Despite Form Software’s efforts to make the Soulsborne genre more appealing and accessible to the masses, it’s no secret that Elden Ring is excruciatingly difficult, especially if you’re new to the genre. Whether you’re going toe to toe with one of the shardbearers or its optional bosses, it’s better to be well-prepared.
One of the many optional bosses is Mad Pumpkin Head, a large humanoid creature with a pumpkin-shaped helm for a head that he uses as a one-of-a-kind weapon to fight against intruders and trespassers alike. Chances are, you’ve met at least one of its many non-boss variants in The Lands Between.
Mad Pumpkin Heads are said to be guarding something, or someone, against intruders. You can encounter the first one in Waypoint Ruins in Limgrave, and the second one in Caelem Ruins, Caelid.
Mad Pumpkin Head Overview
All variations of Mad Pumpkin Head will have around 1,325 HP on your first playthrough.
Types of Damage:
Mad Pumpkin Head deals Standard Damage and Strike Damage. One variation can also inflict Blood Loss.
Mad Pumpkin Head is weak to Slash, Lightning, and Thrust damage.
Mad Pumpkin Head wields a hard-hitting flail. As well as that, he occasionally uses his pumpkin-shaped helm and weaponless arm to deliver some devastating hits.
Parrying the boss:
Unfortunately, only the boss’ weaponless fist attack can be parried reliably, which is a relatively uncommon attack for Mad Pumpkin Head to use.
Main Attack Pattern:
Mad Pumpkin Head will repeat his quick double slash multiple times during the fight, typically followed by a quick yet heavy wound-up attack with his flail, which you should be alert to at all times.
Apart from his combo, Mad Pumpkin Head will attack, pause, attack, and so on and so forth. He will maintain this cycle throughout the fight, making him predictable and easy to evade.
Following the end of an attack pattern, Mad Pumpkin Head will slam its head on the ground, creating a large Area of Effect that can deal major damage. Other variations of Mad Pumpkin Head have relatively similar attack patterns, with little to no differences to note.
Mad Pumpkin Head’s combos usually consist of merging his different simple swipe and smash attacks and performing them in quick succession. If you incur significant damage to Mad Pumpkin Head, he will retaliate by performing several uppercuts with his flail, followed by an overhead smash.
- Double Hammer Sweep: The Caelem Ruins version of Mad Pumpkin Head will often swing his giant hammer twice in a row. It should be easy to react, dodge and counter this attack due to its relatively slow windup.
- Head Slam: If you’re up close and personal to Mad Pumpkin Head, you’re susceptible to a Head Slam. He will wind his head back and quickly thrust it forwards for a slam.
- Wild Southpaw Swipe: Mad Pumpkin Head will occasionally use his weaponless arm to take a wild swipe at you, in an attempt to catch you off-guard. He will typically execute this move right after a long attack or combo.
Summon Spirit Ashes
For magic builds, we recommend summoning Northern Mercenary Ashes, as it can keep him preoccupied while you keep your distance. For melee builds, however, Lone Wolf Ashes is the way to go as the wolves will easily overwhelm Mad Pumpkin Head, leaving him more vulnerable to attacks.
Lone Wolf Ashes can be obtained pretty early in the game. Once you get the ability to summon Torrent, your spectral seed, come back to Church of Ellen in Limgrave. You’ll find Renna, the witch, hanging out about. Go talk to her and you should receive Spirit Calling Bell as well as Lone Wolf Ashes.
Melee Players Should Equip a Sword
You should exploit Map Pumpkin Head’s weakness to slashing damage by equipping a sword. Any straight or curved sword would do. Just make sure to upgrade the sword of your choice before going toe to toe with the boss.
Make Sure You Are Level 15 or Above
While Mad Pumpkin Head is arguably one of the easiest Elden Ring bosses to beat, prematurely embarking on a boss fight with him can prove to be a bigger challenge than initially anticipated. Level 15 should be a high enough level to comfortably best Mad Pumpkin Head.
If you want an easier fight, it’s best to level up to 20 before getting into a fight with the Mad Pumpkin Head.
Limgrave Mad Pumpkin Head
Maintain Your Composure
Getting hit by Mad Pumpkin Head will only negatively affect your chances of winning if you let it. If you get hit, simply create distance between you and the boss, and go again, following the same strategy.
Don’t Be Greedy
One hit or two should suffice. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to strike throughout the fight. Therefore, you shouldn’t risk sustaining a big hit from Mad Pumpkin Head due to your over-eagerness.
Don’t Attack Between Combos
The risk to reward value of trying to hit Mad Pumpkin Head between combos is very low, making it wholly unreliable and risky. Strike during his pauses between attacks or while he’s preoccupied with the spirit ashes.
Don’t Waste Your Stamina
You never know when a block or quick dodge might come in handy, so conserve your stamina and refrain from spamming dodge and block.
Repeat the Same Process
Mad Pumpkin Head’s slow and repetitive attack cycle makes him rather predictable. All you need to do is dodge, attack, and repeat. This process will give ample opportunities to strike with little to no risk.
Avoid Shooting at the Boss’ Head
Shooting the boss’ pumpkin-shaped head will incur little to no damage, as it’s the only heavily armored bit of his body.
Keep Your Distance
There’s no reason for you to lurk near Mad Pumpkin Head and risk a big hit. Aim to position yourself far away from the boss at all times, maintaining constant movement around the arena.
Make Use of Your Most Powerful Attacks or Spells
Assuming you’ve summoned spirit ashes, you’ll often find yourself facing the back of Mad Pumpkin Head, as he’s preoccupied with the spirit ashes. This is the making of a prime opportunity to land a devastating hit on Mad Pumpkin Head, using the most powerful attack or spell in your possession.
Caelem Ruins Duo Mad Pumpkin Head
Strategically, fighting the Duo Mad Pumpkin Head is not too dissimilar to the single Mad Pumpkin Head. You’ll need to apply the same principles, albeit with a few more variables to bear in mind.
Focus Your Efforts on the Flail Wielding Mad Pumpkin Head
Since the hammer-wielding Mad Pumpkin Head is fairly easy to beat, you’ll want to keep him distracted with your spirit ashes, while you focus your efforts on his flail-wielding counterpart. Doing so is much better than trying to fight them both at once, as it will overwhelm you and force you into awkward situations.
Keep the Duo Stacked Up
As you fight the flail-wielding Mad Pumpkin Head, try to keep the other Mad Pumpkin Head facing the back of his cohort, rendering him unable to reach and deal you any damage. Achieving this is relatively easy and is done by walking alongside the walls while both bosses chase after you, one after the other.
Be Mindful of Your Surroundings
With two large bosses chasing you around in a tightly spaced room, you must be mindful of the walls and obstacles around you, so as to not corner yourself and find yourself in a disadvantageous situation.
Dodge Into Hammer Attacks
Once you’ve disposed of the flail-wielding Mad Pumpkin Head, the fight becomes much easier. You’ll need to keep yourself within reach of the boss at all times, without sustaining any unnecessary damage. You can do that by dodging into Mad Pumpkin Head’s attacks, as they’re slow and predictable. Doing so will open up a prime striking opportunity for you.
Don’t Stray Too Far from The Hammer-Wielding Mad Pumpkin Head
You’ll want to stay up close and personal to the hammer-wielding Mad Pumpkin Head, as lurking out of his range will trigger his devastating long-range attack, as well as his charging attack.
Try to Attack When the Boss is Facing the Other Way
Seeing as you’ll rarely get a clean shot at either boss during this fight, it would be best to preserve your casts and projectiles for when you do a clean shot, which is usually when they’re facing away from you, be it after a swinging attack or because they’re distracted by your spirits.
This boss fight is infinitely more difficult with a ranged than a melee one. You’ll have a rather limited number of shooting opportunities and you’ll be at constant risk of a long-range attack. Therefore, you should bide your time well, be patient, and don’t go for any speculative hits. As they say: “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Pay Attention to the Boss’ Swinging Hammer Attacks
The aftermath of Mad Pumpkin Head’s swinging hammer attacks will be your best opportunity to strike from afar, as they’ll often result in the boss facing away from you. So, be wary of when Mad Pumpkin Head is gearing up for a swinging hammer attack and line up a good shot.
Upon defeating Mad Pumpkin Head, you’ll be rewarded with 1,100 Runes for the Waypoint Ruins variation on your first playthrough, and 6,300 Runes for the Caelem Ruins variation on your first playthrough.
Unfortunately, you will not be rewarded with any drops for defeating any variant of the Mad Pumpkin Head. However, beating the one in Limgrave will unlock access to a new area. You’ll also have access to Sorceress Sellen, a vendor who can sell you valuable sorceries very early in your playthrough, granting you a massive advantage over the boss fights to come.