It’s no secret that Dark Souls games are challenging. The legendary FromSoftware series has made its name through massive gothic settings full of brutal enemies. Players are dropped into the world with little more than a sword, a suit of armor, and a go-get-’em attitude. Dark Souls 3 is no exception. Here, you’ll find the Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked from easiest to hardest.
The third installation in the series is just as masochistic and full of colossal beasts waiting to crush anyone foolish enough to cross their path. The bosses in this game can be brutal, but which ones are the toughest?
Well, we decided to answer that question once and for all. We put together this list of Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked by difficulty to help prepare your Ashen One for the trials ahead.
Dark Souls 3 Bosses Ranked from Easiest to Hardest
A couple quick notes before we begin. This list will have all Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked, including DLC. That means every boss from Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City will be included. We’ll make sure to mark these as DLC so that players with the vanilla version of the game won’t waste any time looking for them.
Also, different builds and playstyles are more advantageous in certain fights. Don’t be surprised if your character has an easier or harder time with a specific boss than our list suggests.
Now, make sure you’re all stocked up on Estus Flasks and get ready to dodge-roll, because it’s time to list the Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked from easiest to hardest!
25. Iudex Gundyr
Location: Cemetery of Ash
First up on our list of bosses ranked Dark Souls 3 has to offer is Iudex Gundyr. He’s the first boss you have to face in the game, so it’s no surprise that he ranks easiest on our list.
He starts as a large knight who has been paralyzed by the Coiled Sword. Removing the weapon starts the fight, giving the player a rare opportunity to orient themselves before the battle begins and even squeeze in a few opening attacks as Gundyr stands.
He changes shapes at about 50% health, sprouting a massive, black growth with a rat’s face and a white, root-like claw. Lovely.
24. Vordt of the Boreal Valley
Location: High Wall of Lothric
Want to fight an armor covered frog-turtle with a giant mace? Well, you’re going to have to if you want to reach the Undead Settlement.
Vordt of the Boreal Valley is the second boss you’ll face in Dark Souls 3. He’s not overly difficult, as you can stay out of range for most of his attacks simply by remaining underneath him and dodge-rolling out of the way when he charges. He also has a frost breath attack that can be avoided relatively easily.
23. Curse-Rotted Greatwood
Location: Undead Settlement
The Curse-Rotted Greatwood is the first optional boss you’re likely to encounter in a Dark Souls 3 playthrough. It is a blighted tree-monster, filled with curses from the Undead Settlement inhabitants who worship it. You must defeat it to obtain the Transposing Kiln, a device that allows you to trade Boss Souls to Ludleth in exchange for weapons, rings, and spells back in Firelink Shrine.
There is a cluster of pustules in its…groinal region…that serves as the Greatwood’s main hitbox. You’ll need to focus your attacks there while avoiding the boss’s branch-like arms and the acid dropped during its ground slam. You’ll also be surrounded by undead worshippers who will attack you as soon as combat begins, so keep an eye out for that.
The Greatwood is the easiest optional boss by far, but an important one to beat if you want some of the best equipment in the game.
22. Ancient Wyvern
Location: Archdragon Peak
We didn’t want to put this fight at the bottom of the list because getting to the Ancient Wyvern isn’t the easiest thing in the world. You will have to navigate through a series of passageways while avoiding its fiery breath and fighting smaller enemies along the way, but the truth is that it isn’t really much of a boss fight at all. In fact, if you manage to make your way to the top of the Archdragon Peak and perform a drop attack on its head, you’ll take it out in one shot.
You do have the option to fight the beast head-on, but it still isn’t all that challenging by the standards of other bosses this late in the game.
21. Yhorm the Giant
Location: Profaned Capital
Yhorm the Giant is another sort of gimmicky boss like the Ancient Wyvern. The “reclusive lord of the Profaned Capital” seems very intimidating at first. He’s one of the five Lords of Cinder, and he looks like an absolute monster. There’s a lot of build-up from the moment you see this gigantic Ringwraith-looking behemoth in the game’s opening cut scene. Sadly, that build-up doesn’t come to much.
A powerful weapon called the Storm Ruler (Demon’s Souls throwback) is sitting next to Yhorm’s throne. Using this weapon’s special weapon art can bring the giant down in four to six hits.
20. Crystal Sage
Location: Road of Sacrifices
Jumping back to the early game bosses, we have number twenty on our list. The Crystal Sage is our first encounter with a magic-user, and she’s a mandatory boss that bars entrance to the Cathedral of the Deep.
The sage manifests as a wispy witch-of-the-wilds. She will shoot bolts of magic at you and teleport around the field. She will start summoning doppelgangers at half health, though damaging them won’t bring down the health bar.
The Crystal Sage isn’t an especially difficult boss, though she does offer some unique challenges players won’t have faced before this point in the game.
19. Deacons of the Deep
Location: Cathedral of the Deep
Here are some more beasties that look tougher than they actually are. The Deacons are a congregation dedicated to defending the soul of the Archdeacon. Don’t be intimidated by their numbers, though. Individual Deacons are pretty weak.
It takes a second to figure out the secret to damaging them, but the battle takes no time at all once you do. Eventually, the Archdeacon manifests, and the other Deacons surround him with a meat shield of their own decrepit bodies. Simple hack and roll tactics are all you need to put this one in the bag.
18. High Lord Wolnir
Location: Catacombs of Carthus
Next up on our list is High Lord Wolnir. This boss is either incredibly easy or cripplingly hard, depending on how good your timing is.
Wolnir is a giant skeleton with three glowing bracelets that may as well say “hit me” on each of his wrists. They aren’t tough to attack on their own, but you have to watch out for Wolnir’s poison breath (which kills you as soon as the gauge fills). You can’t be too cautious, though — take too long, and he’ll draw a massive sword and summon his legions of smaller skeleton warriors that make the fight exponentially harder.
17. Halflight, Spear of the Church (DLC)
Location: The Ringed City
Halflight, Spear of the Church is the first DLC boss to make it on our list. She’s also the easiest. Halflight is a unique boss because things can play out very differently depending on whether you’re playing online or offline.
The fight opens with an enemy being summoned. Offline, you will simply have to fight a basic NPC who probably won’t give you too much trouble. Online, there’s a chance that a rival player will be summoned instead. This obviously changes the potential difficulty of the fight and makes it impossible to gauge, but you can always switch to offline mode if you’re having too much trouble.
Halflight herself is pretty easy, though. She shoots some projectiles and has a few slash attacks that are all pretty telegraphed. It’s just a matter of dodging and waiting for an opening.
16. Old Demon King
Location: Smouldering Lake
Remember the Demon Firesage from the first Dark Souls? The Old Demon King is what happens when you stick a crown on him.
The Old Demon King is a giant flaming beast with a big club, which he’s more than willing to whack you with. He has some pretty massive flaming AOE attacks that can be a pain to dodge until you get a handle on his rhythms.
Ranged classes will have a much easier time with the Old Demon King, but melee characters can get whittle him down with a little patience and a lot of dodging.
15. Abyss Watchers
Location: Farron Keep
The Abyss Watchers represent a major jump in difficulty, as they show up pretty early in the game. They are bodies possessed by the soul of one of the five Lords of Cinder that you need to beat in order to access the Catacombs of Carthus. These three Bloodborne-looking mama jamas can be a real pain to get past. They zip around the arena with wide slashing attacks that can be difficult to avoid.
The fight doesn’t end with their defeat, however. Phase two of the battle begins with the three enemies combining into one uber-Abyss Watcher who bears a flaming sword and a much more aggressive temperament.
Pro-tip: Keep an eye on the behavior of the Abyss Watcher with the red eyes.
14. Champion’s Gravetender and Gravetender Greatwolf (DLC)
Location: Painted World of Ariandel
Our second DLC boss is Champion’s Gravetender and Gravetender Greatwolf. This boss is actually a collection of creatures, beginning with the Gravetender and three ordinary wolves. The Gravetender will summon the Greatwolf once you get him down to 50% health.
The Gravetender and normal wolves are pretty standard enemies. The Greatwolf is the only real threat here, but it can be quite challenging, especially if you don’t take out the Gravetender quickly. The last thing you want is to be fighting all of these monsters at the same time.
13. Dancer of the Boreal Valley
Location: High Wall of Lothric
The Dancer of the Boreal Valley makes for an interesting fight. It’s a shrouded undead creature bearing two large swords that it uses in broad, sweeping attacks.
The opening sequence of the fight is deceptively easy. The Dancer has a lot of big windows for you to do significant damage, lulling you into a false sense of security. Everything changes once you enter phase two, though. The Dancer starts using long, arcing slash combinations that are difficult to dodge, do massive damage, and go on for a long time.
12. Aldrich Devourer of Gods
Location: Anor Londo
The next magic user on our list is much more difficult. Players will look fondly on their time spent battling the Crystal Sage when it comes time to face Aldrich, Devourer of Gods.
Aldrich is another Lord of Cinder, and a pretty tough fight if you’re not patient. She will shoot some bolts of magic at you and make it rain magical arrows. Staying within melee range to avoid prompting her range attacks helps a lot.
11. Champion Gundyr
Location: Untended Graves
This boss is around where the real challenges start. Remember Iudex Gundyr from the beginning of the game? Well, how would you like to go back in time to when he was in his prime?
If you had any trouble with Iudex, then you’re going to get your butt handed to you by Champion Gundyr. He uses a lot of the same kinds of attacks, only much, much faster. He gives you very little time to heal, and his moves frequently result in a stun-lock chain where it can take ages for you to get back up — if you do at all.
10. Dragonslayer Armour
Location: Lothric Castle
Next up on our list of Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked is Dragonslayer Armour. As you might have guessed from the name, this boss is covered in heavy armor from head to toe. It also carries a massive war axe and a shield that probably weighs about three hundred pounds. To make matters worse, projectiles will start bombarding the bridge in phase two, adding yet another level of difficulty.
The axe isn’t the worst thing in the world, but that shield can be a nightmare.
9. Oceiros, the Consumed King
Location: Consumed King’s Garden
Oceiros is one of the more difficult bosses in the game (and certainly the chattiest). You’ll have to fight him while the blind dragon rants and calls out for “his beloved Ocelotte,” an imaginary (or invisible) child he appears to have been holding during his monologue before the fight began and during the opening phase.
The Consumed King starts pretty easy, but the fight gets a lot more challenging when he drops to all fours. He’ll begin charging, using tail sweeps and a frozen breath attack. Staying underneath him is the best way to win.
The strategy might be simple, but Oceiros does a lot of damage when he manages to make contact. Mistakes hurt in this fight.
8. Pontiff Sulyvahn
Location: Irthyll of the Boreal Valley
We hope you’re good at parrying — Pontiff Sulyvahn has some of the most unpredictable combos in the game. This dark Pope carries two swords and unleashes chains of attacks that range anywhere from a couple of swings to combos that feel like they last years, and he doesn’t give you much room to breathe in between. To make matters worse, he splits off into two enemies at the halfway point.
Unfortunately, this boss is not optional. You need to get past him if you want to reach the next part of Irithyll.
7. Lothric and Lorian, Younger and Elder Princes
Location: Lothric Castle
Two bosses are better than one, right? Lothric, the Younger Prince, is a Lord of Cinder and a powerful magic-user, while his brother Lorian is more of a melee class.
The fight begins with you facing off against Lorian, the Elder Prince. He can teleport around the room, swinging at you with a large, flaming sword. This part is challenging but manageable. Beating Lorian is only the beginning, though.
The real difficulty starts when you finally drop Lorian — Lothric shows up, heals his brother to a full health bar, hops on his shoulders, and starts shooting magical homing missiles at you while Lorian goes back to teleporting and swinging that giant sword.
6. Soul of Cinder
Location: Kiln of the First Flame
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final boss! Now you just have to get past him.
The Soul of Cinder is an entity that embodies all of the Lords of Cinder combined and is the final hurdle you have to overcome to beat the game.
It starts out using the Firelink Greatsword, but can exchange it for a spear, curved sword, or staff. It also uses pyromancy and Sunlight Spears for ranged attacks. Then, just when you think you’ve beaten it, the Soul of Cinder channels the essence of Gwyn, the original Lord of Cinder and final boss of the first Dark Souls. This gives him a full health bar and Gwyn’s moveset.
Be especially wary of his five-hit combo. One hit can stun-lock you, meaning almost certain death.
5. Demon in Pain and Demon from Below / Demon Prince (DLC)
Location: The Dreg Heap
Demon and Pain and Demon from Below are two massive glowing demons. It’s a bit like fighting two Vordts at the same time (if Vordt had much higher HP and could leap around and shoot blasts of purple energy).
Phase two begins once you’ve beaten both of them. Now you’ll have to face the Demon Prince — a bigger, badder, and infinitely tougher version of the two demons you’ve just slain. You’ll have to contend with flaming slam attacks, orbs that shoot flaming projectiles, flaming meteor rain attacks, and of course, his fiery claws. It should go without saying that some flame-resistant equipment will go a long way here.
4. Slave Knight Gale (DLC)
Location: The Ringed City
Slave Knight Gale is an elderly armored warrior added to the game as part of The Ringed City DLC. He consumed the Dark Soul, imbuing him with immense power.
Fighting Slave Knight Gale starts pretty manageably. He lopes around on all fours like a bestial enemy, and while his charge attack is best avoided, his other attacks are moderately predictable. Then a cutscene will play at three-quarters health, and Gale will stand upright. He begins casting boomerang spells and making more vertical attacks.
At one-third health, he enters phase three. This is where the fight gets truly brutal. AOE lightning litters the field. Gale’s attacks grow relentless as he flies around, attacking and expelling exploding souls.
3. Nameless King
Location: Archdragon Peak
The Nameless King is easily the hardest boss fight in vanilla Dark Souls 3, so fans should count themselves lucky that he’s optional.
The fight starts with a battle against the Nameless King, a large skeletal warrior, as he attacks you from the back of a flying, fire-breathing dragon. You have to kill the dragon before the King will face you one-on-one. Easy enough, right?
Wrong. You just killed the Nameless King’s pet, and he’s about to go full-on John Wick. His attacks become imbued with lightning, occasionally sending out AOE shockwaves. Landing any kind of hit on him can be tricky, and his health bar is massive. Any hit on you, however, is potentially fatal.
2. Sister Friede and Father Ariandel (DLC)
Location: Painted World of Ariandel
Sister Friede is the hardest boss from the Ashes of Ariandel DLC and the second-hardest boss in the entire game.
The battle with Sister Friede is another one that has three stages. You start out fighting her alone, doing your best to deal damage while she performs long, arcing scythe attacks pretty much non-stop. Once you’ve beaten her the first time, she will resurrect with full health and be joined by Father Ariandel. The good father moves around the chapel, slamming the ground with his giant golden bowl of lava. Friede will also vanish from time to time to heal them both.
Get past all that, and you’ll be rewarded with a new and improved Sister Friede wielding two scythes, a more aggressive fighting style, and a much more liberal use of her ice magic. You’ll need a lot of stamina for this fight. Good luck.
1. Darkeater Midir (DLC)
Location: The Ringed City
Darkeater Madir is an immortal Archdragon who was raised by the gods. He was charged with the task of eternally battling darkness itself. If any fight in Dark Souls 3 will make you chuck your controller through your display, it’s going to be Midir. Other bosses have multiple phases. Midir has multiple encounters.
The first one is on a cliff where you have to battle a stationary Madir who breathes instant death fire at irregular intervals. It’s not easy, but it’s only a fraction of the challenge the second encounter brings.
Fighting Madir the second time is the most difficult battle in the game. Madir is deadly both in close quarters and at range as he spews fire across almost the entire battlefield. He also has a massive health pool, and he’s incredibly hard to hit. His tail is one of the easiest low targets. It also happens to be conveniently far away from his fire-breath, but he’s constantly wagging it like a golden retriever — every once in a while, he’ll even sweep the ground with it. He also makes a random AOE attack comprised of concentrated dark energy that you really don’t want to touch you.
It’s a long and arduous battle that requires the player to be almost perfect the entire time. But if you can beat Madir, the #1 boss on our list of Dark Souls 3 bosses ranked, you can beat anyone.
Try Not to Die!
Thank you for reading our list of the hardest bosses ranked Dark Souls 3. We hope it helped prepare you for the battles ahead!