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Elden Ring: How To Defeat Maliketh, The Black Blade

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  • Maliketh, the Black Blade Overview
  • Maliketh, the Black Blade Attacks
  • Battle Strategy
  • General Tips

Maliketh, the Black Blade, is an incredibly formidable foe in Elden Ring and is one of the few mandatory encounters in the game and is found deep in the end-game region of Crumbling Farum Azula. While Maliketh is clearly one of the more demanding challenging boss battles in the game, it's not insurmountable.

Maliketh's attacks are relentless, swift, and devastating, giving you almost no time to react or compose yourself, which is only a fraction of what makes him so challenging. However, we're sure you will prevail with patience, understanding of the mechanics, and a solid strategy when all is said and done. You've made it this far, after all.

Maliketh, the Black Blade Overview

Maliketh, the Black Blade Overview
Location Crumbling Farum Azula
Optional No
Summons Players and Spirit Ashes
Drops
  • 220,000 Runes
  • Remembrance of the Black Blade
Weak To
  • ???

Found at the end of the Crumbling Farum Azula is the Legend Boss, Maliketh, the Black Blade. This encounter isn't optional and must get completed to advance the story. Since the battle takes place at the tail end of your journey, it will be incredibly challenging, so we recommend being at least Level 90-95 before even thinking about taking him on.

Defeating Maliketh, the Black Blade will get you a whopping 220,000 Runes and the Remembrance of the Black Blade, which you can exchange with Enia at the Roundtable Hold. Furthermore, you will then gain access to the final boss encounters in the game, located at the Leyndell, Ash Capital.

Maliketh, the Black Blade Attacks

Maliketh, the Black Blade possesses a wide range of attacks that are hard-hitting, challenging to react to, and can even pick you off at great distances if you aren't paying attention. If you hate AoE attacks, ranged attacks, or sporadically moving enemies, you will have an excruciating time facing Maliketh.

This encounter consists of two phases, with the first phase having the boss named Best Clergyman, which then changes to Maliketh, the Black Blade whenever you whittle its health down to the halfway point. Both phases are relentless and require concentration and dang-near perfect execution to prevail.

Phase 1 – Beast Clergyman

Rock Hurl

Beast Clergyman takes his left hand and drags it across the arena floor, gathering rocks in the process. Then, immediately after, the Beast Clergyman will hurl the rocks at you with great force, dealing significant damage if they contact you.

Counter: Time your rolls and evade to the left or right just before the rocks reach you. Additionally, you can hide behind one of the many pillars/piles of debris.

Boulder Hurl

Like the Rock Hurl attack, the Beast Clergyman will drag his left hand across the arena floor before producing a large boulder in the palm of his hand before promptly launching it at you.

Counter: Perfectly evade to the left or right as the boulder gets close to you. You can also hide behind one of the many pillars found throughout the arena.

Fury Strikes

The Beast Clergyman wields his sword in his right hand before performing a series of furious strikes. The attack string can be anywhere from two to five strikes, keeping you on high alert whenever the move comes out.

Counter: Evade backward and continue rolling away from the Beast Clergyman to create distance. Getting caught up in this attack will spell the death for many players, so it's best to just get away from it at all costs rather than risk it.

Beast Slam

The Beast Clergyman holds his sword in his mouth before pounding his hands on the ground, causing the ground beneath him to start cracking. Boulders will launch from the cracks after a brief moment, dealing significant damage.

Counter: When you see the Beast Clergyman place his sword in his mouth, run away from him and create as much distance as possible. Keep an eye out for the cracks on the ground to evade the boulders.

Beast Claw

The Beast Clergyman raises its left arm high in the air with visible lines emitting from its claws, then slams its hand on the ground and quickly swipes at you, sending shockwaves hurtling at the player. The shock waves are fierce and swift and will pass through any obstacle.

Counter: Time your rolls perfectly and evade to the left or right just before the shockwave reaches you.

Phase 2 – Maliketh, the Black Blade

Vertical Waves

Maliketh will leap into the air vertically before launching red waves at you from his sword. This attack will have anywhere from one to three waves, with the three-wave combo always having Maliketh land near you, performing a quick slash shortly after.

Counter: Roll to the left or right as soon as you see the red wave leave Maliketh's sword. If he performs the three-wave combo, you can parry his swipe at the end by using the Blasphemous Claw. Otherwise, just dodge the string of attacks, then reply with your own when it's over.

Death Boulders

Maliketh plunges his sword into the ground then presses it deep into the ground by pushing down on it with all of his limbs, causing debris coated with the Death ailment to emerge from the cracks of the floor. An explosion will follow when he removes the sword from the ground, so be prepared for it.

Counter: Create distance anytime you see Maliketh stick his sword into the ground. Getting caught up in this attack is bad news and will likely result in death.

Ground Wave

Maliketh will stab the ground and send waves across the floor that can instantly kill you if you have a low health pool. Furthermore, with this attack, Maliketh will often try baiting you by stabbing the ground, then leaping high into the air before crashing back down with the actual attack.

Counter: Due to the fake-out, it's rather tricky knowing which version of the attack you're going to get. Our advice here is to never commit to dodging until the last moment and always roll to the left or right. Rolling too early or late can be your end, and biting on the bait will only make matters worse.

Battle Strategy

Due to Maliketh's swift, unpredictable attacks, he will be a genuine challenge for both ranged and melee-based characters. His attacks hit like a freight train and even possess the ability to kill you instantly. What's worse is some of these attacks can seemingly happen out of nowhere in the blink of an eye. However, you can take him down with the right mindset and approach to the encounter. Don't throw in the towel just yet, Tarnished.

Melee Strategy

During the first phase of the encounter -when he's the Beast Clergyman- the best strategy is to stick near one of the many pillars found throughout the arena. The pillar will block many of the attacks thrown your way by the Beast Clergyman, allowing you to get in many hits without much risk. Just keep circling the pillar counter-clockwise and baiting the attack that has the Beast Clergyman drag his weapon across the arena floor from left to right. Respond to this attack with a jumping strike, then repeat the process until you get him down to half health.

Much like the first phase, you will want to use the pillars to your advantage in the second phase as well, but in a slightly different way. Rather than circling the pillars, use them to block the many aerial slashing attacks of Maliketh, then come out from behind them whenever he lands. You will be able to get in a few hits before he telegraphs his next move, where you can then determine your next steps. Generally, the pillars can block almost every attack in this phase, and we recommend abusing that fact. Only strike when you know you aren't at risk. This may take a while to defeat him this way, but using the arena to your advantage is the best way to emerge victoriously.

Ranged Strategy

In the first phase of the encounter, try keeping a decent distance between you and the Beast Clergyman. He has several close-range attacks that are lethal to ranged-based users, making it a nightmare if you let him get too close to you. For this phase, we recommend using quick casting spells such as Stars of Ruin that pack a punch, allowing you to cast it out and reposition yourself. Watch out for the few ranged attacks we detailed above, and you should be fine!

For you ranged users, the second phase will be astronomically more challenging. While we recommend still using fast casting spells that hit hard, we do not recommend staying too far away from him. Instead, get a bit closer and use the pillars to your advantage and let them absorb all of his aerial slashes and projectiles. Next, whenever he lands on the ground, create a safe gap between you and him and cast your attacks. This method will take a bit longer to take him down but is ultimately the safest method. You do not want to be in the open in this phase as he has too many attacks that can one-hit you, and he is too powerful in more open spaces.

General Tips

  • Be Lever 90-95 or Higher
  • Use the arena's pillars to your advantage.
  • Ranged users should use fast casting, heavy-hitting spells.
  • Be patient and watch out for his delayed attacks. He has quite a few of them.
  • Never charge out in the open. Maliketh thrives in open spaces.

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