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Blade Warlocks look absolutely broken in new DnD playtest

The stats are in, and it seems Pact of the Blade Warlocks are by far the most broken thing in the new DnD playtest, dealing more damage than any other class.

A tiefling carrying a baby and with a burning sword

The latest DnD playtest has made the Warlock the most powerful DnD class, and it isn’t even close – according to math done by Youtuber Treantmonk’s Temple. Dungeons and Dragons designers say they’ve increased the strength of Pact of Blade for the Warlock class, to make it more competitive with other DnD Warlock features, but it seems they may have pushed things a little too far.

In the playtest deep dive video, DnD video content head Todd Kendrick jokes about “The non-controversial Warlock”, referencing mixed feedback fans had about the Warlock changes in the previous DnD playtest. Designer Jeremy Crawford explains that Wizards has now made “a number of enhancements to Pact of the Blade, because as much as people liked what we did last time, they pointed out it still needs some oomph to compete with Pact of the Tome.”

He adds that these two pacts, now Eldritch Invocations rather than a separate class feature, are intended to be “the starting choices” for Warlocks, one more about weapon fighting, one more about spellcasting.


But it looks like Path of the Blade, or ‘Bladelock’ as some fans call it, is a little too powerful as things stand. Youtuber Treantmonk’s Temple has shown that by choosing the right combination of 5e feats, Eldritch Invocations, DnD weapons, and 5e spells, at level 13 using Pact of the Blade you get an average of a staggering 65.84 damage per round (DPR). It doesn’t matter what Warlock patron (i.e. what subclass) you pick, as the damage is calculated without using any subclass features.

DnD playtest - a chart showing damage output of each class

As Treantmonk’s Temple points out, the Blade Warlock has a consistent damage output that’s way higher than any other DnD class or subclass. The next closest consistent damage dealer, the Berserker Barbarian, does 15 less damage, at 58.3 DPR. And that’s on top of all kinds of other advantages gained by the Warlock class, like greater speed, and being a caster with versatile spells to play with.

The Blade Warlock does 147% more damage than a typical Warlock using Eldritch Blast, Agonizing Blast, and Hex, and if you went for a ranged build instead using a longbow, the DPR is 47.84, still 79% more than an Eldritch Blasting Warlock. In other words, the new Bladelock makes the most iconic Warlock spell, 5e Eldritch Blast, redundant.

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What makes Pact of the Blade so strong in the current playtest? Well, there are all sorts of invocations you can take to upgrade the Blade Warlock. For instance, the 5th level Thirsting Blade invocation gives you an extra attack, which upgrades to three attacks when you reach level 11. The Life Drinker invocation at level 9 piles on more damage as well as the possibility for healing, and you can also burn spell slots to do even more damage with Eldritch Smite.

It also doesn’t help that with the Pact of the Blade you can use your Charisma modifier for attack and damage rolls with your weapon, instead of the usual Strength or Dexterity. That makes the Bladelock highly dependent on just one DnD stat, allowing you to neglect the rest.

The main culprit, though, is Spirit Shroud from the DnD book Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. This concentration spell, which provides an overall boost to damage output, is single handedly responsible for 17.5 DPR by Treantmonk’s calculations.

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As redditors have pointed out, there are a couple of slightly questionable details in the Youtuber’s math, specifically the suggestion that you could use Eldritch Smite on any critical hit you land, when in fact you’d only have the spell slots to use it twice. There’s also the fact that Spirit Shroud is a concentration spell, so it’s possible you wouldn’t be able to maintain it for long in combat.

But overall these are rather minor points. it doesn’t seem too bold to say, as Treantmonk does in the conclusion to their video: “This version of Pact of the Blade actually makes all other weapon users obsolete”. Expect a rebalance pronto!

On social media, fans have said that Wizards of the Coast plans to overtune classes and then dial them back, and some have expressed hopes that the Pact of the Blade Warlock is not too badly gutted by any upcoming rebalance.

Despite its power level, it’s not the Warlock that DnD fans think still needs most work. Instead, it’s the barbarian that is least popular, despite it receiving a strange new tree-powered subclass in Playtest 7.

Big changes have also been made with the DnD Wizard, nerfing one of its more iconic spells, Counterspell 5e and adding class-specific spell lists back into the game for the Wizard’s benefit. DnD Fighters are also a little bit better at being Wizards now, thanks to changes to their arcane subclasses.