Elden Ring: 7 Steps To PREPARE For Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

The Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is here to destroy us all over again. The hotly anticipated DLC for Elden Ring promises a new vast open-world area to explore, new weapons, new bosses, and new cryptic lore that will definitely leave us completely baffled by the end. If you’re hungry to experience everything Shadow of the Erdtree has to offer, you’ll need to prepare yourself before tackling the DLC – and we’ve got a few recommendations to help you buff up for the unholy trials ahead.

The developers are promised an even steeper difficulty curve in the Land of Shadow, so put on your best armor and collect some killer weapons. Here are 7 things you need to do before playing the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion.

#1 Reach Mohgwyn Palace To Unlock The DLC

Elden Ring doesn’t play nice with its DLC like other developers. If you want to play, you need to reach a specific part of the game – and it isn’t early. You’ll need to progress far into the game world, to a totally optional location that you might’ve missed on your first run. If you’ve got a save file at the end of the game before fighting the last boss, you should have no problems. If you’re starting new? This is going to take some time.

And for all you that have already unlocking Mohgwyn Palace, you can skip this step and go straight to our second recommendation.

To access the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, you must reach Mohgwyn Palace and defeat the boss Mohg, Lord of Blood. If you’ve already done this, you’ll recognize the bizarre cocoon in the back of the chamber with an arm sticking out. This is object you’ll need to interact with – but let’s back up. Reaching Mohgwyn Palace is surprisingly complicated, and involves accessing a totally different secret area. Let’s start from the beginning.

Once that’s done, we need to reach the Consecrated Snowfield area. This is the large empty field to the north of the capital city – to unlock it, we need to collect two Secret Medallions. The first Secret Medallion is found in the Liurnia of the Lakes region. Travel to the Village of the Albinaurics in a cave in the southwest of the lake area. Inside the cave, look for an Albinauric enemy disguised as a pot. The easiest way to find him is just to smash every pot.

Next, reach the Mountaintops of the Giants in the far north of the map. Find an optional castle called Castle Sol and defeat the boss Commander Niall. This gives you access to a tower rooftop where you can collect the second Haligtree Secret Medallion piece. We’re making progress now!

With both pieces of the medallion, go to the Grand Lift of Rold. This is the giant elevator that takes you from Leyndell, Royal Capital to the Mountaintops of the Giants region. While the lift platform is at the lower position, you’ll get a new option to ‘Hoist Secret Medallion’ – this won’t work on the upper level. Select the new option and the lift will lower, taking you down to the Consecrated Snowfield.

Down in the Consecrated Snowfield, we need to find the entrance to Mohgwyn Palace. Find the area marked Yelough Anix Ruins in the snowy environment and travel northwest until you find the Sanguine Noble Invader. Defeat him and the teleporter nearby will unlock. Use it and you’ll appear in the underground. You can also complete a sidequest to access this area, but this is the most reliable method for unlocking Mohgwyn Palace.

Once you’re inside, you’ll need to follow the rocky path down to the bloody field, then back up to the mysterious palace. At the top you’ll encounter Mohg, Lord of Blood – he can be especially tricky. Use your Physic with the Purifying Crystal Tear equipped when he generates a red ring around you to avoid taking massive unblockable damage. Defeating him will give you access to the strange arena where Miquella is trapped in a cocoon. We know that the character of Miquella is deeply entwined with the story and lore of the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, so visiting this first area is required.

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#2 Actually Entering The DLC

So, you’ve defeated Mohg – how do you actually unlock the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC area? There’s actually one more step. Before you can enter the Land of Shadow you’ll need to defeat TWO bosses. Mohg isn’t enough. Here’s a quick list of steps to access the expansion.

  • Defeat Starscourge Radahn in the Caelid region. You’ll find the raid boss in Redmane Castle off the coast – defeating this massive boss is required to access the expansion but it isn’t entirely clear why. You just have to do it.
  • Next, like we said in the previous step, defeat Mohg, Lord of Blood. Destroy the creature guarding the underground mausoleum – if you follow the steps from the previous entry, you’ll reach his optional arena.

Once both bosses are defeated, go to Mohg’s Boss Arena and interact with the strange cocoon. Choose to ‘Touch the Withered Arm’ and you’ll teleport to the Land of Shadows. After activating a Site of Grace, you’ll be able to permanently fast-travel back and forth between the Land of Shadows and the Lands Between. Unlocking the DLC sounds simple, but Starscourge Radahn and Mohg, Lord of Blood are extremely difficult optional bosses. If you can beat them, you’ll be one step closer to the skill level required for Shadow of the Erdtree.

#3 Reach Level 120

Shadow of the Erdtree gives you some control over the difficulty in the Land of Shadow. You’ll be able to collect new items that specifically make your character stronger in the DLC area only – it won’t help outside, but the expansion promises to be so difficult, you’ll really only need it for the new dungeons and bosses. Still, it helps to buff yourself up and many players suggest grinding up to Level 120 or higher before attempting to take on the challenge. You might want to grind up to Level 150 – and don’t forget to dump lots of points into Vigor. You’ll need all the health you can get. Get Vigor up to 50 or higher and level up your other favorite combat stat too.

There are plenty of ways to level up. You can blaze through the main story and beat the Elden Beast at the end, or you can visit the Haligtree optional area and defeat Malenia, Blade of Miquella. She’s currently the toughest boss in Elden Ring – and we’re going to guess there will be at least one optional boss in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion that is even tougher. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.

The simplest way to level up is to grind. Luckily, we’ve already unlocked one of the best places to farm for Runes – Mohgwyn Palace. Go to the Palace Approach Ledge-Road Site of Grace and use the Blasphemous Blade or Sacred Relic Sword to generate a massive magical blast that destroys all the enemies in the area. Rest at the checkpoint and repeat the process to gather hundreds of thousands of runes. You’ll get the Blasphemous Blade by defeating Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy at the bottom of the Volcano Manor dungeon. Trade the Remembrance to earn the sword. The Sacred Relic Sword is the same, you’ll get it by trading the Remembrance dropped by the Elden Beast, the final boss of the main story.

You’ll need to progress far to even pull off this farming method, but it is absolutely worth it if you want easy levels late in the game.

#4 Getting The Best Weapons

We’re not here to tell you how to play Elden Ring – but some weapons are still ridiculously overpowered. You’ll be able to overcome the odds in the Land of Shadow with basically any build you want, but if you want to give yourself a dirty edge and slay bosses with less effort, you’ll want to grab some of the best weapons in the game. And we’re talking PvE only – some tools of the trade are better for bullying unsuspecting players in PvP. This is all about making the game easier with the right weapons.

  • Blasphemous Blade: Still one of the best weapons in Elden Ring. The Greatsword deals extreme bleed damage and hits hard from far away with the Taker’s Flame Weapon Skill. It’s very slow, so you’ll need to compensate and learn when to strike against the speedy bosses in the Land of Shadow, but each hit is going to deal serious damage. This weapon is acquired by defeating Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy in the Volcano Manor dungeon. If you follow the Volcano Manor questline, you’ll eventually unlock the path deeper into the manor that eventually leads to the Rykard boss. Trade in the Remembrance to get his blade.
  • Bloodhound’s Fang: Another early contender is still incredibly powerful against bosses. The Bloodhound’s Fang is a Curved Greatsword that can be earned right at the start of your run, making early bosses like Margit, the Fell Omen so much easier. You’ll find this weapon by defeating Bloodhound Knight Darriwil in Limgrave. Summon him at the Forlorn Knight Evergaol. The jail is in the far south of Limgrave, just west of the bridge leading to the Weeping Peninsula. The boss isn’t even that difficult, so there’s no reason not to grab one of the best PvE weapons in the game.
  • Bandit’s Curved Sword: If you’re looking for something lighter, the Bandit’s Curved Sword is easily one of the best in the game – but they’re absurdly hard to find. Ideally, you’ll want to dual-wield this sword to cut through everything after upgrading, but you’ll need to farm Skeleton Bandits for a tiny, tiny chance of them dropping. One of the best places to farm for these swords is at the Church of Pilgrimage in the Weeping Peninsula. A Skeleton Bandit spawns in the graveyard outside.

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There are so many more amazing weapons – Mohgwyn’s Sacred Spear or the Sacred Relic Sword are also extremely good. There will be new weapons in the Land of Shadow you’ll want to grab and try out, but these weapons are a good starting point if you want to become an unstoppable killing machine quickly. The earlier you can get them, the better they’ll be. And speaking of weapons, before heading into the DLC, you’ll definitely want to get ready.

#5 Buy Lots of Smithing Stones

Because there are so many new weapons, you’ll want to be prepared to use and upgrade them immediately. And all weapons require Smithing Stones or Somber Smithing Stones to enhance – you can get plenty of stones late in the game by delivering Smithing-Stone Miner’s Bell Bearing to the Two Maiden Husks. You’ll earn the Bell Bearing by defeating the Godskin Duo in Crumbling Farum Azula – a required boss if you’re progressing to the end of the game. If you haven’t made it that far, I recommend beating this boss just so you can buy all the Smithing Stones you’ll ever need.

You can also get a Somber Smithing Stone Bell Bearing in the same area. Reach the Beside The Great Bridge Site of Grace, then take the lift down and look for a body in a ruined temple in the north of the dungeon. The body will drop a Bell Bearing you can turn in to purchase high level Somber Smithing Stones.

You can use the farming technique listed above to get as many runes as possible, then buy up all the Smithing Stones you’ll ever want. Once you start earning new weapons, you can run off and upgrade them to (almost) max level, then start using them immediately. Even if you don’t have the Smithing Stones, you’ll absolutely want to get the Ball Bearings so you can easily purchase what you need from the Roundtable Hold.

#6 Protect Yourself With Consumables

For our final tip, you’ll want to give yourself the best possible chance before facing off against the first bosses in the Land of Shadow. You’ll immediately encounter bosses that go hard with elemental alignments – forcing you to change your playstyle or your armor if you’re not ready. These magical opponents want to deal high damage, and the best way to negate all that damage on the fly is with specific consumables. The first recommendation isn’t really a consumable at all. This is a Crystal Tear you can mix into your Wondrous Physick. Very good for dealing with any magical opponent temporarily, but not ideal for bosses.

  • Opaline Hardtear: A crystal tear for your Physic – this useful item increases ALL damage negation. Very useful but temporary and you won’t be able to reuse it between checkpoint rests. Get it by defeating the Putrid Avatar miniboss guarding a Minor Erdtree in northeast Caelid.

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When it comes to bosses, you’ll want to collect Dried Liver consumables. There are four types and each one provides a different kind of damage negation. Here’s how to get the recipe for all four.

  • Spellproof Dried Liver: The first of the four protects against standard Magic damage. You’ll need to unlock the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook sold by the Nomadic Merchant in the Liurnia of the Lakes region. He’s right next to the Liurnia of the Lakes site of grace, right when you first enter the region.
  • Fireproof Dried Liver: Earlier, you can get the recipe for this consumable that protects against Fire damage. From the Agheel North Site of Grace, travel northeast and clear out the camp of sellswords to earn the Armorer’s Cookbook.
  • Lightningproof Dried Liver: Naturally, this item protects against lightning damage. This is found far later in Crumbling Farum Azula. Starting at the Dragon Temple List site of grace, enter the courtyard and platform over the crumbling pieces of tower to reach a room with the Ancient Dragon Apostle’s Cookbook.
  • Holyproof Dried Liver: The last consumable protects against Holy damage and can be crafted after collecting the Missionary’s Cookbook. This optional book is found in th lower levels of the Volcano Manor. At the Temple of Eiglay Site of Grace, take the lift up and follow the rocky path to one of the weird Abductor Virgin enemies. Jump into a tower window and climb down the ladder to find the item.

And that’s it! Once you can start crafting these rare items, you’ll want to get a few to deal with any deadly situation. These items might not be required, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared – and some of the earliest bosses in the Land of Shadow will try to exploit your lack of elemental protection. Luckily, there are other ways to make the game a lot easier.

#7 Lowering The Difficulty With Scadutree Fragments

The Shadow of the Erdtree expansion adds a new mechanic that can make your encounters so much easier – and you’ll want to grab as many as you can if you’re struggling. Once you’re inside the Land of Shadow, you’ll be able to find rare items called Scadutree Fragments. These items can be redeemed at any Site of Grace and give you a buff that increases the damage of all your attacks and buffs your defense so you take less damage from all attacks. Essentially, you’ll kill enemies faster and die slower. The buff is only available in the DLC region but you won’t need to fight enemies to find some fragments even very early – you’ll find these at the golden crosses near Sites of Grace. If you want a harder experience you can absolutely ignore them, but we’ll be grabbing as many fragments as we can as quickly as we can.

And that’s seven simple tips to keep in mind before entering the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion. There’s so much more you can do to prepare – get overpowered spells, collect all the best armor pieces so you can enjoy a little Fashion Souls glamor while wallowing in the Realm of Shadow, or just go in totally blind and unprepared for the dangers you’re about to face. It’s all up to you – and if you’re on PC, you might want to check out our list of best Elden Ring mods we covered earlier. Some of those mods make the game so, so much easier.

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