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Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Races for Every Class and Subclass

Overwhelmed with character creation? Find the best race option for every Baldur's Gate 3 class and subclass here.

Baldur’s Gate 3 features a hardy list of races to choose from, and choosing the optimal pairings can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re jumping back into DnD for the first time in a while and need a refresher on which to put together. Whatever the reason, you’ll want to know the best races for every class and subclass in BG3, as each has different traits that make perfect pairs.

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The Best Races for Every Class and Subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3

The best races for every class and subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t just down to your chosen playstyle. While these pairings can and will likely affect your playstyle, I find they often do in a good way. You’re optimizing proficiencies, abilities, and skills into a (theoretically) better character than if you’d just chosen them at random or based on their descriptions.

Before we go further into this BG3 guide, here’s the list of classes featured in Baldur’s Gate 3:

Baldur’s Gate 3 is designed in a way that you can choose any race to play with your class, even if it’s not optimal should you choose. Despite focusing this guide from that perspective, I acknowledge that it’s just fun to roleplay sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with that!

You might just make starting out a bit difficult in doing so. Additionally, you won’t see Human listed as the best race for any class since they’re made to be jacks of all trades, making them a suitable option no matter what build you want.

Best Races for the Barbarian Class and Subclasses

A tabletop classic, Barbarians rely on Strength to deal out damage while remaining hardy enough with Constitution to take hits since you’ll be in close combat. As such, races that are good for melee combat and can tank are the best options. There are three subclasses for Barbarian, so I’ve included each one and paired it with its best race and subrace.

  • Berserker: Half-Orc.
  • Wildheart: Half-Orc.
  • Wild Magic: Gold Dwarf.

Best Races for the Bard Class and Subclasses

Bards are more versatile than they might seem, especially if you only know them from memes. Like Barbarians, Bards have three subclasses you can choose from. College of Lore focuses on spellcasting and supporting allies, which makes races like High Elf useful. College of Valor is more suited for martial fighting, as is College of Swords, so melee-focused races can help. Wood Half-Elf is particularly useful with College of Swords for proficiency in longswords and longbows.

  • College of Lore: High Elf or High Half-Elf.
  • College of Swords: Wood Half-Elf.
  • College of Valor: Wood Half-Elf.

Best Races for the Cleric Class and Subclasses

Clerics vary greatly with seven subclasses, but two races stick out as the best choices across them. For the spellcaster Clerics who want to focus on healing or support, High Elves give you an extra cantrip and proficiency in two strong weapons: longswords and longbows. Then, for the Clerics who want to lean into your martial fighting abilities, Half-Orcs are sturdy and basically made for close combat.

  • Life Domain: High Elf.
  • Light Domain: High Elf.
  • Trickery Domain: High Elf.
  • Knowledge Domain: High Elf.
  • Nature Domain: High Elf.
  • Tempest Domain: Half-Orc.
  • War Domain: Half-Orc.

Related: The Best Cleric Build in BG3

Best Races for the Druid Class and Subclasses

Druids have three subclasses. Circles of the Land and Spores focus on spellcasting and Wisdom, while Circle of the Moon focuses on being a tank and dealing damage through weapons and Wild Shapes. As such, spellcasting Druids want races that enhance their magic abilities, like High Elves who have the added benefit of an extra cantrip. Meanwhile, Circle of the Moon Druids want a sturdy race that can fall back on melee combat when you run out of Wild Shapes.

  • Circle of the Land: High Elf and Wood Half-Elf.
  • Circle of the Moon: Githyanki or Half-Orc.
  • Circle of Spores: High Elf and Wood Half-Elf.

Best Races for the Fighter Class and Subclasses

Fighters are a classic martial class, and you’ll want races that can deal out melee damage since you’ll reach a point where you’re attacking three times in one turn. The Battle Master and Champion subclasses are focused on dealing out damage, where the best Fighter builds use Half-Orcs, while the Eldritch Knight has more tanking capabilities in addition to melee combat and benefits from hearty races like the Gold Dwarf.

  • Battle Master: Half-Orc.
  • Champion: Half-Orc.
  • Eldritch Knight: Gold Dwarf.

Best Races for the Monk Class and Subclasses

Monks are versatile melee fighters who are fast and can pump out damage. While multiple races can be viable for the three subclasses Monk offers, your best option depends on what traits you want. Drows are a good choice for focusing on Stealth in Way of the Shadow, but Half-Orcs can be a solid option due to their Relentless Endurance and Savage Attacks traits.

  • Way of the Four Elements: Half-Orc or Wood Half-Elf.
  • Way of the Open Hand: Half-Orc or Wood Half-Elf.
  • Way of the Shadow: Half-Orc or Drow Half-Elf.

Best Races for the Paladin Class and Subclasses

A tank or strong combatant with Smite at the ready, your best Paladin build starts with a race that can take hits or dole them out, depending on your preference. Of course, Half-Orcs are strong when it comes to melee classes, but the High Half-Elf offers a bit of ranged ability if you take the Firebolt cantrip. Otherwise, if you want to go for a tanky build, Gold Dwarf is the race you want.

  • Oath of the Ancients: High Half-Elf or Half-Orc.
  • Oath of Devotion: Half-Orc or Gold Dwarf.
  • Oath of Vengeance: Half-Orc or Dragonborn.
  • Oathbreaker: Half-Orc or Dragonborn.

Best Races for the Ranger Class and Subclasses

Rangers give you a mix between Stealth abilities and ranged damage, and you can unleash a vicious barrage of attacks depending on your build. Rangers are a staple in fantasy settings, and Baldur’s Gate 3 is no exception. You might expect Wood Elves to be the best race for Ranger subclasses, and their bonus movement speed is certainly a nice bonus. However, the best builds feature the Stealth proficiency of the Lightfoot Halfling or the Stealth Advantage of the Deep Gnome.

  • Beast Master: Wood Elf or Drow.
  • Gloom Stalker: Wood Elf or Deep Gnome.
  • Hunter:  Wood Elf or Wood Half-Elf.

Best Races for the Rogue Class and Subclasses

Rogues are melee damage dealers who rely a lot on movement speed, bonus actions, and Stealth. This class isn’t as sturdy as other melee fighters, so you want to be able to move in and attack enemies and be able to get out of danger after. As such, Wood Elves with their movement speed make a great choice for Rogues, but Deep Gnomes can also be your best option with their Stealth Advantage.

  • Arcane Trickster: Wood Elf or Deep Gnome
  • Assassin: Wood Elf
  • Thief: Wood Elf

Related: Best Rogue Build in Baldur’s Gate 3

Best Races for the Sorcerer Class and Subclasses

Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t offer every Sorcerer subclass featured in D&D, and those that are in the game lead to more close combat for these casters than you might expect. As such, Githyanki become a strong race choice for their Medium Armor that’ll help you stay alive to deal more damage. Alternatively, you could go with any subrace of Tiefling for utility cantrips or Dragonborn to handle enemies that get too close for all of these subclasses.

  • Draconic Bloodline: Tiefling or Dragonborn (Any).
  • Storm Sorcery: Githyanki, Tiefling (Any), or Dragonborn (Any).
  • Wild Magic: Githyanki, Tiefling (Any), or Dragonborn (Any).

Warlock

My favorite class to play in Baldur’s Gate 3 so far, the Warlock is a mix of casting and martial ability. Also, you get Eldritch Blast, which is a cantrip I use a lot and have been able to one-hit enemies with in the early game. Warlocks rely on Charisma and Wisdom for spells and saving throws, so the best Warlock builds won’t feature High Elves since the free cantrip uses Intelligence. However, you can get a lot of use out of Tieflings and Drow Half-Elves.

  • The Archfey: Drow Half-Elf or Tiefling (Any).
  • The Fiend: Drow Half-Elf or Tiefling (Any).
  • The Great One: Drow Half-Elf or Tiefling (Any).

Wizard

Wizards are the iconic spellcasters of the fantasy world, and Baldur’s Gate 3 includes eight subclasses. Since you’ll be relying on Intelligence, the best Wizard builds are going to feature High Elves as you get an extra cantrip that’s Intelligence-based.

  • Abjuration School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Conjuration School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Divination School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Enchantment School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Evocation School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Illusion School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Necromancy School: High Elf or High Half-Elf
  • Transmutation School: High Elf or High Half-Elf

Our Favorite Combinations

Screenshot by GameSkinny

I love the free Faerie Fire that Drows get, especially on a Rogue. Using a Potion of Speed for two Actions lets you give yourself advantage for Sneak Attack. My other favorite combination is Wood Elf (half or full) with melee classes like Barbarian and Fighter who can attack multiple times in a turn. If they kill an enemy, the extra movement speed can be the difference between getting an attack on another enemy or having to wait to get in range.

The variety of options can be overwhelming, but I hope this guide to the best races for every class and subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3 helps. For more content, we have other BG3 guides available, like how to use Mage Hand or if you can become a vampire.


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Author
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.