Tree Sentinel is one of the first enemies you encounter when you emerge into Limgrave.
If you thought the Grafted Scion fight out of the gate was unfair, then try taking on a mobile, highly aggressive boss that can dish out a huge amount of damage.
The good news is the Tree Sentinel is entirely optional. Located between the Stranded Graveyard and the Church of Elleh, it's best to take a wide berth, and come at the church from the side or back to visit Kale for a crafting kit, and moving on.
However, if you do want to take it on, then there's a Tree Sentinel cheese strategy that with some preparation, makes the battle much easier.
On this page:
How to prepare for Tree Sentinel
The Tree Sentinel could technically be taken down on your first encounter, but it requires a lot of skill to pull off. Instead, avoid and come back later when you have a ranged attack.
With a ranged attack - such as a staff for sorcery, or a bow - you can stay well away from the powerful melee attacks and chip away gradually. There is more to it than that, which we'll get to in a moment, but that's the core of the safest strategy.
Beyond that, we recommend getting some Flask upgrades. This is particularly important if you are going the sorcery route, as you'll want to top up your FP (magic points or mana) regularly, as you'll need a fair amount to take down the Tree Sentinel with that alone.
Also, it's worth levelling up stats to increase your health and damage output, as even with a cheese strategy, it's not a short fight.
Tree Sentinel tips: How to cheese Tree Sentinel
You can fight the Tree Sentinel fairly out in the open - or find a way to limit its mobility and range.
To cheese the Tree Sentinel, draw its attention then head to the Church of Elleh's entrance. This archway is small enough that the Tree Sentinel cannot fit inside - but is long enough that you can stand at the other entrance, be out of range of the melee strikes, and also have the boss in your sights.
From there, it's a case of using your ranged attacks - spells or arrows - to chip away at the Tree Sentinel's health.
There are some complicating factors, of course. One is the Tree Sentinel's melee range is pretty decent - so definitely make sure you stand at the other end of the entrance and not any closer. This is important to know as it's difficult to get the boss to stand or roam exactly in the middle. When it moves to the side and out of view, it might attack through the wall - so resist the temptation to be drawn forward.
Similarly, the Tree Sentinel can make way round the ruins and flank you. If the boss disappears, check your sides to see if the boss is coming, and move back through the entrance to the other side until settling back in the archway again.
Also, there is a rare shield counter which sees the Tree Sentinel reflect your magic back at you. This is rare, but can be very damaging - so look out for it and dodge to the side if you can.
Despite the cheese strategy, there is still some risk - so if you find yourself dying, then come back later with more upgrades to help.
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? Try finding Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best early armor set 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 and defeating the hardest bosses including Commander Niall, Morgott, Godskin Duo, Maliketh and Malenia.
Tree Sentinel reward
Your reward for defeating the Tree Sentinel is 3,200 Runes and the Golden Halberd weapon.
This has a very high stat requirement for the early game - 30 Strength and 14 Dexterity - so fighting the Tree Sentinel with this in mind is unwise, especially as there are better weapons to find better suited for early game progress.
Best of luck!
Will you support Eurogamer?