bg3 warlock spells breakdown


Warlocks are unique spellcasters due to their Pact Magic feature. Unlike Sorcerers or Wizards, they only ever get at most 3 spell slots, though those slots are always cast at their highest possible level and are recovered on a Short Rest. In a game where you are able to take up to 3 short rests per day, this is more of an advantage than in the TTRPG rules where you depend on the whims of a benevolent GM.

This means that your spells are a per battle resource. Even with that change to your resource management, it’s important to carefully consider which spells to use in a given battle. Some spells are better used in longer fights against specific enemies, while others are more useful in quick encounters with singular enemies. Bringing a diverse collection of spells will allow you to adapt quickly to any situation.

Table of Contents


RPGBOT uses a color coding scheme to rate individual character options.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
  • Green: Good options. Useful often.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.

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Warlock Cantrips

Cantrips will be what you use most frequently, even more so than Sorcerers and Wizards. Since you don’t get many spell slots, you best be comfortable using them as frequently as possible. Fortunately, you have access to one of the best damage Cantrips in the game.

  • Blade Ward: More useful in Baldur’s Gate than in the tabletop due to the fact that it lasts 2 turns without Concentration. It’s still not the greatest spell, so unless you are going for a very specific build, it’s best to avoid it unless you don’t have any better options.
  • Bone Chill: Useful in a game where healing is common for enemies. That said, it competes with space for the far more impactful Eldritch Blast. If you are facing a lot of undead, this can be useful for the Disadvantage it inflicts.
  • Eldritch Blast: The classic. Use it, abuse it. Gets even better with Invocations
  • Friends: Advantage on social checks is very useful on the lower difficulties as there is no cost for using it on every check. That said this becomes far more risky at higher difficulties (Tactician+) where targets will know you charmed them and may even become hostile towards you. Never use this on your companions as they will disapprove regardless of difficulty level.
  • Mage Hand: Not as useful as it is in the tabletop rules. It has its niche uses though and you can use it to throw small projectiles or shove people, but Repelling Blast will serve you better. The 10-round duration and once per rest limitation makes it difficult to use consistently, but the Warlock’s reliance on Short Rests does at least make it more available more frequently than for most other spellcasters.
  • Minor Illusion: Great for setting up distractions when you’re stealthed or for gathering people into a clump so you can hit them with a big AoE
  • Poison Spray: No more useful than it was in the tabletop. It targets the worst save and has damage that is resisted by most things in the game.
  • True Strike: Still not a good spell. Don’t cast this unless you want to make puppies cry.

1st-Level Warlock Spells

  • Armor of Agathys: Really good. The temporary hit points last until your next Long Rest, providing a significant buffer to your limited hit points, especially if you’re building a melee Pact of the Blade Warlock. The on-hit damage is great, too, but remember that it only triggers on melee attacks. This combined with Blade Ward and other damage reduction options like Force Conduit and certain armors can actually be a decent combo as it makes your temporary hit points last longer. If you plan on using this, try to provoke Opportunity Attacks on purpose to take full advantage of its features and trigger the on-hit damage as often as possible.
  • Arms of Hadar: Good for getting out of sticky melee situations. The damage is decent and Strength is one of the less common saves.
  • Charm Person: Just use Friends.
  • Expeditious Retreat: There are spells more worthy of your concentration, but certain melee Warlock builds will appreciate the extra movement speed. If you need a more consistent boost to speed, have someone cast Longstrider.
  • Hellish Rebuke: Scales well and is a good way to punish ranged attackers without cutting into your turn.
  • Hex: This is probably the spell we will be using the most, especially at early levels. It gets better when you have multiple beams on your Eldritch Blast, as each beam benefits from the extra damage. You can also stack this with other rider damage sources from a variety of gear pieces to do some serious damage with just a cantrip.
  • Protection from Evil and Good: The situations where this is useful are not common enough to make this worth using your limited spell slots on. If you need to cast it, it’s better for it to be casted by a Cleric.
  • Witchbolt: Still not a good spell.

2nd-Level Warlock Spells

  • Cloud of Daggers: Solid damage that only gets better at higher levels. Very effective if placed right. You’ll need to put it in specific chokepoints in order to force enemies into it. Enemies can also be pushed back into it by your martial frontliners or a Repelling Blast.
  • Crown of Madness: Good to use in a fight with many enemies working closely together and relatively weak. It’s less damage you have to take and less damage you have to deal. Note that this spell may cause neutral NPCs to join in the fight to attack your target, but fortunately most encounters won’t have neutral NPCs standing about.
  • Darkness: This spell is very powerful, especially when combined with the Devil’s Sight Invocation. That said, placement with this spell is very important. Blinding enemies is very useful, but not at the expense of your allies’ sight as well.
  • Enthrall: For the life of me I cannot figure out what situation this would be more useful than using something else like Minor Illusion.
  • Hold Person: Humanoids are the most common type of enemy in the game. It also only gets better as you level, being able to lock down entire squads of enemies at once for your martials to tear apart.
  • Invisibility: Invisibility potions are easy to find, buy, and craft so this spell is redundant.
  • Mirror Image: No doubt it is useful, but as a Warlock you should focus on using what few spell slots you have on damage and battlefield control rather than on simple defense.
  • Misty Step: Teleportation is always useful. That said, there are numerous items that offer it as a bound spell, and your small pool of spell slots are better used on other things. But when a situation turns against you, you will be glad you have it.
  • Ray of Enfeeblement: Simple debuffs are usually not worth the effort to cast them over just pure damage. There are other spells that debuff and do damages. A dead enemy deals no damage.
  • Shatter: Best used on Constructs, of which there are not many in the game, and it targets Constitution saves. The damage is still decent though, and most warlocks can’t cast Fireball.

3rd-Level Warlock Spells

  • Counterspell: Always useful for shutting down enemy spellcasters. You also won’t need to worry about what level spell to use it on, as it will be max level cast. Be very choosy about what you use it on, though, as you will only ever get max three of them per battle.
  • Fear: Just as good as it is in the tabletop. Enemies disarm themselves and flee, setting your melee fighters up for Opportunity Attacks. The only thing holding it back is the Concentration element, but when you disarm a full encounter and steal their weapons of the ground, Concentration is hardly an issue.
  • Gaseous Form: Not worth using on a Warlock. Get a scroll or a potion.
  • Grant Flight: This is better used by a Wizard and not by someone who has few spell slots and better things worth concentrating on.
  • hunger of Hadar: This is almost like Darkness but better as it not only blinds enemies but slows them and deals significant damage. It does require even more careful placement than Darkness, though, as it will damage anyone in it. Use Repelling Blast and your frontliners’ shove abilities to keep your enemies in it, especially enemy spellcasters.
  • Hypnotic Pattern: Best used on a group of enemies where you can get the most bang for your buck. It won’t affect your allies, even if they are in its radius. Shutting down even a few enemies for two turns with no additional saves will give you some much needed breathing room for those tougher fights.
  • Remove Curse: There are only a handful situations where this is useful and it is usually better cast by a Cleric since they can change their prepared spells at any time outside of combat.
  • Vampiric Touch: Very situational. If you’re a ranged caster, you should avoid being in melee combat, and if you’re a Pact of the Blade Warlock, you’re usually better off just attacking. If you’re low on hit points and don’t have any healing potions, this can be a decent way to stay alive, though.

4th-Level Warlock Spells

  • Banishment: Hard CCs are good and unlike Hold Person, this isn’t limited by creature type. Use this on the hardest hitting enemy in an encounter so you can mop up their lackeys before dealing with him when Banishment ends. You can accomplish the same thing with Hypnotic Pattern, but Hypnotic Pattern targets a different save. High Charisma enemies are a rarity in this game.
  • Blight: Decent single-target damage, especially if your build doesn’t have access to better damaging spells. There are very few plant enemies in the game, though, and targeting Constitution saves is always hard. If you acquire the Staff of Cherished Necromancy, this spell suddenly gets very good.
  • Dimension Door: This has saved my ass on more than one occasion and it is useful for exploration as well.

5th-Level Warlock Spells

  • Hold Monster: Like with Hold Person, this is just a great spell. But remember that the Warlock’s spell slots stop advancing at 5th level, so you’ll never get more than one target.
  • Telekinesis: As a spell to throw objects at your enemies with, this is underwhelming. You can use it to throw humanoid or lighter enemies down bottomless pits or at each other, though. The game seems to be finicky about how and when it will allow this.

Warlock Mystic Arcanum Spells

As Warlocks, our spell slots only scale to 5th level, so we can’t upcast our lower-level spells to 6th level. Instead we get a once per long rest 6th-level spell we can use. This puts these spells in the unique position of being judged by their own individual merits rather than being compared to upcasting lower-level spells. We also only ever get one of these spells, even if we respec, so which one to choose is very important.

  • Arcane Gate: Not worth taking over the other options. You can just use Dimension Door or Misty Step.
  • Circle of Death: This spell is so disappointing in so many ways. It does the same amount of damage as Fireball at base level, targets the worst save, has a larger radius, perhaps worst of all, it has to be centered on a creature, making it even more difficult to place effectively.
  • Create Undead: Normally this would compete for space with something like Animate Dead or a summoning spell, but here it can stand on its own merits. A free minion with its own turn is always useful, and the ability to Frighten an enemy every turn is extremely effective crowd control.
  • Eyebite: Really great spell with a lot of versatility. It competes for your Concentration, but it’s worth it more often than not.
    • Panicked: Like Fear but for one enemy. Use on the big damage dealer of the group. Be sure to steal their weapon after they drop it.
    • Sickened: If the spell goes off, your enemy is stuck with permanent Disadvantage for as long as you maintain concentration. Not bad, considering most other ways to impose Disadvantage require keeping your target in a specific area.
    • Asleep: Being able to shut someone out of the fight entirely is exceptionally powerful.
  • Flesh to stone: Targets the worst save and requires enemies to fail three of them. At this stage of the game that is statistically unlikely, even for weaker foes.