A Complete Guide To Playing A Genie Warlock In 5e D&D

The Warlock and her Genie both looked skeptically at the brass lamp. “You expect me to fit in there?” she asked, glancing up at the corporeal wind storm that was her patron. He snorted, with just a trace of nervousness himself. “I did it for a hundred years. I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

Table of Contents

Straight out of “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights” comes the Genie! Complete with magic lamp and wish-granting magic, your patron is a member of this mystical race of elementals. Depending on which type of genie you align yourself with, you can tap into one of the four elements to become a menace on the battlefield.

Genie likes to get the most out of Warlock’s spellcasting, improving your magical damage output and opening up previously unavailable spell choices. If you enjoy casting lots of spells and recharging frequently with extra-quick short rests, this might be the class for you.

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.

How To Play A Genie Warlock

When you choose the Genie subclass, you’ll also pick a particular genie type: either Dao, Djinni, Efreeti, or Marid. These genies embody earth, air, fire, and water, respectively. Your choice of genie type will change your subclass spells as well as a few other variations to your abilities.

The Genie subclass focuses on Warlock’s spellcasting. You are a very proactive caster, so you’re at your strongest when throwing out as many spells as possible. These spells will be used to slow down enemies and manipulate the battlefield (Controlling), though your base Warlock damage spells are also augmented with several new ways to dish out damage (Striking). Of these two options, the Dao, Djinni, and Marid genie types lean more towards controlling, while the Efreeti genie type is stronger at striking.

Being An Effective Controller

You can take advantage of your high damage with control spells based around slowing enemies rather than setting up obstacles or blocking line-of-sight. Create difficult terrain and then help your party kill enemies who try to trudge through.

The other option is arranging “killing zones,” in which your party can focus on finishing off an isolated group of enemies while you use control spells to hold back reinforcements. Spells creating large walls or cutting off line-of-sight shine here.

Being An Effective Striker

The best option for maximum damage will always be eldritch blast, supplemented by the Genie’s Vessel subclass feature. Take the Agonizing Blast Invocation to stack as much damage as possible on a single action.

Also look for ways to use your bonus action and reaction to deal damage. The War Caster feat helps you make better opportunity attacks, which use reactions. Several of your concentration spells let you repeat an effect with a bonus action. Combine these effects to deal the largest possible damage-per-turn.

Genie Subclass Features

Your features as Genie vary greatly between the different genie types, but you gain access to a number of offensive options to dominate in combat. These are complemented with several defensive bonuses to survive battle and recover between fights.

🆗 Expanded Spell List

1st Level

⚠️ Detect Evil And Good

Best for dungeon crawls where you could be on the opposite side of a wall from a monster without even knowing it. Otherwise, the uses are extremely limited.

🆗 Sanctuary (Dao)

Handy if you have an ally who really cannot handle themselves in combat, or for an escort quest with a high value NPC. Be wary of using this as an extra layer of defense, since it disappears as soon as you start fighting, so you should be applying it to a non-combatant.

⚠️ Thunderwave (Djinni)

Acceptable damage which does get better at higher levels. The spell originates where you’re standing, and with its close range, you would need to be surrounded by enemies for this to be effective, which is not where you should be placing yourself.

🆗 Burning Hands (Efreeti)

Efreeti has a number of simple-but-efficient damage spells, and burning hands is the first in that list. With good, scaleable damage, this will always be a solid option.

🆗 Fog Cloud (Marid)

A surprisingly good control option to block line-of-sight. This might not be what you want to spend your concentration maintaining, but especially at low levels, fog cloud can save your butt in a number of situations.

2nd Level

✅ Phantasmal Force

Excellent for roleplay and social encounters. This can mimic several other spells if you use it creatively. This could easily be mirror image, heat metal, and more.

🆗 Spike Growth (Dao)

Until you start fighting flying monsters, this is the ultimate control spell. Most enemies won’t have more than 40 feet of movement, so they will spend two turns struggling through the spikes, taking damage along the way. That is a great way to slow them down and make them reconsider charging towards your party.

⚠️ Gust Of Wind (Djinni)

Nice for knocking back enemies, but the wind gusts in a narrow line, so it is very easy for a monster to sidestep the wind and stab you.

🆗 Scorching Ray (Efreeti)

This adds up to a lot of damage at low levels. At higher levels, you can get pretty much the same effect with eldritch blast, but until then, this chews through enemies.

🆗 Blur (Marid)

With a good AC, this spell will make you a pain to hit. This is one of those defensive spells that you can cast and forget about as you start slinging cantrips.

3rd Level

⛔ Create Food And Water

If your DM makes you track rations (D&DBeyond has a nice summary of these rules), this spell can save you storage space. But even then, leave this to someone else to cast and save your precious spell slots. 

⚠️ Meld Into Stone (Dao)

Escaping from a losing fight is laughably easy—just slip inside a wall! However, having a safe place to kill a few hours won’t be useful that often.

🆗 Wind Wall (Djinni)

Against ranged or small enemies, this is an overwhelmingly good control effect. It acts as an impenetrable wall. Just know that medium or larger enemies can still walk right through the wind.

✅ Fireball (Efreeti)

Renowned as the best damage spell in the game. No other spell matches fireball for efficiency, and its huge area-of-effect lets you burn a load of enemies in one go. This will be your go-to damage spell, even at higher levels.

✅ Sleet Storm (Marid)

A very strong control effect. With a 40 foot radius, you can affect a lot of the battlefield at once, removing line-of-sight and turning the ground into a slip-and-slide. On top of that, there is the effect to trigger additional concentration checks on enemies, which can help eliminate troublesome lingering magic.

4th Level

⚠️ Phantasmal Killer

Damaging and possibly frightening an enemy is fine, but you sort of expect more punch from a 4th Level spell. Only affecting a single target isn’t great, either.

🆗 Stone Shape (Dao)

One of those spells that asks you to get creative, but if you do, it is quite strong. Aside from starting a pottery business, you can block off doors, create stairs, make yourself stone weapons, create difficult terrain… the possibilities are limitless.

✅ Greater Invisibility (Djinni)

Invisibility is one of the best effects in the game. Get sneak attacks with advantage, give wedgies without being seen, slip past enemies—this spell lets you do it all, and for a full minute.

⚠️ Fire Shield (Efreeti)

A damage resistance is nice, especially since this isn’t a concentration spell. However, unless you’re in the middle of combat or getting flanked, you’ll never get to hurt enemies with the shield, so most of the time it is only a damage resistance.

⚠️ Control Water (Marid)

You actually get a nice toolkit of effects from this one spell. Sadly they are all dependent on already being near water, so their usefulness is limited.

5th Level

🆗 Creation

Being able to conjure almost anything you want for at least 1 minute is wonderful. Grab a weapon out of thin air, or a perfect skeleton key. Just watch the timer before your creation turns to dust.

🆗 Wall Of Stone (Dao)

Not as many fun effects as the other wall spells, but when you need a straightforward barrier, wall of stone has you covered. A couple neat details like the fact the wall doesn’t need to be vertical so long as it’s supported give you some flexibility with how you use this spell.

🆗 Seeming (Djinni)

Odds are you won’t need to disguise your entire party at once for hours on end, but when you do, seeming takes the cake. It’s reasonably niche, but excels at its specialty.

⚠️ Flame Strike (Efreeti)

This is almost a direct downgrade from fireball unless you specifically need to deal radiant damage or if you want a more controlled blast.

✅ Cone Of Cold (Marid)

Very big damage in a very big area-of-effect. Probably the most efficient damage spell you’ll have as Marid Genie before dipping into your Mystic Arcanum.

Level 9

✅ Wish

Best spell in the game. Lets you do literally anything, including casting any other spell of 8th Level or lower. The spell’s description is essentially a long-winded explanation that you can do anything. Even the risk of never getting to cast it ever again can’t offset the sheer power on display here.

🆗 Genie’s Vessel

Being able to retreat to an extradimensional hidey-hole is very effective for hiding from pursuing guards or if you’re so low on health you need to escape combat. The real strength of this feature is the extra damage on an attack roll. Since it’s only a single roll, this doesn’t overclock eldritch blast too much, but still amps up your damage per turn.

✅ Elemental Gift

A good ol’ damage resistance is always nice. Getting access to bludgeoning resistance (Dao) or thunder resistance (Djinni) is sweet since there are very few alternatives for getting those specific resistances. But the best new ability is a flying speed, and you can use it frequently enough that you’ll be airborne during every combat in a day.

✅ Sanctuary Vessel

Dragging your party into your vessel makes rests so much easier. Being secure inside is a great carrot to dangle over your party’s head when begging them for a short rest to refill your spell slots, as is finishing the rest in ten minutes. With this there is almost no downside to pausing for a rest, and extra recovered HP is even better.

✅ Limited Wish

Wish is hands down the strongest spell in the game. Getting even a limited version of it three levels early is game-changing. Pulling literally any spell effect of 6th Level or lower out of nowhere is ridiculously flexible, so you’re always ready for the worst.

Read our full guide on Warlock spells here.

The Perfect Genie Build

Many of your subclass spells will become the core of your spell list, so let them be specialized and take more generally useful spells from the base Warlock spell options. You want to pick up as many extra spells as possible in your travels, through racial features, feats, Invocations, or Pact Boons. Finally, fully commit to being a combat spellcaster first and foremost, even when that means letting other things like melee defense go by the wayside.

Ability Scores

⛔ Strength

Dump stat.

⚠️ Dexterity

Your subclass features don’t steer you towards either Dexterity or Constitution as your primary defensive ability. When possible, grab some extra Dexterity for higher AC.

🆗 Constitution

See Dexterity, but since Constitution helps your concentration checks, it gets priority.

⛔ Intelligence

Dump stat.

⛔ Wisdom

Dump stat.

✅ Charisma

Genie really likes to cast spells, so as your spellcasting ability, Charisma is the star of the show. Get it as high as possible to make eldritch blast really sting and to ensure your control spells have a high DC to resist them.

Races

✅ Almost all Tieflings make great Genie Warlocks, but Baalzebul, Levistus, and Hellfire Tieflings are standouts. Verdan, Warforged, and Yuan-Ti Purebloods double-down on defense to make you more combat-capable. Aasimar, Eladrin, Half-Elf, and Satyr are all good options, too.

🆗 Changelings, Dragonborn, Simic Hybrid, Tabaxi, Triton, and Variant Humans each bring some combat skill to the table, including extra damage resistances or better defense.

Feats

⚠️ Elemental Adept

There’s fun synergy here if you choose your spell list with your patron’s damage type in mind (check the Elemental Gift feature to see what I’m talking about). That won’t work for Dao, but the other genie types can dish out more elemental damage. This kind of specialization might work best by multiclassing into a second spellcasting class—here’s a guide by Gavin O. at Enworld explaining how to specialize in particular damage types, including spell lists which multiclassing gives you access to almost all of.

🆗 Spell Sniper

Extra range on eldritch blast and you ignore cover? Nothing is safe. Getting another offensive cantrip is always good too, giving you tons of flexibility in combat.

✅ War Caster

Your control spells will thank you for taking this feat. It makes it infinitely easier to maintain concentration and keep control effects running. An eldritch blast on a reaction also helps increase your damage-per-turn.

Invocations

✅ Agonizing Blast

You want to deal as much damage as possible. Eldritch blast is the best way to do that. Take this Invocation.

🆗 Fiendish Vigor

You can probably do with the extra HP, especially at low levels. Take this and swap it out later on for something better.

✅ Maddening Hex

Try to Hex everything you can, which will make this Invocation deal free damage as a bonus action.

✅ Sculptor of Flesh

Polymorph is just so good, especially for a spellcasting-heavy subclass. You’ll be well-prepared to maintain concentration, so your ally that you turn into a giant ape can rampage for the entire spell duration.

Read our full guide on Warlock invocations here.

Warlock Pact Boons

Far and away the best choice is Pact of the Tome. Getting access to more spells as a spellcasting-heavy subclass is a no-brainer. Any offensive cantrips are powered up by your Genie’s Vessel feature, and utility cantrips help fill gaps in your spell list.

Unfortunately, Pact of the Tome doesn’t have the best Invocations. For sure grab Book of Ancient Secrets, easy access to key utility spells your party may be otherwise lacking. To build on the protection offered by the Bottled Respite feature, you can also take Gift of the Protectors to save allies from death.

While Pact of the Talisman has some useful bonuses, they are outweighed by the advantage of getting more spells. Pact of the Chain and Pact of the Blade aren’t aligned with Genie’s specialties, and are therefore not worth your time.

Spells

Cantrip

✅ Eldritch Blast

A Warlock mainstay for good reason. Your best source of damage.

🆗 Toll the Dead

Perfect for hurting enemies with AC too high for eldritch blast to hit.

1st Level

✅ Hex

Please use this all the time. It adds up to free damage against whatever you cast it on, and you get to reuse it when the target dies. Too efficient to pass up.

2nd Level

🆗 Darkness

A solid control option to eliminate line-of-sight, though a bit more passive than Genie would like to be.

3rd Level

✅ Hunger of Hadar

One of the best control spells in the game. Tears through enemies and practically stops them dead in their tracks.

4th Level

⚠️ Elemental Bane

If your spell list is built around one damage type to match your genie type, this is a powerful way to synergize and rack up bonus damage while also removing any pesky resistances.

🆗 Summon Aberration

A great offensive option that occupies enemies. Getting to choose from three flavors of aberration means you can adapt perfectly to the situation.

5th Level

✅ Synaptic Static

Just great damage, and the penalty to attacks and ability checks leaves targets who survive open to follow ups.

🆗 Wall Of Light

The perfect obstacle to slam onto the battlefield and assist your party’s retreat. Can even be dropped in the middle of a crowd to split enemies up into manageable chunks.

6th Level

🆗 Circle of Death

It’s a ton of damage. That is all. Very powerful area-of-effect.

7th Level

✅ Crown Of Stars

Mathematically one of the strongest damage spells. This gives you something very worthwhile to do with your bonus action.

🆗 Forcecage

Incredible for locking up a group of enemies and easing the pressure on your party.

8th Level

✅ Maddening Darkness

A massive control spell meant to wipe groups of enemies off the battlefield. Very efficient at finishing off small enemies while disabling stronger ones.

9th Level

🆗 Psychic Scream

Picking your targets to inflict this much damage is so good. You can essentially point at the biggest threats on the battlefield and erase them.

Equipment

With only a light armor proficiency, your highest AC option is studded leather. Fortunately, you get a damage resistance to offset this weakness.

If you decide to dial back the spell-slinging for a moment, your best weapon options are greatclubs, handaxes, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, and spears. For ranged weapons, turn to the light crossbow.


At the crossroads of adaptable Warlock subclass features and excellent flavor lies the Genie Warlock. If you found this guide helpful, share it with your friends! And leave us a comment mentioning which of the four genie types is your favorite (I’m a Marid man, myself).

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