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Best Bard College of Swords Build in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)

Be warned, these Bards sing the song of combat.

Everyone loves to poke fun at the Bard, but next time you want to make a snide comment toward one of these flamboyant fun-bringers, make sure you check what school they attended. There are three different colleges that a Bard can choose to go to, but the most combative of the bunch is the College of Swords, so here’s how to build the best College of Swords Bard in Baldur’s Gate 3.

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What Is a Bard College in Baldur’s Gate 3?

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Unlike other classes such as the Warlock or the Cleric, Bards don’t get to choose their particular “path” so to speak at their first level. Instead, they have to wait until level three before they get to choose their College out of the College of Lore, College of Valor, and College of Swords.

For the Bards, the college that they choose will serve as the subclass for their build.This is the point where you really get to start building out your Bard based on how you want them to play. The different colleges will provide your Bard with different advantages as they level throughout the game, with the College of Swords being the most helpful for a melee-based build.

Why Should You Choose the College of Swords?

As opposed to the colleges of Lore and Valor, the College of Swords gives you more variety in what you get to do in battle with melee weapons. This college gives you Slashing Flourish, which lets you attack up to 2 enemies at once, Defensive Flourish which gives you +4 to your armor class after you attack and Mobile Flourish which lets you knock back an enemy and teleport to where they are. You’ll have these attacks for both your ranged and melee weapons, along with proficiency in Scimitars and Medium Armor. If that’s not enough, you get to pick your own Fighting Style.

At level 6, you’ll also get an Extra Attack as a subclass feature, allowing you to be even more useful in battle by attacking more than once per turn. This can make a large difference for your gameplay as you progress further because if you’ve got strong attacks or magical weapons, you can make a real difference in only a single turn.

What Fighting Style is Best for College of Swords Bards?

Bard Class in Baldur's Gate 3
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Unlike the other classes who get to choose fighting styles like the Fighter, Paladin and Ranger, College of Swords only gives Bards the option to choose from two fighting styles out of the total six. Given that Bards are proficient in Charisma and Dexterity, they only have access to the Dueling and Two-Weapon fighting styles, which respectively go with those skills quite nicely.

The fighting style you choose for your Bard depends heavily on what type of weapons you generally fight with. The Dueling fighting style is for those who prefer to use one weapon and one weapon only. If you prefer to attack with single-handed melee weapons, you’ll be able to add +2 to your damage rolls with the Dueling style.

If you’re the kind of Bard who likes to fight with both hands, then the Two-Weapon fighting style is going to be for you, allowing you to add your ability modifier to the damage of your second attack. Given that a Bard’s primary ability is Charisma, in time the added damage is going to be higher than the +2 you’d get from the Dueling style, so the better option would be to choose the Two-Handed fighting style.

What is the Best College of Swords Bard Build?

The best build for a Bard in the College of Swords is going to be one that utilizes two weapons at a time and chooses the two-handed fighting style. Focus your stats on Charisma just because it’s already high, but put some ability points into Strength so that you can deal more damage with your melee weapons.

Best Feats for College of Swords Bards

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When you’re choosing a feat at levels 4, 8, and 12, there are a few different options to really boost your College of Swords Bard.

  • The Ability Improvements are always a solid choice because you can boost the skills that you’re already strong in like Charisma or Dexterity, or bump up the ones that are lower levels to more fully round out your Bard.
  • The Actor feat is a great choice for Bards because they’ve already got a strong Charisma stat, and it doubles your proficiency bonus for both Deception and Performance to make your verbal encounters more successful.
  • The Lucky feat is another quality choice for a College of Swords Bard, especially once the extra attack is unlocked at level 6. The more attacks being dealt means the more opportunities to miss a few, and the Lucky feat should help offset those lower dice rolls.

Best Cantrips for College of Swords Bards

When you’re going through and choosing spells and cantrips for your Bard, keep in mind how physical the College of Swords is, so you should focus on magic that’s going to help you on the battlefield.

  • The True Strike cantrip will give you advantage on your next attack roll, so this is a great choice especially if you’re already using the Lucky feat. That way you can still give yourself advantage in a fight when you run out of Luck Points.
  • In a similar vein, the Vicious Mockery cantrip will give an enemy disadvantage on their next attack roll, so if you’re up against a pretty tough fight, it could keep you and your party in the game just a little while longer.

Best Spells for College of Swords Bards

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By the time you can choose your college, your Bard will already be at third level, meaning you’ll have four level one spell slots and two level two spell slots to fill. For your level one spell slots, focus more on spells that can hinder an enemy’s abilities in battle.

  • Bane allows you to give a -1d4 penalty to up to 3 enemies’ saving throws and attack rolls. This can help your party wipe through a group of smaller enemies or give you an edge against some bigger fights.
  • Faerie Fire is great for letting your party burn through an enemy’s health, and the fact that it can affect multiple enemies at a time makes it useful for breaking up a group and whittling away at them.
  • Dissonant Whispers allows you to not only deal 3d6 Psychic damage to an enemy, but you can also frighten them for two turns and open them up for some powerful attacks.
  • Heroism works just about the opposite of Dissonant Whispers, not allowing you or a chosen target to become frightened, while also providing five temporary hit points per turn.

When you get to start choosing your level two spell slots, you can use them to really start dealing magical damage on top of what you can do with your melee weapons.

  • Cloud of Daggers is great for breaking up or dealing heavy damage to groups of enemies, and it can also be used to funnel enemies either towards or away from a certain spot.
  • Shatter is useful to have because you can deal area-of-effect damage using it, and if you’re up against something inorganic, they’ll have disadvantage on their saving throw against the attack.

On top of the extra damage that you deal from using two weapons at a time, you still get proficiency in Scimitars to use as one of your weapons, allowing you to deal out that extra bit of damage and give your party the edge. The Medium Armor proficiency should also give you the extra confidence in your Armor Class to get up close and personal during a combat encounter.

That sums up the best College of Swords Bard build for Baldur’s Gate 3. This college is incredibly useful if you want to be able to hold your own in combat as a Bard, rather than living up to the stereotype of only singing songs. Whether you need to choose your bard’s race or just want to see who plays who in BG3, check out some of our other posts.

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Nick Rivera
Nick Rivera graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2021 studying Digital Media and started as a Freelance Writer with Twinfinite in early 2023. Nick plays anything from Halo to Stardew Valley to Peggle, but is a sucker for a magnetic story.