As you fight through bosses in Elden Ring, you will learn you should never underestimate your opponent. A weak and small boss can be a great challenge to beat, thanks to its unique set of characteristics that give it the upper hand over other bosses.
One such boss is Cemetery Shade, a dark and unsettling creature that bears the dimensions and figure of a human being but is nothing of the like. The Shade’s ruthlessness is nearly as strong as the tint of black that makes up its shadowy figure, making it a challenging boss to best, contrary to what its HP might lead you to believe. It would look right at home in a Slenderman-type horror movie.
The frail yet devastatingly powerful shadowy figure can be found in several locations, bearing numerous alterations with each variation. Cemetery Shade can be encountered in Tombsward Catacombs in Limgrave, Black Knife Catacombs in Liurnia of the Lakes, and Caelid Catacombs in Caelid.
Cemetery Shade Overview
Hit Points: Cemetery Shade will have a different HP, depending on the location of the encounter. Limgrave’s Cemetery Shade has 390 HP, while the Lumia of the Lakes variant has 691 HP, and the Caelid variant has 733 HP.
Types of Damage: Cemetery Shade deals Standard, Physical, Bleed, and Pierce Damage.
Weaknesses: Cemetery Shade is weak to Holy and Magic Damage.
Weapons: Cemetery Shade wields two large blades, one in each hand. It will also use the spider-like figure atop its head for a devastating attack that will almost certainly result in instant and rather gruesome death.
Parrying the boss: Parrying Cemetery Shade is relatively easy compared to other Elden Ring bosses. Nearly all of its sword attacks can be parried. The caveat, however, is that misses are greatly punished, as Cemetery Shade deals tremendous damage with all of its attacks. Not to mention that it can inflict Blood Loss with nearly all of its attacks.
Main Attack Pattern: Most of Cemetery Shade’s sword attacks are quick and effective, inflicting colossal damage and blood loss. Cemetery Shade will try to keep close to you by instantly teleporting to you and attempting a quick sword attack. Said sword attacks will vary from quick swipes to two-handed strikes to combos and a barrage of quick slashes.
Combos: Cemetery Shade is one of the quickest and most agile bosses in Elden Ring, both defensively and offensively. It will often snap out of nowhere into a spinning combo that can easily catch you off-guard due to its long reach. While blocking is not advised for this boss fight, if you do get caught up in one of Cemetery Shade’s combos, your best bet, no matter how unreliable, is to block and hope for the best.
- Shadowstep: Cemetery Shade will use this move as an offensive maneuver and a defensive one. This move allows it to quickly teleport elsewhere, either away from your attack or towards you, to set itself up for its attacks. You should stay on your toes at all times and anticipate this move.
- Flurry of Slashes: During this attack, Cemetery Shade will unleash a flurry of sword slashes in quick succession. Not only can this attack instantly kill you if it connects more than once, but it can also inflict Blood Loss, which will slowly chip away at your HP.
- Web Sling: Using the spider-like figure atop its head, Cemetery Shade slings a green web towards you, which will immobilize your character for a few seconds, during which Cemetery Shade follows up with a critical attack, resulting in instant death. This devastating attack must be avoided at all costs.
Level Up Before Embarking on Cemetery Shade
Despite the meager HP of Cemetery Shade, it is still a rather tricky boss to best. You should up your chances of coming out of this boss fight in one piece by leveling up before embarking on it.
For the Tombsward Catacombs variant, a minimum of Level 20 should suffice, while a Level 40 for the Black Knife Catacombs is a must, and a Level 65 for the Caelid Catacombs is also a must. Of course, you are free to face them even if you are under-leveled, but it is not recommended.
Summon a Multi-Unit Spirit Ash
Compared to other single-unit spirit ashes, multi-unit spirit ashes will survive for a bit longer against Cemetery Shade. They can also keep Cemetery Shade distracted for longer, giving you more opportunities to strike early on and keeping you off its radar.
They are even more helpful for the Black Knife Catacombs variant, as you will not have to worry too much about the skeletons at the start.
Lone Wolf Ashes is highly recommended for this boss battle, as they are given to players by Renna at the Church of Ellen in Limgrave, which happens fairly early in the game. That being said, you are free to pick your favorite.
Melee Players Should Level Up Their Weapons
Cemetery Shade can effectively end the boss fight in one quick attack, which should give you ample incentive to try to beat it as soon as possible. Exploit Cemetery Shade’s low HP by leveling up your weapons for maximum damage.
Melee Players Should Equip a Shield with 100% Physical Damage Negation.
As much as you hope not to resort to using your shield, it would be wise to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Equip a strong shield with 100% Physical Damage negation, which will protect you and create opportunities for quick counters.
Equip Stanching Boluses
Stanching Boluses will come in extra handy if you find yourself on the receiving end of an attack that inflicts Blood Loss. You can also use it more than once, which should serve as a big enough safety net for any awkward situations.
Stanching Boluses can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant, located southeast of Coastal Cave, for 600 Runes. Alternatively, you can craft your own if you have the Nomadic Cookbook and the required crafting material.
Ranged Players Should Equip Quick Casts and Projectiles
Owing to Cemetery Shade’s quick movements and shadow steps, you will be granted very short striking windows during the entire boss fight. You will need to equal its speed by using quick casts and projectiles.
Keep Cemetery Shade in Your Line of Sight at All Times
Cemetery Shade can easily ambush you using its shadowstep, quick attacks, and the dreaded web sling. You must be on high alert to anticipate and hopefully evading any incoming hostility from the Shade.
Make Sure to Hit the Corpses of the Skeletons in Black Knife Catacombs
If you face the Black Knife Catacombs variant of Cemetery Shade, you will want to hit the skeletons for a second time after they are dead to deny them the opportunity to revive later on.
Maintain a Close Distance to Cemetery Shade at All Times
Keeping within the melee range of Cemetery Shade will limit its tendency to use shadowstep and perform its devastating long-range attacks.
Bait Out the Boss’ Attacks
As a melee player, you have no other option than to bait Cemetery Shade into attacking, dodge through its attacks, and try to land one or two big hits, then retreat. It is a high-risk, high-reward strategy but the only viable strategy.
Do Not Let Your Chances Go to Waste
Your aim in this boss fight should be to end it as soon as possible. And seeing as you will have a minimal number of opportunities to strike hard, you will have to make the most out of every chance you get, even if it means that you risk sustaining damage.
Hold Your Shield Up and Hope for The Best
If you find yourself caught up in the middle of a combo from Cemetery Shade, your only viable move is to attempt to block its efforts no matter how unlikely it may seem to succeed.
Be Extra Wary of Shadowsteps
The distance between you and Cemetery Shade will force it to use shadowstep excessively throughout the fight. You should keep moving to negate this and plan out your attacks and movement with the Shade’s shadowsteps.
Keep an Eye Out for Web Slings
Assuming you are keeping Cemetery Shade in your eyesight at all times, you should be able to spot the start of its web sling attack. Once you notice the green web ball atop its head, brace yourself for the attack and be ready to dodge as soon as the web is shot out of its head. Alternatively, you could place an obstacle between you and Cemetery Shade, such as a pillar.
Only Shoot When Cemetery Shade Is Not in Motion
Cemetery Shade’s quick and erratic movements make it unreliable to shoot at it while it is in motion. Shots at the Shade, while it is immobile, are much more reliable and more likely to land.
Bide Your Time
Unlike melee players, you have no reason to rush proceedings. As long as you can keep your distance at all times, maintain constant visual on the Shade, and be ready to evade any of its long-range efforts, you should be able to pick the optimal moments to strike and not risk placing yourself in harm’s way.
Depending on which variant of Cemetery Shade you took down, your rewards will vary.
If you beat the Limgrave variant, you’ll be rewarded with 2,200 Runes on your first playthrough and a Luthel the Headless, a Legendary spirit and summon. Beating the Liurnia of the Lakes variant comes with 3,500 Runes and Twinsage Sorcerer Ashes. Finally, rewards for beating the Caelid variant are 6,800 Runes and Kindred of Rot Ashes.