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How do you dispell caster defenses without a Mage/Sorcerer?

NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
I decided to open the tomb (Unseeing Eye quest) and fight the Shade Lich for fun. It made me realize that my party composition might not work very well in the long run. My previous BG2 run, my main character was a Sorcerer and I had Imoen+Aierie that are 2 other mages, Anomen cleric caster/tank, Keldorn and Jaheira which is an other fighter/caster. Overall, I often built my parties around a sorcerer or mage so I wanted to do different this time around and add a few of the classes/kits I was curious about and wanted to try. So my party is currently

1- Darkmoon Monk
2- Keldorn
3- Wizard Slayer
4- Archer
5- F/T
6- Shaman

I intended on getting the sword that reduces THAC0 (I forget its name but it's one of the best 2h in the game) on my Wizard slayer, dispell magic with Keldorn and have the Wizard Slayer beat onto casters (and then whatever is left) debilitating the enemies (Monk and archer being extra DPS, F/T to handle traps and backstab + DPS and Shaman as support). I avoided using Dispell magic as often as possible last time I played BG2 because I had a ton of buffs on my party from having so many spell casters so I only used it if I had absolutely no choice. Now I realized that it can't deal with certain spells or spell setup (Improved Mantle + Globe of Invulnerability), Mantle blocks all of my physical attacks (including dispel arrows) as the best weapon I have is a +4 scimetar and rest of my weapons are mostly +3 and some +2 and I think that Globe of Invulnerability absorbs the dispell magic spells so I can't dispell the Mantle.

I still managed to kill the Lich by waiting out some of his buffs, spreading out and having a few of the weak shaman spirits aggro it occasionally when they would decide to walk up to him or if I could lure the Lich close enough to them. However, the Lich killed 3 of my party members with a spell I forget the name (instant death). Although I was able to rez them with the Shaman afterwards, it will not be a viable strategy (or will get tedious) in the long run.

-So my question is:

Are there tricks or items my party member can get in order to deal with the strong Caster defenses or is my party going to be very bad each time I face one of those? Although I enjoy the flexibility of the Shaman to be like a Sorcerer and not have to waste spells slots on spells just in case, the class feels underwhelming to me so far. I've used the Shaman Dance here and there for fun but it never turns out to be truly needed or good for real. Its class unique spells are kind of bad (the 1st level one is rather weak, 2nd level I've never really used it... deals 1d3 dmg AOE and 20% chance to snare, it's awful. The 3rd level is like a very weak fireball. The 4th level is alright to dispell a mind condition and the 5th one is ok but it's basically resurrect which I could also have on a cleric but maybe later in the game). The weapons and THAC0 is still too weak to be truly viable for damage and the armor is weak. Overall, if I must add a mage to dispell strong Caster defenses, I might switch the Shaman out for Aerie for a Cleric and Mage dispells.

Post edited by Neo on


  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
    edited November 2019
    (deleted as it was fixed)

    Post edited by Neo on
  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 153
    Sounds like you are using SCS? it would be highly unusual to see improved mantle and globe of inv in the vanilla game?

    If you are running SCS then it’s going to be tough without a bunch of competent mages.

    But if you are on vanilla then the level 5 Druid spell “insect plague” is your go-to for every fight involving a mage (and in fact probably every fight in general) It wont directly remove mage protections. But it will stop them from casting, and damage them every round. A mage that cant cast spells is not much of a threat.

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    Defeating the game without mages is possible but hard.
    I suggest you go to Watcher's Keep and explore it until you get your hands on a Wand of Spell Striking.

    Wands (and other objects with charges) can be sold and then bought back to recharge them. That means you can actually make sure that you will not lose your means of combating mages. Just make sure that the number of charges never reaches zero. You cannot sell what you do not have.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,282
    The quickest no-mage tactic I know is (a) distract the lich with summons while he's got protection from magic weapons or mantle then (b) hit him with fire or acid arrows so the elemental damage bypasses stoneskin.

    Also, if youre doing the unseeing eye quest theres a guy in the sewers who sells potions of magic protection, those are priceless!

  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,596
    Note that once thieves get UAI they can use Wands of Spell Striking as well - of which there are five in all in game (I think).

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
    Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for wands of spell striking although I'm not sure anyone in my party will be able to make use of these until that UAI (if F/T can access it but I'm guessing they can).

    I am not using SCS, it's the vanilla game and this Shade Lich did use both protection. However, I think it might be rare for me to see this indeed, the Unseeing Eye that poped, I dispelled magic on him and killed him like it was nothing (before reloading and using a console command to respawn a NPC that had died from the Shade Lich AOE and was preventing me from access the lower levels of the quest and some of the items I wanted like the gloves of dexterity). I also went to kill the hidden Lich in the tiny Gates district. I remember having had quite a bit of trouble killing that one on my first playthrough (with my mostly magic users party, the Lich would setup defenses, I couldn't dispell them fast enough, he would time stop, rain some AOE and summon powerful summons wiping my party). This time around with my current party, it was an absolute joke... I threw Dispell Magic on him and just attacked him with my party, the Lich died within 1-2 seconds and did nothing.

    I have been using the AOE insect spell every fight against casters (it's the best spell my Shaman has) and it lands right after the dispell magic since Keldorn's cast time is 1. It however makes me feel like this spell alone is more efficient at countering enemy casters than the entire Wizard Slayer kit... I mean, my Wizard Slayer can't land a hit and drop enemy casting chance until I've dispelled their defenses (and often times, when that's the case, pure damage kills that caster fast no matter what) and once I've dispelled their defenses, if the insects get to them, they're at 100% spell failure anyways. The only advantage I see that my Wizard Slayer can bring still is Dispell Magic not dispelling the globes that block spells (I don't know if they insects can go through it but they shouldn't from the description) while dispelling the other stuff.

    About the whole Shaman thing, I picked up Aerie back for one quest and the grass always looks greener on the other side I guess. She does have access to a ton of spells... but she's incredibly limited in how many Cleric spells she can cast (and no flexibility to it depending on the situation like the Shaman) and it will only get worse as I level up since my Shaman is a single class and Aerie is a multi-class.

    In the end, I'll keep an eye out for the wands of spell striking (still unsure anyone in my party can use them though) and still can resort to Aerie if really needed (but I lose a ton of healing and Insect Plague if I do this). I'm guessing most casters will turn out like that Lich and Unseeing Eye beholder though and just hit the floor like a sack of potatoes 1 sec after I throw a dispell onto them.

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 598
    Arrows of Dispelling as soon as PfMW is down. The arrows go through anything that isn't protected by PfMW/Mantle line. So you have to weave, dodge and survive long enough for opponent's PfMWs to run out, and then a single arrow leaves them defenseless.

    You can buy 80 from Perter, there's another 4 or 5 in Spellhold, and you might find some in other locations occasionally. So you do need to ration them, try not to waste any at opponents who are protected by PfMW, and only use one at a time. Within those limits, you have enough to get through SoA easily and some way into ToB.

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
    Yea, I've used those arrows on my Archer (I stole them in the Promenade) when I had Keldorn sit out from my party as I do quests for other NPCs for experience and items and my shaman's Dispell magic is weaker and longer cast time. However, on some mages it works perfectly fine, on the stronger ones, they're usually immune and it doesn't work at all.

    I think I might be fine with my original team setup (mostly hesitant about ToB's last encounter though, I remember that boss being quite difficult). Most enemy casters I faced, I can just use Keldorn's dispell magic and drop them dead in 1-2 second (including liches). The exceptions were that Shade Lich which I still managed to kill at low level, the Red Wizard (Neera quest line) boss but she wasn't dangerous, just annoying to kill. Finally, Kangaxx that I killed when my party members were lvls 11-14 (monk being highest with 14). Kangaxx was the only boss I've encountered so far that was truly hard for me to kill (Firkraag wasn't too hard), I could manage to kill off his 1st form without too much trouble but his 2nd form being immune and then suddenly killing my party members with that cheap uninterruptable/no saving throw imprisonment forced me to cheese him. I ended up sending my other 5 party members in the corner of the room during his 2nd form and have my monk use a Scroll vs Undead and slowly kill him with a +4 scimetar (I think I got that weapon from 1st level of Watcher's Keep if I remember well).

    I wish I could have had a more "legit" fight against that Lich (I checked my previous playthrough with my ToB final saves and I don't have the ring, I never found out about him and never fought him before) but many people were suggesting to use the demon form from later in the game (I'm still on Chapter 2 doing all the side quests so it was far off), cheesing him with Mace of Disruption, cheesing him with mass summons and ring of the ram into a corner, cheesing him with traps, etc. I guess if I wanted to fight his 2nd form in a fair fight, I would have needed to wait to have a high level mage that has access to spells like Spell Trap and such which would have been either really late in SoA or not even achievable due to multi-classing of some like Aerie. I'm pretty sure the lvl 5 Breach spell or wand wouldn't have went through his defenses anyways. I also think that he's possibly the strongest enemy caster in SoA so I think I should be fine.

    I'll have to see, ToB might be an other story but the only casters I could remember that gave me trouble vs my magic party on my 1st playthrough were 1-2 Liches and I nearly instantly killed those with my current party. I may have underestimated the strength of a more physical damage focused party although I could change my mind at higher level, my Monk is only lvl 15 still and the others are a bit lower.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,912
    An easy way to get a Wand of Spellstriking is to take Neera with you for long enough to get access to the Red Wizard shop in Waukeen's Promenade. They have one of those wands and a lot of other good magic items for sale.

  • Humanoid_TaifunHumanoid_Taifun Member Posts: 1,041
    Kangaxx' second form is one of those enemies that is very difficult to have a fair fight against.
    Mostly it is: either he imprisons you, or is unable to.
    Regardless of whether you use Berserker Rage, Spell Trap, Spell Immunity, Protection from Undead or Protection from Magic, the effect is the same: you turn the demi-lich into a glorified punching bag.
    The only difference between them is the length of time for your immunity, with Spell Trap being the best of the lot, as it costs you nothing and lasts for however long you need it to last.
    If you have access to any of these spells or scrolls, demi-liches are free XP.

    Using Spell Turning, Spell Deflection or Shield of the Archons would be the closest you could come to having a "legit" fight, as you would be forced to kill him while he is rapidly burning through your defenses. It could be an interesting challenge for wizards who consciously choose to make life harder for themselves. Spell Immunity is level 5 and does the job better than these higher level spells.
    As for attempting to fight a demi-lich with Shield of the Archons? It would be an acceptable risk for Fighter/Clerics using a weapon of Disruption.
    For Clerics with 1 base attack and no access to warrior HLAs? Maybe if you feel good about reloading the game a few times. (Would that be a "legit" fight though?)

    Alternatively you can just send your party members into the battle and hope that Kangaxx imprisons them slower than they can hurt him. If you go for this method, I recommend bringing all the potential party members into his crypt before giving Kangaxx his body parts, so you can recruit reinforcements quickly whenever somebody goes down.

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
    I do have a wand of spellstriking from having done Neera's quest line (didn't have it when I killed Kangaxx) but no one in my party can use it (Monk, Archer, Fighter/Thief, Inquisitor, Wizard Slayer, Shaman). Maybe if my the Fighter/Thief can get the HLA to be able to use it at some point but that's super far away into the game.

    As for the comments about how to fight the Demi-Lich, I guess it makes me feel a bit less cheap for using a scroll and beating on him with my lvl 13-14 monk (1st form had some immunity I couldn't dispell but I was able to survive long enough for it to wear off and take it down).

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 857
    Anyway, kangaxx is not a must kill boss in the game :D

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    I'm not sure if it was an AI limit, or due to the fact that he materializes on that stone pillar in the middle of the room, but he only attempts to imprison whoever is standing in front of him. (I suppose I will find this out in my next BG2 run with SCS installed)

    In an unmodded game, however, you only need death ward and SI:A on one person, and since Kangaxx has no physical attacks, that person can be a mage. Put your cleric right behind them to re-up their death ward occasionally. Other buffs can help, and you do have to pay attention and make sure your SI hasn't worn off, but he can be a relatively easy kill if you note that.

    He is the exception, though. Most liches have no similar issues and will blast anyone they can see with imprisonment. Thus, that strategy is only good for Kangaxx.

    For the lich in WK, I had my PC (female conjurer), Aerie, and Jan take him on as they could re-up their own SI:A. It took FOREVER, because they weren't exactly fighters, but they got the job done.

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 125
    It has been about 4 years since my previous playthrough so I don't remember all of the game and enemies (and some I didn't know about and didn't kill back then because I did not have Kangaxx ring when I checked at my ToB final saves nor the mage staff from the other lich which I certainly would have wanted for since my main character on my last playthrough was a Sorcerer). However, this time around, I've killed the Lich at the gates, the 2 ones to protect Kangaxx's body, Kangaxx himself and the one in the hidden place with the Roguestone. The only other Lich I can remember that I haven't faced yet is one in ToB if I remember well (and I think I killed it easily and my previous party was magic based and had a much harder time with Liches early game and I think the one from ToB gave me no problem).

    Out of all of those, most I was able to kill in 1-2 seconds with just a few physical attacks. The Shade Lich gave me more trouble but wasn't hitting too hard so I still managed despite being low level. Kangaxx I didn't have death ward yet (my shaman didn't have it back then) and his 1st form gave me a bit of trouble but wasn't too bad, only 2nd form I had to use a cheap method. The one with the Roguestone wasn't too bad either, killed the minions and then killed him with regular attacks but he did manage to kill off 3 party members with death spells (I was able to rez them afterwards).

    Only 2 or 3 of those had a combo of spells that made it impossible for me to dispell their defenses with Keldorn's Dispell Magic/Carsomyr+5/Dispelling arrows. Now that I have death ward and the stuff I need, I think only imprisonment might be dangerous if I can't kill a caster that uses those defenses that I can't dispell. It's mostly the ToB final boss I'm unsure about, I remember her being a caster and a difficult fight but maybe my F/T can use wand of Spellstriking with HLA by then.

    As for the last comment, what does "SI:A" stand for (I'm not familiar with that many BG2 acronyms)?

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Spell Immunity: Abjuration It's what keeps your caster safe from imprisonment.

  • InKalInKal Member Posts: 157
    Without mage/sorc you can dispel enemy:
    1) High level cleric dispel magic (if enemy is not protected against dispel)
    2) Inquisitor dispel magic (the same)
    3) Weapon cheese like Carsomyr (if not protected against magic weapons)
    4) Wizard Slayer shatter magic via magical or mundane weapon (enemy must not be protected against at least one weapon type)
    5) Arrow of dispelling total cheese (I never use them but I heard that they are not effective in EE, I hope so!)
    6) Wand cheese (reaquires you to use some cheese in WK if you want to grab that wand cheese ;P)

    Lich in particular is very troublesome becasue he is immune to normal weapons which means that as long as he has PFMW active you can not shatter him in any way.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    Maurvir wrote: »
    For the lich in WK, I had my PC (female conjurer), Aerie, and Jan take him on as they could re-up their own SI:A. It took FOREVER, because they weren't exactly fighters
    a properly buffed and hasted aerie (fighter like thac0, 25 str and maxed dmg roll) dw 2 weapons with enough enchantment level, can carve trough a demilich hp in a very short time, doing near 100 dmg/round as soon as pfmw is no more active ;)

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Yes, I really need to up my game with Aerie. Even now, I feel like I'm not getting the most out of her in my parties because I tend to forget that she can, when properly buffed, tank.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited December 2019
    @Maurvir yup she really can, my end game aerie hit 4 times round with a solid 24 dmg/hit and with -8MH -4OH thac0 the elemental damages of FoA and storm star not included, as well as the slowing effect of the flail, and she can buff to do it in no time thank to sequencers and triggers, while being almost untouchable, when needed her simulacrum help her with a BBoD MH (from a scroll in the quick slot) that with the base 2d12+5 dmg, always 29 thanks to RM + 5 from mastery +14 from str is really impressive...
    and when it is not enough a CC let her summon, ignoring the aura, a deva and 4 elementals or when you are lucky a deva and an elemental prince.

    she can tank indeed, but for her tanking is not only surviving while taking hits, is pulling out a damage output that only few fighters can dream about. with a little short buffing time.
    and this is crazy for someone that in other tactical situations can merge the arcane and divine magic for very powerful combos, ie even at low levels cleric's magical resistance + mage's lower resistance bring every MR to 0, with a sequencer she can do it right at the beginning of a fight with a dragon.
    or, also at low level, she can turn in a troll with the cloak of the sewers, with a good weapon OH, then buff with a sequencer, hasted she has attacks, damage and a very good regeneration.

    the fact that she is a soo good caster make most players overlook the fact that she is also a very impressive mlee fighter if properly buffed.
    as i mostly run small parties and i pick npcs that can both fight and cast so often i don't have the luxury of having a couple of dedicated frontline fighters i was forced to master the way to use her also as physical damage dealer and the more i am experimenting the more i am impressed about how good she is at it...

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