Columns Soulsborne Boss Fight Rankings Worst to Best

Soulsborne Boss Fight Rankings #179-170 | Column from the Editor with a Guest Writer 

Things are starting to shape up piece by piece on our list: while there are a couple clunkers yet to be discussed, we’ve reached more of a ‘low tier’ as opposed to ‘bottom tier’ in terms of boss fight quality. So without further ado, let’s get started with our #179-170. For a reminder of the criteria for judgment, see here. As with the last two weeks, I’ve been joining by guest writer Michael “Mango” Givigliano for this piece.

179. Covetous Demon (Dark Souls 2)

Andrew: This is one that the average player would probably have expected to appear even lower on the list. In truth, the Covetous Demon really only competes with Prowling Magus and Congregation as the easiest boss in Dark Souls 2. Fortunately, if you dig and really dig deep, there is at least a little bit to like about this boss- even if very little of it has anything to do with the fight itself.

In terms of difficulty, this boss is a total joke. It has three distinguishable attacks- it will try to roll over the player if they’re attacking it from one of its sides, it might try to swat them with its tail if they’re in that area. It’s most well known attack is easily its most pathetic- if the player is truly insistent on attacking this thing head on, it will lunge at them with its mouth open and, if not dodged, it will eat their character and spit them out after a small bit. When spat, the player will find all of their equipment has been unequipped. All of these attacks are slow, highly telegraphed, and fail to even do much damage, which is the major problem with this demon. It lacks any fast, reliable means of dealing any sort of damage at all. It’s simply too slow and weak.

In terms of lore, this is where a bit of rooting around will be needed. What the player unearths, however, should at least illicit some good laughs. Basically, the Covetous Demon was once a valiant knight- who he fought for, against and even his name are completely unknown, but he was apparently a very skilled fighter. One day, he met Mytha the Baneful Queen and fell in love with her. With Mytha having her eyes on someone else romantically, he decided to make himself more attractive by… gorging himself endlessly?! Yes, the Covetous Demon got to becoming a massive pathetic blob because he ate so much in an effort to woo a woman. Whoever his friend is that gave him dating advice hopefully went hollow and stepped on a Lego or something.

As far as fun goes, this is yet another unfortunate case of a well designed boss room given to a massive pushover of a boss. Hanging overhead the player and demon are a handful of breakable pots. When broken, a hollow will fall out, distract the demon, and give the player time to attack uncontested as it slithers over and devours the hollow. As well, the room is decently sized and would make for a fairly straightforward duel, were it not for the fact that Covetous Demon is absurdly slow. That also means if the player somehow winds up low on health, they can effortlessly just retreat a little bit and have all day to heal.

Mango: This boss is really slow and doesn’t pose a threat, so I gave it a 2 for difficulty. This boss also doesn’t have any impact on the Dark Souls 2 narrative, so I gave it a 1 for lore. This boss fight is overall just very underwhelming, so I gave it a 3 for fun.

178. Dragonrider Duo (Dark Souls 2)

Andrew: New idea for a drinking game: Take a shot every time Dark Souls 2 tries ganking the player or presents a reskin. By the time you get to the first or second Primal Bonfire, you’ll be long dead. If somehow you’ve got a cast iron stomach and have survived until Drangleic Castle, this boss will be what finishes you off.

In terms of difficulty, the Dragonriders are all sorts of pathetic and, even with the numbers advantage, the player should prevail easily. In fact, the fight isn’t even initially a real gank. At first, one Dragonrider will get in the player’s face while the second lags behind, out of reach, and will shoot the player with a bow and arrow. When the first one dies, the second one will jump in with melee weapons and die in about five or six hits, being noticeably less tanky than the first one.

Lore is arguably the most offensive part about this fight, even if it is well designed. Basically, the Dragonriders are King Vendrick’s elite guardsmen. Imagine them as the U.S military to the President, in a manner of speaking. From descriptions found on Dragonrider weapons, there is apparently a long, convoluted process to becoming a Dragonrider, suggesting that they’re very prestigious and should be highly skilled in battle. These two in this fight didn’t seem to get the memo, as they attack very slowly and have extremely exploitable AI. Still, they’re important to the game’s narrative, so even though they’re poor representatives of their own lore, they got some credit for it at the very least.

As far as fun goes, stop me if you’ve heard this before: a well designed structure goes to waste on a total joke. The area is quite large, and the player isn’t actually initially in a bad numbers situation. Killing off the first Dragonrider makes the second one vulnerable, so the player would be incentivized for being aggressive and smart. Of course, in practice, there is no need to approach this fight seriously, so it totally undermines the structure of the fight as a whole.

Mango: The long-ranged Dragonrider uses the powerful Dragonrider bow to shoot the player while they fight the melee Dragonrider. This has the ability to really catch the player off guard, so I gave the fight a 10 for difficulty. This fight is just a reskin of the single Dragonrider fought early in the game, so I only gave it a 3 for lore. For fun, I gave the fight a 4.

177. Giant Lord (Dark Souls 2)

Andrew: As one of five different sources of Giant Souls, the player will have to visit this fight as a mandatory boss before being able to eventually earn an ending to the game. It will most likely be their first exposure to one of the Memory areas, with this one uniquely not forcing the player out after a certain amount of time like other Memories.

As far as difficulty goes, this boss is indeed scaled for the end game and will hit quite hard. However, he is mechanically very simple. If the player simply stays at one of his heels and lays into him, the fight will be over in about a minute. As it happens, the player will need to defeat two mini boss Giants on the way to their lord and, due to them having complex movesets and lacking simple counterplay, they actually end up posing much more of a threat than their own lord.

Lore is what really gives this fight any sort of real meaning. In traveling to the Memory, the player is essentially going back in time to a point when the giants invaded Drangleic. In defeating the Giant Lord, the player will essentially be maintaining history in a way, as these giants were eventually killed during their attack. What’s especially interesting about all of this is tied to the game’s first boss fight, the Last Giant. During the opening cinematic when approaching the Last Giant, it will look up at the player angrily and attack. At first, the cinematic looks to be little more than the boss making an entrance, but the Last Giant is basically the Giant Lord in the future who recognizes the player character, grows angry and wants revenge. This clever tie to another boss found way earlier in the game was really creative and fun to reflect on during and after the Giant Lord fight. Up to this point in the list, it’s overall the strongest example of lore supplementing a boss fight that we’ve seen, even if it isn’t truly too, too much.

In terms of fun, this fight is incredibly basic and lacking any serious structure whatsoever. It is pretty neat basically having a one-on-one open combat with a general of an invading army, but this only aids the fight thematically. The actual fighting itself is little more than simply walking up to this guy and spamming him with attacks until he dies. Not much to see here.

Mango: This boss can cause a lot of damage with his attacks, using his sword or his feet to stomp on the player. I gave it an 11 for difficulty because a new player may get overwhelmed by how much damage he can do. He is an interesting face in the game’s story, so I gave it a 10 for lore. This fight is basically a reskin of the Last Giant, so even though fighting giants is fun, I only gave it a 5 for fun.

176. Taurus Demon (Dark Souls 1)

Andrew: …and speaking of ‘walking up to this guy and spamming attacks until he dies’, enter the Taurus Demon! Admittedly, there isn’t too much to actually say about this fight, as it’s very basic. It originated from a game made over a decade ago, so it can be forgiven in retrospect given how old it is. The Taurus Demon is the boss of the Undead Burg, the first non-tutorial boss the player is likely to face. It has drawn many comparisons to the Asylum Demon, being eerily similar to being a fourth version of the game’s tutorial boss. It does have enough to distinguish it, however, so it isn’t an offensively bad mess like the Demon Firesage.

As far as difficulty goes, do recall that we don’t judge difficulty in a vacuum, but instead the challenge a player amidst their first playthrough, alone, with no outside assistance apart from NPCs will face. In that regard, the Taurus Demon is similar to the Asylum Demon but is different in enough ways to be fairly challenging for a new player. For one, it is a good bit more aggressive than the Asylum Demon and will rush up to the player when the fight begins, rather than being somewhat hesitant like the Asylum Demon. The battlefield is also, at least initially, much different. Instead of a fairly basic, rectangular room, the Taurus Demon is usually fought in a tight, narrow corridor with little room to move vertically. There’s a small but noticeable cliffside where the player – or the Taurus Demon – could fall off of and immediately be killed. This fight isn’t super complex, but provides a few more variables for the player to contend with than featured fighting the Asylum Demon.

Lorewise, this boss has very little going for it. Much like the Capra Demon, we can conclude that this particular Taurus Demon is a Major Taurus Demon, while Taurus Demons found later in the Demon Ruins are minor variants. That’s about it, really.

Finally, we have our first instance of an interestingly designed boss room that didn’t completely go to waste! The player is given a wide variety of options they can use to fight the Taurus Demon, and all of them can work depending on personal preference. The simplest way would be to simply rush up to the Taurus Demon and fight it head on. Alternatively, in approaching it, the player may notice a couple hollows behind it on a rooftop trying to shoot them with a crossbow. The player could use a ladder to reach them, and then either drop down on the Taurus Demon with a plunging attack, or wait for the Taurus Demon to come to them and fight with much more room to maneuver. These are incidentally very similar options to fighting the Asylum Demon, but the game won’t hold the player’s hand and tell them these options like it did with the latter. As such, the number of different options to approach this fight give it appreciable replayability.

Mango: This boss is mechanically very simple, only getting a 4 from me for difficulty. It’s not important narratively, so I only gave it a 2 for lore. Finally, as I’ve said in the past, fighting big demons is fun and this guy is no exception. He got a 3 for fun be ause of how simple he is to fight.

175. Deacons of the Deep (Dark Souls 3)

Andrew: This fight is essentially the evolution of the Royal Rat Vanguard discussed last week. It’s only a marginally better evolution too, as the fight is different mechanically with the exception of the whole ‘ignore everything except for this one guy’ mechanic. This is a large swarm of Deacons, one of them will be the one the player is meant to attack.

As far as difficulty goes, it’s no accident that this fight appeared on InReview’s ten easiest boss fights. The Deacons are extraordinarily passive. More than half of them at any given moment will simply stand there and do nothing. When they do attack, it’s a very slow thrust of their weak sword or a slow, impotent fireball tossed at the player. The only conceivable way the player could lose this fight is if they get too enamored by the entertainment of knocking down Deacons like bowling pins, only to end up accidentally ignoring the one they’re supposed to hit. Doing this long enough will prompt the Deacons to slowly but surely cast a ritual which will curse and immediately kill the player on the spot. This ritual takes so absurdly long, however, that the player has plenty of time to simply kill the highlighted Deacon and put a stop to it altogether. To make things even easier, this is the only fight in the game that the player can summon three NPCs for help. All of them, Anri of Astora, Horace the Hushed and Sirris of the Sunless Realms are good options as well, serving to make an already easy fight absurdly easy. But wait, there’s more! With usage of the Alluring Skull, all but the highlighted Deacon will be distracted and will walk away from the highlighted Deacon, exposing him completely. There is way too much that serves to trivialize this fight.

In terms of lore, this boss fight delivers. Essentially, the Deacons are guarding the tomb of their lord, Archdeacon McDonnell. As it happens, McDonnell’s soul is essentially traveling around the battlefield, ’possessing’ random Deacons and making them stronger. What’s more, the real McDonnell and a selection of followers opted to travel to Irithyl to confront Pontiff Sulyvahn, likely because Sulyvahn is in some type of open conflict with Aldrich, Devourer of Gods whom the Deacons essentially worship. This also explains why this boss fight is mandatory in order to reach Irithyl. There are a few too many unanswered questions for this fight to score too highly in lore, but it does check out.

In terms of fun, there is something to be said about equipping a colossal weapon or series of AoE spells and knocking down Deacons like bowling pins. The novelty wears off quickly, but it’s at least something. Unfortunately, the fact that this boss fight is simply a large group of regular enemies is a large detriment, and it got penalized accordingly.

Mango: The only challenging part about this boss is their curse ritual which is an instakill mechanic. It’s otherwise very easy, and I gave it a 2 for difficulty. When beating the Deacons of the Deep, you earn the Peculiar Doll item that you can’t enter Irithyl without, so I gave it a 3 for lore. Like Andrew, I found simply beating up all the Deacons to be fun, so I gave it a 4 for fun.

174. Adjudicator (Demon’s Souls)

Andrew: Conceptually, this boss fight is relatively cool and was well designed for its time. Sadly, it has aged like sour milk, mostly due to progressively modernized resources which have developed bosses with similar dynamics. Still, the Adjudicator is a boss who is unique for only taking damage from hits in two areas; its head and a small hole alongside its waist. If the player is within melee range, he attacks with an enormous cleaver. If not, he has an incredibly long tongue he will use to swat and harass the player until they get closer.

As far as difficulty goes, almost all of it is found in the early going of the fight. The player will have to travel down two flights of stairs to reach Adjudicator. During this time, Adjudicator will swing its massive tongue at the player, and boy does it hit deceptively hard even if it’s extremely telegraphed. It will kill in 2-3 hits at absolute most, incentivizing the player to get in melee range. Once the player makes it, however, is where the fight simplifies immensely. The Adjudicator’s massive cleaver may be more intimidating, but it deals noticeably less damage than his tongue and is easier to dodge to boot. As well, once the player gets Adjudicator down to about half health, he will topple over and expose his head. If the player somehow doesn’t manage to end the fight then and there, he will happily get up and… kill himself? Yes, he will raise his cleaver to his neck and cut it open, ending the fight immediately.

Lore is what makes this guy even more intimidating than he initially appears. Basically, the Shadowmen who maintain the Shrine of Storms look to Adjudicator as their lord, and he plays the role of judge, jury and executioner. When someone sins or commits an act of cowardice when within the Shrine of Storms, the Shadowmen essentially kidnap that person and deliver them to the Adjudicator. From there, he issues judgment, which usually ends with the sinner ending up on the business end of Adjudicator’s cleaver. What’s even scarier about this is that the Adjudicator’s cleaver is said not just to cut through flesh and bone, but soul as well! This would explain why, when the player uses Adjudicator’s soul to get their own iteration of his cleaver, it has the unique benefit of giving more souls to the player whenever they kill something with it. This lore is fairly solid, albeit very difficult to find and piece together, as well as not being terribly meaningful to the broader overall narrative.

In terms of fun, you can actually thank PlayStation a little for this one. There is a challenge trophy earned by killing Adjudicator without ever hitting his weakpoint on his waist. This can only be achieved by using a projectile to attack his head, typically done from afar. Doing this will make the player vulnerable to Adjudicator’s tongue attacks, making the fight noticeably harder. Beyond this, it is pretty funny watching a boss kill themselves after basically being humiliated in front of all his followers and servants.

Mango: A player new to From Software games might not understand how to properly exploit Adjudicator’s weak point, so I gave it a 10 for difficulty. Since the player’s goal is to kill demons, Adjudicator being a big demon means he is important enough to the game’s story to get a 5 for lore. For fun, I gave the fight a 12. It is fun to shoot his head from afar, but it could be impossible for a melee character to fight it if they don’t know how to hit it properly.

173. Curse-Rotted Greatwood (Dark Souls 3)

Andrew: This fight is essentially an evolved form of Adjudicator. Admittedly, it’s not a very impressive evolution, evidenced by it appearing just a single spot ahead of Adjudicator. Like Adjudicator, Curse-Rotted Greatwood can only be damaged by attacking its weak points. These are small or large blighted sacs of a pungent looking puss found along the body of the tree. During its second phase, the tree grows an arm which can also be damaged.

In terms of difficulty, this fight is a bit more annoying than it is necessarily hard. At times, the player may identify a sac that they’re supposed to hit- as they rush over, the tree either jumps or rolls just slightly enough to bury the sac in the ground, preventing the player from hitting it. It also has an annoying attack where it will slowly stand and jump up high, landing on the ground with its rear and creating a massive pool of acid surrounding it that will force the player away from it briefly. It attacks very slowly and, in first phase, is guarded by a selection of hollows. The player is unlikely to actually lose this fight if they’re even slightly well equipped, but it’s enough of a speed bump – literally – to warrant at least a small amount of difficulty points.

Lore is what gives this boss wings. The Curse-Rotted Greatwood has a connection to the Abyss Watchers. The Abyss Watchers disappeared upon becoming Lords of Cinder, and Farron was eventually taken over by the tree before they could return. When they did return, they essentially lost their senses and went hollow, being in no condition to properly oppose the tree’s newfound rule.

In terms of fun, this fight is deeply flawed. For one, it would probably have been a better idea to give the tree significantly more health in exchange for removing the hollows from the fight entirely, cutting down on the duration of its acid pool attack and making the tree’s weak points a little bit bigger. The hollows do not add much of anything to the fight other than a silly annoyance. The acid pool attack the tree uses hinders pacing significantly, forcing the player to essentially stand back and do nothing until it dissipates. As well, the tree is visually nauseating, which will prompt the player to kill it as quickly as they can.

Mango: Because you can only hurt the tree in very specific spots, I gave it a 6 for difficulty. Even though this boss is optional, it drops the Transposing Kiln when killed, which will be needed to turn Boss Souls into equipment, so I gave it a 4 for lore. There aren’t many weakpoint bosses in Dark Souls 3, so I gave this fight a 7 in fun due to being unique and interesting.

172. High Lord Wolnir (Dark Souls 3)

Andrew: Another weakpoint-heavy boss, Wolnir is doubtlessly the easiest of the three discussed today, and is arguably the easiest of such bosses in general. He is encountered as the boss of the Catacombs of Carthus, located by entering a narrow room and interacting with a mysterious goblet with a skull charm facing the player as they approach it.

Like Deacons of the Deep, Wolnir ended up on InReview’s easiest boss fights of From Software list. That, too, was hardly a mistake as the player can rip off roughly half of Wolnir’s health before the fight even really begins. Wolnir wears three golden bracelets between his two hands, smashing them will allow the player to claim victory. Smashing them isn’t hard, only requiring around 4-5 solid hits apiece. They’re huge targets, and to make things easier, the player receives a head start upon entering the boss room where Wolnir is initially dormant.

As far as lore goes, Wolnir has an interesting storyline. In life, he was known as the Conqueror of Carthus. He had a bit of an odd jealousy streak, as he attained this title out of a simple desire to outlive the lords of the area. He has a bit of a vague side note that gives some more meaning to his weapons; his sword and his crown were crafted entirely out of the ground up bits of crowns atop the heads of those he killed. It’s never clarified exactly who or how many had to die to forge these tools, but it adds some serious lethality to his backstory. As well, Wolnir was corrupted by the Abyss one day and learned to truly fear the darkness of it. Out of desperation, he became pious and pleaded to the gods. It also gets a bit unnerving: he apparently stole the three bracelets he wore off the corpses of slain clerics. This was one messed up guy!

In terms of fun, the way Wolnir enters the fight is adrenaline inducing. Once the player finishes watching a cutscene of them interacting with the goblet, they’ll find themselves in a pitch black room. Upon briefly wandering, they’d discover a massive hand or skull head laying dormant until Wolnir eventually rises- that’s a really cool, bone chilling way to make an entrance. Considering how Wolnir fears the Abyss, smashing his bracelets seems to banish him into the darkness he so fears- this gives the player a bit of power in kicking him down into his worst nightmare.

Mango: If the player doesn’t know to hit Wolnir’s bracelets, they’ll have a hard time beating him, making an 8 for difficulty appropriate. With Wolnir having been a ruler in the past, I felt he is important enough to get a 6 for lore. Kicking this big skeleton down into the abyss is amusing and fun, getting a 7 in that category.

171. Loran Silverbeast (Bloodborne)

Andrew: Our first particularly challenging fight yet, the Loran Silverbeast takes aggression to a whole new level here. Overall, it’s probably one of the harder bosses in general found in the Chalice Dungeons.

In discussing difficulty, it can actually be summed up fairly simply. If you’ve got the DPS to consistently stagger the beast, the fight is a joke and will be over in 30 seconds. Spoiler alert: unless you’re particularly overleveled or are extremely skilled at the game, you almost definitely do not have the DPS to achieve this. If you don’t, that’s when the real challenge arises; keeping up with the camera. This boss has become affectionately known by the community as the Loran ’Camera’beast because actually tracking this thing is a nightmare if the player can’t consistently stagger it. It moves very quickly, hits rather hard and doesn’t stay still for more than a few seconds at a time.

This boss sadly offers very, very little in lore. Basically, the Loran Chalice Dungeon is the crumbled remains of a former city known as Loran. This beast apparently guards it for some reason. Not a lot to go off of at all.

This boss suffers a severe drop in fun points because of how aggravating its hitboxes are, but also because of how hard it is to actually gain the ability to properly fight the thing. Either the player will stagger it endlessly until it dies in 30 seconds, or it prances around the arena like a gazelle and stays out of the player’s reach and sight most of the way. It’s well paced and the arena isn’t too big, making catching up to it not too, too irritating. Still, it would’ve been a better idea to give it more resistance to stagger in exchange for slowing it down a wee little bit and perhaps making it slightly smaller to better accommodate the camera.

Mango: This boss is a reskin, and we’ve seen it before at this point. Because of this, I gave it a 2 for difficulty. Like Andrew said, this is just another reskin found in the Chalice Dungeons, so it gets a 2 for lore. This fight is pretty much just beating up a giant wolf, so I gave it a 4 for difficulty.

170. Fia’s Champions (Elden Ring)

Andrew: An interesting dynamic for an extremely easy fight, Fia’s Champions is a gank fight which naturally means it’s poorly balanced somehow. Indeed, the player will have to defeat five NPC enemies in order to prevail. Two of them come in one wave, then three the next.

Difficulty wise, none of the NPCs fought have any sort of durability. They will all die in 3-5 hits and don’t threaten much damage in return. They’re also not particularly aggressive, affording ample opportunity for the player to get their own hits in. There is little reason beyond an absurd challenge run, such as not being allowed to use any weapons, that the player should lose this fight.

Lore for this fight is ambiguous but relatively unnerving. Fia is an entity who can use her Deathbed to grant a buff to the player in exchange for a small portion of their maximum hit points. In receiving this buff, Fia essentially takes some of the player character’s life force. In this fight, five NPCs in total do battle. Two of them, Sorcerer Rogier and Lionel the Lionhearted, will be in every fight. The other three are simply labeled ”Fia’s Champion” and don’t get a specific name. The unnamed NPCs are actually random real life players who previously fought this boss and appear controlled by AI. This stands to question- when Fia buffs the player and steals their life essence in the process, is this what she does with that life essence? If so, her magic needs some fine tuning and the fighters should be stronger, but it’s still a very unnerving thing to think about. Perhaps you should refrain from allowing her to buff you.

As far as fun goes, this fight would in theory have replayability due to how three of the five enemies fought will be different in every fight. This is only truly the case in the instance of embarking upon a silly challenge run as discussed earlier, but it’s overall undermined by how easy the fight truly is. That aside, the boss area was designed well and, unfortunately, goes to waste on such an easy fight. The arena is big, there are branches spread out the player could use to split aggro and put themselves in a better numbers situation to more easily handle the gank fight. Too bad it’s so easy that nobody would ever go to the effort of actually manufacturing this scenario.

Mango: The difficulty of this fight is variable, since you could get three NPCs with very good or very bad overall builds. Because of this, I actually couldn’t settle on one single score, so I’d say it should get anywhere from a 10-15 for difficulty. This fight is one of the last things the player will do for Fia’s questline, getting a 12 in lore. Finally, because of how different each fight with this boss could be, I gave it a 25 for fun.

Michael ”Mango” Givigliano, is a woodworker residing in the town of Alvin, Texas. He has managed to finish a ’Soul Level 1’ playthrough of Dark Souls 3, a run where Mango did not at any point spend Souls to level up his character before finishing the base game and DLC. He has also finished a ”broken-broken straightsword” play through, where he used the game’s weakest weapon with even weaker stats as a result of depleting its durability to beat the game. His favorite From Software game is Dark Souls 3, and his favorite boss fight would be against Slave Knight Gael. You can find his YouTube channel, where he occasionally uploads Elden Ring and Dark Souls 3 content, here

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