One of the big baddies you have to face to beat Elden Ring, Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy lives up to his name. This guy did the unthinkable - fed himself to a snake - and now the two live in weird, horrifying harmony. You'll need to beat both snake and man, one after the other, to win this fight.
This guide will help you defeat Rykard in combat. FromSoftware has a thing for battles with special, single-fight-specific weapons, and they make a return in Elden Ring. Hopefully you've brushed up on your melee combat.
Rykard lives in Volcano Manor, an opulent, serpent-filled home in the midst of Mt. Gelmir. This area is not that large, so find the Manor isn't that difficult. Enter Mt. Gelmir from the Altus Plateau, scale the cliffs, and travel to the Ninth Mt. Gelmir Campsite. At the top of a ladder and / or Spirit Spring you'll find the Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast, as well as a pointed ledge. Leap off the ledge (this boss is very difficult, so only engage if you're confident in your abilities) and you'll find a path to the front door of Volcano Manor.
Inside you'll find a noblewoman, Tanith, who will ask for your aid in certain matters. Agree and she'll give you the Drawing-Room Key, for a room just down the hall. You now have two options:
- Speak to Tanith again. She'll give you a series of assassination quests that will take you around the game's various regions, killing people. Doing this will unlock the approach to Rykard.
- Alternately, head into the drawing room and check the walls for a secret passage. This leads to the dungeon.
Regardless of the path you take, you'll need to make your way through Volcano Manor, defeat a Godskin Noble, and find a teleportation device that will send you to Rykard. It's just outside his old throne room.
When you first enter this area you'll be fighting not Rykard, but the God-Devouring Serpent. This is an enormous beast that you can only hit with a specific weapon, the Serpent-Hunter, which is sitting on your left when you enter the boss arena. It fires windy projectiles when swung, and they'll damage the Serpent. You can expect the following attacks from the Serpent as you battle:
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- The Serpent will wind up, plant its arms, open its mouth, and lunge forward to swallow you. Roll out of the way.
- The Serpent will swing its head this way and that, mouth open, smacking at you. It will usually do this twice so be ready to roll twice.
- The Serpent will spin around and try to whip you with its tail. Get ready to dodge as it coils around itself.
- The Serpent will bury its head in the ground, then fling it upward, firing a cone of lava your way. Get moving as soon as the head goes down. This move has an enormous range, so don't expect to be safe if you're a long way away.
- The Serpent will spew green goo from its mouth. This is a slow-moving spray so you'll have plenty of time to get out of the way.
In addition to all this, the Serpent draws a big pool of lava around with it everywhere it goes. Once it gets too close you'll be standing in the stuff and taking damage. This does a lot less hurt than you might think; more on that below.
Not that much to worry about - at least until the Serpent goes down. Once it does Rykard will come out to play with a fresh health bar and an enormous, fleshy sword. At this point it seems like the entire battle arena wants you dead. You can expect the following moves from Rykard:
- Rykard will use his sword to swipe at you. These attacks do a lot of damage but are very slow, and at first are easy to spot. The problem is that other things start to happen, masking the sword attacks from your attention. Roll as they're coming down to the best of your ability.
- Rykard will hop backward - somehow - and splash up a wave of lava. This is only an issue if you're close to him.
- Rykard will leap up and try to crush you. He'll usually do this if you're standing in front of him, in the lava.
- Rykard will summon a horrifying storm above you both, and flaming skulls will slowly begin to rain down on your position. The skulls aren't a huge deal on their own, but coupled with Rykard's other attacks they're a real pain. Keep rolling to one side to avoid getting pinned by Rykard and skulls alike. Rykard ends this move with a massive, energy-filled sword chop, so watch out for it. (Ideally you don't want to see this whole move. It's bad.)
- Rykard will also perform some of the Serpent's attacks, such as trying to bite you with the head or smacking you around with its tail.
This fight is the same for ranged and melee fighters alike, so don't expect a terribly different experience with different characters. It all hinges on using the Serpent-Hunter. Equip it as soon as you enter the arena, then approach the God-Devouring Serpent in the distance.
The first part of this fight against the Serpent is a piece of cake. Under normal circumstances you would stay back, use the Serpent-Hunter to peg it in the head, and avoid its attacks. Much easier, though, is getting right in the lava, snugged up against the Serpent, chipping away at its hide. Aside from the occasional tail-sweeping attack the Serpent will just sit there, and the lava barely does any damage. Heal as necessary. Whenever the Serpent is staggered and keels over, aim for its head to do extra damage. Easy peasy.
The second half of this fight is trickier, as Rykard will still attack if you're pressed up against him. Your tactics should nevertheless not change a whole lot: Stick close to Rykard, smack him in the guts, change targets if he's staggered and his head goes down, and heal whenever Rykard moves enough to damage you. The battle against the Serpent is easy enough that you should have most of your Flasks left over. If you are frail and would rather not get right up close to Rykard, snipe his head from beyond his lava pool, roll when his sword is coming down, and keep dodging to the left or right if he brings down his storm of skulls. It doesn't last forever.
You'll earn 130,000 Runes, Rykard's Great Rune, and the Remembrance of the Blasphemous for defeating Rykard, Lord of Blasphemy and his God-Devouring Serpent. Make sure you check the arena before you leave, as there's an Eye Surcoat sitting near the Site of Grace. Bonus!