Dark Souls 3 was the first souls game I played and has some of the most exciting bosses of the series. Through my many playthroughs, different bosses gave me trouble with each build I used.
Because of this, the difficulty will be highly subjective. The hardest boss for me may just be the easiest boss for someone else. The difficulty in this list was considered by myself and several others, and it is also based on online polls and other rankings I’ve seen.
Spoiler Warning: This countdown contains spoilers for every boss in Dark Souls 3.
Related: The Best Weapons in Dark Souls 3
- 25. Ancient Wyvern
- 24. High Lord Wolnir
- 23. Yhorm the Giant
- 22. Deacons of the Deep
- 21. Vordt of the Boreal Valley
- 20. Iudex Gundyr
- 19. Curse-Rotted Greatwood
- 18. Crystal Sage
- 16. Oceiros, the Consumed King
- 17. Aldrich, Devourer of Gods
- 15. Old Demon King
- 14. Abyss Watchers
- 13. Halflight, Spear of the Church
- 12. Dragonslayer Armor
- 11. Champions Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf
- 10. Lothric, Younger Prince
- 9. Champion Gundyr
- 8. Dancer of the Boreal Valley
- 7. Pontiff Sulyvahn
- 6. Demon Prince
- 5. Soul of Cinder
- 4. Sister Friede
- 3. Nameless King
- 2. Slave Knight Gael
- 1. Darkeater Midir
25. Ancient Wyvern
Should this even be considered a boss? Probably not. I’ve never dared to fight this gimmicky dragon as I would a normal boss, but some people have.
The Ancient Wyvern is given the lowest difficulty because you can end him with a single plunging attack. The only real danger you are in is from the annoying enemies you’ll encounter while making your way to the platform above the dragon.
Another difficult aspect is figuring out that you can 1-hit the Wyvern. Without a guide, it’ll take the player a while to figure out that this is possible, so they may attempt to fight the player head-on.
Fortunately, the boss arena is very different from the other arenas, so most people find the right way to go after some exploring. Once you reach the top, make sure you time your jump correctly, or you may fall to your death as I have.
Difficulty: .5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Even if you unequip all of your weapons, you’ll still be able to use your fists to one-shot the dragon with the plunging attack.
24. High Lord Wolnir
Wolnir is a major gimmick boss, but he’s still an interesting boss to fight. Some people have more trouble with this boss than they should have, but he is still really simple to beat.
All you have to do is destroy his three gold bracelets. The bracelets are the only thing holding him back from the Abyss, so destroying them will immediately cause him to be dragged down the chasm into the Abyss.
I like the concept of the boss, and he’s one of the creepiest bosses you’ll encounter, but he doesn’t pose a major threat. The most damaging attack he has is a Dark Cloud that immediately starts draining your health.
I’ve never died to this boss, and it usually takes me less than a minute to defeat him. Ultimately his behavior is up to the RNG, so other people will have different experiences.
Difficulty: .5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Even though the Abyss grips Lord Wolnir, he can’t control it. He fears the Abyss, as the only thing keeping him from being consumed by it are his bracelets.
23. Yhorm the Giant
The visual of Yhorm rising out of his throne and looming toward you is terrifying. He looks so intimidating that you think he will be a formidable adversary.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Hidden behind the throne is a large sword called the Storm Ruler, which allows you to shoot damaging gusts of wind. This weapon only takes five shots to defeat the Yhorm the Giant.
It’s disappointing when you realize how easy this boss is, as he looks so menacing as he advances toward you with his massive blade. Of course, you can always fight him without the Storm Ruler, but it would take a very long time.
To make it even easier, you can summon Siegward of Catarina to aid you in the battle. Siegward comes equipped with his Storm Ruler, making an already easy boss even simpler to beat.
Difficulty: 1 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Despite Yhorm being one of the easiest bosses to beat, he has the largest amount of health out of any boss in Dark Souls 3.
22. Deacons of the Deep
The Deacons are a horde boss that can be formidable in large numbers, but even then are still pretty simple. Admittedly, I’ve died to these guys way more than I should have because it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.
As the fight progresses, the Archdeacon will arrive, surrounded by his bodyguards. You must fight towards the Archdeacon as the horde does its best to block your path.
The only thing that makes this fight hard is the ability to get cursed in the second phase. The Archdeacon shoots a curse at you if you take too long to damage him, which will immediately kill you when the curse meter fills up.
As long as you keep damaging the main deacon, he can’t curse you anymore. The curse has been my downfall every time I’ve died here until I finally realized it was preventable.
Difficulty: 1.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: If you return to the area after defeating the boss, you’ll see the Archdeacon’s body lying on the ground. This is only one of the two bosses that leave behind physical remains after death.
21. Vordt of the Boreal Valley
For a first-time Dark Souls player, Vordt was a hard boss. I thought he was difficult until I realized I could stand under him most of the fight.
You can run to Vordt’s arena as soon as you get to the High Wall of Lothric and be able to hold your own against him. His attacks don’t have a lot of variation, and he doesn’t have any major tricks up his sleeve.
The first phase consists of hitting him from below while dodging every once in a while. He’ll do the occasional ground slam that may catch you off guard, but it won’t be able to touch a player behind him.
The second phase is a little trickier, but you can’t avoid dodging his charges. When he stops to breathe ice at you, advance behind him as quickly as you can.
While he’s a fun boss to fight, he will only pose a threat to new or inexperienced players.
Difficulty: 2 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Vordt is one of the many Outrider knights corrupted by the ring given to them by Pontiff Sulyvahn.
20. Iudex Gundyr
You’d think that the first boss in the game would be the easiest, but that isn’t the case with Iudex Gundyr. This tutorial boss is a good indicator of what you’ll be facing in the game, and you’ll even fight a much more formidable version of him later on.
The fight starts fairly simple, but the real challenge comes when you get him to half-health. Gundyr will suddenly burst into a massive black monstrosity and catch the player off guard.
I’m certain that that part of the fight is the most difficult, simply because you weren’t expecting it to happen. Pair that with the premature confidence you had for getting him to half health, and it’s a perfect recipe for one of your first “YOU DIED” screens of the game.
He’s a fun intro to the game and can pose a challenge for new players, but he is easy enough to be considered a tutorial boss.
Difficulty: 2.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Iudex Gundyr serves as the tutorial boss and the figurative judge of the player’s ability. Unless the player defeats him, they are unworthy to Rekindle the First Flame. Because of this, his name in Japanese means “Judge of Ash Gundyr.”
19. Curse-Rotted Greatwood
This living tree is yet another gimmick boss, but he posed a challenge for me. The hardest parts are the constantly spawning hollows in the first phase and his grabbing hand in the second phase.
It also might take the player a few tries to realize that the only way to damage him is by hitting the white orbs growing from his body. Sometimes he makes it hard to hit them, as he constantly spins in circles and launches rotten fruit at you.
He is optional, so you could skip it and still finish the game. I wouldn’t recommend that, though, because you’ll miss out on a unique fight that can even give experienced players a decent challenge.
Difficulty: 3 out of 10
Interesting Fact: While this boss is optional, defeating him gives you the Transposing Kiln. This item allows you to create boss weapons by transposing the boss souls you’ve obtained.
18. Crystal Sage
The Crystal Sage has killed me more times than I care to admit. His cloning mechanic always seems to trip me up, and the large crystal projectiles he shoots severely damage me.
By this point, you’ve gotten used to running to the boss arena several times before victory, but this whole fight was on another level for me.
I think that the Crystal Sage is the game’s introduction to a harder part of the game, but most definitely not the hardest part. Up to this point, the enemies and bosses have been pretty simple, but the defeat of this boss brings you to the next stage.
He’s not an extremely hard boss once you get to know his behaviors, but it’ll take quite a few deaths to get familiar with them. He’s a fun boss and will most likely be the hardest you faced up to that point, but he’s nothing compared to what’s to come.
Difficulty: 3.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The Crystal Sage in the Crucifixion Woods is the twin brother of the Crystal Sage in the Grand Archives.
16. Oceiros, the Consumed King
To be honest, I don’t remember the Oceiros fight like I do the others. I defeated him on one of my first tries on almost all of my playthroughs. I think he’s a pretty simple boss, but I know people who have had trouble with him.
I’ve seen people online writing about how much difficulty they had with him, which is understandable. The first phase of the boss is very simple, as Oceiros is cradling an imaginary baby in one of his arms. Halfway through the fight, he throws away the “baby” and proceeds to beast mode on the player.
He’ll sprint towards the player at full speed, spin his tail around, and fly at the player shooting his freezing breath. Come to think of it, he seemed so easy to me because he is very reminiscent of Vordt.
The main differences between him and Vordt are that he is much quicker and has more ways to attack you. If you ever have trouble beating him, just stay under him towards his rear as much as possible, and watch out for his deadly tailspin attack.
Difficulty: 4 out of 10
Interesting Fact: It is believed that Oceiros was originally supposed to be holding a real baby. The developers felt it was too violent, so they changed it to be like he was crazy and that he was imagining that Ocelotte was there.
17. Aldrich, Devourer of Gods
While Aldrich personally gave me more trouble than Oceiros, he still took only a couple of tries to defeat. He is in the middle of the list because he gives many players a difficult time.
Aldrich spends much time vulnerable during the fight, but his attacks hurt. He will teleport away from you, shoot dozens of arrows, and attack you with his scythe and staff.
He’ll be quite vulnerable to taking a good number of hits when he stops attacking. If you’re using a dex build like I was, you’ll easily drain his health. Just keep walking at his tail, as that location is safer than anywhere else to attack.
Probably one of the deadliest attacks he has is the arrow barrage he fires at you. When he aims his bow up and begins firing, sprint in any random direction and do your best to dodge all the arrows. Also, watch out for when he’s about to teleport away, as he leaves behind a deadly AoE attack that could be your downfall.
Overall I think Aldrich is a mid-tier difficulty boss, as he can pose a decent challenge for any Dark Souls 3 player.
Difficulty: 4.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The game will allow you to obtain Smough’s armor set from Dark Souls after defeating Aldrich. This is likely because both Smough’s and Aldrich’s boss fights are in the same arena. However, there is a theory that Aldrich may have devoured Smough like he devoured so many others, such as Gwyndolin.
15. Old Demon King
The Old Demon King gave me some trouble. He’s not one of the most well-known bosses in the game, but he can take you by surprise in terms of difficulty.
The first difficult part of the fight was the meteor shower he caused. When you see him start to wave his massive weapon in the air, you know it’s time to start moving. The worst part about the meteors is that the camera angle makes it hard to track them. You’ll be caught off guard and squished by a few falling rocks before you beat him.
Next, you need to remember that when his health is below 20%, he will release a devastating AoE attack that’ll annihilate your health. If you get hit with this thing at 50% of your health.
During my last playthrough, I was killed by this annoying attack three times in a row. There’s nothing more discouraging than almost beating a boss but then dying because you didn’t move away quickly enough.
Because of the good amount of challenge the Old Demon King provides, it’ll probably take you a good amount of tries to beat him. His move-sets are just so unpredictable that it’ll take a bit to learn them.
Difficulty: 5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The Old Demon King’s boss arena is littered with corpses of other slain demons. It’s interesting to see the bodies of these enemies from the first souls game, such as Capra Demons, Stray Demons, and even a Centipede Demon.
14. Abyss Watchers
The Abyss Watchers have become one of my favorite bosses in the game, mostly because of the lore behind them. These soldiers are stuck in an endless battle of executing each other, which immediately becomes evident during the fight.
At the beginning of the fight, the boss seems pretty straightforward. That is until more Abyss Watchers start spawning. You’ll quickly realize that you can use these other enemies to your advantage, as long as you don’t get caught in the battle between the dueling Watchers.
Once you kill the main watcher, you are brought into the second phase of the fight. This time, there is only a single watcher with a flaming sword. This was the most fun part of the fight, but I love both phases of this boss.
Immediately after emerging from this fight victorious, I ran over to a message a player had left on the ground. The ominous message read, “Now the real fight begins.” I suddenly realized that everything up to this point was easy mode, and the game was about to become much more difficult.
Difficulty: 5.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The Abyss Watchers are the first Lord of Cinder you’ll come across in Dark Souls 3. After they linked the First Flame, they fulfilled their duty and become unaware of what to do next. This lack of purpose and the Abyss corrupted them to the point where they themselves had become their greatest enemy. The only thing they had left to do was destroy each other.
13. Halflight, Spear of the Church
Halflight is one of the unique bosses in the game, as it gives you a chance to fight a random player. Because of this, you may not end up fighting Halflight at all.
This brings a lot of randomness to how the fight will play out. You could get a player who’s a PvP master and get wrecked by them. You could also get someone who has no clue what they’re doing, and you’ll finish them off without difficulty.
Because of this randomness, he has the potential to be extremely hard or extremely easy. Assuming you’ll fight an experienced player, I’ve given him the difficulty rating of 6 to compensate for the large amount of chance involved.
Difficulty: 6 out of 10
12. Dragonslayer Armor
Dragonslayer Armor is a fun boss to fight. He keeps you on your toes while not posing a major challenge, although I know people who have been stuck on him for a while.
His shield bash is way deadlier than his lightning axe, so stay clear. It’s a death sentence getting hit by it, so try to strafe around him while dodging.
Another attack he does is a projectile rain in his second phase. When he does this, just keep dodging away from the projectiles. Thankfully, they are pretty easy to avoid.
You should shoot for 2 to 3 hit combos, as any more than that will result in you getting the shield bash. Keep this up for most of the fight, and you’ll have a pretty easy time with this boss.
Difficulty: 6.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The armor belongs to Dragonslayer Ornstein from Dark Souls, who is now nothing but a hollow suit of armor. The suit can still move and fight because the nearby Pilgrim Butterflies are taking control of the armor.
11. Champions Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf
This pair of bosses give me Ornstein and Smough vibes. Similarly, you can make the fight easier by beating the easier of the two first.
The Champions Gravetender is the first boss to come out, and the Great wolf emerges after a little while. Because of this, you have enough time to heavily damage the Gravetender.
If you manage to defeat the Gravetender and his pack of wolves early on, you’ll avoid the headache of fighting two enemies at once. The Great wolf is much harder to defeat, so it’s best to face him alone.
I’ve fought him solo and with a summon before, and it was a difficult fight even with another person to help.
Difficulty: 7 out of 10
Interesting Fact: You can encounter the Greatwolf at two other points in the DLC. If you beat him both times, his health will be reduced by 15% in the boss fight.
10. Lothric, Younger Prince
We finally come to my favorite boss in the game: Lothric, Younger Prince. I love so many aspects of this fight, but my favorite aspect is how vigilant you need to be in avoiding his attacks.
This fight isn’t like the others where you can stay far away from him; rather, he gets right up in your face. He then brings on attack after attack, with seemingly no respite. When you least expect it, he teleports behind you and slams his sword right onto you.
There’s no other boss fight that gets my adrenaline pumping as this one does. Just when you think you’ve beaten Lorian, Prince Lothric resurrects him while providing extra magic attacks. At this point, you have to dodge all of Lorian’s initial attacks and a barrage of magic from Lothric.
I’m always sad when I defeat this boss because I look forward to fighting him the whole game. He is quite challenging to fight but is not the hardest boss in the game.
Difficulty: 7.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Because his family attempted to create a perfect heir capable of linking the fire, Lothric became physically frail but magically powerful. He and his brother form a powerful duo that is some of the most formidable enemies in the game.
9. Champion Gundyr
When I stumbled upon this optional boss, I thought, “Huh, I already best this guy once before, so this is gonna be easy.” I was dead wrong about that.
Champion Gundyr is a boss that’ll force you to constantly move and dodge. He makes you feel like there’s no rest period, especially when he charges at you while you’re drinking Estus.
He also does some pretty crazy combos that deal some heavy damage. One combo that always seems to get me is that he’ll throw you in the air, and they quickly spin around and kick you.
I thought he was a pretty easy boss regarding how many times I died, but he made it extremely difficult to avoid taking damage. I feel bad for characters with heavy weapons because he barely gives you time to hit him.
Overall, he’s a fun boss who gives many players trouble. Your dodging and blocking stills need to be on point, or you’ll get stuck in one of his vicious attacks.
Difficulty: 8 out of 10
Interesting Fact: When you enter the Untended Graves, you are entering a past version of the Cemetary of Ash. Here, you will face Gundyr at his strongest point and defeat the great warrior. Because of this defeat, Gundyr now permanently resides in the Cemetary of Ash while testing the worthiness of those who wish to rekindle The First Flame.
8. Dancer of the Boreal Valley
The Dancer is probably one of the most beautiful bosses of the entire series. Starting from how she eerily but elegantly drops down from the ceiling, she proceeds to gracefully slice you into little pieces.
Even though I’ve beaten her several times, she still intimidates me in every fight. Something is mesmerizing about how her swords flow through the air or how she slowly tries to grab you. The music is probably one of my favorite tracks in the Souls franchise, as it pairs so well with this boss.
There’s no way around the fact that the Dancer is a hard boss. Some people like to defeat her before taking out Vordt, which I’m sure is a huge challenge. I’ll stick to fighting her at the appropriate time because she gives me enough trouble.
Difficulty: 8.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The Dancer got her name by serving as a dancer for Pontiff Sulyvahn. Eventually, he ordered her to become a engineer, and she turned into a beast similar to the Outrider Knights.
7. Pontiff Sulyvahn
Pontiff is yet another boss with a grand entrance. From the moment you walk into the cathedral, Pontiff is waiting for you ominously. As you draw closer to him, he’ll suddenly leap across the room towards you, dealing quite a bit of damage.
He has been a big challenge in all of my playthroughs, but he is an extremely interesting boss to face. During the fight, he will summon a copy of himself that will mirror his attacks with a small delay. Try your best to defeat the clone, as the fight doubles in difficulty when the second foe shows up.
Many of his attacks are delayed, so you must memorize his movements and anticipate his attacks. Once you figure out his flow of movements, you’ll be able to beat him pretty easily. Don’t get greedy with your hits, as one mistake can cost you the fight.
Difficulty: 9 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Pontiff Sulyvahn bestowed rings upon his appointed knights that unintentionally turned them into beasts. Some examples of these beasts are the Outrider Knights and also the Dancer of the Boreal Valley.
6. Demon Prince
The Demon Prince boss fight should be considered three bosses because you need to defeat three demons to be victorious. In the first phase, you must face two simultaneously, forcing you to focus on one demon at a time.
The free camera becomes super useful in the first phase, as it can easily lose track of one of the demons. It’s possible to stay locked onto your main target, but the unseen demon may crush you without warning.
Once you finally beat the duo, the Demon Prince shows his ugly face. He’s much larger than the other two and is a much deadlier foe. The bad news is that if you die during this phase, you must defeat the other two demons again.
Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: If you’re familiar with the first Dark Souls game, you’ll notice that the fight takes place in the original Firelink Shrine. However, it’s hard to recognize, as it has been obliterated over time.
5. Soul of Cinder
As the final boss in the game, the Soul of Cinder is more than a match for you. He gave me a major challenge on my first playthrough, probably more than any other boss.
The night I beat him, I also decided to beat the Nameless King first. I stayed up until 5 AM trying to beat both of these bosses. Granted, I probably had such a hard time because I was exhausted, but the point is I finally beat him.
I was both sad and relieved to see the end credits rolling up. It was disappointing to see my journey end, but I also knew I had been successful in beating the game.
Little did I know that the DLC bosses were still ahead of me, which would pose even bigger challenges than the Soul of Cinder.
Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The music that plays during the second phase of the fight is the same music that plays when fighting the final boss of the first Dark Souls game.
4. Sister Friede
Sister Friede is a boss that starts pretty easy but then gets harder in her consecutive phases. As soon as phase 2 rolls around, Ariandel shows up to fight you.
When you think you’ve beaten them, Sister Friede returns to life in an even more powerful form. This 3 phase boss fight means you have to do your best to conserve Estus flasks because there are a lot of opportunities to be slain.
The good news is that you can summon Slave Knight Gael to aid you in the fight. He comes at the start of the second phase and focuses his efforts on Freide. This allows you to deal with Ariandel without worrying about Sister Friede as much.
Some people say this is one of the hardest games, and I agree. Having a third phase makes an already difficult fight even harder.
Difficulty: 9.5 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Sister Friede is an Unkindled, a being that has been cursed with “undeath.” She probably attempted to Link the First flame but was unsuccessful.
3. Nameless King
The Nameless King is my arch enemy. He took me longer to defeat than any other boss in the game, even though I don’t consider him the hardest.
There are a couple of reasons why it took me so long, and the first is the awful camera angles in the first phase of the fight. 90% of my deaths in this fight were in the first phase because if this. The other reason is that when I finally did get to the second phase, the King’s delayed attacks always seemed to get me.
Now that I’ve defeated him multiple times, I’ve come to enjoy him as one of my favorite bosses. While he’s not as aggressive as Lothric, you have to anticipate every one of his attacks.
Every time you die in this fight, it’ll be due to one single mistake. My advice for defeating this guy is to take your time and learn his moves. The camera angles will probably get you more than once, so don’t give up.
Difficulty: 10 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The Nameless King and the Stormdrake are weak to each other’s strengths. Weapons with lightning damage will wreck the dragon, while fire weapons do a lot of damage to the King.
2. Slave Knight Gael
Slave Knight Gael is considered the last boss of the Dark Souls series. While the Soul of Cinder was the final boss of the base game, Gael was the final boss of the DLC.
Gael is yet another 3 phase boss, making him more difficult. He’s widely considered a fun boss while being very difficult to beat. You can stagger him quite easily with a heavy weapon, making it easier to land hits on him.
He shows up in several areas around the game before you finally face him. These areas include The Cathedral of the Deep and Painted World of Ariandel. I’m glad FromSoftware decided to end the game on a good boss. Otherwise, people would have been up in arms about it.
Difficulty: 10 out of 10
Interesting Fact: The final area of the Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City DLC is known as the “Pygmy’s Throne.” This area is entirely separate from the rest of the DLC map and is the largest explorable boss arena in the series.
1. Darkeater Midir
Midir is considered by many to be the best dragon battle in all of the Souls franchise. Everything about the fight is awesome, but it’s still insanely hard for most people. The arena you fight Midir in is beautiful, and the dragon’s moveset makes him interesting to fight against.
The way the boss fight is initiated is interesting and unique as well. During the Ringed City DLC, you can locate Midir sitting on a bridge, breathing fire onto it. To progress to the boss fight, you must fight him until he falls off the bridge into the depths below. The area he falls into is his boss arena, so all you need to do is to make your way down to him.
Not everyone considered him the hardest, but a handful of people I know do. It’s good to know that the hardest boss in the game isn’t hard because of poor boss design (looking at you, Bed of Chaos).
Difficulty: 11 out of 10
Interesting Fact: Midir drops more souls than any other boss in the game. With all the appropriate gear, you can net yourself over 1 million souls.
These rankings will vary based on player build and personal opinion, but I think this list is pretty well ranked based on opinions I see online. If you think some of these are unfairly ranked, just remember that some poor souls have rage quit on beginner-level bosses like Iudex Gundyr.