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Dark Souls 3: How To Beat The Old Demon King

Demons in the world of Dark Souls 3 are a race born from the Old Chaos: a burning existence formed when the Witch of Izalith sought to duplicate the First Flame. This perpetual fiery explosion also birthed the first pyromancies through the Witch and her children, though many demons innately know these fire spells as well.

RELATED: Dark Souls: The 10 Most Powerful Demons In The Series, Ranked

However, the demons are dying out, as can be seen from the tremendous number of inhuman corpses in the Smouldering Lake. One of the last of his kind, as well as one of the mightiest, is the Old Demon King, who the player can encounter near where the colossal Carthus Sandworm can be found. Despite the ancient monarch's burning intensity, he is not too difficult to take down if once goes into this battle with a plan.

Melee Strategy - Use A Black Knight Weapon

Renowned for fighting demons while being wielded by warriors in charred armor, and that have been steeped in magma-like blood enough to deal a bonus of 20% damage to all true demons, the Black Knight Weapons wielded by Gwyn, Lord of Cinder's elite forces, now scattered throughout the world, hold great potential for helping the Ashen One snuff out the Old Demon King's flames.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: All Black Knight Weapons (& How To Use Them)

Any of these weapons would be great to use not only for their bonus damage but also because these armaments possess greater poise health and hyper armor than many others, allowing their wielder to take on bigger, heavy-hitting foes in damage-trades. One should choose the weapon best suited to their build: the greataxe as well as ultra greatsword for Strength builds and the glaive or the sword for Dexterity builds.

Sorcery Strategy - Use Medium & Long-Range Spells

One thing that all non-melee builds will notice about the Old Demon King is that he has no dangerous ranged attacks. All of his medium and long-distance pyromancies are quite easy to dodge or block and the big pile of demon carcasses in the boss arena makes for great cover.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 15 Most Powerful Spells, Ranked

Sorcerers will have an easy time, as they have many options, such as to pepper the fiery king with Farron Darts, blast him with Great Heavy Soul Arrows, or even launch the immense laser of Soul Stream (it can even go through the body pile!) at the aging demonic liege.

Ranged Strategy - Use A Bow & Dark Arrows

Now knowing that the Old Demon King is lacking in good ranged attacks, players can use any sort of medium or long-range offense to take him out. Of all the weapon-related tactics, using a regular bow with dark arrows is the most efficient.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: The Best Ranged Weapons, Ranked

Greatbows are a bit too slow, as the burning lord will continuously be closing in on the Ashen One, and crossbows do not have any dark damage-dealing ammunition to take advantage of the elderly king's one true elemental weakness. Regular Bows have fairly fast firing speeds and access to the best kind of ammo for this fight, which makes it easy to decimate the Old Demon King's health bar swiftly and safely.

Toxic Strategy - Use Storyteller's Staff, Status Spells, & Consumables

Despite being resistant to the poison and toxic status ailments, the fiery demon lord is not immune to them and can still be defeated with such tactics at very low effort levels for the player. The big pile of dead demons makes this maneuver particularly simple to pull off.

For sorcerers, the weapon skill of the Storyteller's Staff unleashes a purple cloud that poisons the boss after only a couple of casts. Pyromancers should take advantage of both the Poison Mist and Toxic Mist spells to perform a similar feat, however, keep in mind that both poison and toxic can be applied to the old demon, so players should use both to rapidly kill the king. Consumables that can be thrown, such as Poison Knives and Dung Pies, can also be of great use here if one is running low on FP.

Pyromancy Strategy -  Use Dark Pyromancies & Boulder Heave

Regular pyromancies would be next to useless against a being partially composed of fire, therefore pyromancer builds who do not wish to inflict poison or toxic upon the elderly demon should focus on spells that deal different kinds of damage.

Dark pyromancies, such as Black Fire Orb that deals dark damage, can take great advantage of the boss's weakness, and will allow the player to stay at relatively safe distances while casting. However, the physical damage-dealing pyromancy known as Boulder Heave is also effective while additionally being very satisfying, despite needing to get closer to use it.

Cheese Strategy - Use Pestilent Mist

As with all other large and relatively slow bosses, the Old Demon King can be cheesed pretty easily with Pestilent Mist, which unleashes a white haze that eats away at whatever is within according to a percentage of their max health; meaning that foes with larger max HP stats take more damage.

To use this technique most efficiently, do not use the body-pile, as this will sometimes cause one to walk into their own Pestilent Mist cloud; never a good thing to do since it also hurts the caster. Instead, stay in the most open area and cast the spell before running around the boss in a circle so that he is almost constantly turning, lingering within the dank mist. Of all the tactics to defeat this boss, this is the least sporting, however, it is the most effective.

NEXT: Dark Souls 3 Walkthrough - Boss Guides, Tips, & Help


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Dark Souls 3: 10 Pro Tips For Beating Old Demon King

Dark Souls 3 is filled to the brim with challenging boss fights, so much so that it's not uncommon to get stuck on a particular boss for hours, even days or weeks, especially if you're not familiar with the Souls series.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Pro Tips For Soul Farming

The Old Demon King is one such boss that gives a lot of players trouble. Found in the pits of the Smouldering Lake, the Old Demon King is said to be oldest, and last, demon to witness the chaos of Izalith, and it shows. Here are a few handy pro tips to get the better of the Old Demon King and defeat the troublesome boss.

10 Summon

Many in the Dark Souls community are staunchly against using summons for boss fights but it's a perfectly viable tactic when you're struggling. There's no shame in summoning.

There are two helpful NPC summons near the fog gate to the boss fight. The summon sign for Great Swamp Cuculus can be found right at the bottom of the stairs leading to the boss fight while the summon sign for Knight Slayer Tsorig is found by the bonfire near the fog gate.

9 Get Some Fire Resistant Gear

It seems like a no-brainer but it's often easy to overlook equipping certain kinds of gear for different bosses. Since the Old Demon King does almost nothing but spout flames, it's important to get yourself some gear that's resistant to fire.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: The 10 Best Knight Builds, Ranked

There are a few pieces of equipment that can increase your fire damage absorption that are also easy to obtain. For example, the Flame Stoneplate Ring found in the Undead Settlement and the Dragon Crest Shield found above the Old Wolf of Farron bonfire are great when you're trying to mitigate fire damage.

8 Utilize The Arena's Space

It's important for every boss fight to get your bearings of the area you'll be fighting the boss in. The same goes the Old Demon's King's boss arena. You fight the Old Demon King in a massive area and not using that space would be a waste.

If you find your health getting low, there's plenty of space in this arena to back off and heal without worrying about getting interrupted. It's also spacious enough that you can avoid its AOE attacks.

7 Exploit Its Weaknesses

If you're having trouble with the Old Demon King, you need to make sure you're using weapons that exploit its weakness.

The Old Demon King is weak to Dark damage. Infusing a weapon with Dark will do the trick, or you can use the Onyx Blade from the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, but there's also a wide range of spells that deal huge amounts of Dark damage. The boss is also weak to Black Knight weapons.

6 Attack From Behind

Sometimes the best approach is not the most direct. Instead of trying to take on the Old Demon King head on, the best way to fight it is to get around it and attack from behind.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Game Changing Mods You Need To Try

Attacking from behind would allow you to avoid most of its attacks from its giant club, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down, its fire attacks could still reach you.

5 Timing Is Everything

While equipping flame damage absorbing gear will help mitigate the damage from its attacks, it's not going to block all the damage you receive. What can allow you to avoid damage is a well-timed dodge roll.

The Old Demon King's fire attacks, specifically its ring of fire attack, can be rolled through to avoid any damage, so make sure you haven't gone over your equip load so you can quick roll.

4 Pyromancy

It might seem counterintuitive to use pyromancy against a boss covered in flames, but there are two specific pyromancies that are helpful.

The first is Flash Sweat, which will increase your fire damage absorption by 30% for 30 seconds. It's a useful spell that will mitigate the damage received from the Old Demon King's fire attacks. The second is Poison Mist, but be aware that this boss is resistant to poison so it's a slow (but safe) way to deal damage.

3 Puddles Of Water

You may have noticed that there are a few pools of water placed throughout the boss arena. These puddles aren't just for show, as they can actually help you during the boss fight.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Anri Of Astora

Standing in the pools of water actually reduces fire damage. So if you're lacking in fire-resistant gear, it could be a good alternative. In addition to that, when the Old Demon King ignites itself to add fire damage to its melee attacks, you could lure it into one of these puddles to extinguish its flames.

2 Come Back Later

If you find yourself banging your head against a wall unable to defeat the Old Demon King, you might want to consider leaving it for later. The Old Demon King is an optional boss so you don't have to defeat it the first time you reach the Smouldering Lake, you can come back later.

Progress a bit more through the game, increasing your stats and getting better gear, then come back with your new equipment and you might just find that you'll have an easier time of it.

1 Learn Its Attacks

When it comes down to it, the best way to defeat the Old Demon King is to learn its set of attacks and use that knowledge to know when to attack, block, dodge, or when to roll away.

Spend some time getting familiar with the Old Demon King's moves instead of rushing in to attack blindly. The Soul series is known for being challenging but fair, being able to read enemies and bosses is the cornerstone to success with these games.

NEXT: Dark Souls 3: 5 Best Locations For Soul Farming (& 5 Of The Worst)


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Dark Souls 3 Wiki Guide

Melee Battle Strategy

How to Beat the Old Demon King Video

If you're a melee character, we suggest relying mostly on dodging for this fight. The reason for this is his constantly use of fire. His attacks will hit with it, and unless you have an extremely high fire defense shield, then you'll still take tons of damage when blocking attacks.

Being a large, slow demon though, makes his attacks simple to dodge. He often has a slow, noticeable wind up, making dodging under his attacks easier than most bosses. He also has a tendency to try and cast spells, which, when avoided, leaves him open to several hits.

The downside of an aggressive strategy? He often will try to hit you with fire based AoE attacks. These will be tough to avoid while playing aggressively, so practice will be key. Equipping as much fire resistance will naturally help lower the incoming damage.

Phase Two

Phase two of the fight kicks in around 50% HP. He buffs up with even more fire, and he will start casting even more AoE, fire based attacks. His two bread and butter spells will become a fire ring that expands and contracts, and fire meteors. Both are fairly easy to dodge, although if you notice him casting something and don't see a spell, be sure to quickly look up to find where the meteors are coming from.

During this phase, you should fight much like the first. Try to stay close and behind him. Aim for his tail / back, and if he starts casting something, hit him as much as you can before you feel like you need to get away.

Mage Battle Strategy

Sometimes it pays to be a mage, and this is one such time. This boss has no real gap closers, so as long as you back pedal a lot, he will rarely be in range to attack. This leaves him with few options to hit you, most of which are very slow casting spells that are easy to dodge.

Phase two will be much the same, although his spells are more threatening. Thankfully you can still see them coming from a mile away, so just be mindful of how far away the boss is in relation to you, and don't let him get too close while you sling your spells!

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Old Demon King


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Video Strategies










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Strategy 1 (Melee)

The first phase: The best opening is when he slowly vomits lava from your left to right. Just run next to his left leg (your right) and attack a few times before he is done. The next best opening is when he lowers his club to his left side and slowly swings it to his right side. Again move towards his left leg without target lock and dodge the swing behind him. Do not attack yet because he is about to continue with an AoE blast. Keep moving towards the tip of his tail and when you catch it you are far enough to avoid the AoE and take a few swings at the tail. A weapon with a lot of range and wide swipes is recommended.

Staying too long near him and especially in front of him triggers the fast AoE mouth blast. Attacking only a couple of times and then retreating to medium range to wait for openings is easier.

In the second phase: Now Old Demon King has a certain attack pattern: 1-2 melee attacks/combos and then a ranged attack. Usually no two ranged attacks in a row. Same openings as in the first phase work here too but triggering them is different. You can outrange every long range attack of this boss. As you return to medium range to catch his melee attack openings do not stop approaching. Keep moving towards him until he does a melee attack. If he lowers his club for the slow swipe do the same thing as in phase one. If it is any other melee attack you can dodge or even walk under him to get behind him.

Strategy 2 (Sorcerer)

One of the easiest bosses for Sorcerers. Just stay out of range and spam Great Heavy Soul Arrow until the boss is dead. Circle around the pile in the middle of the arena to take cover from his AoE attacks and keep moving.

Strategy 3 (Toxic)

Dodge his attacks until you get into range and cast Toxic Mist. Once the boss is poisoned, stay as far away as you can so he can't hit you with his spells. When the toxic wears off, get close and reapply it. Four rounds of toxic should do it.

The Storyteller's Staff's  weapon art is also very effective and a single cast will nearly defeat the boss by itself. One or two attacks will be enough for the poison to finish him off without having to reapply it.


Strategy 4 (Bow)

The Old Demon King can be easily defeated using a bow if you have a shield with good fire damage mitigation like the Dragon Crest Shield. Other than his fire spray attack, which you should block, there is nothing he can do to you if you keep your distance.

He moves slowly enough that it's possible to simply shoot him whenever he stops to perform an attack and continue to run away without him ever getting a chance to hit you; at some point in the fight, he'll start moving a bit faster, but it's still not fast enough to run you down.

It also helps to take advantage of one of the two mounds of corpses in the arena. Circle around one walking backwards, keeping your distance, and dodging the lava spew, lava AoE, and meteor attacks. Combined with the Cloranthy Ring, the Grass Crest Shield, and lots of careful rolling, this boss becomes almost trivial.


Strategy 5 (Pyromancy)

This fight will either be near impossible or very easy depending on how far you've advanced your pyromancies. The boss is extremely resistant to fire spells, so your best bet instead is to attack him with non-fire pyromancies. Boulder Heave will work, but your very best bet is getting access to Karla's Dark Pyromancies. 

Using Black Fire Orb will make this an easy fight. Stay at range and evade his melee attacks, which have relatively limited range. During Phase II, the only attack you have to worry about is his expanding fire circle. You can either move out of range, or roll through it at the right time to dodge the damage. Whenever he casts a spell, he leaves himself open to several Black Fire Orbs. When he summons the meteor shower, simply run until the meteors explode. At around 20% hp the boss will collapse and explode. As long as you outrange this explosion, the fight is essentially over, since the Old Demon King will simply lay there and not attack anymore. 

If you do not have access to Karla yet, another method would be using Black Serpent, although the hit rates are not that reliable, as it travels on the ground and the only hitbox it has to do with are the legs of the Old Demon King.


Strategy 6 (Pestilent Mist)

For pyromancers which do not have access to Karla, pestilent mercury might be a good spell to use (30 int requirement). This works for sorcerers as well but would most likely not need it as they have their normal spells. You can cast pestilent mercury around a large pillar in the boss arena and run around it, letting the old demon king chase you, evading his attacks and damaging him at the same time.



First Phase
SwingThe demon will swing his hammer, causing fire and melee damage, beware AOE, move under the attack, toward the weapon, or get behind or below him.

Fire Ring


The demon will conjure a circle of fire that will move inwards or outwards from him, can be blocked or dodged through.



The demon bashes his hammer in the ground and then starts to turn it in circles above his head.

Fire Glyph

The demon bashes his hammer in the ground, linear trails of fire covering different directions will emit from the center.  Take Evasive Action.

Meteor Rain

A phase two move, multiple slow flaming rocks will fall towards the player. Slight tracking. If you are quick, hit and run works. Evasive action and use of pillars to absorb shots is effective.

Lava Breath

The demon will spew lava at those in front of him. He will move his head to extend his AOE. His range is short and those flanking him or under him can smack him.


Lore Theories

  • The Old Demon King is the oldest and the last remaining witness of the chaos of Izalith. "The shriveled Old Demon King is now like a clump of burnt ash, but he is the last living witness of the Chaos of Izalith." - Soul of the Old Demon King.
  • "This weapon has survived since old Izalith, and is imbued with remnants of the Chaos Flame." - Old King's Great Hammer.
  • The Old Demon King is part of an overarching theme that links chaos to vegetation, and which involves The Bed of Chaos from DS1 (read theory).


  • If, when you've entered the arena, you go straight forward and then, look carefully up on the left side on top of the pile of dead demons that are surrounding the whole area, f.e. Centipede Demon body, a boss from Dark Souls.
  • During the second phase of the fight, if the player listens carefully to the song playing, they can hear a small slightly remixed excerpt of the Bed Of Chaos's theme.
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Dark Souls 3 - Walkthrough Part 17: Old Demon King

Dark Souls 3 optional boss: how to beat Old Demon King

Good on you for sticking around for the challenge.


Having taken down Horace, we'll make a run on an optional boss. Return to the lake and explore in the other direction - away from the ballista (which can still hit you, unfortunately).

At the other end is a giant worm. It shoots lightning and damages you whenever it moves, so you need to be careful about rolling away after a few hits, and being able to get out of range of its magic. It’s not that this thing is so hard to kill; it’s that it’s so hard to kill with the freaking ballista smashing away at you. You need to know where the nearest cover is and try to keep it between you and the ballista. It's much easier if you don't lock on.

If you and can’t master the timing required, you can run past it and tuck behind some rocks to the left (facing direction of travel) where the ballista can’t reach you – and neither can the worm. Arrows at the ready! It takes forever, unfortunately.

Update: Depending on where you position yourself, the ballista will kill the worm for you. Try a few locations until you get the angle right. This will also open a second path to the next optional area, but if you take it be aware that the walkthrough won't make a lot of sense.

You’ll receive the Lightning Stake spell and an Undead Bone Shard, and can rush off to fight the boss ahead. When the worm is down it's much easier to collect the treasures around here; again, most of them are Titanite Shards but there's the Shield of Want, too; this has a pretty high strength requirement but increases souls gain from enemy kills.

You can choose to ignore the giant worm, too. The easiest way past is to run to its left, where its body touches the rocky wall. Hit it a few times and then roll away so you’re not damaged by its movement as it raises its body. Just run underneath it while it's moving and sprint for the boss gate ahead.

Old Demon King boss guide

Through the gate, you have a moment to collect yourself before approaching the body in the middle of the room to kick off the boss fight. You may want to pause outside as you'll often find summon signs here, including a mage NPC. Just inside the arena, you can summon Knight Slayer Tsorig if you defeated him back in the Catacombs of Carthus. When you're ready, move to the centre of the room to kick off the battle (note that any players you've summoned can't enter the mist gate till you do this, so don't leave them exposed to the ballista and giant worm).

This is a drawn-out battle, as the boss has a huge health pool. As well as all the usual swipes and slams you’d expect from that mace, which of course come with area of effect flames, the boss has multiple fire magic attacks. Most of these attacks are easy to dodge, but they have really long range and can be difficult to avoid at close quarters.

In combination with the two mounds of bodies in the arena, this makes the battle much easier for mages and ranged players than melee types. What you need to do is lure Old Demon King. Get him to chase you round a mound, and when he commits to an attack, rush round and hit from the other side. Make sure you have enough stamina to get away before he retaliates.

Ranged and magic characters can do this in figure eights around the two mounds rather than just one, but instead of attacking when Old Demon King does they should use the time to sprint to the opposite mound. Then, hit the boss with attacks as he runs towards you. When he approaches, start circling the mound, waiting for your opportunity to gain some serious distance when he attacks again.

In the second phase of the battle, triggered at half way through the health bar, Old Demon King becomes a little more aggressive. He also gains a new spell, which fires multiple large, tracking fireballs. You have an excellent opportunity to damage him during this attack, but be careful; if one of the fireballs hits you, it will knock you down – far more deadly than the significant damage it dishes out, as it leaves you exposed to further attacks and lets Old Demon King get good and close.

There’s actually a mysterious third phase when Old Demon King gets very low on health, where he’ll kneel. If you stay at range and keep pinging him, he won’t get up for the rest of the battle. Strange, but a welcome respite.

When the battle is over, you’ll receive Soul of Old Demon King, and can activate the Old Demon King bonfire.

Continue via Demon Ruins and Old King's Antechamber.

Back to Dark Souls 3 guide and walkthrough.

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Old demon king's weakness?
he's powerful as FK... fk that old melted r%^@%[email protected]%.. there's always weakness for every boss but he's too strong.. i read on wiki and it says Dark is his weakness but it didn't make a different lol.. 0)0

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