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The 15 Hardest Dark Souls 3 Bosses, Ranked


The series is renowned for its grueling boss fights, yet Dark Souls III is possibly the most divisive game in the series. The direction that developer FromSoftware took with its bosses tends to cause heated discussions in the Souls community. Some would argue that they are too easy, but the game’s optional bosses bring a new meaning to the word “difficult.”

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In Dark Souls III, players embark on a journey as the Ashen One. Your goal is to return the five Lords of Cinder to their rightful thrones, so that you may link the flame at Firelink Shrine. To accomplish this goal, you must face a plethora of painstaking bosses.

Updated November 21st, 2022 by Talha Bin Rizwan: Dark Souls 3, like all soulsborne games, is filled with challenging enemies & bosses that players will find throughout the game. Some are easier to take down while some will have players pulling their hair out in frustration. Each boss comes with its own unique movements, attacks, & weaknesses that can be exploited. Once players know their weaknesses, even defeating the hardest bosses in Dark Souls 3 becomes a piece of cake. However, no two bosses are the same, & they all have different vulnerabilities that players will need to exploit. Even with all the advantages the game lets players have, the bosses will pose a challenging fight.


15/15 Curse-Rotted Greatwood

Curse-Rotted Greatwood from Dark Souls III

The Curse-Rotted Greatwood is one of the earliest boss fights in the game, which significantly affects its difficulty as players are often under-leveled when they pass through the optional boss’ fog gate.

The old spirit tree’s attacks are slow & heavily telegraphed, but they pack an almighty punch that can one-shot some players if they’re not careful. When it comes to Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked, the Curse-Rotted Greatwood is more accessible than most but harder than some.

Tips For Defeating the Curse-Rotted Greatwood

Aim for the pustules on its legs, body, & arms, as these deal massive damage upon being destroyed. When the Curse-Rotted Gravewood is above ground, attack its belly to progress to the second phase. At a certain point, it will drop through the floor to a lower level. Here, the Greatwood moves a little faster, gains new attacks, but still has pustules that can be burst.

The Curse Rotted Greatwood is weak to slashing damage on its arms & pustules so players to prioritize that area for easy hits. Its arms are also weak to thrust damage but not the pustules. The boss is also weak to fire damage & also the Pestilent Mist sorcery. At this point in the game, pretty much any weapon will work on the boss. Charcoal pine resin & bundles will apply fire damage to players’ weapons for extra damage.

14/15 Oceiros, The Consumed King

Oceiros from Dark Souls 3

The unusually chatty boss Oceiros may initially look like a cakewalk due to his lack of eyes; however his sharp sense of smell & hearing more than makes up for it.

Oceiros, the Consumed King has two phases. The first isn’t too tricky, as he seems more concerned about protecting an invisible or imaginary child cradled in his arms. The second phase, however, is brutally difficult. Oceiros drops the child & begins charging at the player like an enraged beast protecting his young.

Tips For Defeating Oceiros, The Consumed King

In the first phase, stick very close to Oceiros, getting underneath whenever possible. In later phases, try to stay behind the boss but pay attention to its backwards attacks. The boss room is a little smaller than most boss rooms, so be sure to keep the camera in a good position in order to see Oceiros’ movement & attack patterns. He’s a fast boss, so be nimble & only attack when necessary.

Oceiros is weak to Lightning & Frost damage, & as such, players may use weapons that deal such damage to give them an advantage. For frost damage, the Irithyll Straight Sword is an excellent weapon that can build up Frostbite with each hit & deal humongous amounts of damage when it procs. For lightning damage, there are several weapons that players can use here depending on how far along they are in the game. The Lothric Knight Greatsword, Dragonslayer Swordspear, Dragonslayer Spear, etc are good options that deal lightning damage. However, if players do not have the weapons yet, they can apply Gold Pine Bundles & Resins on their weapons to give them Lightning Damage when they attack temporarily.

13/15 Darkeater Midir

Darkeater Midir Dark Souls 3

There are many dragon fights throughout the Dark Souls trilogy. Darkeater Midir is not only one of the best, but one of the toughest dragon fights that the Souls series have to offer.

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The optional boss has some of the strongest attacks in the series, rivaled only by the likes of Vendrick in Dark Souls II. What makes Midir tougher than Vendrick, however, is how difficult its attacks are to predict. Furthermore, Darkeater Midir has devastating AOE attacks that will punish players with heavy armor that restricts their movement.

Tips For Defeating Darkeater Midir

As opposed to other bosses in Dark Souls 3, it’s actually best to take on Darkeater Midir head-on. Stay in front of this boss for the majority of the fight to see its telegraphed attacks & control its movement across the boss room. Hitting this boss in the face actually doubles the damage, which can make the fight significantly shorter.

To give them an edge against Midir, players can use weapons that deal thrust damage against him. He is also weak to Lightning Damage, so players may want to equip the Dragonslayer set of weapons against him seeing that he is a dragon & that the weapons were made for slaying his kind. Alternatively, players can use the Farron Greatsword or the Wolf Knight Greatsword against him which they can get early game after defeating the Abyss Watchers & transposing their souls. Magic builds may also use the Pestilent Mist sorcery against Midir which deals significant damage to the boss.

12/15 Slave Knight Gael

Slave Knight Gael Dark Souls 3

Considered to be the trilogy’s final boss from a lore perspective, the fight against Slave Knight Gael is split into three distinct phases.

The first is similar to Manus, Father of the Abyss from the first Dark Souls game. He combines blistering speed with devastating blows, giving players little chance to heal. He will slow down in the next two phases but compensate with numerous ranged attacks.

Tips For Defeating Slave Knight Gael

Gael can be staggered in the first phase pretty easily with a heavy weapon. The Hollowslayer Greatsword actually deals more damage to Gael in later phases, too. He’s weak to slashing damage as well as frost & poison damage, but resistant to dark damage in the last two phases. His attacks each have obvious tells, but he is much faster than most players anticipate, especially in phase three.

Alternatively, players can equip weapons that deal frost damage, such as the Irtithyll Straight Sword. It has massive frostbite proc damage & is fast enough to quickly l& a good number of hits. Gael is also weak to the Hollowslayer Greatsword in Phases 2 & 3. Gael is also weak to poison damage & as such, players can use the Rotten Ghru Dagger, Rotten Ghru Curved Sword & the Rotten Ghru Spear to give them the extra edge against Gael.

11/15 Sister Friede & Father Ari&el

Sister Friede & Father Ari&el Dark Souls 3

The final boss of the Ashes of Ari&el DLC, Sister Friede & Father Ari&el fittingly provide the toughest challenge from the third game’s DLC. Thankfully, the aforementioned Slave Knight Gale can be summoned to assist in the fight.

Even with the knight’s assistance though, taking down Sister Friede is excruciatingly difficult. Like Gael, Sister Friede has three distinct phases; unlike Gael though, the phases Advance once her health bar is depleted, only for it to entirely refill.

Tips For Defeating Sister Friede & Father Ari&el

Taking a friend along can make this duo boss incredibly easy, as one player can distract them while the other attacks from behind. Father Ari&el will appear in the second phase of the fight, but he does not have a separate health bar. It’s important to pay attention to Sister Friede’s movements in the first phase, as she will strike out of nowhere from above. In later phases, be patient with getting hits in as Friede moves quickly & is dangerous to be next to.

Ari&el is a fragile boss & so will be weak to all sorts of damage. Players need to stay out of the way of his attacks & just l& enough hits to take him down. Friede on the other h& is quite formidable & will test players’ patience. She is resistant to most types of damage except for Strike damage. Weapons such as Valorheart, Fume Ultra Greatsword, Lorian’s Greatsword, Executioner’s Greatsword & the Cathedral Knight Greatsword are good weapons that can be used here against Friede. However, players must keep the slow weapon swing speed in mind as they can get caught in her attacks mid-swing.

10/15 Soul Of Cinder

soul of cinder

Souls of Cinder is the amalgamation of the Lords of Cinder. Found at the Kiln of the First Flame, this boss has high health points, which could make him the second most challenging boss in the game.

Soul of Cinder isn’t as Huge of a challenge as some other bosses, given that the player character is robust at this point in the game. This doesn’t mean that this boss is a cakewalk. Tread carefully as Soul of Cinder uses Dark Dialectics spells & attacks.

Tips For Defeating the Soul of Cinder

The Soul of Cinder has fast, rapid attacks that must be carefully dodged. It will cast AoE spells on itself, dash across the battlefield, perform jump attacks, & make combo strikes in rapid succession no matter the phase. Take time to dodge attacks & wait for tiny windows of opportunity to chip health away from this high-HP three-phase boss.

The Soul of Cinder is weak to Lightning & Dark damage. There are a number of weapons that give players these types of damages but the easier & cheaper route would be to acquire Gold Pine Resins & Bundles, & Human Pine Resins respectively. Using these items will buff each & every attack made with the players’ weapons with Lightning & Dark damage. The Ashen One can also use the Lightning Blade miracle for a Lightning Damage buff & Dark Blade miracle for a Dark Damage buff on their attacks. The Soul of Cinder is also weak to Vow of Silence but only in the 1st phase of the battle.

9/15 Champion Gundyr

champion gundyr

Not to be confused with Iudex Gundyr, Champion Gundyr is the second time the player encounters a Gundyr in Dark Souls III. Champion Gundyr is a version of Iudex Gundyr with new attacks & a more aggressive combat style.

It could also be stated that Iudex Gundyr is more difficult because you are either new to the game or are rusty since the last Dark Souls.As the ultimate version of Iudex Gundyr, Champion Gundyr is a greater challenge.

Tips For Defeating Champion Gundyr

This is one boss where parrying is an excellent strategy. Champion Gundyr seems to never stop attacking, leaving little room for any retaliation. Champion Gundyr can be taken down in little time with excellently timed parries, but it’s not an easy skill to master. If parrying is out of the question, pay attention to Gundyr’s halberd over anything else & carefully dodge while poking when able.

To give themselves an advantage, players can use a variety of weapons against Gundyr as he has multiple weaknesses. He is weak to Strike damage, Bleed, Frostbite & Lightning Damage. Valorheart, Fume Ultra Greatsword, Lorian’s Greatsword, Executioner’s Greatsword are good sources of Strike Damage. B&it’s Knife, Barbed Straight Sword, Morion Blade, Uchigatana & Washing Pole are good sources of Bleed damage. While players can use the Gold Pine Resins & Bundles to buff their weapons with Lightning Damage. For Frostbite, the Irityhll Straight Sword & Rapier are good options with substantial proc damage.

8/15 Dragonslayer Armour

dragonslayer armour

Assisted by Pilgrim Butterflies that animate his suit, Dragonslayer Armour is an arduous boss fight of Dark Souls III. With resistances such as Dark, Lightning, & Slash, this fight proves to be tough for players who don’t assess his weaknesses. Using weapons like the Wolf Knight’s Greatsword or Farron Greatsword will give you bonus damage against this opponent. You may also use Frost & Strike moves to inflict extra damage.

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Dragonslayer Armour is not an optional boss in Dark Souls III‘s main story. He can also be found as an optional miniboss in the Ringed City DLC. In the main story, Dragonslayer Armour is found guarding the Gr& Archives.

Tips For Defeating the Dragonslayer Armor

The Dragonslayer Armor hits hard, but its attacks are pretty well-telegraphed. Dodging underneath or to the left of most attacks will nearly guarantee not being hit by these strong attacks & spells. Projectiles Advance raining down during the fight, but they are pretty easy to dodge & do little damage compared to the boss, though they can disrupt the flow of battle.

To get an edge over the Dragonslayer Armor boss, players can equip weapons that deal Strike & Frostbite damage with each hit. The Fume Ultra Greatsword, Cathedral Knight Greatsword, Hammers, & Greathammers in the game are excellent choices for Strike damage. Players will find great use out of the Irityhll Straight Sword & Irithyll Rapier for Frostbite damage, especially because of their proc damage. Since the Dragonslayer Armor is an abyssal creature, the Wolf Knight’s Greatsword & Farron Greatsword also deal increased damage to it.

7/15 Old Demon King

old demon kin

Perhaps the most intimidating boss based on his appearance & flaming attacks, the Old Demon King is an optional boss in Dark Souls III. It’s hard to miss this boss since he is hiding in plain sight in the Smouldering Lake. Players can’t miss the archway that leads to this opponent.

Black Knight weapons & Dark attacks are most effective against the Old Demon King. Lots of people find difficulty in this boss fight because of his sweeping flame attacks. Ranged classes will likely breeze through this fight.

Tips For Defeating the Old Demon King

Ranged characters can simply stay out of his range, dodge past long-range swings, & cast spells to take down the Old Demon King easily. Melee characters have a harder time, thanks to the boss’ variety of cleave attacks. Dodging through these attacks tends to be effective, & using weapons that deal Dark damage tends to help take down the Old Demon King faster.

At this stage, there won’t be many options for players to deal Dark damage as many weapons that deal that type of damage are found later in the game. But players can use items that apply buffs & effects instead. The Human Pine Resin & the Dark Blade Miracle will buff the players’ current weapon with Dark damage giving them the necessary edge in the battle against the Old Demon King. Alternatively, the Black Knight Weapons can also be used against the boss.

6/15 Abyss Watchers

abyss watchers

What’s more complicated than fighting one brutal Dark Souls III boss? Try fighting two at the same time! In phase one of the Abyss Watchers clash, there are two Abyss Watchers to fight, with one spawning every twenty seconds. Thankfully, only a maximum of two Abyss Watchers can spawn, making this fight beatable.

The Abyss Watchers are weak against Lightning attacks. Note that this boss staggers easily & can be backstabbed & parried. The Abyss Watchers are human-like, lest we forget their demonic glowing red eyes.

Tips For Defeating the Abyss Watchers

While they attack very fast (& players have to face two at once) the Abyss Watchers don’t have much health. Interestingly enough, sometimes the Abyss Watchers will kill each other, making the fight a little more manageable, but this doesn’t happen every time. Watch out for their long-range flame attacks & untelegraphed attacks while getting in what damage the player can. These posses are relatively easy to parry, too, especially if only one is up.

There won’t be many weapons, spells, or miracles that deal Lightning damage available at this point in the game. The best players can do is stock up on Gold Pine Resins & apply them to their weapons to buff them with Lightning damage.

5/15 Lorian, Elder Prince & Lothric, Younger Prince

lothric, elder prince & lothric

The Ashen One faces a plethora of obstacles in his journey throughout a transitory place. One boss fight that seems to cause players the most trouble is against Lorian, Elder Prince & Lothric, Younger Prince. Also known as “The Twin Princes,” one is a sword-wielder with the other being a magic-caster.

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Lorian is a knight who wields a flaming greatsword. Lothric wears a black robe & strikes with holy light energy. Although Lorian cannot st& for more than a few seconds without his legs collapsing, his swing span & his brother’s projectile magic makes them a great challenge.

Tips For Defeating Lorian & Lothric

Lothric will continuously resurrect Lorian over & over again in the fight with less HP each time, until Lothric is himself defeated. He can only be attacked once Lorian is downed, though, so be sure to stay close to the corpse of the Twin Prince to maximize damage on Lorian when he appears. Once Lothric is dead, Lorian will not be brought back upon defeat.

Both princes are weak to Lightning, Frostbite, & Magic damage. However, players will find using Lightning damage will provide them the most utility as Lorian has a significant weakness against it. As such, the Dragonslayer Weapons are an excellent choice against the twin princes. Players can also use the Great Lightning Spear miracle against them as well depending on their builds. Alternatively, the Gold Pine Resins & Bundles will buff the players’ weapons with Lightning damage which will get the job done.

4/15 Aldrich, Devourer Of Gods

aldrich devourer of souls

Aldrich, Devourer Of Gods is, as his name implies, a fierce Dark Souls III boss. This boss fight gives us flashbacks of Ornstein & Smough, who are considered the most difficult Dark Souls boss duo in Souls history.

We fight Aldrich in the same cathedral hall in Anor Londo as we did Ornstein & Smough, a callback to one of the most famous fights of the Dark Souls series. While Aldirch isn’t the hardest boss in the game, it’s one of the most terrifying.

Tips For Defeating Aldrich, Devourer of Gods

Gwyndolin’s half-devoured body will cast soul spears & soul masses that follow the player, which deal massive rapid damage if not dodged or avoided. Hiding behind pillars helps players to avoid most of these homing attacks. Getting into melee range & avoiding the boss’ slow attacks while watching for spells being cast tends to be effective. Aldrich will become more powerful at 70 percent health, too.

Being an Abyssal enemy, Aldritch is weak to the Farron Greatsword & Wolf Knight’s Greatsword which can be acquired early on in the game. He also is vulnerable to Lightning, Fire, & Thrust damage & players can find a variety of weapons that deal such damage. The Lothric Knight Greastsword is a good choice for Lightning Damage while the Demon’s Greataxe & the Old King’s Great Hammer can be used to deal Fire damage. A number of weapons deal thrust attacks which can be spammed on Aldritch to deal extra damage.

3/15 Dancer Of The Boreal Valley

dancer of the boreal valley

The name of Dancer of the Boreal Valley accurately describes her behavior. Try fighting this colossal Dark Souls III boss, but know that she dances while she strikes with dual swords.

Dodging the Dancer’s attacks is possible, but most would agree it takes a significant amount of luck to endure this graceful (& deadly) foe.

Tips For Defeating the Dancer of the Boreal Valley

The Dancer’s boss room is noticeably small, considering the wide cleaving range of the Dancer’s dual-sword attacks. It’s hard to tell when the Dancer is attacking versus just moving around the room, but it must be avoided however possible. A 100% block shield can help a lot for this boss fight, but be careful about relying too often on blocking because the Dancer staggers players easily.

The Dancer is the most vulnerable to Dark damage & as such, players will want to use weapons that deal this damage. At this stage, there wouldn’t be many options available that do so, in which case, it is best to use Human Pine Resins. These items buff the current weapon equipped with Dark damage, albeit for a short while. The Dancer can be staggered if players hit her head after which they can provide a critical strike dealing enormous amounts of damage. Combining this strike with dark damage will chop a significant portion off of the Dancer’s health bar.

2/15 Pontiff Sulyvahn

Pontiff Sulyvahn in Dark Souls 3

Pontiff Sulyvahn still haunts us to this day because of his unforgiving dual-sword attacks. This is not an optional boss, as you will have to defeat him to progress through Irithyll.

His sweeping fire sword attacks are particularly unpleasant, which paired with his other attacks makes the Pontiff among the hardest Dark Souls 3 bosses. Luckily the bonfire isn’t far away, so you can die several times without having to travel far.

Sulyvahn is vulnerable to Thrust, Lightning, & Fire damage & players may want to combine them for extra effect. He is a challenging boss & even with the buffs & advantages, it may take players a few tries to defeat him. As such, it is advisable players bring a summonable NPC with them against the Pontiff. Seeing that he brings his clone to this battle, the players doing so would only even the odds.

Tips For Defeating Pontiff Sulyvahn

Pontiff Sulyvahn’s attacks mirror each other, so if the player can dodge the first strike, they know exactly how to dodge the incoming second. However, Pontiff Sulyvahn will do rapid leaping strikes, sweeping attacks, & cast spells, which can be incredibly hard to dodge back to back. Keep an eye on stamina to more effectively time dodges & retaliatory attacks.

1/15 Nameless King

nameless king

Although he is referred to as “The Nameless King,” players have Advance to know this optional boss all too well. The Nameless King is considered by most to be the hardest Dark Souls 3 boss. Located at the Archdragon Peak, this boss appears after you ring the bell by the Great Belfry.

This boss is fought in two phases, with one being while he rides a wyvern. Watch out for his piercing attacks while he is on foot. The Nameless King has a large amount of health, so expect to die several times before coming out victorious in the hardest boss fight in Dark Souls 3.

Tips For Defeating the Nameless King

Both of The Nameless King’s phases involve lots of lightning attacks, so equip some lightning-resistant armor & rings to help reduce the massive damage this boss & his Stormdrake put out. In the first phase, keep an eye on the two at all times & go for the Stormdrake’s head. In the second phase, watch for The Nameless King’s thrust attacks & keep to his left side to more easily dodge his attacks. Light or medium armor is best for this fight for the increase in dodge speed & distance.

In this boss fight, players will fight the wyvern first before they get to battle the Nameless King himself. The wyvern is extremely weak to Lightning attacks which allow players to quickly whittle away at its health. Once it is gone, the Nameless King enters the battle & is a formidable opponent. He is weak against Dark & Fire damage which players should take full advantage of. They can use a weapon that is infused with Dark or Deep gems for Dark damage & a Fire or Chaos Gem for Fire damage. Alternatively, they can use Human Pine Resin & Charcoal Pine Resin to buff their weapons giving them the same effect.

MORE: Dark Souls 3 Walkthrough – Boss Guides, Tips, & Help


Source link gamerant.com
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