When playing a Warlock in Baldur’s Gate 3, you’ll often be wondering why would you ever use anything other than Eldritch Blast to attack. But since Wyll, our resident Warlock, is the famous Blade of Frontiers, he really should be taking the Pact of the Blade and using a melee weapon of some sort. As a result, our Wyll build says no to endless Eldritch Blast spam and instead goes the melee route that easily outpaces an Eldritch Blast caster in terms of raw damage, and brings heaps of utility on top of that.
It’s worth noting that since it takes some doing to create a melee Warlock who can consistently deal more than the 3d10 + 30 damage of a high-level Eldritch Blast, this companion build is slightly more involved than our other companion builds. It utilizes Multiclassing and some specific gear. Still, we believe the end result is worth it.
Companion Build Goals
To start things off, here are our general guidelines for companion builds:
Here are the key things that will make our Wyll build work:
- Key Spells
- Important Gear
- Diadem of Arcane Synergy
- Luminous Armour
- Luminous Gloves
- Boots of Stormy Clamour
- Duellist’s Prerogative
As The Blade of Frontiers, Wyll is supposed to be using rapiers as his main weapon. As a Pact of the Blade Warlock, he’ll be able to bind and effectively use any weapon in the game. Which is good, as there aren’t that many good rapiers in Baldur’s Gate 3. But then partway through Act 3, we will be able to find Duellist’s Prerogative. This legendary rapier is not just good, it actively supports this swashbuckling noble archetype the game suggests for Wyll.
Until we get there, we’ll be using whatever we can find. Thanks to the Duelling fighting style we’ll grab upon reaching the second level of Paladin, our one-handed weapons will deal respectable damage. We’ll also be able to use a shield with them. Duellist’s Prerogative works best without one, but until you find it, you really should be using a shield.
Speaking of Paladin levels. Wyll’s personality and backstory paint him as essentially a Paladin stuck in a Warlock’s body already. And since Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t take any issue with combining levels of these seemingly incompatible classes, we’ll be doing it to great effect.
Just two levels of Paladin will give us access to medium armour, a reliable source of Radiant damage we’ll be happy to have, the Duelling fighting style, some light healing, access to a number of useful spells, and of course Divine Smite. The beauty of Divine Smite is that we’ll be able to use our Warlock spell slots to cast it. Not only will this maximize its potential damage, with the Warlock slots recharging after a Short Rest, we’ll be able to do plenty of high-level smiting.
When talking about a melee Warlock, the big elephant in the room is Eldritch Blast. With its multiple high-damage beams, it becomes pretty ridiculous once you equip the Potent Robe that doubles the Charisma damage bonus to cantrips. But don’t worry, our melee Wyll will also double his Charisma damage bonus. Thanks to the Diadem of Arcane Synergy, whenever he inflicts a condition, he’ll get Arcane Synergy. This status adds his spellcasting modifier to his weapon damage. And since as a Pact of the Blade Warlock, his spellcasting modifier is his main attack attribute, this works out perfectly.
Our job then will be to equip him with specific gear, ensuring that each of his melee attacks applies conditions to his targets. As a result, whenever Wyll deals Radiant damage — and we’ll make sure he always does — he’ll be applying 4 turns of Radiating Orb and 2 turns of Reverberation to his main target, and 2 turns of Radiating Orb in an area around his main target. Each turn of Radiating Orb lowers a target’s Attack Rolls by 1, while each turn of Reverberation lowers their Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution Saving Throws by 1. This means that after our Wyll starts hitting them, if they even survive, his targets won’t be able to hit anything back, and they’ll have a hard time resisting the spells of our other party members.
It’s worth noting that while we don’t condone the usage of bugs in our builds, as of live Patch #4, the extra attack you get from Pact of the Blade stacks with extra attacks from other sources. So, if you take 5 levels of Warlock and then something like 7 levels of Paladin, you’ll get three attacks per Action.
Here’s what Wyll will look like when you initially recruit him as a level 1 Warlock:
- Race/Subrace – Human
- Starting Class – Warlock
- 8 Strength
- 13 Dexterity
- 14 Constitution
- 13 Intelligence
- 10 Wisdom
- 17 Charisma
- Background – Folk Hero
- Skill Proficiencies
- Starting Cantrips
- Starting Spells
Spells and Abilities
This section will highlight all the things we’ll be picking when raising Wyll’s level.
Subclass and Pact
When we first recruit him, Wyll will already have his Subclass. For story reasons, his patron is The Fiend. We’re fine with that because this is the best Warlock subclass for melee characters. On top of access to some top-tier offensive spells, The Fiend also gets us Dark One’s Blessing, Dark One’s Own Luck, and Fiendish Resilience.
Dark One’s Blessing will provide Wyll with some decent temporary Hit Points whenever he kills an enemy; a nice thing to have on a melee warrior. Dark One’s Own Luck will help him succeed his skill checks. And Fiendish Resilience will let him become resistant to a damage type of his choice. If you know who you’ll be fighting, this can make Wyll very tanky.
As for his pact, on level 3 we’ll be getting Pact of the Blade. By level 5 this will grant Wyll an extra attack per Action, turning him into a viable martial character. But it will also allow us to bind any weapon to Wyll; when you do so, he’ll become proficient with that weapon and use Charisma for Attack and Damage rolls. This will allow us to ignore Strength completely, and get just enough Dexterity to feel comfortable wearing medium armour.
With multiclassing, our Wyll will only get two Feats total. One at level 4, and the second one at level 10. Surprising absolutely no one, these will be:
- Ability Improvement
- As soon as possible, we’ll be fixing Wyll’s default stat spread by putting a point into Dexterity and a point into Charisma to get them to 14 and 18 respectively.
- Ability Improvement
- Here, we’ll be maximizing Wyll’s Charisma with 2 extra points, for a total of 20.
As outlined before, upon reaching character level 6, we’ll be grabbing two levels of Oath of Vengeance Paladin. Here’s what that will get us:
- Divine Smite
- Lay on Hands
- Divine Sense
- Inquisitor’s Might
- Duelling Fighting Style
- 1st Level Paladin Spells
- Medium Armour Proficiency
Divine Smite will be our big attack for when a target needs to go. Eventually, when used with a Warlock spell slot, it will add a whopping 5d8 Radiant damage to whatever our attack is already doing.
Considering how many demons and undead we’ll be fighting in the game, you shouldn’t overlook Divine Sense granting you Advantage on hitting those foes. Lay on Hands can similarly be useful to either help a downed ally up, or cure all poisons and diseases.
Our Channel Oath ability – Inquisitor’s Might – is a two-turn buff we can use once per Short Rest. It adds our Charisma bonus to our damage, essentially allowing us to triple-dip our weapon attacks for a short time. It also lets us Daze (Disadvantage to Wisdom Saving Throws, no Dexterity bonus to AC, no Reaction attacks) our targets, which is another useful condition.
Proficiency in medium armour will let us wear a crucial piece of gear. Duelling fighting style will give us more damage for free.
Finally, despite them remaining at level 1, some of the Paladin spells we get remain useful throughout the game. Shield of Faith will let us boost our AC by 2 pretty much permanently. Bless will let us buff our team when no Cleric is available. Other spells can also be situationally useful.
Warlocks don’t get that many spells to begin with, and since we’ll only get 10 levels of Warlock, we’ll get even fewer choices. As such, we’ll be focusing on spells that can help Wyll be a better warrior and the absolute must-haves like Hunger of Hadar (easily one of the best spells in the game).
- Level 2
- Level 3
- Level 4
- Level 5
- Level 6
- First Paladin level, no spells here.
- Level 7
- Level 8
- Level 9
- Level 10
- Level 11
- Level 12
As a Warlock, we’ll get access to a list of Eldritch Invocations. Some of them make our Eldritch Blast better, others grant special abilities. Sadly, the one Invocation that’s really good for melee Warlocks requires us to put 12 levels into Warlock. And since we won’t be doing that, that ability will be out of our reach. With that in mind, here’s what we’ll be getting:
- Level 2
- Level 5
- Level 9
- Level 11
Until this build truly gets going, chances are you’ll be using a lot of Eldritch Blasts. And even later on, it will remain a decent ranged option for you. As such, we’ll be going for the traditional level 2 Invocation choice to make our Eldritch Blast deal more damage and push targets back.
When we reach level 5, we’ll be grabbing Devil’s Sight. Since Wyll is a Human, this will let him see in the dark and inside his own Hunger of Hadar clouds.
While we won’t get much use out of Ray of Sickness and Chromatic Orb, a free Silence is always nice to have, and so we’ll be going for Book of Ancient Secrets once we hit character level 9.
And finally, we’ll grab Minions of Chaos – the more bodies you can field, the better your chance of success. And a level 5 summoning spell is nothing to scoff at.
In order to get full value out of this build, we’ll need to use a decent number of specific items. Luckily, most of them are found pretty early in the game and they’re not too useful for most other characters. And as for weapons, the only mandatory weapon is found roughly halfway through Act 3. Until then, thanks to Pact of the Blade, Wyll will be able to use any weapon he can get his hands on. So, whatever best weapon you can find and not immediately use for any of your other characters, you give it to Wyll.
- Main Weapon – Duellist’s Prerogative
- A legendary +3 rapier you get for completing the Save Vanra quest in Act 3. Deals extra Necrotic damage with each hit. When your off-hand is empty, it lowers your crit range by 1 and gives you an extra Reaction per turn. Whenever you hit with this rapier, you’ll then be able to spend a Reaction to add your Proficiency bonus (+4 at that point) as flat Necrotic damage on top of what you’re already doing. When not dual wielding, you’ll also be able to perform an extra attack per turn by spending a Bonus Action. It also lets you challenge enemies to a duel. This lets you apply Bleeding to them and give them a Disadvantage when attacking your allies. All in all, a fantastic weapon for a character like Wyll.
- Shield – Shield of Devotion
- Before you get the above rapier, there’s nothing stopping you from using a shield. Purchased from Quartermaster Talli around the Last Light Inn in Act 2, Shield of Devotion grants you an extra 1st level Spell Slot for your Paladin multiclass. This means more Smites and Shields of Faith.
- Handwear – Luminous Gloves
- Found inside the Potter’s Chest in the Ruined Battlefield in Act 2, these gloves apply Radiating Orbs. A crucial part of our build.
- Armour – Luminous Armour
- While not the best suit of armour in terms of AC, once you start hitting enemies while wearing it, the Radiating Orbs you apply will lower their Attack Bonus so much, it won’t matter. You find it behind a hidden door in the Selûnite Outpost part of the Underdark. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to properly wear it until you pick up a level of Paladin.
- Headwear – Diadem of Arcane Synergy
- Looted from Ardent Jhe’rezath in Inquisitor’s Chamber of Crèche Y’llek, this diadem is what allows us to outpace Eldritch Blast in terms of damage.
- Cloak – Cloak of Protection
- Since Wyll won’t have that much baseline AC, especially after he gets his rapier in Act 3, if anyone will be using this cloak, it should be him. Get it from Quartermaster Talli around the Last Light Inn in Act 2.
- Footwear – Boots of Stormy Clamour
- These boots, sold by Omeluum in the Myconid Colony after you complete his quest, allow you to apply Reverberation to your targets whenever you inflict a condition. Since we’ll be inflicting conditions with each hit, we’ll get plenty of Reverberation, lowering our targets’ saving throws and occasionally knocking them prone.
- Amulet – Pearl of Power Amulet/Spellcrux Amulet
- What’s better than a lot of Divine Smites? Even more Divine Smites. These amulets will help us restore our Spell Slots to achieve just that. You can get the Pearl of Power Amulet from Omeluum while you’re getting your boots. And you can loot Spellcrux Amulet from the Warden of Moonrise Towers prison in Act 2.
- Ring – Callous Glow Ring
- This ring lets us deal bonus Radiant damage with all our attacks against illuminated targets. You can find it in the vault inside the Gauntlet of Shar in Act 2.
- Ring – Ring of Free Action
- As a melee character, Wyll really doesn’t want to get bogged down by difficult terrain, especially since he’ll be applying plenty of it himself through Hunger of Hadar. This ring helps him avoid that. Get it from Araj Oblodra in Moonrise Towers in Act 2.
Until you hit level 5, or better yet, level 6, you should stick to the standard Warlock playstyle of staying in the back and launching Eldritch Blasts at your enemies. Since Wyll is a Human, you’ll be able to equip a shield on him right away for some extra survivability.
Once you have your two attacks from level 5 Warlock and your Paladin levels for armour proficiency and the other goodies, you can move Wyll to the front line. Medium armour, +2 Dexterity bonus, a shield, Shield of Faith, and the occasional Mirror Image will make him very tanky. And the Radiating Orbs he’ll already start applying thanks to Luminous Armour whenever he uses Inquisitor’s Might and Divine Smite will make him, and the rest of your party, downright impossible to hit.
Later on, he’ll start applying Radiating Orbs even without any setup. But to guarentee he starts doing it with his first hit of any fight, make sure to cast the Light cantrip by one of your other characters or have some other source of light out.
With the way Arcane Synergy works with this build, the conditions you apply activate before you roll for damage. Which means that even your first attack of the fight will double your Charisma bonus when calculating damage. To make sure you’re actually using Charisma as your damage-dealing attribute, don’t forget to bind whatever weapon you’re using after every Long Rest to make it your Pact weapon.
Whenever you’re using Divine Smite, you’ll be able to choose between your Paladin and Warlock spell slots. A Paladin-slot Smite will always add 2d8 Radiant damage to your attack, while a Warlock one will scale all the way up to 5d8. What’s also nice is that if you miss, you won’t lose your spell slot, so don’t be afraid to call for a Smite on a tough to hit target.
Even without a Smite, once you have Duellist’s Prerogative, you’ll be able to attack 3 times per single Action (two regular attacks and one extra attack for a Bonus Action). All these attacks will deal 1d8+3 Piercing damage, 1d4 Necrotic damage (with two of them dealing extra 4 Necrotic damage by spending a Reaction). Each attack will get a flat 10 bonus of Piercing damage by doubling your +5 Charisma bonus. During Inquisitor’s Might, each attack will get an extra 5 Radiant damage (equal to your Charisma bonus). And the Callous Glow Ring will throw in an extra 2 Radiant damage on top of each attack as well. Add all that up, and we get a maximum possible hit of 36 (32 for your third attack that doesn’t get a Reaction) damage per attack. This almost doubles the 20 a single Eldritch Blast beam tops out at. And once you consider that you’ll have a lowered crit range and add the 5d8 Divine Smite brings to the table, the damage output stops being a contest.
On top of all that damage, you’ll be a walking debuff machine and almost a full Warlock with all the benefits that provides. Most importantly, you’ll still be able to cover the battlefield with Hunger of Hadar and push enemies off ledges with your Eldritch Blasts. The occasional well-placed Counterspell or Wall of Fire shouldn’t be underestimated either.