Warlock Subclasses in DND: Ultimate Guide & Rankings

Warlocks in Dungeons & Dragons (DND) are spellcasters known for their dark arts, powerful patrons, and varied playstyles.

One of the defining features of a Warlock is its subclass, known as a Patron.

In this guide, we’ll explore each of the main Warlock subclasses, their features, and the pros and cons of each subclass, as well as provide tips for choosing the right subclass for your character.

All the Warlock Subclasses in DND

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Digital Image of a Warlock - Warlock Subclasses in DND
I made this image – Warlock Subclasses in DND

To get us started, here is a list of all the official Warlock subclasses in DND:

  1. Archfey
  2. Fiend
  3. Great Old One
  4. Hexblade
  5. Celestial
  6. Undying
  7. Undead
  8. Genie
  9. Fathomless


The Archfey patron gives the Warlock access to a host of fey-themed abilities.

These Warlocks forge a pact with a powerful fey creature, such as a pixie, dryad, or eladrin.

Archfey Warlocks gain spells and abilities like Faerie Fire, Blink, and the ability to charm or frighten foes.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Dexterity (defense)
  • Recommended Races: Elves, Gnomes, Half-elves

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Crowd control, utility spells, battlefield manipulation
  • Cons: Less direct damage, some abilities limited by short rest recharge


Choose the Archfey patron if you want a more support or utility-focused Warlock with crowd control and battlefield manipulation abilities.

Prioritize Charisma and Dexterity for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s eyes shimmer with an otherworldly light, a gift from their patron, a powerful and capricious Archfey. Their voice carries the cadence of whispering leaves, and they weave enchantments that bewilder and beguile, as fickle and wild as the fey realm itself.


Fiend patron Warlocks derive their powers from demons, devils, or other fiendish creatures.

These Warlocks have a strong focus on damage-dealing spells and abilities, including Burning Hands and Fireball.

Additionally, they gain temporary hit points when they lower an enemy to no health.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Constitution (survivability)
  • Recommended Races: Tieflings, Half-orcs, Dragonborn

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: High damage output, survivability with temporary hit points
  • Cons: Less utility, fewer control options


Choose the Fiend patron if you prefer a more offensive playstyle and enjoy dealing damage.

Prioritize Charisma and Constitution for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s presence exudes an infernal heat, their pact sealed with a demon or devil from the Nine Hells. Flames dance in their eyes, and they wield fire and brimstone as their weapons, striking down foes with a malevolent grin, a harbinger of destruction and chaos.

Great Old One

Great Old One Warlocks draw their powers from ancient and otherworldly beings.

They have access to a wide range of spells and abilities, including telepathy, Dissonant Whispers, and Evards Black Tentacles.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Wisdom (mental defenses)
  • Recommended Races: Githzerai, Warforged, Triton

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Telepathy, strong control spells, versatility
  • Cons: Limited direct damage, reliance on enemies failing saves


Choose the Great Old One patron if you like having versatility and control options in combat, and enjoy a Lovecraftian theme.

Prioritize Charisma and Wisdom for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s mind is a conduit to the cosmic horrors of the Far Realm, their patron an ancient, unknowable entity. Their words echo with the dissonance of the void, and they speak directly into the minds of others, spreading confusion and terror with an eerie calm.


Hexblade Warlocks make pacts with sentient weapons.

In return, they get martial prowess and the ability to curse their foes.

They can channel their personal magnetism (Charisma) to enhance their pact weapon’s strikes and damage.

Hexblade Warlocks also have access to spells like Shield and Blur.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting and attacks), Strength or Dexterity (defense)
  • Recommended Races: Half-elves, Drow, Tabaxi

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Good melee capabilities, versatile playstyle, strong single-target damage
  • Cons: Limited ranged options, fewer spells known compared to other patrons


Choose the Hexblade patron if you prefer a more melee-focused playstyle and enjoy having strong single-target damage.

Prioritize Charisma and Strength or Dexterity for your ability scores.


The Warlock strides forward, their pact weapon gleaming with eldritch light.

They are a conduit for the power of a sentient weapon from the Shadowfell, a blade of legend. With every swing, they curse and smite their foes, a fearsome warrior bound to a spectral blade.


Celestial Warlocks make a pact with a powerful celestial being, such as an archangel, ki-rin, or unicorn.

These Warlocks have access to healing and radiant damage spells, making them suitable for support and offense roles.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Constitution (survivability)
  • Recommended Races: Aasimar, Protector Aarakocra, Air Genasi

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Healing abilities, radiant damage, versatile playstyle
  • Cons: Less direct damage compared to some other patrons, fewer control options


Choose the Celestial patron if you want to provide healing and support to your party while still being capable of dealing radiant damage.

Prioritize Charisma and Constitution for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s aura radiates a celestial light, a gift from their patron, a being of pure good and divine energy. They move with grace, their hands channeling healing magic, their eyes aflame with the light of the stars. They stand as a beacon of hope in a world of darkness.


Undying Warlocks forge a pact with an immortal being, such as a lich or a powerful ghost.

They gain abilities that help them resist death and decay, making them resilient and hard to kill.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Constitution (survivability)
  • Recommended Races: Warforged, Dwarf, Firbolg

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Resilience against death, unique necromantic spells, survivability
  • Cons: Limited offensive capabilities, less versatile than other patrons


Choose the Undying patron if you want a Warlock that can resist death and decay, and enjoy a necromantic theme.

Prioritize Charisma and Constitution for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s skin is pale, and their eyes are unnaturally clear, their pact forged with an immortal being, a lich or ghost that defies death. They move with an eerie stillness, wielding necromantic magic and resisting the pull of the grave with a determined, unyielding will.


The Undead patron, introduced in the book “Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft,” allows Warlocks to forge a pact with a powerful undead entity, like a lich, vampire, or ghost.

Undead Warlocks have abilities that make them incredibly resilient.

They possess the power to resist death and decay.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Constitution (survivability)
  • Recommended Races: Revenant, Warforged, Aasimar

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: High survivability, unique necromantic spells, immunity to the frightened condition
  • Cons: Limited offensive capabilities, less versatile than other patrons


Choose the Undead patron if you want a Warlock that excels in staying alive and resisting death.

Prioritize Charisma and Constitution for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s presence is chilling, their pact forged with an entity that embodies death and undeath.

Their skin is cold to the touch, and their eyes are hollow, like darkened tombs.

They speak in a whisper that carries the chill of the grave, summoning spirits and wielding necromantic magic with an eerie calm. They stand on the border between life and death, a figure both haunting and haunted, a testament to the power and allure of the undying.


The Genie patron, introduced in the book Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, offers Warlocks a pact with a noble genie.

Genie Warlocks can choose one of four genie kinds.

Namely, Dao (earth), Djinni (air), Efreeti (fire), or Marid (water)—each providing unique spells and abilities.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Dexterity (defense)
  • Recommended Races: Air Genasi, Fire Genasi, Water Genasi

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Versatile spell list, elemental damage, access to a pocket dimension
  • Cons: Limited crowd control, dependent on genie type for some features


Choose the Genie patron if you enjoy elemental-themed abilities and want a versatile spell list.

Pick a genie type that complements your playstyle and party needs.

Prioritize Charisma and Dexterity for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s movements are accompanied by the faint scent of incense and the shimmer of desert sands, their patron a noble genie of the elemental planes. They command the power of the elements, their every spell a tribute to their patron’s elemental majesty, an embodiment of the elemental essence itself.


The Fathomless patron, also from “Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything,” lets Warlocks form a pact with an ancient sea creature.

Fathomless Warlocks excel in aquatic environments.

They wield the power of the depths to control water and summon tentacles.


  • Key Abilities: Charisma (spellcasting), Constitution (survivability)
  • Recommended Races: Triton, Sea Elf, Lizardfolk

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: Strong in aquatic environments, crowd control, summoning abilities
  • Cons: Less effective in non-aquatic settings, limited damage output


Choose the Fathomless patron if you want a Warlock with strong control abilities and excel in aquatic settings.

Prioritize Charisma and Constitution for your ability scores.


The Warlock’s presence is unsettling, their pact made with a creature from the deepest ocean abyss. Their voice carries the sound of crashing waves, and they summon tendrils of water to ensnare their foes, an enigmatic figure with the depths of the sea in their eyes.

Choosing a Warlock Subclass

When selecting Warlock subclasses, consider your preferred playstyle and the role you want to fill within your party.

Think about whether you want to focus on damage, control, utility, or a mix of these aspects.

Keep in mind your character’s backstory and personality, as your choice of patron can significantly impact your character’s role-playing and interactions within the game world.

Once you’ve made your choice, focus on the key abilities for your subclass and plan your spells.

What’s the Best Warlock Subclass?

The “best” Warlock subclass depends on your playstyle, campaign setting, character concept, and party composition.

Each of the official nine Warlock subclasses offers unique abilities and a distinct flavor:

  1. Archfey – Best for enchantment and crowd control, suited for players who enjoy battlefield manipulation and charming foes.
  2. Celestial – Best for healing and support, ideal for players who want to balance damage-dealing with party support.
  3. Fiend – Best for damage-dealing and survivability, great for players who like an aggressive playstyle and fire-themed abilities.
  4. Fathomless – Best for control in aquatic settings, suited for players who want to harness the power of the sea and summon tentacles.
  5. Genie – Best for versatility and elemental magic, ideal for players who enjoy a diverse spell list and the ability to adapt to different situations.
  6. Great Old One – Best for telepathy and battlefield control, suitable for players who like a Lovecraftian theme and mind-affecting powers.
  7. Hexblade – Best for melee combat and single-target damage, perfect for players who prefer a martial playstyle and hexing their foes.
  8. Undead – Best for resilience against death and decay, great for players who want to explore necromantic themes and resist damage.
  9. Undying – Best for survivability and avoiding death, suitable for players who want a Warlock that can withstand harm and return from the brink.

Warlock Subclasses Ranked (From Best to Worst)

Here is how I rank the Warlock subclasses:

RankWarlock Subclasses
5Great Old One
Chart: Warlock subclasses ranked

The rankings are based on the general analysis of each Warlock subclass’s features.

Mostly, I looked at versatility, power, and overall utility.

Hexblade ranks first due to its strong melee and spellcasting abilities.

I really like their good single-target damage and survivability.

Celestial comes in second for its versatile healing and radiant damage capabilities, suitable for both support and offense.

Fiend ranks third for its high damage output and survivability with temporary hit points.

Archfey ranks fourth for its utility and crowd-control abilities.

Great Old One ranks fifth for its versatility and control spells. Undying ranks sixth due to its resilience against death and focus on necromantic spells.

Fathomless, Genie, and Seeker rank seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively, for their unique themes and abilities that cater to specific playstyles.

Here is a good video with another perspective on Warlock Subclass ranking:

YouTube Video by Treantmonk’s Temple – Warlock Subclasses in DND

Warlock Subclasses – Homebrew

Homebrewing your own Warlock subclass can be an exciting and creative endeavor.

When designing a new subclass, consider the theme, abilities, and playstyle you want to achieve.

Ensure that the abilities are balanced and fit within the existing game mechanics. Playtest your homebrew subclass with your group and adjust as needed based on their feedback.

Remember that homebrew content should enhance the game experience for everyone at the table.


  • Theme: Choose a unique and compelling theme for your subclass. Your patron could be anything from an ancient dragon to a sentient star.
  • Abilities: Create features that fit your theme and offer a unique playstyle. Balance these abilities against existing subclasses to avoid making your subclass too strong or too weak.
  • Playtesting: Test your homebrew subclass in actual gameplay to assess its strengths, weaknesses, and overall balance. Adjust as needed based on feedback from your group.

Warlock Subclass Homebrew Examples

Voidbringer: Your patron is an entity from the far reaches of the cosmos, an ancient and unimaginable force of nothingness. Voidbringers can tap into the power of the void, draining life force and manipulating the energies of space.

  • Unique Feature: Manipulate gravity and negate energy.
  • Signature Spell: Void Grasp – Create a field of null energy that immobilizes foes and absorbs their life force.

Eidolon: Your patron is a being of pure magic, a living spell that has gained consciousness. Eidolons harness the power of the arcane itself, shaping magic into potent effects.

  • Unique Feature: Craft custom spells and counter magic.
  • Signature Spell: Arcane Conduit – Siphon the magical energy of other casters to power your own spells.

Dreamweaver: Your patron is a creature from the dreamscape, a realm of imagination and illusion. Dreamweavers can shape and control dreams, weaving illusions and influencing the minds of others.

  • Unique Feature: Create dreamscapes and alter perceptions.
  • Signature Spell: Dream Bind – Trap a foe in a waking nightmare, rendering them unable to act.

Primordial: Your patron is an ancient elemental being, a primal force of nature. Primordials tap into the elemental energies of the world, manipulating earth, air, fire, and water.

  • Unique Feature: Shape the elements and adapt to environments.
  • Signature Spell: Elemental Maelstrom – Unleash a storm of mixed elemental energies on a target area, affecting foes with various elemental effects.

Chronomancer: Your patron is a guardian of time, a being that exists outside the bounds of temporal reality. Chronomancers manipulate time, altering the course of events and reshaping fate.

  • Unique Feature: Slow or hasten time and change outcomes.
  • Signature Spell: Temporal Surge – Rewind or fast-forward time for a target, granting benefits or penalties based on their altered temporal state.

Bloodcaller: Your patron is a powerful vampiric entity, seeking to spread its influence through the world of mortals. Bloodcallers can siphon life force and control the blood of their enemies.

  • Unique Feature: Life drain and blood control.
  • Signature Spell: Blood Curse – Curse a target’s blood, dealing damage over time and weakening their defenses.

Stormbringer: Your patron is a primal force of storms and lightning, commanding the power of the tempest. Stormbringers can call down lightning and create devastating storms.

  • Unique Feature: Storm summoning and lightning control.
  • Signature Spell: Storm Surge – Unleash a torrent of storm energy, dealing lightning damage and knocking back foes.

Shadowdancer: Your patron is a being from the Shadowfell, a realm of darkness and secrets. Shadowdancers can manipulate shadows and move unseen through the darkness.

  • Unique Feature: Stealth and shadow manipulation.
  • Signature Spell: Shadow Walk – Step into the shadows, becoming invisible and moving quickly to a new location.

Verdant Warden: Your patron is a spirit of the wilds, an ancient guardian of nature. Verdant Wardens can shape the natural world and protect the wilderness.

  • Unique Feature: Nature control and healing.
  • Signature Spell: Verdant Burst – Cause plants to rapidly grow and entangle foes, dealing damage and restraining them.

Mindspeaker: Your patron is a psychic being, a master of thoughts and emotions. Mindspeakers can read minds, control emotions, and communicate telepathically.

  • Unique Feature: Telepathy and emotion manipulation.
  • Signature Spell: Mind Crush – Overwhelm a target’s mind with psychic energy, dealing damage and causing confusion.

These are just basic ideas to inspire your own homebrew subclasses.

Remember to create balanced and compelling abilities, and to playtest your homebrew content with your group.

Final Thoughts: Warlock Subclasses in DND

With the official and homebrewed subclasses combined, you should now have an almost unlimited cache of options for your next Warlock character.

Have fun and check out some of our other articles below, like the one on name generators.

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