Farum Azula’s crumbling is one of the most terrifying areas in all of the Elden Ring, filled with death blobs, dragons, and bloodthirsty Beastmen around every corner. It’s a rough ride, 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 your way: Maliketh, the Black Sword.
Maliketh is a relentless foe whose two phases require drastically different approaches. Fortunately, if you know what to look for and go into the fight equipped with a few important items, you’ll be victorious in no time.
preparing for the fight
Unlike other late-game areas in the Elden Ring, it’s impossible to get to Crumbling Farum Azula early (at least without the use of certain rifts), so naturally you should be at a high level by the time you reach Maliketh. In any case, try to be at least level 120 (ideally closer to 150), with at least 40 points invested in Vigor. Get your weapon leveled up to max, too.
If you’re running a range-focused build, this fight is going to be a nightmare to take on alone. Maliketh can (and will) bridge the gap between you in the blink of an eye, giving you very little room to breathe from start to finish. If you want to use a bow or cast spells from a distance, you’ll definitely want to bring a Spirit Summon to distract him up close so you can attack from a safe distance. Something big and sturdy, like Banished Knight Oleg or Lhutel the Headless, is your best bet.
If you plan on fighting Maliketh with a melee weapon, we recommend carrying a shield. There are certain attacks during phase one 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 bring with you to the fight…
Blasphemous Claw is a tool with the sole purpose of helping you defeat Maliketh (more on how it works below).
To find it, simply go up the stairs from the grace spot next to the big bridge, then turn left on the bridge, away from the boss arena. Keep going, go through the door and down the stairs, until you find yourself on a terrace. Go down the ladder to your right and continue towards the tower with the chest inside ahead.
About half way through, you’ll be invaded by Recusant Bernahl (assuming you’ve beaten Rykard and cleared Volcano Manor). His attacks are pretty slow and easy to dodge, so you should be able to take him down without too much trouble. Just look for the great Eater of Worlds Ash of War AoE from his weapon.
Upon defeating Recusant Bernahl, he will drop the Blasphemous Claw, along with the Beast Champion set and Devourer’s Scepter. With the Blasphemous Claw equipped, you are now ready to take on Maliketh.
How to beat Maliketh, the Black Sword
Maliketh is relentlessly aggressive in both phases, giving you very little time or space to recover. When you need to heal or recharge FP, get behind one of the broken pillars to protect yourself from his attacks. Just be prepared to quickly relock when it comes back into view.
Maliketh is highly resistant to all status effects and elemental damage. For melee builds, your best bet is to equip whatever weapon is capable of dealing the most physical damage possible. High Faith builds can use Lightning Spear to good effect. For Warlocks, Rock Sling is a solid option, as always. Also consider using a sword spell, like Carian Slicer, to punish him up close. Comet Azure is also a viable option, although timing and positioning can be tricky. Be sure to bring a Spirit Summon so you can safely set up your throw from a distance.
The boss starts the fight in the form of Beast Clergyman. As soon as you enter the arena, he will charge at you. He runs forward and out of the narrow bridge to avoid falling down.
Throughout the first phase, Beast Clergyman will attack you with a dagger in various combinations of slashes and strikes. While this can be dodged, his combos are fast and unpredictable. The easiest strategy is to block these attacks with a good shield. By doing so, he can stay close and ready to strike back.
You will also use the following enchantments during the first phase. There’s a quick cooldown window after them, so try to dodge towards him to take a hit or two after the spell resolves:
- Beastly slingshot. She will stick her hand into the ground and throw small stones at you. Sometimes she will do this from afar, other times she will finish his dagger combos with the move. Just dodge.
- Gurranq stone. He will lift a rock over his head and throw it at you. Dodge forward or to the side.
- Beast claw. He will slam his hand into the ground and pull it out, sending five shockwaves at you. Don’t dodge aside! Instead, try to get in between the waves and move forward at the last second.
- He will slam both fists into the ground, creating craters in the ground around him that shoot rocks into the air, which land back down a couple of seconds later in the same spot. Stand a safe distance between the craters and stand still until the rocks fall again to avoid damage, or just run away to avoid the AoE altogether. He will often follow up this move with a Bestial Sling or other attack, so be ready to dodge after the spell resolves.
At about half his health, the Beast Cleric will draw a huge sword from his hand and become Maliketh, the Black Sword. Getting hit by his weapon not only deals massive damage on its own, but also reduces your max HP. Y it continues to deplete your health over time, so avoiding it is imperative. This effect happens even through a shield, so you’ll want to two-hand your weapon and dodge your way through this phase instead of blocking.
Here are the most important attacks to watch out for during phase two:
- Sword strikes. Maliketh will often begin her phase by standing on her hind legs and swinging her sword at you, and will continue to do various slashes and strikes throughout the fight. These moves are relatively slow and easy to dodge, and can often even be avoided entirely just by standing under him.
- Sword strike. He will somersault in the air and land on his sword, pinning it to the ground before flipping back in an AoE blast. Just dodge the hit and roll to avoid damage.
- Predestined death. She will swing the sword in circles around her, before smashing it into the ground in front of him, creating a huge cloud of slashing swords. This move is deadly if you get caught, but also quite exploitable. Roll the initial sword moves and get behind him before the AoE. You’ll be out of range here, and you can take a few hits to his back while he’s exposed.
- black sheet. Maliketh will jump from the pillars above and fire one to three red projectiles at you. She just rolls to the side just before they reach him. She’ll usually follow this up with a sword strike or other attack, so be ready to dodge.
- Golden sword. This is the most important move to watch, and it’s where Blasphemous Claw will ultimately come in handy. At various points throughout the fight, often immediately after Black Blade’s attack, Maliketh’s sword will glow gold, indicating a heavy incoming attack. Just as she is about to hit you with the golden sword, she uses the Blasphemous Claw. If she does, she will parry her attack, leaving him highly vulnerable for about eight seconds. Take this opportunity to deal as much damage as possible. Timing is tricky, but doing so can trivialize the fight.
Maliketh is an intimidating boss, but getting his health bar down to zero takes less time than you might think, especially with Blasphemous Claw on hand. After defeating him, you will be rewarded with 220,000 runes and the Memory of the Black Sword., which grants you access to his sword or the Black Blade enchantment. With him dead, you can now head to Leyndell, Ashen Capital to take on the latest bosses in the game.
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