Shadowheart in Baldur's Gate 3 casts a spell, with her hands and eyes glowing.
Screenshot by Dot Esports

Baldur’s Gate 3: Best Shadowheart build in BG3

Every party needs some support.

Few companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 are as popular as Shadowheart. If you’re infatuated by the mystical High Elf, you’ll want to turn her into the most powerful version of herself, which means you’ll want the best Shadowheart build in BG3.

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You’re in the right place! Keeping Shadowheart at the top of her game will also keep you alive for longer. And if you get the build right, the Cleric will also become a formidable damage dealer. Let’s get into the details of the best Shadowheart build in BG3.

Base Shadowheart information and features

A sandy and rocky beach. On it is a stocky man in a red robe and a woman wearing plate armor with black hair. Guts from a gigantic creature are strewn about in BG3.
There she is. Our mighty cleric. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Shadowheart is a mysterious Half-Elf. She’s got plenty of secrets that you’ll discover as you get to know or romance her over the course of the game. One thing you’ll learn pretty quickly is that Shadowheart is a follower of Shar—the Mistress of the Dark. That sounds a little menacing, right? It should!

Shadowheart’s class

As a Cleric, Shadowheart is adept with simple weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields. In addition to the powerful spells that she can learn, Shadowheart also has a naturally high amount of Wisdom. This is helpful because a high Wisdom score makes her Cleric spells more potent.

Generally speaking, Cleric is a fantastic class in itself. You hardly need to multiclass if you want to be optimal, as they have excellent level six spells. In other words, finding the best Shadowheart build in BG3 will be relatively straightforward.

Where to find Shadowheart in Baldur’s Gate 3

You won’t need to worry too much about where to find Shadowheart, as you meet her in the game’s opening moments aboard the Nautiloid almost immediately. Following its crash landing, you’ll also easily bump into her on the beach you awaken on.

Shadowheart is available from the very beginning of the game. This is because, apart from being a companion you can recruit, she’s also available as the player character.

Shadowheart’s abilities and stats at a glance

Shadowheart has a range of spells at her disposal that make her capable of healing allies, debuffing enemies, and inflicting status effects. She also packs a punch whenever she needs to engage in combat herself through magic or the Divine Strike class feature.

However, her other stats leave something to be desired. With 13 Strength and 13 Dexterity, you’re stuck with +1s everywhere. Constitution of 14 is a good start, but Shadowheart has a lot of room for improvement. This includes her base Cleric Subclass, Trickery, which can do some work but doesn’t quite fulfill her role.

Best Shadowheart build

The strongest build for Shadowheart is a Life Domain Cleric Build. This is because there is a huge number of healing synergy items in BG3, making her heals restore health, improve durability, and bolster accuracy.

Best Shadowheart ability scores

We highly recommend bringing Shadowheart to Withers to respec her immediately if you want her to be a highly effective member of your party. Once you do, her optimized stats will look something like this:

  • Strength: Eight
  • Dexterity: 14
  • Constitution: 16
  • Intelligence: 10
  • Wisdom: 16
  • Charisma: 10

This stat spread does a lot for Shadowheart. Primarily, it maximizes her Dexterity to AC in Medium Armor while giving a small amount of initiative, granting her high health, and making her spells as impactful as possible. Shadowheart’s spell list flourishes when it goes first, with crowd control options like Hold Person capable of winning fights on their own.

However, getting her to high AC in Medium Armor opens up a lot of armor options. Our build allows her to wear Full Plate and other heavy armor without a problem. However, if there’s a lot of competition for heavy armor or if there’s a medium armor option that you prefer, it’s better to fill out that Dexterity.

Constitution is almost as important as Wisdom. Shadowheart is your party’s healer, and getting her more health is always beneficial. She’s the last one you want going down. And, with good health, you can even use spells like Warding Bond to keep another party member safe—like a squishy Monk.

Wisdom affects Shadowheart’s spellcasting and is a shoo-in for her. Maximizing Wisdom lowers the enemy’s chance of enduring through your magic, so it’s effectively required if you want her to clear encounters.

Tip:

If you ever feel like a Wisdom check is coming up or there’s a conversation response that has a WISDOM tag on it, you could always swap to briefly play as Shadowheart instead of whatever other character you’re using. That way, you can maximize your chances of success in a particular Wisdom-focused situation.

If you’d like, you can replace Dexterity with Strength. This will let Shadowheart use the numerous glaive weapons across the map, which can be nice for a potential Polearm Master build. However, this also makes her much slower to act in combat, which can be a serious bummer during endgame fights where she’ll often be the target of devastating areas of effect. It also means she’ll be boxing for Strength buffs with Lae’zel and Karlach—not a great place to be.

Best Shadowheart subclass and spell choices in BG3

A screenshot of the spellbook inventory in Baldur's Gate 3 shown from the character level up screen, with natural scenery in the background.
So many spells to choose from. Screenshot by Dot Esports

When choosing a Domain for Shadowheart, the best choice is Life Domain, as this increases her healing capabilities. As a Cleric, healing should be your main focus, and you should prioritize protecting others rather than engaging in direct combat. 

The Life Domain allows her healing spells to automatically heal more based on their spell level, meaning spells like Healing Word can let your party tank hits. Out-of-combat heals like Prayer of Healing also heal for quite a lot more, making your spells extremely efficient, which is very handy for post-Fireball when your entire party is begging for a short rest.

A quick Shadowheart subclass progression guide

Without getting into the fine details here, we’ll outline how to progress Shadowheart’s subclass in several crucial points:

  • At level four, you should put your ability points into Wisdom, then maximize it when you reach level eight.
  • At level six, Life Domain gets more efficient by healing Shadowheart even more, making it perfect to sustain your party through difficult fights.
  • Level 12 considerably expands your options for feats. A melee Shadowheart—perhaps with the Gauntlets of Hill Giant Strength—should consider Polearm Master to give her a frontline role. 

Tough is the level 12 feat we think is most impactful, as it gives Shadowheart 24 HP to flex with. It can let her survive an extra fireball’s worth of damage, and you’ll have to get used to damage numbers like that in Acts Two and Three.

Best Shadowheart Feature Progression

Now, let’s get more specific for the best Shadowheart build in BG3. As Shadowheart levels up, this is how her build should progress:

  • Level One: Spells, Disciple of Life, Heavy Armor Proficiency, Bless and Cure Wounds Prepared
  • Level Two: Preserve Life (Channel Divinity), Turn Undead (Channel Divinity)
  • Level Three: Lesser Restoration and Aid Prepared
  • Level Four: Plus-two to Wisdom
  • Level Five: Destroy Undead, Revivify, and Beacon of Hope Prepared
  • Level Six: Additional Channel Divinity Charge, Blessed Healer
  • Level Seven: Death Ward and Guardian of Faith Prepared
  • Level Eight: Divine Strike (Radiant), Plus-two to Wisdom
  • Level Nine: Mass Cure Wounds and Greater Restoration Prepared
  • Level 10: Divine Intervention (Preferably for Arm Thy Self)
  • Level 11: Level Six Spells
  • Level 12: Tough

When it comes to skills, there are two you’ll want for a Shadowheart support build.

  • Medicine is a Wisdom-based skill that lets Shadowheart identify illnesses, something that comes up disturbingly often in BG3.
  • Perception will make it easier to eavesdrop on conversations and spot hidden secrets, treasures, or enemies.
Tip:

Keep in mind that you don’t need to actively be playing as Shadowheart for her Perception to succeed. As long as she’s traveling with you, the game will be performing Perception checks for Shadowheart and will tell you when she’s successfully found items, objects, or people of interest.

Best Shadowheart Spells in BG3

As a Cleric, Shadowheart knows all Cleric spells and can adjust her spell list on the fly. Here are a few standout spells to keep ready for your build.

Best Cantrips for Shadowheart

  • Sacred Flame is Shadowheart’s day-to-day damage. Even with Life Cleric’s Divine Strike, this cantrip will almost always out-damage a weapon swing. Unless you give her a really strong weapon or want to make her a Polearm Master, just spam this.
  • Guidance is effectively required for any out-of-combat situation. A d4 saves lives.

Best first-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Healing Word is a must-have for when allies get hurt.
  • Bless and Shield of Faith both use her concentration. Try to have only one prepared; either boost AC or a similarly sized boost to attack rolls.
The effect for Bless in BG3, a large beacon of light with circular emanations, targets two characters in a basic woodsy camp.
Why’d they make Bless look so cool? Screenshot by Dot Esports.

Best second-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Spiritual Weapon is a summon as a bonus action that doesn’t take concentration and scales excellently. Use it.
  • Enhance Ability gives advantage on any out-of-combat check in the game.

Best third-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Spirit Guardians is a powerful damaging option for a Frontline Shadowheart.
  • Mass Healing Word provides enormous burst healing for your allies.

Best fourth-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Death Ward is automatically learned and great to just throw out at the start of the day.
  • Banishment removes an enemy from the fight for a while and targets Charisma, a weak save for most monsters.

Best fifth-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Greater Restoration will probably be most of your fifth-level spell slots since Act Two and Act Three have lots of debuffs.
  • Flame Strike deals moderate damage and gives Shadowheart something to do during swarm fights.

Best sixth-level Spells for Shadowheart

  • Heal is a fantastic healing spell that is easy to use during combat.
  • Heroes’ Feats is an all-day buff that improves health, prevents debuffs, and gives advantage on Wisdom saves.

Best weapons, gear, and armor for Shadowheart in BG3

Shadowheart sporting some impressive armor in the inventory menu for Baldur's Gate 3.
Weapon and armor stats are important, but don’t forget about fashion. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Quality gear will naturally play an important role in achieving the best Shadowheart build in BG3. With a support Shadowheart, it is important to prioritize items that reward her for buffing and healing allies:

  • As we prefer our Shadowheart to be at the back, the best weapon for her was the Markoheshkir, found near the bottom of Ramazith’s Tower. The bonus to attack rolls and spell DCs and the free spell per day are exactly what she needs.
  • Dark Justicar Half-Plate turns Shadowheart into a full-on tank, as she can very easily keep Shield of Faith active at all times. It also gives advantage on Constitution saving throws, which she needs to retain her concentration.
  • Any item that provides a boost to healing or protection is great for Shadowheart, so her best head slot item is Wapira’s Crown. It restores 1d6 hit points when healing others, and with Healing Word and Channel Divinity, that’ll happen often. The Fistbreaker Helm is a great option if you want her Hold Persons or Banishments to be more effective.
  • The Amulet of Misty Step is another great item for Shadowheart due to the sheer strength of Misty Step. Clerics don’t get easy access to teleports, so Shadowheart can use this as a bonus action to get to an ally and Heal them. It saved me more than once during Hold Person-athons like the Githyanki encounters in Act Three.
  • The Shield of Devotion is very rare but well worth hunting for, as it allows you to use your reaction to knock an enemy prone when hit with a melee attack unless they succeed a Dexterity Saving Throw. Clerics don’t get many reaction spells in BG3, making this a clear choice for a frontline Shadowheart.
  • The Hellrider’s Pride gloves are perfect for Shadowheart. They let her buff a target with resistance to physical damage (or the entire party) as a bonus action using Healing Word and Mass Healing Word.
  • Boots of Aid and Comfort provide healed targets with a small pool of temporary HP.
  • The Vivacious Cloak, from the Grand Mausoleum, is great for any type of Shadowheart, giving her an easy and consistent source of temporary hitpoints.
  • The Whispering Promise is a must-have ring for a Life Shadowheart, providing massive bonuses to targets whenever you heal them.
  • The other perfect Shadowheart Ring is the Ring of Regeneration, which procs all of your self-healing effects every turn. Hellrider’s Pride plus Whispering Promise makes Shadowheart very hard to kill and a menace on the frontlines.

A fully kitted-out healing Shadowheart is a blessing to behold, using Healing Word to restore large amounts of health to allies while also giving them bonuses to attack and saving throws, resistance to physical damage, and temporary HP. She herself copies many of these effects, making her a vicious tank and a potent damage dealer as well.

Best consumables, potions, and items for Shadowheart in BG3

The Potion of Speed is by far the best potion in the game, providing double movement speed, an extra action, +2 Armor class, and Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws. With this, you can move Shadowheart around wherever needed to heal—and it’s particularly effective when you’re saving a downed ally, as you can follow up with immediate Healing. 

Alternatively, a Hasted Shadowheart can cast a devastating spell like Banishment and then Preserve Life on the same turn—healing and buffing allies at the same time as she removes a big threat from the fight.

Healing Potions are a great item for Shadowheart, but not for the traditional reasons. While the Life Domain does not buff their healing, they still count as healing for your magical items. A tapped-out Shadowheart can throw these at allies to grant the buffs of your magic items, which is great. It’s also very important to keep Shadowheart as healthy as reasonably possible anyway.

Any throwable with an AoE is also a good choice for Shadowheart. She’s also a reasonable scroll carrier since she’s a good character to wear several items that buff spellcasting DCs. Scrolls use her DCs, so buff them up and watch her “cast” Fireball like a champ.

Combat tips for Shadowheart in BG3

Shadowheart casting the spell Guiding Bolt before entering battle in Baldur's Gate 3.
Guiding Bolt is a powerful part of Shadowheart’s arsenal. Screenshot by Dot Esports

Whenever you see enemies ahead and know that a fight is about to happen, cast Bless outside of combat so you don’t have to use a turn doing so. Then, Shadowheart’s focus in combat should be to heal allies whenever necessary. Early on, this just means keeping them from dying and giving them back their turn when they fall unconscious. However, as soon as you get the Hellrider’s Gloves, this all changes. 

Heal your allies whenever they are missing health and are in melee combat. This gives them resistance to physical damage as well as various boons from The Whispering Promise. Healing Word is a great way to do this. Additionally, your Channel Divinity: Preserve Life can heal multiple allies as an action, and Mass Healing Word can do so as a bonus action.

On the first turn, using Guiding Bolt is the perfect start. It can inflict significant damage, and your allies usually won’t need healing this early. As you level up, your first turn will change from focusing on damage to focusing on crowd control.

You’ll replace Guiding Bolt with spells like Hold Person or Banishment that lock targets out of the fight, and you’ll get a Spiritual Weapon that hounds enemies for several turns afterward. Banishment is especially helpful during caster-heavy battles in the late game when giving enemies too many turns is a death sentence.

Try to stay at a medium range from your allies, so you can heal whoever needs it. Don’t be afraid to back off with Shadowheart in a fight rather than attacking with her. She’s durable but not made of steel. Feel free to give her cloaks with Absorb Elements, like the Cloak of Elemental Absorption, before specific magic encounters—or against dragons.

Approach enemies with Shadowheart only if you have a good reason, like having Spiritual Guardians active after healing her and granting her Hellrider resistances. Utilize the Misty Step amulet the moment an ally needs help or if she starts to falter. It’s extremely important to keep her alive, as she’s the glue that holds a competent team together.

It’s important to treat Shadowheart with respect in fights, as she can deal massive damage with the right investment into spells. That said, there’s a fantastic number of healing support items in BG3, and Shadowheart is a highly potent addition to any party.


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Author
Josh Challies
Staff Writer. Professional writer since 2014. Pokemon, Marvel, Star Wars and overall geek. Previously wrote for Yahoo Sport, Stats Perform and online news publications.
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Jerome Heath
Jerome Heath is a senior editor at Dot Esports.
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Jason Toro-McCue
Contributing writer and member of the RPG beat. Professional writer of five years for sites and apps, including Nerds + Scoundrels and BigBrain. D&D and TTRPG fanatic, perpetual Fighter main in every game he plays.