Introduction

Charisma bonuses are crucial, but there’s little else that’s truly a must-have so there’s lot of room to explore the benefits other racial traits. Darkvision is less useful for warlocks due to the availability of Devil’s Sight, but if you don’t want to rely on magical darkness, Darkvision is just as good for the Warlock as for anyone else.

Innate spellcasting is unusually helpful for warlocks compared to other full spellcasters. Since warlocks get so few spell slots, innate spellcasting is a significant expansion to your resources, and if the spellcasting is Charisma-based you’re already well suited to using it with no further effort.

Like the Sorcerer and the Wizard, the Warlock is frail. You do get light armor proficiency and d8 hit points, so you’re not as vulnerable as the Wizard is to attacks. However, you don’t spell slots to burn on things like Absorb Elements and Shield, so things like damage resistances, bonuses to AC, and other defenses do a lot for the Warlock.

After reading this handbook, I encourage you to read our Warlock Handbook.

Table of Contents

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Warlock Races

Keep in mind that not all races will be available in every game. Consult your DM about which races are welcome in your game, as not all settings are appropriate to every setting or even to specific campaigns within a setting which might otherwise welcome any and all races.

AarakocraEEPC

UpdatedMMoM: Flight is excellent, but the Fairy and the Winged Tiefling are better.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and flight. Excellent, but the Fairy and the Winged Tiefling are better.

Default Rules: Flight is fantastic, but the Aarakocra doesn’t get a Charisma increase, and with the Winged Tiefling available that leaves little reason to play an aarakocra.

AasimarVGtM

UpdatedMMoM: Necrotic Shroud and Radiant Consumption are both options for hexblades. Necrotic Shroud’s fear option isn’t great, but the DC is Charisma-based so if anyone’s going to use it successfully it’s a hexblade. For other warlocks, go for Radiant Spirit.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. Transformation is still the big reason to play the Aasimar. Note that the damage bonuses from Transformation work with spells, so your best bet is to make multiple attacks (Eldritch Blast) or use an AOE damage spell and apply the damage to a creature which fails its save.

  • Fallen: Good for a melee warlock, the fear effect is useful crowd control, and the damage bonus is easy to use.
  • Protector: Flight when you need it in combat and a damage boost.
  • Scourge: Exciting, but you don’t have the hit points to back this up.

Default Rules: The charisma increase and damage resistances are fantastic.

  • Fallen: Good for a melee warlock, but Strength-based weapons are a hard choice unless you’re doing something to get heavy armor proficiency so you may need to ignore the Strength increase.
  • Protector: Wisdom isn’t especially useful for warlocks, but Radiant Soul provides temporary flight and a helpful damage bonus which any warlock can use to great effect.
  • Scourge: Exciting, but you don’t have the hit points to back this up.

Aasimar (DMG Variant)DMG

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is nice, but the Celestial Warlock gets access to the same spells so it’s not especially exciting.

Default Rules: A Charisma increase, two damage resistances, and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is nice, but the Celestial Warlock gets access to the same spells so it’s not especially exciting.

Air GenasiMMoM

The Warlock doesn’t get access to Feather Fall or Levitate (except via an invocation which only works on the Warlock), so those are both good options. Of course, you also just play something that flies.

Bugbear

UpdatedMMoM: The Fiend offers access to Scorching Ray, which will make more attacks than Eldritch Blast and still benefits from both Surprise Attack and Hex, so it makes for a very easy blaster build. Even if you don’t go for The Fiend, an Eldritch Blast build is still both easy and very effective, and Surprise Attack adds some extra damage on turn 1 without any effort beyond picking your race. Add on Agonizing Blast, and Eldritch Blast’s damage can still compete with Scorching Ray at a much lower resource cost. Both options are excellent, so it just comes down to how you want to spend those resources.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Surprise Attack works with spells which make attacks, so Eldritch Blast is a great choice which remains a staple warlock option for your whole career. Long-limbed is helpful for melee warlocks because it makes it easy to stay out of your enemies’ reach while attacking.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Centaur

UpdatedMMoM: Hex Warrior does not work with your hoof since it’s not a weapon, and neither does Pact of the Blade. If that was allowed, a hexblade would absolutely work.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: All of the Centaur’s interesting traits are tied up in Strength.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: Bad ability spread.

Changeling

UpdatedMMoM: A great option in a highly social game where intrigue and subterfuge are called for.

Classic (Customized Origin)ERLW: The Customizing Your Origin rule does little to improve the Changeling since their traits already lined up well with the Warlock’s needs, but their signature trait is still made obsolete by the existence of Mask of Many Faces.

Classic (Default Rules)ERLW: The ability score increases are great and you get two skills, but the Changeling’s signature trait is Shapechanger. If you want to disguise yourself constantly, consider Mask of Many Faces instead. The Standard Half-Elf is better and provides similar benefits.

Deep GnomeMMoM

Don’t expect to get anything out of Svirfneblin Camouflage, but otherwise the Deep Gnome’s traits are nice. Darkvision saves you an invocation, Gnomish Magic Resistance protects you on some saves, and the innate spellcasting is occasionally useful and complements your tiny pool of spell slots.

DragonbornPHB

Chromatic: The 30-foot line is easier for back-line warlocks, and Chromatic Warding is nice, but it doesn’t help you do very much offensively.

Gem: A breath weapon to complement your limited spell slots, a very limited form of telepathy, and short-term flight. Altogether, the Gem Dragonborn’s capabilities offer some great options to complement the Warlock’s limited spellcasting.

Metallic: Most warlocks can afford to invest in both Constitution and Charisma, so the Metallic Dragonborn’s additional breath options can be a wonderful complement to your spellcasting.

Customized Origin:

  • ClassicPHB: With the introduction of the Fizban’s variants, there is no reason to play the classic Dragonborn, either with or without the custom origin rules. The new variants are strictly better in absolutely every way.
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Roughly equivalent to the standard Dragonborn, but if you’re playing your party’s Face you might enjoy Forceful Presence.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Maybe useful for the Hexblade, Vengeful Assault combined with Breath Weapon offers some interesting options for melee warlocks.

Default Rules:

  • ClassicPHB: With the introduction of the Fizban’s variants, there is no reason to play the classic Dragonborn, either with or without the custom origin rules. The new variants are strictly better in absolutely every way.
  • DraconbloodEGtW: Roughly equivalent to the standard Dragonborn, but if you’re playing your party’s Face you might enjoy Forceful Presence.
  • RaveniteEGtW: Bad ability spread.

DuergarMMoM

The Duergar’s inability to share their innate spells dramatically reduces their usefulness for the Warlock, and even the 120 ft. Darkvision is only minimally useful since Devil’s Sight makes it obsolete. You’re basically just here for Darkvision and the defenses.

DwarfPHB

For the updated version of the Duergar, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: One +2 increase and a second increase from your subrace, poison resistance, and weapon and tool proficiencies that you probably won’t need.

  • DuergarSCAG: Invisibility as an innate spell is nice, but that’s the only big appeal here. Sunlight Sensitivitiy is a pain, and Enlarge/Reduce isn’t especially useful for the Warlock.
  • HillPHB: Bonus hit points are always nice.
  • MountainPHB: Medium armor is an AC boost compared to light armor since you may not bother to max out Dexterity, but if you really want medium armor you could play a hexblade or multiclass.

Default Rules: The Dwarf’s core racial traits are great on any character, but none of the subclasses work especially well for the Warlock.

  • DuergarSCAG: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • HillPHB: Extra hit points are nice, but that’s not enough.
  • MountainPHB: Medium armor and Constitution are a significant increase in your durability, but if you want medium armor you’re likely to select the Hexblade as your patron.

Earth GenasiMMoM

Am earth genasi hexblade will do very well. Blade Ward as a Bonus Action a few times per day adds quite a bit of durability when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

EladrinMMoM

Warlocks get access to Misty Step, but with extremely limited spell slots, Fey Step is a great replacement. Unfortunately, most warlocks can’t do much with Trance or with proficiency in Perception.

ElfPHB

For the updated versions of the Eladrin, the Sea Elf, and the Shadar-Kai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, one skill.

  • DrowPHB: The innate spellcasting is great and it’s Charisma-based so it will remain perpetually useful. The only problem is Sunlight Sensitivity.
  • EladrinMToF: Free teleportation on a short rest means that you don’t need to spend one of your spell slots to do it. The rider effects on the teleportation are Charisma-based, too, which is perfect for the Warlock.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Similar to the standard Eladrin, but you give up the cool rider effect for four weapon proficiencies which you won’t use.
  • High ElfPHB: Consider Pact of the Tome instead.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: The skill bonuses are decent and the Innate Spellcasting is nice, but Sleep is obsolete as soon as you get it and there are plenty of other races which provide Invisibility as an innate spell.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only noteworthy in an aquatic campaign.
  • Sea ElfEGtW / MToF: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Not as useful for the Warlock as the Eladrin’s more frequent teleportation.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Nothing useful for the Warlock, so you’re basically falling back on the core racial traits.

Default Rules: Dexterity is helpful for any warlock to boos their AC, and Perception is always nice. Only a few subclasses offer Charisma increases, unfortunately.

  • DrowPHB: Bonus Charisma and some free spells, but Sunlight Sensitivity can be a pain.
  • EladrinMToF: Dexterity and Charisma are a great spread for warlocks, and free teleportation on a short rest means that you don’t need to spend one of your spell slots to do it. The rider effects on the teleportation are Charisma-based, too, which is perfect for the Warlock.
  • Eladrin (Variant)DMG: Bad ability spread. The regular Eladrin is a better fit.
  • High Elf: Consider Pact of the Tome instead.
  • Pallid ElfEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • Sea ElfMToF: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • Shadar-KaiMToF: Nothing useful for the Warlock.
  • Wood ElfPHB: Nothing useful for the Warlock.

FairyWBtW / MMoM

Faerie Fire is amazing for the Warlock, and any amount of racial innate spellcasting is a welcome complement to the Warlock’s limited number of spell slots. Flight is similarly amazing. Altogether, this is a great basis for anything except melee hexblades.

Firbolg

UpdatedMMoM: Innate spellcasting is always welcome on the Warlock due to their extremely limited number of spell slots. Speech of Beast and Leaf is useful, too, thanks to the Warlock’s dependence on Charisma.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: The innate spellcasting adds some useful options which reduce the need to handle the same problems with your limited spell slots or with invocations.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Fire GenasiMMoM

Basically any other race with innate spellcasting will be more impactful. Play a tiefling if you’re dead set on having darkvision and fire resistance.

GenasiEEPC

For the updated versions of the Air Genasi, the Earth Genasi, the Fire Genasi, and the the Water Genasi, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), but the vast majority of the Genasi’s traits come from the subraces.

  • Air: Learn the Ascendant Step invocation.
  • Earth: Difficult terrain is rarely a problem unless you’re running around in melee, and even then it’s not common enough that the Earth Genasi is appealing. Pass Without Trace is good, but it’s not enough on its own.
  • Fire: Similar in many ways to the Tiefling, but the Fire Genasi’s spellcasting is Constitution-based while the Tiefling’s is Charisma-based, so the Tiefling has a huge advantage.
  • Water: Only in an aquatic campaign.

Default Rules: Not a single Charisma increase to be had, and none of the Genasi subraces’ other traits are interesting enough to do without a Charisma increase.

  • Air: Bad ability spread.
  • Earth: Bad ability spread.
  • Fire: Bad ability spread.
  • Water: Bad ability spread.

GithMToF

For the updated versions of the Githyanki, the Githzerai, see their separate race entries on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +2), but the bulk of your notable racial traits come from your subrace.

  • Githyanki: Medium armor is a helpful AC boost, and coupled with Misty Step for free the Githyanki offers some interesting options for the Warlock. But if you want medium armor and teleportation, an eladrin hexblade is an easier choice.
  • Githzerai: A great choice for non-melee warlocks, the Githzerai’s Mental Discipline will protect you from common status conditions, and the innate spellcasters offers several useful options which will help conserve your limited spell slots.

Default Rules: The innate spellcasting is tempting for the Warlock, but the ability scores don’t line up well.

  • Githyanki: Medium armor is a helpful AC boost, and coupled with Misty Step for free the Githyanki offers some interesting options for the Warlock. But if you want medium armor and teleportation, an eladrin hexblade is an easier choice.
  • Githzerai: Great defensively, but you’ll still struggle without a Charisma increase.

GithyankiMMoM

Innate spellcasting is always welcome on the Warlock, and Astral Knowledge gives you an extra skill proficiency so that you can expand beyond Face skills.

GithzeraiMMoM

Warlocks are proficient in Wisdom saves, so with Mental Discipline in place you may be able to safely dump Wisdom (not that most warlocks need to do so). Innate spellcasting offers a great complement to your Warlock’s extremely limited spell slots, but Detect Thoughts may not be consistently useful, and Shield once per day isn’t massively impactful.

GnomePHB

For the updated version of the Deep Gnome, see their separate race entry on this page.

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases (each subrace offers a +1 increase), Darkvision, and Gnome Cunning.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Superior Darkvision is nice, but Devil’s Sight provides it and then some. That just leaves Stone Camouflage, which is nice in subterranean campaigns but otherwise only situationally useful.
  • ForestPHB: Minor illusion is a good cantrip, but it’s already on the Warlock’s spell list, and if you just want additional cantrips play Pact of the Tome.
  • RockPHB: Tinker is barely useful.

Default Rules: Gnome Cunning is great, but none of the Gnome’s subraces offer a Charisma increase.

  • Deep (Svirfneblin)EEPC / SCAG: Bad ability spread.
  • ForestPHB: Bad ability spread.
  • RockPHB: Bad ability spread.

Goblin

UpdatedMMoM: Nimble Escape helps you stay out of melee, minimizing the need for things like Misty Step if you’re not built to fight in melee. Fury of the Small applies to spells, including AOE spells, but remember that saving for half damage will also reduce the damage from Fury of the Small so you want to apply the damage bonus when an enemy fails their save.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Nimble Escape helps you stay out of melee, minimizing the need for things like Misty Step if you’re not built to fight in melee. Fury of the Small applies to spells, including AOE spells, but remember that saving for half damage will also reduce the damage from Fury of the Small so you want to apply the damage bonus when an enemy fails their save.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Goliath

UpdatedMMoM: Hexblades are very effective offensively, but in medium armor and with d8 hit points they’re frail compared to many other front-line builds. Stone’s Endurance can make a huge difference there, allowing you to remain on the front lines much longer than most warlocks can. For other warlocks, you shouldn’t be drawing enough fire to need Stone’s Endurance.

Classic (Customized Origin)EEPC: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and damage resistance. Stone’s Endurance adds the equivalent of a barbarian hit die worth of ability to endure damage, and unlike the Sorcerer or the Wizard, the Warlock tends to have passable AC so you won’t burn Stone’s Endurance the moment anyone gazes at you.

Classic (Default Rules)EEPC: Bad ability spread.

Half-ElfPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1/+1 increases, Darkvision, and Fey Ancestry. The ability increases are somewhat overkill for most warlocks, but they also make it easy to have high scores in Dex/Con/Cha at level 1.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: Good, Charisma-based innate spellcasting. Faerie Fire is a great spell at any level, and Darkness works really well with Devil’s Sight.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: If you want more cantrips, play Pact of the Tome.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Warlocks only get the typical two skills from class and two from background, and if you want to be your Party’s Face two additional skills means that you have much more flexibility without sacrificng Face skills.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Nothing that the Sorcerer needs.

Default Rules: Bonuses to all of the Warlock’s useful abilities, Darkvision, and a great selection of options from the variant half-elves.

  • Aquatic Half-ElfSCAG: Only if you’re in an aquatic campaign.
  • Drow Half-ElfSCAG: With a very limited number of spell slots, free spells provide fantastic utility.
  • High Half-ElfSCAG: Wizard cantrips are great for utility, but you already have the best damage cantrips. If you’re a Pact of the Blade warlock, consider Green Flame Blade or Booming Blade to improve your damage output.
  • Standard Half-ElfPHB: Two free skills are great, especially if you’re the party’s Face.
  • Wood Half-ElfSCAG: Nothing useful for the Warlock.

Half-OrcPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Relentless Endurance is great on low-durability characters like the Warlock. Savage Attacks might be useful for the Hexblade, especially since Hexblade’s Curse allows you to crit on a 19, but I don’t know if that’s enough to make this a good option.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

HalflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Lucky, and Brave. Lucky is abnormally useful for the Warlock because their typical reliance on Eldritch Blast means that you’re going to be rolling considerably more attack rolls than a typical spellcaster.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Neat, but if you want telepathy, look at the Great Old One.
  • LightfootPHB: Naturally Stealthy is rarely useful without Cunning Action.
  • LotusdenEGtW: The innate spellcasting is decent, but it’s Wisdom-based so you’ll find that it’s unreliable due to the poor save DC compared to your warlock spells.
  • StoutPHB: Poison damage is really common, so resistance to poison on top of a solid set of core racial traits works well.

Default Rules: Dexterity is helpful for Blade Pact Warlocks, and everyone loves Lucky.

  • GhostwiseSCAG: Nothing useful for warlocks.
  • LightfootPHB: Bonus Charisma.
  • LotusdenEGtW: Bad ability spread.
  • StoutPHB: Poison resistance is nice, but if that’s all that you want look at the Dwarf instead.

HarengonWBtW / MMoM

Hare Trigger will help you get your big spells out early in a fight when they’re most impactful, and Rabbit Hop can get you out of melee without more expensive options like Misty Step or Kinetic Jaunt.

Hobgoblin

UpdatedMMoM: Fey Gift may be useful for hexblades, but it’s less useful for other warlocks.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and Darkvision. Saving Face is the big selling point here, and you can use it for high-value spell attacks (not that you’ll have many of those since Eldritch Blast isn’t all-or-nothing and there are few leveled spells which require attacks) or save it for a saving throw.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Human

Customized Origin:

  • Standard: With perfect ability scores on the table for every race, there is no reason to play the Standard Human.
  • Variant: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no change to the Variant Human.

Default Rules:

  • Standard: Warlocks really only need Charisma, so most of the bonuses are wasted. Try to capitalize on odd base scores.
  • Variant: Two +1 increases, an extra skill, and you can get an awesome feat at level 1. The Custom Lineage may be preferable since the Warlock only really needs one ability score, but for hexblades and other melee warlocks you may want to split your increases to hit 16 in both Constitution and Charisma at level 1.

KalashtarERLW

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, damage resistance, Advantage on Wisdom saving throws, and probably the best racial telepathy option. That’s all fine, but you can also replicate the defensive traits with Mind Fortress and the telepathy with the Great Old One patron.

Default Rules: A Charisma increase, and you’ll be really good at Wisdom saving throws between proficiency and permanent Advantage. The Kalashtar doesn’t support any specific part of being a warlock, but it’s a fine starting point for a warlock of any kind.

KenkuVGtM

UpdatedMMoM: A great option for a skill-heavy warlock. Two additional skill proficiencies will help you to expand beyond Face skills. Warlocks also can’t cast Enhance Ability, so the Kenku Recall’s Advantage mechanic is a decent substitute.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases and two skills. Expert Forgery and Mimicry will rarely be impactful. Fun theme, but nothing mechanically impressive.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

Kobold

UpdatedMMoM: As dangerous as it is, using Draconic Cry at short range before blasting an enemy with Eldritch Blast can be very effective. Or you can be a hexblade and shoot/stab people. Any of the Kobold Legacy options work fine, but I would skip Draconic Sorcery unless you desperately need just one more cantrip for some reason.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2 increase, Darkvision, Sunlight Sensitivity. Pack Tactics can offset Sunlight Sensitivity, and thanks to Pact of the Chain you have easy access to a powerful familiar to trigger Pact Tactics. When you’re not worrying about sunlight, easy Advantage with Eldritch Blast will provide a dramatic boost to your damage output.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: With a familiar (or a conveniently-place ally), Pack Tactics can give you easy Advantage. While the Kobold doesn’t get a Charisma increase, Advantage on spell attacks can easily make up the difference, especially since the Warlock relies so heavily on Eldritch Blast. Avoid offensive spells which rely on saving throws, and you should do fine.

LeoninMOoT

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, Darkvision, and one skill. Daunting Roar is neat, but the range is tiny so it’s only an interesting option for melee builds. Even then, the Fallen Aasimar has a similar effect with a damage bonus and a Charisma-based DC.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Lizardfolk

UpdatedMMoM: For non-Hexblades, Natural Armor and the temporary hit points from Hungry Jaws are a great improvement to your durability, and two skills will help you expand beyond Face skills. Fiendish Vigor will be more effective than Hungry Jaws, but Hungry Jaws will save you an invocation. Of course, at that point you could play a variant human and take Eldritch Adept to get an extra invocation to spend on Fiendish Vigor.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and 13+ natural armor. The natural armor will outdo your armor for any warlock except the Hexblade, but there’s nothing else here that the Warlock wants.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: The Lizardfolk’s natural durability could be appealing for Hexblade warlocks, but their lack of a Charisma increase means that both your spellcasting and your weapon usage will lag until you’ve picked up some Ability Score Increases.

LocathahLR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and a long list of condition resistances from Leviathan Will. Leviathan Will can protect from things that AC can’t, and while it’s very useful it’s not terribly exciting.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

LoxodonGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, resistance to charm and fear effects, and 12+Con natural armor. Basically a worse locathah unless you plan to put ability score increases into Constitution and ignore Dexterity entirely.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

Minotaur

UpdatedMMoM: Too locked into Strength.

Classic (Customized Origin)GGTR: All of the Minotaur’s interesting traits are tied up in Strength.

Classic (Default Rules)GGTR: Bad ability spread.

Orc

UpdatedMMoM: Adrenaline Rush and Relentless Endurance provide some helpful insurance on a frail class, but they won’t make you better as a warlock.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Darkvision. Aggressive is the Orc’s signature trait, but it’s only useful for melee warlocks.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Bad ability spread.

OwlinSCoC

Better and more interesting than the Aarakocra, but still can’t compete with the Fairy and the Winged Tiefling. The Owlin’s Darkvision is nice, but Devil’s Sight is still better.

Satyr

UpdatedMMoM: The Warlock’s dependence on Charisma makes the Satyr’s proficiencies decently useful, but still not amazing. Magic Resistance is also great, but if you’re just here for that, you’ll do better with the Yuan-Ti.

Classic (Customized Origin)MOoT: +2/+1 increases, two skills, one instrument, and magic resistance. While the Satyr isn’t as durable as the Yuan-Ti, the additional skills can help you expand your non-magical capabilities, which may be worth the trade.

Classic (Default Rules)MOoT: Dexterity for your AC, Charisma for your spells, Magic Resistance to keep you alive, and two free skills to help you serve as your party’s Face.

Sea ElfMMoM

Only noteworthy in an aquatic campaign.

Shadar-KaiMMoM

Warlocks get access to Misty Step, but with extremely limited spell slots, Gift of the Raven Queen is a great replacement. The damage resistance will generally only be useful for hexblades, so other warlocks should consider the Eladrin.

Shifter

UpdatedMMoM: Beasthide is the only good option here. Select Intimidation as your racial skill proficiency.

Customized OriginERLW: +2/+1 increases (each subrace provides an additional +1), Darkvision, and one skill. Shifting is the Shifter’s signature trait, offering a short-duration combat buff which includes temporary hit points which can be a good defense on top of the Warlock’s relatively few hit points. Of course, you could just take Fiendish Vigor and walk into every fight with a pile of temporary hit points. Shifting’s Bonus Action activation time can also be a problem since the most obvious shifter warlocks are going to be melee warlocks like the Hexblade who will frequently rely on their Bonus Action for other things like Hex or the extra attack from Crossbow Expert/Polearm Master.

  • Beasthide: A good boost of durability in a pinch which can do a lot to mitigate damage for melee warlocks.
  • Longtooth: Strength is not a good choice.
  • Swiftstride: Interesting for hit-and-run tactics, but the Goblin can do it more easily.
  • Wildhunt: Too situational.

Default RulesERLW: None of the Shifter’s subraces offer a Charisma increase.

  • Beasthide: Bad ability spread.
  • Longtooth: Bad ability spread.
  • Swiftstride: Bad ability spread.
  • Wildhunt: Bad ability spread.

Simic HybridGGTR

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Simic Hybrid. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The constitution increase is helpful, especially if you’re considering Hexblade. Animal Enhancement offers several excellent options as you gain levels, and saves you the trouble of getting those effects from your limited number of spell slots.

Tabaxi

UpdatedMMoM: Because warlocks get so few spell slots, the ability to solve problems without resorting to magic is very powerful. A climb speed can often suffice in place of flight, and Feline Agility makes it easier to escape and evade foes. The two skills are nice, too, but they’re not fantastic options for the Warlock.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increases, two skills, and Darkvision. Feline Agility is the Tabaxi’s signature trait, and it’s not useful enough that the Tabaxi is an easy choice when the Standard Half-Elf is an option.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: An excellent option for a blade pact warlock. Dexterity boosts your AC (and possibly your weapon attacks depending on your ability scores), and Charisma boosts your spells.

TieflingPHB

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increase, Darkvision, and damage resistance, plus most subraces/variants give you Charisma-based innate spellcasting, which is great for the Warlock. These were already great benefits for the Warlock prior to the introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules, but the ability to rearrange your ability increases adds a lot of flexibility, so more of the Tiefling’s subraces/variants may be worth exploring depending on your build.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A good mix, the Asmodeus Tieflings works for basically any warlock. I recommend taking Devil’s Sight to capitalize on Darkness.
  • BaalzebulMToF: More directly offensive than the Asmodeus Tiefling, but roughly equivalent.
  • DispaterMToF: Some interesting utility options that would work well in an intrigue campaign, but I don’t know if they’ll be consistently useful in a typical adventure.
  • FiernaMToF: Great spells for social situations.
  • GlasyaMToF: Great spells if you want to be sneaky, tricky, or otherwise subtle.
  • LevistusMToF: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus, but more ice themed.
  • MammonMToF: Situational utility options.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Flame Blade is garbage.
  • ZarielMToF: The smite spells are appealing for melee warlocks, but no one else.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: The Customizing Your Origin optional rules make the Feral variant obsolete. All it does is rearrange your ability score increases.
  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Similar to Fierna, but more useful in combat and less useful outside of combat.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus. The difference is mostly personal preference.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Permanent non-magical flight, and it works in up to medium armor so hexblades can remain aloft and shoot stuff with crossbows.

Default Rules: Bonus Charisma, and most subraces/variants provide Charisma-based innate spellcasting. The Flames of Phlegethos feat is tempting for Infernal pact warlocks, but it may not be worth the feat with the Warlock’s limited pool of spell slots.

  • AsmodeusPHB/MToF: A perfectly fine option, but the Intelligence is wasted and you can find better spells from other subraces.
  • BaalzebulMToF: Roughly equivalent to Asmodeus but the spells are more directly offensive.
  • DispaterMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • FiernaMToF: The Wisdom is largely wasted, but the spells are great for a Face.
  • GlasyaMToF: Dexterity means better AC, and the spells are great if you want to be sneaky or tricky.
  • LevistusMToF: Constitution means more hit points, and the spells offer a nice mix of defensive, offensive, and utility options.
  • MammonMToF: The Intelligence is wasted, and the leveled spells are highly situational.
  • MephistophelesMToF: Flame Blade is garbage. Go for the Hellfire variant instead.
  • ZarielMToF: Strength is wasted, but that doesn’t matter much. The big draw is the smite spells, and Hexblades are the only ones who would use them but they already get smite spells so the spells may not be impactful beyond low level.
  • Variant: FeralSCAG: Dexterity is normally fine for a melee build, but for Warlocks you’ll be using your Charisma thanks to Hexblade, and giving up the Charisma build hurts any warlock.

    According to the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, the Feral Variant is compatible with other variants.

  • Variant: Devil’s TongueSCAG: Arguably better spell options for a Warlock, the Devil’s Tongue Tiefling focuses on mind-affecting spells.
  • Variant: HellfireSCAG: Burning Hands is about as good for the Warlock as Hellish Rebuke, but doesn’t require you to be hit to use it.
  • Variant: WingedSCAG: Flight is fantastic, especially for a class so dependent on ranged combat. Sure, you give up the Tiefling’s innate spellcasting, but the ability to remain in flight means that you don’t need to look for magical options to get off the ground.

TortleTP / MMoM

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and AC fixed at 17 without worrying about actual armor. Not quite as good as the Mountain Dwarf (poison resistance, Darkvision) or the Githyanki (innate spellcasting), but pretty close. The Tortle’s AC isn’t as remarkable for the Warlock as it is for the Sorcerer and the Wizard because the Warlock has access to medium armor and shield via the Hexblade.

Default Rules: Despite the lack of a Charisma increase, Tortles can be a great choice for a Pact of the Blade Warlock. 17 natural armor means that your AC is as good as a comparable warlock with 20 Dexterity, allowing you to focus on quickly raising your Charisma instead without worrying about your AC.

Triton

UpdatedMMoM: Cold resistance and Darkvision are fine, but Darkvision won’t let you see through your own Fog Cloud and neither will Devil’s Sight.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: Three +1 increases and Darkvision. The innate spellcasting is neat, but the spells are very situational.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: A fantastic option for blade pact warlocks. Good ability score increases, and the innate spellcasting provides some good utility options.

VedalkenGGTR

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases, one skill, and one tool. Vedalken Dispassion provides an excellent defensive option, and Tireless Precision can make you more effective at some non-magical stuff. If you just want durability the Yuan-Ti Pureblood may be more effective, but the Vedalken is still a very effective choice.

Default Rules: Bad ability spread.

VerdanAcInc

Customized Origin: +2/+1 increases and one skill, but in the context of the Customizing Your Origin rule, the advantages which make the Verdan special largely vanish. Black-Blood Healing is neat but not essential, and Telepathic Insight can’t compete with races like the Kalashtar, the Vedalken, and the Yuan-Ti.

Default Rules: Constitution and Charisma is a perfect combination for a Charisma-based spellcaster, and getting Persuasion for free is great. You’ll almost certainly be your party’s Face, and the Verdan’s Telepathic Insight can go a long way to address language barriers despite its limited capabilities.

WarforgedERLW

Customized Origin: The Customizing Your Origin rules make no meaningful changes to the Warforged. You can move the Constitution increase around, but increasing Constitution is still the best way to use that increase.

Default Rules: The flexible ability increase goes into Charisma, and the Warforged’s other traits will make you more durable than a typical warlock. A warforged with Mage Armor would have an AC of 14+Dex totally unequipped, allowing you to meet the AC of characters in light armor and a shield. A warforged hexblade can do even better: half-plate, a shield, and 14 Dexterity brings you to 20 AC with very little effort.

Water GenasiMMoM

I would only consider this in an aquatic campaign.

Yuan-Ti

UpdatedMMoM: Most warlocks aren’t very durable, so the additional defenses of poison resistance (immunity with the old version) and Magic Resistance are very welcome.

Classic (Customized Origin)VGtM: +2/+1 increase, Darkvision, and poison immunity. Magic Resistance is a fantastic defense on any character, and since the Warlock gets so few spell slots, it’s nice to know that you can rely more on saving throws instead of rushing to cast Counterspell whenever you encounter other spellcasters.

Classic (Default Rules)VGtM: Good Charisma, some truly awful innate spellcasting, Magic Resistance, and Poison Immunity.

Dragonmarks

Dragonmarks are uniquely helpful for the Warlock. Any amount of extra spellcasting can significantly improve your capabilities since your spell slots are so limited. Because your spell slots work differently from other spellcasters, spells which scale when they’re cast with a higher-level spell slot can often be good options even though other spells on a specific dragonmark’s spell list aren’t interesting.

Dragonmarked DwarfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Warding: While most of the dragonmark spells are new to the Warlock’s spell list, they’re nearly all situational utility options which you may never find a use for. The skill bonuses are fine but don’t line up particularly well with the Warlock’s ability scores, and the innate spellcasting is only consistently useful for Mage Armor.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Warding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Shadow: Misty Step once per day is nice, and the dragonmark spells give you some interesting transportation options that normally aren’t available to the Warlock.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Shadow: The ability score increases are great, the innate spellcasting is good, and there are several dragonmark spells which warlocks can normally only get from specific patrons.
Dragonmarked GnomeERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Scribing: While some of the dragonmark spells are new (Arcane Eye, Silence), most of them aren’t, and the innate spellcasting is very situational. With the ability to rearrange your ability score increases, Mark of Scribing needs to compete with dragonmarks (not to mention other races) which provide much more exciting spell options. Plus, much of the Mark of Scribing’s capabilities can be replicated or made obsolete by the Great Old One.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Scribing: The ability score increases work, and several of the dragonmark spells are new to the Warlock’s spell list, but most of the spells aren’t very good.
Dragonmarked Half-ElfERLW

Dragonmark traits replace some of your normal racial traits, as described in the entry for each Dragonmark.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Detection: Mark of Detection was already a great choice for the Warlock, and the ability to rearrange the ability increases makes it even better. Every one of the dragonmark spells is new to the Warlock’s spell list, the innate spellcasting includes some staple divination options, and the skill bonuses can be very useful, especially if you take Insight to complement your Face skills.
  • Mark of Storm: The options are almost all weird, situational stuff that you’ll almost never use.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Detection: The ability score increases work, and with the exception of two spells available to great old one warlocks, every spell provided by Mark of Detection is new to the Warlock spell list. Many of the spells are powerful divination options, offering great utility and scouting options.
  • Mark of Storm: The ability score increases work, and while most of the spells aren’t very good they’re quickly replaced by better options as you gain levels, and easy to replace spells known, and several of the better spells aren’t on the Warlock’s spell list.
Dragonmarked Half-OrcERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: None of the dragonmark spells are on the Warlock’s spell list, but most of them are very situational. The skill bonuses are decent, but not great. The innate spellcasting is similarly decent, but Hunter’s Mark is redundant with Hex and Locate Object is very situational. As a whole this is fine, but it’s not as impressive as Mark of Detection which is appealing for the same reasons but offers better spells.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: Bad ability spread.
Dragonmarked HalflingERLW

Dragonmark traits replace your subrace.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Healing: Somewhat redundant with the Celestial patron, but if you’re desperate for a healer and you just can’t bring yourself to make a pact with a celestial, Mark of Healing provides all of the crucial healing options which your party needs to do without a cleric or druid.
  • Mark of Hospitality: None of the dragonmark spells are on the Warlock’s spell list, and there are a couple fun abuse cases. Wake up in the morning, cast Goodberry and Aid, then take an immediate Short Rest. The innate spellcasting is all decent utility options, and a d4 to Charisma (Persuasion) checks is spectacular for a Face.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Healing: Bad ability spread. Adding healing spells to the warlock feels great, but generally the Celestial patron can handle that need.
  • Mark of Hospitality: The ability score increases work well, and the spellcasting is surprisingly good for the Warlock. The innate spellcasting offers useful utility options, and the low-level spells include great options that scale well with spell level.
Dragonmarked HumanERLW

Dragonmark traits replace ALL of your normal racial traits.

Customized Origin:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: Unless you’re really worried about beasts, there’s little to be gained here. The ability to use Animal Friendship and Speak With Animals against monstrosities is neat, but very situational.
  • Mark of Making: Every one of the dragonmark spells is new, and several of them are excellent utility options and buffs.
  • Mark of Passage: A bunch of new ways to get around magically, but if you just want Misty Step you’ll do better with the Eladrin.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Numerous powerful defensive options from the cleric and paladin spell lists, plus Shield once per day for free. Vigilant Guardian is probably only useful for hexblades, but you might also use it to keep your familiar alive if you have one.

Default Rules:

  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Finding: See Mark of Finding under Dragonmarked Half-Orc, above. Mechanically, the final racial traits are identical.
  • Mark of Handling: The ability score increases can work, but many of the racial traits depend on you always having Animal Friendship and Speak With Animals prepared, and neither of them scale as you gain levels. Spending a 5th-level spell slot on a mediocre 1st-level spell feels terrible, and it’s rarely useful as you reach mid-level.
  • Mark of Making: The ability score increases can work, but the spellcasting isn’t especially useful. Magic Weapon won’t work on pact weapons, hexblades already get elemental weapon, and there aren’t enough other good options on the spell list to make up for how many options aren’t useful for you.
  • Mark of Passage: Dexterity and Charisma are great, free Misty Step is excellent, and nearly every one of the dragonmark spells is new to the Warlock’s spell list.
  • Mark of Sentinel: Bad ability spread.

Lineages

Published in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and beyond, no Lineage exists prior to the introduction of the Customizing Your Origin rules, and as such each lineage has flexible ability score increases. Every Lineage has the choice of +2/+1 increases or three +1 increases except for the Custom Lineage which only receives a single +2 increase.

Lineages are applied on top of a base race. While the Custom Lineage isn’t affected by your base race, the three lineages published in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft (Dhampir, Hexblade, and Reborn) borrow from your base race thanks to the Ancestral Legacy trait. Despite selecting a base race, you do not count as a member of your race for the purposes of any other effect, such as qualifying for feats or using magic items.

Custom LineageTCoE

A single +2 increase is all that the Warlock really needs. A feat is a powerful asset, and if you want you could pick a feat which gives you a +1 Charisma increase, allowing you to start at level 1 with 18 Charisma. You also get either a skill or Darkvision, and I recommend Darkvision unless you plan to take Devil’s Sight.

DhampirVGTR

Sadly, I don’t think you’re able to use Hex Warrior with the Dhampir’s bite, so there’s little to be had here. Sure, Spider Climb is near, but that’s just not enough, especially since you can get flight from Ancestral Legacy. You could use Ancestral Legacy for the skills, but at that point you’re basically a tabaxi who can walk on ceilings.

HexbloodVGTR

Hex and Disguise Self for free save you the trouble of learning them, not to mention saving you spell slots since you can cast each of them once per day for free. Ancestral Legacy can get you either two skills or a movement type, and either is a great options. Flight is probably the go-to choice here, making the Hexblood at least equal to the Fairy in effectiveness..

RebornVGTR

An interesting choice for a melee hexblade, the Reborn’s durability is a nice addition to a relatively frail front-line build. Ancestral Legacy can get you two skills or flight, but if you want flight you’ll likely do better with other options like the Fairy or the Hexblood. If you go for skills, you can expand beyond Face skills, and Knowledge From a Past Life will provide a useful bonus on skill checks..