Here is what worked for me to get to Phase 3 with minimal damage after some practice.
Skill 1: Eleine (witch flame), Merchant (bird), Castle Town Maiden (dog)
Skill 2: Gerrod (hammer), Dark Executioner (back slash), Hoenir (multi-spears)
The good thing about this set-up is that it gives you a lot of flexibility depending on your play style — melee or range — or — aggressive or passive. What is notable about this fight is that you really need to wait and see what he is going to do before acting since it is very easy to die if you miscalculate. This boss also works best with hit-and-run tactics. Get in and get out.
Relics: Priestess Doll and Priestess Statue for 2 extra heals, Cracked Stone for defense, Holy Spring Water for stronger prayer potency (I had 163), Royal Aegis Crest for more HP, Manisa’s Ring for more attacks. My loadout was very HP/DEF-oriented. If you’re struggling try to see if the 2 extra heals help since this can be a battle of attrition. Everything else is really just personal preference.
Best time to hit him is when he is slowly walking towards you. It takes practice, but you can time the hammer strike to hit him right before he approaches you. Follow-up with the Executioner for 600-700 damage.
Alternatively, when he is walking towards you use Hoenir to stack damage and then dodge when he dashes. Hoenir >> dodge >> executioner is also a solid combo.
He will do two flips in a row. This is a great time to use the hammer since the arc of the strike will connect when he is in the air or landing.
When he dashes towards you, dodge into him (ground or air both work fine) and punish his backside. Note — if you are doing a more melee approach do a ground dash since if you’re in the air you lose precious seconds to attack.
He will likely get “stunned” during this phase so lay into him with the hammer OR switch over to Eleine. She has an additional claw attack in short range along with her fireball. I spam the attack button until I get hit ONCE and then dodge away. Yes, you are taking damage, but you can see his HP meter melt.
He introduces two new attacks. He will likely open with his cross (“X”) attack. You do NOT want to get hit by this thing since it will hit for around 90 HP. The key to avoiding the attack is to not dodge or jump too early. It’s a delayed attack by about 1-2 seconds. The other attack is much easier to dodge since it’s essentially a firewall you can dash through.
I switch over to “Skill 2” with Eleine, bird, and dog. The reason why is that if you double-jump and do Eleine’s fireball attack repeatedly you’ll stay in the air for quite a while. You are also so high up that the “X” attack will never hit you.
Here’s the flow of battle: Wait until he jumps to the very edge and uses the firewall or “X” attack, or both (this is rare). If it is the “X” attack immediately double-jump and start spamming Eleine. You’ll hit him from the air as he finishes the attack and while he is dashing towards you. The bird and dog will do their passive damage, which really adds up since you will be going back-and-forth across the arena the entire battle.
If he does NOT purposely go to the edge to use firewall or the “X” attack then he is going to do his standard dash, slash, jump. Very easy to punish him in the air with fireball. Let him set the tone of the battle and don’t get greedy since you CAN get locked into the fireball animation and get hit.
This takes a lot of practice. It’s a lot like Phase 2, but on crack. He will add his final move, which is a series of fire pillars (think Grimm from Hollow Knight). The less risky option is to immediately run to the very, very far edge of the arena and wait. Once the fire pillar gets close to you either stay put, or dash through the pillar to a safe zone. You’ll get the hang of it with practice. This is a great time to heal if you need it.
If you want to be more aggressive you can move to the middle of the screen and wait / dash through the pillar. The benefit is that you’re in striking range with Eleine or Hoenir and the entire attack lasts quite a while. He will immediately dash towards you once it’s finished.
The real danger in this battle is that he will use 1) two back-to-back flame walls, 2) flame wall followed by the “X” attack, or 3) THREE flame walls (this is rare). As soon as he moves to the edge get ready to dodge at least twice in quick succession. You really need to watch him because if he goes flame wall –> “X” attack you have to dash and then double-jump (or use Eleine once). If you mess up, like I did, even at full health you can easily die if all the attacks land. And, they will since you tend to get stun-locked.
Since your windows to attack are so limited you can stick with “Skill 2” (range) and attack him immediately after his firewall / “X” attack. Or, you can switch over to “Skill 1” (melee) and punish him with executioner and Hoenir when he is jumping around and slashing. Try them both out and see what better suits your play style.
The real key to this phase, for me at least, was to be patient, wait, strike during the limited windows, and practice the dodge timing on his firewall and “X” attack combos.
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