Elden Ring main bosses in order, other key bosses and hardest bosses explained
In a game as big as this, Elden Ring bosses are plenty.
However, you'd probably be surprised that you only need to encounter a fraction in order to complete Elden Ring.
Not that you should stick to the critical path, as many are also key to certain side quests and are subject to Achievements and Trophies, for completionists the list is much longer.
And, for the curious, we've put together a list of the hardest Elden Ring bosses - which though subjective, can give you an idea of the more difficult challenges you'll be against.
Be warned there are spoilers on this page, so continue at your own risk!
On this page:
Elden Ring main bosses list in order
There are certain bosses you must beat in order to reach any Elden Ring ending.
There is a degree of flexibility to this at the start of the game, but once you reach the capital city of Leyndell, from there the mandatory bosses to the end of the game are set.
In summary, the main bosses in order are:
- One Great Rune carrier
- A second Great Rune carrier (out of the four that follows *):
- Margit The Fell Omen then Godrick the Grafted (Stormveil Castle)
- Red Wolf of Radagon then Renalla, Queen of the Full Moon (Raya Lucaria Academy)
- Godskin Noble then Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy (Mt Gelmir)
- Starscourge Radahn (Redmane Castle, Caelid)
- Draconic Tree Sentinel (Capital Outskirts) **
- Godfrey, First Elden Lord (Leyndell)
- Morgott, The Omen King (Leyndell)
- Fire Giant (Mountaintops of the Giants)
- Godskin Duo (Crumbling Farum Azula)
- Maliketh, the Black Blade (Crumbling Farum Azula)
- Sir Gideon Ofnir, The All-Knowing (Leyndell)
- Godfrey, First Elden Lord / Hoarah Loux, Warrior (two phase fight, Leyndell)
- Radagon of the Golden Order (Leyndell)
- Elden Beast (immediately follows Radagon)
* In order to access Leyndell, you need two Great Runes. The easiest two Runes are from defeating Godrick the Grafted (which also requires beating Margit in Castle Stormveil) and Renna, Queen of the Full Moon (which also requires beating Red Wolf of Radagon in Raya Lucaria Academy), though the others from Radahn and Rkyard are there if you prefer.
** To get into Leyndell, Draconic Tree Sentinel is the most 'straightforward' path - but there are seemingly other ways in, such as by progressing the Fia quest, but these are longer winded routes with their own challenges and set of bosses to overcome.
Either way, from Morgott onwards, the bosses you need to defeat in order to get to any Elden Ring ending is fixed.
Fun fact: The order of these bosses are so important to the flow of the game that the open world map was designed around them.
What are other key bosses in Elden Ring?
Don't let the list above fool you - there are many more bosses out there you'll likely encounter, whether out in the open world, in dungeons or assigned to side-quests that lead to various different endings.
A good guide to the most significant bosses beyond the critical path, perhaps, is looking at which bosses have a Trophy or Achievement assigned to them, giving us a sense of importance from the developers, and acts almost as a checklist of others worth getting to - even if it takes several playthroughs.
The bosses with Achievement or Trophy rewards are:
- Ancestor Spirit (Hallowhorn Grounds)
- Astel, Naturalborn of the Void (Grand Cloister, Lake of Rot)
- Commander Niall (Castle Sol, Mountaintops of the Giants)
- Dragonkin Soldier of Nokstella (Ainsel River)
- Dragonlord Placidusax (Crumbling Farum Azula)
- Elemer of the Briar (The Shaded Castle, Atlus Plateau)
- Fire Giant (Mountaintops of the Giants)
- Godfrey the First Lord (Leyndell, Royal Capital)
- Godskin Duo (Crumbling Farum Azula)
- Godskin Noble (Volcano Manor)
- Hoarah Loux the Warrior (Leyndell, Ashen Capital)
- Leonine Misbegotten (Castle Morne)
- Lichdragon Fortissax (Deeproot Depths)
- Loretta, Knight of the Haligtree (Miquella's Haligtree)
- Magma Wyrm Makar (Ruin-Strewn Precipice, Liurnia)
- Maliketh the Black Blade (Crumbling Farum Azula)
- Margit, the Fell Omen (Castle Stormveil)
- Mimic Tear (Nokron, Eternal City)
- Mohg, the Omen (Subterranean Shunning-Grounds)
- Red Wolf of Radagon (Raya Lucaria Academy)
- Regal Ancestor Spirit (Nokron, Eternal City)
- Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon (Raya Lucaria Academy)
- Royal Knight Loretta (Caria Manor, Liurnia)
- Shardbearer Godrick (Castle Stormveil)
- Shardbearer Malenia (Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree)
- Shardbearer Mohg (Mohgwyn Palace, Siofra River)
- Shardbearer Morgott (Leyndell, Royal Capital)
- Shardbearer Radahn (Redmane Castle, Caelid)
- Shardbearer Rykard (Mt. Gelmir)
- Valiant Gargoyle (Siofra Aqueduct, Nokron)
How many bosses are there in Elden Ring?
Working out how many bosses are in Elden Ring isn't straightforward for a number of reasons.
If we are counting any enemy with a boss bar - whether through a fog gate or discovered when roaming the world which you can flee - our best estimate is there are 157 boss encounters in Elden Ring. This includes repeats - for example, the Crystalians appear multiple times with different weapons, while a Erdtree Avatar encounter can be located around most Minor Erdtrees.
With this in mind, we believe 103 are 'unique' bosses - but even then, some of those are variants of another - such as the Tree Sentinel and Draconic Tree Sentinel, or Margit and Morgott - while some bosses can appear in late game areas later as regular enemies.
If you want to see a further breakdown of all bosses, then caheiodleojndm on reddit has attempted to place bosses by category, from dragons to shardbearers.
Once you have settled on a starting class and starting Keepsake item, you should first work out how to level up, how to respec and use Ashes of War. Need some direction from there? Our Elden Ring walkthrough and Elden Ring boss order can help with where to go next, but we also recommend hunting down Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best armor choices. If you are approaching the end game, we can help with the Volcano Manor quest and Rykard, Haligtree Secret Medallion locations, solving the Ordina, Liturgical Town puzzle, the Millicent quest, Commander Niall, Morgott, Godskin Duo, Maliketh and Malenia.
What are the hardest bosses in Elden Ring?
How hard a boss can be is largely subjective - depending on your chosen build, level or weapons, each encounter's difficulty can swing wildly from player to player.
That said, there are some bosses which are clearly more difficult than others, and regardless of build, will give just about every player a tough time.
For those who have reached her, Malenia, Blade of Miquella appears to be the hardest boss in Elden Ring - in part due to that every attack she deals heals her, and that her attacks are relentless - demanding you learn her patterns down to a tee and are prepared for a long battle. She is optional, and is tucked away at the far reaches of the map once you have found the Haligtree Secret Medallion locations and solved the Ordina, Liturgical Town puzzle - so don't worry, you won't stumble into her by accident!
Malenia has become so infamous that we've seen a player who could help players take on Malenia solo reach iconic status in the community. There was also a point where a patch accidently made Malenia even more difficult, which has thankfully been addressed. Phew.
Starscourge Radahn is, to quote our own page, "an exceptionally brutal boss right" - and is situated at a festival in Redmane Castle. Though you'll be able to summon AI partners to aid you, Radahn is tough - in part thanks to attacks that can kill you instantly. Though Starscourge Radahn is one of four bosses with a Great Rune, since you only need two to progress the story, this is thankfully optional. For those looking to complete the Ranni quest however - it's a required encounter.
One that isn't optional is Godskin Duo. This has you face two challenging foes at once - with echoes of iconic Dark Souls bosses Ornstein and Smough - but with an additional catch; they share a single health bar, and either will be resurrected if you don't finish off the other quickly upon their demise.
Speaking of multiple foes, Commander Niall is a boss that comes with two of his own summons, and if they are defeated, will see him launch into a challenging second phase. This is cited as one of the most demanding bosses in Elden Ring - and unfortunately for completionists, there's a Trophy / Achievement attached to his defeat, and is required in order to complete the Haligtree Secret Medallion.
It's also worth a shoutout to Margit, which is undoubtedly a huge obstacle at the start of the game, especially as the 'first' boss, and is seemingly designed to teach players to develop their characters before taking him on.
That hasn't stopped someone managing to beat Magrit with... a harp.
Margit is technically optional - though recommended as Godrick is an easier source as far as Great Runes go - but the arguably more challenging 'rematch' against Morgott, the Omen King is required to beat the game once you reach the Capital.
If you're struggling with any of the above bosses, then hunting down Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best armor choices can make a difference.