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First time SCS run with BWS on insane BG2 - advice and tips please

Finally set up my first SCS/BWS run on insane dif. and didnt find any issue on BG1/SOD but BG2 I'm having ALOT of trouble with what should be easy battles like hatchetman/delosar inn crew driking potions of speed & healing, tanner shop like the rune assassisns seeing through my sanctuary/invisibility & chunking me one shot (multiple reloads) and now the guarded slaver compound and sion is throwing everything from AHW to time stops??

ANY Help or advice much appreciated as Im using alot of kiting, cheese, buffing/resting etc but this feels like it might get too hard with these "easy" fights with my low level party...


  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    What's your party look like? Classes, equipment, levels?

    I don't normally tackle Mencar Pebblecrusher until I've got plenty of traps, good summons, or some fast area-effect spells to take down one or two of the enemies early. They're not great to fight right out of Chateau Irenicus.

    For Tarnor the Hatchetman, I prefer to kill Gaius with a backstab (after baiting a divination spell out of him) or focus on killing all of his cronies very quickly, before Gaius himself can do something ugly. You can also fan out across the map and take down the enemies one by one, delaying the fight with Gaius himself.

    I often avoid the Rune Assassins outright, since killing them isn't necessary to complete the quest, but you can send in your backstab-immune characters (mages or bards, if you don't have Barbarians in the group) to make them waste their backstabs before you send your vulnerable characters in (if you send them in at all).

    Before SCS, I just used Insect Plague to take down Sion. But since SCS lets Fire Shields block insect spells, I now have to delay fighting them. First, I approach while invisible, disarming the initial traps and then fleeing to the southeast corner to give myself some extra room. I trigger Sion's Horrid Wilting Chain Contingency using summoned critters, then try to keep summons on the map until Sion casts Time Stop, at which point he'll use his best spells on the summoned critters instead of my party. Once his Fallen Planetar and possibly his Cornugons have vanished, I move in for the kill.

    I've also tried ignoring everyone but Koshi, and just using a bunch of offensive damage spells to kill him quickly, since the most important loot in that fight is Celestial Fury, and Koshi has terrible defenses. If you can kill him in one round, you can escape (maybe by drinking some Potions of Invisibility) before Sion casts Time Stop or Ketta kills someone with a backstab.

    Mages are very dangerous in SCS. You'll want to carry nonmagical weapons to get past their frequent PFMW spells, and that probably means darts and arrows so you can cut through their Stoneskins more quickly. The Firetooth crossbow can also deal fire damage through both Stoneskin and PFMW if you equip it with normal bolts. Sometimes, though, mages will use Improved Mantle, which in SCS will block everything but +5 weapons. Normally that will block anything but end-game weapons, but if you get the Cloak of the Stars from the Shade Lord, you can summon six +5 darts per rest period. Darts have 3 APR, so it's entirely possible to get past all of a mage's Stoneskins in a single round and disrupt their introductory Time Stop.

    Killing the Shade Lord can be tough. A single Sunstone Bullet can kill the Shadow Altar, but you kind of need Spell Immunity: Necromancy or a Negative Plane Protection spell to avoid losing levels to the Shade Lords Shadow Aura. He also uses Black Blade of Disaster and Blade Barrier (avoid melee), Chromatic Orb, and Finger of Death (pre-buff with Death Ward or get your saving throws low). His defenses aren't great, though: a single Pierce Magic (the scroll is in the Temple Ruins) followed by Breach will take his Shadow Mantle spell trigger, and missile weapons can bring him down pretty quickly after that.

    Mages are also surprisingly vulnerable to Cone of Cold, since it's one of the few forms of damage that SCS spellcasters rarely use to protect themselves. Cone of Cold can get past almost any SCS mage's defenses--except for Mirror Image, which will block it. A thief with Detect Illusions (Jan already has a high Detect Illusions skill; other thieves will have to invest in it) can remove those Mirror Images, allowing you to disrupt a mage's first spell using Cone of Cold.

    Or, if you have a magic-heavy party, you can try tackling SCS mages by using magic attacks like Secret Word, Ruby Ray of Reversal, Khelben's Warding Whip, and Breach, or just tank their initial spells using your own mage buffs.

    Bear in mind that LOTS of SCS mages like to open with Remove Magic to take down your defenses. Mages can block it with Spell Immunity: Abjuration (which the enemy will try to remove with Spell Thrust, so keep an extra copy of Spell Immunity memorized, and/or pre-buff with Spell Shield as well), but other classes are best off just trying to dodge the enemy's Remove Magic spells. Some high-level mages will cast Remove Magic more than once, but you should be safe if you keep most of your buffs intact by avoiding the first Remove Magic spell.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,147
    I think you need to get a different mindset going for SCS in BG2.
    A lot of the battles that without SCS are considered "easy", are completely different. So you need to "relearn" the game.
    Just like when first playing BG2, you learn which battles are doable at the level you are at.

    Also, first time SCS, perhaps you need to play through on a lower difficulty, it really does change the encounters that much.

    Specific advice for the Guarded Compound battles.
    I rarely (read that as never) fight them upstairs. I get a few at a time to follow me down where they meet my summoned skeletons and use ranged attacks almost exclusively keeping out of the way of the magic attacks. Let the skeletons take the pressure.
    Very important, make sure you are all hasted so you can get away if needs be.
    I also hide some of the party in the rooms, the invisible stabby person is a PITA for the more squishy NPC. And have quite a few true seeing able to be cast., using one after the other until she is dead.
    You have a lot of room to manoever in that fight, use it.

  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 516
    Great advice @semiticgod and forgot to mention Im doing two playthroughs which consist of evil party -
    PC Amelysan cleric lvl 9 to dual to mage soon (maybe bad idea lol) with Dorn, Korgan, Jan, Yoshimo and soon to add Haer/Edwin and replace yosh so heavy magic focus and right now other "Team Paladin" party is PC Cavalier (Caelar), Keldorn, Anomen, and added Sirene, Minsc, Nalia...planing to swap minsc for mazzy and not sure if nalia can cover my thief duties (was planning Jan originally)...also dont know much about sirene but seems to fit the theme.

    Still wondering about the Rune assassins chunking me while invisible & sanctuary (game breaking??) & got past them using some cheese but these mages (like sion) are another level but stuff like cone of cold/firetooth/cloak will help and remember reading about the shade lord battle on scs and how difficult it is so will try the strategy above :)

    The guarded compound is a slow process but Ive been spamming and luring the party one by one down the stairs with only sion and the thief left...Forgot to mention @UnderstandMouseMagic I'm playing on insane difficulty which usually I steam roll but this is another game almost and every battle is taking awhile...I also have some mods like innershade and unsure how bad they might be with SCS so sticking to "easy" battles like tanner shop lol

    I need to lvl up my party for sure and open to any advice on either party through also like the RP and NPC dialogue banter so pretty happy with them two teams so far

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  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 516
    @chimaera never realized they could do that? and yeah it looked like they stabbing me right in my PC's face but true sight with some party positioning blocking them from my PC worked...yeah shouldve held off on the guarded compound but after luring them one by one I got it down with some resting inbetween - sion & his minotaur lackey followed me outside though and that was pretty funny - guess he could sling spells outside no problem but when I did the cowled enforcers gave me a friendly warning lol
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