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Your first boss battle in Baldur's Gate 3 is an interesting three-way fight between yourself, the Mind Flayers, and the hellish forces of Avernus led by Commander Zhalk. While you're supposed to ignore it all and find your way to the control panel on the bridge, no good adventurer passes up the opportunity for good loot.

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In the hands of the Avernus leader rests the Everburn Blade, a magical sword ever-burning and truly one-of-a-kind. If you're hoping to get your hands on it for yourself and your party or because of the pretty gold it can fetch, you'll need to pry it from his cold, dead hands somehow. Thankfully, Commander Zhalk operates on a one-track mind.

Battle Preparations

Approaching Shadowheart's Mind Flayer Pod

Before you go gallivanting in your battle against Commander Zhalk, you'll want to ensure you have a few things:

  • Ranged options for all characters
  • At least three party members: yourself, Lae'zel, and Shadowheart
    • An additional fourth member if you're doing multiplayer
  • Level 1 spell slots for the use of Guiding Bolt

Having Shadowheart is a big must for this fight. With Zhalk's incredibly high AC, it will be difficult to land blows on him. If you haven't freed her, do so. If you're afraid of recruiting her, don't worry; the choice to recruit her comes later.

Additionally, despite his focus being on the Mind Flayer on the bridge, you'll want the ranged options to deal with the numerous smaller enemies that get in your way.

You won't need healing potions or scrolls for this fight. This fight can be done without the expenditure of items consistently.

Battle: Commander Zhalk

Highlighting Commander Zhalk Turn One Initiative

Basic Information
















18 (+4)

18 (+4)

16 (+3)

13 (+2)

15 (+2)

16 (+3)


Slashing, Piercing, Bludgeoning, Fire, Lightning, Cold, Poison

Main Attack:

Everburn Blade (Melee Weapon Attack) - +6 to hit, 5ft, deals 2d6 Slashing damage + 1d4 Fire damage + 4.

Commander Zhalk boasts a high HP and AC. This makes him a tanky enemy, and with the Everburn Blade and his high Strength ability score at his disposal, he's also a dangerously capable unit. Thankfully, his attention is on the Mind Flayer.

For the duration of this scene, Zhalk's only attacks will be against the Mind Flayer. If the Mind Flayer is defeated, he'll focus on you instead (and you don't want this!).

Additionally, if you defeat all enemy units around Zhalk and then Zhalk is defeated, the Mind Flayer will turn on you and may one-shot kill your team if you fail your saves. Therefore, this battle will require balancing your attacks against Zhalk and the other enemies.

Guiding Bolt Preview On Shadowheart While Fighting Commander Zhalk

As you enter the room, there will be two enemies at the start. Dispose of both of them and close in on Zhalk who is facing the Mind Flayer halfway between the entrance and the control panel (the scene's intended goal).

From here, you'll want to start using your ranged options and, as soon as possible, inflict Guiding Bolt with Shadowheart (or your own character, if you're playing a Cleric).

If you're playing a Bard or Druid, you can also use a casting of Faerie Fire. This will be a huge benefit in landing your attacks against Zhalk.

Drow Cleric Dips Crossbow Into Flames To Fight Commander Zhalk

For your non-magic ranged characters, you can Dip your bow or crossbow into one of the many patches of flames in the area. Even if Zhalk and the fiendish enemies of this map resist fire, even a single damage point added can be a big deal. It is a Bonus Action, and it's especially handy against the many minions in the room.

Additional arrow bonuses or thrown objects you collected aren't necessarily needed for this fight, and it's recommended to keep them saved for much harder fights in the future.

Lae'zel Flanks Commander Zhalk And Hits With Longssword

Continue whacking at Commander Zhalk as best as you can. The Mind Flayer will be another big help here and do most of the heavy lifting, but your more unique actions and feats for each character can assist too.

Lae'zel's Pommel Strike can daze Zhalk, and the ability to Lacerate can also come in handy here. When it comes to Zhalk, there really is no other right answer than going all out.

Triggering Reinforcements (Phase Two)

Clerics Ranged Support While Lae'zel Flanks Commander Zhalk

Once Zhalk starts peaking toward the 75 percent HP threshold, you're going to want to send your ranged support forward toward the control panel. Keep a melee combatant next to Zhalk and another ranged option (like a spellcaster) somewhere in between your ranged support and the melee character.

This will trigger the reinforcements. This is important because Zhalk's defeat with no other minions on the map will turn the Mind Flayer against you, and you won't be able to deal with both it and the reinforcements.

If your ranged support character is your player character, don't send them too far. This character is the only person who can loot Commander Zhalk and take the Everburn Blade. It is generally recommended to have another character trigger the reinforcements and keep your player within range.

Reinforcements Appear For Commander Zhalk Fiends

The two reinforcements can be dealt with easily, but instead of dealing with both of them, select only one to remove. We recommend that you deal with the flying fiend as it has ranged options that can be a nuisance while dealing with Zhalk.

With one reinforcement alive, use the unit that triggered these reinforcements as a block. You should be able to impose Opportunity Attacks against it should it choose to flee. When Commander Zhalk dies, this enemy unit will become the new target of the Mind Flayer.

Looting Zhalk And Retreating

Player Character Loots Everburn Blade From Commander Zhalk And Previews

Between you and the Mind Flayer, Commander Zhalk will be defeated before any of the Cambion reinforcements back at the entrance can be remotely close. Use your player character to loot his body and take both the Scale Mail and the Everburn Blade.

Everburn Blade (Greatsword; Heavy; Two-handed): Deal 2d6 + your Strength modifier in Slashing damage. Then deal 1d4 Fire damage.

The Everburn Blade has the "Ever-Burning" property, meaning its fire can never be put out. This blade is as much a good weapon for damage as it is in utility for lighting areas or igniting fires. Be warned, however, that this blade can cause oils or wines to explode on contact; be careful about swinging your sword around barrels.

From here, any character can interact with the control panel (we recommend Dashing to it before the Mind Flayer gets you; he has no loot to drop but has good XP gain if you like the challenge). With the panel activated, you can leave this area with a flaming sword and a good set of armor to start your adventure with.

NEXT: Baldur's Gate 3: Romance Guide