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The Top 10 Hardest Bosses in Elden Ring

There are hundreds of bosses in Elden Ring, but some are much harder than others. These are the hardest, ranked.

No boss in Elden Ring is “easy” in the traditional sense, but some of them can be “figured out” by fighting and dying to them enough to learn enough about their attacks and patterns to easily defeat them without taking a single hit. The 10 bosses on this list are by far the hardest to learn and master in all of Elden Ring.

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The 10 Hardest Bosses in Elden Ring

There are plenty of hard fights in Elden Ring, some difficult because they’re annoying, others because they make heavy use of additional enemies, and others because the boss’s attacks have odd timings or can catch a bad roll. And while the bosses on this list sometimes use those tricks in a one-on-one fight, they’re still tough to deal with. They all deal absurd damage, have a large enough attack list that learning everything will take time, and are generally complex enough that there’s no one answer to their tricks.

First Honorable Mention: Soldier of God(rick)

The first “boss” of Elden Ring is available in the tutorial area shortly after creating your character. A simple soldier wielding a greatsword, the Soldier of Godrick can still be a massive roadblock if you’re not a veteran of Souls-like games.

That he is so difficult was (and still is) a meme for veterans in the Elden Ring community, but his role as an actual tutorial boss can’t be overstated. If you don’t know what it’s like to play a Souls game, have never used a controller before, or both, this simple enemy can be a brick wall. No, this isn’t actually a hard fight by the standards set by the rest of the game, but it certainly can be for the uninitiated.

Second Honorable Mention: Margit the Fell Omen

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The boss fight against Margit, the Fell Omen, is neither the hardest in the game — even the hardest version of his fight (that honor goes to his true form, Morgott, the Omen King). Margit is, however, a wake-up call fight for every new Elden Ring player.

He teaches some of the game’s most important lessons, including that bosses have slower attacks, are generally more aggressive, that jump and charge attacks are good, and more. His ability to put up such a fight also encourages you to explore the world more, get more comfortable with the game’s mechanics, and level up your character and weapons.

10. Starscourge Radahn

Unlike a lot of bosses in Elden Ring, you can’t even fight Starscourge Radahn until you explore at least some of the world and fight some of the bosses in it. There is simply no legitimate way to reach the elevator that leads to his arena, as the door will be locked shut, and Jerren, the steward of the Radahn Festival, won’t let you pass.

Then you actually fight Radahn, and the field is littered with NPC summon signs. First-time players will need the help because even after his significant nerf, his attacks can easily two-shot even higher-level players. His phase transition will likely one-shot anyone it hits, and his second phase has an entirely new set of attacks that can also end in a quick death if you aren’t precise with your movement. In short, Radahn hits like a truck, is far more mobile than his size would suggest, and is more than happy to send you back to the Grace for the slightest mistake.

9. Godskin Duo

The Godskin Duo boss spawning in Elden Ring
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I hate the Godskin Duo because it could have been a much more interesting fight, with a tricky win condition and better synergy between its two bosses. As it stands, the fight is the worst obligatory boss in Elden Ring, combining the annoyances of the Godskin Apostle and Godskin Noble. The bigger one can be a buggy mess with wonky hitboxes, and the smaller one is mostly just a pest.

The fact that you have to kill both bosses multiple times to win makes things even worse. While I think the fight is hard because it’s bad, I’ve moved it down the list because it’s simple to cheese with the Sleep status and Bleed buildup. These days, I refuse to fight this pair straight up and use every cheesy strat I have in my arsenal. I’ve done it legitimately once before their AI got nerfed, and I refuse to do it again.

8. Radagon of the Golden Order/Elden Beast

Now, I love both of these fights for very different reasons, and while I know that Radagon is the better of the two, the atmosphere of the Elden Beast fight always hits me differently. What makes the pair challenging is you have to fight them back to back without a break, meaning if your Radagon fight goes poorly, you’ll need to fight Elden Beast with lower resources, and both of them have run-killing attacks.

Elden Beast can be a marathon, especially with its massive health pool and tendency to swim around the arena. Its Elden Stars attack is probably the main reason I don’t like it as much as I do other fights on this list, but it’s still fun.

7. Godfrey, First Elden Lord/Hoarah Loux, Warrior

Fighting Godfrey, First Elden Lord, is challenging enough. He has two sub-phases, and both will challenge your knowledge of spacing and dodging. He also tests whether you’ve learned the value of jumping in Elden Ring, as most of his ground slam attacks are useless so long as you’re in the air. Hoarah Loux, on the other hand, will test your spacing and your courage. A professional wrestler out to actually hurt you, he’s fast, his attacks powerful, and he’s much more aggressive than his Godfrey state. He can also make the entire arena’s floor explode with his bare hands, so have fun with that.

6. Lichdragon Fortissax

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Lichdragon Fortissax makes the list of hardest Elden Ring bosses not just because his attacks are fast but also because his fight is a test of your attack control. As long as you’re near him, you’ll need to avoid the red lightning that shoots down off his body, meaning you can’t just stand in one place and wail at him. That all of Fortissax’s attacks deal a lot of damage, are tough to parse when you’re whacking his feet, and his pension to fly around the arena spewing a breath weapon imbued with the powers of Death only adds to the challenge.

5. Loretta, Knight of the Haligtree

While the Loretta you fight in Carian Manor is a phantom, the one you face in the Haligtree is the real deal, and she’s got a much larger attack pool to show for it. You find her guarding the entrance to Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree, and she’s the relative pushover the version of her in Carian Manor was. She deals much more damage, has two proper phases, and, in her second phase, uses advanced versions of the spells in her first, all of which can turn the fight into a bullet hell in your Elden RIng.

4. Dragonlord Placidusax

The dragon Elden Lord from a time long passed, Placidusax is a hidden super boss along the lines of Mohg and Malenia. Depending on your experience, he can also be just as difficult, if not more, than that legendary pair. Like another Niall, another boss we’ll discuss shortly, Placidusax’s massive body belies his maneuverability. His first phase doesn’t see him moving too much, but his lightning attacks remain dangerous. It’s in the second phase that things get crazy. He begins to teleport, his attacks cover much more ground, and his ultimate attack is so powerful it stops the boss music until the attack goes off. Oh, he also has a massive laser breath attack, so have fun with those.

3. Mohg, Lord of Blood

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While I didn’t encounter Mohg, Lord of Blood, on my first playthrough, I’ve fought him plenty in the time since. He used to rank a bit higher on my list of hardest Elden Ring bosses, but he’s one of those fights that you can break down to a science.

Every attack has a significant tell, and once you know what’s coming, you can beat the Lord of Blood almost without needing to dodge roll. You still will, of course, but he’s much less threatening now than he used to be. Just don’t get cocky because Mohg remains a fight that can quickly spiral out of control as he applies more and more Bleed buildup, especially during his second phase.

2. Commander Niall

No other boss besides Malenia has given me quite as much grief as I had fighting Commander Niall. And that’s not taking into account the two Banished Knights he starts the fight with. Removing those two annoyances is actually the easy part of the encounter because Niall himself can still deal a frankly absurd amount of damage to even high-level players in a first playthrough, and he’s got a health pool that just won’t deplete. His attacks can either fill or cover the entire arena and have odd dodge timings, which is another issue altogether.

1. Malenia, Blade of Miquella

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No list of the hardest bosses in Elden Ring boss difficulty list could be published without placing Malenia, Blade of Miquella at the top. She has one of the largest health pools in the game, is insanely fast, heals every time she hits you, and you need to beat her twice actually to win. Her second phase is almost twice as hard as her first because she can use Waterfowl Dance whenever she pleases from the get-go, has a slew of other attacks that are tricky to dodge, and you need to take down her first form again should you die. She also almost derailed my Elden Ring review entirelybut that’s a story for another time..

There are, of course, plenty of other difficult bosses in Elden Ring, but these 10 are probably the game’s hardest (for me, anyhow). What bosses challenge you will depend on your playstyle, build, and stubbornness. If you’re looking for additional content on the game, we have guides on Ranni’s and Fia’s questlines, as well as how to get Smithing Stones. There’s more in our Elden Ring guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.