Baldur's Gate 3's most difficult moment was thought to be almost impossible to pull off flawlessly, but one player has managed to do so on the game's hardest difficulty - by using a huge array of D&D's speediest spells.
This article contains spoilers for Baldur's Gate 3's third act.
The Iron Throne might be my favourite set-piece in Baldur's Gate 3. When I stumbled across it 60 hours into my playthrough, it changed my entire perspective on the game. It's an underwater prison filled with innocent people who are being used as leverage to keep their loved one - who are working in a factory on the shore - under pressure to keep working harder. When you arrive there, the prison's founder, Baldur's Gate baddie Enver Gortash, says that he's going to destroy it to prevent all that information from coming to light.
What follows is a desperate race, where you've got six turns to save as many prisoners as you can and then flee the Iron Throne before it collapses in on you. When I took it on, I eventually saved around half of the prisoners, and to be honest, I was pretty pleased with myself.
In a recent Reddit post, however, one player put my efforts - and apparently those of much of the rest of the community - to shame. User SirMcCarthy showed off a screenshot where they'd managed to save literally every prisoner on the base, and on Tactician difficulty to boot. On Baldur's Gate 3's hardest difficulty setting, you don't just have less health and more enemy damage to deal with, but you've got to escape the Throne in five turns instead of six. From all the information they could glean online, that feat was basically unachievable - "everyone kept talking about how impossible it was in six turns…"
Not to be discouraged, however, this D&D genius set to determining their strategy. With a party consisting of their Bard alongside Gale, Karlach, and Jaheira, they also added Scratch, Us, a Water Myrmidon, and a Woodland Being to pad out the numbers. In a cheeky camp before the set-piece could truly start, Jaheira and Shadowheart cast Longstrider and Freedom of Movement on the entire party; the former offered everyone ten extra movement speed, while the latter prevents characters from getting slowed by difficult terrain or restrained - crucial for the deep water segments of the maps and the net attacks that some prison guards throw.
Those characters were all seriously nimble, but the set-up wasn't finished yet. Jaheira and the Bard also cast Haste on themselves, doubling their already-enhanced movement speed. To round things out, every character but Karlach had some form of teleportation in the form of the Dimension Door or Misty Step spells.
SirMcCarthy says "the most important part" of their flawless victory came from one of Baldur's Gate 3's most powerful spells. In Lorroakan's Tower, particularly light-fingered players might find a scroll called Artistry of War. Thought to be an enhanced version of Magic Missile - a spell I already used to beat Baldur's Gate 3's hardest boss - Artistry of War summons six apparitions that blast up to six targets for significant Force damage. With Gale in the party, SirMcCarthy had been able to transcribe Artistry of War from the scroll, allowing their Wizard to cast it whenever they like.
Using their fancy new spell to "annihilate" the net-flinging guards that would have prevented the prisoners from escaping, Gale also used Arcane Gate to create a portal that allowed the fleeing Gondians in his section of the prison to skip a large part of their escape route, bringing them to safety much faster than their little legs might have done. Eventually, everyone got out with "time to spare," which is a seriously impressive feat on a difficulty level that already cuts the amount of turns available.
In response to these efforts, other players are sharing their own strategies and discoveries about the Iron Throne, from planning around other NPC summons to using Karlach to simply yeet the Gondians to safety if they weren't quick enough to get out by themselves. It might be a somewhat undignified escape route, but if it's the difference between life and a watery death, I suppose it's not that bad.
Baldur's Gate 3's final gauntlet is almost as tough as the Iron Throne.