Bardlock Build

Bardlock Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
Comments
The best Bardlock Build for Baldur's Gate 3. It is a multiclass of Warlock and Bard to create a very powerful synergy. The former will give access to Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​ cantrip for more offense that Lore Bard doesn't have. While Bard gives more proficiencies and better control capabilities that Warlock does not have.

Bardlock Build

The merging of Warlock and Bard multiclass gives a unique synergy and covers one of the main Lore Bard weaknesses - a lack of offensive actions. Moreover, Warlock gets access to Eldritch Invocations, which can prove valuable in empowering Bard.

Bard, specifically the College of Lore, brings bonus skill proficiencies and most importantly - Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words. Moreover, you will get access to some powerful level 5 spells from progression and Magical Secrets selection.

This is a variation of pure Lore Bard Build, albeit much more offensive. Warlock also gives unique dialogue options in various gameplay settings, so you have more ways to solve various situations. Overall, as both Charisma-based spellcasters, this is a great multiclass combo.

Leveling Overview

Here is a concise table with all the main picks during your leveling progression. For more detailed reasoning, I go further in the article. Also, do not forget to check the recommended gear as it is crucial.

There are a few ways how you can progress with this build. I would recommend going with Bard and obtaining Warlock multiclass later on. You lose on some stuff, but the things that Bard gets at levels 5-6 are just too good to delay until levels 7-8.

Moreover, one of the key items of Potent Robe icon bg3Potent Robe is obtained in Act 2, so Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​ before that will be somewhat underwhelming.

Bardlock Leveling Overview Expand
Level Class Selection
1 Bard 1 STR - 8, DEX - 16, CON - 14, INT - 8, WIS - 10, CHA - 17
Skills: Persuasion, Performance, Intimidation
Cantrips: Friends icon action bg3Friends, Vicious Mockery icon action bg3Vicious Mockery
Spells: Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​, Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers​, Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire​, Longstrider icon action bg3Longstrider
2 Bard 2 Spells: Tasha's Hideous Laughter icon action bg3Tasha's Hideous Laughter
3 Bard 3 Subclass: College of Lore
Skills: Deception, Perception, Insight
Spells: Enhance Ability icon action bg3Enhance Ability
Replace Spell: Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ -> Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers
4 Bard 4 Cantrips: Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion
Spells: Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person
Feat: Ability Improvement +2 Charisma
Replace Spell: Tasha's Hideous Laughter icon action bg3Tasha's Hideous Laughter​ -> Blindness icon action bg3Blindness
5 Bard 5
Spells: Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding
Replace Spells: Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire​ -> Plant Growth icon action bg3Plant Growth
6 Bard 6 Cantrips: Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights
Spells: Hypnotic Pattern icon action bg3Hypnotic Pattern
Magical Secrets: Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar​, Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell
7 Warlock 7 Cantrips: Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast, Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand
Subclass: The Fiend
Spells: Hex icon action bg3Hex, Command icon action bg3Command
8 Warlock 8 Spells: Hellish Rebuke icon action bg3Hellish Rebuke
Eldritch Invocations: Agonising Blast icon passive feature bg3Agonising Blast​, Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight​ or Repelling Blast icon passive feature bg3Repelling Blast
9 Bard 7 Spells: Confusion icon action bg3Confusion
10 Bard 8 Spells: any spell, for example Fear icon action bg3Fear​ 
Feat: Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder​ or Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert
11 Bard 9 Spells: Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster
12 Bard 10 Skills: Performance, Persuasion
Cantrips: Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights
Spells: Dominate Person icon action bg3Dominate Person
Magical Secrets: Wall of Fire icon action bg3Wall of Fire​, Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm

Starting the Game - Level 1

This section covers the creation screen and what would go into the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for the Bard Warlock build. Some of these choices are impactful as you cannot respec them.

Races

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. Also, keep in mind whether your picked race has Shield proficiency as this can improve survivability, especially in the early game.

If you are having difficulties making a choice, pick whatever you prefer in terms of looks or roleplay. "The perfect race pick" is important if you are into extreme min-maxing.
Race Features Description
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3High Half-Elf Solid race for almost any caster, especially early in the game. You gain shield proficiency and additional cantrip. I recommend taking a utility one as a spellcasting modifier for intelligence.
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3Drow Half-Elf As Half-elf you gain shield proficiency, which is valuable early to mid-game. Moreover, if you plan on using Warlock's Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight​ this race gets access to the Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ spell at level 5.
human bg3Human
  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Human Versatility icon passive feature bg3Human Versatility
The human race helps this build to maintain a solid Armour Class by giving Shield Proficiency. Moreover, you get a bonus skill proficiency.
halfling bg3Halfling
  • Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck
  • Brave icon passive feature bg3Brave
Any subrace will work. What matters is the Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck​ that will improve role-playing aspects with high roll success chances. Moreover, these will also work well with attack roll spells.
tiefling bg3Asmodeus Tiefling
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Hellish Resistance icon passive feature bg3Hellish Resistance
Another race that is perfect if you plan on using Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight​ invocation. At level 5 it can cast a Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ spell. Moreover, at level 3, you get Hellish Rebuke icon action bg3Hellish Rebuke​ which is useful for some bonus damage using reactions.

Class

Overview
bard Baldur's Gate 3Bard
Features
Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration Iconic bard feature, that can improve damage, dialogue dice rolls, and saving throws.
ico_mini_spellSlot Baldur's Gate 3Spell Slots These can be used to cast spells and are restored each long rest.

Cantrips

Cantrips Description
Friends icon action bg3Friends If you are the main character and do most of the dialogues, this is mandatory as it gives an advantage on dialogue rolls.
Vicious Mockery icon action bg3Vicious Mockery Although not very powerful, it can help with weakening enemy for their next attack, if you know that none of your attacks will kill them. Later on, if you will be respeccing, switch it for something else.

Spells

Spell Description
Sleep icon action bg3Sleep Very good spell early in the game, as it guarantees that enemies are tapped out from combat unless hit.
Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers A solid offensive spell, that can also frighten enemies, disabling their movement.
Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire You can use this spell to help your party members to attack with Advantage. This way they get a higher chance to hit, overall increasing their average damage per turn.

For the last spell, I recommend picking one of these two:

Spell Description
Longstrider icon action bg3Longstrider​​ Very useful, if no one in your party can cast this. It will give you a better combat advantage, especially for melee characters.
Healing Word icon action bg3Healing Word Useful spell, that can be used to raise downed allies, with just bonus action.

Starting Instrument

Take anything here, that you like by the looks

Background

Backgrounds are mostly for role-playing and you can pick whatever you prefer. If you want to optimize, then it would be good to pick backgrounds that are based on your ability points of Charisma.

Background Skills Description
Guild Artisan Insight
Persuasion
Gives persuasion proficiency, for better dialogue checks.
Entertainer Acrobatics
Performance
Improves Acrobatics skills and gives bonuses to Performance for some dialogue checks.
Charlatan Deception
Sleight of Hand
A truly great option especially as you can be the one that unlocks and disarms most of the traps with Sleight of Hand proficiency.
Noble History
Persuasion
Although you will have low intelligence the Persuasion check improvement is good. But it's an inferior option to Guild Artisan in my opinion.

Abilities

Now let's take a look at the abilities of the best Bard Warlock build. Correct allocation will allow you to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 8 This build does not need strength.
dexterityDexterity 16 (15+1) This plays an important role in improving armor class and increasing initiative. I think Bard must go first due to low survivability and get some control spells activated.
constitution bg3Constitution 14 Enough Constitution for better survivability.
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Do not need this ability.
wisdomWisdom 10 Additional Wisdom to avoid any negative modifiers as many spells target this ability.
charismaproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Charisma 17 (15+2) The most important stat for the Bard caster build. It will improve dialogue roll checks, but most importantly spell success chance. If you plan on getting Auntie Ethel's Hair for +1 Charisma leave it at 17, otherwise set 16 and use two points for Wisdom.

Skills and Expertise

Overall, the skills should be impacted by your roleplaying and background decisions. However, you would still want those that will give you the best benefits. My recommendations are to pick those at which you have a high ability modifier and these are Charisma-related.

  • Deception
  • Intimidation
  • Performance
  • Persuasion

Leveling Progression - Levels 2-12

Here is the detailed progression for the Bardlock to get you started. You can use it as a guideline because early games can be daunting and overwhelming. Later on, once you get a feel for the class you can start picking your options

I will be progressing with Bard, until level 7, and only then take Warlock. That is my personal preference, due to the huge power spike that Lore Bard gets at levels 5-6. However, if you are interested in obtaining Warlock stuff earlier, you could even take it now.

Level 2

This is where you will have left the tutorial area, and will start exploring the world. From the get-go, Bard gets some useful bonuses.

Features Description
Jack of All Trades icon passive feature bg3Jack of All Trades A truly useful passive throughout the whole game to increase your chances of ability roll success.

That is not all, there is another surprise waiting:

Actions Description
Song of Rest icon action bg3Song of Rest This is a very important Bard action, and with it, you can use Short Rest a third time before Long Rest. Use it to heal or restore class-specific resources. So do not save those, and use them to your heart's content. Moreover, classes like Warlock, and Fighter, greatly benefit from it.

Spells

Spell Description
Tasha's Hideous Laughter icon action bg3Tasha's Hideous Laughter Can be used to immobilize enemies with low Wisdom. However, later in the game, there will be better options.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace yet.

Level 3

The Bard gets to choose its subclass. Moreover, level 2 spells are unlocked, giving some better offensive and control options.

Subclass

Overview
college of lore bg3College of Lore
Features
Cutting Words icon passive feature bg3Cutting Words This is a very powerful feature, you can use Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration​ to debilitate enemies and decrease their attack rolls or Saving Throws. It is one of the pillars of Lore Bard's build.

Skills

By picking Lore Bard you get to pick three additional skills in which you gain proficiency. Again I would recommend picking anything that is Charisma related (if not yet picked). After that you can take - Perception, Insight, Sleight of Hand, or anything else.

Spells

Now some good spells are unlocked that will improve your options.

Spells Description
Enhance Ability icon action bg3Enhance Ability I would say this is mandatory on Honour Mode, and optional on lower difficulties. The spell can be a lifesaver as it will give a huge chance of success in case you need a roll advantage.

Replace Spell

I would replace Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ for:

Spells Description
Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers The biggest damage level 2 spells. It hits two times - first when you cast, second after it is the enemy's turn. You could also use this as a replacement for any spells you do not use.

Level 4

Now, you get some other great choice picks - the first feat is unlocked.

Cantrips

Cantrip Description
Light icon action bg3Light This will become useful later in the game once you reach Act 2. Moreover, it can be used to improve the damage of some items.
Minor Illusion icon action bg3Minor Illusion Another good pick. You can pull enemies together before combat. After that follow up with an area of effect spell on the targets.

minor illusion usage bg3

Spells

Spells Description
hold person bg3Hold Person A decent control spell, that you can use to Hold an enemy. be sure to follow up with someone from melee range for guaranteed critical hits.

Feat

Feat Description
Ability Improvement For the first feat, my recommendation is +2 Charisma, to improve spell success chance and better ability rolls.

Replace Spell

At this stage, I would replace Tasha's Hideous Laughter icon action bg3Tasha's Hideous Laughter​ with:

Spells Description
Blindness icon action bg3Blindness The spell is solid especially when upcasting. It targets multiple enemies and can trivialize ranged and caster ones.

Level 5

Boom! The Bard is level 5 and this means the build can finally use some awesome level 3 spells.

Spells

Spells Description
Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding The only spell that you need, for now... It can cause damage using most elements, so if the enemy is wet, just use the Lightning/Cold element. However, the most important aspect is that it can put multiple targets to sleep. This can easily invalidate many fights.

Replace Spell

For replacement, I would recommend removing Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire​ and picking:

Spells Description
Plant Growth icon action bg3Plant Growth An amazing spell, that can drastically reduce enemy movement speed. However, the most important aspect is that it does not use a concentration slot.

Level 6

Lore Bard gets access to the Magical Secrets feature, allowing you to learn additional spells.

Action Description
Countercharm icon action bg3Countercharm You and any allies within 9m have an advantage on Saving Throws against being Charmed or Frightened. Did not use much during the playthrough.

Spells

Spells Description
Hypnotic Pattern icon action bg3Hypnotic Pattern I recommend getting this spell. It is amazing and works even while you are silenced.

Magical Secrets

This is the main reason to take Lore Bard. It can now access many of the spells from other caster classes, allowing it to create a few interesting synergies.

Spells Description
Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar Slow down enemies, make them blind, and also incur damage every turn while staying in the fog. This spell can trivialize most of the encounters.
Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell A solid support spell, that can negate enemy spellcasters and save the party from some wipes. Just avoid using it on weaker spells like cantrips.

Now there are a few options that you may want to pick:

Spells Description
Darkness icon action bg3Darkness If you plan on using Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight​ from Warlock, to become unhittable, this spell is the one I recommend taking.
Sleet Storm icon action bg3Sleet Storm Fun and effective spell, that creates ice surfaces. These can disable enemies, making it very hard for them to move. Have someone else cast Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar​ and it will immobilize enemies.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace for now.

Level 7 - Warlock Lv 1

Here is the first level you get to multiclass into Warlock, and get access to some of its goodies

I recommend respeccing and starting with Warlock 1 and continuing with Bard 6. This way you will get Wisdom Saving Throw Proficiency which is better than what Bard gets.

Class

Overview
warlock Baldur's Gate 3Warlock
Features
ico_mini_spellSlot_warlock Baldur's Gate 3Warlock Spell Slots These spell slots can be used to cast spells and refill each Short Rest.

Cantrips

Cantrip Description
Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast Mandatory cantrip. This is the main cantrip that Bardlock will use to deal damage for saving spell slots or getting some crowd control with knockback.
Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand Useful cantrip in some world exploration encounters. Can be used in combat for item throwing and shoving.

Subclass

Subclass Description
the great old one warlock bg3The Great Old One Can apply Frighten on enemies that you Critical Hit - Mortal ReminderMortal Reminder. Nearby creatures must also pass Wisdom Saving Throw. It gives some debilitating spells, but the good ones are at a high level which the build does not reach.
fiend warlock bg3The Fiend Allows you to gain Temporary health points for each enemy that you kill - Dark One's BlessingDark One's Blessing. This can be helpful as it improves survivability. It will also come with one very powerful control spell that the build can utilize - Command icon action bg3Command.

As you can guess my pick is:

Overview
warlock_fiend Baldur's Gate 3The Fiend
Features
Dark One's BlessingDark One's Blessing When you reduce a hostile creature to 0 hit points, this gift from your patron grants you temporary hit points

Spells

Spells Description
Hex icon action bg3Hex This spell is a great way to utilize bonus action, for additional damage with Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast. Otherwise, it does not serve much purpose.
Command icon action bg3Command You can upcast this spell to target 1-5 enemies. There are multiple choices of what you can do - make them drop weapons, flee to activate attacks of opportunity, grovel, etc.

Level 8 - Warlock Lv 2

Now the build will be finally online and can work to its full potential.

Spells

Honestly, you can pick anything here, my preferred choice:

Spells Description
Armour of Agathys icon action bg3Armour of Agathys As a caster you may not benefit as much from this spell, however, it is still good to have it in the arsenal.

Eldritch Invocations

You can pick two of these:

Invocation Description
Agonising Blast icon passive feature bg3Agonising Blast This is mandatory invocation if you are using Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​ as it will greatly boost damage based on the charisma modifier.
Devil's SightDevil's Sight I recommend taking this one if you are heavily using the Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ spell. The invocation allows you to see both in natural and magical dark places, it is an upgrade to DarkvisionDarkvision. Moreover, it is a mandatory choice if you do not have it.
Repelling BlastRepelling Blast Eldritch BlastEldritch Blast now knocks back. This is very powerful as you can throw enemies from ledges, however, it loses its value in Act 3, where there are fewer places to do that.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace now.

Level 9 - Bard Lv 7

You will get access to level 4 spells. One of those is my personal favorite.

Spells

Spells Description
Confusion icon action bg3Confusion An amazing spell, that can make multiple encounters very easy. Enemies may start attacking each other or even skip their turns.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace, unless you want anything specific.

Level 10 - Bard Lv 8

This level unlocks the second feat for Lore Bard.

Spells

Here I have a few recommendations to choose from.

Spells Description
Greater Invisibility icon action bg3Greater Invisibility If you have a rogue (Assassin at that) in your group who specializes in stealth, this spell can make it so that they will attack multiple times before breaking invisibility. The stealth checks become harder after each action.
Fear icon action bg3Fear Another amazing spell that can make multiple enemies drop their weapons. The only caveat is that its range is not long.

Replace Spell

Nothing to replace.

Feat

Here I have two recommendations, and both of them will also be the same for level 12 (if you decide to go with pure Bard). Check the descriptions and decide what to pick based on itemization.

Feat Description
Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder I recommend this feat especially if you do not have shield proficiency. However, it is also good if you want more Spell Save DC, and don't have any other casters that you utilize Staff of Spell Power icon bg3Staff of Spell Power or Markoheshkir icon bg3Markoheshkir
Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert An amazing feat, that almost guarantees that you go first no matter if it is a surprise or a normal round.

Level 11 - Bard Lv 9

The Bard gets access to level 5 spells.

Spells

Spells Description
Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster An amazing spell, that is best combined with martials or spellcasters using attack rolls. This way you guarantee critical hits, for a huge damage increase.

Replace Spell

For spell replacement, I don't think it is needed, feel free to try out something if you would like.

Level 12 - Bard Lv 10

As Lore Bard, you get access to the second Magical Secrets. This gives two more spells to choose from.

Features Description
Improved Bardic Inspiration icon passive feature bg3Improved Bardic Inspiration The bonus to ability rolls and checks is increased to 1d10. This also applies to Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words.

Skills

You can pick expertise for two additional skills. My recommendation is if you are the main character, get dialogue-related ones:

  • Performance
  • Persuasion
  • Deception
  • Intimidation

However, if this is not a main character, you could pick:

  • Sleight of Hand
  • Perception

Cantrips

Here feel free to pick anything. Here are the ones that I would recommend already having if you did not pick them up before:

Cantrips Description
Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights Can be used to precast on incoming encounters. This is great if you need to activate the Callous Glow Ring icon bg3Callous Glow Ring.
minor illusion bg3Minor Illusion My recommended pick, as you can use this to move enemies together. Once you reach the next level you can follow up with Glyph of Warding for a huge area of effect spell combo.

Spells

To be honest, I do not think any of the spells are a major improvement. Just pick anything that you would like to try out. Even if it is Speak with Animals icon action bg3Speak with Animals​ for some utility.

Spells Description
Dominate Person icon action bg3Dominate Person The enemy target joins you, however, it may break if succeed in Wisdom Saving Throw when taking damage.

Magical Secrets

Now for this choice, there are multiple excellent picks, that are hard to choose from. So let me list a few, and I will leave you to decide the best one to use:

Spells Description
Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold A powerful Ice spell that deals good damage. I recommend using it on Wet enemies for double damage. It also creates Ice surfaces if the floor below is wet.
Ice Storm icon action bg3Ice Storm A good cord control spell, that creates Ice surfaces, giving a chance to make enemies prone and fail their turns.
Wall of Fire icon action bg3Wall of Fire A solid spell, that if placed correctly, can make enemies self-destruct while walking through the fires.
Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt A solid spell, that can hit multiple enemies. Doubles damage against wet enemies.

You can also take something that you did not take previously like Sleet Storm icon action bg3Sleet Storm or Darkness icon action bg3Darkness.

Maximizing Ability Scores

Now, as the build progression is covered there are a few aspects and important decisions you will have to make throughout the game. These will decide your final score for abilities.

  1. Act 1 - Auntie Ethel Hair - you will want to get +1 Charisma if you pick this choice.
  2. Ability Improvement - +2 Charisma
  3. Act 3 - Mirror of Loss - pick +2 Charisma.

This will allow you to reach 22 natural Charisma, and result in a +6 ability modifier on your spells and rolls. You can also equip Birthright icon bg3Birthright for 24 total.

Potions, Elixirs and Consumables

Let's take a look at what consumables we can use to further empower the build.

Potions

These are general consumables, and most of them are activated for a few turns. Potions are separate from Elixirs and can be active together.

Consumable Description
potion of speed bg3Potion of Speed In case you or your other casters have a Concentration spell slot taken and cannot cast Haste, use this potion. It acts similarly, but the effect is just for 3 turns.
potion of animal speaking bg3Potion of Animal Speaking Although not something powerful, it is worth stocking up and saving a spell slot.
potion of invisibility bg3Potion of Invisibility Can be used to get a perfect position before the encounter starts.

Elixirs

Unfortunately, only one Elixir can be active at a time. However, the good thing is that they last until a long rest, making them very useful and economical.

Be sure to activate them before combat as otherwise, you will need to use Bonus Action.

Remember to activate one elixir after each Long Rest. These are found plentiful throughout the game, so don't save them too much.
Consumable Description
elixir of bloodlust bg3Elixir of Bloodlust Very effective elixir that gives another action point if you kill an enemy. I would say this is the best one to use to maximize your output through the turn.
elixir of battlemage's power bg3Elixir of Battlemage's Power Gain 3 stacks of Arcane Acuity. I would say this should be the most used elixir for higher spell success.
elixir of peerless focus bg3Elixir of Peerless Focus Another good choice that allows to better maintain spell Concentration.
superior elixir of arcane cultivation bg3Superior Elixir of Arcane Cultivation Grant's a single level 3 spell slot. Could be useful in case you are preparing for a longer encounter.
supreme elixir of arcane cultivation bg3Supreme Elixir of Arcane Cultivation Grant's a single level 4 spell slot. Could be useful in case you are preparing for a longer encounter.
elixir of vigilance bg3Elixir of Vigilance For some encounters, you will want to go first. This elixir will ensure that it overcomes even surprise mechanics. However, if you have Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert​ this becomes redundant.

Illithid Powers

This special mechanic in Baldur's Gate 3 allows you to consume tadpoles and unlock special Illithid Powers. These range from somewhat useful, to extremely deadly. I would like to leave a few recommendations:

Base Illithid Powers

Order Illithid Power Description
1 Favourable Beginnings icon passive feature bg3Favourable Beginnings Beneficial power to take as it does not have any costs, and provides only benefits on the first hits.
2 Concentrated Blast icon action bg3Concentrated Blast Taking only for progression, to unlock the next power.
3 Cull the Weak icon passive feature bg3Cull the Weak Passive feature that does not cost anything and automatically deals bonus psychic damage around the target, once it is close to death.
4 Transfuse Health icon action bg3Transfuse Health Taking it for progression
5 Shield of Thralls icon action bg3Shield of Thralls Taking for progression, to unlock the next power, but it also provides a good bonus as temporary health, that can be cast before combat.
6 Force Tunnel icon action bg3Force Tunnel Mainly taking for progression
7 Displace icon passive feature bg3Displace A good ability to have if you decide to take Repelling Blast icon passive feature bg3Repelling Blast, otherwise it is needed for progression.

Elite Illithid Powers

These become unlocked later in the game as you progress. They are extremely powerful additions to the build.

Order Illithid Power Description
0 Fly icon action bg3Fly Automatically unlocked. You can use this to initiate attacks of opportunity without spending any movement.
1 Black Hole icon action bg3Black Hole Amazing power, that pulls enemies together and slows them. After that, it can be followed up with any area-of-effect damage spell.
2 Freecast icon passive feature bg3Freecast Removes any cost of spell slots or consumable resources.
3 Mind Sanctuary icon action bg3Mind Sanctuary Extremely valuable power that can also help other casters to use up their Bonus action effectively.
4 Psionic Dominance icon action bg3Psionic Dominance This can be used to save spell slots instead of using Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell.

Equipment Recommendations

Now I would like to go through some gear recommendations to maximize the Best bardlock Build. Items are especially important as they take the build to the next level thanks to their unique effects.

Act 1

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Melf's First Staff icon bg3Melf's First Staff Very good item, as it is the first weapon to give bonus Spell Save DC.
The Spellsparkler icon bg3The Spellsparkler Although this staff does not give increased Spell Save DC, the bonus lightning charges interact well with other gear and also increase spell damage.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Gives bonus initiative, allowing one to go earlier in combat
Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1 Equip two of these so that you can attack with your bonus action. This is an amazing weapon as you can use bonus action to break water bottles to apply wet.
offhand slot bg3Shield Adamantine Shield icon bg3Adamantine Shield It provides a substantial defensive boost by reducing critical hit damage.
Absolute's Warboard icon bg3Absolute's Warboard Very good shield similar to Safeguard Shield icon bg3Safeguard Shield, just gives a bonus Heroism icon action bg3Heroism​ cantrip. Only use it if you have Absolute's Brand.
Safeguard Shield icon bg3Safeguard Shield Gives a bonus to saving throws, easily accessible early in the game.
helmet slot bg3Head The Shadespell Circlet icon bg3The Shadespell Circlet The best headwear in Act 1. Just be sure to be obscured if you can.
Cap of Curing icon bg3Cap of Curing The restored health is a good bonus when you use up Bardic Inspiration.
cloak slot bg3Cloak - Nothing really of note here.
armor slot bg3Armor The Protecty Sparkswall icon bg3The Protecty Sparkswall Amazing armor, as it gives +1 AC when you have lightning charges and also increases spell success chance.
Infernal Robe icon bg3Infernal Robe A solid robe that gives +1 Armour class. However, it requires a very unpopular decision for many players.
Blazer of Benevolence icon bg3Blazer of Benevolence Bard item, that gives bonus HP after Bardic Inspiration use. However, it is light armor, so if you use Mage Armour icon action bg3Mage Armour​ the spell will not work.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Wondrous Gloves icon bg3Wondrous Gloves Gloves specific for Bard, allowing to gain one more Bardic Inspiration charge.
Bracers of Defence icon bg3Bracers of Defence These are the best early-game gloves, giving you a +2 Armour class if you are not using a shield.
Gloves of Missile Snaring icon bg3Gloves of Missile Snaring Defensive gloves to reduce the damage of incoming ranged attacks.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour These will be the best boots you use throughout the game. Each time you apply a condition, Reverbation stacks will apply, for further increased success of melee actions and some spells. 5 stacks will deal thunder damage.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers Very good boots, especially once you start using Cold spells later in the game. This will allow you to walk on the surface easily.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Amulet of Branding icon bg3Amulet of Branding This is a good amulet before you get some use for bonus action. Use it, to apply vulnerabilities that your martials can exploit.
Pearl of Power Amulet icon bg3Pearl of Power Amulet Restore up to level 3 spell slot. Can be unequipped after use.
Amulet of Misty Step icon bg3Amulet of Misty Step Gives mobility improvement thanks to the Misty Step icon action bg3Misty Step​ spell.
ring slot bg3Rings Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection The best option for Act 1. The bonus Armour Class is a great boost for survivability.
The Sparkswall icon bg3The Sparkswall Reduces lightning damage received.
Ring of Mind-Shielding icon bg3Ring of Mind-Shielding As there are no better options for this type of build in Act 1.
Mage's Friend icon bg3Mage's Friend

Act 2 - mid-game

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One-handed) Melf's First Staff icon bg3Melf's First Staff These staves from Act 1 are still a solid choice.
The Spellsparkler icon bg3The Spellsparkler
ranged slot bg3Ranged Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste icon action bg3Haste​ before combat. This may not seem big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is not enough. Otherwise, stay with bows from the previous act.
offhand slot bg3Shield Ketheric's Shield icon bg3Ketheric's Shield Gives bonus Spell Save DC, which is amazing for better success when casting spells.
helmet slot bg3Head Fistbreaker Helm icon bg3Fistbreaker Helm Improves spell success chance and increases the likelihood of going first.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Protection icon bg3Cloak of Protection Improves survivability and Saving Throw success. You want to equip this cloak to maintain that good Armour Class.
armor slot bg3Armor Potent Robe icon bg3Potent Robe The best robe that you can use with Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​. It will greatly improve its reaching that of a solid offensive spell.
The Protecty Sparkswall icon bg3The Protecty Sparkswall Still the best option even in Act 2. This requires Lightning Charges, to unlock full potential.
Robe of Exquisite Focus icon bg3Robe of Exquisite Focus Another robe that gives +1 Spell Save DC, get this if you can't use The Protecty Sparkswall icon bg3The Protecty Sparkswall.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gloves of Dexterity icon bg3Gloves of Dexterity I think besides the gloves in Act 1, these are the best options for now until Act 3.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour The boots are the best option due to the Reverbation stacking.
Evasive Shoes icon bg3Evasive Shoes Optional boots if you need a little bit more Armour Class.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Amulet of the Harpers icon bg3Amulet of the Harpers Allows casting a Shield icon action bg3Shield​ spell, and can be a lifesaver if attacked heavily for one turn.
Spellcrux Amulet icon bg3Spellcrux Amulet It can be used to restore spell slots and unequip after that.
ring slot bg3Rings Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Bonus armor class for survivability.
Ring of Mental Inhibition icon bg3Ring of Mental Inhibition Any of your control spells that enemies will fail now also incur Mental Fatigue.
Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring This is a very good ring if you are using a lot of Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast, which will improve your hit chance. However, the item is in high demand for many builds, so I would prioritise it on other martials instead.
Ring of Twilight icon bg3Ring of Twilight An easy way to get bonus Armour Class in Act 2.

Act 3 - Final Build setup

This is the last act of the game, where you will get access to the most powerful items. To get them as early as possible you will need some planning, but overall, it should not be a problem.

There are two main setups that I see, that I would like to cover with weapons:

Now, for the other equipment:

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Markoheshkir icon bg3Markoheshkir
(BiS)
The best caster staff in the game. I would only suggest using it if there is no other caster in the group. Otherwise, I would skip this. If you will use it, I recommend activating Bolts of Doom from Kereska's Favour, as this will generate Lightning Charges, that will boost Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​ damage. You will also get solid offensive spells - Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning​ and Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt.
Rhapsody icon bg3Rhapsody This is the second best weapon to have in your arsenal once you have Dual Wielder icon passive feature bg3Dual Wielder​. It will boost both spell attack rolls and Spell Save DC. Of course, you will need to rake some kills to activate its effect.
Staff of Spell Power icon bg3Staff of Spell Power It has an Arcane Battery, allowing you to cast a spell for free. Moreover, it improves spell attack rolls.
Staff of the Emperor icon bg3Staff of the Emperor Gives bonus Spell Save DC and spell attack rolls. Moreover, its unique effect allows you to Stun enemies if you succeed in a Saving Throw against their effects.
Duellist's Prerogative icon bg3Duellist's Prerogative Listing this one as an interesting option for synergies with Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words. The weapon gives additional reactions, allowing you to use actions and spells a second time per turn.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow
(BiS)
Gives a big boost to the initiative, guaranteeing that you can go first. However, you will need to get Longbow proficiency from race.
helmet slot bg3Head Birthright icon bg3Birthright I would say this is the best option for headwear as you will get +2 damage per ray with Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast.
Hood of the Weave icon bg3Hood of the Weave The hood gives solid +2 Spell Save DC, greatly improving spell success chance.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of The Weave icon bg3Cloak of The Weave Improve Spell Save DC by one, the best option for a direct increase in spell effectiveness.
Thunderskin Cloak icon bg3Thunderskin Cloak As you will be constantly applying Reverbation, this cloak is amazing and allows Dazing enemies who dare to attack you.
armor slot bg3Armor Armour of Landfall icon bg3Armour of Landfall
(BiS)
As a caster that heavily relies on Concentration spells, this is probably the best armor to wear. The Constitution saving throw advantage is more than awesome.
Potent Robe icon bg3Potent Robe The best robe that you can use with Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast. It will greatly improve its reaching that of a solid offensive spell.
Robe of the Weave icon bg3Robe of the Weave One of the best clothing for caster. Not only improves spellcasting but also provides a +2 Armour Class.
gloves slot bg3Gloves gauntlets of the tyrant bg3Gauntlets of the Tyrant Another option in Act 3, also gives a level 3 Command spell for each Long Rest. The gloves provide +1 Spell Save DC,
Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Helldusk Gloves Very good gloves, but might be contested by other builds, specifically, martial ones.
Spellmight Gloves icon bg3Spellmight Gloves These are very good gloves, however, I would evaluate how much you use spellcasting versus something like Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast, as these will only work with this cantrip.
boots slot bg3Boots Boots of Stormy Clamour icon bg3Boots of Stormy Clamour
(BiS)
The best boots to use with the build
amulet slot bg3Amulet Amulet of The Devout icon bg3Amulet of The Devout The +2 Spell Save DC is a huge boost, giving a large success improvement for spells.
Spellcrux Amulet icon bg3Spellcrux Amulet Restores up to level 6 spell slots. After using it, you can unequip it for another amulet.
ring slot bg3Rings Ring of Feywild Sparks icon bg3Ring of Feywild Sparks
(BiS)
This is the only ring that gives bonus Spell Save DC. This may be a bug that might be patched in the future.
Ring of Mental Inhibition icon bg3Ring of Mental Inhibition
(BiS)
Provides an easy way to apply Mental Fatigue with spells.
Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring This is a very good ring if you are using a lot of Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast, which will improve your hit chance. However, the item is in high demand for many builds, so I would prioritise it on other martials instead.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection The ring is still a solid choice, to maintain optimal Armour Class.

Build Mechanics

In this section, I would like to dive deep into how to play the Bardlock. This will help you utilize it to the fullest and correctly use various actions and spells throughout the game.

Important Mechanics and Combos

Let's go through key mechanics and tips on how to effectively use the build.

Counterspell + Cutting Words

This is the ultimate combo that will be able to negate or disable various negative effects the party can receive. Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell​ is perfect for canceling enemy spells. I just recommend not using it on offensive ones like Fire Bolt icon action bg3Fire Bolt, Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast, etc. (unless this means death). It would be better to cancel something like Silence, Confusion, etc. that can break the party.

Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words​ is similar, but instead of using spell slots, it uses Bardic Inspiration icon action bg3Bardic Inspiration​ slots. It can work not only on spells but also on ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls.

There is one item Duellist's Prerogative icon bg3Duellist's Prerogative that gives another reaction point to use per turn. So you could use both of those actions two times per turn.

Paralysis effects (Hold Person, Sleep, etc.)

This is a very powerful single-target combo. You need to paralyze an enemy so that you would have a guaranteed critical hit. This can be done using Hold Person, Glyph of Warding (Sleep), etc.

After that, your allies can follow up with a guaranteed critical hit. This is a deadly setup, that in most cases ensures the enemy is taken out.

Hunger of Hadar

Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar​ is one of my favourite spells which works extremely well the moment you can get it at level 6. What it does, is create an environment that causes all targets to become Blinded. They also take damage at the start and the end of their turns.

The good thing is that your group can attack from the outside giving an advantage against all of the foes inside. You can also mix this with Command: Hold, to make enemies stay inside to take further damage.

Darkness and Eldritch Invocations

With Warlock at level 2, you can gain access to Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight​ invocation. I briefly mentioned it a few times in the build, but how to use this correctly? You will want to have someone cast Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ spells. You can also do it yourself and obtain it via Magical Secrets.

Once you have the dark area set up, you can freely stay in it and cast from it without enemies being able to hit with ranged attacks. If they decide to enter they will become blinded, greatly reducing their combat potential.

Wet + Lightning and Cold Spells

I think this is the most important mechanic to learn in Baldur's Gate 3 for the caster. It is very easy to set up and can guarantee you easy wins for most encounters.

The first step is to apply water here are some options for how to do that:

  • Have a Cleric, Druid, or yourself cast Create or Destroy Water icon action bg3Create or Destroy Water
  • Throw Water bottle
  • Have Conjure Elemental icon action bg3Conjure Elemental​ to summon Water Myrmidon and apply Healing Vapours icon action bg3Healing Vapours.
  • The easiest, drop the water bottle on the ground and destroy it with an attack (an offhand attack with bonus action is perfect for that)

Once the enemy is wet, they will become vulnerable to Ice and Lightning damage. This means you deal double the amount. After this follow up with your favorite spell - Chain Lightning icon action bg3Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt icon action bg3Lightning Bolt, Cone of Cold icon action bg3Cone of Cold, etc.

Early Game Combat

Let's cover how you should progress combat levels 1-6.

  • Very early in the game, I would use Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire, to set up Advantage for martials. This way they can guarantee a hit and most likely a kill as enemies have very low HP. Also, you can use Sleep icon action bg3Sleep​ to disable a particular enemy, while you take care of others.
  • Dissonant Whispers icon action bg3Dissonant Whispers​ does not have attack rolls so it will always deal at least half damage. I would also use it on melee enemies as the Frighten effect does not allow them to move.
  • Cloud of Daggers icon action bg3Cloud of Daggers​ - is a great option if there are at least two enemies close by. This way you can hit them for 2 attacks (one at the start of the turn, a second once they start it)
  • I would use Bonus Action for healing or attacking with Hand Crossbow +1 icon bg3Hand Crossbow +1.
  • Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​ is another wondrous spell. If you have a high chance of 80%+, use it. Your martials can then easily finish off the target. Just use it on the enemy with a decent amount of HP.
  • Level 5, you can start using Glyph of Warding icon action bg3Glyph of Warding​ to put multiple enemies to sleep. After that follow up with party members to take them out one by one. The spell can also be selected with different elements. So if the enemy is Wet you can use lightning or Cold elements.
  • At level 6, if you get Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar​ this is your go-to spell for most of encounters. Drop it at the start so that enemies would have problems moving and reaching your group.

Late Game Combat

For the late game, the main goal is to buff your allies and follow up with a control spell. This way you utilize effectively both action and bonus action.

  1. If you see an enemy spellcaster, most likely they will use Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell. You can try to do two things - either upcast to level 5-6 so that their counterspell fails or use party members to cast fake spells to bait them.
  2. I would start combat with one of the Concentration spells - Hunger of Hadar icon action bg3Hunger of Hadar​ or Confusion icon action bg3Confusion​. The latter is very powerful but checks the likelihood of spell success. Remember you can use Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words​ to reduce their Saving Throw rolls.
  3. You could also cast Hold Monster icon action bg3Hold Monster​ or Hold Person icon action bg3Hold Person​ if there is a strong enemy that needs to be dealt with. After that follow up with melee attacks from allies for guaranteed critical hits.
  4. You have an option of using Potion of Speed on the first or second turn from bonus action. This is a great way if you need two strong spells in a single turn.
  5. Once you have a spell active with Concentration and need more control use Glyph of Warding: Sleep icon action bg3Glyph of Warding: Sleep​ variation as it does not break other spells.
  6. After that or on the next turn you can follow up with offensive spells or your powered-up Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast.
  7. You have two sources to make enemies fail their spells or actions - Counterspell icon action bg3Counterspell​ and Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words. However, both of them use reaction, so use them sparingly. I would also disable opportunity attacks so that reaction would not get wasted.

Build Variations

There are a few variations that the build could be changed about. I think it is more for advanced players who are likely doing some deeper optimizations.

Setup Description
Pure Lore Bard:
  • 12 Bard
Going pure Lore Bard is not bad, it is an extremely powerful controller that also can get offensive spells from Magical Secrets. I also recommend taking Mass Healing Word icon action bg3Mass Healing Word​ and using items like The Whispering Promise icon bg3The Whispering Promise and Hellrider's Pride icon bg3Hellrider's Pride to buff up allies.
  • 2 Lv Cleric
  • 10 Lv Bard
This is a good choice if you want to go without any clerics in the group. You will be able to cast Guidance icon action bg3Guidance​ for various rolls, Sanctuary icon action bg3Sanctuary​ as a bonus action, and a wider array of spells. For example, a Life Cleric can cast Preserve Life icon action bg3Preserve Life or Light Cleric's Radiance of the Dawn icon action bg3Radiance of the Dawn​.
  • 2 Lv Wizard
  • 10 Lv Bard
This setup requires tinkering with Ability points. You will want intelligence to obtain more prepared spell slots. However, you can scribe various spells, and become the ultimate utility encyclopedia, choosing any support spell at will.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the best Bardlock build for Baldur's Gate 3. The multiclass of Warlock and Bard creates a strong synergy, that allows Bard to fall back on offense with Eldritch Blast icon action bg3Eldritch Blast​ if the situation requires. Moreover, you do not lose any benefits of the Bard like bonus skill proficiencies and access to Cutting Words icon action bg3Cutting Words

Cheers!

Discussion

Anonymous

My favorite Warlock muticlass, Wonder why this is Tier-B. It may weak about damage contribution, but it has strong CC spells and wealthy skill proficiency. Personally this build deserves A-high or S.

Hey!

I review my builds and change the rankings constantly, so this is not set in stone :) I think the main reason is that it does not have access to something like Arcane Acuity effects, which would make it a top tier controller. You are mostly relying on Cutting Words for that 100% success.

Thanks for the input!

Anonymous

INT Bard?

Bard and Warlock spells use CHA is it?

Left a mistake, fixed now. Thanks!

Anonymous

I have been reading this build the whole day in work, just got back home to start it! Thank you for the guides!

Anonymous

Instead of being a pure spellcaster, what about a Sword-Bard Blade-Lock? Having Devil's Sight and casting Darkness would be a good start to combat, and after that enemy is downed, you could start blasting away from your Darkness spot. Sorry if I'm sounding too needy.

Hey, i would just question why do you need swords bard for this?

Anonymous

I mainly chose that for a lore-friendly build for Wyll. He obviously starts off as a Blade-lock, and since I always see him as a theatre kid, I picked Swords-bard so he can show off his flourishes.

okay I see, well this build that you mention works for Tactician as you can stack the Extra attacks. On Honour Mode it sadly wouldn't. I was thinking of making Bladelock + Swords Bard, but this limitation deterred me.

Cheers!

gamestegy-discord-invite-link
Post author zanuffas avatar zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!