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The 10 Best Cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3, Ranked

If you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, the concept of a cantrip may be new to you. A cantrip is an innate spell that can be cast at will without spending spell slots. Cantrips are generally weaker spells that are meant to either provide some roleplay flavor to the class or to be used as backup for when other, more powerful spells have been burned through. However, some cantrips rise above this and provide outstanding benefits that are useful throughout your adventure. Let’s take a look at the best cantrips you can take in Baldur’s Gate 3.

BG3 Cantrip Spells Ranked Good to Best

We will work our way up from the lowest ranked in our list to the highest. Keep in mind, there are 36 cantrip spells in BG3. So, you can’t go wrong with even our ‘lowest’ pick.

#10 Minor Illusion

Baldur's Gate 3 Minor Illusion Cantrip
Minor Illusion brings all the goblins to the yard. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

This cantrip summons an illusory cat for 10 turns who will meow and draw the attention of nearby NPCs. Admittedly this spell has limited usefulness, and almost none in combat – but if you’re looking to do a bit of light larceny, this cantrip is the perfect distraction. You may want to switch to turn-based mode before you cast it since it has a duration of 10 turns, which will tick by very quickly if you’re not careful.

Minor Illusion is available through:

BardEldritch Knight (Fighter)High ElfMagic Initiate: Bard
SorcererWay of Shadow (Monk)High Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Sorcerer
WarlockArcane Trickster (Rogue)Magic Initiate: Warlock
WizardMagic Initiate: Wizard

#9 Vicious Mockery

Baldur's Gate 3 Vicious Mockery Cantrip
Vicious Mockery lets you deal damage by throwing shade. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

This spell is mainly on our list because it’s fun to hurl insults at your enemies every time you cast it. Beyond that, it’s a very effective support spell that reduces the target’s likelihood of landing a blow while also dealing some damage itself. Like most damaging cantrips, this spell’s damage increases by one die at level 5 and another at level 11, helping it to stay relevant even if it doesn’t ever compete with spell slots or extra attacks. As the only damaging cantrip available to bards without a feat or multiclass, it has extra value for them.

Vicious Mockery is available through:

ClassesClass FeaturesFeats
BardPact of the Tome (Warlock)Magic Initiate: Bard

#8 Bone Chill

Baldur's Gate 3 Bone Chill Cantrip
Bone Chill can stop enemies from healing. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

This spell not only does 1d8 of damage (2d8 at level 5 and 3d8 at level 11), it also prevents the target from healing, which can really save you the hassle of having to damage them twice. Since the undead don’t generally heal, they get a different effect instead: disadvantage on attacks. Either way, this is a solid cantrip for both damage and utility. As a bonus, not many enemies are resistant to necrotic damage. That makes it a good backup to have if your other spells are focused on a widely resisted element, like fire.

Bone Chill is available through:

SorcererCircle of the Spores (Druid)High ElfMagic Initiate: Sorcerer
WarlockEldritch Knight (Fighter)High Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Warlock
WizardArcane Trickster (Rogue)Magic Initiate: Wizard
Spell Sniper

#7 Thorn Whip

Baldur's Gate 3 Thorn Whip Cantrip
Thorn Whip lets you yoink enemies to your position. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

It’s the classic “get over here” ability. Thorn Whip only does 1d6 of damage (2d6 at level 5 and 3d6 at level 11), and it has a weird middling range at 9 meters/30 feet. But being able to reposition enemies during a fight can be pretty powerful. You can pull an enemy across a chasm so your party doesn’t have to run all the way around to get to them. You can yank them into the area of effect spell you just dropped. You can drag them down from a high ledge so they fall prone and lose their high ground advantage. It’s a situational spell that you probably don’t want to rely on for damage, but when you do see an opportunity to use it, you’ll be glad you have it.

Thorn Whip is available through:

ClassesClass featuresSubclassesFeats
DruidPact of the Tome (Warlock)Nature Domain (Cleric)Magic Initiate: Druid
Spell Sniper

#6 Shocking Grasp

Baldur's Gate 3 Shocking Blast Cantrip
Shocking Grasp can prevent enemies from using reactions. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

Shocking Grasp is an incredibly versatile cantrip. Not only does it deal 1d8 lightning damage to its target (increasing to 2d8 at level 5 and 3d8 at level 11), it also prevents them from using reactions. This is huge for avoiding opportunity attacks when retreating or pursuing a different enemy. Your entire party can now safely run circles around this creature and make a clean escape. As a bonus, the spell has advantage on targets wearing metal armor, and as a lightning spell, it does double damage to targets who are wet. You gain this spell automatically if you take the War Caster feat and can then use it as a reaction in place of an opportunity attack, making it even more useful. The biggest downside of the spell is that it requires being in melee range, so it’s best used on a battlemage character rather than a pure caster.

Shocking Grasp is available through:

SorcererEldritch Knight (Fighter)High ElfMagic Initiate: Sorcerer
WizardArcane Trickster (Rogue)High Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Wizard
Spell Sniper
War Caster

#5 Light

Baldur's Gate 3 Light Cantrip
Light has benefits for you as a player as well as for your characters. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

You’ll be exploring plenty of dark places in Baldur’s Gate 3, and although your character may have Darkvision, the ability has a limited scope and range and still doesn’t make your environment very easy to see. Moreover, characters without Darkvision have disadvantage on attacks made in the dark, and your party is very likely to have at least one person in it who suffers from this. With the Light cantrip, you can illuminate the area around your target so you can actually see what you’re doing – and who you’re hitting. Cast this once and your entire party will benefit from it until you take a Long Rest. You won’t have to hold a torch instead of a weapon, and unlike the Dancing Lights cantrip, it doesn’t require concentration. Just remember not to have it up when you’re trying to be sneaky.

Light is available through:

BardLight Domain (Cleric)High ElfMagic Initiate: Bard
ClericEldritch Knight (Fighter)High Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Cleric
SorcererArcane Trickster (Rogue)Magic Initiate: Sorcerer
WizardMagic Initiate: Wizard

#4 Mage Hand

Baldur's Gate 3 Mage Hand Cantrip
Mage Hand can access places your party members can’t. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

Although it’s a bit more limited in Baldur’s Gate 3 than it is in tabletop Dungeons & Dragons, Mage Hand is still an incredibly useful cantrip, and you’ll want to have at least one person in your party who can cast it. The Mage Hand is invisible and can be used to get around enemies and obstacles to pull levers or disarm traps. It can be used to access burrow holes and crevices that are too small for your party to enter. It can throw and shove smaller objects and creatures, and can even perform (very weak) attacks. With a little imagination, you can come up with some pretty creative solutions to your problems by using Mage Hand. It has a few downsides, though: it can’t pick locks or loot chests, it requires concentration, and it only lasts for 10 turns. If you’re going to use Mage Hand, it’s best to switch to turn-based mode first.

Mage Hand is available through:

BardEldritch Knight (Fighter)High ElfMagic Initiate: Bard
SorcererHigh Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Sorcerer
WarlockGithyankiMagic Initiate: Warlock
WizardMagic Initiate: Wizard

#3 Eldritch Blast

Baldur's Gate 3 Eldritch Blast Cantrip
So anyway, I started Eldritch Blasting. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

Eldritch Blast is easily the most powerful damaging cantrip in the game, for a few different reasons. First, it deals force damage, which is one of the least resisted damage types. It also does 1d10 of damage, which is as high as any cantrips go. Moreover, like all damaging cantrips, its damage goes up by one die at level 5 and another at level 10 – but unlike other cantrips, these die can be rolled separately, allowing you to blast more than one target. This added control makes Eldritch Blast much more flexible than other cantrips, which is especially good for Warlocks, who get relatively few spells. Warlocks also get access to some great buffs for Eldritch Blast through their Eldritch Invocations.

Eldritch Blast is available through:

WarlockMagic Initiate: Warlock
Spell Sniper

#2 Fire Bolt

Baldur's Gate 3 Fire Bolt Cantrip
Just be careful where you aim your Fire Bolts. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

You may be wondering why Fire Bolt is ranked above Eldritch Blast after I said “Eldritch Blast is easily the most powerful damaging cantrip in the game.” While Fire Bolt also does 1d10 of damage (2d10 at level 5 and 3d10 at level 11), this is fire damage, which is a very commonly resisted type, and it can only hit one target. However, Fire Bolt has uses beyond its direct damage that Eldritch Blast does not. For one thing, it can be used to light candles from a distance, illuminating your environment so you’re not fighting enemies in the dark (see the Light cantrip at #5 for why this is important). But the real reason Fire Bolt is #2 on this list is because you can blow things up with it. Set up a bunch of explosive barrels around a room and send in your Fire Bolt – nothing could be more satisfying, and it’s an easy way to eliminate a large number of enemies all at once.

Fire Bolt is available through:

SorcererEldritch Knight (Fighter)High ElfMagic Initiate: Sorcerer
WizardArcane Trickster (Rogue)High Half-ElfMagic Initiate: Wizard
Abjuration (Wizard)Spell Sniper

#1 Guidance

Baldur's Gate 3 Guidance Cantrip
Guidance can be cast right from the skill check screen. (Larian Studios via Sarah Arnold)

There is only one spell that could be considered the best cantrip in Baldur’s Gate 3, and that’s Guidance. Guidance grants a 1d4 bonus to all ability checks, and you can even cast it directly from the skill check screen. Someone in every party should have this spell – it truly makes a world of difference. Whatever you’re doing in the game, however you’re approaching any given situation, this spell will be useful. It can help with skill checks in dialogue, with picking locks and disarming traps, sneaking, even shoving people off of ledges. That’s a tremendous value for a spell that can be cast at will without using a spell slot.

Guidance is available through:

ClassesClass FeaturesFeats
ClericPact of the Tome (Warlock)Magic Initiate: Cleric
DruidMagic Initiate: Druid

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Thanks for reading! We hope this guide has helped you pick out the best cantrips for your character in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to High Ground for more useful guides!

Happy gaming!

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