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The PHB states:

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list

  1. Does that mean that I can change my list of available spells known/prepared/selected, only when I change level? Do I have to keep the same spells for all level duration?
  2. I can change/replace only one spell at each level and keep the rest?
  3. What happens with cantrips and invocations? What are the update rules for them?

In most spellcasting classes, casters change their spell list based on the current situation in their campaign, they can ready more combat-oriented spells when they're about to enter a dungeon, and ready more utility-oriented spells when they visit a city or are about to meet someone. Is that unavailable for warlocks?

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Once per level

Yes, altering your spell list based on the current situation is unavailable for warlocks. Their spell list doesn't change between levels. This:

when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list

… means exactly what it sounds like: you can change one spell (and only one) when you gain a level, and the rest stay the same, apart from any new spells you might have gained that level. You can swap it for a spell of a different level if you want, as there is no restriction regarding level. (Given how few spells a warlock knows, being able to swap a low-level spell for a higher one is very important for being able to tailor your spell list at higher levels.)

This only applies to spells covered by the Spells Known column on the warlock table, as this rule is under the Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher heading of the Pact Magic class feature. That means that you cannot use this rule to swap cantrips or invocations — this is only for your normal spells. (However, invocations have their own rules for swapping them when you level up. See the Eldritch Invocations section on the same page.)

Note that warlocks don't prepare or select spells in the way you're asking about in (1) — they only have spells known. That means they can always use any spell they know, as long as they have a slot to cast it with.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a pretty harsh rule! How do you handle that in higher levels, when it takes ages to level up? \$\endgroup\$ – pepper Nov 7 '16 at 7:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pepper that is the limitation on all classes which have "spells known" - choose wisely. If you want flexibility choose a cleric or a wizard. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Nov 7 '16 at 7:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pepper Warlocks aren't like wizards. Because they have a small but reliable set of abilities, they are more like fighters, able to keep going non-stop. Remember that their spell slots refresh on short rests too, so they can keep going all day. They have quantity in castings per day, not in variety. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Nov 7 '16 at 7:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pepper pick spells with broad application, not niche stuff. There's a lot of spells that are useful for many things. Alternatively, if the lack of spell selection bothers you, pick up Pact of the Tome at 3rd level and you'll get some more. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Nov 7 '16 at 9:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Expanding upon the last paragraph would serve to correct the misconception demonstrated by the question. Stronger distinction between how Warlock Spell List works compared to Cleric/Wizard/etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Drunk Cynic Nov 12 '16 at 3:41
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Known vs. Prepared

Does that mean that I can change my list of available spells known/prepared/selected, only when I change level?

Prepared and known are the two different ways spells are handled. A Warlock uses spells known, they don't prepare as a Paladin, Druid or Wizard does. Classes that prepare spell have more options over all, but can't have all of those options availible everyday, they have to choose a smaller list of those spells to prepare.

Warlock, like rangers and sorcerors, know a set number of spells that they can cast as long as they have the slots to cast them.

Swaping Spells.

Do I have to keep the same spells for all level duration? I can change/replace only one spell at each level and keep the rest?

Yes. Warlock can change the spells they know only when they reach a new level. They gain spells according to the Warlock chart on p.106 of the Player Handbook. In addition, they may change one spell from your known spells to another from the Warlock list when you level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list, which also must be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Cantrips and Invocations

What happens with cantrips and invocations? What are the update rules for them?

Cantrips

RAW, the cantrips can't be changed, but many DMs will allow the switching of a cantrip instead of a spell at later levels arguing that cantrips are spells. There was a sage advice allowing it.

Invocations

A singe invocation can be changed on each level.

Additionally, when you gain a level in this class, you can choose one of the invocations you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level.

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