There are several threads about hard and frustrating battles and encounters in BG (Draconis, Mindflayers) throughout various forums on the net. Just for enjoyment, I'd like to start a small discussion on a variation of this theme: the unfair and frustrating encounters compared to those you found "fair" and balanced.
What do I mean by that? By unfair I mean encounters in which you're very likely to lose on the first try even if you have a party with a diverse selection of spells, equipped items, quick items etc... which makes sense based on the dungeon you're currently in and the monsters and characters you've been encountering up to that point (plus any quest knowledge you might have). The outcome of these battles is usually decisively established within the first few rounds (your mage is interrupted while casting a critical spell, enemy spawn points cause one of your party members to be focus-fired without chance of escape, etc..) and there is no often no chance of a comeback even if you make good tactical decisions with the options that you have remaining.
Just to be clear, this isn't a complaint about BG's difficulty (I've already completed the entire saga, without cheese or power-gaming). I'm just curious about which encounters you think fall into which category. What are your thoughts?
Some "unfair" examples:
I find the ambush by three greater doppelgangers in Kiel's room of Durlag's Tower a bit cheap (some might find this laughable as an example but oh well). 2-3X Stinking Cloud + Cloudkill force-cast throughout the entire hall-way followed by an Improved Haste assault on the nearest party member (quite likely an unconscious mage who might have been able to caste Dispel or Remove Magic).
The fight against the Ravager in TOB: it isn't immediately obvious that his minions respawn infinitely, absurd resistances, spells which affect him seem to be arbitrary (only Bigby's is of any use if I remember correctly). The fight doesn't feel tactical really, and HLA spam (mostly by warriors) seems to be the most reliable key to victory, which is very unsatisfying.
Some "fair" examples:
The fight against Yaga-Shura and his army. This is by far one of the best encounters in the entire-trilogy. Every spell and ability from the weakest to the strongest feels like it could be potentially useful during this fight. The fight starts off slow and ramps up gradually as Yaga's troops start streaming in in greater numbers. You can slowly reposition your party throughout the battlefield and hold off incoming troops with area of effect spells and summons. Different members can try and hold different "lanes" whilst 1 or 2 of your characters try and take down Yaga-Shura. Can be seemingly beaten in various ways and with all sorts of spell loadouts. (I"m aware you can also just bum-rush Yaga Shura with every party member, but that's just a bit anti-climactic in my opinion.)
All encounters against Harper parties trying to kill Charname in SOA. Your spells work against them and theirs work against you. Neither side has ass-pull immunities or resistances (at least not extreme ones). Like the Yaga-Shura one, these are enjoyable because they can be beaten in several ways with various party compositions whilst still remaining challenging.