The Hex spell is a personal damage booster to a single target. Anytime a character has the opportunity to increase their damage per attack, it is a good thing.
The rules for Hex can be found in the Players Handbook on page 251.
Enchantment 1st level
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 90 feet
Components: V, S, M (The petrified eye of a newt)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
You place a curse on a creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack. Also, choose one ability when you cast the spell. The target has a disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.
If the target drops to 0 hit points before this spell ends, you can use a bonus action on a subsequent turn of yours to curse a new creature.
A Remove Curse cast on the target ends this spell early.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd or 4th level, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 8 hours. When you use a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you can maintain your concentration on the spell for up to 24 hours.
The rules for Hex reveal the real benefit of the spell; it’s a bonus action to cast. This means you can cast and attack in the same turn. An added benefit to the spell, it can be moved between targets when the first target drops to 0 hit points.
This means it is not necessarily just a one-time cast,as the damage boost can be carried over to multiple targets.The target gains disadvantage on ability checks made with a chosen ability, which can be huge against enemies with special attacks such as grapple.
Is Hex Good?
Hex provides a damage boost to each attack on the target and penalizes the target on an ability saving throw. Also, you can move the Hex to another target when the initial target drops to 0 hit points. This makes Hex a highly valuable spell and one that should be maintained in the arsenal well into the middle levels at a minimum.
The trade-off for concentration could be a negative, and the limited benefit from up-casting could also be a potential issue. These should be outweighed in most circumstances by the benefits mentioned above. Not to mention, the duration is up to an hour at the base level. This is a long time for an enemy or an opponent (if out of combat) to suffer the penalties.
Can Hex Crit?
Damage from attacks is affected by a critical hit. This means that Hex damage is included in critical hit damage. It is a spell that grants a damage bonus, not a modifier or natural ability, so it should do damage on a critical hit accordingly.
How does Hex Stack with Hex Blades Curse and Bestow Curse?
Hex is a concentration spell. Bestow Curse, until cast at 9th level, is also a concentration spell. Therefore, they cannot stack. Hexblade’s curse is an ability, not a spell, and does not require concentration, so they can be stacked. Hexblade’s Curse does not benefit from a critical hit and is added as a modifier.
Using Hex Outside of Combat
Hex, like many spells, is geared towards combat, but the increased time allowed by up-casting the spell indicates there are uses for it outside of combat as well. Some non-combat uses for Hex are as follows:
- Casting it on an opponent in a contest such as archery or drinking.
- Casting it on a caster to increase the difficulty for them to maintain a spell.
- Casting it on someone who you would want to fail insight or intimidation, or someone you want to be easier to manipulate.
If the creature you cast Hex on falls to 0 hit points, you can choose a new creature to curse. This means you can choose a new ability for them to receive disadvantage on.
For a 1st level spell, Hex is a solid choice. It grants a damage boost, penalizes specific ability-related checks, and doesn’t have a save. The duration per cast is about as good as you can get, plus you have the opportunity to change targets, which is like getting a recast.
There are opportunities to use it outside of combat as well. These features make this a high-quality spell to choose at low levels and a reasonable choice at higher levels.