Arcane Trickster Build

Arcane Trickster Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
In this post, we go into the best Arcane Trickster build in Baldur's Gate 3. We create an amazing cohesion between stealth, magic, and finesse weapons - creating a multipurpose rogue. This allows you to be effective in various situations the game throws at you

Arcane Trickster Build

So Arcane Trickster is one of three classes that Rogue can select. What makes it special? It is a merging of Rogue with Wizard class. At first glance, it unlocks two spell lists - Arcane Trickster and Wizards. The effectiveness of spells is determined by Intelligence ability.

Of course, this creates a dilemma How can we be effective at both magic and rogues specialty physical combat? Well, this is possible with correct stat allocation and some gear, that you can pick up early in the game. By the end, you will be able to engage in combat at your will:

arcane trickster thunderwave combat baldurs gate 3

  • Enemies standing by the ledge? Sneak on them and use Thunderwave to throw them off
  • Strong enemy leader? Use Hold Person and smash the opponent with melee attacks for guaranteed critical hits
  • Reach the best vantage point with Misty Step and unleash your arrows on them.

And this continues... The build really starts shining in level 9, this is when we obtain Magical Ambush. After that, it will be much easier to land spells and disable enemies.

Although Arcane Trickster sounds cool, unfortunately, it does not perform as well as other subclasses. It can be useful in world interactions like pickpocketing and stealing. However, in combat, it is not as effective as dedicated melee, ranged, or spellcaster combatant. However, you can still enjoy it through the whole game especially if you do not care about maximizing every stat.

Credits to: anergyboy from Discord for the recommendations

Short overview

This is a short overview and progression of the build. Use it to get a quick glance if you want to pick the best options without going deep into the explanations. A more detailed description with texts, suggestions, and improvements can be found in the next sections.

Arcane Trickster leveling overview Expand
Level Category Choice
1 Abilities Str 10, Dex 17 (15+2), Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16 (15+1), Cha 8
  Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 1
  Skills Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Insight, Medicine, Perception, Survival
2 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 2
3 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 3
  Abilities Respec if do not have Headband of Intellect
  Subclass rogue_trickster Baldur's Gate 3Arcane Trickster
  Cantrips Spell_Evocation_FireBolt Baldur's Gate 3Fire bolt, Spell_Enchantment_Friends Baldur's Gate 3Friends, Spell_Illusion_MinorIllusion Baldur's Gate 3Minor Illusion
  Spells Spell_Enchantment_Tasha'sHideousLaughter Baldur's Gate 3Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Spell_Illusion_DisguiseSelf Baldur's Gate 3Disguise Self
  Expanded Spells Spell_Evocation_Thunderwave Baldur's Gate 3Thunderwave
4 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 4
  Spells Spell_Enchantment_CharmPerson Baldur's Gate 3Charm
  Replace Spell Spell_Illusion_DisguiseSelf Baldur's Gate 3Disguise Self -> Spell_Transmutation_LongstriderLongstrider
  Feat ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement - Dexterity +2
5 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 5
  Replace Spell Spell_Enchantment_CharmPerson Baldur's Gate 3Charm -> Spell_Shield Baldur's Gate 3Shield
6 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 6
  Skills Acrobatics, Perception, Stealth, Sleight of Hand
7 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 7
  Spells Spell_Enchantment_HoldPerson Baldur's Gate 3Hold Person
  Replace Spell Spell_Enchantment_Tasha'sHideousLaughter Baldur's Gate 3Tasha's Hideous Laughter -> Spell_Transmutation_MagicWeapon Baldur's Gate 3Magic Weapon
8 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 8
  Expanded Spells Spell_Conjuration_MistyStep Baldur's Gate 3Misty Step
  Feat PassiveFeature_Lucky_ReplaceAttackersDie Baldur's Gate 3Lucky
9 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 9
10 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 10
  Cantrips Spell_Evocation_RayOfFrost Baldur's Gate 3Ray of Frost
  Spells PassiveFeature_Generic_Invisibility Baldur's Gate 3Invisibility
  Feat PassiveFeature_DualWielder_PassiveBonuses Baldur's Gate 3Dual Wielder, PassiveFeature_Sharpshooter_Bonuses Baldur's Gate 3Sharpshooter
11 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 11
  Spells Spell_Illusion_MirrorImage Baldur's Gate 3Mirror Image
12 Class rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue 12
  Feat PassiveFeature_SavageAttacker Baldur's Gate 3Savage Attacker

Starting the Game

Let's start with the early game. I would go into what are the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for Arcane Trickster. Some of these choices are very impactful as you cannot respec them. However, regarding abilities, you can play with them based on your preferences as you can always change them

Races for Arcane Trickster

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. I think races that have shield proficiency really benefit the Arcane Trickster build.

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 min-maxing or doing a Tactician run.
Race Features Description
Halfling_Lightfoot Baldur's Gate 3Lightfoot Halfling
  • Lucky - When you roll a 1 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
  • Brave - You have Advantage on saving throws against being frightened
  • Naturally Stealthy - Your nimble nature makes you skilled at concealment. You have proficiency in Stealth checks.
Probably the best choice if you are min-maxing. Due to being Naturally Stealthy Halfling will be hard to detect, and Lucky can be activated to save some of the unsuccessful attacks. unfortunately, they have a slower movement speed so Longstrider is recommended
Drow Baldur's Gate 3Drow
  • Drow Weapon Training - you have proficiency with the Rapier, Shortsword, and Hand Crossbow.
  • Superior Drakvision - this creature can see in the dark within 24m.
  • Fey Ancestry - The Fey wild casts a veil over your mind. You have Advantage on saving throws against being Charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.
A very good choice for a class. It has very long night vision making it perfect if you plan on relying more on ranged attacks. At a later level, they unlock Darkness and Faerie Fire.
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3Wood Half-Elf
  • Darkvision - Grant a creature the ability to see in the dark out to a range of 12m.
  • Elven Weapon Training - gain proficiency with the Longsword, Shortsword, Shortbow, and Longbow.
  • Fey Ancestry - The Fey wild casts a veil over your mind. You have Advantage on saving throws against being Charmed, and magic can't put you to sleep.
  • Fleet of Foot - Your base walking speed is 10.5m.
Fast movement speed, has dark vision and Fey Ancestry, a nimble race that perfectly fits Rogue builds


So at the start, we pick Rogue class, this is quite obvious. Of course, don't be discouraged that you don't get any spells at the start. This will be available at level 3. So just be patient.

rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue
Action_SneakAttack_Melee Baldur's Gate 3Sneak Attack (Melee) Exploit a foe's distraction to deal an additional 1d6 damage. Damage increases by 1d6 for every uneven Rogue Level gained.
Action_SneakAttack_Ranged Baldur's Gate 3Sneak Attack (Ranged) Exploit a foe's distraction to deal an additional 1d6 damage. Damage increases by 1d6 for every uneven Rogue Level gained.


They are very important for the game and impact almost everything that happens - combat, dialogue, saving throws, etc. The good thing is that you can respec them any time at the camp once you find Withers. Without spoiling much, I would first recommend gimp on intelligence. At least until level 3, there is no point having it, and after that, you may obtain the special item or just respec.

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 10 Just enough strength to lower the chance of losing Strength Saving Throw. Because this is a close combat class, it will be useful
dexterityproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Dexterity 17 (15+ 2) The main ability of Rogue, but also for Arcane Trickster. It will determine Finesse weapon bonus modifiers, give higher initiative, easier pickpocketing, and lockpicking
constitution bg3Constitution 14 Increases survivability and improves the maximum hit points
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Because we are starting the game and no spells will be used yet, just go with the lowest value. Later on, we can get an item to improve it or just respec.
wisdomWisdom 16 (15+1) Gives improvements to the perception, which allows detection traps. I think rogues should be effective at this.
charismaCharisma 8 Unfortunately, we gimp this one so that other abilities could be maximized to the fullest. Sadly, this will greatly reduce some dialogue success, but you can use spells like Friends to still get Advantage. Overall this one is important if you are a main character, then, remove some points from Strength and Wisdom.

Skills and Expertise

Now skills are not as important as most of the time their impact is outside of combat, but they can have a great effect on how you roleplay. In the case of our rogue build, I recommend getting expertise in Sleight of Hand and Stealth. This will allow lockpicking and pickpocketing effectively.

The rest is up to you. For example, as this is Arcane Trickster getting bonus Insight and Investigation will prove useful in uncovering some world secrets.

arcane trickster build skills bg3

Detailed Leveling Progression

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

Level 2

This level does not give any flashy moves, however, it unlocks cunning actions. These are similar to normal actions but instead of using Action Points, use Bonus actions. So in the same turn, you can attack and use them:

Action Description
Action_Hide cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Hide Hide from enemies by succeeding Stealth checks. Stick to the dark and avoid enemy sightlines. Attacking or casting a spell will reveal your location. Probably the most important. Now you can start sneaking using Bonus action and then use Sneak Attack at the same turn
Action_Dash_cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Dash Cover more distance this turn: double your movement speed.
Action_Disengage_cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Disengage Retreat safely: moving won't provoke Opportunity Attacks.

Level 3

So you should reach level 3 pretty early, a few hours into the game (unless you are looting everything like me). It will give you a choice to take the subclass and unlock bonus spells.

Warped Headband of Intellect

Okay, this one is important, and it maximizes the Arcane Trickster's effectiveness. During the early game, when you enter Blighted Village, there will be a group of Ogres. Their leader is called Lump The Enlightened.

blighted village lump the enlightened location baldurs gate 3

Your goal would be to kill their leader. They are a level 4 group, so be ready. Of course, there is a special interaction with them, that will make Ogres help you later on. So it's up to you, as you can kill them after this interaction happens. However, I definitely recommend getting this item as it will make the build shine even more!

If you do not take this Headband, please respec to these abilities:

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 8 Gimp on the ability as we want to increase Intelligence
dexterityproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Dexterity 16 (14+2) The main ability of Rogue, but also for Arcane Trickster. It will determine Finesse weapon bonus modifiers, give higher initiative, easier pickpocketing, and lockpicking
constitution bg3Constitution 14 Increases survivability and improves the maximum hit points
intelligenceIntelligence 16 (14+2) We want to have additional intelligence modifiers on our spells, so that they have a higher success
wisdomWisdom 12 Gives improvements to the perception, which allows detection traps. I think rogues should be effective at this.
charismaCharisma 8 Because we need intelligence, we gimp this ability.
After you obtain Warped Headband of Intellect, please respec back to the original ability points


rogue_trickster Baldur's Gate 3Arcane Trickster
Arcane Tricksters are rogues with a clever touch of magic, using illusions and enchantments to keep their opponents on the backfoot.


We now get the first cantrips for the class. I would recommend two out of these:

Skill Description
Spell_Enchantment_Friends Baldur's Gate 3Friends If this is the main character that you play, getting Friends will allow you to pass a lot of dialogue checks. Otherwise, take it later
Spell_Evocation_FireBolt Baldur's Gate 3Firebolt Although it is not a powerful spell, it can usually light up oil barrels, blow stuff up, etc. This is a good utility to have in case the environment allows.
Spell_Illusion_MinorIllusion Baldur's Gate 3Minor Illusion Good for pickpocketing in the early game, you can distract NPCs, while you empty their pockets


For level 1 slots choose two. This is not as important as later on, the spells are good but not as powerful as level 2 ones. Still, early in the game, they may come in handy.

Spell Description
Spell_Enchantment_Tasha'sHideousLaughter Baldur's Gate 3Tasha's Hideous Laughter Early on this spell could be a lifesaver, moreover, it could be effective against low Wisdom enemies, so check their stats. Thanks to it you can disable an enemy and even hit it at the same time with a chance for Saving Throw.
Spell_Illusion_DisguiseSelf Baldur's Gate 3Disguise Self Can be a good spell for some role-playing, however, we will be replacing it in the next level-up

To be honest, for the second spell, pick anything. Unfortunately, spells that depend on HP like Sleep or Colour Spray start losing their potential from level 4. However, we will switch this spell with another one on the next level up via Replace Spell

Expanded Spells

This is a list of Wizard spells that Arcane Trickster can take. These are added on top the ones that you took previously.

Spell Description
Action_Monster_Djinni_Thunderwave Baldur's Gate 3Thunderwave Boy oh boy, this is a truly remarkable spell. It deals a decent amount of damage and can push multiple enemies. With Arcane Ambush it is almost guaranteed a chance to shove enemies from ledges and get them at a Disadvantage.

Level 4

We unlock the third level 1 spell slot, additional spell, and a new Feat. So let's make the correct choices:


Again, we do not have anything important to take, so just pick anything

Spell Description
Spell_Enchantment_CharmPerson Baldur's Gate 3Charm This spell is only taken for progression. We will use it as a replacement in the next level up. If you use Charm, remember that targets become aggressive after it wears off.

Replace Spell

Now remove Disguise Self and switch it with:

Spell Description
Spell_Transmutation_LongstriderLongstrider Will boost the movement speed by 3m. This is a huge bonus and will allow you to get better positions when in combat. You can also activate it on all party members when not in combat, after a long rest!


It's our first Feat, I always recommend improving the main ability as it gives the highest overall improvement to the character

Skill Description
ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement Take this one and get +2 Dexterity

Level 5

Nothing special at this level. We get a new Rogue class feature - Uncanny Dodge.

Class Feature Description
PassiveFeature_UncannyDodge Baldur's Gate 3Uncanny Dodge Use your lightning-quick reflexes to protect yourself. When an attack hits you, you only take half the usual damage.

Replace Spell

Remove Charm Person and switch it with the one below:

Spell Description
Spell_Shield Baldur's Gate 3Shield A mandatory spell in Arcane Trickster's arsenal. Gives +5 Armour Class during the whole turn. Costs only a level 1 spell slot. It can allow you to tank multiple hits easily.

Level 6


We get two additional proficiencies for a few skills. I suggest getting those that you put the most ability points

  • Perception
  • Acrobatics

level 6 skills arcane trickster bg3

Replace Spell

Nothing to remove at this point, we are waiting for the next level to start getting level 2 spells, which are very powerful. Of course, if you do not use any of the spells feel free to switch. For example, you could take Enhance Leap or Feather Fall. These are more of a utility option, so nothing urgent.

Level 7

Now you get your first level 2 spell slot. This will unlock some good utilities that help both inside and outside of combat


The moment you level up get this spell:

Spell Description
Spell_Enchantment_HoldPerson Baldur's Gate 3Hold Person This is probably the strongest spell together with Thunderwave you have. Once you get Arcane Ambush at level 9 this spell will almost always work. Once that happens either use melee attacks by your companions or yourself. With high intelligence and low wisdom enemies, the spell's success is guaranteed. Just be sure to have someone like a warrior who can exploit critical hits or yourself.

Replace Spell

This switch is totally optional but I found it worthwhile. Hold Person already covers humanoids and Wisdom abilities, so you need to have something that could counteract other types of enemies. So you remove Tasha's Hideous Laughter and take

Spell Description
Spell_Transmutation_MagicWeapon Baldur's Gate 3Magic Weapon This spell is good to have in case you are fighting enemies that have high Wisdom and Constitution. Why? They will resist your other spells, so empowering your weapons will allow you to deal more damage. Get a +1 bonus to Attack and Damage Rolls. Works well in any encounter, but beware - it's a concentration spell so it can easily be canceled

Level 8

Another big milestone for Arcane Trickster. We unlock another Feat and a new spell slot.

Expanded Spells

Spell Description
Spell_Conjuration_MistyStep Baldur's Gate 3Misty Step An excellent spell to have in the arsenal. You can now leave or enter the battlefield in the best possible position. Moreover, it only costs bonus action. However, if your race is Githyanki, skip it as they are their own race-based.

Replace Spell

The only thing that would be optional to replace is Shield, evaluate if you did use it, if not feel free to switch it. As you have level 2 spell slots, there are now some good choices.


We get another feat. I would recommend getting:

Skill Description
PassiveFeature_Lucky_ReplaceAttackersDie Baldur's Gate 3Lucky This is an amazing option as you can use it to reroll in case an Attack Roll is about to be missed. This way you can maximize both your damage and make sure to land the killing blow

Level 9

So this is what we were aiming for, level 9. It gives a very important Arcane Trickster feature - Magical Ambush:

Feature Description
PassiveFeature_MagicalAmbush Baldur's Gate 3Magical Ambush Enemies gain a disadvantage on Saving Throws against your spells when you use them being hidden. This more or less ensures that you are successful with them.

Level 10

We get plenty of options to pick for Arcane Trickster at level 10


Cantrip Description
Spell_Evocation_RayOfFrost Baldur's Gate 3Ray of Frost A very useful spell to have in case enemies are wet. This would then deal double damage resulting in 6d8


Spells Description
PassiveFeature_Generic_Invisibility Baldur's Gate 3Invisibility Although not as powerful as Greater Invisibility, it still can be used to traverse enemy vision and get a perfect spot for combat


I think there are two choices that you can make, and both result in a damage boost. Choose based on your preferred playstyle

Feat Description
PassiveFeature_DualWielder_PassiveBonuses Baldur's Gate 3Dual Wielder Take this if you use melee weapons often. You can now equip longsword, and some of them are very powerful
PassiveFeature_Sharpshooter_Bonuses Baldur's Gate 3Sharpshooter On the other hand, if you use hand crossbows, taking this feat will greatly boost your damage, especially when using an offhand attack with a bonus action

Level 11

We get a very reliable class feature that will help with many world interactions especially pickpocketing.

Feature Description
PassiveFeature_ReliableTalent Baldur's Gate 3Reliable Talent When you make an Ability Check with a Skill you are Proficient with it, the lowest result you can roll on the die is 10.


There does seem to be any "powerful" option in terms of combat. I would take:

Feature Description
Spell_Illusion_MirrorImage Baldur's Gate 3Mirror Image This spell gives a bit of survivability and does not use Concentration Slot.

Level 12

The last level of Arcane Trickster build, we have a few choices to make

Replace Spell

In my opinion, there is nothing much to choose from. I picked what I personally found useful. However, if you see anything of interest, be sure to try it out now.


For feats, it does not really matter much what you pick now, here are a few options:

Feat Description
PassiveFeature_SavageAttacker Baldur's Gate 3Savage Attacker Will give you a little bit more damage with melee weapon attacks
ico_features Baldur's Gate 3Ability Improvement You could get an additional allocation to wisdom, or dexterity if it is not yet 20

General Tips

Here are some general tips for Arcane Trickster both in combat and outside of combat. This should give you a better understanding of how to best use this subclass and exploit its strong points.

Use Hand Crossbows

I think one of the best choices for rogues is getting Hand Crossbows. If you do not use Cunning Action: Hide, you will have a free bonus action. It is a perfect option to use a hand crossbow offhand attack for some additional damage.

hand crossbow description bg3

Do not forget Pickpocketing

This is an amazing mechanic in the game. Pickpocketing allows you to have tons of gold, or just take the items you want. Having tons of healing potions and resurrection scrolls makes you feel secure, especially if playing on Tactician

The funny thing is that this can also save some valuable spell slots. For example, having stolen tons of Potion of Animal Speaking will save you a spell or equipment slot

If not main character always trail behind the group

Because Arcane Trickster relies on stealth and surprise, you should always have it follow your group at a distance. What I mean by that is ungroup it and let party members go forward. Once they reach an encounter you can use the situation to get the best vantage point via stealth and join the party via spells or physical combat

If there is a ledge Thunderwave is mandatory

It is an extremely powerful spell. Even if Arcane Trickster deals high sneak damage, usually it won't be enough to instant kill. However, dropping the enemy into the chasm is a 100% death guarantee.

arcane trickster combat thunderwave spellcasting baldurs gate 3


For Equipment, here are my recommendations with Arcane Trickster build

Melee Weapons

Generally, you can go two ways - dual-wielding or single-handed weapons. I think it all boils down to how you spend your bonus points. For example, if you see that during encounters you are left with no bonus action and don't use the offhand weapon, then no point in dual-wielding

However, if you see that you have bonus action left, this is a perfect choice to have an offhand weapon and deal bonus damage.

There are a few decent weapons, however, I personally found myself mostly either using Thunderwave or going for ranged attacks.

Weapon Act Description
Sussur Dagger Baldur's Gate 3Sussur Dagger 1 If you are going for dual wielding this is a decent dagger, especially as it can silence enemies.
Shortsword of First Blood Baldur's Gate 3Shortsword of First Blood 1 This is a very powerful weapon if used correctly. Generally, it deals additional 1d8 damage if the enemy has not lost any HP yet. So if you attack them first from stealth and then use dual wielding, the result is some heavy hits
Sword of Screams Baldur's Gate 3Sword of Screams 1 Deals additional Psychic damage. Not many enemies can resist it. So if you use single-handed attacks this is the best choice.
Rapier Baldur's Gate 3Rapier +1 1 A decent rapier that you get very early. Can last you until you get the ones above.

Ranged Weapons

You can equip two hand crossbows and dual-wield them. The good thing, is that you can use bonus action to shoot with offhand

Weapon Act Description
Item_WPN_HUM_HandCrossbow_A_1 Baldur's Gate 3Ne'er Misser 2 Another great choice, that shoots 3 darts.
Item_WPN_HUM_HandCrossbow_A_1 Baldur's Gate 3Hellfire Hand Crossbow 2 Obtained in Gauntlet of Shar, from Yurgir
Item_WPN_HUM_HandCrossbow_A_1 Baldur's Gate 3Hand Crossbow +1 1 Can be purchased from vendors in Druid's Grove, equip two of them on each hand


Armor Act Description
Drow Studded Leather Armor Baldur's Gate 3Drow Studded Leather Armor 1 Gives +1 to stealth rolls. Otherwise, it is normal armor.
spidersilk armor Baldur's Gate 3Spidersilk Armor 1 Gives a bonus to stealth and an advantage on Constitution throws. This is perfect, to maintain concentration on spells.


Helmet Act Description
Shadow of Menzoberranzan Baldur's Gate 3Shadow of Menzoberranzan 1 Gives invisibility without any spell slot usage
haste Helmet Baldur's Gate 3Haste Helmet 1 Gives Momentum at the start of the combat for three turns. This allows you to move faster


Thank you for reading the Arcane Trickster rogue build in Baldur's Gate 3. We covered all the main aspects of creating a powerful spellcasting thief. Thanks to the choices we make there is now a perfect balance between stealth and magic.


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!