Dancer of the Boreal Valley: Another toughie. There aren’t many easy ones from this point onwards. In phase one, try to stick vaguely ‘behind’ her and always, always, always watch out for the empty-hand grab which will probably one-shot you. Poke her in the bum between sword combos (you’ll just have to learn to recognise the tells for these, sorry). Any time she kneels further down to kind of grab the ground, she’s about to do a fiery burst of death, so vacate the area. Once down to half health, she’ll pull out another sword and whirl around like crazy for a bit (which is probably a great time to lob spells/pyro at her if you have them). She won’t really home in on you when she does this, but covers a lot of ground, so watch out.
Here’s my ultra-elite method for victory. Try to stay in a position where you can poke her in (her) upper left thigh/arse cheek. In the first phase, the danger attacks will be AoE stuff (pretty big tell), the grab (which if you’re far enough to the side and circling around should be safe-ish), and a couple of recognisable slash combos that can catch you. If you feel more confident dodging the grab than the sword attacks, then hugging her other side may work better for you.
It’s much the same approach for phase two, but without any grabbing. Keep to where you can hug close and poke her left thigh. She’ll now have a slow double uppercut thing that might get you, but again, not if you’re staying close to the thigh. There are some quicker, lengthier combos in phase two that you just need to learn to read and roll through, however. Finding a spot to heal isn’t too easy either. After the big uppercut thing or during her AoE (once you’re far enough away) are decent windows. I’d advise having your vigor above 20 (I had about 25 at this stage) in order to survive some of the more damaging hits. Wear semi-decent armour (flame-resistant ideally) too, as long as it doesn’t make you fatroll.
An alternative method for phase two is actually to stay in front of her with plenty of space behind you, and bait the slower, more direct attacks like the overhead bash, the double uppercut and double stab.
Tim says: The pillars are really good for putting some distance between you and her if you need to heal up a bit. She’ll circle around them, but it takes her a moment to do so, and if you’re on the other side then (barring clipping through) her attacks shouldn’t reach you. Just be very, very wary of her lengthy combos in phase two: you absolutely cannot block your way through them. I actually found dodging to your left/her right to be the best way of avoiding her attacks, too, but your mileage may vary.
Dragonslayer Armour: He’s a big, shielded knight, so treat him like one. Circle to his left, dodge when he swings his axe or tries a shield bash and strike back once in between his attacks. Watch your stamina, and for the (rare) combo of more than one attack at once in phase one.
In phase two, those skinny dragon things will barf shit at you (at least, I think that’s what’s happening). Don’t get too caught in it, because it hurts. I think they tend to vomit through where the Armour has smashed up railings, so if you can lead him to a new area it should stop until he breaks another one, or the dragon things do it themselves. He gets quite a bit faster in phase two, and will chain more attacks together, but the technique is basically the same as phase one. He’ll sometimes fire out a lightning wave thing from his axe when you’re at a distance, so beware of that if you’ve retreated to heal a bit. At the half-way point he takes a knee which is an opportunity to beat him up a bit, but he’s also preparing to hit you back so don’t get too greedy there.
You can also use the terrain to hide behind if you need to get some distance between either him or the dragon barf.
Oceiros, the Consumed King: He’s optional unless you want a specific ending. To find his area, head up from the Dancer bonfire and take a left. Once you find the Gardens, you’re practically there.
If you can stop yourself from thinking about Metal Gear Solid every time this guy mentions Ocelot, then you’ve won half the battle. In his first phase he’s busy holding an invisible baby so he’s significantly less dangerous. He’ll do a couple of things; swing at you with his staff (dodge or block with a half-decent shield), jump up in the air at you (wait a half-second before rolling), or fart out some crystal gas stuff (just roll away a bit).
In phase two (Oceeeellloooottt!) he goes a bit nuts. If you have a reasonable shield with good stability (I had the Crest one) and stamina appropriate for this part of the game, you can block the attacks where he flings himself across the room at you. Use the patented Dark Souls ‘large monster’ technique of trying to get all up behind his back legs. He can’t do much about that except a tail-spin (easily blocked, fairly easily dodged) or moving out of the way. Which he’ll probably do quite a bit. Sometimes he sit there and breathe crystals at you (good chance for some stabs if you’re outside the front arc), or jump up in the air and dive-bomb crystals at you (dodge out of the way of this one, it’s nasty). Basically, when he’s on all-fours try to maneuver yourself so you can follow him around and stab him in the back legs. Most of his damage comes directly from the front in a 90-ish degree arc. It can be easy to get flustered and mashed up in a flurry of his quick frontal assaults, but once you get a sense of how to stay behind him things become much easier.
Tim says: Treat his second phase like a combination between those giant crystal lizards, and Vordt’s second phase. He likes to do a lot of dashing, but you’re used to that by now.
Guardian Gundyr: Hey, it’s the first boss again! Oh, he’s meaner now. In his first phase, watch out for the cheeky martial arts back-kick that he likes to employ (in fact watch out for that in ALL phases). Otherwise, do the usual swoop-n-dodge beneath and through his pole-arm swings. I know it’s easy to say that, but really, that’s what you’ve gotta do. Stay relatively close for this bit and circle to his left, classic style.
Around half health he will become un-fucking-relenting. Stamina management is key here; you don’t want to get a hit in but be short for a crucial dodge. I found sticking to a mid-distance and ducking in and out for a hit (maybe two) with an Estoc worked okay in phase two. If you can dodge forward-diagonally past his “I’m charging at you with my halberd” move (to his left), then you can get in a poke. Don’t linger right up close too long, otherwise he’ll inevitably clip you with either a kick or a shoulder barge, and that’s bad news. Honestly, this one is just down to a whole lot of practice and move memorisation. Get to know his swings, INTIMATELY. Then feel like a Souls god when you eventually dance around him and fuck up his day.
Tim says: I had a considerably easier time than Peter with this guy, but that might be because he doesn’t have the black ooze bullshit from the first time you fought him. Not much to suggest, other than learn how and when to dodge, and don’t stay right next to him. Dodge attacks, hit him, get out, repeat. Most of his moves are pretty well-telegraphed, but it may take a couple of attempts before you get the hang of them.
Prince Lorian and Lothric: Part one is quite easy. SUSPICIOUSLY easy for this point in the game. Prince Lorian will slash at you with his flame sword in a pretty telegraphed and easy-to-dodge manner. Sometimes he’ll teleport a short distance and appear with a slash or poke (so be ready to dodge that). Sometimes he teleports far away and winds up a big damaging magic bolt (so, you know, dodge that). The hardest part in this section is not getting greedy with your hits. You need to watch your stamina, because although he’s straightforward enough to avoid in most cases, he doesn’t really let up and give you time to recover all that often. If you hurt him enough in a short space of time, he’ll flop down and you can actually get in a riposte.
Part two is an adorable piggy-back session. It’s like part one … except now you have magic death coming at you quite often. Shockingly enough, this does not make things easier. I found the hardest part to be the transition between phases, where you have to get your bearings back quickly as mini-lord pops up some homing orbs and larger-lord teleports at you. Survive this initial assault and things calm down a bit, going back to large-lords prior attacks. The main differences here are that mini-lord Lothric will always follow up Lorian’s big magic blast with a little lightning one of his own (so be ready to dodge twice) and will sometimes independently do that at range as well. When the homing orbs come out, focus on surviving rather than getting hits in. If you ‘kill’ Lorian again (you probably will, he has less health in this phase), mini-lord will have to get off to heal him up. That means free stabs time! The conclusion of the healing act causes a damaging explosion though, so don’t get too greedy. Lorian also comes back with even less health the second time. Keep looking for stabs around the back (which will damage mini-lord too), kill large-lord a couple more times, and you’ll be sorted.
It’s all a bit hectic (particularly phase two), but if you’ve got dodging and poking Lorian down to a fine art, then the addition of Lothric’s magic isn’t too much of an imposition.
Tim says: He can kill you incredibly fast if you screw up a couple of dodges in a row. Lorian can teleport mid-swing, which might throw you off, and he’ll often follow that up with another couple of swings. This is particularly true at the very start of the first phase, where he’ll usually teleport across the room to get you, and I died more than once in his initial onslaught simply because I screwed up the dodge timing as I entered the room.
In phase two, focus on Lorian. Don’t think “oh, Lothric keeps resurrecting him, I’d better go for him first” – you’ll take way more damage than you need to. Most of your attacks will likely clip through Lorian and do a bit of damage to Lothric anyway, and the resurrection periods are a good time to get some free stabs in.
Ancient Wyvern: Hooray, an easy boss. Even though it may not seem like it at first. He’s found in Archdragon Peak, which is reached by learning the dragon-related gesture (a little after beating The Consumed King) and sitting with the dragon statue gazing at the horizon in Irithyll Dungeon.
Run to the left, dodge the annoying enemies (or fight them if you really fancy it), and make your way around in a counter-clockwise arc until you’re above the Wyvern to its right. You should have dropped down on to some wooden platforms. Drop again to a stone one that positions you nicely above its head, then do a plunging attack all up in its face. Dead.
Tim says: Try plunging attack. Weakness: plunging attack. Plunging attack ahead. As with Yhorm you can probably kill him without needing to use the “special” technique, and as with Yhorm, I got him to about half health before realising what I was meant to do because I am very stupid and persistent. It will take a very, very long time, though. He really doesn’t take much damage.
The Nameless King: Right, disclosure time, I haven’t beaten this boss yet. All I had written down for phase one was “poke his wyvern-chicken in the face.” So, it’s over to Tim who has at least got him down really, really low (and will probably have beaten him by the time this is up).
Tim says: This’ll vary from person to person, but for my money this boss is likely the hardest in the game. It’s worth noting that New Game+ doesn’t start until you choose to, so you can save this guy until after you’ve done the final boss, if you so desire. For the record, I haven’t beaten him yet… but I’ve dropped him to about 10% HP in phase two and can clear phase one without needing much healing, so I reckon I can offer some advice. (I have now beaten him, and have updated this accordingly.)
Phase one calls him King of the Storm, and has him riding around on a wyvern/drake/dragon (Peter: I think that’s the dragon’s name, but I might be wrong). For the most part, he’ll land near you on and then swing his sword at you in a two-or-three hit combo. Easy to dodge, although if you’ve got a really good shield you may be able to block them too. Sometimes, he’ll fly around and lob lightning bolts at you; roll to one side just as they leave his hand. He’ll follow this up by swinging at you mid-swoop, and then landing a short distance away, giving you a chance to get a hit or two in. Be wary of that swoop if he ever does it without circling in the air and hurling lightning: he’ll land where the swoop ends, and if you dodge towards him, you’ll be under his claws. See below for why that’s an awful, awful thing.
The tricky attacks are the other ones. Be wary of his mount rearing its head up and then breathing fire at you – this can be dodged by getting far enough away, although I’ve also had some success with rolling diagonally through it, giving me a chance to land a few hits. Be very, very wary of when the King raises his sword in the air and charges lightning up in it: he’s going to lunge forward and smash the ground with it, and this is incredibly hard to dodge. The instant you see him charging this attack, sprint away from him. Try rolling just before he hits, too; it’s not always essential, but it gives a little extra distance and means you’ll dodge the sword damage even if you don’t dodge the lightning damage. This is the only surefire method I’ve found of avoiding this attack.
The dragon’s head is your target; hitting it anywhere else really doesn’t do much. Not only that, but if you hang around underneath it or near its feet, it has a nasty habit of flying up into the air and directing flames down directly onto you. This is also hard to dodge, does a huge amount of damage, and if you’re unlucky enough that it hits you twice it can pretty much insta-kill you.
I’d suggest sticking a short way in front of it whenever it lands, and wearing armour with a decent amount of physical and lightning resistance – emphasis on physical. Lock onto the beastie’s head whenever you’re attacking, but if you’re not attacking, switch your focus back to the King. He’s the one who telegraphs basically all of the attacks, so keep your eyes on him whenever you’re not actively attacking. If you stagger it and the beast flops over, run up to its head and stab it for SUPER DAMAGE.
Ranged attacks (a bow works wonderfully) or a weapon with a good length are best, because short weapons are barely going to hit the head more than once or twice before it’s out of reach. (That said, I actually just used shortswords for my victorious attempt, so using a weapon you’re familiar with is still a great advantage.) Drop the entire health bar and phase two begins, with a pissed off Nameless King staring you down.
This phase is hard for two reasons. First, he has a massive health bar. Second, he’s unrelentingly aggressive, so finding the time to heal is hard. Third, he does a lot of damage, and if you mistime a couple of dodges you’re probably dead, as indicated by most of my failed attempts still having Estus in reserve. Fourth, it’s so hard I forgot how to count. This phase is a lengthy war of attrition in which you can only afford to cock up a few times.
As with most other bosses, the best advice is simply to not get greedy. Learn his tells and attacks, and maybe get in one attack between his moves – two, if there’s a really long wind-down period on them. I found it a bit easier to stay fairly close and roll towards him to dodge most of his attacks – most of them sweep forward, and at range there’s a good chance he’ll send out hideous shockwaves of pain at you.
Happily, while you can’t entirely block his attacks (they do hybrid physical/lightning damage), you can mitigate a lot of the hurting with a decent shield. If you’re not a Strength monster with a greatshield, the Crest Shield that offers 100% phys resist and 80% lightning resist is a good bet, and can keep you safe from the majority of his one-off attacks if you’re not confident in dodging. Just be wary of one of his lunges: it’s basically a grab with his sword, so it’s unblockable and will easily knock off half of your health. You might want the Estus Ring that boosts the amount of healing you receive, too: if you find the time to heal, you want to get as much as possible. If you’ve been stockpiling Embers, you may also want to do the first phase without being Embered-up and use one to heal in the second phase – that’s when you’ll really need the bonus health, and it’ll also heal you back up to full as a bonus.
As with every other boss, he goes into Pissy Boss Mode at about 60% hp. This doesn’t change things up too much – he gets a bit faster, and you’ll have a few more lightning-based attacks to avoid. With the aforementioned shield, you’ll take sod all damage by blocking them, though; it’ll drain your stamina but you should have enough to dodge his next strike. Try backing away to mid-range whenever he seems to pause to avoid a big point-blank lightning explosion, too.
For what it’s worth, both phases seem pretty resistant to fire and electricity. He might have a minor weakness to dark, but Human Pine Resin and Dark Arrows made a very negligible difference for me, only adding 10-20 points of damage at best. In fact, Dark Arrows occasionally did less, which might be down to range. Not sure.
Good luck. Beating the Nameless King is a hell of a task, mostly because he can kill you unbelievably quickly and you have to fight through the first phase repeatedly to get back to learning the second. Courage required ahead.
Soul of Cinder: So here we are. The final boss. The first phase is a kind of “greatest hits” of Souls character archetypes. There’s the long sword guy, the wizard, the scimitar flip dude, and the lance fucker. First sword guy has some cheeky delayed swings that you’ll need to learn, otherwise remain calm and don’t try to get too many hits at once. When he goes wizard mode, this is your chance to get up in his face as much as possible. His giant laser beam attack in particular is a fine chance to get around his back for some pummeling. When he’s in wizard form, the two things to watch out for at close range are the magic sword-sweep and any stray homing orbs.
Scimitar guy can use Power Within, is also annoyingly nimble, and will sometimes barf toxic mist and lob fireballs. Lance prick will try to charge you with his lance and slap you around. Rolling forward through his lance thrusts seems to work pretty well. In this form he can also heal himself (booo) and do Wrath of the Gods. Watch out for those. If he falls to his knees, he’s either transforming or you beat him up enough to stagger him. Either way, hit him more. But don’t get absurdly greedy, he may stand up and pull a fast move.
This phase is all about learning a tactic that works for you on each character ‘form’. Whether that’s simply survival, or finding windows of opportunity to get in a quick slash. Once you have those down, it’s much more straightforward. But that doesn’t mean the fight is over.
(Tim says: Peter’s advice here is spot on. Figure out which styles you need to survive and which styles you can easily use to beat him up. They’ll probably differ for each player, but that’s the absolute key to this phase. And now back to Peter.)
In phase two, I hope you remember how to fight Gwyn from Dark Souls, because you’re fighting Gwyn. Or at least something with Gwyn’s move-set. You can presumably parry him just like Gwyn, but I’m painfully shit at that so I didn’t. My tactic for this was a slow one, but fairly effective. Stay at long range. Try to bait the jump-n-swoop attack, avoid it, turn around (possibly move a little closer if you have a short weapon), get in ONE HIT, and then get the fuck out of there. At range, he’ll lob lightning spears at you (simple dodge) and sometimes do a sky lightning spear thing with a delayed appearance (also fairly easy to dodge, just wait for it to start raining down and then dodge). Keeping at range means you should largely avoid his mega-combo (huge wind-up, ends with massive fire explosion around him) and the deadly grab. If you fuck up, or he pulls an unexpected move, there are a few healing windows (just before or after he lobs a lightning thing is pretty good). This boss is a rough one to solo, but he’s the final, charred barrier between you and the ending sequence.
(Tim says: I actually did this phase two mostly by rolling through almost all of his attacks. Peter’s way sounds easier, but mine will make you feel more like a badass.)
Good luck, Ashen One.