Maliketh, the Black Blade, Goddess Marika’s half-brother and shadow, guardian of Destined Death. With the Rune of Death merged with his flesh, his sanity hangs by a thread, making him quite possibly the most aggressive boss in Elden Ring. Resting at the end of the Crumbling Farum Azula, he awaits an opponent capable of putting him down. In this Elden Ring boss guide, I will not tell you what weapon is most effective against Maliketh. Such would cheapen the player’s autonomy. It’s up to you whether you prefer hammers or swords, magic or incantations, etc. How effective a weapon is comes down to how comfortable a player is with that weapon. This guide will be showing you at what moments Maliketh is most vulnerable. When to play defensively and when to play offensively. There is one item you should get, though, if you like to parry.
Elden Ring – Maliketh Boss Guide Prep: Blasphemous Claw
For the most part, it’s not possible to parry Maliketh’s attacks. And those that can be parried cannot be done through normal means. You need a specific item called the Blasphemous Claw.
In order to obtain the Blasphemous Claw, you must first complete the Volcano Manor sidequest and defeat Praetor Rykard. Afterwards, an invader called Recusant Bernahl will appear in Crumbling Farum Azula at the spot on the map below. To get there, go from the Beside the Great Bridge Site of Grace towards the Maliketh boss arena, then turn around and go the opposite direction once you’re on the Great Bridge.
I encourage anyone to grab this item. Because you are parrying with an item instead of a shield, you can equip it to a quick select button and you don’t have to switch out your Ashes or War or do any crazy weapon switching mid-battle. You get the benefits of parrying without the downsides, and it really does help. During phase one, there are no attacks that can be parried at all. There are, however, two attacks during phase two that can be parried. It’s so hard to get close to Maliketh during phase two, so pulling off a parry gives you some much-needed time to do some damage.
Elden Ring Guide – First Phase: Beast Clergymen Gurranq Boss Fight
After the shame of losing a fragment of Destined Death to Ranni, Maliketh hid his Black Blade beneath his skin and became the beast Gurranq. Because his brain is rotting from the Death Rune, he attacks like a crazed animal, making this phase the most aggressive. This is when you should mostly be playing defensively. If you get too close, he’ll swipe at you with a series of attacks that are too random to time, and he’s too constant for there to be a way to break his poise. Stay back from him and wait for the cues of attacks that are punishable.
Punishable Beast Clergymen Attacks:
Melee Attacks – Forward Ground Stab and Sword Drag
These are the only two punishable attacks that don’t have any special quality to them. I found the Forward Ground Stab to be rare. He usually finished off a long string of swipes with it, so you could potentially bait him into doing it. He raises up on his hind legs to stab into the ground which is similar to a couple of his other attacks, so it may look confusing at first.
The Sword Drag is one of the easiest to punish. He stabs into the ground and delivers a big horizontal slash that has a big wind-up so you can easily dodge through it. Both of these attacks have fairly long recovery times, so you can hit with jumping heavy attacks or even a mid-speed magic attack.
Bestial Sling, Beast Claw and Stone of Gurranq
These are his projectile attacks. All are punishable if you dodge through them, depending on your placement. These are the attacks where you will find the most consistent moments for attacks. If you’re keeping your distance from him, he will pull these out quite frequently. There are a few variations to the Bestial Sling. He’ll follow up attacks with it, and use it as he’s dodging around. The best time for attack is when you see him drag his hand across the ground as he’s standing still.
There are two different kinds of Beast Claw, one when you are close and one when you are far. If you’re far away, he’ll lunge forward as he attacks, sending a shockwave of claws directly at you. He covers a lot of ground with the lunge, so don’t be afraid to attack him if you think you’re too far away. If you’re up close to him, he’ll use Gurranq’s Beast Claw which is an AOE attack rather than targetted. Time your dodge for when he’s pulling his hand out of the ground, don’t attack too early.
Stone of Gurranq has the biggest wind-up as he pulls a boulder out of the floor and hurls it at you. All of these attacks have short recovery times, so only get a quick hit in before you dodge away.
This is his strongest attack during phase one. He slams his hands into the ground and lifts a bunch of massive stones into the air that then come hailing down on you. Though it might be safest to just avoid him during this attack—you can see safe spots on the ground to avoid the falling rocks—but I found this attack to be the most punishable. There are two moments to attack: as he’s slamming his hands into the ground, and right after he’s pulled them out. The attack doesn’t hurt you until he pulls his hand out. I would see him start the attack, get in a jump attack, wait for him to raise his chin then dodge and do another jump attack. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s simple.
Once you get him down to half of his health, he tosses the cloak and pulls out the Black Blade. The true fight with Maliketh begins.
Elden Ring Guide – Second Phase: Maliketh, the Black Blade Boss Fight
Now that the Destined Death isn’t affecting his mind, Maliketh is free to fight as the warrior he was when he fought the Gloam-Eyed Queen. A warrior revered by all of The Lands Between. That being said, he’s actually a bit easier than his deranged counterpart. He’s a bit less aggressive but he makes up for it in range. Maliketh’s Black Blade is massive, and his swipes cover a lot of space. They’re slower, so they’re easier to dodge, but they do a hellova lot more damage. His attacks also reduce your max health and inflict you with an ailment that lowers your health over time. So yeah … try not to get hit.
The strategy shifts. Instead of keeping your distance, you want to get in close to him. His attacks have big wind-ups and are easy to dodge through, but mostly, you want to stay close because he’s going to be jumping away. Maliketh likes to leap around the arena, hopping off of the pillars and hurling red beams at you. The switch from ‘struggling to keep away’ to ‘struggling to keep close’ is a satisfying progression. It also shows just how different of a fighter Maliketh is from Gurranq. Anyway, onto the meat of the Elden Ring Maliketh boss guide: how to punish him.
Punishable Maliketh Attacks:
Double Spin and Overhead Swing
Most of Maliketh’s attacks are somewhat punishable depending on what attack you’re using, the issue is finding consistency. Maliketh tends to blend his attacks into each other in a way where you can’t really tell if it’s safe to attack him. With the Double Spin, he crouches and lowers his blade. And the Overhead Swing has a really long wind-up. You can tell what they are quick, and they have long recoveries. Just remember the word ‘double’ and don’t get hit by the second slash … like I kept doing.
Destined Death and Piledriver
With Destined Death, he swings the sword around his head and then stabs it into the ground, after which follows a series of arcing slashes in a sphere around the point of impact. Because of the long attack that precedes it, it’s easy to tell what he’s going to do. After he stabs the sword into the ground, get behind him and start smacking him in the butt. Depending on how far through the attack he is, you can get a few hits in.
Piledriver has him leaping on his sword and driving it into the ground. He then does one of two things, creates a big explosion or jumps up, does a flip, and land with a Destined Death attack. What he does depends on how far away from him you are. When you’re close, he does the explosion which isn’t very punishable, and the hitbox is quite unforgiving. So a good strategy is to run away when he lodges himself in the ground, the dodge towards him when he flips out of it and get behind him to punish his Destined Death.
This is when he jumps in the air and flings projectiles of red death at you. He’ll follow up with different attacks and like the Piledriver, it’s dependent on how close you are to him. If you’re far away, he’ll throw three blades at you and then chase you down with a quick slash. If you’re close, he’ll throw two blades then finish with a Piledriver. What makes these attacks unique is that they are the only attacks that can be parried.
This is why we got the Blasphemous Blade earlier. The moments at which you should parry is when his blade glows gold. This happens after he’s done hurling blades at you. The timing is quick but definitely worth trying because once he’s parried, he goes blind. He will try to hit you with a blind slash but it’s slow and you barely have to worry about it. Also, if he does a Piledriver off of a pillar, that too can be parried so keep an eye out for that.
That’s how you beat Marika’s shadow and earn the Remembrance of the Black Blade. If you can follow this boss guide perfectly, then you will be able to beat Maliketh without getting hit, and show off your Elden Ring skills. It doesn’t matter what level you are, once you get the patterns down, you’ll beat him. It’s easier said than done though, so don’t get disheartened if you die a lot. You’re not failing, you’re learning the timing of his attacks. You’re progressing, you’re growing better; you’re gittin gud as the internet people say. Of course, you could just summon a Mimic Tear, slam your vigor up, equip Radahn’s armour set and smash through him without thinking. But I feel like the poor dog deserves better.