Best Races and Subraces Tier List

Best Races and Subraces Tier List - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
Last updated:

Here is a Tier List covering how I think Races and Subraces are ranked. This is subjective and based on my criteria:

S Wood Half-Elfhalf elf bg3 Drow Half-Elfhalf elf bg3 High Half-Elfhalf elf bg3 Githyankigithyanki bg3Duergar Dwarfdwarf bg3
A High Elfelf bg3Wood Elfelf bg3 Lolth-Sworn Drowdrow bg3 Seldarine Drowdrow bg3  Asmodeus Tieflingtiefling bg3 Deep Gnomegnome bg3 Lightfoot Halflinghalfling bg3 Strongheart Halflinghalfling bg3 Half-Orchalf orc bg3
B Humanhuman bg3Shield Dwarfdwarf bg3 Mephistopheles Tieflingtiefling bg3 Forest Gnomegnome bg3 Rock Gnomegnome bg3Zariel Tieflingtiefling bg3Gold Dwarfdwarf bg3
C Black Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Blue Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Brass Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Bronze Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Copper Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Gold Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Green Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Red Dragonborndragonborn bg3 Silver Dragonborndragonborn bg3 White Dragonborndragonborn bg3

Here is my explanation with reasonings:

S-Tier

Wood Half-Elf

Features from race:

  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry

Features from subrace:

  • Fleet of Foot - your movement speed is increased by 1.5 meters.
  • Mask of the Wild - you gain proficiency in stealth.

Explanation:

Any martial build will benefit greatly from the increased movement speed. Moreover, Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia​ makes being a spellcaster much easier. You can equip a shield to get that +2 armor class early in the game. With other bonuses, you have more survivability than a fighter or paladin.

Drow Half-Elf

Features from race:

  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry

Features from subrace:

  • Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights
  • Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire
  • Darkness icon action bg3Darkness

Explanation:

This choice is great as you get shield proficiency, making this subrace great for spellcasters. However, its main highlight is the Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ spell at level 5. This is a very powerful spell and if you plan on playing Warlock or Shadow Monk this allows for some extremely strong combat approaches.

High Half-Elf

Features from race:

  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry

Features from subrace:

  • Can choose one cantrip from the Wizard spell list.

Explanation:

Similar to other Half-elves they get shield proficiency. However, the main highlight is the choice of a cantrip. The problem is that these use Intelligence as a spellcasting modifier. However, you can take utility cantrips like Friends icon action bg3Friends​ which help immensely in dialogues and skipping various combat situations.

Githyanki

Features from race:

  • Martial Prodigy icon passive feature bg3Martial Prodigy
  • Astral Knowledge icon action bg3Astral Knowledge
  • Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand
  • Enhance Leap icon action bg3Enhance Leap
  • Misty Step icon action bg3Misty Step

Explanation:

I think race is lacking in the "beauty" department, but it makes up for it with bonus features. The main highlight is Martial Prodigy icon passive feature bg3Martial Prodigy​ which allows you to wear Medium Armor. This is extremely useful in some cases like casters who may have low Armour Class early in the game and no access to good robes.

Astral Knowledge icon action bg3Astral Knowledge​ is another amazing action that gives proficiencies and allows passing those ability rolls. Misty Step icon action bg3Misty Step​ is perfect for combat situations where you want to reach an enemy instantly with a cost of bonus action.

Overall, this race is a powerhouse.

Duergar Dwarf

Features from race:

  • Dwarven Combat Training icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Combat Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Dwarven Resilience icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Resilience

Features from subrace:

  • Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision
  • Duergar Resilience icon passive feature bg3Duergar Resilience
  • Enlarge icon action bg3Enlarge
  • Invisibility icon action bg3Invisibility

Explanation:

I think this is a very powerful choice. You get Invisibility icon action bg3Invisibility​ that can be cast at will, Enlarge icon action bg3Enlarge​ tat gives bonus damage without and concentration cost, you get better dark vision. Overall, this is the perfect choice for Assassin-themed builds, that do not have any equals.

A-Tier

High Elf

Features from race:

  • Elven Weapon Training icon passive feature bg3Elven Weapon Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry

Features from subrace:

  • Can choose one cantrip from the Wizard spell list.

Explanation:

The additional cantrip is a great bonus for utility choices. I would not recommend any offensive ones unless you are a wizard, as they use an Intelligence spellcasting modifier.

Besides that, compared to Half-elves the proficiency in longbows does not make up for shield proficiency in my opinion, especially, as you can still use other ranged weapons (albeit not as strong ones)

Wood Elf

Features from race:

  • Elven Weapon Training icon passive feature bg3Elven Weapon Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry

Features from subrace:

  • Fleet of Foot - your movement speed is increased by 1.5 meters.
  • Mask of the Wild - you gain proficiency in stealth.

Explanation:

Similar to Wood Half-Elf, this subrace is a solid choice, especially for melee builds. However, it does not provide Shield proficiency which is a bummer if you plan on using this on a caster, especially early game.

Lolth-Sworn Drow

Features from race:

  • Drow Weapon Training icon passive feature bg3Drow Weapon Training
  • Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry
  • Keen Senses - you gain proficiency in the Perception skill.
  • Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights
  • Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire
  • Darkness icon action bg3Darkness

Features from subrace:

-

Explanation:

Drows are especially good in Act 1 due to the multiple dialogue options here. They also get bonus spells. The most prominent one is Darkness icon action bg3Darkness, which can be useful for builds or classes like Warlock, which can utilize them in combat.

Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision​ is also good, but I don't think it is something that is a huge game-changer. Still, it is useful for ranged builds.

Why I am not putting it at S-Tier? Well, my main gripe is that the biggest features the Race provides are somewhat limited to use cases.

Seladrine Drow

Features from race:

  • Drow Weapon Training icon passive feature bg3Drow Weapon Training
  • Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry
  • Keen Senses - you gain proficiency in the Perception skill.
  • Dancing Lights icon action bg3Dancing Lights
  • Faerie Fire icon action bg3Faerie Fire
  • Darkness icon action bg3Darkness

Features from subrace:

-

Explanation:

Drows are especially good in Act 1 due to the multiple dialogue options here. They also get bonus spells. The most prominent one is Darkness icon action bg3Darkness, which can be useful for builds or classes like Warlock, which can utilize them in combat.

Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision​ is also good, but I don't think it is something that is a huge game-changer. Still, it is useful for ranged builds.

Why I am not putting it at S-Tier? Well, my main gripe is that the biggest features the Race provides are somewhat limited to use cases.

Asmodeus Tiefling

Features from race:

  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Hellish Resistance icon passive feature bg3Hellish Resistance

Features from subrace:

  • Produce Flame icon action bg3Produce Flame
  • Hellish Rebuke icon action bg3Hellish Rebuke
  • Darkness icon action bg3Darkness

Explanation:

The subrace is a solid choice and is somewhat similar to Drows. Fire resistance is extremely good, as this is the most prominent element throughout the game. Hellish Rebuke icon action bg3Hellish Rebuke​ is a good reaction spell, that saves an action and a spell slot.

Darkness icon action bg3Darkness​ is a great addition if you are a Warlock or anyone in the party can utilize this to their advantage.

However, I still think they could have Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision​ or better proficiencies to get to that S-Tier.

Deep Gnome

Features from race:

  • Gnome Cunning icon passive feature bg3Gnome Cunning

Features from subrace:

  • Superior Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Superior Darkvision
  • Stone Camouflage icon passive feature bg3Stone Camouflage

Explanation:

Gnomes are okay as a race, as they are effective when resisting spells, especially those targeting Wisdom (and there are plenty of those).

However, the subrace gives Stone Camouflage icon passive feature bg3Stone Camouflage, which allows it to be one of the most prominent stealth options. Just apply Greater Invisibility icon action bg3Greater Invisibility​ and you can free-kill, multiple enemies before being detected.

However, the limited subclass feature usage is not enough for higher ranking in my opinion.

Lightfoot Halfling

Features from race:

  • Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck
  • Brave icon passive feature bg3Brave

Features from subrace:

  • Naturally Stealthy icon passive feature bg3Naturally Stealthy

Explanation:

Halflings are a very popular choice, specifically, for their Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck​ feature. This trait gets better and better as the game progresses and it greatly diminishes chances of you rolling 1. This is important as natural 1 roll means failure, doesn't matter what your bonuses are.

So sometimes you could have +11 from various bonuses and would pass difficulty 10, however, that roll of 1, fails everything.

Even though Lightfoot subrace is better with stealth builds due to stealth advantage, it still works with almost anything.

Strongheart Halfling

Features from race:

  • Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck
  • Brave icon passive feature bg3Brave

Features from subrace:

  • Strongheart Resilience icon passive feature bg3Strongheart Resilience

Explanation:

Halflings are a very popular choice, specifically, for their Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck​ feature. This trait gets better and better as the game progresses and it greatly diminishes chances of you rolling 1. This is important as natural 1 roll means failure, doesn't matter what your bonuses are.

So sometimes you could have +11 from various bonuses and would pass difficulty 10, however, that roll of 1, fails everything.

Strongheart subrace does not bring much to the table in my opinion, however, it still pulled this high by Halfling Luck icon passive feature bg3Halfling Luck​ trait.

Half-Orc

Features from race:

  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision​​
  • Relentless Endurance icon passive feature bg3Relentless Endurance
  • Savage Attacks icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacks​​

Explanation:

Half-Orcs are a very strong option for melee builds. Of course, they are also good for ranged builds, but their Relentless Endurance icon passive feature bg3Relentless Endurance​ is more aimed toward close combat in my opinion.

They also get Savage Attacks icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacks​ that could trick you into thinking it is better than what it is. The main reason is that it mostly shines with weapons that have high-range rolls - 1d10, 1d12.

However, something like a Greatsword, would not get as big of a benefit as their rolls are 2d6, and one of the strongest weapons in the game Balduran's Giantslayer icon bg3Balduran's Giantslayer is a greatsword.

B-Tier

Human

Features from race:

  • Civil Militia icon passive feature bg3Civil Militia
  • Human Versatility icon passive feature bg3Human Versatility

Explanation:

Humans do not get any special features that would make them stand out. However, they are still a solid choice especially if you need two things:

  • Shield proficiency - very useful for casters early in the game and up until Act 2-3
  • If you want more proficiencies to better handle a variety of ability check rolls.

Besides these, there is nothing else, that makes them stand out.

Gold Dwarf

Features from race:

  • Dwarven Combat Training icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Combat Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Dwarven Resilience icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Resilience

Features from subrace:

  • Dwarven Armour Training icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Armour Training

Explanation:

I wanted to move this subrace to the lowest tier, however, medium armor proficiency can be useful for some builds, especially early on. It would still work throughout the game, giving some competitive advantage to the Armour Class.

Sadly, there are no other major bonuses besides Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision.

Mephistopheles Tiefling

Features from race:

  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Hellish Resistance icon passive feature bg3Hellish Resistance

Features from subrace:

  • Mage Hand icon action bg3Mage Hand
  • Burning Hands icon action bg3Burning Hands
  • Flame Blade icon action bg3Flame Blade

Explanation:

The subrace gets some cool features, however, their use cases are very limited or work only on specific builds. Another downside is that the offensive ones use the Charisma modifier, and not something like the Class modifier, which can be problematic and almost useless for some builds.

Forest Gnome

Features from race:

  • Gnome Cunning icon passive feature bg3Gnome Cunning

Features from subrace:

  • Speak with Animals icon action bg3Speak with Animals
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision

Explanation:

The subrace feature allowing to speak with animals is almost useless. It saves some potions, but that's it... Otherwise Gnome Cunning icon passive feature bg3Gnome Cunning​ is a solid feature.

Rock Gnome

Features from race:

  • Gnome Cunning icon passive feature bg3Gnome Cunning

Features from subrace:

  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Artificer's Lore icon passive feature bg3Artificer's Lore

Explanation:

The subrace is somewhat disappointing. Artificer's Lore icon passive feature bg3Artificer's Lore​ is okay as a freebie, but that's it, more or less. The race has lower movement speed and the only thing keeping it in B-Tier is Gnome Cunning icon passive feature bg3Gnome Cunning​ to resist various spells.

Zariel Tiefling

Features from race:

  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Hellish Resistance icon passive feature bg3Hellish Resistance

Features from subrace:

  • Thaumaturgy icon action bg3Thaumaturgy
  • Searing Smite icon action bg3Searing Smite
  • Branding Smite icon action bg3Branding Smite

Explanation:

On the first days of my game, I thought this was one of the most awesome subraces. However, as I tried Paladin, I understood that their Divine Smite icon action bg3Divine Smite​ is much better and doesn't cost bonus action. Of course, this is not an equal comparison.

The problem with these smites is that they are useful in the early game, and later on, as you find better uses for bonus actions like Great Weapon Master: Bonus Attack icon passive feature bg3Great Weapon Master: Bonus Attack, Dual-wield offhand attack, etc. These bonus smites lose their appeal as you have ways of dealing more damage.

Of course, as a Tiefling, you still get fire resistance and Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision, which is helpful.

Gold Dwarf

Features from race:

  • Dwarven Combat Training icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Combat Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Dwarven Resilience icon passive feature bg3Dwarven Resilience

Features from subrace:

  • Dwarven Toughness - hit point maximum increases by 1, and further 1 on each level up.

Explanation:

Overall, compared to their counterpart Druegars, the subrace pales in comparison. The bonus HP is a good addition, for front liners, but low movement speed and no other good bonuses make it subpar.

C-Tier

All Dragonborn subraces

Features from race:

  • Related Element Breath.
  • Related Element Resistance.

This race is the coolest looking, and probably the reason why it was so under-tuned for Baldur's Gate 3. They have in theory a good action - Breaths. However, their scaling is disappointing and the steep cost of Action Point makes it problematic as the game progresses. In late Act 2 and Act 3, this is useless.

It would be okay in early game, if it did not need a long rest, for a single use.

You could argue, that the resistances are good, but the only one worthwhile in my opinion is fire. Still, I have a hard time putting it into a higher tier, for now. Maybe, later they will get some buffs

 

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Discussion

Anonymous

What class combine with Drow Half-Elf?

If you are into using Darkness to cover battlefield and becoming hard to hit, I would say Warlock. They get Devil's Sight that allows you to see in magical Darkness.

Then you have free reign to shoot enemies from inside it or engage in melee combat

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zanuffas
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