The Elden Ring Malenia boss fight is one of Elden Ring’s toughest optional battles.
The Blade of Miquella has few weaknesses and leaves barely any openings for you to exploit. Her lair, the Haligtree, is also one of the game’s last optional areas. You can’t reach it until near the end of your journey, by which time you should have leveled up yourself and your weapon a fair bit.
Whether you fight Malenia has no effect on which of Elden Ring’s many endings you get, but you will win over one million Runes and some powerful new toys for your trouble.
When should you fight Malenia, Blade of Miquella in Elden Ring?
Malenia is an optional boss, but you only get access to her after opening the gates to the Forbidden Lands and activating the Grand Lift of Rold to reach the Consecrated Snowfields – late in the game, in other words. Malenia stands guard in Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree, one of the last legacy dungeons in Elden Ring.
You should be at least level 120 or higher before challenging Malenia. Grind in the dungeon if you’ve not quite reached those lofty heights yet. Make sure you’re taking a high-level weapon into battle as well, ideally nothing lower than 22. The actual weapon matters less, though something with blood loss as an effect is a good choice.
How to make the Malenia fight easier
You’ll also want a strong Spirit summon, though you have a few options here. Mimic Tear is still a popular choice, even after the nerf, if only because it distracts Malenia and gives you an opening to attack. Lhutel is another good choice, but only for melee classes. Lhutel’s tendency to teleport means you’re more likely to attract Malenia’s attention while casting spells, which defeats the purpose of summoning Lhutel to begin with.
Black Knife Tiche – one of the Legendary Spirit Ashes – is an excellent choice if you want your summon to fight for you. Aside from dealing high damage, her mobility confounds Malenia and makes it difficult for the boss to land a hit.
Whatever your choice, we recommend saving your summon until the fight’s second phase unless you’re having a lot of difficulty in the first half. Having a tank and distraction in the second phase makes it much more manageable.
Sorcery-focused classes have a slightly easier time thanks to the wider variety of spells at their disposal. Stars of Ruin is an excellent choice. The homing abilities and the number of projectiles it fires means you’ll land at least a few hits even if Malenia dodges. Comet Azur or Ranni’s Dark Moon are helpful in the second phase, where Malenia tends to remain still for longer after her attacks.
Faith builds should rely on lightning Incantations, such as Lightning Strike or the Gransax Bolt’s Ancient Lightning Spear. These deal high damage and, unlike most Incantations, affect a broader area, which is a nice counter for Malenia’s dodging. If you grabbed the Triple Rings of Light Incantation in Elphael, that's also a solid choice thanks to the wide area it effects.
Melee classes can be less choosy with their weapons and skills. Any skill that pulls off multiple hits, such as Blood Tax and Waterfowl Dance, is a good pick. Ideally, you’d want a weapon with long reach so you don’t have to get right up to Malenia, so consider benching the fists and hatchets for this fight. Shields are pretty much pointless unless you have incredibly high endurance, so you may want to dual wield or one-hand your weapon for extra damage.
How to beat Malenia, Blade of Miquella
Malenia’s first phase revolves around dodging her sword attacks. Malenia’s sword is longer than most, with reach roughly similar to the Nox Swordstress and Nox Priest. She uses a basic sword slash combo of two strikes and an overhead slash. The overhead slash leaves her vulnerable for a couple of seconds, so rush in and land a strike or two. Sometimes, Malenia ends the combo after the second horizontal slash, and you can rush in and land a strike before dodging away again.
Like most boss fights in Elden Ring, you’ll want to play it safe and only try hitting Malenia two times, maybe three, at most. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to her next combo. One reliable strategy that lets you get one hit in is dodging away from her slashes, and then once she’s finished, you can use a jump attack. Malenia staggers for a second, which gives you enough time to flee.
Less common is an upward thrust attack. Malenia’s hand gleams for a moment, before she swings her sword up, jumps, and brings it back down in a slash. She’s still and vulnerable for a moment before starting the attack and after. Your best bet is attacking her after the move ends, since it’s easy to get caught in it if you strike before.
Her deadliest move is Waterfowl Dance, one that may be familiar if you fought the invader Millicent in Aeonia Swamp. Malenia jumps and lingers in the air for a moment before crashing down and unleashing a whirlwind of sword slashes. She then leaps forward and unleashes the same whirlwind two more times, before standing still and generating two more whirlwinds.
Never try and attack during this move. Just focus on running and dodging.
Finally for this phase, it’s worth noting Malenia is vulnerable to Frostbite and Hemorrhage, though we recommend the latter since Frostbite deals negligible damage. Blood loss takes a significant chunk from Malenia’s HP, making it a good supplement to your normal attacks.
How to beat Malenia, Goddess of Rot - Malenia’s second phase
Once you deplete Malenia’s HP, a cutscene plays where she transforms into the Goddess of Rot, a stronger, faster form with a completely different set of attacks. This form of Malenia relies, unsurprisingly, on attacks with a broad area of effect that inflict you with Scarlet Rot. This is a good time to use your Spirit Ashes if you haven’t already.
By far the most dangerous attack is Malenia’s scarlet bloom. She’ll rise into the air and crash down in an explosion of rot, creating a massive rot flower that deals damage and inflicts Scarlet Rot in a broad area. You have a second or two before the bloom unfurls to dodge, but the best strategy is just running away when you see Malenia rise and start to glow.If you have high HP and can withstand the damage, it’s worth rushing into the bloom after it opens to start attacking Malenia, as she’s immobile while the bloom is in the field. You’ll inevitably be afflicted with Scarlet Rot, so make sure you can take the hit before rushing in and use Preserving Boluses to remove the effect.
Malenia still has her usual sword combos, but with some added flourishes, including a few aerial moves. There’s also a less common move where Malenia begins the combo by flying up and rushing forward with a sword thrust, similar to the Crucible Knight (but faster). The biggest issue with these is re-learning your dodge timing, since there’s a slightly longer delay between most of her strikes. Occasionally, Malenia will stomp her foot and create a plume of rot as well.
Malenia has fewer openings during this phase and usually remains still long enough to attack only after using a rot move. If you’re using a tank summon, though, you should have enough opportunity to attack while she’s distracted.
Victory earns you the Remembrance of the Rot Goddess, which you can take to Enia in Roundtable Hold to purchase either the Hand of Malenia sword or the Scarlet Aeonia Incantation. If you have an unused Wandering Mausoleum, you can duplicate the Remembrance and get the second of Malenia’s powers. Just remember that these Wandering Mausoleums are a one-and-done deal, and there are more Remembrances than there are mausoleums.
To activate Malenia’s Great Rune, you’ll need to reach the Isolated Tower via a teleportal in Leyndell.
If you need more help in The Lands Between, check out our comprehensive collection of Elden Ring guides.