Gaping Dragon Dark Souls Guide

Of all the stunning boss designs in the original Dark Souls, the Gaping Dragon is one of the most captivating. Its reveal is seared into the memory of many fans as its originally unassuming form is revealed to be only a tiny part of its massive, grotesque form. Its protruding rib cage is as terrifying as it is brutal, and its enormous scale combined with offputting attack animations make it a uniquely challenging fight in the title. So, whether you’re preparing for your first run through Dark Souls or are returning after finishing up Elden Ring for a healthy dose of nostalgia, everything you need to know about the Gaping Dragon.

Key Info Up Front

Location: Depths

Skippable: Yes

Drops: Dragon King Greataxe, Blighttown Key, Humanity, Homeward Bone

Souls: 25,000 – 75,000

Available Summons: Solaire of Astora, Knight Lautrec of Carim

Gaping Dragon Lore

gaping

There is not much known about what led to the creation of the Gaping Dragon. However, it is widely thought to be a descendant of the Everlasting Dragons. Those Dragons ruled the world for countless years before Dark Souls began but were eventually slain by champions who claimed rule of the world in their stead. However, something is responsible for horribly modifying the Gaping Dragon from the other dragons throughout the series. This is thought to be its exposure to the Dark from the emergence of life and the desire and emotions that it brought with it.

The Gaping Dragon itself is a massive creature with a distended stomach that it had to grow an extra set of legs to support. It also has an enormous mouth that runs down the entire top half of its body that looks to have originated from its rib cage, allowing it to split open to consume anything nearby. It also has four scorched wings that can no longer support its body enough to fly but allow it to make very high jumps and cover ground quickly. It also has a set of arms that sit on either side of its massive mouth while its tail is in the shape of a terrifying great axe. Its actual head was shrunken to act as a moderate proboscis while its mouth slowly leaks its stomach acid out wherever it goes.

Gaping Dragon Location

The Gaping Dragon is located in an open chamber within the Depths and is necessary to kill to get through the door to Blighttown. If you take the Master Key as your starting item, you can skip the Gaping Dragon entirely, as you can use it to get to Blighttown through the back door instead. However, most players will have to delve into the dank sewers of the Depths. The Depths can be accessed through a door located in the lower section of Undead Burg, but only after getting the Key to Depths by killing the Capra Demon.

Before you go into the Depths, you should know that there is only one bonfire in the entire location. The area also is only attached to the Undead Burg and Blighttown, so you can explore it fully without getting distracted by multiple blanching areas. The site is also home to the merchant Domhnall fo Zena and the rescuable Laurentius of the Great Swamp. As you go around, you’ll come across enemies such as Attack Dogs, Basilisks, Hollows, Small and Large Undead Rats, Slimes, Butchers, the Giant Undead Rat, the Channeler, two Butchers, and will be invaded by a spirit known as Kirk, Knight of Thorns.

While that cast of enemies is pretty formidable, the loot within the Depths is more than worth the struggle. For armor, you’ll come across the Sack and Warrior Set. You’ll get your hands on Greataxe, Heavy Crossbow, and Spider Shield for weapons. You’ll get Large Embers, Sewer Chamber Key, Humanities, the Ring of the Evil Eye, and a Large Titanite Shard for miscellaneous objects. The path will eventually lead you to a massive open chamber as you go through the Depths. When you first find it, there will be nothing, but the Gaping Dragon will quickly reveal itself.

The Gaping Dragon Boss Fight

killing gaping dragon

Gaping Dragon Stats

Health

  • New Game: 4,401
  • New Game+: 15,550

Souls

  • New Game: 25,000
  • New Game+: 75,000

Defenses

  • Regular: 167
  • Strike: 167
  • Slash: 167
  • Thrust: 167
  • Magic: 117
  • Fire: 108
  • Lightning: 84

Gaping Dragon Attacks

The secret to beating any boss in a Soulsborne game is knowing its attacks and animations. Once you get familiar with the attacks, you will learn how to dodge them and follow up with attacks and spells. All of the Gaping Dragon’s attacks are detailed below.

Right Punch

Right Punch

Attack: 252

Damage Type: Physical

This attack is a simple punch with the Gaping Dragon’s right arm. It has a short range just before the boss, so you can avoid it by just walking or rolling to the left.

Triple Stomp

Attack: 558

Damage Type: Physical

This attack has the Gaping Dragon stomping the ground in front of him three times. The stomps are a bit faster than the Right Punch, but it doesn’t track the player, so dodging in any direction and getting out of its range will work. The move also keeps them in the same position for a short while, leaving it open for some free hits.

Left Leg Swipe

Attack: 360

Damage Type: Physical

You can tell that this attack is coming when the Gaping Dragon slowly raises its left leg. This is followed by it swinging its leg in an arc in front of it. This attack covers an impressive area, so you’ll want to roll or run away from the Gaping Dragon to avoid taking a hit. If you’re too close, you can also roll under the leg to get to the Gaping Dragon’s left side and get a few shots in.

Stomach Slam

Stomach Slam

Attack: 558

Damage Type: Physical

This attack begins with the Gaping Dragon bending over backward to show its spined stomach toward the sky. It then slams down to the ground in front of it to deal a ton of damage. To avoid this attack, you should just run directly away from the Gaping Dragon. It’ll get stuck in the ground briefly, allowing you to get in some solid hits before it recovers.

Charge

Attack: 558

Damage Type: Physical

This attack always follows the Stomach Slam and sees the Gaping Dragon running forward in a straight line. To avoid it, you’ll want to run to the side, but it does present an excellent opportunity to focus your attacks on its tail.

Tail Whip

Tail Whip

Attack: 360

Damage Type: Physical

This move is one of the boss’ hardest to avoid. It swings its tail across one side of its body pretty quickly. However, you can see it coming when its body twists to wind up the tail swing. To avoid it, you can either roll through the attack or try to stay at its front.

Jump

Attack: 558

Damage Type: Physical

For this attack, the Gaping Dragon jumps into the air briefly before trying to slam down on the player from above. This attack is used by the Gaping Dragon when it is trapped, gets flanked, or has taken too many ranged attacks. You’ll want to run away as fast as possible to avoid this move.

Corroding Acid

Attack: 180

Damage Type: Physical

This attack is caused by the Gaping Dragon leaning forward on its arms and gushing acid out of its mouth. The acid will spread over the ground, dealing moderate damage and degrading your equipment. If you stand in the acid for too long, all of your equipment will be broken, but you can avoid the acid reasonably well by running away until it stops spreading.

Gorge

Gorge

Attack: Varies

Damage Type: Physical

This attack happens when the Gaping Dragon grabs the player and chomps on them with its massive teeth. This attack is triggered when the player is on either side of the Gaping Dragon and is its most punishing move by far. To get out of the grab, you have to mash the bumpers on your controller. If you tap quickly enough, you will break out with minimal or no damage, while if you don’t at all, the move will ultimately kill you.

Gaping Dragon Strategies

Before starting the Gaping Dragon boss fight, kill the Channeler above the chamber. If you don’t, the Channeler will not only buff the Gaping Dragon but will also shoot spells down at you the entire time. For your equipment, ranged attacks will help, whether they are magic or physical, and you can feel safe using a two-handed weapon because you won’t need to parry or block any of its attacks. However, lightning sorceries are the best option here, as the Gaping Dragon is especially vulnerable to lightning damage.

At the start of the fight, a strong strategy is to wait for the boss to charge you. Dodge to either the left or the right, and the Gaping Dragon will run into the wall behind you and stun itself. This leaves it particularly vulnerable right off the bat and presents an excellent opportunity to cut off its tail to get the Dragon King Greataxe by cutting off its tail. You can repeat this strategy to get a lot of safe damage on the boss without much effort. Cutting off the Gaping Dragon’s tail will also seriously hinder the range of its Tail Swipe, although it will still deal full damage to you if you are hit by the small piece of tail left.

Once its health gets low enough, the Gaping Dragon will start using its Corroding Acid attack. When you see it wind up to start spewing, the substance start running away immediately, as it spreads incredibly quickly and covers a lot of space in the arena. If you have any trouble avoiding the acid, make sure to bring some repair powder with you to repair your weapon if it breaks to avoid having to go into the menu and equip a different weapon.

A significant element in avoiding the Gaping Dragon’s attacks is not locking onto him unless you make a ranged attack. Being locked on to it makes it much more difficult to see what is happening and react accordingly due to its immense size. Not locking on will allow you to move the camera around to see everything happening, so after you complete your ranged attack, make sure to toggle off the lock on after your attack.

If you need extra help with the Gaping Dragon, you can also summon two spirits or have another player help execute a simple strategy. The first spirit you can summon is Solaire of Astoria when you interact with his summoning sign above the staircase just before the Gaping Dragon’s fog gate. Solaire will be summoned with a sword and talisman. He can distract the Gaping Dragon and deal damage to it with his sword and the Lightning Spear spell and use Great Heal. The second summon available is Knight Lautrec of Carim. Lautrec’s summoning sign is near Solaire’s but is hidden behind a pillar, but he only comes with a melee weapon, making Solaire a bit more effective against the Gaping Dragon. However, you can summon both spirits, making the fight easy as they distract the Gaping Dragon.

You also have the option to summon other players. If you don’t have a specific player to join you, other players will normally place their summon signs around the Depths Bonfire. However, if you have a friend to play with you, they can make the fight much easier for you to do by not entering the fog gate. Instead of going in, they can stay on the balcony overseeing the arena to damage and distract the Gaping Dragon with ranged attacks while you focus on cutting off its tail for the greataxe.

The Dragon King Greataxe

The Dragon King Greataxe

If you successfully cut off the Gaping Dragon’s tail, you will get the Dragon King Greataxe. The statistics of the weapon are below:

Physical Attack: 380

Critical: 100

Physical Damage Reduction: 55

Magic Damage Reduction: 10

Fire Damage Reduction: 40

Lightning Damage Reduction: 40

Stability: 38

Required Strength: 50

Required Dexterity: 8

Weight: 24

Durability: 400

The Dragon King Greataxe is interesting in that its damage is not increased by having any stat higher than required. It also has a unique heavy attack that allows the player to slam the axe onto the ground to send a shockwave out around them that hits enemies twice. It is also one of the few unique weapons that can be augmented to get 20 other fire and magic resistance points. It can also be upgraded five times for one Dragon Scales and 10,000 souls for each level.

FAQs

Question: What kind of damage is the Gaping Dragon weak to?

Answer: Since it is a dragon, the Gaping Dragon is weakest to Lightning damage.

Question: Should I summon Solaire or Knight Lautrec of Carim to fight the Gaping Dragon?

Answer: You can summon both of them simultaneously, but if you don’t want the fight to be too easy, just summoning one of them is a good strategy. Both spirits are a lot of help, but Solaire’s ability to attack from a range and deal Lightning damage makes him the stronger of the two for this particular boss fight.

Question: Does the Gaping Dragon have any weak points?

Answer: Yes, the Gaping Dragon’s head is weaker than the rest of its body, but it is small and difficult to hit. The best way to beat it is when the Gaping Dragon slams the front of its body into the ground and gets stuck, leaving its head still and within range of the player for melee attacks.

Conclusion

The Gaping Dragon has become an iconic part of the Dark Souls series. Its shocking design, challenging move set, and fantastic unique weapon make for a very memorable experience. Any newcomers to Dark Souls should face the Gaping Dragon at least once, especially if it is their first time running through the game. It may take you a few tries to beat it, but stick with it and you will be able to overcome it in due time.

Looking for more interesting readings? Check out:

Scroll to Top