Starscourge Radahn (aka General Radahn) is one of Elden Ring’s most storied figures. NPC dialogue, cutscenes, and item descriptions paint a picture of an unstoppable warrior who fought the goddess Melenia and her Scarlet Rot to a standstill. His boss fight is appropriately cinematic, with a massive arena in which all the normal rules go out the window. You can mount Torrent and ride circles around Radahn, and even summon endless NPC allies. Even then, you’re not going to have an easy time — which is where our Radahn boss guide comes in.
Table of contents
Preparing for the fight
The region of Caelid is a serious hellscape, so it’s understandable if you haven’t fully explored it before fighting Radahn. Nevertheless, there are some items you’d be wise to grab before you challenge the Starscourge general.
Caelid is a large area, but no matter how long you spend exploring it, you’ll only find three golden seeds in its fetid plague swamps, dragon lairs, and cursed towns (at least, before you fight Radahn). Luckily, we’re just going to tell you where they are so you can spend as little time here as possible.
South of the Bestial Sanctum: If you haven’t visited this horror show yet, fret not — you don’t have to make it past the giant dragon guarding the bridge to get there. The eastern edge of the river just north of the Third Church of Marika in eastern Limgrave hides a portal that teleports you directly to the sanctum. Granted, there’s another massive enemy who you’ll have to sneak past going south from there, so, uh, good luck.
At the northern edge of Sellia, Town of Sorcery: While you’re here, you can begin a lengthy side quest centered on a character named Millicent. Or, you can simply charge in the front gate, get to the other side of town as quickly as possible, grab the Golden Seed, and get the heck out of there. On the other hand, if you do choose to at least begin the Millicent quest, you can also grab the Sacred Tear at the Church of the Plague where you first meet her.
On the road to Redmane Castle: Just south of where the Caelid map fragment and nomadic merchant are, you’ll find a Golden Seed along the road. Just watch out for humongous dragons.
If you’re building an int/dex character, no trip to Caelid is complete without picking up Moonveil, one of the most powerful swords in The Lands Between. You’ll find it in a dungeon called Gael Tunnel, where you’ll face a difficult fight with a Magma Wyrm boss to claim the blade. It’s worth it: Moonveil scales with intelligence and does magic damage, and has one of the most powerful and versatile L2 moves in the game, letting you choose between light and heavy magical slices that break enemies’ poise and cause magic damage.
And if you’d like something to pair it with, head to the Deathtouched Catacombs back in Limgrave. You’ll find the Uchigatana on a dead body there. The Uchi is fantastic when dual-wielded with Moonveil, and assuming you picked up the Glintstone Whetblade at Raya Lucaria, you can add frost affinity to really give Radahn the business.
If you’re more of a spellcaster type, Rock Sling will prove to be your most effective tool. Grab it from an underground chest in the Street of Sages Ruins at the top of the large swamp in Caelid’s center (the stairs are just above the map icon for the ruins). Rock Sling does physical damage and is especially effective at wearing down Radahn’s poise, staggering him and giving you a big damage opportunity.
Radahn’s only notable resistance is to holy damage, so spellcasters can use whatever other spells you’re comfortable with, while faith casters can try lightning or fire incantations. As far as status effects, bleed and frost are both very effective against the legendary general. Using the dual katana build we described above, we were able to take him down before he even entered his second phase, which he’s supposed to do at around 50% health.
Radahn is also susceptible to Scarlet Rot, so if you’re a faith caster with at least 12 points in the arcane stat, pick up the dragon incantation Rotten Breath at the Cathedral of Dragon Communion in southern Caelid. (There are also Scarlet Rot throwing pots, but the recipe needed to craft them is found deep underground in an area you probably haven’t reached yet).
Lastly, Radahn has some lengthy combos, and you’ll be hard-pressed to keep your stamina up whether you try to block or dodge through them. You might want to pick up some stamina-enhancinng charms, like the Green Turtle Talisman (increased stamina recovery) located in a stonesword key crypt in Summonwater Village, or the Viridian Amber Medallion (increased maximum stamina) found in the Tombsward Cave dungeon on the Weeping Peninsula.
Learn the Radahn fight
Whether you’re facing Radahn now for the first time or returning after some less successful earlier attempts, there’s good news: The 1.03.1 patch released a few weeks after Elden Ring’s launch appears to have made this boss significantly easier. According to an Elden Ring dataminer on Twitter, Radahn’s damage, attack hitboxes, and more were nerfed, making for a very different boss fight than players faced in the first few weeks.
That said, Radahn still has lengthy combos and powerful attacks that can one-shot you if you aren’t careful.
The case for summons
The fight with Radahn is unique in that it lets you summon a small army of NPC allies to fight with you, and you can even keep re-summoning them endlessly. Every time they go down, their summon signs reappear somewhere new on the battlefield. Taking advantage of these summons can make the fight easier, since Radah tends to focus on them — if you plan to try to attack the boss from a distance with magic or arrows, using summons is recommended. Also, it’s fun to watch a bunch of allies wailing on the giant boss.
You can summon other players, as well, by using a Furlcalling Finger Remedy and looking for summon signs on the beach near the teleporter that transports you to the fight. Summoning other players prevents you from riding Torrent during the fight, and causes Radahn to have extra health, but it can also be helpful to have more friendlies in the fray.
Whether you want to wallop Radahn with as many allies as possible, or challenge the Starscourge General to a one-on-one duel, is completely up to you.
You begin the fight far away from Radahn, but that won’t stop him from firing massive gravity-powered arrows at you. You can use the debris around the battlefield to block them, or try dodging them, which isn’t too difficult. If you’re going to summon NPC allies, now is the time to do it, as the initial summon signs are located near where you spawn.
If you skipped summoning other players to help, you can jump on Torrent and use the horse’s dodge to evade Radahn’s arrows as you approach him. If there are other players with you, they’ll likely head straight for the boss while you’re summoning NPCs. Otherwise, you can simply all charge toward him together, avoiding Radahn’s ranged attacks until you get in close and he pulls out his swords.
An aside on Torrent
As an aside, note that you can do this entire fight on Torrent, even if you summon NPC allies. In fact, you don’t need to engage with Radahn at all. You can simply ride around the dunes on your horse, continuously re-summoning Blaidd, Okina, and the rest while letting them fight for you. It’s not fast or honorable, but it definitely works.
If you want to actually do the fight, read on.
Radahn Phase 1
As soon as Radahn pulls out his swords, it’s on. The key to both phases of this fight is learning Radahn’s attacks: Which ones you can avoid, which ones you can tank through without getting one-shotted if you feel like trying to get some extra damage in, and which ones leave him most vulnerable.
As a general rule, you’ll want to stay behind him as much as possible. Although several of Radahn’s attacks hit a wide area around him, his backside is generally the safest place to attack from. This is easier if you have summons with you. Otherwise, he’ll continuously turn to face you, and you’ll have to get pretty good at dodging his attacks.
Like many Elden Ring bosses, Radahn often pauses for long stretches with his swords raised before bringing them crashing down. If you want to dodge his swipes, there’s no way around learning those timings.Thankfully, Radahn only has a handful of different patterns in this phase:
- He steers his horse in a wide arc with weapons raised, the brings them down for a series of slashes
- A four-to-five-hit combo centered in front of him
- A quick downward strike with very little wind-up. This one is particularly tough to dodge, but it’s also unlikely to one-shot you
- A whirling slash that can hit you multiple times if you fail to predict it and get out of the way
- A quick stomp followed by a quick slash
- A series of forward-moving rapid fire slams that can be devastating if you’re caught in front of him, but provide a lengthy damage opportunity if you’re behind him when the combo begins
Furthermore, Radahn will pause about halfway through his first phase to slam his swords down into the earth and empower them with gravity magic. After this point, he gains the ability to pull you toward him, which he sometimes follows up with a large explosion that spawns several homing projectiles. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid taking too much damage from these attacks, since their timing is predictable, and they provide another great opportunity to do damage.
One other thing you should watch out for invaders. Yes, whether it’s a bug or intentional, invading players can appear in the boss arena as red phantoms. It’s hilarious trying to fight an invader and Radahn at the same time, so if this happens to you, count yourself lucky and enjoy the added challenge.
With his health below 50%, Radahn will take off into the sky, signaling that phase 2 is about to begin.
Radahn Phase 2
The most dangerous thing that happens in the Radahn fight’s second phase is his initial re-entry into the battlefield. The boss comes streaking down as a giant flaming comet, and even post-nerf, it can one-shot you if you’re too close to where he decides to land. Unfortunately, whether you survive is mostly down to luck, as he can come from any direction, and it’s weirdly hard to dodge.
Once Radahn is on the ground again, the fight is largely the same as in phase 1. Radahn’s combos remain mostly unchanged, although some attacks have added area damage. At some point he’ll summon large purple rocks from the ground. While he’s casting this is a great time to get some damage in. Those rocks may or may not ever come crashing down on you. We’ve fought him dozens of times, and more often than not, they’ll simply hang in the air above him uselessly. Even when they do, ever since the nerf, they don’t cause much damage, so you can mostly ignore them.
Radahn also gains a new airborne slam attack that sends a damaging energy wave toward you, but it’s fairly easy to dodge through. Regardless, the strat for phase 2 is the same as phase 1: learn his attack patterns, stay behind him as much as possible, and lay on the damage and status effects until the Starscourge General falls.
Once he does, you’ll gain access to the Starscourge Greatswords, one of the best weapons in the game, via his Remembrance item, as well as being able to continue Ranni’s quest by heading down the meteor hole. And don’t worry — there are plenty more challenges ahead.