The undead Balthazar is a tricky opponent in Baldur’s Gate 3 and unless you want to side with the Absolute, you’ll need to fight him eventually. If you choose to battle him in Shadowfell, the environment will be a key part of the combat.
Balthazar is a powerful spellcaster who can be tricky to contend with, and one recommendation is to dispatch him in the Gauntlet of Shar before you ever get to Shadowfell. Personally, I couldn’t beat Balthazar here in an enclosed space where he’s surrounded by powerful allies so I wound up taking a different path. If you struggled with this fight or found yourself already in Shadowfell with Balthazar still floating around, there’s a sneaky way to beat him quickly and easily so you can focus on his undead friends.
Do You Have to Fight Balthazar in Shadowfell?
If you don’t kill Balthazar in the Gauntlet of Shar, he’ll follow you into Shadowfell whether or not you agreed to help him. This may make it seem like a fight is inevitable, but you don’t have to take on this powerful foe in Shadowfell even if you let him live to see it.
Instead of fighting him, you can choose to side with Balthazar and let him whisk the Nightsong away or agree to do it for him. Doing this has consequences, such as the loss of Shadowheart as a companion, but it can be a fair choice if you just can’t fight him off or if you’re trying to see what happens if you side with the Absolute.
However, if you do decide to take him on, you’ll soon find this is a tough fight with high stakes.
How To Easily Defeat Balthazar in Shadowfell
Balthazaar has an army of undead allies at his side, and he’s no easy opponent, either. Balthazar is fond of casting high-level area-of-effect spells like Cloudkill, and his massive undead allies can easily push your party around. This makes fighting him in Shadowfell a real challenge, with the added risk of having your party members shoved over the edge to their certain and immediate demise.
This additional pitfall to battle in Shadowfell is also the advantage of fighting Balthazar here, however. If you’re able to get up next to him before he and the rest of the undead army kill you, you can shove him over the edge, killing him instantly.
To pull this off, you’ll need to choose your party carefully. You’ll want a companion who’s skilled in Athletics such as Lae’zel or Karlach, since higher athletics gives them a better chance of successfully shoving Balthazar. They’ll also need to be able to move quickly, because Balthazar will use Misty Step to stay as far from the party as possible.
Personally, I like to use Lae’zel for this purpose due to her proficiency in Athletics and her Extra Action ability, which comes in handy when using the dash action to catch up to Balthazar before he runs off again.
Since Shove is a bonus action, you’ll want to make sure you don’t use up bonus actions on the turn when you’re planning to corner Balthazar on the edge, because it’s very unlikely he’ll stay put long enough to give you a second chance. I learned this the hard way when I used up a bonus action on Misty Step and got my whole party killed on the next round before I could dispatch my enemy.
If you’re able to get in front of Balthazar when he’s standing near the edge, you’re a single check away from pushing him to instant death. This is a much easier and quicker way of taking him out than trying to wear down his hit points while also dealing with his many allies. Once their spellcasting leader is out of the way, taking out the rest of these undead enemies is relatively straightforward.