Dark Souls III Boss Guide – Lore, Loot & Strategies

To many, Dark Souls III [official site] can be summarised as a boss stamping on a human face forever. We’re here to help. This is a guide to killing all of the bosses in Dark Souls 3 but it’s not simply a how-to-murder manual. It also takes a look at some of the sumptuous design and the patchwork lore surrounding many of the bosses, explaining who they are, what they leave behind when they perish, and why it’s necessary to steal all of their souls. As such it’s absolutely riddled with spoilers, as well as strategies and a sprinkling of silliness.

Iudex Gundyr

Nothing bad will happen if I pull the Coiled Sword out of the chest of this ominous looking fellow right?

Why not find out.

Oh no, he has suddenly risen to life and is hitting me with a large glaive, battering the terrible shield I started the game with!

This is your first lesson in Dark Souls 3 – dodging is your best and most reliable tool. Shields are still good, but many enemies have guard-breaking attacks and you quickly run out of stamina trying to block everything.

OK, he’s actually kind of slow and this is pretty easy, almost got him to half health I think maybe I’m awes… A giant slug just emerged from his head and instantly killed me.

This is your second lesson in Dark Souls 3 – nearly all of the bosses change or learn new tricks once you get them to half health, Iudex Gundyr’s trick is that a giant mass of abyssal matter emerges from his body and starts pummeling you. Also your third lesson – you will probably die quite a lot.

How do I kill it?

Fire works an absolute treat, so if you picked up some firebombs on your travels try chucking them at him in his second form and following up with a few melee attacks. For ranged or magic users this fight is incredibly simple, stay at a distance, wait until he commits to a combo, then dodge away and hit him with everything you’ve got. Pyromancy completely destroys his second form.

Killed him – that wasn’t so bad. What is a Iudex anyway?

It’s Latin for judge; Gundyr’s role is to challenge the newly unkindled (that’s you) and deem whether they are worthy of entering Firelink Shrine. I guess you are!

What do I get for killing him?

4000 souls and the coiled sword, which you’ll need to ignite the bonfire in the shrine ahead.

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    I have only recently got past Boss 4 after over 15 hours. I have a very long way to go!

    Might grind for a while as a phantom (gotta get those Sunlight Medals).

    My last action (yesterday evening) was to fight a Black Knight and get it down to about 5% of its health, but then do the classic thing where I try and get that final hit and get smashed in the head instead.

  2. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    Actually, Aldrich is a man based on the descriptions. The human form of the boss seems to actually be the corpse (?) of Gwyndolin (also a man), being puppeteered by Aldrich. Aldrich himself is the gooey “tail” of the boss, slowly consuming Gwyndolin. Item descriptions suggest that he absorbs the memories of his meals, and has only dreamed of Priscilla.

    • SMGreer says:

      Not to get into a whole thing but Gwyndolin is raised as a woman so it’s perfectly fair to refer to them as such.

      Aldrich is deffo a dude, minor nit pick tho. He is also without a doubt probably the most disturbing character and boss in all of Dark Souls. A true horror.

      • Kodaemon says:

        Gwyndolin’s gender identification is a matter of speculation. However, Aldrich was definitely a man, and we’re fighting him here, not Gwyndolin. Also, Aldrich probably never ate Priscilla and he quite certainly didn’t eat Nito.

        • Senethro says:

          Mmmm. He’s got Nito’s sword and uses that Lifehunt Scythe spell. The text associated with it says he only dreamed about a pale girl, but he tended to do that before eating a target.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            Could it be possible that he possesses the soul of Nito as the Rotten did in Dark Souls 2?

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I’d thought for sure that Gwyndolin said something to self-identify as a man, but looking through dialogue I see I’m mistaken. I’m still going to refer to him as a “he,” however, since the game explains that he was raised as a girl because of his association with the moon, not because of any decision on his part, and by the time you meet him he refers to himself as the Dark Sun, the sun having been established as masculine. But I like that the game has these layers that enable the discussion in the first place, and leave room for both sides.

    • Scumbag says:

      Random fact: Gwyndolin has boobs.

  3. zaphod42 says:

    Who is this for? Discovering bosses yourself is like, half the fun.

    • popej says:

      Not you and that is fine.

    • Minglefingler says:

      People who stuggle with a boss or bosses?

    • shaydeeadi says:

      I’ve used this article to glean what boss souls I want to make weapons out of. Bang up for a crystal rapier.

  4. Anthile says:

    Page1: Gundyr can also be parried if you start with a shield that can perform parries.

    Page3: I think hitting the sac between its legs is optional. It’s an easy to hit spot but if you don’t destroy it the hand will never appear. It’s a not a particularly difficult fight either way but it’s an option.

    Page4: Fake sages can be destroyed with throwing knives. Generally it’s a good idea to just equip the armor set with the highest dark/magic defense, usually caster armor.

    Page5: This fight is much easier when you use a weapon with a sweeping move like a greatsword or a halberd. People using thrusting swords, daggers or spears will have a much harder time. Spells like fireball work just as well.
    The casters with the blue coats heal the boss but they don’t respawn when killed. Alternatively you can use alluring skulls to distract the mob.

    Page7: Wolnir’s sword seems be RNG. I have fought him very often and most of the time he doesn’t summon it at all. Maybe it only appears when you take too much time.
    This is another fight in which weapon choice can make a huge difference. You are tracking an awkwardly moving hitbox so a small weapon is at an disadvantage.

    Page11: Lifehunt Scythe is a spell in this game.

    Page12: I found her easiest when you stay away and bait her jump attack (that’s arguably true for a lot of bosses). She has huge openings but punishes greed like no other.

    Page19: When he’s in spear or caster mode you just have to strafe around him and he can’t hit you at all. It’s almost comical.

    • Premium User Badge

      Alfy says:

      Concerning “page 3”: rushing him and bursting the middle sac is still the fastest way to go through phase 1. And the hand is not a bad thing: in phase 2, if you can bait the stand and fall move, the hand makes as good a target as a sac damage-wise, and it’s there till the end of the fight. I found it a much easier target than running around trying to find a remaining sac on the limbs…

  5. gi_ty says:

    I would love to see a post similar to this that dives more into the lore of the world the characters. Reading a detailed breakdown of this nature would be awesome and something I’m not really getting much of from the game itself.

    • Tetrode says:

      Give it time, there will be lots of awesome lore stuff to digest in the coming months I’d imagine. It just takes time for people to connect all the dots and come up with theories. I absolutely LOVE the lore in Dark Souls and can’t wait to hear other people’s theories on the third one.

    • vahnn says:

      Might I suggest VaatiVidya on the YouTube? He does an awesome job and PC Gamer recently did a lovely writeup on him.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Alfy says:

    I find the fake dialogues unrealistic. There should be a lot more screaming involved, and the sound of a controller hitting a wall on at least a semi-regular basis.

  7. PikaBot says:

    The Nameless King is a real bastard to take down, but one realization was a complete gamechanger for me: he doesn’t aggressively punish Estus. If you take a drink, he isn’t going to drop whatever he’s doing to run up and bash your face in.

    Now, up close, he’s so aggressive that there’s really not much difference. But what this does mean is that if you need to heal, you can just back up. As soon as he starts walking towards you (which he might not do, sometimes his reaction to you backing away is to do a leaping attack or a shockwave, so watch for that) it’s safe to drink. I’ve never once gotten punished for healing when he was walking towards me.

    • ChrisGWaine says:

      They’ve put him a big arena and he does very little to stop you keeping your distance (except when he’s nearly dead?). Not only does he let you heal, he leaves himself very vulnerable to ranged attacks.

  8. Troubletcat says:

    Amusing article. Great read. Beat the game a couple days ago (although I missed quite a bit and am now knee-deep in NG+ with no pause) and this is a really fun look at the bosses.

    I was under the impression that the Crystal Sage was female. Don’t some of the item descriptions relating to them talk about sisters or something? But this article calls them he… I could be wrong.

  9. Senethro says:

    What boss items have people found useful? Chaos Bed Vestiges looks to be one of Pyromancys few viable PvP spells being fast with a huge AoE and damage. It also had a tendency to headshot the Demon Bridge Possum of Irithyll for over 1000 damage at the time.

    • Michael Johnson says:

      Personally I’m fond of both weapons you get from the Abyss Watchers Soul. The Farron Greatsword has an amusing unique attack and the ability to parry. The Wolf Knight’s Greatsword has a couple of unique moves that can blind-side people in PvP as well as nostalgia value and nice art-work.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I’ve found Lorian’s Greatsword to be an absolute monster of a weapon, and it goes very well with the Firelink Armor set.

  10. eLBlaise says:

    “This is a thematically perfect boss battle, where you have to dance around your enemy, mastering the timing and rhythm of attacks, and the Dancer is sumptuously animated.”

    Favorite fight bar none I was genuinely bummed when it was over.