Hellish Rebuke is the ultimate “eye for an eye” Warlock spell. If your enemies didn’t already have a reason to think twice about attacking you, they have one now!
This super rad spell is all about fiery retribution and lots of damage. It’s actually kind of hard to believe that this is only a 1st level spell and harder to believe that some Warlocks don’t choose this spell.
Hellish Rebuke first appeared in the 4th edition of the game, but for the purposes of this spell guide, we will only be covering the 5e version.
Let’s get right into it and look at what many see as the best 1st level Warlock spell in all of Dungeons and Dragons 5e.
- 1 What is Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e?
- 2 What Does Hellish Rebuke Do?
- 3 Who Can Cast Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e?
- 4 Tips For Players Using Hellish Rebuke
- 5 Is Hellish Rebuke a Good Spell?
- 6 Frequently Asked Questions – Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e
- 6.1 Does Counterspell Work on Hellish Rebuke?
- 6.2 Can Hellish Rebuke Be Cast on Your Turn?
- 6.3 Can You Still Cast Spells on Your Turn After Using Hellish Rebuke?
- 6.4 Does Hellish Rebuke Trigger a Warlock’s Hex?
- 6.5 Does Hellish Rebuke Cause Collateral Damage?
- 6.6 How Many Times Can Tieflings from the Bloodline of Asmodeus Cast Hellish Rebuke?
- 7 Conclusion – Hellish Rebuke DnD 5e
What is Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e?
Hellish Rebuke is an Evocation and a reaction spell, which means it can only be cast if the reaction condition has been met.
When an opponent within 60 feet damages you, you can choose to use your reaction to envelop the assailant in searing hellish flames, inflicting fire damage.
We’ve provided the official Player’s Handbook spell description below for clarity purposes.
CASTING TIME: 1 Reaction*
RANGE/AREA: 60 ft
COMPONENTS: V, S
ATTACK/SAVE: DEX Save
You point your finger, and the creature that damaged you is momentarily surrounded by hellish flames. The creature must make a Dexterity saving throw. It takes 2d10 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the damage increases by 1d10 for each slot level above 1st.
* – which you take in response to being damaged by a creature within 60 feet of you that you can see
What Does Hellish Rebuke Do?
Hellish Rebuke requires a foe who has damaged you to make an immediate Dexterity saving throw. They receive 2d10 fire damage if they fail, or half as much damage if they make a successful Dexterity saving throw.
Each slot level above the first increases the damage by 1d10. So, for example, casting this at 3rd level would turn up the heat and deal 4d10 fire damage instead.
Keep in mind that Hellish Rebuke’s damage scales nicely at higher levels. Additionally, remember that Warlocks always cast a spell at the highest level available to them, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t forget the extra damage from upcasting this!
Who Can Cast Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e?
Hellish Rebuke is a 1st level spell accessible to all Warlocks regardless of their chosen Patron.
It’s an incredibly iconic option available to Warlocks, though there are a couple of ways to get it without having to strike a deal with some powerful entity.
For example, the Oathbreaker Paladin also gains access to the spell at 3rd level as part of their bonus spell list.
There is also one other possible class that can access Hellish Rebuke, the Bard. A Bard can choose Hellish Rebuke with their Magical Secrets feature. Death Metal Bards totally rock!
But there is yet another way that you might gain this spell…
Tieflings who choose the Bloodline of Asmodeus can cast Hellish Rebuke as a 2nd-level spell (3d10 fire damage) with their Infernal Legacy trait.
However, note that they can only use it once per long rest though it does not burn up a spell slot.
Tips For Players Using Hellish Rebuke
Here are some quick tips for your Warlock when it comes to using Hellish Rebuke.
Hellish Rebuke and Armor Of Agathys are Fire and Ice…Literally!
Armor of Agathys and Hellish Rebuke complement each other well at lower to middling levels of play.
Armor of Agathys is a 1st level Warlock spell that grants you 5 temporary hit points and also causes 5 points of cold damage to anyone that hits you with a melee attack. This means if an enemy strikes you in melee combat they will take 2d10 fire damage (half as much damage on a save) and 5 points of cold damage.
This can be a pretty potent combo for low-level Warlocks facing low-level enemies especially when you also factor in the temporary hit points. So, give your enemies the old one-two punch while you have a little extra protection!
Pact Of The Blade and Hellish Rebuke = BFFs!
Warlocks who choose Pact of the Blade are optimal candidates for Hellish Rebuke in 5e D&D.
They tend to mix it up face-to-face with their enemies more so than other Warlocks, which means they have more opportunities to unleash the flames of Hell upon their adversaries.
Hexblades and Hellish Rebuke
For the same reason that Hellish Rebuke is great for any Pact of the Blade Warlock, it’s a must-pick for Hexblades.
Hexblades are on the martial end of the spectrum when it comes to Warlock subclasses, they are more apt to engage in melee and be within the 60-foot range of Hellish Rebuke.
If you are a Hexblade Warlock you should seriously consider spending a spell slot for this spell!
Is Hellish Rebuke a Good Spell?
Does the head priest at the local temple of Lathander wear a funny hat?!
Hell yeah, it’s a GREAT spell! Ok, ok, I’ll stop with the puns now…
As mentioned earlier in this guide many would argue that Hellish Rebuke is one of the best 1st level spells in all of 5e. You’ll get no arguments from me. It’s certainly one of my favorite low-level Warlock spells.
Among the upsides for this spell are its range, its scaling damage as you gain higher-level spell slots, and its wonderful action economy.
Hellish Rebuke is also the most damaging 1st level Warlock spell available!
Oh, and even if the target makes their saving throw, they’re going to take at least SOME damage. Well, unless they have immunity to fire damage, anyways.
Herein also lies the one downside of Hellish Rebuke, many creatures have fire resistance and immunity, especially at higher levels.
Overall we would rate this spell as a must-have for almost all Warlocks regardless of build. However, it is most definitely something all Hexblades should invest in.
Frequently Asked Questions – Hellish Rebuke in D&D 5e
Before we wrap up this guide to the Hellish Rebuke spell in D&D 5e, I want to take a moment and cover some of the more common questions players have about it.
If you still have questions about Hellish Rebuke that we didn’t answer in this article, leave a comment down below and we’ll be happy to help you out!
Does Counterspell Work on Hellish Rebuke?
Yes. Counterspell is also a reaction spell and reactions can be triggered by other reactions, including spells.
Can Hellish Rebuke Be Cast on Your Turn?
Yes, as long as the trigger condition is satisfied. If someone damages your PC with a reaction, your character can cast Hellish Rebuke on their turn.
The most common situation where you might need to cast this on your own turn is if you’re hit by an attack of opportunity.
Just be mindful that this means you won’t be able to cast a bonus action spell. If you have already cast a bonus action spell (like Hex, for example), you won’t be able to cast Hellish Rebuke on your turn. However, you’ll still be able to cast it on an enemy’s turn if they damage you.
Can You Still Cast Spells on Your Turn After Using Hellish Rebuke?
Yes. Reaction spells are just that: reactions. That means that you can still take an action even if that action is casting a spell.
However, you won’t be able to cast a bonus action spell as explained above.
Does Hellish Rebuke Trigger a Warlock’s Hex?
No. Hex only works with actions that require the player to make an attack roll, whether with a weapon or a spell.
Hellish Rebuke does not require an attack to be made. Instead, it requires the target to make a Dexterity saving throw which means that it has no effect on Hex damage.
Does Hellish Rebuke Cause Collateral Damage?
It’s perfectly safe to use the Hellish Rebuke spell on someone your ally is fighting, even if they are grappled. The presence of flames in the spell description does not inherently imply that the spell does fire damage to everyone in that area.
How Many Times Can Tieflings from the Bloodline of Asmodeus Cast Hellish Rebuke?
Only once per taking a long rest. Also, keep in mind it will always be cast at 2nd level as well (3d10 fire damage).
Conclusion – Hellish Rebuke DnD 5e
Hellish Rebuke is a great spell for almost any Warlock. It should cause most opponents to think twice before attacking you as it deals some hefty damage without hurting your action economy.
It’s also one of the main reasons Warlocks, especially Pact of the Blade and Hexblade Warlocks, can be so devastating to their foes.
As they say, sometimes the best defense is a strong offense!
We’d love to hear more about your thoughts on Hellish Rebuke in the comments below.
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