10 Best Dark Souls 3 Bosses, Ranked (2023)

As fans of the blockbuster 2022 release Elden Ring patiently await the RPG's inevitable DLC releases, many are taking a look back at developer FromSoftware's game library and its countless iconic bosses. While Bloodborne and Sekiro are great titles with dedicated fan bases, there is no question that the studio's legendary Dark Souls trilogy reigns supreme in the realm of boss fights.

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Of the trilogy, Darks Souls III fittingly stands out as being the most polished and well-developed of the bunch. With refined mechanics, an incredibly detailed world, and, of course, a variety of awe-inspiring boss fights, it's no surprise that Dark Souls III and its array of bosses are often referenced among the greatest in video game history.


10 Champion Gundyr's Narrative Spans Two Boss Fights

10 Best Dark Souls 3 Bosses, Ranked (1)

When players start their Dark Souls III journey, they are greeted by what is quite possibly the best introductory boss in FromSoftware history: Iudex Gundyr. The boss provides a fantastic early-game fight and later appears as Champion Gundyr, a younger, more able-bodied version of itself, which results in an even tougher, more epic challenge than its less complex counterpart.

Recycled boss fights aren't necessarily Souls fans' favorite feature, but Champion Gundyr shows how the concept can be put to good use. His attacks build upon Iudex Gundyr's original move-set, and his lore keeps the fight from feeling like a lesser rehash of a previous encounter.

9 Demon Prince Sports An Exceptional Boss Design

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(Video) Ranking the Dark Souls 3 Bosses from Easiest to Hardest [#1-19]

The Souls series is renowned for its spectacular boss designs, but even by its standards, the Demon Prince distinguishes itself as an exceptionally well-made character. To start the fight, the player is pitted against the final two demons in the world, the Demon in Pain and the Demon from Below, as they try and outlast one another to inherit the throne of Demon Prince.

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Whichever demon survives the first phase ultimately transforms into the Demon Prince during the second. Regardless of what character does so, their ascended form combines the moveset of the two enemies, providing players with the perfect introduction to the Ringed City DLC.

8 Darkeater Midir Subverts The Expectations For A FromSoftware Dragon

10 Best Dark Souls 3 Bosses, Ranked (3)

The four-winged dragon known as Darkeater Midir serves as one of the Ringed City's guardians, tasked with using its immortality to hold the effects of the Abyss at bay. Although the dragon still remains loyal to the gods, this darkness has started to corrupt the fabric of Midir's being, resulting in the terrifying in-game entity.

FromSoftware doesn't always field the most originally-designed dragons, but they did a fantastic job with this DLC boss. Rather than being an endurance test where the player clings to the enemies' flank, as is the case with the vast majority of FromSoftware's dragons, Darkeater Midir rewards dynamic, head-to-head combat by taking more damage when attacked from the front.

7 Pontiff Sulyvahn Rules Irithyll With An Iron Fist

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(Video) Ranking DARK SOULS 3 Bosses from EASIEST to HARDEST - Tier List

Born from the Painted World of Ariandel was Pontiff Sulyvahn, the dual-sword-wielding figurehead of the Church of the Deep. After leaving Ariandel at some indeterminable point in the past, Sulyvahn made his way to Irithyll of the Boreal Valley. The Pontiff quickly usurped the city's royal family and placed a barrier around the location, waiting for the return of Aldrich and, eventually, the arrival of the Ashen One.

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While the character provides a serious challenge in the first phase of the battle, things become even more difficult when Sulyvahn summons a shade of himself to aid in attacking the player. The soundtrack, lore, and character design all feel perfect for the moment and help make this one of the more beloved encounters in Dark Souls III's base game.

6 Dancer Of The Boreal Valley Is A Fluid Masterpiece

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The Dancer of the Boreal Valley originally enjoyed the privilege of being a direct relative of the Anor Londo royalty, but after being conscripted to Pontiff Sulyvahn's service following his takeover of Irithyll, she was made into a dancer and one of his Outrider Knights, albeit much later.

Although the Dancer serves under the Pontiff by the time that they encounter the Ashen One, they are even more entertaining as an opponent. With an odd mix of bestial movements and beautiful, flowing attacks, this boss' attack pattern perfectly parallels their fallen-from-grace backstory.

5 The Twin Princes, Lorian & Lothric, Are The Final Lord Of Cinder To Fall

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(Video) Ranking the Difficulty of the Dark Souls 3 Bosses (w/Ashes of Ariandel & The Ringed City)

Gank bosses have long been a mainstay of Dark Souls games, and the Twin Princes, Lorian and Lothric, were but the latest example of this trend. As the last of the five Lords of Cinder that the Ashen One faces on their journey, the heirs to the Kingdom of Lothric provide one last hurdle before facing the Soul of Cinder.

Lorian, the knight who single-handedly felled the Demon Prince, and Lothric, his frail, cursed younger brother, could not be more diverse stylistically, but as with all great duo bosses, they perfectly complement one another's movements and attack patterns.

4 Slave Knight Gael Concludes The Dark Souls Trilogy

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Slave Knight Gael holds the esteemed honor of being the last Dark Souls boss ever, and as far as his boss fight goes, he more than lives up to the title. After meeting the player earlier on in The Ringed City DLC, the knight is found on the tail-end of his journey to obtain the essence of the Dark Soul, having been corrupted by his consumption of the Pygmy Lords and their blood.

While Slave Knight Gael's sense of self was ravaged by the Dark Souls' effects, his combat ability greatly benefited from it. His attack style slowly transforms throughout the fight as his body acclimates to its newfound power, and in the process of doing so, he creates the perfect Dark Souls send-off.

3 The Abyss Watchers Do Their Predecessor Justice

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(Video) Ranking the Dark Souls 3 Bosses from Worst to Best

The Abyss Watchers are quite possibly the most unique boss fight in all Dark Souls III. In a fantastic allusion to the original Dark Souls, the Abyss Watchers consist of multiple, possibly corrupted, knights that fight against the consuming darkness in the name of Artorias the Abysswalker.

Few boss fights can rival that of the player's original encounter with Artorias. However, these enemies certainly give the character a run for his money. As the player damages their opponent, more Abyss Watchers join in, eventually combining into one enemy that is every bit as challenging as the inspiration they draw from.

2 The Soul Of Cinder Represents Everything That Came Before It

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Dark Souls III may have included more content post-release, but the Soul of Cinder is effectively the final antagonist to the core events of the entire franchise. Countless lords, starting with Gwyn of Dark Souls fame, have linked the First Flame, each of them adding their mark on the primordial source. Upon the arrival of the Ashen One, these marks materialize into a physical vessel that represents all their effects and powers.

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The Soul of Cinder cycles between several movesets, throwing a variety of attack patterns at the player that are seen earlier in the game. This, coupled with the usage of Gwyn's attacks and soundtrack, mark the cyclical nature of the Flame and poignantly symbolize the game's return to its roots.

1 Nameless King Is As Grandiose As Any Enemy In FromSoftware's Library

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(Video) Dark Souls III - All Bosses Ranked from Worst to Best

The identity of Gwyn's firstborn child of Gwyn was speculated about by the Souls community for years prior to the release of Dark Souls III. However, it wasn't until the appearance of the Nameless King that fans finally found what seemed like a likely candidate. This regal enigma rides into an arena of storm clouds on the back of a feathered wyvern, bringing with him the legendary Dragonslayer Swordspear and an array of devastating attacks.

The Nameless King immediately staked his claim as one of the best Dark Souls bosses of all time upon the release of Dark Souls III, and he still has a strong grip on the title all these years later. The ambiance, effortless storytelling, and combat mechanics of this fight elevate it to the heights of gaming's best boss fights.

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