Ornstein and Smough from Dark Souls.

Dark Souls: How to Beat Ornstein and Smough

Double the challenge, double the satisfaction.

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Rhett Roxl is a professional writer who has been gaming for as long as he can remember. He merged both passions together to become a writer in the game industry in 2020.

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

When fighting Ornstein and Smough, be sure to take out Ornstein first for an easier time. Focus all of your attacks on him during the first phase. That said, never let Smough out of your sight. Learn when to dodge his attacks, then return your focus to Ornstein.

Smough is easy to deal with in the second phase without Ornstein hounding you.

Ornstein and Smough are two bosses you fight at once in Dark Souls. This boss fight is notorious for being one of the hardest encounters in the game, if not the entire series. Don’t worry, though—there may be two of them, but they still can’t overpower the Chosen Undead.

Table Of Contents

    Dark Souls: How to Beat Ornstein and Smough Video Guide

    Preparing for Ornstein & Smough in Dark Souls

    In Dark Souls, Ornstein and Smough are not pushovers. They are tough enemies individually, and they’re even tougher as they fight you together. You will need to be at the right level and your weapon needs to be strong enough to fight both of these powerful enemies effectively.

    That being said, it is recommended that you get to somewhere between levels 40 and 60 (or higher) before you challenge Ornstein and Smough. If they’re still too tough, try getting up to level 70. Your weapon should also be at least +8 (or your weapon path’s equivalent) to do meaningful damage to them.

    The First Phase of the Ornstein and Smough Boss Fight

    Now, for the boss fight itself.

    One thing you have to know about this fight is that when one of the duo dies, the other will absorb the fallen one’s powers, restoring his health, giving him more abilities, and increasing his size. The surviving enemy essentially becomes a “super” version of himself. That being said, it’s best to focus all of your attacks on one of them throughout the first phase of the fight.

    It is highly recommended that you focus on Ornstein first. Super Smough is easier to deal with the Super Ornstein. You want Smough to survive the first phase of this fight so you’ll have an easier time during the second phase.

    Dealing With Ornstein

    Remember, throughout the first phase, you want to focus all of your attacks on Ornstein. He is swift and agile. His charges allow him to close in on you fast. This is also ideal because it allows you to have an opening to fight him one-on-one, even for just a little bit.

    During the first phase, keep your sights on Ornstein, run away from him, and wait for him to close in on you. Smough takes a while to catch up.

    With that out of the way, take note of how to dodge his attacks and when to attack him in return.

    One of the attacks Ornstein does most is his thrust attack.

    Ornstein performing the thrust attack on the Chosen Undead.

    You can easily avoid this by dodging to his right. Land an attack or two of your own afterward.

    Ornstein will also swing his spear at you vertically and horizontally. He can chain this up to four times. You can dodge his first swing to his right or left, then make your way behind him if he continues the combo. You can then land attacks of your own from here.

    Ornstein doing a swipe attack at the Chosen Undead.

    He will also occasionally jump in the air before slamming his spear on the ground. Once again, dodge to his right or left before attacking him.

    Ornstein hovering in the air in front of the Chosen Undead.

    If you’re out of melee range from Ornstein, he will charge at you before thrusting and swiping his spear in your direction as he gets close enough. Be prepared to dodge as soon as he reaches your position.

    Ornstein charging towards the Chosen Undead.

    Ornstein has one ranged attack. This is when he fires a lightning bolt at you with his spear. The casting time for this is obvious and the lightning bolt travels relatively slowly, giving you ample time to dodge the electric projectile.

    Ornstein throwing a lightning bolt at the Chosen Undead.

    Dealing With Smough

    During the first phase of the fight, it’s best to only keep an eye on Smough. Learn how to dodge his attacks (this will also come in handy during the second phase of this boss fight). Don’t bother landing attacks on him. Remember, you want to eliminate Ornstein first. After dodging Smough’s attacks, get away from him and return your focus to Ornstein.

    Smough is slow, but his attacks hit hard. While keeping your sights locked on Ornstein, be sure you can also still see Smough. That way, you can keep tabs on how close he is to you.

    One of the most common attacks he does is when he charges at you while he holding his hammer in front of himself. He ends this charge by swinging his hammer upward.

    Smough charging towards the Chosen Undead.

    You can avoid this attack by rolling toward either side of Smough, or you can use the pillars in the arena and put one of them between you and the chunky boss. This will cause Smough to hit the pillar instead of you.

    Even a broken pillar will block this attack. With that said, be careful, as Smough’s hitbox can sometimes awkwardly slide around pillars—broken or not.

    When Smough is close enough to you, he can do a double-swipe attack. This is when he swings his hammer at you horizontally twice. You can avoid this attack by dodging toward Smough and immediately running behind him.

    Smough swiping his hammer at the Chosen Undead.

    He can also bring his hammer over his head before smashing it down on you. Once again, this attack is slow—like most of Smough’s maneuvers. You can avoid it by running away to his side or dodge-rolling backward twice.

    Smough smashing the ground in front of the Chosen Undead.

    On occasion, Smough will hold his hammer in the air for a couple of seconds before slamming it on the ground. Take no chances here. Run away from Smough’s position as fast as you can.

    A worse version of the previous attack, Smough sometimes hovers in the air before slamming the ground rear-first (known to most as the butt-slam). Use the same approach here: run away from Smough.

    Getting Through the Second Phase With Smough

    Smough powering up for phase two of a boss fight in Dark Souls.

    Once you finally take Ornstein out of the picture, the worst part of the boss fight is over. It’s time to take on Smough—one-on-one. He pretty much retains the attacks he had during phase one. He is also equally slow. The only difference this time is that his hammer is now infused with lightning from absorbing Ornstein.

    One attack you should also watch out for is when he hovers in the air and slams the ground rear-first (butt-slam). This attack now causes a surge of electricity to burst outward from him. As soon as you spot him hovering while covered in electricity, run away from him as fast as you can.

    Other than that, avoid him as you normally would and attack him after he misses a strike against you. You’ll put him down in no time.

    Getting Through the Second Phase With Ornstein

    Ornstein powering up for phase two of a boss fight in Dark Souls.

    If you somehow eliminated Smough first and don’t want to repeat the entire encounter, don’t worry. You can still deal with the enhanced version of Ornstein.

    The first change you’ll immediately see is Ornstein’s size. Due to absorbing Smough’s powers, Ornstein will become bigger. While this seems intimidating, this also means he becomes slower. He also has a new blindspot you can take advantage of: you can remain at his feet and constantly attack him from here.

    Ornstein retains all of his attacks from the first phase, but he gains two new ones. First, he does an impale attack. This is when he charges up his spear before thrusting it at you. This will cause you to be impaled by his spear, causing a tremendous amount of damage. Be sure to dodge away from Ornstein by rolling to the side or rolling under the big boss.

    His second new attack is gained from Smough. He will now do Smough’s butt-slam attack, which also causes a surge of electricity to burst from around him when he slams the ground. Run away from Ornstein when he does this.

    Remember, Ornstein’s attacks now deal more damage, but he is also slower. Take advantage of this. You already know how to dodge his attacks. Now you have wider windows to attack him back.

    Rewards for Defeating Ornstein & Smough

    If you defeated Ornstein first and fought the enhanced version of Smough, you’ll receive:

    • Soul of Smough
    • 50,000 Souls

    If you ended up fighting Ornstein during the second phase, you get the following instead:

    • Soul of Ornstein
    • 50,000 Souls
    • Leo Ring

    You can also purchase the armor set of the enemy you defeated last from Domhnall of Zena when he heads to Firelink Shrine.

    Ornstein and Smough are both strong opponents in Dark Souls, but when you finally defeat them, it’s an incredibly rewarding feeling. Be sure to come prepared. Equip a powerful weapon such as the Claymore and level it up enough so you can be fully prepared for this fight.

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