"When asked: "What is the name of the stone that burns?" Thou shalt respond: "Sulpher to be mixed with mercury."
When asked "What is the name of the universal solvent?" Thou shalt respond: "Al-kahest."
When asked: "What is the name of the remedy for all maladies?" Thou shalt respond: "Panacea Universalis."
When asked: "What is the name of the acme of the Art?" Thou shalt respond: "The Elixir of Life."
When asked: "What is the name of the noblest of metals?" Thou shalt respond: "Gold.""
- —Balthasar Gelt, 'The Training of the Alchemist'.
Balthasar Gelt is an Empire Legendary Lord unit introduced in Total War: Warhammer. As of The Empire Undivided Update for Total War: Warhammer II, he leads the faction The Golden Order. In battle, Gelt is a powerful spellcaster but is not suited for melee combat.
Balthasar Gelt is the current Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic and one of the Empire's greatest Wizards of this age. The position of Supreme Patriarch is the highest attainable position by a wizard within the Empire of Man. The patriarch is responsible for advising Emperor Karl Franz in all decisions dealing with the Arcane. Every couple of years each of the eight Colleges of Magic elect one of their number to compete in duel with an equal counterpart. The victor of this arcane duel receives the office of Supreme Patriarch and the right to wield the ancient Staff of Volans.
Balthasar Gelt's research into new formulations of black powder even made him popular with the Imperial Engineers School, an organisation that often dismisses magic as superstitious nonsense. However, during these studies, a freak explosion almost ended Balthasar's quest for knowledge forever. Somehow he survived, and from that day on has only ever been seen swathed in shimmering, metallic robes and wearing a golden face mask. Some say that beneath his mask his skin has turned pure gold, while others whisper than he is horribly disfigured, though the truth of the matter is known only to Balthasar. One thing is certain: the accident only furthered his will to succeed, and this determination increased his power to new heights. After defeating Thyrus Gormann of the Bright Order in a ritual magic duel, Balthasar became Supreme Patriarch of the Colleges of Magic, replacing the long-standing prominence of Fire with that of Metal. The way of fire is nothing compared to the fluid power of metal!
When picked as your starting legendary lord:
- Additional Starting Units
- Lord Effects
As a faction leader, Balthasar Gelt provides an array of bonuses that make his army better at the things an Imperial Army wants most--infantry, magic support, and artillery. His providing bonus armor to all units is a valuable asset, especially to the lightly armored state troops (around 20-30 armor). His buffs to magic and magic users encourage the player to have casters in every army they field. His bonuses to artillery encourage such units as well. Overall an army of the Golden Order will have a slightly sturdier front line, more wizards, and heavier hitting artillery. Their cavalry may be their weak point, as the bonuses Gelt provides don't encourage them, but Imperial cavalry is fairly strong regardless so it should not be written off.
As a unit himself, while a capable Melee combatant, Gelt shines the brightest in the campaign as a caster, as you would expect. The Lore of Metal features excellent buffs and debuffs, but in Gelt's hands in particular it can become exceptionally strong due to his reductions in casting time and cost. As such, there are two primary ways to use him: as the God of Fire Support, or as the Supreme Buffmaster. You can easily have him do both with the amount of points he can get, and a Fully Online Balthasar Gelt is absolutely terrifying to behold, but this will also raise the amount of micro he requires to extreme levels, and even with his boosts to magic recharge rate can wind up draining the power supply dry.
For the first, Searing Doom and Gehenna's Golden Hounds are not necessarily standout spells, but they become much more powerful when they cost 1 and 2 Winds of Magic respectively, and can be cast with incredible frequency (every 11 seconds for Golden Hounds, and an absurd seven seconds on Searing Doom). Final Transmutation is still relatively expensive at 10 Winds, but is also still very powerful since it both does great damage and only targets enemies--perfect for dropping on a confused melee. It is also possible to give him other spells via artifacts, though these won't benefit from his inherent Winds cost reduction as that only works on Gold Lore spells. A Gelt focused on fire support requires very frequent micro just to keep getting the spells off, and should be paired with a relatively self-sufficient army; however, he can turn out an absurd amount of damage this way. This Gelt will also be triggering Metalshifting almost constantly, resulting in his entire army hitting noticably harder than otherwise.
On the flip side, Gelt is just as much a master of Metal's transmutations as he is its attack spells. When he acquires the Cloak of Molten Metal in the campaign, it combines with all of his other cost reductions to make basic Glittering Robe literally free. To repeat myself: with this item and the spell fully upgraded, Glittering Robe will cost no Winds of Magic, yet can be cast unlimitedly as it is not a bound spell. The Overcast version will also only require 3 Winds, and even without the Cloak, Glittering Robe only costs 1 Wind. It also only has a ten second cooldown, so there is almost never a situation where you should not have Glittering Robe online. Plague of Rust and Transmutation of Lead are also knocked sharply down in cost to 1 and 4 Winds of Magic respectively, making it very easy for a support-focused Gelt to make life hell for enemy melee troops, dealing big hits to both their attack and defense.This Gelt will also be firing off Metalshifting a lot, if not quite as frequently as one dropping Searing Doom every eight seconds, which further buffs his army.
Finally, Gelt gets his personal pegasus mount, Quicksilver, at level 16, who offers better stats in nearly every department than the standard Pegasus other Lords and Heroes can get. This greatly increases his utility, as Quicksilver's unmatched speed can get him around the battlefield and into casting positions much faster, while keeping him away from getting snarled in ground melee.
Whichever way you build him, Gelt is a powerhouse wizard with excellent flying access and an equal ability to deal out rapid-fire AoE damage while throwing buffs and debuffs on anything he pleases. Do make sure, however, that he is the only Wizard in his army. While Gelt's reduced casting costs and increased charge rate give him the ability to throw spells for much longer than other wizards, even a basic second Wizard can add enough strain to the magic recharge rate that you wind up bottoming out. That, and you would have to be microing TWO Wizards at once, which is a hell of a task. (Though you can use a second wizard as an arcane conduit/ recharge farm - it just costs a slot in your army. If you are fighting vampires or other magic-vulnerable armies it can be pretty useful).
- Gelt is the only metal caster available to the Empire, which is ironic considering his faction is supposed to represent the entirety of the metal casters in the Empire.
- Metal casters in general are very rare, only being found on Gelt, Sarthorael, Mage (metal), Archmage (metal), Chaos Sorcerer (Metal) and Chaos Sorcerer Lord (Metal).