Draw your weapons, knock your bows, because the Fighter’s here. Since Baldur’s Gate 3 is basically Dungeons & Dragons 5E but a video game, the Fighter follows a similar role to what it does in 5E; a bruiser that destroys enemies with many, many different types of weapons. The Fighter has the most versatile storyline, because it handles basically any background. Mercenaries, old clerics, barroom brawlers… There’s a ridiculous amount of versatility to what a Fighter can do. But, this is Baldur’s Gate 3; Backstory isn’t nearly as important! What we want is how to make the best possible Fighter in the Early Access. That’s the job that our Baldurs Gate 3 Fighter guide is going to handle!
Baldur’s Gate 3 Fighter Guide
Fighters are an extremely versatile class in their role. They can be a tanky frontliner, a damage dealer in both the frontline and backline roles, or even a controlling support. Because of their large hit dice, their ability to use Heavy Armor, and their large variety of weapons, it is recommended to consider a frontline role for your Fighter. Most of the classes in the Early Access aren’t nearly as durable! And since Barbarian and Paladin isn’t quite out yet, it might be a while before anyone can challenge their martial supremacy.
The Fighting Style of a fighter is, arguably, the only reason to be a fighter (other than Action Surge!). These benefits are really strong, so it’s important to take the one that best fits your build. Because of that, there’s kinda only one option for each.
- Archery: Feel like hitting people from far away? Good, because archery gives you an absolutely silly +2 to attack rolls. What?! That’s like a fully enchanted weapon’s accuracy! And you get it level 2!
- Defense: Try… not to take Defense. +1 AC is fantastic, but the other fighting styles give you a crazy amount of damage. That +1 AC saves you 5% of the time; killing the enemy faster will tend to be more useful than that. If you’re really, really unsure of what style to take, this is still wonderful.
- Dueling: +2 to damage on one-handed weapons? Cool! We haven’t had the chance to test this with Shields, but it should work, since you “wear” a shield. This is probably the best choice for a Sword-and-Board Fighter (though see Protection!).
- Great Weapon Fighting: If you use a two-handed weapon, this is your choice. Great for Greatswords, and you can save your Greataxe’s d12 from being an utter disappointment.
- Protection: Really great choice if your Cleric is in melee, or a rogue is nearby. However, you only get one reaction per turn, so you’ll be spending your Attack of Opportunity. Use this wisely!
- Two-Weapon Fighting: If you plan on holding a weapon in each hand, then you take this. This is a pretty huge damage boost for Finesse builds, and some Strength builds.
If you’re wondering what build to take, I’d suggest Archery, Great Weapon Fighting, or Two Weapon Fighting. These tend to be the most impactful. Dueling is still crazy strong, but not being able to use weapons with massive damage dice means you let enemies live for longer. Not exactly what you want. Tank Fighters sound better than they are; without spells from a Cleric or Paladin spells, it’s so ridiculously hard to tank in 5E or Baldur’s Gate.
There are three subclasses confirmed for the Early Access; Battlemaster, Champion, and Eldritch Knight.
Battlemaster is a battlefield controller with access to massive amounts of burst damage. You get 4 choices of Battlemaster maneuvers right now; Menacing Attack, Pushing Attack, Rally, Riposte. And you get three of them. So, you just need to drop the one that’s the least useful. Menacing Attack is really strong, and Rally gives a surprising amount of health. That means your choice is Pushing Attack (great for Ranged builds) or Riposte (fine for melee builds). Your dice will probably be used for Menacing attack, since Frighten is such a good debuff.
Champion is extremely basic. All it really does is boost your Critical hit rate by 5%. That’s not a small amount of damage, but right now, Battlemaster increases your damage by much, much more than that. Since Critical Hits only double the amount of dice you roll, you should use the biggest weapon you can… And still the Battlemaster would out-do you! Consider Champion when we aren’t level-locked to 4.
Eldritch Knights differentiate themselves from the Battlemaster by giving the Fighter spell slots. You get two level 1 spell slots, and two cantrips. Your cantrip should cover your other range of options (so, if you’re a melee fight, take something like Acid Splash or Fire Bolt for a ranged option, and ranged fighters should consider Poison Spray or Chill Touch). Spells like Mage Hand and Light can be useful for problem solving and reducing the need for torches.
After that, you get 2 Abjuration/Evocation spells known, and one other Wizard spell. We recommend that you take Magic Missile to guarantee kills, and Thunderwave for an Area of Effect option (Burning Hands is fine, too!). Then, you could get a Familiar, Feather Fall to avoid fall damage, Grease to trip enemies… There are some great options, and the best way to know what to take for sure is to check what magical effects your fellow spellcasters can replicate! Do remember that your DC is likely not going to be too high, so buff spells are usually your best choice (but don’t worry; attack roll spells are still a solid idea!).
In general, if you don’t know what to become, be a Battlemaster. They’re amazing in the early game, and keep getting better in the lategame.
Fighters, in general, only care about the physical stats; Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution. It’s recommended to dump either Strength or Dexterity; you can use finesse weapons if you want to dump Strength and ignore the penalties, or you can wear heavy armor and ignore Dexterity entirely. Constitution is important no matter what, but it’s much more important for a frontline fighter.
However, at level 3, you get to choose between Battlemaster or Eldritch Knight. Battlemasters have no additional statistics to worry about, but Eldritch Knights require some Intelligence. So, your build does revolve around your 3rd level subclass, just a little bit.
Battlemasters and Champions can be melee or ranged, so Strength or Dexterity builds can work with them. Shield Dwarves are an obvious choice; +2 Strength, +2 Constitution is ridiculous, and they even get resistances to some damage. Unfortunately, you are wasting a tiny bit of value, since you are already proficient in armors. But, that +2/+2 is stupid. Until Half-Orcs or Orcs get dropped as a race (if they ever will), these slow but steady warriors are extremely powerful, and probably the best option for Strength-based Battlemasters.
If that’s a bit too slow for you, Humans and Githyanki are fine, just not great. Humans waste a ton of stats, since Battlemasters don’t care about mental stats. Githyanki get Intelligence and a ton of wasted proficiencies… Ouch.
Elves and even Halflings make great fighters, as long as you have a ranged weapon in hand. Halflings suffer from being Small, and are therefore unable to use longbows. Try to make them into a Two-Weapon Fighting build, while Elves can be some of the best long-ranged or melee ranged Finesse fighters in the game.
High Elves and the Githyanki are the best Eldritch Knights. Getting +2 to a physical stat (+2 Strength for the Githyanki, +2 Dexterity for the Elf) is perfect. Then, you get +1 Intelligence for both of them! That’s a great start. High Elves have a cantrip and elf immunities, while the Githyanki lose a lot of value from being naturally proficient in many types of armor and weapons. However, Githyanki also get Mage Hand… So it’s not that far off!
We only get one feat, so your options are somewhat limited. Ability improvement is, as always, a fantastic choice to increase damage. If you really want to slam someone through the planet, Great Weapon Master will do well for you. If it comes out, then Sharpshooter (Great Weapon Master for bows) also gives +10 damage, and makes good use of your extra accuracy boost from Archery. Otherwise… tough gives you a ton of health?
Realistically, you don’t need a feat from the Early Access list as a Fighter. Try to go for that Ability Improvement. Magic Initiate might seem fun, but it’s a lot of investment for little reward.
See Also: Baldur’s Gate 3 Ranger Guide
Conclusions – Baldurs Gate 3 Fighter
The Fighter is a natural pick for any party in need of some muscle (or ranged damage!). However, do make sure they are paired with party members that are problem-solvers. The Fighter is not great at solving puzzles or taking out casters, or removing spells from play. They’re just here to lower health points to 0… And with Action Surge and their subclass, they’re going to make people disappear.