Meet Blackgaol Knight, the Elden Ring DLC boss bullying Shadow of the Erdtree players even though he's just a guy with a sword

 Elden Ring.
Credit: Windows Central

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Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree
Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring DLC review
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Scadutree Fragment locations
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Hand-to-hand martial arts
Best Elden Ring builds

The bosses in the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC are quite scary — and no, I don't just mean the big ones. Even the minibosses located around the Land of Shadow will send you back to your last Site of Grace in the blink of an eye if you're not careful, and one in particular has proven to be particularly deadly despite the fact there's really nothing special about him.

That boss is the Blackgaol Knight spirit, and you'll find him within the Western Nameless Mausoleum just northwest of the Gravesite Plain Site of Grace where the expansion began. Like you, he's a Tarnished, and he's equipped with heavy armor, a greatsword, and a rapid-fire crossbow loaded with explosive bolts.

Aside from the novelty of the newly added Repeating Crossbow he carries and the fact he can use his greatsword's Ash of War to launch an energy projectile at you from afar, there's nothing unique about this guy — he's just an Elden Ring NPC with a sword, and I beat him first try with my Strength/Intelligence colossal sword build while playing Shadow of the Erdtree for my review. I was surprised, then, to see memes about how tough he is on social media:

From the dozens of comments I've read, it seems that ultimately, there are two reasons why players are struggling with the Blackgaol Knight:

1. People weren't expecting enemies in the DLC to hit as hard as they do — that is to say, very, no matter what build or level you are — and experienced a rude awakening when the Blackgaol Knight two-shot them.

2. The Blackgaol Knight's heavy armor and Poise makes him difficult to fight with smaller, speedier weapons, as they don't have the staggering power that larger, slower ones do. As a result, the boss often "trades" hits with them, and these trades are far deadlier for players than the knight.

The second reason explains why I was able to handle him quite easily with my Royal Greatsword, while the first is something players simply have to get used to and account for when approaching fights in Shadow of the Erdtree.

If you're still struggling with the Blackgaol Knight, check out the section below for some tips. It's worth noting that while the fight is entirely optional, you'll get his armor and greatsword if you beat him.

How to beat the Blackgaol Knight

Elden Ring
Elden Ring

Having a hard time taking the Blackgaol Knight down? Here are some quick tips to keep in mind before and during the fight:

  • Engage in jolly cooperation with other players. There's a Summoning Pool just outside the Western Nameless Mausoleum you can use to summon co-op partners, and while having more players in the fight will raise the Blackgaol Knight's health, you'll be able to stunlock and "gank" him as a team. Even if he gets a hit in on a player, the other two can keep him occupied while they take a moment to heal.

    • Casters, in particular, may want to summon other players since they're typically not well-armored and may struggle to get enough space to cast effectively.

  • Get all the Scadutree Fragments in Gravesite Plain. With these, you can get Shadow Realm Blessings that increase the damage you deal and reduce the damage you take against enemies in the DLC, including the Blackgaol Knight. Having a few of these upgrades could be the difference maker.

  • If you're using small, light weapons, patience is the name of the game. Respect his poise and don't go for more than a hit or two at a time. If you're alone, this approach will make the fight take a while, but it's the safest strategy.

  • If you have a larger, heavier weapon, your hits will stagger the Blackgaol Knight and allow you to follow up with additional moves. Strength builds should take advantage of this and be aggressive.

    • Shadow of the Erdtree's new Great Katana, which is located in the center of the lake to the north of the Western Nameless Mausoleum, is capable of staggering the boss and is a good option for Dexterity builds.

  • The Blackgaol Knight's deadliest move is his jumping attack, so make sure you dodge it. You'll be rewarded with a good opportunity for a counter-attack if you avoid it successfully.

  • If the knight uses his Ash of War to shoot a projectile up close, he'll likely use its delayed follow-up melee strike; this is another lethal attack, so avoid it carefully. Don't roll too early, as the move has a delay on it that makes it tricky to dodge.

The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is finally here, and it makes one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time even better. It's out now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Windows PC for $39.99.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Shadow of the Erdtree is Elden Ring at its most refined, with the base game's overly formulaic elements cut away and some of FromSoftware's best boss fights. The result is a 40-hour-long masterpiece of a DLC that's an absolute must-play for any Soulsborne fan.

Also see: Shadow of the Erdtree (PC, $37.09) | Deluxe Edition (PC, $90.89)

Collector's Edition: Bandai Namco Store (€249.99)View Deal