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Old 11-04-2019, 08:53 PM
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Why be a Hexblade?

Hello everyone! I hope this topic isn't beat to death and back; I'm afraid it probably is, due to the amount of handbooks I've read on the subject. Still...

I'm brand new to 5e. I get that optimization isn't the thing it was in previous editions, but I can't seem to flip off the old number crunching switch. In that vein, I'm trying to have someone explain to me in simple, straight forward terms the advantage a Hexblade Pact of the Blade might have over another Warlock specializing in EB.

From what I can tell, an EB warlock really only needs one cantrip slot and one invocation slot to maximize damage on a 120ft ranged attack. You'll probably spend at least one more on a rider effect. Survivability is high because you're not in melee and you've got pretty much all your other invocations and spell slots for utility and general bad assery.

In comparison, a bladelock requires at least 1 cantrip (if not 2), and 2 invocations to even keep up. You'll probably use more on the pact weapon improvements. You get Curse to help with damage but that's only once per short rest. On top of that, though, you're putting yourself in melee - taking hits and risking concentration checks. You've got at least 1 fewer invocations to work with and most of your patron benefits and spells seem to lock you into melee combat.

All that said, it's a really cool concept! A workable gish build, yay! Setting that aside, though, why would you go Hexblade over EB?
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Old 11-04-2019, 09:43 PM
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I just realized you can apply Curse damage to EB and I gotta admit, that's pretty solid, but is a +5 to damage worth the other pact abilities?
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:00 PM
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One might argue that a combination of Hexblade's Curse and Eldritch Blast spam might be a decent damage output option with the least spent. You could also argue that any squishy can benefit from bonus armor proficiencies, especially shield, even if they're avoiding melee combat; this is especially true when healing is hard to come-by. Holding the shield also doesn't preclude the Hexblade Blastlock from casting, and ranged weapons--especially magic ones--with the CHA modifier do come in handy. Actually, any trait that allows you to avoid damage (which might also impact how you toss your ability points and feats around) seems like a pretty good deal if you're min/maxing in other areas. On top of that, spamming EB on a cursed creature and killing it quickly enough to transfer your curse to another creature is actually rather useful in higher-level play. You forego your HP boon, but if you've been avoiding damage and bumping your AC all along, you shouldn't need the HP.

People smarter and more dedicated than myself have instead gone Pact of the Blade with the Great Weapons Master and/or Pole Arm Master route and a start-of-day Hex cast to much success and swear it outpaces the EB spam and any other Warlock damage combos, but I haven't done any of the maths. If you decide to do the maths, I commend you.

However, I really think it comes down to play style. Many people seem more likely to choose a specific Pact or Patron for RP purposes and then work on maximizing their usefulness from there. I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but it might be the most honest one. Truth is, I prefer a Celestial Warlock, so I'm not winning any damage wars!
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Old 11-30-2019, 06:02 PM
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Sorry I'm just now replying but whatever the response could have been, I just appreciate you taking the time to make one! I'm still a little quizzical but I've decided to just play one and see how things go live.
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