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How To Beat Pontiff Sulyvahn in Dark Souls 3

How To Beat Pontiff Sulyvahn in Dark Souls 3

Pontiff Sulyvahn is a menacing boss in Dark Souls 3, especially for the uninitiated. Don’t be afraid to die a couple of times to learn his pattern. How to defeat the boss? What he is weak to? What strategies can you use to beat it? All will be answered in this ultimate guide to beating Pontiff Sulyvahn in Dark Souls 3.

Pontiff Sulyvahn is an aggressive boss with dual swords, which he uses quite erratically. You can summon three NPCs during the fight; Black Hand Gotthard, Londor Pale Shade, and Anri of Astora. In the second phase, be extra careful of his shadow clone. The main boss mimics his clone’s attacks so use that to your advantage.


Read this detailed guide if you want to learn how to beat the Pontiff Sulyvahn boss in Dark Souls 3 without much hassle.

Is Pontiff Sulyvahn Optional?

Pontiff Sulyvahn Optional

Pontiff Sulyvahn is not an optional boss in Dark Souls 3. He needs to be defeated to further venture into Irithyll.

Strategies for Defeating Pontiff Sulyvahn

Here are some strategies for defeating Pontiff Sulyvahn you can use depending on the build you opted for in Dark Souls 3:

Melee Strategy

Pontiff Sulyvahn is not for the faint of heart. It is sure to give you hell the first time you fight him. For this fight, you will want a shield with good stability and fire resistance and anything that increases the speed at which you regain stamina.

You will need to use a combination of blocking and rolling to withstand the aggressive onslaught that this boss continuously brings at you.

Since his combos are hard to learn, vary in length, and are random, the best advice for phase one is simply to roll as much as you can.

If you don’t know how long his combo is, just keep rolling until he stops attacking, hit him once or twice, and then roll some more. If your stamina is low, back away and put your shield up the second you don’t know what he’s about to do.

Once you get him to half health, phase two will begin with him kneeling and sprouting wings. You can hit him here, but he will do an AoE within seconds that will take half your health, so approach him carefully.

Very shortly after this phase begins, he will hold his sword up in the air and summon a clone. You should run in and kill that clone as fast as you can. Managing the two bosses will be quite troublesome, so actively seek out the clone until he is dead.

With the clone dead, the fight is relatively the same, except he will add some new moves. He has a couple of aerial attacks that you can easily dodge and then hit him, as well as a couple of ranged beams you need to look out for and roll through or to the side.

Keep an eye out, as he will try to summon another clone again, and you won’t want him to successfully pull that off. Watch for that sword going up and get in there and stop the summoning, finishing off the boss in the process if you can.

Magic Strategy

Magic Strategy

For Magic builds, use the following setup for the best possible results:

  • Soul Spear or preferably Crystal Soul Spear
  • Affinity Sorcery
  • Court Sorcerer’s Staff if your INT is above 50

A good offense is the best defense in this strategy. As soon as you enter the room and before the boss lunges at you, cast Affinity.

Dodge his attacks by either rolling backward or to the right, since you are likely to get hit rolling to the left. Fire off Crystal Soul Spear and Affinity every chance you get. Affinity is preferred for its quick casting.

When he enters phase 2 and is about to summon his clone, unleash both the Soul Spear and Affinity to one-shot the clone and remove him completely from the equation, thus making the fight easier. If the clone is still alive, use another Affinity in a subsequent opening to finish the job.

Just watch for the main boss’s attacks and keep casting the spells, and you will be done in no time.

Pyromancy Strategy

To make this fight incredibly easy for Pyromancers, go for the following build:

  • Faith Level: 28
  • Intelligence Level: 32
  • +5 Pyromancy Flame
  • Great Chaos Fire Orb

Maintaining distance is the key here. You need to be kiting at all times. The boss’s distance-covering jumping attacks will provide the best opportunity to cast the Fire Orbs. Keep kiting and lower his health until his phase two transformation begins. This animation will be a great opening to use your spells.

When he raises his sword and starts to summon his clone, use as many GCFO as you can. The spell’s AOE and the residual lava pool will make short work of the clone. If the clone is still alive, move back and fire more spells at him to finish him off.

For the main boss, just keep kiting and lobbing Fire Orbs at him. If you have set up your leveling-up points correctly, the fight will be over in a very short while.

What is Pontiff Sulyvahn Weak To?

Pontiff Sulyvahn Weakness

Pontiff Sulyvahn is weak to the following damage types:

  • Thrust Damage
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Dark
  • Critical Strike

What is Pontiff Sulyvahn Resistant / Immune to?

Pontiff Sulyvahn is resistant and immune to the following damage types:

Resistant to:

  • Poison
  • Toxic
  • Bleed
  • Frost

Immune to:

  • Nothing

Can You Parry Pontiff Sulyvahn?

Pontiff Sulyvahn is extremely susceptible to parrying. Riposte after parrying can be performed as well. However, his grab attacks, projectiles, and jump attacks are unparryable.

He cannot be backstabbed even if you tried. On the other hand, he can be poise-broken, although you can not perform a critical strike after it.

Can You Cheese Pontiff Sulyvahn?

There is no way you can cheese Pontiff Sulyvahn. Nevertheless, you can use his parryable attacks against him for swift slaying, but that’s hardly a cheesing strategy since parrying does demand massive skills, especially his extremely crazy combos.

Pontiff Sulyvahn in Dark Souls 3 will be one of those bosses whom you will need to bring in your A-game. His attacks are relentless, and once the clone joins the fight, things will start to look bleak for noob souls. Just follow our strategies and be patient, and you will be good to go.