While enemies and bosses are the beating heart of any Soulsborne experience, Elden Ring included, some Soulsborne characters are traditionally more powerful (and much more important) than others. In Elden Ring, few characters are more powerful, or more important, than the fabled demigods.
According to the game’s lore, demigods are to blame for nearly all of The Lands Between’s problems. Most demigods in Elden Ring serve as bosses, and it’s up to players to defeat them and claim their prized Great Runes. Generally speaking, demigods are among the toughest enemies in the game and, from a mechanical standpoint, typically serve as Elden Ring‘s “skill checks.”
However, not all Elden Ring demigods are created equal. Not only are some of those bosses simply more powerful because of when players are supposed to face them, but some demigods hide their true potential within Elden Ring’s lore. By examining the game’s roster of demigods, we should be able to rule out the weaklings and crown one demigod as the absolute strongest. Well…at least that was the plan. Try not to be surprised, but it turns out that Elden Ring‘s lore isn’t quite that cut-and-dried.
First off, you’re probably wondering who the strongest demigod is from a gameplay perspective. Well, pound-for-pound, the God-Devouring Serpent/Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy has the most health of any boss (though that’s partially due to his two phases having their own massive health bars). The only real reliable way to make a dent in their defenses is with the Serpent-Hunter weapon, so you might assume Rykard must be the strongest demigod in Elden Ring due to his incredibly tanky nature.
At the risk of upsetting Rykard, though, it turns out that he’s actually cheating. Players never get to see Rykard’s true strength because everything difficult about the boss fight comes from his serpentine host. Sure, Rykard is in control of the snake (and can use its body to crush players), but at the end of the day, it’s still the God-Devouring Serpent’s body doing all the heavy lifting. Even Rykard’s signature spell, Rykard’s Rancor, is only as powerful as it is because of all the innocent victims the snake shoved down its gullet.
A similar issue affects Godrick the Grafted. Nearly every NPC in Elden Ring who talks about Godrick claims he’s a weakling. Not even the game, or, to be more specific, Godrick’s remembrance, sugarcoats his feeble nature. Godrick is only as strong as he is (which isn’t very strong in the first place) because of all the limbs he stole from stronger warriors and grafted onto himself.
Between “asterisks” like Rykard and Godrick and the ways that Elden Ring‘s bosses naturally become more challenging (in most cases) as you progress, it soon becomes clear that we can’t rely solely on in-game metrics to measure a demigod’s strength. That’s why we have to turn to the game’s lore for more conclusive answers.
Right now, in a pre- Elden Ring DLC world, Starscourge Radahn and Malenia, Blade of Miquella are tied for the title of “strongest demigod.” While neither boss has anywhere near as much health as Rykard, various in-game mechanics and bits of lore clearly suggest that those two are at the top of the demigod food chain.
For starters, Elden Ring comes out and says that Radahn is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) demigods out there. The Starscourge Heirloom literally calls him the “mightiest hero of the demigods” and, and Sorceress Sellen claims that Radahn’s gravitational magic was strong enough to stop the stars in the sky. Since the stars start moving again after Radahn’s defeat, she was probably telling the truth. Generally speaking, you have to be pretty strong to affect the stars.
Moreover, the fight against Radahn clearly emphasizes his strength. Many of his attacks can one-shot players if they haven’t leveled up enough, and the best way to defeat Radahn is by summoning a continuous stream of allies to hold his attention. Moreover, Starscourge Radahn has the highest poise of all demigod bosses. So even if he wasn’t the strongest demigod in Elden Ring, he’d still be the most sturdy.
Now, you are probably wondering how Malenia, Blade of Miquella could also be the strongest demigod in Elden Ring if the game admits that Radahn holds that title. Well, even if there is nobody out there stronger than you, that doesn’t mean everyone else is necessarily notably weaker than you. Indeed, Malenia is at least every bit as strong as Radahn in many ways that matter most. Malenia has a lot more health than Radahn (over 33,000 HP divided between two phases, compared to Radahn’s 9,000+ HP), though she also has a lot less poise. While Malenia can’t crush players in a single hit quite like Radahn, she can still dodge most non-homing spells, and her Waterfowl Dance is easily the most annoying attack in the game. Moreover, Malenia heals herself with every strike (even if she hits a shield), which makes her one of the absolute hardest bosses in the game.
Most importantly, Malenia’s lore paints a devastating picture of her true power. Do you remember the game’s opening cinematic which features Malenia fighting Radahn? Well, in that cinematic, it seems like Radahn has clearly defeated Malenia, which would, again, seemingly be a point in his favor. However, before Radahn can land the killing blow, Malenia blossoms and uses Scarlet Rot.
The dirty secret about that sequence is that it actually shows how Caelid turned into the rotten wasteland we see it as at the start of the game. Yes, Malenia unleashed a power so destructive that she destroyed Caelid and gave birth to the Kindred of Rot in the process. Yet, that magical nuke wasn’t enough to destroy Radahn. Instead, it just drove him mad. If anything were to demonstrate why these characters are so evenly matched and both deserve the “strongest demigod” crown, it would be that moment.
When it comes to displays of power, Starscourge Radahn and Malenia, Blade of Miquella are without a doubt two of the strongest demigods in Elden Ring. However, there is one other character that might be able to challenge them for that title without lifting a finger.
Throughout the game, Renna helps players and sends them on quests. Eventually, players learn she is actually the demigod Ranni. Even though she relies heavily on the main character, she is far more powerful than she lets on. She did, after all, orchestrate the Night of Black Knives by stealing a piece of the Rune of Death. Furthermore, according to Gideon Ofnir, Ranni discarded her own Great Rune. The running theory is that Ranni hid her rune on the moon, which, if true, is an action that would demonstrate a ton of power by itself.
Perhaps most importantly, Ranni is one of the few Elden Ring characters players can’t kill. Attacks harmlessly pass through her, and if players give her Preceptor Seluvis’ Amber Draught, the item doesn’t affect her. More impressively, if players keep talking to her after failing to give her the poisonous potion, Ranni demonstrates her ability to one-shot players without attacking. Not even Radahn is capable of such a feat.
Admittedly, the origin of Ranni’s abilities is a mystery and could determine if she is indeed worthy of being called the strongest demigod. Ranni’s invulnerability could merely be the result of her spirit form, while her power to kill players instantly might merely be thanks to her Rune of Death fragment.
Still, if Ranni was always the intangible, one-shotting demigod she is in Elden Ring, then she may very well be more powerful than Radahn and Malenia combined. In that instance, she’s more than worthy of being considered the strongest demigod in the game. If not, then Radahn and Malenia would seemingly share that title for the time being.