Best Warlock Races in D&D 5e

Published on April 4, 2024

When creating your warlock character, it’s important to choose a race that will harmonize with their eldritch abilities. In this article, we explore options for the best warlock races!

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant as a deep dive into the best races for the 5e warlock. For the full overview of the warlock class, check out our warlock class guide.

To allow you to scan through the options quickly, we use the following color rating scheme:

  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange Situationally good, but a below-average option otherwise
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Best Races for Warlocks

Practitioners of eldritch arts, warlocks wield arcane powers derived from pacts made with otherworldly entities. In D&D, these unique spellcasters are known for their bursty damage and limited spell slots.

Unlike other full spellcasters, warlocks aren’t defined by their spells. Their invocations and pact abilities empower them with a diverse array of supernatural talents and boons.

When choosing the race for your warlock character, you’ll want to consider both the flavor and mechanical implications. Warlocks are usually portrayed as darker characters, and while that can be achieved by any character built with the proper backstory, some races lend themselves more to this than others.

Likewise, you’ll want abilities that complement the ones bestowed by the warlock class. Positives are free spells to buffer your minimal spell slots and defense boosts. On the other hand, bonus action abilities can interfere with your warlock’s propensity to use hex to maximize their damage output.

Standard Races

  • Gem: The flight can help you keep out of reach while you eldritch blast your enemies. The resistance and Breath Weapon can help if you get caught in melee range.
  • Standard: Not terrible due to the +1 CHA, but besides the damage resistance there isn't much else here that is interesting to a warlock.
  • Draconblood: Only +1 CHA but Forceful Presence can assist with social skill checks.
Dwarf: No CHA is tough and the warlock won’t be tanking any time soon, even if they choose Pact of the Blade. Additional hit points are always helpful.
  • Hill: A bonus to WIS can occasionally help with Wisdom saves, additional hit points are useful.
  • Mountain: STR won't help but light and medium armor proficiency is always nice for casters.
Elf: Elves get a DEX bonus which can somewhat help the AC of a Warlock. Proficiency in Perception and having Darkvision is useful.
  • Eladrin: DEX for AC and CHA for spellcasting makes the eladrin's array a solid start for a warlock. The free casting of misty step and it's bonus effect will be excellent utility and will help stretch the warlock's measly spell slots.
  • Mark of Shadow: DEX and CHA bonuses are both exactly what warlocks are looking for. The free minor illusion and invisibility go a long way to help with  the warlock's meager spell slots. The expanded spell list isn't ideal because most options can't be upcasted.
Gnome: Warlocks need CHA to be effective, of which there is only one subrace.
Half-Elf: The +2 CHA, ASI, and skill versatility make this is one of the better races for the Warlock class. The Half-Elf Drow subrace is great because it provides a couple of useful Warlock spells and won't make you burn any of your precious slots for them.
Half-Orc: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Halfling: Only a +1 to CHA will make Halflings a tough choice for Warlocks.
  • Standard: A middle of the road pick because they increase all their ability scores by 1.
  • Variant: Getting CHA plus a proficiency and a feat at 1st-level is typically really good. Picking up Shadow Touched or Fey Touched is a great way to get extra spells at 1st-level.
Tiefling: Warlocks excel with CHA, so any of the subraces will do fine.
  • Bloodline of Asmodeus: +2 CHA and solid spells.
  • Bloodline of Baalzebul: +2 CHA like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Dispater: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a warlock, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Fierna: +2 CHA and good spells for a persuasive character.
  • Bloodline of Glasya: CHA for spellcasting and DEX for AC is perfect for a warlock, plus the spells offer good utility for stealthiness.
  • Bloodline of Levistus: CHA for spellcasting, CON for hit points, and defensive spells to keep you alive.
  • Bloodline of Mammon: +1 INT like other subraces, but with less effective spells.
  • Bloodline of Mephistopheles: +2 CHA, good spells, and useful racial traits.
  • Variant – Devil’s Tongue: +2 CHA and an excellent subset of spells for a warlock.
  • Variant – Winged: Having flight is amazing, and you get to keep the +2 CHA.

Non-Standard Races

Aarakocra: The only beneficial thing here is flight.
  • Updated: 1st level, concentrationless flight, an extra spell, and a beneficial ASI array make this an extremely attractive option for warlocks.
Aasimar: Any of these subraces will work for warlocks. Fallen and Protector are the best for sure.
Air Genasi: While you may not use shocking grasp in favor of eldritch blast, the extra spells and spell slots can help stretch you warlock's limited spellcasting. Feather fall, and levitate are also useful spells not normally found on the warlock's spell list. The extra movement speed, Darkvision, and damage resistance are all additional benefits.
Astral Elf: Sacred flame isn't going to get much use when you have access to eldritch blast but the free castings of misty step via Starlight Step means you don't have to devote precious spell slots to getting out of trouble. On top of this, you get a proficiency in Perception, which you normally wouldn't as a warlock, a floating skill/tool proficiency, advantage against charmed, and you can't be put to sleep with magic.
Auto Gnome: The AC boost is on par with mage armor, which could allow you to spend your warlock invocations on other options as opposed to Armor of Shadows. But, the tool proficiencies and survivability options don't apply as much to your warlock, who will mainly be on the fringes of combat. The biggest boons warlocks get from auto gnomes are they can self heal with mending, but seeing as it's not combat-ready healing, it doesn't make that much of a difference, and Built for Success can apply to eldritch blast.
Bugbear: Nothing here for a warlock.
  • Updated: Bugbear warlocks can now take CHA, and the new Surprise Attack can be very effective with spell attacks that deliver multiple hits. Eldritch Blast only gets better with Surprise Attack as you level up and gain additional attacks for each cast.
Centaur: Nothing here for a warlock.
  • Updated: Nothing here for a warlock.
Changeling: +2 CHA is the best stat boost for a pure CHA caster, and the free ability score increase can be used on either DEX or CON depending on your needs. Shapechanger is also a nice alternative for achieving goals without the use of magic as Warlocks have very few spell slots available to them.
  • Updated: Not much changes for the changeling warlock as they will still take CHA. The racial traits are slightly improved, making the updated changeling an upgrade over the original.
Deep Gnome: With the Mask of Many Face invocation available, there's almost no reason to choose a deep gnome for your warlock, beyond the limited magic resistance.
Duergar: The free castings of invisibility and enlarge/reduce, can help with your limited spell slots and spells known. Unfortunately,  enlarge/reduce doesn't scale with level and invisibility can be annoying to use if you only have 3rd-level spell slots to use. Still, the free casting is nice. The survivability isn't a huge deal as you shouldn't be up front to tank these effects for your party, but is useful nonetheless.
Earth Genasi: Nothing really here for a warlock, unfortunately.
Eladrin: Misty step is already available to warlocks but, seeing as they are severely strapped for spell slots, being able to cast it for free using Fey Step is a welcomed bonus. Seeing as warlocks also recharge spell slots on a short rest, you can use Trance to your advantage by waking up before your party, casting a spell with a long duration like hex or mage armor (or both) and short resting to get the spell slots back.
Fairy: The flight is nice, but the spells won't be particularly impressive on a warlock because they don't scale with levels.
Firbolg: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
  • Updated: With flexible ASIs, the firbolg's free spell casts are excellent for warlocks due to their extremely limited number of spell slots.
Fire Genasi: The spells aren't that exciting, but getting an extra casting of burning hands can be nice because of your limited spell slots. Unfortunately, the cantrip and flame blade will be pretty useless most of the time. The fire resistance is a solid way to increase survivability.
Genasi: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Giff: Nothing here for a warlock.
Gith: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Goblin: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
  • Updated: Now that goblins can choose CHA they are a solid pick for a warlock. Fury of the Small will add damage to all of your spells and Nimble Escape is a great failsafe to get out of harms way if you find yourself within melee range. Goblins are also now a strong choice for Hexblades for boosted weapon damage and more maneuverability on the battlefield.
Goliath: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
  • Updated: Goliaths are an excellent pick for any Hexblade warlock since they can really struggle with durability. Stone's Endurance and to a lesser degree Mountain Born should help there. If playing any other subclass goliaths aren't the best pick because ideally your warlock won't be taking lots of damage to begin with.
Hadozee: A bit of damage reduction, a climbing speed, and the ability to negate falling damage isn't particularly exciting for a warlock.
Harengon: While all these abilities are "nice to haves", there is nothing here is particularly exciting for an warlock.
Hobgoblin: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
  • Updated: Hexblades could use Fey Gift in combat, but other subclasses are far too squishy as they would need to be close to an ally to provide the Help action. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.
Kalashtar: Because the kalashtar’s racial traits are so good, having only +1 to CHA is acceptable.
Kender: The kender's Taunt may compete with hex because they are both bonus actions. This, combined with their measly hit dice and lack of armor, means kender just aren't cut out for warlocks.
Kenku: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Kobold: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
  • Updated: Hexblades won't mind the melee requirement of Draconic Cry as much as other subclasses. The cantrips from Draconic Sorcery won't be needed, so you'd be better off taking Craftiness or Defiance to round out your character.
Leonin: The +2 CON is okay for hit points and concentration checks, but not getting a CHA or even DEX bonus really hurts. The Daunting Roar ability can help pad your meager spell slots by giving you some additional combat resources but, with a 10-foot radius, won't be effective unless you're playing a Hexblade or find yourself surrounded.
  • Hexblood: The free spells and free castings are solid for warlocks, who will likely want to stock and cast disguise self  and hex anyways. The utility offered by Eerie Token can also help due to your restricted spell list.
Lizardfolk: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Loxodon: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Minotaur: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Orc: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Plasmoid: Beyond the resistance to poison and acid and against being poisoned, there isn't much here for the warlock. Especially because the pseudopod is essentially a strictly worse mage hand, despite its ability to deliver touch spells from range.
Satyr: Perfect ASI array, face skill proficiencies, extra movement, and Magic Resistance make this an ideal class for the warlock.
Shadar-kai: Misty step is already available to warlocks but, seeing as they are severely strapped for spell slots, being able to cast it for free using Blessing of the Raven Queen is a welcomed bonus. Seeing as warlocks also recharge spell slots on a short rest, you can use Trance to your advantage by waking up before your party, casting a spell with a long duration like hex or mage armor (or both) and short resting to get the spell slots back.
  • Swiftstride Shifter: The only subrace that hosts a CHA increase is the swiftstride shifter, although it is only +1. A melee Hexblade warlock could be an interesting build here as the swiftstride has a way of avoiding opportunity attacks and grants a DEX boost.
Simic Hybrid: CHA is your only reasonable option for the flexible ability score. Carapace is a good choice for the squishier caster classes.
Tabaxi: DEX makes the class less squishy and CHA is the most important ability score for warlocks. The rest of the racial traits are very movement-focused, with some solid proficiencies thrown in.
Thri-kreen: Even though you can get free castings of mage armor with an invocation, going with the thri-kreen can allow you to take a different, more beneficial invocation. The thri-kreen's armor also gives free advantage on Stealth checks and they get Darkvision and telepathy, which can be quite beneficial. Unfortunately, the Secondary Arms feature has little to no benefit here.
Tortle: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Triton: Warlocks are probably the most relieved to get the triton’s innate spells because they can’t cast too many spells per short rest. Warlocks mostly worry about CON and CHA, which is covered by the triton.
Vedalken: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.
Warforged: Warforged warlocks do best when built with melee combat in mind. Consider a Hexblade Warlock if you want to use this race and raise your CHA with the ASI boost.
Water Genasi: Nothing here for a warlock.
Yuan-ti Pureblood: Yuan-ti purebloods have everything a warlock could want: +2 to CHA, innate spells, and some fantastic defensive traits to keep you alive.

Sources Used in This Guide

  • BR: Basic Rules
  • GotG: Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants
  • SotDQ: Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen
  • ERLW: Eberron: Rising from the Last War
  • EEPC: Elemental Evil Player’s Companion
  • EGtW: Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount
  • FToD: Fizban's Treasury of Dragon
  • GGtR: Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica
  • MotM: Monsters of the Multiverse
  • MToF: Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes
  • MOoT: Mythic Odyessys of Theros
  • PAitM: Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
  • PHB: Player's Handbook
  • SAiS: Spelljammer: Adventures in Space
  • SCoC: Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos
  • SCAG: Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide
  • TCoE: Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything
  • TTP: The Tortle Package
  • WBtW: The Wild Beyond The Witchlight
  • VRGtR: Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft
  • VGtM: Volo's Guide to Monsters
  • XGtE: Xanathar’s Guide to Everything

Other Warlock Guides

Mike Bernier

Mike Bernier is the lead content writer and founder of Arcane Eye. He is a Adamantine best-selling author of Strixhaven: A Syllabus of Sorcery on DMs Guild and is a contributing author at D&D Beyond. Follow Mike on Twitter.

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