Scratch the dog in 'Baldur's Gate 3,' edited to have a top hat and monocle

Ranking the Best ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Spells NOT in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’

And why we really shouldn't have them

If you’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate 3 over the last few months, then chances are you already have some spells you just can’t live without. Guidance vindicated as one of the best cantrips ever, Eldritch Blast mowing through enemies right from the start, Healing Word for those fights where you can’t keep anyone up for more than a single round, and Fireball for everything else.

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But Dungeons & Dragons has quite a lot of spells to pull from, so some had to make the cut over others. What are the most useful or interesting spells we didn’t get? In other words, what are the best Dungeons & Dragons spells NOT in Baldur’s Gate 3?

FAIR WARNING: some minor spoilers for later portions of Baldur’s Gate 3! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

If I didn’t include a spell on this list, it’s because 1. the spell’s not actually that useful (at least, to me) as written in the source material, or 2. it’s not a spell that would be applicable in the context of BG3. Speaking of which, let’s start with:

8. Identify + any other “Detect” spell

A screenshot of Astarion from Baldur's Gate 3, head titled to the right with a hand under his chin in a thinking expression.
(Larian Studios)

As a player in a D&D game, any spell that allows you to get more information from the world around you is always a good thing. The Identify spell, along with related spells like Detect Magic, Detect Evil and Good, Detect Poison and Disease do exactly what they say, learning the properties of an object, if there’s magic around you, what kind of magic, if there are celestials or fiends around you, poisonous creatures, etc.

These spells aren’t in the game because, well, the game gives you all of this for free! Any spell effects, type of monster, damage resistances, kind of poison, that’s all laid out for your convenience and to eliminate the guesswork. Detect Thoughts being the only spell of its kind to make it into the game is a no-brainer.

7. Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade

A screenshot of Lorroakan the Wizard from Baldur's Gate 3 in his tower, in the middle of conversation with the party.
(Larian Studios)

Ah, the Sword Coast spells. Booming Blade and Green-Flame Blade are two cantrip spells from early in 5th edition D&D, giving spellcasters some much-needed melee options that aren’t specifically spell attacks. Booming Blade makes an enemy you attack take 1d8 thunder damage if they try to move after taking a hit, while Green-Flame Blade lets flames damage a second enemy at the same time after you land an attack.

Of all the spells on this list, I think we could easily see these two and other melee cantrips, since they actually do have some very real utility for early game casters! But if I had to guess for why they’re not included, I think it’s because they both suffer from what we’d call the True Strike phenomenon. A full action to not attack something when you could attack twice just isn’t worth it!

6. Dispel Magic

A screenshot of Gale of Waterdeep from Baldur's Gate 3 frowning and looking off to the right side.
(Larian Studios)

Dispel Magic is one of those spells that, as a Dungeon Master, you always need to expect for some player to try because they can. Like the name suggests, this third level spell automatically ends any third level of lower spells around you, or higher ones with a roll or an upcast.

And as the collective game masters for Baldur’s Gate, Larian made what is reasonably the right call in the end, saying they’re not doing all the work for players to try Dispel Magic on every single torch, shield or fog, as much as they wanted to.

5. Awaken

A screenshot of Halsin the Druid from Baldur's Gate 3.
(Larian Studios)

Is Awaken on the list because it’s strong or has real utility? No. But is it funny? Absolutely.

Fifth level or higher bards and druids with eight hours they can spend preparing this spell can essentially grant sentience to any beast or plant. Much for the same reason Dispel Magic isn’t in the game, it’s not surprising that Larian didn’t want to go through the trouble of figuring out how to handle any animal in the game suddenly becoming sentient and being able to join you on your adventure. Despite it being the most Dungeons & Dragons-type shenanigans there is, it just wouldn’t be worth the effort. But it won’t stop me from dreaming of Awakened Scratch the Dog’s misadventures in Baldur’s Gate!

4. Regenerate

A screenshot of Karlach from Baldur's Gate 3
(Larian Studios)

The latter half of this list gets into seventh level and higher spells, which Baldur’s Gate 3 players can’t even get on account of the cap at level 12, and as we’ll demonstrate, that might be for the best!

Case in point: Regenerate. Along with being an amazing healing spell in and outside of combat, the affected creature’s severed body parts, if any, simply grow back after two minutes. Got an infernal engine in place of a heart that’s causing you trouble for 80-100 hours or so? Just Regenerate a new heart and you’ll be fine! I could realistically still see this spell making its way into Baldur’s Gate 3 if there was ever a higher level update, but it’s easy to see why it wouldn’t make it either.

3. Antimagic Field

A screenshot of the Underdark, as seen in Baldur's Gate 3 without UI elements. The part of Shadowheart, Wyll,  Lae'zel and Tav is centered, with their backs to the camera and Tav holding up a torch.
(Larian Studios)

Remember what I said earlier about Dispel Magic and having to worry about all of that work for magical effects? Now imagine you just have that field around you at all times and you have the eighth level spell Antimagic Field. Except even stronger since Dispel Magic can’t affect it, either! No spells can target you, area of effect spells will not reach anyone within the sphere and creatures/objects created by magic disappear entirely, you can’t be affected by magic at all.

The Sussor Bloom flowers in the Underdark section of the game do have a variation of the Antimagic Field effect, and it’s clear why they stop working after you leave the Underdark for how absolutely powerful not letting magic touch you is, even in a limited capacity.

2. Power Word: Kill

A screenshot of The Dark Urge from Baldur's Gate 3 in a magical rune circle.
(Larian Studios)

The last two on the list are getting into the ninth level spells, the most powerful options a spellcaster has at their disposal. And of that list, there’s lots of incredibly good options but none quite as “broken” when it comes to combat as Power Word: Kill. The language as written says it best: “You utter a word of power that can compel one creature you can see within range to die instantly. If the creature you chose has 100 hit points or fewer, it dies.”

No save, no roll to hit, just instant death! Even if we get higher-level content than what already exists in BG3, I’m not sure if we’ll ever see see the Power Word spells make their way in for clear balancing reasons here. Although by the time you would get to a high enough level to use these spells, you’re practically a demigod with options like…

1. Wish

A screenshot of Vlaakith in Baldur's Gate 3 using the Wish Spell
(Larian Studios)

It’s hard to talk about the best spells in D&D without talking about Wish, and for good reason! The “mightiest spell a mortal creature can cast”, you can instantly reproduce any other spell of eighth level or lower—which is amazing in itself along with a bunch of extra possible effects like immunity to a specific spell for eight hours, restoring all hit points for up to 20 creatures and some other great ones.

But the ability to also state in precise terms to your Dungeon Master, “I wish for x thing to happen,” even if it comes at a severe cost, and have it work? The possibilities are endless with a Wish spell, making it easily one of the best spells, if not the best, that I don’t will ever make it to Baldur’s Gate 3.

(featured image: Larian Studios / The Mary Sue)

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Joan Zahra Dark
Joan Zahra Dark (they/them) is a freelance writer, organizer, and interdisciplinary artist. They love talking about queer comics, stories that can only be told through interactive mediums, worker cooperatives and gay robots. They’re based in Queens, NYC.