Who Is The Most Difficult Boss In Dark Souls II?

Among Souls players this battle rages — and it's a strange one. For every boss someone finds difficult there's a smug bugger who claims they beat him/her/it first go. Personally, I found the Ruin Sentinels the most difficult, but one smart guy has managed to take the official death figures and work out once and for all who is actually, statistically, the most difficult boss in Dark Souls II. You might be a little surprised.

Apparently it's King Vendrick, closely followed by the Ancient Dragon. Both, interestingly, are optional bosses.

In fact, until I read this Reddit thread, I had no idea that you could even fight King Vendrick. I assumed you couldn't. Apparently on average players will die nine times before killing him. Bear in mind this also includes stats from crazy high level players who replay the game over and over again (just in case you're feeling a little insecure about your Dark Souls skills).

The top 5 is as follows...

1. Vendrick 2. Ancient Dragon 3. Royal Rat Authority 4. Darklurker 5. Smelter Demon

Personally I'm a little surprised that the Gargoyles boss fight isn't higher. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that most people found that and the Smelter Demon boss fight the most difficult. By far those are the bosses that most people complain about in my experience.

Who did you find most difficult? Let us know in the comments below.

Check the Reddit thread for a more detailed breakdown.


    The boss I died most on, by far, was the Smelter Demon. Second, probably the Royal Rat Authority, but once I got the rhythm of it, it became one of the easiest fights.

    Didn't die once against Darklurker (though I cheesed with miracles), or against Vendrick (very simple battle against a powerful but extremely SLOW foe), that one), or against the Gargoyles (that was such an amazing fight, very exciting).

    The only boss I haven't yet fought is the Ancient Dragon, because the path to him is so damn brutal :P

    Last edited 08/05/14 9:26 am

    Sorta funny that the top 5 are all optional bosses

    My choice would be the Ancient Dragon, without the Gower Ring he can be a pain.

    So far all of them, but I'm only up to the Ruin Sentinels, which for some reason I found easier than the rest. Summoned the NPC on my second try, the last one only had a third of it's health left, then I made a stupid mistake and died. Instead of going back and trying again, I decided to backtrack and try my luck with The Pursuer, died about 15 times, decided I'd had enough and gave up on it for a while.

    Been too busy with other games to go back to it, and with Wolfenstein, Watch Dogs and Mario Kart 8 all coming out in the next 3 weeks I doubt it'll be any time soon.

    From my personal experience, the hardest boss was the Lost Sinner, as he was the first real spike in difficulty for me, and it reminded me a lot of the Artorias fight in Dark Souls 1. After that, carrying a Lightning Spear just made the rest of the bosses reasonably managable (especially for the Smelter Demon)

    I have fought the Ancient Dragon a couple of times on Sunbro summons though...with 3 people teaming up I have still yet to beat him.

    Haha I like how high Cartwheel Skeletons are - beats out several bosses.

    The Ruin Sentinels were by far the hardest for me.

    (Though I didn't fight Vendrick or the Dragon. Whoops :P)

    Royal Rat Authority definitely made me feel more than a little rage, especially considering it's only the second boss I have solo'd (Vanguard being the first) but Smelter was hard even with 2 summons, insanely hard for melee and even worse being dual wield as my character is.

    I haven't fought Vendrick, Ancient Dragon, or DarkLurker but for me the most (perceived) difficult boss was the stupid Chariot because of the cheap Zerg Rush design they used with the skeletons. It was basically the Capra Demon fight and that one dog that always screwed up your run to the stairs.

    I've died to Smelter demon more times than any other boss, once I got a 100% fire resist shield it was much easier. (20+ deaths)
    Royale Rat authority still yet to kill.... probably died 6 or 7 times.
    Died 3 times on Darklurker (once I figured out the mechanics it was easy)
    1 shotted Ancient Dragon
    Ruin sentinels also caused me a bit of trouble but no where near as much as Smelter demon.

    EDIT: Oooh I forgot about The Rotten, I died at least 15 times to that guy (I guess I tried to forget about that one..)

    Last edited 08/05/14 10:07 am

      So how did you manage to "one shot" Vendrick and Ancient dragon. their health pools are pretty high.

        You know what, I was thinking of Velstadt not Vendrick my bad.

        Ancient Dragon with +10 Gyrm Greatshield x2 absorbing the rain of fire and switching to 2 handed Great Club +10 and smashing him straight in the face, rinse and repeat it was over pretty quickly. (I had prior knowledge of this fight watching my friend play it on NG+)

          Oh I see, I thought you implied that you ONE SHOT the boss, as in one attack the boss is dead lol. I misunderstood what you meant by one shotting a boss. I still feel as though the bosses in ds2 were not as difficult as the original dark souls in my opinion.

      Really, The Rotten? The mechanics in that fight were fairly simple in my opinion, only died once (and that was damn near one and done, just miss timed a roll at the very end).

        Yeah, for the most part I kept rolling into the fire like a scrub... and got squeezed out like a boney sponge a couple of times. You're right, the fight is very simple though.

    While I agree that Rat Authority was difficult, I think most of the others weren't so bad and am kind of concerned that Demon of Song did not make it, but that boss wrecked me so many times.

    As mentioned earlier, it's the optional bosses that are the hardest - I've yet to try Aldia.. I mean the Ancient Dragon. Darklurker and Vendrick were pricks as melee, and the fact you didn't have summons to help you through (if you like the easier route). On a side note, the Royal Rat Vanguard was the easiest boss by far.

    the only two I've had (more than the expected amount of) trouble with so far are the Ruin Sentinels & Executioner Chariot.
    Couldn't solo the Ruin Sentinels, but once I summoned an ally, it was a lot easier.

    Currently stuck on the Executioner Chariot though. Having trouble with the initial skeleton / necromancer phase. get to a necromancer & kill it, but don't have enough stamina to block the skeletons, so I get stun-locked & die. got up to the horse phase once. didn't last long. even with a 100% physical resist shield, that guy hits hard...

    Last edited 08/05/14 10:23 am

    Right now I'm dying a lot to The Old Iron King because I am clumsy and keep falling into the lava. I'm also having trouble getting back into the game because when I was playing regularly I stopped when I had Belfry Gargoyles, Old Iron King and The Rotten as the parts where I was up to, having extinctified most of the enemies leading up to them so I have nothing to ease me back into it, I just keep having to jump straight into Boss battles.

      Are you aware that there is a bonfire almost immediately before the Old Iron King?

        The one up the ladders? Yep. It would suck to have to go all the way back to the start (because I haven't taken out the Smelter Demon yet, either. :P) of the Iron Keep every time I die!

        Edit: Like I said, mostly my problem is that I haven't played for a while and haven't left myself many regular enemies to brush up on my skills with before tackling bosses. I Bonfire Ascetic'd Heide's Tower though, so hopefully that'll get me back up to speed. :)

        Last edited 08/05/14 2:38 pm

          Oddly, one of the best ways to tackle Old Iron King is to stay really close to him, and just roll from side to side (the only exception is when he starts spewing fire, in which case you want to have a bit more space to move). It's pretty tough to fall in the lava then.

    I can't even get past the Forest of Fallen Giants.
    10/10 would play again.

    Huh, that comment didn't go through.

    Really, people had trouble with Vendrick? I only died on him once. I would think that optional dragon boss would be the biggest challenge considering he has an AOE one-hit kill attack.
    I also surprisingly had less trouble with the gargoyles than I did in Dark Souls 1. The first time I fought them I was rushing through to avoid being invaded and had no Estus Flasks remaining when I came across them. I got them on my second try.

    Come to think of it, I can't really think of many bosses that I didn't die more then a couple of times on (if you don't count being summoned). Probably the one boss that did cause me the most trouble was the Smelter Demon because of his habit of randomly exploding. Also the Ruin Sentinels were a lot of trouble.

    Last edited 08/05/14 10:53 am

      Vendrick is easy only once you learn how to weaken him. When I first attacked him I dealt around 250 damage. He killed me, so I returned to the cave and found that I was dealing 6 damage. I was gutted! I thought the boss was glitched so I attempted to the boss fight several times. That was before I read how to weaken him though.

        I already knew you had to weaken him. Even so, if I came across him without that knowledge, I'd just walk away thinking he was scripted to be invulnerable.

    I love games where the biggest challenges aren’t part of the main game. Lost Odyssey comes to mind as another game that does this.

    Ruined Sentinels took the most souls from me across multiple playthrough. Others just kind of fall into place once I smash face against them a few times, only Ruined Sentinels managed to give me a 2hrs grief session.

    I've only got past the Lost Sinner, but so far, according to my death count my hardest boss was the Dragon Rider, but once I got a good shield and lifted the outer platform, got him fairly easily... followed by the Rat Vanguard, which is currently kicking my non-poison-resistant arse. Maybe Flexile Sentry if you count the effort required to get all the way through NMW beforehand.

      Dragon Rider kills himself if you do it right, its kinda funny to watch. i'm surprised the Royal Rat Authority (Sif 2.0) was ranked higher than the Royal Rat Vanguard. I had a decent amount of trouble with him on my melee character but it was heaps easier on my mage. Just drop dark fog in the middle and back up in a corner while they die to poison

    Those little pigs next to the mansion in majula kicked my ass 10 minutes into my first play through!! The defenceless giant ant queen in the black gulch was pretty tough first time through. in all seriousness, who's going for platinum in this game? Im on 94% at present but not looking forward to playthroughs 3 and 4 just to visit Welleger!!! The trophies are a bit boring in this game!

    I think the reason ruin sentinels got so many complaints was because out of the ones I saw complaining, they were all stubbornly refusing to summon NPCs/PCs to help.
    They're pretty trivial with help, to the point that you fight damn near a dozen of them as regular enemies, later on.

      I took two summons into that battle with me, and they both died before we even took out one of the Sentinels *headdesk*

      I went on to win that battle, though. It's all about patience and kiting, and really waiting for the right opportunity. Also, it's all about greatshields. The hint is in the name. They're pretty all right.

        I think that boss was designed for summons if I'm honest. I was duel wielding when I first attempted them, but ended up changing my play style completely for them by adopting a sword and shield. Ended up using the sword and shield for the rest of the game haha.

        I took out all bosses with double swords!

          Nice! It didn't help that I never bothered to learn how to parry. So sword and shield just worked with my playing style. I wouldn't mind trying duel-wielding in the next play through.

            I also never changed my starting armour. I upgraded it (not fully) but never changed.

            Good thing about dual wielding is that if your base stats is 1.5x the stat requirement of your highest stat required weapon you'll gain a second fighting stance that is really good at throwing off invading players reactions and expectations. A normal swords forward roll slash is short, but with this particular stance that swinging area is doubled. I killed a lot of invading players by rolling into them and slashing since they couldn't make the rolling distance away. Also a running attack in this stance causes a cartwheel attack that destroys their stamina with their shield up.

    So I just clocked Dark Souls 2 last night! Freedom...before I attempt new games plus. But yeah, I thought I'd stick around the area discovering some stuff and powering up a bit before attempting it. Apparently I missed out on some option demons.

    As for boss fights. Probably by far the fights that stand out the most was the Ruin Sentinels and the Smelter Demon. Ruin Sentinels because it's really easy to become overwhelmed. The Smelter Demon for obvious reasons. It didn't help that when I was close to beating him I rolled away from one of his attacks and got stuck in the wall. Could block, couldn't heal, couldn't do anything. That really sucked.

    I'm on NG+ now and currently at the Lost Bastille, I only had trouble with a few bosses the first time around. I use a pure strength build, Ultra Greatsword+10 w/bleed, Smelter Sword and a Broadsword+10 w/poison. For shields I use Havels+2 or Tower+10. I did Onebro the first half of the game before I started summoning here and there.

    On my first run I got hammered pretty bad by Smelter, but that was before I grabbed the Gyrm shield. After that I just dodged a lot and eventually got him. tbh I found the Ancient Dragon really easy with two Phantoms, one of us used magic from afar and the other two hacked away at his legs. I didn't bother killing Vendrick first time around, I just felt sorry for him. But this time I want his gear, I'm the type who has to collect everything.

    I hated the Royal Rat Authority, but the fight is a joke once you get into a rhythm and remember to kill his stupid little minions with one swing at the start of the fight.

    So all in all I think I died the most on the RRA and S/Demon. The Old Iron King was a pain in the ass at first but once you realize how easy it is to block and dodge almost ALL of his attacks, he's fairly easy. Lastly, The Rotten pissed me off alot too but again, finding the secret bonfire/using phantoms takes away most of the frustration. But the monumental amount of poison enemies (including those freakin statues) was enough to make me pull my hair out first time around.

    Love the game, have put 180+ hours into it since release. Currently lvl137 on NG+ :)

    Royal Rat is pissing me off right now, and there ain't no summoning signs appearing near his entrance either.

    For me personally;

    1. Ancient Dragon
    2. Smelter Demon
    3. Ruin Sentinels (only on first run)

    Vendrick I found immensely easy because he is so slow and Royal Rat Authority too, just by sticking under its belly and attacking its legs. Perhaps it's just because DS1 was great training but overall I felt like DS2 lacked the same level of difficulty? Did anyone else feel this way?

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