Eldritch Blast 5e: The King Cantrip of the Warlock Fundamentals

If you’re looking for a powerful and versatile spell that all warlocks should know, look no further than eldritch blast in 5e. This evocation cantrip deals force damage from range, making it perfect for taking down enemies at a distance. It is also the core spell of the warlock class, meaning that many of its abilities are based around it.

With eldritch blast at your disposal, you’ll be able to take on any foe!

Eldritch Blast 5e Description

LEVEL: Cantrip
CASTING TIME: 1 Action
RANGE/AREA: 120 feet
COMPONENTS: V, S
DURATION: Instantaneous
SCHOOL: Evocation
ATTACK/SAVE: Ranged
DAMAGE/EFFECT: Force

A beam of crackling energy streaks toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage.

The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels: two beams at 5th level, three beams at 11th level, and four beams at 17th level. You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.

Player’s Handbook, page 237

What is Eldritch Blast in 5e?

Eldritch blast is a cantrip of the evocation school of magic. It is one of the first spells you can choose as a warlock and you can upgrade it with several features and feats throughout your adventure.

Mechanically, eldritch blast requires a standard action to cast. It has a range of 120 feet and requires verbal and somatic components. The verbal component means you must be able to speak the necessary phrase, which would be tricky for a race like the kenku. But don’t worry, there’s a tip for that. And the somatic component means you must have at least one hand free to cast eldritch blast.

You make a ranged spell attack roll when you cast eldritch blast and the spell deals 1d10 force damage.

Because eldritch blast is a ranged spell attack, it suffers the close combat penalty.

Aiming a ranged attack is more difficult when a foe is next to you. When you make a ranged attack with a weapon, a spell, or some other means, you have disadvantage on the attack roll if you are within 5 feet of a hostile creature who can see you and who isn’t incapacitated.

The spell has an interesting downside. You can only target creatures. That means you can’t fire it at objects or the environment. So if you want target practice, you must be prepared to inflict pain and suffering on your target. No taking shots at wine bottles on a log.

What classes can cast Eldritch Blast in 5e?

Eldritch blast is restricted to warlocks.

What is so good about Eldritch Blast?

It is a cantrip that is potent the day you pick it up to the day you finish a campaign. For one, it deals force damage which is arguably the best damage type in Dungeons and Dragons because so few creatures have resistance or immunity to it.

Eldritch blast is effectively the default attack for warlocks. It’s a cantrip so you can fire it off every round and it doesn’t consume one of your valuable spell slots (warlocks don’t get many). And the number of eldritch blast beams you can fire off per attack grows as you get stronger up to a maximum of four eldritch blast beams and you can fire them at multiple creatures. Additionally, 120 feet is a great range for ranged spell attacks and you can upgrade it to 300 feet.

How?

That’s where eldritch invocations enter the picture.

A warlock casting eldritch blast in 5e
Art by Vinn-E

Eldritch Invocations

An eldritch invocation is a fragment of forbidden knowledge that grants warlocks an additional magical ability. Warlocks gain their first two at 2nd level, then an additional eldritch invocation at 5th level, 9th level, 12th level, 15th level, and 18th level. By 18th level, warlocks have a total of eight invocations.

Some invocations have prerequisites you must meet in order to learn them. So make sure you pick up the prerequisite before or at the same time that you learn the eldritch invocation.

Agonizing Blast

Agonizing blast is one of the first invocations you should pick up because it allows you to add your Charisma modifier to the damage of eldritch blast. This is a welcome upgrade considering the minimum damage you do with eldritch blast is 1, so anything helps.

Also, if you get tired of saying “eldritch blaaaaaast”, you can now say agonizing blast instead.

Eldritch Spear

Eldritch spear upgrades the range of eldritch blast from 120 feet to 300 feet, turning your warlock into a medieval magical sniper.

Grasp of Hadar

With this invocation, you can pull a creature 10 feet closer to you when you hit with the creature with eldritch blast.

This is effective for warlocks who are more melee focused, like the Pact of the Blade warlock and Hexblade warlock because you can better control the battlefield. Pull an enemy close to you so it must engage you or risk triggering an opportunity attack. Alternatively, pull an enemy away from an injured ally or squishy spellcaster. Forced movement doesn’t trigger opportunity attacks so your ally would be safe to get away.

Kiss of Mephistopheles

Land a successful hit with eldritch blast and you can cast fireball as a bonus action. You must consume a warlock spell slot to cast fireball and you must center the fireball on the creature you hit with eldritch blast.

If there’s one thing battles in Dungeons and Dragons need it’s more spellcasters casting fireball. Explosions for everyone!

Lance of Lethargy

Reduce a creature’s speed by 10 feet when you hit the creature with eldritch blast until the end of your next turn. You can do this once per turn.

Use this if you need to slow down an escaping enemy.

Raven Queen’s Blessing

This invocation requires you to have the Raven Queen as your patron.

Score a crit with eldritch blast and choose an ally within 30 feet of you (or choose yourself). The chosen creature can expend a Hit Die to regain hit points equal to the roll + the creature’s Constitution modifier. If you have a negative Constitution modifier and roll a 1, don’t worry, the minimum you regain is 1 hit point.

Repelling Blast

Repelling blast is the opposite of grasp of Hadar. Instead of pulling a creature toward you, you can push the creature up to 10 feet away from you in a straight line when you hit the creature with eldritch blast.

And again, if you don’t want to keep yelling, “ELDRITCH BLAAAAAAST!” at the table, you can go with “Repelling blast!” instead.

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