It would be ridiculous to rank every single boss in Elden Ring. There are over 300 enemies that could count as bosses, but a good number of them repeat in some form. Speedrunners go with all 165 enemies that have their own boss health bar and name. If you cut out the similar ones from their list, you're left with 107. That's reasonable enough for me. Let's rank them.
The ranks below were not democratically decided by every member of the PC Gamer team who has played Elden Ring, because there'd have been no one left to run the website while we argued. This is my ranking. Some of these bosses gave me a lot of trouble, but they might not have for you. It's a vibes-based criteria that takes into account my first impression of each boss and how much they've sat with me since finishing the game.
I've added comments on several bosses throughout the list and I went deep on the top 10. And just to get this out of the way early: I'm sorry Radahn fans.
Shoutout to Reddit user Oriflamme for putting together a list of all 165 bosses, and special thanks to YouTubers Esoterickk, Ongbal, Shirrako, and the Boss Fight Database whose libraries of boss footage we link to extensively in this piece.
107. Cemetery Shade
Like fighting a twig in a world of trees.
106. Necromancer Garris
Who is this man, I've never seen him before in my life.
105. Putrid Crystallian Trio
Just an absolute bear of a fight, and adding scarlet rot and a wolfpack setup to these guys' poise break mechanic feels like being bullied.
104. Putrid Grave Warden Duelist
Are you not entertained? No, I'm not you two-bit mediocre excuse for a myrmidon!
103. Ancient Hero of Zamor
They should stay ancient, if you ask me. "Ancient Hero of Making Me Snore" more like.
102. Leonine Misbegotten
He'd be pretty forgettable, if it wasn't for his breathtakingly gorgeous arena.
101. Mohg, The Omen
100. Elemer of the Briar
Aldi brand Kirk, Knight of Thorns.
99. Royal Revenant
We've all had at least one terrible, awful, no-good experience with one of these uggos.
98. Scaly Misbegotten
Elden Ring pretty cleverly reuses elite enemies as early game bosses, but this one is pretty throwaway.
97. Godefroy The Grafted
FromSoftware put this guy in as a joke so absolutely nobody remembers all the names that sound the same.
96. Grave Warden Duelist
Not to be confused with the Putrid Grave Warden Duelist, a Grave Warden Duelist past its expiration date.
95. Onyx Lord
For such a sick name, this fight isn't as cool as it should be.
94. Perfumer Tricia / Misbegotten Warrior
It's like Beauty and the Beast but some dope with a vacant stare and awful outfit comes in and murders them with Eleonara's Poleblade.
93. Putrid Avatar
Getting their money's worth and then some with that Asylum Demon moveset.
92. Stonedigger Troll
For all the big troll guys in Elden ring, this one they actually gave a boss health bar is pretty forgettable.
91. Crucible Knight
I love the Crucible Knight design but these guys were rude to me as a baby Elden Ring player.
90. Godskin Duo
Every FromSoftware game has a group fight that tests your patience, and these two idiots are worse than all of them.
89. Kindred of Rot
Never make me fight a house centipede again.
88. Miranda the Blighted Bloom
Another pretty disposable upjumped elite enemy. You can't fool me!
Capra Demon, what have they done to you! Where are your bulging muscles and six-pack abs???
86. Omenkiller / Miranda
Whenever I meet a couple I'm always like "So which one of you is the Omenkiller and which one is Miranda?"
85. Sanguine Noble
Thanks for the Bloody Helice, nerd, now go run back to the Mohgwyn Palace and cry to Mohg about it!
84. Adan, Thief of Fire
An utterly strange non-sequitur of a boss fight. Bite-sized Smough.
83. Battlemage Hugues
Battlemage "Huge Snorefest" but the Gavel of Haima is an absolutely hilarious ability.
82. Bols, Carian Knight
Bols just wanted to kick it and drink some Bawls (guarana-infused energy drink) in his Evergaol and you came in and kicked his face in.
81. Cleanrot Knight
A great elite-tier enemy but a meh boss fight. Mug this one for their handy Winged Sword Insignia talisman.
80. Crucible Knight / Misbegotten Warrior
Most people miss this fight if they do Ranni's questline, but it's surprisingly well designed.
79. Crucible Knight Ordovis / Crucible Knight
Can't say it any better than the immortal @dril.
78. Demi-Human Chief
After the Demi-Human revolution there will be neither chief nor servant, only equals.
77. Frenzied Duelist
Our highest-ranked version of Elden Ring's little gladiator guys. Nice effort, my dudes but you only amount to #77.
76. Godfrey, First Elden Lord (golden shade)
Golden Godfrey is all the way down here because his regular form isn't a whole lot better.
75. Great Wrym Theodorix
Not sure what's so "great" about Theodorix. At least your cousin dropped Moonveil when I mugged them!
74. Guardian Golem
Again, I fought so many of these guys out in the open world I forgot they made a boss version.
73. Putrid Tree Spirit
Our highest ranked "Putrid" guy and our lowest ranked "Tree Spirit" guy. Be prepared to see a lot more of this beautiful face.
72. Abductor Virgins
I think that's a baby in there, which is pretty metal. Presumably the DLC will see the addition of Abductor Chads.
71. Alabaster Lord
This entry remains as a monument to FromSoftware's capricious cruelty to archivists such as myself. The evergaol boss known as "Onyx Lord" was originally called "Alabaster Lord," preserved here in this Fextralife guide from close to launch. He was since patched and renamed to Onyx Lord, so for our detailed thoughts please see entry #95. The absurdity of this renaming snafu has catapulted the forgotten Alabaster Lord to spot #71 in our list.
70. Black Knife Assassin
Stylish animations can only get you so far.
69. Bloodhound Knight Darriwil
Off-brand Knight Artorias from Dark Souls.
68. Commander O'Neil
Just a stinky man in his stinky swamp. There is a fun lore implication that he's the son of later-game Cleanrot commander and moveset clone Niall.
67. Crucible Knight Siluria
It's our old friend the Crucible Knight, now with spiffy new stag helmet and a spear that looks like a chandelier! Siluria, by virtue of being a later game boss, is free of the psychic weight of the normal Crucible Knights spanking us over and over again in Limgrave.
66. Crystalian Ringblade
A serviceable iteration of the Crystalian boss, but your first time puzzling out their unique stagger mechanic will always be the fun one.
65. Flying Dragon Greyll
A solidly middle-of-the-pack, no frills, lunch pail dragon fight. Nothing to see here folks.
64. Glintstone Dragon Smarag
A lot of people's first introduction to dragons that cast magic at you.
63. Godskin Apostle
The Waluigi to the Noble's Wario, I will never not love these freaky little guys.
62. Godskin Noble
The Godskin Noble's boss room is more evocative than the fight itself. The Wario to Godskin Apostle's Waluigi, "plump sort ahead."
61. Night's Cavalry
These Lord of the Rings rejects are neat until you kill their horse and they immediately summon another one.
60. Royal Knight Loretta
Sorry, Loretta, I didn't want to hurt you, but you seriously can't aim with that magic bow.
59. Alecto, Black Knife Ringleader
Alecto gave me the gift of Tiche, one of the best Spirit Ashes in the game.
58. Beast of Farum Azula
Another "later game enemy as early game boss," but a tantalizing glimpse of one of the coolest endgame areas, with weird lore implications for how it connects to Limgrave.
57. Bell Bearing Hunter
Spoilers, but it's our old friend Elmer Fudd of the Briar, invading you at night near merchants' shops. An extremely fun conceit for reusing a cool boss moveset, but how many times do we have to teach you this lesson old man?
56. Black Blade Kindred (Bestial Sanctum)
You suddenly find yourself at the Bestial Sanctum. In front of you is a massive, closed door, and behind you is a towering beast who may or may not be hostile. What do you do?
55. Commander Niall
O'Neil's bigger, stronger daddy, complete with lightning hookblade foot.
54. Death Rite Bird
A beefier, stronger version of the Deathbird. Despite Death Rite's black metal accoutrements, they lack the fun surprise attack intro of the vanilla Deathbirds.
53. Erdtree Avatar
It's just a really big evil tree.
52. Esgar, Priest of Blood
A reprisal of invader Bloody Finger Nerijus, this guy gets a fun hat and some gross dogs in addition to the original's sick Reduvia dagger.
51. Flying Dragon Agheel
Everyone remembers stumbling into Agheel in Limgrave and either getting roasted or running for their life.
50. Full-Grown Fallingstar Beast
This souped-up Fallingstar guy has a scenic boss arena near Volcano Manor, and my memories of it are colored by my girlfriend walking by, thinking it was cute, and telling me not to hurt it.
49. Godfrey, First Elden Lord / Hoarah Loux
Controversial rank, I know, but Godfrey is one of the weirdest bosses in Elden Ring. I suspect there are people who adore him and people like me that think he's a joke. [Editor's Note: I'm sorry Tyler is saying these awful things about you Godfrey, I love you and your sick earthquake/professional wrestling moveset.]
48. Godskins (Summoner Snail)
47. Magma Wyrm Makar
Not a ton to say about Makar, but his boss room has a desolate, almost serene quality I can really dig.
46. Mimic Tear
This boss was a pushover. Get some better gear, loser! Visions of weak foe? Seek introspection!
45. Misbegotten Crusader
Hey, what are you doing with Radagon's sword, stinky! Give that back!
44. Mohg, Lord of Blood
Mohg, Lord of Blood is the final boss of a death metal level and he doesn't disappoint. Mohg is also unfortunately canceled for doing unspeakable things to his eternal child half-sibling, Miquella, but voice actor Con O'Neill you are PC Gamer's raspy-voiced king of the year, 2022!
43. Nox Swordstress & Nox Priest
Among our highest-ranked "standard enemy as bosses," the Nox duo benefits from their basic enemy concept being so cool.
It's a bear, c'mon.
41. Spirit-Caller Snail
A cute little guy with a rude little summoning ability. He must be punished.
40. Tree Sentinel Duo
A beef gate if there ever was one. Trying to get into Leyndell through the front door? Fuhgeddaboudit. I have only ever beaten these guys coming through the back and fighting one at a time.
Maybe these guys are so sad because everyone keeps calling them "Wormface."
Deathbirds only show up at night, a surprise with no forewarning. One of these jerks flew down on top of me at a time I thought I had a handle on how Elden Ring worked. I apparently did not!
37. Valiant Gargoyles
The multi-Gargoyle boss is a FromSoft institution at this point, and this is the hardest they've ever done. Sweet revenge for every time you punked them in the Undead Parish.
36. Fell Twins
Super easy, but so weird. A reprisal of the void look of Dark Souls' Four Kings bossfight, the Fell Twins get props for just how unnerving and out of nowhere this little episode is. A standout pleasant surprise in a game made up of pleasant surprises.
35. Fia's Champions
There can only be one.
34. Ulcerated Tree Spirit
I hate their name, I hate the way they look, and yet, they rule. I wouldn't have them any other way.
33. God-Devouring Serpent / Rykard
Don't get me wrong, this fight is solid, but I wish there was more buildup to it.
32. Borealis the Freezing Fog
A dragon for every season.
31. Decaying Ekzykes
Dragon, but make it stinky.
30. Fallingstar Beast
The OG, baby Fallingstar Beast. This one gets extra points for being such a shock of a boss after the absolute insanity of having a treasure chest teleport you to hell.
29. Glintstone Dragon Adula
Adula first shows up to block you from meeting Ranni, everyone's favorite snow witch future queen of reality. She infuriatingly flees at half health, before coming back crazy strong at the end of Ranni's quest. Our highest ranked of Elden Ring's many standard, non-ancient dragons for her memorable story arc.
28. Godrick the Grafted
Godrick's second phase transition is gold and a delightful introduction to Elden Ring's weird, weird world. I also love how his earthquake attacks and greataxe use foreshadow his dad later in the game. Godrick is driving a flesh mechsuit cosplay of Godfrey!
27. Red Wolf of Radagon
A Sif redux with less lore but an insane moveset, the max-level one at the Moonlight Altar is underrated for its difficulty.
26. Tibia Mariner
The concept and execution for what I want to imagine started as a "skeleton in a boat" pitch is outstanding.
25. Ancient Dragon Lansseax
This jerk will just bushwhack you out of nowhere on finally reaching the Altus Plateau. Our introduction to Elden Ring's ancient dragons foreshadows their importance in the super-late game.
24. Fire Giant
Maybe the biggest enemy I've fought in a game outside of Asura's Wrath. The phase transition cutscene on this guy is beautifully absurd.
23. Mad Pumpkin Heads
These two buddies really said Halloween is a lifestyle.
22. Draconic Tree Sentinel
Before the game officially launched, this brute was my nemesis. I was underleveled and racing to see more of the game before the review embargo. Now it's cathartic every time I see someone obliterate him.
21. Erdtree Burial Watchdog
The epitome of the "weird little guy." Had their creator at FromSoft ever seen a dog before? Regardless, impeccably animated, incredibly strange, and forever having a place in my heart.
20. Grafted Scion (Four Belfries)
Straight up the toughest "supposed-to-lose" tutorial boss FromSoft has ever done, and the only one I've yet to get out of the gate. I've beaten Genichiro fair and square in Sekiro, punished the Demon's Souls Vanguard Demon, and karate chopped a stinky dog man to death in Bloodborne, but this freaky man always puts me in my place.
19. Loretta, Knight of the Haligtree
Loretta is a fascinating character in the story and it makes fighting her sad in the way only FromSoftware games can be. Also there's something to fighting a boss on horseback without your own horse.
18. Radagon of the Golden Order / Elden Beast
If the main theme didn't blast during this fight, it would be much lower on the list. The Elden Beast makes an incredible first impression, but ending the game on a literal alien isn't as evocative as confronting someone human, like Marika.
17. Regal Ancestor Spirit
Sad and strange and wonderful, the Ancestor Spirit fights are the perfect capstones for Siofra, one of Elden Ring's best areas.
16. Starscourge Radahn
Radahn is a glorious fight on a bloody battlefield. Circling the big guy on your horse is probably the most cinematic Elden Ring gets.
15. Lichdragon Fortissax
We've all got that one ride-or-die friend who would allow themselves to be corrupted by the metaphysical representation of death while standing athwart a creeping, soul-consuming corruption in a rotten arena with a pustule-filled sky at the center of our very soul. Fortissax is that kind of friend for Godwyn the Golden: great lore, great look, and a great all-around fight.
14. Tree Sentinel
Let's all admit that taking this early game Tree Sentinel out after being crushed under his hoof several times is almost better than finishing the game.
13. Sir Gideon Ofnir, the All-Knowing
This isn't an interesting fight, but by the end of the game, all I wanted to do is stuff this guy in a locker.
12. Vyke, Knight of the Roundtable
The actual guy on the game's cover art. A punished, burned knight who was "beloved by dragons" and held communion with the Three Fingers of the Frenzied Flame rather than kill his maiden. One of those tragic FromSoft villains who, by every right, should have been the protagonist.
11. Dragonkin Soldier
Did I just fight Evangelion Unit-01?
FromSoftware fans have been at war with this rascal since Armored Core. When his boss health bar showed up, I wasn't sure if I wanted to take out years-long frustrations with him or shake his hand.
9. Astel, Naturalborn of the Void
This space bug has Nerds Rope for a tail and a skull for a face. The design is immaculate and you can encounter them before Elden Ring truly shows all of its delicious cosmic horror.
8. Beast Clergyman / Maliketh Black Blade
There's a lot to be said about the tragedy of having to fight your beast bro. It's almost a little cliche for FromSoftware at this point.
This fight is peak Souls, but the only thing I can't stop thinking about is Jonathan Keeble's delivery of his death rattle:
"Witless Tarnished... Why covet Destined Death?"
"To kill what?"
Elden Ring often struggles to reach the thematic highs found in Dark Souls, especially in the last third of your journey. The Maliketh fight urges you, in your last few hours of the game, to consider what you're actually doing and what you're trying to solve. It's a game about the poison of immortality and the rot it leaves behind. You've benefited from that for your entire journey, and now you hold death itself in your hands. What will you do with it?
7. Margit, the Fell Omen
Margit is a funny first boss. A lot of people ran into him while way too low level and are reminded that they are playing a FromSoftware game. But he's not actually a test to "get good" or whatever. He's an important obstacle to teach you how to engage with Elden Ring's open world, to nudge you in other directions so that you can return much more powerful than before. Limgrave as an area is outstanding and it wouldn't work without Margit putting your foolish ambitions to rest.
6. Morgott, the Omen King
Morgott might be an unpopular pick for one of the game's top 10 bosses. He's mostly a reprise of Margit with a nasty second phase, a satisfying echo of many players' first real boss fight.
He sits underneath the Erdtree, at the peak of the capital city. His location has the makings of a final boss fight, but is far from it. It's an eerily sympathetic fight as he defends the very system that discarded him. And just how Margit shoved you back out into the world to learn more, Morgott's defeat is the impetus to push forward and burn it all down.
5. Dragonlord Placidusax
FromSoftware makes the best dragons. Dragonlord Placidusax is a former Elden Lord who you travel back in time to wake up. I like to imagine this battle is the dragon god equivalent of trying to hit the snooze button on your phone, except the snooze button is a pain in the ass with a Spirit Ash on its side.
Placidusax lumbers around the suspended arena and pulls red lightning out of the sky to battle you. It's a riveting fight against a remnant of a history you'll probably never see—unless the DLC lets us go back in time.
4. Soldier of Godrick
I'm pretty sure the Soldier of Godrick was as surprised as I was when his health bar popped up on the bottom of the screen. The poor guy didn't sign up to be the tutorial boss; he thought he'd respawn like everyone else.
The Soldier of Godrick deserves recognition for being Elden Ring's most uneventful, uninspired boss. He's just a guy that nobody remembers three minutes after defeating him. He has no dialogue, no iconic moves, and his only lore is a nod to another, better boss.
That's why he is all the way up here. He might have offered absolutely zero challenge, but he tried. And that's enough for me. Thank you for your service (and all the memes), Soldier of Godrick.
3. Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon
FromSoftware hasn't always nailed so-called "puzzle" bosses, the fights where you have to figure out some trick before you can even whack them with your sword. I never want to do Dark Souls' Bed of Chaos ever again, for example, but I will glady smack Rennala's creepy fire-breathing children in Elden Ring any time.
Rennala's fight has a lot packed into it. There are children falling from the sky, books getting thrown at you, and chandeliers crashing into the floor. You run around the library dodging all of this until the moment Rennala falls to the ground.
The second phase of the fight transports you to an endless expanse of ocean with the moon shining above. It's both a throwback to Bloodborne's Rom, the Vacuous Spider fight and a reveal of what sorceresses are capable of in this world. She summons dragons, trolls, and giant speheres of crystal to keep you away from her.
The fight goes from a goofy gimmick to a face-off against a master sorceress with an audience of stars. I'm not sure there's anything more Elden Ring than that.
2. Malenia, Blade of Miquella
You know her name well. Malenia is the pinnacle of Elden Ring's difficult boss encounters. She's absolutely brutal. And she should be: she's a few hits away from becoming a god. She's so hard to beat that many people summoned Let Me Solo Her to do it.
Malenia is an actual one-on-one duel, the sort of fight that you'd expect to see in a non-RPG like Sekiro. Without very specific stats and gear, she will tear you apart. Or you'll make yourself despair by taking a few hits, causing her to heal a portion of her health back.
The infamous Waterfowl Dance attack is maybe the most frustrating thing in the game, but it's hard not to admire how much it makes the fight feel like you're out of your element. Malenia is simply more powerful than you and the design of the fight makes it clear.
The first time I saw her bloom into the Goddess of Rot for the last phase, a bit of my adrenaline dissipated. She's cloaked in butterflies and petals and starts to send copies of herself to attack you. It's all beautiful to look at, which almost made landing the final blow and ending the fight harder than executing on it in the first place. I don't think I've ever wanted a nightmare of a boss fight to continue despite that. This fight rules.
1. Ancestor Spirit
I said it in the review: The Ancestor Spirit is the best boss fight in Elden Ring. It's not the hardest, nor is it some amazing culmination of lore and story. It's a quiet dance with a ghostly stag far beneath the ground.
The Ancestor Spirit is an early boss fight that illustrates the scope of the world. By the time you encounter the Ancestor Spirit, you've fought a series of messed up guys and some grotesque monsters. I doubt anyone expected to fight a mythical beast that, aside from a few attacks, appears to be almost non-hostile.
The Ancestor Spirit glides above you, just out of reach. You only get a few opportunities to attack it and most of its attacks are easy to dodge. Difficulty isn't part of the equation here. This fight is a thematic ride with a score that makes it feel big and alien. You study its moves in anticipation of some brutal attack like you would for any other boss, but its gentle pace is never broken.
The true purpose of the Ancestor Spirit is to challenge your perception of the world and its history. The kings and queens above buried something beautiful, and now it's staring right back at you. There aren't any concrete answers for exactly what it is or why you defeat it, but it prompts you to start asking those types of questions about everything else. And for me, FromSoftware games have always urged you to think critically about what's in front of you. A good weapon and set of armor are essential, of course, but what's equally important is your curiosity.
The Ancestor Spirit gives Elden Ring's massive open world a distinct point-of-view. It teases you with the unknowable and challenges you to find your own answers as you move forward. It's the best boss fight in the game because it prepares you for all of the surprises that come next.