Should You Control Or Destroy The Elder Brain In Baldur’s Gate 3

One of the worst dilemmas you will face in BG3 is to either destroy the elder brain or control it during the ending sequence.

Once you reach Baldur’s Gate 3’s grand finale, you must Confront the Elder Brain. It is the source of the Mindflayer scourge, and you must defeat it to return the world to its peaceful days. However, nothing is ever that straightforward in the D&D world. Once you defeat Elder Brain (or Netherbrain), it will start begging you to spare its life, and the game presents you with two options. Either continue with your original plan and destroy the elder brain or take control of it to rule the world yourself. 

This is a very tough decision to make because it will shape the whole ending of the game. In this guide, we will explore both possibilities and finally decide whether you should control or destroy the Elder Brain in BG3.

What happens if you destroy Elder Brain in BG3

The first option is self-explanatory. With the Unbreakable Will of the Netherbrain defeated, you (or Karlach or Orpheus or the Emperor) get to control the Netherstones and give a command to the Elder Brain. To Destroy the Elder Brain in BG3, choose the dialogue option Go ahead. Command the brain to destroy all the tadpoles and then itself.

The Elder Brain dies and drowns in the sea on the outskirts of Baldur’s Gate. This makes all the mind flayers go crazy as they lose their leader and puppet master. They are then driven outside Baldur’s Gate by the defending forces.

Should You Control Or Destroy The Elder Brain In Baldur's Gate 3

The events that follow include the death of all Illithid parasites inside the brains of infected people. No one will be turning into a Mind Flayer now. The rest of the epilogue upon destroying the Elder Brain depends on your choices throughout your Baldur’s Gate 3 journey. The character that you were romantically involved with will decide to stay by your side while the rest will leave on their journey.

If you destroy the Elder Brain, you will get to witness different endings for different companions depending on the completion of their quests and agendas. For example, if you don’t help Astarion ascend, he will start to burn up as the Mind Flayer parasite was what was keeping him alive in the sunlight. We recommend following our companions’ endings guides to get the most out of your hundreds of hours of gameplay.

What happens if you control Elder Brain in BG3

Controlling the Elder Brain feels like an antithesis to everything we have done up to this point. The purpose of the whole game is to get rid of the Illithid Parasite in your head and, by proxy Mind Flayers. But if you decide to go for an evil playthrough, you can choose to control the Elder Brain in Baldur’s Gate 3 and bring on the Grand Design.

There are a couple of possibilities if you want to control the Elder Brain in BG3. I had to kill Orpheus to control the Elder Brain, so be prepared to betray that ally of yours. You can team up with the Emperor and let him control the elder brain or take control of it yourself. You can also use Karlach to control the Elder Brain. This way, she will turn into a Mind Flayer, and her hell engine won’t kill her. However, whatever side you take, it won’t end in anything good.

Mind Flayers destroy Baldur’s Gate and its inhabitants, and you rule over the world from your throne. If you wish, you can become the Absolute and have your companions serve alongside you (by mind controlling them) or rule alone.

Should You Control Or Destroy The Elder Brain In Baldur's Gate 3

Controlling the Elder Brain in Baldur’s Gate 3 also results in a really rushed and sudden ending. Since the whole world is ruined, there is no epilogue like in the case when you destroy the Elder Brain. You don’t get to see how your relationships throughout the game and the people you met fared after the fight against Mind Flayers.

Should you control or destroy the Elder Brain in Baldur’s Gate 3?

Now comes the big question. Whether you should destroy or control the Elder Brain in BG3. For games driven by players’ choices, I don’t like putting a definitive answer to a dilemma. However, there is a perfect solution to this problem. I recommend destroying the Elder Brain in Baldur’s Gate 3 (at least on your first playthrough) to see the outcome of all the choices you have made so far. This includes your companion and love interests and everything you have left in your wake.

I am strictly against choosing to control the Elder Brain, as this ending leaves a lot to be desired. It feels like hundreds of hours wasted just to see the world crumbling without concluding the storylines. If you are hellbent on getting this ending, it is totally your choice, but, in my opinion, controlling the elder brain is a complete waste of time and effort.

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Usman is an Associate Editor at Segmentnext who is obsessed with retro gaming. His love for video games begins all the way back in 91 with Final Fight on arcades and is still going strong ...