Baldur’s Gate 3 Best Barbarian Build Guide

Unleash your inner Conan and check out our best Barbarian build guide in Baldur's Gate 3.

karlach posing with her axe in baldurs gate 3
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If “I would like to Rage” is your catchphrase (Shoutout to CR), then the Barbarian class in Baldur’s Gate 3 is for you. These hard-hitting, damage-soaking, raging danger machines are perfectly suited for the front line. Here’s my best Barbarian build guide in Baldur’s Gate 3.

The Very Best Barbarian Build in Baldur’s Gate 3

The most important factors that synergize together for the best Barbarian build, and ones that we’ll discuss in detail below, are your:

Besides these elements, you’ll want to prioritize Strength, as this is your main damage stat and the one we’ll use for Grappling. I recommend focusing on two-handed weapons due to our feat selection later on. From here, focus on Constitution, as it will both increase your HP and Armor Class thanks to Unarmored Defense. Lastly, Wisdom can be a decent stat to put a few points in for saving throws and the Perception/Survival skill.

As for gameplay tips, movement is the core part of playing a Barbarian. You’ll always want to stay on top of your targets at the beginning of combat. This is useful for obviously outputting damage but also for keeping enemies of your squishier allies and locking down enemy ranged characters, like archers or mages.

Furthermore, having a Paladin or Cleric companion/mercenary with you in melee combat will ensure you have a healing buddy. Barbarians tank by taking physical damage head-on due to their Rage Damage Resistance instead of dodging damage with high AC. That’s why classes that can heal the Barbarian and stay safe in melee alongside them are the best combination.

Best Barbarian Subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3

There are two options for the simplest and most effective Barbarian build. I recommend the:

  • Berserker Subclass: Combined with the Great Weapon Master feat, this multi-attacking subclass has the highest damage output for Barbarians. Furthermore, it’s been buffed from the core D&D5e ruleset to not grant Exhaustion anymore but simply reduce your attack rolls by -1 when swinging with your Frenzied Strike. Now this can stack up, but it goes away after the fight immediately.
  • Wild Heart (Bear Heart): This is our defensive option for more conservative players since the Bear Heart Rage gives you Resistance to all damage besides Psychic. For those who still want to attack with the bonus action, I found great success by combining Wild Heart with the Polearm Master feat for a bonus action attack. Pair this with Great Weapon Master in the late game, and you’ll have a similar build to the first one, albeit with increased defenses.

The choice here is simply whether you want to deal incredible damage early on or have more defensive options. Both are viable but the Berserker peaks earlier and allows you to perhaps multiclass, as we’ll discuss below while the Wild Heart offers more utility later on.

karlach the barbarian pointing in baldurs gate 3
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Best Barbarian Race in BG3

Since BG3 introduces the racial statistic rules from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, any race will give you any stat that you need for your class. This opens up a ton of options for our race since we just have to look for interesting and synergistic racial abilities for our Barbarian (not all are useful). Therefore, I recommend the following options:

  • Wood Elf: Barbarians need as much movement as they can get and the Wood Elf provides just that with some Stealth skills.
  • Githyanki: Speaking of mobility, the Githyanki’s Misty Step and the buffed Jump spell are great alternative options available once per long rest instead of the permanent movement boost from Elves.
  • Half-Orc: Provides you with that “Nope, I actually don’t die” button once per long rest, which is simple, powerful, and effective.
  • Dwarf: Lastly, if you want to sacrifice movement, you can take the Gold Dwarf for increased HP which essentially counts as double HP due to Rage halving damage. Alternatively, the Duergar can allow you to play an invisible enlarged Barbarian. A terrifying thought for your enemies.

I would’ve loved to put Tieflings on here due to their awesome spell-like racial abilities but sadly Barbarians cannot cast these spells while Raging.

Best Barbarian Skills & Background in BG3

You can pick your favorites here, but there are some skills that I would highly recommend. Mainly, these are Perception and Athletics. Perception is incredibly important in Baldur’s Gate 3, as it can stop you from getting ambushed. What’s worse than enemies hitting you? Enemies hitting you for an additional round for free.

As for Athletics, this skill can help you Grapple fast-moving and spellcasting targets. For the price of one attack, you can reduce their speed to zero and lock them down. With this in mind, backgrounds like the Outlander or Soldier are the most optimal since they’ll each grant you one of these two skills.

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Best Barbarian Feats in Baldur’s Gate 3

This is the core element of our build in terms of dealing incredibly high damage. I recommend the following feats:

  • Great Weapon Master: Our bread and butter. At level 5, you’ll have three attacks per round, two from Multiattack and one from your Berserker Bonus Action. Now imagine adding +10 damage to all three, and you’ll get an idea of why GWM is the strongest. Your Reckless Attack feature grants you Advantage, which you should always use in combination with GWM to reduce the -5 penalty to attack rolls.
  • Polearm Master: Glaives and Halberds are both heavy, reach weapons that work great with the Barbarian. If you took the Wild Heart (Bear Heart) option, this feat grants you a lesser version of the Berserker’s bonus action attack. In the late game, you can combine it with GWM for a powerful frontline character.
  • Savage Attacker: If the high-risk high-reward gameplay of GWM isn’t for you and you don’t like Polearms, the Savage Attacker allows you to reroll your damage dice with no downside.

Note that feats shouldn’t be taken at every opportunity. Sometimes, maxing out your Strength with the Ability Improvement feat is more optimal.

Best Barbarian Multiclass in BG3

If we’re looking at the base class, Barbarians just don’t offer many exciting features past Level 5. Of course, if you like your subclass abilities, and the Wild Heart has some great ones, feel free to stick to a single-class build. Barbarian all the way.

However, if you want to spice things up and maybe take a few levels in Fighter, that can be a strong combination in the mid-game. There are two ways to do so:

  • Grab 2 Levels in Fighter: This allows you to get Second Wind for additional healing and more importantly, Action Surge. This bad boy will allow you to attack a whopping five times in a single round and resets on a short rest.
  • Grab 3 Levels in Fighter: By going three Levels in and getting the Battle Master Fighter subclass, this unlocks some great utility options for you. Mainly, Tripping Attack will give you Advantage on your attacks and knock them prone, which goes well with the GWM feat. Precision Attack does a similar thing, and Goading Attack will pull some aggro off your allies and focus enemies on you, which you want.

Remember that for every level in Fighter, you are missing out on the Barbarian’s late-game subclass features. Only multiclass if you’re sure you don’t need them since the level cap is 12.

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Best Barbarian Equipment in BG3

There are three elements you should look for in your magical gear: offensive boosts, movement, and utility. Here are some options I found great success with:

  • Offensive Items: Jorgoral’s Greatsword, Sussur Greatsword, Everburn Blade, Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength, Balduran’s Giantslayer, Oil of Accuracy (For GWM), Ring of Flinging.
  • Movement: Disintegrating Night Walkers, Amulet of Misty Step, Crusher’s Ring.
  • Utility: Bloodguzzler Garb, Horns of the Berserker, Bracers of Defence.

As for armor, while the Barbarian AC benefits from a high Constitution, wearing armor can be a decent option in the early game. Later on, you’ll have plenty of Dexterity and Constitution that Unarmored Defense will outshine light and medium armor.

That’s my best Barbarian build guide in Baldur’s Gate 3. Flinging enemies around with the Enraged Throw, multi-attacking with +10 damage thanks to GWM, and outright refusing to die can be an incredibly fun experience. For more guides on the game like our Lae’zel build, check out our BG3 game hub.

About the author

Gordan Perisic

From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.