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Elden Ring Messmer the Impaler boss guide

If you're having trouble beating Messmer like we did, you’re going to want to read every inch of this guide to have a chance.

messmer from elden ring wielding fire

How do you beat Messmer in Elden Ring? Taking down this agile boss is no easy feat, and in fact it ranks as one of the more difficult boss fights we’ve experienced – and that includes Ornstein and Smough from the original Dark Souls. Thankfully, we did manage it, so we’ve put together a comprehensive guide of all the tips we learned.

If you’re having trouble in Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree, you definitely should check out the best Elden Ring builds to make sure you have a fighting chance. Otherwise, even regular enemies are going to eat you for breakfast. With that sorted, you should also make sure you’ve found all Scadutree Fragment locations up until the Messmer fight, as they will help mitigate his fiery attacks.

facing messmer the imapaler from elden ring

How to beat Elden Ring Messmer the Impaler

Messmer is found at the very top of his Shadow Keep after ascending through the multiple floors of the library-like Specimen Storehouse. By the time you reach Messmer, you should be at least Scadutree level 10, though we recommend exploring until you hit Scadutree level 12. If you’re in search of more Scadutree Fragments, you can find four after defeating Commander Gaius, an optional boss at the bottom of the Shadow Keep. He is only accessible from the eastern Church District Entrance Site of Grace. To reach it, you’ll have to head east and through Bonny Village. You cannot reach this part of the Shadow Keep from the main entrance where you fight the Golden Hippopotamus.

If you previously sided with Hornsent instead of Needle Knight Leda by choosing his summon sign where it appears at the top of the stairs near the shortcut to the Main Gate Plaza Site of Grace, Hornsent will be available to summon inside Messmer’s boss room. He can help bleed builds as he builds the status with his two swords. Otherwise, you can summon your own Spirit Ash for an assist. However, do note that Messmer will very quickly change targets, even mid-attack.

As for equipment preparation, it’s worth equipping the highest level Flamedrake Talisman you have, as most of Messmer’s attacks hit for fire damage. The Flamedrake Talisman +3 is found in the Fort of Reprimand, which is located southeast of the Shadow Keep. You do not want to use weapons, spells, or Ashes of War that deal fire damage for obvious reasons. Ice-damage is fairly rare in Elden Ring, but if you have a build that supports it, it’s quite easy to build Frostbite on Messmer.

Like most Shadow of the Erdtree bosses, Messmer has two forms. In his first form, he’s incredibly agile and wields a flaming spear. At around 50% health, he will morph into a ghastly snake-like form called Base Serpent Messmer, throwing out massive snake-heads while maintaining much of his original moveset. However, he also takes a bit more damage in his second form and will still be at 50% health.

In his first form, he has the following attacks to watch out for:

  • Upon entering the arena, Messmer will summon a fiery orb and slam it into the ground. It will then explode. You must dodge the slam and the explosion.
  • Messmer will walk forward with his hand raised. If he grabs you, it all but guarantees death. Dodge in any direction at the last possible second to avoid this attack, or simply stick close to him to keep him from using this attack.
  • Messmer will leap into the air, spinning his fiery spear before stabbing multiple times with it. Then, he will slam the ground and spears in a large circle around him will sprout upward. Do your best to dodge into the first attacks, and before he can slam the ground, run or dodge backward twice.

In his second form, he maintains much of the same moves. However, watch out for these two:

  • Messmer will summon several massive snakes that attack you one after another. When he begins the animation, run backward and then continue rolling to the right to avoid them.
  • Messmer will turn into a snake and bite three times before slamming into the ground. The dodge timing on this is crucial, as it is likely a one-hit KO if you get caught up in it

melee attacking messmer in elden ring with a sword

Messmer the Impaler melee strategy

Messmer is a bit easier to deal with for a melee character than a ranged spellcaster as he is weak to stagger, bleed, scarlet rot, frostbite, and black flame. Pick one of the above that suits your build and accept the fact that he’s going to kill you more than a few times before you understand his attack patterns.

Immediately upon entering the arena, Messmer will summon and slam down an exploding orb. If you avoid it, you can get a charged heavy attack off. After that, Messmer will attack at a rapid pace; however, many of his attacks leave a short window to get in either a light attack or a heavy attack. For your weapon of choice, learn when you can poke him or hit him hard. Usually, when he slams his spear into the ground, that’s a sign you can get a heavy attack off. This is a great way to stagger or build status on him.

In his Base Serpent Messmer form, he will take a bit more damage. We found that building stagger or status on him before his transformation, and then hitting him after his snake-orb explosion attack, usually procs the effect and allows you to take off a quarter of his health. From there, it’s a battle of patience as you avoid snake heads and get quick jabs in. Do not commit to the long windup time of a heavy attack as he’s much faster in this form.

attacking messmer with a ranged lightning spear in elden ring

Messmer the Impaler ranged strategy

For a ranged character wielding sorceries or incantations, you’re definitely going to want to summon Hornsent if you’ve followed his quest line or use a Spirit Ash summon in order to draw Messmer’s aggression. He is far too quick and can close distance faster than you can cast most spells, so drawing aggression elsewhere is key. We found Black Knife Tiche valuable as her dark flame attacks can chip away at Messmer’s health. However, she is unlikely to survive until the second phase.

Otherwise, if Messmer is locked onto you, it’s worth waiting until he slams his spear into the ground before using any of your more powerful spells. Adula’s Moonblade is a great choice for sorceries as it deals cold damage, and Dragonice or Frozen Lightning Spear will build frostbite quickly – though they’re rather risky. We do not recommend Borealis’s Mist because the windup time takes too long.

Once in his second form, we highly recommend dodging his initial fiery orb-explosion and immediately beginning to cast a powerful spell. He’s vulnerable for a few seconds here and you can easily eat away at 25% of his health before he retaliates if you time it right.

using bloodmoon ritual on messmer from elden ring to make him bleed

Messmer the Impaler cheese strategy

Truthfully, we don’t have an easy cheese strategy for Messmer, nor have we read about elsewhere yet. That said, we did find success with Moghwyn’s Sacred Spear and its Bloodmoon Ritual skill. If you equip the White Mask from the War Surgeon’s set (obtained by defeating the White Mask invaders in the Mohgwyn Dynasty Mausoleum) and Lord of Blood’s Exultation from the sewers beneath Lyndell Royal Capital, you will receive a massive damage buff from inflicting bleed.

If you manage to inflict bleed right as Messmer transforms into his snake form, you should be able to cast Bloodmoon Ritual the full three times after his orb-explosion attack with increased power. This will melt the last half of his health – just be careful managing your FP while using this attack.

We hope these strategies helped you overcome Messmer the Impaler, as the bosses after him don’t get much easier. If you’re having trouble even with Spirit Summons, you should make sure you’ve found all the Reverend Spirit Ashes locations to ensure your Mimic Tear and Black Knight Tiche have a fighting chance. Otherwise, check out the best Soulslikes on PC if you want a less intense experience as this is one of the hardest we’ve played.