Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree Bayle the Dread boss guide

Bayle the Dread is one of the hardest bosses in Elden Ring: SoTe, but here's how to take him down

The Jagged Peak Summit houses one of the most brutal optional boss fights in Elden Ring, Bayle the Dread. A hulking dragon with fire and lightning powers, this scarred beast might be missing a limb but it can still take you down in a couple of hits. To make matters worse, you can only deal full damage by hitting Bayle in the head. Here are some tips for taking him down. 

First, you can make the fight slightly easier – and I mean slightly, don’t expect miracles – by speaking to the NPC, Igon, just after the two dragons fighting each other on the way up the mountain. He will then become a summon in the boss arena itself. While he doesn’t like to fire off his great arrows at a good cadence, the chip damage he provides might be enough to tip you over the edge – especially if paired with a spirit ash summon. 

Check out our Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree NPC guide for more information on the people in the Land of Shadow. 

Another good tip is to use a weapon with good reach. I did this fight with ordinary katanas – an Uchigatana and Rivers of Blood – but it was quite difficult to find windows where Bayle’s head was low enough for a swipe. 

You might have an easier time if you use one of the new Great Katanas – even better, one with an anti-dragon effect. You can find one of these by killing the Ancient Dragon Warrior, who you fight in the Ancient Dragon Pit on your way to Bayle (located on the path from the Pillar Path Waypoint). If you need better stats to wield it, check out our Elden Ring: SoTE rune farming guide

You can also mitigate some of Bayle’s power by wearing talismans that reduce fire and lightning damage by the utmost. 

Now it’s just a case of learning how to deal with Bayle’s attacks, and when to respond in kind. Here are some quick tips:

Bayle the Dread phase one tips

A dragon spews fire at the ground as the arisen stands aside in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
My colleague used a massive sword, which is probably a better idea than poking it with a little katana / FromSoftware
  • Bayle usually kicks off the fight with a straight fire breath or an arcing one. You can avoid the former by running left or right, and the latter can be easily rolled through, so long as you wait for the flames to almost lick you before you roll. 
  • His most powerful attack in this phase is a grab, signified by him rearing up and sparks appearing around his mouth. As soon as he lunges forward, you can roll into it, which will put you in a good spot for a few swipes at his head. Unfortunately, he can catch your summons if he misses you, and he’ll be invulnerable during the animation if he does. 
  • He also does regular swipes in one, two, and three-hit combos. Always roll twice into him, and if he attacks twice, roll again in case he throws the third. Hit his head as soon as he’s done. 
  • If you end up at mid-distance, Bayle tends to do a lunging swipe, which is followed by a tail whip. Always be ready to roll into the tail whip as it sets you up consistently for attacks on the head. 
  • When he takes close-range damage, Bayle likes to breathe flame at the ground around his head. A quick backward roll can get you out of danger here. 

Bayle the Dread phase two tips

A huge dragon, Bayle the Dread, sprouts angelic wings in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
  • When he triggers his second phase, Bayle will do a big area attack around himself before flying into the air. Avoid the area attack by running away and be ready to roll once he’s in the air, as he will fire a volley of projectiles down at you. You need to roll multiple times in a row to avoid these or sprint sideways if you have good stamina, but keep your camera locked on Bayle, as he finishes up by doing a big landing attack – dodge that successfully and you can get some hits on his head. 
  • The other major difference in this phase is that pools of electricity will appear on the floor, indicating areas that he’ll hit with magic. These make it much more difficult to hit his head, as they usually appear around his front. You can still get a couple of swings in, but I found it easier to focus on the stump of his missing leg during this phase – you’ll do much less damage, but it’s safer and you can rely on your weapon effects to take off big chunks of health as they build up. With our katana strat, this will reliably build up Bleed damage.

Our Elden Ring: SoTE guide and walkthrough has more tips for the discerning explorer. 

Kirk McKeand


Kirk McKeand is the Content Director for GLHF.  A games media writer and editor from Lincoln, UK, he won a Games Media Award in 2014 in the Rising Star category. He has also been nominated for two Features Writer awards. He was also recognized in MCV's 30 Under 30 list in 2014. His favorite games are The Witcher 3, The Last of Us Part 2, Dishonored 2, Deus Ex, Bloodborne, Suikoden 2, and Final Fantasy 7.  You can buy Kirk McKeand's book, The History of the Stealth Game, in most bookstores in the US and UK.  With a foreword written by Arkane's Harvey Smith, The History of the Stealth Game dives deep into the shadows of game development, uncovering the surprising stories behind some of the industry's most formative video games.  He has written for IGN, Playboy, Vice, Eurogamer, Edge, Official PlayStation Magazine, Games Master, Official Xbox Magazine, USA Today's ForTheWin, Digital Spy, The Telegraph, International Business Times, and more.  Kirk was previously the Editor-in-Chief at TheGamer and Deputy Editor at VG247. These days he works as the Content Director for GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage, serving media partners across the globe.  You can check out Kirk McKeand's MuckRack profile for more.  Email: kirk.mckeand@glhf.gg