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ER Shadow of the Erdtree Castle Ensis walkthrough

Castle Ensis is the second major Legacy Dungeon in Shadow of the Erdtree, and it's full of tough enemies and an even harder boss!

The Tarnished fighting a Carian giant outside Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

The foreboding Castle Ensis looms in the east of the Shadow Lands in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree and is home to an infuriating triple threat: the hardest boss of the early game, the hardest invasion of the early game and the hardest regular enemy in the early game of Shadow of the Erdtree.

Not only that, it’s also stuffed with traps, ambushes and dead ends, each waiting to stump your progress or raise your core temperature to brain-busting levels. But, in true Elden Ring tradition, there are always ways to subvert Castle Ensis’s most difficult areas and encounters, or even skip them entirely; to the point where you can run and sneak through almost completely unscathed.

So, if you’re feeling hopeless, like you’ll never be able to reach the fog gate at the end of the tunnel, then I’ve got a sneaky route to share with you!

Castle Ensis Walkthrough

You approach Castle Ensis from the west, across the Ellac Great Bridge from the Three-paths Cross of Miquella. Ride past the ballista and Messmer Knights, straight through the War Camp, collecting the Scadutree Fragment from the altar on your right.

Rest at the Site of Grace in front of you and you find yourself at the Castle Front.

Castle Front Site of Grace

Before you cross the smaller bridge in front of you, go over to the left and take the hidden path down, underneath the castle and past the bats. Down here, inside a treasure chest, you find the Spelldrake Talisman +3, which will be a useful friend in the ordeal to come.

Back up on the small bridge, you’re immediately confronted by a Carian giant wielding a sword, spells, and his big meaty toes as deadly weapons against you. If you want to fight the giant, you need to get into the habit of rolling towards and through his sword attacks - rolling backwards is likely to get you squished by their huge reach.

Do roll backwards when he tries to stomp on you though - unless you’re into that sort of thing, of course - because he likes to string a few stomps together which are tough to dodge if you’re in too close.

When he’s down, there’s a side room on your right containing a large rune that’s guarded by a glintstone sorcerer, as well as a Somber Smithing Stone [1] on the cliff over on the left-hand side at the foot of the stairs.

The Tarnished targeting a Messmer Knight through long grass in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Then, when you’re ready, make your way up that staircase and follow the grassy path around. On your right, lock-on and you’ll spot a man and his dog enjoying a warm fire nearby. Put a proactive stop to the their cosy evening, then turn your attention to the shielded spearman over on the left. He’ll also have the help of a four-legged friend, but you can push through his guard quite easily with aggressive pokes to his shield.

The Tarnished hitting the shield of a Messmer Knight in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Up the staircase behind him, climb the ladder on the tower and you’ll find one of the best weapons in the DLC, the light greatsword, Milady. It takes Ashes of War really well (given it has a generic Impaling Thrust as standard), which lets you use it to cheese bosses with ranged attacks.

Now that you’re a true gentleman with Milady in hand, go back down the ladder and staircase and into the cave mouth on the other side of the grass.

On the other side of the cave you’re in for a real treat. Wandering up and down the hill in front of you is a Black Knight wielding a thrusting shield and a giant hammer and he’s a total handful.

A Black Knight using a holy Ash of War inside Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Alongside almost unbreakable Poise (the stat in Elden Ring that determines how many hits something can take before its attack is interrupted), rock solid defence and massively damaging regular attacks, he can also pull out what looks suspiciously like Radagon’s Elden Blast, which is hilarious because this technically comes before him in the Elden Ring timeline.

If you’re going to try and fight him, you need to tease out a regular attack from his hammer by keeping a decent distance, rolling back, then hitting once he’s finished. If he pulls of his Ash of War, which you’ll see start up with a golden flash, you need to roll forwards and through it, otherwise you’ll be slammed by the followthrough.

Alternatively, if you’re truly brave, you can just run up the hill past him and rest at the Site of Grace to break his attention.

Castle Ensis Checkpoint Site of Grace

However you choose to deal with the knight, grab the Scadutree Fragment, message from Leda and interact with the Cross. Check the scrap of paper from Leda and she says she’s making for the ancient ruins beyond the high bridge from the shadow keep. The shadow keep doesn’t sound like a really fun place to be, but it’s as good a destination as any for now.

The Tarnished targeting a Messmer Knight who is overlooking a hidden path in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

To continue, look across from the Cross and lock-on. On the side of a precipice you see a Messmer Knight. Knock him off the cliff then follow him down, before dropping into the hole in front of you.

Inside, be ready to take on three dogs from all directions, then follow the path around. Turn left and go up the hill, hopping over the stones to reach the top of the waterfall.

The Tarnished running towards a ladder to climb into Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Under the bridge, there’s a ladder on your left that leads up and back into the castle, but there’s also a hidden cave through the waterfall in front of you - there’s not much inside but who can resist taking a look.

At the top of the ladder, be careful of the two knights inside the next room. The first is immediately on the left of the door, so get the jump on him and dispatch him quickly. His mate will rush you down with a spear, which you can roll past to avoid.

The Tarnished turning a wheel to open a portcullis in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Show him what you think of campers, then take the door on the left out of the room. Directly across from the exit, pop into the side room and turn the wheel to open a portcullis which unlocks a shortcut leading back to the Castle Ensis Checkpoint. You’re going to need it in this next part of the Castle.

Rest at the Site of Grace to replenish your flasks if you need them, then go up the stairs to the next bridge. There are four knights here in two formations of two, with the far set firing a crossbow at you to be extra annoying.

Rush down the first two knights, then strafe (dodge without rolling) to avoid the crossbow bolts. Run past the onrushing knight for now and take out his long-ranged chum if possible. This will stop you getting tagged with bolts as you break through his shield.

A rotten stray leaping out from behind a corner to attack the Tarnished in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

With all four down, continue along the grassy path but keep your wits about you. If you thought there were a lot of ambushes in Belurat, Tower Settlement, then get ready for more. Immediately on your right is a hidden dog in the bushes who’s very hard to get the jump on and has more health than you would think.

Get a lock on them as soon as possible, then continue along the path to the right. Glintstone sorcerers will blink in-and-out of existence here, which is incredibly annoying, but you can tag them if you sprint. To get the one on the higher level, run past the foot of the hill he’s standing on and you find a ladder to the right. Climb up and see how he likes someone in his face.

There’s one of those difficult rapier and crossbow enemies from the start of Leyndell in the main game up here too, but they’re just guarding a Somber Smithing Stone [6] which you can skip if you wish.

Your real destination is the paved square past the glintstone sorcerers, but it pays to be cautious as you go up the stairs. Waiting for you at the entrance to the building is Moonrithyll, Carian Knight.

Moonrithyll, Carian Knight

Moonrithyll is, and there’s no other phrase for him, a total wet wipe. He has a ton of poise, making him really annoying to interrupt, as well as Carian spells for long range damage and a ridiculously hard-hitting and long-reaching sword.

If you want to actually fight him (why), you need to roll forward and through his heavy, sweeping strikes, otherwise you’ll always be too far away to retaliate which will give him time to recover, tank your hits like they’re nothing, and kill you surprisingly quickly.

The Tarnished sneaking past Moonrithyl, Carian Knight inside Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

However, although it’s not immediately obvious, you can completely skip Moonrithyll by sneaking past him. Once you make the correct decision to bravely sneak around him, crouch at the end of the stairs and go in a wide arc around the top of his arena. There’s a side door you can slip through which leads behind Moonrithyll and into the rest of the area beyond.

You can also use this to score a free backstab if you still have designs on defeating him, which if you can prevail will net you his giant sword.

Behind Moonrithyll, you find yourself in a Raya Lucaria-esque chapel. Grab Rellana’s Cameo from the altar, then set off into the rest of the building. On your left is a glintstone warrior, who you can sneak up on and backstab, then another in the side room on your right. Make quick work of him, otherwise you’ll rouse the third warrior who’s patrolling around the corner and have to deal with two at once.

The Tarnished dropping down a ledge to explore a side path in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Continue out the other side of the building and you emerge at the bottom of a set of stairs with a glintstone sorcerer throwing spells in your direction. Sprint forward and open the gate on your right, then you can drop down to the left to get rid of the sorcerer on the roof if you wish.

The Tarnished collecting the Glintstone Trio spell from a rooftop in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Climb the ladders here and go across the roofs to grab the Glintblade Trio sorcery if you’re rocking a mage build - otherwise you can just stay the path. There’s also the Wolf Crest Shield in a treasure chest on this path too if you want it, but the path goes back around to the side room next to Moonrithyll either way.

From the stairs just past the gate you opened under fire from the glintstone sorcerer, go a bit further forward and down the stairs, taking the unsuspecting soldier by surprise at the bottom.

The Tarnished sneaking up on a Messmer Knight on the battlements of Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Here you can either take the high or the low path. Take the high path first and backstab the soldier behind the barrels overlooking his friends. This will cause them to aggro onto you and attack you one by one, which is much better than all at once.

Use the high ground on the stairs to your advantage against the soldiers and dogs, then head down and collect all of the items.

Your next destination is the spiral tower at the end of the battlement, but make sure you pause at the bottom. Hiding behind the tower is a spear-wielding soldier ready to rush you. Tease him down and deal with him on flat ground.

At the top of the staircase, pop into the room on your left and grab the imbued sword key that you can use at a teleporter soon, but quickly turn your attention to the other side of the bridge.

By now advancing towards you is another Black Knight with a big hammer, ready to ruin your day right at the last. You can fight him like the last - remembering to roll into and past his Ash of War - if you’re trying to show off for your friends or something.

The Tarnished riding up an elevator to escape from a Black Knight in Castle Ensis in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

However, if you’d like to get your own back on Castle Ensis, simply wait for the Knight to come some way down the bridge, sprint past him and onto the elevator behind him. Bonus points if you put your controller down and wave as he slips slowly out of view.

At the top, you’ve reached a moment of respite before a whole new horror. Grab the smithing stone from the balcony then rest at the Castle-lord’s Chamber Site of Grace.

Just around the corner is the boss room of Castle Ensis, where Rellana, Twin Moon Knight, stands waiting!

On the other side of Castle Ensis, after you've defeated the boss, there's one more secret to find. From the Site of Grace in the next area, head eastwards a little into the shallow river, then turn south. From the edge of the cliff you will be able to jump back onto the roof of Castle Ensis and grab a unique weapon the Carian Sorcery Sword, for your collection.

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