From our perspective, the toughest boss in Elden Ring is Malenia, by far. Fortunately, it's an optional boss, since we can feel that the developers have let go. She has some slightly unusual mechanics, which can prove incredibly frustrating with the healing on her attacks, but she's also magnificent in return, giving her the role she deserves in this vast game. , with various strategies and equipment, we managed to defeat her. Here's everything we've learned to help you do the same.
Reaching it is not easy either, since you will have to unlock the Sacred Snowfields, then the Sacred Tree of Malenia.
Malenia care explained
Before going any further, let's start by presenting the unique mechanism of this boss: healing on its attacks. Whenever Malenia touches something, whether it's you, your summoned spirit, or a co-op summoned player, she will regain health. We don't know what the exact amount is, but it seems to be around 3-5% or so. It doesn't seem like that much, but she attacks very quickly and she can easily hit you 4-5 times in a row with certain abilities. It is also horribly difficult to dodge some attacks. This means that unless you avoid the vast majority of her attacks and/or inflict huge damage on her, the fight can drag on, and she can recover all her health easily.
We don't call it a life drain for a good reason, if you block an attack with a shield, even if it reduces damage by 100%, it will still recover life . In other words, it's a real nightmare if you've relied on it on previous bosses and it's at the center of your build.
Fortunately, Malenia has a big weakness in return, it is relatively easy to make her flinch, tackle her to the ground, even break her posture in order to inflict a critical hit on her. This means that with powerful enough attacks and being aggressive enough, it is possible to limit its attacks, and therefore its healing.
- It's unusual, but we advise you to change the build and the way of playing for this boss. You can change gear minimally, and if need be, go to Rennala for a Rebirth . Adopting a very aggressive build, or even a caster build, may be the best solution in some cases.
- The choice of summoning spirit is vital on this fight. Unless you're an exceptional player, you're going to need it on this fight, but you need the right one. A spirit that is too weak or not very agile will just serve as a healbot for Malenia. We tested several, Tiche of the Black Knives is not bad, but the best results were obtained with the Tear Imitator , using the Major Rune of Cursed Blood of Moghr. You absolutely need to improve it to +10 with Roderika . As this will create an almost perfect copy of your character, complete with spells, consumables and weapon skill, if you have the right build the result is going to be absolutely devastating.
- You need the right talismans to improve your damage on one side, and ensure your survival on the other. Malenia really hurts.
- Don't skimp on consumables, whether it's Coatings for your weapon, Pink Pellets for Scarlet Rot, or Runic Bows to activate your Major Rune.
Malenia, sword of Miquella
- The first phase of the fight isn't too bad yet, if we forget the healing. Malenia is quite vulnerable to big jump attacks when walking, for example, which makes it easy to put big attack combos and critical attacks on her.
- She loves to dash forward and put in a combo of about 5 very fast hits, almost impossible to dodge unless you are reactive and chain back rolls. Using the good old sideways roll technique doesn't seem like an option here. You can test with the Ashen of War Not-snitch if you want to play more aggressively, but it will deprive you of an offensive skill. A moment before activating this ability, Malenia deploys her blade and produces some sparks, so you know she's coming.
- Malenia also loves to dash forward and impale you on her blade, roll sideways and then turn around to attack her.
- Watch out for the boss's grip, she'll play a little animation with her left hand which shows that she's going to try to grab you. It hurts incredibly. Roll behind his back or at a distance.
- The real danger on this phase is his multiple spinning attack. Malenia will jump in the air and cock her sword. She will then rush at you and cause a 360° sphere of blades. She will repeat the operation several times, before landing on the ground and releasing a final circle of attack. Even with the toughest character in the game, she can absolutely take you from 100% to 0% health if you take too many hits. Theoretically, it's possible to dodge all of these attacks with the right timing, but it's really hard to grab, and she doesn't use it often enough to practice intensively dealing with it properly. The best compromise we've found is to either dodge as much as possible hoping for some luck and then heal up, which isn't ideal, or quickly take out a big shield and block it all, preferably with a buff like Steadfast Wall. This will allow him to heal himself, but it's better than dying.
- As mentioned above, the key point of this phase is your ability to inflict damage, and posture damage to Malenia by not giving her time to breathe, this will interrupt her attacks and prevent her from using her most dangerous abilities too often . By playing well in tandem with your summon, you can get it into phase 2 quickly.
- Another important point during this phase is to preserve the life of your summon, it will really suffer during phase 2, and the longer it lasts, the better your chances of winning. If you have a really efficient and aggressive build, you can optionally choose to summon it only during the second phase.
Malenia, Goddess of Decay
- When Malenia's health drops to 0, a cutscene begins, with her transformation. Serious things begin. Your survival will become much more difficult in this phase, and Malenia also has fewer openings for you to take advantage of to attack her. She is also much harder to interrupt with attacks.
- The phase always starts the same way, Malenia is in the air, and she is preparing to crash into you. You have to perform a back roll with the right timing, otherwise it could kill you instantly (it starts well). Even if this is not the case, the scarlet explosion that will follow a moment later will create an almost 100% lethal combo. We advise you to take advantage of the second before the crash to drink your Vial of Miraculous Salvation, with a bubble crystal tear that will stop an attack no matter how powerful. In this way, you will survive even if you miss your dodge. You have to back off urgently in any case, since the scarlet flower hurts a lot, and it will quickly fill your alteration bar with scarlet rot, in addition to hurting you. Note that the damage of scarlet rot in this fight is very important, do not hesitate to use a pink pellet to empty your gauge before it is full.
- When Malenia deploys her red flower, it is almost suicidal to attack her in melee, but it is also an opportunity to inflict damage on her. If you have ranged attacks, now is the time , be it spells, explosive pots, a lightning war ash or even a bow with powerful attacks. Taking advantage of this moment will probably make the difference. You also have to find the right timing to attack in melee (if necessary) with a powerful jump attack for example. Ideally, you should put a critical attack on him fairly quickly.
- The boss will continue to use its attacks from the first phase, and add some. His big vertical smash in front of her seems to leave her vulnerable, but it's a trap, it now causes a scarlet explosion a moment later. You can counter-attack, it's probably your best opportunity during this phase, but not from the front, or you have to wait a bit for the explosion to pass.
- When Malenia is floating in the air, she will summon spectral copies that will charge at you and impale you from different angles. It's particularly deadly, multiply the rolls in different directions, there are at least 4 or 5.
- The spin attack from the first phase returns, but in an even deadlier form that applies Scarlet Rot. Dodge back with the right timing and hope to survive. Sometimes a big attack launched at the right time can interrupt the thing.
- It's pretty rare, but it does happen that Malenia uses her meteor ability again, followed by the blooming of the red flower. It's an immense danger, but also a fantastic opportunity to hurt her, if you survive the combo she produces a second time.
- More than ever, this phase is a DPS race, you have to manage to kill Malenia before the death of your summon (or shortly after) . It really hurts, and if you don't manage your dodges perfectly, it will heal. Don't get carried away when her health is low, a reckless attack can easily backfire (and heal her, again). If you have a few spells, skills, or bombs left, it can help finish him off safely.
Rewards and restoring the major rune of Malenia
In addition to the particularly satisfying Trophy to receive, you will obtain the Major Rune of Malenia. She is restored to the isolated divine tower, in the middle of the ocean . You have to take the teleporter located south of the capital. If you have already ignited the World Tree, the only way to reach the location is to use the trapped chest in the Tower of Return, at the southwestern tip of the Tearful Peninsula , in Necrolimbo. The effects of this rune are similar to Bloodborne's combat heals: attacking an enemy after taking damage heals you. In return, it will reduce the effect of your healing vials.
As always, the boss also leaves his memory, you can exchange it for a Red Flower Incantation that will inflict scarlet rot, or for the Katana that made you suffer for a bunch of hours: the hand of Malenia.
Finally, if you have completed Millicent 's questline , you can use her pure gold needle on the red flower that will appear in the middle of the room after resting at Grace Point. Using it in Farum Azula, after defeating his hidden dragon boss , allows you to choose an ending other than Lord of the Exalted Flame , if you use the alternate method to set the World Tree on fire.