I've currently got a 3rd level Fiend warlock (pact of chain) and am trying to optimize my build strategy for a 20th level highest consistent damage output. Including the level progression in achieving the final build would be a very welcome addition to answers.

The following are the limitations for the build:

  • No multi-class
  • no ring of wishes, luck blade, the eye of Vecna, The hand of Vecna, Book of vile darkness, Tomb of exalted deeds, deck of many things
  • no extremely low probability events or effects
  • no Unearthed Arcana
  • no buffs or potions
  • no help from others
  • no setup time
  • no disposable magic items

The following are allowed:

  • any magic item not listed above as a limitation
  • Graz'zt specific boons (MTF)

Note: PC is a Tiefling and her Cha is 18

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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


Eldritch Blast can be made so powerful that there is no reason to do anything else.



  • Spell sniper: Increased range, ignore 1/2 and 3/4 cover.
  • Lucky: Basically a free reroll of an attack 3 times per day
  • Crossbow Expert: No disadvantage when target is 5ft away.


Once per day, you can use hurl through hell, some time when an attack hits. On to the real damage.

Our eldritch blast has a +16 (6+5+2+3) bonus to hit and deals 1d10+5 damage per hit (1d10 base damage, +5 damage from Agonizing Blast invocation with 20 Charisma).

The Illusionist's Bracers allow us to cast eldritch blast twice every single round. Here's the expected damage per turn against different ACs:

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Obviously there's some variation depending on the AC of the target, but for the most part, eldritch blast is going to beat out most of the warlock's damaging spells that use saving throws - unless the target has a very high AC.

Further, we argue that this is more consistent: it does not depend on anything but the target's AC. Spell's like hunger of Hadar could potentially get more damage out of a single action, but that depends on your target just chilling in its AoE for the full duration. This method depends only upon you slinging your eldritch energy every turn. Consistency.

To borrow GcL's construction of 30 rounds of combat per adventuring day, against all AC 18 (or less) targets, 60 castings of eldritch blast and one hurl through hell will average 2515 damage in one adventuring day.


For a pact of the chain warlock, spell damage is going to nearly all of the damage inflicted as the cantrips are as effective as a ranged weapon would be.

Eldritch Blast is the bread and butter

It's a cantrip, so this is the default and aligns well with the consistent non-resource intensive option. It may not do the most damage in a day, but it's going to be the most consistent and most used spell.

The damage can be improved with the agonizing blast invocation (adds charisma bonus to damage).

At L17, you're rolling four spell attacks each doing 1d10 + cha bonus damage.

Fiend Patron

Eventually gets you the hurl through hell feature that does 10d10 once per long rest on a hit. By the time this feature is available, eldritch blast has 3 chances per casting.


The pact of chain doesn't have a lot of accessories that can contribute to class features for added damage.

  • a robe of archmagi adds 2 to your spell attack bonus and your spell DC.
  • a rod of magi will give you a +2 to your spell attack and a couple free fireballs a day. (Rod of pact keeper would give +3, but no free fireball)
  • a leadership ioun stone gives a +2 to charisma which frees up an ASI for something else like a feat or maybe some more dexterity.

Race & Ability Score Increase (ASI)

Tiefling grants a charisma bonus of 2. Using a standard array, that starts the stat at 16.

Using a single ASI to get to 18 and the Ioun stone to get to 20 essentially maxes out charisma bonus to +5.


Only needing 1 ASI to get a 20 charisma leaves 4 ASIs to buy feats.

  • Lucky: Smoke 'em if you got 'em. 3 extra d20 rolls per long rest gives you a chance to roll more 20's. Always use one during the first combat after a long rest. Extra chance to crit or convert a miss to a hit. (Maybe save the remaining to re-roll any natural 20's against you or a crappy saving throw.)
  • Spell sniper. Learn ray of frost and ignore any cover but full.
  • Elemental adept (cold) for bonus damage with hunger of hadar, frostbite, and ray of frost (from spell sniper)


  • Agonizing blast to add charisma modifier to eldritch blast damage
  • Minions of chaos to use a spell slot to summon an elemental

Result at L17

Assuming: - 10 turns per combat - 1 combat per short rest - 3 short rests per long rest

Makes a round assumption of 30 rounds of combat a day.

Long rest recharging stuff

Big ticket items that you only get a limited number of per long rest. These are going to have the possibility of doing the most damage, but might be countered, resisted, or not entirely applicable in each situation.

  • 2-7 7th level fireballs/lightning bolt/conjure elemental a day from the staff. Each fireball 11d6 fire damage with DC 21. Assuming two castings (66)
  • 4 spell slots for hunger of hadar, shatter, or conjure elemental (Spell DC 21). Huger of hadar does 2d6 cold + 2d6 acid damage for 10 rounds (120). Assuming elemental does 10 damage a round for 10 rounds (120)
  • 1 hurl through hell use that coincides with a successful spell attack hit. 10d10 damage (50)

Elementals and the area of effect (AOE) spells are more difficult to estimate the total damage done. It depends greatly on the number of enemies being faced, resistances, etc. Grossly assuming mean damage to single target gloss over variable duration, saving throws, and number of targets.

2 fireball (66) + 4 hungar of hadar or elemental (480) + 1 hurl through hell (50)

Approximately 600 damage from long rest or daily recharging abilities.

Cantrip casting

Leaves 17-24 rounds for cantrip casting.

17 attack actions with 4 blasts each doing 1d10 + 5 of force damage. Each blast has a +15 to hit (prof 6 + cha 5 + robe of archmagi 2 + staff of magi 2). Average 20 damage for all four blasts together.

Approximately 350 damage per adventuring day from eldritch blast.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll come back and work some more on this answer later. \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 18:45

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