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The Bosses of Elden Ring Ranked By Difficulty

The Bosses of Elden Ring Ranked By Difficulty

Elden Ring is truly a massive game, boasting at least two open world game’s worth of explorable areas and things to do in said areas. The boss fight list in this game is also truly incredible, featuring over 150 boss encounters.

That number is a bit inflated however by “field bosses”, (bosses that have no lower health bar and/ or no inescapable boss arena) repeated boss encounters, or completely skippable fights. This made picking the bosses for this ranking very difficult as I could not possibly expound on every single boss battle in this amazing game.

The following thirty boss fights are encounters that are either A. completely mandatory for finishing the experience, denoted by no asterisk, B. somewhat avoidable depending on which route(s) you take in the game, denoted by two asterisks, or C. entirely optional as far as the main game is concerned but should definitely be sought out by fans of great boss experiences, denoted by a single asterisk.

The mini bosses/ field boss list will have to wait for another day but I can’t wait to make that list as many of them were also standout fights in my opinion.

Difficulty will also be extremely subjective to each player based on their play-style, build, and even their experience with previous titles. This ranking is simply my own so feel free to disagree with it.

30. Mimic Tear*

Not to lean into the meme of “weak enemy ahead”, knowing full well the upcoming boss fight is against yourself, but in this case it is actually true. Cheesing this boss is as simple as un-equipping everything before the boss fog and re-equipping everything after you enter for the biggest smackdown in Soulsborne history.

Even without this cheese this fight is ridiculously easy as no one will know your own attacks and spams better than yourself. The only tears shed on this battlefield will definitely belong to the mimic!

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 4 out of 10

29. Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing

By the endgame most human enemies and invaders will be total pushovers for the player and having one as a late-game boss is most certainly no different. He can have a tendency to spam various magic attacks if you hang around in front of him for too long, but his health bar is so low that he won’t really have time to get into all that if you are quick.

Keep up the pressure, don’t let him get heals off, and don’t be an idiot about attack windows and he will be dead before he can finish his brainwashed Golden Order rant.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 5.5 out of 10

28. Regal Ancestor Spirit*

Between the Ancestor Spirit and his Regal brother I give the nod in terms of difficulty to the latter due to his slightly more diversified moveset and increased damage. Neither one of them is truly a threat however as long as you don’t get super greedy and just chip away at their health.

He leaves so much room for healing in this fight that even if you are very bad at identifying attack windows he is simply a matter of dealing out more damage than he can. In many ways this fight reminded me of Sif from the original Dark Souls as a fight that, while a lot of fun, made me feel like a monster for winning.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 5.75 out of 10

27. Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon**

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Godrick the Grafted, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, or Starscourge Radahn.

This boss really boils down to a simple puzzle in phase one and whether or not you can kill her in the second phase before she starts summoning big boys to help her out. Magic builds will have an even easier time with this boss than melee builds, but even they will probably not die to this boss all that often if at all.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6 out of 10

26. Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella*

By the time I actually made it to Nokstella in Ranni’s quest I have to admit I felt that I was quite over-leveled based on how this fight went. He did very little damage to me and I absolutely wrecked his health bar. Who knows how I would feel about him had he come earlier in my playthrough but considering that he is in an optional part of an already optional zone, I imagine that many players can understand why he is so low on my list.

A fun boss fight to be sure, just not all that difficult; especially if you have fought the pantheon of large bosses in From’s catalog.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6.25 out of 10

25. Magma Wyrm Makar**

This boss can be completely avoided if you are able to discover both of the pieces to the crest that activates the Lift of Rold, but finding those pieces is actually much harder than killing this big pushover of a lizard.

As long as the player is able to keep enough space around Makar on all sides to avoid his spewing lava attacks when needed and has decent dodging ability for his long sword swipes in phase two, the average player should be able to fell this boss on the first try. (Especially if you have explored every nook and cranny leading up to him like I had.)

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6.25 out of 10

24. Red Wolf of Radagon**

**Skippable if you kill two of the following: Godrick the Grafted, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, or Starscourge Radahn.

Once again I feel like this boss would be much higher up on my list here if it wasn’t for his absolute joke of a health bar. At this point in the game I was still rocking an early strength build (before I realized how bad it was and respec’d to an arcane/ dexterity build) and it took only six hits from my hammer to fell this beautiful creature.

Perhaps for a From Soft newb the magic spells he casts in conjunction with his leaping attacks would be an issue, but I found the timings required for dodging to be generous and the opportunities for retaliation obvious so long as I wasn’t too greedy. It’s an entertaining fight but also not too hard to get down quickly.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6.5 out of 10

23. Leonine Misbegotten* (Weeping Peninsula)

Even though I found this completely optional boss fairly early on, (he was only the third non-dungeon boss I found) I still found him to be quite simple to learn and exploit. His moveset felt like the typical enemies that you have to fight through in Castle Morne to get there and he staggered fairly easily to my strength build.

He did almost get me on my first playthrough though after one of his “red eye” buffs, leaving me with just a small sliver of my health before a narrow dodge and heal. So with that I must give him his respectful due as an easy opponent that might kill the unprepared.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6.5 out of 10

22. Draconic Tree Sentinel** (Lyndell)

Skippable if you complete Fia’s quest and kill Lichdragon Fortissax.

Similar in fashion to many of the bosses on this list, I feel that players who explore each area well before moving on to the next will have the easiest time with the “gatekeeping” bosses like Draconic Tree Sentinel. Like the early tutorial experience of the Tree Sentinel in Limgrave, this suped up version is there to teach players to be prepared before engaging in a new level of enemy.

Players that are particularly thorough about discovering each and every item, upgrade material, and weaponry should have zero problem beating a re-skinned boss encounter whose horse sometimes shoots fireballs and whose spear can call red lighting down from the heavens.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 6.75 out of 10

21. Godfrey, First Elden Lord (Shade)

This encounter probably feels the most like an OG Dark Souls boss fight to me in the sense that it he a slow moving big boy with well-telegraphed moves and big damage upon connection. That’s not to say he can’t move across the arena quickly though, as his axe throw and follow up slam caught me at least twice in my first playthrough.

Even without any type of summon he is fairly easy to play keep away with and bait his “easy to exploit” attacks. With a summon however, this fight becomes a very one-sided affair as he seems to have major troubles picking a target he wants to engage. Perhaps I got good RNG and he just “derped” out on me but I would definitely suggest bringing a friend if you want to make him even easier.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 7 out of 10

20. Loretta, Knight of the Haligtree*

As a corporeal version of an earlier boss with a slightly diversified moveset, I did not find Loretta to be challenging at all but rather a breath of fresh air from the nightmare that ended up being the Haligtree area for me. After learning the tells for her magic-buffed sweep attack that has the potential to one-shot you and learning not to hang around behind her for more than a second she fell pretty easily.

Try hugging her horse on the left side, getting two quick strikes in and rolling away at the slightest movement of her spear, especially if you don’t have a hefty vigor bar. This knight begins to feel like a worthy opponent, but she pails in comparison to the other boss fight in her zone. Shudder.

First Run Deaths: 0

Difficulty: 7 out of 10

19. Astel, Naturalborn of the Void*

I’m not going to lie, when I first walked in to this boss fight after the Lake of Rot, I breathed as sigh of relief as I believed it to be a boss version of one of the smaller Void creatures seen hanging from the ceilings in the ruins of Nokstella. I promptly ran toward Astel only to be sniped by his extremely fast moving gravity spell and just like that I was sent to a loading screen. (Radahn flashbacks ensued.)

He ended up being pretty easy after I got in close enough to force his easier attacks, although his grab attack with his pincers seemed to have tracking on it that was completely unavoidable. I only fought this other-worldly creature in my first playthrough so maybe there was a safer spot to fight from but I hung out right in front of his face a lot whenever I could.

First Run Deaths: 1

Difficulty: 7.25 out of 10

18. Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy**

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Godrick the Grafted, Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, or Starscourge Radahn.

A gimmick boss done right. I won’t spoil to much for the uninitiated but this boss felt more like a typical boss encounter you might find in a God of War or similar third person action game. Tons of fun to be sure, just not very “souls-like”.

I think someone at Rykard’s secret manor should be fired for leaving the one weapon that could kill him easily right inside his boss door, but maybe that’s just me.

First Run Deaths: 1

Difficulty: 7.5 out f 10

17. Lichdragon Fortissax*

This fight probably seemed more difficult to me than it should have because I found him quite early in my playthrough. (I am one of the few that actually stumbled into the Draconic Tree Sentinel skip.)

That being said, he really is just a slightly stronger version of the ancient dragon fights up until this point, with red lightning instead of traditional yellow. I found him to be slightly more challenging than Draconic Tree Sentinel though, so I’m not sure how much of a “skip” it really is.

First Run Deaths: 1

Difficulty: 7.5 out of 10

16. Morgott, the Omen King

This fight is sure to be a fan favorite for years to come in my mind because of the pacing and perfectly balanced damage output/ retaliation opportunities. The musical score and opening cutscene were a huge boon to it as well!

Throw in a second phase with magic attacks forcing spacial awareness and a slew of combo chain mixups and you have a boss that you have to stare down the entire fight in anticipation. When it comes to how enjoyable the boss fights in this game were, only his relative Mohg might rival this crestfallen king.

First Run Deaths: 1

Difficulty: 7.75 out of 10

15. Godskin Noble** (Mt. Gelmir)

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Godrick the Grafted, Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, or Starscourge Radahn.

Hard for all the wrong reasons. Spams fireballs when you are trying to heal, pokes his “needle” at you from five feet away with perfect tracking, and does a rolling attack at various points that can either last 5 seconds or 20 seconds regardless of whether he hits you or not.

I have never been more glad to be over-leveled for a boss encounter in all my life. I would still be fighting this guy if I hadn’t been.

First Run Deaths: 2

Difficulty: 7.75 out of 10

14. Godrick the Grafted**

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, or Starscourge Radahn.

For most players this will be their second “major” boss of the game and he presents a real challenge, especially for the From Soft uninitiated.

Learning to keep close during his storm windup to force his extremely dodge-able and punishable slam attack, to quickly roll away when he raises his axe into the air to avoid a huge AOE, and to quickly run to the right during the first attack of phase two are all things that cost me a life at some point.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 8 out of 10

13. Godfrey, First Elden Lord/ Hoarah Loux

Most of Godfrey’s first phase attacks are similar to his golden shade counterpart, except this time they are accompanied by an earthquake AOE and stomp attack. This may be the only boss in the entire game with which jumping to dodge an attack is an absolutely necessary mechanic.

His second phase isn’t too bad in my option since most of his attacks can be avoided by rolling backwards, attacking once, and then rolling back again. Summoning Nephali and keeping her alive until phase two helps out tremendously with this as well.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 8 out of 10

12. Mohg, Lord of Blood* (Mohgwyn Dynasty)

While not the hardest in the game, Mohg can actually be quite challenging for those who don’t like to collect items or read said item’s descriptions. The three massive blood loss attacks at the beginning of his second phase can be completely avoided (along with his healing that accompanies it), and another special item will bind him to the earth for a few moments for some easy damage at various times.

That being said his second phase is still no joke and can be quite challenging to get down. Just like every boss in the series, I would advise simply dodging everything you can at first and finding those perfect windows for attack.

First Run Deaths: 2

Difficulty: 8.25 out of 10

11. Valiant Gargoyle* (Siofra Aqueducts)

Think Bell Gargoyles from Dark Souls but makes them twice as tall, have twice as much health, and leave little to no time to get any sort of real heal off. I hated these guys when I fought them the first time and those feelings are still very strong.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 8.25 out of 10

10. Flame Giant

The only thing that actually makes this fight hard is how much health this big dude has and how much massive damage he is able to inflict with each slam of his giant plate. Low vigor players are going to have a very hard time here whereas I feel that high vigor players will be able to just squeak by even without a master strategy.

Phase two is even easier than the first so long as you are patient for good windows. Avoid his spam his tracking fireball and circle around behind him on the left for a safe spot to hit him while he does his flame pillar attack.

First Run Deaths: 2

Difficulty: 8.25 out of 10

9. Margit, the Fell Omen**

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, or Starscourge Radahn.

If the Tree Sentinel at the start of the game didn’t scare you off, then this guy just might. His timings seem purposefully off at various points to keep you on your toes and punish those that panic roll after being struck.

Stay calm, keep an eye out for how close to the edge you are, and only ever go for a maximum of two attacks when windows present themselves.

First Run Deaths: 4

Difficulty: 8.5 out of 10

8. Dragonlord Placidusax*

This fight will go down as many Elden Ring players favorite encounter of the entire experience, if they even figure out where he is located to begin with that is. The music, atmosphere, cutscene, boss design, and combat design are all tremendous, leading to quote possibly the best dragon boss fight of any From Soft title. (I’m looking at you, Kalameet, Sihn, and Midir.)

The combination of large sweeps that can be avoided fairly well if you know what you are looking for, combined with several AOE attacks that require decent spacial awareness means that this fight is difficult for all the right reasons and a blast to conquer.

First Run Deaths: 2

Difficulty: 8.5 out of 10

7. Starscourge Radahn**

*Skippable if you kill two of the following: Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy, or Godrick the Grafted.

First death: greatarrow to the face. Second death: smashed by a fiery meteor from outer space.

Even with these super cheap deaths on his hands, I still feel like Radahn is one of the best mid-game bosses of all time. I have not fought him since he was recently patched to have much less aggression, but i have never loved panic rolling away from a large, angry boss more than this guy.

Poor Leonard.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 8.75 out of 10

6. Radagon of the Golden Order

While many in the From Soft community like to hate on this boss right now, I actually found him to be quite enjoyable to learn. There is something about the way that he stares you down as he slowly and menacingly moves closer to you that really got my heart pumping. He almost seems to toy with you in the first phase before realizing you are a legitimate threat and picking up the pace a bit in his second.

If he wasn’t the first fight in a mandatory double-header final boss with an ancient god from space I am positive he would rank higher as far as enjoyment goes in people’s eyes.

First Run Deaths: 4

Difficulty: 8.75 out of 10

5. Godskin Noble and Godskin Apostle (Crumbling Farum Azula)

I am going to give a little more attention to detail with my top five here as I believe that these are the bosses that many players may find themselves stuck on for a while. Such is definitely true with what many call the Godskin Duo. Most players will have already encountered each of these nightmares separately at various points along there travels, but having them both together, sharing one single health bar, and able to revive each other, makes it a whole new level of awful.

From Soft has attempted to recreate their iconic Ornstein and Smough fight from the original Dark Souls on many occasions, and while this particular recreation has the difficulty of that fight, it has none of the balance or enjoyment. Only one will really stay in attack mode at a time but it can be difficult to tell if/ when they switch things up. Many of the fights of this game seem purposefully planned around using spirit summons, but this fight makes them nearly mandatory.

First Run Deaths: 4

Difficulty: 9 out of 10

4. Commander Niall* (Castle Sol)

Commander Niall was an absolute blast to fight in my opinion. Much like Melania further down on my list, his attacks require near perfect timings to avoid and he punishes greed in a big way. His first phase where he summons two banished knights to fight alongside him can be countered by bringing in a summon or two of your own or by smartly using a Bewitching Branch to turn his own allies against him for a time.

After the knights are both dead, he will enter a much more challenging phase in which he is able to close just about any distance in the arena with two of his attacks. Many of his normal attacks are also able to be chained in a strong leg slam with lightning AOE (area of effect) damage, causing absolute caution on the part of the player as to where and when to get strikes in. If his health bar where a little bit longer I have no doubt he would rank higher on this list.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 9 out of 10

3. Beast Clergyman /Malekith, the Black Blade

The Beast Clergyman that many players will have already encountered (and possibly even sparred with if you follow his quest line) starts this fight off and isn’t too bad in his own right, but, after Malekith and the Black Blade are revealed, he will show you why his Rune of Death has that moniker…. again and again and again.

The issue isn’t so much the dodge timings as it is to even land a successful hit on him without taking huge chunk damage yourself. The way he flips around the arena with very little cooldown on his attacks leaves the tiniest of room for error in the player moving in, getting a hit, and getting out of Dodge before he retaliates. This boss is truly a mixture of Ludwig the Accursed from Bloodborne and Artorias the Abysswalker from Dark Souls, not just in appearance and atmosphere, but regrettably in difficulty as well.

First Run Deaths: 3

Difficulty: 9.25 out of 10

2. Elden Beast

This may actually be the highest that I have ever put a true non-optional final boss in one of my lists (Sword Saint Isshin was higher on my list for Sekiro but he is entirely optional) mainly due to the difficulty the second phase of this fight presents for pure melee builds. If you thought Malekith liked to stay outside of your melee range, just wait until you have to learn all of this bosses patterns just to even come close to getting good damage on him before he dives or flys away.

None of that is actually hard enough to justify this penultimate spot in my mind though; it is his Elden Stars miracle that he can cast however, coupled with raining and tracking holy beams and several holy arcing sword slashes that do it for me. If your vigor is below 40 at this boss or you do not have access to holy damage negating spells or consumables, get ready to die many, many times to this series of attacks as no amount of perfect dodging can save you from all of the Elden Stars damage.

First Run Deaths: 6

Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10

1. Malenia, Blade of Miquella/ Malenia, Goddess of Rot

In many ways the optional fight against Malenia is difficult simply because her moveset is far more straightforward than many of the other “pillar” fights of Elden Ring. Where many of the bosses on this list have unusually slow wind-ups to throw off souls veterans, Malenia actually represents a return to form that actually caught me off guard the first several fights.

The timings for dodging her normal swipes and lunging stabs isn’t too bad, but the Waterfowl Dance attack in her first phase and the Scarlet Aeonia attack in her second have really hard dodge timings and can both one-shot low vigor players. This is more than enough to earn her the top spot on my list for hardest Elden Ring boss.

First Run Deaths: 8

Difficulty: 9.75 out of 10