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How to Beat the Tree Sentinel in "Elden Ring"

All images copyright FromSoftware.

All images copyright FromSoftware.

One of the first enemies you'll encounter in Elden Ring, the Tree Sentinel is a sour introduction to this brutal game. Appearing just outside the Stranded Graveyard where you enter the world, the Tree Sentinel patrols the grounds between The First Step and the Church of Elleh Sites of Grace, rewarding any trespassers it catches with a speedy death.

New players are not meant to beat the Tree Sentinel, and even Souls veterans may have a tough time downing this enemy right out of the gate. In most cases you'll want to boot it to the Church of Elleh as quickly as you can to remove yourself from combat. But what if you decide to come back later? Or, Heaven forbid, you decide to destroy it before doing anything else? Defeating the Tree Sentinel is definitely doable, but it's not easy. This guide will help you get it done.


Tree Sentinel's Moveset

A mighty warrior on horseback, the Tree Sentinel doesn't have that many moves, and you'll see it use the same attacks several times in succession. What it can do has a great reach, however, and the Tree Sentinel gallops in at you so quickly that it can - at first - seem impossible to evade its attacks. You'll see the following in the fight:

  • The Tree Sentinel will wheel around and charge at you, slashing at you with its halberd just as it gets close. You can avoid it by rolling forward and under the halberd just before it reaches you.
  • The Tree Sentinel will use its halberd to slash at you. Fairly standard melee attacks, and ones that aren't too difficult to avoid so long as you're keeping a bit of a distance. A shield works well here since the Sentinel's attacks can vary in timing.
  • The Tree Sentinel will rear its horse up and try to slam you with an overhead chop. As soon as the horse's hooves leave the ground you'll want to sweep to the side. This leaves the Tree Sentinel's flank open to attack.
  • The Tree Sentinel will perform a quick body bump. It will typically do this if you're close and facing it from the side. This attack is quick enough that you'll have a tough time dodging, so blocking may be a better idea.

Once the Tree Sentinel loses half its health it will change up its repertoire just a smidge, tossing its shield into the mix:

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  • The Tree Sentinel will rear up on its horse, loose its shield, and leap into the air, landing hard on its shield. This attack is pretty heavily telegraphed so it's not that difficult to dodge, though you need to get far away quickly, as the Tree Sentinel's damage radius is larger than you'd think.
  • The Tree Sentinel will lunge at you with a shield-first body slam. Like the body bump this move can be tough to see coming, so throwing up your own shield isn't a bad idea.

Early in the game these attacks can quickly rip you to pieces, and even later on you may have a tough time absorbing the attacks until you have a lot of health or some heavy armor. You want to avoid getting hit as much as possible.


Beating the Tree Sentinel

Your approach depends on your build. Melee fighters will need to stay in close to the Tree Sentinel, lashing out once or twice at most whenever it attacks. Depending on the length of your weapon you can usually catch it as it sweeps by; otherwise you should try and smack it before it wheels around. Ranged fighters will have an easier time with this fight, and you can use a bow or magic to hit the Tree Sentinel from cover. Use the terrain to confuse the big knight and constantly remain on your toes. Riding your horse can make the fight a fair bit easier, so long as you keep away from the Tree Sentinel while hitting it with projectiles.

If the Tree Sentinel is still walloping you on your own you may want to call in some help. Assuming you can't get other players to fight the Tree Sentinel, you'll want to use some Spirit Ashes to distract the Tree Sentinel while you do the majority of the damage. Early on you'll have two options:

  • The Lone Wolf Ashes. This pack of three isn't your best choice, as the Tree Sentinel's attacks will usually kill them in one hit. Still, if they can get the Tree Sentinel stuck and attack in a pack they'll chew away a lot of its health.
  • The Skeletal Militiamen Ashes. This pair is a better choice. They're a bit sturdier than the wolves, and the Militiamen will come back once they're knocked down, assuming the Tree Sentinel doesn't smack their remains again. (It usually doesn't.) The Skeletons can give you the room you need to inflict a bunch of damage and sweep out before the Tree Sentinel retaliates.

Regardless of the Ashes you use, you'll still need to do the majority of the damage in this fight. You'll find the Ashes more useful when fighting at a ranged, as the pack of the lot can cause the Tree Sentinel to lash out unpredictably - something you don't want in melee combat.

Defeating the Tree Sentinel will earn you 3,200 Runes. You'll also gain the Tree Sentinel's Gold Halberd, a sizable slashing weapon that's good for Dexterity characters.

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