Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked Worst to Best

Nightmare King Grimm - Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Hollow Knight is an addictive Metroidvania with some interesting characters in its midst. But don’t be fooled! These characters can be deadly, especially Hollow Knight bosses that endlessly come up to challenge you before you can proceed any further. This game can be punishing at times, but if you’re up for the challenge, it can be a fun and satisfying adventure.

With that said, we’ve decided to rank all 47 bosses that you will encounter in one way or another in the game.

This list is filled with spoilers and contains my own opinions. It’s also a sort of mini-guide to the bosses as well. You’ve been warned. Let’s go!

47. Zote

Zote - Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: NPC Fake-Boss

For most people, Zote doesn’t even qualify as a boss, and if you never rescue him in the first place, you won’t even have to fight him. He’s a braggart, and you’ll be glad to be done with him. He can’t even cause damage, so just keep attacking and the fight will quickly end with a victory.

And, if you’ve never bothered to save him in the first place and leave him to die, he’ll be nothing more than a boring nuisance.

46. Massive Moss Charger

Massive Moss Charger -Hollow Knight Bosses
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Mini-Boss

Massive Moss Charger is one of the easier early game bosses, even if it’s not one of the first you’ll come across. Just like its name suggests, this creature can only charge at you so just jump and get your aim right.

You’ll get through it fine! Keep hitting this massive bush and the battle will be over in no time.

45. Flukemarm

Flukemarm - Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

FlukeMarm is another of the easier to defeat Hollow Knight bosses. All you have to do to defeat this creature as it hangs from the ceiling is to keep hitting it and dodging the bugs it spits out from the many holes on its body. No worries though, all these bugs can be defeated in one hit. Essentially, Flukemarm is like a punching bag that you keep going at until it’s over. 

Also, its character design is one of the most disgusting and somewhat lazy ones in the game so it’s a no from me.

44. Gruz Mother 

Gruz Mother - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Mini-Boss

She’s the introductory boss that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the other bosses and fights you’ll be encountering from here on out. The gameplay and enemies you went through before her fight were nothing but practice. Avoid her body slams and continue to attack her, dodge her as she bounces around the screen as well. 

She’s essentially a big fly that might freak you out if you’re new to the game.

43. Vengefly King

Vengefly King - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Mini-Boss

You’ll come across plenty of Vengefly in your journey, and this boss version is an enhanced version of that creature. As you continue to fight the Vengefly King, other Vengefly will come and make your life harder. Don’t worry, they can all be defeated in one hit.

The Vengefly King will largely fly mostly within the range of your attacks, or swoop down to attack you which makes it easier for you to go on the offensive.

This Hollow Knight boss is on the slow side, so you’ll have to wait for it to swoop down most of the time to land a big hit. In the Ascendant version, there are two of them coming at you at once.

42. Uumuu

Uumuu - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

This jellyfish-like creature spits out electrical balls that you have to dodge to survive. With Uumuu, it’s also a waiting game. You need to wait for the creature to finish spawning electrical spirit balls to get some hits in. Uumuu has two basic attack types and that’s it, but it is unpredictable where his attacks will appear.

Once you pop his bubble, that’s where you have to make sure to land some heavy hits before his bubble respawns around him. Even so, it’s a whole lot of jumping, dodging and waiting to get a shot in. While they are slightly for difficult than our previous mentions, this creature is still one of the easiest bosses to defeat and that’s why in terms of Hollow Knight bosses ranked, he’s near the bottom of the heap.

 41. False Knight

False Knight - Hollow Knight Boss
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

This is another great intro boss that does a wonderful job of introducing you to the tactics and gameplay mechanics of future fights – just like Gruz Mother. False Knight is engaging and tough enough for beginners to feel a little winded after. He’s big, but don’t let that intimidate you! His move set is pretty easy to grasp, he’ll be jumping left or right while swinging his ax and you’ll have to avoid getting hit.

When there’s room for an attack, go for it. He’ll collapse and his helmet breaks after a few hits and that’s where you’ll get to throw in some major hits before he gets back up again. This repeats a couple of times and he will be defeated soon enough. 

40. Marmu

Marmu - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

This is where things pick up a little. Marmu is a caterpillar-like creature and is arguably one of the worst bosses to encounter amongst the Warrior Dream bosses.

It’s not an enjoyable fight. Why? Because it’s boring! But if you take your eyes off the screen he’ll land one on you. 

Marmu will be bouncing from edge to edge and all over your screen like a ball and you’ll have to avoid getting hit while trying to hit the creature yourself. There are also instances where Marmu gets stuck in an unreachable corner and randomly makes a beeline towards you as a rebound, which is harder to dodge.

39. Soul Warrior

Soul Warrior - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Mini-Boss

Soul Warrior is simply an enhanced version of the enemies you’ve been fighting as you make your way through the game – similar to the Vengefly King. The Soul Warrior’s enhancements include a larger health pool, more variety in attacks, and the addition of soul twisters. His battle sets you up for future battles as his movements mirror other Hollow Knight bosses, notably the Mantis Lords.

He isn’t all that difficult to fight, and the battle is overall an entertaining one as he keeps you on your toes. His attacks may be repetitive, but at least it isn’t boring. You’ll also encounter him several times as you journey along, so after a while, you can easily anticipate his moves.

38. Crystal Guardian

Crystal Guardian - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Optional Boss

The Crystal Guardian is kind of like a robot bug boss. He shoots lasers from his hands, has a hard crystallized exterior, and jumps around the screen. He can also make four lasers shoot down from the sky after a slight pause in his actions. You can only properly damage him from the neck down as it isn’t protected by anything.

The moment you break his exterior, he’s pretty much done for, but this doesn’t change the fact that the Crystal Guardian is a pretty fun boss to fight. To beat him, you would have to do a lot of jumping to avoid being blasted and make use of the short hovering skill you can acquire as you jump away from his lasers.

37. Gorb

Gorb - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

One of the easier Warrior Dream bosses to battle aside from Marmu, Gorb floats and wiggles around in the air while shooting out rings of spikes to attack you. All you have to do is dodge the wave of spikes that progressively increase, making it harder for you to keep attacking while avoiding any hits.

You do have time to react and think, but that time shrinks as Gorb gets closer to death. Plus, the only way to get a hit on him is to get close. So you’ll have to time your moves right to survive and win the battle.

For the Ascendant version, you’ll only have three small platforms to stand on whilst the battle goes on. Good luck!

36. Hornet Protector

Hornet Protector - Hollow Knight Bosses
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Boss

Alright, we’re amping it up! This will be your first encounter with Hornet, and she lets you off easy the first round, although she does put up quite a fight. Hornet’s battle is pretty basic but is one of the biggest difficulty spikes for beginners who are not used to the genre. This is because, at this point in your encounter, your skills are still pretty limited and this is one of the first agile enemies you’ll encounter.

In terms of attacks, she has a whole arsenal of them. She can throw her needle sword at you, attack in mid-air, dash at you, jump to attack you from above, and more. She’s also fast, so you need to be focused while battling her or you’ll lose. Once you’ve recognized her attacks and patterns though, it becomes another quickly passing battle, but you’ll see her again. 

35. God Tamer

God Tamer - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Boss

One of the more unique bosses in the game, God Tamer has you fighting a tamer (the ant) and a beetle-like creature at the same time. Before attempting this Hollow Knights boss, you’ll have to go through about 20 minutes of fighting with other bosses and creatures along the way. If you lose here at the final point, restarting is going to be a pain.

While it isn’t exactly easy, it isn’t as tough as you might think at first glance. The beetle’s attack moves consist of spitting some infection balls from its mouth and spin-rushing into you while the tamer’s attack consists of jumping and plunging you with its nail. With enough practice and skill, you can avoid and dodge their attacks whilst scoring some hits.

34. No Eyes

No Eyes - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

From her name, you can bet that No Eyes is going to be creepy, with some difficulty spikes. You’ll have to fight her in semi-darkness while jumping around platforms to avoid being hit by the many wraiths that fly across the screen. If you fall, you’ll end up on spikes, which is never a pretty sight. 

In the Ascendant version, thorns are increased and No Eyes barely makes an appearance – which makes it hard to attack her. Her wraith children will also bob and weave around the scene, getting more vigorous as she loses HP. To properly finish this one, you’ll need to plan each jump with a whole lot of patience in mind.

33. Brooding Mawlek

Brooding Mawlek - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

The fight starts with a fake boss named Tiso, who you don’t even get to fight before Brooding Mawlek slams from the heavens and lands on him. He’s easy to defeat, even without any skills or upgrades. But his battle is a fun one and it teaches you a lot about upcoming battle mechanics and using your nail bouncing skill.

Brooding Mawlek spits out infection balls from its center upwards and tries to track the players’ position as it does so. It walks back and forth across the platform and occasionally does a double big jump and claw swipe which you will want to avoid. He’ll also spit out one spray burst infection attack as he goes along, with more claw swipes. 

The Ascendant version gets rid of the short platform Mawlek walks on to make it harder/easier on you (your call here, personally I prefer having the platform around).

32. Nosk

Nosk - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

Another one of the creepier Hollow Knight bosses, Nosk is a tough one to deal with. It presents itself as a clone of you and then a whole different spider-like creature grows out of it while retaining your body. Creepy.

Nosk will keep running at you, jump around, or spew multiple deadly infection balls in a confined space. Once he loses more HP, he’ll crawl up to the ceiling and drop more infection blobs at you.

His back spikes can also hurt you, so if he rushes, make sure to jump and hit him. Nosk’s Ascendant version levels the playing field so you won’t have a spot to hide, and there are no barriers between the both of you. This makes his rushes more deadly and his bursts harder to deal with, so stay focused.  

31. Galien

Galien - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

His fight is pretty simple as with most Warrior Dream bosses, mainly because they tend to just float around as their mechanics or abilities do the work (they are ghosts after all). In Galien’s case, his giant scythe will spin vigorously as it bounces throughout the arena tracking your position. 

He also continues to add two smaller scythes that float around the arena at the same time as his HP gets lower. Similar to Marmu’s predicament, if the scythe gets caught in the corners of the arena, there’s a chance it will make a straight beeline for you which is harder to dodge.

To make it past his battle, you’ll need to keep track of the scythes and your positioning while actively dashing around.

30. Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

If you’re looking for a one-on-one battle that should bring you some satisfaction and fun, then look no further! Broken Vessel is a tough Hollow Knight boss but you’ll be satisfied by the end of your encounter. He has a longer nail and his attacks consist of rapid dashes at you or some aggressive swinging of his nail in a repeated arc if you get too close. 

Aside from that, he can jump and when he lands lets out waves of infection in four different directions. He also takes short jumps and can headbutt you with a massive burst of infection bubbles towards the end when his health pool gets low, so be warned.

29. Enraged Guardian

Enraged Guardian - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Optional Boss

The Enraged Guardian is an enhanced version of the Crystal Guardian boss that you fight earlier in the game (the purple robot shield bug). Enraged Guardian takes the same gameplay mechanics and movements as the Crystal Guardian and adds more pain to it.

The fighting space is smaller, the guardian’s movements are faster and there are more lasers to look out for. There’s not much increase in his health pool so you can definitely defeat him once you’ve gotten a hang of his increased specifications, but he’s still a rather unique and fun boss to fight.

28. Winged Nosk

Winged Nosk - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Quest Boss

Another way to make a creature more menacing is to add wings, and that’s exactly what they did with the Winged Nosk. This creature was already a nuisance to deal with but the added wings just make everything extra hard and extra creepy. As you might expect, Winged Nosk flies around the arena, but since it is pretty huge, doesn’t get very far. 

As he flies he spits out some infection balls which you will have to avoid and one infection spirit which you can hit once to kill. He also takes up the same swooping action as a Vengefly and since he takes a while to wind up, can be pretty easy to get some hits in. There’s also a point where he flies to the heavens and some infection balls fall to the ground. 

While all this sounds terrifying, he does have the potential to be better though, especially when we’re looking at all Hollow Knight bosses.

27. Elder HU

Elder Hu - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

Another Warrior Dream to fight against, but his attacks are pretty upscaled and will keep you on your toes. Elder Hu spawns columns of infection rings in the air and slams them down, so you’ll have to dodge them by dashing to the empty spaces in between. Since he is a spirit, this bug will be floating the whole time and you’ll have to get in some jumps to hit him. 

He can also send down a succession of rings after you cross the length of the arena, so you’ll have to position yourself well to avoid getting hit. This boss makes it hard to respect your elders if they’re moving this fast and are out to kill you.

26. Oblobbles

Oblobbles - Hollow Knight Bosses
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Dual Boss

There are two of them attacking you at once, and though their name sounds adorable, they’re anything but! The Oblobbles will both shoot out infection bullets in all directions and will fly around the screen. Even if their attacks are simple, it does get pretty hard to dodge all the bullets coming at you from every direction.

You’ll probably enter the battle pretty battered from previous battles as this duo is located in the middle of other bosses and enemies, so this bullet hell situation is a terrible one to be in. All you have to do is dodge a lot and try to get in some hits when they get close. Once one Oblobble is down, the other one will get a health and speed boost, so watch out!

25. Xero

Xero - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

Xero’s fight is simpler compared to the other Warrior Dream fights but is more on the engaging side, so you don’t have to just run around waiting. He hovers over the arena and has two nails by his side which he will alternate throwing at you. After each attack, the nails beeline back to Xero’s side so there’s a potential to get hit twice. And yes, these nails will track your position so you will have to constantly be on the move.

As his HP gets lower, more nails will spawn on his side and his movements get a tad bit faster. The Ascendant version of the battle will split up the platform into three smaller ones for you to hop around and hope to not fall to your death.

24. Soul Master

Soul Master - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

One of the more daunting fights that a lot of beginners seem to have trouble with, the Soul Master’s attacks consist of a ground slam and shooting some soul spheres. He’ll occasionally be floating at one corner, shoot a tracking soul orb at you and then he’ll teleport. His teleportation makes him a tad unpredictable, but you’ll get a hang of it.

This Hollow Knight boss is always on the move, which makes it hard to land a hit without taking a hit. He can spawn in any corner of the arena too and will attempt to ram into you. His second phase (yes, there are two phases to his battle) will see him body-slamming himself on the ground multiple times. You can attack him when he stops his nonsense to collect more spheres to attack you with.

You’ll have to be quick, but you’re probably going to have a couple of tries before you get past Soul Master.

23. Brothers Oro and Mato

Brothers Oro and mato - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Dual Quest Boss

They’re brothers! And are sometimes known as Nailmasters Oro and Mato, so it depends on which group you’ve been hanging around with on the internet. You’ll meet Oro first, and both brothers are large creatures with huge nails in hand. Both of them can jump and slam with their nail or slash twice in the space in front of them.

One of the keys to defeating them will be to attack them from behind as they are stuck in their attacks. Oro can also dash slash, while Mato can cyclone slash. Fighting them both at once is a heavy task that will leave you annoyed and hoping for a quick out. Their fast-paced movements, no matter how repeated you might think they are, are pretty killer.

22. Dung Defender

Dung Defender - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

With a name like Dung Defender, it may be hard to take him seriously, and you probably won’t throughout this fight. Sure, he’ll be throwing huge poop balls at you as a form of attack, but that shit packs a punch (pun intended).

The Dung Defender battle is fun and will get you laughing as he dives into the poop-filled ground and bursts out to attack you in an explosion of poop. When you knock him down, he flails – like all realistic bugs when knocked on their backs.

He’s easy if you’ve got all sorts of charms and upgrades in hand but boy is he fun! This is probably one of my favorite fights solely based on how weird it is from start to finish and that’s why he’s in the middle of the pack for Hollow Knight bosses ranked from worst to best.

21. Hive Knight

Hive Knight - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Optional Boss

Hive Knight’s battle is so good. It’s pretty similar to Hornet Sentinel’s fight which is placed lower on this list, but Hive Knight just doesn’t hit the same. His attack moves consist of a lot of jumping and forward dash-slashing, as well as some bouncing around. 

He also sets up some honey traps in the arena that explode into needles and get can summon some hive-lings to help him in battle which you can swat away but can be distracting nonetheless. Oh, and he can also teleport and swipe at you so beware! Overall, like Hornet Sentinel, this is going to be a fast-paced fight.

20. Troupe Master Grimm

Troupe Master Grimm - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Boss

Probably one of my favorite bosses in the game, Grimm just has an edge and dramatic flair to him that I think is lacking in the other bosses, except for Radiance – which we will get to further down the line. He has four primary attacks and is a pretty slick guy that teleports around and shows himself only when he’s performing an attack.

In the air, he’ll dash at you for an attack. He can send spikes out to attack you from the ground, throw several flame bats your way, or rain down some fire blasts. He’s a skittish fellow, so if you get too close to him before his attack he’ll run away and continue his attack. 

At one point if you interrupt him, he’ll spew continuous fireballs floating in the air and when done dash straight at you. His fight is super fast-paced so you won’t have time to breathe as you keep reacting to onslaught after onslaught. This drama king is worth it.

19. Traitor Lord

Traitor Lord - all Hollow Knight Bosses
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

The Traitor Lord was reworked to be more menacing after a lot of players complained that his battle was rather underwhelming as a main Hollow Knight boss. Traitor Lord has the usual dash and dive like all Mantis traders in his arsenal. His newer moves include some blade boomerangs and a full-screen shockwave that you can only shadow dash through to not retain any damage.

To add to the pain, all of his attacks deal double damage except for his boomerangs. The only way to properly make it through this fight and get in some hits is to shadow cloak your way to get closer to him and dash around. With his range of attacks, the Traitor Lord is an exceptionally fast battle with no way to cheese anymore.

18. The Collector

The Collector - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

Looking for creepy? Look no further! The Collector is a completely shadow-encased-looking creature that jumps around the arena and makes dash-slashes at you before disappearing into the ceiling to drop gigantic glass jars from above. These glass jars explode into smaller enemies when it hits the ground.

The Collector gives off an obsessive maniacal feel to him, and although the enemies he drops are small fries like Vengefly, Baldurs, and Aspid Hunters they’re still a pain to deal with. His Ascendant version drops enemies like Armoured Squits, Sharp Elders, and Primal Aspids which are an absolute pain to deal with. Make sure to strategize and prioritize the enemies you have to deal with.

17. Markoth

Markoth - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Warrior Dream Boss

As with all Warrior Dream bosses, he’ll float around the arena as his weapons and abilities do the work. Markoth spawns nails randomly that aim straight for you – this happens every 1 to 2 seconds, so it’s hard to catch a break. He’ll be moving around with a dream shield that circles his body, so you’ll need to time your attack while avoiding his nail attack. 

He also performs a shield cyclone where his shield will speed up and increase its radius before finding its way back which makes for a great opening for attacks. The moment Markoth hits half health, his nail attacks will get faster and increase in intensity. He’ll also have a second shield orbital that sticks close to him while his shield cyclone move goes on. 

He’s probably the most complex Warrior Dream boss of them all. The Ascendant version will have you jumping around on five small platforms in the arena instead of the usual flat ground, which is an added difficulty.

16. Lost Kin

Lost Kin - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

Another version of the Broken Vessel, the Lost Kin is a faster version with more intense attacks compared to its previous version. Lost Kin brings in infection balloons that track you as you get nonstop attacks from the perpetrator himself. You’ll need to find time to hit the balloons to not get damaged while being aware enough to dodge any attacks from the Lost Kin.

He does have a couple of staggers which are markers that you’re progressing through the fight, so keep pushing on! He’s tough and a great introduction to future crazier bosses that don’t give you any sort of breaks in fights.

15. Watcher Knights

Watcher Knights - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

Each of the knights has a pretty simple move set that you can easily remember like a double forward slash or simply bouncing or rolling around the arena but everything becomes deadly when more knights enter the fight. Having to juggle multiple of these bosses as they bounce and roll around the arena can be difficult.

You’ll start with just one knight, but after that is defeated, you’ll be met with two, then three, and the list goes on. You could try leading them to one corner to hit them at once or manage them somehow, but ultimately these knights will end up doing what they want. Your skills will be tested here.

14. Hornet Sentinel

Hornet Sentinel - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Boss

Your second encounter with the mysterious Hornet is a little bit more painful than the first. She shows no mercy this time. But then again, you’re now fully equipped with all sorts of skills and she only has one additional attack to her arsenal, which is a strong parry. Aside from that, she gets a speed boost and a larger health pool, but that’s a natural course since this is supposed to showcase her full potential. 

This rematch is essentially a test to see if you’ve improved since your last fight with her. In the second phase of her battle, another move is introduced – floating spike traps. You’ll have to hit them with a swipe or else they’ll catch you unaware and cost you a life. What makes this fight fun is the constant attacks and adrenaline rush of being in another enhanced battle with an old foe.

13. Mantis Lords

Mantis Lords - Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Optional Boss

I think it’s only right to rank Mantis Lords right here. Mainly because it truly showcases Team Cherry’s intelligence in creating boss battles. The Mantis Lords’ fight is simple, but effectively deadly, which brings more amusement to me than anything. You’ll fight one Mantis Lord in the beginning, he shows you the ropes and basics of the fight.

Once defeated, the other two jump into battle and this is where the difficulty goes up. Their attacks are simple – dashing across the screen, slamming down from above, hanging from the side, and throwing boomerangs. They only appear on the screen when they’re attacking you, so you need to react fast. 

It’s amusing to see how you adapt to the change from one Mantis Lord to two. Beginners get to learn to react faster, veterans don’t have to waste time on underpowered enemies. It’s a win-win.

12. Soul Tyrant

Soul Tyrant - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

The Soul Tyrant is essentially an enhanced (more pissed off) version of the Soul Master, so you can expect to see some repetition in movements. But as usual, there are new aspects to the fight. He’s given a huge health boost, speed boost and his shockwaves are deadlier as they travel faster and are longer, making them harder to avoid.

Hopefully, you’ve got all the abilities you’ll need to survive, because this time, the Soul Tyrant is not playing around. And yes, you’ll need to put to use all of your abilities to fully beat this Hollow Knight boss. His movements are more frantic and you’ll likely find yourself playing catch up the first time you encounter him.

11. Radiance

Radiance - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Secret Final Boss

It is odd to place the original final boss of Hollow Knight in the top 15 rather than the top 10, but there are just so many quality bosses and fun fights that she has to be booted slightly lower. Absolute Radiance will do her justice though. In comparison with her Absolute version, she’s slower, and her attacks have fewer waves that don’t track the player’s movements too harshly.

This battle is crazy though, there’s just so much going on that it would be too much to fully explain (it deserves its own guide). Another painful challenge is that to get this far, you’ll need to get past the Hollow Knight. So every time you fail to end the boss, you’ll have to fight the Hollow Knight on repeat.

Overall though, this boss fight will leave you satisfied with a sense of completion. A great ending to a great game!

10. Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Main Boss

We’re finally getting to meet the titular Hollow Knight – the character that is quite literally the title of the game. He’s wrapped up in chains when you first meet him, and you’ll kind of wish he would remain in them once you start the fight. If you’re underprepared when you encounter him, you’re better off just handing him your head on a platter.

One of the main reasons people dislike the Hollow Knight is having to fight him every time they need a rematch with Radiance, especially after failing to beat Radiance in the first place. The Hollow Knight’s attacks consist of parrying, lunging at you, or a triple-slash. As the fight goes on, he adds in a double damage jump slam and pillars of infection coming up from the ground.

It gets interesting as the Hollow Knight’s body is taken over by the infection and he becomes a rag doll being thrown around in an attempt to beat you. But then, you can see him fighting back the infection by stabbing himself, as the fight continues and crescendos – this is not a fight you want to miss. It’s truly a beautifully heartbreaking battle. 

9. Paintmaster Sheo

Paintmaster Sheo - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Quest Boss

The strongest brother and the boss at the top of the pantheon, Paintmaster Sheo is here to show you how it’s done. His battle is rather unique, even if it’s not as complex as some on this list. The thing about this fight is that you can anticipate what attack Sheo is going to use by the color of the paint on his paintbrush.

Yellow is for a forward spear that covers a majority of the arena, blue means he will slam down and swing in an arc that causes globs of paint to rain down. Red means he’ll jump forward with paint globs bursting around him and magenta signals his great slash that will send more paint falling from above. 

Sheo can also roll away from you or jump forward to avoid you if you get too close. He has a wide range of attacks which makes his battle a fun one, especially since his tells are very obvious.

8. Failed Champion

Failed Champion - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

The Dream variant of the False Knight is everything the False Knight wishes it could be. The Failed Champion doesn’t add any new moves or attacks but rather amps everything it already knows how to do by 10. It showcases the full potential of the False Knight.

The Failed Champion zips across the arena at top speed, swinging his weapon with no hesitation. All of his attacks are relentless and set at lightning speed as he sends shockwaves and more infectious barrels falling from the sky. All this with double damage, which gives him so much more of a dangerous edge as you toy around on the edge of death. 

You should note that hitting his armor doesn’t grant you any soul so make sure to nail him when he’s down and be wary of his attacks as best you can.

7. Great Nailsage Sly

Great Nailsage Sly - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Quest Boss

Don’t underestimate this little guy, he’s cute but he’s deadly! When I first encountered him I truly didn’t know what to expect except for speed. Even so, Great Nailsage Sly is one of the more enjoyable one-on-one battles in the game. The most obvious thing you need to be wary of is his huge nail that covers a wide reach.

You need to gauge your distance and land in some attacks quickly before he zips away. Sly is also one of those Hollow Knight bosses that are contact sensitive, so he adapts his movements according to your location. He’s smart enough to combine certain sets of attacks based on his reach from you, which makes this one of the most interactive and intuitive battles in the game.

Most of his attacks are slashes, be it forward slashes, rolling slashes, or jump slashes. His reach is also far enough that he will likely be able to hit you if you don’t dodge.

6. Grey Prince Zote

Grey Prince Zote - Hollow Knight Bosses
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

Zote may be a pretty useless boss but this ‘dream’ version, Grey Prince Zote is a re-imagined version of his character by a devout fangirl and can be very annoying to fight. This battle is more of a structured joke than anything – he flails his nail around the arena, running from one end to the other frantically.

He even slips and falls occasionally, but the thing is, Zote’s dream version is strong enough to generate shockwaves and endanger you with his strength even if he messes up. He can also spit out smaller versions of himself that will hop, fly or explode near you that can be ended in one strike. 

His battle may be annoying, but that’s what makes it fun. Plus, seeing an oversized bug flail around an arena can be quite humorous.

5. Absolute Radiance

Absolute Radiance - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Final Boss of Godmaster

Absolute Radiance’s battle is nothing short of epic. It is the hardest, longest battle you will have to fight in all of Hollow Knight. This also means you will die countless times to be able to emerge victoriously.

But then again, to get to this boss, you’ll have to go through all of the Ascendants and reach the peak of the pantheon of Hellnest after defeating one boss after another. Getting here is a pain, defeating her is another pain. I won’t go into detail about this fight because it will take too long, and you should experience this special moment yourself. 

All you need to know is that this Hollow Knight boss fight consists of a lot of swords everywhere, light orbs that track you, radial light beams, giant waves of light, and a climb into the clouds, among other things. For the title of god amongst gods, you’ll have to push through this battle and come out on top.

4. White Defender

White Defender - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Hidden Boss

Do you remember our hilariously beloved Dung Defender? Well, he leveled up! The devs over at team Cherry took the Dung Defender fight and made him faster, with more health and an added poo wave attack. As a result, his fight lasts longer and will bring more amusement to your life.

The poo wave attack can’t be interrupted, so you’ll have to dodge the poop explosions coming out of the ground in waves as best you can. His other attacks remain the same as his basic form, except everything is faster and the damage dealt has significantly increased as well.

Overall, I just love this poo bug, no matter how disgusting the idea of a poop battle is, Sometimes, what makes a great boss is how entertaining they can be while posing a real threat.

3. Sisters of Battle

Sisters of Battle - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Quest Boss

The Sisters of Battle is the enhanced version of the Mantis Lords’ fight. Except that this time, you’ll be fighting three of them at once with a new attack move from the third Mantis – a slam attack.

The battle is now more fast-paced compared to the last, and you’ll find it harder to find time to heal as you dodge the barrage of attacks from your three enemies.

You’ll have to put up with this ongoing attack from all sides until you defeat at least one of them, which leads to a decrease in their attack speed. This then makes the fight easier and you’ll end everything in no time flat.

2. Pure Vessel

Pure Vessel - Hollow Knight
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Quest Boss

Quite literally the second hardest fight in the game, ranking right after Absolute Radiance in difficulty, Pure Vessel is one of the smoothest fights in the game. The lore that fills this character is part of what makes him one of the best bosses to take on, and if we’re rewarding extra points for being loved by many, he’s getting it all. 

The Pure Vessel is another version of the Hollow Knight, a version of him in his prime. As such, a lot of the Hollow Knight’s moves are replicated but made deadlier.

Pure Vessel is also more efficient in his movements, and he doesn’t have any infection taking over him. Instead, he shoots out white daggers and teleports around while bringing down giant swords from the sky in place of the infection attacks that Hollow Knight has.

Needless to say, this version has it all and will take your all to defeat.

1. Nightmare King Grimm

Nightmare King Grimm - Hollow Knight Bosses Ranked
Photo Credits: Team Cherry

Category: Optional Final Boss of The Grimm Troupe

I did mention Troupe Master Grimm as one of my favorite bosses in the game, right? So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise to see him at my number one spot. Nightmare King Grimm is exactly that, a nightmare. He keeps his wide range of attacks and moves with enhanced speed throughout the arena. 

His attacks are deadlier too, his flames reach further, his dashes leave a trail of fire, and his fire bats increase in number. Getting too close to him will make him teleport and throw in more attacks in an attempt to hurt you.

Grimm is also given one new airborne attack – if he teleports midair, he’ll spawn four pillars of flame in succession as he tracks your location with a damaging hitbox that persists after the pillar fades.

His aggressiveness in this fight increases tenfold, which is to be expected from the drama king himself. You’ll need to learn his attacks well and get into his rhythm or you’ll never succeed. With Grimm, you need to be comfortable with taking risks and that is what his battle pushes you to do.

Final Thoughts

You made it! This Hollow Knight bosses list was a long and satisfying process to make, and I understand if you have differing opinions. Either way, it’s fun to look back into this game once more and I hope that this list helped you even a tiny bit in your Hollow Knight journey. Remember, patience and perseverance is what will get you into the hall of fame, or at least, the title of Godmaster.

Feel free to sign off in our comments section and let us know which bosses you love going toe-to-toe with during your time playing Hollow Knight.

Enjoy this list? Check out a few of our other recent games you might enjoy:


  • Sarah Paul

    I dip my toes in all things nerdy. I started writing and never looked back! I'll write about anything under the sun if you give me the chance, but my loyalty currently lies with nerd culture.

Sarah Paul

Written by Sarah Paul

I dip my toes in all things nerdy. I started writing and never looked back! I'll write about anything under the sun if you give me the chance, but my loyalty currently lies with nerd culture.

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  1. Nice article. I’ve found that the best bosses are those that feel like duels, though the NKG is an exception to this, which is less of a duel and more of a dance, though still one of my favorite bosses.

    Grey Prince Zote to me is probably the only poorly designed boss that’s hard (the easy bosses not being so much poorly designed, just beginner friendly) since he has way too much RNG. He honestly shouldn’t be in the pantheon imo.

    Pure Vessel is hands down my favorite (though yet to face Abs Rad yet). It was honestly great seeing him at his prime, given that I felt so sorry for him in the actual fight in his infected form, who I didn’t even want to fight given his condition. So, fighting Pure Vessel for the first time was something special because I had up until then always wondered what he’d be like in peak condition, and I didn’t even know that the fight with him was possible until I fought him for the first time at the end of P4. Probably my happiest first-time defeat from any boss in any video game. Beating him for the first time was just as great because out of any boss, he is the most dynamic and challenging, yet also the fairest, as there’s little RNG involved, at least to me (except for when you stagger him and his giant head falls on you and takes off two masks ._.).

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