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Baldur's Gate 3

Best Starting Class in Baldur's Gate 3 - Warlock

By
Nathan Garvin

Knavish spellcasters who have made a pact with an otherworldly being, gaining power in exchange for… well, your patron probably expects something in return, but that power! These boons come in various forms, including spellcasting ability, invocations, pact boons, various patron-specific bonuses and of course, the mighty and iconic "Eldritch Blast" iconEldritch Blast. The exact boons gained by Warlocks vary wildly, one might be something of a gish (a melee capable caster), another a mercurial fey trickster, and others may be dedicated Eldritch Blast cannoniers, to name a few. If you want a character who can dish out plenty of damage from afar, debilitate enemies and make use of a variety of spells and spell-like abilities, the !Warlock may be for you.

On this page we will offer reasons why the !Warlock might be the best starting class for you in Baldur’s Gate 3, covering the !Warlock’s class features, Proficiencies and best Origins, Races, Ability Point allocation and starting Skills for !Warlocks.

(1 of 2) The Warlock has many interesting class features, but the centerpiece is Eldritch Blast, a humble cantrip…

The Warlock has many interesting class features, but the centerpiece is Eldritch Blast, a humble cantrip… (left), that can become extraordinarily strong as the Warlock levels up. (right)

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Class Features

Although the !Warlock potentially dabbles in several different areas of expertise, they lean towards being spellcasters. Fortunately, they’re prevented from slipping into the jack-of-all-trades mire by possessing Eldritch Blast - a wondrous cantrip that, at first, deals a fairly standard 1d10 damage. Like most cantrips, it’ll gain strength as you level up (two beams at 5th level, three beams at 11th level), but it can also be further bolstered with Eldritch Invocations - one of the many gifts bestowed upon the !Warlock by their patron. The potency of Eldritch Blast shouldn’t be underestimated - there’s a good chance it’ll be the !Warlock’s most potent attack from the start of the game till the end, being easy to use, potent and reliable.

In addition to Eldritch Blast the !Warlock has access to a limited selection of spells. They’re not on par with Sorcerers or Wizards, having far fewer spell slots and a relatively paltry spell selection, but on the plus side they can freely cast any spells they know and recover all their expended spell slots with a short rest. !Warlocks also don’t have to fuss over spell level - any spells they cast are cast at the highest possible level. Sometimes simplicity is its own reward. So, while the !Warlock is a spellcaster and their spells can be potent enough, you may want a proper !Sorcerer or !Wizard around to do the magical heavy-lifting. !Warlocks also aren’t keen on healing, so they won’t be replacing Clerics or Druids.

Upon reaching 2nd level a !Warlock gains access to Eldritch Invocations, which allows them to select from a list of boons, usually giving access to new spell-like abilities (spells that can be cast at-will without expending a spell slot), new proficiencies or enhancements for Eldritch Blast - grabbing Agonizing Blast will allow the !Warlock to add their Charisma modifier to the damage dealt by Eldritch Blast which could (and should) be a significant boost. You will gain more Eldritch Invocations as you level up, eventually maxing out at six Eldritch Invocations by level 12.

Finally, there are various patron and pact boons scattered throughout, which will be discussed in greater detail below.

In addition to Eldritch Blast, Warlocks get access to a limited, but potentially powerful, selection of spells. Even better, they recover them after a short rest.

Best Warlock Subclasses - Warlock Patrons and Pacts

We’ve mentioned it a few times, but the major lore contrivance of the !Warlock is that they have an otherworldly patron from whence their power is derived, just as the Paladin has oaths and the !Sorcerer has a magical heritage. More than just some lore justification, however, your choice of patron will have gameplay ramifications that determine what powers you have, exactly. The three patrons you can pick in Baldur’s Gate 3 and a general overview of the powers they grant are as follows:

  • The Fiend: W!arlocks in service to fiends work towards corrupting, destructive ends - intentionally or otherwise - and receive hellish blessings in turn. These blessings initially give you temporary Hit Points every time you down an enemy and later the ability add a d10 to one Saving "Throw" iconThrow or Ability Check every short rest. You also gain access to spells like "Burning Hands" iconBurning Hands, "Command" iconCommand and "Fireball" iconFireball.

  • The Great Old One: !Warlocks bound to eldritch beings in the Far Realms work towards inscrutable goals, gaining strange powers over entropy and the mind. The Great Old One gives the !Warlock the ability to manipulate the minds of others, initially by Frightening enemies who are struck by Critical Hits and later to give attacking enemies Disadvantage and to give yourself Advantage. They learn spells like "Tasha's Hideous Laughter" iconTasha’s Hideous Laughter, "Detect Thoughts" iconDetect Thoughts and Clairvoyance.

  • The Archfey: Having a mercurial fey patron gives you abilities that mimic the powers and whimsy of your benefactor, being able to Charm or Frighten enemies and escape danger by turning into mist. You also gain access to spells like "Sleep" iconSleep, "Calm Emotions" iconCalm Emotions and "Blink" iconBlink.

Not only do Warlocks pick their patron, which yields various bonuses, but they also can pick Invocations and Pact Bonuses as they level up.

You’ll need to pick your patron at 1st level, but many patron boons won’t unlock until you advance to certain levels as a !Warlock. In addition to the aforementioned patrons and their boons, you can choose between three Pact Boons. These are not related to whatever patron you chose; you can mix and match any Patron and Pact Boons you wish.

  • Pact of the Blade: Allows the !Warlock to summon an eldritch weapon which uses their Charisma modifier to determine Attack and Damage rolls, potentially making them competent melee combatants.

  • Pact of the Chain: Gives the !Warlock the ability to cast "Find Familiar" iconFind Familiar at will, allowing the !Warlock to summon critters like Imps and Quasits, and potentially more powerful minions as you level up. Fodder is always useful, especially flying fodder that can deal decent damage and turn Invisible.

  • Pact of the Tome: The Pact for the !Warlock who leans more into the classes’ magic, this will get you a Book of Shadows from whence you’ll gain a selection of bonus spells - including spells normally known only by other classes.

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Proficiencies

As far as Proficiencies go, the !Warlock is fairly standard - they are Proficient with Simple Weapons, Light Armor and the Wisdom and Charisma Saves. Wisdom’s a bit odd, but… everybody gets two, and the !Sorcerer already has Constitution and Charisma, so the !Warlock is different even if it doesn’t make much sense. In addition the !Warlock also Proficient in various skills… mostly scholarly pursuits (seeking knowledge being a common motivator that puts !Warlocks under the sway of their patron) as well as some Deception and Intimidation to reflect the unseemly side of their patron’s influence.

Type Proficiencies
Saves Wisdom and Charisma
Armor Light Armor
Weapons Simple Weapons
Skills Arcana, Deception, History, Intimidation, Investigation, Nature, and Religion.

Like Bards, Paladins and Sorcerers, most Warlock abilities are powered by Charisma. Dexterity and Constitution are good secondary ability scores.

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Ability Points

For those seeking simplicity, the !Warlock again delivers. Charisma empowers their spells, especially Eldritch Blast and, if you go the route of the Pact of the Blade, their melee attacks, too. This makes Charisma the obvious stat to focus on. After that, the !Warlock doesn’t really need much else - Dexterity to boost their Armor Class and potentially skills, and Constitution to get more Hit Points and better concentration. Strength and Intelligence (particularly the former) can both be used as dump stats.

Below is a sample !Warlock:

Ability Suggested Score Modifier
Strength 8 -1
Dexterity 14 +2
Constitution 15 +2
Intelligence 10 +0
Wisdom 10 +0
Charisma 17 +3

Due to their high Charisma, Warlocks are naturally gifted talkers - especially if they’re Proficient in Persuasion, Deception and/or Intimidation.

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Origins and Skills

Since their primary ability score is Charisma, !Warlocks make natural talkers. Only downside is, they’re missing out on Persuasion as a selectable skill. If you wish to remedy this, you can pick Guild Artisan or Noble, which will allow you to select all three conversational skills. Alternatively, if you don’t mind being somewhat deficient in Persuasion, you can pick the Urchin origin, which will give you both Sleight of Hand and Stealth as skills. Since the !Warlock is bound to have a decent Dexterity score, this will make them passably capable of scouting and disarming traps. You can also play a more lore-friendly !Warlock who keeps their Intelligence decent and focuses on various forms of knowledge - the !Warlock makes a fair few Arcana checks, and depending on your subclass you may want to grab Nature or Religion. Of course, this probably means taking a hit to Dexterity and/or Constitution.

Best !Warlock Skills
Arcana
Deception
Intimidation
Nature
Persuasion
Religion
Sleight of Hand
Stealth
Best !Warlock Origins
Charlatan
Criminal
Guild Artisan
Noble
Urchin

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Races

!Warlocks need Charisma, so any race with a decent Charisma boost will end up pretty high in the rankings just for making life easier when it comes time to assign Ability Points. As usual, Half-Elves do well for their Charisma +2 boost and two spare points to allocate (Dexterity and Constitution, perhaps?), but Drow are no slouches either due to their Dexterity +2 and Charisma +1, nor are Lightfoot Halflings (Dexterity +2, Charisma +1), Tieflings (Charisma +2) or Humans (+1 all Ability Scores).

  • Strongheart Halfling: While their lower movement speed (7.5m) is a bit of a downer, that’s countered by the halfling’s ability to reroll natural 1’s once per check (attack rolls, ability checks and saving throws), advantage on saving throws against being Frightened and Poison, and resistance to Poison damage.

  • Wood Elf or Wood Half-Elf: Both of these gain darkvision, advantage on saves against being Charmed, immunity to Sleep, an increased movement speed (an additional 1.5m will help them keep enemies at a distance). In addition the Wood Elf has Perception as a bonus Proficiency, and both races have Stealth as a bonus Proficiency.

Best Starting Class in Baldur’s Gate - Warlock Companions

!Warlocks are odd birds. Properly built, a Pact of the Blade !Warlock may be able to serve as a passable tank, and they do bring some spells to the mix, but they’re nowhere near as versatile nor their arsenal as deep as a Wizard or Sorcerer. They also provide no healing whatsoever, and unless built to take advantage of the Urchin background, they aren’t great replacements for Rogues. On the surface it looks like the !Warlock doesn’t satisfactorily fit in any of the standard niches.

That may be the case, but the !Warlock does add something to the mix - overwhelming ranged firepower. Also depending on your build, they might actually end up being an off-tank, a !Rogue replacement and/or party leader (Urchin origin and Beguiling Influence make for an awfully useful !Warlock). Simply put, they don’t fill any primary roles satisfactorily, but they can take pressure off of most of them… save for healer, you’ll probably want a !Cleric or !Druid along. Of all the roles not being filled, the arcane spellcaster is probably the most disposable of the bunch - the !Warlock will want a proper tank, like Lae’Zel and a healer like "Shadowheart" iconShadowheart. If you don’t get Beguiling Influence at level 2, bring "Astarion" iconAstarion along to deal with traps and further magnify your party’s ranged damage.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    Larian Studios
  • Platforms,
    Mac, PC, PS5, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Adventure, RPG
  • Guide Release
    6 April 2023
  • Last Updated
    14 June 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Baldur’s Gate 3 is an immersive roleplaying game set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe. It features a rich story with multiple outcomes for almost every encounter, and plenty of character customization features including more races, classes, subclasses and party combinations than you are ever likely to explore. The seemingly endless possibilities and numerous choices that you can make throughout your journey make a helping hand always welcome, and that’s where we come in! This guide features the following:

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