The Ranger perhaps obtained the most significant changes between 5E and Baldur’s Gate 3. That doesn’t change the flavor or the lore, however – They are still the natural-born skirmishers that we know and love. The Ranger takes similar roles as a Fighter, but tends to be more dexterity-focused. Their ability to destroy enemies are diminished slightly, replaced with a ridiculous amount of utility. With the options that Baldur’s Gate 3 has, this Baldurs Gate 3 Ranger guide is going to be really important, if you’re unsure about what Ranger you’re going to make.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Ranger Guide
The Ranger is a melee or ranged physical damage dealer. Your goal is to move up (or stand far away) and beat the crap out of people. This is actually a very different beast than from 5e – favored enemy actually does something, for example – so you actually have a fair amount of problem-solving ability.
Your race doesn’t care about subclass or anything. Rangers tend to be Dexterity-focused (though, Strength rangers are okay). Your race should have a high dexterity (or Strength, if you really want to slam people). Constitution is also significant, though less necessary if you’re a ranged character. Finally, you want some Wisdom, as that is what your spellcasting ability is based off of. Don’t worry about getting too much higher than 12-14.
Because of that, Strongheart Halflings, Wood Elves, Humans, and Gold Dwarfs are all pretty stellar choices. Dwarves and Humans would be better at frontline Rangers (including Strength-based rangers), while Wood Elves and Strongheart Halflings can be frontline rangers or ranged characters. Just make sure that your Constitution reflects your role!
Best Favored Enemy
Favored Enemy changed radically, and I hope Wizards of the Cost is willing to consider such a change if they ever revise Ranger. Rather than specific hatred of types with bad bonuses, you get a skill proficiency and a passive.
- Bounty Hunter: Investigation proficiency, and Thieves’ Cant. Also, you’re better at typing people up. Good for replacing Rogues.
- Keeper of the Veil: Arcana proficiency, and can cast Protection from Evil and Good. The worst one; this is a Cleric/Wizard’s job.
- Mage Breaker: Arcana proficiency, and True Strike cantrip. True strike is only good for ambush strategies, so this is also not a great option.
- Ranger Knight: History proficiency, and Heavy Armor. Perfect for the Strength-based Ranger! This makes Strength builds possible.
- Sanctified Stalker: Religion proficiency, and Sacred Flame. Probably your best general option, since Sacred Flame gives you a Radiant Damage option.
Bounty Hunter and Sanctified Stalker are probably the best Dexterity Ranger options, and Ranger Knight is critical for Strength rangers.
Best Natural Explorer
Natural Explorer also changed a ton! Once again, you gain 3 options to choose from, with one having 3 options.
- Beast Tamer: You get a familiar. Good to grab an extra scout, but only if you yourself aren’t a good scout. Don’t put yourself down like that!
- Urban Tracker: Proficient with disguise kits and thieves’ tools. If you really need to replace a Rogue, this is the path you take.
- Wasteland Wanderer: Resistance to Cold, Fire, or Poison… Fire is by far the best option, since it is such a common damage type.
If you want to replace a rogue, Urban Tracker is critical. Beast Tamer is wonderful, but probably unnecessary. Pick it if you want a fun option, or if you’re a Strength Ranger in a party with no scout! In all other cases, Wasteland Wanderer (Fire) is so good for you.
The Ranger receives a small pile of spells to work with at level 2. You have very few options, but some are really good.
- Hunter’s Mark: Fantastic choice! Really good use of your Concentration and a bonus action, since you can deal a massive amount of damage to a creature.
- Cure Wounds: Being the emergency healer can be useful. Save the party by picking up the Cleric from unconsciousness!
- Ensnaring Strike: A legitimately deadly ability, locking down a target that you’re seeing.
- Speak with Animals: Sounds a little bit better than it is, but Larian Studios adore having Animals tell you secrets. This will be a legitimate source of quests and information.
- Hail of Thorns: Do you have 14 or more Wisdom? Having Hail of Thorns might be a decent use of your spell slot, since it’s an area of effect!
Your spells are limited, so try and get whatever damage increase or utility that you think your party might need.
Best Class Passive
The Ranger gets access to one of four Fighting Styles. The choice is… pretty obvious.
- Archery if you have a bow or crossbow.
- Dueling if you’re using a shield or just a single one-handed weapon.
- Two-Weapon Fighting if you’re using two light weapons.
- Defense for any other build, including two-handed weapons.
These each are fantastic, but I have a love for Archery, since it gives such a ridiculous bonus to attack rolls. Otherwise… it’s all in the build! Two-Weapon fighting is great, dueling is great, defense is… bad, but it’s the main option for a two-handed Ranger.
Best Subclass for Rangers in Baldur’s Gate 3
Right now, we have access to Hunter, the Gloom Stalker, and Beast Master. The Hunter has access to Colossus Slayer, Giant Killer, or Horde Breaker. Horde Breaker gives the Ranger a bit of Area of Effect, Colossus Slayer gives a 1d8 boost to damage once per round, and Giant Killer is bad, being far too specific. I have a soft spot for Colossus Slayer, but Horde Breaker is no doubt fantastic, giving Rangers something they very rarely have.
In standard 5E, this would not be a question; Beast Master in 5E was really bad. However, now, your animal companion’s death means nothing. Rather than increasing your effectiveness, your Beast Companion has become more of a utility choice. The Bear Companion is a damage-based tank, the Boar knocks enemies prone, Spider applies poisoned, Ravens are great scouts, and wolves also can knock creature prone.
The best companion, by far is the Spider. The spider has reasonable health and AC, can apply a ton of conditions, and has weirdly ridiculous mobility. None of the other companions can really compete with the spider in the current Early Access, though Ravens can be better scouts with their ability to fly.
Just because of the Spider, the Beast Master might be the better option. It offers a ton of utility and even does good damage! If you don’t want to play with the Spider, become a hunter; the other companions are far too squishy for their own good.
The Gloom Stalker is still a ranger, but it very much gives off rogue-like vibes. YOu can sneak around in the shadows and murder people, but you still have the chance to have a pet with you. What’s not to like?
Best Feat for Rangers in Baldur’s Gate 3
For now, we heavily recommend the Ability Score improvement. It’s so critical that you get your preferred statistic as high as possible. If you don’t want that boost, then Dual Wielder or Great Weapon master can be a huge increase in damage for Strength builds. Tough can increase damage by quite a bit… Otherwise, there isn’t much to do here. Feats are kinda limited! Which is why the best feat is probably Ability Improvement.
Baldurs Gate 3 Ranger Wrap-Up
That wraps up our Baldurs Gate 3 Ranger Guide! The Ranger is actually an incredibly powerful class in the Early Access created by Larian Studios, mostly because of the Beast Master’s Spider. The Ranger receives a ton of useful tools to help be a bridge between the Fighter’s raw burst potential and the Cleric’s problem-solving skills. That being said, it’s so much more than a hybrid; it’s an incredibly strong class here, as long as you’re sticking to the good stats and builds. Not sold on the ranger? Check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Warlock Guide!