Baldur’s Gate 3: Top 10 Level 1 Spells

Level 1 spells can be as powerful at the start or end of Baldur’s Gate 3; we examine our top 10 and how to use them effectively.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Top 10 Level 1 Spells

In Baldur’s Gate 3, spellcasting is a fundamental aspect of gameplay, particularly for spellcasting classes like Wizards, Sorcerers, Clerics, Warlocks, and Druids. However, Eldritch Knight Fighters, Arcane Trickster Rogues, and even Way of the Four Element Monks can cast spells. Spells are divided into levels from 1 to 6, with higher levels representing more powerful and complex spells. With over 30 level 1 spells to choose from, what’s the best and why?

Our top 10 level 1 spells guide aims to give you an overview of the best spells in Baldur’s Gate 3. While you can obtain these level 1 spells early, they have application throughout your entire BG3 playthrough and are often overlooked. Let’s dive into the top 10 spells, how to use them, and different combos to implement in your builds.

Top 10 Level 1 Spells – Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 Sorcerer Spell Casting

Magic Missile is the best level 1 spell in Baldur’s Gate 3 because it has a 100% chance to land, has good damage, and doesn’t require a line of sight. Moreover, Magic Missile can help with some of the hardest fights in the game, where either force damage or multiple hits are required. Command is the best crowd control spell to force an enemy to drop a weapon, fall prone, or flee. Longstrider seems odd, but it increases one or more party members’ movement by 3 meters and doesn’t require a spell slot.

Below are the top 10 best level 1 spells in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  1. Magic Missile – best all-around damage spell
  2. Command – best crowd control spell
  3. Longstrider – buffs every party member’s movement speed
  4. Sanctuary – cannot be attacked directly
  5. Chromatic Orb – chose your element to damage enemies
  6. Guiding Bolt – best single target level 1 spell
  7. Shield – boost AC when attacked
  8. Hellish Rebuke – returns fire damage to the attacker
  9. Thunderwave – area knockback
  10. Bless – great buff

10 Bless

Bless Spell - Baldur's Gate 3

Bless features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Up to three creatures gain a +1d4 bonus to Attack rolls and Saving throws.
  • School: Enchantment spell
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 9 meters
  • Concentration: Yes
  • Upcast: Affects an additional target for each Spell Slot Level above 1.
  • Classes: Cleric, Paladin, Bard via Magical Secrets

Bless is one of the strongest support spells in BG3 because it increases both attack rolls and saving throw chances. This means you are likelier to hit and avoid attacks while Bless is active. Moreover, the spell can target up to 3 allies, including the caster. The spell does require concentration, so it cannot be used in conjunction with another concentration spell. However, Bless lasts 10 turns, therefore the player can enter turn-based combat mode before combat and Bless their party before the battle. The Bless offensive buff raises the percentage to land an attack by 10%. That percentage is critical for range builds using Sharpshooter or melee builds using Great Weapon Master feat.

Staff of Arcane Blessing Baldur's Gate 3

Bless isn’t higher on our top 10 list because you can bless as a permanent bonus in Act 3 that grants the same benefit. Moreover, you can obtain a staff in Act 1, that gives you this buff, Staff of Arcane Blessing. You can find this in the Arcane Tower. However, the added chance to land an attack and avoid one is critical for playing on Honour Mode difficulty where every attack matters.

9 Thunderwave

Baldur's Gate 3 Casting Thunderwave Spell

Thunderwave features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Release a wave of thunderous force that pushes away all creatures and objects in an area while also dealing Thunder damage.
  • School: Evocation
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 5-meter cube
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: deals an extra 1d8 thunder damage for each Spell Slot Level above 1.
  • Classes: Bard, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard, Cleric (Tempest), Sorcerer (Stormy), Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Fighter (Eldritch Knight)

Spellcasters often need a way to knock enemies back to flee or deal damage, dropping them off ledges. The best level 1 spell for this is Thunderwave from the Evocation school. With Thunderwave, the spellcaster needs to aim in front of them in a 5-meter cube that is wide. You can knock back multiple enemies, including friendlies, which limits Thunderwave’s effectiveness. Enemies will need to make a constatution saving throw, thus creatures with high constituation are likely to save on this spell. Examine and inspect enemies before casting because Thunderwave can be missed frequently. An excellent early combination is the Misty Step teleportation spell with a bonus action, then the Thunderwave action to knock enemies off cliffs.

Baldur's Gate 3 Ring of Absolute Force

Early in Act 1, you can obtain the Ring of Absolute Force from Sergeant Thrinn in the Grymforged. This is helpful to save precious spell slots or give them to a companion who lacks Thunderwave due to their class. Even later in BG3, Thunderwave can make the difference between life and death by simply knocking enemies off ledges.

8 Hellish Rebuke

Hellish Rebuke spell in BG3

Hellish Rebuke features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: This spell allows spellcasters to surround a creature in hellfire that deals Fire damage as a Reaction when taking damage from them.
  • School: Evocation spell
  • Cost: Reaction + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: Deals an additional 1d10 Fire damage per level.
  • Classes: Warlock, Paladin (Oathbreaker), Bard via Magical Secrets, Tieflings race

When players seek free damage, take the level 1 spell Hellish Rebuke. Hellish Rebuke uses a reaction during the enemy’s turn to return damage at the cost of a spell slot. The damage can be significant, especially early in BG3. Only two classes have this early in Baldur’s Gate 3: Warlock and Oathbreaker Paladin. This limits Hellish Rebuke’s usefulness, but especially on a Warlock, it can be powerful. Warlock’s spell slots are upcast automatically based on their level. Thus, the 1-10 fire damage can be transformed into 6-60 at level 12.

Baldur's Gate 3 Reaction Menu
Baldur’s Gate 3 Reaction Menu

However, you want to manage your spell slots with the Warlock or Oathbreaker. Make sure to mark the “ask” button in your reactions menu. If a low-threat enemy attacks you, you want to forgo using Hellish Rebuke to save the spell slot. We’d rank Hellish Rebuke higher if more classes had it, but the Tiefling Race is an excellent choice for Hellish Rebuke.

7 Shield

Shield Spell - Baldur's Gate 3

Shield features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: When you are about to be hit by an enemy, use your Reaction to increase your Armour Class by 5. You also take no damage from Magic Missile.
  • School: Abjuration
  • Cost: Reaction + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: Self
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: No
  • Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Fighter (Eldritch Knight)

The Shield spell is a perfect level 1 spell that boosts your survivability when need it most. Using a reaction and a level 1 spell slot, Shield increases your AC by 5 when you are about to be hit. The increased AC of 5 doesn’t mean you will avoid every attack, but it makes it much more likely. Another benefit of Shield is that it remains effective throughout your entire BG3 playthrough. This is critical for survival at early levels until you get Mirror Image spells or scrolls. When you combine both, the amount of AC can reach +30!

BG3 Amulet of the Harpers - Baldur's Gate 3

We suggest picking up the Shield spell with the High Half-Elf race for spell casters. High Half-Elf grants shield proficiency regardless of the class, allowing you to boost your AC by +2. Combine this with 16 dexterity, and your “squishy” spellcaster will be at 18 within an hour of playing. This will be higher than heavy armor builds in Act 1! Also, grab the Amulet of the Harpers in Act 2 from Talli in the Last Light Inn.

6 Guiding Bolt

Guiding Bolt Spell in Baldur's Gate 3

Guiding Bolt features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Allows spellcasters to hit enemies with the radiant bolt that deals with radiant damage and gives them the advantage of attacking rolls against them.
  • School: Evocation
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: Deals an additional 1d6 Radiant damage per level.
  • Classes: Cleric, Bard via Magical Secrets

The best single-target damage level 1 spell is the Cleric’s Guiding Bolt. Guiding Bolt has excellent range and high damage, providing the next attack roll against the target with an advantage. The follow-up attack against the target will roll two D20s rather than one. Therefore, you can combo Guiding Light with a high-damage-dealing Ranger or Paladin.

The major downside to Guiding Bolt is the class is limited to Cleric or Bard at level 6 via magical secrets. Moreover, the range of outcomes can be high with a 4d6, so the damage won’t be consistent.

Seraphic Pugilist Gloves - Baldur's Gate 3 - BG3

In Act 3, grab the Seraphic Pugilist Gloves, which gives a level 4 version of Guiding Bolt spells for free per long rest. An upcast level 4 Guiding Bolt does much more damage and is a good pair of gloves for a Monk build early in Act 3. Only one level 1 spells out damages Guiding Bolt, which is Inflict Wounds. However, that spell is in melee range and has necrotic damage, which undead enemies can often avoid.

5 Chromatic Orb

Baldur's Gate 3 Casting Chromatic Orb

Chromatic Orb features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Hurl a sphere of energy dealing thunder, acid, cold, fire, lighting, or poison damage and create a surface.
  • School: Evocation
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: Deals an extra 1d8 damage of the chosen type for each Spell Slot Level above 1st.
  • Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Bard via Magical Secrets

The strength of Chromatic Orb is that you can pick different types of elemental damage. This element creates a surface in a small 3-meter area. Our favorite is cold because this element can trigger the prone status effect, stunning an enemy for one turn. The surface persists, giving you a tactical advantage in choke points. Chromatic Orb is even effective later in Baldur’s Gate 3 when you need a specific element type like Lighting. You can upcast to keep the damage high and attack vulnerable enemies without changing your spellbook or respecing.

BG3 Metamagic Twinned Spell

As early as level 3, your Sorcerer can use Metamagic Twinned and cast Chromatic Orb twice using one spell slot. Orb is considered a single-target spell even though it leaves a small radius on the ground. Therefore, you can use this early to deal decent damage and possibly crowd-control multiple enemies. We would rank Chromatic Orb higher on our Top 10 level spells list in Baldur’s Gate 3 if it was easier to obtain by more classes or had Act 1 gear sets that granted the spell.

4 Sanctuary

Sanctuary Spell in Baldur's Gate 3

Sanctuary spell description and properties:

  • Description: You or an ally cannot be targeted until you attack or harm a creature. You can still take damage from area spells. Until the affected entity attacks or harms another creature, it cannot be targeted by enemy attacks. However, it can still take damage from spells that influence a larger area.
  • School: Abjuration spell
  • Cost: Bonus action + level 1 spell slot
  • Concentration: No
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Upcast: no
  • Classes: Cleric, Oath of Devotion Paladin, Bard via magical secrets

The Sanctuary spell is ofter overlooked and considered underpowered due to being a level 1 spell slot. However, Sanctuary can prevent enemies from attacking you, uses a bonus action, and doesn’t require concentration. Moreover, Sanctuary can carry your survivability on Honour Mode difficulty, where the only damage you can take is environmental or area (AOE).

Considering Sanctuary’s last 10 turns, and it doesn’t require concentration, you can use it as a “pre-buff” tool. Enter turn-based combat, and cast this on multiple targets depending on your available spell slots. When you enter combat, the enemy NPC will not target those Sanctuary players, at least with single-target damage. This is helpful when roaming the open world when you expect an ambush and will be surprised.

Sanctuary will deactivate after you attack or do damage. Therefore, you must ensure you can activate your highest damage attack afterward. Otherwise, cast this on a pure support build like the Life Cleric, who rarely does damage. You can also use this to peel back, heal invisibility potion, and refresh your action and bonus action for the next combat round.

3 Longstrider

BG3 Longstrider Spell

Longstrider features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Increase a creature’s Movement Speed by 3 meters.
  • School: Transmutation
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot (Ritual)
  • Range: 1.5 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: Affect an additional target for each Spell Slot Level above 1st.
  • Classes: Bard, Druid, Wizard, Ranger, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Fighter (Eldritch Knight)

Early in Baldur’s Gate 3, your movement is horrible without Misty Step or gear that increases per turn speed. However, the Longstrider spell can increase any ally’s movement by 3 meters until a long rest. Depending on your class, this is an overlooked spell and is considered a “ritual” spell. Therefore, ritual spells do not consume a spell slot. Moreover, Longstrider doesn’t require concentration. After every long rest, you can apply it to your entire team and boost everyone’s movement by 3 meters. If you have a Wood Elf (or Half) race, this 3-meter bonus stacks with a 1.5-meter racial bonus. The extra movement is critical for a Barbarians like Karlach or a Fighter like Lae’zel.

The weakness of Longstrider is the extra movement bonus fades over time as you gain more gear, spells, and passive bonuses to reach targets. Players should look to acquire the Boots of Persistence in Act 3. The boots passively give Longstrider, Freedom of Movement, and +1 to Dexterity Saving Throws. These boots will radically increase your movement if you don’t have a Longstrider and prevent paralyzed or restrained status effects.

2 Command

BG3 Command Spell

Command features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Allows spellcasters to order their target to flee, move closer, freeze, drop to the ground, or drop their weapon.
  • School: Enchantment spell
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: Affects an additional target for each Spell Slot Level above 1st.
  • Classes: Cleric, Warlock (Fied), Paladin, Bard via Magical Secrets

The Command spell is one of the best crowd control and utility spells in Baldur’s Gate 3 because of its versatility and scaling. The Command spell allows you to cast different versions with different effects like Approach, Drop, Flee, Grovel, and Halt. Our two favorite versions of this spell are Grovel and Drop. Grovel forces the enemy to drop to their feet and stuns them with the prone status effect for one turn.

Even though Command is a low-level spell, it requires a Wisdom Saving throw, which is often a lower ability score for enemies NPC. Therefore, if you have a high spellcasting stat like Charisma for Paladin or Wisdom for Cleric, you will likely land this attack. The ability to force a melee damage dealer to drop their weapon and pick it up makes some fights easy.

Dropped by Kith'rak Voss - Silver Sword of the Astral Plane in Baldur’s Gate 3 - Legendary Sword

In Act 1, use the Drop Command at the Githyani fight with Kith’rak Voss to gain the Legendary Silver Sword of the Astral Plane. Additionally, you can obtain the Gauntlets of the Tyrant from defeating Gortash in Act 3 and obtain the use of the spell. Considering the versatility and high percentage chance to land, we recommend Command as one of the top 10 best spells in Baldur’s Gate 3.

1 Magic Missile

Magic Missile - Baldur's Gate 3

Magic Missile features in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Description: Create three darts of magical force, each dealing 1d4 + 1 Force damage to its target.
  • School: Evocation spell
  • Cost: Action + Level 1 Spell Slot
  • Range: 18 meters
  • Concentration: No
  • Upcast: An additional dart is created for each Spell Slot Level above 1.
  • Classes: Sorcerer, Wizard, Rogue (Arcane Trickster), Fighter (Eldritch Knight) Bard via Magical Secrets

The strength of Magic Missile is it has a 100% chance to hit a target and does not require line of sight to hit. Moreover, the upcasting of this ability shoots multiple darts. Certain bosses in the game require you to hit several times before they can be damaged. Magic Missile, even at level 1, destroyed those enemies like Orin. Moreover, a magic missile is force damage and must open hidden doors, or some enemies will become vulnerable. Simply put, Magic Missile is effective at every level in Baldur’s Gate 3 and helps with some of the hardest fights in the game.

BG3 Auntie Ethel Best Strategies and Tactics

Two specific fights in Magic Missile are key: Auntie Ethel in Act 1 and Orin in Act 3. Auntie Ethel offers an item that permanently boosts stats, but the fight can be extremely hard on Honour Mode. The difficulty comes when you have to hit multiple targets at great distances for 1 or more damage. Another strength of the Magic Missile spell is that you can upcast it with a higher spell slot to shoot more projectiles.

BG3 Ne'er Misser
BG3 Psychic Spark

Another advantage of Magic Missile is you can gain free access to this spell regardless of your class with two items. Pyschic Spark obtained in Act 1 and Ne’er Misser hand crossbow in Act 2. The overall utility, gear sets, and use throughout BG3 separate Magic Missile from the others, making it the best level 1 spell.

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