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Dark Souls 3 boss: The Nameless King

What you've been waiting for: the hardest boss.


Dark Souls 3 boss: The Nameless King

Well, it’s time to ring that bell. When the cutscene ends, drop off the ledge near the bell into the fog to begin the boss fight.

For most players, this boss is the toughest in the game. Let’s start with some generalities.

The battle is in two parts, each with its own full health bar. In the first part, Nameless King is mounted on a feathered drake called King of the Storm. You must kill the dragon to advance the battle. In the second part, you’ll face the Nameless King alone and on the ground.

Here’s what you can expect. The drake has a powerful fire breath and the Nameless King attacks with lightning, so bumping your resistance to these is really important, as you will almost certainly take more than one hit from both. The Flame Stoneplate and Thunder Stoneplate rings are a great help, and you might want some bug pellets of the appropriate type on your tool belt.

With our stealth build, we had greater success surviving hits with lightweight magic user armour like Karla’s Set than with heavier armour and the subsequent mobility hit. If you do have the build to stay agile in something like the Catarina set, which combines good fire and lightning with heavy physical resistance, by all means use it!

You do not want to have the camera locked on during the first phase. Unless you’re able to dodge well enough to survive a very long fight, you’ll want to be hitting the drake’s head instead of its body and legs – and if you are attacking with melee, that puts you in range of the Nameless King’s spear. Moving the camera manually will allow you to dodge his blows. Be aware that he can do a combo of up to three hits while mounted. If you must lock on, lock to the Nameless King and watch him – not the dragon.

The drake itself will fight, too. It tries to bite you, which is not so tough, but watch out for when it suddenly moves behind you. It has a fire breath attack which is a fantastic opportunity to really let loose with attacks; as long as you’re behind the head you can get a ton of free hits while safe from the flames. Even spell casters are relatively safe cuddled right up to the dragon’s neck as long as they’re keeping an eye on the Nameless King.

When the drake takes flight things get more unpleasant. The most common move is a fire breath attack, which is very, very hard to roll out of the way of, as it’s very wide. The drake usually does it twice in a row along the same trajectory so heal between blasts and keep on rolling to escape the second hit.

If the drake begins to circle while in flight, the Nameless King will start throwing lightning bolts at you. These are a pain to dodge, and you’ll need to roll later than you might be expecting. This gets easier with practice.

Some players find this first phase easier than the second, but we personally consider it the harder of the two; in any case, you need to ration your Estus for the battle with the Nameless King himself.

Feel free to lock onto the Nameless King when he's on his own. If you’ve smashed through Lorian Elder Prince, Dancer of the Boreal Valley and maybe even Soul of Cinder you may be pretty comfortable with melee bosses by now, but the Nameless King is a nightmare all of his own. He is fast, and he hits harder than anything else. His movements are much harder to predict than you may be used to, and you’ll probably need several practice runs to get the hang of dodging him.

As well as his swordsmanship, the Nameless King will continue to use lightning attacks. If you see him stand up very straight and lift his sword, you’ll need to dodge a targeted strike; again, this is tricky and takes practice, as there’s a short delay from the end of the animation to the actual strike.

The boss will also hurl regular lightning spears. At close range these are easy to dodge by rolling into him, but at medium to long range it can be much harder as they travel very quickly – but again, there’s an awkward little pause between the telegraph and the actual attack. Sorry, but practice is what it takes again.

The boss has two wind blast attacks, a narrow and a wide one, which he will unleash at medium to long range. The narrow one is easily dodged with a quick sideways roll, but you need to roll forwards into the wide one just as it hits you.

You want to play a very conservative dodge-attack-escape game to whittle down the Nameless King’s health. If you are a strong melee character you can actually stagger the Nameless King with combos, follow up do a visceral, and get in several hits as he recovers from the critical, but everyone else is better off just hitting once and being very, very patient.

This is one time when ranged and magic users may have a slight advantage, as long as they stay mobile and nail the timing of dodges. The arena is big enough that you can keep well away from the boss, and if you’re able to dodge his ranged attacks and stay locked on, both spells and arrows will gradually tear him down. The boss often pads towards you quite slowly and you can get multiple hits in.

It all sounds quite simple, but it’s really, really not. Best of luck.

Cheeseburger Assassin strategy

This is the toughest fight in the game and if you are not a twitch player it can be heartbreaking to come this far and hit a wall. We recommend doing this after the final boss, so that you can use all your remaining Embers if necessary; they are a limited resource after all.

Do a few practice runs without an Ember (you will die a lot due to reduced health but it’s worth it to learn the dodge timing), and then munch down an Ember. Look for summon signs around the bell lever as opposed to the bonfire, and summon the two weirdest looking allies you can find: unusual swords, fabulous armour, whatever. You want experienced end game players here, not first time visitors looking for a free preview of the boss.

In the battle, your job is to 01) stay alive and 02) give the summons breathing room while they do all the actual work. When the fight starts the boss will charge you, and you should run the heck away, dodging whatever it throws at you. Use your shield to reduce incoming damage if necessary, and heal up whenever you take a serious hit.

As soon as the boss turns to someone else, grab your bow (in preference to spells, so you can keep all your Estus for health) and hit the boss until it turns its attention to you again. Don’t worry about how much damage you’re doing: just get it to aggro on you, then immediately flee until it forgets you again. Do not try to get another shot in or whatever: it is a drop in the ocean and nobody needs that. What they need is for you not to die, and not to let the boss kill them. Run, roll, guard, live - and constantly lure its attention.

If you can keep this up, the summons will hack both phases of the boss to pieces for you, and they'll have plenty of time to heal up when they need it. They'll also have more chances to punish the boss when it leaves openings, as they won't forever be rolling away to dodge attacks.

Don't worry about the "unable to summon phantom" message; just keep trying until you get two pals, and make for the boss gate as soon as you can to avoid invasions. If you cannot get online for some reason an alternate strategy is throwing your disc out the window and crying in the bathtub.

Well done

When you are finally victorious (ah ha ha), you’ll receive the Soul of the Nameless King and can light the Nameless King bonfire. There’s a Titanite Slab in the arena just ahead, and right down the end on the left, the Dragonslayer set (Ornstein’s armour).

Head on back to Firelink and you’ll find you can purchase the Nameless King’s armour – the Golden Crown, Golden Bracelet, Dragonscale Armour and Dragonscale Waistcloth.

That’s absolutely it; you’ve smashed this area to pieces. The only thing left for you to do is to take the fight to the Soul of Cinder (if you haven’t already).

Continue via Firelink Shrine to Kiln of the First Flame.

Back to Dark Souls 3 guide and walkthrough.

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