When you first load up Baldur's Gate 3 for the first time, one of the first choices you have to make with your character is what race they will be. And to help you make the best decision for your character, we’ve pieced together a Baldur’s Gate 3 race tier list. Your choice of race in Baldur's Gate 3 will determine how you are treated by others in certain parts of the world, can offer different bonuses and aesthetics, and tell completely different tales.
In the Dungeons & Dragons universe, race plays a major role in the development of characters. Depending on your race, your character might have an easier or harder time conversing with others in the world. Moreover, adding party members is directly affected by your race, as some characters won't even entertain the idea of teaming up with certain races.
Baldur's Gate 3 race tier list
There are 11 races in Baldur's Gate 3 at launch, which is quite the impressive number. In addition to that, there are 33 subraces between the 11 base races, giving players a number of different customization options before they even enter the world.
Your base race will define your character for the most part while the subrace you choose offers additional bonuses and some lore behind the race. For example, the Halfling subraces are Lightfoot and Strongheart. Lightfoot Halflings gain +1 in Charisma and added stealth while Strongheart Halflings gain +1 in Constitution and poison resistance.
Here are the 11 races you can choose from when you start a save in Baldur's Gate 3:
Below, we have compiled a tier list for all 11 races in Baldur's Gate 3. The tier list will go from S-tier (the best) to C-tier (the worst). Of course, these our are general opinions and could easily change as more updates come along in Baldur's Gate 3.
We'll also be lumping in the races with all of their subraces to make for one general ranking. If you see a race in the higher tiers, then it means all of its subraces are likely usable. The races in the lower tiers might only have one or no decent subraces.
First, we have a simple breakdown for at-a-glance reasoning. If you prefer a more detailed exploration as to the hows and whys of a race’s ranking, read on.
|Githyanki, Half-Elf, Dwarf
- Githyanki - Githyanki has the potential to be a stellar race in Baldur's Gate 3. It gives players +2 to Strength and +1 to Intelligence and has the capability to play either a warrior or wizard, along with some others as well. Githyanki is a true jack-of-all-trades race.
- Half-Elf - Half-Elves all start out with a +2 to Charisma and then players are able to give another +1 to the ability of their choice. This freedom makes the Half-Elf extremely versatile.
- Dwarf - Last in S-Tier, we have the Dwarf. The Shield Dwarf is the better subrace, as you start off with a +2 in Constitution and Strength. However, any Dwarf is a terrific choice if players are looking for a tanky, melee weapon-wielding character.
- Drow - While Drows gain +2 in Dexterity, this isn't as good as gaining +2 in Strength, which is why it drops a tier to A. However, the Drow is still a strong race that has access to solid traits and spells.
- Elf - Once again, the Elf gains +2 in Dexterity, which does help this particular race. Players will be naturally drawn to use a bow with their Elf character, and that's a great pick when you look at the race's proficiencies and traits.
- Human - The most basic race goes right in the middle of the tier list. Humans in Baldur's Gate 3 gain a +1 in every ability and have no other bonuses. If you're looking to truly craft your own character from scratch, then the Human is the way to go. However, if you want something more streamlined and specific, then go with another race.
- Tiefling - These humanoid-demon creatures are a decent race to pick in Baldur's Gate 3. They are Charisma-based, fireproof, and have one of the most interesting backstories in the entire game.
- Gnome - Unfortunately, Gnomes are fairly niche in Baldur's Gate 3, as players who pick this race are usually confined to playing as a Wizard. They gain +2 in Intelligence and are the definition of glass cannons.
- Halflings - Speaking of niche, Halflings make some of the best Rangers and Rogues in Baldur's Gate 3. Halflings also make for great conversationalists if that's of any importance to you.
This tier consists of the Half-Orc and Dragonborn. Since these were only just announced prior to the release of Baldur's Gate 3, we have yet to see what they offer. Until we do, they will remain in the Unknown Tier.
Does race matter in Baldur’s Gate 3?
In case you’re asking yourself if the race you pick truly matters in Baldur's Gate 3, while the answer might differ to some, it's hard to argue that race doesn't matter.
The race you pick will define your entire character. Picking a certain one will have a direct impact on your experience in Baldur's Gate 3. Not only for the extra bonuses but in terms of the world itself. Characters will treat you differently depending on your choice, and you’ll have access to new opportunities just by selecting a specific race. If you don’t want to do repeat playthroughs, pick your preferred race right off the bat.
Race is one of the most important aspects of the world-building that Baldur's Gate 3 tries to accomplish. You can, of course, choose a Human to live a relatively relatable life, or choose to be a Dwarf or Elf will give you a completely unique experience that you otherwise wouldn't have had.
For more on Larian Studio’s latest, check out the Baldur’s Gate 3 class tier list to help you in the final choice of your character creation experience. We’ve also detailed the Baldur’s Gate 3 solo experience, and the Baldur’s Gate 3 co-op experience as well. And if you’re playing handheld, the best Baldur’s Gate 3 Steam Deck settings could help.