The Witcher 3: Here’s What Potions Really Do (Every Effect Explained)

What Do Witcher 3 Potions Do Every Effect

Crafting is an important part of every Witcher 3 playthrough. Depending on your chosen difficulty, you will have to rely on numerous potions that you can craft as a part of alchemy mechanics. Potions affect numerous attributes and some special mechanics. Some potions are implemented to give you that extra few health points you need to survive, and some are implemented as a quality of life improvements that allow you to further customize your character without making any drastic changes.

In today’s post, we’re going to cover everything there is to know regarding Witcher 3 potions and how to use them, as well as explain their effects. 

Where do I get potions in Witcher 3?

You need to craft your own potions in Witcher 3, and you can do that by learning their recipes. Recipes for potions or decoctions are found while you are exploring the world or can simply be bought while you’re visiting alchemy shops or herbalists around the shops. 

Once you’ve acquired the recipe, you will need to have corresponding ingredients to craft a certain potion. 

Alchemy menu Witcher 3

Some potions are created with ingredients and other substances that you can run into while you’re exploring the Continent. Some potions, however, called decoctions, require the usage of special monster mutagens. You get mutagens when you slay specific monsters.  

Ingredients are only used the first time you craft a potion and when you’re upgrading a certain potion. Even though you’re drinking potions regularly, you can replenish them via meditation. Keep in mind that alcohol will be used to replenish potions in your inventory. Alchohest is used by default, but in the absence of Alcohest, any type of alcohol can be used. 


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What is the difference between potions and decoctions in Witcher 3: Wild Hunt? 

Decoctions are a type of potion introduced in Witcher 3. They are very similar to potions, with some major differences when it comes to effects, the consequences of using them, and when it comes to crafting. First, to craft a decoction, you will need a specific monster mutagen. For example, crafting Basilisk decoction requires Basilisk mutagen. It’s recommended that you do as many contracts as possible to gain access to special types of monsters that drop unique mutagens. 

The second major difference is the fact that decoctions are generally more powerful and have longer-lasting effects when compared to normal potions. However, this fact is balanced out by the rather high toxicity that follows if you ingest too many decoctions in a short amount of time. Decoctions are powerful and more beneficial than most regular potions; however, they have a detrimental effect on Geralt’s health due to containing various monster mutagens. 

Meditations witcher
Meditation is not required to consume potions but it is required to replenish them

Decoctions also cannot be upgraded further in a way that normal potions can. Normal potions in Witcher 3 come in three levels, so to speak, normal, enhanced, and superior. This is not the case with decoctions as they come in only the “normal” version. 

You can use decoctions only twice before they have to be replenished via meditation. 

How do you use potions in Witcher 3?

You can use potions and decoctions in Witcher 3 by activating them in your inventory or by assigning certain potions to hotkeys. Pressing a certain hotkey during combat to which the potion has been assigned will allow you to consume a potion without going to your inventory. It’s an overall useful system but nothing complicated and revolutionary. Potions are an important part of gameplay and a crucial part if you’re playing on the hardest difficulties. 

witcher potions shortcut
Assigning certain potions to hotkeys will allow you to consume them during combat quickly

Witcher 3 is not a difficult game by itself, but playing on Blood & Broken Bones difficulty or Death March difficulty will require you to actively craft potions and use them since your default stats will not be enough in some situations, especially when it comes to boss fights. 

Potions provide you with numerous beneficial effects, and in the rest of this post, we’re going to explain them in a bit more depth. 

Witcher 3 potion effects explained 

Generally, Witcher 3 potions and decoctions can be sorted into several groups. Some potions affect your vitality, some affect your damage and signs, and some provide you with completely unique effects.

Many potions, especially enhanced and superior versions, have several effects, but since we’re only going to explain base versions of every potion, we’re going to sort potions according to their primary effect.  

Potions that affect adrenaline 

alghoul decoction

Adrenaline is one of the mechanics that can be converted into points that, in turn, allow you to perform extremely powerful attacks. Battle Trance is the core ability that generates adrenaline points. Some potions can affect your adrenaline points as well. 

The primary potions that affect adrenaline are the Alghoul decoction and Maribor Forest. 

Potions that affect signs 

fogglet decoction

Sings are forms of simple magic that Witchers can cast as a part of their combat tactics. Sings usually have offensive effects against monsters but can be utilized in a defensive manner as well. Most signs can be improved via leveling, but some potions affect them as well. 

Potions like Ancient Leshen decoction, Basilisk decoction, Foglet decoction, Forktail decoction, Petri’s Philter, and Reinald’s Philter can be used to improve signs or allow you to cast more of them in a short amount of time which would otherwise be impossible. 


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Potions that affect damage 

thunderbolt potion witcher 3

The main goal of any fight is to deal as much damage as you can while, in turn, receiving less damage. Alchemical potions can provide you with effects that can increase your damage by increasing your attack damage or providing you with an additional chance to critically strike an enemy. 

Such potions are Archgriffin decoction, Doppler decoction, Katakan decoction, Leshen decoction, Succubus decoction, Thunderbolt, Water hag decoction, and Wyvern decoction. 

You can utilize potions to decrease any damage sent your way. The only potion, however, that reduces damage based on your armor weight is Arachas decoction, crafted with Arachas mutagen. 

Potions that affect wildlife and aggressive mobs

Drowner pheromones

Potions that affect wildlife or aggressive mobs are often part of certain quests. For example, you need Drowner pheromones to temporarily stop them from attacking you so you can complete a quest. This doesn’t mean, however, that the potion doesn’t have its uses outside of that certain quest. Potions that affect wildlife and aggressive mobs are as follows: Bear pheromones, Black Blood, Drowner pheromones, and Nekker pheromones. 

Resistance potions 

earth elemental decoction

Some potions provide you with beneficial resistance effects, be it some forms of magic, damage, or effects that some monsters can have on your various attributes. For example, Chort decoction provides you with a single resistance effect. It gives you complete resistance to the Stagger effect. Earth elemental decoction provides you with resistance to vitality-depleting critical effects applied during combat. There are many uses for resistance effects, but they are mostly utilized during combat. 

Resistance potions in Witcher 3 are as follows: Chort decoction, Earth elemental decoction, Golden Oriole, Noonwraith decoction, and Reliever’s decoction. 

Potions with unique effects 

wolven hour potion

Many potions that you can craft during Witcher 3: Wild Hunt can provide you with some unique and special effects. Since it’s difficult, to sum up all unique effects in a single sentence that best describes them all, we’re going to be a convenient list that sums up the effects of each unique potion the best. Unique potions in Witcher 3 are as follows: 

  1. Blizzard – improves reflexes and reaction time by slowing time. Best used before you engage a foe that can move really fast, jump around, or teleport.
  2. Cat- provides you with a night-vision effect perfect for exploring crypts, caves, and other poor-lit areas. 
  3. Cockatrice decoction- provides you with one additional usage of all alchemical creations. Useful when you’re running out of important decoctions and potions in combat and meditation is not available. 
  4. Fiend decoction – increases your maximum carry weight for a limited time. 
  5. Nekker warrior decoction – makes Roach never panic. Increases mounted combat damage. 
  6. Pops’ mold antidote – gives you temporary immunity to pops’ mold that can be found underneath the bathhouse in Novigrad. This is a quest item and has little use outside of the specific quest. 
  7. Potion of Clearance- allows you to redistribute their ability points and spend them elsewhere without needing to restart your character. This potion allows you to the mistakes you made while leveling your character. At first, the potion could only be bought from certain merchants. With the introduction of New Game+, the potion can rarely be found in chests as a part of regular loot.
  8. White Honey – This potion allows you to clear the toxicity that you have accumulated over a period of time, but it also cancels other beneficial effects. 
  9. Wolven Hour- temporarily lowers all level requirements for equipping items by 2. This potion was added to fix a change made to the game that rendered many players locked out of the items that they previously used due to changes in leveling. Wolven Hour cannot be replenished and may only be consumed once
  10. Potion of Restoration – this potion was added with Blood & Wine expansion, and it allowed the players to redistribute their ability points that were used for mutations without returning the mutagens used. It works similarly to Potion of Clearance, and likewise, it can only be acquired from merchants. 


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Potions that affect vitality 

superior swallov

Vitality is the bar that tracks the overall health points you have at your disposal before you die. It’s one of the most important attributes in the game, and several potions affect it. Some potions grant you increased vitality over a certain period of time, and some work by restoring health for a certain amount of points.

The potions that affect vitality are Ekhidna decoction, Ekimmara decoction, Full Moon, Griffin decoction, Nightwraith decoction, Swallow, Troll decoction, White Raffard’s Decoction, and Wraith decoction. 

Potions that affect stamina 

tawny owl

Stamina affects your physical performance and many other resistance-based effects. It also affects how well you can regenerate vitality. Two potions in the game mainly affect stamina, and those are: Tawny Owl and Werewolf decoction.

As you can see, there are plenty of potions in the game, and the system might seem complicated at first. As long as you read the description of every potion and you’re being careful with what you’re drinking and when you’re going to get the hang of the system in no time. 

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