In this Baldur’s Gate 3 Shadowheart Build Guide, I’ll be showing you how to play Shadowheart if you don’t want to change her Trickery Domain Subclass, and if you need a good alternative to using Astarion as your Rogue. I’ll cover Ability Scores, Class Features, Equipment, and I will provide tips on how to get the most out of Shadowheart when played this way.
Best Shadowheart Build Guide – Baldur’s Gate 3
Shadowheart can fill the Rogue role of the group fairly well, however, to do so I’ll be Multiclassing her with Thief Rogue. Trickery Domain Clerics and Thief Rogues have a lot of synergy, which I’ll be showing you over the course of this Shadowheart Build Guide. Let’s begin with her Ability Scores, since this is essentially a premade character.
Shadowheart Build Guide – Ability Scores
Since Shadowheart begins BG3 as a Trickery Cleric, her Ability Scores are more in line with what a typical Cleric would use. However, since we’re going to make her into more of a Roguish character, you will want to respec these eventually, with a priority of Dexterity and Wisdom, and some Constitution.
Starting Ability Scores
- STR 13
- DEX 13
- CON 14
- INT 10
- WIS 17
- CHA 8
Ideal Ability Scores
- STR 8
- DEX 16
- CON 14
- INT 10
- WIS 16
- CHA 10
We won’t be using very many hostile Cleric spells with this Shadowheart Build, so high Wisdom is not necessary, but if you don’t have at least 14, you won’t be able to Prepare 5 spells. And there are about 5 must have spells for this build, so I don’t recommend going lower than that.
Shadowheart Build Guide – Skills
Shadowheart has Proficiency in History, Insight, Religion and Medicine by default, but none of these are particularly good if you want her to handle the roguish duties of the party. We’ll rectify this issue via the Rogue Class, but simply taking levels of Rogue won’t be good enough, since you only gain 1 Skill and Expertise in 2 Skills when you Multiclass into Rogue.
However, if you respec Shadowheart and take 1 level of Rogue first, and then take Trickery Domain Cleric second, you will get to choose 4 Rogue Skills, that include Perception, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth which you’ll want. You can then take Expertise in Perception and Sleight of Hand as well, which sets Shadowheart up for success as a roguish character immediately at level 2, while still maintaining her Trickery Domain Subclass.
Shadowheart Build Guide – 3 Trickery Cleric
After you’ve respecced Shadowheart into 1 level of Rogue, the next 3 levels should be Trickery Domain Cleric in order to gain some Spells and Class Features. I won’t list them all here to save time, but I’ll just list the relevant ones that really benefit the Build.
Level 1 Trickery Domain Cleric
At 1 level of Trickery Domain the main things you’ll want are the Spells:
- Healing Word
Guidance is a staple in any Cleric Build because you can use it pretty much limitlessly, since it’s a Cantrip, in both dialogue and while exploring. Just remember not to overwrite Pass Without a Trace or Enhance Ability with it, or you’ll waste a Spell Slot when you have to recast them.
Bless is a phenomenal spell, and one that’s useful pretty much the entire game. Its’ going to improve the chances of you and your allies to hit enemies, as well as Save against harmful Spells, preventing damage or negative status effects.
It requires Concentration, but because you will be Hidden much of the time with this Build, you should have no issues avoiding damage so that it is not broken. Generally, you’ll want to cast this at the beginning of any tough fight. Remember that if you Upcast it with a level 2 Spell Slot, it can Bless your entire party.
Sanctuary is another spell you will likely use all game long, and it’s a Bonus Action, which is phenomenal. It allows you to prevent one party member from being the target of enemies for one round, and you’ll use this when one of your party members is in a bad spot. Just remember that if they attack or cast a harmful spell on an enemy then Sanctuary will wear off, so try to use it on party members who have already taken their turn, or on ones that are incapacitated or surrounded.
And, lastly Healing Word is a small heal, but can be cast as a Bonus Action, and from great range. Its primary function is to pick up downed allies without having to walk over to them and use the Help Action, so save it for those cases. Being able to still do this with Shadowheart and be a Rogue is great.
Level 3 Trickery Domain Cleric
At level 3 of Trickery Domain, Shadowheart will gain Level 2 Spell Slots, and two amazing spells: Pass Without Trace and Enhance Ability. Pass Without Trace grants her and all nearby party members +10 to Stealth Checks until Long Rest as long as she maintains Concentration. This makes it nearly impossible for her to fail a Stealth Check, even if she has Disadvantage.
Enhance Ability is a spell she will use outside of combat to grant herself or another Advantage on Ability Checks from one Ability while she maintains Concentration. This means you won’t be able to use it and Guidance at the same time, but that you can use it for Charisma Checks or for Wisdom Checks (that include Perception and Survival) to help you spot things.
From here onward she will typically progress as a Rogue, taking the Thief Subclass all the way up to level 12, so let’s look at what she gains from that.
Shadowheart Build Guide – 9 Thief Rogue
Level 1 Rogue
At level 1 of Rogue, besides the Skills Shadowheart will pick up, she’ll also gain Sneak Attack. This will continue to get stronger at every odd Rogue level, capping out at 5D6 at Rogue level 9. You want to use this every turn if you can.
Level 2 Rogue
At level 2, she’ll gain Cunning Action, allowing her to Hide as Bonus Action. This means she can move, Hide and then Sneak Attack easily on pretty much every turn.
Level 3 Thief
At level 3 she’ll become a Thief, granting her a second Bonus Action each turn in combat. This is huge because now she can Hide, Sneak Attack Hide. Or, she can cast Healing Word, Hide Sneak Attack, or Sanctuary, Hide Sneak Attack. Or Bless, Spiritual Weapon, Hide. There are tons of combinations with these two Classes.
Level 4 Thief
At level 4 she’ll gain a Feat. I highly recommend Ability Improvement for Dexterity at this point, to further boost your accuracy and damage. Once you get some better gear later on, Sharpshooter will be a lot easier to use.
I want to make a note here that you can go 4 levels of Trickery Cleric after this point, to pick up another Feat if you want. It will slow down your Sneak Attack damage progression, but the Feat might be worth it.
Level 8 Thief
At level 8 she’ll pick up her second Feat, and I recommend taking Sharpshooter here to further boost damage. You should have good accuracy since you have Advantage on nearly all of your Sneak Attacks, your Proficiency will have improved, and a +2 Weapon help to improve this even further.
Level 9 Thief
Sneak Attack will max out for this Build at level 9, and you will also gain Supreme Sneak allowing you to turn Invisible once per Short Rest. You may decide this is not worth costing yourself 1 Feat, and take a 4th level of Trickery Cleric instead if you want, the choice is up to you.
Shadowheart Build Guide – Equipment
Since Shadowheart is a Rogue/Cleric Multiclass and a Half-Elf she has Proficiency in a wide variety of equipment, including Light and Medium Armour, as well as Shields. However, since we are primarily focused on making her a ranged damage dealer for this Build, we’ll focus there.
She has Proficiency with Light Crossbows, Shortbows and Hand Crossbows, so these are really your options. Of these, Hand Crossbows are the best choice, particularly since she is a Thief who can Hide and then attack with main hand and off-hand in the same turn. Or simply attack with main and offhand and then Hide, if the target is standing near a friendly.
If you don’t have good Hand Crossbows, or want more range, Shortbow is a good choice, and there are some decent ones early on in the game. If you manage to get the Gloves of Archery in the Goblin Camp, then she could also use a Longbow.
I like One-Hand an Shield for her melee setup to give her more AC, especially since we’re not trying to melee with our Bonus Action. However, you could play dual wield if you prefer.
A Rapier or Shortsword is probably the best choice of Finesse Weapon, but don’t be afraid to equip something with other benefits, even if you don’t have Proficiency, since we are trying not to melee at all.
For chest Armour, she’ll use Light or Medium Armour, just make sure the Medium Armour doesn’t give her Disadvantage on Stealth Checks if you use it. I like Yuan-Ti Scale Mail a lot, and you can find that at the Last Light Inn. Or, you could use the Spidersilk Armour, which is a Light Armour, if you killed Minthara.
I also, like Boots of Striding here, as they prevent her from being knocked Prone or moved against her will.
Gloves of Archery are a must if you want to use a Longbow, but otherwise you could probably use something like Gloves of Dexterity, and dump Dexterity if no one else in your party are using them. Or Gloves of Missile Snaring to pull projectiles out of the air when you cannot get back in Stealth.
Warped Headband of Intellect is good for Skill Checks, but you won’t really need it otherwise. You could also use anything that bolsters Stealth or Saving Throws, like Dark Justiciar Helmet.
Strange Conduit Ring is a great addition to this Build, since Shadowheart will always be Concentrating on something, and this can further boost her damage. Caustic Band is also good to boost damage as well.
Amulet of the Harpers is a good choice should she ever be targeted, allowing her to improve her Armour Class. And Amulet of Restoration is also good for more Healing Word, and access to Mass Healing Word.
Shadowheart Build Guide – Final Tips
The general strategy with this build is to go into a fight, and buff your party with Bless on turn 1, in order to improve hit chance and Saving Throws. You’ll then either summon a Spiritual Weapon if you want, or attack with your off-hand once if you’re using a Hand Crossbow, and then Hide. The idea is that you will always try to Hide at the end of your turn if possible.
Turn 2, you’ll begin Sneak Attacking, trying to pick off the best target for you. These are usually the squishies in the back, but you might be able to finish of a weakened melee unit from the previous turn, so assess and prioritize things you can outright kill. Then either buff a party member with Sanctuary and go back into Stealth.
You will deal nearly the same amount of Sneak Attack damage as a pure Rogue with this setup, but you can also buff and support your group at the same time, as well as handle utility functions outside of combat, and will be able to do so effectively from level 6 onwards. Note that this Build plays relatively the same between levels 6 and 12, since you mostly gain passive increases to Sneak Attack damage, as well as a few other passive features.
Lastly, you can also go 8 levels of Rogue and 4 levels of Cleric with this Build to gain an extra Feat and another level 2 Spell Slot, in exchange for losing 1D6 of Sneak Attack damage, and Supreme Sneak. The choice is up to you, and you can try either and see what you like.
That wraps up our Baldur’s Gate 3 Shadowheart Build Guide! Stay tuned for more Baldur’s Gate 3 content as we update the other Builds, and be sure to drop by our Twitch Channel if you have questions about the game. If you need something specific, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 Wiki which is being worked on night and day, as well as our Baldur’s Gate 3 Guides.