The Cleric class in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the textbook supporting class. You generally won’t be pushing for high damage numbers compared to the dedicated DPS classes. But, your main goal is to support your team and lay the groundwork for everyone to succeed, especially for the more difficult encounters. War Domain Cleric in Baldur’s Gate 3 differs from the other Cleric subclasses in that they are meant to play a much more active role as front-line tanks that absorb enemy damage on top of clerical support duties.
Starting Abilities and Skills for Cleric War Domain
Before you can actually get to the meat of the War Domainc Cleric build in BG3, you have to pick the right choices during character creation. My recommendations for a War Domain Cleric are given below
Race: The Half-Orc race is ideal for this particular Cleric build. The race-exclusive skill ‘Relentless Endurance’ is especially alluring for the tanky nature of this build, allowing you to nullify an otherwise fatal attack once. Coupled with their high Strength allows flexibility in ability point distribution so you can funnel the rest into Wisdom comfortably.
Ability Point Distribution: STR 14(+1), CON 14(+2), WIS 16. Rest are default.
Wisdom, Strength, and Constitution are your main 3 abilities. Wisdom will dictate your spell slots, spell attack roll modifier in BG3 and spell saving throw threshold while Strength allows you to equip heavy weapons and armor and modify your melee weapon damage. Constitution leads to increased hit points and for a tank build in BG3, investing in it is of utmost importance.
Skills: Medicine, Insight
When picking Baldur’s Gate 3 Cleric War Domain subclass, you’ll want to pick a background that contributes to your main class stat or ability i.e. Wisdom. Among the various backgrounds that grant proficiencies, as a Cleric your choices boil down to either Acolyte or Hermit backgrounds. The Acolyte background grants you Insight proficiency while the Hermit background grants you Medicine proficiency.
The Insight proficiency bonus from Acolyte is applicable in many quests and allows you to see through any lies. Since there are many dialogues and actions that require an insight check, it can be quite handy.
Otherwise, Hermit’s Medicine proficiency can be good for diagnosing illnesses among NPCs and party members alike. Ultimately the choice is yours based on what you value.
Best Feats for Cleric War Domain Build
Level 4: Tough
Getting the Tough feat early in BG3 is great as it adds to your CON stat growth each time you level up, allowing you to hit the recommended HP cap quicker. As a tanky character, your War Domain Cleric in BG3 needs as much health as you can muster.
Level 8: War Caster
Concentration is key and as a Cleric performing tank duties, getting constantly hit and interrupted while casting spells is rather counter-intuitive. The War Caster feat in BG3 allows you to essentially ignore such interruptions to concentration and continue channeling your spells while also giving you the chance to retaliate with an opportunity attack spell i.e. Shocking Grasp to keep retreating enemies at bay.
Level 12: Ritual Caster
The Ritual Caster feat allows you to stock up on 2 additional class-specific ritual spells in Baldur’s Gate 3 without using a spell slot. Though you have to prepare these spells, the increase in utility is more than enough to offset that minor inconvenience.
Best Spells for Cleric War Domain Build
As a War Domain Cleric in BG3, your goal is to keep yourself alive as long as you can while twisting the tide of battle so your allies can capitalize on openings much more easily. You can start selecting these spells from level 1 onwards, with a greater focus on crowd control over damage.
Level 1: Pick Shield of Faith to give you that slight armor boost for earlier levels
Level 3: Pick Magic Weapon
Level 5: Spirit Guardians. An AoE summoning spell for increased crowd control and damage. Range limit can be somewhat polarizing, however
Level 7: Stoneskin. Halves the damage you take from non-magic attacks
Level 9: Hold Monster. The utility of this spell makes it quite helpful for difficult encounters. The opponent is completely incapacitated while Each hit from you within a 3-meter range becomes a critical hit for the duration of the spell. Since it works on any creature, you can consider it a much more potent version of Hold Person without the same limitations.
Best armor and weapons
Helm: Helm of Balduran – Gain +2 health at the start of each turn and +1 to armor class and saving throws. Also grants Stun immunity and prevents you from being critically hit.
Back: Mantle of the Holy Warrior. This basically comes packed with your alternate level 5 domain spell, Crusader’s Mantle. Grants a nice additional radiant damage buff to your party, elevating dps capability.
Armor: Adamantine Splint Armor. Reduces incoming damage by 2 while also granting immunity to critical hits. It also triggers the reeling status against melee attacks, making it quite good for overall sustain.
Hands: The Reviving Hands – Healing allies will grant them resistance akin to ‘Stoneskin’ via Blade Ward buff while reviving allies will grant them a second wind akin to ‘Relentless Endurance.’ via Death Ward buff.
Amulet: Amulet of Greater Health – Increases Con to 23. If your sustain is good enough, you can swap this for the ‘Unflinching Protector Amulet’ instead, which allows you to use a reaction to make any attack targeted at a nearby ally miss.
Melee weapon: Devotee’s Mace – Through the class action Healing Incense Aura bound to the mace, you and your allies are healed at the start of each turn for ten turns. Definitely lends itself well to the main purpose of this build which is survivability for you and allies alike.
Rings: Ring of Regeneration and Ring of Salving.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Cleric War Domain Build level progression
Level 1: Choice of 2 Domain Spells. I recommended Shield of Faith in the previous section. Besides that, you will also unlock Martial weapon proficiency for stronger melee weapons, Heavy armor Proficiency to equip better armor, and the War Priest subclass feature to cast an additional attack during bonus action. Beyond that, you’re given 3 Cantrips and 2 level 1 spell slots.
Level 2: Unlock the guided strike reaction. Consumes a channeled divinity charge to boost either your own or an ally’s attack roll. You also get 1 more level 1 spell slot.
Level 3: Choice between 2 Domain spells again. I recommended Magic Weapon here previously. You also unlock 2 level 2 spell slots and one more level 1 spell slot.
Level 4: You unlock one more cantrip and one more level 2 spell slot.
Level 5: You unlock 2 level 3 spell slots. You also get a choice between 2 Domain spells again. I recommended Spirit Guardians for the crowd control utility.
Level 6: Unlock the War God’s Blessing subclass feature. This allows you to buff an ally and add give them a +10 bonus on their attack roll. Also one additional level 3 spell slot.
Level 7: Choice between 2 Domain spells again. Stoneskin was recommended previously for enhanced survivability. You also unlock 1 level 4 spell slot.
Level 8: Unlock the action ‘Divine Strike: Warmaster which adds about 1-8 damage on top of your regular melee weapon attack. You also unlock 1 additional level 4 spell slot.
Level 9: Choice between 2 Domain spells again. Recommended Hold Monster for the utility in the best spells section. You also unlock 1 additional level 4 spell slot and 1 level 5 spell slot.
Level 10: You unlock 1 more cantrip and 1 more level 5 spell slot.
Level 11: You unlock 1 level 6 spell slot.