Don’t be fooled by their generic name. The Fighter is one of the most versatile and entertaining classes in Baldur’s Gate 3. Fighters are uniquely capable of exploring (and even mastering) nearly every element of combat in the game. Their versatility makes them a popular choice among players who don’t quite know how they’re going to play Baldur’s Gate 3 but do know that they want to be able to kill anything that gets in their way through a variety of tactics.
Of course, the only way to get the most out of the Fighter class is to choose the best Fighter subclass once you reach Level 3. Like most of the other classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, your choice of Fighter subclass will largely be dictated by your personal preferences. However, a quick look at the Fighter’s various subclass options reveals that some are generally better than others.
On paper, the Champion subclass is just a strictly better version of the Fighter class archetype. Early versions of this subclass gain access to a valuable Critical Strike buff that effectively allows Fighters to consistently dish out even more devastating critical hits. At higher levels, Champions gain increased global proficiency with various weapons and the ability to jump significantly further. Those are all great things.
The problem is that those bonuses don’t add up to be nearly enough. I suspect that the appeal of the Champion subclass is supposed to be its consistency. They typically offer more powerful versions of the things that Fighters already do well. Hell, I even recently said that Berskers are the best Barbarian subclass largely because they offer a better version of the things that make Barbarians special, so the same logic should apply here.
However, the Fighter’s other subclasses are not only remarkably consistent but far more dynamic. They offer at least as much top-end damage potential as well as a greater array of abilities that tend to be more useful in more situations. Champion Fighters are best reserved for those looking to maximize their critical strikes. Everyone else has better options.
2. Eldritch Knight
As the name suggests, the Eldritch Knight subclass allows Fighters to access various magical abilities that they would otherwise never be able to use. Specifically, they acquire two Cantrips and three Level 1 Wizard abilities as soon as you choose this subclass option. At higher levels, Eldritch Knights unlock even more spells as well as the powerful ability to deal a weapon attack as a bonus action after using a Cantrip.
Truth be told, I briefly considered ranking Eldritch Knights last on this list. Fighters are obviously not known for their magical abilities, and picking this subclass won’t necessarily change that fact. If you really want to go that route, you might be better off building a battlemage using the game’s multiclass functionality.
However, there is something to be said for the way this subclass allows you to retain all of the things that make Fighters the dynamic combat machines they’re meant to be while occasionally accessing an array of generally useful spells. It allows you to get a taste of that Battlemage lifestyle without having to invest in Multiclass leveling points, which at least makes it more appealing than the Champion subclass in many situations.
1. Battle Master
The Battle Master isn’t just the Fighter’s most powerful subclass option; it’s arguably the most entertaining.
Battle Master Fighters gain access to a small selection of optional abilities that let you do everything from trip an enemy to grant your allies extra Hit Points. At Level 3, you’re able to choose three of these incredibly powerful abilities. By Level 11, though, you’ll have access to seven of those abilities as well as enhanced Superiority Dice rolls.
And that’s why the Battle Master is the best Fighter subclass in Baldur’s Gate 3. Like the Champion subclass, it enhances most of the things that Fighters were designed to do. Like the Eldritch Knight subclass, it grants the Fighter access to a wide variety of new abilities. It’s not quite the absolute best of both worlds, but it comes close enough to achieving that powerful status to make it the obvious choice for the majority of players.