Baldur’s Gate 3 Tier List: What is the Best Race

Our Best Race in Baldur’s Gate 3 tier list ranks 11 top races and subraces and explains which one is the strongest and why.

Best Clothing for Sorcerer Class - BG3

This guide has been updated for the patch 6 version of Baldur’s Gate 3.

In Baldur’s Gate 3, the race of your character, companions, and enemies can play an important part in the game. Not only do each have unique appearances, but specific traits and features that give passive benefits. This could include resistance, movement speed, and ability score improvements. This guide explores the best and worst racial choices for Baldur’s Gate 3.

Larian Studio’s developers decided to deviate from the standard Dungeon and Dragons 5th edition rule set regarding ability score improvements. The game allows players to assign +2 and +1 to whichever score they want, giving you much freedom in your racial choice. So, if everyone gets the same ability score bonuses, what is the best race in Baldur’s Gate 3?

What Makes a Good Race?

What makes a good race in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a blend of abilities, skills, proficiencies, and resistances. Since ability score improvements are standardized, the racial benefits of more movement and improvement to a skill like stealth or Darkvision are the most significant determining factors.


Here are some key factors that contribute to a race being considered good in the game:

  • Racial Abilities: can include spells, special attacks, resistance to certain damage types, or situational bonuses.
  • Skills & Proficiencies: Some races offer armor and weapon proficiencies, allowing you to use them if your classes don’t have built-in proficiency.
  • Resistances: Races with resistances or immunities to certain types of damage or status effects can be extremely valuable.
  • Movement: Races with increased movement speed per turn can provide significant advantages.
  • Roleplaying: While not directly related to combat mechanics, races with rich lore and distinctive characteristics can enhance your roleplaying experience.
  • Subraces: Some races have access to unique feats or subraces that can grant additional abilities or expand your character’s versatility.

Ultimately, the best race for you will depend on your preferred playstyle, character concept, and the role you want to play within the game’s narrative. In this guide, we will consider you want maximum combat performance, and our ranking will reflect that idea.

What’s the Best Race in Baldur’s Gate 3?

The best overall race for Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Half-Elf because they have good movement speed, darkvision, and Civil Militia, giving them access to essential proficiencies. They combine Elf and Human with all the best bonuses, making them the top choice for any class and playstyle.

The second most robust class is the Half-Orc for the Relentless Endurance racial trait. When you reach 0 health, you gain 1 HP.  This gives you a second chance at life and will be essential for the highest-difficulty tactician playthroughs. 

Here’s a ranking of the best and worst races in Baldur’s Gate 3:

  1. Half-Elf: best overall for any build
  2. Half-Orc: best for pure melee damage dealers
  3. Githyanki: overall strong and especially movement
  4. Elf: similar to Half-Elf but with longbow proficiency
  5. Tiefling: strong due to extra spells
  6. Drow: great for weapon proficiencies
  7. Human: extra carrying and shield proficiency
  8. Dwarf: outside of Duergar, weaker overall race
  9. Dragonborn: RP-specific race with weak bonuses
  10. Halfing: slow and weak
  11. Gnome: offers almost nothing interesting

11 Gnome

Gnome Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Gnome Race

Small, clever, and energetic, Gnomes use their long lives to explore Faerun’s brightest corners and darkest depths. Gnome race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 7.5m per turn.
  • Gnome Cunning: you have an advantage on intelligence, wisdom, and charisma saving throws.
  • Subraces: Rock Gnome, Deep Gnome, and Forest Gnome
  • Recommended Classes: Rogue and Wizard

The Deep Gnome gets Superior Darkvision and Stone Camouflage, making this an excellent stealth build. Gnome Cunning can also be useful, but the dreadfully slow 7.5m per turn movement speed holds the race back. While ranked low, you can make this race work as a Rogue or a Wizard, but superior options are keeping it the last on the list.

10 Halflings

Halflings Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Halflings Race

Small yet capable, Halflings prefer the comfort of home and hearth – but their natural luck and agility make them fine adventurers. Halflings race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 7.5m per turn.
  • 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 an advantage on saving throws against being Frightened.
  • Subraces: Lightfoot Halfling and Strongheart Halfling
  • Recommend Classes: Bard, Rouge, and Ranger

The Halfling ranks slightly higher primarily because of the Lucky racial feat. This keeps you from critical misses and can help you do more consistent dice rolls in combat. The two subraces offer good choices for stealth and resistance. The class also has a 7.5m movement speed and is low and hard to play without using solely range damage.

9 Dragonborn

Dragonborn Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Dragonborn Race

Dragonborn’s are a proud race that values clan and skill. Once enslaved by dragons, they strive to be self-sufficient, not wanting to be accountable to anyone, not even the gods.Dragonborn race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m per turn.
  • Draconic Ancestry: gain damage resistance for your chosen dragon type.
  • Breath Weapon: breath weapon does damage determined by the dragon type, fire, lighting, acid, etc. Acid would grant you Acid Breath.
  • Subraces: Black, Blue, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, Green, Red, Silver, White
  • Recommended Classes: PaladinFighterSorcerer

Dragonborns have decent movement speed with a standard 9m per turn. They seem substantial initially due to flashy free spells, such as burning hands. However, Dragonborn racial spells around levels 3-5 become weaker because they don’t scale. They also don’t have darkvision, which hurts combat utility and exploration experience in dark environments. They also lack any armour or weapon proficiency.

Extra resistance of your choice is excellent, but the game offers many options for resistance, like the Darkfire Shortbow, which has two and one and can be equipped by any character (fire and cold). They are best played for RP with a Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer class build, but Dragonborns’ combat effectiveness is limited.

8 Dwarf

Dwarf Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Dwarf Race

Dwarves are sturdy and resilient creatures with a natural proficiency in combat.  Dwarven Race Features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 7.5m per turn.
  • Dwarven Combat Training: proficiency with Battleaxe, Handaxe, Light Hammer, and the Warhammer.
  • Darkvision: see up to 12m in the dark.
  • Dwarven Resilience: have an advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance to poison damage.
  • Subraces: Gold and Shield Dwarf
  • Recommended Classes: Fighter, Paladin, and Barbarian.

What hurts the dwarf is its lack of speed, with very slow mobility; however, there is one subrace, Drueger, that is ultra-powerful. This race gains invisibility and enlarge and is one of the strongest racial choices for honour mode or solo gameplay.

However, what holds the entire race back is that one subrace is excellent, while the others are geared entirely for melee builds that rely entirely on mobility for combat performance. Oddly, a melee-focused race has 7.5 movement speed, and it’s crippling slow at the start of BG3

7 Human

Human Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Human Race

The most common race to see in Faerun, humans are known for their tenacity, creativity, and endless capacity for growth. Human Race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Civil Militia: proficiency with spears, pikes, halberds, and glaives AND armour proficiency with light armour and shields.
  • Human Versatility: select an additional skill to be proficient in, and your carrying capacity is increased by a quarter.
  • Recommend Classes: Wizard and Warlock

While humans appear to be a terrible race choice, they are great for spellcasters because of a civil militia bonus. It allows them to equip a shield with a versatile weapon like a quarterstaff. As a result, you can gain + 2 AC from a shield and become much more survivable immediately. And during Act 3 up to +3 AC bonus with Viconia’s Walking Fortress legendary shield.

Another benefit is extra carrying weight and skill proficiency. What holds the race back is it’s only suitable for cloth-wearing spellcasters or classes that don’t have shield proficiency. 

6 Drow

Drow Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Drow Race

Drow, also known as Dark Elves, are a subrace of Elves. They live in the Underdark, a place you can visit in Baldur’s Gate 3. Drow race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Drow Weapon training: Rapier, Shortswords and Hand Crossbows
  • Superior Darkvision: see up to 24m in the dark.
  • Drow Spells: gain access to Faerie Fire and Dancing Light
  • Fey Ancestry: have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
  • Recommended Classes: Rogue, Ranger, Warlock

The drow is a weaker version of the Elf or Half-Elf. They get similar bonuses but lack shield proficiency; instead, they have proficiency with rapiers, shortswords, and hand crossbows. Rapiers are common in Warlock builds and make an interesting pairing with the Drow race.

Superior Darkvision is excellent, but the racial spells are a bit weaker than others, and it’s just better to select a Half-Elf or Elf for better bonuses.

5 Tiefling

Tiefling Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Tiefling Race

Descended from devils of the Nine Hells, Tieflings face constant suspicions in Faerun. Thankfully, their arcane abilities make them natural survivors.

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Darkvision: see up to 12m in the dark.
  • Hellish Resistance: you have resistance to fire damage, taking only half the damage from it.
  • Subclasses: Asmodeus Tiefling, Mephistopheles Tiefling, Zariel Tiefling
  • Subclass racial bonuses
    • Asmodeous Tiefling
      • Level 3: Hellish Rebuke spell as a 2nd level spell once per Long Rest.
      • Level 5:  Darkness spells once per Long Rest. Create a cloud of magical darkness that Heavily Obscures and Blinds creatures within.
    • Mephistopheles Tiefling
      • Mage Hand cantrip. Create a spectral hand that can manipulate and interact with objects.
      • Level 3:  Burning Hands as a 2nd level spell once per Long Rest.
      • Level 5:  Flame Blade spell once per Long Rest.
    • Zariel Tiefling
      • Thaumaturgy cantrip
      • Level 3:  Searing Smite as a 2nd level spell once per Long Rest.
      • Level 5:  Branding Smite once per Long Rest.
  • Recommended Classes: PaladinBard, WarlockSorcerer

The main attraction to the Tiefling is their look and fire resistance, which seems very important early in the game but becomes less appealing later because so many gear sets give you fire resistance anyway, for example, Helldusk Armour. The resistance bonus is strong early but weaker as you gear up and progress.

To that same end, a lot of the spells for each subraces feel that way, like Produce Flame, Burning Hands, and even Searing Smite.

However, the combination of extra spells, darkvision, 9-meter movement speed, and the interesting look makes Tieflings a good racial selection in combat and overall gameplay.

4 Elf

Elf Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Elf Race

With ethereal countenances and long lifespans, Elves are at home with nature’s power, flourishing in light and dark alike. Here are the Elf race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Elven Weapon training: proficiency with longswords, shortsword, shortbow, and longbow.
  • Darkvision: see up to 12m in the dark.
  • Fey Ancestry: have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
  • Sub-Races: High Elf and Wood Elf
  • Recommended Classes: WizardRangerRogue

The Elf (different from Half-Elf) is an exceptionally well-rounded race with darkvision, fey ancestry, perception proficiency, and weapon proficiency. Both sub-races make powerful combinations in nearly any build, with Wood Elf having a 10.5-meter movement speed per turn, which is the most of any class, and proficiency in stealth. High elf race receives an extra cantrip of your choice, allowing you to pick Firebolt immediately regardless of your class.

They are listed in the 4th spot because the weapon and armour proficiency gained (Longswords, Shortswords, Longbows, Shortbows) isn’t as critical as gaining, for example, a shield proficiency. This is what their cousin, the Half-Elf, gets and why they are ranked higher.

3 Githyanki

Githyanki Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Githyanki Race

Githyanki are peerless warriors from the Astral Plane, known for their legendary silver blades and red dragon mounts. They seek the destruction of mind flayers, whose ancient empire enslaved the Githyanki for millennia. Here are the Githyranki race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m per turn.
  • Astral Knowledge: gain proficiency in all skills of a chosen ability.
  • Cantrip: Mage Hand
  • Martial Prodigy: gain armour proficiency with light and medium armor as well as proficiency with shortswords, longswords and greatswords.
  • Githyanki Psionics Jump at level 3.
  • Misty Step: learn this spell at level 5, and it can be used once per long rest.
  • Recommend Classes: BarbarianFighter, Paladin

The GIthyanki could be argued as the most interesting and powerful race due to skill, proficiency, mobility, and proficiencies. Uniquely, you gain access to light, medium, and greatswords. This means that with any build, you can use a two-handed greatsword stacking strength regardless of the class.

Moreover, the Gith gets Misty Step at level 5, an incredible mobility tool for any build, especially melee-focused classes, such as Fighters and Paladins. Enhanced Leap will make exploration and traveling through various environments easier.


The Astral knowledge passive is handy when playing solo, where you can get proficiency from all skills in a particular ability score. Thus, you can have intelligence proficiency in Arcana, Religion, etc., even with very low intelligence. Lastly, you will find during your playthrough unique Gith gear sets specifically designed for them.

Additionally, the main story premise is based on Githyanki culture and provides a special experience during those critical choices. Something about the race speaks to their overall raw power and interesting story dynamics

2 Half-Orc

Half-Orc Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Half-Orc Race

Creatures of intense emotion, half-orcs are more inclined to act than contemplate – whether the rage burning their bodies compels them to fight or the love filling their hearts inspires acts of incredible kindness.  Here are the Half-Orc racial features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Darkvision: see up to 12m in the dark.
  • Relentless Endurance: if you reach 0 hit points, you regain 1 hit point instead of becoming Downed.
  • Savage Attacks: when you land a critical hit with a melee weapon, your damage dice are tripled instead of doubled.
  • Recommended Classes: FighterBarbarianPaladin

Half-Orc race is the best for melee damage with one of the most overpowered racial features in Baldur’s Gate 3, Relentless Endurance. When you reach 0 health, instead, you get one hit point. If you return to your turn, you can use an invisibility potion and flee combat to stealth, heal, and fight another day. Or, you can have someone heal you and make incredible comebacks. 

Most don’t consider this race on casters, but with Darkvision and high movement speed, the Relentless Endurance racial feature is powerful.

Half-Orcs also have a Savage Attack, giving you a massive advantage when critically striking with a melee weapon. FighterBarbarianPaladin, and even Bard playing as Half-Orc with Two-handed, strength build will dominate the battlefield.

What holds it back is zero benefits to spell casters or proficiency in armor, shields, and weapons. The class isn’t ranked number one because it’s highly incentivized to play in melee range and aggressive. This is my favorite race, but I think there’s one overall better!

1 Half-Elf

Half-Elf Race - Baldur’s Gate 3
Half-Elf Race

Here are the High-Elf race features:

  • Base Racial Speed: 9m movement
  • Civil Militia: proficiency with spears, pikes, halberds, and glaives AND armour proficiency with light armour and shields.
  • Darkvision: see up to 12m in the dark.
  • Fey Ancestry: have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.
  • Sub-Races: High Half-Elf, Wood Half-Elf, and Drow Half-Elf
  • Recommended Classes: WizardRangerRogue

Take everything the Elf has, and tweak the proficiency to include Shield. You get the Half-Elf, with great base movement, tons of weapon proficiency, light armour and shields proficiency, darkvision, and fey ancestry.

The Wood Half-Elf is arguably the best overall due to its 1.5-meter increased movement speed. This doesn’t seem like much, but add Flight, Dash, Longstrider, or any movement enhancement, and it doubles, allowing you incredible strategic positioning per turn. This is remarkable for solo builds or honour mode, where tactics are critical.

For spellcasters, High Half-Elf gains the shield proficiency and fire bolt cantrip that does remarkable damage at the end of the game. Thus, out of the gates, you can obtain 18 AC with a 16 Dextertiy, Mage Armour Wizard build. This AC value will be higher than heavy armour builds, and at the end of the game, you can reach even 24 AC in clothing. This bonus radically transforms your weak spellcaster into a hit-dodging machine.

Overall, if you don’t know what to select, you cannot go wrong with a Wood Half-Elf due to its all-around benefits and increased movement speed.

Looking For More About Baldur’s Gate 3?

Thank you for reading Baldur’s Gate 3 Tier List: What is the Best Race Guide. We provide the latest news and create guides for Baldur’s Gate 3. Also, watch me play games on Twitch or visit my YouTube channel!