The Elden Ring Malenia boss fight is easily the toughest challenge in the game. The Goddess of Rot is capable of carving your health away in just a few strikes, and her signature Waterfowl Dance attack marks instant death for the unprepared. Worse still, she heals herself with each hit. If you want to know how to beat Malenia in Elden Ring, the answer is that you’re going to need to work hard. But it also pays to work smart. Our Malenia boss fight guide will break down the key tips and tricks to prepare you for this intimidating fight, and provide pointers for how to survive some of her deadliest moves.
Elden Ring: How to beat Malenia
To beat the Malenia boss fight in Elden Ring, you’ll need to prepare in advance. This isn’t a fight you should go into without the right items, armor, or build. We don’t recommend facing her until you’re at least level 120. Ideally, you’ll want to be closer to level 150. In addition, your weapons and equipment should all be upgraded to max level before you fight her.
Because of the serious challenge Malenia presents, this is a boss you should spend Rune Arcs on, though we recommend learning how to beat her first phase before you start consuming them. We found equipping either Radahn or Morgott’s Great Rune valuable for the increase to maximum health.
Below are the key Malenia tips you should keep in mind before beginning the battle.
Elden Ring Malenia key tips
Equip high physical resistance: Malenia may be the goddess of rot, but the vast majority of her moves deal slashing and thrusting damage. You should prioritize resistance to these above all else – her phase two rot attacks are easy to avoid. Equip as tough armor as you can while still able to medium roll. We’d also recommend equipping the Dragoncrest Shield Talisman +1 (found in the Altus Plateau Sainted Hero’s Grave) which boosts physical damage negation.
Respec for the fight:By the time you’ve reached Malenia, you may have stuck levels into all sorts of stats. This is the time to grab a Larval Tear and head to Rennala in Raya Lucaria and respec your stats. Whatever your choice of weapon, make sure you maximize its key scaling stats while also boosting your Vigor as much as possible. If you’re a shield user, you’ll want plenty of Endurance for blocking, too.
Use Black Knife Tiche or summon a friend: There’s absolutely no shame in summoning an ally for this fight, and there are plenty of players out there eager to aid in battle. If you are going in solo, we highly recommend you obtain and upgrade Black Knife Tiche from the Ringleader’s Evergaol on the Moonlight Altar. Tiche is one of the best Spirit Ashes for the late game. Not only will she reduce Malenia’s max health and deal damage over time thanks to her black flame, she’s hardy and will regularly knock Malenia down. Tiche is an essential ally in this battle, so make sure you bring her along. Find out how to get her here.
You can stagger her: If you’re a heavy weapons user, you’re in luck. Malenia may be fast, but she’s highly staggerable. Keep your hits up and you’ll break her poise, opening up the chance for critical strikes often in the first phase. Heavy weapons will be more successful here, but even lighter blades like Katanas can interrupt her and stagger with consecutive strikes. She recovers quickly though, so only try a critical if you’re already close.
Malenia is weak to bleed, fire, and frost: If you’re using normal weapons, trade your Ashes of War for ones which scale with these affinites. For dual katanas, for example, Rivers of Blood and a Cold Uchigatana or Nagakiba are excellent choices for stacking frost and bleed damage bursts. In addition, melee builds should craft throwable pots or which complement their damage time.
Because of a weakness to bleed, Swarm of Flies is a brilliant incantation to use in the fight. It’ll deal damage over time and keep her bleed status building up while you’re unable to get in for a strike.
Stack up on consumable buffs:Malenia gives you plenty of time at the start of the fight to prepare, so we recommend stacking up on boosts like the Boiled Crab which Blackguard sells or damage boosts like Exalted Flesh. In addition, the Uplifting Aromatic can provide a temporary shield to both you and your Spirit Ashes or summoned allies that might save your life.
Keep your distance: Malenia’s most dangerous attacks are best avoided by running away. It sounds cowardly, but the more room you’ve got, the more likely you are to successfully dodge or escape the hit all together. For melee builds, the best strategy is to let Spirit Ashes draw aggro and ideally knock Malenia down, then move in for a few hits before backing up again. Repeat this process and you can whittle through herfirst phase health fairly swiftly.
Dodging is better than shielding: Malenia will heal when she hits you or your summons, even if you successfully block her. For that reason, it’s almost always better to learn her patterns and dodge rather than shielding. She can be parried, but you’ll need to land three to open up a critical. The only exception to the dodging rule is Waterfowl Dance, which we’ll get to below.
Malenia phase one moves to watch out for
In Phase one, Malenia will walk or run towards you and unleash a number of sword swings/strikes. Your main aim here is to work with your Spirit Ashes or summon to alternate aggro on Malenia and dish out damage. Learn her slowest attack sequences (such as a two-part overhead swing) and focus on hitting back after those rather than constantly attacking. Most of her attacks can be dodged as you see them, but there are a few key moves to watch out for.
Slice + thrust: Malenia swipes in an arc before preparing an impaling thrust. The second hit does immense damage, so wait half a second after you see her blade clink before the thrust to dodge backwards. You should end up close to her allowing for a counterattack.
Grab ‘n’ stab: Malenia raises her hand in front of her face, then to the side, and then lunges forwards in a grab. If it connects, she’ll throw you in the air and impale you, almost certainly killing you. Thankfully, this one is pretty easy to dodge. Dodge towards her when you see the arm swing back and you’ll avoid the attack and be able to return with a hit.
Waterfowl Dance: This is the big one. Your progress in many Malenia attempts will be dictated by how often she pulls out the Waterfowl Dance. This attack only triggers when Malenia is below 75% HP. Melania lifts into the air with her sword overhead, pauses a second, then shoots toward you to unleash a whirlwind of hits. This is followed up by two more dashes into whirlwind strikes, with the last producing a delayed AoE explosion.
Your primary goal when you see this move is to survive the first sequence. The bulk of damage is dealt in the initial flurry of strikes, and the second and third flurries are far, far easier to dodge. If you have a 100% physical shield and high endurance, we recommend blocking the first wave of hits. Even if you’re hit after, you can start dodging to avoid the rest. It is possible to dodge forward and to the left when standing underneath Malenia to cause her to miss the first wave, but the timing is extremely challenging.
If you don’t have a shield RUN AWAY. It’s usually far safer to sprint away as soon as Malenia leaps. Provided you start running early, you’ll gain enough ground to outpace the initial wave of attacks. This will ensure you take minimal damage and reduce her healing. Dodge away again from the second flurry, then towards and through her last, remembering to wait for the delayed explosion before you approach and deal damage.
Expect to die to Waterfowl Dance several times before you get to grips with the response. If you’re still struggling, try equipping Bloodhound’s Step as as an Ashes of War on one of your equipped weapons, this features massively increased invincibility frames to help you avoid damage.
Malenia phase two moves to watch out for
In phase two, Malenia heals to 80% of her max HP and becomes the goddess of Scarlet Rot. While you will need to stay out of the area of effect from her rot attacks, they also leave her open to heavy damage from ranged sources. Prepare your sorceries, incantations, or consumables for this phase.
Rot dive: Malenia will always initiate phase two with this attack. She floats in their air glowing red, then slams down on you with a strike before blooming into a scarlet rot flower. You do not have time to heal before this attack lands. It looks scary, but this is one of the best moves Malenia can do as it leaves loads of room for a counter attack.
Wait until she starts to descend from the air, then dodge backwards to avoid the first hit. Sprint away from Malenia to escape the Scarlet Rot range, then stop and begin pelting her with the strongest ranged attacks you have. Comet Azur is a great sorcery to use, but any ranged incantations or consumable (use Fire/Frost damage or Swarm of Flies pots) will do. You want to deal as much damage as possible while she’s stuck in one place.
Slice + thrust: In phase two Malenia jumps into the air with her blade up to her side before this attack. The swipe and thrust both have increased range. The same tactic applies, but watch out for her comboing into an overhead sequence at the end sometimes.
Clone strikes: Malenia glows, then floats in the air as she summons butterfly clones in a sequence of six attacks. The two thrust attacks are the most deadly, so run/roll backwards continuously to avoid their range. If you can’t get out of range, dodge from side to side, in the direction that the next clone comes from. At the end of the sequence, Malenia dives into a thrust. If you've backed away enough, you should be able to safely jump in for a hit in return.
Ground explosion: After one combo sequence, Malenia slices her sword down to the ground and leaves a group of butterflies. After a brief delay, an explosion of scarlet rot erupts in front of her. If you see this mark appear, back up to safety. You might have time to get an attack or heal off her, but Malenia tends to launch directly into another attack. Focus on getting some distance first and foremost.
Waterfowl Dance: Unfortunately, there's no fresh advice we can give you here. This move only gets deadlier with the addition of Scarlet Rot, so simply sprint yourself away as soon as you see her leap into the skies to unleash this. Your real best bet is to take her down before she even uses this move in phase two.
Finally, good luck: That's all the advice we can give you regarding how to beat Malenia in Elden Ring. She's a serious fight, but you can know that overcoming her will mean you've definitely got what it takes to beat the remaining main bosses. We hope these tips have helped, and that victory over Malenia, Goddess of Rot comes your way soon.
Elden Ring Malenia rewards
Defeat this mighty foe and you'll earn the following Malenia rewards:
- 480,000 Runes
- Remembrance of the Rot Goddess
- Malenia's Great Rune
Along with obtaining Malenia's weapons and armor, you can also return here if you've completed Millicent's quest to obtain Miquella's needle which purges the Frenzied Flame from your body.
That's all we can teach you about how to beat Malenia in Elden Ring. It may take tens of tries, but she is possible to beat, especially if you get lucky with her Waterfowl Dance attacks not triggering. If you've yet to conquer Crumbling Farum Azula, Maliketh is likely to be your next major obstacle on the path toward the end of the game. We've got a guide for how to beat Maliketh here, but you can also visit our hub page for Elden Ring to see everything else we have on the game.