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Kratos in Niflheim

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God of War Niflheim guide, walkthrough and map

Maps, Nornir chests, Realm Tears, armor and the elusive Anchor of Fog

SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

In this God of War Niflheim guide, we’ll teach you how to master what may be the toughest (and certainly the most confusing) area in God of War, using several maps that we made to help you navigate the mist.

To survive Niflheim, you need to collect Mist Echoes, buy some amazing armor and learn the map to defeat enemies. It’s a loop: fighting, looting, solving Nornir chest puzzles and growing your bank account. By the time you finish this guide and leave Niflheim, you’ll be a better fighter with more powerful enchantments and armor.

Understanding Niflheim

Niflheim isn’t like other God of War realms, so in this section we’ll explain the concepts and currency unique to this world — Mist Echoes, the Cursed Mist and Ivaldi’s Workshop.

Mist Echoes

A palindrome of Mist Echoes
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Mist Echoes are effectively Niflheim currency. You use them to craft armor, as well as open Realm Tears and certain chests. Defeating enemies and opening the chests they’re guarding gets you Mist Echoes. Leaving the Cursed Mist (heading back to Sindri or to the center of the arena, Ivaldi’s Workshop) lets you bank the Mist Echoes you’ve collected. If you die before leaving the mist, you lose whatever you’re carrying, which includes Mist Echoes and any items you’ve collected in chests, which includes Mist Echoes, hacksilver and possibly some Niflheim alloy (a rare crafting material that we’ll talk about soon).

Enemies, the Cursed Mist and Ivaldi’s Workshop

The area past Sindri in which you fight enemies is called Ivaldi’s Workshop. Enemies appear when you arrive in certain places. When you kill them, they remain dead until you leave Ivaldi’s Workshop or die and return. It’s kind of like a Dark Souls game, except you can’t retrieve what you lost after you leave or die.

To complicate matters, a pink meter appears at the top of your screen when you’re walking through the Cursed Mist that shrouds Ivaldi’s Workshop (and, really, most of Niflheim). When that bar drains completely, you’ll start losing health. When you open chests, you gain a little more fuel for the bar, which reminds us a lot of an oxygen meter in a game where you can swim underwater.

To progress, you need to get in, gather Mist Echoes and leave without dying to keep what you’ve earned. Teaching you how to do that is what the rest of this guide is about. And before you learn anything, you need to learn the map.

Niflheim maps

Niflheim is full of difficult enemies. If you don’t understand the map, it approaches impossible. So in this section, we’ll give you the proverbial bird’s eye view of Niflheim.

Niflheim’s map is never clear of clouds, so your first challenge is to figure our what Ivaldi’s Workshop looks like underneath the mist. We made the maps above to help you. And when we were making them, we realized that Niflheim is basically a baseball diamond. If you have even a passing familiarity with baseball, it’ll be easy to understand — and even if you don’t, we’ll demystify it.

There are four Niflheim maps in the gallery above. They’re all correct, but we made a bunch so you could use whatever makes the most sense for you. Here’s what they show:

  1. The first shows our map overlaid on God of War’s Niflheim map, to give you a basic idea of what’s under the fog.
  2. The second map is our map rotated like it is in the game, where you enter home base from the northeast.
  3. The third map is ours again, but rotated to look like a baseball diamond, where you enter home at the bottom.
  4. The fourth map shows Kratos between home base and first base and all of the paths he can take around the map.

Every circular area on our map — home base (where you enter), first base (right from home base), second base (left from home) and third base (top center), the pitcher’s mound (the center of the map) and left field (far left) and right field (far right) — is an arena where you can fight enemies. Every square area between the bases is a safe place between corridors where giant blades and walls try to kill you. Left and right field are where you fight the toughest enemies and collect the best loot.

Navigating Niflheim (running the bases)

You enter Ivaldi’s Workshop, and you fight. But where should you go? And how do you know where you are?

From home base, you have three paths — left to third base, right to first base and straight ahead to the pitcher’s mound. (Left and right both lead to the outfield and second base, just to be clear. In fact, since it’s a loop, left and right technically lead to each other, eventually. But there’s no particular reason to go left if you want to reach right field. Go right, which is a shorter, more direct path.)

How to find your location in Niflheim

After understanding Niflheim’s layout, your primary challenge will be either remembering or figuring out where you are. The image below shows you how to do this.

Even if you understand Niflheim’s layout, it’s easy to lose your way. This is the essence of orienting yourself:

  1. Understand the baseball diamond layout.
  2. Wherever you are, face an exit (the corridors with smashing walls and giant blades).
  3. Load the map.
  4. Using your knowledge of the baseball diamond, figure out where you’d go if you were to go straight (as indicated by the golden directional marker pointing out of the white circle around the Ω symbol denoting Kratos’ location).
  5. At that point, you can figure out how to go deeper into the level or leave to bank your Mist Echoes.

In short, if you get confused, face an exit and load the map to figure out where you are and which direction you’re facing.

God of War Niflheim map directional arrows
The paths you can take through Niflheim in God of War
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

In the screenshot above, Kratos is between home and first base. The golden arrow shows which way Kratos is facing. If he were to go straight, he’d end up at first base. If he were to turn around, he’d head back to home base.

Home, first, second and third bases

These are the standard arenas. You’ll enter and fight a group of enemies. When you kill them all, you can open the treasure chests and wooden crates in the area.

The deadly corridors (or base lines, if you’re into baseball)

Between the bases there are corridors that try to kill you. Sometimes they have chests to pillage, typically for Mist Echoes and hacksilver, though sometimes for rarer crafting materials.

Corridors are randomly generated. Leave or die and reenter, and the path left could that last contained blades could contain deadly walls. Make the loop enough, and you’ll immediately recognize what you have to do.

Left field and right field

God of War Niflheim Flawless Element of the Realm
Strong enemies can drop strong enchantments
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Left and right field are the toughest arenas in Niflheim. The hardest enemies live there, including a Valkyrie in left field and Champions in right field. These enemies sometimes contain high-level gear, like the Flawless Element of the Realm you can see in the screenshot above. And the chests in these areas can contain rare items, like the Haze Weave crafting material.

The pitcher’s mound

On the pitcher’s mound in the middle of Ivaldi’s Workshop, there are several chests that you can open for 1,000, 2,500, 5,000 and two chests for 7,500 each. There are also several chests and wooden crates you can open as soon as you arrive. Finally, there are three Realm Tears: one for 10,000 Mist Echoes and one Anchor of Fog (more on those in the next section), a second for 15,000 Mist Echoes and one Anchor of Fog and the final one for 20,000 Mist Echoes and one Anchor of Fog.

As usual, you’re receive some Dust of Realms in each Realm Tear you close. Here’s what you’ll get for opening each chest and closing each realm tear:

God of War Niflheim realm tears and mist of echoes chest loot

Mist Echoes Anchor of Fog Item type Contents Category
Mist Echoes Anchor of Fog Item type Contents Category
1,000 0 Legendary chest Perfect Artifact of the Blight Enchantment
2,500 0 Legendary chest Eye of Niflheim Enchantment
5,000 0 Legendary chest Clilling Mists of Niflheim Enchantment
7,500 0 Legendary chest Blightbringer Axe pommel
7,500 0 Legendary chest Blightguard Blades pommel
10,000 1 Realm Tear Mistbourne Epic axe pommel
15,000 1 Realm Tear Gift of Apollo Heavy Runic attack
20,000 1 Realm Tear Talisman of Cursed Power Talisman

In the gallery below, you’ll see the loot we got from opening each chest, including the details from the menu. If the item looks good, go for it. If you could do without it, you’re free to hold onto your Mist Echoes for something else.

How to get an Anchor of Fog

Using an Anchor of Fog to open a Realm Tear in Niflheim in God of War
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon and SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

The Anchor of Fog is an item that you need to open the Realm Tears on the pitcher’s mound. It’s only available in area chests after you defeat the enemies in left or right field, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find one in any of the chests there.

Open every chest you find throughout Ivaldi’s Workshop. Each chest that you open increases your odds for finding better loot in the next chest. That isn’t limited to outfield chests that might have an Anchor of Fog, but it sure helps your odds of finding one in there.

Put differently, if you were to just run directly to left or right field without opening chests, you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Open all of the chests you see.

Nornir chests (the ones with runes on them)

God of War Niflheim map with Nornir chests
God of War Niflheim map with Nornir chests
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Nornir chests can appear in a couple different places and situations in Niflheim:

  • In the corridors between home base and first base
  • In the corridors between home base and second base
  • At home base, after you defeat the enemies in left or right field

Depending on where you find a Nornir chest, you’ll need to do different things to open them.

In the corridors

In corridors, they’re all bell-based puzzles, so you have to throw you axe at three bells relatively quickly to dim the runes on the bells and the chest. You’ll do this a lot, and finding and throwing them will get easier once you get familiar with their placement.

The rune bells are all visible from within the safe area (which are square in our maps). First, find all three. There’s always one bell super far away. Start with that one (which’ll take you a few tries to hit) and then hit the one near it. The third one is almost certainly close and behind you.

At home base

A Niflheim Nordic chest at home plate in God of War
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Nornir chests at home base appear after you’ve defeated enemies in left or right field, You’ll find their corresponding runes at first, second and third base. And instead of simple bells, you’ll have to toss your axe to rotate runes on pedestals.

Here’s the most efficient way of getting those runes:

  1. At home base, take a screenshot of the runes on the Nornir chest, and then hit the PS4 button on your controller to return to the main menu. Open the Capture Gallery app. Now return to God of War. Double-tap the PS4 button on your controller to switch between God of War and Capture Gallery to remind yourself what you’re looking for. (That’s a great app switching feature that you can and should use a lot on your PS4.)
  2. Choose a path to first or second base and commit to running the bases clockwise or counterclockwise. Note that you do not have to fight the enemies in these arenas to activate the runes. In fact, we’d suggest that you don’t. Unless you’re incredibly fast, there won’t be enough time to run the bases and get back to unlock the chest.
  3. As you run through the corridors, look to the base in the distance. Sometimes, when you’re really lucky, you’ll be able to see the the location of the rotating rune contraptions.
  4. Enter the arena and forget about your enemies. Instead, scan the cliffs above for the rotating rune contraption.
  5. Toss your axe at the contraption until it displays one of the runes on the chest. If you’re having trouble with enemies attacking you, equip Atreus’ Murder of Crows Runic Summon. It’s fantastic for damaging and distracting enemies, and stunned enemies buy you time.
  6. Run to the next base.
  7. Repeat the process, activating all three runes at all three bases, and return to home base to open the chest. You’ll receive tons of hacksilver, lots of Mist Echoes and, more often than not, an Epic enchantment.

Check out the gallery below to see the copious loot we found in Niflheim’s Nornir chests, as well as common placements for runic bells and rotating contraptions. If you spend a lot of time in Niflheim, you’ll find yourself full of enchantments like the Perfect Artifact of the Blight in many different permutations.

Niflheim Ivaldi’s Workshop combat tips and strategies

That pink bar at the top of your screen is basically a death timer. No matter where you’re fighting in Ivaldi’s Workshop, your goal should be to kill everything quickly. If you can’t do that, you’ll die. We left Niflheim with twice the combat skill we had when we entered. Why? Because we had to master it.

Here are some tips for killing things quickly:

  • Use your skills. Hammering L1 and occasionally L2 won’t get the job done fast enough, even if you’re clad in special armor. Check your menu for skills you don’t use. Our favorite is Grinding Storm, where you hold R1 to fling and spin your axe. Chain that together a few times on enemies, and they get cold enough to move in slow motion. Then you can unleash a series of attacks or just hold R2 for the insanely powerful Executioner’s Cleave. It’s a great way to chain simple attacks together and take even powerful enemies down quickly.
  • Use Atreus. Keep hammering square (and holding it down for special attacks like our favorite, the devastating Murder of Crows) so that Atreus is always doing damage. This is especially useful for enemies with ranged attacks like Tatzelwurms,
  • Chain your Runic attacks. This is something we talk about all the time, but it’s worth repeating here: You can chain your Runic attacks (L1 + R1 and L1 + R2) to hit enemies back-to-back. Do that on powerful enemies, and watch their health drain.
  • Switch between weapons to use their Runic attacks. While your axe is sheathed, your Blades of Chaos are recharging — and vice versa. Switch between weapons when you’re confident that the Runic attacks on the the weapon you’re not currently using are available, and unleash your most powerful attacks.
  • Focus on the biggest, most powerful enemies — or just the closest big enemy. The biggest enemies are, shockingly, the most dangerous. Use your Runic attacks on them as quickly as you can.
  • Parry. As we wrote in our God of War combat guide, parrying is an essential skill. Blocking just in time staggers and damages your enemies, opening them up for attack.

It’s nothing complicated, really. It’s just fighting with several of the tricks in your arsenal. And learning new tricks will make you better fighter. Do it enough (you’ll be spending a lot of time here, so there’s plenty of time for practice), and these moves will become second nature. They’ll turn button mashing into deadly strategies.

Niflheim walkthrough

Most of the time you spend in Niflheim will be a series of loops you run to gain Mist Echoes and spend them to buy armor and open chests and Realm Tears. So in this section, we’ll talk about the best ways to run your loop to maximize your gains, including finding and collecting the loot from Nornir chests (the ones with the runes on them).

The first parts — Arrival in Niflheim and Ivaldi’s Workshop — are straightforward. The rest involves putting your knowledge and skills to the test.

Arrival in Niflheim

When you arrive on the bridge, check the area ahead of you for several items, including a Lore Marker, wooden chests filled with Mist Echoes and a red coffin in the middle with an Etched Crest of Defiance.

Ivaldi’s Workshop

Meet Sindri at his shop on the bridge, and you’ll get the Ivaldi’s Workshop Favor. You need to collect Mist Echoes and return to Sindri. That process will get you into the chamber (home base). Head down the stairs to find a Lore Marker that’ll tell you about Ivaldi’s Workshop.

You need to collect 500 Mist Echoes to gain access to what we’re calling the pitcher’s mound (it’ll make sense, we promise). You can see what you’re carrying in the Resources tab of the God of War menu. Collecting those will require several trips in and out of the mist. The pink timer is no big deal if you stick to the first areas. You’ll be able to kill everyone with plenty of time left. You’ll regain it if you manage to leave the mist. You’ll also refill a bit of your meter every time you open a chest.

Exploring the mist

You can explore farther into the mist, but at this point it’s best to stay near home base and focus on filling your Mist Echoes bank account. If you’re anything like us, you’ll think you’re better than you are. That’ll lead to death and frustration.

There will be plenty of time to go much father. For now, concentrate on just getting in, killing enemies and getting back out.

When you’ve collected enough, Sindri will let you know after you return to him. Buy the Niflheim Entry Stone for 500 Mist Echoes.

Return to the first arena in Ivaldi’s Workshop (home base), and insert the stone into the pedestal. That’ll complete Ivaldi’s Workshop, open a door in front of you and begin the Ivaldi’s Protection favor, in which you need to “find materials to craft Ivaldi’s armor.” That armor will protect you against the Cursed Mist.

Ivaldi’s Protection and Ivaldi’s Niflheim armor

Head through the newly opened door (to the pitcher’s mound), climb up and smash the wooden chests for Mist Echoes. In a red coffin you’ll find Ivaldi’s Rusted Armor, a crafting material that Sindri needs to create this realm’s armor.

Returning the armor to Sindri will complete Ivaldi’s Protection and begin Ivaldi’s Curse.

Trust us: This armor is worth the investment. It’ll take a while to earn the Mist Echoes and other items that you need, but it’s indispensable. Browse the gallery above to check out the three flavors of armor that Sindri sells. We chose the armor of Deadly Mist, almost entirely because it provided the best spread of stat buffs.

Beyond offering you more protection against the Cursed Mist (turning your short trips into long ones), Niflheim armor also gradually restores your health, which makes it viable in every realm.

Ivaldi’s Curse

To complete Ivaldi’s Curse, you need to close the three Realm Tears behind the door that you opened (the one that leads to the pitcher’s mound). To do that, you’ll need a lot of Mist Echoes. That means more fighting in the mist.

Seal the three Realm Tears

Niflheim has three Realm Tears on the pitcher’s mound. They’re what you’d expect if you’ve done others: Difficult enemies appear, and you need to kill them.

The sections above dealing with the Niflheim loop showed you how to make money, collect loot and survive. When you have 10,000, 15,000 and 20,000 Mist Echoes (and an Anchor of Fog for each, which we also detailed above), you can open a Realm Tear.

Below, we’ll teach you how to survive all three Realm Tear encounters. And the first thing you should do is buy a Resurrection Stone at Sindri’s shop. The cheapest one will do, though you’re free to buy whichever one you like.

God of War Resurrection Stone Kratos Sindri
Buy a Resurrection Stone from Sindri in Niflheim
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

These are tough fights. If you die holding a Resurrection Stone, pressing Square on your controller allows Atreus to bring you back to life. It’s a second chance. You’ll get plenty of hacksilver in Niflheim to fund your purchase.

Realm Tear encounter 1 (Ogres)

Your first encounter will be with three Ogres — one at level six, seven and eight. This doesn’t have to be a difficult fight. Focus the first Ogre and unleash everything you have, chaining together Runic attacks and Rage of Sparta (if you have it). When that Ogre’s health bar drains enough, you can mount it with R3 and use it to attack the others. Repeat the process with another Ogre until they’re all dead and gone.

For your victory, you’ll receive the Gift of Apollo, a Heavy Runic Attack that fills Kratos’ health with every hit. (Check out the gallery above for details.)

Realm Tear encounter 2 (Wulvers and a Soul Devourer)

Wulvers abound in this fight. When you kill one, another will appear. That’ll happen over and over. They’ll start at low levels, and every one you defeat will spawn one at the next highest level, all the way up to Wulver level eight. It’s best to save your most powerful attacks for the high-level Wulvers.

There’s also a Soul Devourer, and we had a lot of luck focusing our attention on it. Throw your arrow with L2 at its exposed chest, collect the glowing rock that flies out, and then hurl that at its exposed chest.

For your victory, you’ll receive the Mistbourne axe pommel, which has a low perk activation chance to grant Healing Mist on any successful hit. That regenerates Health and increases Runic. (Check out the gallery above for details.)

Realm Tear encounter 3 (Revenants)

Revenants — the witch-like creatures who hurl elemental damage at you — are our least favorite enemies in God of War. This fight pits you against three powerful variants and the Nightmares that one summons.

As always, have Atreus attack the Nightmares. They’ll go down with a few arrows each.

When fighting Revenants, your best offense is a good defense. It may be a cliche, but it’s true. Blocking will protect you from the poison, ice and fire that worms its way across the arena. If your shield’s up, you’re protected. If it’s down, you’re dead in a few hits.

Our favorite strategy is to pick whatever Revenant appears first and closest to you and destroy her. Or if you’re feeling confident, you can target the Revenant Summoner to get rid of the Nightmare threat.

Whatever you choose, forget about damaging the others. There’s going to be so much death flying at you that spreading your damage around is counterproductive. Destroying one as quickly as possible so that you’re only fighting two instead of three makes this fight … well, if not easy then significantly easier than the alternative.

Find a Revenant. Mark her for death, and unleash everything you have, blocking at basically every moment you’re not attacking.

For your victory, you’ll receive the Talisman of Cursed Power, which allows Kratos to unleash a wave of Cursed Mist that instantly weakens all surrounding enemies. (Check out the gallery above for details.)

Niflheim Valkyrie Hildr boss fight

Hildr may be the easiest Valkyrie fight in God of War, not because she’s a pushover but because Niflheim makes you a better fighter.

Still, the best offense for fighting Valkyries is a good defense. To win, you need to learn their attack patterns and unleash Kratos’ might when they’re vulnerable and distracted. In this guide, we’ll show you how to read Hildr’s attacks so you can respond and defeat her.

How to find the Valkyrie in Niflheim

God of War Niflheim Valkyrie map
Your path from home base to Hildr
SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

In short, hug the left wall.

From home base (where you start), head left to third base. Then head through third base as if you were going to second base. In the safe area between the deadly corridors that connect third and second base, turn left to enter left field. Ignore all of the enemies you encounter along the way.

Be prepared

Before you begin a Valkyrie fight, do three things:

  • Fill your Runic attack meters. Begin every Valkyrie fight with back-to-back Runic attacks (L1 + R1 and L1 + R2). As Valkyries descend from their winged cocoons, they’re vulnerable. Attack then, and you’ll chip away a big portion of her health without resistance. (If your meters aren’t full, you can just stand around and wait for them to fill up.)
  • Fill your Spartan Rage meters. Spartan Rage does two things. The obvious one is inflict massive amounts of damage. The less obvious one is restore your health as you attack. You can use it to punish a Valkyrie or restore your low health — or both! (If your meters aren’t full, go find some enemies to kill.)
  • Bring a Resurrection Stone. If Kratos dies while you’re holding a Resurrection Stone, press Square and Atreus will bring him back to life. Any Resurrection Stone will do, and you can buy them at Sindri’s shop. Just remember that you can only hold one at a time.

Hildr attacks and strategies

The trick to defeating a Valkyrie is identifying and responding to her attacks. Then the fight becomes an if-then statement: If she does this, then I do this. In this section, we’ll show you Hildr’s most common attacks (the “if” part) and how to respond (the “then” part).

Parry her dash attacks

The best single thing to do to counter Hildr is to parry, which gives you what feels like a huge window to attack.

You can parry many of her attacks — especially when she slides across the arena to close the distance between her and Kratos. Just wait for her to get close, and hit L1 to bring up your shield and stun her.

Then use the powerful new attacks (hold L1 with your axe, for example) that you used to defeat the enemies in Niflheim quickly. Those are just as effective here as they are elsewhere.

Block and dodge her ranged attacks

When she launches her ranged snowball attacks, block them. She’ll fire a bunch of snowballs. You can block all of them. Then she’ll fire a large ice ball. You can’t block it. When she pauses and you see the telltale red circle indicating an unblockable attack, double-tap X and roll to the left or right. It’s easy to dodge.

Her other ranged attack is unblockable. It’s easy to spot the difference: The unblockable one begins with the telltale red circle, but it ends with a yellow burst of energy traveling across the battlefield. Just do the same thing as you did with the ice ball attack — dodge left or right.

Shoot and dodge when she jumps into the air

When Hildr flies up into the air, have Atreus shoot her. She may fall right back to the ground, giving you an opportunity to attack. She may dive at you with another unblockable attack. If you see the red circle, dodge out of the way as soon as she starts moving.

Block her wing attacks on the ground

Her only other notable attack is when she hits you with her wings at close range. Lots of Valkyries use this attack, and you should deal with it the same way you deal with in Niflheim it elsewhere: Block it, and attack after her flurry ends.

Collect your loot

Defeat Hildr, and you’ll receive Hildr’s Helmet, the Heart of the Valkyrie Epic enchantment, Asgardian Steel, its Epic counterpart Perfect Asgardian Steel, the Epic chest armor Cuirass of the Valkyrie, and the Epic axe pommel Wing of the Valkyrie. Browse the gallery above for the details on each item.