Baldur’s Gate 3: BEST Karlach Build [Detailed Progression]

This guide covers the best possible build for Karlach, the Barbarian companion, in BG3, including her progression, feats, and extra items.

When it comes to centering your play styles around particular companions, the best BG3 Karlach Build is an easy and obvious recommendation. Karlach Demonsbane is a Tiefling Barbarian with several melee-based combative options. So, to create an ideal build with her, you must focus purely on those aspects to make her a close-range powerhouse.

Key Takeaways
  • Karlach is one of the seven possible recruitable companions in Baldur’s Gate 3, starting with the Zariel Tiefling subrace and the Barbarian class.

  • At Levels 1 and 2, Karlach only unlocks some class-based abilities, including Unarmored Defense, Rage, Danger Sense, and Reckless Attack.
  • Upon reaching Level 3, players should ideally pick the Berserker subclass due to its straightforwardness and emphasis on dealing damage and effectively killing mobs.
  • With Level 4, taking the Tavern Brawler Feat with a +1 skill point into Strength is the optimal strategy since you gain a bonus action.
  • After that, Levels 5, 6, and 7 will unlock several class and subclass features, including Fast Movement, Extra Attack, and Feral Instinct. 
  • Level 8 is where players can equip another Feat to Karlach, and the recommended option here is Great Weapons Master, as it inflicts Bleed.
  • Moving on, Levels 9,10, and 11 give access to another series of Class Features and Actions, unlocking Brutal Critical, Intimidating Action, and Relentless Rage, respectively.
  • Finally, players should equip the Savage Attacker Feat as their last upgrade for Karlach on Level 12.

  • Once the level progression completes, players can use other items to gain an advantage mid-combat, like using Potions, which provide temporary buffs.

Here’s a quick breakdown of Karlach the Barbarian’s build, detailing her optimal Class, Subclass, Feats, and best Potions in BG3:

– Class: Barbarian
– Subclass: Berserker
– Level 4: Tavern Brawler
– Level 8: Great Weapons Master
– Level 12: Savage Attackers
– Potion of Superior Healing
– Potion of Speed
– Elixir of the Colossus
– Potion of Animal Speaking
– Wyvern Poison
– Potion of Psychic Resistance
– Potion of Angelic Slumber

Best Build And Level Progression For Karlach

Once you recruit Karlach Demonsbane into your party, you can use her as a melee attacker or a defender with her “Shield” ability. However, given her damage figures, background, and attacking tendencies, she’s more suited to an aggressive playstyle.

Before starting, it’s worth mentioning Karlach’s subrace, Zariel Tiefling, which you cannot change at any point in Baldur’s Gate 3. This subrace starts with excellent initial fire resistance and several combative attacks, naturally making Karlach a brute-like companion.

To get a clearer view of Karlach’s options, you can find her base stats from the list below:


Level 1/2: Barbarian Class

Karlach starts as a Barbarian class, and while you could change her class after a respec, it’s better to keep her as is. As highlighted by her race and subrace, she’s more suited to be around several enemies with close-range engagements, precisely where the Barbarian shines. 

  1. As a Barbarian, Karlach wouldn’t have to focus on wearing armor since her Unarmored Defense already gives damage resistance, which increases when you apply feats to raise her stats like Constitution or Dexterity.
  2. Karlach begins with 17 Armor Class, making her reasonably resistant to attack rolls, but it’s better to wear medium armor if you raise Dexterity or Strength.
  3. Besides that, you also get her Rage ability, a temporary buff that adds +2 damage with throws and melee attacks while also providing defense against physical damage.
  4. After reaching Level 2, Karlach unlocks some new abilities as part of her Barbarian Class, including:
    • Danger Sense: A Class Feature where you have an Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws against traps, spells, and surfaces.
    • Reckless Attack: Until your next turn, you have an Advantage on Attack Rolls, but enemies also have an Advantage against you.
  5. Reckless Attack serves as your primary damage output at this stage and works on non-Strength attacks, but the drawback makes it vulnerable against mobs and gank fights.
barbarian level 2 bg3
Karlach’s Level 2 Unlocks: Danger Sense and Reckless Attack (Screenshot by eXputer)

Level 3: Berserker Subclass

At Level 3, you must also choose Karlach’s subclass, where you have three choices for Barbarian – Wildheart, Berserker, and Wild Magic. Each subclass has its pros, cons, and uniqueness, but given its simplicity and beginner-friendliness, Berserker is arguably the best match for this companion.

Berserker barbarian bg3
The Berserker Subclass (Image Source: eXputer)
  1. Unlike Wildheart or Wild Magic, which focus on utility, this subclass is meant only for close-range battles with lethal physical damage and aggression.
  2. As a Berserker, you unlock the following abilities:
    • Frenzy: Your Rage turns into Frenzy as you gain Frenzied Strike and Enraged Throw, and you can also make an Improvised Weapon Attack as a bonus action.
    • Frenzied Strike (Bonus Action): Make a melee attack with your equipped weapon.
    • Enraged Throw: Pick up an item or creature and throw it at a target, dealing additional damage and knocking it Prone.
  3. This subclass and attack sets encourage you to gather mobs to deal heaps of collateral damage, making it suitable for crowd control, especially before you hit Level 5 and get the Haste ability.
Important: If you’re looking for more versatility, the Wildheart subrace is a strong alternative as it gives you the “Speak With Animals” ability, unlocking narratives and relationships. You also get access to Bestial Hearts, which provides various offensive and defensive abilities.

Level 4: Tavern Brawler Feat

This is perhaps the most divisive part of any build, especially Karlach since there are several strong starting Feats in BG3, each with unique passive or active benefits. Most players here tend to pick the Great Weapons Master as their first Feat because it’s compelling against low-HP enemies, but it also reduces accuracy, forcing you to miss attacks entirely. So, for a safer and better option, Tavern Brawler is the way to go. 

Tavern Brawler bg3
The Tavern Brawler Feat (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
  1. With this Feat, you can use an improvised weapon or throw something after an unarmed attack to add your Strength Modifier twice to your damage and Attack Rolls.
  2. This added grapple bonus attack costs no resources, is unblockable, deals massive damage, and can be a safe move since you can equip and use a shield during the attack.
  3. By stacking Strength with other in-game items and using weapons like the Returning Pike, you can make the throws more potent, which you can utilize for the Berserker’s bonus action throw.
  4. Furthermore, when picking Tavern Brawler, you’ll also get an extra skill point, which you should put in Strength to add to the Feat’s bonus and bump up your damage output.

Level 5/6/7: Additional Class Features

Beyond Level 4, the following few progression stages will solely add Class and Subclass features to your best bg3 karlach build, letting you showcase your choices in the best scenarios. These abilities unlock several mobility and offense options that you can combine into a complete attack string. Besides that, the latter upgrades also provide several immunities against spells and other in-game mechanics.

  1. Once you reach Level 5, you unlock the following Class Features:
    • Extra Attack: You can make an additional free attack after an unarmed or weapon attack.
    • Fast Movement: Movement Speed increased by 3m while not wearing Heavy Armor.
  2. It’s worth noting that Extra Attack does not add to any other bonus attack you’ve attained from another source.
  3. This means your Tavern Brawler and Berserker bonus attacks act separately from this, so you can attack up to 4 times in a single turn!
  4. With Fast Movement, Karlach can now travel 12m per roll, making the battlefield much more accessible for melee range and AoE damage.
  5. For Level 6, you gain Additional Rage while receiving Mindless Rage, a subclass feature that repels all outside forces during Rage mode.
  6. Mindless Rage significantly boosts your resistance and accuracy, nullifying specific effects and spells that cause you to lose damage or even miss attacks entirely.
  7. Furthermore, the Calm Emotions spell, usually honed by Clerics and Bards, can no longer end your Rage turn.
  8. Later, Level 7 unlocks the Feral Instinct feature, where you gain +3 Initiative and can no longer be Surprised.
  9. Since you can’t be surprised, the possibility of losing your first turn becomes non-existent, while the added Initiative means you’ll likely always start an encounter with the first move, a vital buff against stronger hordes and bosses.
barbarian level 7 bg3
Karlach’s Level 7 Unlocks: Feral Instinct (Image by eXputer)

Level 8: Great Weapons Master Feat

Level 8 is your next stop to unlocking one of the best Feats for Karlach and her Barbarian Class in BG3. At this point, you should pick the Great Weapons Master for its damage and status-effect buildup, and since you’ll likely have accumulated several accuracy-raising items and potions, it would help alleviate this Feat’s drawback, as mentioned earlier.

GWM Feat Baldur's Gate 3
The Great Weapons Master Feat (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)
  1. Great Weapons Master (or GWM) primarily causes damage over time with its Bleed buildup, which cuts off 2 Slashing Damages at the start of each enemy turn.
  2. When you land a critical hit or kill an enemy with a melee attack, you gain an additional bonus attack in the same round.
  3. If you’re dual-wielding weapons in your build, you get a +10 damage bonus instead of a -5 penalty of a regular Barbarian, a benefit you can efficiently utilize for Karlach thanks to her generous Carry Weight.
  4. For better versatility, GWM can also be turned off for regular attacks, letting you use them on lightly armored targets with Advantage or just for the bonus attack if you kill something.
Important: You can also utilize Advantage and Bless from other characters in your party to improve accuracy further.

Level 9/10/11: Additional Features And Actions

With Levels 9,10 and 11, you’ll unlock a series of offensive, passive, and defensive for Karlach, making her one of the best all-rounder characters and a worthy part of your best bg3 karlach build. During this phase, you should prioritize looking for potions, spells, and weapons to help your character.

  1. Starting from Level 9, you’ll receive the Brutal Critical feature that further raises a Critical Hit’s importance, as you’ll roll an extra damage die and an additional critical dice with each Critical Hit.
  2. This ability also raises your Critical chance, pairing well with the Great Weapons Master and improving your chances to get a complimentary bonus attack from that Feat.
  3. For Level 10, players will unlock the Intimidating Action, a Class Action that inflicts enemies with Fear, causing them to have a Disadvantage on their Ability Checks and Attack Rolls.
  4. This Frightened’ effect also prevents enemies from approaching Karlach and sometimes even prompts them to run away.
  5. Finally, at Level 11, you’ll gain access to Relentless Rage, another Class Feature that, once per Short Rest, lets you regain 1 HP when you lose all health.
  6. This is more so a passive ability that effectively gives Karlach another fighting chance and keeps her alive, preventing her from being Downed when she goes to 0 HP.
barbarian level 11 bg3
Karlach’s Level 11 Unlocks: Relentless Rage (Screenshot by eXputer)

Level 12: Rage And Savage Attacker Feat

Level 12 is the maximum level for Karlach and any other Barbarian character in Baldur’s Gate 3. Here, you’ll unlock some Additional Rage to better maneuver around the battlefield and utilize your abilities and an extra Feat ability. For the most part, Karlach’s been a damage powerhouse with several attack rolls per turn, and to build up on that, the last and ideal Feat for her is Savage Attacker.

savage attacker baldur's gate 3
The Savage Attacker Feat (Screenshot taken by eXputer)
  1. With Savage Attacker, you roll your damage dice twice and use the highest result when making a weapon attack.
  2. This is a perfect addition to this build, as you’ll mainly be doing melee damage with melee weapons anyway, and with up to 4 attack rolls per turn, you can frequently select the more lethal options. 
  3. Not only that, but these extra rolls also increase your Critical Chance so that you can gain an additional bonus attack from Great Weapons Master.

Best Potions For Karlach

As you progress through and choose feats and abilities, you should also look to stocking up some of the best options that Karlach can utilize in the best bg3 karlach build. These potions are consumable items that can grant periodic buffs to damage and mobility; each of them has unique item effects.

Potion bg3
Potion of Animal Speaking (Screenshot by eXputer)
  1. You can collect potions during your playthrough by beating bosses and specific enemies, purchasing from merchants, or opening crates and chests.
  2. Additionally, some potions might come by as random drops scattered throughout the map, often hidden in corners or stashed behind objects.
  3. Besides potions, Scrolls are another type of consumable to add passive buffs to your team, but these are primarily used by clerics and mages, barring their usefulness to Barbarians like Karlach.
  4. However, you should also try finding them for other members of your party since you’ll likely need healers and long-range combatants for a versatile team.

For a more detailed list, you can pick up the following potions that specifically suit a Barbarian’s playstyle:

Potion of Superior HealingRecover 8d4+ 8 HP.
Potion of SpeedGain Haste for three turns.
Elixir of the ColossusDrink to increase your size. Weapons deal an additional 1d4 damage. You gain an Advantage on Strength Checks and Saves. Replaces effects from other elixirs when drunk.
Potion of Animal SpeakingGain the ability to comprehend and verbally communicate with beasts till your next Long Rest.
Wyvern PoisonDeals 7d6 poison damage, halved if the target succeeds in a DC15 Constitution saving throw.
Potion of Psychic ResistanceGain resistance to Psychic damage until your next Long Rest.
Potion of Angelic SlumberDrink to fall into a 2-turn slumber. Unless interrupted, you gain the benefits of a Long Rest.

That wraps up this guide on the best BG3 Karlach build you can make, covering her level progression, feats, and potions you should reserve for her.

If you’re into an aggressive play style and looking for quick kills, this is the companion for you, and with the right gear, you can sweep past hordes of enemies with little difficulty. However, if you’re looking for alternative methods to make Karlach competitive, check out this Subreddit Post to find a Non-Tavern Brawler build for her.

To recruit other resourceful companions like Karlach, here’s a guide on Haslin in BG3, covering his role, stats, and feats. Other than that, be sure to check out this guide on how to get the Owlbear Cub to meet one of the most memorable creatures in Dungeons And Dragons. And uncover other mysterious in-game stories by learning about Gandrel’s Choices and how they affect his narrative outcome.


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Moiz Banoori.

Having worked at various Video Game sites, coupled with 7 years of Content Writing Experience. I presently monitor teams, create strategies, and publish qualified pieces through my aptitude.

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