This guide will help you overcome the final boss of the Dark Souls series, Slave Knight Gael. He’s a fitting end to such a challenging series as a blend of some of its best boss battles.
As with most bosses in the late game of this series, Gael is a fight in several phases – three, in this case. The first starts off as fairly aggressive and almost feral while the last two have slightly better telegraphing as far as enemy reads are concerned.
That said, Gael has an absurd amount of health and will hit players very hard. Tanking this fight can be problematic for the amount of attacks he can dish out in quick succession, so high mobility may play better than a shield defense. On the plus side, his defense against magic, lightning, and flame isn’t as high as other bosses found earlier in the DLC, so any one of those builds are viable provided they can avoid taking a pounding long enough to cast stronger spells.
Take note as well that he cannot be parried with a shield, nor does he crumple for a critical attack. He will stagger briefly after enough damage, though, but this will simply afford you another free hit or two.
There are no NPC phantoms that can be summoned for this fight, so you’re on your own. Other players can be called in to help via the Filianore’s Rest Bonfire. As enemies are ultimately stronger based on the amount of players in a fight, weigh the options bringing in help by taking into account your damage output; a spell caster can probably use a melee fighter to help grant some space, for example, but any more than that can turn this battle into a very long, resource-intensive stretch.
Like the Nameless King boss, Slave Knight Gael’s first phase is more about learning the timing of sword attacks while also conserving as much estus as possible for the upcoming stages. Often, he’ll open the battle with a flying sword attack that will pick you up and toss you to the other side of the arena if it connects. Luckily, even the heaviest player can roll out of the way in time as it’s so obviously telegraphed.
The real challenges with this early stage are his close-range sword combos. Not unlike Artorias of the Abyss, he has a three attack combination that comes out fast and can chew through enough HP to easily kill if all three shots land. Side and forward rolling are your best bet depending on positioning, not rolling backward. He’ll be open to a few fast hits after the combo concludes.
From here, the only other thing to really keep an eye open for is a rushdown attack of 5-6 slashes, often followed by a high-jumping downward thrust. Luckily, Gael will stand and yell before the attack begins so you can easily move out of the way, but it’s not advisable to block all of these attacks with a shield unless you’re operating with a sky high Endurance stat. He may also do the jumping thrust attack outside of the combo, but this is so easily avoided that you should welcome it coming; you’re given a few free shots at him when he lands.
After roughly 30-40% of his life is drained, the fight will pause for a brief cutscene and Gael will affect a more upright, bipedal attack stance. His moves in this new stage have a slightly longer range, so be ready to move at any distance.
Close in on him early or he will attack with a Repeater Crossbow. During the fight, he may also attack with a powered-up version of the Way of White Corona spell that splays out three ways and will boomerang back after a brief period, so make sure to keep to the opposite side that he had thrown it so as to not take an unexpected hit to the back.
The up-close portion of this battle is defined by his sword and cape attacks, which will combo for 2-3 hits. He also has a spinning AoE cape attack if you’re sticking to more of his rear or player phantoms are ganging up on him. Keep in mind that while his sword in these instances only hits once, the cape will actually hit twice or even three times depending on the frame of the animation. Learning the dodge timing if the combo and spin is key here to capitalize on counterattacking, but don’t get too greedy. Dodge an attack take two or three shots, and then back away. We still have one more phase to go.
The final phase starts with Gael shoring up power that will burst into a shower of skeletal magic bolts that slowly fall to the battlefield, so keep your distance when he starts to fold his arms. This attack may happen again as the fight goes on, so pay attention if he becomes immobile for a brief period.
He will keep the same skills as Phase 2, so look for the same tells for attacks that you can avoid and counterattack. However, he becomes slightly more aggressive with some high-flying sword skills, and a combo that has two sword/ cape attacks, followed by a series of crossbow bolts as he jumps forward, finally landing on a heavy sword blow. This can be rolled forward through, and if you can make it to the other side of him during the first sword strikes, he’ll jump far enough away that can time some fast counter hitting.
The worst part about Phase 3 are the random lightning strikes that pepper the playing field. If you’re paying attention to the ground, you can see where the bolts will appear, but this is difficult if you’re trying to solo the fight given Gael’s movement speed at this point. If you’re packing any spells, now is the time to use them and finish him off.
Overall, be patient and cautious with your attacking and you’ll earn the Blood of the Dark Soul. Head back to the painting girl in the Painted World of Ariandel DLC and give it to her for the final word on the series.