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Classic Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 Top Ten Favorite Classes

BG1 BG2 ToB Class ToTSC

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#1 ikonomov

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Posted 28 May 2021 - 10:41 PM

Having played the original Baldur's Gate 1 & 2 many times over the years I've come to appreciate some classes more than others and I want to share my favorite top ten.  Under each class I'll list my favorite NPCs with similar abilities and also other classes that could be viable alternatives.  The list is influenced by the way I prefer to play the game:


• Having a six person party, either custom or with NPCs.  I have found this to be the optimal party size both in BG1 (with TotSC) and BG2 (with ToB).

• Playing both games with their original engines, so non EE, BGT or Tutu and after all quests are done in BG1: TotSC importing the characters into BG2.

• Not using mods that change gameplay mechanics.

• Trying not to reload as much as possible and only when one of the characters in the party is killed permanently or the main character dies.

• Not resting more often than needed, frequently having the party sleep only after a character becomes fatigued.



1. Kensai 9 > Mage
I don't find Tenser's Transformation to be a substitute for having a good fighter, so the only way this class makes it on the list is by getting sufficient Thac0.  This is possible by gaining Mastery proficiency in two weapons, one of which being War Hammers and using Crom Faeyr.  Built this way the stars align and this class allows creating the most powerful character in the entire saga.  It is in essence a perfect combination of a mage and a fighter.  Being a single class fighter in BG1 is a benefit, another reason for getting the #1 spot on the list.


2. Fighter / Mage / Thief (elf)

Focusing on the idea that the experience is split in three is the wrong way of looking at this class in which the small delay in level progression is more than compensated by the perfect symbiosis between all the abilities.  Yes, F/M is more powerful once 9th level spells are available, but that's only for a small portion of the game and since every party needs a thief and another spellcaster, this is my #1 pick for a thief.  There are a lot of good single, dual or multi class thieves, but I don't think any come close to the versatility and power of the F/M/T regardless of party size.  The two extra Thac0 from being an elf with 19 dexterity makes for a superb archer in BG1, while later Scarlet Ninja-To allows this class to become one of the best fighters in the game, both defensively and offensively.  The thieving skill points must be spent carefully, but they kick in at just the right time to enable all the needed thieving abilities in both games.



Fighter / Thief (halfling): Shorty saving throws!  Due to relatively low physical defenses and hit points, when not backstabbing I would use ranged weapons until the high level ability Hardiness can be taken.

Kensai 13 > Thief: Similar to F/T, trading saving throws and high level fighter abilities for more hit points and damage output.  Throwing weapons are a great choice when not sneaking until the high level ability Use Any Item can be taken to allow wearing armor.  Because it takes some time in BG2 for this class to gain the necessary thieving skills, other thieves must be used before then.


BG1 NPCs: Coran, Montaron, Imoen

BG2 NPCs: Jan

Coran and Montaron will have enough thieving skill points if recruited as early as possible.


3. Fighter / Illusionist
If there is another single or dual class mage in the party I prefer this class to the K9>M or F/M, giving up the ability to cast Necromancy spells to get the gnome's incredibly useful saving throws and the extra spell per level for being a specialist mage.



• Fighter / Mage (elf):  More powerful than F/I in BG1 and in ToB once 9th level spells become available.  If more power is the goal, however, a K9>M could be a better option especially if there is no other single or dual class mage in the party.


4. Ranger 9 > Cleric

This class has the advantage of being able to cast all cleric and druidic spells.  Another powerful and versatile class both defensively and offensively, both as a spellcaster and as a warrior, similar to the above three classes except with a different flavor.  Because the time in BG1 will be spent as a single class ranger I'll have another character to use as a priest until BG2.



• Fighter / Cleric (dwarf): Less powerful as a spell caster compared to a single or dual class priest, but gaining very useful saving throws and high level fighter abilities that this class can make a great use of.
• Cleric / Mage: Very effective in BG1 and ToB, but the slow spell progression prevents this class to really shine during the majority of BG2.


BG1 NPCs: Yeslick, Viconia, Jaheira

BG2 NPCs: Viconia, Jaheira, Aerie, Anomen


5. Inquisitor
Another variety of a powerful class that excels both offensively and defensively, both as a warrior and as a spellcaster.


BG1 NPCs: Ajantis

BG2 NPCs: Keldorn


6. Berserker (dwarf)
A fantastic melee fighter able to survive most battles due to his unbreakable defenses, something that I find useful to have throughout the entire saga.  Compared to a Barbarian the Berserker has a better berserker rage and can wear plate armor.



• Barbarian (dwarf): Similar to a Berserker with physical damage resistances that stack and can become significant later in the game when using Defender of Easthaven and the high level ability Hardiness.


BG1 NPCs: Kagain, Khalid, Shar-Teel, Minsc

BG2 NPCs: Korgan, Mazzy, Minsc, Valygar

ToB NPCs: Sarevok


7. Archer (elf)
The best archer in the game with amazing ranged damage and another very useful class to have throughout the whole saga.  Even in ToB with the abundance of great melee weapons, strength boosting equipment and Boots of Speed the archer is still able to compete with melee warriors in terms of damage output and usefulness with their unique and powerful Called Shot ability.  To get the maximum damage I use Gesen Bow with arrows equipped or Tuigan Bow.  In ToB +3 arrows are good enough as there are exactly three enemies in the game that require +4 enchanted weapons, Kangaxx, The Demi-Lich and The Ravager.


BG1 NPCs: Kivan


8. Sorcerer (elf)
Lower on the list because this class is not available in BG1.  The "limited" known spells per level aren't limiting at all, to the contrary, as long as they are chosen carefully they provide versatility since all of them are always available.  Being the most powerful arcane spellcaster in the game potentially makes the Sorcerer the most powerful class overall once 9th level spells become available.  Very importantly, compared to a Wild Mage there are no wild surges to worry about.



• Swashbuckler 10 > Mage: A mage able to perform the basic duties of a thief and also use a larger variety of weapons.  With the help of Tenser's Transformation dual-wielding enables this class to be effective in melee combat.  The lack of thieving skills during the downtime can be an inconvenience making it necessary to use another temporary thief.


BG1 NPCs: Edwin, Dynaheir, Xzar

BG2 NPCs: Edwin, Imoen, Nalia

Both Imoen and Nalia have enough thieving skill points to serve as the party's thief.  For Nalia this is possible with the help of Ring of Danger Sense, Ring of Lock Picks and before obtaining Amulet of the Master Harper using the spell Knock (needed only a few times).


9. Skald (half-elf)

Although bards are not particularly noteworthy in BG1, the Skald Song and later the Enhanced Bard Song with its unlimited radius makes Skalds the most powerful support characters in BG2.  If that's not enough, being rogues bards also gain access to the high level ability traps among which is the Set Spike Trap, arguably the deadliest weapon in the game.


BG2 NPCs: Haer'Dalis


10. Monk
Even if available, this class would be nearly useless in BG1, but halfway into SoA Monks become excellent warriors.  Their most powerful and unique ability is being able to reach near 100% magic resistance towards the end of SoA.  Wizard Slayers also gain magic resistance, but way too late to be useful.



Sorcerer spells:
Magic Missile
Protection From Evil
Melf's Acid Arrow
Mirror Image
Resist Fear
Dispel Magic
Flame Arrow
Melf's Minute Meteors
Skull Trap
Greater Malison
Minor Sequencer
Spider Spawn
Wizard Eye
Animate Dead
Lower Resistance
Spell Immunity
Improved Haste
Protection from Magical Weapons
True Sight
Limited Wish
Mass Invisibility
Mordenkainen's Sword
Project Image
Spell Sequencer
Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting
Power Word: Blind
Spell Trigger
Chain Contingency
Spell Trap
Time Stop

Edited by ikonomov, 26 September 2021 - 10:30 AM.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: BG1, BG2, ToB, Class, ToTSC