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How to easily beat Commander Gaius in ER Shadow of the Erdtree

Commander Gaius can be a tough challenge in Elden Ring, but there are cheese strategies to beat him more easily!

The Tarnished summoning a lightning bolt to strike Commander Gaius in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Commander Gaius is a total pig.

This battle boar-mounted warrior is one of the most frustrating bosses in Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. With an unbelievable amount of melee pressure and a frenzied moveset full of devastating AoE and long-range gravity magic, it can feel like Gaius is riding 30 to 50 feral hogs instead of one big oinker.

His charge attack feels undodgeable, his reach feels never-ending and if you’re unlucky enough to get knocked down, it feels like Gaius will just walk over and end the fight on a whim, regardless of your stun invincibility.

However, it’s easier than you might think to pull off a cheese strategy which means you’re not going toe-to-toe with him on such an equal footing (by which I mean with the odds completely stacked in his favor).

But before you go thinking Gaius is just a reskin of General Radahn from the base game, there’s a reason for their similarity. Gaius and Radahn were both disciples of the Alabaster Lords, an ancient race of stone-skinned warriors who were masters of Gravitational magic.

Studying in the sorcery town of Sellia in Caelid before it was overtaken by the scarlet rot, the Alabaster Lords’ most senior disciple was Gaius, riding atop a wild boar, whereas Radahn went on to be one of the most powerful warriors in the history of the Lands Between.

So where Radahn was an infamous brick wall in the base game of Elden Ring, from his sty behind the Specimen Storehouse Gaius looks set to fulfil a similar role in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC - but if I beat him, you can too!


How to easily beat Gaius in Elden Ring

The easiest way to beat Gaius is to summon the most melee-resistant Spirit Ash you have, use them to draw his attention, and spam long-range magic attacks or use a long-distance Ash of War to whittle his health down without ever battling him head on.

Unfortunately, because of his unpredictability, beating Gaius is tough whatever you do, simply because his overpowered charged attack is so silly and he can break the rules of the game by hitting you on the ground even when you’re stunned.

But, with enough determination, you can break open the fight using that cheese strategy without really having to learn his attack patterns, in a similar way to how Rellana could be cheesed too.

To pull off this cheese strategy, you need:

  • The most resilient Spirit Ash you have - fully upgraded Greatshield Soldiers are great
  • A way of dealing long-range damage - either with spells, incantations or an Ash of War: I used the Thunderbolt Ash of War
  • Your horse, Torrent, easily accessible on your item menu
  • The Dragoncrest and Spelldrake talismans are recommended, but optional to help you from getting one-shotted

Really, the Greatshield Soldiers Spirit Ash is vital to success in this fight. It summons five skeleton boys with giant shields, and their names are Dale, Harry, Hawk, Andy and Bobby. They’re my best friends and they do an incredible job soaking up damage from even the toughest enemies in Elden Ring. If you’re struggling with this fight, or any others, it’s worth taking a detour to grind them up to +10. If you don’t have them, you can find them in Nokron, Eternal City, in the plaza next to the Site of Grace of the same name.

Watch on YouTube

If you’re a spell-caster, then you probably already have long-range sorted, but if you’re a melee-focused character, particularly a Dex build, I recommend grabbing the Thunderbolt Ash of War from Leyndell in the Lands Between. From the Avenue Balcony Site of Grace, head down the stairs and through the door, then over the balcony on your left. There’s a scarab here that drops Thunderbolt. It deals reliable damage at a really good distance, and is perfect for cheesing bosses while they’re looking the other way. I've embedded a third-party video from Axiom if you don't have it already.


Commander Gaius Strategy

First off, as soon as you enter the boss arena Gaius will charge at you. Sprint over to the left and hide behind the indentation in the wall. This will cause his charging boar to get stuck on the wall, giving you time to call in your Spirit Ash and prepare yourself without getting squashed.

The Tarnished hiding behind a wall to block the onrushing Commander Gaius in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
You're safe from Gaius while you're hidden behind this wall, but not for long! | Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Once you’re ready, get on Torrent and double-jump away from the wall to avoid the charge. This is very difficult and you might just get hit anyway, but your Spirit Ash should draw his aggro pretty quickly to relieve the pressure. In future, when you’re getting charged, it is possible to dodge roll forward and diagonally past Gaius to avoid his charge, but it’s extremely tough to get the timing down - go earlier than you think is right because it seems like the hurtbox is bigger than it maybe should be.

Next, I would get off of Torrent immediately. Whenever you ride your horse, Gaius seems to pull out a frenzied moveset with incredible speed that is obviously designed to unsaddle you as soon as possible.

The Tarnished casting a lightning bolt to strike Commander Gaius as he fights five Greatshield Soldiers in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

But, either way, with Gaius in the corner you can start the cheese, spamming him with ranged attacks while he happily wails on your Spirit Ash (which if it’s the Greatshield Soldier will be pretty impotently).

Replenish your FP with flasks when you’re running low, but keep a sharp eye on Gaius’s behavior. If it looks like his aggro is shifting to you, stop attacking immediately and be ready to sprint or roll diagonally forward and through his attack. Run him back towards your Spirit Ash so they draw his attention again, then, and only then, start attacking again. If you’re greedy and get caught in an animation he’ll just waddle over and kill you, so stay frosty.

Next, at 50% health, his moveset will change to draw more on gravity magic, with a devastating overhead smash that grows into a far-reaching AoE.

Realistically, your strategy doesn’t change here. Continue to stand as far away as possible, dealing as much damage as possible, while drawing as little attention as possible. If you draw the aggro of an overhead gravity slam, turn around and sprint away from it, or use your horse to dash away. If you just try to roll you will dodge the initial blast, but get swallowed up by the AoE aftermath.

When he’s back on the ground, hold fire until your summons pick up the slack once again, then return to firing your Ashes of War or spells.

Finally, as the last pixels of his health bar grow near, you might find yourself in a sticky situation where your Spirit Ash gets finished off, leaving you to fend for yourself without a distraction. The best course of action here is to take a leaf out of Gaius’s book: go hog wild and hop on the back of your horse.

The Tarnished riding their horse and hitting Commander Gaius in the back in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

Using Torrent’s speed to your advantage, you can dash in, get some hits in on his hindquarters, then retreat to a safe distance to turn around and do it again. At this stage of the fight, it’s actually much easier to use Torrent than before, because Gaius’s attacks now have bigger and longer animations that you can exploit.

When fighting on the back of Torrent, it’s very important to remember that your character is right-handed, so when you’re riding in to make your attack, keep Gaius on your right-hand side. Hopefully, you should only have to do this a couple of times.


Commander Gaius Rewards

Beating Gaius feels really good, doesn’t it? To overcome an ordeal like his unfair trampling attack is the reason anyone plays these games, and that’s a reward in and of itself.

However, more tangibly you actually get a ton of great rewards for taking him down. First, out the back of Gaius’s boss arena, you can access the Scaduview area. At the dormant chalice at the top of the hill you can pick up a grand total of 5 Scadutree Fragments for your trouble!

Next, if you toddle back to the Finger Maiden in the Roundtable Hold in the Lands Between, you can exchange Gaius’s Remembrance for either his main Gravity spell or his unique Sword Lance weapon, which has a Gravity Ash of War, Spinning Gravity Thrust, attached.

Pre-release the Sword Lance was bugged so the Ash of War was unusable, so I don’t know how good it is unfortunately.

The Tarnished collecting Commander Gaius's greaves from Scaduview in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree.
Image credit: FromSoftware/VG247

But don’t forget, also from the Finger Maiden you can buy Gaius’s armor set (sans greaves, which you get from the wolf-riding Albunaric in the Scaduview area). It’s like an even heavier and more defensive version of Radahn’s armor, which is great for strength builds or as part of mixed sets.

The full rundown is as follows:

  • Sword Lance - Remembrance
  • Blades of Stone - Remembrance
  • Gaius’s Helm - 8,000 Runes
  • Gaius’s Armor - 12,000 Runes
  • Gaius’s Gauntlets - 8,000 Runes
  • Gaius’s Greaves - From wolf-riding Albunaric in Scaduview

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