I’m Getting Back Into Elden Ring By Playing As A Witcher

I beat Elden Ring a few times, tried all kinds of builds from sorcerer to faithful knight to blood-spamming dex scrub, and I loved every single one of them. But I bounced off, because the back half of 2022 saw game after game after game release, leaving me with little time to explore the Lands Between. I have more space now, so I’m diving back into it headfirst, but I’m doing it as a Witcher this time to freshen things up, and if I know anything about Elden Ring, it’s that it has plenty of monsters for me to slay. There’s just not a lot of people willing to pay me for it.

Putting the build together was pretty easy – you need two swords, one for people, and one for monsters. Translating that to Elden Ring, I have a broadsword for monsters, and a falchion for invaders. I’m taking ‘people’ in this context to mean other players (or AI invaders pretending to be players), rather than humanoid enemies. Things would get a little monotonous if you had to have a little debate in your head before every fight on which sword you should use, especially given that some knights appear undead or mutated in some way.

As for signs, I’ve yet to figure out the spells for some, but I’ve locked down Igni, Aard, and Quen. For Igni, I use a combination of Catch Flame and Flame Sling, for Aard I use Rejection, and for Quen I plan to use Immutable Shield. These mostly capture the essence of each sign, but given that this is a Witcher build, I’m limiting myself to these select spells and incantations as to keep things lore-friendly. I never saw Geralt taking up magic and conjuring portals, so neither will my Tarnished.

While you could argue that simply playing Elden Ring from start to finish is ‘hunting monsters’, ergo fitting the Witcher build and play style, I’m taking it a step further. I’m avoiding dragons, since Witchers don’t hunt them, and I’m mostly working for Gurranq, Beast Clergyman. He hangs about in Caelid, in the Bestial Sanctum, and if you bring him Deathroot – which you get from killing beasts – he will hand you rewards. This is, in essence, my answer to Witcher contracts.

And, as Witchers stay out of politics (or should, despite everything Geralt does), I’m not getting tied up in any of the major plotlines, like Ranni’s or the Two Finger’s. I’m a simple Witcher trying to make some coin in this dystopian hellhole. That means I’ll spend most of my time hunting for Deathroot, while also killing optional bosses and monsters. It’s a good way to explore the Lands Between and take in everything it has to offer, after having spent my last few playthroughs caught up in chasing different endings and fighting major bosses.

Finally, there’s the last thing any good Witcher needs – potions, and a place to call home. Preferably a fort. One of the first things I did was take a trip to the Third Church of Marika to get the Flask of Wondrous Physick. I haven’t researched all the different combinations yet, but I plan to use this to recreate some of The Witcher’s iconic potions, like Swallow and Thunderbolt. For the home, I plan to reclaim Fort Haight and use it as a base of operations, mostly visiting here from time to time to craft items. You can do it anywhere through the menu, but treating it like Kaer Morhen’s laboratory will only heighten the Witcher feel of it all.

One of the best parts of Elden Ring, like any Soulsborne game before it, is how deep its customisation goes, to the point where you can make absurdly unique runs like this a possibility. And it means that no one playthrough feels the same – I might have slaughtered countless enemies, players or otherwise, across the Lands Between in 2022, but now I’m doing it with a new purpose, and it’s keeping Elden Ring fresh, even though I’m 400 hours deep. So, for 2023, here’s to another 400 hours.

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