The Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Combat Tips for Beginners

If you’re new to the strategic, turn-based combat of Dungeons & Dragons, here are some of The Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Combat Tips for Beginners!

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Welcome to the enthralling realm of Baldur’s Gate 3! As you step into the shoes of your chosen character and embark on a journey filled with mystery, magic, and mayhem, one thing becomes abundantly clear. Combat is an inevitable part of this treacherous journey. But fear not, for within these pages, you shall uncover the key to triumphing over foes both monstrous and malevolent.

Combat Tips for Beginners

The Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Combat Tips for Beginners serves as your guiding light through the intricacies of combat within this sprawling and immersive RPG world. Whether you’re a novice with a sword, a spellcasting enthusiast, or someone just starting to grasp the mechanics of this epic game, this guide aims to provide you with the knowledge and strategies needed to navigate battles with confidence.

From understanding the fundamental combat mechanics to developing strategic approaches that will keep you standing when the odds are dire, this guide is your compendium of wisdom. So, sharpen your blade, prepare your spells, and ready your wits – for in Baldur’s Gate 3, victory belongs to those who are not only skilled but also well-informed.

Baldur's Gate 3 Wizard Build

Here are the Best Baldur’s Gate 3 Combat Tips for Beginners:

  1. Buff Before the Fight
  2. Action Economy
  3. Inspect Your Enemies
  4. Surprise Effect
  5. Using Initiative
  6. Stuns and Crowd Control
  7. Use Every Gear Slot
  8. Prioritize Gear Pieces with Spells
  9. Take Advantage of Scrolls
  10. The Perfect Turn

Buff Before the Fight

BG3 Enter Turn Based Mode

Before entering into a battle, you should always buff your party outside of combat.  The easiest way to do this is to manually toggle on turned-based mode when you know a fight is imminent.  Then you can use actions and bonus actions without losing a lot of turns on important buffs.

Important buffs in Baldur’s Gate 3 are:

  • Bless Spell – (Clerics and Paladins) gives you a better chance to hit targets and last for 10 turns
  • Combat Companion Summons – Spiritual Weapon, Flame Sphere, or any pet/familiar
  • Potion of Speed – extra turn, movement, and AC
  • Oils on Weapons – For 10 turns to increase damage
  • Strength Potions – For melee strength builds

Depending on which characters you have in your current party, some specific class-based spell buffs may or may not be available to you. But when you’re heading into a big fight, where there are lots of enemies or one big one, or even both, you want to have the extra edge they provide.

Baldur's Gate 3 Pre-Fight Buff Potion and Oil

Follow these steps to buff yourself and your party before a fight in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  1. Go into Turn-Based Mode
  2. Cast all spell buffs
  3. Drink necessary potions
  4. Coat weapons with poison/oil

Many of these types of buffs will last for 10 turns. While you may lose one turn doing so outside of combat, you do save yourself from the enemy hits you would incur during that round. If you play your cards right, they will easily last for the entire fight and make a huge difference in your DPS. 

Action Economy

Rogue Critical Strike

Simply put, in Baldur’s Gate 3 the best classes revolve around the ability to take multiple actions within a single combat turn.

This point can be illustrated with a Rogue vs a Fighter at level 5:

A melee Rogue using the Thief subclass has two bonus actions and one action. If they attack from stealth with a melee dual wield build, they consume 1 action and 1 bonus action. They can then use another bonus action for an additional attack.  Sounds great right? Not so fast –

The Fighter at level 5 has an extra attack, where every attack gives them a secondary attack. They also have Action Surge, which they can use to give them another bonus action to get an extra action once per short rest. 

So in a Fighter with this set-up, let’s play out a combat turn them:

The Fighter attacks once, then again because of an extra attack. They hit Action Surge with their bonus action and get another two attacks.  Add in the Great Weapon Master feat, which gives you another attack when you critical strike or kill a target using your bonus action, and in certain circumstances, you can chain 5 attacks in one turn.  If another party member casts the Haste spell on you, then you gain another 2 bringing the total to 7.

BG3 Quickened Spell

You can make a similar comparison with Sorcerer vs Wizard. The Sorcerer can use Quickened Metamagic and cast the same spell twice using their bonus action. Whereas the Wizard can only do this once. Imagine in your first turn having the ability to launch two Fireball Spells – that’s power.

Classes with extra attack, Metamagic, or Weapon Master have a big advantage because they can use bonus actions for attacks or have 2x attacks compared to one.

Does that mean all classes that don’t have extra attacks or some form of bonus action are worthless? No, but it means you need to understand how to get the most out of each of these resources at every turn. Additionally, even if your created character isn’t one of these classes, likely a companion is. You can get the most out of them and help the entire party by understanding how their builds work.

Inspect Your Enemies

One hidden mechanic the game doesn’t really make clear to new players is that you can inspect your enemies to discover what resistances or vulnerabilities it may have.

Baldur's Gate 3 Examine Enemy

Here’s how to Inspect your Enemies in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  1. Hover your mouse pointer over the enemy and right click
  2. From the dropdown selection, choose ‘Examine’

The information this reveals can be used to great effect in battle. You can then target your enemy with specific spells and ammunition types they are weak to. And make sure to avoid attacks with damage types they are resistant to. Thus, draining their HP that much more quickly.

Surprise Effect

Baldur’s Gate 3 Surprised Status Effect
Surprised Status Effect

Surprised is a status effect in Baldur’s Gate 3 where enemies cannot move, take actions or make reactions during the first round of combat. This means that if you can trigger this effect, your party will get a ‘free’ round of attack without having to worry about reprisal.

The two best ways to trigger the Surprise Effect in Baldur’s Gate 3 are:

  1. Use a Potion of Invisibility or Invisibility Spell before striking the first blow
  2. Drop your party into Stealth and strike before anyone sees you

Additionally, you should be aware that enemies can also trigger the Surprised status effect on you and your party. This can quickly drain your HP and should be avoided at all costs! 

Baldur's Gate 3 Elixir of Vigilance

There is an Elixir of Vigilance consumable which prevents surprise in addition to granting higher Initiative – which we’ll talk about more in a moment. Having an item like this on hand is vital when you’re playing on higher difficulty!

Using Initiative

Baldur's Gate 3 Multiple Initiative Bonuses

So, you’ve buffed your team outside of combat, struck first from stealth, and triggered the surprise status effect on your enemies. As the second round of combat starts, now the dice rolls on Initiative. Every combatant makes a Dexterity check and the results will determine the order of turns in combat. 

You want to have at least one character in your party with a high Dexterity level so that chances are they will be first in the fight.

Additionally, you can also use items or wearables to boost other characters’ Dexterity. The same Elixir of Vigilance used to prevent Surprise also grants the drinker a +5 bonus to Initiative. There are also special armors and racial passives which can boost an otherwise typically ‘slow’ class with greater Initiative.

When damage is high, having your turn first rather than an enemy is typically how you win fights within one or two turns. Look for ways to increase Initiative and get at least one character with a very high score so you can start combat first.

Stuns and Crowd Control

Baldur’s Gate 3 Prone Status Effect
Prone Status Effect

Now that your party is buffed and ready to strike first, what actions should you take? It might be tempting for new players to simply hit enemies with their most powerful spells and weapons. But there is one more step you should take before going for big DPS, which will help make your hits even stronger!

When fighting single-target boss monsters the most important tactic is to use Stuns. You can knock your enemy prone with spells and ammunition items such as Ice Orb, Ice Arrows, or Command Spell. The Command Spell is especially good because the percentage of success is very high. Additionally, you can also use the summon Flame Sphere to get your enemies’ attention and keep their focus away from you.

Then you unload all your DPS once it’s stunned and try to keep it locked down.

If you have a Battle Master Fighter in your group, you can also have them use the Trip Attack as an alternative to Stun. This maneuver spends a superiority die to deal X + Strength Modifier + 1d8 damage and possibly knock the target Prone. It’s a very strong action for control.

If you can, spread out these spells, ammunitions, and attacks so that everyone on your team has a chance to contribute to crowd control should another fail. Then, once your enemies are stunned or prone, you can hit them with everything you’ve got!

Use Every Gear Slot

Baldur's Gate 3 Fill Every Inventory Slot
  • Head
  • Cape
  • Armor
  • Gloves
  • Boots
  • Necklace
  • Ring One
  • Ring Two
  • Melee Weapon(s)
  • Range Weapon

Even a low-level ring or a secondary weapon might provide access to a free spell, more movement, or a passive stealth check benefit.  You want to match your armor proficiency and wear gear to support it. In the picture above, we use Astarion respeced to a Ranger build (his default is a Rogue). He uses light armor and Dexterity bonuses to support his armor class.  We want to keep him focused on high that Dexterity bonus and stealth advantages. 

The boots which he is wearing are very rare. They support movement speed and provide a free Misty Step Spell as well as preventing Enwebbed.  If a Ranger cannot move or escape, they are dead. Therefore, using every piece of gear to support one’s build is critical and this is a great example of that.

Baldur's Gate 3 Disintegrating Night Walkers boots

Gear Pieces Give Spells

Baldur's Gate 3 Amulet of Restoration with healing spells

A great way to gain access to spells without having to take up a spell slot is by finding pieces of equipment that come with spells attached. Equipping such a piece to one of your characters will then grant them access to these spells on their action bar. Such pieces can be massive lifesavers (and not just in the literal sense of healing spells) if you get into a tight spot and your casters have otherwise run out of spell slots.

As you can see in the image below, after this particular piece has been equipped, it appears on Shadowheart’s action bar. Additionally, you can see at the bottom of the tooltip for the spell that there is no listed ‘Level x Spell Slot’ notation. This means that using it will not consume one of her available spell slots.

Baldur's Gate 3 Amulet of Restoration available spells on hotbar

As you travel through Faerun you’ll find lots of loot and equipment drops and you always want to make sure to inspect their tooltips to see what extra bonuses they might give. Don’t just let Gale ‘eat’ something jsut because it looks like a basic uncommon green item!

Take Advantage of Scrolls

Scrolls are another loot item that you don’t want to overlook, as they can add a lot of power and versatility to non-caster classes. Much like spells available through gear pieces, spell scrolls give you access to free spells that only cost action and do not use a spell slot. Additionally, they can be used by ANY character and class. It opens up a lot of options when you can potentially have a Ranger casting Fireball into a crowd of enemies.

Baldur's Gate 3 Scroll of Fireball Tooltip

Ideally, you want to complement what your build lacks and try and fill those voids with appropriate scrolls.

For example, a Melee Barbarian is a great single-target build, but it lacks area of effect damage and AoE crowd control. You can fill this gap in their arsenal by giving them Fireball, Crown of Madness, or Wall of Fire scrolls and using them to great effect.

You can find them as regular loot on enemies but don’t forget to check out bookshelves and stacks of books while exploring. These lootable shelves don’t just house books but also hide plenty of scrolls as well. If they start to clutter up your inventory, send them to Camp, don’t just sell them in a giant heap to the nearest merchant. In fact, though they can be expensive, it’s really worth picking up higher-level spell scrolls from merchants. Nearly all of whom will have some available to sell.

The Perfect Turn

BG3 Character Select

Here are the steps you should take in order to produce ‘The Perfect Turn’ of combat in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  • Stealth outside of combat
  • Lead character talks
  • Click the other 3 individual character portraits on the bottom left
    • Buff each character as you choose them
  • Cast buff spells like Blessed and Shield of Faith
  • Summon spells like Familiar, Flame Sphere, Spiritual Weapon, etc
  • To start the fight, have your primary character consume Potion of Speed
  • If you have a Sorcerer in the group, use Twinned Metamagic and have them cast the Haste spell (earned at level 5)
    • This will allow you to cast haste on yourself getting an extra turn, then cast the ability on a character who hasn’t taken a turn
  • On that same Sorcerer (or Wizard) cast Fireball into the group of enemies
Baldur's Gate 3 Casting Fireball

If you’re playing with a Ranger, you can attack twice, each giving you an “extra attack” essentially four attacks with one character.  You can mark a target with bonus action, attack and use arrows to proc status effects. This is where you can take advantage of crowd control and use ammunition like Ice Arrows for the prone status effect. This will give you a massive chance to remove a turn from multiple enemies or one if they are not immune.

Within your first turn, this strategy would have a melee build like a Fighter charge in with multiple attacks and focus on the primary target. Fireball would provide AoE damage and take out multiple lower hp enemies along with giving Haste to two other people.

Your range build, using a Ranger, would shoot multiple elemental arrows aiming to stun in prone the most damage-producing target or eliminate it outright before a turn

The last character, most likely a support build, like a Cleric, could heal any allies to full before the next round, cast a scroll of Fireball for additional area damage, or cast Guiding Bolt for more single target pressure instead.

By following all of these steps, in one turn, you would have produced a massive amount of damage and pressure on your enemies. By the time the surviving combatants finally had their turn to cause damage to you and your party, little would be left of the enemy.

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