While all resources in Valheim take an investment of time and effort to uncover and use, Iron is particularly tough to come by. You’ll get to it about halfway through your quest through the game, but unlike Copper and Tin, which you’ll use to make Bronze for weapons and armor, Iron isn’t available to mine at first. Instead, you can only find Iron in specific places in the Swamp biome, and it’s impossible to unlock those locations without taking down the boss of the Black Forest, The Elder.
Here’s everything you need to know to harvest Iron, including where you can get it, what you need to do to earn it, and what you can turn it into once you have it.
What To Do First
Before you’re ready to start harvesting and using Iron, you need to make some serious strides through the Meadows and Black Forest biomes. Iron is located in the Swamp biome, which is home to some tough customers in Valheim’s mid-game. The Swamps have enemies that wield poison, like Blobs, plus tougher combatants such as Draugrs who can make quick work of you with their bows if you’re not paying attention.
To hang in the Swamp, you’re going to want to invest in Bronze armor. Once you’ve defeated Eikthyr, Valheim’s Meadows boss, you’ll gain the Hard Antler, which you can turn into a pickaxe. Use that to mine Tin (found near water) and Copper (found in the Black Forest), which you can combine at a Forge to make Bronze. Combined with leather, you can make Bronze clothing that will offer a lot more protection than the Leather and Troll armor you’ve probably been wearing. You’ll also want to invest in Bronze weapons and a Finewood bow.
Once you’ve got better gear, start searching for Swamps. These dark areas border the ocean and are marked by sparse trees and muddy areas that are tough to traverse. You don’t just want any Swamps, though–you’re searching for dungeon structures in the Swamp called Sunken Crypts. You won’t be able to enter these right away, but mark them on your map because they’re your focus when you go hunting for Iron.
Defeat The Elder
Once you’ve got Bronze armor and a better bow, you’re ready to take on your second target in Valheim: the Elder, the Black Forest boss. You’ll need to locate its altar by interacting with rune tablets, which are usually located in underground Burial Chambers or near destroyed stone towers. Check out our .
Destroying the Elder gets you a Swamp Key, which you’ll need to actually locate the Iron that’s hidden in any Swamp area. The Swamp Key can open the aforementioned Sunken Crypts, the only places where you can find Iron at this point in the game. You’ll also need the key to find and take down Bonemass, the Swamp biome boss and the next target on your hitlist.
Explore The Sunken Crypts
Hopefully you’ve marked some Sunken Crypt locations by now and can put your Swamp Key to work. Crypts are similar to Burial Chambers in that they sometimes contain enemies–in this case, Draugrs–so be careful as you open doors or clear pathways. Try to take out Draugrs from a distance if you see them whenever possible, since you don’t want to get stuck in a tight location where it’s tough to escape from trouble. Crypts are also fairly flooded, which can make it difficult to get around in the midst of a fight.
You’ll find Scrap Iron in two locations within Sunken Crypts–first, in the various chests that are scattered through these dungeons, and second, in Muddy Scrap Piles. The latter are big black piles of goo in Sunken Crypts, usually blocking doorways. You can smash through them with your pickaxe, although you’ll find that the Hard Antler Pickaxe will require fairly regular repairs as you go.
Smelt And Forge Your Iron
The last step for building Iron armor and weapons is to smelt it as you would Copper and Tin. You’ll need a Smelter in your base to do so, which will likely also require a Kiln, which can produce the Coal you need to run the Smelter.
If you’re employing portals in your adventures, you’ll also want to note that metals like Scrap Iron can’t be carried through them–you’ll have to walk or sail with your Iron haul to bring it to other locations. Because of this, it’s a good idea to try to find Swamps with several Sunken Crypts and build an outpost base near them where you can do your Iron forging. You can travel through portals with armor and weapons, but not with metals that haven’t been forged yet–so save yourself a lot of marching or sailing by making your gear near where you find your Iron and use portals to travel instead.
With Iron gear, you should be strong enough to take on Bonemass. Defeating it will earn you the Wishbone, which you can use to find buried Iron outside of Sunken Crypts. You’ll also need it to locate Silver, the next metal you’ll require to amplify your gear.
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