The Witcher 3: How To Defeat Dettlaff

The Witcher is known for its epic adventures and terrifying monsters. Some have unique explanations such as the Striga or even Morkvarg while others are just bloodthirsty creatures. Vampires are among the latter category and there’s none that puts up more of a fight than Dettlaff.

The second encounter against Dettlaff in The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine expansion is largely regarded as one of the most difficult boss fights of the entire game. This is rightly so as it is the very last showdown before Geralt may wind down at his newly acquired vineyard — Corvo Bianco.

Preparing For The Final Showdown

Proper preparation is always a big part of a witcher’s success, but it is absolutely crucial when coming up against Dettlaff in this final showdown. Naturally, Geralt will want his silver blade coated in vampire oil (superior if he has it). There are a slew of other alchemicals and skillsets Geralt will want to have at the ready. as well.

Useful Decoctions

  • The Arachas Decoction reduces damage received relative to Geralt’s armor and inventory weight. As long as you make sure Geralt’s inventory is brimming before the battle, this handy alchemical can severely decrease Geralt’s incoming damage.
  • The Ekhidna Decoction restores vitality as Geralt uses stamina which he will be using a lot of between all the rolling he’ll need to do and keeping his Quen shield active.
  • The Ekimmara Decoction restores vitality as Geralt deals damage. This, coupled with the Ekhidna decoction, will ensure Geralt is almost constantly regenerating vitality.
  • The Succubus Decoction consistently raises attack power throughout the fight. This is a fight where every strike counts, so enabling Geralt’s strikes to deal more and more damage as the battle goes on will aid in a swift ending.

Enhanced Mutations

  • Euphoria is almost unanimously regarded as the best enhanced mutation to have active. It boosts Geralt’s outgoing damage higher for every point of toxicity. With all those toxins from the aforementioned decoctions surging through him, this will send Geralt’s DPS off the charts.
  • Second Life is also a great alternative. If Geralt’s already been bested by Dettlaff countless times and you’re worried more about staying alive than you are causing massive damage, you’ll like this. Second Life causes Geralt to fully revive to max vitality and become momentarily invulnerable upon depleting his health bar. Dettlaff deals many lethal blows, so having this mutation active is a great safety net. It will only work every 180 seconds, but as long as Geralt can be evasive enough to survive for three minutes at a time, he’ll be essentially unkillable.


  • Protective Coating will enable the vampire oil coating on Geralt’s silver blade to not only deal bonus damage but also protect him against the higher vampire’s attack.
  • Heightened Tolerance
  • Acquired Tolerance
  • Metabolic Control

These last three abilities combined will allow Geralt to have four decoctions coursing through his system simultaneously. Or players can simply throwback a modest three decoctions and allow him to ingest other potions during the battle if need be.

Now, let’s discuss how to utilize these tools well enough to survive the three intense phases of this battle.

Detlaff’s Vampire Form

Unsurprisingly, the first phase is the easiest. Dettlaff is a swift and aggressive fighter — as you would expect from a higher vampire. This means that Geralt will need to utilize a combination of dodges and swift attacks.

The objective is simple: to savage the opponent and not to get hit. Geralt should keep Quen active as often as possible to cover him in case of any missteps. A strong Igni cast can create more of an opening for Geralt to land some extra hits.

His Beastial Form

Dettlaff will alternate between three phases of attacks while in this form. All of these attacks cause massive damage, but some are easier to dodge than others.

Bat Minions

The swarm of bats that Dettlaff summons is by far the most difficult attack to dodge. When you see the bats begin flocking towards Dettlaff, it’s time for Geralt to turn tail and run in the opposite direction.

As the bats gather for the dive, there will be two phases of a black cloud-like animation. The first is slightly more spread out horizontally as the bats continue to accumulate. The second grows condensed and becomes darker and more solid. Keep running until you see this second animation and then dodge to the side. It will take some practice, but it’s not impossible as some have come to believe.

Raining Blood

The next warning sign you’ll need to watch out for is a jet stream of blood that pools on the ground. After growing into a larger column, Dettlaff will materialize. As soon as you see the blood, dodge out of its radius, but don’t run too far. Unlike with the bats, Geralt will have an opening to attack, but only briefly.

Once Dettlaff appears amidst the bloody pool, he will take a moment to gather his strength. This is when Geralt can run in and get a couple of good strong attacks in. Then he should roll away in anticipation for Dettlaff to launch himself skyward which can damage Geralt.

Swooping Lunge

From there, Dettlaff will prepare to dive out of the air at Geralt who can counter his lunge with Aard just as he would a siren, wyvern, or any other winged beast. This will provide Geralt with his best opening to cause damage during this phase, so be sure to time the cast just right and be ready to rush in as quickly as possible.

The Belly of The Beast

Well, it’s probably not his belly, but Geralt does seem to have wound up somewhere within Dettlaff’s internal organs. What’s even creepier is that Dettlaff’s most grotesque form yet is also present within this fleshy prison. Finding yourself inside your foe is enough to cause anyone to start hacking mindlessly to find a way out. That’s something that Gears of War fans are intimately familiar with.

However, Geralt must keep his wits about him and stick to the witcher’s way of analyzing the situation and formulating a tactical strategy. If you look around the arena-like flesh trap, you will notice three bulging masses the size of small boulders against the fleshy walls. These appear to be Dettlaff’s hearts and it is far more effective to focus Geralt’s efforts on them rather than Dettlaff himself.

Get A Rhythm Going

xLetalis on YouTube discovered a rhythm of rolling and strong attacks that allows Geralt to systematically take out Dettlaff’s three hearts while simultaneously avoiding the fleshy blood-soaked creature himself. Geralt will expend a mass amount of stamina using this method, so a sign build or any skill build focusing on stamina regeneration is optimal. You may also consider using a Superior Tawny Owl (which never runs out when ingested at night) to boost stamina regeneration further.

You’ll want to lock-on to each heart in turn for this method. Start by running up to one of the hearts from the side until Geralt can reach it in one roll. Roll up to the heart, hit it with a strong attack, roll away the opposite way from which you approached, and then repeat the pattern in reverse.

This pattern will create a sort of v-shape and, as Dettlaff will likely be right on Geralt’s tail as he begins the assault on Dettlaff’s heart, it should put Dettlaff in the middle of that “V.” Repeating the cycle over and over again will keep Dettlaff relatively stationary as he’s constantly turning to retarget Geralt which in turn means he can’t strike as often.

Repeat this cycle on the two remaining hearts and Geralt will have slain Dettlaff at last.

NEXT: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – A Complete Guide

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Kim is a freelance writer for TheGamer. She recently began writing online articles in the summer of 2019 when she was approached on Discord to contribute some articles and guides for Wizards Unite World. Kim is a fan of fantastical genres, some of her favorite titles including Harry Potter, The Lord of The Rings, and The Witcher. She’s a bookish Ravenclaw eccentric, with an inquisitive sense for adventure. Kim seeks to use her writing as a means to travel and explore, hoping to share her findings and spread curiosity.

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