Dark Souls III is the most recent entry in one of the most punishing, yet rewarding game trilogies of all time. Littered with almost-impossible enemies and traps around every corner, the Dark Souls series has made a huge impact on the world of hardcore gaming.
One of the most iconic parts of the series, though, is its boss fights, which are often sudden, unexpected, and somehow more brutal than every other fight. This list of the bosses found in Dark Souls III will help guide you through the difficult obstacles that lay in your path and provide some assistance with beating them.
19 Iudex Gundyr
This is the first boss in the game, and he’s kind of unavoidable. Defeating him means you unlock Firelink Shrine, where you can level up and chat to NPCs in a safe zone. You actually start the fight by pulling the Coiled Sword from Iudex's chest, which is later needed to activate the bonfire that opens Firelink Shrine.
There are two phases to this fight. In the first, Iudex uses a weapon similar to a halberd that he can sweep or slice. In the second, which triggers after he hits half-health, a lizard-like creature explodes out of his body, dangerously extending his range.
18 Vordt of the Boreal Valley
This hulking beast carries a mace and can also charge in a straight line over three or four times in quick succession. At half-health, Vordt buffs himself, which can make it tricky to land damaging hits. He also starts to use an ice breath attack that arcs out in a huge area in front of him, so make sure to stay behind him!
17 Curse-Rotted Greatwood
Found in the Undead Settlement and worshipped by its inhabitants, the Curse-Rotted Greatwood is a giant tree that packs a huge punch. It has a series of slam attacks where it can release a corrosive liquid, so be sure to avoid those puddles throughout the battle.
After dealing a certain amount of damage, you and Greatwood will fall into a pit and the second phase will commence. At this point, the boss can deal even more deadly damage by falling onto the ground or by spinning and rolling its limbs toward you.
16 Crystal Sage
Crystal Sage sports a wide-brimmed hat and the ability to teleport, as well as multiple spell-based attacks that can do a wide range of damage. The best way to approach this fight is with the intent to stagger the boss, as that will allow you to land multiple hits in a short period of time.
Watch out, though—during Crystal Sage’s second phase, it can summon Clones that will need to be defeated before killing the boss itself!
15 Deacons of the Deep
After unlocking Cathedral of the Deep, you can battle it out with this gathering of clerics, who defend the wandering soul of the Archdeacon. During the fight, a red glow, or the soul, will possess one of the many Deacons. Make sure to target the enemies that possess that soul in order to progress to phase two, during which only one of the Deacons will have the soul for the remainder of the fight. The rest of the Deacons will do their best to shield him from the player, so moving around them or hitting lots of them at once will be your best bet.
14 Abyss Watchers
Located at the very end of Farron Keep, the Abyss Watchers contain the soul of a Lord of Cinder. Though at first you only fight one sword-wielding boss, soon enough two more will join the fight.
One of those corpses will resurrect after being defeated, but the other, sporting glowing red eyes, will actually attack the central boss and the other corpse. Those attacks can still hurt you, though, so keep an eye out.
13 High Lord Wolnir
Located at the end of the Catacombs of Carthus, this giant skeleton has an array of attacks that can quickly take you out if you aren’t careful. He can summon skeletons at will, for a start, as well as a giant sword that can be swept into your path.
High Lord Wolnir is best defeated by breaking his shackles, as each broken shackle takes out one-third of his health. He can actually be defeated without breaking those shackles, however not breaking them isn't recommended, though, due to his huge health capacity.
12 Old Demon King
Found at the bottom of Smouldering Lake and surrounded on all sides by demon corpses, the Old Demon King is a fiery enemy. He can summon fire rings, spit lava, and even shower fireballs on the player by swinging his hammer or slamming it into the ground.
Phase one is a bit more tricky than phase two, as the boss has a more-defined attack pattern in the second phase with a couple of melee attacks, followed by a ranged one.
11 Pontiff Sulyvahn
Pontiff Sulyvahn is another boss that must be defeated to access a portion of Irithyll of the Boreal Valley. He dual-wields a Fire and a Magic Sword, making him an especially dangerous boss. Just make sure your stamina is up and you should be good to survive for as long as possible.
During his second phase, Pontiff is joined by his phantom clone, so make sure to keep focused on Pontiff and avoid the clone’s attacks as best you can.
10 Yhorm the Giant
His name quite literally says it all—Yhorm is a Lord of Cinder and a massive boss that will storm and stomp the ground as much as possible. He can also perform a swipe backward if you’re behind him, so be careful when trying to sneak up on him!
What’s especially helpful against Yhorm is the Storm Ruler, a weapon that can be found near Yhorm’s throne that can do massive damage to the Lord of Cinder. The best window for damage is after any of his attacks, directed toward his head.
9 Aldritch, Devourer of Gods
With a name like that, Aldritch has to be intimidating, and as one of the Lords of Cinder, he definitely is one of the more frightening bosses to go head-to-head with. His attacks vary from long-range arrows and soul spears to spin attacks that can steal your health for himself. Aldritch can thus easily do tons of damage that’ll take the player out before they can say, “Help!”
Attacks to Aldritch’s tail deal a lot of damage, and multiple attacks can stagger him. Keeping focused on that area will be your route to victory.
8 Dancer of the Boreal Valley
Dancer of the Boreal Valley is accessible through two means: defeating three Lords of Cinder and being teleported to the boss afterward, or killing Emma, the High Priestess of Lothric Castle. Either way, this boss is a tricky foe to handle, especially considering her flame sword and attacks that feel reminiscent of graceful dance moves.
The second phase only gets more complex with the addition of an ash sword, turning the Dancer into a dual-wielder with deadly effect.
7 Dragonslayer Armour
Animated by the Pilgrim Butterflies, this empty suit of armor isn’t void of fatal attacks or bone-crushing blows. However, this boss is often more bark than bite. While Dragonslayer Armour is an intimidating enemy, and its greataxe does look rather frightening, its greatshield can actually deal a lot more damage, and you can easily get in two- or three-hit combos.
During the second phase, the Pilgrim Butterflies will start sending projectiles down on either side of the bridge, but they can easily be avoided by rolling out of the way.
6 Oceiros, the Consumed King
One of the most talkative bosses, Oceiros is hidden in the garden beneath Lothric Castle and will frequently talk about an imaginary baby in his arms. That doesn’t prevent him from lashing out with his staff, though, or from sweeping his tail toward you. As long as you stay underneath him with your shield up, you should be able to avoid his attacks pretty easily during both phases.
In the second phase, though, Oceiros starts to attack with his claws and fangs in an erratic manner, as well as blasting crystal breaths every chance he can get. Stay sharp!
5 Champion Gundyr
Remember Iudex Gundyr, the first boss? Now he’s back and ready for more action as Champion Gundyr in a much more aggressive version of that initial fight. After defeating Oceiros, you can move into Untended Graves, where Champion Gundyr can be found lurking.
Champion Gundyr's almost-endless stream of quick slashes and smashes can feel overwhelming at first, and even as you get into his second phase, his rapid combos can become relentless. Parrying is most likely your best way to counter Champion Gundyr, as it can stun him and leave room for an opening.
4 Lothric, Younger Prince
The last Lord of Cinder before the big boss, Lothric, Younger Prince is a magical force of nature, chiefly because he’s accompanied by his brother, Lorian, Elder Prince. While Lothric only has three attacks, they’re all powerful magic projectiles, and next to Lorian’s sword slashes, they can be hard to handle.
It does help, though, that the fight starts easier and ramps up slowly. Lothric leaves big windows for attacks in phase one, and in phase two, he’s often found calming down from a bout of magic. He’s also much more vulnerable when Lorian is further away, and the elder brother can be dealt with by attacking in the spaces between his combos.
3 Ancient Wyvern
One of the optional bosses, the Ancient Wyvern is surprisingly simple to defeat. It can be defeated through the ol’ bow and arrow method or by sneaking around it to the left. There’s a path there that will lead to a ledge right above the Wyvern’s head. Once it puts its head down, jump on down and a win will soon be in your clutches!
Despite the supposed ease of victory, the Wyvern’s attacks are still deadly. It has a fiery breath that can easily burn you to a crisp, as well as a tail swipe that could take you out if you’re not careful.
2 Nameless King
Nameless King is another optional boss, but if you’d like an additional challenge, this wyvern rider is definitely a difficult one to beat. In the first phase, he circles in the air on his wyvern, sending down blasts of fire, air, and lightning. He can also perform melee attacks with his spear.
Once the wyvern is killed, though, the once-named “King of the Storm” becomes the Nameless King and begins to attack with even more lightening barrages. Though he is fast, he can be staggered, so lighter equipment is the way to go to keep up with his quick jabs.
1 Soul of Cinder
The final boss in Dark Souls III, Soul of Cinder is the culmination of all of the Lords of Cinder. It’s a truly difficult final battle, but one that isn’t impossible to win.
Like many of the other bosses, Soul of Cinder has two phases. In the first, it has a passive heal, as well as the ability to recover up to one-third of its health. Hitting hard is the way to go in order to get Soul of Cinder’s health down and reach its second phase, in which it channels Gwyn, the first Lord of Cinder and the final boss from Dark Souls Remastered.