By Matthew Byrd | |

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Photo: Larian Studios

Though Baldur’s Gate 3 elevates itself above even otherwise all-time great RPGs in many ways, I found the game’s companion system to be one of its most consistently engaging features. Yes, we’ve seen companions in many other RPGs, but we’ve rarely seen this many exceptional companions that are this well-developed over the course of a 100+ hour journey. You can only have up to three companions in your party at any given time, and you will struggle to choose between them.

In my many (many) hours with the game, though, I’ve gradually found that there are indeed some companions I enjoyed more than others. Before we get into these rankings, though, here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Since we will be discussing every recruitable companion in the game, this list is inherently kind of a big spoiler. However, I tried to avoid sharing more spoilers than necessary. You won’t find deep dives into each character’s personal narratives in this list.

– For the most part, these rankings were obviously determined by personal preferences. However, I tried to account for factors like combat prowess, writing, voice acting, and (most importantly) the quality of each companion’s narrative when determining the final rankings.

– Though I will be referencing companions’ starting classes throughout the article, keep in mind that you are able to respec your companions throughout the game for a modest fee.

– Finally, you can (and should) experiment with various companions in your party throughout the game. It’s the best way to find which companions you like most, and your personal preferences can easily be swayed by a variety of situations and unique factors.

With that out of the way, here is every companion in Baldur’s Gate 3 ranked worst to best:

Jaheira

10. Jaheira

There really isn’t a bad companion in Baldur’s Gate 3. Everyone brings something interesting to the party (literally and figuratively). However, Jaheira has the most things working against her. 

First off, Jaheira is a Druid companion, which is kind of an odd choice given that players will likely have another Druid in their party by the time they find Jaheira. Actually, it’s surprisingly easy to miss your chance to recruit her, especially if you don’t know that she’s a legacy character who plays a bigger role in the Baldur’s Gate franchise. 

That’s kind of the overall problem with Jaheira. There are times when she feels like more of an Easter egg than a fleshed-out companion. You can’t romance her (so far as I know), your overall interaction possibilities with her are relatively limited, and she doesn’t bring a lot of unique combat options to the table by the time you find her. I actually love that the game lets you recruit her rather than just treat her as an NPC, but she stands out as one of the weaker overall companion options. 

Halsin

9. Halsin

The aforementioned other Druid companion in Baldur’s Gate 3, Halsin immediately benefits from being a little more combat-ready than Jaheira. It can be tricky to fit a Druid into a party if you’re not committed to working with and around their complex playstyle, but you can certainly justify finding a home for Haslin fairly early on. He’s also the source of Baldur’s Gate 3’s infamous “bear sex” scene, which certainly has to count for something. 

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Beyond that, I’m struggling to find much to say about Haslin one way or the other. Romance aside, I feel like the more interesting elements of his story occur before you actually recruit him. While his recruitment process is fairly interesting and complex, I wish there was a little more to him once he’s actually in your party (joys of bear sex aside, obviously). 

Much like Warlocks, I also feel like the best way to play with a Druid in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to play as a Druid. Class concerns aside, I suppose I wanted more from Halsin as a character than I really got. 

Wyll

8. Wyll

As a Warlock, Wyll starts the game with a few knocks against him. While you can build a powerful Warlock, you will likely need to respec Wyll and learn the class to get the most out of him. Even then, Warlocks take a little while to reach their full potential, which means that you will likely find it hard to justify replacing another party member with him. Furthermore, most players will likely have a high Charisma character in their class at this point, which means you may not need to rely on Wyll for that particular attribute (though Warlocks do grant you access to incredibly entertaining abilities that are otherwise tricky to come by).

However, the biggest problem with Wyll is…well, Wyll. He just lacks some of the standout personality traits of other companions, which I suppose you could attribute to the circumstances of his story. Even then, though, I find that elements of his story are a bit too close to the major beats of generally more interesting stories (Gale and Astarion). Warlocks can be fantastic characters for storytelling purposes, but I worry that Wyll isn’t around for long enough to break far enough away from the basic “servant of a dark pact” narrative (even if the demonic Mizora is a great character). 

You can have a good time with Wyll in your party, but I just found that there are a plethora of more interesting and generally beneficial options. 

Minsc 

7. Minsc 

Minsc seems to be the last companion you can recruit in Baldur’s Gate 3, which obviously puts him in a strange spot. Not being able to acquire a companion until the last third of the game means not being able to spend much time with that companion and really get to watch them grow as their backstory unfolds. Much like Jaheira, Minsc is sometimes closer to being an elaborate legacy Easter egg than a fully-established companion. Actually, you need to have Jaheira in your party to even recruit Minsc.

The big difference between Minsc and Jaheira is that Minsc is a fantastic character to have around. From his incredible introduction to learning the details of how, exactly, he is around in the first place, nearly every interaction with Minsc is an absolute pleasure. He takes so much joy in being a hulking weirdo, and you might actually find a use for his Ranger abilities even in the very late stages of the game. 

Ultimately, though, this is about as high as I can rank a character that just doesn’t benefit from the screen time and playtime that other companions enjoy.

Minthara

6. Minthara

Minthara is probably the toughest BG 3 companion to rank. Without getting too deep into spoilers, you probably won’t be able to recruit Minthara unless you are really committed to doing a more evil playthrough. Even then, choosing to recruit Minthara means that you will likely miss out on being able to recruit other characters. While some are finding ways around that restriction, it’s not clear if those methods are entirely intended. At the very least, they’re causing some buggy things to happen. 

So is Minthara worth the trouble? Well…maybe. Again, if you’re committed to playing as a fairly evil character (relative to BG 3‘s morality system), then Minthara will likely prove to be your most loyal companion. Despite her more ruthless tendencies, there is a deeper side to Minthara that you can eventually discover if you are dedicated enough to follow her narrative/relationship path. She also comes equipped with some powerful Paladin abilities and will likely be your strongest overall companion at the time you recruit her (and perhaps sometime after that). 

While Minthara will be a tough (or impossible) sell for some players, I think she is the most well-rounded, well-written, and capable companion we’ve covered on this list so far. 

Lae’zel

5. Lae’zel

Some fans are going out of their way to say how much they do not like Lae’zel. While some feel that hate could be attributed to deeper personal issues (as well as the fact that players don’t seem to care for the Githyanki), I do understand why Lae’zel is so off-putting. In fact, her character is intended to be outwardly hostile and somewhat one-note at the start, and even her Fighter class can take some warming up to. 

However, if you put the time into Lae’zel, you will be rewarded with one of the most interesting, surprising, and consistently rewarding companion narratives in the game. Yes, there’s a degree to which Lae’zel “opens up” over the course of the game, but her growth is as much about you coming to understand her complexities as it is about her changing based on her experiences with you and your party. Understanding who Lae’zel has been this entire time is one of the more rewarding companion experiences in the game.

Much like Baldur’s Gate 3 itself, learning to love and understand Lae’zel takes time and patience. If you’re willing to invest those things into her as a companion, you will be rewarded in ways you could not have seen coming. 

Astarion

4. Astarion

Astarion has a lot going for him. As a Rogue, he instantly grants your party access to a variety of useful skills and interactions (assuming you did not roll a Rogue for yourself, of course). While Rogues don’t reach their full combat potential until much later in the game (it’s arguably the class’ biggest weakness), you will get a ton of mileage out of Astarion in the early game and will regularly be able to rely on his class traits and other unique attributes. 

Ultimately, though, Astarion’s best quality is being Astarion. Though he slides a bit closer to the “evil” side of the moral spectrum, Astarion is more into chaos and mischief than anything else. Furthermore, Astarion’s story is not only compelling, but it’s one of the few companion stories that are interesting right out of the gate rather than after you’ve invested considerable time into getting to know a character. Astarion’s story is never quite what you think it’s going to be, and I mean that in the best way possible. 

While I know some will be turned off by the “high born” style of Astarion’s attitude (i.e. his more intentionally annoying qualities), I found his dialog, interactions, and major story moments to be consistently compelling and often entertaining. His voice actor is also outstanding.

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Gale

3. Gale

To be honest, I was ready to give up on Gale. For as nice as it is to have a Wizard in your party during the early parts of Baldur’s Gate 3, growing a pure Wizard character over the course of the game takes time, patience, and a healthy supply of scrolls. Furthermore, Gale’s occasional need to consume magical items felt like it was going to be a burden in the early parts of the game when such items are comparatively rare. For that matter, I found Gale to be kind of dull as an overall character at first.

Spend a little time with Gale, though, and you’ll find that there is so much more to him than you may have thought. In some ways, I found that Gale’s story was often the more interesting version of what the game was trying to do with Wyll. Beyond Gale’s wickedly complicated relationship with a powerful figure, though, it’s his apparent desire to do good despite constantly seeking personal power that is so consistently engaging. You’re rarely entirely sure what to think of Gale, and that’s because Gale doesn’t seem entirely sure what to think of himself. 

If you can find a long-term Wizard build that looks for you, it’s definitely worth keeping Gale around to experience his full narrative journey. 

Karlach

2. Karlach

As a Barbarian, Karlach is immediately one of the most valuable combat companions in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you didn’t roll a Barbarian yourself (or another powerful melee character), you’re going to love what this hard-hitting, tough-as-nails class can do for you as early as Level 3. 

For the most part, though, Karlach secures a spot near the top of this list due to her incredible personality. Though there is complexity and darkness in Karlach’s past (which you will learn more about if you decide to build your relationship with her), Karlach is often a breath of fresh joyful air compared to other early game characters that take a little more time to open up. Her lines are hilarious, and though she often tries to be morally righteous, she finds complete joy in the little pleasures of life such as combat, jokes, and uncomplicated sexual encounters. 

From beginning to end, Karlach is useful, fascinating to learn about, and a complete joy to have around you. She’s pretty hard to beat, though I think one character manages to do just that….

Shadowheart

1. Shadowheart

It’s not exactly controversial to suggest that Shadowheart is the best companion in Baldur’s Gate 3. She’s certainly one of the game’s most popular romance options, and as a Cleric, there’s a good chance that she’ll be the best support option in your party for a good chunk of the game. 

However, the thing that separates Shadowheart from a considerable pack of contenders is the quality of her story. As one of the first full-time companions you’ll recruit in Baldur’s Gate 3, Shadowheart greatly benefits from both the time you get to spend with her and her role in the overall narrative. Yes, her romance subplot is one of the best in the game, but I would go so far as to argue that she has the most complete and compelling game-wide character arc of all of the available companions. 

At the very least, I think that Shadowheart is the companion that every Baldur’s Gate 3 player should devote at least one playthrough toward regardless of how they otherwise intend to play the game. Fortunately, it seems that a lot of BG 3 players are discovering that pretty early on.