The Nailmasters in Hollow Knight.

Hollow Knight: The Nailmasters

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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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Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

The Nailmasters in Hollow Knight are hulking yet calm figures. Approaching them will grant you Nail Arts, giving your melee attack more versatility and power. There are three of them in the game. Here’s where you can find them.

Table Of Contents

    Nailmaster Oro

    The Knight speaking to Nailmaster Oro in Hollow Knight.

    You can find Nailmaster Oro in the southeastern section of Kingdom’s Edge. Once you reach the bottom area of the massive chasm in this level, you must simply continue heading east and you’ll stumble upon Nailmaster Oro’s hut.

    Nailmaster Oro's location marked on the map.

    To learn Nailmaster Oro’s Nail Art, you must give him 800 Geos. He’s the only Nailmaster in the game who will ask for Geo in return for the skill. Once obliged, you’ll learn the Dash Slash Nail Art.

    This Nail Art is done by holding the attack button and releasing it at the end of a dash.

    Nailmaster Mato

    The Knight interacting with Nailmaster Mato.

    Nailmaster Oro is located in the northern section of the Howling Cliffs. In this section, simply stick to the bottom until you see a spike pit. To the right of the pit, you’ll find a narrow walkway. Proceed here and you’ll see Mato’s hut.

    Nailmaster Mato's location marked on the map.

    Head inside and interact with him. He’ll gladly teach the Cyclone Slash Nail Art to you.

    You can perform this Nail Art by holding the attack button and releasing it while holding either up or down. You can prolong the attack by repeatedly pressing the attack button while the Knight is spinning.

    Nailmaster Sheo

    The Knight meeting Nailmaster Sheo.

    Nailmaster Sheo has found his home in Greenpath. His location is by far the most complicated one to get to. You’ll need to use Crystal Heart and cross a long cavern filled with spikes and Durandoos.

    Sheo's location in Greenpath marked on the map.

    After interacting with Nailmaster Sheo, he’ll teach the Great Slash Nail Art. This is done by simply holding the attack button and releasing it while standing still.

    Becoming a Nailmaster

    After receiving all three Nail Arts from the Nailmasters, the Knight can then become a Nailmaster himself. After meeting the aforementioned requirement, you must simply head to Sly’s shop in Dirtmouth where you’ll then have access to his basement.

    Head down and proceed to meet Sly here. Sly will then be revealed as the Great Nailsage, the one who taught all three Nailmasters everything they know. He’ll gift you the Nailmaster’s Glory charm, thus proclaiming you as a Nailmaster from then on.

    The Knight interacting with Sly at his basement in Dirtmouth.

    Defeating the Nailmasters

    While you don’t get the chance to fight the Nailmasters in the base game, you do actually end up clashing with them in the Godmaster DLC. The Nailmasters stand at the end of the first three pantheons, which are named in honor of them, making them the final obstacles in these challenges.

    Brothers Oro & Mato

    Brothers Oro and Mato from Hollow Knight.

    Brothers Oro & Mato are the last bosses of the Pantheon of the Master. When you begin the fight, you’ll only need to deal with Oro. His attacks are as follows:

    • Double Slash Attack – Oro will swing his Nail at you twice. Once horizontally, and the next one vertically. He shifts ever so slightly forward while slashing so make sure you’re out of his reach. Better yet, jump over him and stand behind him. This is the perfect place for you to attack him.
    • Downward Slash Attack – Oro will leap into the air, hover for a second, and slash his Nail downwards as he drops to the ground. Simply dash towards him so that you’ll be positioned behind him as he lands. If your positioning is right, you can land one Abyss Shriek at him while he’s in the air, and continue attacking him with melee as he lands.
    • Dash Slash – This is the same Nail Art Oro taught you. As soon as you see him charging up, be prepared to jump as this is the cue that he’s about to perform the Dash Slash attack.

    Once you damage Nailmaster Oro enough, Nailmaster Mato will then join the fight and you’ll need to fight both of them at the same time.

    Nailmaster Mato employs the same attacks, except for one: his own Nail Art. That said, when you see Mato charging up, dash away from him. Once he performs the Cyclone Slash, he’ll move slightly towards you before ascending upwards. Once he reaches his peak height, he’ll then perform a Downward Slash Attack.

    The brothers will attack you alternatively. However, if you somehow get stuck in between them, they’ll both attack you at the same time. Make sure to avoid this position. Always stay in front or behind both of them. This is also a great way of dealing damage to them simultaneously with your spell.

    Don’t bother focusing on one Nailmaster during this fight. Attack whoever you can. Once one falls, the battle will become easier.

    Paintmaster Sheo

    Paintmaster Sheo from Hollow Knight.

    Paintmaster Sheo is the last boss of the Pantheon of the Artist. All of Sheo’s attacks are incorporated by paint blobs that can also damage you, making his melee attacks have some sort of ranged effect. Each of his attacks is also marked by specific paint colors. Here are his attacks:

    • Paint Splash – Sheo will slam his paintbrush on the ground sending three blue paint blobs into the air and towards the ground in a parabolic trajectory. If you remain a few steps away from him, you’ll avoid his melee attack and you’ll be able to see the direction the paint blobs go, making it easy to dodge them. You should be able to dodge towards the paint without getting damaged with your Shade Cloak. Land your attacks once you get close to him after dashing.
    • Aerial Paint Splash – Sheo will jump into the air and splash his paintbrush from there, sending red paint blobs to the ground. Once again, if you remain at an acceptable distance, you should be able to determine where the paint blobs will land. Be sure to stay away from Sheo’s landing location as paint will splash around him as he reaches the ground. Hit him with a spell from a distance.
    • Paint Spear – Sheo winds up by placing his brush behind his head before thrusting it forward, sending yellow paint across the arena in a spear-like pattern. As soon as you spot the cue, jump immediately. This attack covers a wide area of the whole arena so it’s safer to move vertically instead of dashing away.
    • Great Slash – Sheo charges up while a white aura flares up from the ground around him. Just a few moments after this, he will slam his paintbrush forward, sending multiple pink paint blobs into the air, all over the arena, and back into the ground. It can be hard to spot where the blobs will land since their ascent will always go beyond the screen. The best thing to do is to remain mobile on the ground while being mindful of everything that drops from above so you can dodge at the right moment.

    Do your best to land your attacks after every dodge. A couple of melee hits and spells should suffice. Sheo will get staggered after receiving enough damage. This should give you time to restore up to two masks. Keep at it and you’ll defeat the Paintmaster in no time.

    Great Nailsage Sly

    Great Nailsage Sly from Hollow Knight.

    Great Nailsage Sly is the final boss of the Pantheon of the Sage. As the mentor of the Nailmasters, Sly uses every single attack the previous three enemies use, including their Nail Arts. He’s also more agile than them and his Nail has a much longer reach. Here are his attacks and how you can get away from them.

    • Slash Attack – Sly will slash his nail towards you twice, similar to Oro and Mato’s attack. He’ll occasionally follow this attack right away with a spinning attack which sends up into the air at an angle. Dash towards his back and attack him once he lands.
    • Downward Slash – Sly will leap into the air and slam his nail downwards from there. He’ll also occasionally add an overhead slash after he reaches the ground. Attack only after he performs the overhead slash.
    • Dash Slash – Sly will charge up in less than a second and dash towards you. This attack has an immense horizontal reach so be sure to jump over him whenever he does this attack.
    • Cyclone Slash – Sly will perform this attack from the air. Once you see him leap and charge up from there, he’ll then perform a Cyclone Slash that travels downwards, then upwards in a trajectory of an arc. As soon as he ascends, stay below him and perform an Abyss Shriek. Attack him with melee once more when he lands.
    • Great Slash – With this Nail Art, Sly will often leap towards you to get near you. He’ll then start charging up in less than a second before performing a Great Slash. This attack deals two masks of damage so be sure to move as far away from his as possible whenever he does this. Alternatively, you can stay where you are and perform a Descending Dark to render yourself invulnerable while damaging him in the process.
    • Frenzy – Sly will begin employing this attack during the second phase of the boss fight and uses this attack only throughout its duration. Sly will dash around the air in a frantic manner until he dashes in a location that’s close to you. Once here, he’ll then perform a spinning attack while shifting closer towards you. Be sure to be mindful of his location throughout this phase. As soon as he stops near you, dash away and be prepared to dash towards him again. Attack him once he stops spinning. After landing a few hits, the boss fight will be over.