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

      08 Jun 2021 22:47  

      On the PS5 this boss is actually difficult because that fog will insta kill you. First run on a PS4 I went in with no research and killed him 2nd try.

      • Anonymous

        04 Jun 2021 14:15  

        Cannot even be called a boss. How the freaking hell can a boss be killed in his sleep? Lousiest boss of all time.

        • 27 May 2021 05:32  

          Ome of the most visually stunning bosses I've ever witnessed. He's kind of a breather boss if you know how to exploit his weakness, but it's still so much fun to take on this guy.

          • Anonymous

            17 May 2021 10:29  

            my first playthrough and new to DS games, it was nearly as easy as the deacons of the deep. just rush his wrists with a big 2H weapon. After the abyss watchers this was a cake.

            • Anonymous

              09 May 2021 17:57  

              One of those bosses where everything about it is good, except for the part where you fight him. His design is sick, his music is sick, the terror factor is sick... but he barely has any attacks and goes down in so little time

              • High Lord Wolnir [DKS3 Wiki]05 May 2021 17:11  

                These are cross-posted comments on a wiki page.

                • Anonymous

                  05 May 2021 15:29  

                  anyone know what the loot you see in his area is? I forgot to pick it up
                  I guess I'll see in the next cycle

                  • Anonymous

                    15 Apr 2021 15:08  

                    Raw +5 drang hammers, GG2EZ

                    The game literally outfits you for a 30 second fight and the easiest dungeon so far. Drang hammers are lightly OP against skellybones

                    • Anonymous

                      07 Apr 2021 02:20  

                      by any chance is this guy gravelord nitos dad they share a lot of things in common has a army of skeletons is a skeleton himself and seems to have some mist that surrounds him like nitos cloak I'm sorry but i cant help but see the resemblance between them

                      • Anonymous

                        25 Mar 2021 04:17  

                        For the good ending in this fight kill him without breaking the shackles. If you break the shackles wolnirs only sense of comfort is gone as he is consumed by the abyss if you kill him “dont break” then its more merciful than leaving him in constant fear

                        • Anonymous

                          25 Feb 2021 20:33  

                          Since I'm replaying, I had kind of an odd idea regarding Wolnir and the Four Kings, at least thematically.

                          Both are fought in an Abyss, obviously, but more than that, they're both fundamentally separate from this Abyss. By destroying Wolnir's gold bands—the symbols of his lordship—he's violently dragged into the depths of this Abyss, which promptly dissipates, leaving the player back in the catacombs. The Four Kings don't exactly share these weak points, but they do possess one other symbol: a shard of Gwyn's Soul. Upon defeating them, a special cutscene even plays, showing one of them screaming before sinking into the darkness and disintegrating. After which, the "Abyss" becomes benign, allowing you to walk freely even without the Covenant of Artorias.

                          What's more, Wolnir's crown details how he subjugated four kingdoms, then ground their crowns and reassembled them as one. In the case of the Four Kings, they all share one Lord Soul shard granted by Gwyn, as if united as one. (This may also allude to the four crowns of Drangleic, but that may not be entirely unrelated to the Four Kings, either.)

                          So my thought is, we know fire and darkness are opposites representing disparity, so what if for an Abyss to even exist, the host has to represent light in some way? Otherwise, they would be completely consumed by it, and the Abyss would disappear anyway.

                          He may not be important to the story, but I really like that even Wolnir can make you stop and wonder sometimes.

                          • Anonymous

                            20 Feb 2021 21:27  

                            Does the "high" in his title mean that he has a high position of power or he just happened to be high when we encounter him at the end of the catacombs?

                            • 08 Feb 2021 21:34  

                              This fight is, in essence, a race against time. When he crawls up the arena he brings the dark fog with him, making the space you can fight in smaller. When you destroy an armlet you knock him and the darkness back, buying yourself more time.
                              That said, I honestly don't see this fight as a poorly designed boss but rather a cleverly designed one.

                              • Anonymous

                                25 Jan 2021 03:21  

                                I hate this boss so much. Go too far away suddenly he's up your ass blasting his insta kill smoke, too close and suddenly you can't see a single ****ing attack he's doing. And nothing's more lazy than just having a boss summon ****, now you're rather getting ganked by skellies or ass blasted by a big boney hand. Even if you are far away so many of his attacks go so far up in the air they ****ing disappear from your view before you can dodge him, and his hand keeps going through the wall so you can't even hit him at a certain point.

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