Ranking the Hardest Hollow Knight Bosses
Many of the bosses present throughout Hollow Knight have made my spirit wail in agony as I repeatedly die to them, akin to Groundhog Day. Since these bosses brought me agony, I decided I would pay them in kind and rank them by their level of infamy. Here are the Hollow Knight bosses ranked by their difficulty.
For the sake of brevity, I will be keeping these strictly to their basic forms, as including their variants would limit the list to all of the variants. I will also only be selecting the hardest bosses, for including all 47 of them would certainly make this list far too long for anyone to read through! That said, let's get started.
#10 - Soul Master
You've made it out of the Soul Sanctum with your sanity (mostly) intact as you fight enemies that use souls to cast spells that are terrifying and teleport everywhere, and then you arrive at the freaking Soul Master. This terrifying figure floating mid-air that you need to kill to finally be able to finish the Soul Sanctum, packed with homing missiles, teleporting, and fakeout abilities. Worst of all, once you kill the bastard he has the audacity to enter a second stage. His wretched personality lore-wise (albeit understandable due to the infection) just adds to his infamy.
#9 - Broken Vessel
The Broken Vessel blocks the path to the Monarch Wings and, as such, is a mandatory boss on normal runs that don't involve skips.
One of the things I found hard about fighting the Broken Vessel was how erratic their attacks seemed when I first played. I couldn't tell what they were going to do and when, which led to me constantly walking into attacks and taking damage that I really couldn't spare. Although it didn't get to the difficulty point of being a roadblock, I did eventually learn my path to the arena after fighting it a couple of dozen times!
#8 - Traitor Lord
Oh boy, the Traitor Lord. My first encounter with him was a rough one as it was the first time I got dealt double damage, which added a lot of intimidation factors. Not only was I terrified of taking two hits of damage from a boss, but I was also terrified by that spiky attack that takes up practically the whole arena. You wouldn't be blamed for trying to use the I-frames (invincibility frames, a moment in which the character can't be hurt) to tank him whilst dealing damage due to his mostly immobile nature. Although nowadays fighting him is significantly easier since I'm not quivering in my boots, I am still happy to give him a spot among the most difficult bosses in the game.
#7 - Mantis Lords
One of my favourite bosses in Hollow Knight — if not my favourite bosses in gaming overall — the Mantis Lords made me wonder if maybe, just maybe, I wasn't good enough to play Hollow Knight. I thought that I needed to fight them, for I'd stumbled upon the Fungal Wastes region and had been fighting mantises on my way to them, so I fought, and fought, and I eventually gave up and looked for something to power myself up because surely there was no way I was intended to fight them this early... I wasn't.
Without any clear indication on whether you should be fighting them next or not, it's easy to fight the Mantis Lords way too early in the game, and be submitted to the harrowing fate of facing them just a bit too soon.
#6 - Dung Defender
I'll admit it, I love the Dung Defender. I had his battle cry as my notification sound for the longest time simply based on my undying love for him. Plus, call me disgusting, but I find dung beetles absolutely adorable.
Fighting him is a whole other story. Although I don't mind the fight, on my first encounter his erratic movements made him seem almost haphazard in his pattern. Although, four years ago I was glad to die just to hear his battle cry one more time.
#5 - Watcher Knights
The guards of Lurien the Watcher, the six Watcher Knights will surely make any player want to quit in frustration their first time. You see, it's bad enough that you have to fight two at the same time, but adding on top that once you kill one, you have to kill five more is detrimental to mental health at the least.
If you're stuck on the Watcher Knights, there's a chandelier hanging above one of them that you can access just outside of the arena by breaking a wall that leads to it, removing one of the Watcher Knights entirely. That said, if you want the full experience of the battle, be wary because once you've knocked down the chandelier, you can't take it back.
#4 - God Tamer
I'm not going to lie to you; I have no clue how to fight the God Tamer despite beating the Pantheon of Hallownest. That's right, whenever I was about to fight Troupe Master Grimm (we’ll get to you later, you scoundrel), I left it up to Fortuna whether I arrived with enough life to take him down or not.
That's because God Tamer is one of those annoying bosses that has you fighting two at the same time and, for crying out loud, I was incapable of ever realising when her stupid pet was going to attack me or not, and whether I should kill her or her pet first was always a mystery. It wasn't until later on that yes, I should kill the Beast first before her. I guess she can get bonus points for being a female...
#3 - The Hollow Knight
We arrive at the infamous three, the bosses that gave me the most trouble on all of my journeys throughout Hollow Knight. The first time you arrive at this boss and see that the game is actually named after them, now that is the definition of fear.
I love the Hollow Knight boss fight. The way they are tied up and the game forces you to free your worst enemy is unnerving at best. I got destroyed multiple times by several of the abilities that the Hollow Knight uses, including the ground attack where tendrils raise. It hurts, it's scary, and I love it.
#2 - The Radiance
The Radiance is actually the final boss to several of the multiple endings in Hollow Knight, and the cause for many headaches to practically everyone. You have to fight the Hollow Knight until Hornet pins them down and dream nail them, which will take you to an arena in which you can 'challenge' the sun, only for the sun to grow wings. It was then that I knew I was screwed six ways from Sunday.
Not only does she float overhead like the Soul Master (which I hate), but she also attacks with wave after wave of swords hurled that require precise jumps in order to survive. And, once you have finally defeated her, you need to enter this sequence in which you follow her up while she keeps attacking you. Fall, and you have to go through the entire Hollow Knight fight and Radiance just to get her low enough to do that damned sequence again.
#1 - Troupe Master Grimm
Ah yes, Grimm, the nightmare of my happiest dreams, the bane of my existence, I could write an entire article about how much I hate him and I still wouldn't have enough words and articles to tell you.
Easily the hardest boss in the entire game, Troupe Master Grimm was added later on in the game via the free DLC 'The Grimm Troupe'. The singular addition of Grimm was almost the end of my Pantheon of Hallownest runs, as he just made sure to kill me over, and over, and over... I never was capable of reliably killing him, let alone his Nightmare King variant. I'm pretty sure I shed a tear just having to say his name one final time.
That's it for our list, folks! Tell me in the comments why you hate Troupe Master Grimm and why you love the Mantis Lords and the Hollow Knight, there are no more opinions allowed! Jokes aside, tell me which were your least favourite bosses and which ones gave you the most trouble. Let's reminisce about this masterpiece in honour of its fifth anniversary, and hope that maybe somewhere between now and 2050 we'll be able to play Silksong. Until next time!