How to start Shadow of the Erdtree DLC – Elden Ring

Two boss fights stand between you and Elden Ring's DLC.


How to start Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is a bit trickier than you might be thinking. Unlike with some game expansions, Elden Ring makes you defeat two challenging, optional bosses before you can even think about starting the DLC, and one of those bosses lives in a hard-to-reach late-game area.

Our guide for how to start Elden Ring’s DLC explains what you have to do and offers a bit of advice to make life easier once you do step into the Land of Shadow.

How to start Shadow of the Erdtree

There are two main requirements to fulfill before you can start Shadow of the Erdtree, and they’re both boss battles against two challenging foes. Neither is part of the main storyline, so feel free to level up elsewhere before coming back to battle either of these two.

Defeat Radahn

Elden Ring's Radahn approaching the character on a tiny horse

The unlock task you can (probably) complete the earliest is the battle against Radahn. He’s in Caelid’s Redmane Castle, waiting for challengers to defeat him in the Redmane Festival. FromSoft lowered this fight’s difficulty after Elden Ring launched, since Radahn’s powers were a bit too out-of-this-world, and you can take a small army of ally summons with you into battle. Even still, this fight is a tough one, so make sure you’ve got a good build in order.

Defeating Radahn unlocks a new section of the underground that leads you to Nokron, Eternal City. Here, you can find the Mimic Tear summon – an excellent helper for upcoming battles even into the DLC expansion – along with some new gear and plenty more Runes to level up with. Exploring here is a good idea before taking on the next challenge.

Defeat Mohg

Elden Ring's Mohg, emerging from a pool of blood

The second requirement is rather trickier. You have to defeat Mohg, Lord of Blood, a boss you can easily go the entire game without finding. He set up house in Mohgwyn Palace, an underground hellscape you can only reach in two ways. 

The easiest way involves completing White Mask Varre’s quest. Varre is the man who calls you maidenless when you first enter Limgrave, so hopefully you didn’t kill him for that, as the second option is more involved. His quest continues in Liurnia of the Lakes’ Church of the Rose and involves completing a few invasions, though you can complete an offline version of it by invading and attacking an NPC. Varre eventually gives you an item that makes you an honorary member of Mohg’s band of weirdos, but it’s just an icon that teleports you to Mohgwyn Palace. Don’t expect any special treatment there.

If Varre is dead, you’ll have to visit the Consecrated Snowfield – accessible by using the Haligtree Medallion at the Grand Lift of Rold – and complete Yelough Tunnel. A teleporter sits at the end of the tunnel, and it drops you off at the same point in Mohgwyn Palace as Varre’s item.

Make your way up to Mohg’s mausoleum. If you haven't visited the Second Church of Marika and obtained the Purifying Crystal Tear from Eleonora, go ahead and do that now. Mixing it in your Flask of Wondrous Physik reduces the damage you take from Mohg's blood ritual at the start of the battle's second phase.

A new knight appears in front of Miquella’s egg after you defeat Mohg. Speak with her, touch the desiccated hand sticking out of the egg, and you’re good to go.

Other tips before starting Shadow of the Erdtree

An Elden Ring Tarnished, gazing up at the Erdtree

You’ll want to have a well-planned build before diving in. Shadow of the Erdtree is tough, and it expects you to know what you’re doing. That means specializing in one main stat, creating a viable hybrid – strength and dexterity, for example – or building your character around a specific weapon. Just make sure it’s a strong, endgame weapon, such as Dark Moon Greatsword, Rivers of Blood, Bloodhound’s Fank, or Blasphemous Blade.

Make sure you’ve got the maximum number of talisman pouches unlocked, not just to benefit from several talisman buffs, but also so you have room to experiment with new talismans in the DLC. Bringing along Glintstone Icecrag is a good idea if your build has at least 15 intelligence, as several tough enemies are prone to the Frostbite status, and you should also plan on using pot items and other elemental-slash-status ailment items. You’ll need all the help you can get.

It's also a good idea to ditch your tanky, slow Spirit Ash summons, such as Lhutel, in favor of faster ones, including the Mimic Tear and Black Knife Tiche. Slow isn't part of the vocabulary in the Land of Shadow.

Contributing Editor

Josh is a freelance writer and reporter who specializes in guides, reviews, and whatever else he can convince someone to commission. You may have seen him on NPR, IGN, Polygon, or VG 24/7 or on Twitter, shouting about Trails. When he isn’t working, you’ll likely find him outside with his Belgian Malinois and Australian Shepherd or curled up with an RPG of some description.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 20, 2024 3:00 PM

    Josh Broadwell posted a new article, How to start Shadow of the Erdtree DLC – Elden Ring

    • reply
      June 27, 2024 2:14 AM

      Starting the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC in Elden Ring sounds like quite the adventure! The challenge of defeating two tough optional bosses before even accessing the new content definitely raises the stakes. It’s like a thrilling prelude to the main event, making sure you're really ready for the Land of Shadow.

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