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

This is the best Karlach build I could find after more than 80 hours of experimenting with the beloved Hellfire Tiefling.

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.
  • She is a Tiefling Barbarian and one of the most popular BG3 companions.
  • At Levels 1 and 2, Karlach only unlocks some class-based abilities, granting her defensive abilities.
  • Upon reaching Level 3, the Berserker subclass adds rampant offense skills.
  • The next couple of levels help in fine-tuning her combat maneuvers for optimal use.
  • Finally, you should equip the Savage Attacker Feat as their last upgrade for Karlach on Level 12.

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

CLASS AND SUBCLASSFEATSPOTIONS
– 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:

STAT BASE LEVEL
Strength 17
Dexterity 13
Constitution 15
Intelligence 8
Wisdom 12
Charisma 10

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. You also unlock 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.
    • Reckless Attack: Until your next turn, you have an Advantage on Attack Rolls, but enemies also have an Advantage against you.
barbarian level 2 bg3
Karlach’s Level 2 Unlocks: Danger Sense and Reckless Attack (Screenshot by Me)

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 I would suggest going for Berserker as it is the most simple one to use and is favored in most scenarios.

Berserker barbarian bg3
The Berserker Subclass (Image Source: Me)
  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 out-of-combat utility, I suggest going for the Wildheart subrace as it gives you the “Speak With Animals” ability, unlocking narratives and relationships.

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 it gives the most damage, but it also reduces accuracy. I suggest going for a safer and better option, Tavern Brawler.

Tavern Brawler bg3
The Tavern Brawler Feat (Image Credit Copyright: Me)
  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. 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 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.

  1. At Level 5, you gain Extra Attack for a bonus attack and Fast Movement.
  2. It increases your speed by 3m without any Heavy Armor equipped.
  3. Note that Extra Attacks and bonus attacks from other sources are separate, allowing up to 4 attacks in one turn.
  4. At Level 6, you get Additional Rage and Mindless Rage, enhancing resistance and accuracy during Rage.
  5. It also counters effects that reduce damage or cause missed attacks.
  6. Additionally, Calm Emotions can’t end your Rage.
  7. Level 7 brings Feral Instinct, providing +3 Initiative and immunity to surprise.
  8. This ensures you won’t lose your first turn, and the added Initiative boosts your chances of starting encounters first.
barbarian level 7 bg3
Karlach’s Level 7 Unlocks: Feral Instinct (Image by Me)

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.

GWM Feat Baldur's Gate 3
The Great Weapons Master Feat (Screenshot Grab: Me)
  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, I recommend turning GWM off for regular attacks, so 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

At Levels 9,10, and 11, you’ll unlock a series of offensive and defensive utility for Karlach, making her one of the best all-around companions and a worthy part of your Karlach build.

  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. It also raises your Critical chance, pairing well with the GWM and improving your chances of getting a complimentary bonus attack.
  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. 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.
  5. This is more of a passive ability that effectively gives Karlach another fighting chance and keeps her alive.
barbarian level 11 bg3
Karlach’s Level 11 Unlocks: Relentless Rage (Screenshot by Me)

Level 12: Rage And Savage Attacker Feat

Level 12 is the maximum level for Karlach and any other 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 Me)
  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.

My Experience And Tips For Using Karlach

Karlach is a Tiefling barbarian with a fiery heart for destroying things (quite literally.) In most of my playthroughs, I mostly go with the Bear Heart Feat and Halberd weapons for reckless but easy critical hits. It is not her “best” build, but if you’re a new player or someone who disregards health (like me), this build will do wonders for you because of her self-healing and easy mobility.

bg3
My updated hours on Baldur’s Gate 3 (Steam ID: Ibzie)

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

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 get the cutest creature in Faerun. You can also check out Huzaifah Durrani’s review of Baldur’s Gate 3 for a better idea of how Karlach is as useful as I’ve stated her to be.

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Ibrahim Akhtar is a guides & features writer at eXputer. He uses his passion for gaming to provide insightful takes in his articles. Ibrahim spends most of his time defending Baldur's Gate from the forces of the Absolute. He has accumulated more than 15 years of gaming experience, having 1000 hours in The Witcher 3 and twice as much on Skyrim V. Ibrahim has previously worked at TopTierList. You can keep up with his Steam account to stay up to date on his latest explorations.

Experience: 1+ Years || Previously Worked for TopTierList || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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