These tips also work on lower level Archgriffins and Optinicus as they all follow the same basic pattern.

There are some good comments below with other ways to kill the Griffin (and some of them are a lot easier than the method posted here). I recommend you follow the comments rather than this guide now as it was written when the game was very new and lots of it was unexplored.

At 48 then this is the highest level creature I have found in the Witcher 3 so far. This beast can be found guarding his nest on an island in northern Skellige (see the map just below). To get there then you will have to take a boat and the closest place is from the Ancient Crypt to the south. I was level 31 when I killed him, and it was set to Death March difficulty. The total time to kill him was around 25-30 minutes.

This island is north of the area where you first landed in Skellige.

This island is north of the area where you first landed in Skellige.

Things to do before killing him

  • Obtain a good set of armour/weapons (I used the full mastercrafted Ursine set)
  • Enhance your armour at a blacksmiths table/sharpening tool. Although they will expire before the fight finishes, it is nice to have them at the start.
  • Buy a lot of food. The more food you have, the more mistakes you can afford to make.
  • Use Advanced Hybrid Oil to kill it a bit faster.

During the fight

Always use Quen. If you use another sign such as Aard (which allows you to get a few more hits on him) then any mistakes you make will be punished by you losing 3/4 of your health. Play it safe and always have Quen up and keep your health at 100% with food (I went through about 25 chickens during the fight).

Tips for the fight

When I say attack then it means 1 single strong attack, generally you have no time to attack more than twice before it will hit you.

Although I could not work out a set pattern, the Archgriffin can only do several things. Once you can tell what he is doing then you can make the correct move to either avoid damage or attack it.

When the Archgriffin is flying around

When the Griffin is flying you can shoot it out of the air as it approaches you (use good bolts and they will deal significant damage over the course of the fight). This will make it land near you allowing you to either  attack it (if it landed favourably) or dodge it’s attack (if you have no time for an attack).

When the Archgriffin is spitting acid? at you

This is the most important phase, you can get guaranteed damage when you see this. When the Griffin hovers over you and shoots at you it will immediately land. You can start a strong attack before it has even landed and you will hit it and be able to roll away to avoid it’s counter attack. Do this every time it shoots you.

When the Archgriffin is about to charge you

Do not get hit by the charge. Roll away. If it hits you then you will bleed for 1 minute which is pretty much guaranteed to kill you. You can remove the bled with Quen.

When he screams

This is not threatening. It will stun you but you can dodge out of it to prevent him damaging you after. He only did this below 50% health and it does not do much damage.

When he is attacking you

Dodge or roll out of his attacks, immediately after an attack you can often use a fast attack to quickly deal a bit of damage before you have to roll away. Do not be greedy and go for more attacks, if he lands a hit on you then you will lose 3/4 or more of your health.

Here you can start a quest.

Here you can start a quest.

Other notes

After killing the Griffin you can loot the body and obtain a quest from it. Although this quest is level 48 it only involves you searching the area for a chest. The real task is killing the Griffin first, this is considered the reward.

Hope this helps you

If you know any better ways to beat this beast (and there has to be better ways) then please comment below and let me know how you did it.