Crumbling Farum Azula is one of “Elden Ring’s” most ominous zones, with deadly drops, dragons, and savage Beastmen lurking around every corner. It’s a difficult voyage, but completing the area is the penultimate stage before facing the game’s final bosses back at Leyndell. Maliketh, the Black Blade, is the only thing standing in your way.
Maliketh is a tenacious foe with two distinct phases that necessitate significantly different strategies. Fortunately, if you know what to look out for and enter the fight with a few key items, you’ll be victorious in no time.
Getting ready for the fight
Crumbling Farum Azula, unlike other late-game regions in “Elden Ring“, is impossible to enter early (without the usage of certain flaws), thus you should be at a high level by the time you reach Maliketh. In any case, strive for a level of 120 (preferably closer to 150) and a Vigor investment of at least 40 points. Get your weapon to the maximum level as well.
This encounter will be a struggle to take on solo if you’re using a range-focused build. Maliketh may (and will) close the distance between you in the blink of an eye, leaving you with very little breathing room from beginning to end. If you plan on using a bow or casting spells from afar, you’ll want to bring a Spirit Summon with you to keep him distracted so you may attack from a safe distance. Your best bet is to go with a huge, tanky character like Banished Knight Oleg or Lhutel the Headless.
If you intend to battle Maliketh with a melee weapon, we strongly advise you to bring a shield. Certain assaults in the first part of the encounter are surprising and difficult to avoid, but they can be blocked at a low cost to your stamina. Any shield that reduces physical damage by 100% would suffice.
Claw of Blasphemy
The Blasphemous Claw is a Tool that exists solely to assist you in defeating Maliketh (more on how it actually works below).
To find it, go up the stairs from the Grace Site by the Great Bridge, then turn left on the bridge away from the boss arena. Continue forward, down the steps and through the door, until you reach a terrace. Continue straight ahead, down the right-hand staircase, toward the tower with the chest within.
Recusant Bernahl will attack you around halfway down the road (if you’ve defeated Rykard and emptied out Volcano Manor). Because his strikes are slow and easy to avoid, you should be able to take him out quickly. Just keep an eye out for his weapon’s Devourer of Worlds Ash of War’s wide AoE.
Recusant Bernahl will drop the Blasphemous Claw, as well as the Beast Champion set and the Devourer’s Scepter, after defeating him. You’re now outfitted with the Blasphemous Claw and ready to face Maliketh.
What is the best way to defeat Maliketh, the Black Blade?
In both phases, Maliketh is ruthlessly aggressive, leaving you with little time or opportunity to recover. When you need to recover or replenish your FP, hide behind one of the broken pillars to avoid his assaults. Just be ready to re-lock on as soon as he reappears in view.
All status effects and elemental harm are highly resistant to Maliketh. When it comes to melee builds, the ideal weapon to use is the one that can do the most Physical Damage. Lightning Spear can be quite useful in High-Faith builds. As always, Rock Sling is a good choice for Sorcerers. Consider employing a sword spell to punish him up close, such as Carian Slicer. Comet Azur is also an option, however, timing and positioning can be challenging. Make sure you bring a Spirit Summon with you so you can set up your cast safely from afar.
The first phase
The boss appears in the shape of Beast Clergyman at the outset of the battle. He will charge toward you as soon as you enter the arena. To avoid going off the narrow bridge, sprint forward.
The Beast Clergyman will attack you with a dagger in various combinations of slashes and swipes throughout the first phase. While it is possible to avoid this, his combos are quick and surprising. The simplest technique is to use a good shield to block these assaults. You’ll be able to stay near and ready to counterattack if you do so.
Throughout the first phase, he will also use the following Incantations. After the spell resolves, there is a little cooldown time, so try to dodge toward him to get in a hit or two:
Sling of the Beast. He’ll reach into the ground with his hand and hurl little rocks at you. He’ll do it from distance at times, and he’ll use it to end his dagger combos at other times. Simply make your way through.
Gurranq’s Stone He’ll throw a boulder at you from a height over his head. Shift your weight forward or to the side.
Claw of the Beast He’ll slam his hand into the ground and then rip it out, causing five shockwaves to hit you. Avoid swerving to the side! Instead, aim to get in between the waves and roll forward at the last possible moment.
He’ll pound both fists into the earth, causing craters in the ground around him to hurl rocks into the air, which will then fall back down in the same area a few seconds later. To prevent damage, position yourself between the craters at a safe distance and stay put until the boulders tumble down, or simply run away to avoid the AoE entirely.
After the spell resolves, he’ll likely follow up with a Bestial Sling or another attack, so be ready to dodge.
The second phase
When the Beast Clergyman is about half-health, he will draw a massive sword from his hand and transform into Maliketh, the Black Blade. Getting hit by his weapon not only delivers a lot of damage on its own, but it also lowers your maximum HP and depletes your health over time, thus avoiding it is crucial. This effect is visible even through a shield, so instead of blocking, switch to two-handing your weapon and dodge-roll your way through this phase.
During phase two, keep an eye out for the following attacks:
Swipes of the sword: Maliketh will frequently begin the phase by standing on his hind legs and swinging his sword at you, and he will continue to do so throughout the fight. These actions are slow and easy to evade, and may frequently be avoided entirely by just standing beneath him.
The sword slams. Before flipping backward in an AoE blast, he will flip into the air and crash on his sword, digging it into the earth. To prevent harm, simply dodge the impact and slide away.
Destined Death. He’ll circle himself with the sword before slamming it into the ground in front of him, generating a massive cloud of slicing swords. If you get caught in it, this move is lethal, but it can also be used to your advantage. Before the AoE, roll past the early sword blows and get behind him. While he’s exposed, you’ll be out of range and able to land several hits on his back.
Black Blade. Maliketh will hurl one to three crimson projectiles at you from the pillars above. Just before they approach you, roll to the side. He’ll likely respond with a sword slam or other assault, so be prepared to avoid.
Gold Sword. This is the most crucial move to watch out for, and it’s here that the Blasphemous Claw will finally be useful. Maliketh’s sword will flash gold at certain moments during the fight, usually after the Black Blade assault, suggesting a powerful upcoming attack. Use the Blasphemous just before he’s ready to hit you with the gold sword.
Claw. As a result, his attack will be parried, leaving him defenseless for around eight seconds. Take advantage of this opportunity to do as much harm as possible. The timing is tough, but if you get it right, you can make the struggle a lot easier.
Maliketh is a formidable foe, but bringing his health bar to zero is easier than it appears, especially with the Blasphemous Claw at your disposal. You’ll be rewarded with 220,000 runes and the Remembrance of the Black Black, which gives you access to his weapon or the Black Blade Incantation, if you defeat him. Now that he’s dead, you can proceed to Leyndell, Ashen Capital to face the game’s final bosses.