Powerful Bard Build for Baldur’s Gate 3 – College of Swords Bard BG3

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Best Swords Bard Build BG3

Powerful Dual Wielding Bard Build for Baldur’s Gate 3, that is focusing on improving its melee and ranged combat prowess to defeat enemies in BG3! The Bard is a powerful Class in BG3 that can support your party with Spells but also deal damage with melee and ranged attacks. The nature of the Bard Class in Baldur’s Gate 3 allows you to be flexible when creating your Build and choosing your favorite play style. This Bard Build is using the College of Swords subclass and deals massive damage with dual melee weapons but also crossbows in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Table of Contents

Bard Class Mechanics Guide BG3

The Bard is a versatile Class in Baldur’s Gate 3, that can play as a support caster or a melee warrior with success! The Bard is using Bardic Inspiration as its special resource and offers access to three Subclasses when you reach Level 3:

  • College of Lore
  • College of Valor
  • College of Swords

College of Lore makes your performance more effective and grants proficiency to additional skills. College of Valor makes Bardic Inspiration to also affect your allies and gain proficiency to melee combat while Combat of Swords is focusing entirely on melee and ranged combat allowing you to pick between two different play styles!

The Build is using the third Subclass, College of Swords, to create a powerful and fun Dual Wielding Bard that can attack with finesse and deadly precision! With College of Swords as your subclass and by picking the Two-Weapon Fighting, you can hold dual melee but also ranged weapons in combat more efficiently.

The Build is working as a fighter that attacks multiple enemies fast. Despite focusing on melee combat you can still use the Bard’s several utility and offensive spells to deal damage, crowd control enemies and assist your allies. Bards also get the Song of Rest action which adds basically a third Short Rest to your gameplay with all its benefits!

Best Subclass for Swords Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3

The Best Subclass for the Dual Wielding Bard Build is College of Swords that you get to pick when you hit level 3. With College of Swords you gain access to a few powerful actions as you level up. The Subclass benefits for your Bard are:

  • Level 3 – Defensive Flourish, Slashing Flourish, Mobile Flourish actions, Medium Armor and Scimitars Proficiency. Pick a fighting Style, Duelling or Two-Weapon Fighting.
  • Level 6 – Extra Attack

You might not unlock enough benefits with this subclass but you can turn your Bard into a powerful fighter with Deadly Attacks.

bard build bg3
Slashing Flourish

Best Race for Monk Build BG3

The Best Race for the Swords Bard is the Wood Half Elf or Wood Elf, thanks to their extra Movement Speed! This special feature will allow you to reach your enemies faster and deliver your massive damage. A few more good Races you can pick for this Bard Build BG3 are:

  • High Half Elf
  • High Elf
  • Half Orc
  • Human

You can pick any of the eleven available Races in BG3 and still have success with the Build! To find out more about all Baldur’s Gate 3 Races and their Sub Races, you can read my Baldur’s Gate 3 Best Race Guide!

Best Abilities for Bard Swords Build BG3

The Bard is using Charisma for Spell attacks and in order to be efficient as a caster. Which makes Charisma an important Ability for the Bard as a Class. However the Bard relies on Dexterity to deal damage with Finesse Weapons and gain initiative. Since this is a College of Swords Bard equipped with Dual Weapons and focusing on melee and ranged attacks, Dexterity is going to be the most important Attribute. Constitution is always important to improve your Health, so you should allocate a few points to that attribute as well. For a powerful Swords Bard Build, you can use the following abilities setup:

  • Strength – 8
  • Dexterity – 16
  • Constitution – 14
  • Intelligence – 10
  • Wisdom – 10
  • Charisma – 16

Best Background for Dual Wield Bard Build BG3

The most important ability for the Bard is Dexterity with Charisma coming second. This means that in order to maximize the efficiency of the build you should pick a background that gives access to Skills that rely on Dexterity! You can also pick a Background with mixed skills from Dexterity and Charisma if you wish. The Best Background for the Bard Build in BG3 is EntertainerEntertainer gives you access to Acrobatics(Dexterity) and Performance(Dexterity). Both skills can be helpful in your playthrough. A few more good Backgrounds you can use with the Build are:

  • Criminal
  • Charlatan
  • Urchin

To find more about all available Backgrounds you can read my Baldur’s Gate 3 Backgrounds Guide!

Best Skills for Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3

Skill proficiencies allow you to pursue different paths when picking dialogue option and can help you solve situations in a variety of ways. When you create your character you can pick two more skills to increase your proficiency with them. AcrobaticsPerformanceDeception, Intimidation and Persuasion are useful skills to have. You can follow this example or boost the skills of your choice. Skills do not matter in combat but they are always nice to have to advance storytelling.

Bard Skills

Bard Build Leveling Guide BG3

Below you can find the Best options for the Bard Swords Build in BG3 for every Level! There are 12 Levels in total and each one unlocks new powerful Actions and passives for your Bard Build!

Level 1 Best options for Bard Build BG3

Level 1 is basically Character Creation for your Bard Build in BG3! Here you get to pick your Race, Background and Skills as you have seen already. You also choose two Cantrips, four Spells and your Starting Instrument. The Best Cantrips you can pick for your Bard are:

  • Vicious Mockery: Deals damage and gives Attack Roll disadvantage to an enemy.
  • Light: Infuses an object with Light.
bard build bg3
Vicious Mockery

The Best Spells you can pick for your Bard Build are:

  • Healing Word: Heals you and allies.
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter: Powerful Crowd Control ability.
  • Faerie Fire: Marks enemies in an area and gives Advantage against them.
  • Heroism: Grants temporary Hit Points and makes you or an ally immune to Frightened.

For your starting Music Instrument you can pick anything you like!

Faerie Fire

Level 2 Best Options for Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3

When you reach Level 2 you get the Jack of all Trades Class Feature. Jack of all Trades adds half of your Proficiency Bonus to Ability Checks that you are not Proficient in. You also get the Song of Rest action which adds a third Short Rest to your gameplay! Finally you can pick one more Spell. I recommend getting the Charm Person spell to expand your Crowd Control capabilities.

bard build bg3
Song of Rest

Level 3 Best Options for Swords Bard Build BG3

At Level 3 you can pick your Subclass! Pick College of Swords to gain access to Slashing Flourish(Melee and Ranged), Defensive Flourish(Melee and Ranged) and Mobile Flourish(Melee and Ranged).

  • Slashing Flourish allows you to attack two enemies at the same time.
  • Defensive Flourish increases your Armor Class by 4 if you hit.
  • Mobile Flourish pushes your target back and allows you to teleport to them after.

At this level you can also pick between two Fighting Styles, Duelling or Two-Weapon Fighting. Pick Two-Weapon Fighting so you can dual wield more efficiently! You now have access to Level 2 Spells and can pick a new Spell. Pick Cloud of Daggers for some serious area denial ability. Finally you also get two extra skill points for two skills of your choice(Performance and Persuasion or Deception).

Two-Weapon Fighting

Level 4 Best Options

When you hit level 4 you unlock your first Feat. Feats are powerful passive effects that can enhance your play style or help you alter your build! You can pick 3 Feats for your Bard Build at levels 4, 8 and 12! Picking Feats is quite important for the effectiveness of your Build in Baldur’s Gate 3. For the first Feat, pick Ability Improvement and add 2 points to Dexterity. Like this your Dexterity score will rise up to 18 if you have followed the above recommendations and your Attacks will be more effective. Also pick Minor Illusion as your new Cantrip and Hold Person as your new Spell for this level.

Level 5 Best Options

When you hit level 5 you unlock the Improved Bardic Inspiration and Font of Inspiration Class features. Font of Inspiration allows you to regain all Bardic Inspiration after a Long or Short Rest. You also gain access to Level 3 Spells and can pick Fear as your new Spell for this level.

Level 6 Best Options

At level 6 you get Countercharm, which grants advantage to you and allies nearby on saving Throws against being Charmed or Frightened. You gain Extra Attack as a subclass Feature and can pick one more Spell. Take Silence to deal with hostile casters easily.


Level 7 Best Options

At level 7 you unlock Level 4 spells and can pick one more. Take Confusion for even better Crowd Control.

Level 8 Best Options for Swords Bard Build BG3

When you hit level 8 you can pick a second Feat. Pick Actor to increase your Charisma by 1 and get it to 17 but also to double your Proficiency Bonus for Deception and Performance Checks. Take See Invisibility as your new spell.

bard build bg3
See Invisibility Spell

Level 9 Best Options for Bard Build Baldur’s Gate 3

When you reach level 9 you unlock Level 5 Spells and can pick Dominate Person as your new Spell. Dominate Person is a powerful Spell that forces a humanoid to fight alongside you.

Level 10 Best Options

At level 10 you get Improved Bardic Inspiration, a new Cantrip, one new Spell and two Magical Secrets, which are powerful Spells from the other Baldur’s Gate 3 Classes! Pick Blade Ward as your new Cantrip to take only half damage from Bludgeoning, Piercing and Slashing Attacks. Get Hold Monster as your new Spell. For your two Magical Secrets you can get Hunger of Hadar and Sleet storm for powerful AOE and Crowd Control. Alternatively you can pick the Grant Flight Spell instead of Sleet Storm so you can grant Fly to you or an ally. At this level you get again two more points for two Skills of your choice.

hunger of hadar
Hunger of Hadar

Level 11 Best Options for Bard Build Baldur’s Gate 3

When you reach Level 11 you unlock powerful Level 6 Spells and can pick the Otto’s Irresistible Dance Spell. Otto’s Irresistible Dance forces an enemy to start dancing and grants to their attackers Advantage on Attack Rolls.

bard build bg3
Otto’s Irresistible Dance

Level 12 Best Options

Finally at level 12 you get your final Feat and one more Spell. Get Dimension Door as your new spell to teleport around the field easier. For your final Feat you can get Athlete to increase your Dexterity by 1 point and bring it to 19, as well as when you are prone, Standing up uses significantly less movement. Your Jump distance also increases by 50%. Alternatively you can just pick Ability Improvement again, add two points to Dexterity and get it to 20!

Best Gear for Bard Build BG3

Below you can find the Best Gear for the Swords Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3. The Best Weapons and Armor for the Bard, as well as alternative options that can help you early in the game!

What is the Best Weapon for Bard in BG3

The Best Weapons for the Swords Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Crimson Mischief and BloodthirstCrimson Mischief is a Legendary Shortsword that offers the following effects:

  • Prey upon the Weak: This Weapon deals an additional 1-4 Piercing damage against targets with 50% of their hit points of fewer.
  • Weapon Enchantment +2
  • Light
  • Finesse
  • (Main Hand OnlyRedvein Savagery: When you make an attack with advantage, the target takes an additional 7 piercing damage.
  • (Off-Hand OnlyCrimson Weapon: When you make an attack with your off-hand weapon, you can add your Ability Modifier to the damage of the attack.
Crimson Mischief

Bloodthirst is a Legendary Dagger that offers the following effects:

  • Improved Critical: The number you need to roll a Critical Hit while attacking is reduced by 1. This effect can stack.
  • Weapon Enchantment +2
  • Light
  • Finesse
  • Thrown
  • Armor Class +1
  • Bound Weapon
  • (Main Hand OnlyExploit Weakness: Creatures hit with this weapon receive Vulnerability to Piercing damage.
  • (Off-Hand OnlyTrue Strike Riposte: When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you may retaliate and gain True Strike

You can acquire both weapons by killing and looting Orin in Bhaal Temple during the third Act of the game. Early in the game you can dual wield the Sussur Dagger and Knife of the Undermountain King. To obtain the Sussur Dagger you will have to complete the “Finish the Masterwork Weapon Quest” that you get in the Blighted Village(Act 1). The Sussur Dagger silences enemies on hit which makes it a great weapon to fight mages.

The Knife of the Undermountain King is a Very Rare Shortsword that you can buy or loot from A’Jak’nir Jeera in the Githyanki Creche. The Creche is located under the Rosymorn Monastery in Act 1 and is also where you can find the powerful Blood of the Lathander Weapon! This Shortsword offers:

  • Organ Rearranger: Reduce the number you need to roll a Critical Hit while attacking by 1. When they roll 2 damage or less, reroll the dice, taking the highest result.
  • Shadow Blade: You have advantage on Attack Rolls against against Lightly or Heavily Obscured targets when using this blade.
  • Weapon Enchantment + 2
  • Light
  • Finesse

For Ranged Weapons you can use any two Hand Crossbows from early in the game! The table below shows you the best Gear for the Swords Bard Build, as well as good alternative options to use early in BG3!

PieceBestEarly Game
HeadHelm of BalduranHaste Helm
CapeCloak of ProtectionCloak of Protection
ChestArmor of AgilityAdamantine Scale Mail
GlovesHelldusk GlovesGloves of Power
BootsDisintegrating Night WalkersDisintegrating Night Walkers
NecklaceAmulet of Greater HealthSurgeon’s Subjugation Amulet
RingKiller’s SweetheartRing of Protection
RingRing of RegenerationCaustic Band
Melee WeaponCrimson MischiefKnife of the Undermountain King
Melee WeaponBloodthirstSussur Dagger
Ranged WeaponAny Hand CrossbowAny Hand Crossbow
Ranged WeaponAny Hand CrossbowAny Hand Crossbow

What is the Best Armor for Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3

The Helm of Balduran is the best head Armor for the Swords Bard Build in Baldur’s Gate 3. You can get it by completing the Wyrmway Trials, along with the Balduran’s Giantslayer! This Helmet offers:

  • Balduran’s Vitality: The helmet heals you 2 hit points at the beginning of every turn.
  • Balduran’s Favour: You have a +1 bonus to Armour Class and Saving throws.
  • Stun Immunity: You can’t be Stunned.
  • Attackers can’t land Critical Hits on the wearer.
helm of balduran
Helm of Balduran

Cloak of Protection offers a +1 to Armor Class and Saving Throw and is a nice Cape Armor that you can get from Quartermaster Talli(loot or buy) in the Last Light Inn in Act 2. Armor of Agility is a Very Rare Medium Armor that you can buy from Gloomy Fentonson at Stormshore Armory in Act 3. This Armor offers:

  • Exotic Material: Add your full Dexterity Modifier to your Armor Class. Additionally, this Armor does not impose Disadvantage on Stealth Ability Checks.
  • Saving Throws + 2

You can loot the Helldusk Gloves from Haarlap in the House of Hope again in Act 3. These gloves offer:

  • Infernal Acuity: You gain a +1 bonus to Spell Attack Rolls and Spell Save DC.
  • Infernal Touch: Your weapon attacks deal an additional 1-6 Fire damage. Your unarmed attacks deal an additional 1-6 Necrotic damage, and can possibly inflict Bleeding.
  • Strength Saving Throws +1
  • Rays of Fire Cantrip

The Disintegrating Night Walkers is the best Boots in BG3 that you can get early in the game as well! You can loot them from Nere in Grymforge(Act 1) and they offer Night Walker: Can’t be Enwebbed, Entangled, Ensnared and can’t slip on grease or ice, as well as access to the Misty Step Spell.

disintegrating night walkers
Disintegrating Night Walkers

The Amulet of Greater Health is the Best Amulet for the Build, which you can get in the House of Hope and Sets the Wearer’s Constitution to 23. It also grants advantage on Constitution Saving Throws Checks.

Killer’s Sweatheart and Ring of Regeneration are finally the best ring options for the Bard Swords Build in Baldur’s Gate 3! You can get the Killer’s Sweatheart ring by defeating yourself in the Self-Same Trial inside the Gauntlet of Shar(Act 2). The ring grants you the Executioner effect: When you kill a creature, your next Attack Roll will be a Critical Hit. Once spent, this effect refreshes after a Long Rest. You can buy the Ring of Regeneration from Rolan at the Sorcerous Sundries in Act 3 and get Combat Regeneration: At the beginning of your turn, the ring activates and heals you for 1-4 hit points.

There are a few great alternative items that you can get early and will help you advance your game until you can get one of the Best Armor pieces above.

  • Haste Helm grants momentum at the start of combat and you can get it inside a locked chest near the Ancient Sigil Circle Waypoint in Blighted Village, Act 1.
  • Adamantine Scale Mail is an excellent Medium Armor that you can craft at the Adamantine Forge. It reduces incoming damage, sends enemies reeling and attackers cannot land Critical Hits on the wearer.
  • Gloves of Power inflicts penalties to enemies hit and grants Sleight of Hand +1. You can loot it from Za’Krug in front of the Grove in Act 1.
  • Surgeon’s Subjucation Amulet allows you to paralyze an enemy and you can get it from Malus Thorm at the House of Healing(Act 2).
  • Ring of Protection grants +1 to Armor Class and Saving Throw and you can get it as a reward from Mol for stealing the Druids’ Idol(Act 1).
  • Caustic Band adds extra Acid Damage to your Weapon Attacks! You can buy this Ring from Derryth Bonecloak in the Myconid Colony in Underdark.

Best Companion for the Swords Bard Build in BG3

Companions in Baldur’s Gate 3 are powerful Allies that can assist you in combat with their unique Actions and Spells! The BG3 Companions are divided in Origin and Story Companions. Origin Companions are important characters for the story of the game, that you can find and recruit early in Act 1. It is also possible to play Baldur’s gate 3 with one of them. Story Companions are NPC that you can recruit as Companions later in the game.

All Companions have their default Class in the game but it is possible to change their Class with the help of Withers after you find him inside the Dank Crypt! Which means that you can pick any Companion you like and change their Class in order to complement your Build and Play style. If you wish to remain true to the game lore and keep their default Class, then the Best Companions for the Bard Build are:

  • Shadowheart. Shadowheart is a powerful Cleric that can support and heal your party with her spells. Since this Bard Build is focusing on a fighter-like play style, Shadowheart will be an asset for your party.
  • Gale. Gale is a strong Wizard with access to powerful Spells that can devastate enemies in a wide area. Adding Gale to your team is a great way to deal with large groups of enemies faster.
  • Karlach or Lae’zel. Finally for the fourth slot in your party you should pick a strong melee character that can destroy enemies in close combat. Both Karlach and Lae’zel are perfect for this task.

If you have not unlocked some of the available Companions or if some of your Companions have fallen in combat, you can always use a Hireling Companion. Hireling Companions are available to get via Withers and can fulfill every role and class in Baldur’s Gate 3!

Best Bard Build Gameplay Tips in Baldur’s Gate 3

The College of Swords Bard is a fun and easy to play Build! The core of its gameplay is to approach enemies fast and destroy them with your Flourish Attacks. Alternatively you can stay behind and use your ranged weapons or Spells to Crowd Control and defeat groups of enemies. The Build offers several options to charm and control enemies, so you have time to focus on stronger opponents first.

Outside of Combat the Bard is a great Class to succeed Checks and persuade NPC to obey you. The Bard is a versatile Class with various ways to play that offer a unique and fun gameplay.

Swords Bard Build BG3 Summary

The Swords Bard is a versatile Build in Baldur’s Gate 3, that is using the College of Swords as its subclass. This allows you to play with Dual Weapons more efficiently and focus mostly on melee and ranged attacks. While the Build is focusing on a fighter-like play style, you can still support your party with Spells that heal, crowd control enemies and buff your party. To be efficient in melee combat, the Build is using Medium Armor and gear that boosts Health, regeneration and offers access to mobility spells. The Swords Bard Build is a great option if you wish to play a combat focused Bard that can still support your BG3 Party!

More Baldur’s Gate 3 Builds

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