Despite what sorceresses like to think, the little one-handed signs witchers can cast are far from simple in The Witcher 3. Whether you’ve committed Geralt to a sign build or you rely on his witcher magic merely as a support, you’ve likely made a few errors along the way.
In fact, it’s safe to bet there are several flubs on this list that many of us are repeat offenders of, whether out of bad habit or sheer obliviousness. Here are some of the most common misconducts of sign usage in hopes that it will quell the number of miscasts and make your combat experience more fluid and enjoyable.
Not Wearing Medium Armor For A Sign Build
Those used to the mechanics in other RPGs may assume light armor is best for magic utilization. Others may think to use heavy armor as it doesn’t cause a huge debuff to movement like in other games. However, almost all Medium armor has some buff to endurance, which is needed to cast signs, or buffs to signs themselves.
Cast and Roll Combos
Rolling halts stamina regeneration if the bar isn’t full, prolonging the time until you’re able to cast another sign. This makes the cast-roll away-cast tactic unviable unless you’ve constructed a solid sign build with heavy regeneration buffs. Even then, you want to put as much stamina towards constant sign usage as you can in that case.
Granted, cutting out rolls altogether isn’t very realistic as they carry Geralt further than his dodge. Still, they should be used sparingly, mainly reserved for large enemies with wide attack spans. Some players have a bad habit of spamming rolls, but replacing them with a succession of side-steps or backward leaps would prove more beneficial.
Using Alternative Forms In Place of The Standard Sign
Alternative signs are the second tier of unlockable sign abilities in Geralt’s character tree. Even though they require you to sink more ability points into the branch to unlock, alternative sign modes are just that; alternative, meaning they are different, not better. This is a fact many players overlook, assuming more points means greater effect.
Igni is one sign you want to differentiate between its forms. The base cast expells a cone-shaped burst of fire that can hit several enemies. The alternative form shoots a continuous stream of fire, which Geralt can aim and walk slowly while casting.
Another important difference is that the base cast uses all Geralt’s stamina at once while the fire stream continuously drains stamina until it runs out or Geralt lets up. Stamina regeneration will have a delay after being depleted by fire stream, whereas regeneration is fairly brief after a basic cast with enough stamina buffs.
Casting Igni Near Explosives
Speaking of, Igni’s a great crowd control tactic, setting groups of Drowners and most fleshy adversaries alight with ease, many times dispersing them in a panic for easy pickings. However, if the witcher isn’t careful, he can get caught in the flames just as easily.
We’ve all done it at least once, where we either don’t realize we’re in the vicinity of swamp vapors or that the overturned barrel nearby is an explosive one. Perhaps we were neglecting our witcher senses and didn’t even notice a lopsided barrel at all. Regardless of which oversight you’re guilty of, we’ve all experienced the shock of unexpectedly being blown into a fiery heap amidst the heat of battle. Next time save yourself the infuriated embarrassment and be sure you’ve surveyed your surroundings before lighting up your enemies.
Attacking Enemies After Using Axii On Them
Attacking a target for the increased chance of an instant kill after using Axii on them is certainly a viable tactic. Still, if the kill doesn’t succeed, Axii’s effect is broken. If the insta-kill fails, the cast becomes a big waste of stamina, which can be a grave mistake when fighting a group. Besides, there are easier ways to create an instant kill opening, such as Aard’s knockdown perk.
Many of us tend to get a case of tunnel vision in battle, especially if one particular foe is hanging onto life with a dwindling health bar. However, confounding a stronger enemy then turning your sights onto advancing assailants is a more beneficial tactic when using Axii. After taking care of the minor threats while the heavy hitter is subdued, Geralt can focus on the beefier opponent one on one without watching his back.
Of course, when facing mounted opponents, by all means, have the mount throw them to the ground with Axii and get those guaranteed and ever-satisfying instant kills.
Using Axii’s Puppet Ability Amidst Combat
Brainwashing an enemy to fight for you is an alluring prospect, but the execution of casting this sign is too lengthy in the heat of combat. Geralt likely won’t get to execute the sign before taking a hit from other assailants. If he does, he’s almost sure to suffer a blow right after and will have to wait for his stamina to regenerate before casting another sign.
Furthermore, the ‘puppet’ he manipulates doesn’t have an amazing hit chance, making this tactic a gamble that rarely pays off. It’s better to cast this alternative sign mode at the very start of combat, while Geralt still has some distance between him and the enemy onslaught.
Not Buffing or Utilizing Quen
Some players may overestimate their abilities or underestimate the threat. Either way, we have all been guilty of not utilizing Quen enough at one point or another.
As long as you can avoid taking a hit long enough, you can recast Quen as soon as the previous shield is broken, so there’s no reason to let your guard down. Consistently renewing your Quen shield guarantees constant coverage from mistimed dodges or unexpected blows.
It’s also advisable to upgrade Quen to ‘Explosive Shield.’ That way, it will knockback enemies when the shield is broken, giving Geralt time to recover. Not only that, but ‘Explosive Shield’ can cause damage to reverberate onto the enemy and even provides the chance for a knockdown, which grants Geralt an opening for an instant kill.
Using Quen Against Enemy Hordes
One instance where Quen may fall short is amidst enemy hordes. Once you’ve gotten used to utilizing Quen constantly, it may be second nature to pop up that shield. But when Quen only protects against one hit and you find yourself amongst an onslaught of attackers, casting it is essentially a waste of stamina at that point. You’re better off going with a crowd control method like Aard or Igni if the enemies are especially susceptible to fire.
NEXT: The Witcher 3: Why Letting Olgierd Die Is The Lesser Evil In Heart Of Stone
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Kim is a freelance writer for TheGamer. She recently began writing online articles in the summer of 2019 when she was approached on Discord to contribute some articles and guides for Wizards Unite World. Kim is a fan of fantastical genres, some of her favorite titles including Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and The Witcher. She’s a bookish Ravenclaw eccentric, with an inquisitive sense for adventure. Kim seeks to use her writing as a means to travel and explore, hoping to share her findings and spread curiosity.
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