Want to know how to be Malenia, Blade of Miqeulla in Elden Ring? Malenia is considered by many to be one of the most difficult bosses in FromSoftware’s history, bringing a variety of mechanics that take advantage of your expectations for Elden Ring’s bosses. However, you in turn can take advantage of the tools Elden Ring gives you to make Malenia look like any other boss. Even in a pure melee duel, there are tricks you can use to negate her deadliest attacks. If you’re struggling against the Goddess of Rot, we’ll walk you through everything you need to defeat her.
Elden Ring Malenia, Blade of Miquella boss fight walkthrough
Like most late-game bosses, Malenia has two phases. The first is a straight-up sword fight. Malenia has no magic or ranged attacks in this phase. This is just a pure duel to the death in melee, with fast, high-damage flurries of strikes.
However, Malenia also heals herself on hit. It doesn’t matter how much damage she does, it doesn’t matter if she hits a Spirit Ash summon, it doesn’t even matter if you block the full damage of her strike. If her sword touches you or your allies, Malenia will recover around 200 health. This makes every hit all the more punishing and turns many summons into liabilities.
When you empty Malenia’s health bar, you will be greeted with a cutscene in which she transforms into her Goddess of Rot form. She’ll recover about three-quarters of her health bar, then quickly strike with a dive-bomb attack. Malenia still recovers health on hit in this form and gains a suite of new ranged, scarlet rot attacks. Most of her abilities will apply scarlet rot build-up, but leave her more open to counterattacks.
Malenia has one attack, in particular, you need to watch out for, which she can use in either phase. This is the already infamous Waterfowl Dance, a swirl of sword strikes that hits multiple times and tracks the target throughout the combo. While this deadly attack may seem unavoidable, you can negate it with some tricks, which we'll cover below. You can also watch our guides editor Ollie defeat her in the following video.
How to beat Malenia, Blade of Miquella: top tips for success
Here are our top tips for victory in the Malenia boss fight.
- Avoid Malenia's Waterfowl Dance
- Learn how to read Malenia's grab
- Survive the start of Malenia's second phase by rolling under her
- Use weapon skills that knock Malenia down
- Use Blood Loss or Frostbite to counteract Malenia's healing
1. Avoid Malenia's Waterfowl Dance
Waterfowl Dance is by far Malenia’s most dangerous attack. When it starts, Melania will leap into the air and hover for a second with her sword at the ready. Unless you are out of range or know exactly what to do next, you’re already dead.
Your first option is to run. Waterfowl Dance covers a lot of ground, but it is entirely possible to get far enough away that Malenia can’t catch you. However, you need to either already have some distance or start running immediately when she jumps. Immediately here really means immediately. If you are in an attack, roll, or heal animation when Waterfowl Dance starts, you don’t have time to run.
That brings us to our next option; rolling through the attack. Yes, this is possible. The trick is to roll straight at Melania, passing under her as she starts swinging. Wait until the moment she lunges to roll under her, and you will avoid the first part of the attack. However, there are two follow-up lunges, and you will need to roll past her during these too. If you try to roll away from or perpendicular to Melania, the secondary slashes will catch you coming out of your roll. The only way out is through.
Finally, it is possible to block Waterfowl Dance. However, outside of potential max-endurance, New Game+ build shenanigans, you won’t be able to do it without the Barricade Shield skill. The attack hits nearly a dozen times and will empty your stamina bar and break your block without Barricade Shield’s extra durability. Malenia’s healing also makes blocking tough to recommend, since she will regain health every time she hits your shield. Still, it is an option to consider if the first two methods are failing you.
2. Learn how to read Malenia's grab
Malenia’s grab attack isn’t quite as threatening as Waterfowl Dance, but nothing in Elden Ring really is. However, it can and will one-shot lower-health builds, so it is worth discussing. If you’ve played a fighting game before, it won’t surprise you that you cannot block grabs. This attack will ignore your shield, and heavily punishes sitting behind your block.
Thankfully, it is fairly easy to read. The only trick is differentiating it from Melania’s lunging thrust attack. Both moves start on the ground, where she will rear back before lunging across the arena. For the thrust, she will turn to her right, pulling her sword back. For the grab, Melania will turn slightly left, holding the off-hand she’ll use to grab you at her side. Once you can identify these two attacks they should prove no trouble at all.
3. Survive the start of Malenia's second phase by rolling under her
One new attack in Malenia’s second-phase arsenal is a dive bomb that deals massive damage on impact before unleashing a scarlet rot explosion. The second phase of the fight always starts with this attack, and it can be frustrating to get smashed by this before getting a chance to study the phase. Thankfully, there is a simple trick to dodging it.
All you have to do is roll at and under Melania, just like with Waterfowl Dance. For whatever reason, the secondary explosion seems to consistently catch rolls away from Malenia. Rolling under her seems to effectively dodge both hits, and give you time to back away as the rot flower blooms. If you have any way to deal ranged damage, the lengthy bloom animation is a great time to get some damage in.
4. Use weapon skills that knock Malenia down
Malenia staggers almost as easily as a regular enemy, rewarding your aggression... to a point. She also recovers from staggers quickly and loves to punish you for trying to sneak in an extra hit. However, she is equally easy to knock down or launch, making for larger, safer openings
Certain weapon skills work incredibly well for this. The Blasphemous Blade’s Taker’s Flame skill, Prelate’s Charge, and even a simple Stamp (Uppercut) all serve as effective crowd control. Combine these with a Mimic Tear or other hard-hitting Spirit Ash and you can put Malenia on the backfoot for most of the fight.
5. Use Blood Loss or Frostbite to counteract Malenia's healing
Malenia’s healing can be frustrating, but there are some ways to counteract it. Of course, “don’t get hit,” is chief among them, but there are more practical methods too. Blood Loss will deal a percentage of Malenia’s health, making it a reliable source of extra damage that can burst through her healing. Weapons like Boody Helice and Rivers of Blood work particularly well.
Frostbite deals less damage upfront but lowers the target’s damage reduction. This will help you deal more consistent damage throughout the fight, making each heal less impactful. The Hoarfrost Stomp skill remains one of the best ways to apply Frostbite even after the recent nerf.
That’s everything you need to take down Malenia! Don’t let this fight’s intimidating reputation discourage you. With these tips and a little practice, anyone can defeat the Goddess of Rot. If you’re looking to track down more runebearers, our complete list of boss locations will help. Prepare your build for these challenges with our guide to the best weapons and best talismans in Elden Ring.