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Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Bard Subclasses, Ranked

Master music or the blade as a Bard in Baldur's Gate 3.

Choosing a class isn’t the only factor that affects the spells and tools you can access. You also need to select a subclass. Bards only have three subclasses, which isn’t much compared to classes like Wizards that have eight. If you need help deciding, here are the best Bard subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3, ranked.

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The Best Bard Subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3, Ranked

Bards usually support the party and can be considered well-rounded. But two subclasses focus on putting you in the middle of battles.

1. College of Lore

College of Lore is the classic Bard subclass. You get spells like Cutting Words that put debuffs on enemies. At the same time, you buff allies with Bardic Inspiration. College of Lore Bards fill a supporting role. You won’t be in the front surrounded by enemies at Level 3, and you get bonus proficiencies that can help you talk your way out of fighting. Then, at Level 6 you get to learn two Magical Secrets, which are a set of powerful spells.

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This subclass is also great for distractions with illusion spells. You can lure enemies into advantageous positions before fighting or use crowd control in combat to keep your allies safe. If you want to be a jack of all trades, this subclass is your best option. Especially because the other subclasses can be replaced by classes that function as better versions of them.

2. College of Swords

College of Swords focuses more on martial combat than spellcasting and support. It feels similar to Arcane Trickster or a Blade Warlock with more spell slots. You get to choose a fighting style, learn Blade Flourish, gain proficiency in Scimitars and Medium Armor, and you get an extra attack at Level 6. With this subclass, you’ll be in the middle of the fight and utilize your melee attacks. Meanwhile, your spells act as backup so that you can buff attacks or saves with Bardic Inspiration, or use crowd control. However, you won’t provide as much support to your party with College of Swords. Here, your focus is dealing damage.

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3. College of Valor

Like College of Swords, College of Valor is more about being in melee range and dealing damage. But College of Valor is tankier, so you can take hits and deal them out. You get Combat Inspiration, proficiencies in Shields, Martial Weapons, and Medium Armor. At Level 6, you also get an extra attack. With College of Valor, you give up damage for survivability. At the same time, you don’t have access to as many support abilities either. The playstyle is similar to an Eldritch Knight or Paladin, and I would pick those classes over College of Valor since it just doesn’t bring as much to the table. This is also the case when you compare it to the Colleges of Swords and Lore.

And those are the best Bard subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3, ranked. There aren’t many, but College of Lore takes the top spot with how much versatility and support it offers. Plus, it’s tough to replace the abilities from College of Lore with other classes. For more content, check our BG3 guides hub for topics like the best Wizard subclasses ranked or what the best Warlock build is.

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Melissa Sarnowski
Melissa Sarnowski has been working as a gaming writer professionally for two years, having been at GameSkinny for over a year now as a horror beat writer. She has an English degree from University of Wisconsin - Madison. While she focuses on all things horror, she also enjoys cozy games, MMOs like FFXIV and WoW, and any and everything in between.