Elden Ring is a vast game with more bosses than any of the recent works of developer FromSoftware. But most of those bosses are actually optional, and defeating some – in certain cases – can save you from defeating others.
This has to do with the way the story is structured in Elden Ring, and the different ways each player could reach the various major zones. Some will arrive through abduction, as part of an NPC quest, or organically by exploring the world.
So, while certain bosses cannot be skipped, and everyone will need to fight them sooner or later, most of the other challenges are optional.
In reality, the required number of bosses you absolutely must beat in order to progress to the end of the game is fairly small, which is not the impression you might get as you make your way through The Lands Between.
To help you make sense of all this, we’ve put together this guide to detail which bosses you need to fight, and those you can supplement. As mentioned, the sheer size of Elden Ring means that the way you get into certain areas will vary, which can in turn expose you to new threats early, or let you avoid them entirely.
What bosses are required in Elden Ring?
Before we get into the list, there’s one thing you should keep in mind. In order to get into the Royal Capital of Leyndell, you must first acquire two Great Runes. Any of the game’s Shardbearer demigods will drop one when you defeat them, but the choice of which two is ultimately yours.
Shardbearer demigods in Elden Ring
The list below covers, in no particular order, all of the demigods who drop a shard of the Elden Ring (Great Rune) when defeated.
Taking down any two of the above will allow you entry into the Royal Capital of Leyndell, which kickstarts the second act of the game and gets you on your way to unlock more areas and defeat more bosses. Morgott, Malenia, and Mohg fall deeper into the game, so you aren’t likely to mainline your way towards them at the start.
Typically, most people will fight Godrick the Grafted, since he’s the first Shardbearer on the path. The easiest boss fight for your second Great Rune is Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon. But as mentioned, some players could skip Stormveil Castle entirely, thus avoiding Godrick, and so on.
Elden Ring boss order
With that in mind, here’s the list of bosses you have to defeat – once you’ve obtained two Great Runes – to see the story through to its conclusion. Note that some of the bosses below are simply on the way to the big baddie you want, so you have no choice but to fight them to get through to their master.
Shardbearer one [Godrick]
In most cases, Godrick the Grafted will be players’ first encounter with a demigod Shardbearer. Godrick is the master of Stormveil Castle – the first major Legacy Dungeon of the game, and the one Sites of Grace lead you towards at the start. However, you can skip the castle entirely and make your way to other – more difficult – areas of the game to claim the Great Rune of some of the other Shardbearers.
But, assuming you’ll just go where the game is telling you, Godrick is your first major prize. In order to get to Godrick, you first must defeat Margit, the Fell Omen. The two boss fights aren’t back-to-back, but taking down Margit will allow you access to the section of the castle where you’ll eventually find Godrick.
How to beat Margit, the Fell Omen. How to beat Godrick the Grafted.
Shardbearer two [Rennala]
Assuming you continue following the path Elden Ring has laid out for you, your next stop will be the Academy of Raya Lucaria, where the second Shardbearer lies: Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon.
Again, Rennala does not have to be your second Shardbearer, but she’s the most likely candidate. Rennala happens to be one of the more easier boss fights in the game, so that works out for us.
In order to get to Rennala, you’ll need to first beat the Red Wolf of Radagon. Once that’s down, your path towards Rennala will be unlocked.
How to beat Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon.
Godfrey, First Elden Lord (Golden Shade)
With two Great Runes in hand, you’re now allowed entry into the Royal Capital of Leyndell. First, you’ll need to reach the Altus Plateau, where the capital lies.
The way to actually get inside the capital varies, too. You could go through something of a backdoor, which will require defeating the Draconic Tree Sentinel boss. You might even arrive there as part of Fia’s quest.
Assuming you’re in, and have made your way to the top, you’ll now face the Golden Shade version of Godfrey, First Elden Lord.
How to beat Godfrey, First Elden Lord (Golden Shade).
Morgott, the Omen King
Before you depart the capital, there’s one more major boss you have to fight in order to continue the story. Morgott, the Omen King becomes available after you take down Godfrey, a little deeper into the Royal Capital of Leyndell.
How to beat Morgott, the Omen King.
After Morgott is defeated, the path to the Mountaintops of the Giants will open up. High above the clouds lies the Forge of the Giants, which is protected by the next major boss: the Fire Giant.
How to beat the Fire Giant.
Maliketh, the Black Blade
You’re now approaching the end of the game, but you must first take down the protector of the Rune of Death. Maliketh lies at the very top of Crumbling Farum Azula, an area Melina (your maiden) will teleport you to after you take down the Fire Giant.
Maliketh is one of the toughest bosses in Elden Ring. On your way to it, you’ll have to defeat the Godskin Duo, an annoying dual fight.
How to beat Maliketh, the Black Blade.
Godfrey and Hoarah Loux
Taking down Maliketh will cause an irreversible change to the world of Elden Ring. By burning down the Erdtree, most of Leyndell will be covered in ash, and the few parts of it that stand will now be known as Leyndell, Capital of Ash.
As much of the place will be under tonnes of ash, your path to the foot of the Erdtree will be more straightforward. You’re looking to get to the same room you fought Morgott in. On your way there, Sir Gideon Ofnir will show his true colours, and stand between you and your goal. You must defeat Sir Gideon before you can reach the throne.
There, Godfrey will show up again, except he’s no longer a Golden Shade. This is another challenging fight in which Godfrey will first fight you as the First Elden Lord, and then as the warrior Hoarah Loux.
How to beat Godfrey and Hoarah Loux.
Radagon and Elden Beast
The final boss fight of Elden Ring is a one-two punch that will test your stamina and combat skills. After Godfrey/Hoarah Loux is felled, you will be allowed entry into the Erdtree itself. There, you’ll meet Radagon of the Golden Order in the first phase of this final fight. Immediately after defeating him, the second phase will begin – with Radagon now transforming into the Elden Beast.
How to beat Radagon and Elden Beast.
For everything else we have on this gigantic game, check our Elden Ring guide.