There are a lot of different monsters to fight in The Witcher 3. Some you’ll find in the wilds as you explore – often guarding a pile of loot, or a particular location. And some are hidden away, put there for you to hunt down during Monster Contracts.
The monsters you fight during contracts are mostly stronger, unique, and even named creatures. And the monsters in the wilds are the “generic” versions.
Not that the “generic” versions of these monsters are easy to fight. Every monster has its own individual level, indicated by the graphics above its head. If a monster displays a red skull above it’s head, then you’ve maybe picked a fight with something too strong for you.
For this guide I’m going to concentrate on the monsters you find in the wilds – the “generic” monsters that can be encountered while out in the world. Not the Monster Contracts – that’s a separate guide.
I’m going to list these monsters sort of “chronologically”, in that: the weakest ones (the ones you encounter in the game first) come first and the strongest ones last.
Scavenging monsters, attracted to dead bodies. The stronger Alghoul version is much more dangerous because it has spikes on its back that damage you when you hit them. Blast an Alghoul with Axii to make it retract its spikes.
Aggressive water-dwellers found mostly around lakes and coastlines. Always near water. They come in a variety of types, including the more dangerous Mucknixer and Drowned Dead varieties.
Ghosts that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There’s the bog standard Wraith (usually glows green), the Noonwraith (only comes out during the day), and the Nightwraith (only comes out at night). There’s also a higher-level Wraith in Toussaint called a Beann’shie.
These disgusting necrophages will explode after taking a certain amount of damage, and there are a number of different varieties of them. If a Rotfiend explodes next to you it will likely kill you, so when fighting them make sure to always roll away if you see one about to explode. They start to swell up and make a gagging sound when that’s about to happen. The Devourer variety is more dangerous as it can sometimes explode without warning, and when it does so it leaves behind a cloud of poison gas. There’s also the Scurver variety, but I’ll mention those later because it’s a Blood and Wine addition and for higher-level players.
Ogroid monsters that also come in a variety of different types. The most dangerous kind are the Nekker Warriors, that are bred for fighting.
Insectoid creatures that come in three main varieties – Drones, Workers, and Warriors. Endrega Drones can fire poison quills at you. Endrega Warriors have large mace-like tails that can poison you when striking.
A necrophage-type monster that can transform into fog when it attacks you. Initially Foglets can be quite scary monsters to fight, but they’re actually quite easy to beat. When they turn into fog, watch how the mist moves and when the fog thickens be ready to dodge the Foglet‘s attack. As soon as a Foglet materialises: press dodge, then hit back. You can even knock Foglets over using Aard, if it’s powerful enough, and one-stab kill them. There’s also an orange-coloured variant, called a Tangalore, that appears only near the magic cataclysm on Skellige, and on The Isle of Mists.
These chicken-headed monsters are more dangerous than they might first appear. In general, I find most Draconids a fairly easy fight, although Cocktrices I have respect for. Their wing sweeps can be deadly. Basilisks are similar creatures.
Another member of the Draconid family, Forktails are flying lizard monsters with a fearsome bite. Wyverns and Royal Wyverns are similar, but more dangerous.
Elemental fights are slow, lumbering slug-fests, but always dangerous. Fire and Ice Elementals are particularly dangerous, because they also damage you with fire or frost attacks. Earth Elementals use the ground to attack you, and can also create a circle of stones around you to prevent you from escaping the fight. Gargoyles are significantly faster than your average Elemental, and seemingly more intelligent, and have poisonous breath.
Come in two main varieties: Royal Griffins and Archgriffins. The latter variety are the most dangerous.
These solitary giants tend to appear in the weirdest of places. They’ve got a couple of impressive attacks (air jump, and relentless run at you and punch), so shouldn’t be taken on lightly, but are generally relatively easy to fight. That is: unless you try to take one on that has a red skull above its head. In which case: it’s worth remembering that one punch can kill you.
There are also Ekhidnae, which are a more dangerous type of Siren. These creatures generally patrol over water and can dive straight into the water from flying, which makes them problematic. The best way to deal with them is either on land, or standing on a boat, and blasting them with Aard or Igni as they swoop down, before slashing them with your sword. Using Axii on them will also make them fall out of the sky. There’s also a special horn, called the Hornwall Horn, that you can use to make all nearby Sirens fall out of the air, if blown.
Not forgetting the more dangerous, but equally as annoying, Erynias. Use the same Igni, Aard, or Axii technique as Sirens to make them fall out of the sky, then hack them. Harpies tend to be easier to hit with a sword when they’re flying, than Sirens.
Most werewolves in The Witcher 3 are named and unique, but not all of them. There are a few ‘generic’ werewolves in the game to fight. There’s also a stronger type of werewolf found on Skellige, called Ulfhedinn.
Bulbous insectoid monsters that come in three main varieties. Regular Arachas, Armoured Arachas, and Venomous Arachas. The venomous type is the most dangerous.
These abominations of nature throw balls of mud to blind you and can dive into the water and come up immediately beside you. They’re extremely dangerous and should be fought with care. See also: the variations, Bilge Hags and Grave Hags.
Also come in the Rabid Rock Troll and Ice Troll varieties, but are generally the same. As far as I know, you can’t catch rabies from a Rabid Rock Troll, but you can die in one punch. Like Cyclopses, Trolls have a run-at-you-and-punch type attack that can end a fight in an instant. They can also throw rocks at you. The Ice Troll guarding the master armourer tools at Clan Tordarroch Forge in Skellige is level 26 and a major test in the game for lower-levelled players. You need to beat it to craft master level armour. I took it on at level 18 recently, and got the troll down to 30% health, before it pummelled me with a multi-punch. I will try him again later… Haha.
The smaller Relict cousins of Fiends, Chorts are large, aggressive horned monsters that like to attack opponents with a devastating charge.
These huge, horned Relict monsters attack with their teeth, claws and horns, and also have a third eye on their head which can hypnotise an opponent to obscure their vision. Like Chorts, Fiends can also charge you with their horns.
Ancient tree-like monsters that can attack you with their branches; with crows, and also with wolves. Although Leshen are quite scary-looking monsters, they’re slow, and also susceptible to fire.
There are quite a few different types of vampire in The Witcher 3, and they tend to look quite different too. There are Ekimmara, Katakan, and also later in Blood and Wine: Bruxa, Alps, Garkain, and Fleders. There are also Higher Vampires too, although these are all unique characters in The Witcher 3 and are not found “in the wild”, as it were. In general, vampires are among your toughest monster opponents.
These ghostly dogs only appear in Toussaint, and are easy enough to deal with – provided you’re at a high enough level – since they only begin to appear later in the game.
A variation of the Rotfiend and Devourer, Scurvers only appear in Toussaint and they can be a real problem when you encounter them. Primarily because they’re covered in spikes and hurt you if they touch you, and also because they tend to explode in a huge blast of goo when you kill one, taking your life if you’re too close.
Insectoid monsters with powerful legs and jaws. They come in Worker and Warrior varieties. Every hit they land increases Geralt‘s toxicity, which can prevent him from being able to consume potions. White Honey cancels the effect. Kikimore always attack in numbers, so the aforementioned toxicity effect is a very real threat.
These tree-like Relicts are similar in some respects to Leshen, although – unlike Leshen – Spriggans are much faster-moving. They also have large claws on their arms and can dish more damage than your average Leshen.
These frightening, high-energy monsters appear only in Toussaint and will attack you whenever you come within range. The key thing about beating Giant Centipedes is to time when to make your hits, since they often hide underground. Watch for ground movement and avoid their attacks, then try to get your blows in.
These Cursed plants spit poison at you and have a nasty whipping attack and should be taken out as soon as they’re discovered. Vile weeds.
Giant spiders that move quickly and erratically and can be very difficult to hit. They also usually come in fairly large groups, so can easily overwhelm you. A larger and more dangerous “momma” variety appears too. Arachnomorphs can be difficult to fight. You can use Axii to stun individual monsters, which may help. Igni can also help. Also Geralt‘s “Whirl attack” is useful against large groups of Arachnomorphs.
Wights are extremely rare monsters. There are two Wights in the wild in Blood and Wine; one found in a cave during the quest “The Warble of a Smitten Knight“, and one in the very north of Toussaint, and they are fierce opponents. There’s also a unique, quest-related Spotted Wight, that you can fight during the quest “La Cage Au Fou“, although you can also “save” it, which is my preferred route.
Occasionally found in the wilds of Toussaint, these fire-spitting, pale-skinned Draconids are pretty advanced-level opponents. Getting them to stop flying and land is one thing; getting close enough to hit them is another.
Did I miss any? Let me know if so!
Bears, Dogs, Panthers, Wild Boars, Wolves, Wargs
Werewolves, Berserkers (during King’s Gambit), Ulfhedinn (stronger type of werewolf found on Skellige), Archespore
Basilisks, Cockatrices, Forktails, Wyverns, Royal Wyverns, Silver Basilisk, Slyzards, Slyzard Matriarchs
Djinn, Earth Elemental, Fire Elemental, Gargoyle, Golem, Hound of the Wild Hunt, Ice Elemental
Ekhidna, Erynia, Griffin, Harpy, Siren, Succubus
Arachasae, Arachnomorphs, Armored Arachasae, Endrega Drones, Endrega Warriors, Endrega Workers, Giant Centipedes, Kikimore, Kikimore Workers, Pale Widows, Venomous Arachasae
Alghoul, Devourer, Drowner, Drowned Dead, Foglet, Ghoul, Grave Hag, Mucknixer, Rotfiend, Scurver, Water Hag, Wight
Cyclops, Ice Troll, Nekkers, Rock Troll
Chorts, Doppler, Fiends, Godling, Leshen, Shaelmaar, Spriggans
Barghest, Banshee (type of Wraith in Toussaint), Nightwraith, Noonwraith, Wraith
Alp, Bruxa, Ekimmara, Fleder, Garkain, Katakan