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Elden Ring Commander Niall boss fight guide

Beat Commander Niall on your way to Miquella’s Haligtree

Elden Ring’s Commander Niall is no joke. Flanked by a pair of powerful spectral knights, he wields frost and lightning magic in unpredictable patterns that can leave you reeling. Thankfully, we’re here to help.

In this Commander Niall guide, we’ll show you how to defend yourself, mount a safe(ish) offense, and exploit Niall’s weakness.

Prepare for the Commander Niall fight

Let’s get one thing out of the way: This boss fight was clearly designed for you to have help. Whether that help takes the form of other players, summoned by using a Furlcalling Finger Remedy from your multiplayer menu, or your Spirit Ash of choice, is entirely up to you. But if you choose to take on Commander Niall and his two knights solo, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

With that out of the way, there’s plenty of preparation you can do to make this fight more manageable. For one, you’ll want to beef up your lightning defense. The Boltdrake Talisman +1 can be found inside the Old Altus Tunnel dungeon.

Elden Ring map showing the location of the Old Altus Tunnel in Mt. Gelmir.
The Old Altus Tunnel in Mt. Gelmir contains the Boltdrake Talisman.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Faith casters can also use the incantation Lightning Fortification, which you can buy from Brother Corhyn in Altus Plateau (see our guide to Corhyn and Goldmask’s quest for the exact steps and location).

Elden Ring map showing the location of the Dragon Temple Lift in Crumbling Farum Azula
Find the Ancient Dragon Apostle’s Cookbook [4] near the Dragon Temple Lift site of grace.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

For those more in tune with crafting, the recipe for Lightningproof Dried Liver can be found in the Ancient Dragon Apostle’s Cookbook [4], which is located in Crumbling Farum Azula, across the treacherous floating ruins west of the Dragon Temple Lift Site of Grace (don’t worry if you haven’t been there yet, as it’s a late endgame locale).

Elden Ring map showing the location of the Stalwart Horn Charm in Liurnia of the Lakes.
Grab the Stalwart Horn Charm (talisman) in northeastern Liurnia.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

In addition to lightning damage, several of Niall’s attacks cause frost build-up. To combat this, boost your Robustness stat as high as you can. To that end, find the Stalwart Horn Charm on a corpse in Liurnia, through a small hole in a tall rock formation southwest of the Mausoleum Compound Site of Grace.

Spellcasters will have an easy time using Comet Azur (obtained on Mt. Gelmir; consult our guide to Sellen’s quest) paired with Terra Magica (in the Academy Crystal Cave dungeon in Liurnia) and the Cerulean Hidden Tear (dropped by the Ulcerated Tree Spirit at the Mt. Gelmir Minor Erdtree) for their Flask of Wondrous Physick.

Cast Terra Magica, chug the flask, and spam the laser in Niall’s direction as soon as you enter the arena, and you can get his health down below half before the fight even really begins.

If you’re really having trouble with Niall’s knights, you can use a Bewitching Branch to turn them against their leader. The Liurnia Nomadic Merchant sells five of them, while three can be found near the Church of Pilgrimage on the Weeping Peninsula.

Elden Ring screenshot showing the Bewitching Branch item in a player’s inventory
Bewitching Branch recipe.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

If you’ve already used those up, you can also craft them after gaining Fevor’s Cookbook [3] from Gideon (follow Varre’s questline, then speak to Gideon in the Roundtable Hold after reaching the Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum). Of course, crafting them is its own challenge, since the recipe requires Sacramental Buds and Miquella’s Lily, two rare ingredients. Check their respective wiki pages for locations.

Elden Ring map showing the location of the Church of Repose in Mountaintops of the Giants.
You can claim the Rivers of Blood katana from the Church of Repose in Mountaintops of the Giants.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygon

Like many bosses, Niall is also weak to certain status effects. Blood loss can be a huge help here, even though it doesn’t affect the spectral knights. If you have the stats to use it, grabbing the popular Rivers of Blood katana from the NPC invasion near the Church of Repose is a great idea.

Elden Ring map showing the location of the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook [22] in the Lake of Rot
Find the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook [22] in the Lake of Rot.
Image: FromSoftware/Bandai Namco via Polygond

In addition, scarlet rot is effective. Faith casters can use the ever-reliable Rotten Breath incantation. Everyone else will have to be satisfied throwing Rot Pots, which can be crafted with Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook [22], located in the Lake of Rot; if you haven’t been there yet, check Polygon’s guide to Ranni’s questline, as it’s a bit of a trek.

Lastly, stock up on Rune Arcs for the sweet stat bonuses they can impart. A great way to get more is to put down your summon sign near Niall’s boss gate. You’ll be helping other players, earning Rune Arcs, and getting practice with the boss.

Learn the Commander Niall fight

Niall’s attacks can be absolutely brutal due to their massive areas-of-effect and quick animations that give you little time to react. However, once you learn his patterns, Niall’s combos become incredibly easy to predict and avoid. In this guide, we’re going to go over the moves you should watch out for, and highlight your best attack opportunities.

Phase 1

In Commander Niall’s first phase, you’ll need to take care of the two Spectral Knights he summons. Luckily, you can start things off right by running to Niall’s side as soon as you enter the arena and backstabbing the dual-wielding knight, as he’s by far the tougher to deal with of the two.

From there, dodge away, and use whatever you must to deal with Niall’s summons. Generally that means something that can stagger them or hit them from a distance. Naturally, spellcasters have an easier time here. For our most recent playthrough, we found Carian Greatsword to be highly effective against them.

Any hard-hitting Ashes of War you might have in your arsenal are sure to be effective as well.

During this time, Niall will generally walk slowly around the battlefield, only bothering to attack should you get too close, so you can mostly ignore him.

Shortly after both knights die, Niall will enter his second phase. Notably, he’ll also do so if his health hits about 50%. That might make it seem tempting to try keeping one knight alive so that Niall spends more time in his easier first phase, but the challenge needing to keep a knight alive makes that option impractical. And you’ll need to learn the intricacies of phase 2 either way, so you may as well get on with it.

Phase 2

Niall’s transition to phase 2 is marked by a series of massive overhead swings, accompanied by a swirling ice effect that imparts frostbite on you if you fall within its radius. This should be a lesson to you: Don’t be near Niall when his frost wind abilities are in play.

The boss’s attacks during this phase can be grouped into a few categories:

  • Melee swings. Niall swings his weapon around in fairly predictable patterns. Get used to the timings and you should be able to reliably dodge, block, or parry these most of the time.
  • Lightning attacks. These stem from Niall’s prosthetic right leg, and they can be quite troublesome thanks to their massive area-of-effect. They come in a few forms, which we’ll discuss shortly.
  • Frost abilities. If Niall isn’t lightning-stomping you, he’s probably about to frost-stomp you. These are his most annoying attacks by far, since they’re basically impossible to dodge if he catches you with one up close. By studying them, though, you’ll learn to predict exactly when a frost ability is coming, and put yourself at a safe distance before it arrives.

Niall generally begins phase 2 with a Lightning jump attack. This is always preceded by a swirl of frost wind around him; when you see him pause as his right leg ignites with lightning, you know the leap is coming. It’s easy to dodge, and it’s always followed by at least one, and sometimes two, melee attacks. This is your most consistent attack opportunity in the whole fight: Dodge the lightning slam, dodge the melee(s), then get your hits in.

Once you’re up close, Niall’s attacks can vary. He often follows the leap up with either a frost whirlwind or a close-range lightning stomp. The lightning is what you want; when you see that crackling leg come up, prepare to jump over it. By leaping just before his leg comes down, you’ll avoid damage the vast majority of the time. If your positioning is such that the stomp will catch you in the air, dodge toward him instead. Either way, this is your next best attack opportunity.

The frost whirlwind is another story. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you’re close to Niall and you don’t see him start a lightning stomp, dodge away, because a frost whirlwind is coming.

This is when you want to put distance between yourself and the boss and wait to see what he does next. If he stomps and launches into another lightning leap, repeat the process and get some more damage in.

If, however, Niall swings his halberd in a circle above his head, get ready to dodge his lunge attack. This can cover serious distance, and the timing can be tricky, because it’s not the actual lunge that damages you, but a swing of his weapon that takes place a few frames after he reaches you. The timing is consistent, though, so you can learn to dodge it with some practice.

That lunge is always followed by another frost whirlwind, so dodge or run away from him after he does it. However, you’ll want to stay in the medium distance, because he often follows this combo up with an overhead swirl and a wide frost-infused halberd swing that leaves him vulnerable. That’s your third attack opportunity.

Lastly, be on alert for when Niall pauses for a few seconds and gathers a cyclone of cold wind around him. He’s about to unleash his biggest area attack, a massive frost whirlwind.

Run away and wait for him to finish his combo, which ends with a dash in your direction. Dodge the swing, then get ready to go nuts, because the Commander gets so tuckered from this that he actually collapses on the ground to catch his breath. It’s the single best attack opportunity in the fight, and it can easily allow you to get off entire combos of your own.

And that’s it. Master these rhythms and Niall will be nothing but icy motes in the wind before long. He’ll drop the Veteran’s Prosthesis fist weapon.

Proceed past the boss room and up the elevator to finally find the other half of the Haligtree Secret Medallion. Now you’re well on your way to Elden Ring’s most challenging secret zone.

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