Darkest Dungeon is renowned for its punishing difficulty. Players are pressed to push their characters as hard as possible if they want success, but at the risk of losing them forever should they fall in combat.
The game’s cast of Lovecraftian monsters fit in with the oppressive difficulty quite well, as they all look as terrifying and dangerous as the next. However, the bosses stand out, and players need to look out for them to avoid potentially losing an entire party of grizzled heroes.
It can be challenging to rank the bosses of Darkest Dungeon because every player experiences them differently. Like any strategy game, Darkest Dungeon players each have challenges in the game that are harder or easier for them.
With that in mind, the list below accounts for both the general difficulty of the boss as well as its mechanical and visual design. For consistency’s sake, the versions of the bosses considered for the list are all their champion variants.
25. Swine King
Trophy: Wilbur’s Flag (+50% Stun Resistance, +10 Dodge)
The Swine King is the monstrous creation of profane blood rituals. It towers above the player’s heroes, wielding a crude crown and an eroded cleaver that is as big as an entire person. It appears to have no lower half of its body and is propped up on a pile of its innards.
The design of the Swine King is gruesome, but the horrors the Warren players encounter on the way to face it diminish its impact slightly.
Mechanically, the boss fight is straightforward, giving it the lowest place in the rankings. The Swing King is assisted by a more minor enemy named Wilbur that marks the player’s heroes so that they take more damage, but that is the fight’s single unique feature.
The boss’ kit is easily countered by focusing on killing the Swing King before attacking Wilbur and bringing an Arbalest to your party. This allows the Arbalest to clear any stuns or marks by using Rallying Flare, which severely diminishes the damage output that you’ll have to contend with.
Trophies: Barristan’s Head (+25% Protection, +20% Stress), Dismas’ Head (+25% Damage, -10% Max HP, +20% Stress), Junia’s Head (+30% Healing Dealt, +20% Stress)
The Collector miniboss can appear at any time while players travel throughout the hallways of Darkest Dungeon‘s various hallways. It is a towering humanoid covered in a long yellow coat and has a blue skull in a cage for its head.
However, the most exciting part of its design is how it attacks by summoning ghosts of Highwaymen, Men-at-Arms, and Vestals to fight the player.
While the Collector’s mechanics are excellent, players frequently face off against it throughout their playthrough, diminishing its impact. This also allows players to learn how to quickly counter the heroes that it summons, especially since it only calls three kinds.
Trophy: Necromancer’s Collar (+20% Damage vs. Unholy enemies, +8% Critical vs. Unholy enemies)
The Necromancer is a scholar that worked with the Ancestor only to be murdered and brought back to life. He is a tall humanoid in a red robe that wields a long scroll to cast spells and resurrect the undead.
He is a boss with a pretty interesting backstory, but his design does fall on the less horrifying or exciting side of Darkest Dungeon bosses.
He is another boss that summons minions to do most of their fighting for them. He does so to stay back in the fourth position on his side of the screen. However, the skeletons he summons aren’t robust, making it easy to counter the boss by attacking him with ranged attacks while having a tank soak up damage from his summons.
22. Templar Impaler/Warlord
Location: Darkest Dungeon
The Templar Impaler and Templar Warlord minibosses are identical to one another. They both resemble the torso of a man with the body of a scorpion replacing its legs and crab claws for its arms. They are fought together, so their appearance being so similar does lessen their impact.
Fighting them is also a bit underwhelming. This is partial because most of their damage is dealt with poison, easily countered with Antivenom. They also have a low resistance to being moved by moves, allowing players to send the Impaler to the back to avoid the duo’s most devastating attack.
21. Blind Prophet
Trophy: Prophet’s Eye (+14 Accuracy, +3 Speed, -15% Stress)
The design of the Blind Prophet is pretty great. It is a tall man caught in a set of stocks, is weighed down with prisoner chains, has swords stuck in his back, and wields his own eyes in one hand.
His body is also a sickly green and distorted with otherworldly corruption, helping give him a distinct appearance, especially in the Ruins region.
What lets the Blind Prophet down is his encounter. He spawns in the fourth position with three wooden pews in front of him that can be broken down, rewarding the player with serious wealth at the end of the battle for each one destroyed.
He also repeats the same attacks each round, making the fight predictable and easily countered with debuffs or the Guard status effect.
20. Shuffling Horror
Location: Darkest Dungeon
Trophies: Ancestor’s Bottle(+25% Max HP, +50% Food consumption, +10% Stress), Ancestor’s Candle(+15% Damage, +2 Speed, and +5 Dodge when Torch is above 50, +10% Stress), Ancestor’s Map(+25% chance to disarm traps, +25% chance to scout, +10% Stress), Ancestor’s Scroll(+25% Healing dealt, +25% Stress Healing dealt, +10% Stress), Ancestor’s Tentacle Idol(+20% Virtue chance, +8% Resistance to Deathblows)
The Shuffling Horror is a grotesque creature comprised of leathery skin, cancerous growths, pointing spines, and writhing tentacles.
It has a great design but is just an upgraded version of the Shambler, which players numerous times throughout their playthrough. This greatly diminishes the impact of the Shuffling Horror, especially since the changes to its summons make it an easier fight.
Trophy: Hag’s Ladle (+30% chance to cause Blight, +40% resistance to Blight and Disease)
The Hag is a giant boss that is a passionate cook. She looks like a disfigured human wearing a stag’s skull, has rough clothing and has many ingredients hanging from her belt.
One of the most exciting parts of her design is the massive pot accompanying her on the battlefield, taking up the front two positions while she occupies the rear two.
The massive cauldron also works in her fight, as she can capture members of the player’s party and stick them into the pot.
Players then have to deal enough damage to the pot to free them. However, it doesn’t have very many hit points. The fight can be challenging to overcome for first-time players, those with experience can counter her predictable turns.
18. Formless Flesh
Trophy: Flesh’s Heart(+50% resistance to Bleed, +15% maximum hit points)
The design of the Formless Flesh boss is fantastic. It comprises four independent pieces that occupy its entire side of the battlefield. Each one represents a different part of the monster’s body, and they are all horrible disparate pieces of a creature, homogenized into an indecipherable pile of skin and bone.
The pieces can be moved around to help illustrate their liquid shape on top of all, sharing a singular health bar.
The worst aspect of the boss is just how long it can take to defeat. It is easy not to be killed by the Formless Flesh, but depleting its massive health bar takes so long that it easily leaves a poor taste in most players’ mouths.
Its fight can also become repetitive because the best strategy to defeat the boss sees players stacking Bleed and repeatedly using the same attacks with Cleave.
Location: Crimson Court
The Viscount is a centaur-like boss in the Crimson Court. Its torso extends from a large tick-like body, and wields a bloodied knife and fork. On the battlefield, he is also accompanied by three cacoons that dangle from the ceiling and hold captured victims of the Viscount.
The fight with the Viscount is decently difficult but pales in comparison to killing the other members of the Crimson Court. Players must first focus on destroying the cocoons to defeat him while hitting him with high-damage heroes like the Hellion, Leper, and Jester that can out-perform his self-healing. If players want to survive the encounter, they will also want to bring plenty of bandages and Bleed resistance to survive his numerous attacks that afflict multiple characters with Bleed.
16. Drowned Crew
Trophy: Crew’s Bell(+50 resistance to Move, +20% received Healing)
The Drowned Crew is a gigantic boss that occupies three positions. It is comprised of three smugglers chained to the shattered mast of their ship when it sank, sealing their death in the ocean’s cold depths.
The boss can also summon a fourth smuggler known as the Drowned Anchorman, which helps complete the crew and the boss’ chilling design and backstory.
Mechanically, the Drowned Crew can be a bit difficult to deal with if the player isn’t prepared. This is because they can pull one hero to the front of the player’s order and massively increase their Stress very quickly.
This can be countered by having the hero by virtuous, however, which does help mitigate the boss’ effectiveness throughout the fight. The boss’ damage can also be mitigated by having a more tanky hero in the front position to soak up the damage, leaving the remaining heroes to heal him and damage the boss.
Trophies: Callous Talon(+7% Critical, +15% Stress, +33% resistance to Disease if torch is below 75, _33% Bleed chance if torch below 50), Distended Crowseye(+10 Accuracy, +33 Disease resistance if torch is below 75, +15% chance to Scout if torch is below 50, +15% Stress), Molted Tailfeather(+4 Speed, +33% resistance to Disease if torch is below 75, +33% resistance to Stun if torch is below 50, +15% Stress), Molted Wingfeather(+10 Dodge, +33% resistance to Disease if torch is below 75, +33% resistance to Move if torch is below 50, +15% Stress)
The Shrieker is a boss large enough to take up two positions that resemble a corrupted bird. It has four eyes that are connected in a bit of exposed flesh, as well as a pile of cancerous growths mounded on its back.
It is a bipedal creature that has lost most of its creatures that attack with its pointed beak and sharp claws at the end of its wings. The Shrieker also stands out from other bosses in the game because of the unique appearance conditions that have it stealing from the player in the Hamlet.
Fighting the Shrieker is also unique because players only have four turns to try and kill it. The boss largely negates the effectiveness of debuffs because it takes three actions on a single turn. This leaves players having to focus on buffing their own heroes and maximizing their accuracy to try and kill it in time.
However, you also will have to worry about keeping your party on their feet as the Shrieker shells out a ton of damage and status effects like Bleed.
The Miller was added with the Color of Madness DLC and must be defeated to unlock the Endless Harvest mode. The boss is a large humanoid that is the remains of an old man infused with the unknowable power from a celestial meteor.
His design is stunning, with his grayscale form accented by bright blue energy. The elements of his body being broken up also add a lot to his design, which gives him a lot of character.
The fight with the Miller can be pretty difficult. He has a ton of variety in his moveset and a lot of hit points on top of 20% Protection.
The only thing that keeps this boss from reaching higher on the list is the trinket Mildred’s Locket. When players have this trinket equipped on a hero severely weakens the Miller, making the fight significantly easier.
13. Heart of Darkness
Location: Darkest Dungeon
The Heart of Darkness is the final boss of Darkest Dungeon. They look like a human body that was melded with a massive tumor. It has a freakish appearance of raw flesh, thin strands connecting it all together, and a vertical mouth.
It is the final form of the boss fight and is actually a corrupted version of the player’s Ancestor, giving the fight a lot of emotional weight as well.
The hardest part of fighting the Heart of Darkness is his attack called Come Unto Your Maker. This move straight out kills a hero. The player gets to choose which of their characters dies, adding a high-stakes strategic layer on top of the whole fight.
However, the boss can be burned down with relative ease by bringing a squad of damage dealers that can tear through the boss before things get too difficult.
12. Mammoth Cyst
Location: Darkest Dungeon
The Mammoth Cyst is a mini-boss in the game’s final dungeon that boasts a horrifying appearance. It is a sphere that is connected to the ceiling and ground by strands of flesh and has tentacles on either side of its body, a large eye, and a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth.
It is large enough to fill up three positions on its own, and players can run into it multiple times during their quest to hunt it down, making it even more frightening.
As for the fight itself, the Mammoth Cyst gets two actions per turn that heal two randomly selected enemies anywhere in the player’s party. Later in the fight, it also gains the ability to start healing itself, which helps drag out the fight to slowly wear down the player’s party.
11. The Brigand Vvulf
Trophy: Vvulf’s Tassle(+20% Damage against Marked enemies, +10 Accuracy against Marked enemies, +5% Critical against enemies that take up two positions)
Vvulf leads a group of rogue soldiers known as the Brigands that dominate the wilds surrounding the Hamlet. He is the size of a normal man with a fantastic design. He has a wolf pelt across his shoulders, a tall tower shield, and a fierce yell.
While he isn’t as imposing looking as most of the other bosses throughout the game, it is a nice change of pace to face the game’s take on a more grounded boss.
Brigand Vvulf really stands out from the mechanics of his encounter. Players have to face him as a town event when he tries to capture teh town with his soldiers. He is joined on the battlefield by a few of his soldiers whom he can protect from damage with his shield. He also has a massive supply of bombs which he throws at the player’s party for massive amounts of damage.
The design of the Sleeper is absolutely striking. It is a circular boss of bright blue coloring with sharp gemstones jutting out of it in disparate angles.
It is also massive, big enough to take up all four positions on its side of the battlefield. It is also the source of the entire ordeal at the Farmstead, which makes facing it feel like a massive undertaking.
The fight itself is also very difficult. It has two attacks that are called The Sleeper Awakens and The Sleeper Stirs, which both dead incredible amounts of damage. Each of the attacks also hit the player’s entire party and severely raises their Stress.
Trophy: Siren’s Conch(+50% resistance to Debuff, -20% Stress)
The Siren is one of the earliest frightening bosses that most players come across during their playthrough of Darkest Dungeon. It resembles a grotesque and twisted mermaid. Its skin is wrinkled and covered with barnacles. Its face resembles an angler fish, and it is hunched over while taking up two positions on its own.
However, the most frightening part of the Siren boss fight is her ability to captivate the player’s own heroes and force them to fight for her. This puts players in a very difficult position. They either have to kill their own heroes or just take their damage while trying to kill the Siren.
The Crocodilian is a corrupted crocodile that scuttles about on two pairs of insect-like legs with two pointy arms as well. Its design is simple but extremely effective. The skin around its mouth is peeled back to reveal bare flesh, spines that stick out from its back, and uncomfortable holes in its humped back.
It also has a very memorable encounter because it spawns with three bits of swamp grass, allowing him to hide and not be targetable by the player.
The Crocodilian can also deal an incredible amount of damage while also crippling heroes with accuracy debuffs and Bleed effects. Combine that with the non-scaling accuracy that makes it difficult to dodge its attacks, and the Crocodilian is the bane of many players.
The Baron is the first member of the Crimson Court that players have to face, making his frightening appearance even more impactful.
He looks like a vampire mixed spliced with a massive spider. Its torso leads down to a white pallid thorax, while its mouth has been morphed to look like a spider’s while also having long, curved insectoid arms as well.
Fighting the Baron is also especially cool because of his unique tricks. He starts the fight with three pods behind him, preventing the player from using healing abilities. Later on, the Baron also makes the fourth pod before hiding within them to later jump out and ambush the party.
To prevent him from doing so, the player has to destroy the pods, which causes them to burst and hit them with either Bleed or Blight.
Trophy: Ancestor’s Vintage(makes Crimson Curse stages last longer), Coven Signet(-25% Stress when afflicted with Crimson Curse)
The Fanatic is another humanoid boss miniboss that can attack the player in any hallway throughout the game. He takes up two positions and has a frightening visage that is covered with scars and a snarling grin.
His design isn’t as terrifying as other bosses, but his design has some neat details that give him a unique appearance to match his furious temperament.
To make things worse, his encounters always start with surprising the player, allowing him to take a full turn of actions. Even if the player manages to flee the encounter, he will appear again in the next encounter. Once he’s in the fight he then has some powerful actions that can quickly tear apart a party with ease.
5. Brigand Cannon
Trophy: Fuseman’s Matchstick(+2 Speed, +10% Damage with ranged attacks, +6 Critical with ranged attacks)
The Brigand Cannon is a boss like none of the others found in Darkest Dungeon. This is because it features a massive canon. It spawns with a squad of bandits that can use their actions to let the canon attack.
These attacks deal incredible amounts of damage, sometimes hitting the entire party with a single blast. With how early the boss is usually encountered, it is often a shocking difficulty spike for unprepared players.
4. Thing from the Stars
Trophy: Crystalline Fang(+10% Stun chance when HP is above 40%, +40% Stun if HP is below 41%), Phase Shifting Hide(-15% Stress when HP is above 41%, -50% Stress when HP is below 40%), Prismatic Heart Crystal(+35% chance to Blight and Bleed against Thing enemies, and +12% Critical against Thing enemies), Thin’s Mesmerizing Eye(+4% Critical if HP is above 41%, +8% Critical if HP is below 40%)
The Thing from the Stars is a miniboss that can ambush the player when patrolling in a dungeon. The best aspect of the Thing from the Stars is its incredible design.
It is made up of disparate elements like a stag’s skull, twigs, bones, and intestines pouring out of its torso. These elements are highlighted with blue crystals from the Farmstead, giving it a very unique look.
The fight is also quite punishing. The Thing from the Stars gets two actions per turn and has an ability that activates at the start of each round to deal high amounts of Stress damage to the entire party. It also has a wide range of attacks, can summon Crystalline Aberrations, and has strong stats that make it difficult to take down.
Trophy: See Shuffling Horror above
The Shambler is the earlier version of the above Shuffling Horror. While its stats aren’t as strong as its endgame counterpart, it can appear in any other dungeon throughout the game.
It also tends to attack players when their parties are lower level and much less prepared for a sudden miniboss fight. On top of that, the Shambler also can summon tentacles that are very challenging to deal with.
The Countess is one of the highest members of the Crimson Court. She has a very memorable fight that is made up of multiple phases.
At first, she looks like a creepy victorian that covers her face with a fan and has an insectoid thorax extended out from the back of her dress. Once she transforms into her Bloodlust phase, her true form is revealed to be a terrible mix between a human and a terrifying mosquito.
Her fight also transforms a lot between its three phases. In each phase, she has an entirely different move set for players to adapt to.
Transitioning between these phases also cleanses her of any debuffs or status effects from which she is currently suffering. Her fight also includes Parasite Eggs, which can damage heroes whenever they attack, making every action a balancing act.
1. Garden Guardian
Trophy: Two Crimson Curse trinkets
The Garden Guardian is a corrupted statue that is made up of three parts. It is filled with blood that constantly pours out of its holes and takes up all four positions on its side of the battlefield.
One part of it is the statue’s torso while another is a spear, and the final is a shield. Its design has a ton of detail to it that is unlike anything else in the game.
Each piece of the Garden Guardian has its own actions and health bar for the player to account for. The combination of each piece’s abilities makes for a very complicated boss fight that must be approached particularly.
This is because the order that players destroy the statue’s pieces changes its attacks and can unlock some devastating ones.
Question: How many bosses are in Darkest Dungeon?
Answer: With both of the game’s DLCs downloaded, the game has 25 bosses in total.
Question: Do you have to beat all of the bosses in Darkest Dungeon?
Answer: To beat the game, you only have to kill two bosses in the Darkest Dungeon itself.
Question: What is the final boss in Darkest Dungeon?
Answer: The final boss in Darkest Dungeon is the Heart of Darkness.
The bosses of Darkness Dungeon are often the best highlights of the entire game. They feature some of the game’s most intriguing designs, both mechanically and visually, while offering some serious challenges. Every player will find different bosses harder than others while feeling more drawn to certain ones.
This makes discussing and looking at which bosses give players more or less trouble very interesting and a great part of joining the game’s wider online community.
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