Last updated on March 3rd, 2021
In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock Build Guide I’m going to be covering my Melee Warlock Build for Update 4 of Early Access, and showing you not only what has changed with the Class that allows this to be possible, but also how to do it effectively. If you’ve been wondering how to make a Melee Warlock in Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access, read on to find out. Note that this is an advanced Guide and it already assumes that you have some knowledge of the Warlock Class, or that you’ve watch my Warlock Guide.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock Build Guide: Melee Warlock (Advanced Guide)
Warlocks in Baldur’s Gate 3 are extremely powerful because of their Cantrip Eldritch Blast that does between 1-10 Force Damage every use from 18m away, and Cantrips can be cast every turn without using up Spell Slots. Eldritch Blast gets even stronger at Level 2 if you select the Agonizing Blast Eldritch Invocation, allowing for a damage potential of 5-15 damage every use at 18 Charisma. If you factor in the use of Hex, which can add another 1-6 Necrotic Damage, this becomes 6-21 damage nearly every turn. And that’s even before you mention that Eldritch Blast gains Advantage if used from elevation.
Why on earth then would anyone want to play a Melee Warlock in Early Access? If you factor all those things together it seems like there would be no reason to, but there is, and that’s because of the change to the Eldritch Invocation Devil’s Sight in Update 4. Devil’s Sight now allows Warlocks to see inside their Darkness Spell, and not suffer Blindness while standing in it. So what? Big deal right? Wrong.
The benefit of Darkness is that it causes Blindness on enemies standing inside it, and you gain Advantage when attacking enemies that are Blind, and they gain Disadvantage when attacking you. However, you cannot attack enemies with Ranged Attacks who are inside Darkness, so you must melee to gain the full benefit of this Spell. How does the damage compare? Let’s check it out.
At 16 Strength, using a Greatsword +1 you will deal 6-16 damage per swing. This is actually a bit more than Eldritch Blast if you’re not using Hex, but this damage can be increased further at Level 4 if you take the Great Weapon Master Feat. Great Weapon Master allows you to deal an extra 10 Damage but suffer – 5 to your Attack Roll. This means this should only be used if you have Advantage on your attack, which you will if you are standing in Darkness, and will increase your damage to 16-26 damage per swing. You’ll still have decent accuracy on your attacks, but will hit for mega damage, but there is more. You also gain a bonus attack if you kill a target, so you can attack twice in one turn fairly regularly.
However, the true power of the Darkness is that if used properly you can pick off enemies without ever triggering combat, allowing you to systematically wipe out entire groups solo, never taking damage. Enemies cannot see what is happening in Darkness, allowing you to perform nefarious deeds, and then stroll out as if nothing at all has happened. I’ll explain how to do this at the end of this Guide, but for now let’s look at how to setup this Build.
Melee Warlock Build Character Progression
In order for this Build to work with the most efficiency, you must select the Githyanki Race during Character Creation, and there are a few of reasons for that. First, you need the added Strength bonus so that you can get to 16 Strength in Character Creation. Second, you gain Medium Armour Proficiency, increasing your Armour Class. And third, you gain the Greatsword Proficiency, giving you +2 to your Attack Rolls. Remember that you must use a Heavy Weapon to gain the extra 10 damage from Great Weapon Master, and you’ll need all the hit chance you can get when using it.
For Abilities you need 16 Strength for Attack and Damage Rolls while in melee. You need 14 Dexterity for +2 Armour Class that Medium Armour allows, as wells for the bonus on Stealth Skill Checks. Your other points should be split between Constitution and Charisma in some way, and that really depends on whether or not you also wish to cast other Spells and use Eldritch Blast effectively now and then. You need to maintain Concentration to keep Darkness up, but you should hardly ever be hit. This is what my Abilities look like on my Build, but you can swap CON and CHA around if you prefer:
Melee Warlock Level 2
At Level 2 you need to select the Devil’s Sight Eldritch Invocation in order to avoid Blindness while standing in your Darkness Spell, but you can select any other Eldritch Invocation to pair with it. It’s not particularly important which you use, but you can use Eldritch Blast now and then with this Build so you might want to take Agonizing Blast if you put points into Charisma during Character Creation.
The Subclass I recommend taking here is The Fiend because you will almost never use the extra Spells from The Great Old One, and gaining a damage bubble when you kill an enemy can come in handy. You don’t really need either, but of the two, The Fiend is much more likely to play a role in combat.
What spells you select at Level 2 are not particularly important, because you will usually only use your Spell Slots on Darkness and Misty Step once you have them, but Hex is not a bad choice for any Warlock. I find I almost never use it with this Build because Darkness requires Concentration, but it is not bad to have for those times when you don’t use Darkness.
Melee Warlock Level 3
At Level 3 you’ll obviously select Darkness and you can swap out any other Spell for Misty Step. Misty Step is useful for when you need to take out ranged units that won’t come into your Darkness, or you want to get up high and Eldritch Blast. You should only need to cast one Darkness per battle, so it’s good to have Misty Step available in case you need to make a swift departure.
You will also gain a Familiar at Level 3, and the Imp now comes standard with Darkvision in Update 4, and can also see inside your Darkness. This allows it to use the same strategy as you: attacking enemies in Darkness with much better hit chance and avoiding damage at the same time. Always use the Imp when you can.
Melee Warlock Level 4
At level 4 you’ll gain a Feat and you really have two options here. You can either take Ability Score improvement and take 2 Strength giving you a total of 7-17 damage on your melee attacks with a Greatsword +1, or you can take Great Weapon Master. Of these two I suggest taking Great Weapon Master, because this is one of the few Builds in Early Access that can really take advantage of it, and make it work properly, but the choice is up to you.
Melee Warlock Equipment
Begin the game and immediately swap Armour and Weapons with Lae’zel in order to get the better Armour and a Longsword. Swap out this Armour for Chain Shirt or Chain Shirt +1 as soon as you gain Darkness, because you don’t want Disadvantage on Stealth Rolls. It’s very bad for this Build. However, you won’t gain Darkness until Level 3 anyhow, so having higher AC early on is better.
Additionally, buy or pick up a Greatsword for increased damage. Greatsword +1 is the best Weapon you can have for this Build if you take Great Weapon Master, so make sure to grab that or Sword of Justice when you can.
I have not tested the Shortsword of First Blood yet, but one can assume based on the changes to Colossus Slayer of the Ranger Class, that it now works in Update 4. This would be 8-25 damage on full health targets if you used it and a Shortsword +1 in the offhand, if you took Ability Score Improvement as your Feat. This is one route you could take, just keep in mind it isn’t as easy to get to, and this would only apply to your first attack. Subsequent attacks, should you not kill the target, will deal 7-17 damage. This is the same damage a Greatsword would deal if you took Ability Score Improvement, instead of Great Weapon Master which does 16-26 damage.
What accessories you use are largely irrelevant for Early Access, but the Amulet of Misty Step is particularly good, since it’s really the only other Spell you need to use. This allows you to use your other Spell Slot for something else if you need, or to use Misty Step a second time if necessary.
Melee Warlock Darkness Strategy
Learning how to use Darkness should be your first priority, and the way I’ve found best is to walk up to enemies I want to engage with, and throw it down on the nearest few (you can do this while Hidden if you want). They will then not be able to see you, and once inside the Darkness I hit Spacebar to put the game into turn-based mode, then I attack one of them, then use the Hide Bonus Action, and then I hit Spacebar again to end my turn. Usually, the enemy cannot see me, and then does nothing or moves a bit and I repeat this process.
Doing this will trigger a Stealth Check when you attack, which will not be too difficult to pass. This allows you to repeat this process nearly every round, and even if somehow you do trigger combat, you can just hide again and enemies won’t attack you. Note that you don’t even need to have good Stealth Skill values or Proficiency with Stealth to pass these Checks, but it doesn’t hurt to have it because you may need to sneak up to enemies to begin combat.
This technique also allows you to slip out of the Darkness area and attack enemies with Advantage, due to being “Hidden”, and then move back into the Darkness and Hide again. Enemies that are too far away can be taken care of once nearby enemies have been dealt with, and you can use Misty Step to get to them if necessary so that you can still get an attack off.
One thing to note is that while Darkness makes it easier to Pickpocket merchants, because NPCs cannot see you while doing so, it doesn’t reduce Difficulty Checks. Still, if you want to take Skill Proficiencies in Stealth and Sleight of Hand, you can use them to great effect with this Build. Coincidentally, the Urchin Background gives you both.
Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content on this channel, including Build Guides, and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game, and check out the BG3 Wiki if you’re looking for something specific.