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Photo of Illithid in Baldur's Gate 3.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Illithid Powers in BG3 Listed

Something, something, dark side.

If you have opted to embrace your brain tadpole in Baldur’s Gate 3 and experiment with some of the Illithid Powers that are available in the game, you may be wondering which ones you should use. We’re here to help you pick—you don’t want to eat those parasites for nothing, after all!

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Which Illithid Powers To Choose in Baldur’s Gate 3

A screenshot of the Illithid Powers skill tree in Baldur's Gate 3.
Picking the right skills for your playstyle is key. Screenshot by Prima Games.

Illithid Powers unlock through a special menu that you get access to after receiving a visit from an odd NPC in a dream. If you have yet to unlock them and are simply researching your options, keep playing until you hit that point in the story. You should definitely consider whether Illithid Powers are something you wish to use or not quite carefully.

You need to be able to “draw” a connection between an active Tier 1 and an active Tier 2, so keep that in mind as you are thinking about what to use.

Tier 1

  • Favorable Beginnings – The first Attack Roll or Ability Check you make against any target gains a bonus equal to your Proficiency Bonus.
  • Force Tunnel – Charge forward, pushing objects and creatures in your path 4m away from you. Will not provoke attacks of opportunity.
  • Concentrated Blast – Can only be cast when concentrating on another spell. If the target of a spell you cast is also concentrating, you will heal for the damage you do them. Breaks the concentration of the spell. Does 6-36 damage.
  • Transfuse Health – Sacrifice half of your current hit points to heal a target for the same amount.
  • Psionic Overload – Deal additional Psychic damage with attacks (1D4), but you also take 1D4 damage per turn. Lasts for 10 turns.

Best Tier 1 Illithid Spell

The clear winner here is Favorable Beginnings. It provides benefits to any class without forcing you into specific actions or tactics and also provides benefits both in and out of combat. Transfuse Health can be fantastic for a very tanky character, allowing you to keep your glass cannons alive with a little sacrifice.

Tier 2

  • Stage Fright – Gives your targets Disadvantage on attack rolls and forces them to take 2D6 Psychic damage when they miss. Last for three turns or until a characters make a successful attack.
  • Repulsor – Push targets back by six meters. Does 2D6 force damage.
  • Luck of the Far Realms – Allows you to change a successful attack against an enemy into a Critical Hit.
  • Charm – Use your tadpole to Charm any enemy that attacks you, preventing them from doing so until their next turn.
  • Ability Drain – Reduces the same ability used to make the attack toward an enemy by one for that enemy. Can only happen once per turn.
  • Shield of Thralls – Grant yourself ten temporary hit points by creating a shield around yourself. It can burst when all points are depleted, giving it a chance to stun enemies.
  • Psionic Backlash – Allows a reaction against casters within nine meters and will inflict psychic damage of 1D4 per spell level when they try to cast.
  • Perilous Stakes – Make a target Vulnerable, but also allow them to heal when they attack. Last for three turns.
  • Displace – Inflicting fall damage on a target causes them to take even more damage.
  • Cull the Weak – Creatures die when reduced to a number of hit points that is less than your evolved Illithid Powers. Nearby creatures will also take 1D4 psychic damage.

The Best Tier 2 Illithid Spell

Just like the Tier 1 spells, the best Tier 2 spells lean toward being passive rather than active. Stage Fright is amazing because it impacts your targets, making it far harder for them to damage you back. Charm adds more to your own defensive options without the need to waste resources by casting, and Ability Drain can be a huge difference-maker in long fights against powerful enemies as you slowly chip away at their main ability score. Cull the Weak can also come in clutch in the late game, sometimes getting enemies off the board a full turn quicker than you may have been able to without it.

All Illithid Powers in Baldur’s Gate 3

Illithid powers are some of the most powerful in the entire game. With that being said, there are way too many of them to keep track of. Here are all of the Illithid powers in the game.

Favorable BeginningsFeatureThe first Attack Roll or Ability Check you make against any target gains a bonus equal to your Proficiency bonus.
Force TunnelAction
Charge forward, pushing all objects and creatures in your path 4m away from you.

Doesn’t Provoke Opportunity Attacks.
Concentrated BlastActionYou must be concentrating on another spell to cast this. If the target was concentrating, you heal as much as the damage that was dealt to it. 

The spell you were concentrating on, will end.
Psionic OverloadActionYour attacks deal an additional 1~4 Psychic damage, but you take 1~4 Psychic damage every turn.
Transfuse HealthActionSacrifice half your remaining hit points to heal a target for the same amount.
Luck of the Far RealmsReactionWhen you make a successful Attack Roll against a foe, you can change that hit into a Critical Hit.
Perilous StakesActionInvest a creature with power that heals it when it attacks, but also make it Vulnerable to all damage.
Shield of ThrallsAction
Conjure a volatile shield around yourself or an ally, granting the target 10 temporary hit points.

If these temporary hit points are lost due to incoming damage, the shield bursts, possibly Stunning nearby foes.
DisplaceFeatureCreatures suffering Falling damage because of your actions take an additional 1~8 Psychic damage.
Cull the WeakFeatureWhen you bring a creature down to fewer hit points than your number of evolved Illithid powers, it dies and all nearby creatures take 1-4 Psychic damage.
Psionic BacklashReactionWhen an enemy within 9m casts a spell, you can use your reaction to inflict ld4 Psychic damage to the caster per the spell’s level.
Ability DrainFeatureOnce per turn, when you make an Attack Roll, the attack reduces that target’s corresponding Ability by 1.

The Ability that is reduced is the same as the one used to make the Attack Roll.

For melee weapons, this is usually Strength, for ranged weapons usually Dexterity, and for spells usually your Spellcasting Ability.
Stage FrightActionYour targets have Disadvantage on Attack Rolls and take 2~12 Psychic damage each time they miss.

Targets overcome their Stage Fright early when they succeed an Attack Roll.
Psionic DominanceReaction
When an enemy within 18m targets you with a spell of a Level that is lower than or equal to your Proficiency Bonus, you can use your reaction to nullify the spell.
Absorb IntellectActionsGobble up a foe’s intellect, lowering their Intelligence by 1 per turn and healing your wounds for 5 turns.
Mind SanctuaryActionsSculpt a magical nexus that allows those within to take actions and bonus actions interchangeably.
Fracture PsycheActionsInvade a target’s mind and disrupt its defenses. The target’s Armor Class is reduced by 1. If the target dies while its psyche is fractured, you can cast Shatter Psyche on another target.
Black HoleFeatureCreate a point of intense gravity that pulls in all nearby enemies and possibly Slows them. Five more black holes can be summoned after this spell’s initial casting. Afterwards, you must Short Rest before casting it again.
Mind BlastActionSpew forth a conical wave of psychic energy and possibly Stun targets within.
Illithid ExpertiseFeatureYou have deepened your sense of self, gaining Expertise in Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation Checks.
RepulsorActionPush anything and anyone back 6m.
On Save: Targets still take half damage.
FreecastFeatureYou have discovered a marvelous adaption within yourself. Spell slots, charges, and similar resource costs for your next action or spell are removed. Refreshes after a Short or Long rest.
Displacer Beast ShapeActionTransform into a displacer beast that can Displace itself and enemies, and has 85 hit points. You take on the attributes of a displacer beast, but maintain your Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. When your displacer beast form drops to 0 hit points, you revert to your original form.
FlyActionFly to target position
Charm ReactionChannel the dark allure of the tadpole to Charm an enemy that attacks you, preventing them from attacking you until their next turn.

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Aidan O'Brien
Aidan has been playing games for over three decades and has been writing about them for about five years. When not getting stomped on by the creations of Hidetaka Miyazaki he enjoys spending too much time in Warframe, Destiny 2, and any ARPG with a solid grind. When not writing, he is doing inexplicable behind-the-scenes magic.
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Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson is a skilled writer on pop culture, video games, and film/TV. He has 8+ years of experience writing on various topics and for multiple publications. He loves Elden Ring, Zelda, Mario, Metal Gear solid, competitive games, horror, and indies.