Who or What Is the Hardest Boss in Elden Ring?

what is the hardest boss in elden ring

This post was last updated on November 1, 2023

The creative minds at FromSoftware have outdone themselves again with Elden Ring. The dark fantasy and action-filled role-playing game (RPG) is similar to the wildly popular Dark Souls but uses an open-world format that allows players to roam the Lands Between freely.

FromSoftware released Elden Ring to widespread critical acclaim, and it’s no surprise that the game has some of the most difficult and demanding bosses in RPG history. But what or who is the hardest boss in Elden Ring? Don’t worry; we’ve got all the answers you need right here.

This video gaming blog post will walk you through the hardest bosses in Elden Ring. Read on as we delve into the most challenging boss fights, like Malenia, Blade of Miquella, the Godskin Duo, and more, including our picks for honorable mentions. Quick warning: This post contains boss fight advice that some may consider spoilers, so proceed with caution.

Elden Ring Boss Fights: The Basics

Elden Ring and the Lands Between contain a myriad of incredibly difficult bosses. Best estimates put the total count at over 100 unique bosses, from the Fire Giant and Maliketh the Black Blade to the Draconic Tree Sentinel, the Elden Beast, and Mohg, Lord of Blood.

If you’ve played Elden Ring before, you know that only some of its iconic bosses are mandatory to win the game. However, this guide will discuss the toughest bosses overall, including the optional fights.

You’ll encounter Elden Ring bosses in dungeon-style levels as well as organically in the normal overworld. Every boss fight has its own unique challenges, including different damage types, play styles, resistances, and attack patterns.

For example, some bosses have Area of Effect (AoE) attacks that cause massive damage, and others have ranged attacks that make it impossible to get in melee range during a fight. Even when you’re first starting out exploring the Lands Between, expect to have some serious challenges defeating Elden Ring bosses.

What Happens When You Defeat a Boss in Elden Ring?

Whether you’re fighting a compulsory boss or an optional one, finally scoring that sweet moment of defeat will come with some even sweeter loot and rewards. First and foremost, you’ll gain Runes. Runes are a critical part of Elden Ring lore and are necessary for buying gear, weapons, items, and leveling up skills.

After winning a boss fight, you’ll also gain additional powers, weapons, and stronger equipment. Of course, it also depends on which boss you’re fighting. Now, let’s discuss the most challenging boss in the Elden Ring game: Malenia, Blade of Miquella. 

The Hardest Elden Ring Boss Fight: Malenia, Blade of Miquella

So, determining the hardest boss in Elden Ring is a no-brainer: Malenia, Blade of Miquella, is the final boss of Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree, and by far one of the most difficult boss fights. Malenia is central to Elden Ring lore and has a twin brother called Miquella.

Both twins were born cursed, with Miquella stuck as an eternal child and Malenia with a connection to the Rot God, giving her the ability to inflict players with Scarlet Rot. Malenia is also a skilled swordswoman, with devastatingly fast attacks that decimate your health bar before you can even blink.

However, Malenia’s ability to regenerate her health every time she lands a hit or summons, even if you block, makes her the hardest Elden Ring boss. If you’re having trouble taking on the red-haired Goddess, we recommend leveling up further before attempting another fight. Once you defeat her Blade of Miquella form, she’ll transform into the Goddess of Rot, with massive AoE attacks that are quite difficult to avoid, even for a powerful melee build.

Malenia is also notorious for being able to insta-kill players with a single combo. While you may be able to defeat some Elden Ring bosses by “cheesing” them (exploiting systemic advantages or bugs), Malenia is not one of them.

What’s the Secret to Beating Malenia in Elden Ring?

Malenia is both aggressive and fast. However, despite her claims that she’s never before tasted defeat, she’s not unbeatable. Her two worst attacks are the signature Waterfowl Dance and Scarlet Aeonia, both of which require deft gameplay, well-timed dodges and rolls, and becoming familiar with her attack patterns if you want any chance of defeating them. She’s also vulnerable to Bleed weapons and incantations, which can help you inflict enough fast damage to fight against her rapid regeneration.

Once you beat her in her first form, she’ll regenerate all of her health before she transforms into the Goddess of Rot. Although she has powerful AoE attacks that look like a flower explosion, if you avoid the petals after she slams to the ground, you can run in close and deal major damage while she recovers.

Attacks and Abilities

Malenia features some truly devastating attack methods and abilities, including:

  • Waterfowl Dance
  • Rapid Prosthesis Slices
  • Scarlet Aeonia
  • Scarlet Explosion
  • Phantom Spirits

Here are some tips for attacking Malenia, the hardest Elden Ring boss:

Flame, Cleanse Me

The Fire Monk incantation spell “Flame, Cleanse Me” lends credence to the term “Live by the sword, die by the sword.” It costs ten stamina to cast and creates a cleansing flame that causes 15 Fire Damage to your player, but it also cures poison and Scarlet Rot.

Its ability to heal Rot damage makes it a critical choice if you take on Malenia. However, you’ll need to find and equip a Seal before you try casting this powerful spell. You can find Flame, Cleanse Me on a dead body at the Fire Monk camp in a southeastern direction from the Church of Vows.

Ash of War: Bloodhound’s Step

The Bloodhound’s Step is a skill upgrade that allows you to dodge faster and farther than the usual quickstep. However, the best benefit of using this skill is that it grants you the power of invisibility. You can also use it on all melee armaments. You can find Bloodhound’s Step on the bridge before Lenne’s Rise Tower in Dragonbarrow, where a Night’s Cavalry dropped it.

Mimic Tear Ashes

The Mimic Tear Ashes spirit summons will bring forth a Mimic Tear Spirit, consuming Hit Points but not your Focus Points. It mirrors attacks, creating a valuable distraction when taking on Malenia in the boss fight. Head to the Night’s Sacred Ground, where you can find the Mimic Tear Ashes Spirit in Nokron, the Eternal City.

The Hardest Elden Ring Bosses: Runners-Up

Malenia is the toughest boss, but she’s by no means the only challenging boss to fight in the popular Elden Ring game. Read on as we delve deeper into the worst bosses Elden Ring offers.

Elden Beast: The Final Boss Fight

Another of the hardest Elden Ring bosses is the Elden Beast, a massive creature you’ll encounter as the second form of Radagon of the Golden Order. Equally massive to the Elden Beast’s form is the size of its boss arena.

The sheer size of the arena creates unique challenges for players with melee builds, who will end up running most of the time in an attempt to get close enough to deal damage. Plus, there’s no Site of Grace or opportunity to heal during the fight, making this boss even more difficult.

Attacks and Abilities

The Elden Beast deals Holy Damage, Standard Damage, and Pierce Damage. It also has numerous tricky attack patterns and many abilities that make fighting this behemoth a pain. You can expect several attacks from the Beast, including:

  • Elden Stars
  • Hand Slam
  • Golden Breath
  • Grab Attack
  • Black Hole Teleport
  • Nebula Swipe
  • Divine Punishment
  • Flying Flame Sword
  • Golden Wing Spears

Mohg, Lord of Blood

Mohg is a Blood Lord and another one of the most challenging boss fights in the game, with two forms: Mohg, The Omen, and Mohg, Lord of Blood. In addition to Mohg’s power as a spellcaster, this boss has powerful melee attacks and a knack for inflicting Bleed damage on players during a fight.

Mohg is an optional boss in Elden Ring; you can find him in a subterranean region known as Mohgwyn Palace. Consider entering this fight with a 100% physical block shield and items that include defensive talismans like the Pearldrake Talisman and the Dragoncrest Shield Talisman.

Attacks and Abilities

When undertaking a fight with Mohg, expect to take on Standard Damage, Fire Damage, Pierce Damage, and some blood loss. Here are some of the Blood Lord’s attack methods and abilities you’ll encounter during the fight:

  • Spear Swings
  • Ritual Countdown
  • Bloodboon
  • Bloodflame Talons
  • Blood Tax
  • Thrust
  • Bloodboon Ritual
  • Airborne Assault

Maliketh: The Beast Clergyman and The Black Blade

Maliketh, as the Beast Clergyman and as the Black Blade, presents two of the hardest bosses in Elden Ring. When you take them on, you’ll quickly see why.

You’ll find Maliketh the Black Blade after burning the Erdtree and scaling the Crumbling Farum Azula.

Defeating him is a significant turning point in the game because it reduces the city of Leyndell to ash and rubble, making it largely inaccessible. In light of this, make sure to finish your city quests first.

In the first phase of the fight, you’ll encounter Maliketh in his Beast Clergyman form (who favors the Beast Claw attack).

After you deplete half his health, he’ll transform into the Black Blade. Unfortunately, he’s insanely fast, making this fight a challenge for a range-focused build. However, you can combat this issue by using a Spirit Summons to distract Maliketh up close, leaving you with a chance to attack him from a safe distance.

Attacks and Abilities

Maliketh (in his second form) can deal Holy Damage, Magic Damage, and Standard Damage during a fight. Here are some of the attacks you can expect from this tough boss:

  • Piledriver
  • Black Blade
  • Roar
  • Destined Death
  • Slow Slash
  • Double Spin
  • Flip and Slash

Crucible Knight Ordovis

The Crucible Knight Ordovis (the one with the sword and shield) is an optional field boss you’ll find in a large mausoleum known as Auriza Hero’s Grave on the outskirts of Leyndell.

Ordovis is a duo fight and much easier to win if you summon help from another player. You’ll find that Ordovis will be in front for most of the fight, but that doesn’t mean you should count out the other Crucible Knight. 

Again, you’ll want to stick with a Spirit Summons to distract both bosses and run interference, leaving you to deal as much damage as possible. That will give you a better chance of winning this fight, which easily ranks as one of the toughest in Elden Ring.

Attacks and Abilities

Ordovis can deal Holy Damage, Standard Damage, and Pierce Damage. He has a few different attack methods, including:

  • Forward Thrust
  • Ordovis’s Vortex
  • Tail Swipe
  • Flight
  • Two-Handed Combo

The Godskin Duo

The primary challenge of fighting the Godskin Duo (Apostle and Noble) comes from their shared health bar. Even if you kill one, it will spontaneously regenerate until you deplete the bar entirely. Common methods of attack for this mandatory boss fight include summoning other players, using a Spirit Ash, or asking the non-player character (NPC) Recusant Bernahl for help.

You can also try using Bloodhound’s Step or equipping the Rivers of Blood katana. The Godskin Duo is susceptible to Frost and Bleed damage, and one well-aimed blast of Sleep will put them both into dreamland.

Attacks and Abilities

The Godskin Duo deals Fire, Standard, Slash, and Pierce Damage. You can expect a range of attacks from both bosses, including:

  • Black Flame
  • Black Flame Whirlwind
  • Stab and Slash
  • Belly Shove
  • Godskin Wheel
  • Noble Presence

Godfrey, First Elden Lord

Godfrey, First Elden Lord, is another boss you must defeat to advance in Elden Ring. You’ll encounter this baddie in the Royal Capital of Leyndell, and you must take him on solo. You can’t summon other players for help, although Spirit Summons are allowable. We recommend using lightning strikes or other lightning-based attacks, such as a weapon with a lightning Ash of War enchantment.

Attacks and Abilities

In addition to Godfrey’s deceivingly large range of attack, he combines slow and fast moves that make avoiding them difficult. Here are some additional attacks and abilities you can expect to see from this Elden Ring boss:

  • Two-Handed Axe Slam
  • Jumping Axe Throw
  • One-Handed Overhead Slam
  • Ground Stomp
  • Jumping Axe Slam

The Hardest Bosses in Elden Ring: Honorable Mentions

We don’t have nearly enough room to explore all the challenging bosses in the game, but we will finish with some honorable mentions:

  • Dragonlord Placidusax, the two-headed dragon
  • Margott, The Omen King
  • Draconic Tree Sentinel
  • Fire Giant
  • Alecto, Black Knife Ringleader
  • Astel, Natural Born of the Void
  • Commander Niall
  • Starscourge Radahn
  • Decaying Ekzykes
  • Fallingstar Beast
  • Margit, the Fell Omen

Final Thoughts on the Most Difficult Bosses in Elden Ring

Although there this iconic game has plenty of bosses, Malenia earns the top spot as the most difficult to defeat.

Her fast, sweeping sword attacks, ability to inflict Scarlet Rot, and rapid health regeneration makes her near-insurmountable—but not quite. We recommend having a diverse build, epic weaponry, and a high level before taking on Malenia.

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