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How to effectively deal with mage enemies’ protection spells?

I’m playing BG2EE with SCS installed. The option for mage enemies to be able to advanced cast protection spells is selected, so I usually start the battles with Dispel Magic, Remove Magic or Breach. The trouble is that they can very quickly re-apply the protection, sometimes 3-4 times in one battle. Is this normal and if so, how do I deal with it?

iosfrustration

Comments

  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 144
    Yes! SCS is a love letter to the overpowering power of the all powerful mage.
    And yes your experience in SCS with mage encounters is perfectly normal. Often with a load of time stops and ADHW mixed in.
    A lot of the hard counters to mage power (inquisitor dispel, Druid insects) are massively nerfed by default in SCS.
    So you might consider returning these to “core rules” settings then bringing Keldorn and Jahera/Cernd
    But if you’re playing SCS then it’s best just to roll with it and escalate at every opportunity.
    They bring a mage? You bring two mages!
    They bring two mages? You bring six mages!
    They send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue!
    (Best Sean Connery impression)

    ensbanaAerakar
  • ensbanaensbana Member Posts: 49
    Thanks for the comment. I’ve actually just found this guide and it looks like the thing that I need.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/baldursgate/comments/4nsgpx/short_guide_to_playing_scs_without_feeling_like/

    iosfrustration
  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 199
    edited September 9
    Backstab.

    Before I installed SCS, I never bothered with backstabbing. But with SCS, my thief became my number one mage killer. Grab the staff of striking from the temple of Lathander and get a good thief (multiclass or not) rolling. It can save you so many headaches. Not every mage can be stabbed, but a lot of tough ones can.

    ensbanaiosfrustration
  • ensbanaensbana Member Posts: 49
    My MC just happens to be an illusionist/thief so I know the mechanics of backstabbing. In fact dealing with mages is one of the main reasons for me to choose that multi-class. Still my characters are at a low level and there are just too many mages for that to be an effective strategy. Plus the staff of strking has a limited charge (and I’m not sure yet if it can be recharged?). I still use this strategy, but only with the most annoying mages.

    iosfrustration
  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 199
    You, can recharge a staff of striking. Sell and re-buy.

    ensbanaiosfrustration
  • ensbanaensbana Member Posts: 49
    Someone has just suggested using arrows of dispelling to deal with the mages’ pre-buffs. Does anyone know if they work against things like spell shield, spell turning and spell deflection?

    iosfrustration
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,636
    ensbana wrote: »
    Someone has just suggested using arrows of dispelling to deal with the mages’ pre-buffs. Does anyone know if they work against things like spell shield, spell turning and spell deflection?

    They do - they only don't work if you are unable to hit the mage at all because of protections like PfMW. Those of course are very regularly used by SCS mages so dispelling arrows are by no means an "I win" solution.

    Alternative ways to deal with the mages are to either withdraw when you first come across them (for instance by a scouting thief disappearing into stealth) and let protections run out, or to make contact with a well-protected character who is both able to tank mage spells and stand up under physical assault. At higher levels that can be done by an arcane caster, a divine caster (if using the option to include IWD spells) or another character using the Cloak of Mirroring (though that will be affected by whether you've nerfed that).

    ensbanaiosfrustrationAerakar
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    I prefer SCS to vanilla, but I don't install the nerfs on inquisitors. I figure if mages are going to get a boost, so should paladins.

    Also, there is zero shame in making an enemy mage waste spells. Having your thief periodically poke their nose in so that an enemy mage burns his initial buffs is perfectly legit. So is sending in summons to absorb the worst of their initial spells. In a lot of fights, if you can get past those initial high-level spells, the fight becomes much easier/more fair.

    Remember kids, discretion really is the better part of valor.

    ensbanaThacoBellPokotaiosfrustration
  • ensbanaensbana Member Posts: 49
    Grond0 wrote: »
    ensbana wrote: »
    Someone has just suggested using arrows of dispelling to deal with the mages’ pre-buffs. Does anyone know if they work against things like spell shield, spell turning and spell deflection?

    They do - they only don't work if you are unable to hit the mage at all because of protections like PfMW. Those of course are very regularly used by SCS mages so dispelling arrows are by no means an "I win" solution.

    Alternative ways to deal with the mages are to either withdraw when you first come across them (for instance by a scouting thief disappearing into stealth) and let protections run out, or to make contact with a well-protected character who is both able to tank mage spells and stand up under physical assault. At higher levels that can be done by an arcane caster, a divine caster (if using the option to include IWD spells) or another character using the Cloak of Mirroring (though that will be affected by whether you've nerfed that).

    I did that: drawing out the battle, and also casting Cloudkill/Stink Cloud then retreating.

    To be fair that battle was at the Planar Prison, and I’ve only read earlier today that I’m not supposed to venture there before getting some high-level means to counter protection spells.

    iosfrustration
  • ensbanaensbana Member Posts: 49
    Also while Dispel Magic might work if my characters’ levels are high enough, I suppose then I still can only hit the enemies with my weapons, while spells might not affect them as they’ve cast spell turning/spell deflection on themselves? Then I guess I’d still have to deal with those two spells and the like, otherwise my mages would just stand around not doing much.

    iosfrustration
  • Oswald81Oswald81 Member Posts: 63
    Keldorn with his dispel and a backstabber is a good combo from my experience.

  • KorbenDallasKorbenDallas Member Posts: 28
    edited September 22
    ensbana wrote: »
    Also while Dispel Magic might work if my characters’ levels are high enough, I suppose then I still can only hit the enemies with my weapons, while spells might not affect them as they’ve cast spell turning/spell deflection on themselves? Then I guess I’d still have to deal with those two spells and the like, otherwise my mages would just stand around not doing much.

    I'm doing a playthrough with SCS and I ran into trouble in the Planar Sphere. I only did half of the level before finding out what was ahead was Lavok with Spell Trap, Time Stop, etc. I do a customary save before beginning a quest (not a quicksave) so I'll have to revert to that when I play again.

    So my party wasn't at a high enough level for the quest yet, and my solution is to do other sidequests and likely rescue Immy before going back to the Planar Sphere. (I have also read to generally avoid the Planar Prison if you're not leveled enough for it yet.) If you do an internet search for bg2 sidequest difficulty rankings there are easier quests to do relative to your party level.

    Also concerning mage chess, I refer to this table that describes what spell dispels what:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1y7r2Z3FfZk74NdAVHuZuiNmWh14y1tAytNrsFMSY7zc/edit#gid=0

    There is a difference between combat protections and spell protections. Breach will take down combat protections, but mages are often have spell protections up so breach doesn't work at first. You'll have to dispel their spell protection(s) that protect against Breach first, then you can use Breach and take down their combat protections. But higher level mages like Lavok have Spell Trap and only Ruby Ray of Reversal can dispel that, which is why I'm reverting to a saved game will adventure elsewhere then come back at a higher level.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,176
    Like always with SCS mages, your install may vary. My current version of Lavok doesn't have Spell Trap; he just has Spell Turning, Minor Globe, Spell Shield in his initial Chain Contingency, and another Spell Shield in his Contingency. Lower level spells will get through that, but it takes a lot of them.
    Instead, it's the other level 21 mage in the area that has Spell Trap - Tolgerias.
    Still, I expect Lavok to be more trouble than Tolgerias when I do the quest in my current run. I can hit Tolgerias with multiple Cloudkill wand shots no matter what spell protections he puts up, and stop him from casting anything too dangerous that way. That won't work on Lavok, because his immortality items grant poison immunity.

    On the Planar Prison - that was actually the first major quest my current no-spellcasting party took on. I've found that it's actually quite easy to get the Warden to waste his spells by exploiting the trap rooms in the northern corridor; the exit is much farther back than the entrance, so you just duck your scout down as soon as you see him cast anything. This has to be done before you smash the orb, though - that disables the traps that let you get away.
    The yuan-ti mages spawned as random monsters because of the high difficulty I played at ... those were more trouble.
    ensbana wrote: »
    Someone has just suggested using arrows of dispelling to deal with the mages’ pre-buffs. Does anyone know if they work against things like spell shield, spell turning and spell deflection?
    Dispelling arrows and other forms of Dispel Magic can't take down spell protections like Spell Shield and Spell Turning; everything in the "Spell Protections" category is undispellable. On the other hand, none of those spell protections help at all against dispelling arrows. What they take down ... pretty much everything Breach does, plus buffs like Improved Haste. If you can hit the enemy with a +1 weapon.
    It is actually possible to take down something like a Mantle with a dispelling arrow - you just have to be really, really lucky with the timing. The arrow needs to be already in the air, having succeeded in its attack roll, when the protection goes up. An example from my current run:
    jxs4q2mnq2ba.jpg

    Grond0
  • Oswald81Oswald81 Member Posts: 63
    Breach and True Sight is your friends. You also have equipping the party with plain weapons, but so late in the game most mages tends to be immune to weapons 2nd enchantment and up, and that micro-management is a big hazzle.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    The problem with both the Planar Sphere and the Planar Prison is that they are one-way affairs. You can't abort when you realize you are under-leveled.

    I actually consider this a feature, not a bug. The Baldur's Gate games were made when CRPGs didn't coddle players. Both quests give you fair warning before the point of no return - in the case of the Planar Sphere, that would be the golem in the foyer.

    I really wish modern RPGs would stop pulling their punches in the same manner, and even BG/BG2 pull them somewhat by letting you save whenever you want.

    As for advice, get an Inquisitor. They get Dispel Magic as an innate skill, which means it fires immediately, and (by default) at 2x their level. They also get True Sight as an innate skill, which is unimaginably useful. It more than makes up for the lack of ordinary divine magic, and they can use Paladin only weapons.

  • KorbenDallasKorbenDallas Member Posts: 28
    A no-reload playthrough is playing style that is up to the user. Most people don't do playthroughs with a no-reload rule, having to restart an entire game losing hours of playtime because of a misstep is why RPGs provide game save options that they do. Developers leave it up to the user if they want to do a no-reload playthrough or not.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 907
    No disagreement there, which is why I wasn't complaining about BG/BG2 - just pointing out that they pulled their punches a bit.

    I personally aim for *minimal* reload runs, where I don't reload simply because of a bad roll or outcome. I only reload on PC death, unrecoverable party deaths, etc. Which is to say, I only reload when I feel it is absolutely necessary, not to "optimize" the outcome.

  • KorbenDallasKorbenDallas Member Posts: 28
    edited September 26
    A quick update about the Planar Sphere and Lavok on SCS in my playthrough, earlier when I posted that I found out Lavok had Spell Trap I actually saw this in a youtube video, but at the time I hadn't reached him in my own playthrough. So after reading @jmerry post above that his SCS Lavok didn't have Spell Trap, I continued forward and my SCS Lavok didn't have Spell Trap either. I added Lavok to my party with Ctrl+Q, and he didn't have the spell on Hardcore or Insane. He did have Time Stop and used it during the fight, but my party was able to beat him and I didn't have to backtrack in my campaign. Also there are other mage encounters after Lavok and they were defeated as well.

    I'm not sure if it was due to SCS choosing different lvl9 spells for Lavok upon install, or if SCS doesn't give him Spell Trap in recent versions. The youtube video I saw gave Lavok Spell Trap but it was an older version. Anyway, I'm pressing on with my playthrough and I'm glad I didn't have to backtrack.

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