Among the many Baldur’s Gate 3 classes available, the Fighter usually comes out on top when it comes to *drum roll* fighting. In this guide, we’ll delve into the Fighter class and its three distinct Fighter subclasses, providing insight into their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses to help you fight better.
The Fighter class and all Fighter subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3 are all about martial prowess. These battle-hardened adventurers are masters of weapons and armor, making them adaptable to a wide range of combat scenarios (even ranged). But the real flavor when you choose a Fighter subclass is each one’s unique abilities that can significantly impact your playstyle and even prove that Fighters aren’t bland.
Battle Master – The Tactical Genius
The Battle Master Fighter subclass excels in precision and tactics. These fighters gain access to Superiority Dice, a limited resource (like Paladin smites or Sorcerery Points) they can use to execute combat maneuvers and enhance their attacks.
At level three, Battle Masters can choose three Battle Master Maneuvers and acquire four Superiority Dice (1d8) per short rest. These maneuvers include:
- Commander’s Strike: Spend an action and a reaction to direct an ally to strike a foe. The ally immediately uses their reaction to make a weapon attack.
- Disarming Attack: An attack that deals additional deals damage and possibly forces the target to drop the weapons they are holding.
- Distracting Strike: Distract your target, giving your allies an Advantage on their next Attack Roll against the target.
- Evasive Footwork: You can impose a Disadvantage on melee attacks against you for a round.
- Feinting Attack: Use both your action and bonus action on a turn to attack a target with Advantage and deal an additional 1d8 damage.
- Goading Attack: Deal an additional 1d8 and attempt to goad the target into attacking you. Target receives a Disadvantage on attacking any other creature.
- Manoeuvring Attack: An attack that deals an additional 1d8 damage. On hit, select which friendly creature will gain half its movement speed. It will not provoke attacks of opportunity.
- Menacing Attack: Frightens the target if they fail a Wisdom Saving Throw.
- Precision Attack: You can spend a Superiority Die to add it to the result of an Attack Roll.
- Pushing Attack: Pushes the target back 4.5 meters if they fail a Strength Saving Throw.
- Rally: Grants eight extra Hit Points to an ally within 18 meters.
- Riposte: Allows the Fighter to counter-attack when an enemy misses them.
- Sweeping Attack: Swing your weapon in a rapid, sweeping arc to attack multiple enemies at once.
- Trip Attack (Melee): Knocks the target prone upon failing a Strength Saving Throw.
- Trip Attack (Ranged): Same as above but with a ranged attack.
As Battle Masters level up, they gain more Superiority Dice, enabling them to use more maneuvers per short rest.
Our personal choice goes to Maneuvers that add an Advantage to attacks and offer crowd control conditions such as making the enemy Prone, Frightened, or disarmed.
At level ten, their Superiority Dice becomes 1d10, maximizing bonus damage potential.
By level eleven, Battle Masters acquire two additional Combat Maneuvers from the list.
The Battle Master is a superb choice for combat variety (compared to just simply attacking per turn), perfect for players who enjoy controlling the battlefield and supporting their allies.
Champion – The Critical Roller
The Champion Fighter subclass is all about raw power and simplicity.
At level three, Champions gain “Improved Critical Hit,” making it easier for them to score critical hits. This bonus stacks with other effects, turning them into crit fishers.
At level seven, Champions acquire “Remarkable Athlete: Proficiency” and “Remarkable Athlete: Jump,” enhancing their skills and jump distance.
While the Champion subclass offers consistency and increased critical hit potential, it may not be the most dynamic option.
It plays on what Fighters are already good at—dealing damage—but lacks the versatility of the other subclasses. Unless you’re solely focused on maximizing critical hits, other options might be more appealing.
You will find that there are plenty of weapons and armor pieces in the game that further reduce the critical range (all the way down to a whopping 14-20 instead of just 20). With Advantage, that’s effectively a 60 percent chance to score a critical hit per attack.
Consequently, these kinds of items also somewhat nullify the Champion’s most defining class feature as it only offers a mere five percent crit chance increase (10 percent with Advantage, but that’s still low).
Eldritch Knight – The Spellblade
For Fighters who want to add a touch of magic to their martial prowess, the Eldritch Knight subclass is the answer.
Eldritch Knights gain access to spells from the schools of Evocation and Abjuration, allowing them to enhance their abilities and unleash magical attacks.
At level three, they can cast first-level spells and acquire two Wizard Cantrips and two Wizard Spells from these schools.
Eldritch Knights also gain the “Weapon Bond” ability, which prevents them from being disarmed and allows weapons to return when thrown. Their spellcasting prowess continues to grow with additional spells at levels four and seven, including second-level spells.
At level seven, Eldritch Knights unlock “War Magic,” enabling them to cast a cantrip and make a melee attack as a bonus action.
Level ten brings another second-level spell, an additional cantrip, and “Eldritch Strike,” which imposes a Disadvantage on saving throws against the Eldritch Knight’s magic. The subclass is ideal for those who wish to blend melee combat with spellcasting without multiclassing.
You’re still primarily a Fighter regardless of the subclass
To sum it up, the Battle Master is the tactician’s choice, providing control over the battlefield and powerful support abilities. The Eldritch Knight blends martial prowess with spellcasting, offering utility and elemental damage. Meanwhile, the Champion excels at straightforward damage-dealing but lacks the diverse toolkit of its counterparts.
However, your role as a Fighter will always be to stay in the front lines and dish out damage while also soaking it up so your other, more flexible party members can do their job. That’s regardless of the Fighter subclasses you picked, even as an Eldritch Knight.