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Baldur’s Gate 3 players are presented with a wealth of options as they create their first character and begin their adventure. The bard is one of the most interesting classes, and becomes more interesting still once a player picks a subclass. Here is our ranking of the best Bard subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Note: If you would like additional help on this topic, also refer to our guide outlining the best Bard spells and cantrips.
Baldur’s Gate 3 – best Bard subclasses, ranked
When you choose a Bard, you gain access to a lot of unique skills that are most useful outside battle. Then, when your Bard reaches level 3, you get to choose from among three Bard subclasses (listed in-game as ‘colleges’). Your choice determines how your Bard develops from that point forward. We’ve ranked the Bard subclasses below from best to worst. Consider carefully what you want to accomplish with your bard and choose accordingly.
1. The College of Lore (Best)
The College of Lore is the best option for a typical Bard. As noted above, the Bard is well-suited to a support role right from the start of the adventure. This subclass allows them to double down on that, and also teaches them Cutting Words.
At level 6, Bards in this subclass gain access to Magical Secrets, a branch that allows them to wield powerful magic in support of their companions based on their CHA stat. They also become better at Intimidation and Sleight of Hand, as well as Arcana. When you think of a Bard, you probably imagine a character of this sort.
2. The College of Swords (Good)
The College of Swords is a decent second choice if you want to be more active in combat. For starters, you’ll be able to equip heavier armor and weapons, plus relevant abilities. At level 6, you also gain the ability to attack a second time in one turn.
Bards tend to fall in battle pretty quickly under normal circumstances, when enemies break through the front lines and start targeting support members. However, improved armor options could keep your singing hero in the action long enough to toss out a spell or two and turn the tide of battle.
3. The College of Valour (Okay)
The College of Valour is a middle ground that offers a less specialized mix of the two other colleges. The game sometimes favors players who lean into their characters’ roles, so I don’t suggest choosing this particular subclass. That’s not to say there are no benefits, however.
When you are in the College of Valour, you do a better job of inspiring your teammates around you. Also, you can equip better gear and even wield the powerful Shatter spell (which is also an option in the College of Lore). As with the College of Swords, this subclass grants you an additional attack at level 6.
We’ve ranked the subclasses above, but there’s really no wrong choice for your Bard. Choose the subclass that suits your style of play. And if you change your mind, check our guide on how to respec your characters with a little help from Withers.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is available on Steam.