Malenia is simply one of the hardest bosses in Elden Ring, and arguably one of the toughest FromSoftware have produced so far. After journeying down through the lengthy and difficult Haligtree, the undefeated swordswoman awaits to likely decimate you on your first attempt.
Not only has she got a repertoire of ridiculously powerful attacks, but she’s insanely quick and can quickly finish you off in a lethal flurry of swordsmanship. To make matters worse, she also heals herself when she lands a hit and unlike some bosses, her second phase regenerates most of her health bar.
Malenia, Blade of Miquella can seem impossible, particularly with melee builds, but I can assure you she is beatable and we have the strategy to defeat her. Here’s our boss guide for how to beat Malenia in Elden Ring.
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What level to fight Malenia in Elden Ring?
I would recommend being at least level 130 to tackle Malenia. There is no such thing as too high. Even upwards of 150 will still be difficult if you don’t nail the strategy.
The best place to grind levels for this difficult battle is within the Haligtree area itself. I would recommend the Drainage Channel Site of Grace. Travel down the wide branches to the building containing the irritating Shrimp-like Kindred of Rot enemies. The outer cemetery area has a host of other Shrimp enemies in one direction (guard counters are particularly effective on these), and a bunch of tough Haligtree guards the other way.
A run through here can easily earn you 100,000 runes or more, which should get you most of the way to a level up. If you run out of flasks before you’ve cleared the area, play it safe by fast traveling back to the Site of Grace and starting again.
Now is also the time to level up your weapons as much as possible. Head to Hewg and use as many Smithing Stones as possible on your preferred weapon. Max it completely if you can.
Malenia Boss Guide: General Tips
Before we delve into her moveset and the specific strategy for taking her down, here are a few general things to keep in mind whilst battling Malenia.
Dodge as much as possible
If you’ve been relying on shields and guard counters, you’ll have to adapt strategies. Malenia will heal herself and undo all of your hard work when she strikes you. The kicker is that she somehow still heals herself if you block an attack and take no damage!
This seems pretty cheap to me, and the only way around it is to make sure you are dodging attacks rather than blocking them.
How to avoid the Waterfowl Dance
There is one exception where blocking is worth it – the Waterfowl Dance. This is Malenia’s most infamous attack (pictured above), virtually impossible to dodge by normal means where she’ll fly into the air before unleashing three consecutive combos that will catch your rolls if you try and retreat.
There are a few somewhat reliable ways to avoid death:
- Walk backwards with the shield raised as soon as she starts this attack. It will strike you and heal her, but it’s better than dying. Your stamina will replenish between combos and there’s a chance she’ll still nick you with a blade.
- Use the Bloodhound’s Step skill to effectively warp away from this attack. It’s an Ash of War obtained by beating a Night’s Cavalry in Northeast Caelid, near Lenne’s Rise (it’s South from Bestial Sanctum). He’s tough but not as tough as Malenia! This is arguably the best method, but it comes at a cost. You must either sacrifice your offensive weapon skill or get used to quickly switching weapons in the middle of battle
- If you’re a long way from her, you can actually sprint away and avoid her first two combos. However, the third one will likely catch you up and you will have to roll into it to prevent damage. This one is tricky and relies upon a safe starting position. If you’re too close when she rises, it’s not going to work.
- You can interrupt the attack whilst she is in midair, but this doesn’t always work. It seems to be based on whether you inflict a status ailment at this stage, which is particularly unreliable as you cannot see the progress of her gauge.
- Apparently you can reliably throw Freezing Pots at her to interrupt the attack. This only works twice before she builds an immunity, and you should not waste any items until you know you can reach the second phase consistently.
Get the Mimic Tear summon
Yes it’s overpowered and no you shouldn’t care. Remember, she heals herself even when she doesn’t do any damage to you – all bets are off.
The Mimic Tear is obtained in Nokron, the Eternal City which is available after being Radahn and seeing the star crash in the distance. This has in fact crashed in Eastern Limgrave, just South of Mistwood Ruins. You’ll need to jump down into the crater, defeat a Mimic boss and do a bit of exploring before you find it. It will also cost you a Stonesword Key but is well worth it as arguably the most powerful summon in the game.
Level this up with Spirit Tuning at Roundtable Hold as much as you can, increasing its health and giving it a fighting chance of making it deep into the second phase where it can draw Malenia’s attention.
Use Frost and Blood Loss
The two status effects that make the biggest difference are blood and frost. Blood Loss buildup will occasionally knock off a big chunk of Malenia’s health bar, whilst Frostbite will reduce her defence and generally leave her more susceptible to damage.
You can either equip an Ash of War that automatically builds up one of these ailments (I recommend blood, as we’ll discuss below), or use items like Freezing Grease or Freezing Pots to temporarily inflect the necessary effects.
Malenia’s attacks: Phase 1
Malenia can string together several powerful attacks, which blend speed and strength in equal measure. Here are the main attacks to anticipate.
Double-Combo – Malenia launches into a series of quick attacks, which has a nasty tendency to transition straight into another one. The opening here simply isn’t big enough to be reliable, so you should spam the dodge button and roll directly opposite her to get as far away as possible. If she follows up with another combo, then keep dodging. However, she sometimes transitions into her thrust or grab attacks which are far better chances to strike back.
Thrust attack – One of the best attacks for Malenia to perform. It may be powerful, but it’s quite easy to read and gives you a solid opening to attack. She will jump backwards and her sword will briefly gleam in preparation, before she propels herself across the arena to thrust you. Dodge to the side and punish her with a few hits before she can regroup.
Waterfowl Dance – No, it’s not just you. This attack is almost impossible to avoid. If she jumps and freezes in mid-air, she is winding up this attack. Malenia will strike with three consecutive airborne flurries, whittling your health bar down in an instant. As discussed above, you have limited options. My preferred one was a simple shield block whilst slowly retreating.
Grab and impale – This is Malenia’s other ridiculously powerful attack, where she’ll grab you and toss you into the air before impaling you. It’s unblockable and unless you have high health, you can easily be killed in one hit. She’ll telegraph this attack by reaching her hand out and give you a decent amount of time to get out of the way, but pure distance won’t be enough – she will close the gap and you have to roll aside from it. Even if you survive the hit, she will regenerate an absurd amount of health so it’s crucial you learn to read this attack. This also grants a window to strike back a few times once she’s missed.
Malenia’s attacks: Phase 2
When Malenia’s health is fully depleted, you’ll trigger a cut-scene and her second phase. Unfortunately, she’ll start this phase with a new health bar that’s three-quarters full. She now has wings and a few more devastating attacks whilst also retaining her attacks from the first phase.
Flower-bomb – Malenia will start this phase in mid-air, before bombing down towards you. This attack is powerful but quite easy to dodge. It will immediately create a large flower around her which will do damage if touched, along with Scarlet Rot build-up. Stay away until the flower has disappeared, before running in and attacking Malenia as she gets up. There’s enough time to land a few hits here. Malenia can actually use this attack again through the fight. When you see the red flower envelop her, prepare to dodge and again counterattack when the flower disappears.
Slam attack – Perhaps the best chance to attack during this phase is when Malenia jumps in the air and strikes down into the ground. This looks similar to the start of Waterfowl Dance, but this time she’ll simply attack once before an explosion of Scarlet Rot will follow in front of her. After dodging, get behind her as quickly as possible and land a few strikes. This is a solid opening.
Clone combo – This is one of the toughest attacks in Malenia’s second phase. She’ll fly in the air and launch a series of ghost-like clones at you. There are four in total, before Malenia herself finishes off the attack by charging you head-on. You simply have to dodge this attack – spamming the button will not do the business, and you must keep your composure by leaving a slight delay after each clone passes before dodging again (though the gap between third and fourth strike is smaller). If you miraculously dodge them all along with Melania, there’s an opening to attack her. Get this wrong and you could be facing another death.
How to beat Malenia: winning strategy
Bleed is your friend for this battle. If you are a melee build, equip the Bloody Slash Ashes of War and ensure your weapon is set to cause Blood Loss buildup as well as equipping the weapon skill itself. There are better skills out there, like Corpse Piler, but Bloody Slash does not commit you to a lengthy animation that leaves you open if you miss.
I would also recommend equipping a shield, as it’s one of the only reliable methods of preventing the dreaded Waterfowl Dance from killing you in one go. However, make sure your shield doesn’t have an Ash of War or ability that takes precedence over the Bloody Slash skill. I’d also recommend the Dragoncrest Greatshield talisman to reduce physical damage, along with others to boost your health and stamina.
Malenia boss guide: first phase strategy
Malenia is actually quite passive here, but springs into action with lethal counterattacks when she’s hit. Do not summon just yet, but keep your distance from Malenia and let her walk towards you. Slowly walk towards her yourself and get just inside her range of attack. If she attacks you, then hammer the dodge button and dodge backwards repeatedly and sprint away when you’re out of her range.
What we’re really doing here is picking our opportunities. Often, she will simply keep walking and will not initiate an attack until you do. When this happens, use Bloody Slash which will deal solid damage and also knock her off-balance and give you a chance to get back.
Walk backwards and wait for a brief moment – she will either attack you in response or start walking again. If she attacks, then dodge away and bide your time again. If she walks instead, then you can step forward and land another Bloody Slash. It’s possible to repeat this step numerous times. On one occasion I was able to get four consecutive Bloody Slash attacks in without Malenia attacking, before running away and healing up.
Once she’s down to about half of her health, retreat far away and summon your Mimic Tear. Strafe around her so she is facing you and leaving her back exposed to the Mimic, who will rush in and start attacking, drawing her attention. This is your chance – hammer her from behind with jump attacks and heavy attacks, and try to work in tandem with your mimic. You can keep her in a stunlock that will soon knock her to the ground and cause a Blood Loss. After a while, she will manage to dodge away and counter-attack, so stay on your toes and get ready to dodge her counterattacks when she breaks the stunlock.
Stay sharp to avoid the dangerous attacks like the grab, thrust and Waterfowl Dance, and be aggressive when she faces the Mimic. Using this method, you should be able to whittle down her health without using up too many flasks.
Malenia boss guide: second phase strategy
It’s important your Mimic Tear still has high health, because her initial attack will do it some significant damage. She’ll start by dive-bombing you and forming the large flower which causes damage and Scarlet Rot upon your touch. The Mimic won’t care about this so just let them attack until the flower disappears. Run in and attack her repeatedly. By the time you’re done she should be down to about two-thirds of her health.
Malenia is more aggressive in this phase, so the Bloody Slash tactic is less likely to work, but can still be useful at the right times. Your best option is to take advantage of your Mimic and attack aggressively when it’s got her attention. When Malenia turns her attention towards you, then keep a safe distance and dodge backwards until the Mimic helps out and you gain an opportunity to strike her together.
The best chances to counterattack her come from the following moves, so learn these attacks to hit her hard on the counterattack:
- Thrust attack
- Slam and Scarlet Rot explosion
- Grab and impale
Meanwhile, you’ll also need to dodge her clone combo and generic sword flurries. Try and get into a rhythm of helping your mimic before retreating. When you both land a few consecutive attacks, you’ll still be able to knock her down and deal a critical hit. If you strike this from the front, you can charge a heavy attack to hit her again before she gets to her feet.
If she performs the flower-bomb a second time whilst she’s on low health and you’re on high health, then you can potentially afford to charge in and finish her off whilst the flower still surrounds her. This is how I dealt the final blow, taking the damage on the chin to exploit her vulnerability.
Don’t be ashamed if this takes a multitude of attempts. If you keep your Mimic healthy going into the second phase and you get lucky with her attacks, you’ll have a fighting chance.
Along with the sheer sense of triumph, you’ll be rewarded with a whopping 480,000 runes along with Malenia’s Great Rune and Remembrance of the Rot Goddess. You’ll also snag the Shardbearer Malenia trophy. If you successfully take down Malenia, you’re probably ready to tackle the final boss.
There’s a lot to think about against Malenia, so here are the most important points recapped.
- Equip the Bloody Slash Ash of War and the Mimic Tear summon, preferably fully-levelled by Spirit Tuning
- In her first phase, play passively and use Bloody Slash when she’s walking towards you without attacking
- Learn to avoid her grab and thrust attacks to counter-attack these with your own combos
- Block her dangerous Waterfowl Dance or run away if you have some distance
- Summon the Mimic when she’s on about half health and try and stunlock her for the rest of the phase whilst landing critical hits
- In her second phase, avoid her flower-bomb attack and rush in to attack when the flower disappears
- Attack when she’s focused on the Mimic, but dodge away from her when she’s focused on you
- Wait for your opportunities after she misses with her grab, thrust, slam or flower-bomb
- Do your best to read these attacks, and try to dodge her dangerous clone attack
- Throw Freezing Pots to interrupt her Waterfowl Dance or equip Bloodhound’s Step (optional)
Hopefully this boss guide of how to beat Malenia in Elden Ring will finally yield victory over the toughest foe in the game. Securing victory is a wonderful feeling, so stick at it and don’t give up. You can do it.