10 Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree tips to help you survive in the Land of Shadow

Androgynous knight in intricate armor holding sword partially obscuring face while holding helmet in other hand
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

We've been playing Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree for a couple of weeks now, getting mauled by bosses (and, honestly, lots of regular beasties) throughout the Land of Shadow. All those times we got lost and murdered, however, have been worth it, because now we can pass on what we've learned to you lovely lot. Along with our Shadow of the Erdtree tips, you can also find a slew of guides to give you a leg up, covering quests, gear and pretty much everything you might be wondering about.

You can start Shadow of the Erdtree pretty quickly

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Fraser Brown, Online Editor:  While Shadow of the Erdtree is framed as endgame DLC, you absolutely do not need to wait until the end of the vanilla campaign to jump into another world—though it's certainly easier when you're a higher level with strong gear.

You can follow our guide to how to access the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, but here's the short version: 

  • Start Varré's quest (you'll meet him right at the start of the game, when you enter Limgrave) which will effectively take you right to the DLC
  • Complete Varré's quest to teleport to Mohg, Lord of Blood
  • Check out our tips for beating Mohg
  • Once Mohg's down, approach Miquella's cocoon to start the DLC

For a fresh player this won't be a doddle, but for experienced players or those starting in NG+, you're looking at maybe an hour of work. 

Turn on this new UI setting to remember what item you just picked up

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: The latest Elden Ring patch prompts you about a new setting you can enable to view your most recently picked up items. You should absolutely use it. Enable it in the settings under the Display tab by turning on both ‘Mark New Items’ and ‘Show Recent Items Tab’.

Now while you’re sprinting away from some horrible monster and grab a valuable item, it'll show up in your most recent items tab and will be marked with an exclamation mark. Particularly invaluable for checking out cool boss weapons without trying to find them amidst the 300 swords you're carrying around.


Leda quest: Track the Erdtree main quest
Ansbach quest: Help the former servant of Mohg
Hornsent quest: Complete the quest for vengeance
Thiollier quest: Pay homage to the saint of sleeping
Freyja quest: Where to find Redmane Freyja

Ditch your cheesy OP builds 

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Fraser:  Unless you're rushing towards Shadow of the Erdtree, you'll probably have a build you're comfortable with by the time you reach it. You might even be a god-slaying titan, especially if you've been mucking around in NG+. In anticipation of the DLC, I've seen lots of advice about how to properly prepare for the expansion, what items you should hunt down, what builds you should use, but I suggest ignoring most of it. 

First of all, Erdtree introduces so many new weapons, as well as doling out smithing stones and extra larval tears, that you really don't need to hoard stuff from the base game. You'll be busy exploring, looting and experimenting, so why bring lots of vanilla baggage with you? But it also just feels weird to start what in many ways feels like a brand new FromSoftware game with the power of a god. Ditch that OP NG+ build and you'll have more fun. I brought my unstoppable Blasphemous Blade build in with me initially, and it just stopped being satisfying very quickly. It just didn't feel like a FromSoftware game anymore. Now that I've started experimenting with new builds and Erdtree-specific weapons, I'm having a much better time—even if I'm dying more often. 

But hey, if you'd rather spend dozens of hours spanking boss after boss without breaking a sweat, more power to you. There's no rule that says you can't be a badass. 

Everyone should try Dryleaf Arts  

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Fraser: After binging on katanas and greatswords for so long, I never thought I'd drop my big swords, but Erdtree has taught me the way of the fist. Dryleaf Arts is a new weapon that's not really a weapon—you fight with your feet and fists alone, transforming into a boss-pummelling martial artist. And my god is it fun. Of all Erdtree's new weapons, it's the most novel, and it feels well suited to an expansion that encourages constant aggression. It's a risky proposition, though: you'll be right in every enemy's face, and that means you're gonna get slapped around a lot if you aren't nailing your dodges. It's worth it, though, because you've never played a FromSoftware game this way before. 

Meet the Miquella companions early 

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Sean Martin, Guides Writer: You might remember this band of misfits from the expansion's second trailer; these are the most important NPCs in the Shadow of the Erdtree and each of them has a particular quest you can undertake. You'll find Hornsent and Redmane Freyja at the Three-Path Cross site of grace near the start, Sir Ansbach and Moore at the Main Gate Cross site of grace shortly after, and Thiollier off on his own at the Pillar-Path Cross site of grace.

It's well worth chatting with these characters before you delve too far into new regions, especially if you like the lore. Ansbach in-particular relays some tasty tidbits if you find him secret Miquella Cross locations as part of his quest.

Get to know the new dungeon types

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Sean: Elden Ring gave us a variety of dungeons to explore, like tunnels, caves and catacombs, each of which offered a particular set of items. In the expansion there are two new dungeon types. Forges are essentially a replacement for tunnels; they grant smithing stones and the new smithscript throwing weapons that return to your hand. They also don't have final bosses, which is a fun novelty. 

The other new dungeon type is the Gaol. These contain a wide variety of items, but you'll most often find pot-related crafting materials and Spirit Ashes. Lastly, there are Mausoleums, one-off NPC boss encounters that'll get you a new armour set and a weapon to try out.

Remember to look down, not just up 

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Wes Fenlon, Senior Editor: It'll take you all of 10 seconds to pick up on how vertical this new map is, and you'll spend a lot of your time exploring the Land of Shadow tracing some path far above your head to a distant endpoint and trying to puzzle out the likely route. Don't keep your eyes locked on the horizon, though—looking down is sometimes even more important. Every time you end up on a cliff edge, peek on over to see what's below you and if there's a path down.

And then start looking down in other places—even inside ruins and caves. You won't be riding an enormous elevator down into a separate underground map like in the base game, but don't assume that the map reveals the entirety of the Land of Shadow. There are still areas waiting to be discovered right under your feet.

Don't sleep on hefty pots and Greater Potentate's Cookbooks 

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Harvey Randall, Staff Writer: I'm not a big crafter in Elden Ring—it's a system I've typically ignored in favour of whacking stuff with a big sodding claymore because, typically, using more sword works wonders. However, the Greater Potentate's Cookbooks (and the hefty pots they let you craft) are vital for dealing with certain enemies, dish out a good chunk of damage besides, and can be used while riding Torrent. Just like the pots from the base game, hefty pots are a renewable resource, too.

To get started on your bomb-throwing journey, head to the Belurat Gaol under Belurat, Tower Settlement.

Take advantage of map markers

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

Tyler Colp, Associate Editor: The DLC is a maze, especially as you progress deeper and deeper into it. I encountered so many forked paths that I lost track of which ones I went down and which ones I didn’t. Don’t make my mistake: Use Elden Ring’s map markers, whether it’s the pins or the stamps, to remember sections of the map you haven’t fully explored. That way, you’ll know where to check when you inevitably can’t find an obvious route to somewhere you want to go—chances are, you missed it somewhere earlier!

The DLC is super generous with upgrade materials for its sick new weapons 

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

Ted Litchfield, Associate Editor: I knew from the start I wanted to go into Shadow of the Erdtree with the first character I beat Elden Ring with, but I had a problem: I ate through almost all the base game's Larval Tear respec items vacillating between Moonveil and Rivers of Blood. Thankfully, I was in luck: Shadow of the Erdtree is generous with both Tears and Smithing Stones.

I've found three new Larval Tears in the DLC, which is nice but not extreme, but the Realm of Shadow is absolutely lousy with Smithing Stones⁠—it feels like FromSoftware listened to complaints about being forced to commit to specific weapons in the base game for want of smithing supplies. It's now much easier to upgrade a spread of weapons to +10 or +25 without spending loads of runes in the Roundtable Hold shop (though check out our smithing stones guide for the base game if you do need to buy a few and are missing a Smithing-Stone Miner's Bell Bearing).

You don't want to go overboard with respeccing all your stats unless you have a tidy nest egg of Larval Tears from the base game, but by all means go nuts on upgrading the weapons you can already use. 

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog. 

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