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‘God of War’: How to help Kratos conquer every Muspelheim trial

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Kratos faces all manner of challenges across the nine Norse realms in God of War, but when you’re looking to cut out the puzzles and just focus on proving your worth in the battlefield, the volcanic realm of Muspelheim is the place to go. Ruled by the fire giant Sutr, Muspelheim is one of two optional realms where Kratos can test his might and earn some of the game’s most powerful equipment. Six combat arenas marked by a giant sword of Sutr line the ascent up a volcano, each presenting unique combat challenges that will test your ability to adapt to specific conditions such as time limits, avoid damage, or kill enemies in particular places.

You can first access Muspelheim after you’ve met Mimir and returned to the Witch’s house. After you’ve gathered all four cipher pieces, you can travel to Muspelheim via the realm travel room. The equipment you can earn here is most useful in the mid to late game, before you can craft the gear from Niflheim, so we recommend checking it out as soon as you are able — as Atreus is quick to remind you when you fail a challenge, if you hit a wall, you can always leave and come back later when you are stronger. Brokk has a workshop at the base of the volcano, and there are travel gates at each arena to allow easy travel within Muspelheim to anywhere you’ve previously reached. There are also a handful of chests scattered in the climbs between arenas, so be sure to look around as you ascend.

The challenges are divided into two rounds: On your first ascent, each of the first five arenas have two challenges — “Normal” and “Hard” — which you must complete in order to move on to the next arena. You can also warm up at any of the arenas, which will spawn enemies indefinitely until you opt to stop at the sword again. The sixth arena at the summit is a Valkyrie fight. After you’ve defeated her, you can go back and try the Impossible challenge at each arena, in any order. Complete any three of these and you will have enough keys to unlock the final challenge, Sutr’s Hidden Trials on the summit, which you can repeat many times to earn rewards that scale based on your performance.

We’ve compiled tips for each of the different challenges, sorted by arena, as well as the Hidden Trials. If you’re looking for more info, we recommend you also check out our general combat guide, which covers the fundamentals of Kratos’ battle-ready repertoire.

Editor’s Note: This guide contains narrative spoilers for God of War. We recommend waiting to read this guide until after you have gained access to the Muspelheim trials. Read at your own peril.

Arena 1

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Normal: Kill 15 enemies within 3 minutes. The enemies are a selection of regular, ranged, and heavy draugr. Nothing tricky here — just be aggressive and use your runic attacks and stun kills whenever possible to be efficient.

Hard: You have to face three waves, and wipe each out entirely or else new enemies will keep spawning. The first wave is draugr, which are straightforward. The second wave has a troll and revenants; focus on stunning the troll so you can take out the revenants while you ride and attack it. The third wave comprises wolves and tunneling tatzelwurms. The tatzelwurms can be hard to hit, as they can slip out of attack range underground: Try to interrupt them before they can burrow whenever possible.

Impossible: Defeat 20 enemies while taking no damage yourself. Keep your enemies at a distance as much as possible using ax throws, Atreus’ arrows, and runic attacks. Since any amount of damage, however small, will end the challenge immediately, you can devote all of your gear and enchantments towards offense and not worry about defense or vitality.

Arena 2

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Normal: Survive 5 minutes in an arena full of draugr and poison wolves. Between the quick, dual-wielding draugr and all the projectiles flying around from the wolves and ranged draugr, you need to keep moving to stay alive. Prioritize defense and dodging, but otherwise approach this as you would any other fight.

Hard: Kill several waves of draugr, Hel spawn, and wolves, all of which heal almost instantly. Stun kills are the key to victory here. Put your weapon away and punch your enemies instead, in concert with Atreus’ blue arrows, to quickly build up their stun meter for executions.

Impossible: Defeat all of the revenant, reavers, viken, and Hel shadow scouts within 4 minutes. Watch out for poison and finish enemies off efficiently with executions.

Arena 3

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Normal: Kill an elite dark elf who’s only vulnerable when you’ve slain all of his allies. The elite will have a glowing shield over their whole body when their allies are present, so you know not to bother attacking it. Take care to avoid its explosive area-of-effect attacks while you focus on everyone else. The allies include nightmares, dark elves, and revenants, so one of the fastest ways to clear them out is to grab the nightmares with your blades of chaos and throw them at the other enemies to quickly stun and finish them.

Hard: Kill a certain number of enemies within a ring on the ground within the time limit. First it’s five draugr in a ring near the cliff in 2 minutes, then dark elves in a ring closer to the entrances within 3 minutes, and, lastly, a combination of both in a ring that moves around within 5 minutes. Try to stand on the opposite side of the ring as your enemies to lure them in to take damage where you want them. Using L2 plus R1 with the Blades of Chaos to pull enemies in can also be useful. If you stun enemies near the edge of the ring, be sure to move around and face toward the center before you start the execution, since Kratos steps forward and the kill only counts if he finishes them within the ring.

Impossible: Kill three waves of enemies within gold rings. First you fight wolves and wulvers by the edge, followed by draugr and heavy draugr close to one of the caves, then tatzelwurms, speed draugr, and ogres by the other. When possible, lure enemies from across the ring or pull them in with your Blades of Chaos, but primarily you will have to herd them in. Be especially conscious of facing toward the center when you initiate executions with the draugr. Ogres can be useful as weapons and you’ll want to get them out of the way anyway, but it’s hard to get other enemies into the circle once you’re riding the ogre. Note that the enemies don’t count as dead until the end of their execution animation, and the clock is still running, so don’t try to sneak an ogre in as your last kill when you know it takes a bit for Kratos to brain them.

Arena 4

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Normal: Kill 100 enemies at your own pace. It’s a war of attrition against draugr, hel spawn, travelers, and ogres. Avoid taking damage and use gear and enchantments that boost healing if sustaining long fights is a problem for you. Focus on stunning ogres and riding them to take out other enemies whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Hard: Don’t let anyone capture Atreus. Waves of draugr and a few travelers will swarm Atreus, and you just have to make sure they stay off of him. A meter quickly fills up when someone is on him, giving you a chance to respond, so maybe keep a runic attack in your pocket in case it happens. Even if they grab him a few times, you can still pass.

Impossible: Defeat all of the enemies with regenerating health. Like the Hard challenge in Arena 2, just use your punches and Atreus’ blue arrows to take down these legion, dark elves, reavers, and draugr with stun executions.

Arena 5

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Normal: You start with 1 minute on the clock, but killing an enemy adds 30 seconds to the clock. You need to make it through several waves to defeat everything, going from Hel-reavers and travelers to nightmares and wulvers, and then finally draugr and an ancient. For all but the ancient, you can try to rush them down quickly by using punches and Atreus’ blue arrows to stun and execute enemies.

Hard: Defeat 20 enemies without taking damage. This can be tricky, but you have no time limit, so use that to your advantage. Fight enemies at a distance with heavy ax throws and ranged runic attacks. Only go in close if you know that you can finish someone off quickly. Be careful that no one sneaks around behind you.

Impossible: A longer version of the normal challenge, where you start the fight with 1 minute and earn more time by killing enemies, this version spans four waves, so you need to be more efficient. First are draugr and heavy draugr, which are easy to kill, but only reward 10 seconds each. Area-of-effect runic attacks are useful here for clearing them out quickly. All of the remaining enemies add 30 seconds. Next are several ice revenants and wulvers — we recommend chasing down and focusing on the revenants first so they don’t catch you off-guard while you’re fighting the wulvers. Next are draugr and a dark elf. Be extra cognizant of the dark elf, because his blinding attack, which plunges Kratos into temporary darkness, can be very frustrating here under the time limit. Next, there are more draugr and several ogres. As is often the case with ogres, focus on stunning one first, so you can hop on its back and use it as a weapon against everything else. Finally two travelers will join the party. Assuming you’ve made good time so far, these should be fairly straightforward to focus on one at a time while watching the other.

Arena 6

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Valkyrie: The first time up the volcano, the final trial is a fight with a Valkyrie. Gondul uses lots of fire attacks, so you will want to counter with your Leviathan Axe. She always opens the fight by calling down meteors, which are telegraphed and easy to dodge, followed by a charge attack. Whenever she flies up and readies a mace attack, throw your ax or have Atreus fire an arrow to interrupt her, then follow up with attacks when she’s on the ground. When she shouts “Valhalla!” and flies high up into the air, keep dodging until she comes down to avoid a powerful pin attack. She’s vulnerable for a moment after she misses you, however, so be ready to follow up with an attack.

Sutr’s Hidden Trials: This is the ultimate test of your skill. To access Sutr’s Hidden Trials, you need to collect three keys by completing any three of the five Impossible challenges. Once you’ve completed them, you can proceed to the summit where you fought Gondul and there will be another sword. It’s a time attack with a selection of enemies and you need to kill as many as possible within 8 minutes. You earn a bronze, silver, or gold commendation depending on whether you kill at least 20, 35, or 50 enemies within the limit. There aren’t really any special tricks here apart from everything you did to reach this point, so just mind your health and be efficient with all of the abilities at your disposal. We didn’t have any difficulty reaching gold on our first try, so if you’ve made it this far, you’ll probably do just fine. Once you’ve completed the Hidden Trials once, all of the swords from the Impossible challenges will be restored, and you have to collect three keys again to take another shot.


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Armor: The main reward of Muspelheim is that Brokk and Sindri can craft powerful armor for you. As with all other tiers of armor throughout the game, there are three variants that emphasize strength, defense, and cool-down, respectively. Gathering the resources to craft and upgrade all of them would be prohibitively time consuming, so we recommend you pick one set that matches your play style. The Smoldering Brimstone Armor offers the most strength. Each piece has a moderate perk activation chance for an Aura of Fire whenever you take damage, adding strength and restoring a small amount of health. Equipping the whole set increases this chance substantially. The Fallen Ash Armor has the most defense, along with a moderate perk activation chance for taking damage for a Retaliation of Fire, which inflicts burn damage on nearby enemies. The chance is increased when you wear the whole set. Lastly, the Blazing Magma Armor buffs your cool-down the most, including a moderate perk chance whenever you take damage of a Magma Shield, which prevents interruptions. All of the materials for crafting and upgrading all three sets are earned by completing Muspelheim challenges.

Normal/hard:  3 to 12 smoldering ember, 2,000 to 5,000 hacksilver.

Impossible: 20 smoldering ember, 1 to 3 crest of flame, 5,000 to 8,000 hacksilver.

Gondul: In addition to the standard Valkyrie rewards (equipment, Asgardian steel, etc.), chests also contain 30 smoldering embers, 5,000 hacksilver, 12 crests of flame, three greater crests of flame, and one crest of Sutr. Lastly, Gondul also drops the Raging Inferno of Muspelheim. Trade this in to Brokk or Sindri for the final Chaos Flames in order to upgrade your Blades of Chaos to max level (five).

Hidden Trials of Sutr: The maximum rewards for achieving a gold ranking are 50 smoldering embers, 20,ooo hacksilver, 20 crests of flame, 12 greater crests of flame, five crests of Sutr, and one flawless element of the realm. Gold and bronze completions net you 35 and 20 smoldering embers, respectively, and proportionally fewer of all other rewards.

Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
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