Elden Ring: 7 BEST Optional Bosses [Don’t Miss These!]

After spending more than 750 hours and beating every optional boss multiple times, I've come up with a list of optional bosses you absolutely shouldn't miss.

Despite Elden Ring having more than 150 bosses, only 12 are mandatory, while the rest are optional. Most early-game challenges like Godrick the Grafted and Margit, the Fell Omen, are entirely skippable if you’re looking to speedrun the title. However, if you’re looking to test yourself like most Soulsborne veterans, there are some optional bosses that are the pinnacle of difficulty.

Key Takeaways
  • Optional bosses in Elden Ring aren’t necessary to fight to complete the main story.
  • There are almost 123 optional bosses, but most of them are reskin or duplicate fights.
  • Players can encouraged to fight the optional Shardbearer or Remembrance bosses that often drop highly valuable loot, including Great Runes, weapons, and runes.
  • Out of all these in Elden Ring, the must-attempt bosses include Mohg, Rykard, and Placidusax found in Mohgwyn, Volcano Manor, and Crumbling Farum Azula, respectively.

The Best Optional Bosses In Elden Ring

Here’s an overview of the best optional bosses, detailing their location and rewards:

1Mohg, Lord of BloodMohgwyn Palace420,000x Runes
Remembrance of the Blood Lord
Mohg's Great Rune
2Rykard, Lord of BlasphemyVolcano Manor in Mt. Gelmir130.000x Runes
Remembrance of the Blasphemous
Rykard's Great Rune
3Dragonlord PlacidusaxCrumbling Farum Azula280,000x Runes
Remembrance of the Dragonlord
4Malenia, Blade of MiquellaElphael in Miquella's Haligtree480,000x Runes
Remembrance of the Rot Goddess
Malenia's Great Rune
5Starscourge RadahnRedmane Castle in Caelid70,000x Runes
Remembrance of the Starscourge
Radahn's Great Rune
6Magma WyrmGael Tunnel in Caelid7,500 Runes
Moonveil Katana
1x Dragon Heart
7Bloodhound Knight DarriwilLimgrave1,900x Runes
Bloodhound's Fang

7. Bloodhound Knight Darriwil

The Best Alternative Early-Game Optional Boss.
darriwil elden ring
Bloodhound Darriwil boss fight (Screenshot by eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: The Bloodhound Fang you get from Darriwil is considered one of the best Curved Greatswords in-game, making the Bloodhound Knight a must-fight early-game boss.

For Strength and Dex builds, fighting Darriwil should be your priority, especially if you’re still new to Elden Ring. Found in Limgrave, this will probably be your first Evergaol fight, so don’t be overwhelmed since it’s not too challenging.

Besides being a fun encounter overall, Darriwil drops the Bloodhound Fang, one of the best Curved Greatswords in the game and highly popular in PvP and PvE. 

You can find this boss in the Forlorn Hound Evergaol in southeastern Limgrave just before entering the Weeping Peninsula.

forlorn evergaol limgrave
The Forlorn Evergaol in southeastern Limgrave (Screenshot by eXputer)
  • Great for early-game players.
  • Easy to reach.
  • Powerful weapon drop.
  • Negligible runes obtained after defeating the boss.
  • Primarily for melee users.

6. Caelid’s Magma Wyrm

The Best Early-Game Optional Boss In Elden Ring.
caelid wyrm
Caelid’s Magma Wyrm (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: The melee weapon dropped from this boss is so powerful, versatile, and popular, that it put the Magma Wyrm on my list.

If you’re new to Elden Ring’s world and stumble upon Caelid in your first few hours, don’t forget to fight this boss because it drops an insanely powerful weapon – the Moonveil Katana. The Moonveil is among my top melee weapon recommendations for newcomers because of its effectiveness, low requirements, and ease of use.

Onto the boss itself, the Magma Wyrm has slow and predictable attacks that you can easily dodge and counter. The arena and boss fight might not be as spectacular as the other entries on this list, but the Moonveil and a respectable pouch of runes you get from the boss should set you up for success in the mid-game and late-game phases.

Here’s a quick procedure that should take you directly to the Magma Wyrm:

  1. Reaching Gael Tunnel: From the Rotview Balcony Site of Grace in Caelid, drop down from the cliff’s edge to the bottom of the hill. Head right while staying close to the foot of the cliff, and you’ll find 2 Redmane Soldiers at a campsite.
  2. Entering Magma Wyrm’s Arena: Enter Gael Tunnel by sprinting to the cave entrance behind the soldiers. Progress through the Tunnel while trying to avoid the miners. Towards the end, open the wooden gate on your right to enter the Magma Wyrm’s arena.
  • Rotview Balcony caelid
    The Rotview Balcony Site of Grace (Screenshot by eXputer)
  • Drops an incredibly powerful weapon.
  • Easy to reach.
  • Reskinned way too often.
  • Arena feels uninspiring.

5. Starscourge Radahn

The Most Entertaining Optional Boss In Elden Ring.
elden ring starscourge Radahn
Fighting Radahn (Image Captured by eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: One of the best bosses in terms of quality and difficulty with a powerful Great Rune and Greatsword from its Remembrance.

Radahn is another popular boss that some players often don’t fight because getting to his arena can be tricky. However, this boss fight has arguably the best quality in Elden Ring and is extremely unique in terms of design and spectacle. Additionally, the rewards you get, including a powerful stat-raising Great Rune and a devastating Greatsword from Radahn’s Remembrance, make this a worthwhile one that you shouldn’t skip.

To fight Radahn, follow the steps I’ve given below:

  1. Align The Stars: Reach the Altus Plateau, a biome located northeast of Liurnia.
  2. Enter Redmane Castle: Starting from any Site of Grace in Caelid, make your way to the giant bridge that leads to Redmane Castle, located near the area’s eastern edge. Outside the Castle, use the teleporter near the bridge that’ll take you directly inside.
  3. Beginning Radahn’s Festival: Follow the trail past the courtyard, take an elevator, and use the teleporter at the end to reach Radahn’s area.
redmane caelid
Activated teleporter next to Redmane Castle’s entrance (Image by eXputer)
Important: If you reach Redmane Castle before visiting Altus, you won’t be able to fight Radahn. Instead, you’ll meet a duo boss fight, the Lionel Misbegotten Warrior and Crucible Knight.
  • Quality boss fight.
  • Opens an access route to Nokron.
  • Versatile Great Rune.

4. Malenia, Blade Of Miquella

The Most Challenging Optional Boss In Elden Ring.
Malenia elden ring
Malenia’s boss fight in the Haligtree (Picture taken by eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: If you’re looking for a challenge, this is the ideal fight to test your limits and grab some unique rewards.

Most of you might know Malenia as the most brutal boss in Elden Ring, and that’s a true statement for many players. She’s one of the last Shardbearers in the game, but the rewards you get from her fight are well worth the wait.

For starters, she’s tied with Mohg for the highest runes dropped by an optional boss when killed. Besides that, her Great Rune recovers HP when you attack after receiving damage. Lastly, her remembrance can be traded at the Roundtable Hold for either one of the strongest Katanas or one of the best Rot-based Faith spells in Elden Ring.

You can fight Malenia at the far end of Miquella’s Haligtree, a location that you can access via Ordina, Liturgical Town, in the Consecrated Snowfield. For a more detailed explanation, here’s a complete guide to finding Malenia.

Malenia’s arena near the Haligree Tree (Screenshot by eXputer)
Important: Try using long-range spells or Colossal Swords to stunlock Malenia. Also, if you’re struggling against her Waterfowl Dance attack, try dodging inwards at the right time to avoid most of the damage.
  • Tons of runes.
  • Powerful Great Rune.
  • Ideal fight for Dex and Faith users.
  • Extremely challenging.

3. Dragonlord Placidusax

The Best Optional Boss For PvP Enthusiasts.
placidusax elden ring
Dragonlord Placidusax boss fight (Picture Credits: eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: In my experience, Placidusax is the ideal boss if you’re a Strength-Faith build who’s looking to dominate the PvP scene with intense damage output.

Dragon bosses are a staple in FromSoft titles, but I personally think Placidusax is their best attempt at this archetype yet, right alongside the Divine Dragon from Sekiro. Placidusax’s arena is a spectacle, with a large area surrounded by lightning and an eerie atmosphere with no sound except the howling winds.

You can trade his remembrance for one of the strongest Heavy Thrusting Swords in Elden Ring, the Dragon King’s Cragblade, a beast in PvP. Besides that, if you’re a Faith user, you can also go for Placidusax’s Ruin, a devastating Dragon Incantation. Placidusax isn’t necessarily a tough fight, but watch out for his dual-beam attack toward the end of the battle that’ll likely kill you in one attempt.

You can find Dragonlord Placidusax near the end of Farum Azula using this procedure:

  1. Traversing The Platforms: From the ‘Beside the Great Bridge’ Site of Grace, use the elevator behind you and follow the subsequent trail past the Beastmen that leads you outside. At the edge of the cliff right in front of the exit, look down, and you’ll see some platforms below you.
  2. Entering The Arena: Carefully jump down each platform until you reach a floating structure with several skeletons and indentations. Interact with the ‘Lie Down’ prompt on the middle indentation (which doesn’t have a skeleton), and after a brief cutscene, you’ll teleport to Placidusax’s arena.
  • beside great bridge grace
  • Breathtaking arena.
  • PvP-defining rewards.
  • Very easy to miss.

2. Rykard, Lord Of Blasphemy

The Best Gimmick-Type Optional Boss In Elden Ring.
elden ring
Rykard’s boss fight in Volcano Manor (Picture taken by eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: Even as a gimmick fight, Rykard poses a decent bit of challenge, but the main attraction to this fight is Rykard’s Great Rune and the Blasphemous Blade.

As a Shardbearer, Rykard’s Great Runes restores HP after killing enemies, which is slightly different than Malenia’s Great Rune. However, the main reason you shouldn’t skip this optional boss is because of the rewards you get from his Remembrance. The Blasphemous Blade, one of Rykard’s Remembrance Weapons, is arguably the best Greatsword in Elden Ring, as it recovers a large chunk of HP when you use its Ash of War.

Getting to Rykard can be somewhat challenging, so I’ve narrowed it down as best as I can:

  1. Start Rya’s Quest: Meet Rya near the Laskyar Ruins in Liurnia and complete her request by returning her necklace from Boggart, located next to the Boilprawn Shack Site of Grace.
  2. Use Grand Lift of Dectus: Collect both halves of the Dectus Medallion and access The Grand Lift of Dectus at northeastern Liurnia, where you’ll meet Rya again at the lift’s top.
  3. Alternative Rya Route: You can find her near the Erdtree Gazing Hill Site of Grace if you’ve already reached Altus Plateau before Rya’s questline.
  4. Tanith’s Requests At Volcano Manor: Rya will teleport you directly to Volcano Manor, where you must speak to Tanith and complete her requests. Each request will have a target you must kill, and each target will be marked red on your map. After completing all three requests, Tanith will teleport you to Rykard’s arena.
  • Rya liurnia
    Meeting Rya the first time in Liurnia (Image Credits: eXputer)
Important: Before you attempt to take him down, be sure to get the Serpent-Hunter weapon near one of the corpses at Rykard’s arena.
  • Easy and intuitive fight.
  • Amazing rewards from Remembrance.
  • Discourages using other weapons mid-fight.
  • Pre-requisites to the fight feel tedious.
  • Great Runes feels weaker compared to Malenia.

1. Mohg, The Lord Of Blood

The Best Loot-Dropping Optional Boss In Elden Ring.
mohg elden ring
Mohg’s boss fight in Mohgwyn Palace (Picture taken by eXputer)
  • Why I Chose This: If you’ve missed this boss as I did on my first playthrough, I highly suggest going after him because the rewards you get from his Remembrance are incredibly powerful.

After killing Mohg, the Lord of Blood, you gain access to Mohgwyn’s Sacred Spear, arguably the best Greatspear within the title by far. It’s highly effective in PvE and PvP, and if you’re an arcane user, I consider this a must-have weapon. The bleed-inflicting Bloodboon Incantation is also highly versatile if you’re a dedicated Faith-Arcane user. Besides the Remembrance goodies, though, there’s also Mohg’s Great Rune that buffs you and your Spirit Ashes.

To reach Mohg, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Reach The Grand Lift Of Rold: Access the Grand Lift of Rold east of Leyndell by getting both halves of the Haligree Secret Medallion.
  2. Accessing The Lift: The right half of the Medallion can be taken from Old Albus, an Albinauric NPC who hides as a large pot near the Village of the Albinaurics Site of Grace in southwestern Liurnia. To get the left half, you must reach Castle Sol in the Mountaintops of the Giants and find it in one of the battlements.
  3. Reaching Mohgwyn Palace: After reaching the Consecrated Snowfield upon taking the Grand Lift, head to the hidden teleporter at the region’s western edge. The teleporter should take you to Mohgwyn Palace, and progressing through this dungeon will lead you to fight Mohg.
  • grand lift of rold
    The Grand Lift of Rold east of Leyndell (Picture Credits: eXputer)
Important: If you’re struggling against Mohg, try using Mohg’s Shackle, an item that temporarily stuns him. Additionally, I recommend using The Lord of Blood’s Exultation talisman for more damage output and the Purifying Crystal Tear to escape Mohg’s life-stealing “Nihil” attack.
  • Highly challenging.
  • Great for Arcane users.
  • Several items make the fight challenging.
  • Tons of runes.
  • Delayed attacks.
  • Could be overwhelming for melee users.

Alternative Optional Bosses That Are Also Worth Fighting

Here’s a brief list of other optional bosses in Elden Ring that, while not being the best, are still extremely rewarding and offer a fun experience: 

  • Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon: An easy optional Shardbearer boss fight that drops one of the best staffs in Elden Ring, but her runback is quite tedious, and the rewards aren’t meaningful for non-intelligence users.
  • Lichdragon Fortissax: Another awe-inspiring dragon boss with great music and atmosphere, but like Rennala, the trade-ins from its Remembrance are purely meant for Faith builds.
  • Astel, Naturalborn of the Void: A decent fight with an amazing arena and rewards from its Remembrance, but the runes you get after defeating Astel are laughably low.
  • Godrick The Grafted: As your first Shardbearer (probably), Godrick is an easy fight with a strong Great Rune and a healthy amount of runes, 

My Experience Fighting These Optional Bosses

I’ll admit that Elden Ring has a slight problem with re-using its minibosses, making some caves and catacombs feel repetitive. However, when I faced the bosses listed above, it felt extremely rewarding, and the items I got after defeating them encouraged me to try different builds, weapons, skills, and Great Runes.

hours waterjuice
My Elden Ring hours (Steam ID: WaterJuice)

In my experience, Placidusax was probably my favorite optional boss because of the arena, spectacle, and the boss’s overall quality. I still use the Dragon King Cragblade in the Colosseum and Placidusax’s Ruin in PvE.

That wraps up my extensive guide on the best optional bosses in Elden Ring, detailing their location, rewards, and reasons to fight them. Besides these few, several other in-game bosses are also worth trying, so I recommend exploring the open world to find them. In my opinion, the strongest variety of optional bosses is in Caelid, and you can watch this YouTube video to learn more about these bosses.

For additional gear to help fight optional bosses, here’s a guide on finding the Shard of Alexander talisman in Elden Ring. Besides that, there’s also the Rotten Winged Insignia, an ideal talisman for aggressive players. And while you’re here, read our Elden Ring review to learn about why it’s one of FromSoftware’s best works yet.


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Daniyal is a Guides Writer and Editor at eXputer with over one year of experience in content writing. He's had a passion for tech and gaming for more than 15 years. Ever since his first console, the PS2, he's constantly branching off to different genres, and his go-to at the moment is the Souls experience pioneered by FromSoftware, which is evident by his 1,500+ hours of game time on Elden Ring. You can learn some more about Daniyal's gaming journey on his Steam & Xbox profiles.

Experience: 1+ Years || Mainly Covers Guides || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

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