Have you finally made it through the absolutely brutal Haligtree dungeon in Elden Ring? Excited to fight the boss to cap off this difficult level? And have you also been wondering where’s the character that was in so much of the promotional material and was shown as early as Elden Ring’s very first initial reveal? Well, all your questions are going to be answered as soon as you get to the bottom of Haligtree and meet Malenia, Blade of Miquella.
After a terrifyingly difficult level, Malenia, Blade of Miquella stands in your way as the final obstacle. Her appearance, her intro, and her arena all hint at a very difficult fight much akin to former soulsborne adversaries like Sister Friede, Lady Maria, Orphan of Kos, or even Sword Saint Isshin from Sekiro. What is surprising, however, is that Malenia trumps every single boss I have just mentioned as the hardest Elden Ring boss FromSoftware has ever designed. So let’s get into how you can stand a chance against her ruthless assault:
Phase 1 of Malenia starts off as a traditional duel where you have to learn her attack patterns and punish her accordingly but you will soon realize there are a number of ways in which Malenia differentiates herself from any other boss in the game. For one, she heals a good bit of her health every time she lands a hit on you, which means making even small mistakes in this fight can be extremely taxing.
Malenia’s phase 1 is mostly simple minus one of her attacks. Her attacks are mostly standard sweeps and strikes that come off fast but are also fairly predictable. She can also do a forward dash followed by a flurry of attacks that can heal a huge portion of her health but the fun bit is that if that flurry lands you’re most likely dead anyways so that helps a lot.
She also has two specific attacks that can cover great distance, one is her stinger thrust attack that she does if you get away from her to do a quick heal, this attack has a lot of damage and can easily shave off more than half your health bar. The other is a devastating grab that comes out fast and will one-shot you in most cases. She also has two different charge attacks that she can do at close range and long-range.
Malenia’s most devastating attack, however, is her Waterfowl Dance. Malenia leaps up into the air while preparing for a strike. This leads to an onslaught of brutal flurries that can easily kill you even if you see it coming.
She does 3 flurries, one is a forward flurry of attacks that can cover almost half the arena, followed by one where she does it in place, which is then followed by the final flurry which is supposed to punish you into rolling behind or toward her. While this attack may seem undodgeable and to be fair it kind of is but there are ways to avoid it.
Here’s how you can avoid Malenia’s Waterfowl dance:
- Make sure you’re a good distance away from her when you see her bracing for the attack and start running away from her first flurry, roll INTO her second flurry and simply stay still or walk towards her before she starts her third flurry.
- This tactic requires you to have high stamina but if you play carefully it can be used to avoid damage fairly consistently, especially if Malenia starts that attack when you’re close to her. Grab a shield and make sure it has 100% Physical Damage resistance, block the first flurry and then do the same as above for the next two. Keep in mind, even if you block this attack she can still somehow heal from the first flurry.
- For this, you need to make sure you have the Bloodhound Step Ash of War. Equip that on any of your weapons and it lets you dodge her entire flurry fairly easily.
- If you’re using a bleed weapon and feeling lucky, you can hope for the best and attack her as she’s leaping into the air. If the bleed procs it will cancel her attack and will leave her open to a few more hits.
Malenia also has combos that can last until she pleases meaning a lot of her openings are usually random. Although there are certain punishable attacks that she can do that guarantee an opening. Her punishable attacks include her charged thrust, her grab, and her two other charged attacks.
One of which can be done at long distance where she slides towards you for an attack and then combos into another attack, make sure to dodge fast as possible because the second attack comes out deceptively fast.
This leaves her open to a few hits. The other charged attack that you can punish is her upwards strike into the air followed by a delayed attack as she comes back to the ground. The other two punishable attacks in Malenia’s repertoire are her quick upwards air strike followed by a short delay ground attack, this attack always results in Malenia ending her combo meaning you have a room to punish her.
Another attack that guarantees an opening is her flurry of attacks that is signified by a spark of her prosthetic arm, this attack can easily be dodged by rolling into Malenia, the opening is when she does it two times in a row. You can tell her combo has ended when her follow up attack after the flurry is slightly delayed.
Aside from abusing her openings as much as you can we also highly recommend bringing in a fast weapon that can quickly cause high bleed build-up, weapons like the Uchigatana, Bloodhound Claws or even Moonveil if you’re a magic user can be great options.
A few things that make Malenia a somewhat manageable boss are her weakness towards bleed damage and that she can be staggered easily. We recommend doing attacks that can cause high stagger build-up, jump attacks are particularly good at that but they need to be timed very well.
Master all that and abuse her openings, now you are finally ready to take on…. Phase 1.
Phase 2: Malenia, Goddess of Rot:
After you finally managed to get through the first phase of the fight its time to get used to Phase 2. Malenia has now embraced her Scarlet Rot powers and will be coming at you with everything she has. Phase 2 starts Malenia with 70% health but that’s only a slight edge in a fight where she can quickly heal back that HP if you let her.
Malenia will always start her second phase with two extremely powerful attacks, one where she charges into the ground and the follow-up blast a second or two later. To avoid this, you have to perfectly master the timing of her charge and run away from her before the AoE blast happens.
The effects of this attack last for a while and can quickly drain your HP while slowly causing Scarlet Rot if you go near Malenia during this attack which is why we highly recommend keeping a few Scarlet Rot boluses in your inventory for this phase.
During this attack, Malenia will be completely stationary for a few seconds, if you time it right you can go in exactly as the damage window ends while she’s getting up and land a good few attacks. You can also dodge her initial attack and run behind for an AoE, wait for the damage window to end and then rush in and punish her with a fully charged R2 on the back for massive Stagger damage.
Most of Malenia’s attacks are almost the same as they were in Phase 2 with a few scary additions. Some of her attacks are now imbued with Scarlet Rot, this includes her Waterfowl Dance, making it an even more deadlier attack than it was before. She has fewer punishable attacks now and most of her punishable attacks now leave a delayed Scarlet Rot explosion making her attacks much harder to punish.
Her combos are also longer and her attacks are harder to see because of the butterfly wings making it harder to see anything coming at you. Keep punishing the little openings she does give you for your own barrage of attacks and eventually you’ll be able to whittle her down.
In this phase Malenia also gains a new move that’s almost as hard to deal with as her “Waterfowl Dance” but can also be dodged fairly consistently if you know how to. Malenia flies into the air while covered with a Scarlet Rot aura and then summons 5-6 clones to attack you. Each clone lands one strike and disappears followed by a final blow from Malenia.
This is a very dangerous attack that can easily kill you if your are not careful. To dodge it make sure you perfectly dodge the first strike and then keep spamming the dodge button while you strafe to the side. Personally, I have no idea how this worked, but it was the reason I managed to beat Malenia after 4 days of constantly dying to her.
Everything remains the same, make sure you stagger her as much as possible and try to punish every opening you can find. Her weaknesses are the same but harder to take advantage of now. And pray that RNG is on your side and she doesn’t spam her Waterfowl Dance.
She will do her starting Phase 2 AoE attack multiple times throughout Phase 2, making sure to get a fully charged R2 in every time to build up her stagger. Make sure your dodges are on-point and slowly whittle her down and you will finally be able to best this insanely difficult boss fight.
Beating Malenia nets you 480k Runes, her Remembrance, and her Great Rune. Her Remembrance can be used to redeem either the “Hand of Malenia” Katana or her “Scarlet Aeonia” incantation. Her Great Rune lets you regain lost health with damage like in Bloodborne.
And that’s really all I can tell you on how to beat Malenia. She’s the hardest boss in the entire series for good reason and one of that is because it’s not really easy to cheese her. You can go in using summons which can be good if you manage to stun lock her in both phases but can also be free health kits for Malenia as she will heal off the damage she does to your summon so we advise against using summons.
Malenia embodies a very important part of Elden Ring. While Elden Ring is a natural conclusion of everything From Software has learned up to this point, Malenia is the ultimate challenge that serves as a natural conclusion to some of the hardest adversaries you’ve faced in this franchise.