Dark Souls II Walkthrough, Part Sixteen: Huntsman's Copse - The Skeleton Lords
One way or another, you've traced a careful path to the tip of Huntsman's Copse. The path has been long and treacherous, and filled with either cliffside bandits or regenerating skeletons, and now, at the end of it, you find with ultimate in evils: a lair full of skeletons. The Skeleton Lords rule over these lands, and they have no interest in letting the living pass untested...
Not another three-on-one battle. It's almost as if Dark Souls II isn't fair. Fortunately, this brawl is not quite so difficult as the last - though that does depend a bit on your class. Melee fighters will have a bit of trouble with this fight; ranged fighters, especially sorcerers, should find it to be a breeze. Regardless, it's going to be a long slog for all players involved.
Thre three Skeleton Lords all comprise a single health bar, but that shouldn't concern you. More important is taking out the three foes. The left and right Skeleton Lords begin the battle with a spear and a scythe, and will use standard melee attacks against you while stalking you around the huge, bone-strewn room. The third Skeleton Lord will generally stay at a distance and hurl fireballs, dealing either concentrated or area damage, though if you get close enough it will try to smash you with its staff.
The Skeleton Lords themselves are not the problem. They're strong, yes, but they're fairly slow, and easy to manever around the area to split up. The problem here is that all three Lords will, upon defeat, transform into four lesser minions that you will also have to defeat:
- The Skeleton Lord with the spear will split into normal skeletons, these with swords, spears, and shields. They're the easiest to beat of the lot, though their penchant to go on the defensive is rather annoying.
- The Skeleton Lord with the scythe will split into skeleton warriors, these bearing scimitars and shields. They're highly aggressive, and will charge after you relentlessly. On the plus side, they're much more vulnerable to attack.
- The Skeleton Lord with the staff will split into skeleton wheelers, odd creatures that curl up into, well, wheels. They'll hurl themselves at you and cover a lot of distance in a very short time. These things are a nightmare, especially for fighters with no shields.
Whether you're a ranged or melee fighter, you want to proceed slowly and methodically through this battle. Rush up to the first skeleton lord on the right as it's getting out of its chair, sneak in as many blows as you can, then back off. Get the Skeleton Lords into a clump and lead them around the room in your wake, using the heaps of bones to split them up - or, if you're a ranged fighter, to keep them away from you period. Try to stay out of the staff-wielder's line of sight, or it will make combatting the other two difficult.
Take out the spear-wielding Skeleton Lord. When it splits, continue circling - but now focus on taking out its smaller kin, one-at-a-time when you can. Once they're gone, move on to the scythe-wielder and its minions. After it's done, finish up with the staff-wielder and the wheels. You never want to be fighting off more than one set of minions at once. All minions spawn in the middle of the room, and with some careful positioning you can probably finish off one or two of them before they're even done being summoned.
A tough battle? To a degree. It's not fast-paced until you take on the wheelie skelies, though, and they're not even that bad if you can split them up from one another.
Beating the Skeleton Lords will, as you might predict, earn you the Skeleton Lord's Soul (no, sadly, not three, you just get one). After taking the whole gangly gang of them out, look on the bottom-left side of the room (facing from the entrance) for a passageway that has now opened up. It leads to a massive iron bridge you can lower...
... and when you lower it, you'll find a path leading into Harvest Valley, a brand-new area. Woo! A short trip into the Valley's craggy rounds will find the next Bonfire in a cave to your right, past a lovely, emerald pool of toxic sludge, and that's where we'll pick up in the next article, Poison Pool.