I'm building a character for organized play. The design goal is to create a versatile support caster that's more of a Swiss Army knife than a straight blaster. The build concept is a variant human Sorcerer (Bronze Draconic) 17/Warlock (GOO/Tome) 3 that has a more utility-focused spell list.

Combat capability will be primarily Eldritch Blasts, with a handful of spells like Shocking Grasp, Chill Touch, and Chromatic Sphere for their utility and damage type versatility. Only reason I went with Draconic over Wild Mage is because Wild Surge frequency is completely controlled by DM fiat, which makes it a bigger gamble in a gameplay environment of using one character at many different tables. Until there are AL DM guidelines for Wild Surge frequency, the more thematically appropriate subclass just isn't as mechanically sound for organized play.

I have most of the build done, except for three things. Two of the questions are A vs B, while the third is more of a yes/no question. I'm more concerned with low level viability, as every AL character starts at 1.

  1. What order should I take the classes? SWWWS+ or WWWS+? Doing the warlock levels first makes sense in terms of theme and dip optimization. However starting with a single level of sorcerer before the dip gives a higher starting AC. Would it be worthwhile to use Spell Sniper to pick up Eldritch Blast if I started with the sorcerer level? I'm open to other feat suggestions. The only limit on the first level feat is that it needs to be useful from CL 1-6, as I won't get an ability increase until CL 7.

  2. Vicious Mockery vs Dissonant Whispers? Which would be the better choice as a source of psychic damage? I know that it isn't a common vulnerability, but it's the only type that a raging 3rd level bear totem barbarian isn't resistant to. Plus it's useful with Telepathy/Detect Thoughts to discreetly counter Feign Death.

  3. Is there any way of adding a source of radiant damage to my spell list other than using the tome boon to pick up Sacred Flame or waiting until Sorc 11 to learn Sunbeam?

I'm aware that I lose an ability score increase by not taking a fourth level in Warlock. The main tradeoff of not taking Warlock 4 is eventually getting 9th level spells, albeit at CL 20. My planned invocations for Warlock 2 are Agonizing Blast and Fiendish Vigor, replacing FV with Book of Ancient Secrets at Warlock 3.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ What's the design goal? Also, just so we're on the same page, you're aware you're sacrificing an ability increase by only taking 3 levels of Sorc? \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Sep 27, 2014 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Design goal is to create a versatile support caster that's more of a Swiss Army knife than a straight blaster. The main tradeoff of not taking Warlock 4 is eventually getting 9th level spells, albeit at CL 20. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZHDarkstar
    Sep 27, 2014 at 20:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Any limitations on first level feat choice? By your wording, it sounds like you want spell sniper as your 1st level feat, which would also explain how you'll get access to vicious mockery. Also, any limitations on invocation choices (only 3 levels of Warlock will prevent more than 2). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 29, 2014 at 10:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spell Sniper was only what came to mind at the time of writing if I went Sorc 1 first to snag Eldritch Blast. The only limit on the first level feat is that it needs to be useful from CL 1-6, as I won't get an ability increase until CL 7. Assume that anything not mentioned in the three questions is already set. I'll add the planned invocations to the post. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZHDarkstar
    Sep 29, 2014 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


I love the concept, Dr. Strange was one of my first super heroes to read a comic about. Would love to know how you intend to do the Eye of Agamotto.

  1. I would suggest Warlock for first level; then dive into Sorcerer for a level for the AC boost. Then back to Warlock for another 2 levels. Finally, finish up with Sorcerer. So it winds up being WSWWS+. That first level will scream by pretty quick (one, maybe two sessions). You do delay 2nd level spell slots along with invocations by one level this way, so that's something to consider. Of the choices presented for order of classes, I'd say go with WWWS+. Using a feat to get eldritch blast when you know you'll get it for free in a level feels like a wasted feat usage to me. Plus it leaves that first level feat free for magic initiate (see answer to 3).

  2. Dissonant Whispers I think is the better choice damage wise. It starts at 3d6 and will scale to 11d6 if you cast it using a 9th level sorcerer spell slot. I personally would say that outweighs the disadvantage that Vicious Mockery forces on a failed save. Plus, you can get this at first level, as Vicious Mockery can't be taken until 3rd level using your tome. Another option would be to get both spells, as the cantrip may have more opportunities for usage, being at-will versus limited by spell slots.

  3. Take Magic Initiate as your first level feat and choose cleric as the class to get the cantrips, and first level spell from. Take sacred flame this way, gaining your radiant damage at first level. Also, you could pick shield of faith as your first level spell to be similar thematically to the shield discs Dr. Strange summons for protection. Another benefit of Shield of Faith is that it has no increase for higher spell slots, and the 1st level spell gained by MI will always be cast as if from a 1st level slot.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My version of the EoA depends on what I hear back from Game Support regarding the Crystal arcane focus. I want to use the 50 gp diamond for Chromatic Sphere as the AF, since diamonds are carbon crystals. Attach it to a chain and wear it around my neck. I think I may go with your suggestions for 1&2, going WSWWS+ and taking both psychic spells. Regarding 3, I think I may go MI(Bard) at 1st level to get VM early and grab Cure Wounds. I am a doctor, after all. Plus, it avoids the MAD from having Cleric spells tied to Wis. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZHDarkstar
    Sep 30, 2014 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Sorcerer is typically suggested as the first level in Sorcerer/Warlock builds for the Con saves which help Concentration. \$\endgroup\$
    – ಠ_ಠ
    May 4, 2017 at 12:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Adventurer's League allows for complete character rebuilds prior to the character's first adventure at L5 - the name and accumulated adventure rewards remain the same, anything else can change. I've seen plenty of people take feats like "Magic Initiate" on an L1 variant human for flavor, then dump it for something else when they reach L2 and can have the multi-class they want. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    May 15, 2017 at 14:30

I do not know Doctor Strange, so I will answer from a simple optimization point of view.

  1. Start with Sorcerer, Con saves are inarguably more important for casters than Wis saves. However, not many feats are useful for casters, and you get one from Variant Human. If you pick Resilient(Con) as your starting feat, only than start with Warlock.

    • So either SWWWS+ or WWWS+, depending on your first feat
    • Spell Sniper is not that useful for you, Eldritch Blast has more than enough range as it is, and it is mediocre without Agonizing Blast.
  2. Dissonant Whispers, hands down. Vicious Mockery is quite weak, by around level 5, enemies that never use attacks are increasingly frequent. Multiattack is also quite common, and many monsters have heterogenous attacks. They will just use the weakest one first, so you do not achieve much with the effect, and the damage is laughable.

  3. There are other options to pick up Sacred Flame, but only the Tome gives you the ability to use it with Charisma for an acceptable price. You can't afford a high Wisdom to be effective with it, so why bother with Magic Initiate?

Suggested changes

I would go with Sorcerer 12 / Warlock 8:

  • ASIs mean a bigger difference in your effectiveness than higher level spells
  • Spells above level 2 scale quite well, so in my opinion number of spells provide more flexibility than having higher level spells. S17/W3 knows 19 spells, while S12W8 gives you 21
  • Having two 4th level spell slots that recharge on a short rest are much more powerful than having 2nd level slots. If this is better than a 7th, 8th and 9th level slot depends mostly on the number of short rests you get per day
  • Invocations are better than Sorcery Points, especially as the latter can be created from spell slots
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not saying this is or isn't an optimal build strategy, but if you don't know the build goal (Dr. Strange), you probably shouldn't suggest a way to build him. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Oct 1, 2018 at 14:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch it has optimization tag, so I went for effective. Spell Sniper is not adding anything useful, and Magic Initiate is worse, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Oct 1, 2018 at 18:53

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