The Gloomstalker is probably the strongest subclass for the Ranger in terms of pure burst damage. Their deadly ambush tactics that focus on a strong first round can swing the rest of the fight in your favor. My guide will detail the best Ranger Gloomstalker build in Baldur’s Gate 3.
How to Make the Best Gloomstalker Build in Baldur’s Gate 3
The primary strength of Gloomstalker Rangers is their ability to usually start first in the initiative order and assassinate key targets at range. They’re excellent at strategically locking down casters and gaining surprise at the beginning of combat for Advantage on attacks due to Stealth and Surprise. Their entire kit is outfitted with tools to go first, hide, and output a burst of damage Round 1, similar to the Assassin subclass for Rogues.
The main aspects of their kit, among other useful features, are the following abilities:
- Dread Ambusher – Allows the Gloomstalker Ranger to gain a +3 bonus to initiative as well as +3m to movement speed and an extra attack on round one.
- Hiding – Gloomstalkers can also hide from enemies with a bonus action.
- Umbral Shroud – They can also become invisible if obscured.
- Misty Step – With Misty Step in their repertoire, repositioning has never been easier.
With this kit combined with spell casting, the Gloomstalker is a swift and shadowy force to be reckoned with. Seeing as the Dread Ambusher feature grants an extra attack on the first round, the best approach is to pick up feats, spells, and abilities that benefit from this. Combined with the Ranger’s innate Multiattack feature, here are some build tips and tricks to get the most out of attacking multiple times in the first round. Here’s a quick look at our build suggestion which I’ll discuss below:
- Subclass: Gloom Stalker.
- Fighting Style: Archery.
- Spells: Hunter’s Mark and Pass Without Trace.
- Race: Wood Elf, Drow, Halfling, or Githyanki.
- Background: Outlander or Urchin.
- Feats: Sharpshooter and Alert.
- Gear: Gontr Mael and Gloves of Archery.
- Multiclassing: Assassin Rogue.
Let’s dive into the details.
Best Gloomstalker Spells and Fighting Styles in BG3
I would highly recommend picking up the Ensnaring Strike spell upgrade that the Favored Enemy Bounty Hunter feature grants. Additionally, I would suggest the following spells:
- Hunter’s Mark: Your bread-and-butter early game as it heavily scales with the Dread Ambusher extra attack. This is because Hunter’s Mark benefits from making multiple attacks, thus adding more damage to your round one burst. At Level 3 on the first round, it can boost your damage by a potential of 2d6 and 3d6 at Level 5 with Multiattack.
- Pass Without Trace: A crucial option as the entire premise of the Gloom Stalker depends on ambushing your enemies. That +10 to Stealth is a surefire way to achieve this strategic position.
- Enhanced Leap: This is an underrated spell that is much stronger than its D&D 5e counterpart. It will allow you to reach those Advantageous positions, such as the high ground for Advantage on your attacks.
As for the rest of your spells, Fogcloud, Cure Wounds, Animal Friendship, and other great Ranger spells are always a great choices. Also, remember to pick up the Archery fighting style, as the +2 bonus to ranged weapon attack rolls will lessen the Sharpshooter penalty. More on that later.
Best Gloomstalker Race Options
The best races for a Gloomstalker ranger are Wood Elves, Drow, Githyanki, and Halflings. To start off with the Wood Elves, they get extra movement speed, darkvision, and the Stealth skill which all make you the apex predator. In the same vein, Drow can sometimes also be useful with their Superior Darkvision and the Faerie Fire spell which grants Advantage on attacks which is great for Sharpshooter.
Halflings are also naturally sneaky and can give you Advantage on Stealth checks. Their movement speed reduction can be a problem though so consider trading a superb hiding ability with movement.
On the other hand, Githyanki have no problem with movement with their innate Jump and Misty Step abilities. These two spells will get you into the most advantageous of positions in every combat encounter which is crucial for a perfect ambush.
Best Gloomstalker Skills and Background
More than most Rangers, the Gloomstalker heavily relies on the Stealth skill. You can pick it up through the Criminal and Urchin backgrounds. If you pick it up in the Ranger’s Skills section, then the Outlander background works great for the Survival proficiency, as well.
Some additional skills to pick up from the Ranger list are Athletics for climbing to the high ground and Perception for noticing ambushes. Nobody ambushes the master ambusher.
Best Gloomstalker Feats
Since you’ll be making multiple attacks on your first round, get feats that boost your ranged damage and utility. Mainly, these are the Sharpshooter and Crossbow Expert feats.
The Sharpshooter is your crucial feat. You can get a +10 bonus to ranged weapon damage rolls if you take a -5 penalty to attack rolls. This penalty is reduced by your Archery fighting style if you picked it up. That said, the +10 damage bonus is what we’re here for, as you can potentially benefit from it a total of three times at Level 5 for a total of +30 extra damage.
Furthermore, if you’re using a crossbow, the Crossbow Expert feat can give you some nice utility by removing Disadvantage when attacking opponents in melee range. Alternatively, Alert is a great Gloomstalker feat that boosts your Initiative so that you can almost always go first. Furthermore, the Gaping Wounds attack from your Piercing Shot will last twice as long. Lastly, make a note to take the Ability Score increase to Dexterity. Reaching the 20 Dexterity cap is sometimes more worthwhile than picking up Crossbow Expert or other feats that are not Sharpshooter.
Best Gloomstalker Build Magic Items
There are plenty of useful magic items for Rangers, but I have some recommendations that will drastically boost your Gloomstalker.
- Circlet of Hunting: Pairs superbly with Hunter’s Mark to boost your attack rolls and offset the Sharpshooter feat penalty. You can buy it from Araj Oblodra in Moonrise Towers.
- Risky Ring: A high-risk high-reward item that grants Advantage on all attacks but Disadvantage on saving throws thus negating the Sharpshooter -5. Also from Araj.
- Gloves of Archery – Seeing as you are primarily a ranged weapon user, these Gloves will boost each attack, including Dread Ambusher. This damage bonus extends to any sources of extra attack, like from the Haste spell.
- Crusher’s Ring – I mentioned how important it is to position for the perfect Gloomstalker ambush. This ring will boost your movement speed along with spells like Longstrider. Reaching that high ground for Advantage on attacks should be a priority.
- Gontr Mael – This mythical beauty of a bow has various benefits, but the free casting of Haste is our focus. Haste will allow you to make another additional attack on your first round of combat for a total of four attacks. Two with multiattack, one with dread ambusher, and one with Hasted Gontr Mael.
- Shade-Slayer Cloak – This cloak increases your chances of landing a critical hit. Since you will be making numerous attacks and hopefully with the high ground or stealth Advantage, some of them will crit.
Items that prevent hindrances to your movement, like the Night Walkers, are also a great option.
Best Gloomstalker Multiclass
If multiclassing sounds fun then the Gloomstalker is paired nicely with the Assassin Rogue subclass. You can pick it up starting with Rogue from Level 9 so that we can still get that third Feat at Level 12. The four levels of Assassin Rogue offer us guaranteed critical hits on our ranged multi-attacks in the first round. This is a powerful damage boost that revolves around burst damage and one I would recommend you use on bosses or other key enemies in the fight like high-health mages. The fight then becomes a clean up that is highly in your favor.
And that’s my best Gloomstalker build guide for Baldur’s Gate 3. If you want to surprise and ambush enemies, as well as take out key targets in round one, this Gloomstalker build might be for you. If you enjoyed this guide, share it with your Ranger and Rogue friends and check out more of our Baldur’s Gate 3 tips and tricks. Stay stealthy, and seek that high ground.