Shadow Keep vista in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree: Shadow Keep Walkthrough

Shadow of the Erdtree has an amazing collection of interesting points of interest, dungeons, and hidden secrets scattered across the Lands Between. Today we are looking at the Shadow Keep, a large and expansive area with many twists and turns, in our comprehensive walkthrough that will ensure you don't fall prey to the traps and confusing pathways inside.

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Shadow Keep location in Shadow of the Erdtree (Map)

Shadow Keep location in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Shadow Keep can be found directly north of Castle Ensis. As a requirement of reaching this spooky keep, you'll need to defeat Twin Moon Blade Rellana (one of the most unfair bosses I've had the displeasure of fighting). A small military encampment is stationed outside the Shadow Keep, so grab Torrent and prance your way to the front door and step inside.

How to defeat Golden Hippo in Shadow of the Erdtree

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To start with, giant swords and slow weapons work well in this boss fight, so don't be afraid to bring out your favorite Greatsword to lay down the pain. I chose the Twin Moon Blades thanks to its high damage and excellent special ability (a giant fire tornado). As is my strategy for most bosses in this expansion, I decided to run the Greatshield Soldier +10 summons to aggro the boss and offer an easier time.

For the first 40% of the fight the Hippo will slam, bite, and be a general nuisance by rolling about and causing your camera to have a seizure. Once you've taken a chunk of the Hippo's health, it will transform into a Hippopine and you'll have to deal with its usual biting and slamming with an extra touch of spikiness. All jokes aside, the Hippo now has access to golden needles that enhance its base moveset with some extra oomph. Sadly, these new abilities do very little to change how you tackle this fight, so continue your strategy and the big bad Hippo should be slain in no time.

Shadow Keep Walkthrough - Shadow of the Erdtree

Entrance to the Shadow Keep's ramparts in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Now that you're free to explore the Shadow Keep, sit at the Site of Grace and note the open doorway to your left and the closed gate to your right. Our main objective here is to open the door to our right but to do that we have to head left, so continue past the ghost and up the wooden staircase to reach the ramparts.

Two soldiers relaxing on the ramparts in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Here you'll immediately find two soldiers staring off into the distance. Kick them off the edge for swift kills and quickly turn to your right where you'll find another staircase. A spear soldier will be heading right toward you, so keep on your toes and take it down.

Enemy soldier ambush in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Be careful as you climb these stairs, as a hidden soldier is preparing to ambush you with an attack strong enough to knock you off the edge. If you approach slowly, the soldier will miss his attack and you can take him down almost effortlessly.

  • Highlighted direction for loot and enemy soldier in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Smithing Stone 1 upgrade material in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Soldier backstab attack in Shadow of the Erdtree

Inside the room that the soldier was guarding you'll find a few points of interest (see image #1 above). A piece of loot sits close to your left while another soldier stares out of a window and a doorway to the right leads to some other place. Grab the Smithing Stone 1 (image #2) on the nearby corpse and proceed to backstab the soldier (image #3) standing at the window. Refrain from jumping out of the window (we will get to that later) and turn to the doorway to your left.

  • Knight and Soldier guarding loot in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • The Main-gauche sword in Shadow of the Erdtree

Here you'll find a soldier standing beside a dual-blade-wielding knight and some shiny loot just past them (image #1 above). The soldier is no different from the mobs you have slain so far, but this knight can be a pest to deal with. My advice here is to sneak up to the Knight and backstab him for some big damage; now while he's stun-locked, turn to the soldier and quickly kill him before the knight gets back on his feet. With some perseverance and some luck, you'll slay the knight and claim the Main-Gouche (image #2) weapon as a reward.

Shadow Keep Courtyard Walkthrough - Shadow of the Erdtree

  • Shadow Keep courtyard in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Lords Bestowal talisman in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Doorway leading to loot in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Smithing Stone 8 upgrade material in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Sneaking behind a Knight in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Golden Vow item in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Highlighted enemies in the armory in Shadow of the Erdtree

Return to the armory, jump out of the window the guard was occupying, and drop down into the courtyard. A piece of free loot will catch your eye, but also note the room to your left and another room to your right (image #1). First, let's grab the freebie and claim our Talisman of Lord's Bestowal (image #2), then head to the doorway on the right (image #3) which will lead straight to a Smithing Stone 8 (image #4).

After collecting all of the goodies return to the courtyard, turn left where you will notice a Knight standing guard over some loot. Sneak up behind the knight (image #5) and take a large chunk of his head with a quick backstab. Like the other knights in this Keep, they are all battle-hardened and can be a pain to deal with. This knight will charge up his hammer with holy magic and slam it down in a delayed attack that will kill you if it hits, so avoid it at all costs. Grab the Golden Vow from the corpse (image #6) and head into the armory room on the left where you'll find a soldier chilling directly to the left and a doorway just ahead—kill the soldier and the dualblade knight in the next room.

Ladder leading to a locked door in Shadow of the Erdtree
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After dealing with the Knight and his single escort, you can move into the next room where a ladder waits to take you to the floor above. At the top of the ladders, you'll be faced with a closed door which you simply need to open to access the next steps. This next area can be pretty tricky.

A pair of Knights patrolling the dining room in Shadow of the Erdtree
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The moment you step into the room you'll be greeted by two Knights that I recommend NOT fighting simultaneously. Fortunately, the bow knight will immediately begin hitting you with giant steel arrows while the other patrols the room. If you're quick enough you can dispatch the bow knight before the second knight notices your presence. Alternatively, you can sneak up behind the patrolling knight for an easy backstab and massive damage, but remember you will have to deal with the archer pelting you with arrows without a break. Be aware that you can summon in this area so those struggling with this duo can utilize some heavenly help.

Shadow Keep Inner Walls Walkthrough - Shadow of the Erdtree

Shadow Realm Rune 6 in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Once you've taken both Knights down, you can move forward and grab the Shadow Realm Rune 6 for 22,500 runes before continuing to the last part of the Shadow Keep.

Directions pointing out ambush spots in Shadow of the Erdtree
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We are getting close to the shortcut that will lead back to the Golden Hippo Site of Grace, but first a few annoying creatures are standing in our way. These enemies are hiding behind the strange boat-like setpieces waiting to ambush you when you least expect it. Since the shortcut lies beyond this obstacle, so you have no choice but to weather the storm.

Tiny assassin attacking the player in Shadow of the Erdtree
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These small assassins love to jump in the air and throw poison bombs at you, but they are akin to cannon fodder and are easily defeated within two or three attacks. Their general strategy is to overwhelm you with numbers or chunk your health with surprise attacks, so keep on your toes.

Directions leading to the shortcut gate in Shadow of the Erdtree
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As you move past the boat figurines, you'll come to a crossroads, but for now focus on the downward path to the right, which will lead you to the gate and subsequently right back to the Golden Hippo site of grace. So, head down the path and dispatch all the tiny assassins guarding the gate.

Gate leading to the Golden Hippo site of grace in Shadow of the Erdtree
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At the bottom with all the obstacles cleared, you can push open the door to reveal the only Site of Grace in the Shadow Keep—conveniently placed for exploration. You can choose to take a breather at the grace site to replenish your supplies or simply turn around and head back up that large staircase.

Crossroads directions in Shadow Keep in Shadow of the Erdtree
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From here we have two ways to explore. I recommend leaving the Fire Knight ahead for later and instead turning to your right. There is another set of boat figures with more tiny assassins waiting to chunk your health, but after taking them down you are free to explore the area.

Ladder leading to a hidden painting in Shadow of the Erdtree
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First, the easily missed ladder should be your focus as it leads to a secret painting and a hidden room that unlocks an entire area of the map. Descend the ladders and turn left, but be careful near the deep waters as Tarnished are unable to swim without their armbands.

Second ladder leading to hidden painting in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Continue down that path until you reach another ladder that will bring you to some tunnels beneath the Shadow Keep, then continue onward into the simple tunnel to reach the Domains of Dragons painting. Yoink the spoils of war, but do not return just yet.

Domain of Dragons painting in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Before you leave there is one very important secret in this room that we must uncover; this hidden gem will allow us to access a new area entirely.

  • Hidden door in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • Coffin waterfall ride in Shadow of the Erdtree
  • The Scadu Atlas area in Shadow of the Erdtree

Eagle-eyed players or Legend of Zelda fans will notice the very suspicious outline on the wall opposite (image #1) the painting (almost as if there's a hidden door here). Approach the wall and strike it with your weapon or simply roll into it to dispel the illusion. Explore the newly opened area to your heart's content, but you'll sadly only find one thing of interest: a Coffin (image #2). Since you've played Elden RIng before you know that this coffin is a one-way trip down to the bottom of a waterfall. Interact with the coffin and you'll be transported to a new area entirely: the Scadu Atlas (image #3).

I know your explorer's instincts are going wild right now, but grab the nearby Site of Grace and fast-travel back to the Shadow Keep—you can come back to the Scadu Atlas whenever you want. Now that you're back at the Keep, you'll have to take down the tiny assassins once again and return to the crossroads with the Fire Knight.

Fire Knight in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Our final obstacle stands before us: the Fire Knight. These mobs can be very annoying to deal with; I can only offer small pieces of advice. The Fire Knights utilize (you guessed it!) fire magic and a long sword. Expect fast sweeping attacks which are backed up by long-range spells to keep you off balance. As long as you keep on your toes and stagger them, you'll eventually whittle away at their health until they are snapped from existence.

Shadow Keep elevator in Shadow of the Erdtree
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Finally, the exit to the Shadow Keep lies before us in the form of a single elevator. Take the elevator up to access the Specimen Storehouse and you'll be finished with the Shadow Keep section.

That's everything you need to know about clearing the Shadow Keep area. If you're looking for more Elden Ring content check out Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Review: The DLC We Deserved, In an unprecedented move, FromSoftware is helping players out with guides, buffs for Shadow of the Erdtree, and more on Pro Game Guides.

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Image of Tyler Towers
Tyler Towers
Tyler is a skilled Freelance Writer for ProGameGuides, specializing in the most popular FPS games like Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Valorant. He is also keenly interested in MOBAs and JRPGs, no matter how obscure they may be. With his Game Design degree from Sheffield Hallam University, Tyler has the expertise and knowledge to provide in-depth gaming industry coverage. When he is not knee-deep in ELO hell, he devotes his time to taking care of his beloved ragdoll cat, Ace.

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Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree: Shadow Keep Walkthrough

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