Unleash your full healing potential.
The Cleric in Baldur's Gate 3 is the anchor and bulwark of many teams – a supporting position so crucial that their absence is heavily felt in tactical combat. Even their passive use of Guidance for any situation cements their place as a keystone position in any successful adventuring party.
The Life Cleric in particular is the pinnacle of team player, and it remains the single best defensive support of all classes and subclasses. It's the recommended reclass for Shadowheart players, and having at least one on any team is sure to lead to increased success overall. But building one that really works? Well, we know a thing or two about that.
Veterans of Dungeons & Dragons may feel the urge to side with the tried-and-true Gold Dwarf build for the Life Cleric. While the additional health, resistance against Poison, and weapon proficiencies may seem nice overall, the overall focus on movement and range on large maps in this game bring down the performance of the dwarf due to its low base range.
Additionally, with no bonuses to Ability Scores based on race, the Gold Dwarf's old stat bonuses no longer apply.
The best races for the Life Cleric are arguably the Wood Elf and the Githyanki. This is because:
When comparing, the wood elves do get more innate skill additions (Stealth and Perception) as well as Darkvision, so they are a hair better than Githyanki on paper.
The trade-off is the Astral-Knowledge perk from the Githyanki which will improve overall roll performance and the slew of special roleplaying opportunities and dialogue as a Gith.
Since many of the cleric spells will require sight, having Darkvision – innately or through magical means – will be necessary.
Once you've chosen a race, your deity will be next. Whatever deity you choose here is not important for the build persay, but if you're keen on easing your way through the build, we do recommend Eilistraee.
This will allow you to waltz into the Underdark and take the Phalar Aluve sword – one of the best support weapons in the early game – without having to make a roll.
Phalar Aluve is a longsword, so you will need longsword proficiency to use it.
Backgrounds for this build are also up to the player.
If you're hoping to play off of your strongest stats, the Folk Hero is likely the best option. This will give you Animal Handling and Survival, both Wisdom-scaling checks.
Otherwise, anything else can help round out your character – especially skills that give bonus Persuasion like Guild Artisan and Noble (when building for Tav).
If you're playing Wood Elf, however, you'll want to steer clear of the Urchin and Criminal to avoid overlap.
Top Three Spell Choices
Guidance, Sacred Flame, Blade Ward or Resistance
Guiding Bolt, Healing Word, Command
Hold Person, Spiritual Weapon, Silence
Daylight, Mass Healing Word, Spirit Guardians
Freedom of Movement, Banishment
Flamestrike, Planar Binding
Heal, Harm, Planar Ally
When you begin choosing spells, you'll be asked to select the cantrips you wish to know. We recommend taking Guidance and Sacred Flame and your choice of either Blade Ward or Resistance.
These will give you a support cantrip, an offensive cantrip, and a defensive cantrip for general versatility. As you begin, Sacred Flame will likely be your primary damage output until you find a better weapon.
The spells in the table above do not cover the spells always prepared for you at each level-up. These spells are those we recommend preparing as they become available with focuses on these spells overall:
+1 from Mirror of Loss or Ethel's Hair
+2 from Level 4 Increase
Ability Scores are the meat, butter, and potatoes of any build, and it's no exception for the Cleric.
For this build, we've prioritized keeping all stats out of the -1 modifier range. This is because the amount of status-affecting spells used in Baldur's Gate is very high, and we want to prioritize success in keeping these statuses off your Cleric as much as possible.
Additionally, as a player character, keeping positive stats will increase the overall performance of dialogue-based rolls.
As a Wisdom spellcaster, you'll want to prioritize increasing the Wisdom stat. During your Level 4 Ability Score Increase, you'll want to boost it even higher to increase your Spell Save DC and healing output.
Constitution is another important part as your Cleric should be tanky enough to survive hits. Although this build will end with a 27-28DC (30 with Shield of Faith), having a good cushion of health is always a good idea.
Strength will be primarily dedicated to making full use of the weapon Phalar Aluve.
You can alternatively turn your Strength stat to Dexterity and use a Ranged Weapon like Spellthief.
At Level Eight and Level 12, you'll use your level-up to take either War Caster or Sentinel. You may take them in no particular order
War Caster will give Advantage to keeping your concentration on spells. You also get a reaction cast of Shocking Grasp; however, the wanted reaction is your weapon attack with Sentinel.
Sentinel will allow your cleric to control the area and protect other members of your party. With your cleric's high AC, you'll be able to place them on the front lines and keep the enemy from running at your weaker rogues and spellcasters.
Although this guide is dedicated to building a pure Life Cleric build, there is a case to be made that Life Clerics could benefit from multiclassing.
While we do have a guide that encompasses the best multiclass options for clerics, the best classes for this subclass include:
Otherwise, maintaining a pure build is best for the Life Cleric who is primarily dedicated to less flashy work and more hard labour supporting a party.
Wearer regains 1d6 health after healing another creature.
Reward from Zevlor for killing all goblins at the camp. Can be missed if you refuse his gold.
Gain +1 bonus to Spell Save DC and +1 bonus to initiative.
Sold by Lann Tarv in Moonrise Towers.
Adamantine Splint Mail
18 base AC. Negate 2 damage from all damage types. Granted immunity from Critical hits and send opponents that strike in melee range Reeling for 3 turns.
Forged at the Adamantine Forge in Grymforge.
21 base AC. When you succeed a Saving Throw, the caster is Burned for 3 turns. Acquire Fire damage resistance, immunity to Burning, and reduce all damage types by 3. Gain free use of Fly.
Obtained by defeating Raphael at the House of Hope.
When healing another creature, give them Blade Ward for 2 turns. Gives +1 to Strength Saving Throws.
Reward from Zevlor for completing Kagha's questline.
Gain +1 to Strength Saving Throws, Spell Attack Rolls, and Spell Save DC. Deal an additional 1d6 Fire damage with a weapon attack or 1d6 Necrotic with an unarmed attack – possibly inflicting Bleeding. Gain a free cast of Rays of Fire.
Obtained from the secret vault in the House of Hope.
Boots of Striding
When casting a concentration spell, your movement is increased by 1.5m. During this time, you cannot be knocked Prone or pushed.
Taken from Minthara's body after killing her.
Cannot be forcibly moved and ignore difficult terrain. Can choose to succeed a failed Saving Throw with a reaction. Free use of teleport within sight, causing Fire damage where you land.
Looted from the chest in Gortash's room.
Cloak Of Protection
Gain +1 to AC and Saving Throws.
Sold by Quartermaster Talli at Last Light Inn (or at the end of Act Two in Moonrise Towers).
Ring of Free Action
Difficult Terrain does not affect you, and you cannot be Restrained or Paralyzed.
Sold by Araj Oblodra at Moonrise Towers.
The Whispering Promise
Give +1d4 to Attack Rolls and Saving Throws for 2 turns to any creature you heal.
Randomly sold by any of these traders: Grat the Trader, Volo, Brem, or Roah Moonglow.
Restore any one spell slot of any level.
Looted from The Warden after her defeat at Moonrise Towers.
Melee Hand Weapon
Can use the singing blade Melody action to Sing or Shriek.
Taken from a stone near the Selunite Outpost in the Underdark.
Shield of Devotion
Gain 1 Level 1 Spell slot, a free cast of Aid, and the use of Shield Bash as a reaction.
Sold by Quartermaster Talli at Last Light Inn (or at the end of Act Two in Moonrise Towers).
Viconia's Walking Fortress
Gain +3 to Armor Class, use a reaction of Rebuke the Misty, gain Advantage on Saving Throws against spells while giving Disadvantage to others from your spells, and gain free cast of Reflective Shell and Warding Bond.
Looted from Viconia DeVir after her defeat.
Restore a Level 1 spell slot when you land a critical hit with this weapon.
Sold by Arron in the Druid's Grove.
The optimal equipment for a successful cleric will consist of items with abilities that include one or several of these traits:
While the table above encompasses some of the best gear in the game, it is important to note that Baldur's Gate is a game filled with all types of combinations. We encourage you to shop around for items that best fit your style, as the most successful build will be the build you're most comfortable with.
We have comprised alternatives for you to check out if one or some of these items do not fit the ideal cleric you're hoping to build:
Eversight Ring, Ring of Evasion, Ring of Salving
Amulet of the Devout, Unflinching Protector Amulet
Helm of Balduran
Off-Hand Weapon Alternative
Arcane Absorption (Dagger)
Ranged Weapon Alternative
While the Helm of Balduran would be the best helm on paper, we neglect to add it to the upper table on premise of this helm being better used on other characters. With the cleric hardly needing to be healed and already commanding a high AC, the only benefit this helm truly gives an already sturdy cleric is the protection against the rare Critical Hit.
When it comes to this specific build, your final stats should look something like this:
Top 5 Prepared Spells
Healing Word, Spirit Guardians, Hold Person, Silence, Spiritual Weapon
Sentinel, War Caster
Primarily, the goal is to become a powerful mid-range unit capable of tanking hits and running to the frontlines to absorb damage when healing allies, clearing debuffs, or setting up for ally attacks.
Spell slots should always be kept track of. The best strategy is always to keep one third level spell slot available at all times to ensure that you can cast Revivify if your plans don't quite go as expected.
If you're not planning to move into the front with Spirit Guardians to deal damage (especially in Act Two where this will likely become normal in standard combat play) or cast Silence, we recommend casting Shield of Faith at the beginning of combat to raise your AC even higher. You'll be an even more effective, untouchable tank.
The beginning of combat should also see the use of Phalar Aluve to set up for your team. Moving your Cleric into the danger zone to buff your team or debuff enemies should not be much of a risk, especially in the later game. As this is not concentration, you can keep this up for the full extent of its duration as long as you remain standing.
As far as keeping control of the field, this cleric also excels at taking enemy notice with bonus action and action summons like Spiritual Weapon, Guardian of Faith, and Planar Ally. With Spirit Guardians also on the menu, the Cleric should keep as much attention to themselves and their summons as possible – especially with weaker, more vulnerable allies on the field.
By placing a summon and using Spirit Guardians, you can effectively cordon off areas and create a frontline distraction that also deals significant damage without expending actions to maintain. Added with Sentinel, enemies shouldn't be able to pass you as weaker allies set up for ranged attacks.
Healing Word should never be underestimated. With a high Wisdom score and effective bonuses, this can deal effective healing without requiring your cleric to bounce back and forth between spread out allies.
With this build, spamming low-level heals will not be too costly. You'll have an extra slot, a chance to regain slots, and a certainty of regaining any one slot. So always keep your team happy and healthy, and remember that the best thing a Life Cleric can do is stay alive.
NEXT: Baldur's Gate 3: Best Builds For Astarion
Alexis is an ex-narrative designer & game developer working freelance in the game journalism industry. Games with engaging stories are her bread & butter, and game journalism is her guilty pleasure and partially an excuse to justify buying more games. She has graduated from Washington University in St. Louis & Oxford University, holds a Bacherlor’s in English Creative Writing, and has a minor in GrecoRoman Classics.