Fans of Dungeons & Dragons who play Baldur’s Gate 3 may be eager to create a Wizard and have them use 3rd Level Fireball to wreak absolute havoc on enemies. This preference for the spell is a common meme in D&D circles, where it remains one of the more practical AOE spells to use due to its sheer damage output. However, those who play through Baldur’s Gate 3 may soon realize that spells beyond Fireball can help manipulate the battle to the player’s favor.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, where players get into combat encounters all the time, players don’t have immediate access to Fireball as an AOE finisher. Thankfully, the game offers a slate of other go-to AOE spells that players can use not just for damage, but utility purposes as well.10 Eldritch Blast (Evocation Cantrip)
Opposite the iconic Magic Missile of the Wizard is the Warlock’s Eldritch Blast, a go-to Evocation Cantrip that ensures Warlocks have access to an attack in Baldur’s Gate 3 even if they run out of Spell Slots. While each Eldritch Blast only deals 1d10 Force Damage, its efficiency as an AOE weapon comes into play at higher levels.
At 5th Level and 10th Level, Eldritch Blast can fire two and then three beams, respectively. Each beam is rolled separately, meaning players who miss one Blast can still secure the other two. With Warlocks relying on Charisma for spells, a high-enough modifier can make Eldritch Blast almost undodgeable.9 Shatter (2nd Level Evocation)
As spellcasters make progress in Baldur’s Gate 3, their rosters and available Spell Slots increase. When they get access to their first set of 2nd Level Spells, spellcasters face a tough choice: whether they want a combative spell or a utility spell for this hefty resource. For players who want to ace the crowd control game, Shatter is a neat way of dealing with clusters of enemies.
When activated, Shatter releases 3d8 Thunder Damage in an area within 18 meters of the caster. This essentially becomes an upgraded Thunderwave, albeit without the pushing effect. However, Shatter affects targets for half damage if they pull off a Constitution Save, with inorganic creatures having Disadvantage for this roll.8 Thunderwave (1st Level Evocation)
Being one of the first spells players may encounter as a mage in Baldur’s Gate 3, Thunderwave is easy to dismiss due to its 5-meter range. After all, using spellcasters in melee isn’t always advisable, making Thunderwave a waste of space among prepared spells. However, when used by the right build, Thunderwave can be quite the efficient crowd control spell.
Unleashing Thunderwave damages everyone in range for 2d8 Thunder Damage. The attack also comes with a concussive blast that pushes surrounding creatures and objects away from the caster. Aside from its capability to generate distance, being able to push everyone back is a sight to behold in the game.7 Hypnotic Pattern (3rd Level Conjuration)
All participants in Baldur’s Gate 3 combat have access to an Action, a Bonus Action, and a Reaction per turn. With this, everyone can do a lot of damage should they have the resources and the mobility to do so. As such, just turn’s worth of stun can waste an entire round of a character being able to potentially land a killing blow. Thanks to Hypnotic Pattern, players can dish out this punishment to foes.
Hypnotic Pattern will Hypnotize all foes that see it, stopping opponents’ attempts to move or even attack players. While this only lasts for two turns, this should be enough for players to outmaneuver these opponents and release counter-attacks. As long as the caster maintains Concentration, the pattern stays and can re-affect victims for yet another two turns unless they pull off a Wisdom Save.6 Arms Of Hadar (1st Level Conjuration)
Players surrounded by enemies know how annoying this gets, especially since Baldur’s Gate 3 will likely have characters hit by Opportunity Attacks with powerful Versatile Weapons as soon as they try to leave the vicinity. If players have a Warlock with them, they may be able to escape safely courtesy of Arms Of Hadar.
This 1st Level spell deals 2d6 Necrotic Damage, already making it a cheap spell that can deal decent AOE damage. While avoiding the Arms takes a Strength Save, this ability becomes a surefire hit for a Warlock-Paladin Multiclass that boasts a high enough Strength stat. However, the spell’s more efficient effect comes in how it cancels Reactions of targets within its 3-meter radius. In emergencies, moving away from enemies scot-free can help players reposition more effectively.
When the player’s party gets surrounded in a game like Baldur’s Gate 3, things can get dangerous quickly, especially when opponents are able to find their vantage points around players. Thanks to Slow, players can make it significantly difficult for a cluster of enemies to move.
Activating Slow can affect up to 6 enemies at an 18-meter radius. These enemies get slowed for as long as 10 turns unless they pull off a Wisdom Save. When used by a high-Wisdom spellcaster and considering how Wisdom isn’t always the highest stat of creatures, Slow can make enemies ripe for the picking.4 Web (2nd Level Conjuration)
With Baldur’s Gate 3 having its fair shareof melee and ranged monsters, players can have a tough time managing combat when they have to worry about multiple enemies at once. Thanks to Web, players can release a 4-meter web at a distance of 18 meters to possibly Enweb and trap opponents, making it hard for them to move.
Web’s ability to trap opponents can give other members of the party the incentive to freely aim other AOE spells and attacks against them. Not only that, the webbing from this spell is flammable, giving players access to a surface that not only slows opponents but may easily explode into flames.3 Chromatic Orb (1st Level Evocation)
Chromatic Orb deals a 3d8 Thunder Damage, or blasting 2d8 Damage on top of creating a surface. However, the Dungeons & Dragons spell is more efficient in its ability to create a surface according to the player’s needs. The damage this spell causes is the equivalent of Thunderwave, albeit with the bonus of creating a much larger surface that can facilitate deadlier combos.
Different variations of the spell create different types of surfaces that players can then use to their advantage. For instance, creating Chromatic Orb: Fire within the vicinity of oil barrels can cause a larger explosion. Likewise, unleashing Chromatic Orb: Acid or Poison can force enemies walking on it to suffer additional damage.2 Silence (2nd Level Illusion)
When it comes to crowd control spells in D&D, nothing beats the uncanny ability to stop spellcasters from using their spells. Popularly known as Silence, players of Baldur’s Gate 3 can also stop pesky Wizards on their tracks with the same spell, this time with a bubble of noiseless energy surrounding an affected area.
Using this spell outside combat may turn others hostile. However, using this near a crowd of spellcaster-looking opponents can force them to focus more on moving outside the field instead of attacking, giving players ample time to reposition and release counter-attacks. Silence can become an invaluable resource when fighting tougher foes who can cast spells.1 Magic Missile (1st Level Evocation)
At first glance, Magic Missile seems rather weak as a Dungeons & Dragons spell as it only damages for 3d4+3 Force Damage. However, beyond its 6-15 Damage is the fact that the Missile is a surefire hit. Not only that, but each use of Magic Missile gives players three projectiles that can deal 2-5 Force Damage each, potentially being able to hit multiple opponents at once.
The minuscule damage seems like a reasonable setback for the guaranteed hit, making Magic Missile a safe go-to spell for spellcasters who don’t seem to have any utility spells applicable for their combat situation.
Baldur’s Gate 3 was released on August 3, 2023 for the PC, and is slated for a September 6 release for PlayStation 5.