Ranking the Dark Souls 3 Bosses – Hard to Soul-Crushing Part 3 (Countdown Update)

Author: Liam Riker

Hey everyone. I’m going to try my best to keep this post in my Dark Souls 3 Boss Countdown series to a more minimal length, but no promises, because this is me after all that we’re talking about, and I’m sure ya’ll have already grown accustomed to what that means.

I decided to continue this series instead of finishing my review of Resident Evil 7 this week, since I just started playing “The Ringed City” DLC for Dark Souls 3 and have been in a Dark Souls sort of mood all week. I will try and write a post exclusively talking about “The Ringed City” DLC once I finish it, but for now let’s pick up where we left off last with this Boss Countdown. Also, due to the addition of “The Ringed City” DLC, I’ve decided to update/edit the countdown I’ve been constructing, accounting for the newly added DLC bosses with the assumption that all 4 bosses in the DLC will be harder than the bosses I’ve covered thus far and will cover in this post. So with that in my mind, my last two posts covered the bosses now ranked 25-20 on my updated countdown, now let’s continue with #19.

*Potential Spoilers Below*

19. Crystal Sage

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While I covered gimmick boss battles earlier in the countdown, whose gimmicks were perhaps too easy to discover and exploit without enough punishment to make for a more difficult fight, the Crystal Sage boss battle is definitely a change in form.

This was the first boss for me in the game, where I made the realization: “hey, so this is what they were talking about when they said Dark Souls was challenging.”  While the fight isn’t particularly difficult for seasoned Dark Souls players, or even for those more seasoned and avid gamers in general, it certainly is NOT an easy fight.

When I refer to it being a gimmick battle, I’m mainly referring to the second phase of the battle, as the first phase doesn’t have a real gimmick to it. During the first phase the Crystal Sage will send all manners of crystal-magic-conjured long range spells your way to keep you at bay. These spells range from several beams of crystal energy that hone in on the player’s location, to a crystal bomb like spell that floats and also hones in on the player’s location to dish out some disgusting damage if it makes contact. The worst of all the Crystal Sage’s spells however, is the ray of energy that he blasts along the ground in your direction that then sprouts crystals along the path the ray blasted through. If you get hit by the full force of this spell you are going to get SHREDDED and will likely die, even at full health for certain levels and builds. The Crystal Sage will continue to send spell after spell at you, keeping you a good distance away from him, and if you manage to get close, he’ll take a good swing at you with the sorcerer’s staff he’s been using to cast his spells.

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Once you manage to close the distance and get a few hits off on the Crystal Sage, he’ll vanish into the ground and teleport to some other location in the large courtyard-like arena you’re fighting him in, to continue the onslaught once again. Once you get the Crystal Sage to half-health is when the fun starts though. At this point the Crystal Sage will fade into the ground once more, but this time when he spawns, you’ll notice that there are several clones of the Crystal Sage all around the courtyard. You’ll have to quickly find the Sage’s real body, distinguished by the purple glow of his crystal magic that’s coated all of his spells up to this point (all the clones will be using spells encased with blue crystal magic). You must close-in on the real body and get as many hits off on it as possible, as all the clones will be assaulting you with the same exact spells and attacks the real body has had access to. Pretty brutal right!?

 

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While the strategy to defeating the Crystal Sage is pretty straight-forward: just rush down the projectile spamming bastard and get in as many hits as possible before he teleports away; this fight is actually a well-designed gimmick boss fight, in terms of how it still manages to be difficult even when the player is aware of the gimmick and how to abuse it. Once the player gets accustomed to the winning strategy to defeat the Crystal Sage, it’s only a matter of time before they defeat it. Thus, it’s not THAT challenging of a fight, but it’s definitely the hardest of all the bosses I’ve covered thus far.

If you like the Crystal Sage as much I did, then you’re in for a TREAT, as the Crystal Sage has a twin brother, who’ll you end up fighting as a mini boss while trying to navigate the Grand Archives later on in the game. When you fight the twin at that point in the game you know that things are going to be MEAN, so just be prepared for suffering. You’ll never hate a long-distance projectile spamming character more than the 2nd Crystal Sage trust me. And I main Toon Link in Sm4sh, so I definitely know what I’m talking about.

The design of the Crystal Sage boss fight is one of my favorites in the game and will likely make for a devilishly fun time for the player, so forgive me for going a bit overboard on this one. Just felt like I had to pay it a respectable amount of homage as it was the first boss in the game to kick my ass! Haha. I’ll try to be way less thorough with the next two bosses on the countdown. I promise this time!

18. Yhorm the Giant

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I know some of you might be surprised to find Yhorm the Giant this low on my Dark Souls 3 Boss Tier List. But contrary to popular opinion I feel like this Lord of Cinder, is right where he belongs.

In the Yhorm the Giant boss fight, as the final event in his quest-line, the lovable NPC, Siegward of Catarina, fights alongside you for this boss fight, as he promised his “old friend” that he would come for him if he ever slipped into insanity. Luckily for you, Siegward comes equipped with Yhorm’s ultimate weakness, the sword named “Storm Ruler.” With Siegward fighting along side you with that incredibly powerful weapon, with it’s special ability being the only reasonable way to inflict decent damage on Yhorm, you can see the boss fight completed without you even lending a single blow yourself.

Now this may seem too easy at first, as though this boss fight deserved to be even lower on the tier list than it already is, however, what I described above is an ideal scenario. Yhorm can just as easily kill off Siegward before he’s able to get him down to 9/10’s of his health, especially if you just wait and watch on the sidelines. Luckily there is another way to defeat Yhorm even if Siegward were to fall in the fight (which if that happens he will stay dead and never again respawn). There is a second “Storm Ruler” on top of Yhorm’s throne positioned in the back of the boss room. Once the player gets their hands on this, they’ll be able to do a miniature version of the special attack Siegward was using to deal effective damage on Yhorm. And the player’s Storm Rider is no slouch when it comes to damage either. However, the wind up for the special attack is considerable so timing is of the essence in this fight.

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Besides the aspect of Siegward and the Storm Ruler the player can acquire, there really isn’t all that much to this boss fight. Most of Yhorm’s attacks are slow and have decent wind-up, so the player will have to time their dodge rolls well in order to make it out of the fight alive. However, since Yhorm has no long-range attacks, the player is able to keep their distance from him and launch potent spells at him to whittle away at his health. But if the player wants to have an easy time of this fight, all they need do is acquire the Storm Ruler and go at Yhorm with that weapon’s special ability.

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This fight is ranked as high as it is because the fight does require a considerable level of skill when it comes to the timing of both attacks and dodges. Also, every one of Yhorm’s attacks deals a massive amount of damage, and if the player were to attempt to defeat Yhorm without using the Storm Ruler’s special ability they would not have a pleasant time of it. Yhorm’s health pool is equally as gigantic as he is, so the only reasonable way to chink away at the massive pool is with the Storm Ruler. With that in mind, when both Siegward and the player are wielding a Storm Ruler, this boss fight can be completed in a shocking time of only 1 minute!

And just like that, that’s the first of the Lords of Cinder on this tier list. Next.

17. Old Demon King

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Now here’s a boss whose name is pretty self-evident. Especially the “old” part. Missing one eye and looking as though he’d seen better days overall, the Old Demon King is the oldest and last remaining demon of Izalith. So he’s been around a LONG time, and his slightly-meager appearance should not lead the player to underestimate this hot-headed bruiser.

The Old Demon King boss fight will definitely require the most skill out of the player out of those that I’ve covered thus far. Especially since there is no gimmick to this fight, like there was for both the Crystal Sage and Yhorm. The player has to straight up beat the Old Demon King, requiring excellent timed dodge rolls, anticipation and awareness of both the boss’s melee and long-distance projectile attacks (most of which take up a considerable range), and the whereabouts to know when and when not to attack.

The first phase of this fight is fairly easy, but still far more advanced than any of the first phases the player has encountered thus far. He will take swings at you with his giant hammer/club and spew molten hot lava in a stream that he breathes from left to right and that spreads across the battlefield, to keep you at bay. And then if you’re too close for his liking, you better watch out for his hammer slam attack or his giant fire ball combustion attack he activates directly in front of his body. However the second phase of the fight is much meaner, as he will still have this fairly nasty toolset of moves, however, all of these attacks will now do considerably more damage, and then there are the new attacks he brings to the table. The Old Demon King will now send an onslaught of honing meteoroid-like masses of fire raining down from above the player, while creating a ring of fire that expands across the arena and then constricts, forcing the player to keep an eye out for it twice. The player will have to definitely have their wits about them for this second phase, as the Old Demon King is relentless and can easily overwhelm the player.

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That being said, this fight isn’t too difficult, once the player gets used to the Demon King’s patterns and learns how to get up-close and personal. His health pool isn’t the largest, so if the player is able to penetrate the Demon King’s defenses and land a few hits, they’ll definitely be rewarded for their valiancy. This fight is definitely the first fight on my tier list though that is reminiscent of what most expect from a Dark Souls boss fight. And the Old Demon King is only ranked 17th! There are far nastier foes to come, and we will be starting with some of these next time.

Until then, keep an eye out for the second half of my Resident Evil 7 review, a review on the game Inside once I complete it, and my opinion on the latest Dark Souls 3 DLC, The Ringed City. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about Kingdom Hearts! I will be returning to my beloved video game franchise of my childhood soon.

 

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