Once you’ve made your way down to the Smouldering Lake, you can almost immediately engage in a boss battle against the Old Demon King. We generally recommend you clear the Smouldering Lake before engaging the boss, but it’s easily accessible either way. Whatever you decide to do, we’ve got a few tips to help you defeat the Old Demon King in Dark Souls 3.

First and foremost, the Old Demon King has deceptive reach. It has multiple attacks using a long-reaching club, fire breath and more. At close range it will still attack with its club, but it will also create a fireball ball in its hand and plant it right next to its feet, damaging almost anyone nearby. In addition, the Old Demon King will raise his club vertically and slam it to the floor, causing a ring of fire to emit from him and move outward. You need to roll over either to avoid them, so timing is key.

The best way to defeat the boss is to get right up in his face. At super close range it cannot hit you with a majority of its attacks. Even the close range fire blast will miss if you’re literally hugging the Old Demon King’s stomach. This tactic works best with a fast-attacking weapon, but even slower weapons can be effective so long as you remain as close as possible to the Old Demon King. This tactic should get you to phase two relatively fast.

When the boss reaches phase two at around 50 percent health, two new attacks are added. If the boss stops moving for a short time, one of two attacks is about to follow. The boss may slam its club to the ground several times, causing a blast of fire to engulf anyone close to him. Simply move away to avoid this attack completely. Alternatively, the boss can summon an array of fireballs that fall from above and rain down on your character. Move away from the boss and take cover behind one of the demonic statues around the boss area. If you point your camera upward you can easily see the trajectory of the fireballs and avoid the accordingly.

In addition to these new attacks, the ring of fire can now move inward from the outskirts of the boss area, in addition to moving outward from the boss like before. The boss also upgrades his close range fire palm attack and will simply explode into a burst of fire that inflicts heavy damage to anyone nearby.

The strategy of staying right on the boss still works, but you have to keep a close eye on its movements so you know when to move to avoid the new attacks. If you have difficulty, move around behind the boss and attack its tail. You will still have to worry about the boss turning around and attacking, but as long as you’re behind the boss you’re relatively safe from most of its attacks.

Defeat the Old Demon King to obtain the Soul of the Old Demon King, then light the Old Demon King bonfire that appears. If you’ve already cleared the rest of Smouldering Lake, you can now move on to the Irithyll of the Boreal Valley area if you haven’t been there yet. Otherwise, go back to our Smouldering Lake walkthrough and explore the rest of the area.

Continue on to the Irithyll of the Boreal Valley area (coming soon) or head back to our Dark Souls 3 walkthrough and guide for more tips and advice!