Content Type: Gaming Guides
- Rewards: Remembrance of the Rot Goddess, Malenia’s Great Rune, 480,000
- Summons Available: Yes
- Location: Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree
This boss is found at the end of Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree, and is considered by many players to be the hardest boss in the game, in large part thanks to her ability to heal on-hit. We won’t lie to you — while there are some strategies that can potentially be simple to execute, you’ll have to pray to the RNG gods if you want an easy fight. Expect to respec, upgrade new weapons, or otherwise change up your usual strategy if you hope to succeed against Malenia.
- Malenia heals when attacking, even if 100% of the damage is blocked. This doesn’t mean that blocking isn’t a viable strategy, however it does mean that you’ll need to out-DPS her or stun-lock her if you plan on using spirit summons.
- Weapons or spells that can knock Malenia up (or pancake her) are excellent choices, since doing so prevents her from healing while you let your stamina regenerate and/or drink a flask.
- If you aren’t confident with your dodges, upgrading a shield at the blacksmith will decrease the stamina required to block, allowing you to block Malenia’s longer combos more effectively.
The strategies listed here are simply a few of the ways you can handle Malenia; we’ve tried to offer some of the more straightforward techniques. What makes all of these strategies effective is their ability to keep Malenia either knocked down or else staggered, so any spell, skill, or attack that can stagger or knock her down can be used instead of the ones described below. As mentioned in the intro, it’s very likely that you’ll need to respec your character in order to use one of the strategies listed below, or simply to better optimize your build (read: get to 60 vigor).
The simpler strategy to pull off is probably the Rivers of Blood + Mimic Tear — combine it with the Comet Azur + Cerulean Hidden Tear trick to make phase 2 easier. Note that the strategies listed contain suggestions for builds/spells and how to damage Malenia, but avoiding damage isn’t covered in the strategies — for info on not dying, continue to the next section.
Click on a strategy to see it in detail
Windows of Opportunity
With the strategies above, it can be tempting to simply spam your ability whenever Malenia is in range. However, doing so will often lead to you getting caught by one of her attacks, as she has a number of moves that have hyper-armor (which means she cannot be knocked out of them by your attacks). Instead, you should ideally only attack when the boss is actively attacking your summon.
Otherwise, try to attack immediately after you’ve avoided one of Malenia’s attacks, and always save enough stamina to run/roll. Since Malenia heals while damaging you, being impatient and trading blow for blow is never an effective strategy with this boss.
You should generally let your summon tank, so avoiding damage shouldn’t be too difficult in this fight. However, your summon may not last the whole fight, and so you’ll need at least a basic understanding of how to prevent this boss from killing you.
Towards/past Malenia’s left hand (the one without a sword) is generally the safest direction to roll in, although you can also roll backwards from her Kick or some of her shorter sword swipes. Since she heals when attacking, you want to roll if possible. Still, when in doubt it’s better to block than fail a roll — she’ll heal either way, and at least if you block you won’t take damage. She’ll lift her free hand in the air and pause — she’ll then do her Grab attack, which cannot be blocked and therefore should be rolled (towards her is always better).
In Phase 2, Malenia retains her Phase 1 attacks and adds a number of followups. The principles remain the same, but you’ll have to prepare for longer combo chains. Sometimes she’ll fly into the air and swoop down, but the timing on dodging this is intuitive, and works just like her lunge — you’ll want to roll towards her as she starts flying towards you. She also adds an attack where she flies into the air and then sends pink phantoms down to attack — you can roll to avoid their attacks, or block if you aren’t confident in the timing.
Additionally, a Rot Explosion is often added to the end of combos: Malenia will leap into the air and land while stabbing her sword into the ground. You’ll see pink flames briefly, and then there will be an AOE explosion in front of her. Since you’re already going to be rolling past her left side as a general rule, this explosion will miss.
Now let’s take a look at a couple of her trickier moves and how to avoid them.
By running towards Malenia when she raises her sword into the air, and then rolling as she starts heading towards the ground, you can avoid this attack’s initial AOE — a couple more rolls will take you out of the Rot zone. Stay away from her until the flower disappears, and once it does you can run in and get a decent amount of free damage on her — charged attacks are ideal, since you want to stagger her as much as possible.
Turns out, a single Freezing Pot will knock malenia out of her Waterfowl Dance — equip a few of these, make sure it’s always selected if you aren’t actively healing, and laugh as she falls from the sky!
If you don’t have access to Freezing Pots, that’s OK! Youtuber Why Chi developed an excellent method for dodging Waterfowl Dance at any range: Start running away when you see her hop in the air, and then jump as soon as she lands. After the first two flurries, get ready to roll towards her during the third flurry — doing this will make the final flurries miss, although it’s best to roll away just in case. You can see it in action below:
Don’t give up skeleton
This is without a doubt one of the hardest — if not the hardest — boss fights in Elden Ring, and probably even across all of the FromSoft games. Have patience with yourself, take breaks if you’re not getting closer to victory, and be willing to try a new strategy if the one you’re using isn’t working.
If you found another technique to beat Malenia you think is relatively easy to use, let us know in the comments!