From a combat perspective, Paladins can more than hold their own. The right kind of Paladin can pack a surprising punch, but nearly any kind of Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3 will have access to a variety of defensive, tanking, buff, and healing abilities that allow them to effectively contribute something worthwhile to any kind of battle on every turn. You will never be bored playing as a Paladin in a fight.
However, it’s the role-playing elements of Baldur’s Gate 3 that give Paladins a considerable edge in these rankings. Paladins are one of the few classes in BG 3 that have to pick their subclass right away, and you often have to consider the role-playing implications of your subclass whenever you make a major narrative decision. Failing to do so may lead you down the dark Oathbreaker path, which itself is a viable and entertaining way to play the game. I love role-playing games that form an almost inseparable link between your character decisions and your mechanical/gameplay decisions, and BG 3’s use of the Paladin class is one of the best examples of that concept I’ve ever seen in a video game.
Every kind of Baldur’s Gate 3 player should try to play the game as a Paladin at some point. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Though I’m not entirely sure where the Baldur’s Gate 3 fanbase stands on this subject, my gut says that Bard is probably an unconventional choice for the top spot on this list. However, Bards stand out to me as not just the most unique class in BG 3 but arguably the best main character class in the game.
First off, Bards are not just Charisma machines but they regularly have access to some of the most creative, effective, and entertaining dialog/interaction options in the game. Charisma, Persuasion, and similar skills are a bit overpowered in Baldur’s Gate 3, and Bards are some of the absolute best conversationalists in the game. Even when you don’t care about “winning” conversations, you will still fall in love with the Bard’s arsenal of hilarious and original dialog options.
From a combat/character building perspective, I think that Bards may be the most underrated class in the game. Though Bards have minimal access to traditional combat techniques (melee strikes, standard spell casts, etc.), their ability to buff allies, debuff enemies, and instantly access some of the most unique utility spells in the game means that they can contribute something substantial to every form of combat in every fight. Having a Bard in your party allows you to explore a wide variety of strategies that you would simply never otherwise have access to. Mind you, you can access variations of those strategies regardless of which of the equally interesting and powerful Bard builds you choose to pursue.