Once you've made it through Farron Keep you can take on the boss, the Abyss Watchers. The boss battle against the Abyss Watchers can be challenging if you just try to kill all of them. There’s a summon point for Black Hand Gotthard just outside the entrance to the boss arena, and having an extra hand certainly comes in handy, although this boss fight is very doable if you’re alone.
The most important aspect of this boss battle is that there are multiple Abyss Watchers that you must do battle against. The main one, the first one you fight, is the only Abyss Watcher who is connected to the main boss health bar. If you damage any other Abyss Watcher it will not reduces the boss health bar. At first you only battle against this main Abyss Watcher, but as the battle progresses more Abyss Watchers appear and attack.
It’s important to pay close attention to the secondary Abyss Watchers that attack. Some will have glowing red eyes, while others will not. The Abyss Watchers that do not have glowing red eyes should die quickly. It doesn’t take that many hits to bring them down, but they will always do more harm than good.
The Abyss Watcher with the red glowing eyes will attack the boss if you let it. That means it essentially attacks the closest enemy, or anyone who attacks it. If you back away from this Abyss Watcher or lead it to the main boss, it will actually help you in battle. Not only will the glowing red eyes Abyss Watcher target the boss, but the boss will also start attacking it as well. This gives you a good opportunity to inflict damage on the boss while its attention is elsewhere, but be careful not to hit the red eyes Watcher because not only will you damage it, but it will also start attacking you.
You need to clear out the other Abyss Watcher (the one without the glowing red eyes) because it will attack you and the glowing red eyes Abyss Watcher, but it will not attack the boss. Because these ancillary Abyss Watchers do not have a lot of health, they go down fairly easily and you want the glow red eyes Watcher to last as long as possible. If the other ancillary Watcher is attacking it, that cuts into its health and it won’t last as long.
While you’re battling the main boss, watch out for its three and four-hit combo attacks. Once these combos come to an end you have some time to attack before another combo comes. If you have a shield that absorbs 100 percent damage, you can block the first couple attacks, then dodge behind the boss, or stay back and wait for the last few attacks before dodging. The boss moves forward quickly, so it’s important to dodge behind him so you can stay close and attack between combos.
Once you’ve depleted the first health bar, the Abyss Watcher basically gets powered up by all of the dead Abyss Watchers around it. At this point the boss gets a bit more aggressive and its sword becomes engulfed in flame and has considerably longer reach. The combos don’t change all that much compared to the first phase, but the extended reach means it’s a bit more difficult to get around behind the boss. Many of the attacks in this form will reach behind and have fire elements, meaning even a 100 percent physical damage shield won’t be enough to prevent all damage from the fire attacks.
The secondary Abyss Watchers will no longer appear at this point, which means it’s just you and the boss. If you have an NPC helper with you, let them take the focus of the boss while you carefully attack from behind. Remember, many of the attacks will reach behind the boss, so don’t just rush in once the boss is attacking the NPC. If you don’t have the NPC helper, or it has already died, keep your distance and wait for the boss to attack, then dodge behind it and quickly move in to attack between combos. Once again, the strategy is very similar to the first phase, you just can’t block quite as much if you’re using a shield class.
Defeat the Abyss Watchers to obtain the Cinders of a Lord (which you can place on one of the thrones in the Firelink Shrine) and the Soul of the Blood of the Wolf, then light the Abyss Watchers bonfire and move toward the altar behind it. The altar moves, revealing a staircase that leads to the Catacombs of Carthus.
If you return to the Firelink Shrine now you will find Eygon, a knight of the Carim near the Fire Keeper. You can speak with him for some dialogue that advances his story a bit. In addition, the mysterious man that sits on the stairs near the Fire Keeper will give you a Farron Ring as a reward for bringing down one of the Lords of Cinder.