Ancient Dragon

General Info
Health Souls Location Drops
19840 120,000 Dragon Shrine Ashen Mist Heart
Petrified Dragon Bone
Soul of a Giant

Ancient Dragon is an NPC and a Boss in Dark Souls 2


Ancient Dragon Information

  • An ancient dragon at the top of the Dragon Shrine, that whispers telepathically to the player.
  • After speaking with the dragon, the trophy/achievement "Ancient Dragon" unlocks, and you receive the Ashen Mist Heart




Dragon Shrine. From the bonfire make your way up the Shrine. The Ancient Dragon is found up a long set of stairs that is guarded by many enemies.




  1. Ashen Mist Heart (If didnt speak to him first)
  2. Petrified Dragon Bone
  3. Soul of a Giant




- First Encounter
The murk shifts and stirs.
Yet another stands before us…
Then so be it.
For the curse of life, is the curse of want.
And so, you peer…
Into the fog, in hope of answers.






Counter Measures

Rain of Fire The Ancient Dragon flies up into the air and breathes fire directly at the ground beneath it, creating a large AOE. Because the Ancient Dragon is so large, when it does this move you can actually attack its tail which will clip through the ground. Will sometimes turn 180 degrees in either direction. While landing he can kill you. The best way to avoid this is to anticipate it, and begin to book it towards the tip of his tail. This the the safest spot.
Breath Of Fire The Ancient Dragon will breathe fire while on the ground in a large cone in front if it going from either left to right or right to left.  
Bite While on the ground in front of the dragon, the Ancient Dragon will bring its head up slightly from one side and swipe across to the opposite side, attempting to bite the player.  
Ground Stomp While underneath the Ancient Dragon, he will raise his foot in order to crush you while you stand under him, this can easily instantly kill you along with most of his other moves. This move also has a slight area effect arround his foot, so it's best if you roll/run away from the foot, or with a good shield you could easily block this area damage.  
Self Immolation If you are near the front of the dragon but underneath it, the dragon itself will turn its head facing itself and light its underbelly aflame attempting to kill you while you're under it, when he does this simply run behind the dragon and use this opportunity to attack his back legs.  
Tail Whip if attacking the tail, he will raise it up in preparation in smashing you down (also OHK)  




A time consuming fight, best to come with highest damage attacks and spells available to save time.
Patience (Read: Luck) to evade the fire attacks is important as they take up a large area.
If you are summoning phantoms, allow them time to prepare before entering the fog gate. If your phantoms enter more than a few seconds behind you, they will likely die instantly to a Breath of Fire, and you will face the boss (empowered with extra health) alone.

900 fire defense strategy

If you have 900 fire defense you are immune to fire damage so if stay away from the physical attacks the boss fight is trivial. As any kind of caster this tactic is very easy because you will have built in fire defense and spells that do damage from a distance, but it's possible to use with any build. Here is some equipment that will help you reach 900 fire defense: Flame Quartz Ring +2 (100 fire defence), Dispelling Ring (60 fire defence), Dragon's Tooth (50 fire defence even without the strength), Flash Sweat (300 fire defence for 60 seconds). Best armor that require Twinkling Titanite (303 fire defense): Smelter Demon Helm, Chaos Robe, Smelter Demon Gauntlets, Chaos Boots. Best armor using normal titanite (250 fire defense): White Hollow Mage Hood, Alonne Captain Armor, Alonne Knight Gauntlets, Alonne Knight Leggings. Best armor without using titanite (237 fire defense): Black Dragon Set.


Big Toe Method

When the battle begins run to the back of the ancient dragon and stand in between the big big toes (talons?) of one of his back legs. If you are standing in in the right spot, he will only ever use the stomp attack. As soon as he begins to telegraph the stomp attack, immediately run over to the big toes of his other back leg. rinse and repeat until he falls.

Side note: I just beat him using this method and the only time he used a move that wasn't a stomp attack was when he used Breath of Fire after I just entered the room.

Note: Don't literally stand right between his toes, so that you are up against them. Instead, position yourself so that you are a little distance back, but so that you could walk straight ahead between his inner toe and his middle toe.

Note: He can and often will stand up and breath fire back between his legs. You can see this starting as his front legs leave the ground it is easily avoided by steeping outside which ever hind leg you are closest to. Take this opportunity to hit him in the head a few times with spells or arrows. Also when he comes back down, his front legs landing can kill you so watch out for those.

I've used this method to defeat the Ancient Dragon 5 times, solo and as a phantom. Not once was I ever hit by his underbelly fire attack. As long as you are positioned firmly between his claws, the fire will not touch you. This way, you can continue to attack instead of fleeing and possibly losing rhythm and focus.


Gower's Method

Wear Gower's Ring of Protection! The only thing that makes this boss hard is his Rain of Fire attack that will kill you in one hit. As long as you wear this ring and run away as he flies in the air, you can't be hurt. Even if you get hit it will negate the damage. Wearing this ring while utilizing the Bait and Dash strategy is a guarantee of success.

This method is gold. The ring will render 5 hits to your back completely harmless, after that it breaks. Wear Bracing Knuckle Ring or use repair powder if you want it to last longer.

"Baddest Bareknuckle Brawler" variation: Equip this ring along with Bracing Knuckle Ring (I had +2), Red Tearstone Ring, and Vanquisher's Seal. Get your health low before the fight so your Red Tearstone boost kicks in (any hit from the boss will likely kill you anyway, so you won't be in any more trouble with low health). Keep your equipment load below 25%.Follow the below "Bait and Dash" method. It is recommended you try this solo. If Gower's ring is at risk, give up one of your opportunities to punch and use a Repair Powder instead. I did this in about 10 minutes.


Hollow Strategy

I tried going hollow (because I had burned through effigies, its a OHK, and my allies always died on the first ROF) and my damage went up significantly. Started doing about 100 damage with +10 Sun Sword or +10 Lightning Claymore per hit. After around 4 deaths I was doing over 300 a hit with both. Claymore was doing closer to 400. I finally finished him off with a lightning buffed Sun Sword, and did closed to 360 damage per hit after around 6 deaths into hollowing. I checked the numbers each time and they definitely went up with each death (around 20-40 points I think). I checked my gear and nothing accounted for the damage increase. I no armor, slumbering dragon shield (for stamina), Cloranthy, Ring of Blades, Third Dragon Ring, and Gower's (thanks guy above me!). I haven't been able to find anything about this anywhere on the net so please confirm. Don't believe me? This strategy costs less than nothing to test and I'd love to see this works for other people too. I hated this boss so very very much and figuring this out made it unbelievably easy.


Bait and Dash!

Keep in front of him, don't bother with the back legs, as his tendency is to fly up and AOE the ground when you stay under him, which puts you at a bigger risk than when he does his other attacks. Keep in front of him, and at a close distance- this baits out his Breath of Fire. You can tell he's winding up for Breath of Fire when he sits on his back haunches, if crouches and flaps, then you know he's going airborne and you need to build distance quick because his fire is incredibly damaging and in AOE form it's a teeny bit harder to avoid.

His Breath of Fire is highly telegraphed, easy to bait out, leaves him vulnerable to about 3 or 4 good two handed weapon swings and gives you plenty of time to back off right after. Just provoke the fire breath, run in, get your hits, get out, then bait some more. Keep an eye out for when he flies up, do not hang out between or under his haunches, be patient- play conservative, bait- dash, attack, repeat, win.

While baiting out his breath attack, consider using the +X Grym Greatshield as it will allow you to back pedal away from the Ancient Dragon and shield through the Massive AoE (130+ stamina advised [30+ END]). The airborne fire breath attack will consume your stamina bar but leave you unharmed. Don't panic in regards to being staggered as the Ancient Dragon has a long recovery time following the attack. Once he lands, you can begin moving towards him but try to remain in front of him long enough to bait out his standing fire breath attack. This is telegraphed as stated above (pulling his front feet together and standing more erect) and will allow you to land 4 or more two handed attacks with enough time to recover your stamina bar to full ( withoutChloranthy Ring). After you finish attacking, begin back pedaling out to position yourself in front of his face again (this will either prompt him doing his standing fire breath attack, or more likely, him jumping into the air again to preform his airborne fire breath attack again). Rinse and repeat until dead (roughly a 10+ minute fight depending on weapon used)

Weakness: Lightning

The Ancient Dragon is very weak to lightning. Imbune a weapon with lightning or throw (Great) Lightning Spearsor Heavenly Thundera t him!
On this lightning weakness, I beat him with a couple tries using only heavenly thunder. Basically I had the full fire defense, but I used it by dropping Heavenly Thunder endlessly on him. When you enter the boss room, run straight toward him to avoid his initial fire breath. move between but slightly forward of the two hind legs, and just drop the heavenly thunder. His hitbox is so huge you are guaranteed to hit with almost all of the thunder bolts. If he uses his breathe under the legs attack, run right or left. If he uses his aoe flame, run to his tail. The only time I died during this method was when he landed on me after the aoe and OHK me.
Use any of the above strategies to avoid dying, as a caster the 900 fire defense strategy is the easiest.

Sorcery and hexes

The Ancient Dragon is not weak to magic or dark but he doesn't resist it either. Soul Vortex, Scraps of Life, Darkstorm and Dark Hail are very effective because the Ancient Dragon has such a large hit box but spamming most spells will do, the higher damage the better. Be sure to bring some herbsin case you run out of spells.

Use any of the above strategies to avoid dying, as a caster the 900 fire defense strategy is the easiest.

Double Shields!

A slower but safer strategy is to tank the fire damage from the Rain of Fire attack. This requires a Gyrm Greatshield +10, a Slumbering Dragoncrest Shield and a lot of stamina (tested with 32 END). Equip Gyrm Greatshield +10 in your right hand and a Slumbering Dragon Shield in your left hand. Twohand the Gyrm Greatshield and start by rushing towards him, aiming to get below the dragon and to his back left leg. If you're running too slow you can unequip all your armor, as the shield should block all damage anyway, and any other kind of damage is likely to kill you immediately anyway. Get positioned below the dragon, behind his hind leg, and launch a R2 shield bash combo. His attack pattern should be reduced to stomping with his leg, breathing fire beneath himself and fly away for a Rain of Fire. If he begins a tail smash pattern you're standing too far back.

When he tries to stomp you, simply move to his right leg and smash it a bit, then move back to his left leg again. If he stands up on both hind legs and launches a fire breath beneath himself, either move to the other side of his foot and keep smashing it, or tank the fire damage with a full stamina bar. When he flies up in the air, lose your lockon and aim your shield towards the central impact of the rain of fire. Usually it ticks 2 times, sometimes 3 if you're unlucky. Your Slumbering Dragoncrest Shield should help you regain your stamina enough to be able to tank 3 ticks without getting staggered by the second tick, leading to the third incinerating you. If you're feeling bold you can lower your shield between the ticks to speed up the stamina regeneration, however this is extremely risky. Be careful as he lands again, as he crushes you if he lands on you with either leg, tail or neck. If you're directly below him you should suffer no damage.

Confirmed to work with a naked character, using a magic enchanted (for the extra damage) Gyrm Greatshield +10 with 32 Endurance

Bite & Breath Bait (BBB) Method

This strategy focuses on luring the dragons bite and breath of fire while getting rid of rain of fire altogether while allowing a melee user safety and the ability to attack every time the dragon attacks. Magic users can use this as well as a character will never be in any danger so long as your position when you need to. Once you start the fight, run straight at him with a slight veer to your right. This part is a little bit tricky as sometimes he will use Rain of fire instead of breath of fire. If he does use rain of fire, simply dash to your right straight away. The trick here is to get him to use breath of fire then you can begin the sequence.

Once you bait him to use breath of fire (it is usually to be slightly to his left and far out enough that: 1. it looks like hes looking directly at you, as in from your screen to your real eyes. 2. it looks like you're just far out enough that he couldn't bite you. 3: his neck is turned slightly to look at your character and you should be far enough out to see most of a good portion of his body) you can run in to his left front claw (or right side from player perspective). Stay between the two biggest claws (inner and middle) and unleash your combo until he is about to finish his fire (As a heavy weapon user, about 3 strong attacks). Don't worry too much about running back out as staying in his claws like this will push you out most of the way with no damage. Run back out but just enough that you're slightly to the left, making his head face you with a slight neck turn. You should be just far enough out that it looks like he could bite you from there or just slightly away from his mouth. This will lure bite. Once he winds up to bite you (he brings his head and neck back and does a bite swipe from HIS right to left, YOUR left to right) run back in to the left foot and do a dash attack. After this run back out and repeat the process of luring Breath of Fire and Bite.

Note: Positioning may be a little hard to get used to at first. In this case sometimes he may instead use rain of fire instead of breath of fire however he will always do bite when baited with this strategy. In case rain of fire does happen, run straight away to your right and keep running till you're safe. Run back in and continue to bait Breath of Fire and Bite repeatedly.

Confirmed: No Rain of Fire attacks done during several runs.

Video Strategies:

  • (dual Katanas)
  • (Sorcery)
  • (Ranged/Two Handed Melee focusing on back legs)
  • (Sorcery focusing on staying near the back legs)
  • (Fast kill with 2 handed melee focusing on staying near the back legs)
  • (Sorcery, safe win)
  • (Solo and doable with any weapon or spell combination)




    • A +10 Gyrm Greatshield can be used to block the AOE Fire breath on New Game - though you better have sufficient stamina. The AOE does two ticks of damage (3 if it hits you directly).
    • 900 fire defense will negate all fire damage.
    • Absolving your sins resets Ancient Dragon, thus lowering his defense significantly.
    • It is probably a good idea to wear the Red Tearstone Ring to boost your attacks since he will mostly one-shot you anyways.
    • There are multiple version of Rain of Fire attack - the fire attack doesn't change but his jump and hovering do. There one where he jumps slightly forward, other where he jumps slightly backwards, other where he jumps straight up and aims it at you. Also if he is near the ledge he will jump again to relocate himself without any fire.
    • It's worth noting that the Heavenly Thunder miracle , typically of limited use in any situation, often hits 4 times when cast directly under the dragon for a total damage greater than a Sunlight Spear off the same catalyst. The same is true for many area of effect spells.
    • Vengarl's summoning symbol will appear in front of the fog door, after attacking the Ancient Dragon but he is not helpful.
    • Melinda the Butcher can also be summoned on the platform to the right of the first two giants on the large stair case. She is generally useless and will die to the dragon easily but can help clear the staircase itself (She has to invade you in the Gutter to be able to be summonable).




  • This is the dragon featured in a snowy location during the teaser trailer for Dark Souls 2.
  • This NPC can be engaged and begins a boss fight. The Ancient Dragon is very large and has the biggest health pool in the entire game. He will drop a Soul of a Giant when killed. Thankfully the area you fight it in is also large enough to evade its attacks.
  • Nashandra calls him a "prop" and "false deity" in her dialogue after speaking to him, and the large pile of dead giants in one of the rooms in Aldia's Keep, as well as the description of the Bone Shield, suggest that Lord Aldia was experimenting with Giant Souls trying to recreate the dead dragon.
  • The description of the Guardian Dragon Soul suggests that the other drakes are under Aldia's spell, while the Drakekeeper Set says that the giant soldiers guarding the shrine are, suspiciously, controlled by a dark power, despite the Dragon Shrine supposedly being a holy place and the undead priestess using miracles. Since the Sunset Staff, the game's most powerful Hex staff, was crafted by Aldia, it can be surmised that he was a master of hexes, a banned form of sorcery.
  • The large, possessed dragon skeleton in Aldia's Keep is much larger than the drakes, nearly the same in appearance as the Ancient Dragon, but is not fossilized, suggesting that Aldia managed to create at least one copy of said dragon that landed in the mansion's main hall.

    • Anonymous

      10 Nov 2017 09:30  

      I have never died to him using the toe method, stand between the 2 innermost talons of his back legs and when he raises his leg sprint to the other. If you don't have stamina to run he will breath fire, so don't use all of it to attack.

      • Anonymous

        23 Oct 2017 20:08  

        >poke leg
        >if he calm, run as far as possible, because of "Rain of Fire"
        >lock at his head, read the movement for "Breath Of Fire"
        >while he is doing "Breath Of Fire", run to his front leg
        >poke leg

        • Anonymous

          12 Oct 2017 15:42  

          I do not understand why he’s not the leader of the dragon covenant and creepy smiling guy in the Iron Kings castle is. Someone either made a mistake or felt it was too obvious. It would have made a lot of sense if he was the leader, he’s got dragon bros guarding him after all.

          • Anonymous

            01 Oct 2017 07:42  

            Tested. Beware, killing ancient dragon is considered as sin. I don't know how lv sin is. But when I visited Cromwell to ask a pardon, i got a sin wtf. Ensure u do backup your save before encountered ancient dragon to check it out.

            • Anonymous

              09 Aug 2017 09:24  

              This guy is a pain in my ass. I keep getting him to a last sliver of health then he stomps on my face. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to slog through the 3 giant knights every time I die.

              • Anonymous

                03 Aug 2017 02:18  

                Don't bother on PC with any weapon with under 100 durability, even with durability ring +2. 5 attacks from a whip will take 40 durability (with ring), and 10 attacks with straight sword or most others will do the same. DS2 SOTFS PC durability broken AF

                • Anonymous

                  07 Jul 2017 05:38  

                  SORCERER FTW. Chaos set, flash sweat, flame quartz ring, and your most powerful spells+wilted dusk herb in belt. You're set. (+moonlight greatsword is op in ng+) stop talking***** on sorcerers. A little bit of foresight when spending your souls can go a long way. It's called intelligence for a reason :P

                  • Anonymous

                    10 Apr 2017 20:47  

                    I remember having problems with him in vanilla. But in sotfs I beat him on a 2nd try, since leveling is faster and you can do dlcs anytime. So I was like 195 atm and beat him in 3 mins.

                    • Anonymous

                      04 Apr 2017 18:54  

                      I dealed very fast with him with a thunder greatsword +10, gyrm greatshield +8, smelter set with sinner mask, third dragoncrest ring (this was very needed to be able to stop his rain of fire with the shield), cloranty ring +1. And for magic i used dark sword and crystal sword. I made 800 - 700 damage each hit, so he didnt last that long.

                      • Anonymous

                        21 Mar 2017 00:44  

                        I'm geussing thorned greatsword (aquirred from ornifex with looking glass night soul) will do lits of damage because of lightning stat but I would reccomend using rb for attack or having lots of repair powder because normal lighning attack well reduce durabilty by ALOT!

                        • Anonymous

                          19 Mar 2017 18:24  

                          I beat this guy my second try rn, I used a lighting infused Murakumo +10 and as for fire defense I wore a Flame Quartz ring +3. Also some Smelter Demon armor. Nothing too fancy, and not much of a "set". Didn't use pyromancies or spells. I did summon Vengarl who can be found just outside the door tho. tried to stick to his back feet, alternating between the left and right every two hits or so. Which helped keep him from spitting fire. Vengarl died really quick, so not sure if he helped or not. Also I'm not the very best player, so If I can do it, you can too lol Good luck!

                          • Anonymous

                            18 Mar 2017 01:05  

                            900 fire resist works very well, fight is trivial then and you can study his attacks at leasure. Finish old Iron King DLC first to get Pharaos Mask, Fire Resist Ring +3 and Dispelling Ring +1. Wear Chaos Set and use Flash Sweat Pyromancy,

                            • Anonymous

                              01 Mar 2017 22:17  

                              Big Toe and Gower are total crap. Ancient Dragon still takes off and ring just doesn work. Bait and dash makes a lot more sense.

                              • Anonymous

                                01 Mar 2017 08:24  

                                My set of Smelter Demon Helm, Chaos Robes, Smelter Demon Gauntlets, and Chaos Boots only add up to 294 fire protection all at +5

                                • Anonymous

                                  22 Jan 2017 08:32  

                                  Rain of Fire CAN kill you while you're outside of the fog door. I was summoned as a phantom looking for an oportunity to enter after the host and I got killed without pressing the prompt button to go through the fog.

                                  • Anonymous

                                    21 Jan 2017 17:28  

                                    I did it by baiting his "Self Immolation" move.. if you stand uderneath his belly he will most likely use that move, then run to his hind left leg and attack him.. as long as you stand at the outer side of his left leg youre free to safely hit him (his right leg is NOT safe). The only other moves he used were ground stomp (which was completely useless because he used his front claws) and rain of fire (which can be easily avoided since you are already very close to his tail). Pay attention after he lands after his rain of fire, where he might use his hind legs for ground stomp, which will kill you if you are in front of his leg.

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