Baldur's Gate 3 Warlock Class Guide - The best pacts, pact magic, and multiclass tips
Some casters might argue that it's not about how many spells you know, but how well you can use the ones you have. And in Baldur's Gate 3, Warlocks are the living embodiment of this philosophy. The bond a Warlock forms with their powerful, supernatural patron doesn't get them a lot in terms of quantity, but each tool they do get is potent on a level that other casters can't match. Read on through our full Baldur's Gate 3 Warlock class guide to learn how to get the most out of this paranormal partnership.
For other classes and aspects of the game, see our full slate of available Baldur's Gate 3 guides.
Before You Begin
Note that none of these points are set in stone. Build your character the way you choose, and see these notes more as suggestions than rules. For more tips, check out our Baldur's Gate 3 Character Creation guide.
This guide will also assume that you are building a custom character. Origin Characters have unique interactions and roleplaying options available thanks to their preset nature. Wyll, Blade of the Frontiers, is a Warlock Origin Character. Choose him as your protagonist if you'd like to play as an Origin Warlock.
Additionally, this guide presumes you are building a single-class character. Multiclassing into different classes as you level up is an option to gain new and useful abilities, but there’s also value in specialization. We’ll have a few multiclass suggestions for you at the end of the guide.
The Warlock Playstyle
Warlocks are unique among the magic-using classes in Baldur's Gate 3 because of the nature of their spellcasting. In terms of overall quantity, Warlocks gain fewer spell slots than any other caster class in the game. This even includes the "hybrid" casting classes like Paladin, Ranger, and subclasses like the Arcane Trickster or Eldritch Knight. For example, at level 10, the Warlock only has two spell slots to use. By comparison, a Sorcerer has fifteen.
However, the nature of their "Pact Magic," as it's called, gives Warlocks an unequaled level of combat endurance and "stopping power" per spell. They may have a limited amount of spell slots, but unlike other casters, their spell slots are all the highest spell level possible. Warlocks don't need to split their spell loadouts between, say, 4 Level 1 spells and 3 Level 2 spells: All 3 spell slots can cast spells of any level, without the need for "upcasting" to raise their power. Additionally, Warlocks recharge their spell slots on a short rest, something no other caster can do.
As such, a Warlock is heavily dependent on their Cantrips, and must use their spells judiciously, picking just the right time to spend a precious slot. Thankfully, Warlocks also have access to some of the most potent cantrips in the game, chief among them the powerful Eldritch Blast. They're also no slouches in melee, able to, with the right build, fight as a magically empowered skirmisher with a small but deadly toolkit.
Warlock Class Features
- Key Abilities: Wisom and Charisma
- Warlocks live and die by their Charisma scores, and will want them as high as possible to boost their cantrips and spells.
- Improving Constitution is also important to improve a Warlock's HP and strengthen their Concentration saves.
- A Warlock should also invest points into Dexterity, to gain a bonus to their armor class when wearing Light Armor, as well as if they plan to fight with melee weapons before they unlock the Pact of the Blade.
- Warlock Saving Throw proficiencies are set to Wisdom and Charisma.
- Gear Proficiency: Light Armor and Simple Weapons
- Skill Proficiency: At creation, Warlocks can choose 2 skills for their proficiency. Arcana, Deception, Investigation, and Intimidation are good picks that align with the Warlock's natural talents.
- The Pact: The Pact itself and the patron it's made with is the main defining feature of the Warlock. It's also equivalent to the Warlock's subclass, and determines some of the spells and Invocations the Warlock will have access to. See the Subclasses section for more details on what each Pact does.
- Pact Magic: As detailed above, Warlocks gain a unique form of magic from their bond with their patron. Pact Magic consists of a limited number of spell slots that level up with the Warlock. Pact spells are automatically cast at the highest possible level (matching the "upcasting" that other casters can do by preparing a lower-level spell in a higher-level spell slot to increase its power).
- Eldritch Blast: The Eldritch Blast is the Warlock's signature ability. Though technically "just" a cantrip that's exclusive to Warlocks, it's the most powerful combat cantrip in the game. For many Warlocks, the Eldritch Blast is as integral as a weapon would be to a Fighter. It can be upgraded as the Warlock gains levels, gaining the ability to target multiple enemies (or hit a single enemy up to 3 times), and adding effects via certain Eldritch Invocation choices.
- Eldritch Invocations: Eldritch Invocations are best thought of as "perks" that the Warlock gets from their patron which enhances the Warlock in a manner separate from simply adding more pact spells. Warlocks get Invocations as they level up and can choose the ones that work for them. Invocation effects range from granting free at-will spell effects to upgrading the power of their Eldritch Blast.
- There are a lot of Eldritch Invocations, so check the Level Progression section for descriptions of each as they become available.
- Pact Boon: Though Warlocks choose their pact at character creation, they can further refine their playstyle when they get to choose a Pact Boon, a special one-time blessing from their Patron that is particularly suited to one playstyle or another. These boons are enhanced later via the Deeper Pact class feature.
- Pact of the Chain: The Warlock gains the service of a familiar that can be controlled by the Warlock and aid them in combat. Warlocks can choose from an animal familiar, an Imp, or a Quasit. They can also switch out their familiar if they have a change of heart later on.
- Pact of the Tome: The Warlock gains a grimoire called "The Book of Shadows" that allows them to cast certain spells, and unlocks more spells to cast freely per long rest. This boon is good for Warlocks that want a few more spells to cast without having to devote their spell slots to the task.
- Pact of the Blade: Warlocks can summon a special "pact weapon" or bind the melee in their hand and make it magical. Pact weapons use the wielder's spellcasting Ability instead of Strength or Dexterity (in a Warlock's case, this is Charisma). This spell allows Warlocks to fight in melee with surprising power, since their now-magical weapon is powered by their spellcasting ability. It's a bit similar to the Hexblade subclass from tabletop Dungeons & Dragons 5E.
- Mystic Arcanum: Once per long rest, Warlocks can cast one of their level 6 spells for free, without expending a slot. Since many Level 6 spells are quite powerful but not something you want to use in every encounter, this essentially frees up a precious spell slot for more practical types of Pact Magic.
Warlock Gear Recommendations
- Though Warlocks gain relatively paltry gear proficiencies, they're the best of the "pure" caster classes at direct melee combat. This is because of the Ability Score synergies inherent to the Warlock's magic. Picking Pact of the Blade as a boon essentially gives the Warlock a permanent effect similar to the Druid's Shillelagh cantrip, tying their melee performance to their casting ability (which is probably high to begin with). Thus having a decent melee weapon in one's inventory is a good idea, if you pick the Pact of the Blade. Those without it will probably want a light or Finesse-tagged melee weapon, since their Dexterity bonus will probably be higher than their Strength bonus.
- Wear the best Light Armor you can find, though acquiring Medium Armor Proficiency from racial choices or feats can be a good option to boost your protection if your Dexterity bonus is below +2.
- Equipment and effects that boost Dexterity, Charisma, or Constitution are ideal for Warlock gear.
- Magic accessories or weapons that can cast spells are also a good option, to free up the Warlock's reliance on their cantrips and spell slots.
Selected at character creation, a Warlock's choice of patron to make a Pact sets just who it is the Warlock owes fealty to. In Baldur's Gate 3, your options are the The Fiend, the Archfey, and the Great Old One. These patrons express their differences by slightly altering the Warlock's spell selection, as well as giving a few benefits to aid their agent in varying ways. If anything, truly significant changes in a Warlock's playstyle are more likely to come from the choice of Pact Boon and Eldritch Invocations.
Warlocks bound to the Fiend have formed a contract with a powerful resident of the lower planes such as an archdevil, demon lord, or other infernal power. Fiendish patrons empower their pet Warlocks with increased destructive potential, favoring combat spells, augmented resistances, and the ability to amp up their outcomes with the kind of good "fortune" only one bound to the darkness can muster.
- Fiend Pact Magic: Fiend pacts grant automatic access to the following spells:
- Burning Hands, Command
- Scorching Ray, Blindness
- Fireball, Stinking Cloud
- Fire Shield, Wall of Fire
- Flame Strike, Cone of Cold
- Dark One's Blessing: When reducing a hostile creature to zero HP, gain temporary HP (Charisma modifier + Level). This "health-on-kill" bonus can be a powerful buff that lets a Warlock "feed" off of kills. Note that the Warlock needs to be the one that strikes the killing blow to benefit.
- Dark One's Own Luck: The Devil's Luck manifests in this feature, which allows the Warlock to add 1d10 to an Ability Check once per short rest. It's a good and reliable bonus that could spell the difference between success and failure on some ability checks.
- Fiendish Resilience: The Warlock can, once per short rest, choose a damage type to become resistant to. This can be very powerful if you can anticipate what damage type you're likely to come across in an encounter. In Baldur's Gate 3, fire and cold are among the most commonly encountered elemental damage types, so that's a good place to start.
Often overlooked in accountings of the great supernatural powers, the lords and ladies of the Fey hold deep secrets and whimsical, enigmatic motives and methods. Pact-bound Warlocks know this capriciousness all too well, but can draw upon a sliver of the compelling power of their patron Archfey gaze to charm, control, and dominate those with mere mortality underpinning their minds.
- Archfey Pact Magic: Archfey Pacts grant automatic access to the following spells:
- Faerie Fire, Sleep
- Calm Emotions, Phantasmal Force
- Plant Growth, Blink
- Greater Invisibility, Dominate Beast
- Dominate Person, Seeming
- Fey Presence: Let a Fey mood take your enemies, by unleashing Fey Presence and causing all nearby foes to be charmed or frightened if they fail a Wisdom save.
- Misty Escape: Once per short rest, you can punish those with the temerity to strike you. You become invisible upon taking damage and can use the next turn to cast the spell Misty Step, teleporting to a space you can see, potentially setting up a counterattack.
- Beguiling Defenses: You are immune to charm. This feature can be somewhat redundant for Elven and Half-Elven characters, since they already have Fey Ancestry, a perk that grants Advantage on saves against charm and sleep. Still, it's an absolute immunity, so it's technically an upgrade.
Great Old One
Warlocks who've made a pact with a Great Old One have contracted their service to a force they can barely pronounce, much less comprehend. Allied to beings from the Far Realm whose very presence threatens to drive mortals mad, Great Old One Warlocks gain particular power over the mind and additional abilities that inflict psychic damage.
- Great Old One Patc Magic: Great Old One Pacts grant automatic access to the following spells.
- Dissonant Whispers, Tasha's Hideous Laughter
- Phantasmal Force, Detect Thoughts
- Slow, Bestow Curse
- Telekinesis, Dominate Person
- Mortal Reminder: Whenever you land a critical hit on a creature, the creature and nearby enemies are frightened, suffering Disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls.
- Entropic Ward: Once per short rest, impose disadvantage on attack rolls against you. Attacks that miss grant you advantage on your attack rolls against your attackers.
- Thought Shield: Gain resistance to psychic damage, and reflect any psychic damage you do take upon your attacker.
Warlock Level Progression
These are the class features you’ll get as you level up as a Warlock. The maximum level cap in Baldur’s Gate 3 at launch is Level 12. Use this to see what you’ll get at each level and plan accordingly, in case you wish to multiclass.
This guide will also highlight class features you gain based on your subclass choice. For more detailed info about the subclasses, see the sections above. Features gained by a Subclass are labeled with the Subclass name.
Note: Unlabeled benefits are “standard” class features and common to all subclasses.
- HP: 8 HP + Constitution Modifier, gaining minimum of 5 HP + Con modifier per level.
- Gear Proficiency: Simple Weapons and Light Armor
- Skill Proficiencies: Choose 2 skills from Deception, Arcana, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, Religion.
- Warlock Spells: 2 Cantrips, 1 Spell Slot
- Warlock Pact: Choose from Great Old One, Archfey, and The Fiend
- Fiend: Dark One's Blessing
- Great Old One: Mortal Reminder
- Archfey: Fey Presence
- Warlock Spells: +1 Spell Slots (2 total)
- Eldritch Invocation: Choose 2 Eldritch Invocations from this list. Recommended Invocations include Agonizing Blast, Repelling Blast, and Fiendish Vigor.
- Agonizing Blast: Add Charisma modifier to Eldritch Blast damage. One of the most valuable Eldritch Invocations, this turns the Eldritch Blast into a cantrip comparable to a weapon.
- Armor of Shadows: Can cast Mage Armor on yourself at will, without using a spell slot.
- Beast Speech: Can cast speak with animals at will, without using a spell slot.
- Beguiling Influence: Gain proficiency in Deception and Persuasion skills. Useful if you didn't choose these skills at creation.
- Devil's Sight: Can see in the darkness for 24m, and through magical darkness. Useful if your racial choice doesn't include darkvision.
- Fiendish Vigor: Cast False Life on yourself at will, without using a spell slot. A powerful buff to your HP at low levels.
- Repelling Blast: Eldritch Blast can push a creature back up to 4.5m. Effect can be toggled on or off. Very powerful for pushing enemies off cliffs.
- Thief of Five Fates: Can cast Bane once per long rest without using a spell slot. Potentially useful if lacking a Cleric or Paladin, as Bane is a foundational debuff.
- One With Shadows: Can become invisible until you attack, cast a spell, take an action, or get damaged.
- Mask of Many Faces: Can cast Disguise Self at will, without spending a spell slot. Good for stealth and infilitration.
- Pact Boon: Select a Pact Boon (see subclass features section for details)
- Warlock Spells: Level 2 spells unlocked for preparation in Warlock spell slots.
- Feat Selection: Can pick a Feat from All Classes Feat list. While any class at level 4 can pick many of the Feats, not all will be relevant to the class. You can also choose an ability improvement to boost a bonus or eliminate a penalty. Check out our full Feats guide for more advice on Warlock-appropriate Feats.
- Recommended Warlock Feats:
- Ability Improvement
- Elemental Adept
- Spell Sniper
- War Caster
- Weapon Master
- Recommended Warlock Feats:
- Warlock Spells: +1 Cantrips Known (3 total)
- Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast gains a second "beam", allowing the Warlock to hit two different targets in range or a single target twice using one Blast.
- Deepened Pact: Gain additional Pact-based benefits
- Pact of the Blade: Gain an extra attack per turn when attacking with pact weapon.
- Pact of the Chain: Your familiar gains an extra attack per turn.
- Pact of the Tome: Spells Animate Dead, Haste, and Call Lightning added, can cast once per long rest.
- Warlock Spells: Level 3 spells unlocked for preparation in Warlock spell slots.
- Eldritch Invocation: Choose 1 Eldritch invocation. The below invocations are added to the overall list.
- Mire the Mind: Can cast Slow, using a spell slot. A broad-scale debuff that can affect an entire group of enemies.
- Sign of Ill Omen: Can cast Bestow Curse using a spell slot. A powerful single-target debuff with a wide range of effects.
- The Fiend: Dark One's Own Luck: Add 1d10 to ability check results.
- Archfey: Misty Escape: Become invisible and cast Misty Step when damaged.
- Great Old One: Entropic Ward: Impose Disadvantage on attackers and gain advantage when you retaliate.
- Warlock Spells: Level 4 spells unlocked for preparation in Warlock spell slots.
- Eldritch Invocation: Choose 1 Eldritch Invocation. The below invocations are added to the overall list.
- Book of Ancient Secrets: Gain access to spells Ray of Sickness, Chromatic Orb, and Silence, all castable without using spell slots once per Long Rest. A selection of Wizard/Sorcerer spells to expand your spell list without disrupting your pact magic economy.
- Dreadful Word: Can cast Confusion using a spell slot. A potentially powerful mental debuff that causes enemies to act at random.
- Sculptor of Flesh: Can cast Polymorph using a spell slot. Turn your enemies into sheep.
- Feat Selection: Can pick a Feat from All Classes Feat list
- Warlock Spells: Level 5 spells unlocked for preparation in Warlock spell slots.
- Eldritch Invocation: Choose 1 Eldritch Invocation. The below invocations are added to the overall list.
- Minions of Chaos: Can cast Conjure Elemental with a spell slot. One of the most powerful summon spells in the game.
- Otherworldly Leap: Can cast the Enhance Leap as a Ritual, meaning it does not use a spell slot when cast out of combat. This enhances your agility for exploration outside of combat.
- Whispers of the Grave: Can cast Speak with Dead without expending a spell slot. Useful if you don't already have it in your party, but you can also acquire this spell via the Ritual Caster feat.
- Eldritch Blast: Eldritch Blast gains a third "beam", allowing the Warlock to hit three different targets in range or a single target thrice using one Blast.
- The Fiend: Fiendish Resilience: Become resistant to a damage type of your choice once per short rest.
- Archfey: Beguiling Defenses: Immunity to Charm.
- Great Old One: Thought Shield: Resist Psychic damage and reflect psychic damage onto your attacker.
- Warlock Spells: +1 Cantrips Known (4 total)
- Warlock Spells:
- +1 Spell slots (3 total)
- Spell slots can now host Level 6 spells
- Mystic Arcanum: Select a level 6 spell and gain the ability to cast it without using a spell slot once per long rest.
- Feat Selection: Can pick a Feat from All Classes Feat list
- Eldritch Invocation: Choose 1 Eldritch Invocation. The below invocation is added to the overall list.
- Lifedrinker: Melee attacks deal additional necrotic damage equal to your Charisma modifier. A good invocation to pick for characters who selected the Pact of the Blade, as this is exclusively based on melee attacks.
Warlocks have a couple of clear breakpoints for adding additional class levels. Level 5 or Level 6 of Warlock is a good point to consider another class, as by this point the Warlock has gained their Pact Boon, deepened it, and has access to a solid selection of spells and an upgraded Eldritch Blast.
That said, Warlocks can be much more fearsome dipping into new classes in the last third of their available levels, because Warlock class bonuses are that much more potent. Multiclassing at Level 9 grants Level 5 Warlock Spells and another Eldritch Invocation while granting access to the subclasses of the second class, while breaking at Level 10 fully upgrades the Eldritch Blast, adds a fourth Cantrip, and the last Pact bonus. A break at Level 11 ensures the Warlock only misses out on their last feat and Eldritch Invocation.
Bard is an excellent second class choice for Warlocks. Just 1 level grants access to the powerful team buff Bardic Inspiration, while a second level grants the Song of Rest and Jack of All Trades to allow the Warlock to replenish their own spell slots in one action and greatly improve their skill options. A third level gains expertise and access to the Bardic Colleges, which all have unique benefits for Warlocks. The College of Lore benefits Warlocks who want to lean into team support and ranged combat, while the Colleges of Valor and Swords offer more to Warlocks who are following the Path of the Blade.
Fighters are a good single-level class dip for Warlocks on the Pact of the Blade, as access to heavy armor, martial weapons, and a fighting style can greatly improve a Warlock's melee performance. Warlocks willing to put 3 levels into Fighter can gain Action Surge and access to a subclass. The Battle Master subclass can expand the Warlock's tactical options significantly.
Paladins are a very potent class choice for Pact of the Blade Warlocks. Two levels of Paladin grant access to the Paladin's Oath benefits as well as Divine Smite, a power that works with the Warlock's pact weapon. You can even opt to break your Paladin Oath to become an Oathbreaker, as the Oathbreaker's powers have interesting synergy with Warlock powers.
Sorcerers are great options for Warlocks focused on ranged combat. Two levels of Sorcerer will grant a Warlock access to Sorcery points, metamagic, and the benefits of the Sorcerer's subclass, while a third level adds more metamagic options like Heightened Spell and Quickened Spell.