Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree's best armor sets

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree best armor - Greatjar
(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Trying on all of the new Shadow of the Erdtree armor sets is one of the great joys of the new Elden Ring expansion. There's nothing more exciting for the Fashion Souls faithful than getting a rare helmet drop from a cool-looking enemy or finding some random-ass giant pot you can shove on your head for the next 50 hours. 

There are lots of new armor sets to try out, and many of them come with unique effects, such as buffing the new spell types that the expansion introduces. Here I'll walk you through my favourite Shadow of the Erdtree armor sets and where to get them—plus an array of new fabulously dumb helmets that your character can find down at the bottom.

Ascetic set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Glass cannon dex builds
  • How to get: Drops from Curseblades

This set worn by the ascetic Curseblade warriors looks great, especially the horned helmet. You might remember these guys as the enemy who showed up in the preview art for Shadow of the Erdtree. You'll find Curseblades all over, but the first is very close to the Gravesite Plain site of grace and might even be the first enemy you encounter in the expansion. 

The helmet in this set buffs dex slightly, but reduces the healing effect from your flask of tears. Sadly, this armor set is also a random drop, so you'll have to whack on your Silver Scarab and farm them if you want the helm.

Horned Warrior set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Strength builds
  • How to get: Drops from Horned Warriors

Another great-looking set that's dropped by an enemy you encounter early on; the first Horned Warrior you'll find is just after the Small Private Altar site of grace in Belurat, Tower Settlement, and this is honestly the best place to farm this randomly dropping armor set, too. Similar to the Curseblade mask, the Horned Warrior Helm buffs strength but decreases the effectiveness of your healing flasks.


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

Gravebird set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Spectral Light spells, jump attacks
  • How to get: Five separate Gravebird locations

This is my favourite armor set from the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, but it'll take you a little while to gather it from Gravebird-infested areas throughout the map. There are also two different chest pieces. Here's where to get each piece:

  • The Gravebird Armor chest is found at an altar to the west of the Abandoned Ailing Village in Gravesite Plain
  • The Gravebird Bracelets are found in east Gravesite Plain on the path to the Suppressing Pillar
  • The Gravebird Anklets are found in the poison area accessible to the north of Moorth Ruins in Scadu Altus through the cave
  • The Gravebird Helm is found in the final area of the expansion. Just before the Cleansing Chamber Anteroom site of grace, you can descend a lift and jump on top of an altar as you do to grab this. 

While the regular chest armor looks good, the Gravebird's Blackquill Armor is even better, since it gives you wings and enhances jump attacks. You can find this in the Rauh Ruins Base region, by a Gravebird altar in the pest-infested area. The helmet in this set buffs the new Gravebird-related Rings of Spectral Light spells.

Rellana set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Lookin' like a glintstone warrior
  • How to get: Defeat Rellana and purchase from Finger Reader Enia

If you're planning on playing as a sorcerer or a spellblade in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion, then this Carian armor will likely be of interest. It doesn't boost sorceries, but you could also swap out that helm for a glintstone crown of your choosing. You can purchase this set from Finger Reader Enia in the Roundtable Hold once you defeat the Rellana, Twin Moon Knight boss in Castle Ensis.

Pelt of Ralva/Iron Rivet set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Ursus castus
  • How to get: Defeat Red Bear and Ralva the Red Bear

Though this is technically two different armor sets, this is the outfit that the Mausoleum boss, Red Bear, wears in the expansion. You'll get the Iron Rivet set by defeating Red Bear himself in the Northern Nameless Mausoleum, accessible via a sealed Spiritspring in Rauh Ruins Base. 

The best bit is the Pelt of Ralva bear helmet. You'll get this by beating the Ralva the Red Bear boss in a lake just to the north-east of the Highroad Cross site of grace in Scadu Altus. This helmet buffs 'Bear Communion', which refers to the Roar of Rugalea spell you might remember as the giant roaring bear head from the trailer. To get this you'll have to defeat Rugalea the Red Bear in the woods in north-west Rauh Base.

Lady Leda's set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Dodge-based builds
  • How to get: Leda's quest

You won't get this set until quite late in the game through Leda's quest, but besides looking amazing, it's uniquely focused around an evasive playstyle. Her chest piece enhances attacks following dodge rolls, backsteps, and dash attacks. If you've also been pursuing the Leda quest, you can acquire talismans such as the Lacerating Crossed-Tree and the Retaliatory Crossed-Tree, which stack alongside this effect for lots of evasive damage.

Gaius's set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Heavyweights
  • How to get: Defeat Gaius and purchase from Finger Reader Enia

The best heavy armor in the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion is definitely Gaius's set. While I do love Moore's set as well, the boar-riding boss's armor just looks incredibly cool with its peeled back layers of black metal. You can get this set by defeating the Commander Gaius boss at the back of the Shadow Keep, which you can make your way to via the eastern Church District entrance to the fortress.

Dane's set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Big fans of big hats
  • How to get: Progress through SotE

You'd have thought Dryleaf Dane's set would boost Dryleaf Arts hand-to-hand skills, but it's just a plain old monk's outfit. Still, he does have an extremely good hat. You can either wait till towards the end of the game to get this set, or you can find it below a waterfall upriver a little way from the Recluses' River Downstream site of grace in lower Scadu Altus. You can access this area via the Shadow Keep. You'll also have to challenge Dryleaf Dane in order to get his very good hat.

Death Knight set

(Image credit: Sean M. / FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Enhancing Ancient Dragon Cult skills and incantations
  • How to get: A corpse in the Darklight Catacombs

Despite the repeated encounters with Death Knights in Shadow of the Erdtree's Catacombs, you won't find their armor unless you thoroughly search the Darklight Catacombs on the eastern side of the map.

To find it you need to:

  • Reach the first elevator
  • Go down the right staircase
  • Look for broken railing on the next staircase and jump down

Each piece of the set slightly boosts Ancient Dragon Cult skills and incantations, like Lightning Spear and most of the spells used by dragons in the game. It also one of the most metal armor sets in the DLC with a golden skull as a helmet.

Fire Knight sets

  • Best for: Fire Knight skills, buffing multiple stats
  • How to get: Defeating Fire Knights and the three Fire Knight leaders

One of the most unique sets in the expansion is undoubtedly the Fire Knight, since you can customise it with three extra helmets that drop from each of the leaders of the Fire Knights:

  • You can get the Winged Serpent Helm by defeating Captain Kood at the entrance to Messmer's tower in the Shadow Keep. This helm boosts Fire Knight skills.
  • You can get Wego's Death Mask by defeating Elder Wego in the Church District of the Shadow Keep after you drain the water. This helm reduces the summon cost of Spirit Ashes.
  • You can get Salza's Hood by defeating Sage Salza on the west rampart of the Shadow Keep. This helm buffs intelligence.

There's also the generic Fire Knight Helm that slightly buffs HP, stamina, and max equip load. Unfortunately, all of the regular pieces are random drops, so you'll need to fight lots of Fire Knights inside the Shadow Keep to get them.

Swordhand of Darkness set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Looking imposing
  • How to get: Item pickup in Bonny Gaol

If you've been to the cathedral in east Scadu Altus, you'll probably recognise this armor set as belonging to Swordhand of the Night Jolan. Strangely enough, this armor isn't at all related to her and Count Ymir's quest. Instead, you'll find it in Bonny Gaol in east Scadu Altus, accessible through the Moorth Ruins. After you jump on the pot lift descending to the final boss, jump back on it to rise to an even higher platform and find this armor on a corpse. 

Thiollier's set

(Image credit: FromSoftware)
  • Best for: Arcane builds
  • How to get: Thiollier's quest

Out of all of the new NPC armor sets, Thiollier's is my favourite. Maybe it's something about his serene sleeping face mask? This armor set is pretty light, so won't suit most fighters, but it does boost arcane by two points; one for the mask and one for the chest piece. To get this, you'll need to complete the Thiollier quest.

Also dumb new helmets

There are a few standalone helmets in the expansion, but the best are:

  • Imp-Head (Lion): Found in the Scorpion River Catacombs in north-west Rauh Ruins Base along the river, this stone lion helm buffs vigor slightly
  • Divine Beast Head: Dropped by the Divine Beast Dancing Lion boss in Belurat, Tower Settlement, this helm buffs strength and dex, as well as the intensity of the Divine Beast Tornado incantation, though it will reduce the effectiveness of healing flasks
  • Greatjar: Consider this an upgrade from the Jar helmet in the base game. This giant jar buffs thrown pots of all sizes, including the new hefty pots. You can find it in the Belurat Gaol in Gravesite Plain.
Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.