A collage featuring characters from 'Baldur's Gate 3,' from left to right: Halsin, Lae'zel, Astarion, and Karlach

The Best Companions in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ Have One Thing in Common

I need to be very clear about something. Though a ranking this may be, and in a time when rankings are fun to read, this is a case in which literally every single character is fantastic and well-written. Are some better-written than others? Yes. Are some more likable than others? Oh, yes. Most of all: is most of this based on my own personal opinion? Yes, obvi. So if your skrunkly didn’t make the top of the list, I guarantee you, it’s not because they’re the worst skrunkly out there.

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In deciding how to rank the companions of Baldur’s Gate 3, I figured it wouldn’t be fair to base things entirely on unit aptitude or personality, because everyone’s party composition and build varies, and everyone’s personal tastes are different. So, in ranking this, I mostly focused on their writing and how well they tie into the story, only slightly factoring in their combat prowess.

So, without further ado: these are the best companions of Baldur’s Gate 3, ranked from good to gadzooks.

Update: the author’s own mind-flayer tadpole compelled her to further meditate on her choices. She has since realized her previous ranking was sorely lacking, and has since rectified it. Praise the Absolute.

10. Minsc (& Boo)

Minsc getting out in 'Baldur's Gate 3'
(Larian Studios)

Neaw. We already loved these two. So now it’s only fair that we give everyone else a spotlight, no? Plus, Minsc and Boo aren’t able to be recruited until the third act, which will naturally place them a bit lower on this list.

9. Minthara

Minthara from Baldur's Gate 3 covered in blood
(Larian Studios)

This violent drow has always earned a lower spot in these kinds of lists because honestly, she’s the hardest to get and spend time with. There’s a point during the first act in the game when you essentially have to pick between the good option and the bad option, and Minthara is the one who spearheads the bad option. You then get a chance to recruit her as a companion further along in your game—but only if you pass the necessary dialogue checks. Otherwise, she betrays you.

And even once you do recruit her, she’s given woefully little to work with, which is a shame given some datamined content alludes to a much more gripping story for her than we were given. Minthara got done dirty, as did the players who wanted to go full baddie. Oh well.

8. Halsin

Halsin excitedly talks to you.
(Larian Studios)

Everyone’s favorite literal bear was so thirsted for that they added a romance for the full release. That’s dedication for you!

Unfortunately, dedication only goes so far, and in the case of Halsin, it doesn’t go especially far at all. You can tell that they never planned to make him a full romance or companion, because much of his characterization feels half-baked halfway through the game. There’s a lot of potential there for him to be so much more than just a hypersexual hippie bear-man, yet oftentimes he’s reduced to that.

And don’t get me wrong, as a graduate of UC Santa Cruz, I have no issues whatsoever with hypersexual hippie bear men. In fact, they’re some of my favorite people. But a gimmick only goes so far, and I guess I was just hoping for more than a gimmick with a character who, on the surface, defies gimmicks.

7. Jaheira

Jaheira using a spell to suss you out.
(Larian Studios)

Alongside Minsc and Boo, Jaheira is a returning character from the previous Baldur’s Gate games—and if she’s anything in those games like she is in this one, I’m playing the shit out of them, because Jaheira bangs supremely. Everything about her, from her attitude to her accent, screams phenomenal character design. I’ve thus far enjoyed every single scene she’s in, despite her relative distrust of me in the start.

Now, of course, she is a bit lower because we’ve already seen her before, and we don’t get to spend as much time with her as the other characters. But if I had to pick between Halsin and Jaheira, regarding characters I’d meet earlier, I’d absolutely pick Jaheira.

6. Wyll

Wyll faces devilish consequences.
(Larian Studios)

They said that they were rewriting Wyll from the ground up, and good GOD, did they deliver. In Early Access, Wyll was endearingly boring. In the full game, Wyll is spicy. He’s full of conflicting inner turmoils yet always defers to doing the right thing, even though he’s CONSTANTLY getting the bad end of the devilish deal he’s unfortunately bound to.

They also buffed him as a fighter, which is fantastic, because my poor boy used to be absolutely useless in a fight. Wyll is my favorite kind of unit—a mixed magic/melee fighter—and he can hold his own quite well. His struggle with the predicament of his pact (which I won’t expand upon too much for the sake of spoilers) and his noble heritage is juicy and intriguing, resulting in a character that’s difficult to dislike without being outright boring.

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5. Karlach

Karlach being a cutie pie.
(Larian Studios)

Karlach has easily become a fan-favorite for her fiery personality and backstory. She’s fun, kindhearted, righteous, and hits like a truck. It’s easy to love a woman like her, especially because she often voices our gut reactions to some of the more “WTF” moments in the game. It helps that they gave her almost all of the game’s F-bombs, too.

What’s more, she really grows on you, too, as the game progresses. Initially, she seems almost too vivacious compared to the dour vibes permeating the rest of your party, but you quickly come to appreciate that as you adventure on. The only thing holding her back from a higher ranking is the fact that her story is comparatively straightforward; there’s no secret intrigue behind her tale. You just want the best for her, hate when she can’t get it, and cheer when she can.

4. Lae’zel

Lae'zel threatens to kill you for being an abomination.
(Larian Studios)

I’ve well and truly made a 180 on Lae’zel since the early access days. She’s now Bae’zel in my mind, not just because she’s one of the best fighters in the game, but because she’s absolutely fascinating. You’d think she’s just a no-nonsense toughie, but she’s surprisingly flexible in her way of thinking, and is ultimately open to learning more about the world outside the Githyanki.

She’s steadfast, willing to give you a chance, and is ultimately down for whatever as long as it helps progress us towards our ultimate goal: removing the tadpole. Yes, she can be pretty rude, and sometimes she says and does things that make me say, “Jesus, calm it down,” but in the grand scheme of it all, these things only add to Bae’zel’s complexity.

3. Gale

Gale being a nerd.
(Larian Studios)

Initially, I had Gale higher on this list because I loved how they rewrote him. He used to be much shiftier and outright manipulative, making it easy to dislike his approach to your character. Now, he’s a lot more understandable, and there’s layers to him that make you want to get to know him better.

However, he’s still ultimately a pretty shifty guy who comes on too strong in all aspects despite being surface-level “good.” Gale’s complications are what make him intriguing, and they’re what make him irritating. He’ll unequivocally approve of nearly every good thing you do, and he’s got some of the cleverest, most brain-tickling banter. You can really let your inner word-nerd out with him and it’s great. But there’s also a reason why I think of him as the game’s liberal arts grad school TA: he’s an arrogant ass who will go to great lengths to talk circles around you. And constantly, you must ask yourself why, and whether or not the results are worth it.

Great character. Utterly insufferable. As all wizards should be.

2. Astarion

Astarion enjoys a drink after getting bloody.
(Larian Studios)

Astarion gets major points for two things: one, always hard carrying any team I’m in, as he’s one of the best fighters in the game. And two, being one of the best-written companions despite being immensely frustrating at multiple times.

The thing about Astarion is, he’s been through a lot, and he’s ultimately only out for himself. If you do things that benefit other people, he’ll see it as a waste of time, and will actively call you out on it—we had multiple conversations about how he doesn’t get me and is pulling out fangs trying to understand why I do the things I do. And yet, he knows he has to rely on you, and he recognizes your attempts to help him all the same.

With Astarion, you can have such a complex bond of all sorts, ranging from achingly sweet to uncomfortably power-imbalanced. He’s not a clear-cut character at all, and therein lies his compelling nature. It’s really no wonder so many players have it bad for him.

1. Shadowheart

Shadowheart in 'Baldur's Gate 3': A dark-haired Cleric woman in silver armor looks down at a glowing object in her hands
(Larian Studios)

Am I biased? Yes. Is my bias impacting my ranking? Honestly, no, Shadowheart really is that well-written. In many ways, she feels like the main character of the game several times throughout, and although I initially side-eyed the predictability of her plotline, I now see it for what it is: a story that takes a familiar trope and does something truly memorable with it.

She’s complicated, yet not. She’s seemingly cold, yet cares quite a bit. It’d be easy to write her off as a Mary Sue (lol), but there’s so much more to her than that. Shadowheart is one of the most compelling companions I’ve seen in a game in a very long time, and my interactions with her reminded me of when I first played Dragon Age: Origins—which, IYKYK, that’s a very good thing. I love this miserable little cleric and I love what they did with her story, there was literally no point where I thought either was lacking.

(featured image: Larian Studios)

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Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).