Best Cold Sorcerer Build

Best Cold Sorcerer Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
The best Ice Sorcerer Build for Baldur's Gate 3. This build is one of the most efficient casters, able to freeze enemies. The main damage source Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ does not require any spell slots, and it will be buffed up to the maximum. Moreover, you will have access to an arsenal of other cold spells.

Best Cold Sorcerer Build

So this build is very resource-efficient. Your main attack - Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ is a cantrip and can be cast without limitations. So the build will revolve around this and there are plenty of items and other ways to make sure that Cold Sorcerer deals maximum damage with it.

The main highlight is that the Sorcerer gets access to metamagic. This is a very powerful mechanic and you get access to Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell, Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell,​ and others. With these, you can quadruple your damage using combos like Wet + Cold and double casting.

I will go with a "weaker" setup, which depends on whether you can apply the Wet status from somewhere. For this, I will dip into Cleric to get special reactions and most importantly - Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water. Of course, there are workarounds like shooting water bottles and Water Myrmidons, but there are caveats - the first requires some preparations, second is accessible only late in the game.

So if you are interested let's go!

Leveling Overview

Here is a concise table with all the main picks during your leveling progression. For more detailed reasoning, I go further in the article. Also, do not forget to check the recommended gear as it is crucial.

Ice Cold Sorcerer Leveling Overview Expand
Level Class Selection
1 Sorcerer 1 STR - 8, DEX - 16, CON - 14, INT - 8, WIS - 10, CHA - 17
Skills: Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion, Performance
Cantrips: Friends icon action bg3Friends, Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost, Fire Bolt icon action bg3Fire Bolt, Shocking Grasp icon action bg3Shocking Grasp
Spells: Magic Missile icon action bg3Magic Missile, Sleep icon action bg3Sleep
Subclass: Draconic Bloodline
Dragon Ancestor: Draconic Ancestry: White (Cold) icon passive feature bg3Draconic Ancestry: White (Cold)
2 Sorcerer 2 Spells: Chromatic Orb icon action bg3Chromatic Orb
Metamagic: Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell, Metamagic: Extended Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Extended Spell
Prepared Spells: Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water
3 Sorcerer 3 Spells: Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers
Metamagic: Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell
4 Sorcerer 4 Cantrips: Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion
Spells: Shield icon action bg3Shield
Replace Spell: Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ -> Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person
Feat: Ability Improvement +2 Charisma
5 Sorcerer 5
Spells: Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt
6 Cleric 1 (respec and start the first level in Cleric) Cantrips: Light icon action bg3Light​, Thaumaturgy icon action bg3Thaumaturgy, Resistance icon action bg3Resistance
Subclass: Tempest Domain
Prepared Spells: Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water
7 Sorcerer 6 Spells: Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell
Replace Spell: Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ -> Haste icon action bg3Haste
8 Sorcerer 7 Spells: Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm
9 Sorcerer 8 Spells: Confusion icon action bg3Confusion
Feat: Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert or Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder
10 Sorcerer 9 Spells: Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold
11 Sorcerer 10 Cantrips: Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand
Spells: Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster
Metamagic: Metamagic: Heightened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Heightened Spell
12 Sorcerer 11 Spells: Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning
Replace Spell: Magic Missile icon action bg3Magic Missile​ -> Globe of Invulnerability icon action bg3Globe of Invulnerability

Starting the Game - Level 1

This section covers the creation screen and what would go into the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for the Cold Sorcerer build. Some of these choices are impactful as you cannot respec them.

Races

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. Also, keep in mind whether your picked race has Shield proficiency as this can improve survivability, especially in the early game.

If you are having difficulties making a choice, pick whatever you prefer in terms of looks or roleplay. "The perfect race pick" is important if you are into extreme min-maxing.
Race Features Description
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3High Half-Elf This race works well because it gives an additional cantrip and shield proficiency. Just make sure to pick noncombat cantrips as otherwise, spellcasting abilities will not match with Sorcerer class.
halfling bg3Halfling
  • Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck
  • Brave icon passive feature bg3Brave
Any subrace will work. What matters is the Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck​ that will improve role-playing aspects with high roll success chances. Moreover, these will also work well later, if you will plan on using some attack roll spells.
human bg3Human
  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Human Versatility icon passive feature bg3Human Versatility
This is one of the rare cases where I recommend this race. It complements well Sorcerer's class with more Skill proficiencies and gets Shield Proficiency. It is a big survivability boost in the early game.

Class

Overview
sorcerer Baldur's Gate 3Sorcerer
Features
ico_mini_spellSlot Baldur's Gate 3Spell Slots These can be used to cast spells and are restored each long rest.

Cantrips

Cantrips Description
Friends icon action bg3Friends If you are the main character and do most of the dialogues, this is mandatory as it gives an advantage on dialogue rolls.
Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost The main cantrip of this Ice Sorcerer build. You will be using it a lot and it will get buffed with various items.
Fire Bolt icon action bg3Fire Bolt Although you are an Ice Sorcerer, this cantrip is useful for creating some explosions via barrels. Later on, you can remove it via respec.
Shocking Grasp icon action bg3Shocking Grasp A very useful melee range spell, that allows to disable enemy reactions.

There are some other useful ones like Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion, Light icon action bg3Light, etc. But these could be taken by your party members or later on.

Spells

Spell Description
Magic Missile icon action bg3Magic Missile An awesome spell, that has a 100% hit chance. Use it to clear those enemies with low HP.
Sleep icon action bg3Sleep Powerful spell early in the game. At level 4 it falls off and can be replaced.

Subclass

Overview
draconic bloodline bg3Draconic Bloodline
Features
Draconic Resilience icon passive feature bg3Draconic Resilience This negates the need for Mage Armour icon action bg3Mage Armour.
icon features bg3Draconic Resilience: Hit Points Just a bonus 1 HP for this build, so nothing fancy.

Dragon Ancestor

Only interested in Cold Ancestry.

Ancestor Description
Draconic Ancestry: White (Cold) icon passive feature bg3Draconic Ancestry: White (Cold) Get Armour of Agathys icon action bg3Armour of Agathys​ is a useful spell, but overall I think it does not serve that big of a purpose here.
Draconic Ancestry: Silver (Cold) icon passive feature bg3Draconic Ancestry: Silver (Cold) Get Feather Fall icon action bg3Feather Fall​ useful utility spell, that will also save you a spell slot.

Background

Backgrounds are mostly for role-playing and you can pick whatever you prefer. If you want to optimize, then it would be good to pick backgrounds that are based on your ability points of Intelligence.

Background Skills Description
Guild Artisan Insight
Persuasion
Gives persuasion proficiency, for better dialogue checks.
Entertainer Acrobatics
Performance
Improves Acrobatics skills and gives bonuses to Performance for some dialogue checks.
Noble History
Persuasion
Although you will have low intelligence the Persuasion check improvement is good. But it's an inferior option to Guild Artisan in my opinion.

Abilities

Now let's take a look at the abilities of the best Ice Sorcerer build. Correct allocation will allow you to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 8 This build does not need strength.
dexterityDexterity 16 (15+1) High Dexterity will ensure that you go early in combat. Moreover, you will get a bonus Armour Class, for better survivability.
constitution bg3Constitution 14 It is important to ensure sufficient HP and good survivability by having a decent Constitution ability score.
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Not needed for the build
wisdomWisdom 10 Overall, leaving it at 10 is a good choice as you will not get a negative modifier on Wisdom Saving Throws. Wisdom is targeted by many spells.
charismaproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Charisma 17 (15+2) The main spellcasting ability of Sorcerer. If you don't plan on using +1 from Auntie Ethel's Hair, then leave this at 16, and use two points for Wisdom. Charisma also ensures high success during dialogue checks.

Skills and Expertise

Overall, the skills should be impacted by your roleplaying and background decisions. However, you would still want those that will give you the best benefits. My recommendations are to pick those at which you have a high ability modifier and these are Charisma-related.

  • Deception
  • Intimidation
  • Persuasion
  • Performance

Leveling Progression - Levels 2-12

Here is the detailed progression for the Cold Sorcerer to get you started. You can use it as a guideline because early games can be daunting and overwhelming. Later on, once you get a feel for the class you can start picking your options

Level 2

The second level gives more spells and unlocks metamagic.

Actions Description
Create Sorcery Points icon action bg3Create Sorcery Points Spend Spell Slots to gain Sorcery Points. Once you get some more metamagic options, you could sacrifice spell slots, to cast two spells in one turn or increase your range
Create Spell Slot icon action bg3Create Spell Slot Spend Sorcery Points to unlock a Spell Slot. You could create a higher tier spell slot, to increase the damage over what you can at the current level

Utilize Sorcery Points

This is a unique consumable resource for Sorcerers. These can be used for multiple use cases, that improve what the spellcaster can do:

  • Use those points to activate Metamagic like - Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell​ or Metamagic: Extended Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Extended Spell​ to improve spell effects or cast with bonus action.
  • Create spell slots, in case an emergency arises from the available pool of Sorcery Points.
  • Create Sorcery points from spell slots to fuel your use of metamagic, for the most important spells. In the late game, you can easily sacrifice level 2 spell slots, as you will not be using them much.

Spells

Pick one of the spells below:

Spell Description
Chromatic Orb icon action bg3Chromatic Orb This is a great spell as it can change elements based on your needs. So you can use it on wet enemies to change the element to Cold for double damage.
Ice Knife icon action bg3Ice Knife A decent level 1 spell, that creates an Ice surface. This can then make enemies prone. However, the damage is lower, and upcasting scales much worse.

Class Passives

Passives Description
Metamagic: Twinned SpellMetamagic: Twinned Spell Spells that only target 1 creature can target an additional creature. This is an awesome option if you want to use something like Command to disable two enemies.
Metamagic: Extended Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Extended Spell This choice is solely used for Command or other short-duration spells. It extends them, making their effect last two turns instead of one.

Utilize Metamagic

This is another powerful tool in Sorcerer's arsenal. It needs Sorcery points to work and consumes them for unique effects:

  • Use Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell​ to target or release two spells that have single targets. This works well with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ and later Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning.
  • Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell​ allows casting with a bonus action, allowing you to cast two times without needing Haste. This is perfect for setting up combos or removing foes with two strong spells.

There are more types of metamagic, so be sure to explore them for the best combos.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace for now.

Level 3

Nice, you access level 2 spells, which are a bit powerful, but nothing game-changing yet.

Spells Description
Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers The biggest damage spell at level 2. it damages two times - first when you cast, second after it is the enemy's turn. You could also use this as a replacement for any spells you do not use.

Class Passives

Passives Description
Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell The best choice by far. It will allow casting with Bonus Action, and double the number of spells you can use per turn (without Haste spell)

Replace Spell

Don't think anything is worth replacing yet.

Level 4

The main highlight of this level is a new Feat. Otherwise, you get more spells and cantrips

Cantrips

Here feel free to pick anything. Here are two I recommend, so pick one:

Cantrips Description
Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion Very effective cantrip that can be used to attract targets to one place before combat. You can then follow up with Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ or Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt​ for huge damage.

Spells

There are a few spells that I think you should have before moving on if you did not take them:

Spells Description
Shield icon action bg3Shield Now is the perfect time to get this spell

Replace Spell

I recommend removing Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ as it has served its purpose for the build and taking:

Spells Description
Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person Very good spell, once you have high Spell Save DC. It can ensure that you land guaranteed critical hits with your Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ from close range.

Feat

Feat Description
Ability Improvement For the first feat, my recommendation is +2 Charisma, to improve spell success chance and better ability rolls.

Level 5

And we finally reach level 3 spells.

Spells

Spells Description
Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt A lightning spell that hits all enemies in a direct line. Try to get the best position possible to hit as many foes as possible. Moreover, try to wet enemies with party members for double damage.

Replace Spell

I don't think there is a need to remove anything for now.

Level 6 - Cleric Lv 1 or not to Cleric

Okay, here things start to get complicated. Generally, you would want to go for 12 Sorcerer. However, the problem is that you do not have a good way to apply Wet status by yourself. You can do that by throwing a water bottle and shooting it with an offhand crossbow. But this requires some setup.

The best option would be to have a Cleric or Druid in the group who could cast Create Water icon action bg3Create Water. However, another alternative is to take Cleric by yourself for 1 level multiclass. This is not optimal and brings some new challenges.

So for the sake of helping the reader, I will take 1 level Cleric dip, to make sure that the build works for everyone. If you have the mentioned sources of wet status above, just skip this and continue with Sorcerer til level 12.

You will want to respec as Cleric for level 1 because this way you will use the correct spellcasting ability - Charisma for scrolls and some late-game items. Sadly, you lose Constitution Saving Throw proficiency.

Class

Overview
cleric bg3Cleric
Features
Domain Spells icon passive feature bg3Domain Spells These bonus spells save some slots.
ico_mini_spellSlot Baldur's Gate 3Spell Slots These can be used to cast spells and are restored each long rest.

Cantrips

Here only take those cantrips that are support or utility, do not take those that deal damage. Choose 3:

Cantrip Description
Light icon action bg3Light A source of illumination that will be extremely useful in Act 2 dark areas.
Thaumaturgy icon action bg3Thaumaturgy Gives a higher chance to succeed in intimidation dialogues.
Resistance icon action bg3Resistance Can be useful in some encounters, otherwise use it before combat.
Guidance icon action bg3Guidance In case you do not have Cleric or Druid, take this for various ability check rolls.

Subclass

Overall both Tempest and Life Domains work here. Life offers a more defensive approach with Warding Flare icon passive feature bg3Warding Flare, while Tempest gives offensive reactions with lightning damage.

Overview
tempest domain cleric bg3Tempest Domain
Features
Wrath of the Storm icon passive feature bg3Wrath of the Storm This will be useful together with Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water​ to double lightning damage using Reaction.

Deity

Please pick anyone, that you prefer based on your roleplaying.

Abilities

Please use the same abilities as when starting the build.

Skills

Pick the ones that you picked for the game start

Prepared Spells

  • Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water

Level 7 - Sorcerer Lv 6

Coming back to the Sorcerer you also get some nice subclass features.

Features Description
Elemental Affinity: Damage icon passive feature bg3Elemental Affinity: Damage This will give a good boost to Cold Sorcerer spells and particularly Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ cantrip.
Elemental Affinity: Resistance icon passive feature bg3Elemental Affinity: Resistance Can be used to obtain cold resistance, however, it is rare and will not benefit the build much.

Spells

Spells Description
Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell This allows negating any powerful spell and saves you or your allies from a wipe. However, this costs a reaction so be sure to save those in case there are enemy spellcasters.

Replace Spell

I recommend removing Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ as it falls off compared to the spells you have access to now.

Spells Description
Spell_Transmutation_Haste Baldur's Gate 3Haste A very powerful spell that gives an additional action point. In a sense, you can cast two spells. Add Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell, and you can cast 3 spells per turn! It can also be activated on two targets with Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell

Level 8 - Sorcerer Lv 7

Now Ice Sorcerer gets access to level 4 spells. These will greatly improve the build and its area of effect capabilities.

Spells

Make sure you have these or take two of the below:

Spells Description
Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm A spell that is perfect for crowd control. Icy surfaces can easily make enemies prone if they fail Saving Throw checks.

Replace Spell

No recommendations for replacement yet.

Level 9 - Sorcerer Lv 8

The second feat is on its way and it is a huge improvement in my opinion.

Spells

You can pick anything, as we already took all the necessary spells. A few options:

Spells Description
Confusion icon action bg3Confusion A very powerful control spell that can disable groups of enemies.
Enhance Ability icon action bg3Enhance Ability As you have plenty of level 2 spell slots, they can be used to improve your or a group member's success chances with ability rolls.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace for now

Feat

Feat Description
Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert My recommendation would be this feature. It will make you go first, allowing you to heavily damage enemies or take control of the battlefield before they can do anything
Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder If you do not have shield proficiency, I recommend picking this up. It will allow you to utilize the offhand effectively and equip a second quarterstaff or other item to improve spells. However, you will only get good staves worth dual-wielding in Act 3.
War Caster: Concentration icon passive feature bg3War Caster: Concentration This is a nice Feat. However, in Act 3, some items will provide an advantage on Constitution saving throws, so using this feat together is worthless in those situations.

Level 10 - Sorcerer Lv 9

Level 9 Sorcerer can now access Level 5 spells, one of those is of particular interest when making Cold Sorcerer build.

Spells

Spells Description
Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold Very powerful spell, that you should use on Wet enemies. It will also turn wet surfaces into ice, making enemies prone.

Replace Spell

Don't see a need to replace anything for now.

Level 11 - Sorcerer Lv 10

There are a few things to pick at this level, but nothing major.

Cantrips

You are free to take any cantrip that you find useful. More or less the build has been finished, so this is just a good addition:

Cantrips Description
Spell_Conjuration_MageHand Baldur's Gate 3Mage Hand Quality of Life spell, that you can use to summon a hand. It can solve some puzzles, pick and throw objects. It can also shove enemies from ledges.
Spell_Abjuration_BladeWard Baldur's Gate 3Blade Ward Reduce incoming piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage by half. If you are fighting against enemies that use physical attacks this in theory doubles your HP.

Spells

Spell Description
Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster Similar to Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person, it allows putting monsters in place. Attack from close range to activate critical hits with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost.

Class Passives

Pick one of the below:

Passives Description
Metamagic: Heightened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Heightened Spell Targets of spells that require Saving Throws have a Disadvantage on their first Saving Throw. It will give a higher success of spell success. But overall, at this point in the game, it will not matter much.
Metamagic: Subtle Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Subtle Spell Can be useful in some encounters where you get silenced.

Level 12 - Sorcerer Lv 11

This is a big level and the last one for Ice Sorcerer. You get to choose Level 6 spells, so pick carefully.

Feature Description
Fly icon action bg3Fly Allows to move at will via various obstacles. However, still triggers Attacks of Opportunity.

Spells

Sadly you can only pick one, here is my recommendation

Spells Description
Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning Extremely powerful spell. Together with wet status and Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell​ you can hit 8 enemies and insta kill most grunts.

Replace Spell

I recommend removing Magic Missile icon action bg3Magic Missile, at this stage it does not serve a major purpose and the damage is much lower compared to your other options even with upcasting:

Spells Description
Globe of Invulnerability icon action bg3Globe of Invulnerability Makes everyone inside the globe invulnerable. This is a very powerful option in case you get jumped by enemies or want to learn boss mechanics before committing to some combo.

Further Considerations

So at level 12, you may have ways to apply wet status from your party members, and Cleric becomes not needed. I would then recommend respeccing for 12 Sorcerer.

This way you get a third level 6 spell or anything else. Moreover, you can get a third feat like Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert​ just to be sure that you always go first.

Besides these, you will also have Constitution Saving Throw proficiency to better maintain spell Concentration. That's it!

Maximizing Ability Scores

Now, as the build progression is covered there are a few aspects and important decisions you will have to make throughout the game. These will decide your final score for abilities.

  1. Act 1 - Auntie Ethel Hair - you will want to get +1 Charisma if you pick this choice.
  2. Act 3 - Mirror of Loss - pick +2 Charisma.
  3. Birthright icon bg3Birthright - +2 Charisma

This will allow you to reach 24 natural Intelligence, and result in a +7 ability modifier on your spells and rolls.

Potions, Elixirs and Consumables

Let's take a look at what consumables we can use to further empower the build.

Potions

These are general consumables, and most of them are activated for a few turns. Potions are separate from Elixirs and can be active together.

Consumable Description
potion of speed bg3Potion of Speed In case you or your other casters have a Concentration spell slot taken and cannot cast Haste, use this potion. It acts similarly, but the effect is just for 3 turns.
potion of animal speaking bg3Potion of Animal Speaking Although not something powerful, it is worth stocking up and saving a spell slot.
potion of invisibility bg3Potion of Invisibility It can be used to get a perfect position before the encounter starts.

Elixirs

Unfortunately, only one Elixir can be active at a time. However, the good thing is that they last until a long rest, making them very useful and economical.

Be sure to activate them before combat as otherwise, you will need to use Bonus Action.

Remember to activate one elixir after each Long Rest. These are found plentiful throughout the game, so don't save them too much.
Consumable Description
elixir of bloodlust bg3Elixir of Bloodlust Very effective elixir that gives another action point if you kill an enemy. This is very easy to do for such a powerful build. More or less you could clear all the enemies just on turn 1.
elixir of battlemage's power bg3Elixir of Battlemage's Power Gain 3 stacks of Arcane Acuity. I would say this should be the most used Sorcerer elixir for higher spell success.
elixir of peerless focus bg3Elixir of Peerless Focus Another good choice is to better maintain spell Concentration.
superior elixir of arcane cultivation bg3Superior Elixir of Arcane Cultivation Grant's a single level 3 spell slot. Could be useful in case you are preparing for a longer encounter.
supreme elixir of arcane cultivation bg3Supreme Elixir of Arcane Cultivation Grant's a single level 4 spell slot. Could be useful in case you are preparing for a longer encounter.
elixir of vigilance bg3Elixir of Vigilance For some encounters, you will want to go first. This elixir will ensure that it overcomes even surprise mechanics. However, if you have Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert​ this becomes redundant.

Illithid Powers

This special mechanic in Baldur's Gate 3 allows you to consume tadpoles and unlock special Illithid Powers. These range from somewhat useful, to extremely deadly. I would like to leave a few recommendations:

Base Illithid Powers

Order Illithid Power Description
1 Favourable Beginnings icon passive feature bg3Favourable Beginnings Beneficial power to take as it does not have any costs, and provides only benefits on the first hits.
3 Concentrated Blast icon action bg3Concentrated Blast Taking only for progression, to unlock the next power.
4 Cull the Weak icon passive feature bg3Cull the Weak Passive feature that does not cost anything and automatically deals bonus psychic damage around the target, once it is close to death.
5 Transfuse Health icon action bg3Transfuse Health Taking it for progression
6 Shield of Thralls icon action bg3Shield of Thralls Taking for progression, to unlock the next power, but it also provides a good bonus as temporary health, that can be cast before combat.
7 Force Tunnel icon action bg3Force Tunnel Mainly taking for progression
8 Displace icon action bg3Displace Mainly taking for progression

Elite Illithid Powers

These become unlocked later in the game as you progress. They are extremely powerful additions to the build.

Order Illithid Power Description
0 Fly icon action bg3Fly Automatically unlocked. You can use this to initiate attacks of opportunity without spending any movement.
1 freecast bg3Freecast Removes any cost of spell slots or consumable resources
2 black hole bg3Black Hole Amazing power, that pulls enemies together and slows them. After that, you can follow up with Fireball, Fear, etc.
3 psionic dominance bg3Psionic Dominance You can use this similarly to Counterspell, and disable enemy spell.
4 illithid expertise bg3Illithid Expertise Expertise in bonus skills from this power is useful for maintaining effective dialogue rolls in the late game.
6 mind sanctuary bg3Mind Sanctuary Extremely valuable power that can also help other casters to use up their Bonus action effectively.

Equipment Recommendations

Now I would like to go through some gear recommendations to maximize the Best Cold Sorcerer Build. Items are especially important as they take the build to the next level thanks to their unique effects.

Act 1

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Mourning Frost icon bg3Mourning Frost The best staff, for Ice-based caster build. You will get it quite late in Act 1.
Melf's First Staff icon bg3Melf's First Staff Very good item, as it is the first weapon to give bonus Spell Save DC. Can be obtained before Mourning Frost icon bg3Mourning Frost.
The Spellsparkler icon bg3The Spellsparkler Although this staff does not give increased Spell Save DC, the bonus lightning charges interact well with other gear and also increase spell damage.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Gives bonus initiative, allowing one to go earlier in combat
Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1 Equip two of these so that you can attack with your bonus action. This is an amazing weapon as you can use bonus action to break water bottles to apply wet.
offhand slot bg3Shield Adamantine Shield icon bg3Adamantine Shield It provides a substantial defensive boost by reducing critical hit damage.
Absolute's Warboard icon bg3Absolute's Warboard Very good shield similar to Safeguard Shield icon bg3Safeguard Shield, just gives a bonus Heroism icon action bg3Heroism​ cantrip. Only use it if you have Absolute's Brand.
Safeguard Shield icon bg3Safeguard Shield It gives a bonus to saving throws, easily accessible early in the game.
helmet slot bg3Head The Shadespell Circlet icon bg3The Shadespell Circlet This headwear gives bonus Spell Saave DC, increasing the success chance of many spells.
cloak slot bg3Cloak - Nothing really of note here.
armor slot bg3Armor The Protecty Sparkswall icon bg3The Protecty Sparkswall Amazing armor, as it gives +1 AC when you have lightning charges and also increases spell success chance.
Infernal Robe icon bg3Infernal Robe A great robe early in the game, however, requires a specific decision, that is not very liked by many players.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Daredevil Gloves icon bg3Daredevil Gloves Amazing gloves that work well with this build once you are in close range. This negates the penalty of nearby enemies, with some spells.
Gloves of Missile Snaring icon bg3Gloves of Missile Snaring Defensive gloves to reduce the damage of incoming ranged attacks.
Bracers of Defence icon bg3Bracers of Defence Decent early-game gloves that give good armor class, in case you do not have Shield proficiency.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour I would say these are the best boots in terms of "offensive" boost. However, as you will be casting various Ice spells, this can become problematic when moving on it.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers Very good boots, especially once you start using Cold spells later in the game. This will allow you to walk on the surface easily.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Necklace of Elemental Augmentation icon bg3Necklace of Elemental Augmentation This is the best amulet that you can use for this build throughout the game. However, you should only use it if you plan on going the Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ route.
Pearl of Power Amulet icon bg3Pearl of Power Amulet Restore up to level 3 spell slot. Can be unequipped after use.
Amulet of Misty Step icon bg3Amulet of Misty Step Gives mobility improvement thanks to the Misty Step icon action bg3Misty Step​ spell.
ring slot bg3Rings Crusher's Ring icon bg3Crusher's Ring Amazing ring, that allows moving longer distances.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection The best option for Act 1. The bonus Armour Class is a great boost for survivability.
The Sparkswall icon bg3The Sparkswall Reduces lightning damage received.

Act 2 - mid-game

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One-handed) Mourning Frost icon bg3Mourning Frost Continues to be your best weapon option for this Act also.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste before combat. This may not seem as big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is insufficient. Otherwise, stay with bows from the previous act.
offhand slot bg3Shield Ketheric's Shield icon bg3Ketheric's Shield It gives bonus Spell Save DC, which is amazing for better success when casting spells.
helmet slot bg3Head Fistbreaker Helm icon bg3Fistbreaker Helm Improves spell success chance and increases the likelihood of going first.
Coldbrim Hat icon bg3Coldbrim Hat I would say this is a contender for the best helmet in Act 2. However, it all depends on your playstyle. If you use Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ heavily, then this item is a no-brainer. Otherwise, go for the option above.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Protection icon bg3Cloak of Protection Improves survivability and Saving Throw success.
armor slot bg3Armor Potent Robe icon bg3Potent Robe The best robe to enhance Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ damage. If you plan on using this cantrip till the end of the game the robe will be best in slot.
The Protecty Sparkswall icon bg3The Protecty Sparkswall Still the best option even in Act 2. This requires Lightning Charges, to unlock full potential.
Robe of Exquisite Focus icon bg3Robe of Exquisite Focus Another robe that gives +1 Spell Save DC.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity I think besides the gloves in Act 1, these are the best options for now until Act 3.
boots slot bg3Boots Evasive Shoes icon bg3Evasive Shoes In case you want a little more armour class and you can manage ice surfaces use this.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers The best option, especially when walking on icy surfaces so that you would not get prone when initiating an opportunity of attack.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Necklace of Elemental Augmentation icon bg3Necklace of Elemental Augmentation The necklace still takes the top slot for being the best choice to optimize Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ damage.
Spellcrux Amulet icon bg3Spellcrux Amulet Can be used to restore spell slots, and unequip after that.
ring slot bg3Rings Callous Glow Ring icon bg3Callous Glow Ring The additional radiant damage is a great way to boost damage. However, this item is a contender for many builds, and it will somewhat fall off in act 3 compared to the total damage output you will do.
Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring A very powerful ring that I had some reservations recommending. It will work well to increase your spell hit chance, however, this item is in demand by almost all builds.
Ring of Mental Inhibition icon bg3Ring of Mental Inhibition Amazing ring that can debuff your foes. However, this only works with spells that require Saving Throw - Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt, etc.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Bonus armor class for survivability.
Ring of Twilight icon bg3Ring of Twilight While obscured (which happens when standing in shadows) you get a bonus armor class for survivability.

Act 3 - Final Build setup

This is the last act of the game, where you will get access to the most powerful items. To get them as early as possible you will need some planning, but overall, it should not be a problem.

There are two main setups that I see, that I would like to cover with weapons:

Now, for the other equipment:

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Markoheshkir icon bg3Markoheshkir
(BiS)
The best caster staff in the game (well, almost the best). This fits the build extremely well and you can use Kereska's Favour. Pick Frost of Dark Winter to get a bonus cold damage boost and unlock an additional Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold​ and Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm.
Rhapsody icon bg3Rhapsody This item is extremely powerful for almost any build that can dual-wield. Particularly for Ice Sorcerer, you can get bonus Spell Save DC, attack rolls, and bonus damage with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost.
The Spellsparkler icon bg3The Spellsparkler In case for some reason you do not have access to one of the weapons below, this staff will still serve its purpose.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow
(BiS)
Gives a big boost to the initiative, guaranteeing that you can go first. However, you will need to get Longbow proficiency from race.
helmet slot bg3Head Hood of the Weave icon bg3Hood of the Weave The hood gives solid +2 Spell Save DC, greatly improving spell success chance.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of The Weave icon bg3Cloak of The Weave Improve Spell Save DC by one, the best option for a direct increase in spell effectiveness.
armor slot bg3Armor Potent Robe icon bg3Potent Robe Again, if you plan on going with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ this still holds the best spot the build.
Armour of Landfall icon bg3Armour of Landfall As a caster that heavily relies on Concentration spells, this is probably the best armor to wear. The Constitution saving throw advantage is more than awesome. Sadly, this will deactivate Draconic Resilience icon passive feature bg3Draconic Resilience.
Robe of the Weave icon bg3Robe of the Weave This armor is what would be "the best" option if you only relied on control and damage spellcasting. However, as you have concentration spells and are hit often, the ones above are a bit better in my opinion.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gemini Gloves icon bg3Gemini Gloves This allows releasing an additional ray with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost, which is the biggest damage increase you can get. However, this can only be used once per Short Rest.
Spellmight Gloves icon bg3Spellmight Gloves These are amazing gloves, particularly in the late game. They only work on spells with attack rolls, and give bonus 1d8 damage. Sadly you get -5 to your attack rolls. This can be counteracted with Bless icon action bg3Bless​ or attacking from high ground.
gauntlets of the tyrant bg3Gauntlets of the Tyrant Another option in Act 3, also gives a level 3 Command spell for each Long Rest. The gloves provide +1 Spell Save DC,
Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Helldusk Gloves Good gloves bonus +1 Spell Save DC, but will likely be a contender for all your other builds.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour Again, these are the best shoes in terms of damage, but they lose the utility of free movement on ice surfaces.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers These boots are amazing because you can freely walk on Ice with them, without getting prone.
Evasive Shoes icon bg3Evasive Shoes These boots give bonus Armour class if needed.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Necklace of Elemental Augmentation icon bg3Necklace of Elemental Augmentation This necklace still holds the top spot if you are going with the setup we talked about on this build.
Amulet of The Devout icon bg3Amulet of The Devout The +2 Spell Save DC is a huge boost, giving a large success improvement for spells, it does not help with spell attack rolls. Moreover, it is one of the best items for cleric if you have it in the group so it might not be easy to use it.
Spellcrux Amulet icon bg3Spellcrux Amulet Restores up to level 6 spell slots. After using it, you can unequip it for another amulet.
ring slot bg3Rings Ring of Feywild Sparks icon bg3Ring of Feywild Sparks This is the only ring that gives bonus Spell Save DC, but it's not listed in the description. This may be a bug that might be patched in the future.
Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring If you can, use this ring, as it will greatly boost Ice Sorcerer's hit chance while wearing Spellmight Gloves icon bg3Spellmight Gloves.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection The ring is still a solid choice, to maintain optimal Armour Class.

Build Mechanics

In this section, I would like to dive deep into how to play the Ice Sorcerer Build. This will help you utilize it to the fullest and correctly use various actions and spells throughout the game.

Important Mechanics and Combos

Let's go through key mechanics and tips on how to effectively use the build.

Wet + Lightning and Cold Spells

I think this is the most important mechanic to learn in Baldur's Gate 3 for caster. It is very easy to set up and can guarantee you easy wins for most encounters.

The first step is to apply water here are some options for how to do that:

  • Have a Cleric, Druid, or yourself cast Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water
  • Throw Water bottle
  • Have Conjure Elemental icon action bg3Conjure Elemental​ to summon Water Myrmidon and apply Healing Vapours icon action bg3Healing Vapours.
  • The easiest, drop the water bottle on the ground and destroy it with an attack (an offhand attack with bonus action is perfect for that)

Once the enemy is wet, they will become vulnerable to Ice and Lightning damage. This means you deal double the damage with your favorite spell - Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt, Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold, etc.

Maximizing Ray of Frost damage

So the main attractiveness of this build is that it can deal huge amounts of damage with Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ cantrip. The cantrip relies on various items, that I have listed in the equipment section, just to repeat, here are a few of them:

This together with Wet status will help you maximize damage. To take things further you can use both Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​ or Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster​ to make critical hits, for double damage. So you can quadruple the initial damage, most likely removing an enemy grunt with a single ray.

Maintaining Attack Rolls

The good thing is that spells like Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ use attack rolls to determine their success. This way the cantrip can deal critical damage to double your output. However, the major downside is that you can miss it.

To increase your chance to hit (specifically when using Spellmight Gloves icon bg3Spellmight Gloves) you can do a few things:

  • Get Bless icon action bg3Bless​ buff from your cleric or other means
  • Maintain high ground to get a better position
  • To get Advantage, the easiest way is to use Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring

By guaranteeing high attack rolls you will miss less often and have much higher damage output overall.

Early Game Combat

Let's cover how you should progress combat levels 1-6.

  • Very early in the game, you play as a normal caster. use Magic Missile icon action bg3Magic Missile, Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ on grouped enemies, and Chromatic Orb icon action bg3Chromatic Orb​ on wet foes. Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ is perfect for disabling them.
  • You can start using Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ heavily from late Act 1, once you obtain Necklace of Elemental Augmentation icon bg3Necklace of Elemental Augmentation and Mourning Frost icon bg3Mourning Frost. This will greatly boost its damage and total damage.
  • You can use Metamagic: Twinned Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Twinned Spell​ to deal some great damage by double-casting your single-target spells. This will double your damage at the cost of only one Sorcer point.
  • To further improve your damage output you can also use Metamagic: Quickened Spell icon passive feature bg3Metamagic: Quickened Spell​ for bonus cast using bonus action. I recommend using it to apply Wet with Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water.
  • You can also apply for Wet status by dropping the Water bottle and destroying it with an offhand Hand Crossbow attack.

Late Game Combat

Overall, nothing much changes, you repeat most of the things before just using better spells or bigger damage.

  • You can turn level 2 spell slots into Sorcery Points using Create Sorcery Points icon action bg3Create Sorcery Points. This way you can use improved spellcasting on almost every turn. I would leave level 1 spells for spells like Shield icon action bg3Shield.
  • Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm​ is a great spell to create ice surfaces and does not require concentration. Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold​ is another good spell, that deals more damage, but creates Ice Surfaces only if the floor is wet.
  • Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost​ will get even more powerful both from your items and level 10 bonus scaling.
  • If you are fighting a boss for the first time, I recommend Globe of Invulnerability icon action bg3Globe of Invulnerability. This will greatly reduce risks and allow you to evaluate the encounter, before jumping into offensive combat.
  • Confusion icon action bg3Confusion​ is an amazing spell, that can be cast on the first turn. I recommend using it if you see multiple enemies bunched up together. This way all of them get affected and they can start fighting each other.

Build Variations

There are a few variations that the build could be changed about. I think it is more for advanced players who are likely doing some deeper optimizations.

Setup Description
  • 12 Sorcerer
I have mentioned this in the build, and it would be the best setup if you have a way to apply Wet status effectively. This gives a third feat, which is not necessary but is a decent improvement. Even if you start with 11 Sorcerer/1 Cleric, you can still go with 12 Sorcerer in the late game. You get Conjure Elemental icon action bg3Conjure Elemental​ which allows you to summon Water Myrmidon.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the Best Cold Sorcerer build for Baldur's Gate 3. What makes this build unique is that it can do most of the damage using just one cantrip - Ray of Frost icon action bg3Ray of Frost. All the other spells are a huge addition and improvement.

Cheers!

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Discussion

Anonymous

Also your description for Counterspell reads:

"This is an Abjuration spell so it fits well your narrative of stacking Arcane Ward. Moreover, it will negate any deadly spells an enemy may cast."
Stacking Arcane Ward? As a Sorcerer?

Thanks, sorry for the issues, will try to fix them in the coming day

Anonymous

"As we are a Storm Sorcerer"

Wait... what? I thought we were a draconic Sorcerer.

Anonymous

I'm guessing the creator copies and pastes descriptions to fill in blank areas and goes back to edit. This happens in the other builds on the site too.

Yeah you are right! Im also on a trip and working on small laptop doesnt help :D

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zanuffas
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