If you thought the later Elden Ring bosses were overpowered and unfair, wait ‘till you read up on some of its early game boss fights. In Elden Ring, there are no easy fights and no rest for the wicked.
One of the said early challenging bosses in Elden Ring is the Ulcerated Tree Spirit. An absolutely gargantuan blob of flesh, wood, and dirt with a set of limbs, equipped with terrifying claws that can rip you to shreds in an instant.
Ulcerated Tree Spirit Overview
This deformed and corrupted tree, known as the Ulcerated Tree Spirit, is a challenging boss that can be found guarding several important locations across the land. Although it’s optional, defeating the Ulcerated Tree Spirit yields a myriad of worthwhile rewards, so no matter how difficult, rest assured that with the right strategy, you can beat it effortlessly.
Health Bar: The health bar of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit depends on the location of the encounter. No exact numbers have been disclosed but we estimate a progressive increase from 6,150 HP to 17,430 HP as you progress from one variant to the next.
Types of Damage: Ulcerated Tree Spirit deals standard and physical damage during the first phase and holy damage during the second phase.
Weaknesses: Ulcerated Tree Spirit is weak to Fire and Frost damage.
Weapons: Due to the form factor of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit, it cannot wield a weapon. Instead, it uses its limbs and claws to deal damage to its enemies.
Parrying: Unfortunately, none of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit’s attacks can be parried, so you’ll have to rely solely on well-timed dodges and blocks.
Elden Ring Ulcerated Tree Spirit’s Locations: The boss variants of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit can be found in three locations; they are as follows:
- Fringefolk Hero’s Grave in Limgrave: You’ll find the Ulcerated Tree Spirit behind a fog wall in Stranded Graveyard, the first area in Elden Ring. You’ll also need two Stonesword Keys to remove the fog gate and enter the boss fight arena.
- Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs in the Mountaintop of Giants: Getting to this location is a tad tricky. You’ll need to head northeast from the Zamor Ruins Site of Grace, then turn further east before reaching the narrow bridge. You’ll find the entrance to the Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs tucked into the rock wall after dropping down from the platform. Also, watch out for the traps scattered around the maze.
- Mt. Gelmir: You’ll find the last variant of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit east of the Road of Iniquity site of grace, near Minor Erdtree. Try to avoid the Wormface on your way to the Tree Spirit.
Movesets: Generally, all variants of the Ulcerated Tree Spirit share the same moveset, only differing statistically. Once the boss’ health bar is half depleted, it will enter its second phase and add two extra attacks to its moveset.
- Double Charge: The Tree Spirit screams and lunges at you, contorts its body in a twisting motion, then scales the wall and lunges at you again, only this time, it’ll try to grab you and perform a critical hit.
- Charge Grab: During this attack, the Tree Spirit screams, scales the wall, then lunges at you for a deadly grab. You can evade this attack by rolling left as it lunges at you.
- Fire Breath: Once a yellow glow is emitted from the Tree Spirit’s mouth, that means it will fire a long-distance spew of deadly flames directly in front of it. This attack can be easily evaded by sprinting horizontally out of the Spirit’s line of fire, then charging at its side for a counter-attack. Beware that the boss might perform this attack right after its charge grab attack, so be ready for it.
- Alternating Claw Swipes: The Tree Spirit will often perform two or three claw swipes consecutively, switching from one claw to the other. Make sure to roll in the opposite direction of each swipe, so roll left for left-to-right swipes and vice versa.
- Radius Swipe: If you lurk around its side for long enough, the Tree Spirit will react by suddenly swiping whatever is on its side with its claw to clear you off its side. Again, you should roll in the opposite direction of the swipe.
- Tail Swipe: This attack will usually take place right after a successful radius swipe, where the Tree Spirit winds up its tail, then whips it from one side to the other. It will sometimes incorporate a jump with the attack for extra damage. The second it winds up its tail, back away.
- Claw Stomps: Ulcerated Tree Spirits raises its claws and stomps the ground several times, alternating from one claw to the other. This attack can be easily evaded by rolling out of the way of the Spirit’s claw.
- Swipe into Pound: During this attack, the Tree Spirit performs one claw swipe directly in front of it, then follows it up by raising both of its claws and slamming them down simultaneously in a pounding motion. You can dodge through the swipe and place yourself against its belly, where you’ll be safe from the pound.
- Neck Swipe: The Tree Spirit leans its head to one side and winds up for a heavy swipe, with equally heavy damage. Create distance between you and the Tree Spirit as soon as you notice the start of this attack and dodge through it if need be.
- Neck Flop: Instead of rolling its head one way, the Tree Spirit flops its head over and slams its neck down directly in front of itself. It will sometimes perform this move twice in a row or follow it up with a neck swipe, so be wary of that.
- Holy Explosion: After a short build-up, where it hunkers down and tilts its head upwards, the Tree Spirit will begin glowing in a yellow tint, after which, golden fire will spew randomly around the Spirit and land in several places on the floor. You can incur holy damage from this attack by either getting caught in the initial shockwave of the explosion or having one of the fireballs land on or near you.
- Rampage: During this attack, the Ulcerated Tree Spirit will randomly lunge around the arena, with no clear aim. Keeping close to the Tree Spirit will help you avoid its lunges. Also, this attack is often followed up with a fire breath attack, so be wary of that.
It would be unwise to head into a boss fight underprepared, especially against the Ulcerated Tree Spirit. Your prep work will vary depending on your build. However, for this boss fight, most of our tips can be applied to both melee and ranged builds, barring one or two tips.
We’ll start with the general pre-fight prep.
Level up before embarking on this boss fight
Before facing the Ulcerated Tree Spirit head-on, some leveling up might be needed. Certain locations will require a higher level than others. For the Ulcerated Tree Spirit, our recommended levels are as follows:
Fringefolk Hero’s Grave: Seeing as this encounter could happen very early on during your playthrough, we advise that you return to this boss fight at a later time, once you’ve reached at least level 30.
Mt. Gelmir: Reaching at least level 60 for this variant of the Tree Spirit would suffice.
Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs: A level 90 for this variant would be the bare minimum.
Equip Items that Boost your Holy Damage Resistance
The Ulcerated Tree Spirit’s second phase attack will wreak havoc on your health bar if they land. Not just that, the Tree Spirit will also deal Holy damage using its fire breath attack. Equipping items that boost your resistance to holy damage could prove detrimental to your success in defeating the Ulcerated Tree Spirit.
Our picks for this boss fight would be the Haligdrake Talisman, which can be found inside the cave at the beach area below the Seaside Ruins site of grace, and the Holyproof Dried Liver, which can be crafted, as long as you have the Missionary’s Cookbook 6.
Equip plenty of flasks for health regeneration
Every mistake and every damage dealt by the Ulcerated Tree Spirit could come with catastrophic ramifications and leave you to fight a losing battle. Flasks, such as the Flask of Crimson Tears, could come in extra handy whenever you’re low on HP and need to recover and rejuvenate from a prior assault.
Any flasks will do, as long they can regenerate your health bar.
Equip weapons that deal Fire or Frost damage
You should exploit the Ulcerated Tree Spirit’s weakness to fire and frost by taking in weapons that deal fire or frost damage.
Alternatively, if you have no such weapons, resort to coating your existing weapons in Fire Grease or Freezing Grease.
Magic and Ranged Builds
Equip a strong shield and ample armor
As stated previously, one attack from the Tree Spirit could potentially spell the end of your run. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so equip a decent enough shield to protect you from any unavoidable attacks and enough armor to keep you from dying to one of the boss’ devastating attacks, especially its grabbing attacks.
You’ll be offered two strategies (well, three but one of them is cheese), each designed for a specific build, in order to suit all playing styles. Although, it must be said that this boss fight will be much easier for players rocking a melee-focused build rather than a ranged one.
Before we get into the build-specific strategies, here are some valuable tips, which can and should be applied to both builds.
You’ll more than likely sustain some damage from the Tree Spirit, so don’t let that throw you off your game and force you into making unforced errors. Create some distance, collect yourself, heal if needed, and go again.
Keep on the Tree Spirit’s side
Not only will most of your attacks target the Tree Spirit’s sides and tail but its side will also serve as a safe haven for you, as it’ll keep you out of harm’s way from most of the boss’ more devastating attacks.
Bear in mind that the ground is at an angle in Mt. Gelmir
The sloped ground at Mt. Gelmir will force you to further calculate your moves before executing them, especially if you’re a ranged player. Hitting your target, be it from long or close range, will prove to be a great challenge at first, but you’ll quickly become accustomed to it.
Remain on the side of caution, especially during the second phase
The Ulcerated Tree Spirit has many deceiving moves in its locker. For instance, it’ll often float in the air, making you think that it’s performing one of its harmless close-range attacks, only for it to lunge at you and shave off half your health bar. Don’t leave it to chance, take precautionary measures even if you think you’re safe.
Anticipate the Tree Spirit’s initial attack in Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs
The minute you enter the arena, the Ulcerated Tree Spirit will go for a neck flop that can easily shave off most of your health bar. Anticipate this assault and act swiftly to evade it.
Don’t roll away from attacks
Against the Ulcerated Tree Spirit, rolling away from attacks is wholly unreliable. Due to the sheer size of the Tree Spirit’s reach, you’ll most likely still be hit even if you roll away. Your best bet is to roll into the boss’ attacks and hopefully find yourself tucked in next to its side or belly.
Focus on vulnerable “body” parts
There’s no need to be overambitious. Target the Tree Spirit’s exposed belly, sides, and tail, rather than its head. You’ll be able to deal a lot of damage across a number of safe and short attacks.
Try to stagger the boss
It’s relatively easy to stagger the Tree Spirit. All you need to do is keep piling on the pressure and mount consecutive heavy attacks. There’s no saying when the Tree Spirit will stagger, but once it does, deal as much damage as possible using your most powerful attacks.
Also, if you’re lucky, you might even trigger a stagger bug, which immobilizes the Tree Spirit for about 8 seconds, during which, you can deal some mammoth damage. This bug can be triggered by staggering the boss during the start of its holy explosion animation.
Stay up close and personal with the boss
While the Tree Spirit’s close-range attacks are slightly more difficult to predict than their long-range counterparts, they’re much less catastrophic and are easier to evade. Keep close to the Tree Spirit so as to avoid triggering any of its long-range attacks.
As long as you’re directly next to or behind the Tree Spirit, maintain a constant stream of attacks. If you notice an attack from the boss, dodge into it and resume your barrage of attacks. You’ll be greatly punished for any hesitation during this boss fight, so be aggressive and decisive.
Keep an eye out for the boss’ holy explosion attack
Since you’ll be keeping close to the Tree Spirit at all times, once it enters its second phase, be wary of its holy explosion attack, as the initial blast could kill you instantly if you’re not on full health. As soon as you notice it glowing and curling into a ball, run as far away as you can. You might catch a fireball on your way, but the damage from that will be much more manageable than the initial blast, especially if you’re carrying protection against holy damage.
Opt for headshots whenever possible
The Ulcerated Tree Spirit is quite prone to headshots. Each headshot will shave off considerable chunks of its health bar and deal a fair bit of stagger damage, giving you a massive advantage.
Do bear in mind, however, that it is rather difficult to time it right, as the Tree Spirit’s movements are near-constant and very erratic.
Bully the Tree Spirit
Since you won’t really be able to keep your distance, due to the sheer size of the Tree Spirit and tightness of the arena (barring Mt. Gelmir), relative to it, your best bet would be to constantly harass the boss with your casts and projectiles.
Plus, the minute you create any distance between the pair of you, it’ll retaliate by executing a grab attack.
Avoid using long casts
The Ulcerated Tree Spirit will afford you little to no time to shoot your casts and projectiles. Lengthy cast times will be heavily punished during this boss fight, so stick to quick casts and projectiles.
Cheese strategy for Mt. Gelmir variant
For this strategy, you’ll need some poison mist and preferably a horse—it’ll save you some precious time.
Once you make your way down the hill and trigger the boss fight, return up the hill and keep running until the Tree Spirit is disengaged and no longer chasing after you. From there, make your way back down the hill while hugging the wall on your left.
Once you’re near the bottom of the hill, crouch down and make your way around the Tree Spirit without alerting it and begin to poison it using your poison mist. You’ll likely need to use your poison mist one or two more times, as the Tree Spirit’s health bar is fairly large.
Depending on the location of your encounter with the Ulcerated Tree Spirit, your rewards will vary.
Here is a list of what to expect from each encounter with the Ulcerated Tree Spirit:
- Fringefolk Hero’s Grave: Upon defeating the Ulcerated Tree Spirit in Fringefolk Hero’s Grave in Limgrave, you’ll receive 15,000 Runes on your first playthrough, Banished Knight Oleg Ashes, which is a spirit ash that costs 100 FP, and a Golden Seed, which is a type of bolstering material that can be used to reinforce the sacred flasks.
- Giants’ Mountaintop Catacombs: 48,000 Runes on your first playthrough, Glovewort Picker’s Bell Bearing , which is a Key Item that gives you access to new items when offered to the Twin Maiden Husks, and another Golden Seed.
- Mt. Gelmir: 18,000 Runes, Cerulean Hidden Tear, which is a Key Item that eliminates all FP consumption in mixed physick, and a Leaden Hardtear, another Key Item that is used to temporarily boost poise in mixed physick.
And with that, you’re as ready as can be to take on the Ulcerated Tree Spirit. As long as you stick to the plan and apply your newly found knowledge on the Tree Spirit, you’ll be able to breeze past it like it’s nothing.