Elden Ring DLC: Messmer the Impaler location, weakness, and how to beat in Shadow of the Erdtree

Elden Ring
Ready to fight Messmer the Impaler? (Image credit: Windows Central)

In the heart of the colossal Shadow Keep Legacy Dungeon in northern Scadu Altus, you'll find Messmer the Impaler, one of the first characters from the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC that FromSoftware ever revealed. With deep story connections to both the Land of Shadow's past and the wider lore of Elden Ring, he's one of the most important bosses you have to face, and a significant hurdle to overcome in your journey.

Indeed, like the Divine Beast Dancing Lion and Rellana, Twin Moon Knight before him, Messmer is quite a tough foe, as he wields both fire and spear to devastating effect. With that said, he has a few notable weaknesses to certain status effects, and once you master punishing his moves, you'll find plenty of opportunities to chunk his health down with counter-attacks.

Messmer can be hard to find and is even harder to defeat, but once you read this boss guide, you'll know everything you need to in order to track and take him down. Below, you'll find a detailed description of his location, some general tips about what he's strong and weak against, and a full overview of his moveset.

Messmer the Impaler location

You'll find Messmer at the top of a stairwell you can access across this bridge in the Shadow Keep. (Image credit: Windows Central)

To fight Messmer, you'll first need to find him. Luckily, he's not terribly difficult to find, and you'll likely stumble across his arena if you thoroughly explore the Shadow Keep.

That's because Messmer's location is within the Shadow Keep Legacy Dungeon on its sixth floor, across a bridge on the west side of its exterior that's guarded by a Fire Knight. To reach where he is, you'll first need to pull a lever to move the statues inside the tower and then platform across them to a path that leads there.

Shadow Keep itself is found in northern Scadu Altus, and can be entered from its southern main gate or by reaching and progressing through the Church District on its east side.

Messmer the Impaler weakness and tips

You won't survive Messmer's grab attack, but your Mimic Tear will. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • I strongly recommend collecting as many Scadutree Fragments and Revered Spirit Ashes as you can before this fight. No, seriously — do it. Messmer hits like a truck, so you'll want to give you and your spirit summons as much damage reduction as possible. You'll also deal more damage yourself, ending the fight quicker.
  • The best Spirit Ashes like Black Knife Tiche and the Mimic Tear help a lot in this fight, as they distract Messmer and give you lots of openings to get your own hits in. Just be ready for him to switch aggro to you after a few hits.
  • Messmer resists Lightning as well as Fire damage, which is unsurprising given how much he uses the latter element himself. You can still deal good damage with Lightning and Fire attacks, but you'll fare better with other options.
  • Conversely, Messmer is susceptible to Frostbite and Bleed. Strength and Intelligence builds can opt for Frostbite-applying Ashes of War like Ice Spear, Cold-infused weapons, the Moonlight Greatsword, or spells like Adula's Moonblade or Glintstone Cragblade. Bleed, meanwhile, can be procced with Bleed-capable weapons, Blood-infused weapons, and spells or Ashes of War that inflict Bleed buildup. Buffs and consumables can temporarily give weapons these effects as well.
  • Consider equipping gear and using consumables that raise Fire resistance to help you survive. Some notable examples include the Flamedrake Talisman, the Fire Prelate armor set, and the Fireproof Dried Liver.
  • Strength builds should consider using a greatshield, as it fully blocks damage Messmer's non-Fire attacks. This can make dealing with Messmer's combos easier, and Fire resistant gear can help cover for the fact you'll take chip damage from his Fire magic while blocking.
  • Messmer isn't too hard to stagger if you're using a decently heavy weapon and going for heavy or jump heavy attacks. Crit-focused builds that take advantage of stance breaks will perform well as a result, though being reckless with these attacks will leave you open to heavy damage.

Boss guide: How to beat Messmer the Impaler

One of Messmer's deadlier combos is telegraphed by wide sweeps as he jumps into the air. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Messmer will almost always open the fight with an attack in which he jumps into the air, gathers a large fireball in his hand, and then lands next to you shortly before it explodes. Roll his initial landing, then wait just a moment before rolling again to avoid damage here.
    • Throughout the fight, he may do this attack again whenever he's far away from you.
  • Messmer is very similar to Rellana, Twin Moon Knight in that it's better to roll into his attacks, rather than away from them. Your instinct will naturally be to put some distance between you and him, but that plays right into the range of his spear attacks as well as the sprays of Fire magic they often send outwards. You'll avoid that Fire damage if you dodge towards him, and can follow up with your own attacks easier.
  • Messmer typically performs delayed attacks in combos with his spear, and may occasionally use his free right hand to throw fire at you during them. Again, the best way to avoid taking damage is to roll through these moves.
    • Whenever Messmer imbues his spear with flame, the next combo of swings and thrusts he does will spray fire after each, pretty much forcing you to dodge directly through them.
  • If Messmer jumps into the air while swinging his spear in wide sweeps, it signals that he's about to perform a combo of three moves you have to dodge in a specific way. Here's what to do:
    • First, roll through the fiery slash he performs as he flies over your head. This fans fire outwards, so you'll take damage if you dodge in another direction.
    • Next, roll towards Messmer again when he turns around and repeatedly thrusts his spear at you.
    • Finally, sprint away from him as he prepares to thrust his spear into the ground. When he does, flames will appear in a circle around him; if you're not far enough away, wait a brief moment and then dodge away to avoid the explosive flaming spears coming out of the ground. You could also dodge towards him for more offensive follow-up, but your timing has to be perfect.
  • Occasionally, Messmer will leap high into the air and pull his arm back, telegraphing a spear throw. This is quite an easy move to dodge, and gives you a pretty long opening for getting some hits in, too.
  • He might also jump and slash at you diagonally before going for a spear uppercut, which is then followed up by a spear throw from mid-air. The first attack has to be rolled through, while the others can be dodged in any direction.
  • The boss' deadliest attack is a grab in which he burns and then impales you, signaled by him rushing towards you while he swells Fire magic in his hand. This isn't too hard to dodge, but if it connects, you're all-but-guaranteed to get one-shot.

Phase 2: Base Serpent Messmer

Messmer is susceptible to being stance broken, even in Phase 2. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Around half health, a cutscene will play in which Messmer pulls out his eye, crushes it, and fully embraces the power of the serpent within him. This kicks off Phase 2, which ups the fight's intensity a bit. Here's how to get through it and finish Messmer off.

  • Phase 2 begins much like the fight originally did, with Messmer using the same explosive fireball attack but in the form of a giant snake. As before, roll the first slam, then dodge again as the fireball blows up.
  • One of Messmer's new attacks in Phase 2 involves him transforming himself into a giant snake, bursting out of the ground near you, and then coiling through the air before biting at you. Roll away from or dodge the initial upwards coil into the air, then roll through the snake's bite as it flies towards you (the mouth opening telegraphs the attack is coming).
    • Note the boss can perform this attack up to three times consecutively, so wait until the snake is still on the ground before attacking. It will transform back into Messmer shortly afterwards.
  • Another sees him flip to the side before spiraling towards you like a missile with his spear; dodge through or to the side of this. This attack is easy to avoid and leaves you with an opening to land a ranged spell or Ash of War, but hits very hard if it connects.
  • If Messmer hovers slightly and goes limp, sprint away; he's about to use the last new attack he gets in Phase 2, which starts with a heavily damaging area-of-effect that transitions to bites from multiple giant snakes in quick succession. Try to roll each of these as you see them coming in, and be aware that they can land from your left and right; alternatively, a greatshield can be used to block their damage, though this is not consistently effective.

And that's it! Overall, while Messmer hits extremely hard and uses some tricky delayed attacks in his combos, I found that he was actually one of the DLC's easier bosses. With the right approach, you'll defeat him and claim his flame in no time.

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)

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)

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.