Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Barbarian Subclass Options, Ranked

Barbarians are one of Baldur's Gate 3's best combat classes, but you won't get as much out of them if you don't pick the right subclass for you.

Baldur's Gate 3 barbarian
Photo: Larian Studios

As one of the best combat classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, Barbarians can easily earn a spot in just about every kind of party. Of course, you won’t get the most out of your Barbarian if you don’t pick the best subclass for you.

Once again, the phrase “for you” should hover over this entire discussion. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a remarkably well-balanced game, which means that you have a fair chance of guiding any kind of Barbarian through this expansive adventure however you see fit. Wrong decisions in this game are certainly possible, but they’re relative to what you’re trying to get out of the experience.

Having said that, those who are trying to “min/max” and get the most mileage out of the Barbarian class from a statistical standpoint should certainly consider some subclasses to be more viable than others. So far as that goes, here are your best options:

3. Wild Magic Barbarian

There is no wrong way to play a Barbarian in Baldur’s Gate 3, but those who don’t know what they’re getting into will quickly become frustrated with the Wild Magic subclass.

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Wild Magic Barbarians have access to a special Rage mode that causes them to trigger a randomly selected magical effect from a pool of pre-set options. Said magical effects can do everything from allowing you to teleport across great distances to imbuing your weapon with powerful mystical abilities. They are all individually useful and intentionally beneficial (meaning you won’t randomly draw some “troll” effect). 

The problem with that ability is the dreaded word “random.” Every spell is theoretically useful, but some will be significantly more useful in certain situations than others. Did you randomly trigger a patch of protective thorns around you while battling ranged enemies? Too bad, better luck next time. 

Wild Magic Barbarians gain additional magic-based benefits as they level, but they’re not especially useful compared to what other subclasses (and classes) get. For instance, their Level 10 ability (Wild Backlash) allows them to roll another random magical effect when they take damage or fail saving throws. It’s nice, but it’s one of the weaker Level 10 bonuses given the intentionally chaotic nature of those spells.

Wild Magic Barbarians can be amusing, but anyone not willing to embrace the chaos may find themselves constantly frustrated with how little control they have over this subclass’ main feature. The other benefits this subclass offers (such as enhanced magical resistances) just aren’t good enough to compensate for that drawback. 

2. Wildheart Barbarians

Though the general consensus is that Wildheart Barbarians are not the best overall Barbarian subclass, I do think that Wildheart is a far more appealing/powerful subclass than it seems to get credit for.

The defining features of the Wildheart subclass are Bestial Hearts and Animal Aspects. Bestial Hearts allow you to “attune” yourself to a type of animal in order to unlock extra abilities. For instance, Bear Heart will grant you extra damage resistances and Eagle Heart lets you perform Dash as a bonus action. This almost Druid-like feature is intended to encourage you to specialize in particular playstyles (or even mix-and-match various benefits).

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As you level, you’ll eventually acquire Animal Aspects that grant you additional thematic bonuses. While some simply enhance your current defenses and/or damage output, others allow you to explore entirely unique Barbarian build possibilities. For instance, Wolf Animal Aspect greatly enhances your stealth capabilities and Chimpanzee Animal Aspect allows you to blind enemies by throwing camp supplies. 

The appropriately wild nature of those abilities helps make Wildheart one of Barbarian’s most enjoyable subclasses. Wildheart supports multiple viable Barbarian build possibilities, and each build possibility supports a variety of enjoyable role-playing options (especially when you account for this subclass’ inherent ability to commune with animals). 

To be honest, the biggest problem with this subclass is that it is so balanced. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to entirely compensate for the Barbarian class’ inherent weaknesses via this subclass option. You can make up for some of their deficiencies, but only by a matter of degrees. Alternatively, you can lean into the class’ strengths via this subclass, but the next subclass option allows you to play to the class’ strengths so much more effectively. As such, this subclass is best suited for those who are more interested in entertainment value than maximizing the effectiveness of their class. 

1. Berserker Barbarian

The Berserker subclass may not be the most exciting Barbarian subclass, but it is almost certainly the most powerful subclass option. 

The heart of the Berserker subclass is the powerful “Frenzy” ability. Frenzy is basically an upgraded version of your already powerful Rage skill. It not only grants you additional resistances and advantages, but it allows you to access some special Frenzy-based abilities that grant your Barbarian valuable bonus actions. One of those abilities even lets you throw people across the battlefield, which is as amusing as it is surprisingly useful.

At higher levels, Berserker Barbarians acquire additional ways to not only resist the various effects that would otherwise derail their assaults (such as Sleep) but to actually instill Fear into their enemies simply by approaching them. Berserkers also benefit from some generous buffs to their total HP and Attack Power throughout the leveling process. 

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That’s ultimately why you can’t go wrong with a Berserker Barbarian. At worst, it’s a strictly more powerful version of the basic things that the Barbarian class is designed to do (deal and take massive amounts of damage). It’s not necessarily the most exciting or original option, but it’s incredibly effective and surprisingly enjoyable for those who enjoy this class’ core features.