Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Race Choices For Every Class

Can't decide which class and race to roll in Baldur's Gate 3? Here's a rundown of some of your best overall options.

Baldur's Gate 3
Photo: Larian Studios

As one of the largest RPGs ever made, Baldur’s Gate 3 is also one of the most intimidating. Even creating your character can easily consume hours of your life. Of course, few character creation choices are more important than your race and class.

Like many Dungeons and Dragons-based games, your choice of race and class in Baldur’s Gate 3 will ultimately determine a number of your strengths, weaknesses, and how you play the game. Unlike a lot of D&D-based games, Baldur’s Gate 3 is surprisingly generous when it comes to your race/class combos and respeccing options. Nearly any race in the game can eventually be viable in nearly any class role in the game. As such, you can’t go wrong with picking the combo that sounds most appealing to you.

That said, there are some race/class combos that offer at least slight advantages over others. With that in mind, here’s a brief rundown of the best overall race options for each class in the game.

Wait, Where Are the Humans?

While I reference Humans a few times in this article, you won’t find them listed as a “best” option for any class. That’s simply because Humans in Baldur’s Gate 3 are the ultimate blank slates. They’re not especially strong in many areas, but they also suffer from very few notable weaknesses. They’re a fantastic option for any class in the game if you just can’t decide on which race to play (or if you’re into the Human role-playing experience).

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Best Races: Half-Orc, Shield Dwarf, Dragonborn

The Half-Orc and Shield Dwarf are exceptional Barbarian race options due to the simple fact that their natural abilities/advantages synergize with what most Barbarian builds are trying to do (smash everything and leave no survivors). While the Shield Dwarf is perhaps your best overall option for pure combat purposes, the Half-Orc’s expanded movement range, Intimidation bonuses, and generally aggressive nature offer their Barbarian builds a little more mobility/flexibility. 

Dragonborn is an interesting alternative for those looking to roll out as a slightly more magic-based Barbarian. They’re a pretty tough race, and most of their Breath abilties offer Dexterity and Constitution-based benefits, which are two things you’ll definitely want to have as you level your Barbarian. They also look awesome (which should count for something).


Best Races: High Elf, High Half-Elf, Tieflings

Though the unique Bard class is sometimes thought of as a support option, they really have quite a lot to offer for those willing to master them. Most notably, the Bard’s incredible Charisma will allow you to circumvent (or overcome) a variety of role-playing challenges in ways that other classes may not be able to. 

If you are looking to emphasize the Bard’s more Charisma-driven qualities, then the High-Elf and Half-Elf are tough to beat. Their high Charisma and proficiency in many schools of magic make them natural fits for most of your Bard ability choices, and the High Elf even has access to the unique “Friends” cantrip that grants you further advantages on most Charisma checks. 

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If you’re looking for something a little different, consider going with a Tiefling Bard. Tieflings also boast high natural Charisma, and Mephistopheles Tieflings benefit from offensive and defensive arcane abilities that again pair well with the basic Bard playstyle. I’d also argue that they may be one of your best options if you’re looking to explore some of the Bard’s offensive capabilities.


Best Races: Wood Elf, Drow, Gold Dwarf

Though Clerics are often defined by their top-tier healing abilities (and rightfully so), they’re more than just support characters. Their charismatic nature and ability to worship multiple deities actually allow them to escape, and cause, quite a bit of trouble with surprising ease. 

Wood Elves and Gold Dwarfs are probably the best overall Cleric options at the moment. Wood Elves are capable enough spellcasters (especially when it comes to Cleric abilities), and their incredible movement speed allows them to easily navigate the battlefield and put themselves in a position to best support any allies. While that is certainly not true of Gold Dwarves, that race does get a valuable Wisdom buff and is capable of making the most of the Strength/Defense options that can turn a properly built Cleric into half-tanks. 

If none of that sounds appealing to you, then consider the Drow. They’re an unusual option to be sure, but Drows’ resistances against various schools of magic allow them to stay active in a lot of fights, and their race-based abilities offer them extra utility skills that will help parties navigate dark and dangerous areas. 


Best Races: Wood Elf, Gold Dwarf, Githyanki

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While Druids are rightfully defined by their shapeshifting abilities, they’re also fairly capable spellcasters in Baldur’s Gate 3. Actually, they’re fairly similar to Clerics in the sense that they often rely on high Wisdom stats for a variety of support spells and similar skills. While you can build your Druid in pretty much any way you’d like (it’s a big part of the class’ appeal), most Druids will rely on such spells to some degree. 

As such, Wood Elf and Gold Dwarf remain top race options. Wood Elves are the obvious choice from both a skill and role-playing perspective, though Gold Dwarves offer additional defensive benefits to complement their surprisingly strong spellcasting abilities. The former is a bit better for magic-based Druids, and the latter is more suited to utilize Druid’s defensive abilities.

If you’re looking for something outside the box (and don’t want to settle on a Human), then consider the Githyanki. Not only do the Githyanki offer a high base Wisdom stat, but they allow you to explore some of the melee and other combat options that a lot of other Druid builds will often overlook. 


Best Races: Githyanki, Half-Orc, Shield Dwarf

The often overlooked and misunderstood Fighter class is far more interesting than it often gets credit for. Fighters’ ability to wield so many weapons and equip so many pieces of gear make them a natural choice for anyone looking to use as much equipment as possible, and their proficiency with various forms of combat allows them to dominate the battlefield as tanks, archers, or even duelists. They’re a combat fan’s dream class.

Githyanki were pretty much made to be Fighters. They’re strong, they’re agile, and they have just enough magical abilities to support anyone who wants to multiclass into some spellcasting options. Half-Orcs aren’t nearly as versatile (which is why they’re ideal Barbarians), but their raw power makes them forces of nature who can also serve as powerful tanks (should the need arise). 

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The same is certainly true of Shield Dwarves. Probably the best tank race in the game, Shield Dwarves are unbelievably resilient to most forms of physical damage, and their racial bonuses enhance most Fighter playstyles you will likely pursue. If you’re looking for some magical flexibility, though, then you might want to stick with Githyanki.


Best Races: Githyanki, Drow, Wood Half-Elf

Essentially the martial artists of Baldur’s Gate 3, Monks rely on melee combat and mystical arts to gain the advantage during most combat scenarios. Indeed, one of the things that most obviously separates Monks from their melee competition is the way they emphasize weaving powerful magical strikes into their hand-to-hand rotation. Depending on which subclass you pick, you can actually unlock some surprisingly powerful arcane abilities with the Monk.

So far as race choices go, you can’t really go wrong with the Githyanki. Many of the same attributes that make the Githyanki excellent Fighters also apply to the Monk class. You may take a slight early hit when it comes to spellcasting, but the Githyanki’s ability to thrive in various combat situations makes them a natural fit for a class that doesn’t rely on traditional melee options.

Wood Half-Elfs may be an even better option. They’re mobile, they bring the valuable Darkvision skill to the party, and they boast natural magical defenses that allow them to escape some particularly nasty melee situations. Their stat distribution is also pretty generous for the Monk class despite the fact you may not usually consider them for other melee-focused builds. If you’re looking for an alternative along these lines, also consider a Halfling.

Finally, there is the Drow. If you’re going to eventually go with the stealth-focused Way of Shadow Monk, then Drows may be your best option. Essentially a variation on the basic Rogue archetype, Shadow Monks depend on a fascinating combination of skills that Drow happen to be particularly well-suited for.

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Best Races: Gold Dwarf, Zariel Tiefling, High Half-Elf, Half-Orc

A longtime favorite of RPG fans everywhere, Baldur’s Gate 3’s take on the Paladin class is one of the most interesting I’ve seen in a video game. Yes, you build your Paladin to be the mighty forces of light and justice that we typically know them as. However, Paladins can also break their oaths in this game and explore some…less than savory abilities. 

If you’re playing a “pure” Paladin, Gold Dwarves are a fantastic option. They’re tough, they’re excellent in melee combat, and they’re quite gifted at casting many of the defensive/support spells that elevate Paladins over pure tank options. 

High Half-Elfs offer an interesting option for those looking to lean into Paladin’s spellcasting abilities a bit more. They have the raw stats that Paladins crave (Wisdom and Charisma), and they really allow you to explore some of the deeper mystical abilities many Paladins don’t get to engage with quite as often.

Looking to go the Oathbreaker route? Zariel Tieflings may be your best option. Thematic advantages aside, they offer the right blend of stats and racial abilities needed to help you get to the point of the game where you can start properly building a darker Paladin. Drows are also a great role-playing option for that kind of build, though you may struggle a touch more during the early parts of the game. 

Finally, let’s talk about Half-Orcs. Though a pretty bad Paladin option on paper due to their lack of natural magical proficiency, Half-Orcs excel at the melee, defensive, and intimidation elements of the Paladin class. If you’re willing to pour points into their Charisma and other lacking base stats, they can eventually be turned into powerful Paladins. 

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Best Races: Wood Elf, Forest Gnome, Lightfoot Halfling

As you probably suspect, Rangers are primarily known for their bow and arrow skills. However, it’s better to think of Rangers as “hunters.” Their exceptional tracking abilities offer them a variety of combat/interaction options that other classes can’t quite replicate, and they’re even capable of commanding both woodland creatures and animal-based mystical forces.

As such, it shouldn’t surprise you that Wood Elves are a top-tier Ranger option. Nearly every aspect of the Wood Elf class was designed to support what Rangers are trying to do, and you can build a Wood Elf out into pretty much whatever kind of Ranger you could dream of. They also offer some obvious thematic advantages for you role-players out there. 

Forest Gnomes offer an equally viable alternative to Wood Elves. Though some of their racial abilities are a bit redundant, they may just be the best option for those who are looking to lean into the “Beast Master” path that the Ranger class supports. If you’d like to play a Druid-like character that can effectively defend themselves at longer distances, then this might be the path for you. 

Finally, there are Lightfoot Halflings. The same abilities that make Halflings an excellent Rouge race make them exceptional Gloom Stalker Rangers. If you’re looking to go for a kind of assassin character that can still utilize elements of natural magic, then Halfings are pretty hard to beat. 


Best Races: Deep Gnome, Lightfoot Halfling, High Elf/Lolth-Sworn Drow

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Stealth, subterfuge, shadowy magic…the Baldur’s Gate 3 version of Rogues offers pretty much everything that you think of when you think of the basic Rogue archetype. If you want to stick to the shadows before assassinating your enemies with daggers and bows (or just robbing them blind) then Rogues are for you. Of course, the right Rogue builds also offer an interesting array of magical abilities. 

High Elves are an obvious choice for most Rogue builds due to their natural stat distribution and proficiency with many basic Rogue tools (like bows). If you’re looking to lean into the Rogue’s mystical abilities, though, then the Drow’s natural magical advantages may offer some of the long-term benefits you desire. 

Deep Gnomes are probably my personal favorite race for many Rogue builds (especially thieves). Their Stone Camouflage ability is one of the best racial Rogue skills in the game, and they’re one of the best classes in Baldur’s Gate 3 when it comes to operating in dark places. They also benefit from very generous stat distribution in terms of what most Rogues are looking for. 

Lightfoot Halflings are an interesting alternative to Gnomes. Their naturally stealthy, start with high Dexterity (the most valuable Rogue stat), and boast the movement speed that Rogues are often looking for to put themselves in an advantageous position on the battlefield. They lack some of the natural benefits other races have access to, but they’re quite versatile. 


Best Races: Asmodeus Tiefling, Half-Drow, Dragonborn

Compared to other magic-casting classes, Sorcerers tend to rely on more “innate” or “primal” forms of magic. They’re conjurers that can produce unique magical abilities that often enhance characters/weapons or otherwise offer unique benefits that go beyond direct damage. You can also think of them as illusionists, though they’re slightly more versatile than that. 

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I think Half-Drows offer one of the best overall Sorcerer packages in the game. After all, you can make an argument for both High-Elves and pure Drows in this spot, and Half-Drows draw from a bit of the best of both of those worlds. They have most of the base stats and racial abilities you’re looking for in most Sorcerer builds. 

Asmodeus Tieflings are nearly as interesting. Their naturally high Charisma and Constitutions synergize with the base Sorcerer package, as do their racial abilities. I think that Half-Drows may have a little more to offer in the long term, but Tieflings are just a fantastic Sorcerer option for nearly every challenge you’ll eventually encounter. 

Looking for something outside the box? Consider the Dragonborn. If you’re fully committed to pursuing a Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer build, you’ll find that Dragonborn are uniquely capable of pursuing that path for all the obvious reasons. The early game may be a bit tougher, but Baldur’s Gate 3 is a marathon, and Dragonborn ultimately become powerful Sorcerers. 


Best Races: Mephistopheles Tiefling, Half-Drow

Perhaps best thought of as the dark counterpoint to the Cleric class, Warlocks are charismatic conjurers who are especially interested in the dark arts. Depending on how you build your Warlock, you’ll rely on everything from damage-over-time abilities to dark summons to defeat your foes. Regardless of your build, you will likely turn to the Warlock’s mystically-enhanced charms at some point. 

Teiflings and Drows really are the best Warlock options in the game. It’s easy to raise their Charisma to the thresholds Warlocks eventually require, and their natural magical abilities (including their racial bonuses) will support pretty much whatever path you’ll choose to walk as you build your Warlock in the later parts of the game. They’re obviously not your only options, but they are both clearly designed for this role. 

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It should also be noted that Humans’ generous statistical spread actually makes them ideal Warlocks. I’d especially recommend going with a Hhuman if you’re thinking of experimenting with multiclass options that aim to push Warlocks outside the realm of pure magic users.


Best Races: High Elf, Seldarine Drow, Rock Gnome

One of the most popular class choices in RPG history, Wizards have come to define the entire fantasy genre. In Baldur’s Gate 3, Wizards are capable of specializing in a wide variety of magical schools that eventually grant them access to the most diverse selection of spells in the game. Of course, they’re also an ideal choice for anyone who wants to fire off a few magic missiles. 

Once again, Elves and Drow remain top-tier magic users. You can always split the difference by going with a Half-Drow, but you may find it more useful to figure out which race’s innate abilities are most appealing to you and then building your Wizard to support their core strengths. High Elves are probably the most gifted natural spellcasters, but Drow aren’t far behind and offer some incredible unique racial abilities. 

While Tieflings are actually a fascinating Wizard alternative, don’t sleep on a Rock Gnome. Though not pure magic users, Gnomes are much more magically inclined than some of the other races in the game. More importantly, they boast higher natural defenses than you’ll find from many other spellcasters, and their Artificer’s Lore racial synergizes incredibly well with many dialog-based dilemmas Wizards will often encounter.