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 didn't 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 is 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 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 around 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 you are attacking the tail, he will raise it in preparation for smashing you down (also OHK)  




A time-consuming fight, best to come with the 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. Like 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 defense), Dispelling Ring (60 fire defense), Dragon's Tooth (50 fire defense even without the strength), Flash Sweat (300 fire defense for 60 seconds). Best armor that requires 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 toes (talons?) of one of his back legs. If you are standing 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 breathe fire back between his legs. You can see this starting as his front legs leave the ground it is easily avoided by stepping 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 an 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 close 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 he tends 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 backpedal 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 backpedaling out to position yourself in front of his face again (this will either prompt him to do his standing fire breath attack or more likely, him jumping into the air again to perform his airborne fire breath attack again). Rinse and repeat until dead (roughly a 10+ minute flight depending on the weapon used)

Weakness: Lightning

The Ancient Dragon is very weak to lightning. Imbue a weapon with lightning or throw (Great) Lightning Spearsor Heavenly Thundera t him!
On this lightning weakness, I beat him with a couple of 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 thunderbolts. 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 hitbox but spamming most spells will do, the higher damage the better. Be sure to bring some herbs in 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. Two hand 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 an 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 dragon's 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 he's 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 into his left front claw (or right side from the 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 slight 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 into 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)





Playbook & Guide (Confirmed for up to NG+7, with Company of Champions Activated)

Once you enter the boss ring, the Ancient Dragon will almost always open up with a ranged fire attack, in a tight cone.

  • Run right, and head for the region between his two rear claws on his hind legs.
  • You should be at the Ancient Dragon's rear left paw. Take as many hits as you can get in before his windup, but be careful of his paws.
    • If he does not do something to bait a reaction out of you, he will either stomp the foot you're attacking, or he will try to blow flames between his hind-legs.
      • If he decides to stomp his foot, just sprint over to the other foot, and be careful of invisible AOE hitboxes that occur from his normal foot movements.
      • If he tries to blow flames between his rear legs instead, run outward, in the direction of his front left paw, which should be to your right, but in a diagonal line. This will help you clear the hitbox.
      • The Ancient Dragon likes to jump upward and blow fire downward.  It can be really hard to escape the hitbox for these flames, but if you orient yourself in a straight line towards the tip of his tail, you can dodge the flames. Watch out for his tail when it comes down.
      • Make sure you give yourself some extra room when you're avoiding an attack since the hitboxes are sometimes bigger than they appear.
      • Sometimes, he likes to take his front paw, right before the foot you're attacking and hit you while you're concentrated on his foot. Definitely keep an eye out for stuff like that.
  • Hitting the talons on his back feet and his head are good ways to get extra damage.
  • The Ancient Dragon likes to control your movement so you're stuck on the edge of the arena. If you stay under his crotch then you can shuffle him around and you'll be able to clear the hitbox for his downward flame.
  • Tip: Don't try to clear the hitbox for his downward flame by running past his head and front paws.
  • Keep an eye out that way his attacks that come from off-screen don't hit you.


    • 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 is multiple version of Rain of Fire attack - the fire attack doesn't change but his jump and hovering do. There is one where he jumps slightly forward, another where he jumps slightly backward, and an additional version 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 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 staircase. 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).

      Has the highest hp out of any boss in Dark Souls 2



  • 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.


Alsanna, Silent Oracle  ♦  Ashen Knight Boyd  ♦  Aslatiel of Mirrah  ♦  Bell Keeper  ♦  Benhart of Jugo  ♦  Blacksmith Lenigrast  ♦  Blue Sentinel Targray  ♦  Bowman Guthry  ♦  Cale the Cartographer  ♦  Captain Drummond  ♦  Carhillion of the Fold  ♦  Chancellor Wellager  ♦  Creighton the Wanderer  ♦  Crestfallen Saulden  ♦  Cromwell the Pardoner  ♦  Darkdiver Grandahl  ♦  Dyna and Tillo  ♦  Emerald Herald  ♦  Felicia the Brave  ♦  Felkin the Outcast  ♦  Grave Warden Agdayne  ♦  Head of Vengarl  ♦  Jester Thomas  ♦  Laddersmith Gilligan  ♦  Licia of Lindeldt  ♦  Lone Hunter Schmidt  ♦  Lonesome Gavlan  ♦  Lucatiel of Mirrah  ♦  Magerold of Lanafir  ♦  Manscorpion Tark  ♦  Masterless Glencour  ♦  Maughlin the Armourer  ♦  Melinda the Butcher  ♦  Merchant Hag Melentia  ♦  Merciless Roenna  ♦  Mild Mannered Pate  ♦  Milfanito  ♦  Milibeth  ♦  Nameless Usurper  ♦  Nashandra  ♦  NPC Dialogue  ♦  Peculiar Kindalur  ♦  Pilgrim Bellclaire  ♦  Rat King  ♦  Rhoy the Explorer  ♦  Rosabeth of Melfia  ♦  Royal Sorcerer Navlaan  ♦  Screenshots  ♦  Steady Hand McDuff  ♦  Stone Trader Chloanne  ♦  Straid of Olaphis  ♦  Strowen  ♦  Sweet Shalquoir  ♦  Titchy Gren  ♦  Vendrick  ♦  Vorgel the Sinner  ♦  Weaponsmith Ornifex

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    • Anonymous

      30 Jul 2021 14:40  

      Breath bait + maxed out hunter's black bow + lightning arrows to the face = 1 dead dragon. In case of RoF... RUN!!! Flame resistance is also a plus. All that made the battle relatively simple for me.
      P.S. Confirming that it has been nerfed heavily, compared to 360.

      • Anonymous

        26 Jul 2021 06:36  

        Holy cringe at the "Playbook & Guide (Confirmed for up to NG+7, with Company of Champions Activated)" section. Please edit or remove it, this wikia isn't some sweaty tryhard's personal blog.

        • Anonymous

          26 May 2021 22:12  

          Did it get nerfed in SotFS? Cause at the time the game came out i heard this bossfight was so bad and so difficult it was almost impossible, but i beat it first try. The bossfight is still ****, it's so boring it makes me wanna kill myself (especially seeing what From did with Midir), but it's also really easy.

          • Anonymous

            17 Apr 2021 12:54  

            Who wrote the NG +7 part? It's written in this extremely obnoxious tone filled with cussing and comes off really pretentious.

            It doesn't fit the rest of the guide or page at all, and really should be removed. It's also just really cringe worthy.

            • Anonymous

              12 Apr 2021 07:46  

              What I do for htis fella is stand between his hind legs. Usually, there's two attacks:
              Stands up using his hindlegs and breathes fire underneath him. It's super slow. I run to the outside of the left foot and start smacking it (or casting spells.)
              Or he'll jump up and use the fire breath. Once you notice him getting ready to jump, I just run straight for the tail and that keeps me safe. Watch when he comes back down, though. The landing hurts.

              Occasionally he'll stomp if you're too close to a foot. It's pretty easy to avoid as its slow, but for some reason the dragon gets damage resistance while stomping.

              • Anonymous

                01 Feb 2021 08:43  

                Use the "Big Toe Method", if you break the chain just reposition and do it again. Honestly, this boss is more tedious rather than hard.

                • Anonymous

                  17 Jan 2021 21:25  

                  the ai just gets annoying sometimes i fought him and he would nonstop fly with only a few seconds for me to attack

                  • Anonymous

                    30 Dec 2020 03:34  

                    Such a crap boss.
                    One of the largest health bars in the series, ability to one shot on all attacks plus with darksouls 2s questionable hit boxes (like he didn't even move and I got hit some how) and a downward fire attack that covers the entire arena.

                    • Anonymous

                      28 Dec 2020 09:49  

                      Fighting Ancient Dragon is not hard. It's just extremely tedious. Anyone who thinks it hard clearly only tried to hit his feet.

                      • Anonymous

                        22 Dec 2020 04:36  

                        all these cheesy methods make the boss boring as hell. stay in front of him the whole time, when he breaths run underneath his neck/near his front toes and attack. when he flaps to fly run directly away from him. probably how the boss is meant to be fought instead of cosplaying as his schlong.

                        • Anonymous

                          17 Dec 2020 13:21  

                          TF when you’re well into the rhythm of the big toe method and the foot disappears into the floor and magically stomps you from nowhere...

                          • Anonymous

                            17 Dec 2020 04:30  

                            On a Sorcerer with zero fire resist I just stood in front of him until he prepared to breathe, then ran under his head and nuked him twice, then ran out in front, then ran directly away from him when he flew up into the air, then repeat. Followed this exact cycle for the entirety of the fight on the original version for an easy kill.

                            Breathe telegraph: he pulls his front feet back - immediately run forward under his head, shoot twice, then prepare to stand in front of him again
                            Fly up telegraph: dust clouds around all four of his feet - immediately run for the door, then run back in front of him

                            • Anonymous

                              11 Dec 2020 21:34  

                              Friendly reminder that this boss is heavily nerfed in SOTFS. I fought him on both versions and the aoe is twice the radius in the vanilla version. It’s this exact thing that makes up 90% of deaths in the original version.

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