How to beat the Shadow of the Erdtree Commander Gaius boss

Commander Gaius charges at the player in Shadow of the Erdtree
(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

The Shadow of the Erdtree Commander Gaius boss is one of Elden Ring's more powerful bosses, a wild boar riding knight at the back of the Shadow Keep who wields a heavy lance and gravity magic - not to mention giant tusks.

Gaius became a bit easier recently after patches took some of the sting out of his initial onslaught, but all that means is that you have a moment to consider things before the Commander is bearing down on you - or perhaps we should saying boaring down on you. As one of the more brutal Shadow of the Erdtree Remembrance bosses, we'll cover how to beat Commander Gaius below, with strategies, weaknesses and rewards laid out clearly.

How to beat Commander Gaius in Shadow of the Erdtree

Commander Gaius levitates into the air with gravity magic in Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

We'll go into more detail about how to beat Gaius in Shadow of the Erdtree below, but here's a quick summary of tips on how to unseat the Commander for good.

  • You want a Scadutree Blessing of 10 at least, ideally higher.
  • At time of writing Commander Gaius has notably inconsistent hitboxes, so reconcile yourself with that frustration.
  • Gaius appears to be pretty weak to Fire, as well as Guard Counters, if you can pull them off.
  • An Ash summon like Tiche will help draw attention away.
  • If you have no shield, keep a healthy distance away to avoid being suddenly hit out of nowhere.
  • A strategy of heavy attacks and backing away is probably the safest option.

Gaius is a boss that has caused some annoyance among the playerbase, as the Boar Rider's hitboxes are erratic, meaning it's entirely possible to hit him in the side and do absolutely no damage - hardly ideal, and probably not intentional, but still something you'll have to deal with. It's possible that this gets fixed in the future, but I'll write this guide as though that situation were still ongoing.

First of all, you'll want to make sure you have a good Scadutree Blessing, at a minimum of 10, though it'll be far more reasonable around 13. Also, by my experience Gaius appears pretty weak to Fire attacks, as well as Guard Counters (if you're not familiar, a guard counter is when you block a melee attack with your shield and immediately do a heavy attack, resulting in a special counter that does major damage and stagger effect).

Your strategy in the arena depends on whether you fight at range or close up. Ranged fighters and spellcasters probably have the advantage here - Gaius is mainly a melee fighter who will try to close distance on you, though he does have some gravity spells and AOEs in a pinch. Keep your distance, use an Ash Summon to hold his attention, and bombard him with spells. The moment he gets close, focus on backing away again.

Commander Gaius swings a lance at a dodging player in Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

Melee fighters will have more of an issue, Gaius' hitboxes being what they are. Dodging his attacks with rolls is tricky, because he doesn't telegraph his pig's kicks, headbutts, spins and movements much. As a rule, if you have to dodge, you want to dodge towards him at an angle. The worst thing you can do is roll directly away, as most of his attacks carry him forward, and you'll likely just end up under his hooves anyway as he literally charges over you.

Shields help a lot here, as you can stay consistently defended and do the Guard counters that chew through his Poise, though obviously managing your stamina is its own challenge. Otherwise, I found the best method in melee is to stay at mid-distance, wait for the pause between his attacks, and dive in for a jumping attack with a heavy weapon before backing away again. Basically, the larger your weapon movements and impact, the more chance it has of hitting his suspiciously elastic hitbox.

Commander Gaius rewards

Commander Gaius's Remembrance in Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

When beaten, Commander Gaius drops the Remembrance of the Wild Boar Rider and 230,000 Runes. You can also buy Gaius's Armor set at the Roundtable Hold, with one exception - the Greaves of that armor set are just through the arch to the west of the arena. Through there is a cliffpoint, with the "Albinauric's Shack", a broken building with a talisman in the rubble. Hanging around it is an archer riding a wolf - defeat them and you'll get Gaius's Greaves to complete the set.

Commander Gaius's location

A player runs through the Shadow Keep church district to reach Commander Gaius in Shadow of the Erdtree

(Image credit: Bandai Namco)

If you're wondering how to get to Commander Gaius, you need to work out how to get to the back door of the Shadow Keep and the Scadutree, or rather, the section of cliff closest to the Scadutree. 

You can get more info in our guide on how to reach all Shadow of the Erdtree areas and locations, but for a quick summary: you need to enter the Shadow Keep via the East Church District, unflood the area, then go to the second level of the main church and take the path North to an elevator that brings you up to the back of the Specimen Storehouse. Climb all the way to the rafters at the top, and you can jump down to a balcony which leads to a second elevator, this one bringing you down to the Scadutree region. 

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.