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How To Prepare For Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

The Shadow of the Erdtree is the one and only DLC expansion planned for Elden Ring and will take you to a brand new area, complete with new weapons, bosses, and much more.

Shadow of the Erdtree is set to be absolutely massive; according to director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the addition will be approximately the size of Elden Ring’s starting area, Limgrave. In other words, you’ll have a lot to dig into come June 21, including finding out what happened to the game’s most mysterious demigod — but only if you’re prepared for it.

While the trailer indicates that all you need to do to access the new DLC is to defeat Mogh, Lord of Blood, there’s much more you can do to prepare yourself. Below you’ll find a guide to get you geared and ready to take on Elden Ring‘s greatest challenge.


Requirements To Access Shadow of the Erdtree

You don’t have to beat the game to take on Shadow of the Erdtree, however, you will need to attain a certain amount of progress before you can jump in. FromSoftware has said that the upcoming content will exist on a brand-new map that’s separate from the main game. Based on info released thus far, you’ll access that region via Mohg’s palace (and, to that end, by defeating Mohg, Lord of Blood). As well as Starscourge Radahn.

This makes sense because we know that Mohg has kidnapped Miquella, one of the main protagonists of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. In the base game, Miquella is housed in an egg that you can interact with once you beat Mohg. Currently, the mummy-like remains don’t do anything, but Shadow of the Erdtree’s trailer shows Miquella’s egg seemingly coming to life.

Starscourge Radhan is the demigod shardbearer boss found in the Wailing Dunes of Caelid, a boss you must defeat as part of the Festival at Redmane Castle. This boss is a bit unorthodox, given to his massive size and sheer attack power, but you’ll be able to continually summon other NPC participants of the festival.


What Level Should You Be for Shadow of the Erdtree

For characters who have not reached New Game+ yet, reaching an appropriate level to have a better chance of meeting the new challenges of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is important. Given that the DLC can be accessed after defeating a boss near the very end of the game, your character will likely want to be strong enough to take on end-game challenges.

We recommend that characters should likely be at least Level 100 to Level 150 to properly prepare for the challenges of the DLC. Most players who have reached the final boss of Elden Ring usually find themselves around Level 100 or higher depending on the challenges they face, so it’s likely that having that many points allocated in various stats will give you a good fighting chance.


Start The DLC with A New Character Or In New Game+?

The first thing you’ll need to decide before the DLC arrives is whether you want to approach the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC with a fresh character, or one that has completed the game and started New Game+ one or more times. There are pros and cons for both sides depending on how far along you are and how you’d like to play the new DLC.

The pros of restarting the game fresh are not only can you rework your character but you’ll have the advantage of being able to stockpile a large amount of limited items – including remembrances, dragon smithing stones, and glovewort that might have been used already in a New Game+ run.

While the pros of starting your character in New Game+ are that you can begin straight away to jump into the DLC since you’ll likely have almost every item you need on hand. Your New Game+ characters is also more likely to be a high enough level that you can use a Larval Tear to rebirth and respec into practically any build you can think of. This allows you to quickly adapt to unexpected challenges in the DLC, rather than trying to steer toward one or two builds when making a fresh character.

However do note that each time you start New Game+, enemies will become that much more difficult, which can also affect how strong the DLC area enemies are your first time through.


Grind The Best Gear

What classifies as “best” will depend heavily on what build you’re running and your play preferences, but we have a few suggestions for you.

  • For Intelligence builds, the Rock Sling sorcery and its anti-gravity properties pair wonderfully with things like the Moonveil Katana or Wing of Astel.
  • Strength builds have a bevy of options, but I’m fond of the Great Stars, which heals you with every hit, though the classic Greatsword is also a good bet.
  • Faith devotees are in agreement that the best weapon is the Blasphemous Blade, a greatsword that can deal additional fire damage.
  • Dexterity builds, meanwhile, have two strong options that are available near the start of the game: Bloodhounds Fang and Uchigatana.
  • Those of you trying out an Arcane build might want to check out the Naginata, which can pair well with bleed effects, or the Star Fists.

As for armour, your choices will depend on your weight class of choice. If you gravitate toward light armour, you’ll be happy with choices like the Godskin Noble set or the Ronin set, both of which have strong stats. If you use medium armour, look into the Gelmir Knight set, or a Knight set in general. And if you prefer heavy armour, you can use what’s considered one of the most broken pieces of gear in the game: the Bull-Goat set, gear so powerful that it’s a mainstay in PVP.

Granted, weapons and armour aren’t the only things you can equip in Elden Ring — but for everything else, it really depends on how you like to play.


Get Powerful Spirit Ash Summons

Taking along a formidable Spirit Ash summon with you to the Shadow of the Erdtree area can be extremely helpful to your survival, and it’s important you pick a Spirit Ash that compliments your playstyle. Some ashes summon a small group to harass, and others can summon a sturdy fighter, evasive allies, or ranged support. While there are many to choose from, our top picks include:

  • Mimic Tear – A summoned spirit that becomes an exact copy of you, right down to your currently equipped items, you can even swap your gear after summoning it to give it specific advantages that differ from yours. You can find it in Nokron, Eternal City in Night’s Sacred Ground, behind a barrier unlocked by an Imp Statue.
  • Black Knife Tiche – An extremely dangerous and nimble assassin, summoning her will take a lot of FP, but her blackflame blade attacks can deal incredible damage with little warning. To get the spirit ashes, you’ll need to defeat her mother, Black Knife Alecto, who is imprisoned in the Ringleader’s Evergaol atop the Moonlight Altar area in western Liurnia. This area can only be accessed via the Deep Ansel River Well at the end of the Lake of Rot and defeating Astel, Naturalborn of the Void.
  • Latenna the Albinuaric – A great ranged support spirit that can fire rapid arrows at range, but needs to be kept out of the spotlight due to her inability to evade enemies. You’ll gain her spirit ashes by undertaking Latenna’s Quest that starts with finding Albus in the Village of Albinaurics, and then finding Latenna at the other side of Lakeside Crystal Cave in southwestern Liurnia.
  • Greatshield Soldiers – A group of five greatshield-bearing minions with extremely high defense and poise, they can easily swarm enemies to keep them locked down, and can often soak up a lot of damage while you reposition yourself. You can find their spirit ashes deep within Nokron, Eternal City in a graveyard to the south.

Prepare for DLC Gear and Items

Ensuring your Character is ready to delve into the Shadow of the Erdtree is only half the battle, it can also help you to be ready to make use of all of the new DLC items you may find – the most important ones being new Weapons and Spirit Ash Summons. With 8 brand new weapon types confirmed, and likely lots of new weapons for existing types, there’s a good chance you’ll want to make use of them as soon as you can. To do so, you’ll need to be ready to upgrade them with Smithing Stones, and Somber Smithing Stones.


Learn More About Miquella

Miquella is mentioned heavily throughout Elden Ring, but you never actually see or speak to the fair-headed Empyryan. And like most Souls games, all the storytelling is fairly subtle, so it’s entirely possible to not know what’s going on with Miquella — or to miss the smaller details that will likely be fleshed out in the DLC. Watching lore videos (like the one above from the popular FromSoftware content creator VaatiVidya) is a good way of remedying this issue.


Explore Volcano Manor

One of the major themes of Shadow of the Erdtree seems to be blasphemy. The Erdtree, after all, is associated with light, and you’ll be wading in the shadows, potentially after the Erdtree’s destruction. The main antagonist of the DLC appears to be connected to snakes, which the base game repeatedly associates with enemies of the faith.

Chances seem high, then, that Shadow of the Erdtree will make some callbacks to Volcano Manor. The manor is home to Ryckard, a demigod who betrayed the Golden Order by allowing himself to be devoured by a powerful snake. It seems that Shadow of the Erdtree’s big bad follows a similar path; in the trailer, he asks an unnamed mother if she would truly sanction someone as accursed as he is. While the jury’s out on whether or not this villain is actually another Miquella half-sibling who fell out of favour with his family, Volcano Manor’s tie to blasphemous snakes is enough reason to check it out. We may be dealing with the same outer god in the DLC.


Defeat Malenia

You’ll definitely want to defeat Malenia, the optional boss who resides in Miquella’s hidden kingdom. While Malenia is notoriously difficult, she’s also Miquella’s twin, so you’ll want to soak in as much as you can about her. The trailer also features a water dancer who looks suspiciously like the character mentioned in Malenia-related gear.

That said, she’s one of the toughest bosses in the game; most players save her for the latter segments of their playthroughs for good reason.


Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree expansion features an all-new story set in the Land of Shadow imbued with mystery, perilous dungeons, and new enemies, weapons and equipment. Discover uncharted territories, face formidable adversaries, and revel in the satisfying triumph of victory. Dive into the riveting interplay of characters, where drama and intrigue intertwine, that create an immersive experience to savor and enjoy.

The DLC will be available for purchase and play for players with the existing base game Elden Ring. It will release June 20th 2024 for the PlayStation 5|4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC – Steam.