Best Gear To Start Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree With

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Picking the best gear to start Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree with makes From Software’s difficult DLC a bit less maddening to manage. Your first few hours in The Land of Shadow are tough, as the game expects you to be at your best, with top-tier equipment and a good idea of how to use it.

Our guide for the best gear to start Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree with breaks down which weapons, armor, talismans, and summons will make your life easier.

Fast and aggressive endgame Spirit Ashes

The best Spirit Ash summons are more important in Shadow of the Erdtree than they were in The Lands Between, if only to distract bosses while you learn their patterns and figure out when to strike. Pretty much every major enemy in Elden Ring’s DLC is faster and deadlier, so you’ll likely want to leave your tanky summons at home. We’ve selected a few high performers that make life easier and, by the time you start Shadow of the Erdtree, should already be in your inventory.

The Mimic Tear

From Software might have nerfed the Mimic Tear shortly after Elden Ring launched, but this fantastic Spirit Ash summon is still a valuable asset to bring with you into the Land of Shadow. It copies your build and attacks without fear of taking damage, which is a bit annoying if you need it to survive, but also a handy way to take chunks out of boss HP bars until the Tear dies. It requires HP to summon, instead of FP, so it’s essential for builds that don’t invest much into the Mind stat.

Nerfs can’t stop this.

Black Knife Tiche

Tiche’s speed is a massive help in Shadow of the Erdtree. She’s much better at avoiding boss attacks than most Spirit Ash summons, and she’s still capable of dishing out a fair amount of damage as well.

Dung Eater Puppet

Getting the Dung Eater Puppet locks you out of finishing the Dung Eater’s quest, but it’s worth it for the summon. He’s aggressive, strong, and can tackle most challenges with comparative ease.

Nightmaiden and Swordstress Puppets

These two aren’t quite as powerful as some legendary Ashes, but the point is there are two of them. They’re agile and move a lot, and they make for excellent distractions while you retreat to heal or figure out a strategy.

Best Talismans to start Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

The Land of Shadow is home to several new talismans, including some that are essential for practically any build. Make sure you’ve obtained every talisman pouch in Elden Ring before touching Miquella’s nasty dead hand and starting the DLC. Some of the best Talisman choices include:

  • Great-Jar’s Arsenal (increases equip load)
  • Carian Filigreed Crest (reduces FP consumption from skill use)
  • Godfrey Icon (buffs charged spells and skills, not useful if you don’t use those)
  • Radagon Icon (shortens spell casting time, essential for any magic user)
  • Moon of Nokstella (increases spell memory slots, also essential for magic casters)
  • Erdtree’s Favor (raises HP, FP, and equip load)

Elemental grease

Okay it’s not technically gear, but you’ll want a few grease items before taking on the Land of Shadow’s big challenges, particularly:

  • Fire Grease
  • Lightning Grease
  • Rot Grease
  • Freezing Grease

Dragonwound Grease is eventually useful as well, but not until the expansion’s back half.

You didn’t really have to think much about elemental weaknesses in Elden Ring, but exploiting those weaknesses in Shadow of the Erdtree is often one of the only ways to make a tough fight manageable, including boss battles. Spells and specific ailment-inducing weapons are fine, but grease items let you use any weapon to target elemental weaknesses and make life a lot easier than having to respec for a different weapon.

Best armor to start Shadow of the Erdtree DLC

The best Elden Ring armor with high resistance goes a long way toward making Shadow of the Erdtree more manageable in its opening hours. If you haven’t upgraded your outfit in a while, now’s the time to do it.

Light armor

Malenia’s set is an excellent choice if you’re running a lighter build thanks to its hefty immunity-boosting stats. Enemies throw status ailments around left and right in the Land of Shadow, and they build up quickly. Good immunity keeps you safe a bit longer so you can retreat and let it die down or use a consumable.

If you don’t feel up to challenging Malenia, the Black Knife armor is a solid replacement, and it even helps you sneak around more efficiently.

Finally, an option with a bit more resistance built-in is the Ronin Set, which you get from the Mountaintop of the Giants’ Zamor Ruins. It has higher immunity than Malenia’s set and a set of respectable magic resistances as well, much more so than you’d expect from most light armor.

Effective, attractive, and easy to get.

Medium armor

D’s set, which you get during Fia’s quest, is hefty, but it offers some of the best physical resistance in the base game and can carry you through the Mohg fight as you start the DLC. The Carian Knight set–dropped from Raya Lucaria’s Carian Knights, as you might expect–is lighter and has comparable resistances, in addition to a strong set of magic resistances as well.

Heavy armor

You can’t go wrong with Tree Sentinel Armor if you have the endurance to wear it. Few sets have better physical resistance stats, and it also gives you a substantial immunity and robustness boost. Its lightning and holy resistances are a bit middling, though. Bull-Goat Armor, which you can get by taking Patches out for the Volcano Manor crowd, is slightly less sturdy, but easier to obtain.

Mage armor

Magic users who don’t want to run a typical light armor set have a few options. The top picks are Rellana’s set for Intelligence casters and the Haligtree Knight set for Incantation users. Neither is particularly good at deflecting physical attacks, but they boost Intelligence and Faith, respectively.

Best weapons to start Shadow of the Erdtree

The Land of Shadow has plenty of deadly new toys to experiment with, but you’ll need a trusty weapon in hand to take on some big challenges before you can get your hands on them. Magic users also need weapons for some situations, so don’t skip this section even if Glintstone Pebble is your best friend.

Best Intelligence weapons to start with

Intelligence users need a sturdy weapon for some fights, as major bosses, including Rellana at Castle Ensis, have exceptionally high magic defense.

  • Dark Moon Greatsword (obtain after completing Ranni’s quest)
  • Wing of Astel (obtain from Astel’s Remembrance)
  • Death’s Poker (scavenged off a Death Rite Bird)
  • Moonveil Katana

Bloodhound’s Fang is still one of the most useful weapons in the game.

Best Faith weapons to start with

Shadow of the Erdtree is loaded with Incantations, but for speed, consider one of these alongside your spells.

  • Blasphemous Blade (obtain after defeating Rykard)
  • Golden Order Greatsword (obtain from Elden Beast Remembrance)
  • Eclipse Shotel (also requires dexterity)

Best Dexterity weapons to start with

Bloodhound’s Fang will see you through most of Shadow of the Erdtree thanks to its special skill, but Rivers of Blood is also just as good as it ever was–which is to say, excellent.

  • Bloodhound’s Fang
  • Rivers of Blood (also needs 20 Arcane)
  • Nagakiba (also needs strength)
  • Moonveil Katana

Best Strength weapons to start with

You can brute-force your way through most obstacles with a big hammer, but the Starscourge sword and Prelate’s Crozier add a bit of magic to help deal with foes with strong defense.

  • Giant Crusher
  • Grafted Blade Greatsword
  • Starscourge Greatsword (obtain by exchanging Radahn’s Remembrance)
  • Prelate’s Inferno Crozier

For more on Shadow of the Erdtree, don’t miss where to go first, the full world map for the DLC, and 14 things you should know before you play.