The Black Forest is one of the earliest biomes of Valheim and it’s where your Viking skills will be truly tested for the first time. You’ll encounter swarms of annoying Greydwarfs that want nothing more than to tear down everything you build. Then there are the spooky Skeletons guarding protecting their burial plots. The real threat is the Trolls, hulking blue behemoths that knock over everything in their way — and hey, Trolls are pretty handy when it comes to collecting lots of wood, too.
The Black Forest can be explored right at the start of the game, but you’ll need to defeat the first boss (Eikthyr) before going in. Eikthyr drops the Antler Pickaxe, which you’ll need to acquire valuable materials in Black Forest biomes like Copper and Tin. Both are needed to create Bronze — which gives you a whole bunch of useful armor and weapon crafting recipes.
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The Black Forest is the second biome, and the first truly challenging one. You’ll want to defeat Eikthyr, the boss of the Meadows biome, to acquire the Antler Pickaxe before fully exploring the Black Forest.
The Black Forest is where you’ll find Tin and Copper Ore Deposits, which can only be mined with the Antler Pickaxe — Tin and Copper are specifically required to smelt into Bronze, which can then be used to make many weapons and armor recipes.
The Black Forest is notable for its heavy tree cover and difficult enemies, including the killer Trolls. These giants are best ignored until you’re ready for a long fight. Here’s a few tips to stay alive solo, and how to summon the boss.
- Build an outpost near the water — if you’re on the coast, it’s much easer to defend against constant Greydwarf attacks. You can also dig a mote and build a small bridge with a gap missing. Enemies can’t jump, so they won’t be able to attack you.
- Use the Antler Pickaxe to collect Tin and Copper Deposits — and make sure to dig under the Copper Deposits to find more. Use a Smelter to combine Tin and Copper to create Bronze. Build a Bronze Axe first to gain access to Fine Wood and Core Wood.
- At this point in the game, you’ll finally be able to craft a Cultivator. This allows you to acquire seeds, which can be planted. Start collecting Carrots, getting seeds, and planting a garden in your base. Now you’ll have an infinite source of food.
- Early while exploring, don’t bother fighting everything! Just avoid enemies, get what you need, and run away if you’re outnumbered. Don’t fight Trolls! Enemies in the Black Forest don’t drop anything useful, so there’s no reason to kill them until later.
- The Bow is incredibly important. In the Black Forest, you can craft the Finewood Bow with Fine Wood, Core Wood, and Deer Hide. You can also start crafting Bronzehead Arrows and Fire Arrows — Fire Arrows are going to be very important for the boss.
- Start brewing Health and Stamina Potions. You’ll need Cauldrons and a Fermenter to make potions — and lots of foraged berries, honey, dandelions, and raspberries. It takes two in-game days to brew potions, so get started on potions ASAP. Always be fermenting new potions.
- Before fighting the boss, craft a set of Troll Armor and lots of Fire Arrows. This is why you’ll want to hunt trolls — Troll Armor lets you move around faster, while Fire Arrows are very powerful against the Elder boss.
- To summon the Elder boss, you need to hunt Greydwarf Shamans and Brutes. Rarely, they’ll drop Ancient Seeds. You need x3 Ancient Seeds — they are also rare drops from chests in the Black Forest, and are guaranteed to drop from Greydwarf Nests. Place the Ancient Seeds on the Black Forest altar to summon the boss.
- The Elder is a huge tree-like humanoid that spawns explosive roots from the ground and launches projectiles. It is weak against Fire Arrows, so your best strategy is to use the unbreakable summoning altar as cover, and circled around while plinking the boss with Fire Arrows. If you run out, you can run away and return with more arrows later.
The Elder drops the Swamp Key, which gives you access to the burial chambers in the Swamps where you’ll find Iron Scraps. That’s your next destination!