Geralt is able to cast spells in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in the form of special 'Signs.' In this complete guide to the Witcher 3 Signs, we'll be taking you through casting and using every spell in the game, includign Aard, Axii, Igni, Quen, and Yrden.
Witcher 3 Signs Magic
First and foremost, it requires a full stamina meter to use Sign Magic. If your stamina meter is not full you won't have access to Geralt's magic abilities unless you've leveled up some other traits that allow Geralt to use adrenaline points. Under most circumstances you need to keep an eye on your stamina meter. It's very helpful to activate a Sign before entering battle.
While Geralt is not in combat, his stamina meter refills very quickly. This means you can cast Sign Magic over and over with minimal delay. As soon as Geralt enters combat mode (anytime an enemy is close by), the stamina meter takes considerably longer to refill which limits how often you can use Sign Magic.
Aard Sign Magic is essentially a telekinetic blast. It can knock down some enemies while simply knocking back others, remove toxic gas from an area, blow through cracked doors and walls, and even ground flying enemies. When used during combat, if it knocks an enemy down you can usually follow with an execution to kill the enemy with a single attack. Watch for an attack icon to appear over the enemy after they're knocked down by Aard. If you see this, it means you can press the corresponding attack button to perform a one-hit kill.
Even if you don't land a one-hit kill, Aard is still very useful and clearing away a group of enemies. More often than not you'll be surrounded by three for more enemies at a time. Use Aard to clear them away and give you time to reposition Geralt so you don't have to defend against every enemy simultaneously. The more you level up Aard, the higher the chances of knocking down an enemy.
Throughout the game you'll come across cracked walls, doors that you can't seem to pass or archways with stones blocking your path. In these cases you can usually use Aard Sign Magic to clear your path and allow Geralt to continue on his journey.
Axii Sign Magic is essentially mind control. It's important to level up the Delusion ability for Axii Sign Magic as early as possible. Outside of combat it allows Geralt to influence some of the people he talks to. In many cases this can avoid a battle, reduce the cost of something, or just allow the conversation to end much more peacefully. You usually need at least Delusion level two to be persuasive in most conversations that have this option, but get to level three as quickly as you can so you're covered almost any time the option is present.
During combat the Axii Sign Magic is extremely useful. It works best against enemies mounted on horseback. The Axii Sign Magic controls the horse, causing it to buck and knock the rider off. If you're quick, you can move in an kill the rider with a single attack once they hit the ground. This makes battles against multiple mounted enemies significantly easier.
Even if an enemy is not on horseback, you can use Axii to stop them from attacking for a short time. While they're not attacking you can focus on other enemies, back away to use a health item, or move around behind them in hopes of an execution attack (also a one-hit kill). As you level up the ability the effect lasts longer and more enemies are susceptible to the Sign.
The Igni Sign Magic has a variety of uses. Outside of combat it can light fires, torches and other flammable objects. It also works well around bee hives to ignite the hive, dropping it to the ground and allowing Geralt to loot it. During combat it works very well against enemies that are weak to fire, it can ignite toxic gas which creates an explosion that can heavily damage or stun nearby enemies, and it has the ability to actually set enemies on fire. If an enemy catches on fire they'll not only take additional damage over time, in some cases they'll panic and stop attacking you.
Unless you're fighting an enemy that is weak to fire, you're not going to get much bang for your buck with Igni. Sure, it inflicts a bit of damage and your enemies may even catch on fire, but in most cases it's better to use Aard to knock an enemy down for an instant kill, Axii to stop an enemy from attacking and get better positioning that could lead to an instant kill, or even Quen to bolster your own defense.
As an offensive spell Igni is best reserved for enemies weak to fire, or when you're fighting in an area with toxic gas. However, be very careful in toxic gas areas because the explosion that occurs can damage Geralt just as easily as it can damage enemies. As you level up the Igni spell it does inflict more damage, but it still has moderately limited uses when compared to Geralt's other magic abilities.
Quen Sign Magic gives Geralt a shield that absorbs a set amount of damage. The more you level up the ability the more damage it will absorb. Generally speaking it can absorb a single attack from equal level enemies, including bosses. If you're good at dodging attacks, you should be able to go long enough between hits that your stamina meter refills. This allows you to activate Quen again as soon as you take a hit, keeping the ability activate as often as possible.
Depending on your fighting style with Geralt, the Quen Sign Magic can allow you to defeat higher level enemies that you shouldn't be able to fight without leveling up. It can help you obtain gear that wouldn't normally be accessible for several levels because of this. For instance, many of the guarded treasure locations can be vanquished at a much lower level than originally intended if you use Quen Sign Magic appropriately.
Against higher level opponents it's best to use a hit and run tactic. Activate Quen, attack the enemy one time with a quick attack, then jump away. With proper timing you will dodge most enemy attacks, but if you get hit, Quen will absorb some or all of the damage. It may take a little longer to defeat enemies this way, but it also allows you to defeat enemies that are much higher level. You can also use Quen to give you time to get out of a group of enemies and use a health regeneration item.
It's always a good idea to activate Quen before you head into battle. This works well when you know enemies are close by but not close enough for Geralt to pull out his sword. If you know a boss battle is coming up very soon, activate Quen before you engage the boss so you have it available again if you get hit.
While the Yrden Sign has its uses, this will probably be one of your least used magic abilities once you understand how Geralt's magic works. Yrden places a circle on the ground surrounding Geralt's current position. The movement of any enemies that move into the circle is slowed, allowing Geralt to position himself a little better and fight off multiple enemies without having to worry about getting surrounded.
Yrden is especially useful against Wraiths and other monsters that disappear or phase in and out, making it difficult for Geralt to land a hit. Once these creatures wander into the Yrden circle, they can no longer phase out of reality or disappear. This allows Geralt to continuously attack the enemy while they're within the confines of the Yrden circle.
It's best to place the circle between the enemy and Geralt so that the enemy has to pass through the full length of the circle to reach Geralt. Any time Geralt attacks he moves forward. Attacking from the edge of the Yrden circle after an enemy has moved through it allows Geralt to hit the enemy as many times as possible before inevitably moving out of the circle thanks to the forward momentum of his attacks.
While Yrden is important against enemies who are otherwise difficult to attack, there are better ways to clear away a crowd of enemies if you're just trying to avoid getting surrounded. There are also very few enemies that move so fast you would need the Yrden circle to fight them appropriately. The uses of the Yrden circle are limited, but it's still a very good tool when used in those specific situations. As you level up the Yrden Sign Magic it increases the intensity of the slow effect.