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How to beat Valheim's second boss, The Elder, and get the Swamp Key

It's time to summon The Elder.

Defeating Valheim's second boss, The Elder, is an important step in progressing through the Swamp area of the game.

Despite its strong resemblance to a Tree Ent, The Elder is far from friendly. Understandably so, in that you do have to go on the aggressive a little bit to summon this particular boss.

How to summon and defeat The Elder in Valheim

The Elder is the second of Valheim's five bosses. Just like with the first boss Eikthyr, you need to summon The Elder at an altar in order to defeat it.

To summon The Elder, go to the mystic altar in the Black Forest. You'll need to burn three ancient seeds — obtained from fighting Greydwarfs of various classes — in order to get The Elder to show up. The game characterises this as a ritualistic burning of The Elder's children... just so you know.

Much like Eikthyr, The Elder has three attacks: melee, ranged, and area of effect. Its ranged attack sends harmful vines shooting in a straight line at a player, while the area-of-effect summons roots from the ground to ensnare and attack you. Finally, it can stomp on you to deal melee damage.

As a tree monster, The Elder is very vulnerable to fire damage. Therefore, it can be very beneficial to place down a few campfires in the area before summoning it.

Ranged weapons are your friend when fighting The Elder, especially if you're a solo player. By the time you reach this point in the game you should be able to craft the third of Valheim's four bows — the powerful Huntsman Bow. It's well worth considering making one if you don't already have it before you take on The Elder.

How to get the Swamp Key and unlock the Sunken Crypts in Valheim

Successfully defeating The Elder causes it to drop its trophy — which, when equipped at a Sacrificial Stone, allows you to chop down trees faster — along with the Swamp Key item.

While you can access the Swamp area without this key, it does grant you access to the Sunken Crypts. These dungeons are, amongst other things, a useful source of leather scraps you'll need to build and upgrade your boats.

You can also find numerous other resources in the Sunken Crypts, including the rune stone which points you to the location of the game's third boss.

Fighting Surtlings as an alternative source of Surtling Cores in Valheim

Considering that you can't get into the Sunken Crypts until you've defeated The Elder, you might well choose not to venture into the Swamps until you've completed this second boss fight.

The Swamp is the only area of the game where you'll encounter Surtlings. Killing these fiery enemies causes them to drop a couple of resources — coal and Surtling Cores — that are otherwise a little labour-intensive to get your hands on.

While Surtlings can be tricky to fight on land due to their ranged fireball attacks, luring them into the water is quite easy to do and renders them much more vulnerable.

For more Valheim tips, here's our full guide hub.

And for more on the uses of Surtling cores — and how to get hold of them before you reach the Swamp if you'd prefer — see our guides on turning copper into bronze and constructing a cultivator in Valheim.

And once you're ready to move on to the game's third boss, be sure to check out our guide on how to defeat Bonemass.

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