Death Knight Boss Guide – Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

At the end of the Fog Rift Catacombs lies a knight sworn to protect an avatar of the deceased Godwyn. In light of that duty, he is called the Death Knight and, befitting that gruesome title, he can be quite a challenge if unprepared. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered for that.


  • The Death Knight’s lightning dashes make him extremely mobile. This can make it hard to find places to be safe to drink flasks.
  • The Knight’s moves are, however, quite telegraphed, making it relatively easy to dodge or parry.
  • Be careful whenever you see the Knight imbue his blades with lightning. After he does, his attacks become faster and more deadly. They are hard to parry, and he can traverse much longer distances.
  • The Death Knight’s Lightning Grab should be avoided at all costs. If you are grabbed, he will not only deal massive, likely deadly damage, but will also heal most of his health bar, essentially starting the fight from scratch.

The Death Knight is a deadly, but predictable enemy, whose attacks are telegraphed enough that what it takes to beat him is mostly just a bit of focus. The easiest way to deal with the Death Knight is to learn his three Non-Magical Combos: the Triple Combo, the Extended Combo, and the Spinning Combo. These are predictable attacks that can be easily dodged, blocked, or even parried, and then punished at the end. If the Death Knight’s axes aren’t imbued with lightning when he attacks, the attack will be punishable.

This is true even if you are using ranged spells or attacks. Because the Death Knight commits to his combos, it means that if you are out of range when he starts a melee attack, you can keep backing up and casting through the entire combo, dealing solid damage.

death knight crit
Death Knight’s parry timings are pretty forgiving and instantly stagger him

The harder aspect of the Death Knight fight is avoiding his deadlier lightning attacks, however. While the Lightning Spears can be avoided easily enough, the other Lightning attacks (the Storm Grab, the Lightning Spin, and Lightning Waves) are his deadliest. In particular, if the Death Knight evokes wind that forces you back, be ready to dodge his Storm Grab, because if he grabs you, it will deal massive damage and heal him to at (or near) full health.

Aside from that, his Lightning Spin is his deadliest attack, bearing some resemblance to Malenia’s Waterfowl Dance in that dodging the wrong direction will result in being hit (though not usually killed unless you are already weakened). So, remember, dodge away from the first spin, away from the second, and then into the slam. This takes practice.

death knight lightning spin

The last thing that is worth noting is that the Death Knight does not have especially high poise, and so if you feel overwhelmed, you can disrupt a combo or interrupt a move with a solid hit.

  • Lightning Spear: The Knight will lift into the air and launch one or two spears of lightning at you. Dodge to the side.
  • Non-Magical Combos: All three of these combos are his most common moves. These moves are easy to parry or dodge (toward him or to the side) and can be blocked.
    • Triple Combo: The Knight will bring up his right axe and swing it down, then his left, then bring both up and swing them down. Dodge back for the first two strikes, and into the third. Very easy to parry.
    • Extended Combo: The Knight will bring his right axe up, then attack with it twice relatively slowly, then attack with his left axe twice in extremely quick succession, followed by a final swing a moment later. Dodge to the side twice, back once, and then forward once. If you are trying to parry, do it on the final swing so you don’t get caught by the double-swing.
    • Spinning Combo: The Knight pulls both of his axes down to his right side, then swings them both up at almost the same time, then spins and does it again. He can follow this up with a final spin attack. Dodge twice quickly to the left, then to the right if he follows up.
  • Storm Grab: Wind will force you away, and the Knight will crouch and charge lightning, his axes momentarily vanishing. He will then shoot forward. Dodge to the side when he launches forward. If he grabs you, you will be dealt massive damage and he will fully heal.
  • Lightning Spin: The Knight will bring both of his blades back and charge lightning, then shoot forward a long distance, spinning. Then, he will spin again, then quickly twirl in the air to bring both of his lightning-infused axes down. Dodge away from the first spin, away from the second, and then into the slam to punish.
  • Lightning Waves: The Knight will bring both of his axes up and to his side, and charge them with lightning. When he swings, lightning will cascade along the surrounding ground. He will swing again, causing the lightning on the ground to go further. As soon as you see the Knight lift both axes and charge them will lightning, roll away several times. Then, after he swings, gauge if you need to move between or away from the currents on the ground.
  • Lightning Dash: The Knight will close the distance by lightning-dashing at you. He often follows this up with a non-magical combo or Lightning Waves.

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Graves
Graves

Graves is an avid writer, web designer, and gamer, with more ideas than he could hope to achieve in a lifetime. But, armed with a mug of coffee and an overactive imagination, he'll try. When he isn't working on a creative project, he is painting miniatures, reading cheesy sci-fi novels, or making music.

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