Hexblade 5e D&D Guide [2021]

A Set Of Polyhedral Dice With A Draw String Bag

The Hexblade is a class of Warlock and, as such, follows the same traits. They have a patron that grants them powers, and spellcasting is done in the same manner.

The Hexblade has an expanded spell list, and features that combines or introduces spells not typically available to the fey, fiend, or great old one warlock.

The rules for the Hexblade Warlock can be found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Hexblade 5e

Features:

  • Expanded Spell List- Additional class spells are available for spell levels 1-5. The addition of these spells, notably the variations on Smite, lead this warlock subclass towards more of a potential melee casting class.
  • Hexblade’s Curse- Allows you to choose an enemy to curse. It grants bonuses to hit, damage, and critical chance. Also, if the cursed creature dies, you regain hit points.
  • Hex Warrior- Grants proficiency with medium armor, shields, and martial weapons. It also allows the warlock to use their Charisma modifier instead of Strength or Dexterity to hit with a selected weapon. A Pact of the Blade Warlock also gains this benefit with their pact weapon no matter the form that is summoned.
  • Accursed Spector-Lets you bind the soul of a slain humanoid foe for your command. The soul becomes a specter that has its own initiative and obeys your command. You can only have one specter per long rest.
  • Armor of Hexes- If the target of your curse hits you with an attack roll, you can roll a d6. On a 4 or higher, the attacker misses.
  • Master of Hexes-You can move your curse from a slain target to a new target. Moving the curse in this way prevents gaining hit points from the original target.

The description and features of the Hexblade Warlock show the class as a Ranger/Paladin hybrid. With traits similar to Hunter’s Mark and the addition of Smite spells, the class is more than capable up close.

It offers a variation to the typical caster and allows the player to equip a more diverse spell lineup. Most of the effects are available after a short or long rest.

Is Hexblade Good?

Hexblade is widely regarded as the most powerful type of warlock. This stacks on the premise that a pact of the blade warlock can gain all kinds of bonuses to their attacks, and with Improved Pact Weapon, they can summon any kind of weapon, including ranged and weapons, with reach.

Another reason Hexblade is so strong is based on the front load for the Warlock in general. A warlock chooses a “subclass” at level 1 and instantly gains features. Then at level three, they gain their pact. This means taking this class as a 1-3 level multiclass dip dramatically adds to any other class.

Hot Tip
Multiclassing a Hexblade Warlock and a Paladin allow the character to curse a target which improves the chance for critical hits. A critical hit can be stacked with smite, which would also be doubled as damage. The opportunity for this class to deal some serious damage is still random but very much improved.

Can a Hexblade use a Glaive?

The Hexblade features for using Charisma instead of other stats for attack rolls only work with a        one-handed weapon.

This makes using a glaive less than ideal since some of the benefits of the class are lost.That being said, there isn’t any actual reason a Hexblade can’t use a glaive, it just doesn’t lend itself to an optimal character build.

Bottom Line
All of the warlock variants can be dropped in as a multiclass dip to give any other class a power boost. They always cast spells at the highest level available and regain spell slots on a short rest. The Hexblade provides the opportunity for a melee character to gain some magical assistance or a ranged/magic-user to gain some melee capability.

What are the Hexblade Expanded Spells?

  • 1st Shield, Wrathful Smite
  • 2nd Blur, Branding Smite
  • 3rd Blink, Elemental Weapon
  • 4th Phantasmal Killer, Staggering Smite
  • 5th Banishing Smite, Cone of Cold

The Hexblade mixes martial characteristics with arcane characteristics and thus provides a large amount of role-play potential.

Thinking about the option of having a classic pact agreement like other warlock types is interesting but having the Hexblade powers suddenly manifest in a heroic fighter a the right time seems equally as interesting.

This allows the character to follow the path of a devoted worshipper like a paladin or cleric or take the spontaneous freewill approach like a sorcerer.

The Hexblade Optimized?

If the goal is to build an optimized Hexblade Warlock, there are a few important choices to make. First, focus on Charisma and Constitution. These will improve almost all of the class abilities and help you live longer in close combat. Tieflings make great races to start with for their bonus to the constitution.

Skills are not super important to this class, so the background you take is important. The criminal provides proficiency in deception and stealth. These two are important in most 5e games.

Your first pick at invocations is important as well. Since any encounter is potentially deadly at low levels taking Agonizing Blast is a good choice. This allows the character to deal damage out of harm’s way before moving in close.

Devils Sight is a good choice to avoid disadvantage on attacks in darkness or give dark vision to a race that doesn’t have it.  Later on, Thirsting Blade is a good option if you are not multiclassing into extra attacks.

Final Thoughts

The Hexblade is like any other Warlock. They have a series of benefits but ultimately fall somewhere in the middle like Paladins and Rangers. They don’t quite have the impressive nature of a late-level caster or the durability early on of a Barbarian.

This can leave players feeling like an afterthought or like they only have a niche role in the party. If, however, you enjoy a character that can be effective in various situations, the warlock is a great choice, and the Hexblade is a viable alternative to the options presented in the PHB.

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