Baldur's Gate 3 does justice to the Eldritch Blast, one of the most powerful spells in Dungeons & Dragons 5e.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Does Justice to the All-Powerful Eldritch Blast

When you compare the Warlock to casters like Wizard and Druid on paper in Dungeons and Dragons, you may be a little confused as to what the appeal of the former is. The rest of the spellcasters, even partial casters like Rangers and Paladins, get way more spell slots than Warlock. They may come back on a short rest, but it definitely is a different approach to spellcasting, especially as your characters get more powerful and the other casters gain more and more spell slots. If you’ve ever played a Warlock, though, you know you only want to be casting Eldritch Blast nine times out of ten anyway. This ranged cantrip, exclusive to this eldritch mage, has a long range for a projectile spell and inflicts Force damage, one of the more unique and least-resisted damage options in the game. It’s a great spell that gets even more fun and customizable as you grow in power, and Baldur’s Gate 3 absolutely does the cantrip justice. 

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Meeting Wyll in Baldur’s Gate 3 was my chance to finally see Eldritch Blast in action, and Larian Studios did not disappoint with how good it feels to cast in this game. It can become an inside joke when playing with a Warlock at a table that—once combat comes around—they’re only gonna yell “I ELDRITCH BLAST” when their turn is up. Since you’ve only got two spell slots per short rest, you have to use them wisely and blast the day away the rest of the time. I still haven’t gotten tired of blasting goblins with Wyll because it feels so damn cool every time I do it. If you don’t whiff the attack, the chunky blasting sound is extremely satisfying even if you got a minimal damage roll. The visual effects also make it feel like the Eldritch Blast in Baldur’s Gate 3 hits like a truck, with a huge puff of black smoke pluming from your target and a sickly green glow pulsing from your hand as you aim the spell.

But when I leveled Wyll up, I didn’t want to make him into a pure DPS machine. I had much grander plans for him. At Level 2, Warlocks select their first Eldritch Invocations, and if you’re not choosing Repelling Blast you are missing out on so much fun. Players have been touting the virtues of the Shove move in this game because Larian made it a bonus action—and it is indeed very satisfying to shove your foe into a chasm after dashing up in their face. But Shove requires a skill investment in Athletics to be more effective and only works on regular-sized foes while Repelling Blast will knock back an enemy 4.5 meters no matter their size. Not only does this make the blast feel even better, but it opens up so many amazing strategic options. You can set up a damaging area spell like Cloud of Daggers, Spike Growth, or Hunger of Hadar and keep knocking your foes back into them. Not only that, but you gain Eldritch Blast beams as you level up, so you can choose multiple targets to send flying if you so want.

An image of Wyll in Baldur's Gate 3.

Messing around with Repelling Blast helped me realize how well a lot of the combat arenas in Baldur’s Gate 3 are designed for differing strategies and cool environmental moments. You can always just rush in (preferably with a raging Karlach in the party) and try to overwhelm enemy hordes with brute force, but it felt amazing when I saw an opportunity for a surprise round that could take a couple of enemies out of the fight before it even began. I knocked two unaware Animated Armor enemies into the magma of the Underdark’s Adamantine Forge area before they were able to reach the party, cackling to myself as their icons disappeared from the initiative order instantaneously at the top of the fight. Annoyed by a tough boss encounter? Just lure them to the edge of a chasm and say bye-bye!

As I kept using these blasts to manipulate enemy positions more, I really felt like I was beginning to play my party as a cohesive unit, trying to consider every option of how I could set other companions up for success with the actions I had. I’ve been guilty in the past of having tunnel vision on my own PC’s features when playing combat encounters in Tabletop D&D, but having full control of the full party helped dismantle that a lot for me—even if it was rather overwhelming at first. Combat is tough as nails in Baldur’s Gate 3, with Larian not at all afraid to overwhelm your four-person maximum party with mobs that outnumber you. Restricting and manipulating movement helps a whole lot with tough enemies, so I hardly ever adventure without Wyll, and a ton of Grease Bottles practically bursting out of my pack to boot.

Sure, as a Warlock, you may not be shape-shifting into a bear or inflicting insane radiant damage with Divine Smite, but you’ll be the one laughing when Gale eventually runs out of cool high-damage spells to cast and is reduced to just flinging measly Firebolts around. Any character can technically pick up Eldritch Blast with the Magic Initiate Feat, but it’s awesome to see a spell so well-entwined with one class mechanically. You’re more than welcome to keep on Shoving into Act 3 if you want, but I’ll be here joyously engineering Looney Tunes-esque gags with Wyll by my side.

KEEP READING: Withers Is the True Hero of Baldur’s Gate 3

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Jacob Linden
Jacob is a freelance writer for The Escapist and the writer of the column Expedition, which explores compelling side stories in new and classic games. He started writing for The Escapist, and games media in general, in fall of 2022 after a year writing blogs for small brands and news for smaller websites. He plays a ton of different genres but has a soft spot for sprawling RPGs like the Souls series or Skyrim, and he firmly believes that Pokémon Emerald is the best game in the series hands down. He has a degree in Film & Television Production and is also published in Esquire, Polygon, and Popular Mechanics.