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The Tree Sentinel in Elden Ring Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

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Elden Ring guide: Tree Sentinel boss fight, West Limgrave

How to beat the game’s first boss

Elden Ring has more tutorials than the average FromSoftware title, but since it’s still basically a Souls game, it’s not going to tell you everything outright. Tree Sentinel, a massive mounted enemy located right next to the first site of grace in Elden Ring’s open world, is meant to teach you in a roundabout way that you can go do something else when you’re getting stomped. That said, some players are going to want to stomp back, and for them, we’ve put together this Tree Sentinel guide.


Table of contents


PREPARING FOR TREE SENTINEL

The best thing you can do to prepare for Tree Sentinel at the start of your adventure is to ignore it. The designers used the same trick in Elden Ring that they pulled all the way back in Dark Souls when they put nigh-unbeatable skeletons in the graveyard near Firelink Shrine: You’re supposed to get brutally smacked once or twice, and then choose another path. Unlike in Dark Souls, in Elden Ring, that path spreads out in every direction, thanks to the game’s exciting new open-world format.

PLEASE, LEVEL UP

Leveling up is crucial to being able to take on tough enemies in Elden Ring, but that doesn’t mean you need to grind monotonously for hours on end. Elden Ring’s world is massive. Go explore! And while you’re at it, level up the stats that go well with the weapons and abilities you want to use.

For example, if you like big swords that require lots of strength to wield, level up strength. If you want to blast foes with spells from a safe distance, add points to intelligence, as well as the mind stat, which gives you more FP (mana) for casting. And every character needs points in vigor (health) and endurance (equip weight and stamina). If you’re not sure where to begin with your stats, it’s a safe bet to take both of those up to 20 as early as possible.

Elden Ring map showing dungeon locations in West Limgrave Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

If you’d like a bit more guidance on where to go, there are several relatively easy dungeons near the starting point. Check for their locations in the image below. When you’re done with those, head east toward the shallow lake that you can see from the First Step site of grace. North of this lake is a group of enemies encamped in the Gatefront Ruins, and they’re great for honing your skills and accruing some runes at the same time. There are hard-to-spot treasure chests in the broken-down black carriages next to the road there, and another underground down a short staircase, all of which contain potentially useful starting gear.

If you’re still hungry for beefier stats, you can head south down that road and take on the caravan that includes two giant trolls pulling a carriage, as well as a large group of enemies acting as their entourage. Though the trolls look big and intimidating, they’re much easier to take down than the Tree Sentinel. And if you keep going south from there, you’ll eventually come to the Bridge of Sacrifice, which will take you to a southern landmass with a ton of great loot and a wealth of low level opponents, especially in Castle Morne, the stronghold on the southern edge of the continent.

GET SOME LOOT

Elden Ring is a surprisingly generous game. It practically showers players with loot, as long as you continuously explore new locales, defeat intimidating enemies, and solve challenging puzzles. If you’re looking for good gear and other treasures near the start of the game, you have nearly limitless options.

Elden Ring Tree Sentinel guide locations for finding items Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Check the chests we mentioned above for some decent items, and if your starting class didn’t begin with a shield that has 100% physical damage negation, go pick up the Beast Crest Heater Shield that we described in our guide on beating Margit the Fell Omen. On the southern landmass beyond the Bridge of Sacrifice that we described above, you can easily find Sacred Tears, which will improve the recovery ability of your flasks, in the Church of Pilgrimage and the Fourth Church of Marika. Further, if you find the Tower of Return and open the chest there, you’ll be teleported to a distant location with a massive enemy. You can try to fight it — or you can run past it, open the nearby chest, nab the talisman that gradually restores your health when it’s equipped, and fast travel away back to Limgrave.

Oh, and grab two more essentials: Rest at the site of grace near the Gatefront Ruins to get your horse, Torrent, and then travel to the Church of Elleh at night to receive the ability to summon Spirit Ashes (equip them in your hotbar and use them when you have enough FP and you see the white tombstone icon on the left side of your screen).

LEARN TREE SENTINEL’S ATTACKS

Now that you’ve done some real preparation and aren’t going to just beat your head against an indestructible, golden, mounted wall of death, spend some time getting to know the Tree Sentinel’s movements and attacks. His halberd swipes are fairly well telegraphed — in other words, you can see them coming from the next hill over — and you should practice dodging them. If you’re using a shield, you should also get a feel for how much blocking you can do before he depletes your stamina and breaks your stance.

Around halfway through its health bar, Tree Sentinel begins to use his shield to attack you. This includes a devastating slam that causes damage in a surprisingly large area around the boss, so you’ll need to get good at dodging far enough away at just the right time, unless your shield and stamina bar can handle the full impact.

In addition, take particular note of Tree Sentinel’s propensity for bodying you with its horse if you hang out close to its flank for too long, which brings us to the next point.

DON’T BE GREEDY

One of the gravest mistakes that new and veteran players alike make in FromSoftware games is to try and get in as many hits as they can when they see an opening in a boss’s attack patterns. Don’t try that against Tree Sentinel, as it will generally end with you getting body-checked by the horse’s flank or speared by a pointy halberd. To be safe, try to get just one or two hits off at a time, depending on the speed of your weapon, and then get some distance and prepare to dodge or block the next attack.

DON’T RELY ON MAGIC

While it’s possible to keep your distance and use offensive spells against Tree Sentinel, you don’t want to rely on them in this fight, because the boss can use a reflective shield ability to launch magic right back at you — and unlike in The Legend of Zelda, there’s no way to ping-pong them back in his direction. Trust us: You don’t want to wind up like this guy.

USE TORRENT

Since you followed our recommendations and did some exploring before facing Tree Sentinel, you already have your horse, Torrent. It’s only fair to use the steed to face Tree Sentinel, since the boss is mounted, too.

The best strat with Torrent is to …

  1. Lock on to Tree Sentinel and ride circles around him until you can bait out an attack
  2. Use the horse’s dodge move to avoid it, and then
  3. Charge in and get one or two attacks in before running away again

Make sure you have some raisins in your hotbar to heal Torrent — make them using Rowa Fruit with the item crafting kit you can buy from the Santa-looking merchant at the Church of Elleh.

With these tips and strategies, you should be able to take down that smug Tree Sentinel eventually. That’ll show FromSoftware for trying to teach you something about picking your battles.

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