Baldur's Gate 3 Wizard Spells Breakdown


Wizards have long been at the top of the food chain in D&D and most related games. As a prepared caster, they can change what spells they have access to any time they’re not in combat. While that is extremely powerful, there’s still a couple hang ups both with that mechanic and compared to the tabletop version. For one, if you unprepare a spell you’re concentrating on it will end, even if the duration is “until long rest.” The same thing happens with summons (which are otherwise permanent until long rest); they’ll just vanish.

It’s also the case that ritual casting doesn’t work nearly as well, requiring you to have the spell prepared in order to cast it, and if you unprepare it you could run into issues as described above.

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.

RPGBOT is fan content published under Larian’s Fan Content Policy. This is not official content, and RPGBOT has no official relationship with Larian.

Wizard Cantrips

Cantrips are (usually) usable at will, making them a go-to option for spellcasters, especially when you’re short on spell slots. Wizard learns 3 cantrips at level 1, then another at levels 4 and 10. You generally cannot replace cantrips except by respeccing your entire build.

Note that wizards can learn additional cantrips from scrolls, so it’s entirely possible that you will learn every wizard cantrip.

  • Acid Splash: This is the only AoE cantrip in the game, which becomes important if you’re dealing with one of the surprisingly many situations where someone is casting sanctuary. Other than that, it’s on a small die that won’t often catch more than one creature and doesn’t interact with the Wet condition, making it worse than either other main damage cantrip. If you’re going for Evocation School, this one of the only two cantrips that work with Potent Cantrip.
  • Blade Ward: We are not a cleric needing to protect ourselves while blending.
  • Bone Chill: Necrotic is a decent damage type in this game, but it’s a smaller die than Firebolt and the rider isn’t impactful nearly as frequently as Ray of Frost.
  • Dancing Lights: The appeal of Dancing Lights is that you can place the light at a distance to handle enemies who are in Darkness so that your party doesn’t suffer Disadvantage to attack them. But Darkvision is widely available, actual darkness is rare (at least until Darkvision is accessible via spells), and this requires Concentration which is much better spent on almost anything else.
  • Firebolt: So good it’s on every origin elf. D10s are great, doors usually take double damage from fire, and the ability to inspect targets means you’re never going to use it on someone resistant to fire (without making that intentional choice).
  • Friends: Basically easy mode for social situations, giving you Advantage on Persuasion checks in most conversations. This is good, but on high difficulties some creatures will accuse you of magically charming them, which can cause problems for you. When it becomes available at level 3 (when you get 2nd-level spells), Enhance Ability makes this obsolete.
  • Light: Environmental light sources are abundant, actual darkness is rare, and Darkvision is easily accessible. If you’re really that desperate, have someone carry a torch.
  • Mage Hand: Look how they massacred my boy. For being so good I wrote an entire article on its uses in the tabletop game, it is crushingly bad here. It can throw things like alchemist’s fire or healing potions if you drop those on the ground, effectively freeing up people’s bonus actions to do other things than drink, but even with that and the ability to shove it’s not nearly the utility powerhouse people may be used to in the tabletop rules. You can send it through burrow holes though, which may facilitate opening doors through levers. Only allowing it once per rest is still punishing, however.
  • Minor Illusion: Fantastic in a party which is relying on Stealth in any meaningful way, but otherwise skip it. See our Practical Guide to Minor Illusion for more specific advice.
  • Poison Spray: It targets the worst save and does the worst damage type in the game. The only reason to use this would be if you get the Poisoner’s Gloves from the middle of act two and boost your spell save sky-high with items.
  • Ray of Frost: While Cold is a commonly resisted damage type, nothing I encountered in the game was immune to it. Bottles of water are found in many places humanoids keep food throughout the game, and can be thrown by your Cleric after they turn on Spirit Guardians. The Wet condition overrides innate resistances, setting the target’s value to vulnerable to Cold and Lightning damage. With a couple magic items boosting elemental damage at the end of the game, my Gale was routinely hitting for ~50 damage per turn with Ray of Frost.
  • Shocking Grasp: If your wizard finds themselves in melee, this is a great way to escape. Many enemies in the game wear or are made of metal and offer advantage on the attack roll to let you scoot away in peace.
  • True Strike: This allows you to spend your Action to get Advantage on one attack, which will typically come from your Action on the following turn. In nearly every case, it makes more sense to spend both of those actions attacking because you’re rolling just as many attack rolls, plus you might hit with both attacks. The appeal here is for spellcasters planning to make a single attack with a high resource cost, such as Chromatic Orb or Melf’s Acid Arrow, but you should just be using Ray of Frost twice instead.

1st-Level Wizard Spells

  • Burning Hands: At low levels, this is your go-to option for AoE damage as it has a better average damage and targets a better save than Thunderwave.
  • Charm Person: Charming people is awful in combat, and out of combat you should just use Friends or Enhance Ability if you want the skill benefit.
  • Chromatic Orb: You can choose your damage type every time you cast it and all but one of those creates a possibly useful surface even when you miss. Cold and Lightning will both benefit from your target being Wet. If you just want straight damage and no fun surfaces, Thunder gets an extra damage die.
  • Colour Spray: While this has the massive quality of life buff compared to the tabletop rules of being able to see everything’s hitpoints and therefore know exactly what to expect, you’re only blinding them for a single round.
  • Disguise Self: This spell is incredibly powerful in unexpected ways. Rather than simply creating an illusion like the tabletop version, it actually gives you all the appropriate tags for wherever you turn into, allowing things like turning into a Small race which can then be augmented with Reduce to move through the burrow hole tunnels placed strategically throughout the game, or even using equipment with stats tied to race like the Githyanki Silver Sword.
  • Expeditious Retreat: There are vanishingly few times when the only thing you’ll care to do with your concentration is make yourself move faster, but I can think of a couple, so this comes in at orange.
  • False Life: Early on, it’s hard to justify spending a spell slot on 7 temp hp because they’re a precious resource. Later on, it’s hard to justify spending a spell slot on 7 temp hp because you’re probably getting temp hp from your cleric whenever they heal you thanks to items.
  • Feather Fall: While, on paper, this sounds like a great buff in a game where people love pushing you off of things, most often you will simply die to chasm rather than take damage for falling, and any time you would want to jump down a cliff there’s usually a way around that doesn’t spend spell slots. Once again though, I can think of a situation where this would be useful, so yellow it is. It’s also a ritual, so outside of combat you can prepare it, cast it for free, leap off a cliff, and then immediately unprepare it.
  • Find Familiar: With the frustrating limitation of only being able to cast this once per short rest, and given that your summons will likely be targeted due to their frustratingly low hp and AC, it can feel like a waste of time. They also act on their own initiative roll, which can mean that it’s hard to set up combos with your familiar. That said, there is still some utility to be had, especially as they passively benefit from spells like Aid and Heroes’ Feast when cast on your whole party.
    • Cat: Like Minor Illusion but without the Investigation check. On the other hand, for that to be useful your cat needs to be somewhere away from your rogue which probably means it’s going to die soon.
    • Crab: Stacking slows with this and Ray of Frost sounds nice, but, again, this thing will die when sneezed on so that isn’t a viable strategy long-term.
    • Frog: If you first debuff someone with the Rat’s bite so the low DC con save might land, and then get them with bufotoxin, that’s disadvantage on the two common physical saves which is pretty strong. It’s also a lot of setup though.
    • Rat: If the familiar’s melee attack lands, the target gets disadvantage on con saves (and a -1 con to boot, possibly dropping the modifier) for a minute, no save. If you cast a lot of Con-save-targeting spells, it might actually be worth your resources to summon a rat and run Improved Invisibility on it as your concentration. Rats can also go into burrow holes.
    • Raven: Quothe the Raven (sigh) can provide blindness on hit, meaning it can protect itself by flying up to a single and fly away without getting attacked if the blindness lands. Blindness is a great debuff, making this the primary choice for summoning unless you have a specific plan in mind.
    • Spider: While this has the highest HP of all familiars at 6, it’s still unlikely to survive a turn in melee range unless you’re investing other things like Mage Armor/Barkskin and/or max hp increases. It also provides nothing worth the investment.
  • Fog Cloud: Low-budget Darkness. There are a couple magic items in the game that provide immunity to Blindness, and Blindness is how both this and Darkness apply their “can’t see in here” effect, making anyone standing in a cloud while wearing such an item capable of attacking freely out of it while being untargetable. This can be cheesed as the AI will simply forget about things they can’t see, meaning you can get in 10 turns worth of attacking with minimal retaliation. You can also dip in and out, taking your action to do something in the middle, but some things to keep in mind:
    • While blind, all terrain is difficult terrain, halving your move speed.
    • If things are hanging out right at the edge, they won’t be blind and may take an attack of opportunity as you walk back into the spell’s area.
  • Grease: Prone is an incredibly powerful condition in this game as it immediately breaks concentration and limits people standing back up to a bonus action on their next turn. Most enemies will jump out of it once they stand up, so try to combo it with some fire damage after knocking people over to light them on fire.
  • Ice Knife: With the existence of Chromatic Orb and Magic Missile, there’s better single target damage options for 1st-level slots on your Wizard.
  • Enhance Leap: Much exploration can happen with jumping, and this makes it so no one will get left behind as you’re doing it. It’s also free to cast outside of combat, which makes it particularly good on a Wizard who can just prepare it as needed and then unprepare it when combat seems imminent.
  • Longstrider: Everything wants to move faster, and everything that attacks with melee weapons really wants to move faster. Because this lasts until your next Long Rest but doesn’t require Concentration, it’s a candidate for Camp Casting. Don’t forget to cast it on your familiar.
  • Mage Armour: The primary tool to prevent low-level wizards from dying. Because this lasts until your next Long Rest but doesn’t require Concentration, it’s a candidate for Camp Casting.
  • Magic Missile: This spell is already great in tabletop, and its ludicrously good in a system where you can see that your other spells are likely to miss/fail and see what hp things are at, letting you determine exactly how many missiles are required to probably or guaranteeably kill them.
  • Protection from Evil and Good: Spectacular protection against the affected creature types. Note that this doesn’t actually care about things being evil or good; it’s just the creature type that matters. Why is it named “Protection from Evil and Good”? Tradition dating back to the 70’s.
  • Ray of Sickness: Bad save, bad damage type. Take Poison Spray if you want to put on Poisoner’s Gloves and do that sort of thing.
  • Shield: This will take your reaction and many of your first level spell slots through most of the game. 
  • Sleep: This spell didn’t need a buff, but buff it they did (with one huge drawback). The hitpoint total is now deterministically set to the average of 5d8 so no awful rolls messing up your plans. Also, as mentioned in Magic Missile, seeing exactly how much hp things have makes targeting this spell a dream. The problem is, Larian thinks that AoE crowd control lasting for its intended duration is too strong (they’re probably right) so this, like Hypnotic Pattern, got nerfed from a minute duration down to just two rounds. Still, if you can kill the rest of the encounter while those two rounds are going (or just use this to deliver a huge sneak attack/spell crit), you’ve made your life much easier with a single spell slot.
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter: Low-budget, single-target save-or-suck. If you’re not planning for your party to pile in on your target to quickly kill them, this is as good at taking a target out of combat as Hold Person.
  • Thunderwave: Not much damage, and Constitution saves are often high for many enemies, but you can launch enemies off ledges or into pits, which can often win a fight for you. While high-Strength characters can rely on Shove, most spellcasters don’t have the Strength or Athletics to make that work. You can also launch objects, allowing you to launch a bunch of objects at your enemies if you set up beforehand.
  • Witch Bolt: Still bad. Just use Chromatic Orb.

2nd-Level Wizard Spells

  • Arcane Lock: This is primarily used for flavor or espionage management in the tabletop version, and is nearly useless here. Theoretically it could be used to section off a fight if you can get some people through a door and then close and lock it, but that’s not remotely worth the effort and resources required.
  • Blindness: A fantastic debuff with no Concentration, especially against enemies that rely on fighting at range. However, Constitution saves tend to be high, so this may prove to be unreliable. If available to your party, the rat familiar’s Infectious Bite can impose Disadvantage on Constitution saves, making this spell much more reliable.
  • Blur: With a (likely) low AC and the fact that this takes your Concentration, it’s not going to provide much value to Wizards. It can be stacked with Mirror Image to get the most out of that last duplicate, but that’s a lot of resources going into defending yourself.
  • Cloud of Daggers: Creates a small area of ongoing damage. Ideally you can force enemies to stay within the area and quickly grind them down, but if they do escape, have your party Shove them back in. The upcasting scales at a decent rate, too, so this can remain an effective tactic through the whole game.
  • Crown of Madness: In a fight against multiple enemies, this is a great way to tip things in your favor. The target is forced to move toward the nearest creature and make a melee attack, consuming the vast majority of their action economy. Melee enemies will deal more damage, but you can also target enemy spellcasters which forces them to waste their Actions making melee attacks instead of casting spells.
  • Darkness: Do you have a Warlock with Devil’s Sight in your party? Would you like them to solo the encounter? Drop this at a place with good sightlines and walk away, letting them Hex+Eldritch Blast+Agonizing Blast everything to death while taking no retaliation. Works on everything except Devils, permanently blind enemies, and some boss fights. Even without that, it’s still good for all the same things Fog Cloud is described for above.
  • Darkvision: Many playable races get Darkvision, and 3 of the 4 companions you’re likely to get first have it innately, including the one that serves as a tailor-made scout. It won’t hurt to learn off a scroll and keep around in case you need to prepare it, but I never cast this once in a 150-hour tactician run. Because this lasts until your next Long Rest but doesn’t require Concentration, it’s a candidate for Camp Casting.
  • Detect Thoughts: If you managed to avoid finding any of the items that let you cast this, you sold all the consumables that do it, and you have your wizard being your face for some reason, this can allow you to bypass or have substantially easier versions of social checks in conversations. Really though, you shouldn’t be spending a spell slot on this because it takes concentration unlike Speak with Dead and Speak with Animals.
  • Enlarge/Reduce: Reduce is of mediocre utility as it targets Con saves, requires concentration, and doesn’t actually do anything by itself except minorly reduce incoming damage. Enlarge is incredible though, as it gives Fighters a way to have advantage on shoves to yeet people off cliffs, adds extra damage for all of the many attacks they make, and allows them to throw larger creatures. It’s also a core component of Owlbear from the Top Rope.
  • Flaming Sphere: It’s a summon, meaning that it acts on its own initiative rather than consuming your bonus action to move, it deals persistent damage, it’s immune to damage, and it blocks movement. If you can find a chokepoint to drop this in and fling spells over, you’ll have a great time. It does take Concentration, though, and does the second-most-resisted damage type (and not a ton of it at that), so Cloud of Daggers is still going to be a better bet if you just want damage and don’t need it to move.
  • Gust of Wind: Many enemies are going to be able to pass a Strength save (it’s the second best behind Con), but if used strategically near cliffs this can just kill things outright on a fail at the cost of a 2nd-level spell slot. It can also clear things like Cloudkill, but those effects are rare in combat, and when you encounter clouds of stuff outside of combat they typically reappear almost immediately, requiring you to clear them by throwing detritus (I often use skulls) on top of a vent.
  • Hold Person: Humanoid enemies are abundant in Baldur’s Gate 3, making Hold Person a spectacularly powerful save-or-suck spell. Paralyze something, then have your party pile in on it until it’s dead. Upcasting this spell to add more targets keeps it powerful for a very long time. However, since enemies get to repeat their saves, you need to work quickly.
  • Invisibility: Invisibility requires concentration, which means you should really only be using it out of combat, and it only lasts 10 turns instead of the pen and paper version’s hour, so it’s not useful for long-term scouting. This renders the number of things you can usefully do with it very minimal, especially since they explicitly broke one of the most important things. Interacting with items breaks invisibility, thus removing the remaining primary purpose of theft. It’s also readily available on scrolls and potions. Learn it off a scroll just in case, but don’t expect to use it much.
  • Knock: It’s stupidly easy to get past locks in this game, and locks are too frequent to waste a spell slot on them. Throw Enhance Ability (Dexterity) on whoever in your party is good at Sleight of Hand and make it their problem.
  • Magic Weapon: This game hands out magic weapons like candy, but if you’re in the very early game and run into something with resistance before you find one, this can help your martial. Of course, at that point you’re only attacking once with the weapon per turn unless you’re a frenzied berserker, so all this is doing is adding up to 1d6+3 damage per turn at the cost of your concentration, which is worse than Flaming Sphere’s DPR. Skip it unless you have a frenzied berserker with a mundane weapon.
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow: Even if some things are resistant to most other damage, just upcast Chromatic Orb.
  • Mirror Image: The change to the spell’s effect means that you’re much less likely to use the last image unless you have a bunch of AC from other sources, and if you have a bunch of AC from other sources this isn’t worth the action to cast.
  • Misty Step: Everything that has access to Misty Step should take Misty Step. Bonus Action teleportation is the best movement in the game. Misty Step allows you to teleport beyond the limited targeting range imposed by being blinded, so it’s a great way to get out of Darkness spells and similar effects, or if you’re hit by Blindness.
  • Phantasmal Force: Even if you manage to get this turned to a damage type the enemy is vulnerable to, 2d6 damage per turn is not worth concentration.
  • Ray of Enfeeblement: Still terrible.
  • See Invisibility: A great counter to invisible enemies, but you can keep elixirs around or spam Faerie Fire until the target fails a save. You can also usually cheese figuring out where invisible enemies are because they make sound while moving and many won’t move at all after turning invisible, allowing you to hit them with AoEs or even ranged attacks if you have a good eye for lines of sight. This only affects the caster, so unfortunately you can’t get it from Camp Casting.
  • Scorching Ray: The king of single-target damage until level 11, 6d6 damage with chances for rays to hit multiple times meaning partial damage will happen even if one ray misses and gives you extra opportunities for crits. Can be combined with the Assassin subclass to begin dangerously approaching being the Ambush Caster.
  • Shatter: Low-budget fireball. The damage and AOE are decent, but Constitution saves tend to be high, so enemies will often pass the save. Just use Cloud of Daggers instead unless you’re concentrating on something very important.
  • Web: The direct upgrade (generally) from Grease. It won’t break concentration, but other than that it’s a more powerful area denial effect. It also has the (perhaps unintended) effect of negating any fall damage when jumped into, allowing you to mimic the effects of Feather Fall without having to prepare a different spell.

3rd-Level Wizard Spells

3rd-level spells are a major power jump for full spellcasters, bringing heavy-hitting spells like Fireball.

  • Animate Dead: An excellent addition to your party at any level, and with a little bit of effort you can turn your 1 to 3 undead minions into a terrifying force. See our Practical Guide to Animate Dead. Of course, Danse Macabre might be better, provided that you found it.
  • Bestow Curse: Single-target, touch range, and the target gets a Wisdom save. The effects are diverse, but there’s almost always a good spell that does the same job better.
    • Dread: 50% chance for the target to skip its turn. That’s very tempting, but against humanoids Hold Person will be much more effective since it targets the same save, allows a repeated save the same way, allows automatic critical hits, and robs the target of their turn 100% of the time rather than 50%.
    • Additional Damage: This is basically Hex’s damage boost, but everyone gets it. The target doesn’t get additional saves to remove the effect, which is kind of nice. This could be good against big enemies with a ton of hit points, but there will almost always be a better spell for that same enemy.
    • Attack Disadvantage: This isn’t a bad effect, but it can be done better by several other spells. On the same Wisdom save, you can paralyze humanoids with Hold Person. You can use Heat Metal to make enemies using metal weapons either drop their weapon or suffer Disadvantage to attacks. You could also use Dissonant Whispers or Feat to impose Disadvantage on both attacks and ability checks, though those only last for one turn. Bestore Curse (Attack Disadvantage)’s advantage over those spells is that it lasts a full minute and the target can’t do anything about it. I’m not convinced that that’s enough.
    • Ability Disadvantage (Pick an Ability Score): Disadvantage on both checks and saving throws with the targeted ability can make the target much more vulnerable. Strength will make it easy to Shove them, Constitution or Wisdom will make them vulnerable to many save-or-suck spells. But you’re already trying to make them fail a save, so why not just use one of those save-or-suck spells in the first place?
  • Blink: Blink’s main problem is that spending an action doing anything other than ending the fight is usually the wrong course of action. If you’re worried about being attacked, you have Shield.
  • Counterspell: There aren’t a ton of caster enemies in the game, but having this prepared can save your life when you run into one that tries to Thunderwave you off a cliff.
  • Fear: Make enemies Frightened in a cone and force them to drop their weapons. Most humanoid enemies rely on a weapon, and grabbing them off the ground while they’re still frightened makes them nearly harmless. Only lasts two rounds, though, and requires close range.
  • Feign Death: Why? I can’t think of a single practical use for this spell. Sure, they get Resistance to almost all damage, but since they’re unconscious your enemies crit them for free.
  • Fireball: Even with a nerfed radius for the videogame, it’s still the undisputed king of AoE damage. Just Fireball. Just Fireball. Just Fireball.
  • Fly: This spell single-handedly fixes nearly every movement problem. While dashing doesn’t allow you to fly one uninterrupted distance in combat (which would be nice), it will get you places your strength won’t let you jump, it’ll get you around some walls and up others (I flew over the gate to get to the Shar idol and flew my entire party up the walls of Moonrise Castle to avoid walking in through the prison or the front door). It doesn’t also get you defense through hovering like the tabletop version, but it’s still plenty incredible.
  • Gaseous Form: I wouldn’t use this in combat, but it’s another way to explore burrow holes.
  • Glyph of Warding: You can lay this as a trap, but if enemies are in the area, it triggers immediately, so you can use it like any other AOE spell. Weirdly, all of the saves are Dexterity saves, including the Sleep effect.
    • Sleep: Put enemies to sleep without worrying about their hit point total.
    • Detonation: Launch enemies away, potentially pushing them into pits, off ledges, etc. Targets are pushed directly outward from the center, so you’ll need to be precise with your placement.
    • Acid / Cold / Fire / Lightning / Thunder: Not as much damage as Fireball, but you get to pick the damage type, which means that you can capitalize on Wet enemies or other damage vulnerabilities.
  • Haste: Welcome back 3.0 Haste. I certainly never expected to see you again. This just gets your target an extra action every turn (including yourself on the turn you cast it if you self-cast) which can be used to do anything an action can do, including cast spells. Two spells per turn is so good they completely removed it from the OneD&D playtest by saying Action Surge can do anything but cast spells, so letting it happen here is well worth the cost. The only issue is that, if your concentration is broken early, you lose a turn. This only isn’t rated more highly because you can find many scrolls and potions of it, and even craft your own potions, making spending the spell slot on it feel like a bit of a waste.
  • Hypnotic Pattern: It’s so exceedingly good that they had to nerf the duration to a paltry two rounds. Even so, it’s still one of the better openers for a fight as it covers a large area and magic items can stack your save DC very high, essentially shutting down a large fraction of an encounter while you deal with the rest of it.
  • Lightning Bolt: The required competitor to Fireball. If you have too many melee party members to routinely aim a Fireball, having a nice safe line might be your preference. Also, it interacts with Wet, which is nice, but it’s still a hard sell in comparison.
  • Protection from Energy: A fantastic defensive buff to throw on your party’s Defender, but, since this only affects one target and requires Concentration, it’s often hard to justify over other options. If you can, get resistance from consumables or magic items.
  • Remove Curse: Rarely useful (though not never), you may need to briefly prepare it outside of combat to remove a curse.
  • Sleet Storm: Truly terrible.
  • Slow: It’s a fantastic debuff. This can often win fights by itself if you get it to land.
  • Stinking Cloud: Like Slow but targeting a worse save and stuck in one place. Can be useful area denial, but you can just use Grease for that.
  • Vampiric Touch: Normally just bad, but if you drink a potion of Haste and then cast this, you can get two attacks per turn for 3 rounds. That’s still bad, but perhaps your wizard is trying to win as the last man standing.

4th-Level Wizard Spells

  • Banishment: Things will hardly ever pass Charisma saves and this will just get them gone for two turns. On the other hand, Hypnotic Pattern does the same thing but to a whole area, so it’s hard to justify this over that.
  • Blight: If you’re worried about things resisting your fire damage, this is a viable alternative to fireball.

    If you acquire the Staff of Cherished Necromancy, this spell and Circle of Death suddenly get very good.

  • Confusion: It’s no better than it is in the tabletop version. Optimization usually relies on consistency, and something inherently inconsistent is a hard sell when you could spend that concentration on Hypnotic Pattern instead.
  • Conjure Minor Elemental: While this spell lets you summon either an Azer or a pair of Mephits, you’re always going to want the Ice Mephits. They can cast Cold Chromatic Orb, every turn, for free, and you get two of them with a 4th-level spell slot. Like other Cold damage, this will interact with Wet. You can only have one cast’s worth of things out, so don’t bother using this more than once per day unless your minions die.
  • Dimension Door: Line of sight teleportation for you and one ally, though it does have a maximum distance. A good way to get into or out of places that are hard to reach by other methods like jumping or flying, or by shorter-range teleportation like Misty Step, and it can also get you out of bad places in a flight.
  • Evard’s Black Tentacles: Good area control in a large AOE. Enemies will typically try to escape the area, so have allies Shove them back in whenever possible.
  • Fire Shield: Only really impactful if you’re being hit, and you want to avoid that as much as possible as a wizard. If you want a comparable defense, Mirror Image is a better choice. This would be fine on a front-line melee character, but on a wizard it’s borderline useless.
  • Greater Invisibility: Once you’re done concentrating on your opening Hypnotic Pattern, this can be a great way to give someone permanent advantage on attacks for a fight. It’s melee range, though, so your primary targets will usually be people in a backline who like attacking; make sure you have a ranged dps around to get the best value from this.
  • Ice Storm: Worse damage than upcasting fireball unless your targets are Wet or otherwise vulnerable to Cold damage.
  • Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere: This is either a Dexterity-based save-or-suck spell or overpriced Sanctuary depending on whether you use it on allies or enemies. The target can’t be damaged or deal damage, but they may still be able to contribute in other ways, such as by buffing or healing allies. Still, for enemies that can deal a lot of damage, putting them in a bubble for three turns gives you time to deal with their allies.
  • Phantasmal Killer: A perfectly fine spell, but it struggles to find a niche where it’s the best choice available. If you want to make targets Frightened, Fear is a better choice because it forces them to drop weapons and flee. If you want to hold a target in place, Hold Person/Hold Monster are better choices. Of course, neither of those options deal damage.
  • Polymorph: Not at all what tabletop players are familiar with, Polymorph turns the target into a sheep for 5 turns. The sheep is harmless, and your party’s stronger characters can do things like Shove or throw it great distances, allowing you to toss the target into a pit. But for the same Wisdom save, other spells like Hold Person or Crown of Madness may be just as effective at taking a target out of a fight without costing such a high-level spell slot.
  • Stoneskin: By the time you get access to this spell, most things that deal a relevant amount of damage will be dealing magical damage.
  • Wall of Fire: An incredible area control and damage spell. It lasts a long time, does a decent chunk of damage per turn, and you can shove or throw people back into it if they escape.

5th-Level Wizard Spells

  • Cloudkill: Like a moveable wall of fire if the damage type was worse and the spell targeted a worse save. Not worth the Concentration 99% of the time.
  • Cone of Cold: Worse damage than upcasting fireball unless your target is Wet or otherwise vulnerable to Cold damage.
  • Conjure Elemental: While this spell is decent at this level, allowing you to summon regular elementals with decent stats, it is crazy powerful to upcast to a 6th-level slot and get a myrmidon. Water Myrmidons can fly, misty step every turn, cast a triple Ice Chromatic Orb every turn, or make a huge melee hit that can Chill enemies, causing them to be vulnerable to Cold damage.They also have an ability to heal everything within 9 meters but causing them to become Wet. You can use this on your party when there’s one non-scary enemy left to heal to full slowly, or you can fly into the middle of enemies at the beginning of the fight, make them wet, and misty step out, setting up the Cold damage Wizard to unload for several turns. There are also other summons, but none are nearly as good.
  • Dominate Person: In a game where the majority of enemies are humanoids, Dominate person is very powerful. You don’t get to control the target’s turns, but it still becomes fully allied to you for the duration.
  • Hold Monster: An upgrade to Hold Person, this can take any creature out of a fight and let your party get automatic critical hits while they rush to bring your target down before they get another save.
  • Planar Binding: Basically Dominate Person for Celestials, Elementals, Fey, and Fiends.
  • Seeming: Basically Disguise Self, but for your whole party. If you’re getting a lot of use out of Disguise Self, this lets you drag your party of non-casters along with you. Not nearly as good for comboing with other things since it takes a much higher spell slot and you’d have to do other things to the rest of your party individually.
  • Telekinesis: I kept wanting this to be good and it kept not being. Throwing heavy things into people feels like it should do more damage than it does. 
  • Wall of Stone: Good for sectioning off a fight if you can find a narrow place where this will block something. Doesn’t become permanent, though, to prevent things like breaking pathing forever.

6th-Level Wizard Spells

With a level cap of 12, 6th-level spells are the highest that we see in Baldur’s Gate 3, making them the most powerful spells that you can get.

  • Arcane Gate: This is not even remotely worth the resources.
  • Chain Lightning: If you’re tailored to lightning damage, this is your biggest stick for AoE. It’s still not strictly better than upcast fireball, but it does interact with Wet and won’t endanger your allies.
  • Circle of Death: Targets the worst save, does the same base amount of damage as 3rd-level Fireball, must be centered on a creature rather than picking a space as the center. Just upcast Fireball if you can’t find something better to do with this spell slot.

    If you acquire the Staff of Cherished Necromancy, this spell and Blight suddenly get very good.

  • Create Undead: Strictly worse than upcasting Conjure Elemental, even as a Necromancer.
  • Disintegrate: The last word in single-target spell damage. Try to make your target prone or restrained first to make it harder for them to pass the Dex save. I dropped three of these on the final boss (two were scrolls) and it made things much, much easier.
  • Eyebite: Exceptionally powerful. Turn it on and get a free save-or-suck every turn for a full minute.
    • Panicked: The target drops their weapons, has Disadvantage on attacks and checks, flees, and can’t take Actions. This will provoke Opportunity Attacks from your allies, plus you can grab your target’s weapon(s) off the ground. The target does get to make additional saves to end the effect, but if they come back you can hit them with this again.
    • Sickened: A gamble with a good payoff. Constitution saves tend to be high, but if this works your target is debuffed for a full minute.
    • Asleep: Asleep for 10 rounds means that the target is done fighting until you decide to wake them up, usually with a big critical hit or by Shoving them off a cliff. If your target still isn’t dead, hit them with this again and put them back to sleep.
  • Flesh to Stone: If you have somehow debuffed something’s Con saves (rat familiar) and don’t want to just focus it to death, this might kill it outright. It also might not.
  • Globe of Invulnerability: This is an incredible spell. It’s nothing like the tabletop version, instead granting damage immunity to anything standing in it. The AI isn’t smart enough to understand this, and will happily continue targeting you with attacks even though you’ll suffer no ill effect. Easily cheese several fights including boss mechanics with this.
  • Otiluke’s Freezing Sphere: Cold Fireball. Once again, only better if targets are Wet, although it can be used to do interesting things like cast the portable version, drop it on the ground next to scary things that can’t see you, and run far away before it explodes, possibly killing them offscreen. You could also cast it out of combat and drop it for your Mage Hand to throw, but don’t wait too long or it will explode before you get the chance, possibly causing friendly fire.
  • Otto’s Irresistible Dance: Turns melee-only enemies into easy targets. With a 10-round duration and no additional saves, this can completely remove the target from a fight. Hold Monster will frequently be sufficient and targets the same save, but not allowing repeated saves makes it easier to take an enemy out of a fight so that you can focus on other problems and have ample time to do so. Of course, this can’t compete with Eyebite.
  • Sunbeam: If you need to consistently Blind targets while dealing decent damage, this is your go-to. It also does a damage type that basically nothing resists, although there are a few places where dealing large Radiant damage hits might kill you, so be aware of that.
  • Wall of Ice: The best damage over time spell in the game. If you can break one section and keep someone in it while Wet, they will die quickly. On the other hand, that’s a spell slot you’re not spending on Disintegrate and it requires a decent amount of setup to maximize the value of.