When you go into a Dark Souls game, you know one thing: the bosses are going to be insane. The series is remembered for its brutal difficulty, thanks in part to the numerous bosses who put your skills to the test. With four games, including Demon Souls, there have been a plethora of bosses, many of which are some of the hardest in gaming. On the other hand, the series has had a few missteps when it comes to boss quality, mainly being they hold no challenge whatsoever.
This list will take a look at some of the strongest and weakest bosses among the entire Souls series. It will also exclude the Bloodborne bosses since there is a separate list for that. Keep in mind, the difficulty (or lack of) of these bosses differs among the community. That being said, the ones on this list have been referenced over and over for either being the hardest or easiest in the franchise. Here are the five powerful bosses in the Dark Souls series, as well as the five weakest.
10 (Weakest) Taurus Demon - Dark Souls
At first glance, this boss is terrifying. It’s a giant minotaur-esque creature running towards you with a giant ax, all while you’re stuck on this narrow bridge. Have no fear, though. It’s a real pushover. Its attacks may hit hard, but they’re so easy to dodge as long as you roll into them. You can very well just keep hitting its legs, but the most effective trick is just to do climb up one of the towers and do a plunging attack.
For some reason, this creature is insanely strong, but can’t climb up a 10-foot tower. You can just keep repeating this for about three or four times and it’s done with. The real challenge is just discovering that this method even exists.
9 (Powerful) Ancient Dragon - Dark Souls II
The Ancient Dragon may be one of the most powerful in the series, but that doesn’t make him any less aggravating. Thankfully, this boss is totally optional. If you do decide to take him on, good luck.
Most of his attacks are damn near impossible to avoid, with many of them being able to one-shot most players even if they have a ton of points in Vitality. When you finally do get a chance to hit him, your attacks are just barely chipping away at his health. It’s like trying to break down a brick wall with your fists.
8 (Weakest) Pinwheel - Dark Souls
Pinwheel may seem like a formidable foe at first since he brings in clones of himself. Don’t get too scared, since these clones are just distractions and all you need to do is hit them once and they’ll go away. As for Pinwheel himself, he’s incredibly weak.
He basically moves by jumping around, but it looks like he’s jumping on a trampoline is slow-motion. Even his most common attack, fireballs, are slow projectiles you can dodge with ease. On your own, you can easily dispatch from him by getting in some good hits. If you want to make this even easier, simply summon Paladin Leeroy and he’ll take out Pinwheel in just about three strikes as long as you take out the clones first.
7 (Powerful) Fume Knight - Dark Souls II
It’s tough to determine whether the Fume Knight is truly a difficult boss or he’s only hard due to Dark Souls 2’s stiff and awkward controls. Nevertheless, players have had an awful time taking down this DLC boss. Right from the start, you realize you can’t just circle around him since he has weapons in both hands. Thanks to Dark Souls 2’s awful hitboxes, it’s hard to even judge where to avoid his sword slashes.
The hit detection is also weird since it seems like he just scratched you, but then you lost most of your health bar. In his second stage, he puts dark magic on his sword, allowing his sword to deliver a deadly AoE attack. Oh yeah, he can also heal himself around the arena. Don’t summon any NPCs as they'll die easily, leaving you to fight him solo and his health bar is scaled for co-op.
6 (Weakest) Giant Lord - Dark Souls II
The Giant Lord would also make the list for the lamest boss names in Dark Souls history. Despite his towering presence, all that’s really required of you is to keep slashing at his feet. His main form of attack is a deadly stomp, but he gives you a good five seconds to dodge as he lifts up his leg. He may look huge, but his health pool is pretty minimal, making this fight shorter than it initially looks.
This boss is so easy that players like to farm him for souls by applying a Bonfire Ascetic in his area. This is supposed to dramatically increase the area’s difficulty each time it’s applied, but yet the Giant Lord is defeated with little effort each time.
5 (Powerful) Ornstein And Smough - Dark Souls
It wouldn’t be a Dark Souls list without mentioning the infamous duo, Ornstein and Smough. This legendary boss fight is unforgiving in the best way possible. The fight requires you to fight both enemies who compliment each other perfectly. Ornstein is quick and agile, while Smough is slow but incredibly strong. After many attempts, you’ll think this is going to be doable as long as you create distance between them.
This is Dark Souls though. The kicker is that once you kill one of them, the other will then absorb the body and not only become more powerful but gain all of its health back. Veterans of the series will never forget this moment where they most likely screamed at their screen.
4 (Weakest) Royal Rat Vanguard - Dark Souls II
Unless you’re terrified of giant rats, this boss shouldn’t be a hassle. When it first starts, the true rat won’t come out just yet. Instead, it unleashes a bunch of other rats that you can easily take out. After a while, The Royal Rat Vanguard will come out from hiding, requiring you to find it in the crowd.
Don’t worry, it’s not that hard to find. The Royal Rat Vanguard is the only one that has a large mohawk, looking like Stripe from Gremlins. Once you find it, you can pretty much do one or two weapon combos and its health bar goes away in seconds.
3 (Powerful) Sister Friede And Father Ariandel - Dark Souls III
Sister Friede has three stages, each requiring you to take down an entire health bar. The first stage is manageable as long as you can dodge well. The next introduces Father Ariandel, a huge mammoth of a boss who is unrelenting. Luckily, they share a health bar in this stage, meaning you can choose to focus on one or the other.
Then it gets even harder in the final stage, even though you’re back to just facing Sister Friede, except she’s even quicker. She’ll constantly spam frost AoE attacks with her scythe. If you’re not careful, she can grab and one-shot you. This fight requires so much patience, but it’s so rewarding and satisfying in the end.
2 (Weakest) Covetous Demon - Dark Souls II
Dark Souls II will always be remembered as the worst of the series. Much of that can be attributed to the game having so many bosses that just feel tacked on. Case in point, the Covetous Demon. This “boss” is more a complete joke as all it does it crawl around and occasionally bounce.
Its attacks take forever to come down on you. While they do hit hard, you have no one to blame but yourself if you get hit. Its health bar is extremely low as well. Even if you’re under-leveled, it shouldn’t take more than one minute to kill this thing with a decent weapon.
1 (Powerful) Nameless King - Dark Souls III
Not only is The Nameless King one of the toughest fights in all of Soulsborne, but it’s the most epic in scale. The giant dragon he rides in on makes a hell of an entrance in the visually stunning fog-filled arena. The first stage is you against his dragon, which is surprisingly easy after a few attempts. The real fight begins after you kill it since The Nameless King is now pissed off.
His large sword attacks are extremely tough to time as he tends to delay his strikes. The base sword strikes hit hard enough, but they’re followed by a ton of lightning AoE that can kill you in a second. Most players typically try to summon NPCs or other players, which is completely understandable.