Top 20 Hardest Bosses in Dark Souls 3: The Ultimate Ranking

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Boss fights are the bread and butter of all Soulsborne games.

They’re the epic, defining encounters that stand out the most when looking back, and provide some of the toughest challenges the games have to offer.

DS3 is no different – it has some of the toughest boss fights of all the Dark Souls games – but also a decent shake of cakewalks.

Today we’re going to be taking a look at the hardest bosses of Dark Souls 3!

Note: Most boss fights can be made easier with NPC or human summons, so we’re judging these rankings based on solo fighting only.


20(?). Halflight, Spear of the Church

Halflight, Spear of the Church from Dark Souls 3

I’m going to get this one out of the way right off the bat.

Halflight is a completely stand-out boss from the ringed city DLC, which is actually a covenant; when you challenge him, the boss itself will be another human player!

Because of this, the difficulty varies greatly, as you could come across the God of PvP himself, or an utter noob.

The boss ‘Halflight’ himself only occurs if there’s no-one for the covenant to summon, and is a pretty easy fight.

So because of all this, this boss’ placement is a solid ‘?’, and is the most unpredictable boss fight in any of the Souls games.


19. Curse-Rotted Greatwood

Curse-Rotted Greatwood in DS3

It takes something special to be placed lower than the literal tutorial boss, but the greatwood manages.

It’s the third boss you’ll encounter and is actually optional, but without it you won’t be able to transpose any boss souls into those lovely unique rewards!

Not to worry though, the fight is laughable. It’s an overweight anthropomorphised tree with some… unfortunately placed… jiggly… balls… for weak points.

And to beat it you burst those balls…

Moving on.


18. Iudex Gundyr

Iudex Gundyr Dark Souls 3 screenshot

Babies first boss – the end of the tutorial.

Gundyr is actually a challenge on your first playthrough thanks to his drawn-out attack animations and huge range.

But sadly he gets a bit bullied on subsequent attempts once you know about parrying, and can be beaten hitless pretty easily even as the deprived class.

He has his revenge though! His counterpart – champion Gundyr, is much tougher, and we’ll get to him later.


17. Yhorm the Giant

Yhorm the Giant Dark Souls 3

It’s strange for such a late-game boss to be so low on the list, but that’s because Yhorm is quite a weird one.

Similar to the bed of chaos from the original Dark Souls, Yhorm is a gimmick boss, and is extremely weak to the storm ruler – a weapon found within his own boss arena.

It’ll take but a few fully-charged swings with its unique weapon skill to take him down, and you can be extremely far away when doing so, putting you in little danger.

If you want to try the fight without using the storm ruler, then that’s a different story entirely, and Yhorm would be in at least the top 5.


16. Vordt of the Boreal Valley

Vordt of the Boreal Valley in DS3

Vordt is the second non-optional boss you’ll come across at the end of the high wall, and in line with this is pretty easy.

A common strategy is simply hugging his weirdly deformed butt, which will cause 99% of his attacks to miss you completely.

The start of his phase 2, however, is a bit different, and requires fairly precise timing on your rolls to survive.

Beyond this though, it’s more of the same, and surviving his charges will give you a massive window to close the fight off with.


15. Abyss Watchers

Abyss Watchers from Dark Souls 3

The abyss watchers are the first lords of cinder you’ll face off against, but seem to be distracted…

You’ll fight up to 3 at once, and interestingly, they’ll fight each other too!

For phase 1 of the fight, simply standing back and waiting will go a long way, as more often than not the boss will self-destruct all the way to phase 2.

Phase 2 is slightly more challenging, being a one-on-one fight with a (more composed) single watcher, but he can still be parried and backstabbed, so it’s not all that hard.


14. Old Demon King

Old Demon King Dark Souls 3

The demon king is an optional boss found within the smouldering lake.

A survivor from the days of the first Dark Souls, the demon king is indeed ‘old’. But that doesn’t make him a pushover – his pyromancy-heavy moveset is quite the light show, and a couple of his attacks are very punishing.

Most of the time though, he’s pretty slow and lumbering, and has a strange kamikaze attack that can occur around 30% HP or lower, which, after using, will cause him to slump over, completely out of commission.

The poor guy probably just wants a lie-down and a game of bingo.


13. Oceiros, the Consumed King

Oceiros, the Consumed King in DS3

Oceiros, for me, was the first boss I struggled with.

He has some really high damage attacks and, during his feral phase 2, will not leave you alone.

He’s also got some slimy tricks – namely causing curse damage and reducing your FP points – what’s more, he’s extremely resistant to magic, so RIP sorcerers during this fight.

Outside of the fight itself, Oceiros is an extremely interesting character, and is one of the most mysterious and vocal bosses in the entire series. If you love your lore, I’d recommend reading into his theories!


12. Pontiff Sulyvahn

Pontiff Sulyvahn Dark Souls 3

Sulyvahn is an intimidating fight when facing him solo, and can pose quite the threat.

Residing in the chapel at the end of the Irithyll, the Pontiff dual-wields long greatswords and has incredibly lengthy combos that leave very little room for opening.

It gets even worse with phase 2 – during which he’s accompanied by a shadowy clone, which will mimic his attacks moments before he does them himself.

This leaves even less room for fitting in attacks and it can be very difficult to avoid such a relentless onslaught.


11. Dragonslayer Armour

Dragonslayer Armour from Dark Souls 3

The third-to-last-boss in the game, the possessed dragonslayer armour is a bulky and brutal foe accompanied by the mysterious pilgrim butterflies.

The armour itself is simple enough – his massive attacks do huge damage but are easy enough to dodge, but when the butterflies get involved in phase 2, you may find yourself getting 1-shot from absolutely nowhere.

The armour makes a return as a miniboss during the ringed city DLC too! And after beating him, you can don the awesome set for yourself (possession not included).


10. Dancer of the Boreal Valley

Dancer of the Boreal Valley in DS3

Sitting in the middle of our list is the slender and spindly dancer.

She’s an interesting entry, too – being able to be fought as early as Vordt! If you have the guts for it.

This makes her, potentially, the second boss you come across – though it isn’t recommended before NG+.

She has an absolutely huge moveset of wide-range arching swings, each dealing big damage split between slash, thrust, fire and dark, so she’s hard to gear up against.

She’s a cakewalk for faith builds however, thanks to her weakness to lightning, and even rewards you with the soothing sunlight miracle once beaten!


9. Lothric, Younger Prince

Lothric, Younger Prince in DS3

The piggy-back bros are the fourth and final lord of cinder you face, and are the penultimate boss of the base game.

The actual ‘boss’ here is the decrepit younger brother Lothric, attached to Lorian’s back, who will constantly revive his sibling once killed.

The fight is a cycle of killing Lorian, getting hits of Lothric, revive, and repeat, but can be quite the challenge thanks to the twins ability to teleport during Lorian’s attack wind-ups and combos, leading to some tense jump-scares as his massive greatsword comes from nowhere.


8. Aldrich, Devourer of Gods

Aldrich, Devourer of Gods Dark Souls 3

Aldrich is here for one reason, and one reason only.

His arrow attack.

The boss itself, outside of this, isn’t too bad – so long as you’re patient.

But when you see him get that arrow out you better lace up your pair of Nikes because you’re going to have to get running if you want to survive, and 9 times out of 10 it will spell your demise once it inevitably catches up to you.

He has some other vicious moves too, like his flame trail and soul spears, but nothing keeps me up at night like that rain of hell arrow attack. It sucks.


7. Champion Gundyr

Champion Gundyr from Dark Souls 3

Gundyr is back, and this time he means business.

Unlike Iudex, champion Gundyr is no pushover, and his insanely aggressive moveset will keep you on your toes.

He fights like a true gladiator, utilising heavy swings and his incredible body weight to stun and kick you as he beats you to the dirt.

Like his tutorial counterpart, however, he can still be parried! But beating him with ripostes alone will be quite the challenge for even the most parry-savvy of players.


6. Soul of Cinder

Soul of Cinder Dark Souls 3 screenshot

The very last boss of the base game, the soul of cinder possesses an incredible variety of moves across a wide array of styles and weapons.

During phase 1, the soul will randomly switch between a sword, sorcery, spear, and curved sword moveset, each with their own challenges to overcome.

During phase 2, it’ll embody the soul of lord Gwyn himself, using his moveset from the first Dark Souls game and dishing out devastating instant-kill combos.

It’s this sheer variety that makes the boss so difficult, as one attempt can be completely different from another.

But then again, you don’t expect the final boss to be so simple, do you?


5. Sister Friede

Sister Friede Dark Souls 3

The first of the big bulk of DLC bosses that makes up the majority of our top entries.

Sister Friede shares much the same style and feel as lady Maria from Bloodborne, exuding the same badass girl vibe.

She’s a relentless 3-phase challenge at the end of the painted world, with her second phase even being a dual bossfight as she’s joined by the fire-spewing Father Ariandel.

And finally, her last stand – the ‘blackflame’ phase, has her utilising some truly terrifying attacks- spiralling through the air wreathed in flame and swinging insane combos that’ll shred your health bar.


4. Nameless King

Nameless King Dark Souls 3

The nameless king is our only non-DLC boss to make the top 5.

And for good reason – his difficulty is infamous.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll blow through the first phase, wondering what all the fuss is about. But then the real fight starts.

His calm war-god demeanour is enough to have you quaking as you fight him, as he’ll calmly approach before unleashing incredibly fast and brutal attacks that will decimate any unprepared combatants.

It’s his slow and methodical approach that will have you second-guessing any opportunity to attack, as he can (and will) very quickly turn the tides right as you think you have the upper hand.


3. Demon in Pain & Demon from Below (Demon Prince)

Demon in Pain & Demon from Below (Demon Prince) in DS3

There is a criminally small record of people struggling with this boss – it absolutely destroyed me.

The demon prince is a 2-phase boss – starting with a dual fight before going into a one-on-one slugfest.

During phase 1, two different demons will take it in turns to beat on you, with one using extremely annoying ranged toxic moves and the other utilising aggressive flaming claw attacks.

And then, right as you think you’ve done it, there’s a rumble. Then an explosion. Then a new (full!) HP bar appears – the demon prince.

This is where it gets real. The prince will use insane pyromancy attacks to level heaven and earth as it annihilates your hopes and dreams.

Your only chance is getting through phase 1 with sufficient healing, otherwise you’re on your own.

Or just summon some phantoms, that works too…


2. Slave Knight Gael

Slave Knight Gael Dark Souls 3 screenshot

The final boss of the ringed city and my personal favorite boss of all time – period.

Gael has consumed the dark soul itself and has the moves to show for it – he is brutally difficult and will delete your health bar time and time again, often running you out of estus before even phase 2.

But it’s phase 3 when things heat up.

There’ll be so much going on that it’ll be dizzying – between raining lightning and dark magic projectiles and a machinegun crossbow(?) and Gael himself with his straight-up OP damaging combos.

It is incredible fun, and such a reward to beat him at last.


1. Darkeater Midir

Darkeater Midir from Dark Souls 3

Nobody was prepared for this one.

Midir is the most challenging boss of any souls game, in my opinion.

He’s honestly just oppressive, and he forces a completely solo head-on playstyle that may leave a lot of players overwhelmed. There is simply no easy way to beat him unless you’re right in front of his face.

He’ll destroy over and over as he flies around his arena raining hellfire, and all you’ll be able to do is feebly chip away at his massive HP pool.

Patience is key. Do not, under any circumstances, be greedy. It may take literally a full hour of landing 2-to-3 hits at a time, but the feeling of achievement upon beating him is worth it.

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Tom ‘Cyresto’ Humphries

A game animator by trade, Tom’s insight into the game development world gives him a strong appreciation for the art form that is video games. Kicking off at the age of 3 with Spyro: Year of the Dragon on the PS1, Tom’s tastes in games has hardened over the 19 years he’s spent playing them. He now lives for the challenge that titles such as Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, Dead Cells, and many more offer him. Enjoying nothing more than a session of number-crunching game data and another platinum trophy on his PlayStation account, Tom is dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in even the most brutal of gaming content.