A beam of crackling energy streaks toward a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 force damage.
The spell creates more than one beam when you reach higher levels: two beams at 5th level, three beams at 11th level, and four beams at 17th level. You can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones. Make a separate attack roll for each beam.
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 120 feet
Components: V, S
School: Evocation cantrip
Who can cast Eldritch Blast? Warlocks have Eldritch Blast on their class spell list. The only other ways to get Eldritch Blast involve picking up a feat (Magic Initiate, Spell Sniper), multiclassing Warlock for one level, and the Bard’s Magical Secrets feature(s).
Eldritch Blast 5e
Widely accepted as the strongest damaging cantrip in DnD 5e, Eldritch Blast packs a considerable punch from level 1 all the way to level 20. Let’s dive into what makes this seemingly simple spell so darn special.
How Does Eldritch Blast Work in 5e?
Eldritch Blast is a ranged spell attack that deals 1d10 force damage when it hits. To make a ranged spell attack, roll a d20 and add your spell attack bonus (proficiency bonus + spellcasting modifier). The spellcasting modifier for Warlocks is Charisma.
Eldritch Blast deals force damage, which is one of the least common resistances in the game. At higher levels, a caster can send out multiple beams with one cast of Eldritch Blast, either all at the same target or at different targets in range. The caster makes separate attack rolls for each beam.
Finally, Eldritch Blast comes with a whole host of potential Warlock Invocations (acquired starting at level 2) that significantly increase the power and utility of the spell:
Agonizing Blast: Add your Charisma modifier to the damage on hit. This applies to each beam of Eldritch Blast, once you reach a level where it creates multiple beams.
Eldritch Spear: Increases range to 300 feet.
Repelling Blast: On hit, you can push a creature up to 10 feet away from you. This can trigger multiple times per turn, once you’re creating multiple beams.
Grasp of Hadar: On hit, you can pull a creature up to 10 feet towards you (once per turn). (XGtE 57)
Lance of Lethargy: On hit, reduce the creature’s speed by 10 feet until the end of your next turn (once per turn). (XGtE 57)
Note that you can apply multiple Invocations simultaneously — you are only limited by the maximum number of Invocations known for your Warlock level.
How to Use Eldritch Blast in 5e
If you’re going for a ranged, spellcasting-focused Warlock, you already know how to use Eldritch Blast — as your main source of damage. But if you’re looking to optimize your build around this cantrip from the start, here are some things to keep in mind:
Get Agonizing Blast early. You get access to your first 2 invocations at 2nd level. With so few spell slots, you’re likely going to be spamming Eldritch Blast through most early bouts of combat, so there’s no reason not to pick up Agonizing Blast (+Cha modifier to each of Eldritch Blast’s beam).
This will likely work out to around +50% damage, as your typical low-level Warlock has a +2 or +3 Charisma modifier, and Eldritch Blast’s base average damage is 5.5.
5th level is also a good time to pick up Agonizing Blast, as that’s when Eldritch Blast gets a second beam, doubling the potency of this invocation. Of course, you can always switch around invocations as you level, so you don’t have to feel too trapped by any decisions.
Concentration-buster/death save-skipper. Once Eldritch Blast gets multiple beams, it becomes akin to Magic Missile, with all its glorious utility. This makes it great for breaking a baddie’s concentration (they’ll have to make a Consitution saving throw each time they’re hit) or skipping death saves (they auto-fail one roll each time they’re hit).
Of course, Magic Missile just lands automatically, whereas Eldritch Blast requires a roll each time.
Max Charisma ASAP. Most Warlocks will be doing this anyway, but the faster your Charisma modifier gets maxed out, the sooner your Eldritch Blast starts hitting like a truck with Agonizing Blast.
Battlefield control. If moving enemies around the room like chess pieces sounds more fun than just outright blasting them, Repelling Blast and Grasp of Hadar are a lot of fun. Coupled with terrain damage or allies’ area of effect spells, like Spike Growth or Web, being able to place enemies just where you want them can be incredibly rewarding (and optimal).
What Are the Rules for Eldritch Blast in 5e?
There are no complicated rules for Eldritch Blast itself, but there are some interactions with other spells, features, and Invocations that are worth clearing up:
The Sniper Feature does stack with the Eldritch Spear Invocation, bringing the spell’s total range to a whopping 600 feet. For multiclassers with at least three levels in Sorcerer, you can also apply Distant Spell for an insane 1,200-foot range.
With the exception of Grasp of Hadar and Lance of Lethargy, each invocation applies to each Eldritch Blast beam. For example, you could push one creature 40 feet away from you in a straight line with Repelling Blast, or push 4 different creatures 10 feet away each (assuming each beam hits, of course).
Grasp of Hadar and Lance of Lethargy are the two invocations that explicitly state they can only be used once per turn.
Eldritch Blast can be Twinned using Sorcerer’s metamagic if the caster is 4th-level or lower. But once Eldritch Blast has multiple targets, it can no longer be Twinned. That’s because “to be eligible for Twinned Spell, a spell must be incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level” (emphasis mine, PHB 102, Errata 1).
Here are other rules regarding Eldritch Blast covered on Sage Advice:
Multiple Eldritch Blast attacks don’t happen simultaneously. Even though it’s an instantaneous spell, “you choose the targets and resolve the attacks consecutively, not all at once,” according to the Sage Advice Compendium.
You’re still allowed to “declare all your targets before many any attacks, but you would still roll separately for each attack.”
Eldritch Blast can’t target objects. Because it affects life force or something. However, as Jeremy Crawford points out in this thread, DMs can do whatever they like.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) July 1, 2016
Is Eldritch Blast 5e a Good Spell?
Yes, Eldritch Blast was undeniably the best damaging cantrip in the original source material for DnD 5e. For Warlocks with access to Invocations, that’s still arguably the case.
Here are the top reasons why Eldritch Blast is so good:
It’s a cantrip. Unlimited uses of a 120-foot range, 1d10 attack is incredibly powerful. Fire Bolt offers the same damage and range, but with fire damage, which many more enemies are resistant or immune to. The consistent damage of Eldritch Blast ensures that a Warlock will always deal the most damage in situations where spell slots are right.
It involves multiple discrete bolts. The difference in upcast between Fire Bolt and Eldritch Blast is where the big power difference starts to emerge. While Fire Bolt’s total damage remains on par with Eldritch Blast, you only make one attack — if it misses, you do no damage.
Plus, each strike of Eldritch Blast can be a critical strike, opening up even more damage potential. And while spreading damage isn’t usually optimal, the ability to push multiple foes into hazardous terrain or off a cliff is fantastic.
Almost nothing resists force damage. Force damage is one of the least common resistances and immunities in the game.
Only requires one hand. No one-handed martial weapons deal 1d10 or more damage, and the only ranged weapon that offers that great of damage is a cumbersome Heavy Crossbow.
Invocation potential. This is why Eldritch Blast is in a league of its own as far as cantrips go. Agonizing Blast, in particular, ensures steady damage by always adding your Charisma modifier to the spell’s damage. That damage gets tacked onto each and every beam, multiplying the Invocation’s effect each time the spell levels up.
Being able to push an enemy 10-40 feet away in one turn with Repelling Blast is also incredibly powerful and basically ensures that your target won’t be able to get involved in the fight. Lance of Lethargy offers a similar effect, and when stacked with Repelling Blast, you’re basically Spiderman webbing a foe to the nearest wall.
In short, Eldritch Blast is already a top-tier cantrip at level 1. Its ability to scale with levels and invocations means that it’s your go-to damaging ability throughout the game. Which is good, because Warlocks don’t have many spell slots to work on, meaning they’re the most cantrip-reliant spellcaster in DnD 5e.
If you’d like to see just how Eldritch Blast stacks up against other top-notch cantrips in 5e, check out Dungeons and Dave’s article comparing it to Fire Bolt, Sacred Flame, and Toll the Dead. Also, check out the rest of his blog while you’re there!
Simple Eldritch Blast 5e Spell Text
Eldritch Blast: (cantrip, 120 feet, V/S) Make a ranged spell attack. On hit, deal 1d10 force damage. | +1 beam at 5th, 11th, and 17th levels.
DnD 5e Eldritch Blast FAQ
Eldritch blast DnD 5e FAQ:
Should I take eldritch blast as a hexblade? Yes, it’s still a good ranged option for a hexblade warlock. Even if you plan on mainly playing as a melee fighter, using a ranged weapon won’t be as strong as eldritch blast for those situations when you need to attack from range.
Can eldritch blast be twinned? Yes, until level 5, because it only targets one creature at low levels. After that, it is no longer eligible to be twinned, since the twinned spell metamagic is only eligible if “a spell [is] incapable of targeting more than one creature at the spell’s current level.”
Can eldritch blast hit two targets? Yes, once you’re character level 5, it can target multiple creatures, since you create two beams, and the spell states “you can direct the beams at the same target or at different ones.” This increases to three beams at 11th level and four beams at 17th level.
Does form of dread work with eldritch blast? Yes, the undead warlock feature works with any attack, but only once per turn.
Can you use sharpshooter on eldritch blast? No, sharpshooter only works with weapon attacks. But spell sniper can be used on eldritch blast, doubling its range to 240 feet and ignoring cover for spell attack rolls.
Can you cast eldritch blast twice with quickened spell? Yes, because the quickened spell metamagic allows you to cast for 1 bonus action after casting a spell that has a casting time of 1 action (which eldritch blast does). Additionally, the Player’s Handbook only disallows you casting “another spell during the same turn [as a bonus action spell], except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action (which eldritch blast is) (PHB 202).
Does agonizing blast apply to each beam of eldritch blast? Yes, the agonizing blast eldritch invocation adds your charisma modifier to each beam’s damage.
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