Wizards in Baldur’s Gate 3 are scholars, collecting spells through dedicated study rather than divine or inherited powers. This feature of the class allows them to acquire a substantial number of spells, which they’re able to prepare at any time so long as they are out of combat. That makes the class extremely flexible, but you can spice it up even more with the right subclass. In this case, we’re going over how to build an Evocation Wizard in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The Evocation School subclass brings some additional firepower to the class, making it even more potent. This guide will cover how to build an Evocation Wizard for maximum damage and utility, whether you’re playing a custom wizard or simply looking for the best build for Gale in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The Evocation School Subclass
The Evocation School focuses on spells that generally manipulate energy to produce light, heal, or deal damage. The Evocation School includes the largest number of spells by far, which is one of the reasons it’s widely considered the strongest subclass for wizard in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Here are the features you’ll acquire through the Evocation School subclass:
- Evocation Savant at level 2 reduces the cost of learning spells from Evocation scrolls by half.
- Sculpt Spells at level 2 allows you to be selective about who will take damage from your area of effect spells.
- Potent Cantrip at level 6 ensures that your targets will always take at least half damage from your cantrips.
- Empowered Evocation at level 10 allows you to add your Intelligence modifier to the damage from your Evocation spells.
Race and Subrace
The High Elf is a solid choice for a wizard, with an extra cantrip through the High Elf subrace and some useful features through the Elf parent race.
Fey Ancestry makes you immune to magical sleep and resistant to charm effects. You also gain Darkvision, helping you hit your targets with your spells even in darkness, and proficiency in the Perception skill, which is always useful.
You get some weapon proficiencies as well, but those aren’t very helpful for a pure spellcaster. For your bonus cantrip, the options are the same ones you’ll have access to as a wizard, so you can choose any of the cantrips we have listed in the Spells section below.
The Githyanki or Tiefling races are great alternatives, each offering some useful spells. Githyanki also get a flexible skill proficiency through Astral Knowledge as well as proficiency in medium armor and swords. Tieflings get Darkvision and fire resistance. But for our Evocation Wizard build, we’ll be sticking with High Elf.
A wizard’s primary stat is Intelligence, and that’s where you’ll want to concentrate your points in order to improve the effectiveness of all of your spells. Constitution is also important for health and maintaining concentration on spells.
We’ll put 16 points in Intelligence, since there isn’t much point in having an odd-numbered score. A 17 would be effectively the same as a 16, so we can use that point elsewhere for now and improve our Intelligence in increments of two through our feats.
- Strength: 8
- Dexterity: 14
- Constitution: 16
- Intelligence: 16
- Wisdom: 10
- Charisma: 10
Background and Skills
The wizard can choose two skills to become proficient in from Arcana, History, Investigation, Religion, Insight, and Medicine. Of these skills, Arcana and Religion are probably the most commonly used of these, and both will capitalize on your already-high Intelligence. For proficiency in any other skills, you’ll have to look to your background.
Since you don’t get any of the major social skills (Persuasion, Deception, or Intimidation) through your class, it’s a good idea to choose a background that specializes in at least one of these.
The Charlatan background offers Deception and Sleight of Hand proficiency, both of which are useful and not otherwise available to wizards. If you’d prefer something a little less shady, the Noble background offers proficiency in Persuasion and History.
The Evocation School subclass enhances most of your spells that deal direct damage, so an Evocation Wizard’s primary job will be blasting enemies from range. You’ll also want to take advantage of the wizard class’s broad flexibility and utility, so we’ll take that into consideration with our spell selection as well.
Spells that come from the Evocation School are marked with an asterisk (*). We strongly suggest learning these through scrolls whenever possible and saving your level-up spell selections for non-Evocation spells, since you can learn Evocation scrolls at a discounted rate.
Keep in mind that you can ultimately learn every wizard spell in the game, as long as you can locate their scrolls. We’re only highlighting the spells we think are the most beneficial.
- *Fire Bolt: A very good damaging cantrip to have at the ready for when you don’t want to use a spell slot. Can also be used to set fire to Grease or explosive barrels.
- *Ray of Frost: A strong damaging cantrip that also slows your target’s movement speed, helping you keep your distance from melee enemies.
- Mage Hand: A very useful utility cantrip that you should only skip if someone else in your party has it covered.
- *Light: Another useful utility cantrip that someone in your party should have. You may have Darkvision, but it’s likely that someone in your party won’t, and they’ll be at a disadvantage in the dark.
Level 1 Spells
- *Chromatic Orb: A very flexible spell that allows you to deal any type of elemental damage, so you can take advantage of weaknesses and environmental hazards.
- Feather Fall: You don’t need to keep this prepared all the time, but it’s good to have it in your spellbook so you can use it when you need to. It’s a ritual spell, so it doesn’t cost you any spell slots as long as you’re out of combat, and you’ll be able to jump into all sorts of crevices without fear of taking falling damage.
- Find Familiar: This is a ritual spell, so it’s basically free as long as you’re out of combat, and the various animals you can summon have a lot of utility.
- Grease: This spell is an amusing form of crowd control, causing your enemies to slip and fall on their butts. But more importantly, the puddle it leaves is highly flammable, and you’ve got lots of fire spells.
- Mage Armour: A level 1 spell that significantly boosts your armor class and lasts until your next Long Rest without even requiring concentration. Throw this up at the beginning of the day and forget about it.
- *Magic Missile: This damaging spell always hits its targets, and it can target multiple enemies on the same turn. Great for finishing off enemies with low health, or attempting to interrupt an enemy’s concentration, since each missile triggers a separate concentration check.
- Shield: Being able to boost your armor class by 5 until your next turn as a reaction is a powerful defense, and it only costs you a level 1 spell slot.
Level 2 Spells
- Detect Thoughts: Since you don’t have the greatest Charisma, you may struggle at times in dialogue checks. This spell can sometimes let you bypass them altogether.
- Flaming Sphere: Summons are very strong in Baldur’s Gate 3, and this spell is basically the first one you have access to.
- Misty Step: Being able to teleport anywhere you can see as a bonus action is extremely useful for helping you escape when cornered or allowing you to gain the high ground.
- *Scorching Ray: Sort of like Magic Missile, except with fire.
Level 3 Spells
- Counterspell: Every spellcaster who has access to this spell will want to take it. Being able to cancel an enemy spell as a reaction is invaluable.
- *Fireball: This spell will be your primary method of dealing damage. Thanks to your Sculpt Spells ability, you can bypass its one big downside, which is that it frequently causes friendly fire damage. You don’t have to worry about that as an Evocation Wizard, so fire away.
- Haste: Two actions and double movement every turn is amazing. You do need to maintain concentration, though, or your target will wind up completely losing a turn.
- Remove Curse: You don’t need to keep this prepared at all times, but it’s a good spell to learn so you have it when you need it.
Level 4 Spells
- Banishment: Give an enemy a time-out and give your party a breather for a couple of turns.
- Conjure Minor Elemental: With this spell, you can essentially summon an extra party member (or two). They last until they’re killed without requiring concentration.
- Dimension Door: Like Misty Step, this spell is great for helping you reposition your wizard – as well as one of your party members.
- *Wall of Fire: A useful spell for funneling your enemies where you want them to go, especially since you can Sculpt Spells and avoid damaging your friends.
Level 5 Spells
- Conjure Elemental: The same as Conjure Minor Elemental, except the summoned minion is stronger.
Level 6 Spells
- *Sunbeam: A solid area of effect and crowd control spell that takes advantage of your Evocation bonuses.
An Evocation Wizard will want to focus on maxing out their Intelligence to boost their spell power. Beyond that, any feat that gives extra Evocation spells is worth considering.
Here are our recommendations for which feats to take as an Evocation Wizard:
- Ability Improvement at level 4 to boost your Intelligence to 18.
- Spell Sniper at level 8 to learn the Eldritch Blast cantrip, which is an Evocation spell and can use your subclass bonuses.
- Ability Improvement again at level 12 to max out your Intelligence at 20.
You won’t find a lot of great options for spellcasters in the early game of Baldur’s Gate 3, but here are a couple of items you can keep an eye out for:
- Silver Pendant can be looted from a skeleton near the Druid Grove, and allows you to cast the very useful Guidance cantrip.
- Amulet of Misty Step can be found in the Defiled Temple beneath the Goblin Camp, and can let you cast this very useful bonus action spell without using a spell slot.
- Bracers of Defence can be found in the necromancer cellar in the Blighted Village, and provides +2 to your armor class.
One of the best robes you can get in Act II is the Potent Robe, obtained from Alfira the bard in Baldur’s Gate as a reward for rescuing the tieflings in Act I. This robe increases your cantrip damage, your armor class, and your hit points.
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Thanks for reading our Evocation Wizard build guide for Baldur’s Gate 3! We hope this guide has helped you build your character into a powerful fire wizard. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!