Malenia is not only the hardest boss in Elden Ring, she could quite possibly be the hardest boss FromSoftware has made thus far. Past the Consecrated Snowfield to Miquella’s Haligtree. At the Brace of the Haligtree, near the Haligtree Roots Site of Grace, she waits. Stronger than Radahn, Radagon and Elden Beast. Faster than Maliketh and Godrick. Like a dancer, she poetically blends delicate complex movement with quick snappy attacks. She’ll intimidatingly saunter towards you, pushing you to attack, then test your reaction skills with sudden fierce slashes. Malenia is no pushover, but this Elden Ring boss guide will help you to know when to attack. With enough effort, you can fell the dreaded Rot Goddess.
The Blade of Miquella (which Malenia loves to call herself) is downright unfair a lot of the time. It’s evident that FromSoftware has designed her with the intention of making her unbeatable. She has a crazy large arsenal of attacks, each of which she can pull out at any time. Every attack she does heals her, encouraging you to not get hit at all. And they keep patching out effective methods against her. In the 1.06 patch, they drastically shortened the length of the Bloodhound Step, which is what I originally used to beat her. I swear that they also gave her attacks more range as well, but I could be wrong about that. If every boss in Elden Ring is designed to teach you something, Malenia is a lesson in frustration, futility and patience.
Other guides I’ve read on this subject advise you to go on the aggressive. Summon as many helpers to join and just pummel her until she’s finished. If all you want is to have her beaten, then this method is surely effective. But if you want the satisfaction of knowing that you could defeat her alone, I find it’s best to be calm. Be methodical, and learn to dance with her. This boss guide is all about teaching you the correct steps, then it is up to you to practice them. First, we should do a bit of prep work.
Elden Ring – Malenia Boss Guide Prep
Before jumping to the meat of this guide, I should point out some effective attacks and answer a couple of questions. These are only suggestions though. If you have a preferred weapon you like to use, it may be worth figuring out a method with that over learning a new weapon. She can be quite unreasonable though, so these can help out.
If you’re already accustomed to katanas, you’ll be comfortable with this guy. Corpse Piler is the unique weapon skill of the katana Rivers of Blood. You get this weapon after defeating Okina at the Church of Repose in the Mountaintops of the Giants. He’s an invading NPC that shows up as you approach the entrance to the church. He shouldn’t be too hard, but watch out for the Blood-Loss effect.
Rivers of Blood requires 20 Arc to equip, and it scales with Strength, Dexterity and Arcane. Corpse Piler delivers a succession of quick slashes that inflict Haemorrhage and have massive range. It almost feels like this weapon was designed to oppose Malenia. Okina is an acolyte of Mohg, Lord of Blood. Mohg and Malenia are natural enemies, seeing as Mohg stole Miquella out from under Malenia’s nose. The slashes from Corpse Piler tend to line up pretty well with Malenia’s movements.
Barrage and Fire Arrows
There is a moment at the start of her second phase where she’s completely immobile but you can’t get close to her. What a perfect time to get in some ranged attacks. Because she’s strong to pretty much everything but fire and blood, the best way to maximise damage is with fire arrows. If you’re more of a magic build, you may have something better in your arsenal though. Feel free to experiment. Fire arrows, though, are cheap and easy to get.
Once you have arrows, next you need the most efficient way to get as many fired into Malenia as possible. And there is no better way of doing this than the Barrage Ash of War. Barrage drops from a Scarab in Altus Plateau. It’s right at the beginning of the path that leads up to Mt Gelmir.
Elden Ring – Malenia Boss Guide Questions
What Level Should I Be?
You really cannot be over-levelled for Malenia. If you can get up to around 120 – 150, you should be strong enough to take a few hits and do enough damage. She will never be easy though, no matter what your level is.
Does Malenia Have Any Weaknesses?
Not really, but there are things that she is at least less strong to than others. Fire, blood and frost. These are the elements she is least strong towards.
What Should I Wear?
Since the 1.06 patch, the dodge roll has become far more important than it ever was when fighting Malenia. Because Bloodhound Step is no longer a viable solution to escape her more powerful attacks, it’s best to make sure you have the light dodge roll that travels the furthest. You need a light load which means your equip load has to be less than 30% of its max. So slap your endurance up, put on some equip load talismans and don some light gear.
With all that said and done, it’s time to take on Miquella’s blade.
Elden Ring Boss Guide – Malenia, Blade of Miquella
In her Blade of Miquella phase, Malenia proves she can be both delicate and intimidating. She has so many different combinations of sword attacks that at first, it’ll feel like she’s moving at random. Instead of trying to find a distinct pattern in her attacks, learn her tendencies. For instance, if she does a twirling slash attack and you’re close to her, she tends to follow up with another different twirling slash. But don’t assume she’ll do the same thing every time. There are only a few attacks where you are guaranteed enough time to punish her.
She pulls this one out quite often. It’s pretty easy to spot because it’s the only attack where she doesn’t use her sword in any way. If you’re quick enough, you can dodge backwards and get two Corpse Piler slashes in before dodging away again. She can follow up pretty quickly so don’t try to do anything too fancy.
If this attack hits you, it takes a helluva lot of health off. Luckily, it has a big enough build-up for you to react to it. She does a little hop, snaps her prosthetic into place, and then lunges at you. Simply dodge when you see her about to land from her hop then go to town on her. I can usually get a full Corpse Piler combo in.
Lunging Grab Attack
This one has similar timing to the thrust attack. When you see her pull back her left arm, she’s about to lunge and grab you. If she gets you, you’re most likely dead. Treat it the same as the lunge, dodge then Corpse Piler (or whatever you’re using).
Rapid Prosthesis Slices
You’ll see her pull these attacks out a lot. A spark will ping out of her prosthetic as she shortens her blade then she’ll rush in for three consecutive quick slashes, followed by one final slash. This attack sucks if it hits you because she gets back a whole bunch of health from it. There are two variants of the final slash, a quick one and a delayed one. You’ll quickly learn which ones are which because the delayed one is pretty distinct. For safety, always assume she’s going to do the fast slash. Once you see that she’s doing the delayed slash, wait for your opportunity and get in a jumping heavy slash. You can go for a Corpse Piler combo, but there’s a reason why I say you should do a jump attack. More on that later.
Uppercut Slam/Charge Spin
I put these both in the same category because they have the same setup. She’ll hold her sword back above her head, her prosthesis will spark, and then she’ll slowly deliver one of either attack. If you’re close to her, she’ll do the Uppercut Slam. And if you’re far away, she’ll do the Charge Spin.
For the Uppercut Slam, move in close to her. If you’re on her left side, you can get in a quick attack as she does her uppercut. Once she jumps into the air, dodge as she slams down. Then attack, either Corpse Piler or jumping heavy attack.
For the Charge Spin, wait for her to dash toward you. Dodge backwards to get away from her initial attack, then immediately dodge towards her through her follow-up. Now you’re in the perfect position to strike.
That’s it for the attacks where you’re guaranteed enough time to counter but there’s one other we have to talk about. The infamous Waterfowl Dance.
This attack just sucks. The Waterfowl Dance tips Malenia into the realm of unfair. There is a whole range of distances where if she uses it, you can only die. If you’re not far enough away, you die. If there’s a wall right behind you, you die. Mess up your inputs in the slightest, you die. It used to be that if you dodged at the perfect time, you could survive if you were right in front of her but it wasn’t working for me recently so I think they patched it out. In other words … you die. And she can pull this attack out at any time once her health is below 70%.
You can use shields but you need a lot of stamina and they have to block 100% of physical damage, which means you’ll most likely have to say goodbye to your light dodge. There’s also no recovery time for her once she’s finished the attack. So if you thought that this big flurry was punishable, think again. All you can do is hope to survive it. And the only way to do that is to learn her tendencies.
She tends not to use it back to back. She definitely can … I’ve seen it, but she usually doesn’t. So if you survive one, you can usually breathe easy knowing that she probably won’t do it again for a little while. She also tends to pull it out after dodging a projectile attack. This is where the bow comes in handy. Get into the habit of pulling your bow out and firing off an arrow at her whenever she’s a good distance away. Also, make sure you know you have enough room behind you to dodge. Whenever there’s any downtime in the fight (when you’re regaining stamina, for instance) get some distance and fire an arrow. Hopefully, she’ll retaliate with the Waterfowl Dance and you’ll be a good distance away. You’re still not safe though.
Dodging the Waterfowl Dance requires very specific timing. The whole attack has three phases. She does an initial flurry, then a second shorter flurry then leaps into the air and does a third flurry that tracks to you. If you’re far enough away, you’re safe from the first two flurries. But the third homes in on you. You have to dodge towards her or else you’ll get hit.
Also, make sure your back isn’t to the wall or her third flurry will quickly come back around and get you. If you don’t have the space behind, dodge into her second flurry and then into her again for the third flurry. It’s much harder to pull off but hopefully, you can get out with minimal damage. Also, watch out for the very final attack … just because her sword isn’t moving doesn’t she isn’t still attacking.
In the first phase, most of what you should be concentrating on with Malenia is positioning. A lot of the time, she will just walk around waiting for you to attack. Then once you get too close, she’ll slash. I found that I could sometimes get a sense of when she was going to attack and get in a quick jump attack then dodge away before she killed me.
Malenia’s biggest weakness is her poise. Jumping heavy attacks (or L1 attacks if you’re dual wielding) staggers her for a moment so you can get away. They also interrupt a lot of her normal slash attacks. The arena is shaped a bit like a basin, so you can use the sides to your advantage. With the higher ground, you can jump over some of her attacks as you get in your own.
If you want, you can use summons to get a better idea of her patterns. Summon a Mimic Tear at the start of the fight and just watch them. Observe how she moves and what she does.
Make Her Bleed
If you’re using Corpse Piler, only use the final slash when you’re positive that’s safe. Corpse Piler has three phases: two initial strikes, then three, and then a final overhead slash. Get used to only using the first two phases. Don’t just mash L2 every time. The hidden benefit to Corpse Piler is that it also inflicts bleeding damage. Once she’s hit with Blood-Loss, she loses a ton of health and, best of all, it completely interrupts whatever she was doing. Even Waterfowl Dance. So if you’ve started up a Corpse Piler and she busts out the Waterfowl Dance, keep wailing on her. Hopefully, she’ll be hit with Blood-Loss and you just dodged a death.
Also, if you’re good at parrying, it can be pretty effective. I was never big on parrying myself but it’s still worth experimenting with. Most of her normal attacks can be parried but her stronger attacks cannot.
Once you get her health to zero, the true test begins. She grows wings made of butterflies and comes back to life as the Goddess of Rot.
Elden Ring Boss Guide – Malenia, Goddess of Rot
Malenia is unique in that her second phase doesn’t come when you get her health to halfway. No, instead she get’s around 80% of her health back, and becomes far deadlier. She still has all of her old attacks, but most of them have changed in some way. All of her attacks cause Scarlet Rot build-up so it’s worth keeping some Preserving Boluses handy. She has a bunch of new air attacks that all have similar set-ups so they’re hard to tell apart. And, annoyingly enough, the Corpse Piler becomes far less effective.
Instead of one kick, now she has two. One with her right foot, and a quicker one with her left. She tends to follow up with the second kick if you try to punish the first kick. So I found a good strategy is to dodge the initial kick and punish with the first two hits of Corpse Piler, then do the same for the second kick. The second kick is fast enough that she’ll almost always punish a full Corpse Piler combo with it. So relinquish any hopes of pulling out a full Corpse Piler.
Her thrust is no longer guaranteed to be punishable. Now she tends to follow up with a jumping slash attack.
Her rapid prosthesis slashes can now come right off of a jumping slash attack, so they’re harder to see. The delayed final strike remains the same though. So keep punishing that the same way you have been, with jump attacks. This is why I said to punish with jump attacks earlier because it’s the only attack that stays consistent. You don’t want to be Corpse Piling out of habit.
The Uppercut Slam is no longer guaranteed punishable. She tends to follow up pretty quickly.
This is the first attack you’ll be introduced to in phase two. She leaps into the air, spreads a bunch of scarlet petals out around her body, and then torpedoes towards you. Once she hits the ground, a massive deadly scarlet flower blossoms around her. Dodge towards her as she’s flying towards you, then get away from her. It’s easier if you stop locking on to her. She has a ridiculously long recovery time and you can’t go near her at all during it. This is what the bow is for.
She jumps into the air and slams her sword into the ground creating an explosion and a vortex of rising rot when her sword hits the ground. She pulls this attack out all the time, often after a thrust. They’re punishable, but you have to dodge twice to get away from the vortex. Only attack her from behind.
She leaps into the air, creates a scarlet vortex below her, and then sends out a bunch of scarlet clones to attack Naruto style. There’s quite a lot to this attack. There are six strikes in total. First, there are two horizontal sweep attacks, followed by a slam, and then three quick thrust attacks. The final thrust will be by Malenia herself. Don’t try to punish it. Like the Waterfowl Dance, just because it’s flashy doesn’t mean she has a slow recovery. The best thing to do during this attack is to get as far away as possible. Though the attacks aim at you, they don’t track directly to you. So if you’re far enough away, you won’t get hit. Just keep dodging backwards.
In two words: be careful. She’s far more aggressive in this phase so it becomes less about instigating and more about recognising where your opportunities are.
Dodge the first Scarlet Aeonia then use the downtime for healing. Drink your Flask of Wondrous Physick if you haven’t already. Then unleash as many flame arrows into her as you can. With Barrage, I found the safest amount to shoot was twelve. She may also use Scarlet Aeonia a few times during the fight. Every time, do the same thing. It’s free damage.
Watch out for the thrust attacks from the Phantom Spirits. Not all phantoms disappear after their attack so keep an eye on the ones that remain so they don’t blindside you.
The best advice though is to be patient and attentive. Don’t get headstrong because you’re reaching the end of the fight. All she needs is a few good hits and she’ll have a bunch of her health back. And you’ll probably be dead.
This fight is not easy, it’s not even hard, it’s nigh unbeatable. Expect to die a lot. Expect there to be attempts where you do nothing wrong and still lose. The point of Malenia is humility. You see it in her movements, her dances. She’s not like other bosses who throw themselves at you constantly. If you get some solid hits in, she’ll jump away. She’s not above retreating if it’s tactical. Don’t think that you’re failing when you die. You’re not. You’re just getting better.
After beating Malenia, you get one of the biggest remembrances in Elden Ring, the Remembrance of the Rot Goddess. As a reward, you get half a million runes and Malenia’s Great Rune which gives you her ability to heal with damage dealt. But most of all, you get the satisfaction of knowing you truly beat Elden Ring.
I recently did a challenge run where I beat Malenia with the hud turned off and without using any healing potions. It took a while, but it was worth it.