Dark Souls loves to torture the consumer by punishing them for buying the product. And yet we all love it. Dark Souls is an all-time classic and created the ‘soulslike’ formula, which so many games have been inspired by. Dark Souls has some of the most memorable bosses from the series and some of these bosses were used as templates for later bosses who were just as amazing.
So, ranking the bosses that inspired the movement of the ‘soulslike’ genre is here. These are the hardest bosses in Dark Souls including the DLC ‘Artorias of the Abyss’. Including the DLC there are twenty-six bosses to choose from.
10/10 Capra Demon
Is this fight extremely hard? No, not really. Is it extremely annoying? Yes, it is. The Capra Demon holds the smallest arena in the game and this is what makes it so awkward. It has two dogs with it in the arena and the first few seconds of this fight are the most important. The dogs will immediately rush the player as they get in.
Taking out the two dogs first is a must or else the dogs will kill the undead from behind while attacking the Capra Demon. Once the dogs are taken care of the Capra Demon isn’t so bad. However, having a tiny arena with little space and three enemies in it means this fight has a place on the list.
9/10 The Bell Gargoyles
These two are the first big challenge of Dark Souls and really welcome the player to the experience it’s offering. Once the first gargoyle has a decent chunk of health taken away the second will drop in. This fight is tough mainly because the two gargoyles can stick together and make it impossible for the undead to get away.
The best tactic is to rush attack the first gargoyle and take him down fast. However, this is tough if the other gargoyle breathes fire in that direction or is coming up behind for an attack. When one of the gargoyles has been defeated the fight is far easier, but the hard part is dealing with them while together.
8/10 Sanctuary Guardian
The Sanctuary Guardian is the first fight of the DLC and is a great introduction. The guardian has speed agility and can fly. The flying makes this fight awkward as it can stay up for a long time shooting lightning down on top of the undead. Once the guardian lands it will release a few quick attacks with his sharp claws. This is the chance to go to its side and attack.
It also has a stinger which can poison the undead, as well as that the stinger does a decent bit of damage on top of that. With its combination of flying, lighting, poison and physical attacks it ranks here on the list. The guardian lands lower on this list as it leaves many openings while it attacks.
7/10 Gwyn, Lord of Cinder
Gwyn was a hard one to put on this list as if the player has mastered parries then Gwyn is an extremely easy boss. However, if the parry move hasn’t been utilised Gwyn makes for a really challenging fight. His arena is close quarters so there will never be much space to run into.
The Lord of Cinder has decent range for his fire sword and has a deadly combo that will one-shot the undead easily. Gwyn is extremely aggressive and won’t stay back, rather he constantly charges preparing for his next attack. The range on his sword is also deceiving as the flames make it hard to tell its reach. Also, Gwyn has a beautiful soundtrack to go with the fight
6/10 The Four Kings
Being aggressive is the key to winning this encounter. The first king will spawn and it will seem like a never-ending distance to run to them. The dark backdrop makes it extremely hard to tell how close you are to the boss. Getting close enough and staying aggressive is a must as more kings will spawn in.
The quicker this fight is finished the fewer kings that will spawn in. This is more of a fight against time than anything else. If the undead can deal a lot of damage to the first king this fight can be a lot easier. Still, without knowing this prior this boss fight can be very difficult if the gimmick of time isn’t known.
5/10 Gravelord Nito
This is one of the more annoying fights on this list. Rather than being just a tough boss, Nito brings in a horde mechanic that is incredibly awkward to deal with and puts the undead on the backfoot.
The horde of skeletons he summons aren’t tough, but it distracts from Nito himself and when fighting Nito these skeletons could be the reason he wins the battle. Nito also poisons the undead in just two hits draining the undead’s precious health. Purple moss is a must for this fight or else the poison may get the better of the undead.
4/10 Black Dragon Kalameet
The secret boss of the DLC. Dragon fights are hard to get right, but Kalameet was the first one to do it. Getting close and personal with Kalameet is a must or else the undead will be toast under the fire breath Kalameet uses. Kalameet has counters like using his tail while the undead is underneath him.
He has an AoE attack that does a massive amount of damage, although it’s very easy to read and escape as long as the undead doesn’t become greedy. He is ferocious and does a massive amount of damage in only one hit. Kalameet isn’t the easiest to hit as he can fly away and uses his AOE to repel the undead.
3/10 Dragonslayer Ornstein & Executioner Smough
Perhaps even to this day the best boss duo to fight against. Ornstein and Smough are exceptionally tough, but they’re still a fair fight. The two work hand in hand. Ornstein’s agility and speed will keep the undead on their toes, meanwhile, Smough waits behind at a slow pace but with devastating damage. Taking out Smough is easier as he’s slow, but Ornstein is more of a nuisance so it makes it a tough decision of who to pick.
Regardless of who is picked, the fight is just about to get harder as the one who survives will take the powers of the fallen boss and will be a combined force of the two, mixing both speed and power. This fight will be a struggle, but a fight worth beating.
2/10 Manus, Father Of The Abyss
The final boss of the Artorias of the Abyss. Manus of the Abyss is a massive boss, so ideally it would be seen that he’s slow, however, Manus is fast and aggressive. Dodging is the main aspect of this fight as you will be swamped under dark magic and physical attacks.
Using an Estus under these conditions is challenging, but if the dark magic is escaped it is possible. He has quite a large health pool also. The only thing that helps is his larger size meaning you can get a hit in easily and run back to go on the defense once again.
1/10 Knight Artorias
Artorias is a fan favorite and it’s obvious after fighting him and exploring his lore. His move set is erratic and hard to read. His attacks seamlessly mix into one another, which is incredibly hard to counter without taking some amount of damage. He’s the fastest any boss has been in the original Dark Souls and is a new challenge not seen before.
Artorias also buffs himself in the fight to increase his damage output just like the player would do. For these reasons, Artorias deserves a place up here mainly for his unmatched speed paired with his ferocious damage. Healing during this fight is near impossible with the aggressive nature of Artorias landing him number one on the list.