Valheim is pretty good at telling you what to do next. It’s not so clear about how you’re supposed to do that. Enter Polygon’s Valheim walkthroughs, where we fill in the gaps.
After defeating Eikthyr, you’ll get some hard antler, and that will set you down the path to crafting metal tools.This Valheim walkthrough begins after defeating Eikthyr and ends at the next boss, The Elder.
Along the way, we’ll create the antler pickaxe, find and explore the black forest biome, raid burial chambers, find tin and copper, smelt and forge metal, cook some food in a cauldron, brew some potions in a fermenter, craft the cultivator and plant some seeds, and (finally) build our first metal tools, armor, and weapons. We’ll also give you a crash course in boatbuilding and sailing. After all of that, we’ll tackle summoning and defeating The Elder.
Table of contents
- Build a cauldron to unlock new foods
- Build a fermenter to brew potions
- Teleporting and fast travel with portals
Step 1: Craft the antler pickaxe
We’re starting with an easy step, because what follows is a ton of grinding, and you deserve an early win.
When you defeat Eikthyr, he’ll drop some hard antler. (Eikthyr is the only source of hard antler, so if you ever need more, you to summon him again). Head to a workbench, and craft the antler pickaxe (10 wood, 1 hard antler).
Step 2: Find a black forest biome and build a new camp
With the antler pickaxe in hand, Hugin will show up to tell you about a new biome: the black forest.
Now you just need to find it. Black forest biomes are hilly and marked by tall trees — specifically fir and pine trees. On your map, look for an area with dense trees — trees in the meadows biome are a little sparser on the map. It looks darker green-blue on the map as well.
Move your cursor around on your map. The text in the upper right should reflect the biome you’re hovering over. (It was kind of hit or miss for us.) If you can’t find any, go explore until you do.
When you first enter a black forest biome, you’ll see that the ground color (and cover) changes as well. It’ll be darker and mossier.
When you find a promising patch of black forest, build yourself a new camp with a bed to reset your spawn point. You don’t have to build in the black forest, but (like your first camp) you’re looking for convenience and accessibility — a fire, a workbench, storage, and food to return to periodically.
Step 3: Locate burial chambers to find surtling cores
You don’t technically know this yet, but you’re in the black forest biome for three things: tin deposits, copper deposits, and surtling cores. We’ll deal with the ore deposits in the next step, and you’ll probably find some while exploring), so let’s focus on burial chambers — the only place you’ll find surtling cores.
Our ultimate goal here is to collect (at least) 10 surtling cores. That’s going to take multiple trips into burial chambers.
Before you head out to find your first burial chamber, craft several torches (1 wood, 1 resin). Repair your tools, weapons, and armor at a workbench. And eat something to get your health up.
Burial chambers are mini dungeons scattered around black forest biomes. You’ll know you’re close when skeletons start attacking you. The entrance looks like a stone-lined tunnel or doorway leading underground.
Burial chambers are made up of between one and three hallways branching off of a central room. Equip your torch and start opening doors. (We like to leave doors open to remind us where we’ve been.)
You’ll run into lots of skeletons, poisonous rancid remains (green skeletons), and skeleton-spawning evil bone piles. A torch is a decent weapon against them all, since it sets them on fire and lets you see what you’re fighting. Keep your shield up, and use the hallways as choke points.
You’ll collect a ton of bone fragments from them, and you’ll find a lot of yellow mushrooms (that you can eat) throughout the halls. Keep an eye out for valuables like amber, coins, and rubies as well.
What you’re really here for, though, are surtling cores — glowing red cubes on little stands. You’ll find a handful of surtling cores in each burial chamber.
Once you empty a burial chamber, regroup, head back to your base, empty your pockets, and set off again to find a new one.
Use your map to mark burial chamber locations — and if you’ve cleared them — to keep track.
Step 4: Find copper and tin
After surtling cores, your next goal in the black forest biome is to find tin deposits and copper deposits and collect tin ore and copper ore.
You need to collect (at least) 18 tin ore and 22 copper ore to build new structures and craft some new tools. Again, mark your map with an icon of your choosing so you can quickly return to productive areas. You’ll need a lot more copper and tin before you take on The Elder.
A quick note while you’re mining for ores: Tin and copper ores are heavy. A stack of 30 weighs 300 pounds and will encumber you. This is going to take a lot of trips.
Find tin deposits to mine tin ore
Find copper deposits to mine copper ore
Copper deposits are a little trickier. They are huge, flat boulders sticking out of the ground in the forests. Look for the shiny, copper-colored veins.
Mining copper means mining stone as well. You’ll pick up a lot of it working through a deposit. And that’s fine, since we’ll need at least 50 stone for the next step. Again, use your antler pickaxe to mine copper.
Step 5: Build a charcoal kiln, smelter, and forge, make copper
Back at base camp, pull out your hammer and build:
- Charcoal kiln (20 stone, 5 surtling cores). Place it with the low, oven-like opening facing forward. You’ll feed (up to) 25 wood into the kiln, and it will spit out 25 coal.
- Smelter (20 stone, 5 surtling cores). The smelter is directional as well — place it with the spout/chute facing you. You’ll put coal in the right side, and ore in the left — 2 coal is required for every 1 ore. It will drop the finished metal out of the spout.
Use the kiln to turn some wood into (at least) 12 coal. Feed that and 6 copper ore into the smelter, and you’ll get 6 copper after a bit of a wait (about 3 ticks — 30 seconds — per bar). With that, build:
- Forge (10 wood, 4 stone, 4 coal, 6 copper). Like a workbench, the forge has to be placed under a roof. Do that and you can make some new weapons.
Step 6: Craft a bronze axe to collect fine wood
We’re separating the bronze axe (4 wood, 8 bronze [16 copper, 8 tin], 2 leather scraps) from the other tools because it opens up a big new possibility: chopping down birch and oak trees to obtain fine wood. Birch trees have a distinctive white bark. Oak trees are … well, there’s no way to describe them but thicc.
Fine wood is an ingredient in some of the new tools and weapons we’ll be making later. More exciting, though, picking up your first piece of fine wood gives you the ability to make portals and fermenters (and a bunch of other household stuff, but that’s not important right now).
Bronze axes (and all of your metal goods, eventually) can only be repaired at a forge — your workbench won’t do it.
Build a cauldron to unlock new foods
When you create your first tin with the smelter, you’ll unlock a cauldron (10 tin) in your hammer’s Misc. tab. Cauldrons work like cooking stations and have to be placed over a fire.
The recipes you have when you build it depend on what you’ve found so far. Instead of going into every recipe, let’s talk about some of the ingredients you’ll use:
- Raspberries are from the meadows biome.
- Blueberries are from the black forest biome.
- Honey comes from hives that you’ll find in abandoned structures in the meadows biome. If you don’t have any yet, take the time to go find some. When you destroy a hive, you might pick up a queen bee along with the honey. If you get one, build a beehive (10 wood, 1 queen bee) for a local honey supply.
- Dandelions are from the meadows biome.
- Thistle is from the black forest biome.
- Yellow mushrooms come from burial chambers in the black forest.
An easy recipe you’ll almost definitely have is queens jam (8 raspberries, 8 blueberries). When you make this, you’ll get four queens jam — a food with (basically) the same stats as cooked meat with much less stabbing required.
Build a fermenter to brew potions
With fine wood, you’ll be able to build a fermenter (30 fine wood, 5 bronze, 10 resin). Your fermenter needs to be inside (under a roof) and close to your forge.
At your cauldron, you’ll have recipes for mead bases for things like minor healing, poison resistance, minor stamina, and tasty. (If you don’t have these recipes, make sure you’ve found ingredients like raspberries, blueberries, honey, dandelions, and thistle.) All of these note, however, that they must be fermented.
Take one of those bases, and drop it in your fermenter. A couple in-game days (about an hour real-world time) later, you’ll get your potions.
For example: At a cauldron, make some mead base: minor healing (10 honey, 5 blueberries, 10 raspberries, 1 dandelion). Drop that in your fermentor for two days, and you’ll get 6 minor healing mead.
Potion effects are faster and stronger than just eating food, but they won’t increase your max health. For that, you’ll still need to eat something (like queens jam from your cauldron).
Teleporting and fast travel with portals
Picking up your first piece of fine wood also unlocks the ability to build portals (10 greydwarf eyes, 20 fine wood, 2 surtling cores).
When you place a portal, interact with it to tag it. Type a word or name you’ll remember — this is what will link two portals to one another. Try to make it something descriptive and specific. Tags are case sensitive.
Now, head somewhere else you’d like to get to quickly — the sacrificial stones from way back at the beginning of the game are probably a good place to start.
When you build the second portal, tag it with the same word. After a second, it will link to your first one, and you can teleport. (Once you have several portals set up, you can change the tag to change your destination.)
Some items — specifically metal and ores — can’t be teleported. You can see what items can and can’t go through a portal in your inventory. Items that won’t teleport have a little portal icon with a red X through it in the upper right corner of their slot. There will also be a note in the item description.
Step 7: Craft a bronze pickaxe, bronze armor, and a bronze weapon
Now that we’re set up with a metal foundry, a kitchen, potions, portals, and a forge we can (finally) start getting ready for the next boss fight against The Elder.
For everything below, you’ll need a ton (probably a literal ton) of bronze. Remember that making bronze requires a charcoal kiln, a smelter, and a forge, and every piece of bronze requires 6 wood to turn into 6 coal, 2 copper ore to turn into 2 copper, and 1 tin ore to turn into 1 tin. You’ll be doing a lot of resource management is what we’re saying.
Also, make signs (2 wood, 1 coal) to label your chests — it’ll save you a lot of headaches.
Make the following:
- Bronze pickaxe (3 core wood, 10 bronze). Core wood comes from pine trees (but not fir trees — pine trees are taller with branches that start higher up). This new pickaxe will get you ore faster. And you’re going to need a ton of ore.
- Bronze helmet (5 bronze, 2 deer hide), bronze plate cuirass (5 bronze, 2 deer hide), bronze plate leggings (5 bronze, 2 deer hide). These three pieces make up your new armor set. It reduces your movement speed a bit (10%), but the extra armor is worth it.
- Bronze buckler (4 wood, 10 bronze). This is your new shield. It’s worth it.
- For a new bronze weapon, you’ve got a few choices: the two-handed bronze atgeir (10 wood, 8 bronze, 2 leather scraps), bronze mace (4 wood, 8 bronze, 3 leather scraps), bronze spear (5 wood, 6 bronze, 2 leather scraps), or the bronze sword (2 wood, 8 bronze, 2 leather scraps). Unless you’re really, really into mining and smelting, don’t bother making all of them. Just pick one that appeals to you. We like the sword and the mace.
Craft the cultivator to plant seeds
This step is optional, but you’re going to have a lot of downtime while waiting for your smelter to kick out metal and your fermenter to brew potions. Since you have the option, why not take up a hobby that’ll provide some extra food?
At a forge, craft the cultivator (5 core wood, 5 bronze) — remember that core wood comes from pine trees in the black forest biome. The cultivator is basically a pitchfork that lets you plant those seeds you’ve been finding but couldn’t use.
You’ve probably found some carrot seeds in the black forest biome by now — they come from those white flowers in the woods. Plant those seeds in a patch of cultivated land (the default action with your cultivator), and you’ll eventually get carrots. (We’re not sure exactly how long they take to grow, but it’s multiple in-game days.)
At your cauldron, turn your new carrots into carrot soup (1 mushroom, 3 carrot) for a meal with a solid stamina boost.
Once you’ve got a garden, plant a carrot instead of seed. You’ll harvest 3 carrot seeds to keep the cycle going.
Step 8: Collect 3 ancient seeds to summon The Elder
Throughout your explorations of the black forest, keep an eye out for runestones. Specifically, a small runestone with a red vegvisir sigil like in the image above. This will mark the location of The Elder’s sacrificial altar on your map. You might find this runestone deep in a burial chamber or on the surface near some black forest ruins. Just keep an eye out for the red glow.
Build yourself a new portal (10 Greydwarf eyes, 20 fine wood, 2 surtling cores) for this fight. Plant one at your base, tag it something like “Elder” (remember that tags are case sensitive), and take the materials to build a second one when you arrive at The Elder’s sacrificial altar.
Sailing and ancient seeds
A quick aside: You might have a long trek ahead of you to get from your black forest base camp to The Elder sacrificial altar. In fact, this is probably where you’ll learn that Valheim’s world is a series of islands. If you’re not close to the altar, you might have to build a boat and learn to sail.
When you do (finally) reach the altar, there’s a runestone with the helpful hint, “Burn their young.” This refers to ancient seeds — and you’ll need three of them. Build your second portal and tag it the same thing as above. This lets you return to the fight quickly if you fall, but also lets you travel back to base camp to prepare for the fight.
You might actually have a few ancient seeds already. Ancient seeds sometimes drop from greydwarf brutes and greydwarf shamans (shamen?), and always drop from greydwarf nests.
If you need more, wander around a black forest biome until you find a nest. You’ll know it when you see the purple glow in a tangle of vines and greydwarfs start attacking you.
Build a raft or a karve and learn to sail
Depending on how far away The Elder is, you may need to build a boat. You’ll have two options available to you: the raft (20 wood, 6 leather straps, 10 resin) and a karve (30 fine wood, 10 deer hide, 20 resin, 80 bronze nails). If the karve isn’t available, craft some bronze nails (1 bronze) at your forge to pick up the crafting recipe. The raft is, obviously, much cheaper, but the karve is a much more pleasant (and faster) sailing experience.
To build a boat, you’ll need a workbench near water. You need to be in the radius of the workbench to build your boat, and the boat needs to be built on water. You’ll probably want some sort of camp on the shore — maybe with a dedicated portal.
Once you have a boat, you’ve got some new things to learn. To get started, head for the rudder and interact.
At the rudder, your HUD will change and you’ll get a couple new icons. You’ll also have new controls.
- Just below the minimap, you’ll see a speed indicator. There are multiple speeds: rowing (an oar/rudder icon), half sail, and full sail.
- Below that, you’ll see a boat icon in a ring with a puff of wind. To sail, you need head away from the wind. This icon helps you do that — keep that puff of wind in the gold part of the ring to keep moving.
- To steer, move left or right with the same controls as walking. The rudder sticks wherever you leave it, so remember to straighten out or you’ll sail in circles.
- To lower and raise the sails, use forward and back with the same controls as walking. If you keep hitting back, you’ll paddle backward (slowly). This cycles through rowing in reverse, rowing forward, half sail, and full sail. The yellow chevrons above the steering wheel icon indicate how fast you’re currently going.
Step 9: Summon and defeat The Elder
You’ve got everything you need at this point to summon The Elder and make the armor, weapons, meals, and potions you need for success. We haven’t defeated him yet, though. We’ll update this guide soon.