Developed by FromSoftware, Elden Ring is a critically-acclaimed title that takes inspiration from the Souls series, but it also has plenty of input from high fantasy fiction writer George R.R. Martin. It’s a game known for its story, open-world setting, and — perhaps most of all — its difficulty.
As with any Souls game, there are plenty of hard boss fights to be found. While Elden Ring is definitely no stranger to hair-pulling boss fights, from Morgott to Malekith, these are the showdowns that are often thought of as the hardest.
Updated on July 20, 2022 by Tanner Fox:FromSoftware’s Elden Ring finally arrived in late February 2022 after years of speculation and hype driven by the developer’s avid community. By almost every account, the game met—and even exceeded—expectations, and it did not shy away from the crushing level of difficulty for which FromSoftware’s Soulsborne games are known.
That said, fans are in something of a limbo during the wait for Elden Ring’s thus far unconfirmed DLC. But what better way to overcome that lull than by challenging fifteen of the game’s absolute hardest bosses?
15 Margit, The Fell Omen
The first real boss most Elden Ring players will likely face, Margit, the Fell Omen guards the entrance to Stormveil castle and essentially demands that new players hone their skills in order to continue on. While it’s technically possible to bypass him, those who do will also miss out on the fight against Godrick the Grafted.
Margit, the Fell Omen may not technically be the most difficult boss in Elden Ring, but given how early on he is encountered, he can certainly be pretty tough. In fact, according to GamesRadar, even the game’s producer conceded that Margit was a bit too challenging relative to his placement in the game.
14 Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon
The boss presiding over Liurnia of the Lakes, Rennala is the ex-wife of Radagon who remains exiled to her room in Raya Lucaria Academy. Her first phase — which is reminiscent of the Deacons of the Deep, one of Dark Souls 3‘s easiest bosses — isn’t particularly strenuous, but she pulls out all the stops in her second phase.
Set upon an illusory lake, Rennala is now capable of firing damaging beams of magic and summoning imposing ethereal monsters to fight alongside her. Though she’s certainly not scaled for end-game builds, when encountered at the appropriate level, she can make for a major headache.
13 Morgott – The Omen King
Morgott is technically a continuation of the fight against Margit, the Fell Omen. However, Morgott is even more powerful now, holding nothing back in a last-ditch effort to defend the Erdtree.
Morgott fights with a frenetic and hostile nature and can fire magic arrows that will rain down for a pretty long time. He’s much more aggressive in his second phase when he starts utilizing a unique weapon art. His attacks in the second phase may be very hard to memorize and dodge, but as is the case with most Elden Ring bosses, staying aggressive is the key to victory.
12 Astel, Naturalborn Of The Void
This butterfly-looking creature appears to be very Lovecraftian with its harrowing face, large mandibles, and other gnarly features. The boss fight takes place in a sort of ethereal, cosmic cave and serves as the final hurdle in Ranni the Witch’s questline.
Astel has plenty of magical spells under its belt, and it’s capable of launching meteorites, casting gravity magic, and even teleporting. Anyone who gets close to this beast will be ravaged by a shockwave, but keep any distance and Astel will fire a damaging laser beam. With these moves, players will have to battle this creature both at close range and from the distance.
11 Commander Niall
The final barrier between the player and Miquella’s Haligtree, Commander Niall is a tough opponent made all the more difficult by the fact that he is capable of summoning two soldiers to aid in the fight. Once they are dispatched—a feat that requires the player to balance three enemies at a time—Commander Niall unleashes some devastating lightning and forest-based AOE attacks, and dodging them requires some serious precision.
Ultimately, Commander Niall isn’t anywhere near as tough as what’s waiting for the player beneath the Haligtree, but he serves as a suitable blockade for those foolish enough to pursue Elden Ring‘s actual hardest boss.
10 Draconic Tree Sentinel
Players will encounter the Tree Sentinels multiple times throughout their adventures in Elden Ring‘s Lands Between, but, while the most infamous stands just outside of the game’s tutorial area, another particularly fearsome foe guards the entrance to Lyndell, Royal Capital.
Found far to the north before a fog gate, the Draconic Tree Sentinel is, depending on the player’s playstyle and level, a massive challenge relative to almost anything that’s come before. Agile, tough to hit, and capable of launching lighting strikes that require almost frame-perfect precision, the Draconic Tree Sentinel represents a serious barrier to progression, and some players may prefer to fight the two weaker Tree Sentinels found further south in Altus Plateau.
9 Radagon Of The Golden Order
Radagon happens to be the first half of the two-stage final boss fight in Elden Ring. His short-ranged melee attacks may seem simple for the most part, but they’re also very strong and can give players a headache.
In addition to those melee moves, Radagon can also fire beam projectiles and pull off slam moves, and his attacks are often as difficult to withstand as they are to dodge. Summoning one of Elden Ring‘s many spirit ashes — preferably the Mimic Tear — is all but mandatory for those who don’t want to dedicate hours to this fight.
8 Mohg – Lord Of Blood
Mogh is fairly out of the way, and those who don’t seek out Varre or venture across the Consecrated Snowfields likely won’t find him. He can cast out magical spells that can be easily dodged but can also deal an incredible amount of damage. It’s not until his health is half depleted that he kicks things into high gear and casts an unblockable blood spell across the screen.
Mogh takes on a winged form in the second phase of the fight, giving him more speed. Moreover, his attacks can cover more ground. He’s certainly not the most difficult optional boss in Elden Ring, but those who seek him out ought to be prepared for a fight.
7 Crucible Knight And Crucible Knight Ordovis
FromSoftware is no stranger to having dual bosses, and Elden Ring‘s Crucible Knight and Crucible Knight Ordovis stand among their more infamous. This boss battle doesn’t matter as much in the long run, but anyone who challenges these two in Auriza Hero’s Grave will be in for a hard time.
The knights fight rather aggressively, combining their moves together and going in for the kill after stunning the player with a shockwave. They open their wings in the second phase and charge at the player constantly. Given how aggressive the Crucible Knights are, countering them by playing passive is the safest bet there is, and once again, a spirit ash summon is borderline mandatory in order to even the odds.
6 Godskin Duo
Dealing with the Godskin Apostle and Godskin Noble individually can be irritating enough, but dealing with them both in the same fight can make for one bad experience. In fact, some would argue that these two are among the worst bosses in Soulsborne history.
Both the Apostle and Noble are super fast, and their speed kicks up a notch when they enter their second phase. They can both shoot projectiles; for instance, one boss can fire shots at a player who is fighting with the other from a distance. Worst of all, they must be fought multiple times, as they’ll continually resurrect until the boss’ health bar is completely depleted.
5 Godfrey, First Elden Lord
Godfrey battles with a very aggressive style, wielding a battle ax that can deal tons of damage. In his first phase, he moves slowly, but his cadence can make him tough to track, and his blows can be devastating. He will also produce shockwaves by stomping on the ground, and he’ll do it quite often.
Godfrey amps up the aggression in his second phase where he’ll ditch his ax and go completely berserk. Fighting with his bare fists while soaked in blood, he channels the rage he once wielded as Hoarah Loux, the warrior who once conquered the giants.
4 Starscourge Radahn
Starscourge Radahn stands alongside Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy and the Elden Beast, as one of the largest bosses in the game, but fighting him doesn’t have to be a solo effort. The fight with him functions as more of a raid, as up to seven Elden Ring NPCs can be summoned by the player to take this massive foe down.
While having a team of seven warriors seems like it can make the fight easier, it sadly doesn’t. Radahn’s huge size gives his attacks a huge area of effect, giving them massive hitboxes that are very difficult to dodge.
3 Dragonlord Placidusax
A secret boss encountered only by diligent players in Crumbling Farum Azula, Dragonlord Placidusax has to be the hardest of Elden Ring‘s many dragon enemies. An ancient, towering beast that boasts massive, punishing AOE attacks, this is a tough fight that’s overshadowed only by the true boss of Crumbling Farum Azula.
Able to fly, teleport, and perform intimidating diving attacks that can be difficult to avoid, Dragonlord Placidusax is a worthy end-game opponent and can be truly dangerous for underdeveloped explorers of Elden Ring‘s most challenging regions.
2 Malekith, The Black Blade
Malekith is a two-part boss battle that takes place at the end of the Crumbling Farum Azula. The first part involves the Beast Clergymen Gurranq, a giant creature with a penchant for firing projectiles and using a lot of area-of-effect attacks.
Once the player gets the beast’s health down to fifty percent, the fight with Malekith begins. Malekith is much more violent and agile than the Beast Clergymen; he moves around the stage belligerently, unleashing combos that, even if dodged perfectly, can sap a player’s entire stamina bar. Plus, he’s able to launch devastating arched projectiles and close the gap between himself and the player almost instantly.
1 Malenia, Blade Of Miquella
Malenia may not be the gigantic beast that Starscourge Radahn is, but she’s still generally considered to be the hardest boss in Elden Ring. Some compare her to Bloodborne‘s Orphan of Kos and Dark Souls 3‘s Sister Friede, which speaks to just how difficult she can be.
While her first phase isn’t that bad, her second phase involves fast combos, massive shockwaves, and several copies of herself. Malenia can inflict rot, which can chip away at the player’s health. Worst of all, she has the ability to leech health from the player with every hit she lands, which means that some spirit ash summons will do more harm than good.