Best Maternal Staff build in Shadow of the Erdtree

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✓ At a Glance
  • Weapons – Maternal Staff, Reduvia, and any Seal
  • Stats – Arcane and Vigor
  • Sorceries and Incantations – Impenetrable Thorns, Golden Vow, Mantle of Thorns, Bestial Vitality, and Bloodflame Talons
  • Talismans – Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman, Graven-Mass Talisman, Beloved Stardust, and Lord of Blood’s Exultation
  • Mixed Physick – Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear and Opaline Bubbletear

Magic and sorcery doesn’t pack quite the same punch in Shadow of the Erdtree as it did in Elden Ring. It’s all about Faith now. But magic remains viable, especially once you’ve got your hands on the Maternal Staff and the Impenetrable Thorns sorcery. They form a formidable combo, spewing out thorny AoE damage with blood loss procs aplenty to back it up.

Played right, this build makes some of the expansion’s toughest bosses significantly easier to beat, dishing out big damage rather quickly. It’s a little squishy but you’ll be melting health bars so quickly that you shouldn’t be fighting any single enemy for too long.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: equipment menu.
Stats for the build. Captured by VideoGamer

Stats and attributes

The primary stats are Vigor and Arcane, the former to stay alive long enough against the walloping you get from the DLC’s enemies. And, the latter as our main source of damage and blood loss. Intelligence and Faith are levelled up enough to meet the requirements for the Maternal Staff, Impenetrable Thorns sorcery, and Incantation buffs. Lastly, a small bump to Mind and Endurance should keep your stocked in FP and the stamina required to cast Impenetrable Thorns and avoid fat rolling. Any future levels should be put into Arcane up to the 80 soft cap then Vigor, Mind, and Endurance. Here’s a rough starting point for level 150:

AttributeLevel
Vigor60
Mind20
Endurance23
Strength7
Dexterity13
Intelligence21
Faith25
Arcane60

Weapons

  • Right hand – Reduvia +10
  • Off hand – Maternal Staff – +25 and any Seal

Both the Reduvia dagger and Maternal Staff scale with Arcane, A and B respectively when fully upgraded. The staff boosts finger sorcery, and therefore Impenetrable Thorns, which is exactly what we want for this build. Though you’ll be depending primarily on the Maternal Staff for damage, the Reduvia is useful for the moments when melee combat is required. 

Maternal Staff stat requirements:

  • Strength – 7
  • Intelligence – 21
  • Arcane – 21

If you don’t have the Reduvia, other daggers like the Misericorde or the Erdsteel Dagger with the affinity set to blood will do the job. With these you can also use the Endure Ash of War. Because it raises your poise and reduces incoming damage, it should lessen instances of your casts being interrupted. Lastly, you’ll also want a Seal to cast Incantations. A basic one like the Finger Seal works well, but you can opt for something else as you see fit.

Reduvia stat requirements:

  • Strength – 5
  • Dexterity – 13
  • Arcane – 13
Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: Realm of Shadow map.
Maternal Staff location. Captured by VideoGamer

As the Maternal Staff is a new weapon for Shadow of the Erdtree, you’ll need to track it down for this build. You’ll get it as a drop for defeating Count Ymir, Mother of Fingers in the Cathedral of Manus Metyr in Scadu Altus. Check out our dedicated Count Ymir quest guide for all the details. You’ll also get the Beloved Stardust talisman during the quest, which we also use in this build.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: equipment menu.
Impenetrable Thorns is the centerpiece of the build. Captured by VideoGamer

Sorceries and Incantations

Incantation/SorceryEffect
Impenetrable ThornsSummons the Scadutree’s impenetrable thorns from the earth
Golden VowIncreases attack and defense for self and allies
Mantle of Thorns (optional)Covers self with the Scadutree’s impenetrable thorns
Bestial Vitality (optional)Heals HP over a period of time
Bloodflame Talons (optional)Creates bloodflame lacerations that then explode

Impenetrable Thorns is the cornerstone of this build. It’s a sorcery that unleashes thorns dealing physical damage and haemorrhage buildup, working with the Maternal Staff’s Arcane scaling. You can pick it up on a ledge near the top of the Specimen Storehouse in Shadow Keep. From the Seventh Floor site of grace, head across the storehouse on the bridge then up the beast and outside. Drop down the ledge ahead and you’ll find the sorcery on a corpse. Golden Vow is a staple of most builds, boosting attack and defense, useful for what is quite a squishy build.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: Realm of Shadow map.
Impenetrable Thorns location. Captured by VideoGamer

You can also supplement the build with optional sorceries and incantations. Mantle of Thorns coats your tarnished in thorns, dishing out damage when enemies get too close. Bestial Vitality replenishes HP over time. Bloodflame Talons creates exploding lacerations that cause blood loss buildup.

Talismans

TalismanEffect
Dragoncrest Greatshield TalismanEnormously boosts physical damage negation
Graven-Mass TalismanGreatly raises potency of sorceries
Beloved StardustShortens casting speed for sorcery and incantations by the utmost, but increases damage taken
Lord of Blood’s ExultationBlood loss in vicinity increases attack power

Dragoncrest Greatshield Tasliman helps negate some of the build’s squishiness and the damage negation lost by using Beloved Stardust, which itself keeps casting times down so you can chain Impenetrable Thorns quickly. Graven-Mass buffs Impenetrable Thorns nicely for extra damage. Lastly, Lord of Blood’s Exultation works with the build’s blood loss buildup to increase damage whenever bleed occurs, which will be often.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: equipment menu.
The Alberich set gives thorn sorcery boost. Captured by VideoGamer

Armor and gear

  • Alberich’s Pointed Hat
  • Alberich’s Rob
  • Alberich’s Bracers
  • Verdigris Greaves

We want to maximise the damage output of Impenetrable Thorns and the Alberich’s set strengthens thorn sorcery so is a perfect fit. For the greaves, you’ll want to go for something with high damage negation stats like the Greaves of Solitude, Verdigris Greaves, or Lionel’s Greaves, while still staying within that medium equipment load range.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: equipment menu.
Mixed Physick. Captured by VideoGamer

Mixed Physick and Great Rune

For Mixed Physick, Magic-Shrounding Cracked Tear and Opaline Bubbletear are the way to go. The Cracked Tear boosts magic attacks (read – Impenetrable Thorns) and the Bubbletear negates damage to counteract the effects of the Beloved Stardust talisman and the damage you’ll inflict on yourself when casting Thorns. As for the Great Rune, you can beat Radahn’s Great Rune with its boost to HP, FP, and stamina.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Maternal Staff build: Tarnished in Scadu Altus.
Thorns in action. Captured by VideoGamer

General combat tips

Before a fight do the following:

  • Buff with Golden Vow
  • Use Mantle of Thorns and Bestial Vitality if you’re using them
  • Chug your Mixed Physick
  • Top up your FP with a flask and make sure your Maternal Staff is active in your left hand

From there, get right into the thick of it and chain cast Impenetrable Thorns in quick succession to proc blood loss. If you’re using the Endure skill, then you can withstand most attacks while casting and finish off enemies before they damage you enough to kill you. But, if you prefer a more mobile playstyle, combine quick casts with dodge rolls and swipes of the Reduvia to speed up the blood loss procs.

About the Author

Tom Bardwell

Tom is guides editor here at VideoGamer.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

  • Release Date: June 21, 2024
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
  • Genre(s): Action, RPG
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