Best Build for Shadowheart in Baldur’s Gate 3

Official promo image of the Cleric of Shar, Shadowheart in Baldur's gate 3.

Are you ready to elevate your BG3 experience by tinkering with character builds? Read our guide to customize your Shadowheart with the best build in Baldur’s Gate 3.

There is no right or wrong way to play Baldur’s Gate 3, but character optimisation can help you make things easier. While you can immediately think about doing that with your own avatar, consider optimizing your Companions as well. Take Shadowheart for example. She starts as a Trickery domain subclass Cleric and is perfectly able to contribute to your success in BG3. However, with some tweaks to her build and good item investment, you can turn Shar’s favourite princess into a party support powerhouse. Alternatively, you can look into going with a more offensive route, giving a whole new meaning to “divine punishment”. Read our respec guide to discover the best Shadowheart build in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Best Shadowheart build in Baldur’s Gate 3

How to find and respec Shadowheart?

You encounter Shadowheart very early in the game, with her, in fact, being the second companion that you meet, after Lae’zel. After rescuing her from the Illithid Pod during the prologue and later causing the Nautiloid to crash, you will meet Shadowheart on the beach.

Continuing on with your adventures, you will be able to gather your party. In one of the first dungeon experiences in Baldur’s Gate 3, you will be able to free Withers. He is instrumental in allowing you to respec your character and companions, after joining your camp. Take Shadowheart to talk to him and pay 100 gold, which allows you to respec her.

Should you respec Shadowheart?

The answer to the question should you respec Shadowheart lies squarely on your preference. If your goal is to play BG3 in a somewhat roleplaying manner, then keeping her as a Trickery Cleric of Shar could be a good option, then switching to the Light domain once she converts to Selune. However, if your goal is to optimize your party and your build, then respecing Shadowheart is a very good idea.

Her starting domain is not very powerful and there are far better options. Choosing a different class altogether is another interesting option, though that kind of experimentation lies beyond the scope of this guide. In conclusion, if you’re trying to get the most out of your companions in Baldur’s Gate 3, then you should definitely respec Shadowheart as soon as you’re able to.

Customizing your Shadowheart build

Withers will allow you to completely change Shadowheart, including her Class, Subclass, ability scores, skills and more. However, for Shadowheart’s personal quest and party utility, you’ll want to keep her as Cleric and level her up with all 12 levels in this class.

Change her Subclass from Trickery to Life domain. This will turn Shadowheart into a healing powerhouse (Disciple of Life: When casting a healing spell, the target regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level), while also giving her access to Heavy Armor for extra protection. Life’s domain spells also feature most healing and restorative spells, freeing learned slots for other spells.

Next, it’s time to change her ability scores. While Shadowheart starts with decent stats, there’s a better way to optimize them with future feats in mind. Set up her ability scores as follows:

  • Strength: 10
  • Dexterity: 14
  • Constitution: 16 (with +1 racial bonus)
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Wisdom: 16 (with +2 racial bonus)
  • Charisma: 10

For skills, select specialization in History and Medicine. Perception would be a great choice too, since both it and Medicine are Wisdom skills, making Shadowheart an excellent choice to take advantage of them. However, due to her background, she doesn’t have access to proficiency in Perception checks. With that, finish the character respec and Shadowheart is ready to continue on with the adventure.

Image showing redistributed ability scores for Shadowheart in Baldur's Gate 3.
Image by N4G Unlocked

Feat Choices

Levelling up as Cleric through all levels lets you pick three Feats. With them, you’ll want to augment Shadowheart’s spellcasting. Take the following:

  • Level 4 Feat: War Caster
  • Level 8 Feat: Ability Improvement +2 Wisdom
  • Level 12 Feat: Ability Improvement +2 Wisdom

With these picks, you’ll beef up her casting potency. A higher Wisdom score gives Shadowheart’s spells higher DC, better healing and damage output, and a better spell attack bonus. War Caster is an amazing pickup early on, letting her keep up her concentration spells with ease due to the advantage mixed with her high Constitution bonus. This lets your party keep Bless, Spirit Guardians, and other concentration spells for whole encounters.

However, if you choose to equip armour that grants Shadowheart an advantage on Constitution checks, such as Dark Justiciar Half-Plate, then you can drop War Caster and replace it with a different feat. In that case, you can increase her Wisdom score even further or pick another strong feat, such as Alert for a boost to her Initiative.

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Itemization

As you progress through the game, you will have to consider which items to equip Shadowheart with to enhance her build. Look for items that boost her healing, with defensive and offensive capabilities following next. 

During the early and mid-levels, equip her with items that can boost these aspects of her kit. Some examples include Boots of Aid and Comfort from Goblin Camp trader, The Whispering Promise ring from Act 1 traders (randomized which one has it), Hellrider’s Pride gloves from Zevlor, and Adamantine Plate crafted in the Adamantine Forge.

Most importantly, make sure to do the Dawnfather quest chain to obtain The Blood of Lathander. This legendary mace can only be obtained in Act 1 and will be your best-in-slot for Shadowheart for the rest of the game. An alternative option includes the Spear of Night, however, the Dark Justiciar version is much better than the Selunite one. For her end-game item build, aim for the following items:

ItemSlotLocationItem Effect
Helm of BalduranHeadAct 3, found on an altar in Ansur’s Tomb in The WyrmwayBalduran’s Vitality: The helmet heals you 2 hit points at the beginning of every turn.
Balduran’s Favour: You have a + 1 bonus to Armor Class and Saving Throws.
Stun Immunity.
Attackers can’t land Critical Hits on the wearer.
Mantle of the Holy WarriorCloakAct 3, sold by Vicar Humbletoes at the Stormshore TabernacleGrants the spell Crusader’s Mantle: Radiate a holy power that emboldens nearby allies. Their weapon attacks deal an additional 1-4 Radiant damage. (10 turns, 9m range, Concentration)
Helldusk ArmorChestAct 3, dropped by Raphael in House of HopeAC: 21
Helldusk Armour:
You’re considered Proficient with this armour while wearing it.
Infernal Retribution: When you succeed Saving Throw, the caster receives Burning for 3 rounds.
Prime Aegis of Fire: You have resistance to Fire Damage and cannot be Burned. You take 3 less damage from all sources.
No AC bonus from Dexterity.
Grants the spell Fly.
The Reviving HandsGlovesAct 3, sold by Vicar Humbletoes at the Stormshore TabernacleAegis Palms: When you heal a creature, it gains the effect of Blade Ward. When you Revive a creature it gains the effect of Death Ward.
Strength Saving Throws +1
Grants the spell Revivify.
Helldusk BootsBootsAct 3, in Gortash’s personal chest in Wyrm’s Rock Fortress.Steadfast: You cannot be forcibly moved by a foe’s spells or actions, and you ignore the effects of Difficult Terrain.
Infernal Evasion: When you fail a Saving Throw, you may use your reaction to succeed instead.
Grants class action Hellcrawler: Teleport to an area and deal 2-16 Fire damage where you land. The impact blast spreads in a 3m zone. (Bonus action, 18m range)
The Blood of LathanderWeaponAct 1, in Rosymorn Monastery after completing the Blood of Lathander quest.Mace, 1d6+3+STR modifier bludgeoning damage
Weapon Enchantment +3
Lathander’s Blessing: Once per Long Rest, when your hit points are reduced to 0, you regain 2-12 hit points. Allies within 9m also regain 1-6 hit points.
Lathander’s Light: Sheds holy light in a 6m radius. In combat, fiends and undead standing in the light are Blinded, unless they succeed a Constitution Saving Throw.
Grants the spell Sunbeam.
Viconia’s Walking FortressShieldAct 3, dropped by Viconia DeVir in House of Grief at the end of Shadowheart’s Daughter of Darkness questline.Grants +3 AC 
Rebuke of the Mighty: When a foe hits you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction, to deal 2-8 Force damage and knock them Prone unless they succeed a Dexterity Saving Throw.
Spellguard: You gain Advantage on Saving Throws against spells. Spell Attack Rolls against you have Disadvantage.
Grants class action Reflective Spell: A protective shell envelops you. It reflects any projectiles targeted at you back to their point of origin. (Bonus action, 2 turns duration)
Grants the spell Warding Bond.
Til Death Do Us PartRing 1Act 3, pickpocket or loot from Lady Jannath in the Jannath Estate.Grants the spell Beacon of Hope: Your allies will regain the maximum hit points possible when healed. They also gain Advantage on Wisdom Saving Throws and Death Saving Throws. (10 turns, 9m range, Concentration)
Ring of Free ActionRing 2Act 2, sold by Araj Oblodra in Moonrise Towers.Unwavering: You ignore the effects of Difficult Terrain, and cannot be Paralysed or Restrained.
Spellcrux AmuletAmuletAct 2, looted from the Warden in the Moonrise Towers prison.Grants class action Spell Slot Restoration: Once per Long Rest, replenish an expended spell slot of any level. (Bonus action)

Important Spells

Everyone knows that you take Shadowheart to cast Guidance during conversations and lockpicking. However, there are more spells to consider to use Shadowheart optimally in and out of combat. Consider using the following spells to heal, damage, and support your party:

  • Aid (Level 2): Heal your allies and increase their hit point maximum by 5 hit points. Range 9m + 9m.
  • Beacon of Hope (Level 3): Your allies will regain the maximum hit points possible when healed. They also gain Advantage on Wisdom Saving Throws and Death Saving Throws. Lasts 10 turns, 9m range, Concentration.
  • Bless (Level 1): Bless up to 3 creatures. They gain a +1d4 bonus to Attack Rolls and Saving Throws. Range 9m, Concentration.
  • Command (Level 1): Command a creature to flee, move closer, freeze, drop to the ground or drop their weapon. Range 18m, Wisdom saving throw.
  • Cure Wounds (Level 1): Heal a creature you can touch for 1d8+3 HP.
  • Flame Strike (Level 5): Make a pillar of divine fire roar down from the heavens like the wrath of affronted angels, dealing 5d6 Fire and 5d6 Radiant AoE damage. Range 18m, Dexterity saving throw, targets take half on success.
  • Freedom of Movement (Level 4): Snap an ally out of any Stun. Difficult Terrain can’t slow them down, and they can’t be magically Paralysed or Restrained. If the target is Restrained by non-magical means, it can spend 1.5m of movement to free itself. Range 1.5m, lasts until Long Rest.
  • Greater Restoration (Level 5): Touch a creature and negate any Charm, Petrification, Stun, or curse afflicting it.
  • Guiding Bolt (Level 1): Ranged (18m range) spell attack that deals 4d6 Radiant damage. In addition, the next Attack Roll on this target has Advantage. Lasts 2 turns or until consumed.
  • Heal (Level 6): Heal a target’s wounds and remove Blindness and any diseases. Heals 70 HP on touch.
  • Healing Word (Level 1): Heal a creature you can see for 1d4+3 HP. Range 18m, cast as Bonus action.
  • Heroes’ Feast (Level 6): You and everyone around you can’t be poisoned, diseased, or frightened. Your HP increases, and you make Wisdom Saves with Advantage. Range 18m, lasts until Long Rest.
  • Hold Person (Level 2): Hold a humanoid enemy still. They can’t move, act or react. Attacks from within 3m are always Critical Hits. Range 18m, lasts 10 turns, Concentration, Wisdom saving throw.
  • Lesser Restoration (Level 2): Touch a creature to cure it of disease, poison, paralysis or blindness.
  • Mass Healing Word (Level 3): Heal up to 6 allies for 1d4+4 HP. Range 18m radius, cast as Bonus action.
  • Planar Ally (Level 6): Beseech one of these otherworldly entities for aid: Cambion, Deva, or Djinni. Range 18m, lasts until Long rest or is dismissed or killed.
  • Remove Curse (Level 3): Touch a creature or object to remove all Curses and Hexes affecting it.
  • Shield of Faith (Level 1): Protect a creature from attacks by increasing its Armour Class by 2. Range 18m, Concentration, cast as Bonus action.
  • Spirit Guardians (Level 3): Call forth spirits to protect the area around you. Nearby enemies take 3d8 Radiant damage or 3d8 Necrotic damage per turn, and their movement speed is halved. Lasts 10 turns, radius 3m, Concentration, Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, targets still take half damage.
  • Spiritual Weapon (Level 2): Summon a floating, spectral weapon that attacks your enemies alongside you for 1d8+3 Force damage. You can choose between several different weapons each with various Weapon Actions – Greataxe, Greatsword, Halberd, Maul, Spear, Trident. Lasts 10 turns, range 18m, can be cast as Bonus action.
  • Warding Bond (Level 2): Ward an ally you can touch. They gain Resistance to all damage, and a +1 bonus to their Armour Class and Saving Throws. Each time the warded creature takes damage, the spellcaster takes the same amount of damage.

Some other considerations include Glyph of Warding, Inflict Wounds, Guardian of Faith, Banishment, Sanctuary, as well as her two ubiquitous cantrips, Sacred Flame and Fire bolt. She gains the latter cantrip as part of her heritage, being a High Half-elf, similar to how Astarion has access to the same spell.

Playstyle

With this build for Shadowheart, you should try to keep her at mid- to close-range. With her high AC score and many of her spells requiring melee range, it is a good idea to keep close to your frontline fighters.

Always remember that you can only have one Concentration spell active at a time. With that in mind, plan ahead for what would be the best course of action. Also, remember that you can pre-cast certain long-lasting spells (like Bless) if you know the fight’s about to start. That way, you’ll save yourself an action on the first combat turn.

Several spells can be cast that last until Long rest, so you can use that to your advantage. This includes spells like Freedom of Movement, Planar Ally, and Heroes’ Feast. However, to be able to use both Planar Ally and Heroes’ Feast at the same time, it is crucial to get the Spellcrux Amulet first.

Don’t forget to use your domain abilities as well. As a Life Cleric, Shadowheart can bring a lot of support to her party. By using Channel Divinity, she can use the following effects:

  • Disciple of Life (Level 1): Your devotion empowers your healing spells. When casting a healing spell, the target regains additional hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level.
  • Preserve Life (Level 2): Evoke a healing energy that heals yourself and your allies by 3 x Character Level. Range 9m.
  • Turn Undead (Level 2): Pray to Turn all undead that can see you, making them flee. At Level 5, becomes Destroy Undead which causes 4d6 Radiant damage to turned undead. Lasts 3 turns, 9m radius, Wisdom saving throw.
  • Blessed Healer (Level 6): When you cast a healing spell of Level 1 or higher on another creature, you regain hit points equal to 2 + the spell’s level.

Alternative Shadowheart build routes

While the above build can be considered the best route for Shadowheart, there are a couple more interesting options. Instead of respecing Shadowheart into Life domain, you can instead go for Light domain or War domain. 

War domain Shadowheart would be built in a similar manner as above but instead would focus more on being in the thick of the fight. Spells like Spirit Guardians and Guiding Bolt would see much more use. She would gain extra attacks through War Priest ability, and buff her party with War God’s Blessing.

Conversely, with Light domain Shadowheart, her Radiant damage abilities become much more potent. You could build her as a long-range cannon that fries everything in her path. The Potent Spellcasting ability that she gains at Level 8 further improves her spell damage output by adding her Wisdom modifier to Cleric cantrips. Moreover, she gets offensive spells from the Wizard spell list, such as Wall of Fire and Fireball. This effectively replaces her healing capabilities with long-range AoE potential. Consider switching the necklace for Amulet of Misty Step to be able to get into range for Spirit Guardians in an instant.

After pondering your favourite Shadowheart build, make sure to also check out our other Baldur’s Gate 3 guides, like Baldur’s Gate 3 How to Free Artist – 3 Ways To Save Oskar, How To Free Nightsong In Baldur’s Gate 3, and How To Become a Vampire and Gain New Powers.

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