How to Beat Black Knife Assassin in Elden Ring

BY JIM WINDROW

Jim Windrow

Writer and Storywriter

PUBLISHED 2 MONTHS AGO

As you venture through the lands in Elden Ring, you will come across various enemies. From large and towering creatures to small-statured demi-humans, you will never experience a lack of diversity.

How to Beat Black Knife Assassin in Elden Ring

Among the myriad of bosses and enemies is the Black Knife Assassin, a quick and agile boss that seems daunting at first glance. However, with a proper strategy and prior planning, you can easily make light work of the Black Knife Assassin.

Black Knife Assassin Overview

Black knife assassin
Found in numerous locations throughout the Lands Between, Black Knife Assassins can be quite tricky to beat.

Who are the Black Knife Assassins?

The Black Knife Assassins are a group of female assassins that carried out the deeds of the Night of the Black Knives, assassinating many marquee figures like Godwyn the Golden. The Numen Rune also reveals that “[The Black Knife Assassins] are said to have come from outside the Lands Between, and are in fact of the same stock as Queen Marika herself.”

These agile, relentless dark figures can be found in numerous locations, often guarding a sacred place or item. Black Knife Assassin is said to have ties to Ranni, the Nox, the Numen, and even Queen Marika herself.

Certain information about the Black Knife Assassins contradicts others, further fuelling the vagueness of the Assassins’ origins and history.

Health Bar: It is yet to be disclosed how much HP each Black Knife Assassin has, but a rough estimate would be 2750 HP—not considering that the Deathtouched Catacombs variant starts with three-quarters of her original HP.

Types of Damage: The Black Knife Assassin deals standard, slash, pierce, and holy damage.

Weaknesses: Unfortunately, the Black Knife Assassin is not weak to any damage. However, she can be affected by Frost.

Weapons: Black Knife Assassin wields a Black Knife in her right hand and will often opt for red projectiles if you create distance between the pair of you.

Parrying: Most Black Knife Assassin’s knife attacks can be parried, albeit to varying degrees of success. The Assassin’s lunge attack is the easiest to parry, but otherwise, blocking is the way to go.

Elden Ring Black Knife Assassin’s Locations: Encounters with the Black Knife Assassin can be used in four locations.

Each variant of the Black Knife Assassin will prove to be a tad more difficult to beat than the previous. But otherwise, they are relatively identical.

The four locations of the Black Knife Assassin are as follows:

  • Deathtouched Catacombs, Limgrave: Black Knife Assassin can be found in Deathtouched Catacombs, in the northernmost part of Limgrave.
  • Black Knife Catacombs, Liurnia of the Lakes: You will find the Black Knife Catacombs near the northeast corner of the Liurnia of the Lakes. You will need to ride the first giant blade in the cave and hop on the platform to your right. Also, beware of the powerful knight guarding the entrance to the catacombs. To note, this variant is identical to the Limgrave variant.
  • Sage’s Cave, Altus Plateau: You will find the Black Knife Assassin towards the end of your dungeon crawl through Sage’s Cave. The assassin will be concealed using the Concealing Veil, so a Sentry’s Torch would come in handy.
  • Sainted Hero’s Grave, Altus Plateau: You will find the Black Knife Assassin outside the Sainted Hero’s Grave building. The assassin will be guarding the entrance to the building and will prove to be the most challenging variant to defeat.

Moveset:

Generally speaking, all Black Knife Assassins share the same move set, only differing in strength and damage.

  • Overhead Slam: Black Knife Assassin leaps in the air and slams her dagger on the ground directly in front of her. Be on the lookout for this attack and be ready to dodge roll as soon as it starts.
  • Dashing Stab: Should you stray too far from the Black Knife Assassin, she will react by dashing forward with her blade pointed in front of her. Despite the sheer velocity of this attack, it could be a blessing in disguise for you as it leaves the Assassin open to back strikes.
  • Knife Stab: This is Black Knife Assassin’s most rudimentary attack, where she pulls back and dashes forward with a knife stab. It can be easily dodged by rolling away or to the side.
  • Spinning Slice: You can spot this attack when the Assassin places her knife on the ground and performs two spins while dragging the knife across the floor before flinging the knife toward you. Your safest bet would be to dodge away, but you could try to block it for a quick counter if you are feeling daring.
  • Blade of Death: If you keep your distance for a long time, Black Knife Assassin will react by performing her only projectile attack, where she shoots out a red blade toward you. This attack can deal devastating damage if it lands, so avoid dodging through it.
  • Forward Thrust Combo: During this attack, Black Knife Assassin lunges toward you with a knife thrust from a distance and follows up with numerous wild swings. A successful parry would allow you to perform a critical attack, but it is a rather risky maneuver.
  • Leaping Blade: If you are on horseback, Black Knife Assassin will try to knock you off by jumping and barging into you with her blade.
  • Critical Hit: Should Black Knife Assassin successfully knock you off your horse, she will proceed by running toward you and stabbing you in the stomach for a critical hit.
  • Retreat: This move will be performed several times during the boss fight. It is not an inherently dangerous move, but it can place you in an awkward situation if you mistime a heavy attack. Black Knife Assassin will dash away after striking once or twice.

Pre-fight Preparation

Black Knife Assassins
The preparation varies depending on your build and the variant of boss you’re facing.

Given that all variants of the Black Knife Assassin are relatively similar, you will not necessarily need any location-specific preparation, barring one or two tips.

You will, however, need to prepare differently, depending on your build. Melee-focused builds will require different pre-fight preparation than their magic and ranged counterparts.

Without further ado, here are some general tips which can be applied to both builds.

Summon spirit ashes (except for the Black Knife Catacombs)

Multi-unit spirit ashes will be of most help to you during this boss fight. They will keep the Black Kinfe Assassin preoccupied with them while you mount your attacks. Because the Assassin can only target one enemy at a time, the multi-unit ashes will overwhelm the boss.

Your choice may vary depending on your build, but any multi-unit spirit ashes will generally do.

For melee-focused builds specifically, we recommend Lone Wolf Ashes, as they can deal a lot of damage and stagger the Black Knife Assassin while keeping her distracted at all times.

Equip the Sentry’s Torch for the Sage’s Cave variant

This variant of the Assassin will be wearing a Concealing Veil, making her invisible. A Sentry’s Torch will negate the effect of the veil and make the Assassin visible once more.

If you have not got a Sentry’s Torch, you can still see the Assassin with the aid of dust clouds and water deformations and your summoned spirit ashes, who will reveal her location by swarming her.

Sentry’s Torch can be bought from Hermit Merchant in Hermit Merchant’s Shack for 7,000 Runes.

Locate the Assassin in Sage’s Cave before it can locate you

Whether you have brought a Sentry’s Torch into battle or not, you will need to locate the Assassin as soon as you enter the cave and keep tracking her. Not doing so will result in a critical attack from the Assassin, which will shave off most of your health bar before the boss fight has even started.

Equip a lantern for the Deathtouched Catacombs variant

A lantern, or any light source, will help you against the darkness of the Deathtouched Catacombs.

Melee Builds

Use lightweight weapons (Except for Sage’s cave Variant)

Black Knife Assassin’s quick and agile movements should be a strong enough deterrent for you from using heavy-wield weapons. Still, as well as that, it will allow you to evade her attacks and make quick escapes whenever needed effortlessly.

Equip a heavy weapon for the Sage’s Cave variant

Heavy weapons will allow you to exploit the Black Knife Assassin’s poise, or lack thereof, and stagger her consistently.

Equip a decent shield

A decent shield will allow you to capitalize on the Black Knife Assassin’s weak and ineffective dagger. Most of her knife attacks can be deflected with a well-timed block and open the door for a quick counter.

Magic and Ranged Builds

Use Glintstone Phalanx

Generally, any sorcery will be of great help to you during this boss fight. But, the Glintstone Phalanx sorcery will allow you to parry and block much more consistently at little cost to your stamina.

Glintstone Phalanx can be purchased from many merchants, namely Sorceress Ellen and Miriel. 

Fight Strategy

Black knife assassins in ER
Even if you’re rocking a melee build, it’s a good idea to create separation and stay patient.

You are now facing the Black Knife Assassin, and you need a plan. This boss fight can be tackled with relative ease, irrespective of your build.

That being said, different builds will require different strategies, but so will different variants. Therefore, we have developed a general strategy, which can be applied to all variants, followed by location-specific tips to help you out even further.

General Strategy

Be aggressive but not greedy.

Assuming you have got a light weapon, you can pull off several attacks whenever you find an opening quickly. You should actively seek openings, do as much damage as possible, and retreat and create ample distance between you and the Black Knife Assassin.

Wait for the Assassin to settle down.

Following the end of a lengthy attack, the Black Knife Assassin will wind down and stand still for a few seconds. That is your mark to start attacking.

Perform a backstab after the Assassin’s overhead slam

The aftermath of the Assassin’s overhead slam will leave her vulnerable to a devastating backstab. You should be alert enough to react in time. It will shave off a large section of her health bar and greatly shift the tide in your favor.

Let your summoned spirit ashes do the heavy lifting

The task of your spirit ashes is to tank damage and keep the Black Knife Assassin distracted while you haul projectiles and casts at it. Rest assured that your ashes will take the heat for you, so do not dive headfirst into the Assassin’s range only to find yourself firmly in her grasp.

Keep creating separation

Since the Black Knife Assassin will constantly be lunging and dashing toward you, you will need to actively respond by rolling away and creating distance at all times.

Stay on your toes

The Black Knife Assassin’s greatest strength is her speed and agility. It can catch you off-guard on a whim. Do not leave your fate to chance, and stay alert to the Assassin’s movement.

Deathtouched Catacombs Variant

Make use of your surroundings.

Should you find yourself in an awkward situation, you can quickly resort to hiding behind one of the many pillars in the room and use it as a haven for a few seconds. The room itself is also strikingly large and spacious, so use that.

Black Knife Catacombs Variant

Melee Players

Focus on backstabs

Backstabs are the most reliable attack you can perform in this tightly spaced location. Try to wait for the Black Knife Assassin to perform an overhead slam, or even bait her into it, then quickly make your way around her back for a devastating backstab. You could also follow up with one or two quick attacks, then retreat.

Use your shield when needed.

Your shield will come in handy more times than you would like during this boss fight due to the limited space in this arena. The Assassin’s quick movement will not help either, as it will only aggravate the situation. So, be ready to use your shield at all times.

Magic and Ranged Players

Be mindful of your surroundings.

Maintaining your distance from the Black Knife Assassin will be your greatest challenge during this boss fight, owing to the tightness of the arena and the numerous benches lined up across its floor. The longer the fight goes on, the less impeding they become due to getting broken, so you will need to be especially alert during the early stages of the boss fight.

Sage’s Cave Variant

Venturing into this boss fight without a Sentry’s Torch will prove challenging, albeit manageable.

The melee strategy is fairly straightforward, but the ranged strategy is anything but.

A general tip for this boss fight would be to stay on high alert and maintain your composure. Sustaining damage is all but guaranteed, so keep calm, collect yourself, and go again when that happens.

Melee Players

Try to stagger the Assassin.

Once you are certain the Assassin is near you, perform several swings with your heavy weapon until she is staggered. Before getting staggered, the Assassin will take 5 to 9 hits, depending on your weapon. Once she is staggered, you can keep attacking her until she recovers, at which point, you must retreat and create distance between the pair of you.

Rinse and repeat this tactic until you defeat the Black Knife Assassin.

Magic and Ranged Players

Refrain from using any lengthy projectiles or casts

Shooting windows during this boss fight will be extra limited. You will have little to no time to strike before the Assassin makes a sudden movement. Quick casts are ideal for this fight, so use them instead of any lengthy casts.

Shoot on sight

As stated previously, your shooting opportunities will be limited for this boss fight, so capitalize on every one of them by spamming your quick casts whenever the Assassin’s in your crosshair.

Stay locked onto the Assassin.

Staying locked onto the Assassin will make spotting your shooting windows a lot easier and help you identify any lunges or dashes from the Assassin in a timely fashion.

Sainted Hero’s Grave Variant

Despite her larger health bar, this variant of the Black Knife Assassin can be easily defeated using a simple trick that exploits her movement pattern.

Unfortunately, this trick is only available to melee players, so ranged players will have to play by the rules and follow the general strategy.

Lure the Assassin to the edge of the cliff (Cheese)

Once the boss fight commences, make your way to the cliff edge to the right of the large building and wait for the Assassin to follow suit. You can attack the Assassin as much as you want without any retaliation. Once she is near the cliff’s edge, she will stop attacking and try to walk away from the cliff calmly. And if she manages to leave the cliff’s edge, you can lure her back.

Rewards

Your rewards will vary depending on the location of your encounter with the Black Knife Assassin.

Here is what to expect after defeating the Black Knife Assassin:

  • Deathtouched Catacombs: 1,600 Runes and an Assassin’s Crimson Dagger, a talisman that can quickly restore your HP.
  • Black Knife Catacombs: 1,600 Runes, an Assassin’s Cerulean Dagger, which is a talisman that can quickly restore your FP, and a Black Knifeprint, which is a key item that can be used to advance Sorcerer Rogier’s questline.
  • Sage’s Cave: 9,000 Runes and a Concealing Veil, which can conceal you from your enemies.
  • Sainted Hero’s Grave: 11,339 Runes and the Assassin’s very own Black Knife.

Hopefully, this lengthy guide helps you and allows you to gracefully and cleverly beat the Black Knife Assassin. Rest assured that you can breeze right past the Black Knife Assassin with the right strategy, preparation, and mindset. Good luck! And Happy Dungeoning!

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