Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Guide – 12 Ways to Get Ready

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree drops on June 21st for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5 and PC. Some are waiting with bated breath while others are scrambling to get ready. Whether you’re a brand new player jumping in for the first time or an experienced player returning to the game, there are plenty of ways to prepare for the expansion. They won’t make your journey into The Land of Shadow completely deathless but should provide a fighting chance.

A Normal Playthrough

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Given that the expansion is launching over two years after the base game, it’s safe to assume you’ve probably finished it at least once. If you haven’t, it’s probably the best scenario for jumping into the expansion. While attempting it on New Game Plus is possible, enemies will be much tougher, and if the difficulty of past FromSoft expansions is any indication, that goes double for threats in The Land of Shadow. Note that if you’re a brand new player, there is a way to start the expansion relatively soon, but you still want to spend some time with the base game to stand a chance, which we’ll get into. First, above all else…

Reach Level 160

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Get your levels up. Previewers struggled with pre-made level 150 builds – even if your build is better or you’re confident in your skills, it doesn’t hurt to be at least level 160 before attempting the expansion. If anything, going even higher might be for the best, but regardless, level 160 is ideal to get your foot in the door.

Max Out Weapons and Spirit Ashes

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Furthermore, you should max out your weapons as much as possible, ideally getting to +25 on regular weapons and +10 on specials. With how things are in The Land of Shadow, you need all the damage you can get, so find those Smithing Stones, Somber Smithing Stones, Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones and Somber Ancient Dragon Smithing Stones. Look for the Miner’s Bell Bearings and bring them to the Two Fingers – this unlocks up to Smithing Stone 8 and Somber Smithing Stone 9, which you can then purchase continuously. Note that the Dragon Smithing Stones are rarer and must be located individually.

As for Spirit Ashes, they require Grave Glovewort for regular summons and Ghost Glovewort for specials. The same approach applies, however – find the Glovewort Picker’s Bell Bearings to unlock different tiers of each to purchase. Great Gloveworts must be used to max out a Spirit Ash, and like Dragon Smithing Stones, they’re limited.

Put Points Into Vigor

Having enough in a stat to use the right weapons, Sorceries, and Incantations is challenging, don’t get me wrong, but ensure you have enough points in Vigor. From level 1 to 40, you gain the most amount of max HP with each level, and while it slows slightly from 41 to 60 before outright plummeting post-level 61, that extra health will keep you alive. It also governs fire resistance, and who else should deal that kind of damage but Messmer the Impaler, the poster boss for the expansion?

Accessing the DLC

So, how exactly do you access Shadow of the Erdtree? First, pick a Shardbearer, and get your first Great Rune. Head to the Roundtable Hold and speak to Enia. When you get enough levels and upgrade your weapon enough, head to Redmane Castle in Caelid to battle Radahn. Ideally, start Ranni’s questline since it removes most enemies from the castle, speeding up the process. After defeating Radahn, it’s time to go to Mohg.

Remember when you first entered Limgrave and met White Mask Varre, who called you maidenless? Assuming you didn’t attack him, go to the Rose Church in Liurnia and talk to him (if he’s not still at Limgrave). Tell him you don’t trust the Two Fingers and then undertake his quest, which involves invading three other players. You don’t need to win these fights, but if it’s too annoying, go to Writhblood Ruins and summon and defeat Magnus the Beastclaw.

Meet with Varre again, get anointed, and then get some blood from the deceased maiden in the area where you first started the game. Alternatively, kill Hyetta outside the Church of Irith in Liurnia (though you may need to look up other locations if she’s not there).

Once you soak the Lord of Blood’s Favor, go back to Varre again to get the Pureblood Knight’s Medal. Use this, and you’re near Mohgwyn Palace, where you can fight Mohg, Lord of Blood. Beware, however – this fight is supposed to be tackled much later in the game, so plan accordingly.

Rune Farming Spots

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It’s always good to have a Rune farming spot. Lenne’s Rise in Dragonbarrow has a giant ball to dodge and cheese continuously to gain 2,000 Runes every 15 to 20 seconds – start with this to gain an early advantage. Once you access Mohgwyn Palace, you can kill the Albinaurics near the Palace Approach Ledge Road Site of Grace to get 40,000 Runes in several minutes. Alternatively, look for a bird to shoot from the same spot for roughly 13,000 Runes per minute. Runes are necessary to level up new weapons, power-level for an advantage and purchase items from vendors, so you can never have enough.

Stock up on Materials

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Even if you already maxed out a weapon and Spirit Ashes, it doesn’t hurt to stock up on Smithing Stones and Gloveworts. Shadow of the Erdtree adds about 100 new weapons and several new Spirit Summons, so you want those resources ready. Whether it’s Milady and the stance moves, the Backhand Blade and its transformation into dual blades, or even Andreas, Black Knight Commander (one of the new summons), being able to max them out quickly is ideal. Remember that there’s no way to roll back upgrades on weapons, so spend those resources wisely.

Golden Seeds and Sacred Tears

Get all the Golden Seeds and Golden Tears, or at least as many as possible, before attempting to fight Mohg. Golden Seeds grant more uses to your Crimson and Cerulean Tears Flasks, while Sacred Tears increase the amount of HP and FP restored by each use. It doesn’t matter if your dodging gives Agent Smith a conniption or you don’t rely on magic. Better to have them on hand than not.

Best Weapons

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Choosing the best weapons can be challenging because so much of it relies on what build you pursue. Nevertheless, there are some pretty clear choices, like Reduvia for quick Bleed damage, Eleonora’s Poleblade for Bleed and stance damage and Star Fist for some damage mitigation and extra poise when punching an enemy to death (which works well with Bloodhound’s Step). Want a Great Hammer with damage reduction as a skill, bleed build-up and HP regen on hit? Great Stars is the answer. Even weapons like Moonveil and Rivers of Blood remain viable, not to mention the ol’ reliable Bloodhound’s Fang.

Recommended Talismans and Spirit Ashes

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While very specific Talismans are required for some builds, some are just straight-up good for general purposes. The Great-Jar’s Arsenal for increased Equip Load is good since it means wearing heavier armor without affecting your dodge rolls, while the Crimson Amber Medallion will raise your max health. Erdtree’s Favor increases max HP, Equip Load and Stamina, while the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman grants a 20 percent reduction to physical damage.

If you’re keen on powerful Spirit Summons, Black Knife Tiche is great for damage, while the Greatshield Soldiers have good defense and can stagger enemies. The Mimic Tear may be a shadow of its former self (of yourself), but it’s still a solid option if you’ve invested resources already.

Recommended Consumables

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Boiled Crabs are easy to obtain – just befriend Blackguard Big Boggart and have him move to the Capital Outskirts. They provide a whopping 20 percent physical damage for 60 seconds, stack up to 99 and cost only 600 Runes a piece. Rune Arcs are also a must for Great Runes, and you can also purchase various Boluses to cure status effects. Make sure to keep some Gold-Pickled Fowl Foot handy to boost the amount of Runes gained by 30 percent for a few minutes.

Respec Options

Let’s say a build isn’t working out for you in The Land of Shadow, or you found a great new weapon and want to respec for it. Defeating Rennala in Raya Lucaria Academy grants access to respeccing, but each respec costs Larval Tears. These are located in the Liurnia of the Lakes, Siofra River, Nokron and Nokstella. However, they’re also seemingly limited with conflicting reports on farming methods. It thus doesn’t hurt to have a few reliable builds on standby – one for status damage, another for stance damage and so on – to switch should the situation call for it.

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