Having a hard time with the Tree Sentinel in Elden Ring, the new game from the makers of Dark Souls? Here are some tips that will help you cut this tree (sentinel) down.
The thing you need to know about the Tree Sentinel is that you don’t have to fight it. Yeah, it’s pretty much the first enemy you’ll see after the tutorial, but he’s prowling a wide-open field, and it’s easy to just walk past him at a good distance. He won’t see you, and you won’t have to fight him. In fact, it’s best to not challenge him right away; you’ll almost definitely lose, unless you’re the Soulslike equivalent of that little kid who’d shred his way through Guitar Hero on Ellen or whatever.
So yeah, first tip: don’t fight this guy! At least not at first.
You’ll want to steer clear of this horsebound warrior and invest some time in powering up your character before taking him on. As you follow the golden trail in the sky that guides you forward, you’ll come upon the Church of Elleh. It’s important that you visit the church’s Site of Lost Grace, this game’s version of a Souls checkpoint. Then continue through the woods, towards the Gatefront Ruins. This is a good opportunity to farm some runes, which you can use at a Site of Grace to level up your character once you are no longer maidenless. You’ll probably want to attack this camp as stealthily as possible, as there are a lot of guards here, including a couple of wolves; you also might have to deal with some bat creatures, depending on the time of day. Focus on backstabbing the guards on the cliff side of the camp, as they’re more spread out and easier to creep up on.
After gathering 800 or so runes, head towards the large castle gate that the path was guiding you towards. Right outside of it you’ll find a Site of Grace. If you stop and ponder there you’ll be visited by Melina, who’ll do two main things for you: first off she’ll quiet up all those assholes mocking you for being “maidenless” by offering to be your maiden, and secondly she’ll give you a whistle (the Spectral Steed Whistle, in fact) that you can use to call Torrent, a ghost horse that will be your companion throughout the game. Torrent opens up a few new attack options, and is also fast enough to let you just blast past some encounters; that last skill will come in handy right after this Site of Grace. Torrent is also crucial in beating the Tree Sentinel.
If your goal is to defeat the Tree Sentinel as quickly as possible, don’t go through that gate yet, even after getting Torrent. Keep farming runes at the Gatefront Ruins, using them to level up, oh, a dozen or so times at that Site of Grace. Honestly, you’re probably best leaving the Sentinel alone until you’ve played the game for several hours and leveled up naturally before returning to challenge him. If you’re dead set on taking him down, though, you might be ready to take on the Tree Sentinel after you’ve boosted your health and offensive skills past level 20.
When you feel ready to battle, call Torrent with the Spectral Steed Whistle. Also prep by crafting some Rowa Raisins, which restore Torrent’s health; you won’t want to lose your little buddy in the middle of this scrum. Ride your ghost horse back towards the road that the Tree Sentinel guards, and get ready for a tough fight.
As with every boss battle in Elden Ring, you’ll need to be patient, you’ll need to look for the Tree Sentinel’s patterns, and you’ll need to strike fast and dodge faster. If you’re a magic-user or have a ranged weapon, it always helps to attack from a distance before getting close enough to use a melee weapon. Once you’re close, you’ll want to stay constantly on the move; sprint in, get a hit on ‘em, and keep moving out of the reach of his spear, which has an absurdly big attack range. Occasionally the Sentinel’s horse will seem to crouch or kneel; when you see that, know he’s about to unleash a huge jump attack, and get out of the way. You can also use the power of the jump attack yourself, if you time Torrent’s leaps just right.
If you stay patient and alert, avoid the Sentinel’s attacks, and get yours in quickly before he strikes again, it’s only a matter of time before you take this guy down. You’ll get a pretty big bounty in return; felling the Tree Sentinel nets you 3200 runes, a hero’s rune, an Erdtree Great Shield, and the Golden Halberd, a mighty weapon that deals holy damage and grants you the Golden Vow skill, which briefly boosts the damage you do against armored foes.
Again, the Tree Sentinel is optional. You don’t need to fight it at all, and absolutely shouldn’t fight it until you’ve leveled up several times and acquired Torrent. Even then, the fight will be a slog, so it’s smart to be prepared. There are also two other Tree Sentinels at other locations in the game, so you’ll have multiple opportunities to take this jerk down. Just make sure you’re ready for it whenever you decide to take any of them on.