An early sign that Elden Ring isn’t messing around is when you emerge from the tutorial dungeon to The Lands Between. Straight ahead of the First Step Site of Grace, on the way to the Church of Elleh, you can see a halberd and shield-wielding warrior mounted on an armored horse. That’s the Tree Sentinel, a difficult mini-boss that you can take on immediately.
We recommend, however, that you don’t. Tree Sentinel is a boss meant as a measure of progress, to be returned to every now and again to see if you are strong enough. Essentially, you need access to your spirit horse Torrent before seriously attempting this fight. This means you’ll need to have progressed to the Agheel Lake or Stormhill Shack Site of Grace and met Melina.
How to Beat Tree Sentinel in Elden Ring
What You Need to Prepare for Tree Sentinel
In addition to needing Torrent, it is strongly advised you have access to Spirit Summons at this point in the game, preferably upgraded as well. After you’ve gained access to Torrent, travel to the Church of Elleh Site of Grace. When you get there, a witch named Renna will ask you if you can summon your horse. Respond yes, and she will give you the Spirit Summoning Bell and your first set of Spirit Ashes.
These Spirit Ashes can be upgraded at Roundtable Hold after you’ve visited the NPC Roderika, who can first be found at Stormhill Shack. Once you exhaust her dialogue, she will teleport to Roundtable Hold where you can advance her questline by talking to her and Blacksmith Hewg. Once both are convinced, she will become a Spirit Tuner who can upgrade your Spirit Ashes in exchange for Glovewarts.
In addition to these requirements, you should have found a few Golden Seeds and Sacred Tearsto upgrade your total flask capacity and how much they refill respectively. Otherwise, Tree Sentinel can likely kill you in two hits, which can come quickly in his combos. A character level above 20 and a melee weapon that is at least +3 are our other recommended tools for this fight.
Alternatively, you can use a strong ranged magic attack or a bow since most of Tree Sentinel’s attacks are at clone range. Since aiming arrows can be difficult on the horse, we opted for a more reliable melee approach.
Spawn at the First Steps Site of Grace, summon either the Skeletal Militiamen Ashes from Tibia Mariner or Lone Wolf Ashes from Renna and hop aboard Torrent to go take down the Tree Sentinel.
Tree Sentinel Attacks
Tree Sentinel has a handful of attacks. Most involve him using his halberd, which has quite a bit of range to it — another reason not to take this fight on foot. But watch out for his shield as well.
Tree Sentinel Attack 1: Overhead Swing
One of two basic attacks, Tree Sentinel’s horse will raise its legs and then the rider will swing the halberd overhand at you. Should the hit land on or near you, this can be turned into a three-hit combo. You probably can’t take three hits from Tree Sentinel, so be sure to avoid this one.
Tree Sentinel Attack 2: Uppercut Swing
Tree Sentinel will make an underhanded swing on the right side of his horse. Dodge on his left side to get an opportunity to go behind and around him, striking from behind. Pull up perpendicular from the left side of your horse and get a hit in while he queues up the next attack.
Tree Sentinel Attack 3: Horizontal Swing
Tree Sentinel will telegraph a wide horizontal swing by bringing his Halberd up and to the left. This telegraphing is a good opportunity to make a little distance, but not too much as the boss is fairly vulnerable after this move.
Tree Sentinel Attack 4: Halberd Slam
For this attack, watch when the horse gets up on its hind legs. Tree Sentinel will then slam his halberd down in a heavy-damage-dealing AoE attack. Dodge to the side as the horse’s legs come down to avoid this attack and punish the boss.
Tree Sentinel Attack 5: Shove
If you are standing too close to the boss, Tree Sentinel will either shove you with his shield or his horse will shove into you. Either move will stagger you, leaving you vulnerable for the follow-up strike. Make sure to keep your distance after you get your hits in. This is not a boss you want to just sit under.
Tree Sentinel Attack 6: Shield Slam Combo
After you get Tree Sentinel down past half health, he will start doing this move. The boss launches himself in the air and slams down, a deadly but easy-to-dodge attack. It’s the follow-up shield charge that will more likely catch you off guard. This move has killer range and can deal lethal damage.
Tree Sentinel Attack 7: Magic Shield Deflect
Watch out for this move if you are taking on Tree Sentinel at range. Later in the fight, he will protect himself by covering his shield in Holy Runes. This blocks all incoming arrows and any offensive spells that hit the magic shield will create a deflective lightning bolt. For melee builds, this is a great opportunity to get up close and personal and deal major damage to Tree Sentinel.
Another easy way to defeat Tree Sentinel is to use ranged combat and cover that prevents you from taking any damage. Use Torrent’s double jump to mantle up a ruin positioned directly across from the Church of Elleh. This stone structure will give you a height advantage, making you nigh un-killable.
When slain, the Tree Sentinel drops a Golden Halberd and 3,200 Runes. If you have the Strength you can wield the Sentinel’s weapon, a great way to deal Holy damage.
And that’s how you beat the Tree Sentinel boss. For more boss strategies, like how to beat Elden Ring’s first major skill check Margit the Fell Omen, keep it locked to GameSkinny. Our Elden Ring guides page has got you covered.