Should you use Illithid powers in Baldur's Gate 3?

Mind Flayer powers help you turn the tables in difficult battles, with limited penalties until Act 3.


Whether you should use your Illithid powers in Baldur’s Gate 3 seems like a big question with potentially game-changing answers, but it’s not quite as significant as you might think – initially, at least. Your Dream Guardian is right to point out their potential uses, though there comes a point later in the game when you have to decide just how important these powers are.

This guide explains the consequences of using Illithid powers in Baldur’s Gate 3 and which ones are worth your tadpoles.

Should you use Baldur’s Gate 3 Illithid powers? 

A gray-skinned creature with a dome-shaped skull and burning orange eyes is staring directly into the camera

The short answer is yes, you should use your Illithid powers, but there is a caveat. While your Baldur's Gate 3 companions worry over the disastrous consequences of giving Mind Flayer tadpoles some influence over you, there’s not actually anything to worry about until Act 3. You can’t turn into a Mind Flayer by accident, and there’s no Illithid power threshold that pushes you over the edge if you unlock too many. You can fill almost your entire brain with tadpoles, and, aside from you gaining new powers, nothing happens.

The outer ring of powers is the exception. These powers remain out of reach unless you make a critical decision in Act 3. The moment is laden with spoilers, so we won’t get into it here. However, it’s impossible to miss and you will know what it is when the moment presents itself.

Another concern is how your companions might react. If the conversation comes up once the Dream Guardian tells you to use the tadpoles, Lae’zel is opposed to the idea. Astarion, Wyll, and Gale are easier to convince, but you don’t have to force the issue at that point anyway. Say what you think they’ll want to hear to avoid losing approval, and then you can bring the subject up again at camp. If you pass a Persuasion check, they’ll agree to use the tadpoles without issue.

Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Illithid powers

A stylized brain has multiple nodes sticking out, each representing a Mind Flayer power

While you can unlock most of the Illithid powers without consequence, it doesn’t mean you should. Some of the powers are only moderately useful, though a few of them are much more helpful.

Psionic Backlash

Psionic Backlash fires a small psychic bolt at any foe within a set range who uses a spell on your party. As a reaction, it uses no spell slots, actions, or bonus actions, and it doesn’t even take up a Warlock slot, if you’re playing as a Warlock. Psionic Blast doesn’t deal much damage, but it’s a free way to whittle down enemy spellcasters. 

Luck of the Far Realms

Luck of the Far Realms turns your first attack into a critical hit – perfect for Rogues and tankier characters.

Ability Drain

When you attack an enemy, the Ability Drain passive reduces the target’s stat that corresponds with your attack stat by one. It takes some coordinating to use efficiently, but it’s a straightforward way to weaken tougher foes on the field.


Repulsor deals a bit of Force damage and shoves all enemies around you back by a set amount. It also shoves allies, so mind they’re not near a chasm when you use it.

Force Tunnel 

Force Tunnel is a more concentrated version of Repulsor. You rocket forward and shove everything in your path aside. It can bump enemies near an edge into oblivion, but it’s also a fast way to move your melee fighters into attacking range.

Stage Fright

Stage Fright imposes Disadvantage on enemies, and when they miss an attack on you, they take psychic damage. It’s a win-win situation.

Once Act 3 arrives and events unfold, pretty much all of the outer ring abilities are worth unlocking. There’s no additional penalty for using them after, so you might as well unlock the ones that suit your playstyle. It takes a different kind of tadpole, though. So in essence, it is okay to use your Illithid powers and you will be able to convince your party companions that it's the right thing to do, without losing their approval, provided you can pass the relevant skill checks. Check out our Baldur's Gate 3 walkthrough and strategy guide if you're after more help on your trip through Faerun.

Contributing Editor

Josh is a freelance writer and reporter who specializes in guides, reviews, and whatever else he can convince someone to commission. You may have seen him on NPR, IGN, Polygon, or VG 24/7 or on Twitter, shouting about Trails. When he isn’t working, you’ll likely find him outside with his Belgian Malinois and Australian Shepherd or curled up with an RPG of some description.

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