Collapsing Farum Azula is one of the most foreboding zones in the entire Elden Ring, filled with deadly drops, dragons and bloodthirsty beastmen around every corner. It’s a tough journey, but clearing the area is the last step before you’re ready to take on the game’s final bosses in Leyndell. Only one thing stands in his way: Maliketh, the Blackblade.
Maliketh is a relentless foe whose two phases require drastically different approaches. Fortunately, if you know what to look for – and enter the fight equipped with a few important items – you’ll be victorious in no time.
Preparing for the fight
Unlike other endgame areas in Elden Ring, it’s impossible to get to Crumbling Farum Azula early (without using certain glitches, at least), so you should naturally be at a high level by the time you get to Maliketh. In any case, try to be at least level 120 (ideally closer to 150 or higher), with at least 40 points invested in Stamina. Get your weapon leveled to the max, too.
If you’re running a range-focused build, this fight will be a nightmare to tackle alone. Maliketh can (and will) close the gap between you in the blink of an eye, and it gives you very little breathing room from start to finish. If you want to use a bow or cast ranged spells, you’ll definitely want to bring a Spirit Summon to distract you at close range so you can attack from a safe distance. Something big and tanky, like Banished Knight Oleg or Lhutel the Headless, is your best bet.
If you plan on fighting Maliketh with a melee weapon, we highly recommend bringing a shield. There are certain attacks during the first phase of the fight that are unpredictable and extremely difficult to dodge, but can be blocked with little cost to your stamina. Any shield with 100% physical damage reduction will work fine.
Lastly, there’s one more thing you’ll want to make sure you bring into the fight…
The Blasphemous Claw is a tool with the sole purpose of helping you take down Maliketh (more on how it actually works below).
To find it, simply go up the stairs to Beside the Great Bridge Site of Grace, then turn left on the bridge, away from the boss arena. Go forward, through the door and down the stairs, until you reach a terrace. Go down the ladder on your right and continue towards the tower with the chest ahead.
About halfway through, you’ll be overrun by Recusant Bernahl (assuming you’ve defeated Rykard and cleared Volcano Manor). His attacks are quite slow and easy to dodge, so you should be able to take him down without too much trouble. Just look at the big Devourer of Worlds Ash of War AoE from your weapon.
Upon defeating Refuser Bernahl, he will drop the Blasphemous Claw, along with the Beast Champion set and the Devourer’s Scepter. With the Blasphemous Claw equipped, you’re ready to take on Maliketh.
How to beat Maliketh the Blackblade
Maliketh is relentlessly aggressive in both phases, giving you very little time or space to recover. When you need to heal or replenish FP, stay behind one of the broken pillars to protect it from their attacks. Just be ready to get back on the brakes quickly when he comes back into view.
Maliketh is highly resistant to all status effects and elemental damage. For melee builds, your best bet is to equip any weapon capable of dealing the most physical damage possible. High faith builds can use Lightning Spear with good results. For Sorcerers, Rock Sling is a solid option, as always. Also consider using a sword spell like Carian Slicer to punish him at close range. Comet Azur is also a viable option, although timing and placement can be tricky. Be sure to bring a Spirit Summon so you can safely set up your cast from a distance.
The boss starts the fight in the form of Beast Clergyman. As soon as you enter the arena, he will head towards you. He runs forward and exits the narrow bridge to avoid falling.
Throughout the first phase, Beast Clergyman will attack you with a dagger in various strike and strike combinations. While this can be avoided, his combos are quick and unpredictable. The easiest strategy is to block these attacks with a good shield. By doing so, you can stay close and ready to strike back.
He will also use the following enchantments during the first phase. There’s a quick reload window after them, so try to dodge towards him to land a hit or two after the spell resolves:
- Bestial Slingshot. He will reach into the ground and throw small stones at you. Sometimes he will do this from afar, other times he will finish his dagger combos with the move. Simply dodge.
- Gurranq Stone. He will lift a rock above your head and throw it at you. Swing forward or to the side.
- Claw of the Beast. He’ll slam his hand on the ground and pull you out, sending five shockwaves at you. Don’t dodge to the side! Instead, try to position yourself between waves and roll forward at the last second.
- He will slam both fists into the ground, creating craters in the ground around him that shoot boulders into the air, which fall a few seconds later in the same spot. Position yourself a safe distance between the craters and stand still until the rocks come back to avoid damage, or simply run away to avoid the AoE altogether. He will often follow this move with a Bestial Sling or other attack, so be prepared to dodge after the spell resolves.
At about half health, the Beast Clergyman will pull a massive sword out of his hand and become Maliketh, the Black Blade. Getting hit by your weapon not only deals massive damage on its own, it also lowers your max HP. and continues to drain your health over time, so avoiding it is imperative. This effect even happens through a shield, so you’ll want to switch to the two-handed weapon and dodge in this phase instead of blocking.
Here are the most important attacks to watch out for during phase two:
- Sword blows. Maliketh usually starts the phase by standing on its hind legs and swinging its sword at you, and will continue to do various jabs and jabs throughout the fight. These moves are relatively slow and easy to dodge, and can often be avoided all together just by getting under him.
- Sword blow. It will flip in midair and land on your sword, burying it in the ground before flipping back in an AoE blast. Just dodge the blow and roll to avoid damage.
- Destined Death. He will swing his sword in circles around himself, before hitting the ground in front of him, creating a huge cloud of slashing swords. This move is deadly if you get caught in it, but also quite exploitable. Roll through the initial swings of the sword and get behind him before the AoE. You’ll be out of range here, and you can land a few hits to his back while he’s exposed.
- Black blade. Maliketh will jump off the pillars above and fire one to three red projectiles at you. Simply roll to the side before they get to you. He will usually follow this up with a sword swing or other attack, so be ready to dodge.
- Gold sword. This is the most important move to watch out for, and this is where the Blasphemous Claw will finally come in handy. At various points throughout the fight – often right after the Black Blade’s attack – Maliketh’s sword will glow gold, indicating a heavy attack. Just when he’s about to hit you with the golden sword, use the Blasphemous Claw. Doing so will parry his attack, leaving him highly vulnerable for about eight seconds. Use this opportunity to get as much damage as possible. The moment is complicated, but doing so can trivialize the fight.
Maliketh is an intimidating boss, but getting your health bar to zero takes less time than you might think, especially with the Blasphemous Claw handy. After defeating him, you will be rewarded with 220,000 runes and the Remembrance of the Black Blade., which gives you access to his sword or Blackblade Enchantment. With him dead, you can now head to Leyndell, Ashen Capital to face the game’s final bosses.
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