15 Hardest Elden Ring Boss Fights In Shadow of The Erdtree

Shadow of the Erdtree's hardest bosses show why this DLC is beating even veteran Elden Ring players.

Elden Ring Boss Fights
Photo: Bandai Namco

The hardest boss fights in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree show why this DLC is considered by some to be the toughest installment in FromSoftware’s spiritual Soulsborne series. While I still find the game to be slightly more forgiving than the studio’s other works, I do believe that Shadow of the Erdtree features some of the most difficult boss fights in the history of the Soulslike genre.

Before we dive into that topic, please note that this discussion is limited to bosses in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. We previously discussed the hardest bosses in the base Elden Ring game (many of whom would not make this list if they were combined). However, every boss in the DLC was considered eligible.

Golden Hippo Elden Ring

15. Golden Hippo

Truth be told, I actually had a pretty easy time with this fight. After hearing everyone else’s horror stories, though, I quickly realized that I got very, very lucky and just happened to have the right build for a tough fight.

What makes the Golden Hippo fight harder than it should be is the small room you have to battle the beast in. This boss can cover a lot of ground very quickly, and having to manage the camera or simply remain aware enough not to dodge yourself into a corner is at least half the battle. Furthermore, you will likely try to fight this boss before you are fully capable of doing so, which makes his powerful attacks and difficult to avoid charge abilities that much more of a pain.

Ad – content continues below

Blackgaol Knight Elden Ring

14. Blackgaol Knight

While technically one of the optional, “lesser” bosses in Shadow of the Erdtree, Blackgaol Knight stands out for the fact that many players will likely encounter him before they have any realistic chance of beating him. Well, it turns out that even after you increase your Scadutree Blessing Level a few times, Blackgaol Knight is still kind of a nightmare. 

This Strength-based boss can absolutely melt your poise with just a couple of swings from his massive sword. Worse, he moves surprisingly quickly for a boss with his fighting style, and he has this habit of always putting you in the wrong position to eat one of his devastating follow-up attacks. He can even pepper the area with flaming bolts from his machine gun crossbow, and that’s the closest you come to a breather in this battle. The fact you kind of have to “over level” to beat him is a testament to his power. 

The Scadutree Avatar Elden Ring

13. The Scadutree Avatar

Ranking these bosses from this point on is as tough as the bosses themselves. There’s a very good chance that you’ll struggle to put a dent in Scadutree Avatar and wonder why it isn’t higher on this list. Well, that’s just a testament to how absurdly difficult this DLC can be. 

Scadutree Avatar has three phases and a health bar for all of them. In each of those phases, the optimal strategy is to attack its glowing face (a rare obvious weak point for a boss in this game). Knowing that and doing that are too very different things, though. Throughout all its phases, this boss will fill its arena with projectiles and AoE abilities that inflict a variety of deadly ailments. It also has this nasty dragon-like habit of creating significant distance between you and it and then turning the ground between you into a death zone. By the time it starts charging at you and swinging wildly, you’ll just be grateful it’s no longer unleashing nuclear poison thorn bombs. 

Romina, Saint of the Bud Elden Ring

12. Romina, Saint of the Bud

As the progression-based companion to another boss we’ll be discussing much later on this list, I suppose you could say that Romina feels a bit easier than what came before (or after, depending on how you went about it). However, that’s hardly a comfort when we’re talking about a boss that could have easily been one of the toughest fights in several other FromSoft games. 

The considerable trick up Romina’s sleeve is her liberal use of Scarlet Rot. Yes, Malenia used that status affliction in her legendary boss fight, but Romina is capable of producing a seemingly infinite supply of the stuff through her various attacks. You’re not quite on a timer in this fight that dictates when you succumb to Scarlet Rot, but it certainly feels that way given how much it you’ll have to suffer through while still eating a good bit of raw damage. There are slightly more sizeable openings in this fight, but they become much harder to spot when you also have to keep an eye on your status bar. It is, however, worth noting that this fight’s incredible soundtrack almost makes the repeated attempts to beat Romina worthwhile.

Ad – content continues below

Ancient Dragon Senessax  Elden Ring

11. Ancient Dragon Senessax 

I have not heard many players talk about this optional boss fight, which I can only assume means that many players simply haven’t fought Senessax yet. When you do, let me tell you right now that you are going to regret your decision to be so adventurous. 

Senessax is kind of a reimagining of the Lichdragon Fortissax boss fight from the base game. Seemingly upset that people eventually found a way to cheese that would-be epic fight against a mythical lightning dragon, FromSoftware decided to make this boss as annoying as possible. This dragon’s AoE attacks are as abundant as they are ridiculously powerful. Unlike most dragons, getting close to him and locking on to his legs isn’t really a viable option. The only strategies I’ve seen consistently work against this boss involve riding Torrent around the wide arena and getting in some cheap shots whenever you can. Granted, this fight skews a bit more towards annoying than hard, but it’s certainly close enough to the latter to make your life a misery. 

Divine Beast Dancing Lion Elden Ring

10. Divine Beast Dancing Lion

This early game boss is a big part of the reason why some people were so quick to give up on the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC and label it as unfairly difficult. 

Yes, Divine Beast Dancing Lion hits like a truck, but that’s true of many bosses in this game. What really makes this boss so annoying is the fact that its unique design (it’s basically two kids in a giant trenchcoat) makes it so incredibly difficult to figure out its movement patterns in the middle of a fight. Mind you, you don’t have much time to study in the first place when the Dancing Lion is unleashing a rotating series of ice, lightning, and wind attacks that either come at you in an instant or force you to back away from an incredibly wide area of danger. The unpredictability of this boss certainly makes it feel unfair those first few (dozen?) tries. 

Needle Knight Leda and Company Elden Ring

9. Needle Knight Leda and Company

First off, I love the set-up of this fight. It’s essentially a gladiatorial battle against some of Miquella’s most loyal (and toughest) followers. Mechanically, think of it as a boss rush against some of those NPC invader-type enemies that you see throughout this game. 

Unfortunately, style points don’t make an Elden Ring boss battle any easier. Fairly early into this fight, you will be swarmed by a small army of individually challenging combatants who each utilize fairly different fighting styles that complement each other tragically well. It’s not quite Ornstein and Smough levels of overwhelming chaos, but if you are determined to try to get through this fight without summons as a point of pride, I can tell you now that you will question a lot of decisions that led you to that point. Yet, somehow, the worst is yet to come. 

Ad – content continues below

Midra, Lord of Frenzied Flame Elden Ring

8. Midra, Lord of Frenzied Flame

Midra is a weird one. On paper, he’s not nearly as bad as some of the other bosses due to his slightly more predictable attack combos and the general legibility of his movements. Compared to some of the other bosses that litter tight combat arenas with damage spam, he trends closer to being a relatively fair fight. 

However, the trade-off for all that “being able to tell what is going on” nonsense is the fact that you have little-to-no margin for error in this fight. Everything that Midra does hits hard, and most of it will quickly generate Madness just in case it didn’t kill you outright. His various projectile attacks are a particularly annoying wrinkle. If you’re a caster, feel free to bump the difficulty of this fight up a couple of spots. 

Metyr, Mother of Fingers Elden Ring

7. Metyr, Mother of Fingers

This boss is thematically modeled after Bloodborne’s brand of cosmic horror, but Bloodborne’s enemies were at least kind enough to not be an unholy spider hand that regularly reminds you how futile your efforts are against their ethereal powers. That is Metyr’s whole deal. 

Metry comes at you from every conceivable angle and a few new ones you can barely comprehend. That’s partially because it’s essentially a giant hand that can crab walk toward you in an instant (an always unpleasant sight), but what will really wear you down is its devastating mix of ranged beam attacks and surprisingly agile melee strikes. Even that minefield of mystical orbs that Metyr conjures always seems to leave you in the absolute worst position even if it doesn’t outright kill you. This fight is one of the notable achievements in FromSoftware’s “massive monstrosity you have to chase to the ends of the earth while it kills you in a dozen different ways” school of boss design.

Rellana, Twin Moon Knight

6. Rellana, Twin Moon Knight

There’s a strange thing that happens when you look back at the Rellana fight. After what the end of Shadow of the Erdtree puts you through, you may think “Hey, maybe Rellana” wasn’t so bad. However, Trying to take another crack at this boss in New Game+ reveals that she very much was. 

Rellana is just relentless. We’ve seen Elden Ring bosses this aggressive before, but we’ve rarely seen one this aggressive who can also punish you from a distance via some truly nasty arena-filling spells. Yes, you can find some parry opportunities during that first phase, but by the time she starts slamming moons into the ground and filling the air around you with flames and fury, you’re going to have a hard time maintaining the composure required to utilize that strategy. That said, I do think this is an incredibly well-designed fight. 

Ad – content continues below

Putrescent Knight

5. Putrescent Knight

Everything about this fight just feels slightly off in the worst ways. That’s especially true of Putrescent Knight’s attacks. Not only does he use one of the strangest weapons in the game, but every swing of it seems to land just a little later than you’re expecting it to. That results in countless instances when you find yourself rolling directly into an incoming attack because you flinched at the wrong time. Hey, I’m glad you don’t panic roll, but some of us have to work for a living. 

To make matters worse, this fight takes place in a large arena that always leaves you scrambling to get close enough to this boss to actually do anything. The same was true of the Scadutree fight, but this boss’ erratic behavior and odd hitboxes reduce your window of opportunity to a frustrating sliver. It’s just so difficult to not get frustrated during this battle and completely throw off your timing. 

Bayle The Dread

4. Bayle The Dread

You probably enter the Bayle the Dread battle expecting just another (if admittedly thematically epic) fight against an Elden Ring dragon. That is until you realize that your usual strategy of staying between its legs won’t quite work for Bayle is a dragon with only one leg to his name. That should be your first clue that nothing in this fight will go down the way you think it will.

Bayle is one of the most unpredictable bosses I’ve seen in a FromSoft game. He not only has access to a wide variety of moves but I swear there are times when it feels like he can mix and match those abilities in ways that break his previous patterns. As if that wasn’t enough, his second phase sees him retain those moves while adding spicy AoE blasts to pretty much everything he does. You can (and probably should) summon some additional help for this fight, which might be the only reason it’s not even higher on this list. 

Messmer The Impaler

3. Messmer The Impaler

The most impressive element of this fight (aside from its stunning presentation) is how fair it is in the grand scheme of a Soulsike boss battle. Messmer’s movements are natural, his hitboxes appear to be perfectly implemented, and he doesn’t rely on some massive bag of cheap tricks that punish you no matter what you do. This is one of the best boss fights that FromSoftware has ever gifted gamers. 

It is also the Shadow of the Erdtree boss fight that I suspect will break the most players. Messmer’s extended combos, quick movements, and effective range mean that your blocks, parries, and rolls can not be less than perfect. You will spot your windows of opportunity, but Messmer’s demanding attacks come at you so quickly that you will almost inevitably overextend yourself just in time for him to punish you. In his second phase, Messmer continues his relentless ways but gains the ability to transform into a giant snake with just the right abilities required to completely throw you off your previous rhythm. 

Ad – content continues below

This is one of those fights where you will come close to winning and then spend the next several tries not even getting to his second phase. Even Mimic Tears feel next to useless against this guy. 

Commander Gaius

2. Commander Gaius

The good news is that you can acquire a whopping five Scadutree Fragments shortly after beating this optional boss. It’s the main reason why many players will seek out Commander Gaius in the first place. The tragic irony is that many players will probably need those Fragments before this fight with Gaius if they’re going to have a chance of beating him.

Honestly, though, even those extra Fragments probably wouldn’t help you that much. I’ve heard some compare this fight to the Tree Sentinel battle from the base game, which is fair in the sense that both of these bosses are mounted, armored, and love to unleash sweeping strikes between the times they simply charge you down (as Gaius does at the start of every battle). However, I genuinely think this fight is broken at the moment. It sometimes feels impossible to dodge some of Gaius’ attacks even when it looks like you’ve done everything perfectly. It doesn’t help that Gaius’ mount usually throws an annoyingly powerful and quick attack your way as soon as you finish dodging some massive blow. 

Gaius would be plenty powerful if he was a bit more fair, but this fight is a gauntlet of annoyances you will simply need to endure if you’re going to win. Even then, you may not feel victorious. 

Promised Consort Radahn

1. Promised Consort Radahn

At the risk of being reactionary, I’m going to agree with the increasingly popular consensus that says Promised Consort Radahn is the most difficult boss in the history of FromSoftware games and many other Souslike titles. 

Imagine, if you will, what would happen if you took the relentless attack style of Messmer and made each of his blows about 100% stronger. On top of that, give Messmer access to a variety of magical attack abilities and quick strikes designed to punish you as soon as you finish dodge rolling. That’s a loose approximation of this fight, and that’s only phase one. Phase 2 is significantly more difficult. 

Ad – content continues below

In Phase 2, Radahn becomes blessed with newfound abilities that expertly recreate the thrills of fighting an actual god with only a mere mortal weapon to your name. It’s not just the attacks that generate massive AoE fields of damage wherever they target you; it’s the ways those attacks are unleashed in such quick succession that you are essentially punished for daring to think you could dodge them. You certainly have to be perfect, but there are times when it will feel like perfect isn’t even good enough. In this particular instance, FromSoftware may have finally gone too far. It’s almost impressive in that respect.