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I just started D&D 5E through Adventurers League. I'm only at level 2 but see at level 3 I'll be picking a Pact Boon, one of which is Pact of the Blade.

Pact of the Blade states:

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You can choose the form that this melee weapon takes each time you create it (see chapter 5 for weapon options). You are proficient with it while you wield it. This weapon counts as magical for the purpose of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage

When I started out the DM told me to pick two Simple Weapons to start with. Now I have a Mace and a Sickle.

What is the benefits of Pact of the Blade instead of just using the "normal" weapons available to a Warlock (assuming I want to use Melee weapons at all)?

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You are proficient with it.

While a warlock is only proficient in "simple weapons" you can create any melee weapon and you are proficient with it. Martial weapons often are stronger and have other abilities.

An upgrade for your Mace would be a Flail or a Warhammer which all deal bludgeoning damage, but martial ones have 1d8 instead of 1d6 as damage dice and the Warhammer can be used two-handed for 1d10 as damage dice.

You can create one as action.

This means wherever you go, you are never without a weapon.

You can switch the weapon type to fit different situations (sometimes you might prefer a weapon with reach or a different damage type, keep in mind this feature is lost as you bond to a specific magic weapon).

Also you can indeed create throwing weapons, because they are basically melee weapons with aerodynamics. So while taking a whole action to recharge, you are never out of ammo.

It is magic

In early levels you might not have a magic weapon when fighting against a creature with immunities or resistances versus non-magical weapons. This weapon overcomes such resistances.

You can bond to any magic weapon as pact weapon

This is not restricted to melee weapons, and you have the weapon always ready.

Invocations

Lifedrinker and Thirsting Blade benefit you with abilities you can only use with your Pact Weapon.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There are some examples where there is no "upgraded variant" in the martial weapons. For example, there is no dex-based throwing martial weapon. And the javelin has a better range than any other thrown weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Apr 9 '17 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ But not usable in melee combat. While I agree with your statement in most situations there are no flat-out upgrades for daggers and javelins. Maybe better alternatives. \$\endgroup\$ – Thyzer Apr 9 '17 at 21:27
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Pact of the Blade is probably one of the best choices for an arcane gish in 5e, and this is why! The boon you see here is something that a Fighter/caster multiclass doesn't get unless they go Eldritch Knight (EK), while EK casting is not good enough to keep up with a party at higher levels.

In particular:

  • You can pick any melee weapon for a Pact Weapon and still be proficient with it -- this is your route to getting a martial weapon as a straight-up Warlock.
  • It hits like a magic weapon, even if it isn't -- this means that a low-level Blade pact 'Lock can do usable damage to foes that are outright immune to mundane damage, such as a Rakshasa or a lycanthrope. Of course, you can still bond to a magical weapon this way.
  • You can dismiss it to an extradimensional space and then resummon it at any time on your turn -- this means you don't have to worry about lugging it around with you and you can smuggle it anywhere you wish with ease. It also stays close to you, so anyone who tries to disarm you of it will get a rude surprise when they find themselves bereft of their supposed prize.
  • Several warlock Invocations (Lifedrinker, Thirsting Blade) key off of the pact weapon (this includes one that grants Extra Attack -- it's the warlock's only means of getting that feature.)
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