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ELDEN RING: Tree Sentinel Boss Guide (On-Foot)

 Class: Hero
Equipment I wore:

  • Weapon: Battle Axe (two-handed)
  • Shield: N/A
  • Helmet: Champion Headband
  • Pauldron: Champion Pauldron
  • Bracers: Champion Bracers
  • Leggings: Champion Gaiters
  • Flask of Crimson Tears: 5
  • Flask of Cerulean Tears: 0

My Total Deaths: 21

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The first boss you encounter in ELDEN RING is the Tree Sentinel, a menacing armoured horseback rider. Much like Gyoubu Mastaka Oniwa (also known as Gyoubu the Demon) from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, the Tree Sentinel fights with a long halberd and his horse will sometimes chip in for some damage.

It's best to fight the Tree Sentinel from a distance, as fighting too closely will prompt an attack from the horse that is very difficult to dodge. Most of his skills throughout the early stage should be easy enough to punish with one roll attack. Early in the first stage, try to roll towards the side of his shield, as the Tree Sentinel does not have any shield-sided attacks.

I chose to fight the Tree Sentinel wielding my Battle Axe two-handed, as the punishment windows can be a bit narrow and the extra damage is worth it. Aside from that, I had the starter shield and wanted to get used to fighting the boss without blocking any attacks so that I could spare as much health and flasks as I could for the second stage.

It is also worth noting that the keepsake I chose was the Golden Seed, which is the reason why I had five flasks to use throughout the battle instead of the usual four.

Attacks you should be able to easily punish (and how I performed them in the video)


Elden Ring Tree Sentinel Boss Fight 0 54 screenshot

Early on in the fight, when Tree Sentinel is taunting, if you run straight at him you can land two hits and then roll away without taking damage; this is a high-risk play, as not rolling in time will result in getting hit. Performing the trick will ensure that the Tree Sentinel starts with two hits of HP less, which can be a very useful advantage.

At 0:46 in the video, the Tree Sentinel runs towards me and does a wide sweeping attack. Dodging to the right ensures that you can hit the horse's head once. If you are on the side of his shield, feel free to try to land a second hit.

At 0:49 in the video, the Tree Sentinel's horse stands on its hind legs. If you are against the horse's stomach and close enough, moving right without rolling should jerk you out of the way of the attack, allowing you to land one blow, rarely two.

At 0:54 in the video, the Tree Sentinel leaps (the lag is part of the performance issues in ELDEN RING); rolling directly to the head of the horse will prevent his next attack from hitting you. After a short delay, roll again to the horse's behind and hit it once or twice.

At 1:13 in the video, the Tree Sentinel prepares and charges towards me; this attack can be dodged by rolling to the right-back (holding SD keys) after a short delay. Let your roll complete its animation to be as close to the Tree Sentinel as possible before you attack. If you do this properly, you can land two or three hits. In this example, I only hit once; use your judgement for how many times you should attack.

Elden Ring Tree Sentinel Boss Fight 1 19 screenshot

At 1:39, the Tree Sentinel's horse stands on its hind legs, but the rider lifts his weapon in the air; if you are close enough, waiting for the delay and rolling towards the horse's head can trigger a free hit. Try rolling directly into the horse's head rather than a bit further back, as I missed my window to punish here. 

At 2:01, the Tree Sentinel charges a thrust attack. This one is punishable, but you'll need to roll towards the horse's head rather than directly into him, which should put you just a bit towards his shield side. Rolling directly to the Tree Sentinel can trigger a nigh-immediate response from the horse's slam attack; this won't always happen, but refrain from doing it to prevent building a bad habit.

At 5:08 in the video, I am too far to dodge the attack of the horse standing on its hind legs to move to the side nor roll; sometimes the best outcome is to walk back away from it and stand where it will land, this is a good way to punish the horse standing on its hind legs. 

Attacks you should avoid trying to punish (and mistakes I made in the video)


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Attempting to punish his taunt animation, I attacked twice. Not only did my first attack miss because I attacked too early, but that early attack caused me to get hit because my roll was then also too early.

At 0:25, I tried to immediately punish the forward halberd thrust. I got too close to the boss which prompted the horse slam before I could roll out. Try to avoid punishing this attack too often, unless you can time the dodge early enough.

Never punish too many blows at the same time when fighting the Tree Sentinel, as this will prompt the horse's slam attack as seen on 1:02; I was too close to the boss and should have widened the gap to trigger more easily-punishable moves.

At 1:24, I was playing nervously and was too far away and moving towards the left when the horse stood on its hind legs. Since I was too far away to use the trick described above, I decided to roll instead to save myself the hit.

Elden Ring Tree Sentinel Boss Fight 1 30 screenshot

At 1:43, the Tree Sentinel starts moving in a circular motion and raising his halberd. Dodging this attack is preferable, as its timing is a bit difficult to get down and sometimes it's generally better to ensure you have enough HP to make it through the fight.

Second Stage

Sub: 2:16 in the video

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If you thought the Tree Sentinel was a heavy-hitting boss before, you won't like his second stage. Once he is nearing half health (at around 60% of his HP), start trying to avoid his shield side. This stage change triggers when he jumps in the air and performs a slam attack against the ground; this isn't the only time he'll use that attack — as it becomes a common one throughout the stage — so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for it.

Most of the shield attacks the Tree Sentinel performs are almost one-shots, so keeping your health full is crucial to ensure that you have room for some error. It is for this reason that playing carefully throughout the first stage is important, as you'll want to have as many flasks as possible to fight him in his second stage. In the video, I started the second stage with one flask, which was a mistake on my end.

Attacks you can punish (and how I did it in the video)



Barely any of the attacks the Tree Sentinel gains throughout the second stage are worth punishing, as it is very high-risk to do so. That said, the windows of opportunity do change throughout the battle; you'll want to punish only hitting once (and very rarely twice) when you land on his shield side, as this will trigger one of the new attacks. This is very important to keep in mind in the fight, since all of his shield attacks are pretty lethal. Try to keep it to only one hit per mistake; this is the most important rule for the second stage. The only exception to this is the punishment seen at 0:54, as the windows don’t change in that one.

At 2:19 in the video, the horse gets on its hind legs and the Tree Sentinel raises his shield; as he does this, he will leap forward and do a shield slam. You'll want to walk far away from this attack, but if you are barely outside of his hitting zone, you can punish by hitting the shield once. Doing it twice (as I do in the video) doesn't offer a lot of reprieve time to move out of the way of the quick follow-up he might do.

At 5:16 in the video, I catch early that he is going to jump high in the attack that slams the shield down. I close the gap by running away and immediately turn around to attack him while he's down. Although this is the way you can punish the attack, I recommend avoiding doing so as it is risky to do so.

Attacks you should always dodge (and how I do it in the video)


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As mentioned before, the second stage unlocks a slew of deadly attacks from the Tree Sentinel that are all focused on his shield side. All of these attacks are pretty much lethal, and they will kill you in one mistake; as such, you shouldn't try to punish any of the shield attacks.

At 2:15 in the video, the boss changes stage. He will always do this at around 60% HP, and the only way to avoid it is running far away from it. Keep in mind that this attack deals shockwave damage equal to direct impact, so you'll want to dodge as he lands just to be safe.

At 2:19 in the video, the Tree Sentinel's horse stands on its hind legs as he raises his shield arm. When he does this, he is going to jump forward, and you'll want to make as much of a gap as you can from him; if you learn how much he jumps, feel free to stand at the edge of the hitting zone and try to punish the attack, as it gives an opening for one hit.

At 2:30 in the video, I get an opportunity to hit the Tree Sentinel because he walks towards me, but after I hit him I end up on his shield side; I run immediately after I notice this to prevent any retaliation with shield attacks. This is a good rule to follow throughout the fight. 

At 2:49 in the video, I have just finished punishing one of the long combos from 0:40, and the Tree Sentinel turns around with the horse on its hind legs, raising his shield up high as the horse tilts towards its left. Run away instantly, as he will drop on his shield immediately after by doing a shield slam. 

Elden Ring Tree Sentinel Boss Fight 2 52 screenshot

At 3:11 in the video, I ignore the rules above and try to just run away from his shield slam; this was a massive mistake. The shockwave deals damage to me since I did not roll. Always roll when trying to avoid any shield attack, even if you feel at a safe distance.

Boss Reward

Elden Ring
Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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