooligan things that can replicate this, but if you don't want to spend the money on Zephyr Boots, this is a great use of your Utility slot.
Cerulean Shield (DSCS) This is mistakingly good. You gain a humongous shield against a specific damage type that is then reflected back as minor-action sustainable autodamage to enemies around you. There is just one problem: as mentioned before, enemies tend to resist the very damage types they inflict. The shield will rock the encounter silly, but the autodamage may actually be meaningless. Oh well.
Expedient Sacrifice (FRPG) Wow, this is a moronic benefit. A bonus to speed, but an ally is slowed until the end of the encounter? You're seriously going to drop someone's speed to 2 just so that you can be more mobile than you honestly need to be?
Master of Magic (Essentials: HOS/HOTFK) So you can either teleport you or an ally close by twenty squares (with the Teleportation keyword, no less), heal yourself or an ally (with the Healing keyword), or grant your Healic a supreme defensive bonus. How about yes?
Raven's Glamor (PHB1) This is a very long-winded way to say "invisible and can teleport 5 squares as a move action until you declare an attack." Also under the DM's discretion whether monsters care about the image you leave behind. Not impressed.
Ulban's Shining Cloak (D366) Now here's something you don't see every day: a reflect shield. Should the original attack miss because of the effect (and it will, because a bonus to defenses equal to your Intelligence modifier will put you way past Plate armor) and not because of a roll that would have missed otherwise, it bounces right back to him, with a reroll. Could be an absolute joke, but will prevent damage, and might add a surprising source of your own damage.
Wakeman's Invocation (AP) Does nothing at all against Bursts and Blasts, doesn't buff your defenses against melee attacks, and does nothing with Ranged attacks should they hit. What.
Wall of Inky Night (AP) This is sick. An extremely long, movable wall of blindness that you can shape to your whim. Shame it takes a standard action to reposition it (and yet a minor action to apply it), but this has amazing potential.
Wings of the Fiend (PHB1) Take Ascension of the Elder. Any polymorph attack that hits you will end this effect, plummeting you to an unexpected grave.
Part Nine: Paragon Paths - A Practical Promotion from Paimon
When your character reaches 11th level, he or she can pick a Paragon Path to gain build-defining features and an extra set of powers. However, this is a big opportunity cost, so tread carefully and don't pick lightly.
Strategy: Fire DPR Overall Rating: Black. There's a very specific problem it doesn't cover, and it hinders the path greatly due to how pigeonholed the strategy is.
11th Level Feature:Flames of Empowerment When you spend an action point to make a ranged attack and it hits, deal an extra 2d6 damage to it and all adjacent enemies. Splash damage is always nice around these parts, but it's not exactly a prime reason to spend an AP.
11th Level Feature:No Pity, No Mercy Whenever you score a critical hit against an enemy, you gain a pair of great benefits: CA and Vulnerable 5 Fire on the target. You don't have the AOE at-wills to really kick this into high gear, but there is never anything wrong with this if you have a stockpile of Fire powers.
16th Level Feature:Prince of Hell Your arcane powers ignore Fire resistance. Which would be amazing if it wasn't replicated by heroic tier Wizard feats, or if it had a solution to immunity...
11E:Pillar of Power Incredibly lame. It's a silly amount of damage in a 3x3 square if this is the attack you spend an AP on, but you can do the same thing (and at arguably a better degree) with Fiery Bolt, a level 3 Encounter power.
12DU:Gates of Hell A neat little passage-of-transit, but the punishment may actually be too low for enemies to not take advantage of the new method of travel. Don't place this behind ally front lines, or enemies (especially ones resistant to Fire) will ambush you.
20D:Unleash the Inferno A thermonuclear bomb of friendly AOE damage: everyone in a 121-square area is going to get roasted. However, the damage is not stellar, and you only get Curse dice against one target.
Strategy: Minor DPR, various buffs Overall Rating:Red. Just why?!
Level 11 Feature:Infernal Action Much less noteworthy than Hellbringer; ongoing 5 fire (save ends) to targets you hit with one attack isn't the most spectacular thing on the world, especially one you want to spend an action point on. This ramps up considerably if you're a Tiefling with Icy Clutch of Stygia, but you have a Daily that already doles out (guaranteed) ongoing fire damage.
Level 11 Feature:Collect Life Spark Bet you didn't expect you'd have to do bookkeeping on an Infernal'lock, did you? As an addition to your Pact Boon benefits, you gain what are called Life Sparks, and the effects of which depend on what the origin was of the creature you killed. They all range from mediocre to pretty good, but it runs into the same problem as the Pact Boon itself: in small encounters, this feature is deplorable, even though you can start gaining the benefits right away. Shame they all last one turn...
Level 16 Feature:Sustain Life Spark What kind of whacko world do you live in where, as a Constitution'lock (so I hope, since otherwise the powers are completely useless), you'll have more Life Sparks than you do healing surges? And what's the point of having a feature that saves you from spending one healing surge after the rest of the encounter is over, when as a Con'lock, you're made of healing surges?!! Wow, is this stupid.
11E:Soul Scorch A blasé poke of fire and necrotic damage that requires you to have killed someone else this encounter to deal an additional 10 damage. *sigh*
12DU:Life Spark Summons It's backwards Domination. But it's a daily that gives you one turn of control of a creature that cannot really do much (and might even die before it gets to that point, since it only has 10 hitpoints and acts on your next turn) and can never incorporate your Curse dice. Bleh.
20D:Soultheft So what happens if you kill a Cursed enemy with this power? Do you get two Sparks or one? What if you instead miss and deal wretchedly stupid damage with a level 20 Daily that has a range of 5?
Strategy: Defense, Fear keyword Overall Rating:Blue. Every one of the features is fantastic, and the powers are decent to great on their own, but it's a huge dichotomy. It's not enough that they're fear powers - they barely spread your Curse and don't inflict save-ends penalties, and requires the Warlock to also rely on his own selection of powers to be Fear-based. Level 11 Feature:Doomsayer's Action Oh good gravy, no. Everyone cursed by you automatically takes your Curse dice in damage when you spend an action point? And this doesn't count as a use of Warlock's Curse damage dealing? Jeez!
Level 11 Feature:Doomsayer's Proclamation Basically a -5 penalty to saving throws against any and all Fear effects that you and your allies dole out (it doesn't say it ignores your allies' own Fear powers). If you concentrate on Fear powers, this is horrifying.
Level 16 Feature:Doomsayer's Oath A Bruce Banner-type feature seems a bit awkward, but it's extra buffing for all of your favorite powers when you need it most, and that's incredibly cool.
11E:Fates Entwined Unfortunately, the powers, sans the Utility, don't really mesh with the features all that well. Hit them with pithy psychic damage with a short-range hex, but then raise yourself a shield that funnels half of all damage dealt to you to the target. Incredibly dangerous in the hands of a daredevil.
12DU:Accursed Shroud You place your Curse on anyone within 5 squares of you, and it has a permanent Sign of Ill Omen placed on it. You'll know who to place this power on, and it'll be amusing when it happens.
20D:Long Fall Into Darkness Stunned and prone as a level 20 daily is splendid, but this would have been the perfect time to put in (save ends)... and yet that feature's still kinda swinging around in the breeze.
Master of the Starry Night (AP) - Charisma or ConstitutionShow
Strategy:Pact Boon exploitation Overall Rating:Light Blue. Makes a marvelous little utility out of your Pact Boon, and even indirectly helps the other Pacts with its amazing U12. A bit of forethought needs to go into this path before you take it, but the preparation required isn't that major.
Level 11 Feature: Starcrossed Action Probably the weakest part of this path, and that's saying a lot. By spending an action point, you get an extra action and autodaze an enemy you have Cursed. Selective dazing is quite strong, but still feels a little limited.
Level 11 Feature:Star-Blessed Wanderer Putting a gigantic bonus to attack rolls and stuffing it in a little lockbox for a full turn in case you botch with it... there are no words.
Level 16 Feature:Fate of the Body Now that's just not fair. You'll know by the time you start getting Pact Boons what kind of defenses your enemies are targetting, and having an insurance policy in case the Encounter starts getting sour is great. That, or just being able to leap across the battlefield; that's cool too.
11E:Stellar Debris Since the July 2012 errata, this and Shooting Star use either your Constitution or Charisma for the attack and damage roll. With that in mind, giving anyone the option to grant a blanket +2 bonus to defenses to all of your allies is quite worthwhile, especially on such a large (unfriendly) blast.
12EU:Minor Gift of Foresight Minor gift!?! Gaining your boon (any boon!) without anyone needing to keel over and die, and gaining every single benefit thereof once per encounter, is minor?!
20D:Shooting Star You now add a mini-Curse to the target that does 2d6 Radiant damage. You'll do maddening damage against undead, and great damage to anyone else, provided you hit. And even if you miss (and considering the features in this path, you better not), you'll still deal great damage next turn.
Student of Caiphon (DM Annual 2009) - Constitution / CharismaShow
Strategy: Critical hits, Fear keyword, Radiant DPR Overall Rating: Light Blue. Amazing set of features and a great D20 for anyone who wants to use fear and radiant attacks. Very close to Gold, and indeed it would have been, had it been what it used to be, where all radiant attacks got the expanded crit range; but hey, you can't have it all.
Level 11 Feature:Caiphon's Guidance Fear and Radiant powers gain an unnatural crit range better than all implements and feats you'd get at Epic tier. Wooooooooow.
Level 11 Feature:Star Bright Hellbringer, now a bit more shiny. This time, however, Radiant damage is a lot more valuable than Fire damage, and you Tieflings will love it so much.
Level 16 Feature:Caiphon's Intercession A sort-of-but-not-really replacement for your Pact Boon: instead of gaining a huge bonus to a d20 roll, you can deal 5 damage to an ally to allow him to make an MBA, with an extra benefit of dealing ongoing Radiant damage. There is no action tied to this power, so if multiple enemies fall at once and the ally feels fit to take multiplied damage, they can become a personified blender. Quite solid.
11E: Trust in the Guide Star Do I have to? Even disregarding concealment and invisibility is not worth doing murky damage against a target that would have no bonus or penalty to defenses if all this was disregarded. Both Cha'locks and Con'locks can happily trade this power away: the D20 requires no ability score devotion. 12EU:Steps on the Purple Stair Invisibility and a fly speed is OK, but the fly speed ends on the start of your next turn (so you have to land on that turn). And while your attacks on the turn you drop this will have Combat Advantage, if you aren't a Shardmind it'll start raking you with a small dose of (save ends) Psychic damage. The amount of damage you're inflicted with isn't worth slinging Fortune Binding around.
20DU:Caiphon's Hungry Mercy A massive area of power recovery once per day is grand, especially for that low a cost.
Strategy: Teleportation, quasi-Domination Overall Rating: Blue. It's not so much what these powers do, but what these powers can do, if that makes any sense, especially when you cooperate with your Defender allies. Very close to Light Blue, honestly... just a shame the 16th level feature and the powers are a bit underwhelming.
11th Level Feature:Feytouched Action Action Surge, the Paragon feature! Seriously, though, being able to apply this to all targets of any attack you make with this bonus, which makes AOE powers amazingly good.
11th Level Feature:Slashing Wake Once per round, deal Intelligence-modifier friendly splash damage whenever you teleport. Say, wasn't there an incredibly handy level 10 utility power that let you teleport whenever you wanted?
16th Level Feature: Patron's Favor The weakest part of the Path by far. The Fey Pact Boon is one of the weakest factors of the Pact, due to its uncontrollable nature, and the benefits you can get from here are no different. Even a 10-square teleport, the best part of this feature, reduces in favor when you realize that if you've buffed Ethereal Sidestep enough to make it about 3-4 squares or so, a humongous teleport such as this might just be too much, and rarely will it do something that a 5-6 square teleport wouldn't.
11E:Will of the Feywild Deal mediocre damage, but teleport an enemy to a convenient location (next to a Defender that has him marked?) and knock another enemy senseless. Very neat, but unfortunately a shadow of its former splendor (used to provide autodazed as well).
12DU:Twilight Teleport Situational. If an enemy died in a dangerous zone, this becomes awesome, but otherwise, both benefits are quite muted, since Fey Pact Warlocks tend to stick in the furthest of the back lines anyway, and hell, you already have a teleport as your Pact Boon.
20D:Whispers of the Fey If you miss, absolutely nothing happens. On a hit, though, you can force Brutes to fall all over themselves with melee basic attacks and then daze themselves. You need to approach enemies to do this, though, and that's not something you always want to do.
Strategy: Cold DPR, Power Recovery Overall Rating: Blue. Everything it does isn't brokenly amazing, but does its job well. It's at 16th level where it suddenly jumps to Light Blue due to the fantastic upgrade the feature is over the second feature of Feytouched.
11th Level Feature:Deeper Chill The important thing to note here is that the Cold attack you make on an AP is not tied to that extra action. Combined with the next feature below, this has the possibility of doing very good damage. Highly favored.
11th Level Feature:Frost's Favor Arcane Admixture (Cold), the feature. But you can put it on any power you like each day, and as a side effect, gain a nice little buffer against Cold damage. Ties so well with the other 11th level feature. Neat.
16th Level Feature:Winter Winds Interpret this as "you gain an at-will friendly splash slow". Ignore the damage. Don't ignore the possibilities (World Serpent's Grasp, Vicious Advantage).
11E:Wrath of the Pale Prince This is the kind of hex that just wants so badly to be an AOE spell, and it would have been perfect for this strategy. Unfortunately, you can replicate this effect already with Lasting Frost, so it's kind of obsolete.
12DU:Winter's Blood Again, combined with your level 11 features, this is way too awesome. Once per day, you now have a 2/enc power that has the cold keyword, and what that encounter power is is your choice each day.
20D:Frozen Heart Dazed and slowed (save ends both) with a fantastic aftereffect should they fail the save. Even the miss, which I would normally cast away as meaningless (slowed save ends), is great here, because most people who'll be taking this path are going to take advantage of the Slowed condition. Love it, even if it's against Fortitude, which is kind of weird for Fey'hexes.
Strategy: Lightning DPR Overall Rating: Bordering on Light Blue... if you prepare for it. The features are great and the encounter power can be waved goodbye, but you do really need to make sure you can gather yourself a bevy of Lightning powers. With Heroes of Elemental Chaos on board, however, this is much easier to accomplish.
11th Level Feature: Lightning Quick How this feature is worded is incredibly important. When you "hit or miss" with an attack after spending an Action Point, you shift 1 square. If the composition of the battlefield is right and you grab AOEs and multi-attacking powers, you can actually make quite a long shift out of this power, getting you possibly out of harm's way. Otherwise, you just kinda derp around, shuffling yourself a couple of squares meekly. This, however, creates a very odd combo in Epic Tier with Long Step, as these are stepped Shifts; they don't happen all at once.
11th Level Feature:Zebechial's Blessing You gain Resist Lightning equal to the innate resistances of several races, and if you are a member of said races, none of them are resistant to Lightning, so it's excellent.
11th Level Feature:Eldritch Storm Let's be frank here: this path would be horrible without this very feature. It's the sole reason this Path isn't an automatic Red: because you gain an At-Will Lightning power without the need to spend a feat to do so.
16th Level Feature:Servant of the Lord of Lightning Pretty awesome for base Fey'locks, but with the arrival of a fantastic power in Dream of Mual-Tar just one level prior, on top of a miraculous set of features from the Elemental Pact, this feature - and thus this entire path - has earned itself full legitimacy for Elemental'locks Twofolding into the Fey Pact at 11th level. You deal AOE splash damage with all of your Lightning hexes equal to your Intelligence modifier, and this applies to every target you hit with them; having two enemies next to each other will double up the splash if you hit both with your now quite solid 11e. Brilliant!
11E:Judgment of the Storm Awful damage... for a while. Recognize the fact that this power is tied to two ability modifiers for the damage roll: Intelligence and Charisma. This actually makes the power scale better than usual, and once you get into 16th level it becomes unexpectedly good, especially against targets adjacent to each other.
12DU:Lightning Dance You gain a damage shield against melee attacks, but you can only teleport to a square adjacent to that enemy... which is exactly where you don't want to be. Also, the action used for the teleport is an immediate reaction, which means it A) doesn't prevent the attack, and B) can only be used once per round. Shame.
20D: Wrath of the Clouds Even more terrible damage, and this time the CHA+INT thing just will not allow the daily to catch up, considering how next level it'll be outclassed by Eldritch Blast due to the Intelligence modifier on that power spreading itself out. The Effect is at least something to work with, as it's almost like a Vulnerability Intelligence-modifier All with a damage type, and the target must take damage from this at least once before starting to make saving throws.
Strategy: Concealment, Necrotic DPR Overall Rating: Purple. Really the only thing that makes this Path recognizable is the bump to Curse damage at 16th level, but the invisibility and concealment options presented in the other features really don't get into their swerve in the powers, of which are bland.
11th Level Feature: Shadow Action This will spare you your move action to force Shadow Walk at the turn you want to spend your Action Point, while giving your allies a nice boost to defenses. It's not anything to yell about, though. At least you'll be gaining the benefit when you most want it: when the going gets tough and people are spending their Action Points to throw desperate strategies at the wall.
11th Level Feature:Shadow and Threat Neat little defensive boost on a critical hit, but I think the timing is off for gaining Combat Advantage, since you reveal yourself when you declare a target.
16th Level Feature:Death Curse 1d6 extra Necrotic damage with your Curses, which does allow itself to be scaled up to d8/d10. The best part of this path by far.
11E:Deadly Judgment Large-radius friendly Necrotic splash, but the original hit is minor and there isn't any semblance of control.
12EU:Shadow Slip A huge bonus to defenses against Cursed enemies, and this time you're able to gain Combat Advantage against everyone on the turn you use it. Not too bad.
20D:Cursing Vengeance Mediocre damage for a level 20 daily, and delayed ongoing damage. Incredibly lame.
Strategy: Insubstantiality, general DPR Overall Rating: Purple. You gained a few new options in the Essentials books for getting insubstantiality to run your first feature, but it's still rare, and only the D20 gives it to you permanently. Jumps to Black at 20th level, and Blue if you add other ways to gain the property (Shade Dance in particular, a level 10 Daily Utility from Heroes of Shadow, gives you insubstantiality every time you would also trigger your Shadow Walk, and it's practically mandatory for this path).
11th Level Feature:Deadly Absence While insubstantial, gain your INT modifier to damage rolls. The engine this entire path runs on, and can be exploited quite readily. Jumps to Light Blue at 20th level.
11th Level Feature:Darkwalker Action This is not the way to spend your AP: by wasting it to gain insubstantiality. You will always deal more damage by hitting with any power you use on that Standard Action.
16th Level Feature:Ghostken Hey, now this is neat: insubstantial creatures mean nothing to you, now. The occurance won't be often, but when it does, your DPR will literally double.
11E:Ghostly Bane Boring. A shred of damage, and insubstantial, which will help your next turn's DPR... but so would a lot of Cha'lock powers.
12EU:Fading Spiral If you deal more than 12 damage on your Darkspiral Aura, you take a quarter of the damage instead of half (the Aura runs on an Immediate Interrupt), and you gain your INT bonus to damage rolls on your next turn. Pretty decent.
20D:Wraithform Blast Damage is OK, the ongoing damage is at least double-typed, but the Effect line is excellent, and will ramp up your DPR tremendously for the encounter, as long as you stay out of trouble... and it'll take you a while to get knocked to bloodied, since you're taking half damage. Also, you gain phasing, which is incredibly cool as an encounter-long effect.
Strategy: Radiant DPR, Leader tendencies Overall Rating: Light Blue. This Path's features are glorious, and this really serves to amplify the Leader aspect of your Pact, almost making you into a quasi-Cleric with how the features help out your allies.
11th Level Feature: Preparing Action When you spend an AP, everyone close by gains a small amount of THP and can reposition themselves a bit. Not too bad.
11th Level Feature:Radiant Curse Radiant damage on your Curse. You could stop there and this path would be worth it, because now all of your powers deal Radiant damage. This literally solves all of your problems with Necrotic and Fire powers, since they're commonly resisted, and while perhaps the original hit won't deal much damage, now that you have two seperate types to deal damage with (one of which is the bane of Undead), you'll almost always deal excellent damage. Wonderful. Oh, but wait: once per round (not turn), if you didn't deal Curse damage that round and an ally hits an enemy Cursed by you, you can deal your Curse damage to that enemy. Be very cautious: this PP did not get errata with the change to Warlock's Curse being 1/turn, so this path still limits you to 1/round if you allow this to apply. Still, that's a non-issue: this feature is perfect.
16th Level Feature:Celestial Resistance You, and everyone nearby, gain Resist Necrotic - them by a decent amount, you by a lot. You can basically just forget about Undead now, because they will no longer present a challenge to you... or your allies.
11E: Overwhelming Radiance Not too bad. The power dealing Radiant damage doesn't mean that much (you already deal Radiant damage with your Curse), and the target granting CA is already done on lots of powers, but 3d10 on an Encounter power at 11th level is not unremarkable.
12DU:Angelic Aura You. Can. Hover. Oh yea, and you have a great healing aura. But forget all that. At 12th level, you can finally hover with a flying power that isn't named "Ascension of the Elder". That's awesome in a can.
20D:Vestige of the Ascendant Commander I gotta say, I'm a big fan of the power's name: to underline the Leader bent of this power, some sort of commander or other sovereign should have been the Vestige you swear your allegiance to. The base effect, like Sea Tyrant Oracle's Vestige below, is solid: a friendly AOE radiant that dazes (save ends) and grants healing surges to allies, even if you miss, is cool.
The pact boon, however... is a bit weird. It suddenly makes you an off-Defender, a very breakneck role-switch for you. It's not a bad bonus, no, but... +2 to AC (+4 if bloodied)? Hrrrm. However, it's the At-Will Augment that sells it: you get to inflict Vulnerability 5 All, that 5 damage being Radiant-based. Your DM might just stop sending you Undead after you crack this daily open the first time.
Strategy: General DPR, vitality Overall Rating: Blue. The features are solid, and the Encounter power can be thrown away in place of something else. This is also where the cover art for the Guide comes from, and is one of my favorite 4e Warlock depictions.
11th Level Feature:Lifegiving Action Spend an action point, gain a bit of revitalization, in the form of hitpoints equal to your level. Scales alright, and you'll be spending Action Points during the latter half of fights anyway, so it's not terribly situational.
11th Level Feature: Road to Reawakening A +3 bonus to death saving throws is great as a permanent boost, and remember that you gain the ability to spend a healing surge on a 20 or higher, not just a natural 20. You will get back on your feet, no doubt about it.
16th Level Feature:Dormant Power When you crit with a Warlock power (... wait, does this not include God Fragment powers? Woops. Oh well, no loss there), deal 2d10 extra damage. Basically adds the Empowered Crit property to all of your implements, and if you use one that has that property already, your critical hits are going to rock the world.
11E:Deific Decay Single bad hit, no control, not even a hint of an effect - and RAW, you don't even get the critical hit benefit of Dormant Power come 16th level should you crit. This entire path is nearly ruined by an incredibly stupid 11E, and absolutely requires you use Reserve Maneuver to put life back into it.
12DU: Deific Doom The radius of the Close burst is way too short, but it'll ensure that as a Con'lock that prefers to work in the back, whatever close-combat enemies do to you won't sting nearly as badly.
20D:Vestige of Karmath No curse damage at all, as the damage happens as an aftereffect of the domination. Oh yea, that's right... the target is dominated (save ends), a wonderful start to your day as a Vestige'lock.
As for the pact boon and at-will augment: the Pact Boon is pretty decent, with a -2 to defenses (save ends) applied to one creature Cursed by you within sight range. But in a weird twist, it's the At-Will Augment of this power that makes it remarkable, unlike with Vestige of Kulnoghrim. You gain something that Warlocks just do not have at their disposal: an AOE at-will, in the form of splash diced Necrotic damage to each enemy within 2 squares of the target of Eyes of the Vestige at the start of their turns. Remember that this incorporates all your modifiers.
Strategy: Turn Efficiency, Control Overall Rating: Black. It's a decent path - doesn't exactly disgust or offend, but the features and powers only tenuously relate to each other, and it just feels disjointed. The good news is that the trend of awesome Paragon Path vestiges continues with a Vestige Power that transcends Vestige of Amaan. However, if you're trained in Bluff and have a Multiclass feat, you don't really lose anything by going with Traveler's Harlequin, which will allow you to pick that power up as part of its 20th Level Feature - or hell, any of the other three Vestiges you have access to. 11th Level Feature: Visionary Action If you spend an action point to make an attack, you gain a stored-up Standard Action that you can use once in the Encounter, which is incredibly powerful, especially if the triggering attack is one with a great Miss effect. However, if even one attack roll connects, this feature is useless.
11th Level Feature:Future Foreseen A bit of an insurance policy against the first failed saving throw you make in an encounter. You have to use the second result, though, which is a bit saddening.
16th Level Feature:Future Evaded A small shift that happens only once during an encounter (and at a specific time), takes your Immediate Action, and doesn't even refresh Shadow Walk is incredibly weak. As a Con'lock, you won't fear being approached.
11E:Doomsday Portent No damage. Zero. Nada. Dazed and weakened without damage is not a Striker power, and Vestige'locks are Control'Strikers with a hint of Leader, not Control'Leaders.
12DU:Prepared by Fate Whoa. +20 on a crucial initiative roll could actually really help get your first 11th level feature going, and allow you to apply your favored Vestige before the fight gets underway at all. A simple benefit given legs by how you operate.
20D:Vestige of the Sea Tyrant Unlike the other two Vestige PPs we've discussed, its attached Vestige has a very good effect it possesses even before the Pact Boon or At-Will is discussed. A blast 5 push-prone emulates and heightens the power of a couple of really nice Infernal'lock powers. The damage is regretably low, but look at what you get: Both the Pact Boon and the At-Will Augment grant slides. It takes what was awesome about Vestige of Amaan, and makes it complete by eliminating the directional limits (you can fling enemies around corners and obstacles, can make them zig-zag, go in circles, etc.) For that very reason, this power is the rating that it is: it gives you an unparalleled level of Control on your prized At-Will, and really delivers you the power to dominate the battlefield. It's debatable whether it's actually worth taking an otherwise unappealing path, especially since you can grab it with the Traveler's Harlequin PP as well. Up to you.
Strategy: Defense, Control Overall Rating: Light Blue. There is only one bad thing about this path, and it's tucked way down in the Daily. Even the Encounter Power is salvaged just by being a 1/enc stun. The Vestige Pact option is also brilliant.
11th Level Feature:Restricting Action On an AP, you restrain one enemy on the board. Restrained, not immobilized. So everyone also gains Combat Advantage against it, and it takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Fantastic.
11th Level Feature:Cabalist's Warding Well, this has the potential to be incredibly broken: when you become bloodied, until you're healed above bloodied value, you pick an NAD and gain a bonus to it equal to your Constitution modifier. This could make you outright immune to some of the worst effects on the board, and is incredibly nice to have in your back pocket whenever enemies start getting the upper hand.
16th Level Feature:Demonic Resilience And the defense just keeps on coming. The first time you take typed damage in an encounter, you gain a permanent buffer against that type of damage (until the end of the encounter, anyway). Wow.
11E:Command of the Abyss Damage at the level of your At-Will... but you stun the target, no questions asked. Now that's nice.
12EU:Clarifying Rebuke Outright deny Domination, or a fear or charm effect. Plus, you add another target to Curse. Man, I love this path...
20D:Vestige of Kulnoghrim Guaranteed ongoing damage is pretty nice, but the damage leaves something to be desired.
The pact boon, however, is broken (and quite possibly misworded): You allow, by its wording, "One creature within 5 squares or affected by your Warlock's Curse [to make] a basic attack against a target of your choice as a free action." The italics are my doing, but I'm of the opinion that they made a huge mistake there, and meant to say "of you and" instead of "or", due to how wonky the wording is. You can command your allies to make MBAs for this reason, since they're considered creatures. This power would be Gold, if the at-will augment wasn't lame soft control...
Praetor Legate (DSCS) - No Ability Score DevotionShow
(Please note that you do not actually have to be a Sorcerer-King Pactee to take this - the alternate requirement is to take the Templar theme, but belonging to the Sorcerer-King Pact waves the theme prerequisite away, which is why it goes here.)
Strategy: Heavy emphasis on off-Leadership, minor Control Overall Rating: Blue. This gives you a very strange role in the team as an off-Leader, even more so than what your normal SK powers would give you. Don't immediately discount this as "bad" or "decent" even though it's not Light Blue - this really is a unique path, and one you will not regret taking, even if better alternatives might exist.
11th Level Feature:Praetor's Censure You now extend your Hand of Blight power to any power you use that bloodies an enemy. The timing is a bit wonky, but your allies will take that opportunity to focus-fire on a now vulnerable enemy and work him down to zero in record time. Of course, if the power that triggered this already grants your allies combat advantage... hmm.
11th Level Feature: Praetor's Action If the encounter you spend your AP on isn't the final encounter of the day, this could be very awesome for a lucky ally, as it gives him his milestone benefit of another AP one encounter early. A niche benefit, but potentially very powerful.
16th Level Feature:Chosen of Andropinis Bit unfortunate on the naming choice, but what can you do. Whenever an enemy starts its turn adjacent to you, you can slide him 1 square. This is kind of a strange feature (as they can just walk up and whack you again), but if the target is melee and immobilized without reach, they can't attack you - and if they're prone, they're not going to be able to charge you, which against some enemies is a huge benefit. Be smart about how you use this feature.
(Note: If you have any way of triggering any sort of punishment when you force movement - the Swordmage at-will Booming Blade comes to mind - this ramps up considerably.)
11E:Obsidian Javelin The focus-firing power. You deal decent damage against the target, push him a bit, and then every ally that hits it gains Resist 10 All until their turn ends. A great benefit if your allies are concentrating on one target.
12EU:Dustwalk The secondary benefit's only useful if you need to stand still for whatever reason, but the primary benefit's pretty nice, as even though it gives you an altitude limit of 1, you can still reject difficult and dangerous terrains.
There's a slight RAW argument on this power, however: the third sentence ("You have concealment while flying or hovering.") contains no duration. One race in the game has permanent flight as part of their racial features: the Pixie. This power might (keyword might) give them permanent concealment for the encounter, every encounter. I'm probably finding clues and hints where there are none, but it's worth some contention.
20D:Dictator's Judgment A long range immobilization save-ends power that contains the Healing keyword, and a humongous healing benefit to whichever ally smacks it next is awesome. This power needs impeccable timing to wring the most use out of it, but still... three surges for the cost of zero. Wowzers.
Herald of Vezzuvu (Essentials: HOEC) - No Ability Score DevotionShow
(Note that you do not need to be an Elemental Pact Warlock to take this Paragon Path. You can also take the Earthforger, Firecrafter, or Primordial adept theme; being an Element'lock waives this requirement away, however.)
Strategy: Defense, terrain advantage Overall Rating: Red. The situationalness of this path reaches the stratosphere if you're not dancing around calderas and volcanos, and the powers are some of the worst I've ever seen.
11th Level Feature:Volcanic Action On an action point, add half your level in fire or thunder damage to the next attack you dole out. I believe this helps qualify for Resounding Thunder on your AOEs, though I may be wrong. Still, it's extra damage, and you can't exactly say no to that.
11th Level Feature: Volcanic Resistance You either gain Resist 10 Fire, or Resist 5 against all Fire attacks (so dual-typed attacks still get reduced a bit), whichever allows you to take less damage. Not too bad, but occurances of you taking fire damage are going to be too few and far between. Hope you're not a Tiefling, by the way, or this feature is nearly useless to you.
16th Level Feature:Volcanic Walk The F16 is usually when the path comes together into one glorious little pocket of awesome. Your grand prize for this path? You get to walk on lava. Oh, and you get to ignore difficult terrain related to volcanoes. Are you kidding me, here? This is all we get? And don't think the powers will salvage this path. Oh no...
11E:Lava Bomb It's 2012. The designers should have been well aware just how inaccurate +2/+4/+6 powers were in the face of system math. Of course, because of how this power is designed, there is no implement keyword, cutting you off from some huge support. Couple that with mediocre damage and an autodamage effect that only serves to reduce the amount of favorable targets on the board for this power... this is disastrously bad.
12DU:Vezzuvu's Balm Alright, I can work with this. On taking fire damage (outside of your turn, so don't get any funny ideas), you don't take it. Instead, you regain hitpoints equal to the amount of damage you would have taken, bypassing resistances, and gain a neat little bonus to attack rolls. A bit iffy, since it's a Daily and a one-turn benefit, on top of the fact that you still need to take a substantial amount of a specific type of damage while injured to pull this off properly, but it's not that big a waste.
20D:Volcanic Wrath Strange little case: the daily is actually excellent for Tieflings, as it's guaranteed ongoing damage in a wide swath. However, for those of you who don't care about that, this is a Level 20 Daily with an attack roll of the following:
"Highest ability modifier + 5 vs. Reflex"
You read that right. It's +5. This may be the most inaccurate power in the entire game, all things considered, as proper dailies at this level are AbilityMod+9, not 5. So, with that said, when you DO hit, you deal decent AOE damage and a slight push, and then no matter what happened, you create a giant zone of difficult terrain, obscurity, and autodamage, none of which is friendly. Don't even bother with this path.
(Oh yea, and sidenote: most of the monsters you'd be fighting to validate the features and utility will be resistant or immune to your powers. Woops.)
Academy Master (D374) - No Ability Score DevotionShow
Strategy: At-Will DPR, Power Efficiency Overall Rating:Light Blue, as it is for all Arcane classes. Everything just clicks for you, and all the features and powers make you a better Striker.
11th Level Feature:Educated Action When you spend an Action Point, the first attack roll you make that fails gains a reroll. Everyone loves an insurance policy, and this time it's not done at a point of danger, unlike Future Foreseen. Nice.
11th Level Feature:Arcane Underpinning +2 to Arcana (Hi, Sage of Ages-bound). You also gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls against targets you hit with at-will powers (Hi, Echoing Dirge Human'locks) until the end of your next turn.
16th Level Feature:Fundamental Mastery And here's where the fun begins. Your At-Wills start dealing more damage than they did before: 3 now, and 5 later at 25th level. Not quite as awesome for you as it is for your Wizard and Sorcerer cousins, but you mainly rely on At-Wills to deal your DPR anyway, and really: how can you say no to more damage? Half-Elf Warlocks that poached a Wizard or Sorcerer power, however, will fall over their feet for this, as by this point they should have taken Versatile Master and gotten an AOE Arcane At-Will to crank people over the head with..
11E:Learned Boost 1/enc, you attack with an arcane at-will of your choice, and it deals two extra dice of damage. The Reliable keyword means this doesn't go away until you connect with a power that uses this boost, so it'll never be useless.
12EU:Refined Recall Another insurance policy: this time, if you miss every target with an Arcane Encounter power, you don't waste it. Awesome!
20D:Master's Surge This... wow. Just... wow. Remember this important thing: you are a Striker first, but a Controller very closely second. While this really helps with the damage (especially when you don't actually expend the power you use with this daily), there are some horribly broken applications you can apply to transform turn-ending effects into (save ends) effects. An incredibly strong daily, and just to cap it off, it has the Reliable keyword like its younger brother. A beautiful capstone to a simple, yet wonderful, Path.
Strategy: Charm keyword, saving throw debuffs Overall Rating: Black. It makes Charm powers great and worth focusing on, but the powers are a bit lackluster. That is, until 16th and 20th levels roll around, and suddenly this power jumps to Light Blue due to the shockingly good 16th level feature and great 20th level daily.
11th Level Feature:Maddening Action Well that's... lame. Ongoing 5 psychic (save ends) to one creature within a rather short range is a weird reward for spending an action point. Why couldn't have this been added to the power you'd use on the AP? That would have meshed well with this next feature...
11th Level Feature:Mystic Rapture Enemies take a huge penalty to saving throws if they approach you while they have (save ends) Charm effects on them, and even if they don't, they still take a moderate penalty to saving throws. Sweet, but again, why wasn't the primary penalty tied somehow to the first feature of this Path?
16th Level Feature:Mystery Given Form Gain a +1 bonus to the very powers you love (and to each power in this PP). Also, all of your Encounter Charm powers gain the Reliable keyword. Weeeeeeeee!
11E:Hekiah's Trance The damage doesn't exist (and it usually doesn't with Fey'locks, the Pact that would normally want these powers), but a slide + slow is incredible Control, as sending melee enemies a distance equal to your primary ability modifier (not your Intelligence score) and forcing them to only be able to move 2 squares is pretty much equal to a Stun. Of course, Ranged enemies won't care, but I hope to God you didn't think to use this on an Artillery that's sharing your turf.
12DU:Shroud of Adeptus Wait, huh? An IR daze once per day against an enemy that misses you that doesn't work if they're far away? For a Daily utility, way too situational and anticlimatic.
20D: Ultimatum of the Third Order A gigantic area of (uncursable) ongoing Psychic damage. And if they don't want to take it on their turn, they're stunned. It's hard to guess the behavior of monsters in reaction to this Daily: you present to them an aura of reduced saving throws. So if they want to get the hell out of there, they're going to be taking damage. However, if they can't move easily out of your range (Defender is hassling them, or they're immobilized in some fashion, etc), they'll start taking massive amounts of damage should the d20 not fall in their favor. So they'll want to stay and stave off the damage... which then means they're stunned. And the Catch-22 manifests itself. You need the exact correct set of circumstances to make this work, because I guarantee the DM is going to want to have them take the damage, and then cart themselves out of there first chance they get. They'll want to do this even more if you miss, because the miss effect is pitiful (dazed or 10 damage). So it's great Control for a reason you don't really think of at first.
Strategy: Mobility denial and enabling, off-Leader Overall Rating: Light Blue. That level 11 feature needs a rewrite so badly, because it's been exploited by everyone six ways from Sunday. The other features are pretty darn cool, though it has a very confused Utility power.
11th Level Feature:Feywild Wake So yea, there's this pretty good Utility power called Ethereal Sidestep. It lets you teleport 1 square at-will. This feature gives you invisibility for an entire round against everyone originally adjacent to you when you leave a square by teleporting. Put 2 and 2 together, Cha'locks.
11th Level Feature:Mercurial Action And you can do it TWICE when you spend an Action Point! You can basically gain a monstrously stupid bonus to defenses and Combat Advantage against everybody if your teleport distance is buffed up enough and you use your new Move Action for another use of Ethereal Sidestep. Or you could just walk, I suppose...
16th Level Feature:Mastery of Passage OK, who thought of these features? Seriously... this entire path is exploitable by one At-Will Utility power. In this case, you can bring someone else along for the ride, granting unsurpassed friendly mobility.
11E:Blinding Beacon Bad damage, but a blind is never worthless. The fact that it's Ranged 20 actually puts it above a lot of your other hexes.
12DU:Feylights Someone goofed. None of the penalties here - concealment, invisibility, and insubstantiality denial - discriminate against your enemies or allies. And you kind of have a Class Feature that works off of concealment. And it even denies you your very own 11th level feature benefit. Decent against enemies that this applies to, but you basically just created a 7x7 square where you aren't allowed to go. Oopsie. With that in mind, why would you even dare waste Standard actions to expand it?!
20D:Moonflower Inspiration No damage. Instead, you get a friendly 5x5 square of various effects, all chosen by you, as long as you know what kind of defenses your opponents have (or you can just make lucky guesses). You also gain an off-kilter benefit of granting allies healing equal to your Intelligence modifier, both at the outset of the attack if they're in the radius, and then on subsequent rounds if they're standing next to enemies that haven't saved from these effects.
Strategy: Curse expansion, minor Control Overall Rating: varied. You need to belong to a Pact that cares about having a ton of enemies Cursed at once, because that's pretty much all this Paragon Path does, and you can still only apply Curse damage once per turn.
Strong for some pacts (Dark, Star, Vestige) Pretty good for others (Fey and Infernal with Shared Boon) Hard to judge for Sorcerer-King Pactees. Having everyone on the board cursed right away means they'll have a reliable rate of refreshing on their Fell Mights, but there's also the problem of the Path doing nothing to curb the uselessness of having multiple enemies fall in one turn. It's also quite good for Element'locks, but you must have Bloodied Boon for this path to work and must stick close to everyone - otherwise it'll work too fast for you.
Weigh your options and pick this accordingly.
11th Level Feature:Damning Curse A mass penalty to attack rolls just for spending an Action Point? Now that's a pretty darn nice prize, especially with your Path's modus operandi.
11th Level Feature: Greater Hex Everyone within 5 squares counts as closest to you for the purpose of placing Curses. Considering what your 11E is with this feature, this may be only moderately useful, but losing any restrictions on placement is worthwhile enough. The mileage explodes for Element'locks.
16th Level Feature:Walking Curse Any damage you deal with your Curse to a creature also slides it 1 square. That's pretty decent Control, and makes proning hexes much more valuable.
11E:Hexblast So yea. You gain a blast 5 auto-Curse as an Encounter power. The damage is meaningless here: what this power does for you, especially if you belong to the three "awesome" Pacts mentioned above, is too important for you to ignore. Also, by my interpretation (since the Effect line is above the Hit line) minions are Cursed before they take damage. I see your smile, there.
12EU: Vengeful Hex One person that misses you with a ranged or AOE attack (so they can be in pretty close if they prefer using blasts) can get Cursed. Your job is to mass Curse, so that only furthers the engine, but how useful this will be is up to you, since with how much freedom you now have, everyone on the board could be cursed by the time this comes into play.
20D: Hex of Abandonment This has to be the first attack you use in a given encounter if you want to use it, because your Cursing engine is too fast even without this daily. What this will do for you is consolidate your minor actions while you have the Big Bad Evil Head Honcho wander around the board Cursing everyone of his allies that stand next to him. You're probably going to have to prod him along, but it'll do its job if the orientation is right; and be sure to remember that the Curse happens before the damage, so minions will grant you your Pact Boon if they die by this effect.
Strategy: Attack roll penalties Overall Rating: Light Blue. Doesn't really come onto its own until 16th level, at which point the strategy's circle comes complete. This Path is almost begging you to take Psychic Lock... so please take it. You won't be sorry you did.
11th Level Feature: Nightmarish Action This'll make the Hexer PP jealous: introduce a slide to all the debuffing you're doing when you drop an Action Point. Excellent control and debuffing, and all for free(ish).
11th Level Feature:Insidious Curse As an addition to your Pact Boon, you can immediately Curse the nearest target as an IR. He's already cursed? No problem! Slide him for a decent distance and debuff him instead!
16th Level Feature: Shaking Displays The keyword you're granted here is something you only see on Rogue and Fighter powers, and some of you may not be aware of what "Rattling" does. It's quite easy: as long as you're trained in Intimidate (and you can't take this Path otherwise), enemies you hit with a power that contains the Rattling keyword - in other words, Painful Delusion and all of your Warlock encounter powers - take a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the end of your next turn. Remember when I said it doesn't really come onto its own until 16th level? This is what I meant - with this feature, you now possess a reliable, multi-instance method of working your debuffs, which is something this path desperately needed.
11E:Painful Delusion Psychic keyword. Dazed (so automatic combat advantage) and Vulnerable 5 All is amazingly cool. By the way, this has an overlooked side effect: if your allies possess Psychic Lock, the extra damage they inflict using this power's benefit allows them to debuff the target as well, even if they wouldn't originally deal psychic damage with their attack, since the bonus damage is psychic and counted as extra damage.
12EU:Dread Disappearance Whenever the timing feels right, be considered as invisible instead of concealed to enemies Cursed by you. Dropping their attack rolls even further is something you want happening, and even if it's just towards you, once an encounter is a great usage for this little gem.
20D:Nightmare Stalker A little complex at first glance, but it's not hard to explain: you conjure a creature next to a target's space, and that creature lasts until you fail to Sustain the power, or the target is slain. If the target (and only the target gets this penalty) stands next to the creature, he takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls. Also, when the little guy is conjured, and on subsequent rounds when the target misses with an attack (which he will, thanks to everything here), you subject him to a Charisma vs. Will attack with the Psychic word that does a polite amount of damage and dazes him. You can also give the guy Minor Actions to sustain, at which point he can move 7 squares to dog the target's footsteps. Just make sure you know the thing only works against the target and no one else, and go to town.
Strategy: Bookkeeping, quasi-Star Pact benefits Overall Rating: Red... until 16th level, when everything suddenly starts coming together beautifully and it jumps to Blue. It pretty much meshes with everything you do, and it's actually quite a unique, overlooked path I feel could use some attention.
11th Level Feature:Shadowcursed You gain a nice little bonus to your defenses against Shadow attack powers(?) and against the attacks of Shadow creatures and Undead(!). The first benefit is very strange, but the latter two are incredibly good in the right campaign (and lots of campaigns feature the Undead as an enemy at some point along the story).
11th Level Feature: Shadow Feast And now we get into the meat n' potatoes of this path: Shadows. So, what are they? Simple: when you drop an enemy to zero hitpoints, you put a Shadow in a little bank of yours. There is no maximum limit, and they last all encounter. As a free action (basically at any time), you can spend up to four of these Shadows to gain an equivalent bonus to your next attack roll, damage roll, or saving throw. Right now, at 11th level, this is garbage: while you are a Striker and your job is to kill things with extreme prejudice, the actual act of killing enemies is the only thing that gets you Shadows right at the outset, sans your 11E. It'll get better, though...
11th Level Feature:Harvest of Shadows When you drop an AP to use an attack, enemies that're slain by you contribute two Shadows instead of one. While this could be incredibly terrifying, provided you drop a zone or a large AOE on a group of minions, this again falls into the problem of the huge restriction on actually gaining a Shadow in the first place.
16th Level Feature:Decisive Darkness You add two more triggers to gaining Shadows: blooding an enemy, or scoring a critical hit against them. This makes the engine of this Path run much more efficiently, and while Harvest of Shadows doesn't care at all about this feature, since it needs you to gain your now-duplicated Shadows from Shadow Feast and not this feature, this is incredibly nice for you.
11E:Shadow Lance The damage isn't half-bad, but hit or miss, you gain a Shadow. However, if you manage to slay an enemy with this power, you gain three Shadows, and then gain another one from Shadow Feast. Very cool to get a nice jolt to your bank of Shadows, and killing a minion with this power will give you a full set of four to spend at your leisure.
12EU:Shadow Walk Oh, very funny, WOTC. Anyway, what this little utility does allows you to spend a Shadow to teleport 5 squares, and then add an additional 2 squares for every Shadow spent after the first. You're already quite mobile, but if you really need to skedaddle out of there and you seem to be alright on your attack rolls and saving throws, toss this out there - three Shadows will give you a Teleport 11, which is quite a long distance for a low expenditure.
20D:Shadowcurse Cataclysm At this point, they're not even hiding the fact that this is a Path modeled after Warlock abilities. In any case... this is actually quite a solid capstone. It's a friendly Close burst 10 attack that only targets one enemy, but at the cost of two Shadows each, you can add more targets. On a hit, it actually does pretty good damage for a D20, and immobilizes (save ends) no matter if you hit or miss. Honestly quite respectable, and not a bad way to spend any Shadows you might have left over.
Speaker of Xaos (Essentials: HOEC) - No Ability Score DevotionShow
(You must be trained in Arcana to take this path. This is not a class specific path.)
Strategy: Mix of control and DPR Overall Rating: Black. Usable by anyone, and decent for "normal" Warlocks, but for Element'locks, this is a blend of excellent features and powers that work exactly in your realm of abilities, even if two of them depend on very specific types of enemies. If your campaign even pretends to care about Elementals, if you're an Element'lock, or you have an easy way to make everything the element of your choice within this field, give this a chance: it's that good.
11th Level Feature:Xaos Action When you spend an action point to make a cold, fire, lightning, or thunder attack, you can add another target within its range if it's a Melee or Ranged power. Some of your most dangerous hexes, oftentimes containing dominates or other sort of nasty effects, attack only one creature, and being able to attack two creatures at once with it opens up hilarious possibilities - especially as your necrotic/psychic/force/poison powers qualify for this with Elemental Affinity. Oh, and you can expand bursts and blasts instead if that's the attack you use. Sweet. Not the coolest thing about this feature, however.
11th Level Feature:Xaos Lore This is one of those features I was talking about in the summary blurb - the bonus and penalty only ever apply to Elemental creatures, so this may never come up. Still, it's there.
16th Level Feature:Power of Xaos Welcome to the Evocation School benefit done perfectly: all of your cold, fire, thunder, lightning, and elemental-keyword powers gain the true equivalent of Brutal 1. I believe this also applies to Warlock's Curse dice rolled as a product of those types of powers, so that's another feat saved. Love it.
11E:Elemental Durance This and the Daily relies on you hitting an enemy with cold/fire/lightning/thunder powers, so these will never go to waste. On this one, you push an enemy one square, and you inflict some pretty good soft control, punishing it for moving on its next turn.
12EU:Repel Elements Oh, don't get me wrong, this is a great little utility to crack open if you're surrounded by angry Genasi, but otherwise, this is almost completely useless, save for the close-range defense bonus against four types of damage. Shame you can't trade it away...
20D:Elemental Chains So, if the effect of your original cold/fire/lightning/thunder attack wasn't nervewracking enough... why not add restrained and ongoing 15 damage to every target hit by the attack? And heck, you even get an immobilization effect to targets you missed! It's excellent control - just add water - and wicked awesome for Elemental'locks.
Racial Paragon Paths
After a nice little jolt of surprise while editing this guide, I've decided to consolidate this portion of the guide. There are a couple of Racial Paragon Paths I'd like to draw attention to:
1) Dragonborn: Ninefold Master. Gives your Breath weapon a very important property (the ability to designate it an Arcane Power that's also considered a Warlock power), and the benefits are defensive in nature. Great for Cha'locks or high INT Con'locks.
2) Shardmind: Gatekeeper. The powers are phenomenal, even if the 11th level features aren't. The level 12 utility is probably one of the best 12Us I've ever seen, and the two attack powers run off of Immediate Reactions and provide both great control and another chance to spice up your dmage.
3) Half-Elf: Half-Elf Polymath. An enhancement to your ability to steal At-Wills from other classes is great, but what really sells this path for me is the free, no-questions-asked, training in two skills of your choice. The Warlock is famous for having skills they should have had training in not being available to them (Diplomacy, Endurance, Stealth), and this is a prime way to get them while also gaining great combat ability.
4) Tiefling: Seer of Endings. Makes an alright Utility power you gain from the Gaze of Ruin feat something to fear, and you become maniacally accurate and able to toss out Vulnerability like no tomorrow.
5) Human: Adroit Explorer. Helps with your defenses, encounter powers, action points, and basically everything anyone loves about Strikers and would like to improve. The path requires no ability score devotion, so go wild. The Dragonborn path Mithral Arm carries similar properties and is just as good for them (especially with having one of the earliest replacements for Ethereal Sidestep with its 16th level feature).
(Due to, ahm, slightly unfortunate circumstances, I will not be able to go over all aspects of the Warlock. This will be the part of the guide that takes the hit, as I am not good at judging EDs, considering how many of them have come out. However, I will point you again to Malkonnen's handbook, which has updated up to the two Demigod-esque Epic Destinies introduced in HOTFK/HOTFL. Here they are, explained better than I ever could.)
Part Eleven: Items and Equipment - Armed and Dangerous
Implements and Superior Implements - The Hands of the Wicked
Before we get too much into popular items themselves, I wanted to take a little bit of space to go over Superior Implements. You gain access to these via the Superior Implement Training feat, and they give you extra properties on your favorite implements akin to weapon properties (like High Crit, Versatile, etc.)
For both the Superior Implement section and the popular options section, I'll be going over the options for six implements Warlocks may be interested in:
Accurate Rod (Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Ashen Rod (Energized Fire, Unerring): A bonus to Reflex is one of the better choices, as it buffs your RBA, plus some solid support for Fire powers, some of which do also tend to hit Reflex.
Deathbone Rod (Energized Necrotic, Undeniable): Another good match-up. Though the Necrotic powers oftentimes do attack Fortitude, Will is another common one, and especially with Heroes of Shadow, you did gain a lot of Necrotic power options, so this has definitely been strengthened.
Defiant Rod (Energized Radiant, Shielding): Rod Expertise already gives you a shield bonus to AC and Reflex, and Energized Radiant just isn't enough of a benefit to put it over any of the others.
Accurate Wand (Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Cinder Wand (Empowered Crit, Energized Fire): Perhaps slightly better than the Ashen Rod, though it's moreso if you tend more towards AOE powers than single-target ones, as otherwise you won't crit often enough for the damage to rise over Accurate. Still, a popular damage type plus crits that sting is excellent.
Dragontooth Wand (Deadly, Unerring): This combination buffs Eldritch Blast in both categories (attack and damage rolls), something very unique for a Superior Implement, and doesn't prejudice in buffing your other powers' damage rolls. Worth a second look.
Rowan Wand (Distant, Energized Lightning): You have very few Lightning hexes, and your best one is a Blast, making Distant meaningless. Distant's still not bad, especially for King'locks (and it's the only way a non-Eladrin can get the Distant property without pulling other shenanigans), but they have zero lightning hexes.
Accurate Staff (Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Guardian Staff (Energized Force, Shielding): A bit wonky. Force isn't a very popular damage type, but it shows up now and again. Shielding will patch up your defenses somewhat, but it's still not one of your better options.
Mindwarp Staff (Distant, Energized Psychic): Oooh, now here's something. Psychic damage is extremely common amongst your powers, and Distant is splendid, especially for King'locks, whom also love Psychic damage.
Quickbeam Staff (Energized Thunder, Forceful): Mark of Storm + this staff = hilarity. You still have a lot of forced-movement powers, though, so don't worry if you don't use Thunder damage all that much.
Accurate Orb (Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Crystal Orb (Energized Psychic, Undeniable): Pretty much the perfect combination for the more Controllerish of Warlocks, whom tend to use powers that fit this bill.
Greenstone Orb (Energized Acid, Unstoppable): An oddly decent choice for Dark'locks, since they have a couple of Acid powers, and a fair few of their powers target Fortitude. Everyone else can steer clear.
Petrified Orb (Energized Force, Forceful): Again, Force damage is not very common, but Forceful combines so beautifully with the Orb Expertise side benefit.
Accurate Dagger (Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Incendiary Dagger (Energized Fire, Unerring): The carbon copy of the Ashen Rod.
Lancing Dagger (Empowered Crit, Energized Lightning): This is much more awesome than you'd think at first glance. Lightning is an extremely rare damage type, but you can force it otherwise, using a Lightning Weapon Dagger. On top of which, your critical hits hit hard, and this time you have implements available at Paragon Tier that will give you an unnatural crit range (Jagged Weapon, Melegaunt's Darkblade), making that property much more powerful.
Resonating Dagger (Energized Thunder, Forceful): The carbon copy of Quickbeam Staff.
Accurate Ki Focus(Accurate): The prime choice as it usually is for most implements. Attack bonuses are always fantastic, especially for Strikers.
Inexorable Ki Focus (Energized Force, Unstoppable): Two of the rarest conditions manifested in one implement. Much better for the Psionic class this was built for.
Iron Ki Focus (Deadly, Forceful): A bit of bite on all of your powers, and your forced movement also grows in power. Not bad at all.
Mighty Ki Focus (Empowered Crit, Unerring): Makes your Eldritch Blast accurate and sting, and passes along that benefit to the right powers. Awesome.
Mountain Ki Focus (Forceful, Shielding): Even though Shielding is here, take Iron Ki Focus. The amount of times a not-always-on extra point in AC and Reflex will matter is few. To be quite honest, though, the reason you're using a Ki Focus in the first place is probably because you're wielding a weapon that takes up both hands, so maybe consider this?
Serene Ki Focus (Energized Psychic, Undeniable): Carbon copy of Crystal Orb, though downgraded as Ki Focuses are not typically Controller implements. Still a fantastic choice.
From here on out, I'll be listing items that're at least Black in rating (and of those, ones that deserve mention), to minimize the size of this post.
Rod of Deadly Casting (2+): Cool little quasi-Brutal 1 property on a heavy crit die (d10). Could sometimes eclipse the d12 crit die that's so common at this level of enchantment.
Rod of Office (2+): Offhand. In a pinch, excellent for King'locks to get an important rider off (especially at high levels).
Rod of Smiting (2+), Ironscar Rod (3+): Works as a mace, which is a nice option for Eldritch Strikers who still want a Shield bonus from Rod Expertise without using another implement.
Rod of the Fickle Servant (2+): Much better at Epic tier with Vestige Mastery.
Rod of Avernus (3+): Offhand. Gives you one of the better benefits of the Hexer Paragon Path, approximately 13 levels earlier.
Rod of Corruption (3+): Offhand. In case your Pact Boon is useless to you when you trigger it, you can instead turn the enemy who just died into a source of a Close burst 5 autocurse. Amazing at the beginning of the encounter, but it'll quickly become unnecessary as the encounter winds down.
Rod of Malign Conveyance (3+): Offhand, requires maintenance. Much better at Epic, and with distance improvements. You attach great control to your critical hits.
Vicious Rod (3+): Offhand. Great crit die, and saves you a feat in increasing your Curse dice.
Bloodcurse Rod (4+): Offhand. Saves a feat, and does not remove your Curse, unlike Bloodied Boon.
Darkspiral Rod (4+): A very neat little boost to damage if you're in crowded encounters, and might entice you to keep your shield up for a long time.
Rod of the Dragonborn (4+): Your Dragonbreath forces all of your powers to copy its damage type(s). With how well you can control and add damage types to Dragonbreath, especially at Paragon, this is almost mandatory for Dragon'locks.
Rod of the Pactbinder (4+): Offhand. Should still work even if you later retrain the power away. Excellent if that's the case.
Rod of Reaving (5+): Nowhere near as good as it used to be, but still pretty solid, especially after Paragon gets underway.
Rod of Brutality (9+): Offhand, requires maintenance. One of the best offhand options available: gives the Brutal 1/2/3 property to your Curse dice.
Rod of Beguiling (10+): Fantastic for skill fiends (especially for Cha'locks), and the Daily power is suprisingly good.
Rod of Devilry (10+): Interesting option for Tieflings, giving them a nice source of accuracy and damage.
Torch of Misery (10+): Fire and Radiant (moreso the former) are common damage types for Warlocks, so this benefit will come up quite often. Plus, it's an Everburning Torch!
Arkhosian Scepter (12+): Offhand,Silver Dragon Regalia set. The set benefit is something Cha'locks will love, and as mentioned, it saves you a feat in its Daily power if you don't plan on using Dragonbreath terribly often.
Rod of Baleful Geas (12+): Offhand. A tad bit of control and extra damage 1/day as a free action.
Rod of the Hidden Star (13+): Offhand. The second daily on this power is sick, and at Epic it becomes ridiculous. Even more ridiculous if you took the Master of the Starry Path Paragon Path.
Spider Rod (13+): Dark'locks will flock to this Rod, but others will probably not even bother.
Rod of Stolen Starlight (17+): As long as you're willing to spend a minor action each turn to do so, you can deal Radiant damage instead of Poison or Necrotic damage with an attack. You also gain a 1 die boost to Curse damage against Undead. Dependant on your campaign, but very strong in an an undead-heavy setting.
Rod of the Bloodthorn (22+): Overkill for Tieflings, perhaps, but still a great benefit for all.
Rod of the Star Spawn (22+): Unnatural crit range, decent crit dice, and the ability to spend a healing surge when you score a critical hit. One of the best mainhand Rods in the game.
Rod of Ulban (25+): Offhand. All enemies under your Curse gain Vulnerable 10 Psychic. If you took the Mindbite Scorn feat, prepare for the slaughter.
Lightning Wand (3+): Those hankering for Lightning spells will find this to their liking.
Master's Wand of Eldritch Blast(3+): Make this a Dragontooth Wand, and you'll do some heavy damage with your Ranged Basic Attack.
Master's Wand of Eyebite (3+): A huge improvement to Eyebite, giving it a bonus that will always apply.
Master's Wand of Hellish Rebuke (3+): Adds some solid splash damage on the Rebuke punishment. However, the trigger for this wand must be from Rebuke punishing the enemy for damaging you, and for no other reason.
Master's Wand of Scorching Burst (3+): Warlocks with decent INT will love an Encounter AOE option that singes the poor, unlucky soul at the center of the burst.
Master's Wand of Eyes of the Vestige (4+): A bit more freedom in where you can place your extra Curse, and a small bump to Curse dice damage with EOTV.
Master's Wand of Spiteful Glamor (4+): Makes this power much better as a primer, allowing you to deal an extra die of Curse damage against a target at maximum hitpoints with Spiteful Glamor.
Master's Wand of Vicious Mockery (4+): Cha'locks might actually be interested in a 1/enc double-debuff.
Precise Wand of Shock Sphere (10+): Storm Scourge PPers will love having any extra Lightning options, even as a daily, especially one with two huge benefits on top of the power.
Wand of Thunderous Anguish (24+): Warlocks who even dare to concentrate on Thunder powers will be adding a great Leader-like benefit to their ally's attacks.
Wand of Allure (29): Conduct your orchestra from twice the distance away.
(Gain proficiency in the Staff by either taking the Arcane Implement Proficiency or White Lotus Dueling Expertise feats, or by multiclassing into Invoker, Psion, Wizard, Sorcerer, or Druid.)
Aversion Staff (2+): Offhand. Insanely cheap, and yet provides such a wonderous benefit.
Defensive Staff (2+): Offhand. Another cheap item that gives a great defensive boost, this time a permanent +1 to your NADs.
Staff of Resilience (3+): Offhand. Another source of temp hitpoints for you Infernal'locks that like to go emo with your favorite powers.
Staff of Ruin (3+): One of the most popular staffs in the game. Just attacking with it helps you deal very solid damage. The crit die is also quite remarkable.
Staff of Sleep and Charm (3+): Great now, but at Paragon and Epic, you make some of your best powers ridiculously, stupidly accurate. The fact that this hasn't been errata'd scares me.
Staff of the War Mage (3+): For those that like to concentrate a bit on AOEs, this is splendid. Works incredibly well for all Dragonborn, whether or not their Dragonbreath is Arcane.
Battle Staff (4+): For Eldritch Strikers. This needs a little bit of preparation before it can get going, and requires you have no offhand implement, but unnatural crit range this early with one of your best At-Wills is worth something special.
Hellfire Staff (4+): The option to make all of your Close burst, Close blast, and melee attacks (here's looking at you, King'locks) deal Fire damage is pretty nice, and the critical hit effect, while containing no bonus dice, is fantastic for power recovery, especially if you concentrate on either of those two powers.
Staff of Forceful Rebuking (4+): Make it a Quickbeam Staff and go to town.
Staff of the Traveler (5+): Offhand. If you don't feel you need an offhand implement otherwise, this is a wonderful replacement for Ethereal Sidestep, though it won't get you out of grabs.
Staff of the Serpent (7+): While it provides a neat benefit to Eldritch Strikers who use a Staff to do their thwacking (as it's not item-typed damage), this also buffs the damage of Sorcerer-King powers used in Melee touch range, making King'locks very happy. However, careful against using this against Undead, as it's +1d6 Poison damage, not "1d6 extra poison damage."
Earthroot Staff (8+): If you prize Control more than damage, this will give you a lethal critical and a nice benefit to all your powers that immobilize, petrify, slow, or restrain.
Staff of Portals (14+): Forced teleportation on a critical (with dice, no less), and the ability to instill a mass friendly teleportation effect 1/day when you use a power with the Teleportation power? Now you're thinking with portals.
Queen's Staff (15+): Gifts for the Queen set. Only good for those who took the Storm Scourge PP, but adding a huge bonus to attack rolls against people that you hit with Eldritch Blast (using the feature on that Path to make it a lightning power), plus a boost to Lightning and Radiant damage should you go further down this set makes it a wonderful option.
Tempest Staff (15+): Armory of the Unvanquished set. A rather weird critical dice effect (you deal damage to everyone around you instead of the target?), but that and the second benefit make you absolutely brutal in close range should you crit.
Staff of Corrosion (18+): Staff of the Serpent, but now with a much improved damage type.
Staff of the Far Wanderer (22+): Offerings of Celestian set. The staff itself is rather lame, but it's the set benefit when you wear all four items that makes it incredible.
Destiny Staff (25+): Decent crit dice, and the ability to spend a healing surge when you slay an enemy can really help you get through a tough encounter.
(Gain proficiency in the Orb by either taking the Arcane Implement Proficiency or White Lotus Dueling Expertise feats, or by multiclassing into Psion or Wizard.)
Orb of Forceful Magic (3+): Don't you love enchantments that perfectly mesh with their host's Expertise feat? And don't you also love it when a Superior Implement version of it also adds more to this? +3 to all forced movements with two feats and an enchantment is off-the-wall crazy, and highly recommended to those who want to concentrate in that field.
Orb of Frustrated Recovery (3+): Offhand. The main purpose of Orbs is to force saving throw failures. Here's one that'll boost the effectiveness of your ongoing damage powers.
Orb of Inevitable Continuance (3+): Offhand. Force an effect you really love to last just one more turn.
Orb of Insurmountable Force (3+): Offhand. A 1/enc Push equal to the enhancement bonus is a neat upgrade to your Controller abilities.
Orb of Mental Constitution (3+): Offhand. A +5 item bonus to Endurance checks at level 3 may even convince some Cha'locks to take a look, and Con'locks, especially those trouncing around Athas, will find this very appealing.
Orb of Nimble Thoughts (3+): Offhand. Worse than it used to be... and that's saying a lot. Now instead of an Intelligence modifier boost to your initiative, instead you gain the enhancement bonus to initiative. Still a great bonus, especially for a class that struggles to have a decent initiative modifier, and the Encounter power isn't bad at all.
Orb of Impenetrable Escape (6+): Offhand. Force a failed save, but now against anything you wish. No critical dice, however, so keep it in your offhand.
Orb of Spacial Contortion (12+): Becomes exponentially more powerful in regards of territory covered as you add squares to the radii of your favorite Blast attacks (a Blast 5 becomes a Close burst 3, a Blast 6 becomes a Close burst 4, etc).
Orb of Sudden Insanity (12+): Once per day, an enemy hit by you with a power that deals Psychic damage whallops a nearby creature that you choose. Interesting.
Orb of Indefatigable Concentration (13+): What a mouthful. With Heroes of Shadow, you've gained a lot more Sustain Minor zones and effects, and 1/day you can turn them into free action sustains for 3-6 turns.
Orb of Fickle Fate (14+): Go all schizophrenic with your Leader and Controller thirds of your personality.
Orb of the Usurper (23+): Great crit dice, but what if you don't want to deal damage? That's fine - once per day, dominate the target instead.
(Gain proficiency in the Dagger by either taking the Arcane Implement Proficiency feat, or by multiclassing into Sorcerer or Swordmage.)
Goblin Totem (2+): Small casters will find this at the level of Staff of Ruin, and Pixies will pretty much never find an enemy against which this won't buff you.
Prime Shot Weapon (2+): A little bit of an extra benefit to a condition you always want to trigger is worthwhile as an enchantment.
Quicksilver Blade (2+): A marvelous bonus to initiative, especially for a class that typically has a terrible initiative bonus, and once per day you can take an extra move action when you score a critical hit.
Vicious Weapon (2+): d12 crit dice on a cheap weapon has got to be worth a penny or two.
Frost Weapon (3+): One of the cheapest elemental weapons around, and this has been given to so many characters due to the insane synergy it has with the Wintertouched and Lasting Frost feats.
Rhythm Blade (3+): Offhand. Even if you can't use Daggers as an implement, you need to seriously consider this: a boost to your shield bonus, even if it was originally zero, is superb, and combos wonderfully with the Rod Expertise benefit to give you the benefit of a heavy shield while never weighing you down.
Vanguard Weapon (3+): Using a Dagger for a weapon is not the worst idea in the world, as it is accurate and most of your dice will come from the Warlock's Curse anyway. Being able to deal +1d8 damage with Eldritch Strike should you use it on a charge is quite nice. Cha'locks will find the daily power to be a massive boon to their entire party.
Warsoul Weapon (3+): Warforged only, but they can use it very nicely, gaining a small boost to initative, and once per day can make Eldritch Strike into an Immediate Interrupt should an adjacent enemy shift.
Intensifying Weapon (4+): The preferred implement of choice for Dark'locks.
Weapon of Defense (4+): Resist 1 All as a property could mean the difference between life and death, even considering how small the amount might seem.
Flaming Weapon (5+): Like the Frost Weapon, except for Fire damage. However, it no longer adjusts powers that deal typed damage already, reducing its strength considerably.
Lightning Weapon (5+), Thunderbolt Weapon (13+): Like the Frost Weapon, except for Lightning damage. This pretty much solves every single problem withthe Storm Scourge PP, and on top of that, making this a Lancing Dagger does beautiful things to your DPR.
Weapon of Speed (5+): The benefit of Quickened Spellcasting (though pigeonholed to Eldritch Blast), 16 levels early. That's something I like to call "good".
Cunning Weapon (8+): All attacks that're channeled through this weapon force the enemy to take a -2 penalty to saving throws against those attack's effects. Quite handy for the more Controllerish of you, or if you're more prone to dealing ongoing damage (Dark'locks?)
Force Weapon (8+): Like the Frost Weapon, except for Force damage. Having a problem with insubstantiality in your games? Take this, add the Inescapable Force feat, and no one will ever bother you again.
Incisive Dagger(9+), Mithrendain Steel Weapon (13+), Rubicant Blade (18+): Each boosts your teleport distance by 1 square (or, in the case of the Incisive Dagger, a number of squares equal to its enhancement bonus). That should sound important to you.
Blackshroud Weapon (10+): Notable about this enchantment is its critical dice. It's not damage, but temporary hitpoints that you gain. More fuel for Doom of Delban, perhaps?
Jagged Weapon (12+), Melegaunt's Darkblade (12+): Both items will give you an unnatural crit range. However, their extra critical damage is much different: the Jagged's is ongoing 10 (becomes ongoing 20 at Epic tier), while the Melegaunt's Darkblade deals 1d6 extra cold damage per plus. The Melegaunt's Darkblade is also in a Dungeon magazine, which might tip your DM away from letting you snatch it up, but either way, you'll be good to go.
Thundergod Weapon (13+): 1d6 extra damage on a charge. Worse than the Vanguard Weapon at Paragon, but at Epic, a +5 or higher version will deal 2d6 extra damage, which catapults it over.
Radiant Weapon (15+): Like the Frost Weapon, but with Radiant damage. And with an outstanding side benefit as well. If you take nothing else and you have access to Daggers as an implement, pick this up immediately.
Battlemaster's Weapon (24+): Once per day, regain the use of an encounter power. So simple, but so fun.
(Gain proficiency in the Ki Focus by multiclassing into Monk, Assassin, or Vampire.)
Envenomed Ki Focus (2+): Surprisingly, a lot of your powers do deal Poison damage, and this is a pretty nice way to buff their damage. They still won't be all that spectacular, but it's something.
Blazing Arc Ki Focus (3+): Eldritch Strike and all King'lock powers used in Melee touch range are affected by this, so if you're a Tiefling King'lock, this could actually be really cool.
Cascading Strikes Ki Focus (3+): A reroll in your back pocket for both your weapon and implement powers? Sure!
Rain of Hammers Ki Focus (3+): Autodamage is never bad (though you really need to be a Melee'lock to take advantage of this), and a minor-action attack once per day is also something you can look forward to.
Abduction Ki Focus (4+): Yes, this does turn Eldritch Strike into a Slide 2 power! Doesn't do too much else, and you'll be going seventeen different directions making it work with Polearm Momentum, but still, your MBA now carries accelerated Control that works on a charge.
Bloodthirsty Ki Focus (4+): A solid bonus to damage against bloodied enemies with either weapon or implement powers is awesome if you trend down that path.
Thunderfist Ki Focus (4+): Making your Eldritch Strike and King'lock powers used in Melee touch range deal Thunder damage instead of any other type has got to combo with something. Like, oh, I don't know, Mark of Storm?
Devastating Ki Focus (5+): Not-quite-Brutal 2 is kind of a weird benefit, but this makes powers that are d4-based surprisingly good (Falchions suddenly rock as well). Forked Lightning Ki Focus (9+): Same as the Thunderfist, but Lightning instead of Thunder. You Storm Scourge King'melee'locks (I suppose they could exist) listening closely? Embers of Black Flame Ki Focus (10+): All of your necrotic powers are now dual-typed as fire/necrotic (and the same for Fire powers), which is a great fix to the common problem of Necrotic resistance. It's expensive, and the daily benefit is useless, but the primary benefit is still something your powers desperately need.