How to defeat Malenia, Blade of Miquella in Elden Ring

One of Elden Ring’s most challenging foes.

Image via FromSoftware

Elden Ring has its fair share of challenging encounters, but the most threatening of all is likely the clash with Malenia, Blade of Miquella. This optional boss is well known to those who kept up with the game’s development, as she was featured in one of the trailers in a battle against the mighty Radahn. Malenia is an Empyrean, but has been cursed with Scarlet Rot, a disease that has manifested itself all over her body. She resides deep in Miquella’s Haligtree, where players can go toe to toe with her in a large arena full of flowers. Malenia is arguably the most difficult encounter in the game, having two phases that are both equally punishing if not executed well.

Phase 1

The first phase has players fight Malenia in her normal form. She wields a long sword that can absolutely destroy health bars. What makes this fight so unforgivable is that every successful hit she does against the player will provide Malenia with a heal, including blocked attacks. For this reason it is vital for players to watch carefully and dodge as much as possible. She has many swipes and even a lunge, and will often roll backwards after her combos. Rolling to the side is helpful for a lot of these attacks, and keeping distance while she is being aggressive is also advised.

Malenia’s most destructive ability is called Waterfowl Dance, and she can utilize this at any point after reaching 75% health. You can tell she is about to unleash it when she leaps into the air and pulls her sword back. She will then lunge forward three times, swiping wildly each lunge. When she winds up to start this ability, players should immediately sprint as far away as possible to give themselves plenty of room to avoid it. Keep running away for the first two times she lunges and swipes, and then roll towards her for the third lunge. This one is almost impossible to range as it closes the gap substantially, and she will then turn around and follow it with another set of swipes. Rolling towards her will cause the boss to go past you, and her follow-up slices will not hit their mark.

Aside from dealing with her attacks, there are a few tips that players can follow depending on their build.

  • Pure casters can kite the boss for most of the fight. Stars of Ruin is particularly effective against her. Casting it and then running away is advised, which will whittle her down over time. Always try to make sure there is enough room between both of you so that you can effectively dodge the dance. This method is easier without a summon. Save it for phase two so it can stay alive for most of it.
  • Melee builds can take advantage of her low poise to keep her staggered. This involves being ultra aggressive. Having a summon and enough poise makes it possible for players to interrupt most of her attacks and even stun her before she can successfully strike back.
  • Malenia is weak to bleed and frostbite, so utilizing weapons or Ashes of War that apply these debuffs can help do massive damage.
  • Be advised that strikes against your summon will also heal the boss.

Phase 2

When Malenia’s health is brought to zero, a cutscene will occur and the fight will enter phase two. The boss will now sprout large scarlet wings and be able to fly. Be ready to dodge her new attack immediately – Scarlet Aeonia. She will hover in the air briefly before dive bombing the player, erupting in a giant flower around her. Roll away just as she tries to hit you, and be sure to create distance as the flower will then explode momentarily and apply Scarlet Rot.

When Malenia strikes the ground during Scarlet Aeonia, she will be committed to that spot for about seven seconds. Casters can abuse this downtime to strike her with potent sorceries such as the powerful Comet Azur spell. This phase is also when casters should employ a summon such as the Mimic to keep the boss away as much as possible. Melee players have to be a bit more careful to not get struck by the flower during this opening window.

Malenia can still use her Waterfowl Dance ability during this phase, so be aware and ready to dodge if you see the animation. She can also summon phantom spirits that travel in a straight line, locking on to the player if they dodge too much in one direction. For this reason, it is advised that players roll in multiple directions. The Bloodhound Step Ash of War is particularly useful for dodging many of these abilities. Try to stay as close to full health as possible as the boss can easily take you out in a single blow with most of these attacks.

Defeating Malenia is an exercise in patience and precision. Learning to dodge the Waterfowl Dance effectively is the most important part of the fight, and the rest comes down to dealing as much damage as possible while avoiding taking hits. The reward for overcoming her is 480,000 runes, Malenia’s Great Rune, and the Remembrance of the Rot God.