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Which class do you think is the best Mage Killer?

The other day we were having an interesting debate about shamans and druids and mages, and their relative strengths and weaknesses. In that, there was some discussion about the various ways of disabling mages and killing them, in which we got many interesting points.

How about we discuss this topic of mage killing in detail? Which class do you think is the best for this purpose, and what are your favourite strategies for disabling, dispelling and destroying mages? Let me know your opinions.

The poll below enumerates the most likely candidates for this role, though you may suggest any other classes if you think so. (Please select the "Something else" option in the latter case.)

I believe this will prove to be an interesting discussion. ;)

Which class do you think is the best Mage Killer? 47 votes

Inquisitor
27%
Khyronbyrne20LosgornBalrog99smady3DragonwizardbrunardoKaisc006Ganon27SssiksseilorStummvonBordwehrBubbUOLegacy 13 votes
Monk (may be kitted)
6%
KadrikArchaosNoon 3 votes
Assassin or Blackguard
4%
RaduzielMush_Mush 2 votes
Wizard Slayer
6%
AedanEnuhalVolatile 3 votes
Druid or Shaman
10%
ThacoBellArcanjoArtemius_ISkatanRVNS 5 votes
A Mage itself
12%
CamDawgFlashburnMeraDJKajuruvelehalAmmar 6 votes
Something else
31%
NuinashingdaGodYulaw9460NeveruseddunbarcobansemiticgodDhariuschimaeraArchGhostZaghoulBorekborntodieDurmir46 15 votes
«1345

Comments

  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    This is almost impossible to answer as it depends on which mage.

    For instance, an assassin with cloak of non-detection can take out in one hit most mages in the game with 0 risk. Nothing can beat that. But if he can't take out the mage in one hit, then he better have boots of speed, because it smells like rotten fish, even with poison.

    For BG1 and half of BG2, an inquisitor can dispel almost everything with no bother, but then...

    Druids can disable a mage momentarily, but will take a sweet long time to kill him and may prove useless against most mages with contingencies (most powerful mages usually), which makes their utility in this regard limited if they are alone.

    Mages can consistently disable any mage, regardless of contingencies, however they would require loads of self-buffing and contingencies themselves to have the time to both disable a mage and kill it before ending on the grill.

    Wizard Slayers are a joke.

    In the end, the only fully consistent way to disable mages, through protections and contingencies is to involve several classes. Most mages in the game can be wiped with a mage and a fighter: breach + slash ya face before you cast. It's hard to cast with a blade through the head.

    Another good way to answer your question would be: who among the ones you mentioned can solo the game with no cheese? (No scrolls, no waiting 10mins protections and contingencies wear off etc.). Which leaves us with F/M (all kinds), sorcerers (requires very good player however), F/M/T and F/T (half-orc with BG1 tomes).

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 480
    Something else
    I would say the best is a FMT, you can sneak up and backstab the 1st enemy, any additional ones can be rendered useless via your mage spells if you so desire, or you can equip Staff of the Magi to hide until PFMW is down then simply blap them once to dispel their protections before switching to 1 of a plethora of uber-weapons which can pretty much do the rest of the job on auto-attack. FT can do the same with UAI, but they are lacking key protective/disabling buffs unless you are prepared to sparingly use scrolls via UAI.

    Heck i often plop up a Spell Trap later in the game just to refresh some spell levels and save myself a rest/wish dice roll, lol.

    Durmir46
  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    Now that I think of it, M/T would be fantastic too.
    Gotta love mislead with the cloak of non-detection. And improved haste... <3

    This is not going to work on liches and demi-liches, but otherwise sounds like a nice mage-killing combo...

    Borek
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,122
    Druid or Shaman
    A lot of good choices here. My pick would be Druid or Shaman for the simple reason that there is no way for a mage to defend against the druids killer spells. Spell protections won't block them, invisibility won't let you doge them, stoneskin won't block them. If the Druids gets off either Insect Plague, Creeping Doom, or Nature's Beauty, the mage is as good as dead.

    My runner's up would be Bard with Timestop traps. They have no set traps score, so the game counts it as guaranteed. This also requires set up ahead of time.

    Inquisitor's dispel ability.

    And Wizard Slayer. They are MONSTERS for mages. Even if damage is blocked, the spell failure will still apply.

  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    edited August 8
    Something else
    @ThacoBell the question is: who is the best mage killer, not the best mage disabler. There are many classes that can effectively and consistently disable mages. But few that can kill them in close to no time with the same efficiency.

    Common contingencies in the game include: protection from magical weapons, mislead and some spell protection. IP and Nature's beauty are nice and all, but you still gotta kill the mage. Which is gonna take a while for you... And is not even guaranteed: mages often cast dispel magic on you, and if you are too close (for Nature's beauty for instance), sometimes blindness will be dispelled... As for IP it is temporary, you're gonna have to cast another one, and another one. Geez, that is NOT efficient.

    EDIT: on top of spending 20mins to kill a mage, there are mages you just won't touch much: fire shield and spell turning can block IP, which leaves you solely with Nature's beauty, some mages in the game are immune to (same who have spell turning or fire shield in contingencies, interestingly, like in the twisted rune).

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,122
    Druid or Shaman
    @Durmir46 Its not gonna take awhile at all. Fire seeds, creeping doom, summons, more insects. Mages, even high level ones, have terrible hit points, its doesn't take much damage to kill them. And no, you CANNOT block Insect Plague. its has an aoe and WILL stick to you. You have to mod your game to be able to block it. There is no way it would take "20 min" for a druid to kill a mage. Besides, if we are allowing prep time (Including resting!) to set up contingencies, then the druid can also summon some low level fodder to waste the mages contingencies.

    Rik_KirtaniyaMirandel
  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    @ThacoBell how do you get past the protections I described above? You know contingencies bypass IP and blindness, right?
    And yes, you can block IP with some defensive spells, I know these two but I think spell reflection and some lvl 7+ spells also work. Which are more and more common as you progress in the game.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,785
    I agree the terms for the discussion are rather wide. There's a huge difference between attacking a mage in BG1 compared to doing so in ToB. Whether you're solo or have a party and whether you use mods will also have major influences.

    Assuming I'm solo and unmodded I would say that in BG1 a berserker is probably the safest option - he has the HPs and immunities to soak up any spells taken while beating up the mage. A wizard slayer will win encounters without taking any spells 90% of the time, but will need an escape plan for the other 10%. Most other classes will also need a back-up plan. Druids have the option though to use nymph confusion from out of sight, as well as a targeted insect plague and mages can also use disablers like web from a safe distance. Clerical skeletons are also very effective against mage enemies caught on their own.

    Deeper into BG2, with high APR, good THAC0 and low saving throws I reckon it's hard to beat a dwarven wizard slayer. They will make mincemeat of any mage and get a decent advantage as well against other spell-using creatures like dragons (though it's easy to get caught out there by dragons using spell-like special abilities).

    Durmir46ThacoBellAerakar
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,785
    Durmir46 said:

    @ThacoBell how do you get past the protections I described above? You know contingencies bypass IP and blindness, right?
    And yes, you can block IP with some defensive spells, I know these two but I think spell reflection and some lvl 7+ spells also work. Which are more and more common as you progress in the game.

    As I said at least twice in the other recent thread spell protections don't work against the spread of insect plague. That's one reason why it's better to cast it on your own summons rather than directly at a mage.

    Rik_KirtaniyaThacoBellSkatan
  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 118
    edited August 8
    Something else
    A good mage killer needs to have good defenses against mage spells as well as good ways to kill them.

    One factor that I think should be taken into account is that some mages can cast finger of death, one of the few things that Berserk does not protect against. Mages can also dispell magical protections, such as Death Ward..

    I'm inclined to vote for druid because Insect Plague disrupts their casting and kills them too.. so it serves as a great offense and defense at the same time. But it is hard to decide, there are so many factors to consider.

    ThacoBell
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 480
    Something else
    Grond0 said:

    Durmir46 said:

    @ThacoBell how do you get past the protections I described above? You know contingencies bypass IP and blindness, right?
    And yes, you can block IP with some defensive spells, I know these two but I think spell reflection and some lvl 7+ spells also work. Which are more and more common as you progress in the game.

    As I said at least twice in the other recent thread spell protections don't work against the spread of insect plague. That's one reason why it's better to cast it on your own summons rather than directly at a mage.
    Yeah they do work if the Mage is the target though which i believe was his point, that the spells are not guaranteed. An IP will do 30 damage and prevent almost all casting for 6 rounds, but the druid/shaman will need to add more damage to get a kill. Shaman has access to a variety of missile weapons so can probably just finish off groups of mages with Tuigan + Acid Arrows after IP has been cast, druid is a little more limited but any of the druid kits have options that help for mages.

    Not the best IMO though, any Multi/dual-class Mage is great but FMT is my pick.

    Durmir46
  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    Ok, let me say it again:

    Most mages in the game have contingencies with defensive spells that will protect against everything else than IP (18 damage), that you cannot prevent. How is a shaman supposed to deal the rest of thz damage to finish off the mage? No spell, no weapon, no summon will work until the defensive spells are disabled. Now what?

    Again, the question is: who is the best mage *killer*. How can you pretend to be one if it takes you 20mins to kill a mage?

  • Rik_KirtaniyaRik_Kirtaniya Member Posts: 1,216
    edited August 8
    Durmir46 said:

    Most mages in the game have contingencies with defensive spells that will protect against everything else than IP (18 damage), that you cannot prevent. How is a shaman supposed to deal the rest of thz damage to finish off the mage? No spell, no weapon, no summon will work until the defensive spells are disabled. Now what?

    Very, very false. Fire Seeds are the answer to that. Read the first few lines of this post.

    Other than that, there's always the option of casting 9 Insect Plagues and 7 Creeping Dooms (I'm exaggerating, even a lot less would easily do), as the helpless mage stands and dies an inevitable death. ;)

    Durmir46Grond0ThacoBell
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 3,215
    Assassin or Blackguard
    Poison hits through Stoneskin and, IIRC, Mirror Image.

    So an Assassin/Blackguard with the Cloak of Stars can easily neutralize any wizard.

    Durmir46Aerakar
  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 445
    Anybody with arrows of dispelling and some stealth/invisibility can whack a mage without too much effort or any special strategy. You don’t need to wait ages, only for PFMW to run out, which given they only last 4 rounds apiece is not long. Anytime a mage is not under PFMW he is as dead as a dodo. Carsomyr and Staff of Magi serve same purpose but fewer classes can use.

    The power of mages, even with SCS, is overstated. You can design all kinds of convoluted strategies to try to debuff them, but really all you need to do is force them to use up their PFMWs/Mantles* and then whack them with some kind of disabling weapon. Every other defensive spell they cast is for naught.

    One caveat: you need space or ability to disappear to leverage this. Otherwise the 4-12 rounds that mages typically buy themselves with their spells are often enough to hurt you badly :/

  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    edited August 8
    Something else

    Durmir46 said:

    Most mages in the game have contingencies with defensive spells that will protect against everything else than IP (18 damage), that you cannot prevent. How is a shaman supposed to deal the rest of thz damage to finish off the mage? No spell, no weapon, no summon will work until the defensive spells are disabled. Now what?

    Very, very false. Fire Seeds are the answer to that. Read the first few lines of this post.

    Other than that, there's always the option of casting 9 Insect Plagues and 7 Creeping Dooms (I'm exaggerating, even a lot less would easily do), as the helpless mage stands and dies an inevitable death. ;)
    Thanks, I did not know that.... That's actually pretty good.
    It still does not make the shaman/druid the best mage killer in the context of this thread, but it most certainly gives it a big + in my mind.
    Do not get me wrong, druids/shamans are still not the best mage killers, it would be foolish to say so when an assassin for instance can one shot a mage with 0% risk. They are still not top tier class either, but if they can actually get past through most mages in the game, including liches, then they definitely deserve more attention than what I was giving them so far.

    Anybody with arrows of dispelling and some stealth/invisibility can whack a mage without too much effort or any special strategy. You don’t need to wait ages, only for PFMW to run out, which given they only last 4 rounds apiece is not long. Anytime a mage is not under PFMW he is as dead as a dodo. Carsomyr and Staff of Magi serve same purpose but fewer classes can use.

    The power of mages, even with SCS, is overstated. You can design all kinds of convoluted strategies to try to debuff them, but really all you need to do is force them to use up their PFMWs/Mantles* and then whack them with some kind of disabling weapon. Every other defensive spell they cast is for naught.

    One caveat: you need space or ability to disappear to leverage this. Otherwise the 4-12 rounds that mages typically buy themselves with their spells are often enough to hurt you badly :/

    Considering the contenders, I believe the question comes down to: who is capable of consistently taking out mages in less than 1 turn? Not x.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,785
    Durmir46 said:

    It still does not make the shaman/druid the best mage killer in the context of this thread, but it most certainly gives it a big + in my mind.
    Do not get me wrong, druids/shamans are still not the best mage killers, it would be foolish to say so when an assassin for instance can one shot a mage with 0% risk. They are still not top tier class either, but if they can actually get past through most mages in the game, including liches, then they definitely deserve more attention than what I was giving them so far.

    Shamans also have a magical fireball available that goes over the top of MGOI, so very few mages will be able to defend against it.

    How do you think an assassin can kill a mage with 0% risk?

    ThacoBellRik_Kirtaniya
  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    edited August 8
    Something else
    Grond0 said:

    Durmir46 said:

    It still does not make the shaman/druid the best mage killer in the context of this thread, but it most certainly gives it a big + in my mind.
    Do not get me wrong, druids/shamans are still not the best mage killers, it would be foolish to say so when an assassin for instance can one shot a mage with 0% risk. They are still not top tier class either, but if they can actually get past through most mages in the game, including liches, then they definitely deserve more attention than what I was giving them so far.

    Shamans also have a magical fireball available that goes over the top of MGOI, so very few mages will be able to defend against it.

    How do you think an assassin can kill a mage with 0% risk?
    Cloak of non-detection. As long as the mage is not immune to backstab (liches for instance), then it's a 95% chance to 1-hit kill with no risk. The 95% chance corresponds to the THAC0 (critical miss), but if you reload I guess that's 100%. Now because of this and because of mages with immunities, it would still not be ultimate mage killer, I still believe this honour goes to the F/M.

    As a demonstration: a half-orc with no STR bonus, backstabbing a mage with a +3 staff for instance (so, very much below what you would actually have and do), at lvl 15 (so with only 5x backstab multiplier, I let you imagine with 7x), would deal: 72.5 damage on average, which is enough to 1-hit kill a lvl22 mage (7 levels higher) with 25 CON.

    At lvl 17, the multiplier becomes 6x and at 21 it becomes 7x. With staff of the ram fully upgraded and 23STR, this means 210 damage per hit. With Assassination on and Improved haste, the numbers just do not make sense anymore, 210 is already enough to 1-hit kill pretty much anything in the game.

    The key here to the 0% risk is the cloak of non-detection (to counter true sight), available as soon as chapter 2 in SoA (so before you start encountering mages in the first place...) and in Cloakwood in BG1 (although in BG1, mages do not use true sight). From there, contingencies are not even triggered, so the mage is left helpless.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 643
    edited August 8
    Something else
    Grond0 said:

    Durmir46 said:

    @ThacoBell how do you get past the protections I described above? You know contingencies bypass IP and blindness, right?
    And yes, you can block IP with some defensive spells, I know these two but I think spell reflection and some lvl 7+ spells also work. Which are more and more common as you progress in the game.

    As I said at least twice in the other recent thread spell protections don't work against the spread of insect plague. That's one reason why it's better to cast it on your own summons rather than directly at a mage.
    Does spell immunity conj. not work? I don't recall any vanilla or scs enemy mages using si against insects, so I'm a bit curious.

    I'm not sure how using insects is supposed to work from a mechanical point of view (edit: in a theoretical duel), though, unless we are talking about 'naked' characters. Sotm means practically unlimited invisibility and a druid would have to know that the mage is nearby, before he can cast insects on the summons. And with the shiny robes & amulet imprisonment has a shorter casting time then the insect spells, so the druid would have to be either prebuffed, or raging.

    Unfortunately even with scs enemy mages don't take full advantage of offensive spells, so against npc mages I'd say Korgan, or a dwarven defender with scrolls, simply because of convenience. :wink:

  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    chimaera said:

    Grond0 said:

    Durmir46 said:

    @ThacoBell how do you get past the protections I described above? You know contingencies bypass IP and blindness, right?
    And yes, you can block IP with some defensive spells, I know these two but I think spell reflection and some lvl 7+ spells also work. Which are more and more common as you progress in the game.

    As I said at least twice in the other recent thread spell protections don't work against the spread of insect plague. That's one reason why it's better to cast it on your own summons rather than directly at a mage.
    Does spell immunity conj. not work? I don't recall any vanilla or scs enemy mages using si against insects, so I'm a bit curious.

    I'm not sure how using insects is supposed to work from a mechanical point of view, though, unless we are talking about 'naked' characters. Sotm means practically unlimited invisibility and a druid would have to know that the mage is nearby, before he can cast insects on the summons. And with the shiny robes & amulet imprisonment has a shorter casting time then the insect spells, so the druid would have to be either prebuffed, or raging.
    IP works as a "homing missile" if you want. Just cast it in the general direction of the mage and the insects will find him.

    Again, still not enough to be best mage killer. It is a neat little spell, most certainly not the best in the game and is really useful only against mages (arguably not even all), but it can make life easier now and then, especially if you do not have a mage with breach. If you have breach available, then do not bother with IP, just cast breach, and slash that mage in tiny bits. The best way to take care of a mage is still to kill him.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 643
    Something else
    @Durmir46
    I meant in a theoretical duel.

    I haven't tested spell immunity conjuration, so my question was whether it stops the effect

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,785
    edited August 8
    Durmir46 said:

    Cloak of non-detection ...

    OK - that wouldn't meet my definition of 0% risk. I only play no-reload, so have to take account of the chance of a critical miss (and at lower levels or against tougher opponents the chance of a miss could be much greater than 5%). There's also the potential problem of stoneskins / mirrors (though I agree that's more an issue using mods) and the fact that a low damage roll may not kill the opponent.

    Conversely I pretty much never use the cloak of non-detection. Typically I actually want a mage to sense my character and start casting true sight (or another detection spell at lower levels) as that gives an opportunity to backstab while he's casting - meaning he then can't immediately try something dangerous if the backstab fails to kill him.

    StummvonBordwehrSkatanAerakar
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,785
    chimaera said:

    @Durmir46
    I meant in a theoretical duel.

    I haven't tested spell immunity conjuration, so my question was whether it stops the effect

    You're right that would stop it (as would magic resistance, which is a realistic problem even without human intervention).

  • RVNSRVNS Member Posts: 260
    Druid or Shaman
    Quite obviously the most effective way to kill mages is to is use the @Grond0 class or @semiticgod class.


    ThacoBellAerakar
  • Durmir46Durmir46 Member Posts: 110
    Something else
    Grond0 said:

    Durmir46 said:

    Cloak of non-detection ...

    OK - that wouldn't meet my definition of 0% risk. I only play no-reload, so have to take account of the chance of a critical miss (and at lower levels or against tougher opponents the chance of a miss could be much greater than 5%). There's also the potential problem of stoneskins / mirrors (though I agree that's more an issue using mods) and the fact that a low damage roll may not kill the opponent.

    Conversely I pretty much never use the cloak of non-detection. Typically I actually want a mage to sense my character and start casting true sight (or another detection spell at lower levels) as that gives an opportunity to backstab while he's casting - meaning he then can't immediately try something dangerous if the backstab fails to kill him.
    I agree, this is why assassin is not my n°1 choice to answer the question. The only sure way to kill mages is still to have at least a mage yourself for breach + true sight and then butcher the hell out of it.

    However in BG2EE vanilla, with cloak of non-detection, you're 95% guaranteed a 1-hit kill (fear the 1 on your D20), which makes it better than the following choices from the list given:
    Inquisitor
    Monk
    Blackguard
    Wizard Slayer
    Druid or Shaman

    So it narrows the list to mage and something else, my preference going for "something else", namely the F/M. I cannot think of a single mage in the game the F/M cannot just stomp upon. So for F/M, that would definitely be a 100%, however not in 1-hit (you are likely to require an entire turn, which I know is long, but it is still much faster than everything else but the assassin).

    OR, you can use the cloak (or the corresponding spell) on a M/T with mislead, then critical misses just do not matter anymore. You will deal less damage (which is further hindered by a lower level progression), but it is still much more than enough to butcher mages of the same level in 1 hit. But you have to wait until you have access to mislead... Until then, F/M all the way, baby!

  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 118
    Something else
    What I like about the wizardslayer / druid combo is that it would also be perfect if you were fighting a whole room full of wizards at once. Brilliant.

    You do not even have to be that specific dual. A druid can give his seeds to a wizard slayer in a team.

    His fire seeds, I mean. o:)

    RVNSGrond0Skatan
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 560
    Something else
    Yeah, I dunno what type of mage fights you’re against @Durmir46 , but mage vs mage battles are incredibly hard to win. You have to strip off a spell shield, whatever number of spell turnings and traps they have, finally strip off the SI:Divination, finally use a divination to break the Improved Invisibility, and then and only then can you breach it. All the while making sure your defenses stay up and your health doesn’t drop below 90 cuz PW:Stun is a huge threat. A mage vs Lich battle just isn’t easy or a guaranteed victory.

    RVNSThacoBell
  • RVNSRVNS Member Posts: 260
    Druid or Shaman
    I personally prefer a druid or fighter/druid. Many of the fights even the hard ones with mages can simply be upended by an insect plague or summons. Even with hardier mages or liches I find even if the insect plague doesn't take a few well placed fire seeds tend to solve the problem. Keep in mind I find that using summons to absorb or take down mages is rather effective through much of amn and that even if they don't finish the job they tend to run the mage dry. Skeleton warriors are excellent for this seeing as how they are immune to the majority of the disablers.

    That being said the best way to kill a mage is the safe way. I have no problem letting summons absorb a full spell list if it keeps me out of harms way.

    ThacoBellGrond0Borek
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,122
    Druid or Shaman
    Another edge for Druids/Shamans is that they can do all this completely naked. Thieves, wizard slayers, berserkers, they all require items of some kind for the kill. Druids and shamans can disable and kill any wizard with 100% success rate and almost no risk.

    I have intentionally left all mods out of my arguments, as literally anything can happen with mods.

«1345
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