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Valheim guide: How to get iron

You’ll have to defeat The Elder first

How to find iron in Valheim Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

Finding iron in Valheim is one of the most dangerous quests in the game. Before you can even explore the area where iron is hidden, you must first build a smelter, defeat The Elder boss, and obtain a key item from that enemy.

In this Valheim guide, we’ll show you how and where to get iron, and we’ll explain how to turn raw iron into armor and weapons.

How to get iron in Valheim

If you want to find iron, you’ve likely already followed our tips on how to prepare for The Elder Boss fight. After defeating the boss, it will drop a key item that’ll help you find iron: the swamp key.

A screenshot of the Swamps biome in Valheim
Swamps look like this and can be their own island or near black forests
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

Obtaining that key from the boss of the black forest will lead you to the next Valheim biome: the swamp. If you haven’t found a swamp in your unique version of the map, keep an eye out for dark brown areas.

Sunken crypts

As you explore the dark and muddy swamp biome, you’ll run across a structure called a sunken crypt. They’ll be easy to spot with their green glowing torches on both sides of a small stone structure.

Before entering the crypt, consider using map markers to keep track of the dungeon’s location, just in case you need to return.

A sunken cryptin Valheim
Time to loot a crypt
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

To enter the crypts, make sure the swamp key is in your inventory. Then interact with the iron gates, and Valheim will load you inside the dungeon.

Unfortunately, iron bars won’t be sitting out in the open in sunken crypts. Instead you’ll have to navigate these maze-like dungeons searching for the unassuming muddy scrap pile, which looks like a giant mound of mud.

A muddy scrap pile in Valheim
Yes, this giant pile of mud is your key to iron
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

Once you find a muddy scrap pile, break it down with your pickaxe until you free some scrap iron.

Depending on the size of the sunken crypt, you may find several muddy scrap piles. However, these tombs are dangerous places. Just getting into one might mean fighting slime enemies that inflict poison damage — or you may need to fight off powerful draugers inside and outside of the crypts.

If you’ve made it out of a sunken crypt with your life and items intact, head back to your smelter.

How to smelt iron in Valheim

Valheim guide: From Eikthyr to The Elder walkthrough
Smelt scrap iron like any other ore you’ve found
Image: Iron Gate Studio/Coffee Stain Publishing via Polygon

If you already followed our tips on how to use a smelter, then all you need to do is treat your scrap iron like any other ore.

Use your charcoal kiln to make the fuel you’ll need to run your smelter. Then deposit your scrap iron into the sides of the smelter, hang around for a few seconds, and out will pop iron bars you can use at your forge to craft iron armor and weapons.

Crafting iron gear requires a lot of iron, so if you want some powerful gear and weapons, be prepared to enter the crypts multiple times. To make your trips as safe as possible, craft bronze armor and weapons first until you gain enough scrap iron to jump to the next tier of gear.