While clerics may be best known for their healing capabilities, they can also be very capable damage dealers, and no subclass shines in that regard quite like the Light Domain. The subclass gains access to some powerful fire and radiant damaging spells as well as some very strong utility, making it widely considered to be the best subclass for clerics. And of course, you can still heal too.
Whether you’re looking for the best build for Shadowheart or playing a custom cleric of your very own, this build guide can help you get the most out of the Light Domain Cleric in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The Light Domain Subclass
The Light Domain subclass specializes in spells and abilities that illuminate and burn, either with elemental fire damage or radiant damage.
Here are the features you’ll gain through the Light Domain subclass:
- Warding Flare at level 1 gives you a powerful reaction that can cause attacks made on you to miss.
- The Light cantrip at level 1 is very useful for illuminating your environment and canceling out the disadvantage imposed by darkness in combat.
- Radiance of the Dawn at level 2 lets you deal 2d10 radiant damage in a wide radius and also clear any magical darkness in the area, all without using a spell slot.
- Improved Warding Flare at level 6 allows you to use your Warding Flare reaction when allies are attacked as well as yourself.
- Potent Spellcasting at level 8 helps your cleric cantrips (Sacred Flame and Produce Flame) deal more damage.
You’ll also learn two Domain Spells at levels 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9, which we’ll detail under the Spells section below.
Race and Subrace
The Tiefling race offers Hellish Resistance, which is a useful feature for you given that you’ll be casting Fireball a lot – a spell that is notorious for its friendly fire damage. There’s plenty of fire in the game in general, so fire resistance is one of the better resistances to have. You’ll also get Darkvision, which is always useful. The Asmodeus Tiefling subrace gets some spells that have excellent synergy with your subclass: the Produce Flame cantrip at level 1, the Hellish Rebuke spell at level 3, and the Darkness spell at level 5.
You could also opt to play a High Elf, which will give you access to some stronger damaging cantrips, like Fire Bolt, as well as immunity to magical sleep and resistance to charm effects.
As a cleric, your Wisdom score is going to be vital to max out as it is your main spellcasting ability, increasing the effectiveness of all your spells. Keep in mind that you don’t really benefit from odd-numbered scores – a 17 is effectively the same as a 16. So it’s not worth putting 17 points into Wisdom unless you plan to even it out later, such as by taking a feat. Constitution is the next most important score for a cleric, since it helps you maintain concentration and also increases your health pool. The remaining points can go into Dexterity for some commonly used skills and to max out your AC, and/or Charisma to improve your social skills.
- Strength: 8
- Dexterity: 14
- Constitution: 16
- Intelligence: 10
- Wisdom: 16
- Charisma: 10
Background and Skills
The background and skills you choose don’t have much to do with your class – they’re more about how you’d like to roleplay. For example, if you want to bully your way through every situation, take intimidation. If you want to be best friends with all the birds, take Animal Handling.
Clerics can choose from History, Religion, Insight, Medicine, and Persuasion for skill proficiencies. If you want proficiency in a different skill, you’ll have to get it through your background.
The Acolyte background is an obvious choice for a cleric, offering bonuses to Insight and Religion, but those are both skills you can already gain proficiency in through your class, so you may want to look elsewhere. Guild Artisan is a good option if you’re looking for more conversational skills due to its bonuses to Insight and Persuasion, but these are also skills that are already available to clerics. Folk Hero will give you Animal Handling and Survival, both of which will be good skills for you to use due to your high Wisdom score, but aren’t base cleric skills.
For a Light Domain Cleric, we’ll focus on spells that help you deal damage, with a few healing and support spells mixed in for good measure. Keep in mind that clerics can change their spells at any time as long as they’re out of combat. This gives them a lot of flexibility and allows them to make use of some of their more niche spells as the situation changes. The spells listed below are ones that we recommend keeping prepared at all times. Spells marked as (Light Domain) are gained through your subclass and are always prepared regardless.
- Guidance: The most useful cantrip in the game bar none, giving you +1d4 to all ability checks.
- Light: (Light Domain) Lights up the area around you so you don’t wind up with disadvantage in combat. It doesn’t even require concentration.
- Sacred Flame: Your best option for a damaging cantrip, improved by your Potent Spellcasting feature at level 8.
- Blade Ward: It doesn’t hurt to have this on hand for when you’re low on spell slots and need a little extra defense.
Level 1 Spells
- Burning Hands: (Light Domain) Set anyone within a cone in front of you on fire, dealing 3d6 damage. A solid level 1 area of effect spell.
- Faerie Fire: (Light Domain) You can expose invisible enemies and give your allies advantage on attack rolls against anyone in this spell’s radius.
- Guiding Bolt: A powerful damaging spell that can also give an ally advantage on their attack. Win-win.
- Healing Word: Weaker than Cure Wounds, but more practical due to its range and the fact that you can cast it as a bonus action.
Level 2 Spells
- Flaming Sphere: (Light Domain) Summons an orb with its own actions that can light up an area while also dealing 2d6 fire damage to all nearby enemies. Place it in a doorway or other bottleneck for maximum effect.
- Lesser Restoration: Allows you to remove various unpleasant debuffs.
- Scorching Ray: (Light Domain) Deal 6d6 fire damage divided into three rays that can be directed at different targets. The Light Cleric’s answer to Magic Missile.
- Spiritual Weapon: Effectively gives you an extra party member who can attack every turn, without even requiring concentration. Better yet, it only requires a bonus action to cast.
Level 3 Spells
- Daylight: (Light Domain) A supercharged version of the Light cantrip that also dispels magical darkness in the area. Lasts until a long rest without requiring concentration.
- Fireball: (Light Domain) Rain down destruction, dealing 8d6 fire damage to everything in a wide radius. One of the most potent area of effect spells in the game. Just be careful you don’t hit your own party members.
- Mass Healing Word: It’s Healing Word, but more of it. You can heal your entire party (plus a couple of summons) with a single bonus action.
- Spirit Guardians: An incredibly powerful area of effect spell. Creates an aura around you that deals damage to anything that gets close. You can kill enemies by just running up to them. With your Warding Flare ability, it’s less dangerous to make use of this.
Level 4 Spells
- Death Ward: This spell will let you Nope death. It doesn’t get better than that.
- Guardian of Faith: (Light Domain) You get this guy for 10 turns and he doesn’t require concentration. It can be tricky to make use of since he’s stationary.
- Wall of Fire: (Light Domain) Create a barrier of fire that burns anyone close to it for 5d8 fire damage. Use this spell to box enemies in or funnel them where you want them to go.
Level 5 Spells
- Destructive Wave: (Light Domain) A supercharged Thunderwave spell that can deal 5d6 of either thunder or radiant damage to enemies in its cone as well as knocking them prone.
- Flame Strike: (Light Domain) Effectively the same as Fireball, except you can make it cause radiant damage instead of fire damage, and it requires a level 5 spell slot.
Level 6 Spells
- Heroes’ Feast: This spell is a great buff for your entire party (including any summons) that lasts until you Long Rest without concentration. It’s a great idea to cast this before any big fight.
As a Light Domain cleric, you’ll want to look for feats that make you sturdier and better able to maintain concentration. You may also want to increase your Wisdom to improve the effectiveness of your spells. Here are our recommendations:
- War Caster or Resilient: Constitution at level 4 to help with your concentration saving throws.
- Ability Improvement at level 8 for two extra points in Wisdom (or 1 in Wisdom and 1 in another Ability, if you have odd numbers)
- Ability Improvement at level 12 to max out your Wisdom stat.
You won’t find much gear that improves your damage as a Light Domain Cleric, and you’re probably still going to be the party’s primary healer, so it’s worth equipping items that buff your heals. Keep an eye out for these items early in the game:
- Boots of Aid and Comfort: These boots can be purchased from Grat the Trader at the Goblin Camp and will add 3 points to all of your heals.
- Hellrider’s Pride: These gloves are a reward from Zevlor if you stop the ritual in the Emerald Grove. They give resistance against weapon attacks to anyone you heal.
You might also find items that let you use spells or abilities that you don’t otherwise have access to, which can be useful. For example, an Amulet of Misty Step can let you teleport across the battlefield as a bonus action.
As far as weapons, your spells and cantrips will always be a better way to deal damage, especially after you gain Potent Spellcasting at level 8. So treat your weapons as “stat sticks” and look for ones that offer useful bonuses. Note that you don’t have to be proficient with a weapon if you’re only using it for its stats or features – weapon proficiency only makes you more effective at hitting things with it. So go ahead and wear that cool longsword you found – no one ever has to know that you can’t actually lift it.
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