You extend your hand and trace a sigil of warding within the air. Until the top of your next turn, you’ve got resistance against bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by weapon attacks. Bladeward is wonderful within the right build or the proper situation. My favorite use is on a Fighter1/Warlock X build once you do a dungeon crawl and are in “Kick the door in” mode. during this case, the character has Heavy Armor Mastery and therefore the Armor of Agathys spell. the entire idea is to guard the temp HP against Armor of Agathis.
Blade Ward 5e – Overview
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: Self
- Components: V, S
- Duration: 1 round
- Scales: No
- Casters: Arcane Trickster, Bard, Eldritch Knight, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard
Cast Bladeward, open the door, and step in. If nothing is on the opposite side, nothing is lost. If there’s a gaggle of mooks on the opposite side, they will take free hits until they find out it is a bad idea. (Say your Armor of Agathys is that the 2nd level version, so 10 hp. With blade ward and Heavy Armor mastery if they are doing 4 points or less you’re taking 0 damage, but they take 10 pts of cold. If they hit you for 10 hp, you’re taking 3 hp, and that they still take 10pts of cold damage.)
I’ve had a pure tiefling warlock use it to assist deal over 70 pts of injury in one round – a bulette was underground but we knew it had been close to the surface. Bladeward while it had been underground. Take the hit when it comes up (damage reduced by blade ward and absorbed by existing temp hp from fiend pact), then on her next turn cast Armor of Agathys (15 tmp hp) and move far away from it. Bladeward remains in effect (last until the top of your next round).
The bulette hits for 30 (reduced to 15) – warlock takes 0 damage, the bulette takes 15. Then uses her reaction to cast Hellish Rebuke (tiefling racial) – bulette fails the dex and takes another 20 points of fireside. Safely out of melee, she uses her bonus action to Hex the bulette then hits it twice with Eldritch blast for an additional 35 points.
The spell bestowed resistance to piercing, slashing, and, despite its name, bludgeoning damage. meaning you’ll still cast another cantrip every round that you simply cast Blade Ward as an action. the principles on the Casting Times for spells state that if you cast a spell that features a casting time of a bonus action you’ll still cast a cantrip that takes a full round to cast.
That changes everything. Compare Blade Ward as a 1st level spell with a casting time of 1 Bonus Action with Shield as it’s written. For an arcane caster who is in melee tons, I’d be tempted to find out both of them, especially at higher levels when 1st level spell slots aren’t used fairly often in order that I could use Shield when fighting opponents who miss tons and Blade Ward when fighting opponents who will hit most of the time even with a +5 to my AC. Both would have different uses.
For Blade Ward, they might offer protection against running through a known trap or ambush. If you’re being chased or deed or are hiding from archers, it is often useful. Especially if you recognize you’ll be eating opportunity attacks for 2 turns, it’ll last through both. I do not think it’s anything amazing, but I prefer the choices it can open and see it as like other cantrips.