The Demon Prince is the first boss of Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City, and he is here to try and break you.
Our Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City walkthrough continues with the first boss battle, against The Demon Prince.
You access The Demon Prince from the Within Earthen Peak bonfire. For the most direct route to this bonfire, see our Earthen Peak Ruins to Within Earthen Peak walkthrough.
Almost everyone will need to summon for this battle, which is why if you go into ember form at this bonfire you’ll see Slave Knight Gale and Amnesiac Lapp summon symbols – assuming you’ve met their quest requirements so far.
Ideally, you’ll want three companions – grab two, preferably starting with real people since they take the longest to track down, then use the Dried Finger to grab a third and head for the arena before an invader arrives.
To enter the arena, run to the end of the narrow rocky path and drop off. Phantoms cannot join this fight for several seconds after the host drops in, so bear in mind you will need to look after yourself for a little while. Running around the arena walls with a wary eye behind you is a good start.
The Twin Demons
The battle begins with two demons, the Demon in Pain and the Demon from Below, and the second one you bring down then transforms into Demon Prince. I have certain feelings about this battle and its thematic parallels with one you may remember from the very heights of Lothric Castle. Anyway.
The two base demons have similar move sets. As well as standard lunging swipes, they will claw at you, moving forward in a series of strikes which are fairly easy to dodge by dodging backwards or running away - but the combo ends in a vertical slap that hits very hard and an be trickier to avoid, as it has deceptively long range. More dangerously, they will often jump a little and spin round to face one side or behind them, so never assume you’re free to wail away on their bottoms just because they’re currently looking at some other chump.
As for ranged attacks, the demons will also hunker down and spew at you, either in three medium range beams that fan out and persist for a little while, or in a faster, more direct line that tracks you, and is followed very quickly by another pulse of energy along the tracer path, that hits very hard indeed. Both of these cause status effects, but can be avoided easily – in the latter case by dodging to one side when the tracing path gets close.
The demons are weak against parries and critical attacks to their faces, which duellists can take advantage of. If you are a weaker dueller or a valiant cheeseburger assassin, you’ll instead want to keep your distance and maybe rush in to hit a demon in the side or butt when it is distracted. Briefly, though, as it will turn its attention on you if you paddle it long enough, and you don't want to be standing there with no stamina.
Regardless of your approach, you want to divide your forces. If all your phantoms rush one demon, you should target the other. If the phantoms split up, pick one or another and be ready to float to the other if one of the teams starts to struggle.
The idea is to ensure nobody ever gets tag teamed by two demons, and when two players are on one demon, to give everyone duelling a demon at melee length some time to breathe, use estus and recover, by turning the demon’s attention between targets.
If you are a cheeseburger assassin hosting phantoms, your primary job is to stay alive; if the host dies, it’s all over. Load up a bow or sorcery (I suggest bringing both, so when your FP runs out you can switch to arrows rather than have to chug Estus). If all your phantoms are on one demon, engage the other’s attention and then just run away. When it has finished a combo, or when it is performing a ranged attack you’ve already evaded it, shoot it to keep it on you, then run away again. Just stay alive, and hold its aggro: that's all you have to do. Even the two NPCs can bring down the other demon on their own. When all three (or four) of you pile on the remaining demon, it goes down super fast.
The Demon prince himself
Although you start with two targets and end up with one, your strategy remains largely the same throughout this fight: you need to keep the enemy’s attention moving between targets. It gets more complicated during the second phase, because the Demon Prince is so much more deadly.
The Demon Prince has the same claw attacks as the base demons but his ranged attacks are far worse and he’s far more mobile, often taking flight and leaping long distances.
If the Demon Prince ever manages to get himself well away from whoever he is currently aggro’d on with his back against a wall, he fires three laser-like beams of fire that have enormous range and whip across almost the whole horizontal range of the arena too rapidly to avoid. The laser will make four sweeps - across, back, across, back - and is frequently blocked by the rough floor of the arena He may do it twice, or switch to a single beam that fires in a straight line targeted on an individual.
If you are not practically at the boss's hip or at least part way across the arena by the time the lasers sweep towards you, you’ll probably die whenever this laser shit-show kicks off. If you're near the Demon Prince you best bet is to run to one side and try to get inside the attack's range, but otherwise just sprint as far away as you can, preferably on a diagonal relative to the boss's orientation.
While it might sound like you're better off staying as close as you can to the boss, this brings its own problems. The Demon Prince will sometimes spawn three big fireballs that shoot tracking projectiles. Up close these will murder you, but they're easily avoided if you’re at medium or further range just by strafing, so just get the heck out of there.
The real danger is that you’ll be tempted to get behind or to the side of the boss and paddle him while he's doing his laser beams or fireballs and paddle furiously. This is a mistake: he frequently follows up with a close range fireball barrage that will almost certainly kill you in one hit. If you see a bright glow around you, you need to be sprinting away instantly – if you’re part way through an attack when you notice the glow, it may be too late! Best to avoid this situation altogether.
Finally, watch out for the Demon Prince’s tendency to jump up in the air and hurl down big fireballs, and for his dive attack; if he’s in the air and looking at you, wait for his dive to start and just leg it in the opposite direction, as he has limited range. I mean really leg it - do not go for one more arrow - and roll to one side when he gets close, just to be sure.
Surviving as a cheeseburger assassin
If you’re the host and not keen on duelling, your best bet in both phases but especially the second this phase is to use ranged attacks and pray your phantoms know what they’re doing.
Play your part by being very, very conservative; always keep at least half your stamina bar full and stop attacking as soon as the Demon Prince aggro’s on you. Just run away. Run run run. Remember: if you die, it’s all over.
You’d be surprised how much you help by hitting with arrows and drawing attention now and then – really! Don't be ashamed to let the duellists do their thing.
If you really struggle to avoid the Demon Prince’s attacks long enough for your phantoms to do the work, rejig your build. I had previously been wearing very light armour and rings designed to increase my damage output, but I reshuffled for fire and physical protection and that meant I could survive a dive, slap or fireball hit from the Demon Prince.
Chugging Estus and running away is much better than going down in a single hit, and since I wasn’t dodging the attacks anyway, it really didn’t matter that my equip load went up and slowed me down.
Lighting the bonfire and tidying up some loose ends
With the boss done, light The Demon Prince bonfire.
You'll have some souls to spend, so be sure to visit Firelink before moving on in vulnerable ember form. The Demon Prince soul can be transposed into the Demon’s Scar, which is both a weapon and a pyromancy flame, by the way.
Before you move onto the next area, you might want to travel back to Earthen Peak Ruins. Lapp is gone, but he’s left you a last gift – some Siegbrau.
“But Brenna,” you may interject. “What about that other area back by Earthen Peak Ruins we haven’t explored yet?”
Listen, cats; I’ve been down there, and it is horrible. Maybe later. Let’s just… go this way for a while, okay? Some of us are reasonably close to cardiac arrest here. Head back to The Demon Prince bonfire instead.
Right by The Demon Prince bonfire you’ll find some pale stone ruins. Just inside is the Small Envoy Banner. If you go down the hole in the floor and run right through the nice safe tunnel to the end, you hit a prompt to display the small envoy banner. As usual, gargoyles will turn up and carry you off, giving you a fine view of the Ringed City itself.
After you land, immediately turn around to collect a Titanite Scale. Head down the path and keep a wary eye on your left for an NPC you can chat to – don’t mistake him for an enemy! Speak to him four times to find out what his deal is.
You should then activate the Mausoleum Lookout bonfire.