High Lord Wolnir

General Info
hp.jpg souls.jpg Location
15,041 22,000 Catacombs of Carthus
Drops Soul of High Lord Wolnir
Weak Resistant Immune
Blessed Weapons, Bracelets

Dark Dark

PoisonPoison & Toxic

Bleed Bleed
Frost Frost

 High Lord Wolnir is a boss enemy in Dark Souls 3. This colossal skeleton is imbued with deadly darkness and commands an army of skeletons to his defense.


High Lord Wolnir Information

  • There is no NPC summons available for Lord Wolnir's Boss Fight.
  • You can summon Phantoms before the doors but not in the room with the Goblet
  • Not optional: must be defeated in order to traverse further into Irithyll of the Boreal Valley.



  • Catacombs of Carthus, at the very end, up the stairs past the suspension bridge.
  • You need to touch the goblet on the altar in front of the stairs in order to trigger a cut scene and be transported in the arena.



  • Souls: NG (22000), NG+ (86,000), NG++ (96800), NG+3 (99000), NG+4 (105,600), NG+6 (110,000), NG+7 (112,200)
  • Other: Soul of High Lord Wolnir
  • Pickup in arena: Grave Warden Pyromancy Tome. If you didn't pick it up, it will spawn in the corner of the room with the bonfire next to the stairs.


Combat Information

  • Health: NG (15041), NG+ (27752), NG++ (30527), NG+3 (31915), NG+4 (33302), NG+5 (36078), NG+6 (37465), NG+7 (38853)
  • Deals Standard Damage and Dark Damage. Permanent cloud dealing dark damage coming out of his ribcage. Getting caught in this almost guarantees instant death.
  • Weak to weapons with the Blessed infusion and weapons that deal extra damage to Abyssal foes. (Farron Greatsword, Wolf Knight’s Greatsword, Anri's Straight Sword). Also weak to Strike damage.
  • Very high defense against Dark Damage
  • Immune to Frostbite and Bleed 
  • Resistant to Poison and Toxic
  • May spawn a sword at any time (no bracelets are required to be broken).
  • He will move towards you if you go too far away. After doing this 3-5 times you'll be trapped against the wall and vulnerable to his dark cloud aura. However, he pulls back a good distance every time you break one of his shackles.



Video Strategies

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Strategy 1 (Melee)

Wolnir is a deceptive boss to fight. On the one hand, he can be very easy if you know how to beat him, but conversely he has several attacks that can kill you very quickly. The key to the fight is breaking the shackles on his wrists. He has a huge pool of HP and while it's perfectly possible to kill him without breaking the shackles, it's not advisable. Each shackle breaking takes 1/3rd of his HP away.

When you enter the fight, make a bee-line for his right hand (your left). This shackle is the hardest to break as he moves this arm a lot and only attacks with it when he has his sword in play. Take a strong weapon and two hand it to deal maximum damage. He tends to keep his right arm near to his rib cage which Is covered with a localised dark cloud. Be careful when attacking this shackle as you can easily take damage from the cloud. If he somehow manages to get you cornered in the other side of the arena, don't be afraid to go nuts on the other shackles in an attempt to force him back.

Once you have broken the right shackle, move to the left hand and continue trying to break the other shackles. When you've broken a shackle, Wolnir will start summoning skeletons of varying stature, from regular skeleton soldiers all the way up to bonewheels. You can largely ignore these enemies as his Melee attacks will normally kill them. Only engage them if they're likely to do any damage to you. Focus instead on the shackles.

He spawns different skeletons depending on how many bracelents he has remaining. All bracelets: 3-4 normal skeletons, 2 bracelets he will spawn 3-4 normal skeletons and 2-3 bonewheel skeletons, and with 1 bracelet remaining he will spawn 2 murakumo wielding skeletons, 2 wheel skeletons and 5 normal skeletons. His normal attacks can harm the summoned skeletons and he usually kills most of them quickly. This phase can be avoided altogether if you manage to kill him quickly.

During the fight, if he lifts his head right up, run to the back of the boss room as he is about to breathe his dark cloud attack. This will deal enormous amounts of damage very quickly to you. Once he's done this attack, he'll claw his way closer to the back of the room. When he's as far up as he can go, the breath becomes a major issue. Instead of running to the back wall which will still result in death, run between his head and his ribs. The cloud attack moves forwards from his mouth, not backwards. There's only a small sweet spot where you won't take damage so be careful.

Lastly, when he brings his sword out, roll under the swipes to avoid taking damage. When he dismisses it, he will smash it into the ground and cause an AoE attack. This does physical damage and is largely unavoidable, so when you see him go to stab it into the ground use a 100% physical damage reduction shield. It'll stagger you, but you'll not take damage from the AoE.


Strategy 2 (Magic)

Start by moving towards Wolnir to prevent him pushing you against the back wall early on. Proceed to target Wolnir's golden bracelets (either side) and move in close, hit him a few times with a Farron Flashsword or Soul Greatsword then back off as he will attack now. Roll back to dodge his attacks then simply attack his bracelets once he places his hands back down.

Quickly target the next bracelet and get some good hits in (run up and Farron Flashsword/Soul Greatsword or Heavy/Great Soul Arrow from a distance) then be prepared for his next attack (watch carefully for his deadly breath attack, get as far away as possible to avoid it) while avoiding the skeletons that have now spawned. Wait until Wolnir wipes the skeletons away and continue the onslaught from afar or close-up. Rinse thoroughly and repeat. 


Strategy 3 (Sorcery with White Dragon Breath on NG+)

All you need is the spell White Dragon Breath and your standard Sorcerer equipment. When you enter the room, run to the far right side and target his left (your right) hand. Position yourself so that his bracelet is between you and the white target dot and cast WDB when his arm is down. After 2 full hits the bracelet shatters, rinse & repeat with the remaining ones. If you are quick enough he won't spawn a single enemy, the whole fight you see in the video above was over in 60 sec. Sadly this only works on NG+ because you get WDB later in the game.

Alternatively, you can do early Dancer and Oceiros and transpose Oceiros' soul, this wil enable this strategy on NG.


Strategy 4 (Pestilent Mist)

Using Pestilent Mist you can kill Wolnir without him ever waking up, to do so, start the fight as normal, walk up on his left (your right) hand and start casting Pestilent mist, do not attack him by any other means and you can kill him in about 5 uses of pestilent mist.


Strategy 5 (Pyromancy)

With Great Chaos Fire Orb and +Pyromancy rings (Great Swamp RingWitch's Ring and Fire Clutch Ring) you can use both the initial damage burst as well as the short-lingering lava to break the shackles with little to no effort. As you enter the room, grab the tome and head to the left side of the room. Attack and break his right (your left) bangle before you move to the others since it's the hardest to hit and keep track of. Once you break that bangle, it's very likely he will either crawl up the hill or raise his head up to use his cursed breath attack. Just stay back and make your way to the right side of the room to his left hand and repeat the process on the remaining bangles. If he summons skeletons, your Great Chaos Fire Orb will make short work of them. Once you break 2 bangles, they become much stronger, so take out his right hand first! Make sure to dodge the hand strikes and move away from Wolnir's sword as well as his fist strikes and swipes and you are home free!

Strategy 6 (Poison Cheese)

Acquire a Storyteller's Staff from one of the Corvian Storytellers on the Road of Sacrifices and re-allocate all or most of your charges to your Ashen Estus Flask. Then either level up or respec to at least 12 Intelligence to wield the staff. Upon the first time entering the fight, walk to your right and approach his left arm off to the side. Use the storyteller's staff's weapon art until he is poisoned and repeat when it wears off, restoring FP from your ashen estus flask as necessary. This can be repeated until he is dead but you cannot use this strat if he's "awake" either by attacking him directly or getting too close to his face. This is similar to using Pestilent Mist except that it can be performed with far less INT at the expense of needing to get the staff which may take a while to drop. Excellent for low level builds attempting to get past the catacombs.

Strategy 7 (Lightning Storm NG+)

Two point-blank casts are needed of Lightning Storm to pop off each bracelet, and the spell is also great at clearing skeletons when they spawn. Treat this like a melee strat as you need to get in close to each bracelet. Tested on NG+ with 60 Faith, Canvas Talisman +10, Lightning Clutch Ring, Morne's Ring, and Ring of the Sun's First Born.


Attack Name Attack Description
Dark Cloud Raises and releases a dark damage smoke cloud from his mouth that does heavy damage per second.
Has a safe spot under his head which, unlike running away, is much less likely to trigger him to move forward. Be careful of moving too far forward or to either side and hitting the cloud around his ribcage.
Summon skeletons Summons a group of skeletons using his left hand. He spawns different skeletons depending on how many bracelets he has remaining. His normal attacks can harm the summoned skeletons and he usually kills most of them quickly.
Sword summon Invokes a gigantic sword from the ground using his right hand and swipes it towards you. He can unsummon the sword by sticking it into the ground, when this happens it deals AOE damage.
Crawl Advances towards the player if he is too far to attack. Usually does this right after releasing the smoke cloud to push the player towards the back wall.
Hand slam Slams his hand down on the player with substantial tracking.
Hand swipe Sweeps the arena with his left arm, threatening damage over a large area.


Lore Theories

  • Wolnir does not seem to be in control of the Abyss that he is in and instead fears it, as once the bracelets are destroyed, he is devoured by the darkness.
  • "When Wolnir fell to the Abyss, he was gripped by a fear of true darkness, and pleaded to the gods for the first time. This holy sword, together with three armlets stripped from the corpses of clerics, gave him some semblance of comfort." - Wolnir's Holy Sword.
  • Leaks from quality assurance testers of the alpha version suggest that Wolnir was originally going to play the role of Yhorm the Giant - using that name - in The Profaned Capital. with Yhorm the Giant playing the role of Gundyr - using that name - in The Cemetery of Ash - (credit darksouls3theorist).



Notes & Trivia

  • Exploit: If you run all the way back after you enter the area, Wolnir will follow you until it can no longer do so. Head to either side and stay near Wolnir's wrists, and then continue to attack his bracelets. None of his attacks will hit you, although the skeletons he summons will still target you.
  • The band on his right hand (your left) is harder to hit as Wolnir doesn't leave it down as long. Thus, it's recommended to break that one first during the easier part of the fight.
  • He takes much more damage on his bracelets before waking up (first one was two swings of a fire broadsword+2, others were 6 or so).
  • From footage of older trailer Wolnir was apparently meant to be in a different place, or have a different arena.
  • When Wolnir is asleep, his HP is lower by about 2/3, comparing to state, when he is not asleep.
  • Pestilent Mist does not wake him up, what makes him very easy to kill.
  • Killing Wolnir with at least 1 remaining bracelet will trigger different death animation.
  • Oddly, if the player instantly follows Wolnir once he is killed, they will simply see a wall where the Abyss is supposed to be; Wolnir simply disappears.





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    • Anonymous

      25 Oct 2020 00:45  

      I just cant kill him because of the sword explosion, he just instant kill me and i can't do anything to dodge. And in the video he don't pick his sword.

      • Anonymous

        13 Oct 2020 03:37  

        Stupidly easy or virtually impossible, depending on the RNG that day. That is the worst thing about boss battles in this game, too reliant on RNG. All bosses have a this caveat of either spamming ultra-lethal attacks or spamming the easy "now's your chance to hit me" attacks over and over. Many of the harder bosses I've slain only died because the RNG told them to use the lame attacks on that particular occasion.

        • Anonymous

          02 Sep 2020 21:57  

          can't see anything in this fight. attacks coming from off screen. they really hit rock bottom when designing boss fights for this game. just awful game design.

          • Anonymous

            24 Aug 2020 04:02  

            I had a hard time doing the old demon king at smouldering lake, and when i succeded, got back up for this guy. I went to see his patterns, and get a feel from him, didn't know his strenghts and weaknesses. As he appeared, i locked on his arm, hit it, a braclet broke up, and he lost a lot of life. So i did it on the second braclet, and same thing, so i went for the left arm then. I raised his head and seemingly did something, but i smashed the third braclet. I used 2 estus, and was puzzled by how easy it was, after the other guy. I came on the wiki to figure what went on, and it seems that by pure luck i did the recommanded strat (going for right hand first, then left, and staying between his head and his ribcage when he attacks with his cloud), so i never saw the skelettons he's supposed to summon, nor did i notice the toxic cloud. I lost a few hit points to something, but did not see what, and the fight was over in less than 1 minute! (im SL 60, perhaps i did too many other things prior to coming here?)
            Anyway that was the easiest boss fight until now. Some where easier than others, but all posed me some difficulty (except the mini boss demon whith onion knight, he aggro'd him and i hit it hard in the back and it fell pretty quick, but this was because of the help of onion guy).
            All in all not a bad thing, after some tough fights, i just want to open up the map a bit, and explore :)

            • Anonymous

              30 Jun 2020 22:16  

              I had this weird thing happen today. I was coming into the room with the chalice, and instead of picking it up and fighting Wolnir I jumped around and smashed most of the pots on the left side. Then I went back out to the bridge because I hadn't cut it down, and when I came, an army of skeletons was running towards me from the catacombs! Probably 15 - 20 or something. Some of them fell down, but most of them made it over the bridge and I had to fight them. I haven't been able to replicate it now after I've beaten Wolnir, so I don't know if it's a one-off thing or if it only happens if you haven't beaten/fought Wolnir yet. Has this happened to anyone else?

              • Anonymous

                28 Jun 2020 04:35  

                HIGH LORD WOLNIR, THE TERRIFYING BEHEMOTH SKELETON WHO WAS DRAGGED INTO THE ABYS- hey ouch no stop hitting my wrists I have arthritis

                • Anonymous

                  19 Jun 2020 19:58  

                  I was just summoned into this fight, and we destroyed the last right and left bracelets at the same time. It only did the damage of one bracelet being broken, and we had to kill him without any bracelet help. Don't do this.

                  • Anonymous

                    14 Jun 2020 15:22  

                    He represents what happened to the bearer of the curse player in Dark Souls 2 after the three crowns DLC, another subtle nod by Miyazaki to indicate that DS2 is the least enjoyable of all souls games

                    • Anonymous

                      02 Jun 2020 23:58  

                      in my opinion this boss is easier than the deacons of the deep, everytime i fight him i just beat him on the very first try by just going for the harder hand first (the right hand) since he is easier at the start of the fight, and then attacking his left hand which is easier to attack since it is positioned way further in front of him, this makes things more balanced, literally everytime i fought him i just killed him on the first time, and i'm on my third playthrough, let alone the lots of ng+ that i also did

                      • Anonymous

                        20 May 2020 04:14  

                        I personally recommend going for the left arm (your right) you'll be able to sneak up on him and if you use the Fume Ultra Great sword it should shatter it quickly depending on the level of said sword

                        • Anonymous

                          11 May 2020 23:05  

                          There are two ways how this fight might go. Either you cheese Wolnir or he cheeses you. Seriously, it happened more than enough times that when I attacked his Right arm (where only one bracelet is) that he somehow pushed me into his ribcage and I died because of the abyssal fog. And whenever that happens it's guaranteed to kill me because once I'm stuck, I can't escape anymore because it has collision and I can't roll out. Thanks Wolnir for being one of the bosses I always hate to die to because you are so easy yet so fatal for the wrong reasons.

                          • Anonymous

                            25 Apr 2020 20:14  

                            I feel Stupid i was so worried about learning his attacks that i was scared to go Ham took me dying like 5 times before i realized i could just wreck his bracelets and win and start P2 . . . only there was no P2 #SadBio

                            • Anonymous

                              21 Apr 2020 02:28  

                              I was scared*****less when i saw him but than i just slapt him like 4 times and he just died It was kind of dissapointing

                              • Anonymous

                                19 Apr 2020 14:00  

                                Is there a max brightness cheat tool thing like there is in DS1? I've no problem beating him whatsoever, but i'm curious to see how big his cave is

                                • Anonymous

                                  21 Mar 2020 10:44  

                                  Resistent to poison while you can kill him with Pestilent Mist or Poison Mist without him waking up ... Interesting ...

                                  • Anonymous

                                    19 Feb 2020 19:43  

                                    Why the hell wont his rings break? I can break the two left ones, but the right hand one never breaks even after I’ve hit it a hundred times

                                    • Anonymous

                                      16 Feb 2020 18:56  

                                      I think the fight could be fixed easily by giving the bracelets a lot more health, reduce the damage from poison clouds, and maybe add less skeletons each spawn.

                                      • Anonymous

                                        13 Feb 2020 22:16  

                                        Wolnir: so, what do you say? Unkindled: nito did it. Wolnir: excuse you? Unkindled: the sleeping in the dark thing. Nito did it. Wolnir: hold on a sec... Patches: yeah, after conquering the dragons and stuff. Wolnir: but... Unkindled: AFTER he built a huge catacomb, like you did here. Nito 2: but wait! He destroyed his catacombs! Patches: yeah, well, this is a better built catacomb. Nito 2: so it's completely different! Unkindled: yeah, about as different as you are from nito. Patches: SHOTS FIRED!

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