Best spells to counterspell


Advice


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Hi everyone!

I was looking at the Counterspell feat, especially the spontaneous one for the Sorcerer, and realized it is an extremely potent first level feat. For a reaction, you can cancel an enemy spell casting, which is one of the most action efficient move I can think of. Also, thanks to the Signature Spells mechanic, it's very easy to counterspell with a spell slot one level higher than the spell you want to counter, trivializing the counteract check.

I was considering taking it for my Sorcerer, and taking a few spells for counterspelling purposes. So, my question is: What are the best spells to counterspell? Both in terms of efficiency and in terms of occurence. Right now, I've come up with this list:

Harm: Evil clerics is such a common opponent, I expect Harm to be amongst the most common spells to be cast.
Darkness: A very common spell in PF1, able to make a fight very messy. But in PF2, it doesn't dispel the Light cantrip anymore, unless cast at a higher level. So, I'm puzzled on this one. Also, devils no more cast it...
Invisibility (especially Heightened to 4th): Once again a spell that can make a fight very messy. The only thing is that enemies often cast it before combat.
Fireball: So much of a classic!
Fly: Very common, but in general cast before the fight.
Fear: Appears on all spell lists and very nice, I expect it to be very common, too.
Divine Wrath: Once again a very common spell, and potentially very potent if your party is filled with good aligned characters.

So, in your opinion, what spells are important to counterspell?


Dimension Door looks extremely common in the bestiary (most often in fiends), they are usually at the 5th spell slot.

Dispel Magic is everywhere but I don't think it's really important to counter this one.

I saw dominate a few times, ironically you will most likely get this spell after you fight the creature that have it because it's uncommon.


I think the best advice I could give is to ask yourself ‘What spells do you want in your spell repertoire?’ Because if there good enough for you to use, there probably good enough to be used against you.


In PF1 I used to put Dispel Magic in my Ring of Counterspells, and it led to some interesting Magic: the Gathering situations.


Kyrone wrote:

Dimension Door looks extremely common in the bestiary (most often in fiends), they are usually at the 5th spell slot.

Dispel Magic is everywhere but I don't think it's really important to counter this one.

I saw dominate a few times, ironically you will most likely get this spell after you fight the creature that have it because it's uncommon.

I thought about Dispel Magic. Considering counteracting rules, it can be very important to take it, as many gishes are using low level spells (Haste, Fly) to buff themselves, and losing it automatically because of the low counteract check would be very sad.

For Dimension Door, I don't know if it's that important. Most enemies use it just to run away... it can be funny to force them to stay, but it will rarely change the result of a fight. So, I'm puzzled on this one.
For Dominate, rarity forbids to take it.

Siro wrote:
I think the best advice I could give is to ask yourself ‘What spells do you want in your spell repertoire?’ Because if there good enough for you to use, there probably good enough to be used against you.

Comprehend Languages is a nice spell to have that you will never counter. Harm is nice, but is made nicer when considering counterspell because it's extremely common on evil clerics. And many other spells are not that useful but very common (like Dimension Door). Being able to block the worst spells the enemies can use against you is a nice feature that may push me to take Darkness in my spell list.


SuperBidi wrote:


Siro wrote:
I think the best advice I could give is to ask yourself ‘What spells do you want in your spell repertoire?’ Because if there good enough for you to use, there probably good enough to be used against you.
Comprehend Languages is a nice spell to have that you will never counter. Harm is nice, but is made nicer when considering counterspell because it's extremely common on evil clerics. And many other spells are not that useful but very common (like Dimension Door). Being able to block the worst spells the enemies can use against you is a nice feature that may push me to take Darkness in my spell list.

Actually, my concern is more in the opposite direction, that your spell repertoire becomes to rigid due to trying to maximizing ‘Counterspell’, a direction which may not matter all the time (ie not every battle involves creatures casting spells, nor every situation in need of a Counterspell), in something which is a big part of your class. As you mentioned, there will most likely be little reason to have to worry about Counterspelling Comprehend Language, however that spell can be immensely useful for a Cha based class. There is little reason to worry about Counterspelling ‘Augury’, yet that spell has saved my party on occasion. Counterspell does increase the usefulness of certain spells, especially ones that are often cast in battle, but a strict adherence to maximizing it may leave you wanting in other spellcasting areas. Which is the reason behind my advice, your probably going to want certain spells which are good for battle, and because those spells are good for battle, they will most likely be used against you. However, they may also be a spell or two which may not be so great with ‘Counterspell’ but is good for other reasons never the less.


Siro wrote:
Actually, my concern is more in the opposite direction, that your spell repertoire becomes to rigid due to trying to maximizing ‘Counterspell’, a direction which may not matter all the time (ie not every battle involves creatures casting spells, nor every situation in need of a Counterspell), in something which is a big part of your class.

Choosing spells is multidimensional, especially for spontaneous casters. Taking into account the counterspelling variable won't make me alter my spell list drastically. But I may choose some spells in regard to counterspelling.

And some spells can alter massively the face of combat. From my PF1 experience (haven't played PF2 enough to know for sure the ones in PF2), spells like Confusion and Darkness are, for example, involved in more than one character death.
But I'll certainly take Comprehend Languages, too :)


I'm going to say "almost nothing" because frankly which of these sounds "worth it"?

A) Spending a 4th level spell slot to cancel any 3rd level spell
B) Spending a 2nd or 3rd level spell slot to have a 50% chance of cancelling a 3rd level spell (remember, the slot is expended regardless of that die roll)
c) Spending a 1st level spell slot to have a 5% chance of cancelling a 3rd or 4th level spell.

The percent odds aren't definite, but generally speaking if someone's throwing a 3rd level spell at you and you only have 3rd level spells, your spellcasting roll vs. their spellcasting DC is going to be "about 50-50"

Sure, I'll grant that some spells in some situations it might be viable to (attempt) countering, but as a general tactic? No.


Draco18s wrote:

I'm going to say "almost nothing" because frankly which of these sounds "worth it"?

A) Spending a 4th level spell slot to cancel any 3rd level spell
B) Spending a 2nd or 3rd level spell slot to have a 50% chance of cancelling a 3rd level spell (remember, the slot is expended regardless of that die roll)
c) Spending a 1st level spell slot to have a 5% chance of cancelling a 3rd or 4th level spell.

The percent odds aren't definite, but generally speaking if someone's throwing a 3rd level spell at you and you only have 3rd level spells, your spellcasting roll vs. their spellcasting DC is going to be "about 50-50"

Sure, I'll grant that some spells in some situations it might be viable to (attempt) countering, but as a general tactic? No.

Clearly yes. Cancelling an enemy 2-action activity at the cost of a reaction? I take it every day!

If I can counterspell, I don't think twice, I do it.


SuperBidi wrote:


For Dimension Door, I don't know if it's that important. Most enemies use it just to run away... it can be funny to force them to stay, but it will rarely change the result of a fight. So, I'm puzzled on this one.

Sure, it doesn't change the results of THIS fight. But a creature which dimension doors away will quite often come back after you later, potentially allied with a bigger and badder boss. Plus they can be absconding with treasure or key information you might want.

OTOH, Dimension Door is a crappy choice of signature spell, because it only gets effects at 4th and 5th levels. The 5th level version is probably the escape button being used, so you're looking at something closer to 50-50 odds. But 5th level dimension door is sweet to have, so even with bad odds it is fine to attempt.

Similarly, Feather Fall can be used as an escape button, but who would choose it as a signature spell? But turning a foe leaping from a tower from a reoccurring villain to a pancake is potent.

Invisibility, on the other hand, is quite likely to either be taken as a Signature Spell or a 4th level spell, which makes an enemy trying to use this to escape very vulnerable indeed.

I agree Fireball and Harm make excellent choices, as they retain uses as Signature spells and will come up in a lot of enemy stat blocks.


Captain Morgan wrote:
OTOH, Dimension Door is a crappy choice of signature spell, because it only gets effects at 4th and 5th levels. The 5th level version is probably the escape button being used, so you're looking at something closer to 50-50 odds. But 5th level dimension door is sweet to have, so even with bad odds it is fine to attempt.

You can just take it at 6th level, then. So you have great chances to counter most Dimension Doors, even if some monsters take it at higher levels (like the Balor 10th level Dimension Door that you will never ever counter :D).


Oh, and in terms of ‘Darkness’ it can still be an annoying spell to go up against, but the fact cantrips levels (such as Light or Dancing Light) are auto heightened can make it more manageable then in PF1. Likewise Confusion as become more manageable due to it having the ‘Incapacitation’ trait, close range, only affecting one creature (unless cast at a 8th level spell), and the creature getting a save at the end of its turn (unless the creature crit failed its initial save.). Still spells which can be trouble for sure, but not as much as a terror compared to PF1, at least in my experience. {At least Confusion is not known as the 'Bardic Fireball' in this edition.}


For Darkness, it depends on the level of the spell the enemy has. If it casts it at maximum level, cantrips won't save you. But I've quickly checked enemies, and haven't found much darkness in there.
But I've found quite many Blindness and Vampiric Touch. I'll think about Blindness, as it's really a nasty one.

Sovereign Court

What about Haste? I've seen enemies become quite annoying with the extra mobility.


Haste is also quite common and very easy to counter as most enemies don't cast it at high level. The only drawback is that, quite often, enemies tend to buff themselves outside combat...

Sovereign Court

Is that sort of prebuffing still a thing? Buffs last shorter, and also they're less necessary to make monster numbers come out right because monster creation rules already put them where they need to be.

Pre-casting something like haste would only be doable if the enemies were ambushing the PCs. And you have to be pretty sure of when the PCs arrive, because if they dawdle for a minute to check the door of your boss rooms for traps your buff might run out.

I think countering short-duration buffs is promising because they're reasonable things for enemies to cast early in the combat.


Honestly, I've seen so many precast low duration buffs in PF1 that I won't make assumptions on PF2. But it may change,clearly. Time will tell us.

Sovereign Court

I mean, we could still run into pathological cases. Like the bad guy that's been sitting in a room for days and then just suddenly decides that now is a great moment to cast half a dozen buffs, just as the PCs happen to be standing in front of his door.

But that's just asking for players to mess with it. Like standing in front of the door, loudly saying syllables from Verbal components, then tiptoeing away and coming back five minutes later when the "writer metagame" buffs have worn off.

(On the other hand, a genuinely clever dungeon where you worry about traps because they're there as warning signs for bad guys, that's a delight.)

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