The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine DLC offers some of the most powerful monsters in the series, but few are more difficult or more deadly than Dettlaff, the Elder Vampire who Geralt can encounter and battle on multiple occasions. We'll show you how to beat this dangerous enemy and what his weaknesses are.
How to Beat Dettlaff in the First Fight
When you fight Dettlaff in during the Blood Run quest when he's known to you only as the Beast of Beauclair, you'll be fighting Dettlaff in a weakened form where you can get a sense of his weaknesses, strengths and attacks patterns. Just in case, we'll list those below.
Dettlaff's extreme power is matched by a few weaknesses, some of which aren't listed in the bestiary. Fortunately, we've got them here.
- Vampire Oil - This is the obvious one, but being an Elder Vampire, you can boost the damage of your silver sword by spreading some vampire oil on it. If you've got the superior version, you'll be doing an extra 50% damage on every attack, a huge advantage.
- Black Blood - This potion is another vampire-specific one, doing damage back to any vampire who manages to hit you. It's not something you should rely on - you are still getting hurt - but if you are going to get hit, you might as well get him back for it.
- Quen - This spell is pretty ideal against an enemy like Dettlaff, who tends to do single, high-damage strikes while leaping across the room, but doesn't follow up on any of them. Tanking the blow with your magical shield, then using his pause afterwards to do some damage is a very valid strategy, just back up and cast it again the moment it's recharged.
- Yrden - This isn't like a noonwraith where Yrden actually makes the enemy take more damage, but it can open him up for extra attacks if used correctly. Throw down a circle, then back up so it's placed between you and Dettlaff. When he leaps through it as part of his attack, it'll slow him down and leave him vulnerable to a stab from behind, assuming you're quick enough to make use of it.
- Stay defensive, stay patient - Dettlaff's long claws are very good at blocking your sword strikes, meaning that this is one of those bosses who you can't fight at your own pace. Wait for him to drop his guard after an attack, then start attacking him from the back. You should be able to get a few hits in, then back up and cast Quen again if you didn't have it already up.
Assuming you keep these in mind and play carefully, it shouldn't take long before Dettlaff retreats, giving you his bestiary page and giving you some knowledge about what to expect for your follow-up match.
How to Beat Dettlaff in the Second Fight in Tesham Mutna
To be clear, there's a possibility this fight doesn't happen, depending on your choices and how the game plays out. Out of the three main endings to Blood and Wine, Geralt and Dettlaff don't fight in one of them. However, that still means there's a more likely chance you are going to war, so we'll explain how to win that here.
How to Beat Dettlaff's First Phase
Here Dettlaff is basically the same as he was when you fought him before in Beauclair, with all the same weaknesses and attack patterns, so use the information above again to start damaging him. Also use this opportunity to drink a Thunderbolt potion and prepare whatever you think you'll need for a difficult fight - otherwise this is going to be a nightmare when Detlaff enters his second form, which triggers after you do about a quarter of his health bar.
How to Beat Dettlaff's Second Phase
Once you lower his health enough, there'll be a brief cinematic where Dettlaff turns into a winged Giger-looking monstrosity, before you enter the second stage of the fight. This is easily the most difficult and one of the most challenging aspects in all of Witcher 3, as Dettlaff begins to use unpredictable, high-damage attacks with no easy rebuttal and very little chance to damage him back. He's still weak to Vampire Oil and Black Blood, but now you have far less opportunity to make the most of these things, so this can drag on a bit. Fortunately we've listed his different attacks below with an explanation of how to avoid or counterattack.
- Swarm of Bats - From in the air, Dettlaff summons a whole cloud of bats that power towards Geralt. This is by far his most dangerous attack, as the perspective makes it difficult to anticipate and Quen does nothing to block it, as you're technically taking numerous hits almost instantly, rather than one big strike. Back away as much as possible, make sure you're on as much health as you can get, then roll to the side at the very last moment. It's difficult to learn the timing precisely, but the moment to roll is usually a little bit later than you think it is - like we said, the perspective plays tricks on you.
- Diving Swoop - Dettlaff attempts to fly down and tackle Geralt mid-flight. There's usually a little bit of a feint first, ducking down, then up, then back down again for the attack. Roll to avoid it rather than block, though if you're feeling brave you can always try to use Aard to knock Dettlaff out of the air. It's a difficult counter with a very small window of opportunity, but it does give you a chance to land some hits afterwards. Use with caution.
- Blood Spikes - After a while, strange swirling blood spikes will start to appear on the battlefield. Avoid them at all costs, as they can trap Geralt in place and do damage to him, as well as leaving him open to further attacks.
- Crash Landing - Dettlaff teleports upwards in a stream of red mist, then slams into the ground wherever Geralt is standing. Roll to the side, but don't go too far - this is your opportunity to do some real damage back to him after he lands. You should be able to get in roughly four hits at most, but then give him some distance, as when he takes off again he'll damage anybody close to him. If you're feeling clever, throw Yrden on the ground just before he lands to give yourself an extra moment.
How to Beat Dettlaff's Third Phase
Once you get Dettlaff down to a third of his health, there'll be another cinematic where Geralt cuts off his wings, then gets bitten in return, before reality finally dissolves into a weird dimension made of meat, and Dettlaff is now a monster made completely of blood. This is easier than the previous stage of the fight, but it can still be dangerous, so don't forget to heal and cast Quen at every opportunity.
Here the trick is not to focus your efforts on the new Bloodlaff, but instead to attack the white, pulsating organs around the edge of the arena. Bloodlaff is just an avatar who will respawn if killed, while the organs are what are keeping Dettlaff alive. Split your efforts between them, attacking the copy to give yourself a moment's respite in which you can do some major damage to the organs. The Whirl ability is very useful here, allowing you to devastate both simultaneously, or use Aard to throw the blood avatar back if you need a moment. Once you destroy all three organs, this weird dimension vanishes and you'll be back at Tesham Mutna with the real vampire again. Hit him with one more attack to complete the fight.
Now that you've conquered Blood and Wine, why not check out our guide to seeing what other endings were possible and how to accomplish them? Or if you consider yourself more of a lover than a fighter, take a look at what romances were available in this DLC and how to fulfil them.