This site went into hibernation for a while and the last post we did was a Dark Souls 2 boss ranking, so it would be rude to not finish this series off.
As per the other two I won’t be including the DLC bosses and will instead be focusing on the bosses found within the core game.
I am going to base this list on my opinion, which is obviously subjective but I am basing it on my experiences from playing the game this includes my first impressions of the bosses, but also how my opinion has changed over time including subsequent playthroughs as different style characters.
19) Ancient Wyvern: This is a shit fight, and I bet none of you are surprised it is bottom of the Dark Souls 3 list. Here you can fight the Wyvern mano-a-mano and slowly chip away his health bar in a fight that makes Vendrick look like a low health scrub. Or do what you’re supposed to do, and do some shitty platforming as you run around the boss areana before eventually doing a plunge attack to the Wyvern’s head. My main gripe here is that you have some of the hardest enemies constantly ganking you from the endless blind spots, but with the added joy of Dark Souls platforming all makes this fairly poor experience. Be honest, who here has missed the plunge attack? I didn’t this time, but I have missed the one-shot boss killer numerous times. You are relying on the controls and context specific attacks in a game that is renown for being slightly awkward. It doesn’t reach Bed of Chaos levels of bullshit, and isn’t a trash fight. But it is the worst in this game, and probably the worst proper boss in series after Bed of Chaos.
18) High Lord Wolnir: Wolnir is interesting from a lore perspective, but not so much as a fight. This is one of those obvious weak spot enemies and if for some reason you don’t spot the giant glowing weakspots in a pitch black arena then Dark Souls probably isn’t for you and you wouldn’t have made it this far. Breaking the glowing bracelets will take 5 swipes as a flesh mage with a terrible weapon making this fight a joke with almost zero peril. You are often able to kill him before he summons skeletons, and even if he does all they do is potter around aimlessly before Wolnir kills them trying to attack you. His only attack to avoid is the poison mist that will get a newb, everything else is slow and overly telegraphed. To be honest, I am not even sure he has managed to clip me with his arm attacks. You may die once or twice on this the first time, but never again.
17) Dragonslayer Armour: He is a fat Ornstein with a massive shield and lightning axe. He has regular dude in armour phase and then he goes all anime hero as he starts glowing with lightning where he introduces a few attacks that’ll one shot you. As a caster just walk backward and shoot when his shield is down or as a melee you should hopefully have the stamina to dodge around him with some spare to attack. He is fast and has good tracking but by this point in the game everything you have been taught to get here makes it a doddle. If This boss came before the Dancer it would probably score higher in the list. The most frustrating part of this fight is the overly long corpse run if you do die.
16) Iudex Grundyr: lulled into a false sense of security by being the tutorial boss. He starts off as a fast and relatively hard dude in armour that is purely there to teach you dodging, before getting angry and snotting out of his armour to take on monstrous blob form. He teaches you that bosses have distinct phases , and is perhaps a clever middle finger to the complaints about Dark Souls 2 being overloaded with dudes in armour. You’ll die a couple of times to him and is probably the hardest of the three tutorial bosses in the series.
15) Deacons of the Deep: These guys take a lot of shit from the community, and I am torn on them. On the surface they are a trash fight with dozens of enemies weaker than American beer. But this is combined with a couple of gimmicks such as an obvious puzzle. See to hurt the Boss you need to hit the one guy that is glowing red, get the health bar down to around 60% and the arch-duke Deacon fella will appear with some of his mates including some fatties with a holy explosion that does almost zero damage and some guys that cast magic. Ignore these at your peril as they will either instakill you by filling the room with a curse buff (that got me first time) and some large dark orbs that’ll one-shot you early in the game. These things combined actually build a fairly fun boss, you need to be quick to avoid the curse build up, but you need to use space and arena to recover stamina and avoid getting swamped. Fighting these early increases the difficulty, but on New Game + These guys are an absolute joke.
14) Vordt, of the Boreal Valley: Classic first run boss, he is relatively fast and pretty powerful early on. You’ll die a few times learning the games mechanics but then you will be one-combo killing him on new game +. He can be quite frustrating, none of his regular attacks can one-shot you but on your first run you won’t have much Estus to rely on. But the ice breath is almost guaranteed to one shot you this early in the game. However large windows to dodge and a a narrower window of opportunity for a couple of spells or swipes after he misses means you shouldn’t struggle for long. Having said that, on my latest playthrough I died 12 times to him.
13) Crystal Sage: Is a generic wizard that fires weak and fast or slow and powerful magic at you. After you get him down to 50% he’ll summon some clones in a similar fashion to Pinwheel. This means you can be overwhelmed with magic and can be a little RNGesy depending on where they pop up in relation to where you’re standing, but hitting a clone once removes them until the cycle repeats. In New Game + these clones can be completely ignored as they become piss weak compared to you, and you’re able to focus on the real Crystal Sage. He is pretty easy, but you will die a few times learning his mechanics. He is also the one that has purple magic instead of blue making him super easy to spot.
12) Yhorm the Giant: This is another almost puzzle boss. You can fight a gigantic ass mega dude with slow as fuck attacks that can’t one shot while you slowly chip away his humongous health bar (i actually did this first time I fought him). Or you can pick up the Storm Ruler sword on Yhorm’s throne, run away and equip it. Once equipped, hold L1 and let the beast charge up. Then unleash the power of the storm with R2 and you’ll take 5000 health of Yhorm. Do this 4-5 times and he is dead. If you have a summon with you or are on the Seigwald quest this fight is a joke as you let them take the threat and launch wave after wave of Storrmy death. Soloing it, the fight is a little more hectic as you’ll need to at least dodge a little but since Yhorm is a Lord of Cinder he is a little bit of a disappointment. You might die to this guy getting clipped on low health but he is beyond easy for anybody who has made it this far in the game.
11) Abyss Watches: These are generic dudes in armour that play a little like the Lost Sinner from Dark Souls 2. They are fast, but to make the fight different to previous bosses his buddies will appear and team up on you. As the fight progresses a 3rd that will spawn in and either attack you or the boss. It isn’t the hardest fight in the game, but it is easily the hardest in the first third of the game when your stats are low. I tend to use the third guy as a flesh shield to let me get to the next phase relatively in tact. This second phase is where the shit hits the fan as the Watcher morphs in to almost Gwyn Levels of speed and damage (relative to the stage of the game). He is faster, and is on gawd damn fire. He has large reaching attacks courtesy of his fire sword, and his fire sword no longer cares about your shield blocking the damage requiring you to priortise positioning and dodging over hiding behind your shield and only attacking in the relatively large windows where it is safe. They are dudes in armour, but they are pretty interesting for dudes in armour.
10) Old Demon King: Fairly generic fire demon boss aesthetically and he is fairly unpopular amongst the community. I however rather like him. He has angry fire attacks, summons meteors, has a long range panning fire breath, and some cool AOE fire. All of which will fuck your shit up. As a caster I struggle on a first playthrough as I tend to do him early and my magic sucks (doubly so as a Pyromancer [who knew a fire demon would have fire resistance]) but as a melee player I smash this guys shit in half before he can finish summoning his cool meteor storm. I think the first time I played the game I died about 5 times, and on subsequent playthroughs once, except on the pyro.
9) Oceiros, the Consumed King: Weirdly this is the boss I struggled most on during my latest playthrough. Pyromancy spells throw at a weird arc and all of these angles miss Oceiros with great aplomb. As a Sorcerer your magic will track better, but as a Pyro I honestly struggled most on this boss. Every other playthrough I pissed from Oceiros on first or second attempt whereas the latest playthrough was 15 attempts. Here you have a weak boss, with some thoroughly mediocre attacks, but dumbass here was simply unable to avoid them and unable to hit with the magic. So lost the fight through attrition (I have a very weak weapon). So there you go, being incompetent at Dark Souls can make even an easy boss hard.
8) Champion Grundyr:
This is what the first boss could have been if FromSoftware were actually evil. He is a reskin of the first boss with the training wheels taken off. He is fast, and never lets up. Rather than snotting out of his armour when he heats up he just gets really angry and much, MUCH stronger and faster. So if you were struggling to start with he can become a serious pain. Its weird though, despite my hatred of the dude in armour, I find this a fun fight. The speed of the attacks and narrow windows in which to attack are quite exhilarating until he wafflestomps you for the 13th time. Ranged users can spam fire and cheese the fight, but melee fighters, you da real MVP here.
7) Soul of Cinder:
Honestly, I find this fight boring except for the leitmotif of Gywn from the first game though I’m not sure it even counts as a leitmotif, as it straight up starts to play Gwyn’s theme song. Having said that this is the final boss, and he a super fast angry geezer with a fire sword. All what you would expect for a dude in armour to be, the only real interest comes in his second phase where he starts morphing into different classes of fighter. It adds a little intrigue to the fight as you can’t fully prepare for the random changes, but he will change from melee powerhouse to Pyromancer or Mage, or Assassin at the drop of the hat, each form coming with a different movement and attack set. The problem with the morphing is it can make it game breakingly hard, or such a doddle to beat you’re disappointed. I have had fights where his second form was entirely made up of him changing form throwing one attack and changing form. giving me an almost uninterrupted chance to whail on him.
6) Lothric, Younger Prince:
I never know what I think of this fight, and I will use my language carefully here. You beat up a cripple. Yeah. That’s the fight. Weakling Younger Price crawls and teleports around the map barely able to stand and flailing around. That is until you beat him so his big brother (Elder Prince) rocks up and literally puts him on his back. The magic of the Younger Prince is supplemented by the fast melee attacks of the Elder Prince. It almost harks back to the the Ornstein and Smough fight. It is the fight I feel most out of my depth whenever I play Dark Souls, as both characters contrast sharply. You can’t get in close and spam melee, you can’t stand at the back kiting, as both of the brothers skillsets counter this. You simply have to git gud. Thrown in is an almost third phase and another a new mechanic where when you kill the Elder Brother the Younger Prince will resurrect him after a brief channel. You need to use these brief periods to smack living fuck out of the Younger Prince before he can restart the fight with his bro on half health and your morale crushed.
5) Pontiff Sulyvahn: This guy is usually in the top hardest bosses list for the none-DLC version for Dark Souls 3 and to be honest, of all the bosses in this game I have never had an issue with him. There are two potential summons to help you, and his swipes are easily dodged. In his second phase he summons a clone that will telegraph the real Pontiff’s moves so assuming you can pay attention to him and manage your camera well enough you’ll be able to line up your counterattack. If the Pontiff clips you you’re probably dead but I never find he does. The arena is large and he lacks decent ranged attacks so casting is a piece of piss versus him, but getting up close is simple dodge roll and thwack, dodge roll and thwack.
4) Great Rotted Cursewood: I am surprised this placed so highly in my list, but I honestly love this fight. You fight a giant mankey ass tree and beat it by wailing on his nut-sack while avoiding trash mobs. After you pop his balls he gets understandably angry and smashes through the floor which removes the hassle of the trash mobs. He then sprouts a giant hand out his body and proceeds to try to whomp you. The fight is fun, but can be frustrating trying to hit the soft spots as they are not always accessible which is frustrating as a melee building waiting for certain moves to make them accessible. You’ll probably die a lot of times on first runs and different builds make it difficult to attack the weak spots.
3) Nameless King: Another boss that I am torn on is the Nameless King. As a ranged caster this fight is a joke, you just get under the dragon and spam hardest attack, then in second phase back peddle and spam casts. As a melee, prepare for a frustrating experience as almost every attack will one-shot you, almost every attack requires precise dodges or manoeuvres. It means you’ll either die 30 times getting oneshot, or kill him first time. Could be annoying with RNG especially if he keeps spamming the aerial fire breath in first phase as this requires perfect timing to get out of the way of it otherwise you’re dead. Despite the super hard or super easy difficulty the Nameless King is fun to fight.
2) Aldrich, Devourer of Gods: This is either really easy or really hard depending on what Aldrich does right out the gate. She can spam you with the mega purple spear killing you, or she can do the shitty homing missiles. If that is the case, run up to Aldrich and whomp. Get the bugger down to 60% and they’ll enter phase two. Now prepare for RNG mk.II. Here Aldrich will either try to hit you with a crummy scythe, or endlessly spam the guaranteed death of the arrow barrage. You can avoid this by running around, but if Aldrich casts this successively, which RNG allows, you can’t possibly manage the stamina. On my latest run I beat Aldrich first time, but this is normally a boss I will die 10+ times to just trying to get in. Be patient or lucky. They are you two options on this boss. Or spam with hard magic, I strongly recommend Chaos Bed Vestiges to take almost a quarter of this nobjockies health in one shot. 78
1) Dancer of the Boreal Valley: This is typically the hardest boss for me, which is odd as the Dancer is just Pontiff Sulyvahn with the dials turned up. As a melee fighter you need to perfect the dodge rhythm as you dance through the swirl of blades but the Dancer is easily cheesable. As a caster just run from one side to other and throw your biggest spell. As a melee build you can run side to side bait out the twirly attack and use the pillars to block in, then run in for 1 or 2 swipes before a swift retreat. It is one of my favourite fights and as a melee build I will die probably 20 times trying to nail the dodge rhythm.
That is is dear reader. What did you think? Am i as wrong as I ever am? What would you do differently?