Counterspell in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the essence of that Yu-Gi-Oh trope: “You Just Activated My Trap Card.” It’s a reaction-based spell that nullifies your opponent’s spellcasting attempt under specific conditions. Here’s how to get and use Counterspell in BG3.
How to Get Counterspell in Baldur’s Gate 3
Counterspell is a Level 3 Abjuration spell available to most spellcasting classes. It’s a highly valuable tool that I highly recommend you get on casters, because it nullifies crucial boss abilities. Essentially, there are there ways you can get it:
- By progressing to Level 5 with Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard and learning it during Level Up.
- By using the Bard’s Magical Secrets ability to learn it on Level 10 or Level 6 if you’re a Lore Bard.
- The Staff of Interruption grants you castings of a Level 5 Counterspell.
Once you have Counterspell, you’ll get a reaction pop-up each time an enemy in range casts a spell. Here’s how to use it.
How to Use Counterspell in BG3
There are two important elements I would worry about when using Counterspell. The first is that it only has a range of 18 meters. Whenever an enemy within that range casts a spell of any level, you’ll get a reaction prompt asking if you want to Counterspell it. Since this is a Level 3 spell, if your opponent’s spell is also Level 3 or lower, their attempt will automatically be nullified.
Here’s where we arrive at the second point. If that same opponent were to cast a Level 4 or higher spell, then we wouldn’t automatically counter it. Instead, we would have to succeed on a Check with a DC equal to “10 + The Level of the spell we’re countering”.
How Upcasting Works
The trick is that we can also upcast our Counterspell to Level 4 and automatically counter that Level 4 spell. Therefore, in a prolonged battle, it’s essentially a battle of spell slots, and if you want to spend your higher-level slots automatically countering boss spells or testing your luck and rolling a check with a lower-level Counterspell. The point is that as long as you can match the opponent’s Level of the spell or their spell’s Level is lower than your Counterspell’s level, countering works — guaranteed.
Furthermore, enemies can also upcast their lower-level spells. For example, Shatter is a Level 2 spell that does 3d8 thunder damage and therefore, automatically gets countered with a base Level 3 Counterspell. However, an enemy can upcast Shatter to Level 4 to avoid this.
You can check whether an enemy has upcasted a damage spell in the combat log, as the damage of the spell will increase by one die per spell level higher than the original one. For a Level 4 Shatter, the combat log will show 5d8 damage (two dice/Levels higher) instead of the base 3d8, which is how you’ll know it’s been upcast. Of course, this requires you to know the base damage of a spell, and researching this has truly made me feel like a Wizard. Lastly, note that you can’t Counterspell a Counterspell.
Why You Can’t Counterspell in BG3
You may’ve come across some situations where your Counterspell attempt didn’t work and you’re unsure about the reason why. Here are some common examples:
- Missing Reaction: You may’ve already used your reaction in that round. You only get one. Make sure to set your Attack of Opportunity to “ask” in the reaction tab. This will prevent you from accidentally using up your reaction that was meant for countering.
- Opponent Has Upcasted a Spell: As I mentioned above, opponents can upcast spells to higher levels and therefore, your Counterspell might not always work if you can’t match the spell Level. We’ve discussed this above for damaging spells, but it’s usually impossible to tell for non-damaging ones.
- The Spell is Scripted: The maximum spell Level we can use in BG3 is six. The game caps out at Level 12 (we get Level 6 slots at Level 11). Certain boss spells are sometimes scripted to go off and Larian has set their spell level beyond Level 6. This makes them difficult to counter as you can’t upcast Counterspell past Level 6.
This concludes my Counterspell guide in Baldur’s Gate 3, and I hope it clarified some questions you had about how this mechanic works. Ultimately, it’s a good spell to have but it’s not one to rely upon. For more content like best Honour mode builds or top 10 best crowd control spells, click the links or check out our BG3 guides hub.