Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game with numerous class/subclass and race/subrace combinations. Each race brings its own modifier to your playstyle with exciting racial bonuses and passive upgrades. Notably, as of the game’s full release, races don’t have unique ability score bonuses and instead boost the main stats of your starting class. With that in mind, let us rank all races in Baldur’s Gate 3 from worst to best based solely on their unique racial abilities.
Being the consistent jack-of-all-trades type of race in most RPGs, Humans can fit any class and any playstyle. However, they’re mechanically lacking in interesting features. A simple extra skill and some extra weapon proficiencies don’t do much in a game where you can have the abilities of a dragonkin, a dark elf, or a half-demon.
That said, if you have an interesting idea about a Human character that you want to execute absolutely, go for it; it’s what the game is all about. But Humans don’t pack the punch of special abilities that other races do. This is a total switch from the D&D 5e ruleset, where Humans can start with an extra feat. Now, that would have ranked them among the top races.
Tolkien’s Hobbits have undergone quite a journey through the various editions of D&D as Halflings. They’re by far one of the cutest races in Baldur’s Gate 3. Their abilities, however, pale in comparison to some of the other races. Yes, you can reroll 1s and have Advantage on Stealth checks, but the former is highly situational, and the latter can be gained in numerous ways.
Furthermore, Advantage does not stack once you gain it again from another source. Overall, the fantasy of playing a halfling is top-notch, but the mechanical side of things just doesn’t seem optimal in a combat-heavy game like Baldur’s Gate 3.
The whimsical nature of gnomes has always made folks pick them up in a D&D campaign. That fantasy of being a tiny tinkerer or a trickster out of a Germanic folk tale is highly appealing. Even their abilities somewhat reflect that, giving Gnomes History skill bonuses or the ability to speak with animals based on your subrace.
Yet these are mostly roleplay bonuses, and combined with the reduced movement, Gnomes are sometimes a liability in combat. The only reason they rank higher than Halflings is because they have Advantage on saving throws against mental spells. While this is a strong feature, it doesn’t rank Gnomes among the higher-tier races.
Despite being one of the coolest races in the game visually, the Dragonborn’s effectiveness begins dropping as the game continues. Yes, their elemental resistances are always useful, but we have issues with that breath weapon. It dominates the early game, but it’s not a great option for melee characters as using it does not allow you to use Multiattack.
The Dragonborn would shine with the Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons ruleset, where the Breath weapon replaces one attack in a Multiattack chain. But BG3 could only utilize PHB sources with some rare exceptions. With this base version, the Breath weapon is a great option when you run out of resources, but it doesn’t shine from Level 5 and beyond.
Mysterious and cunning, the Drow have always been one of the coolest racial options for darker characters. They have a selection of racial spell abilities like Faerie Fire and Darkness, which are highly useful. You can gain some great utility in classes that otherwise do not have access to spells.
In practice, it is difficult to utilize the Darkness spell as Drow. Despite their Superior Darkvision, they cannot see through it. However, there are still cases where these spells come in handy, setting them apart from the lower-ranked races. That said, they would require a bit more flexibility for a higher rank.
Half-Elves are ranked above the Drow exactly because of their versatility due to their subraces. You can utilize their Drow Half-Elf subrace for the same benefits we described earlier, with the option to pick a different subrace. Therefore, this race is an improved jack-of-all-trades compared to a Human.
They’re still not that mechanically powerful, but they can provide some flexibility to your character-building.
Half-Orcs are one of the best options for a melee-focused build due to their unique ability to hit the “Actually, I don’t drop to 0” button. Relentless Endurance alone has carried them to the upper ranks of the middle tier. Savage attacks and Intimidation proficiency are interesting but situational. All in all, this is a simple choice for Fighters, Barbarians, Clerics, Paladins, etc. Not the most exciting, but it’s effective nonetheless.
With the pureblood Elf, we finish our Elven rankings for this list. They get many similar bonuses that Drow and Half-Elves do with the added benefit of Perception proficiency. Now, this might seem like your typical extra skill, but Perception is crucial in this game.
This is because not a lot of classes get it, and it’s used to defend against surprise rounds. A surprise round can be devastating when you are on the receiving end, as enemies essentially get a free turn on you. Furthermore, with the added benefit of choosing between spell-focused High Elves and stealthy and mobile Wood Elves, the Elf race is a great option for many classes.
Surprisingly, despite Dwarves being stereotypically stubborn, they’re quite a mechanically flexible race in Baldur’s Gate 3. By now, you’ve noticed that races with free spells are ranked slightly higher. Dwarves can have spells and powerful passive upgrades like increased HP based on your subrace choice.
You can play a Duergar with a melee class that benefits from Enlarge or Invisibility or a Shield Dwarf with a caster class for better defenses. Even the Gold Dwarf’s increased HP pool is always useful for beginners. Therefore, Dwarves are one of the best races in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Tieflings have one of the longest racial trait lists in the game, if not the longest one. All of their features are highly useful for any class, as you essentially get three free spells, even for non-spellcasting classes. Furthermore, you can choose your magic packet based on your playstyle.
Select Zariel for melee builds, Asmodeus for ranged ones, and Mephistopheles for hybrids. In fact, feel free to mix and match the three subraces with all classes to create truly unique and dynamic builds. It can be incredibly cool to play a full-frontal melee Fighter and have him show up with Burning Hands on the battlefield Geralt Igni-style.
The space-traveling psionic pirates called Githyanki are one of the more interesting choices in Baldur’s Gate 3. Their presence cemented the Mindflayer narrative, and as long-time D&D fans, we at GameSkinny were excited to see them in the game.
Story aside, the Githyanki are almost evenly matched with the Tieflings for the top spot. Their Misty Step and Jump spells are useful for any class. This especially goes for the Jump spell, which was heavily buffed from the D&D 5e version to include tons of extra movement. With their other passive psionic bonuses and Astral Knowledge, the Githyanki take the top spot for the best race in Baldur’s Gate 3.
While this list outlines rankings for mechanical power and versatility, your unique ideas of mixing races and classes are what BG3 is all about. Don’t be afraid of picking a lower-ranked race if it suits your character idea better. The top-ranked entries are simply there to give you some inspiration or that extra push to play a specific race.
We hope you enjoyed our article on races ranked from worst to best in Baldur’s Gate 3. You might also be interested in our top class rankings, where you can discover what classes are sometimes better than others. For more tips and tricks, check out our BG3 guides hub. Additional articles on BG3 races include our best races for every class and subrace guide.