Baldurs Gate 3 Bard Closeup
Screenshot by PC Invasion

Best Bard spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)

You have choices, but not always easy ones. At least you can lighten the tension with a lute.

Bards bring the music, magic, and entertainment to Baldur’s Gate 3, offering proficiency in a variety of cool areas. Here is our guide offering advice on the best spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3, and tips to help you produce the best Bard build.

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What are the best Bard spells in Baldur’s Gate 3?

  • Best Bard subclass College of Lore
  • Best Bard background — Entertainer
  • Best Bard skills
    1. Charisma
    2. Dexterity
    3. Constitution

Before we dive into spells, here’s a quick refresh on the best Bard subclass, background, and skills. The best Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Bard with a background as an Entertainer. The College of Lore subclass is the best choice because it helps you pass more ability checks and enhances your support character skills. Otherwise, the College of Valor is useful if you’re looking to participate more actively in direct combat.

Related: Best Bard build in Baldur’s Gate 3

Bards use Charisma as their spellcasting modifier, so the higher the Charisma, the better. After Charisma, Dexterity is a great ability to increase, especially if your bard uses ranged or finesse weapons. Constitution is never a bad ability either, as your HP depends on this score.

Best early Bard spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldurs Gate 3 All Classes And Subclasses Bard
Screenshot via Larian Studios

Once you settle on the base details for your Bard, it’s time to consider which are the best starter Bard spells in Baldur’s Gate 3. It’s worth noting that Bards start with two cantrips and four level-one spells. When selecting Bard spells, here is what you should choose.

  • Cantrips
    • Vicious Mockery
    • Blade Ward
    • Friends
  • Spells
    • Healing Word
    • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
    • Heroism
    • Dissonant Whispers
    • Knock
    • Shatter
    • Dimension Door

When starting out, go with Vicious Mockery and Blade Ward as your cantrips. Vicious Mockery deals Psychic damage and can give the target disadvantage. Blade Ward cuts damage from Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing attacks in half, which can make the difference between survival and death in a tough battle.

Also, you can’t go wrong with Friends. This cantrip allows you to get Advantage on Charisma checks against a non-hostile creature. You’ll be making Charisma checks often as a Bard, and you’ll likely be succeeding them, but Friends helps make sure you never miss.

As for spells, two of the most useful are Healing Word and Tasha’s Hideous Laughter. While Cure Wounds is a stronger heal, Healing Word is great because you can do it from range. This is your primary support spell. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is very powerful as it completely immobilizes enemies by knocking them prone without the ability to get back up as long as you maintain Concentration.

Another option worth noting is Heroism, which buffs your party to protect them from fright and keeps their HP in a good place. Dissonant Whispers is one of my absolute favorites for Bard. It deals useful Psychic damage and can make the target Frightened, which immobilizes them and gives them disadvantage. Knock can unlock mundane locked doors and is a great spell to have especially if you don’t have a Rogue in your party. They can’t open magical locks, but they save you some Thieves’ Tools.

There’s also Shatter, which is probably one of the best AoE spells a Bard can have. Although it’s not a huge area, Shatter is great for a second-level spell for small groups of enemies. I’ve defeated numerous enemies with one shot of Shatter. Finally, Dimension Door is perfect when you and a companion need to escape in a pinch. You and one other person can teleport away, which is useful when a party member is stunned or prone and needs your help.

Best endgame Bard spells and cantrips in Baldur’s Gate 3

Once you reach the max level in BG3, you’ll work your way toward an endgame Bard build. You’ll have additional Spell Slots and access to higher-level spells. Here are the best spells and cantrips to keep in mind.

  • Spells
    • Speak with Dead
    • Hypnotic Pattern
    • Eyebite
    • Otto’s Irresistible Dance
    • Mass Cure Wounds
    • Greater Restoration
    • Greater Invisibility

Through the end of the game, your Bard should continue to play a support role, gaining abilities that prove useful not only within combat, but also when you interact with characters outside battle. Speak with Dead is very useful, as you come across corpses often, and can ask them questions. Hypnotic Pattern can stop enemies from attacking you or moving, which can become more helpful than you may realize.

Eyebite is a sixth-level spell that can inflict Panicked, Sickened, or Asleep on a target. This is a concentration spell that can last up to 10 turns. Another sixth-level spell is Otto’s Irresistible Dance, which will force creatures to stay in place and dance, which gives attackers Advantage against them.

As a support class, Bards should also use Mass Cure Wounds and Greater Restoration. This allows them to heal several allies at once, and then also cure them of Charm, Stun, Petrification, and Curses. Finally, Greater Invisibility is extremely useful when you’re trying to be sneaky and must hide from enemies.

Best Bard subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3

Once you reach level three, you get to select a subclass that greatly improves your proficiency in a given role. I recommend that if you play as the Bard, you properly embrace the support role. Your best option, in that case, is the College of Lore.

When you choose the College of Lore, you gain access to Cutting Words. This Reaction debuffs enemies, prompting them to deal less damage and to have more trouble connecting attacks. It’s one of the better support abilities available. You also excel at Sleight of Hand, which is useful for picking locks and disarming traps.

Bards make for one of the most fun classes to play if you know what you’re doing. Hopefully, with the help of this best Bard spells and cantrips list, you get a sense of how best to play Bard. If you’re looking to expand your Bard into the realm of other classes, you should definitely learn what the best multiclass builds are in Baldur’s Gate 3.

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Jason Venter
Jason Venter is a contributing writer for PC Invasion since 2022 who can trace his love for video games back to the Apple IIe port of Mario Bros. in the late 80s. He remains a diehard Nintendo fan to this day and loves JRPGs, adventure games, and platformers in particular, but he still plays games in most genres and on most hardware. After founding indie gaming site HonestGamers in 1998, he served as an editor at Hardcore Gamer Magazine during its entire print run. He has since freelanced for a variety of leading sites including IGN, GameSpot, and Polygon. These days, he spends most of his time writing game guides and entertaining readers with his fantasy novels.
Anyka Pettigrew
Anyka Pettigrew has been a Staff Writer for PC Invasion since November 2023 and a Contributing Writer since February 2023. She is a Canadian graduate of a Bachelor of Arts degree who has been writing in games journalism for four years. Anyka is an avid guides writer but also enjoys writing anything from news pieces, to reviews, and even opinion pieces. Having a never-ending passion for video games for as long as she can remember got her into a plethora of genres like action adventure, RPGs, horror, survival etc. Some of her favorite franchises are God of War, Persona, The Last of Us, Zelda, and Resident Evil. She also enjoys reading fantasy and sci-fi books, as well as drawing digital art. Anyka also regularly listens to podcasts on gaming news from 'Kinda Funny Games', and 'Play, Watch, Listen'.
Noah Nelson
From his early days of blog-style music, movie, and game reviews to working as the Esports Writer at Coastline Community College, Noah Nelson now works fulltime as a Staff Writer for Attack of the Fanboy and PC Invasion. He has been helping gamers everywhere with Destiny 2 god rolls, Warzone 2 DMZ missions, and collectibles in any indie game for over a year and a half. His Bachelor's Degree in English Rhetoric and Composition with a minor in Journalism from CSULB has shaped him to be a strong writer and editor. His fondest gaming memory is playing Sly Cooper 2 after begging his mom (for hours) to play it before his birthday and he still cries myself to sleep remembering the time he accidentally saved over his 99% completion save file in Kingdom Hearts 2.