The hardest boss in Elden Ring is Malenia, Blade of Miquella. Those early days struggling against Margit and Godrick will seem as quaint and peaceful in comparison. Radahn, too, is a paltry challenge when measured against the woman who made him a fraction of his former glory.
This Elden Ring boss guide will cover all of Malenia’s attacks, but there is no way to overcome her with knowledge alone. You’ll need to experience her attacks and their sheer ferocity. You can summon a Mimic Tear (though it’s been nerfed) or cooperator friends, but I recommend fighting her on your own as long as you can. The satisfaction of learning is well worth it.
How to Beat Malenia, Blade of Miquella in Elden Ring
Every time Malenia hits you, whether guarded or not, she heals between 600-800 HP. Her stronger attacks heal significantly more; if she grabs you, expect her to recover around one-sixth of her health.
What’s worse is that Malenia’s second phase has attacks that cover almost the entire arena, and these heal more than her standard slashes. That said, blocking some of Malenia’s attacks is all but mandatory.
Malenia, Blade of Miquella Phase One Attacks
Malenia tends to chain attacks into combos; just because one move finishes doesn’t mean she won’t use one, two, or even three more in succession. Her combos usually end when she dodges either to the side or hops backward. Malenia may continue the combo if she goes left or right, but going back rarely means a new attack.
Attack 1: One-Two Swing
Made from either a standing or walking position, one swing of this fast two-hit combo may catch you without precise roll timing. Malenia might use this as an attack immediately following a sidestep or after almost any close-range attack.
Attack 2: Faster One-Two
Malenia will rush up and swing twice at higher speeds. Dodging this is technically easier than the standard version, but if you miss-time a dodge or block, Malenia will hit you with both swings. Worse, this attack often gets at least one or two follow-ups.
Attack 3: Follow Up Twist Slam
At the end of a combo, Malenia will quickly spin around, slicing vertically before slamming down. Dodge to the side of this attack; Malenia’s sword is long enough to catch you otherwise.
Attack 4: Step Slash
Another combo extension or ender, Malenia will step to your right and slash across her front. This attack covers almost 180 degrees, so don’t expect to dodge it often. Dodge backward or directly into her — or block.
Attack 5: Five-Hit Dash Combo, Version 1
For both versions of this attack, Malenia dashes forward and throws her sword arm to one side in a flash of crimson sparks and a high-pitched screech. This version is the faster of the two and almost always combos into additional attacks.
You’ll have about half a second to react. Once the attack starts, she’ll swing four times in quick succession, followed by a shower of sparks. When the embers settle, she’ll swing again. Roll to Malenia’s left or right and behind her. You can strafe around Malenia as the attack completes, but do not roll backward. At least one of the swings will clip you at close- to medium-range. The best way to avoid it is to simply run away.
Attack 6: Five-Hit Dash Combo Version 2
The second, slower version is both easier to dodge and counter. It follows the same rules as Version 1, except the tell is different. Version 2 has no red sparks, and the sound is a bit lower. The whole combo is slower. From windup to finish, dodging or dealing with Version 2 is easier, and it feels like the invincibility window for the fifth swing is more generous.
This version of the combo never has a follow-up. Once the final swing goes out, Malenia will be in a recovery animation for a little more than a second, giving you time to deal damage.
Attack 7: Sweeping Jump Kick
Malenia uses this attack on its own or as a combo opener. She’ll approach you, then make a short hop into the air, spinning her leg around causing wind trails. The attack deals low damage but often leads to extensive combo strings. Avoid when possible.
Attack 8: Charging Uppercut and Slam
In this close- or long-range attack, Malenia will pull her sword behind her, with the blade pointing directly away from her. After about two and a half seconds, she will quickly bring the sword across the ground and up into the air, hanging for the same amount of time. She’ll then smash down with the blade.
If Malenia is close, its windup is much faster with the same hangtime. Should Malenia execute it at a longer range, she’ll move about half her arena in distance before launching into the air. Running away is a viable option, but better is to internalize the timing of the uppercut and slam, so you’re close to her when she lands and needs to recover.
Attack 9: Jumping Lunge
Malenia will jump backward slightly and pull her sword close to her face. After about a second and a half of hangtime, she’ll lunge at you, correcting for any changes in your location. If she hits you, she’ll heal almost three times her normal attack amount. Once Malenia begins the lunge, she’ll reach you in milliseconds, so you’ll need to learn the exact dodge timing.
As a rule, roll just as the lunge begins, behind Malenia and to her side. You could roll backward so your invincibility frames put you where Malenia stops for easy damage.
Attack 10: Lunging Grab
In this attack, Malenia pulls her left hand back with an open palm. Then, after about three-quarters of a second, she lunges forward with her open hand extended. If Malenia connects — the grab has some wacky tracking — she’ll toss you into the air and impale you on her prosthetic katana, healing about a quarter of her health.
Rolling back and to the side tends to put you close to Malenia when the animation completes, leaving her open for damage. Though, she sometimes uses the grab as a combo ender. Malenia will also use it as she walks around, seemingly from nowhere, so you can never be too careful.
Attack 11: Waterfowl Dance
The Waterfowl Dance can and will end any attempt. Malenia will first use this attack around two-thirds health by jumping into the air and pulling her sword arm across her chest with the sword readied like a spring. After about three seconds, she’ll rush toward you, slashing her blade dozens of times per second.
Once the first flurry finishes, she quickly begins another, then a third. At the end, she’ll slice the air one last time, and the shockwave will blow you back if it connects. The final attack also heals far more than other slashes.
If you’re directly beneath Malenia, you can dodge Waterfowl Dance, but it is safer to block with high guard and tank every hit save the last. Lock onto Malenia so you face her, as she darts during this attack.
If you’re at a medium distance, run away when you see her rise. You’ll avoid the first two flurries, but if she gets too close, roll to her right, directly into the beginning of the second flurry. Time it right, you won’t take damage from the second set, and you won’t even have to worry about the third.
Malenia, Goddess of Rot Phase 2 Attacks
Phase 2 uses Phase 1 attacks with some alterations. In the Goddess of Rot phase, Malenia’s attacks cause Scarlet Rot, and her slams emit a burst of Scarlet Rot butterflies when they land, with about a second delay between impact and burst. If Malenia hits you, the butterflies will too.
Attack 1: Scarlet Aeonia
The Goddess of Rot phase opener, which can also be a standard attack, Malenia channels the scarlet flower, surrounding herself in orange energy before divebombing after about two and a half seconds. You’ll take damage from the hit and subsequent explosion, as well as Scarlet Rot buildup if you’re too close to the falling petals. Run behind Malenia and to the right before she lands. Roll several times since the Rot reaches far.
Attack 2: Six Scarlet Spirits
Malenia flies high into the air in pink flame. She summons six scarlet spirit clones that attack you in quick, but not equal, succession. The first four spirits follow a predictable pattern, and you’ll need to dodge left and right to avoid them. The fifth spirit strikes almost immediately after the fourth; dodging it is next to impossible without pinpoint timing. As with Waterfowl Dance, simply run and roll as best you can.
Attack 3: Super Lunge
There are two versions of this attack. The simpler of the two is a lunge that Malenia can use from the air or on the ground. The windup is the same but more pronounced. She’ll pull her sword arm back to prime the stab, then charge forward.
The second version happens primarily in the air. Malenia will rise and bring her sword arm across her chest, then come down toward you in a sweeping slash quickly followed by a lunge.
Both attacks extend farther than the standard version and deal more damage. If the attack hits you, expect Malenia to gain about one-fifth of her health back.
With that, you know about every attack in Malenia’s arsenal, understanding their timings, how to deal with the sometimes 10-attack-long combos, and how just a few attacks will put you in the ground. Take on her previous challenger with our guide to Starscourge Radahn, and do the same with the other secret shardbearer, Mohg, Lord of Blood. There’s plenty more in our Elden Ring guides hub, so check back often.