You've probably heard it said by now that Shadowheart is god's favourite princess, and the odds are strong that she's yours too: while we haven't seen all the data, we have good reason to believe that she's the most likely of all the companions to have scored a permanent spot in your Baldur's Gate 3 party, and it's not hard to see why. Not only is she the character you most likely claim you're romancing in your playthrough (although statistically you're dating Gale and I think that deep down you know it), Shadowheart is the only companion geared firmly towards support, making her an obvious accomplice if you plan to build your player character as the hero of their own story.
To help you make the most of her as a party member, we've written up this quick Baldur's Gate 3 Shadowheart build that covers her best spells, equipment, weapons, ability score spreads, and more.
Baldur's Gate 3 best Shadowheart build
Since Shadowheart is the only companion who has healing capabilities as part of her basic kit, the odds are good that you'll want to focus her build around a dedicated healing role; she'll also likely be a more or less permanent part of your party thanks to this.
Shadowheart ability priorities
Shadowheart's default ability scores at the start of the game are as follows:
- Strength - 13
- Dexterity - 13
- Constitution - 14
- Intelligence - 10
- Wisdom - 17
- Charisma - 8
You can afford to quite radically respec Shadowheart's ability scores, with a couple of her Strength points perhaps better redistributed to Dexterity and Constitution to give her a bit more survivability as a support character in a fight. You can also crib a little from that high Wisdom score at the start, although since you'll want to keep that stat fairly high it's better to proceed with caution and knock Strength down first.
Shadowheart best subclass
By default, Shadowheart belongs to the Trickery Domain subclass of her Cleric class, which unfortunately is just about the worst option for the party's sole dedicated support character. What's more, Shadowheart's subclass is locked in from Level 1 and so can't be changed or selected in the character creator/level up screen; although happily, Withers will still allow you to respec her into something better.
If you do this, just be prepared for a little ludonarrative dissonance, as Shadowheart's allegiance with the Trickery Domain is integral to her story and the game will continue to treat her as a Trickery Cleric for narrative purposes. So, despite the fact that the optimum Cleric build would require you to respec her into either the Light Domain (for powerful combat buffs) or Life Domain (for healing), this build is going to focus on keeping her within her canonical subclass. (But you can check out our best BG3 Cleric build guide if you want advice for more radically respeccing Shadowheart!)
Perhaps unsurprisingly, taking a few levels of Thief Rogue is a popular multiclass option for Shadowheart: not only does it fit her story quite well, but it allows you to give her some of Astarion's most useful support abilities, meaning you get the best of both without having to fill up two slots on your team with characters built primarily around non-combat roles. (In the other direction, it's popular to give a support-focused Astarion a few levels of Bard multiclassing, since it allows him to pick up some of Shadowheart's duties as team healer; see our best Astarion build for more details!)
However, it's not easy to get the balance here, since both Trickery Clerics and Thief Rogues excel at higher levels. Depending on what you want your support's focus to be, it's better to take just a couple of levels of one class for its useful low-level spells and actions, and then focus the rest of Shadowheart's build around the other class.
Shadowheart best equipment
Shadowheart's best weapon proficiencies are all in light ranged weapons such as light crossbows, hand crossbows, and short bows; she can also wear light or medium armour and carry a shield. Since she's primarily a spellcaster, kit her out with equipment that will keep her safe without sacrificing mobility, combined with magical items that bolster her spells.
If you've managed to find its location in a well-hidden chest in the Underdark, give Shadowheart the Slippery Chain Shirt medium armour as a matter of priority. After healing an ally while wearing it, Shadowheart will disengage from combat, allowing her to perform her next attack from stealth, which is especially helpful if you're multiclassing her as a Rogue.
There are a number of wearable items that promote healing specifically, such as The Reviving Hands gloves and the Boots of Aid and Comfort; you can get the latter from a trader in the Goblin Camp, although the former don't become available until you reach the lower city of Baldur's Gate in Act 3. Shadowheart also benefits from any of the numerous amulets and rings that provide extra buffs to healed allies; keep your eyes peeled for these and give them to Shadowheart wherever possible.
Shadowheart best skills and spells
For a healing-focused Shadowheart build, you'll naturally want to have access to healing spells; fortunately, even as a Trickster Cleric she'll have Healing Word from the get-go, which is arguably more useful than the Life Domain-specific Cure Wounds, since it can be cast from a greater distance. If you choose not to multiclass her then you can pick up some very powerful healing spells down the line, starting with Mass Healing Word at Level 3 extending Healing Word to multiple targets, and culminating in Heal at Level 11 which can restore an impressive 70 health for the target, as well as clearing the Blindness condition if it's been inflicted.
Elsewhere in her support capacity, Shadowheart's Level 1 Guidance cantrip can be used at basically any time to add a 1D4 bonus roll to an ally's ability checks for 10 turns, which is absurdly powerful for a spell you can cast freely right from the start of the game.
Out of Shadowheart's Trickery Domain spells, Pass Without Trace at Level 3 is hugely useful for stealth checks for the entire party (and which is also great news if you've multiclassed her as a Thief Rogue). I'm also partial to Spirit Guardian, which protects an area of effect around its casting by slowing enemies while dealing them Radiant or Necrotic damage.
With Shadowheart likely by your side throughout much of the game, adds are good you've grown quite close to her — and maybe, you'd like to get closer still. If that's the case, why not check out our Baldur's Gate 3 Shadowheart approval and romance guide next?