Hello, you might remember me from such Dark Souls 2 pointer articles as Hints and Tips for a Newbie in Drangleic. Since I’ll never knowingly pass up the chance to write more things relating to this game, here are a few helpful things to know about the new Crown of the Sunken King DLC.
It’s not going to be an exhaustive “go here, do that” walkthrough, but there will be spoilers for items and bosses and the like. Hidden bonfires, strategies for encounters and how to deal with those irritating ghost guys will all be covered within.
When To Enter Shulva
In theory, whenever the hell you like. Everything in Dark Souls 2 can be conquered with skill and patience. Shulva’s entrance is beyond the Rotten boss fight in Black Gulch, as indicated by the description for the Dragon Talon that you should have in your inventory if you own the Sunken King DLC. The reverse side of the death count pillar in Majula tells you where to go, too.
Realistically though, unless you want a major challenge you should leave it until you have a fully upgraded (or near enough) weapon of some sort. Sunken King’s bosses have pretty hefty health bars. Post Drangleic castle, or a character from anywhere near the end game sequences, should be fine. I used a character who’d just finished the Dragon Aerie with a 10+ mace (boring, but effective).
Hey Robin Hood, Bring a Bow
I mean, it’s a Souls game so your character probably has some sort of back-up bow no matter what, right? You’ll definitely want to have a bow for parts of Sunken King.
If you already entered the DLC and don’t want to bother warping out to fetch a bow for some reason, FromSoft actually included one to pick up in the DLC. When you reach the early area with a bunch of Shulva hollows and the first rune-pillars you can attack to raise and lower a pair of tower-like pagoda platforms, ride the second one down to get a +7 long bow. You’ll need the usual 10 Strength and 16 Dex to do anything with it, but hey, free bow.
Instead of riding the pagoda down, you can also peer off the edge and shoot a pillar to just raise the platform with the long bow on it. But that obviously requires you to have a bow (or some other projectile) to begin with.
Remember Why You Brought That Bow
Shulva and the accompanying Dragon Sanctuary are full of pillars and buttons (those flower-type symbols inside squares) that can be used to activate bits of the environment or open doors to hidden places. If you see a rune-pillar thingie or a button, try shooting at it. Unusually for Dark Souls 2, none of them are evil traps that you’ll regret activating. Every button and pillar has some sort of purpose.
Some of the bonfires in this Sunken King DLC can be quite easy to miss and (not surprisingly) require the pillar/button mechanic to reach.
Inside the Dragon Sanctum, there’s a nightmare room of death with a few ghost soldiers (we’ll get to them shortly,) a spiked floor and a pesky dark sorceress on a walkway above you. Beyond the spiked floor bit, when you reach a broken staircase, if you turn around a look up you’ll see a button to activate. Doing so opens up a route to a hidden bonfire. This can be reached by heading to the spiked floor room that has the ladder leading up to the sorceress walkway, then jumping across to what’s now an opening.
Prior to the final descent to Elana’s boss room, you can find another hidden bonfire. Just before turning left to reach the steps that lead down to the room with one Drakeblood Knight and another lurking in ambush, look for a traditional hidden/illusion door on the wall of the corridor. This one is very helpful for shortening the run to Elana.
There’s also one at the far end of the watery area full of big-mouthed dinosaurs. It’s not especially hidden, but you have to go all the way across to reach it.
I Am Afraid of Those Ghosts, Actually
The ghost warriors in the Dragon Sanctum are a massive pain. In ghost form they basically ignore or heavily resist all damage. Rather than plinking away at them with magic, find their bodies to turn them solid again. The area should have taught you this with the first pair that you meet, but they foolishly hang out right next to their bodies so they’re easy to deal with.
The place you want to be in order to de-ghostify the ones in the spiked floor rooms is across the walkway with the sorceress on it. Climb up the ladder from the spiked floor (or exit the bonfire room if you’ve opened that up) and deal with the sorceress. Carry on to another open room with a sorceress, a ghost and a chest in it, but head out to your right and keep going. You’ll reach a crypt-like room full of about three other ghosts, some pits and a bunch of bodies with glowing red mist around them. Run around the place like some Benny Hill video, smashing as many of those red bodies as you can. It might take a couple of attempts.
While you’re there, grab the Eternal Sanctum Key from one of the bodies slumped against the wall. It opens the locked door you’ll have passed on your way into the Sanctum.
Those pesky ghost bastards should all be corporeal now. Try beating to a pulp.
Jester Thomas is Mean to Me
Don’t worry, he’s mean to everybody. Look at him, the cheeky shrugging git. How quickly you turn from unstoppable ally to painful foe, Thomas.
Anyway, he’s a pyromancer (obviously) so your best bet is to negate those effects in any way you’re able. If you can use Flash Sweat on yourself, that helps a lot. The Gyrm Greatshield is helpful as well, thanks to its 100% fire-negating properties. It can also be a good idea to go through the nearby fog wall and fight him in the watery area outside. Just avoid alerting the dino-mouth creatures. He can be poisoned, so plinking away with poisonous arrows or poisoned throwing knives (purchased from Gavlan) is a viable solution.
Interrupting his casting is always good, so use some nice heavy attacks to get him briefly staggering (I don’t think he can be stunlocked) and maybe employ the Stone Ring to negate some of his poise. Unless you’re going the poisoning route, I’d recommend just being as aggressive as possible. If you get too passive, he’ll just pyromancy spam you to death. Watch out when hugging him close too though, because he’ll whip out Great Combustion if he can.
When he casts Warmth (the orb thing) to heal himself, try to deny him the use of it by standing over it and getting the healing benefits yourself.
It’s a tough encounter and there isn’t really a foolproof method (although cheesing by hiding behind corners and popping out for a quite bow shot can probably work, slowly.)
Those Drakeblood Knights Are Mean to Me Too
Tell me about it. Of all the ‘normal’ Sunken King enemies, these guys are the toughest. They rarely seem to get staggered and have boatloads of stamina. Honestly though, you don’t really have to fight them much. The first couple you meet will try to follow you, but if you manage to defeat the ones on the way to the hidden bonfire in this area (described above in Bonfire Bingo,) that just leaves a couple to run past on the way to the boss. There are more in side areas guarding items, but you can give those guys the run-around too.
If you want to take them on, parrying seems to be a pretty strong option. They attack so often and so rapidly that your timing on the parry doesn’t even need to be that amazing. Alternatively, use a long weapon like a spear so you can poke at range and then dodge back a bit.
Everything Was Fine Until She Summoned Velstadt
Ahh, Elana. This boss fight took me a while. As with most Dark Souls 2 bosses, the sensible solution is to find a co-op phantom buddy. One or two is up to you, though with two phantoms she does have rather absurd amounts of health and distracting clone-Velstadt is a job one helpful phantom can perform.
If you’re attempting this with NPC summons, I wouldn’t necessarily bother with Steelheart Ellie. I’ve not found her Caestus-punching all that useful and she doesn’t hold up to boss punishment. Look further to the back of the room prior to the boss to find good old Benhart of Jugo. He’ll take more blows and provide a similar level of distraction.
On her own, Elana is pretty straightforward. Melee characters should get in close and wail on her, while watching out for the various hexes, weapon swings and flame swathes she pops out. If she starts charging up her Dark Blast move, then back off for a bit. If she teleports, follow her around and keep hacking away. Casters and other ranged types should do their thing and be prepared to dodge her ranged abilities (the double Flame Swathe is especially brutal.) Like basically everything in Sunken King though, Elana is resistant to elemental attacks. Pure sorcery will have a really hard time.
Problems tend to occur when the Velstadt-alike shows up (Elana can also summon skeletons and Majula pigs, but these aren’t quite such a problem.) If you have a summon or two this is less of an issue, because they can run interference.
Short answer: summon somebody(s) and hope you’re all competent.
It’s A, It’s A, It’s A Sinh
Did you fight Kalameet in the original Dark Souls DLC? If so, Sinh will be pretty familiar. He’s not identical but you’ll recognise plenty of moves.
Like all four-legged beasts in the Souls series, the key here is getting around the back and hacking away at either Sinh’s midriff or around his ankles. When he does his little waking up roar at the start of the fight, his follow-up move is always a lunge forwards. If you can already be in place on either side of him, this gives you a chance to dash in for some early hits.
Sticking behind him isn’t all that easy, and you need to watch out for when he rears up on his hind legs and breathes fire/toxic stuff (anti-toxic gear is recommended) because the hitbox on that will catch you if you’re too near. Once he’s down to half health he’ll also figure out that breathing fire around his back legs is a smart move. Learn to spot the ‘tell’ for that attack.
Sinh likes to spend long periods of time in the air, so you’ll also have to learn to avoid random fire balls, toxic carpet bombing attacks and when he dives straight at you. Dodging is your friend, so be sure that you’re under the 70% equip rate and not fatrolling.
Another good friend to have is the NPC phantom Transcendent Edde. This guy will soak up absurd amounts of damage for you and provide a helpful distraction. He’ll even get in a couple of hits. Don’t bother with Abbess Feeva, as she has a fever for tossing lightning spears which are basically the equivalent of giving Sinh a good tickle.
As with Elana (and any boss,) a competent human summon will do wonders for your chances.
Tom, Dick, That Other Dick And … Actually They’re All Dicks
The trio fight in the optional Cave of the Dead dungeon is another challenging one. You reach this place through the Eternal Sanctum door, it’s just beyond the bonfire you’ll find in the area.
Anyway, have we mentioned summoning help before in this article? I believe we have. That’s probably the best way to deal with this unpleasant squad of three. Bringing a pair of human phantoms of you own will allow you all to pick a foe and go to town. Varg (the Havel dude) and Graverobber (the Alva armour guy with two blades) are pretty susceptible to backstabs, so exploit that. With everybody keeping one of the bosses busy, there’s no threat of great-arrows or a dragon’s tooth out of nowhere ruining your day. Bringing two summons will raise each boss’ health, but it’s worth it for the ability to control the room.
The two NPCs in this area don’t seem all that great, so you’ll probably want some real, actual humans to help with this.
If you insist on doing it solo, the best method is kiting. Lots of kiting. Lead Varg and Graverobber a merry dance, utilising the water area below when required. When you get the chance, land some hits on the greatbow chap as you run past or on either of the other two if you have an opening. Ranged options work okay for this too, as long as you have an opening. Varg seems to be the most resistant of the three. The strategy is basically all about chipping away health until two of the three are dead. Once you’re one-on-one with (probably) Varg, it should go relatively smoothly.
Kinky Tree Man
Kinky Tree Man lives in a hidden area waaaay back near the beginning of the DLC. Remember that bit where you could raise several platforms to reach a bonfire in a tower, with a lengthy dirt road dotted with archers? Well, head to the end of that road, beside the pagoda-tower with a ladder and beetle-statue-beast inside and look over the edge for a rune-pillar hidden behind some spitting statues. Hit that with some kind of projectile (firebombs work quite well) to reveal a pathway to hot BDSM tree action.
In the Kinky Tree room there’s a notched whip. Hit Kinky Tree with the whip and he’ll repair any broken equipment you might have … for … some reason. The Hex Promised Walk of Peace is in here too. You can kill the Kinky Tree if you like, but it definitely prefers to be whipped.
On that somewhat bizarre note, this guide concludes. May it forever aid your search for the Crown of the Sunken King in at least some minor ways.