Messmer the Impaler close-up in Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

How to Beat Messmer the Impaler in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

Messmer the Impaler is no easy opponent.

Messmer the Impaler is the Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree. They made an 18-inch figure for the collector’s edition, for pity’s sake. And as the poster child, he needs to have one of the most epic boss fights in the DLC — and boy, does he ever. Knowing how to beat Messmer is pretty straightforward, but it should still take quite a few deaths to learn just the same.

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How to Beat Messmer the Impaler in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

Messmer the Impaler, much like any major story boss in Elden Ring, doesn’t even come close to being the toughest fight in Shadow of the Erdtree. He’s more cinematic and set-piece-y than he is punishingly difficult, but it’s still a tricky fight if you don’t know what you’re getting into. He’s a lot like Morgott, the Omen King in that way, and even seasoned players can be caught off guard if they get complacent.

The fight against Messmer has two phases, with the second phase adding several new attacks and altering a few of the moves from the first phase to fit the theme. And while Messmer’s attack list is fairly significant, he’s also not the most complicated fight in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree. No Malenia, Blade of Miquella superboss vibes here.

Now, regardless of which phase you’re in, beating Messmer is a matter of patience and measured aggression. He has lots of attacks with long recovery times, and many of their roll timings are telegraphed from a mile out. As with any Elden Ring boss, many of his moves have a delay before they hit, but there are a couple that come out faster than you might expect.

Lastly, you should know Messmer’s weaknesses. As you’d expect of a fire-element boss, fire damage does next to nothing, and his holy resist is high enough to cut into most holy damage builds. Lightning isn’t a terrible option if you’ve gone for a Dexterity-centric build, and Incantations are still good, provided they do physical damage. Buffs are still entirely usable, as well. And like every enemy in every FromSoftware game that has the mechanic, the Bleed status shreds Messmer. A single bleed activation removes a good sixth of Messmer’s health regardless of phase, trivializing the fight if you can get the status to go off consistently.

All Messmer the Impaler Attacks in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree

Messmer has a solid but not enormous attack list, and all of them are fairly easy to see coming and deal with once you know how.

First Phase Attacks

The opening attack in the Messmer the Impaler boss fight in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

Messmerfire Orb

As Messmer’s usual opener, he jumps high into the air and creates a large orb of flame before slamming it down onto the ground. If you’re caught near the impact, the AoE will knock you down. Shortly after landing, Messmer detonates the orb in a second explosion. To dodge the initial impact, wait until you see a small circle of air appear behind Messmer, then wait another half second for him to begin accelerating. You need to dodge as the acceleration starts to avoid the AoE. Avoiding the explosion takes waiting about a half-second before it goes off, then rolling just as Messmer shoves his hand into the ground.

Swing into Stab

Here, Messmer brings his spear arm across his body and, after about a second of windup, slashes in an arc in front of him. He’ll then pull his arm back again and grind the tip of his spear against the ground before stabbing, an animation that takes another second or so. You can roll both attacks on reaction just as they’re about to come out.

Flaming Grab

Messmer the Impaler's impaling grab attack in Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

One of those attacks I could never fully get my stupid brain around, Messmer’s grab starts with him pulling his off-hand back and filling it with fire, then running quite a distance toward you in a low stance. At the last possible second, he’ll swing his hand upward to try and grab you, and if he does, he’ll stab you and then send you flying with a fiery explosion. Dodging the grab is a lot like doing those from Hoarah Loux: you have to roll just before the grab connects, which is easier said than done.

Five-Hit Combo with Fire Wave

One of the longest attack strings in Messmer’s arsenal, this combo starts with a slow stab with his spear, followed shortly by Messmer summoning a gout of fire in front of him. As the fire starts to fade, he’ll start a three-hit string where he empowers the tip of his spear with flame, then stabs three times. Each strike has a longer windup than the last, but the actual stab also comes out faster each time.

Messmerfire Seeker

You should be familiar with this attack from fighting all the Fire Knights throughout the Shadow Keep. Messmer sends out a small gout of flame in front of him, then generates a large orb of his flame that seeks you out and has insulting levels of tracking. It’s easy to dodge, but he can start other attacks before the seeker hits you, so watch for that.

Jumping Spear Throw

As you might imagine, the jumping spear throw is just that: Messmer jumps into the air and then throws his spear into the ground at your feet. There’s a small-ish explosion when the spear lands and you can safely roll it just as Messmer throws the weapon to avoid the attack. Roll toward the boss, as well, as this attack has a lot of recovery.

Fire Spell and Slash

Messmer here charges up a flame spell in his off-hand, then swings his arm across his front, casting a wide arc of fire. Shortly after, he empowers his spear with flame and swings in a wider arc, sending out a larger, almost 360-degree wave of fire that has significantly more range. Rolling toward him dodges both parts of the attack.

Five Hit Combo with Fire Spin

A variant of his spear-centric five-hit attack, this combo starts with Messmer sending out an arc of his flame, stabbing twice with his spear, then spinning around with his spear aflame. Each attack animation is slow, meaning you’ll need to roll later than if he were using almost any other move, and Messmer repositions with each part of the combo, so getting away is less of an option.

Double Spin, Multistab, Spike Explosion

Messmer’s signature attack sees him jump into the air and set his spear aflame, then do two large spin moves. You know it’s this combo and not the jumping spear throw, as Messmer is a bit lower in the air, and the fact he imbues his spear with fire in the air. After the first two spins, Messmer will stab with his spear rapid-fire, and once the spam is over, jump into the air once more, cover his entire spear with fire, and slam it into the ground, summoning a field of spears in a radius around him. Both the slam and the spear explosion deal damage and can one-shot the unprepared.

Messmer also has a four-hit variation of this move that lacks the final spear slam, which you can note by its lack of the multistab. The lesser variant also lacks the spear field.

All Messmer the Impaler Second Phase Attacks

The beginning of the second phase of the Messmer fight in Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

When Messmer reaches 55-60% HP, his second phase starts following a very lore-important cutscene. Most of his attacks are variants of his first phase ones, albeit usually with additional snake attacks. As such, I won’t be covering repeated moves.

Messmerfire Snake Orb

The opening to the second phase of the Messmer boss fight in Shadow of the Erdtree
Screenshot by GameSkinny

The opening move of Messmer’s second phase sees Messmer’s snake friend fill its mouth with an orb of flame, then come smashing down, detonating the orb shortly after. Avoiding the attack uses the same principle as in the first phase: just as the snake starts to accelerate, dodge to avoid the AoE. Then, you’ll need to wait about a half second for the snake to rear up a bit before pushing the orb into the ground to explode. Knowing that the last movement lets you react to the attack.

Spiral Arrow

Messmer does his best Cammy impression from Street Fighter and launches himself, spear forward, spinning in your direction. The attack animation starts with Messmer pulling back his spear a bit, then very quickly sending both it and himself forward. This attack doesn’t have a ton of tracking, but it will send you flying if it connects, and it goes a long way, so dodging to the side is your best option.

Snake Single Hit or Three Hit Combo

I’m collecting both attacks in one entry because they’re essentially the same: Messmer himself disappears, and the large snake takes his place, rearing back its head for a half second, then attacking. The timing for avoiding the single hit is similar across all three hits of the combo, and even if you get hit by one of them, it doesn’t do a lot of damage or stagger, giving you time to recoup and dodge the next one. One version combo does have the snake slamming its head down on top of you, but avoid that, and you will get free damage. The other sees it continue horizontally.

All the Snakes

Messmer’s big boy attack in the second phase starts with him summoning the purple-black ooze and going limp above it before causing an explosion of translucent red energy. After that, he summons seven snake heads that attack you in quick succession and ends the combo with the spear slam and spear field explosions.

And with that, you’ve made it to the end of Messmer the Impaler’s novelist, meaning you should have everything you need to know about beating him. I know it’s a lot, but hopefully, you can use at least some of this info. In the meantime, check out our other Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree coverage over in the Elden Ring guides hub, including where the point of no return is.

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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.