In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Guide we’ll take a look at 11 Early Game Spells that you should absolutely have in your repertoire, regardless of your party make-up, that you are absolutely not using enough. There are so many great early game spells in BG3, but we’ve narrowed it down to the very best of the best in this Guide.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Guide – Best Early Game Spells
There are many factors that go into deciding whether to use a Spell in BG3, such as: how reliably can I use it? Is better or worse than just using a damaging spell? How is it best utilized? and what am I giving up to use it?
Many players don’t know how to utilize many Spells in BG3, particularly non-damage dealing spells, because they think they are not as useful as outright damage. With limited Spell Slots early on in the game, Spellcasters typically want to feel useful and “leave their mark in combat”, and setting up their party members for success isn’t always as much fun as lobbing a huge Fireball into a pack of enemies.
But there is more to playing a Spellcaster in BG3, and I want to show you some things you can do using some low-level spells, that you probably had no idea you could. The first spell we’re going to take a look at is Sleep.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Sleep
First up in our Baldur’s Gate 3 Best Early Game Spells is the spell Sleep. Sleep is very strong early-game spell, because it can put multiple targets to Sleep, effectively removing them from combat. The amount of targets you can put to sleep is based on the total CURRENT HP of the targets, not their max HP, so it can be used on enemies that have already taken damage more effectively.
And you might be thinking, what’s so great about that? Very few enemies have lower than 24 HP, and wouldn’t I be better off finishing them off if they were? Well, there are some things to consider.
First of all, Sleep can target multiple enemies, which means you can prevent damage your party could take by removing the turns of two or more enemies, whereas killing an enemy might only prevent 1 enemy from taking a turn. Preventing damage is the name of the game in BG3, and you often do that by killing enemies before they can act, but Sleep is the next best thing to that.
Secondly, you can Upcast Sleep with higher level Spell Slots to increase the amount of HP an enemy or enemies can have, allowing you to use it further into the game than just the very beginning.
Thirdly, attacking an enemy that is Asleep grants Advantage on the attack and is a guaranteed Critical Hit if the attacking character is within 2m. This means that your party will almost assuredly finish off these enemies on their next turn.
And lastly, there is no Saving Throw made by the target. That means you can either put an enemy to Sleep, or you can’t. You cannot “fail” as long as you are under the HP threshold. This is huge, because there is no gamble, it just works.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Longstrider
Up next let’s take a look at Longstrider. This spell increases the Movement Speed of a character by 3m until their next rest. This is essentially a 33% increase to Movement Speed on characters that have 9m, and even higher than that on characters that have 7.5m. This lasts until Long Rest, and no Concentration is required, so you are free to cast other Concentration spells after using it.
And you might be thinking, well that’s great but is it really worth using a Spell Slot to gain that? Well, the answer to this is, you don’t have to. Longstrider is a Ritual Spell, which means if you cast it outside of combat it consumes no Spell Slot. This allows you to buff your entire party’s Movement Speed until you Long Rest without using a single Spell Slot. Sound better now?
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Shield
Shield allows you to consume a Spell Slot when an enemy is going to hit you in combat to increase your Armour Class by 5 to hopefully prevent them from hitting you, and become immune to the Magic Missile spell. Seems like a waste of a Spell Slot right? Wrong.
Shield’s Armour Class bonus and Magic Missile immunity last until the next turn, which means you will have this AC bonus on every other attack made against you for the entire round! This can keep your casters alive, and can also be used effectively on something like a Bard or Paladin if they Multiclassed, further boosting their AC in melee combat. What’s better than high Armour Class? More Armour Class!
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Minor Illusion
Minor Illusion is a Cantrip, which is essentially a Level 0 spell, and doesn’t cost a Spell Slot to use. This is an extremely strong Cantrip, as it allows you to throw out an illusion over a great distance that characters will flock to if used outside of combat.
This is useful for a lot of reasons. Like maybe you want to sneak by a bunch of characters in a place you shouldn’t be, but they are blocking your way and you don’t want to fight them all. Or maybe they are friendlies, but you want to loot the chest behind them and you don’t want to kill them to do it.
But another really great use of this spell is before combat, to group up enemies into one place where an AoE type spell can make quick work of them. Use this when enemies are too spread out to attack effectively, and your life will be much easier.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Colour Spray
Colour Spray is a spell that Blinds enemies up to a certain amount of HP, meaning you can only use this on enemies whose total HP is 33 or lower, similar to the way Sleep works. However, Colour Spray is cast in a conal AoE in front of you with much shorter range, which can be more difficult to use on pure casters.
Blinded enemies though have Disadvantage on their Attack Rolls, and their ranged weapon and spell attacks are reduced to 3m. In addition, all attacks made against them have Advantage, and just like Sleep, this spell has no Saving Throw. You can either use it on the target or targets or you can’t, making it less of a gamble to use. It can be particularly effective early game against hard to kill enemies that are down a little HP, helping your party to finish them off faster.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Healing Word
Healing Word is another extremely strong spell early game, and one that you will likely use throughout your entire journey. It does very mild healing for a Spell Slot, and new players might think Cure Wounds is a better choice, particularly when they are lower level and Spell Slots are limited. However, that’s just not the case.
Healing Word can be cast over long distances and only consumes a Bonus Action, while Cure Wounds is cast in melee range and uses an Action. By casting Healing Word as a Bonus Action, you to cast another spell the same turn, or to attack with a weapon, which you can’t do if you use Cure Wounds.
However, the primary function of Healing Word is actually picking party members up if they’ve been downed, since any healing will do this, including tossing a potion if you’re in a pinch. This allows you to save yourself from having to walk over to the party member and use the Help Action, consuming your Action and Movement, while picking up the party member with 1 HP. You’ll use this all game long for this reason alone.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Bless
Bless is an extremely effective spell that increases not only the Attack Rolls, but also the Saving Throws of each character affected by it by 1D4 or 1-4. This is an important point, because many new players forget that it also boosts Saving Throws. This is a great way to help protect your party while also improving damage output, and if Upcast as a level 2 spell can affect your entire party.
Many new players shy away from this spell because it requires an Action to cast in combat, and because it requires Concentration to maintain, and they may find their Concentration gets broken too easily to be worth it. However, by making sure the caster is one of the targets that benefits from Bless, you will improve your Concentration Saving Throws by 1D4 as well, so make sure when using Bless the caster of it is always one of the targets selected.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Magic Missile
Magic Missile is a damaging spell that throws out three magic missiles that can target 3 different targets or the same target 3 times, and is extremely effective for a few reasons.
First, the damage of the spell can be spread around, so if you need to finish off one really weak enemy, but you don’t want to waste a Spell Slot, you can hit it with one missile while directing the others to another target or targets. This helps with your overall action economy, and remember you can Upcast this spell to increase its missile count.
Second, Magic Missile cannot miss. This means it doesn’t matter what your hit chance is, whether you have Disadvantage, whether it’s really dark and you cannot see well, you cannot miss the attack. This takes a lot of gambling out of Spellcasting and adds reliablilty.
And lastly, this spell can bend around objects to hit your target. That means you don’t necessarily have to have line of sight on the target and you can still hit them. Use this to your advantage when planning what spells to use.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Guidance
Guidance is such a good spell it’s no wonder that it made our list. A Cantrip, it can be used as many times as you want without consuming any Spell Slots. It is vital that someone in your party has this spell as it can drastically improve dialogue and other skill checks, like lockpicking or disarming traps.
You can even use Guidance to help pass Perception Checks to spot hidden objects, or to boost Survival Checks to find buried loot. To do this make sure you cast Guidance on your character attempting to spot these things before moving into range to make these Skill Checks. You cannot retroactively use Guidance when doing this, like you can in Dialogue or with Lockpicking, so pay attention and use it when exploring.
Note that it does require Concentration, so don’t override any other spells you are Concentrating on, unless you mean to.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Sanctuary
Sanctuary is an incredibly strong level 1 spell that prevents enemies from attacking your or an ally from being targeted by attacks or spells until you attempt to harm an enemy. You can still take damage from AoE effects, but you cannot be the direct target of an attack or spell. This can often save you when surrounded, or keep a squishy from dying when is in a bad spot.
You might be thinking that sounds great, but wouldn’t you be better off attacking or casting an offensive spell instead of using this? Well, Sanctuary requires a Bonus Action to cast, so you can do both in the same turn. Just make sure you use Sanctuary after you Attack or cast a different spell first, if you plan to use it on yourself, or you’ll waste it.
BG3 Best Early Game Spells – Disguise Self
Disguise Self is a spell that you can use to change your appearance in the game, to hide your true self from other characters. You might wonder why you would use a Spell Slot to cast this, and I’ll explain here.
First, Disguise Self causes the game and characters inside it to view you as a different character, which allows you to rob, cheat, steal, and then end your Disguise with your Reputation intact.
Secondly, if you do murder someone, you can end your Disguise Self and use Speak with Dead on them successfully. Usually, people don’t want to speak with their killers, who would have thought? So when you speak to them as yourself after you end your Disguise then you’ll be able to.
Thirdly, it can change dialogue encounters completely, though I don’t have a complete list of all the possible changes.
Fourthly, you can use Disguise Self to meet the criteria for certain equipment that give benefits when a particular Race uses them. This comes in handy if you find an item you really like, but you are not the correct Race for the extra benefit.
And lastly, it lasts until Long Rest, and is another Ritual Spell so you won’t consume a Spell Slot when using this outside of combat, which is really the only time you’d ever use it anyway.
That concludes our Baldur’s Gate 3 Best Early Game Spells Guide! Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content as we update the other Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Wiki which is being worked on night and day, as well as our Baldur’s Gate 3 Guides.