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The Warlock Table in the PHB (p106) states that a Warlock has the following:

  • 1 First-level spell slot at level 1.
  • 2 First-level spell slots at level 2.
  • 2 Second-level spell slots at level 3.

Does this mean that a third level Warlock has a cumulative 5 Spell Slots? (3 First-Level slots and 2 Second-Level slots)

Or do the new slots just replace old slots between levels such that a 3rd-level Warlock ultimately has only 2 second-level spell slots?

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The explanation of spell slots is shown on page 107 of the PHB:

SPELL SLOTS

The Warlock table shows how many spell slots you have. The table also shows what the level of those slots is; all of your spell slots are the same level. To cast one of your warlock spells of 1st level or higher, you must expend a spell slot. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

For example, when you are 5th level, you have two 3rd-level spell slots. To cast the 3rd-level spell thunderwave, you must spend one of those slots, and you cast it as a 3rd-level spell.

So at 3rd level, you have 2 slots, you know 4 spells and you cast them as if they were 2nd level spells.

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Warlocks have a number of slots shown on the Warlock Table, and a single slot level for all of those slots. Based on at least what you showed, at level 3 the Warlock has 2 Spell Slots, both of which are Second Level. Those are not slots they gain, but replace the slots they had.

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