A Warlock’s Guide to Eldritch Invocations in 5th Edition D&D

The warlock coughed wetly, sending a cloud of dust into the air. She looked across her desk, strewn with tomes and scrolls written in languages she barely read. “I signed this pact to get away from research,” she muttered bitterly. “Whatever tasty secrets I uncover better be bloody worth it.”

Table of Contents

Congratulations! Your relentless research into all things blasphemous and chthonic has helped you discover an Eldritch Invocation!

… so what the heck does that mean?

Invocations are like a utility belt for Warlocks. Imagine you’re handed a plate and sent off to the magic-power-buffet to gorge yourself. Whether you are looking to compensate for one of Warlock’s weaknesses, or should you choose to double-down on a strength, you can find an Invocation just for you.

So, if you want to drop a fire elemental in the middle of the tavern and jump 20 feet straight up into the rafters to avoid the consequences, come along! Grab your magnifying glass, crack open your Infernal-to-Common dictionary, and let’s uncover some Eldritch Invocations!

Using This Guide

Everything in this guide has an emoji, ranking how useful a given ability or feature is to playing this class effectively.

✅ — An absolutely crucial feature. Often forms the backbone of a class’ look and feel. Will provide some bonus that can’t be found through other means.

🆗 — A solid feature that does its job well. Not game-breaking, and certainly replaceable, but a strong choice that shores up some weakness.

⚠️ — A debatable choice. Could work for a specific build, but otherwise is either a wasted opportunity or is just weaker than other alternatives.

⛔ — Outright bad and detrimental. This weighs down the class and just takes up space on the character sheet. A weakness you will have to accommodate for.

These rankings are meant to help you create an optimized class build, but remember DnD isn’t a game where you need to win to have fun. Weaker but flavorful builds also have their place and can make for fulfilling characters.

What Are Eldritch Invocations?

As Warlocks level up, they get to select a number of Eldritch Invocations. Each Invocation grants a unique effect, ranging from new spells to extra attacks to emergency ice shields. There are even Invocations that let a Warlock customize and upgrade their eldritch blast and their Pact Boon.

Many Invocations have level requirements, but in exchange these Invocations offer the most powerful abilities. Warlock can sometimes plateau in power during high-level play, so such Invocations help keep Warlock relevant.

There are over four dozen Invocations to choose from, so much of their usefulness comes from how adaptable they make Warlock. At any point in the game, Warlock can switch their build without much backtracking and begin taking certain Invocations to go down a new playstyle path.

Player Tip

Which Invocations Are Best?

While this varies between characters, a few Invocations are useful for any Warlock. Eldritch Mind makes all spellcasting easier, Agonizing Blast is a straightforward damage upgrade on your most common attack, and Sculptor of Flesh is ridiculously versatile. Additionally, look for Invocations that require a certain Pact Boon, as they tend to be pretty powerful. Finally an invisibility effect will never hurt, like One With Shadows or Shroud of Shadow.

How To Use Invocations

Warlocks get their first pair of Invocations at Level 2, but can grab one earlier with the Eldritch Adept feat. After that, they choose a new Invocation at Level 5, Level 7, Level 9, Level 12, Level 15, and Level 18, for a total of eight Invocations. Whenever a new Invocation is chosen, a previously selected one can be swapped out for a different Invocation. Check out the “When To Swap Out Invocations” section for an in-depth explanation of this.

If you’re in a rush and need a quick list of the top Invocations, TheGamer has just the thing available here.

Each Invocation comes with its own instruction label, as it were. Here are the different ways to use Invocations, but many have their own variations on these formulas, so be sure to read each of your Invocations carefully:

  • Bonus effect for the eldritch blast cantrip
  • Bonus effect for your Pact Boon
  • New spell that you can cast at-will without using a spell slot
  • New spell that you can cast once a day without using a spell slot
  • New spell that you can cast once a day using a Warlock spell slot
  • Permanent ongoing effect (ex. darkvision or skill proficiencies)
  • Activated effect with a set duration

For tips on which Invocations power-up your Pact Boon the best, see our complete Pact Boon guide here.

List of Invocations

Level 1

Agonizing Blast

Making eldritch blast hit harder? Yes please. Pick this up if you want to contribute to combat in any way. There are very few ways to play Warlock that don’t involve taking this particular Invocation.

Armor of Shadows

This gives armorless spellcasters slightly better than the equivalent of light armor, whereas you can already use light armor. Skip it.

Beast Speech

Quite simply a weak effect that isn’t worth a whole Invocation. Druid and Ranger are doing this already, either leave it to them or just multiclass. Skip it.

⚠️ Beguiling Influence

It’s easy to get proficiency in these via your class skills or background skills. Still, if you’d rather take other skills during character creation, this can give you the social skills needed to be the party’s face.

🆗 Devil’s Sight

Darkvision’s big brother. This gives you bigger range and lets you see through magical darkness, which makes some ambush strategies using the darkness spell viable.

Eldritch Mind

This will net you more value from your limited spell slots, and goes a long way for making concentration spells worth learning. Many other Invocations are also devalued because they grant a concentration spell, so they get better if you take this Invocation.

⚠️ Eldritch Sight

Detect magic is super handy, but Warlock can get access to it in better ways than this. Book of Ancient Secrets, for instance.

🆗 Eldritch Spear

Almost no other attack in the game can beat this range. At its most useful when fighting a siege battle or blasting an enemy ship at sea. Bonus points for the meme potential when paired with the Spell Sniper feat for a 600 foot range eldritch blast.

Eyes of the Rune Keeper

You can get this effect with Book of Ancient Secrets and comprehend languages, which gives you another spell too. Skip it.

🆗 Fiendish Vigor

Bloody lifesaving for five levels, then just neat after that. It doesn’t require concentration to hold onto those bonus hit points either, which is nice.

Gaze of Two Minds

Hooray, you can live vicariously through another humanoid! Why would you need to see their experiences when they can just sit down with you and tell you what they saw? The target needs to be willing, so this doesn’t even work on enemies. Skip it. 

⚠️ Grasp of Hadar

Meh. This effect doesn’t trigger opportunity attacks, and having enemies closer is often a liability. The only real situation you would want this Invocation for is if you are rearranging the battlefield so enemies enter area-of-effect spells.

⚠️ Lance of Lethargy

Slow effects are either incredibly handy for preventing a horde of enemies from dogpiling you, or incredibly useless because the enemy is already next to you.

Mask of Many Faces

The versatility of looking like someone else should not be underestimated, especially not for someone with Charisma as high as Warlock. Being able to do this repeatedly at-will makes this Invocation incredibly powerful.

Misty Visions

Silent image is a personal favourite. Your illusion could create whole rooms, a patrolling guard, or give your party a hiding spot. It’s very versatile with a cooperative DM. The Invocation also lets you cast it at-will, which is always nice.

⚠️Repelling Blast

This won’t trigger opportunity attacks, but can be nice to help rearrange the battlefield. The push ability is also optional, so you can skip it entirely until it’s useful. However, it’s just not that big of a bonus to warrant taking up an Invocation.

⚠️Thief of Five Fates

You get a handy debuff for your spell slot, but it’s not especially powerful. Later in the game when you get higher level spell slots, you can cast bane on several targets, but at that point you want spells to do more than inconvenience enemies.

Level 3

Aspect of the Moon

Pact of the Tome

Enjoy the roleplay of doing quiet reading while everyone else sleeps. Skip it.

🆗 Book of Ancient Secrets

Pact of the Tome

Some pretty solid utility, and helps compensate for your low spell slot count. Adding new rituals as you adventure is probably the best part of this (your selection when taking this Invocation is pretty measly).

🆗 Gift of the Ever-Living Ones

Pact of the Chain

When rolling hit dice during a short rest, you should expect to see an extra 2-4 hit points healed per dice on average thanks to this Invocation. That adds up. Where this effect really shines is when someone casts a healing spell on you, because their dice are also affected. If you find yourself needing constant healing, this can guarantee you get a decent chunk of life back each time.

🆗 Improved Pact Weapon

Pact of the Blade

Range! If you are already using Dexterity for your Pact weapon attacks, the option to summon ranged weapons plays well with that and opens up new possibilities for murder. The +1 to attack and damage rolls is always nice, though at a high enough level your Pact weapon might already have the same bonus, and it doesn’t stack.

Investment of the Chain Master

Pact of the Chain

Take this Invocation if you have Pact of the Chain! It takes your cute-but-ineffective familiar and turns them into a party member in their own right. This Invocation alone makes Pact of the Chain remotely worthwhile.

⚠️Rebuke of the Talisman

Pact of the Talisman

First off, the push is required if you want to deal damage. This is great when knocking away an enemy with no movement left, preventing any follow-up attacks. It’s less good when your ally wearing the talisman is the one who can’t follow up on an enemy who is suddenly out of range. This Invocation just has a few too many hoops to jump through to make its damage reliable.

🆗 Voice of the Chain Master

Pact of the Chain

This makes your pact familiar into the ideal scout, and can even create some fun roleplay opportunities. It’s not top tier for Pact of the Chain Invocations, but still worth picking up.

For a look at all the different Pact Boons, including some useful calculations to determine power levels, check out this guide from RPGBOT.

Level 5

⚠️ Cloak of Flies

The damage doesn’t have a save, so it’s guaranteed. This works best with a melee Warlock who is already next to enemies. Otherwise it’s just an Intimidation buff during social interactions. You’re better off just trying to improve your Intimidation skill.

⚠️ Eldritch Smite

Pact of the Blade

This can be up to 5d8 extra damage, plus you knock the target prone without a save. Sadly, you’d be hard pressed to find a situation where this effect is worth the spell slot it costs to use. Most of your spells will already be similarly damaging or disruptive.

Far Scribe

Pact of the Tome

Upside: infinite sending spells to your best buddies. Downside: you only get to pick a handful of buddies. Otherwise this is functionally the same as the base spell. Just send a messenger pigeon instead. Skip it.

Gift of the Depths

Alright, but only if you go underwater a lot, and if that’s the case you should have gotten these bonuses from somewhere else during character creation. Skip it.

🆗 Maddening Hex

Free damage every turn if you don’t have anything better to spend a bonus action on, which Warlock often doesn’t. The only catch is the target needs to be hexed, but the definition of that is open enough that this Invocation will see plenty of use. 

⚠️Mire the Mind

One of the better save-or-suck spells, slow is hurt by the fact it is completely negated with a successful Wisdom save. Since using this Invocation also burns a spell slot, it’s not the best use of your resources.

🆗 One with Shadows

Almost any room will have a dark patch, meaning this acts like invisibility being cast at-will. The downside is you can’t move, but you can still get advantage on surprise attacks or gain disadvantage to being hit.

Sign of Ill Omen

If your bestow curse sticks, it’s a great debuff, but it is just a little too easy to overcome, either by the target passing saves or when your concentration is broken. Not really worth the spell slot it uses. Skip it.

Thirsting Blade

Pact of the Blade

This Invocation on its own is what makes a weapon Warlock viable. Otherwise you won’t be able to keep up with the damage output of dedicated combat classes. If you take the Pact of the Blade, this is a requirement.

⚠️Tomb of Levistus

This one is weird, but so much fun. Because you’re incapacitated next turn and then lose all your temporary hit points when you recover, this works best to save you from certain death. The upside is you gain so many temporary hit points almost any attack will be absorbed, even fireballs big enough to instantly kill you instead of knocking you out.

Undying Servitude

It doesn’t take a spell slot, but that’s actually a downside. If you were spending a spell slot, the effect would at least scale up at higher levels. As it stands, you always get just one crappy 1/4 CR undead pet. Skip it.

Level 7

 ⛔ Bewitching Whispers

Moderate crowd control, but you have to work stupidly hard to make this hurt enemies. And that’s if they’re even affected. This also burns a spell slot. Skip it.

Dreadful Word

It’s hard to recommend Invocations that burn a spell slot when you already have so few. You’re essentially trading a better Invocation to learn a spell. And confusion is random enough that it’s definitely not worth that trade. Skip it. 

Ghostly Gaze

X-ray vision is always a win. Recon becomes laughably easy, you can see hidden doors and secret rooms, and even if you don’t want any of that you get limited darkvision as well.

🆗 Protection of the Talisman

Pact of the Talisman

Pact of the Talisman really needs this as a basic feature, so while it’s a shame you have to waste an Invocation on it, being able to apply a d4 to saving throws is too good to pass up. This is also a separate pool of d4’s from the talisman’s basic d4’s that you add to ability checks, so you end up with tons of bonus d4’s.

⚠️Relentless Hex

Only worthwhile if you want to stab a target but haven’t closed the distance yet. It helps your battlefield maneuverability, but in a limited way that has a few too many caveats.

Sculptor of Flesh

One of the most adaptable spells in the game, polymorph is almost always worth picking up if it’s available. Turn an enemy into a rabbit and throw it into a volcano, or turn your weaponless friend into a dinosaur to wreak havoc. This is one of the few occasions where the spell gained by the Invocation is worth having to spend a spell slot to cast it.

Trickster’s Escape

It’ll be challenging to find enough situations to use this in that it becomes worth wasting an Invocation on it. Skip it.

Level 9 

🆗 Ascendant Step

Gets you off the ground and out of melee. A bit limited since you can’t move while levitating, except up and down, and since you can only cast levitate on yourself with this Invocation, you can’t turn that disadvantage on your opponents.

🆗 Gift of the Protectors

Pact of the Tome

Chances are you’re going to use this for your party members. It gives everyone a second chance in combat, which cannot be undervalued. However, it’s a passive ability that might never activate, so it only feels worth it when you really need it most.

⚠️Minions of Chaos

Still costs a spell slot, but elementals have great resistances that make them a pain in the butt for enemies. Not strictly better than any of Warlock’s other conjuring options, though.

Otherworldly Leap

Jumping in DnD acts like a worse version of flying. At this high a level, you should just invest in a spell that grants flying. Skip it. 

🆗 Whispers of the Grave

The ability to interrogate every single bloody corpse you come across can net you tons of information, just so long as you don’t piss off your DM from using it so much.

Warlock spell slots hit their 5th Level cap when you reach Level 9 in the class. Your Invocations will be doubly important from this point on, or you might consider multiclassing instead. If so, check out Flutes Loot’s guide to multiclassing here.

Level 12

⚠️ Bond of the Talisman

Pact of the Talisman

Unlimited teleport range! Sadly, you can only warp to a single point, so you lose some versatility. It also takes a full action to teleport, so you’ll be teleporting more as an escape than as a strategic maneuver.

Lifedrinker

Pact of the Blade

If you are a weapon Warlock, even with Pact of the Blade you’ll find yourself being outmatched by your most murderous party members. This Invocation evens the playing field and stacks on extra damage. Crucial if you pick Pact of the Blade.

Level 15

Chains of Carceri

Pact of the Chain

Hold monster kicks butt. Being able to do it with relative freedom is excellent. You are limited to certain enemy types and you can’t repeat the spell against the same target, but the fact that you get several casts of a spell from one Invocation is an improvement over many other Invocations on its own.

⚠️ Master of Myriad Forms

A more situational version of Mask of Many Faces. Your changed appearance is no longer an illusion, but that rarely matters. The other possible uses for alter self aren’t that great, and it is a concentration spell.

Shroud of Shadow

Just do it. Invisibility at-will presents so many opportunities for sneak attacks, reconnaissance, or just scaring people. The effect is powerful enough that this is worth it for any Warlock.

Visions of Distant Realms

A 4th level spell at-will? Sign me up! If that’s not enough to sell you on this Invocation, arcane eye itself is an incredibly useful scouting tool, with the only real downside being that it can suck up spell slots if you need to dispel and recast it when you get into combat. Being able to use it at-will fixes that downside.

⚠️Witch Sight

Neat. It won’t be game-breaking at this high a level, and the range being limited to 30 feet is a bummer, but when you deal with powerful creatures that have access to illusion and shapechanging abilities, you’ll appreciate this Invocation.

Player Tip

Which Invocations Are Best?

While this varies between characters, a few Invocations are useful for any Warlock. Eldritch Mind makes all spellcasting easier, Agonizing Blast is a straightforward damage upgrade on your most common attack, and Sculptor of Flesh is ridiculously versatile. Additionally, look for Invocations that require a certain Pact Boon, as they tend to be pretty powerful. Finally an invisibility effect will never hurt, like One With Shadows or Shroud of Shadow.

When To Swap Out Invocations

At the same time you learn a new Invocation, you are allowed to swap out one you already know for a new Invocation. This can essentially grant you two new Invocations for free if you strategically swap out a redundant Invocation.

For example, you might already know Mask of Many Faces for disguising yourself, but when you learn a new Invocation at Level 15 you might swap it for Master of Myriad Forms to gain the ability to make those disguises permanent.

Many Invocations don’t scale well at higher levels and are ripe to be swapped out. Fiendish Vigor is a good illustration of this: it allows you to cast false life, but only as a 1st Level spell. At higher levels, the temporary hit points you gain are almost negligible.

Swapping out Invocations is also a good way to pivot partway through a campaign if your Warlock build isn’t working out. You might have taken lots of utility Invocations early on, but as other spellcasting party members take over a utility role, you can swap those Invocations for offensive bonuses.

Since you can only swap Invocations when you gain a new one, Level 9 is important. Level 9 is when you get your fifth Invocation out of a possible eight, so now you’re over the halfway mark. 

You could swap out every single one of your earlier Invocations, but if you do so, you won’t be able to swap out any Invocations learned at Level 9 or later. Therefore by Level 9 you should know what direction your Warlock is headed in, so you can swap out your first four Invocations for more useful ones, and you can start learning new Invocations in-line with your chosen build.


If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends! Eldritch Invocations help make Warlock insanely adaptable, but they can be tricky to wrap your head around. We hope this guide has made Invocations a bit easier to understand. Leave us a comment below and share your favorite Invocation!

Leave a Comment