Royal Rat Vanguard

royal rat vanguard
HP 1,410 | 2,679 (NG+)
Weakness Fire
Resistance Poison
Immune None
Respawn NO

The Royal Rat Vanguard is an enemy in Dark Souls 2.


Royal Rat Vanguard Information 

Royal Rat Vanguard is a special boss in Dark Souls 2 that lurks within a large group of enemies that look almost identical to it..

After entering the mist door from the second bonfire in Grave of Saints, the player enters into a fairly small room for a boss fight with numerous small statues littering the floor. The room is mostly rectangular with a small area in the far corner from where the mist door is. This will be the way out after victory.

The boss fights starts with multiple respawning rats attacking the player at the same time. After 10 rats are killed, a boss health gauge for the Royal Rat Vanguard will appear. There will be no obvious enemy to coincide with this appearance as the Vanguard is nearly identical to all the other rats in the room. ( Note: he seems to always drop from the ceiling near the fog gate where you enter). He has a spikier, mohawk set of darker hair on his back and is extremely difficult to pinpoint in a crowd. He is the only rat that will lead to the boss health gauge decreasing. Also if you lock on he will be the only one without a health bar directly over his head. Trying to weed out all the other rats first is a fruitless endeavor as there will just be more to replace their fallen brothers.

It may be beneficial to note that the rats spawn in the first main portion of the room. It may be easier having a spear weapon and then kiting them towards the other part of the room (near the locked fog gate) and picking them off, when the Vanguard spawns he spawns where you entered, and you can sprint over there and pick him off before most rats walk back to that spot.

  • The Rat King's loyal servant judges the worthiness of those who seek royal audience. This loyal rodent can be identified among his subordinates by the dark ridge of fur on his back.



  • Area boss of Grave of Saints. Accessed by going through the mist after the second bonfire. Looks like a normal rat but has a giant mohawk on it's back.







Counter Measures

Rearing Bite The Royal Rat Vanguard and his minions (other rats) all rear up and bite:
  • Plagued Rats bites cause minor petrification build-up.
  • Royal Rat Vanguard's bites cause massive poison build-up and moderate petrification build-up.
Lunging Bite The rats can all lunge forward and bite. Bites cause minor petrification build-up.  


NPC Summons

There are no NPC summons for this encounter.


The Plagued Rats inflict petrification, so make sure you equip anything to reduce petrification, In particular, the Ash Knuckle Ring will increase your resistance significantly. If using a melee weapon, make sure it can hit low targets as the horizontal slash of a falchion or scimitar will often swipe over them, missing entirely. Note that the Rat Vanguard boss himself inflicts poison, so equipping the Poison Bite Ring is also worthwhile, as well as having Poison Moss handy and consuming Common Fruit in the middle of the fight before the boss drops in.

Melee Strategy

The biggest difficulty with this fight will be moving in the arena. While the rats move slowly most of the time, there are so many that they can easily box you in and block your way; the unbreakable statues on the floor make moving quickly that much more difficult. The rats are skilled at attacking in groups and may hesitate or lunge when close making predicting which one to strike first difficult at times, not to mention the difficulty of lock targeting in such a big group of enemies. However, you can help yourself out here. Immediately after entering run into the smaller square area on the far end of the room. You should be faced with only two or three rats right away: kill 'em! Pick a wall to hang out near and wait a few seconds. As the rest of the large pile o' rats converges, a path or two should open up. Run back to the mist door (on the other side of the room) and kill a rat or two as they trickle in. Rinse and repeat; in general, keep moving, looking for paths through the swarm, and if you start to get boxed in, punch through at all costs and get to an open area. Also, if you use target locking, get used to toggling it off when it's time to run. After you've killed 10 of the minion Plagued Rats, the Vanguard Rat will appear: he seems to always drop from the ceiling near the fog gate where you originally entered. He has a bigger (black) mohawk than the rest, but with the necessary running, he can be hard to spot right away. Note that while the regular rats inflict petrification, the boss inflicts poison (and petrification as well?). If he works his way into a crowd (which he will), he can be extremely hard to spot. Using the running tactic above, you can gain a few seconds to try to spot him and then work in an attack. Clearing a few rats is feasible (and helpful) but they will be replaced before too long. The Vanguard is your target. Approach fast but cautiously. You won't have a lot of time to attack before you get crowded so take advantage. However, draining your stamina or going in careless will lead to him hitting you. Not a good idea. He hits like a tank, plus inflicting poison, and is easily capable of killing you outright. With average poison resistance, he will poison you in two hits. If you survive this you will have very little time to use a Poison Moss. If you need to heal or use a moss at any time in this fight, use the running technique described above to buy time. The good news here is that the Vanguard Rat is very easily damaged and should only take a couple of trips in to kill with a decent melee set up. Once he has been defeated the legion of rats will leave the area via the tunnels they entered in with a very organized looking march (for rats).

Miracle Strategy

This fight can be the easiest in the game if you use the miracle Soul Appease to damage all rats at once with it's huge area of effect. The boss itself takes huge damage as well, getting killed with about 3 casts (be wary of the fact that you will need about 2 casts to get the boss to show up). [Done with 25 faith and Priest Chime +3 as follows: 2 casts to spawn boss, 2 casts damaging boss + 1 Lightning Spear to kill the boss].

Pyromancer Strategy

If you've farmed (from bastille mummies) or bought a Lingering Flame,it will basically clear the whole room.Any other mass AOE pyromancy will be tremendously useful as well,namely Flame Swathe and Chaos Storm,and they inflict tremendous damage to the Vanguard itself.Keep in mind the long casting time - you may be unable to complete casting (and waste a charge) if you are too close to a rat.Stay farther than lunge distance and prepare for a rat barbeque.

Darkstorm Strategy

If you have the Darkstorm hex, you can use it to damage a good portion of the rats at once with it's dark vortex, since it has a good AoE. That strategy works in similar fashion as the miracle strategy above, using about the same quantity of casts to spawn the boss and to kill it afterwards. [Tested on NG with standard Claric's Sacred Chime].

Video Strategies

(two hand)



  • The Rat Vanguard appears near the entrance a few seconds after its health bar appears. With that said, the moment the health bar appears, the player should immediately head to the entrance and focus on the Rat Vanguard
  • Applying Charcoal Pine Resin to your weapon can ensure that you will deal enough extra damage if you cannot kill the rats in one blow. (the rats are weak to fire)
    The "Ring of the Evil Eye" is going to be your best friend here. Along with the "Ring of Restoration", these two can save you an untold amount of healing items.
  • While Poison Moss can be helpful if you do get poisoned, it is best to let him attack your shield then run and let it wear off, and only attack him after you have dodged one of his attacks and are behind him, or he is just recharging his attack and you know it is safe.
  • Alluring Skulls can be used against the enemy rats to pull them away from the boss (confirmed for the rats, but do not know if it attracts the boss.)
  • He is the ONLY rat with a mane/tuft of hair on the back
  • Also, he is the only rat for whom an HP bar won't hover over when locked on- This is a quick way to tell if you're locked on to the right rat.
  • Running attacks from the claymore or bastard sword are very effective for clearing a large number of rats at once, and potentially deal damage to the vanguard himself. The rats do not seem to track sprinting very well, and the wide angle on the attack allows the player to clear a very large space with one swing and continue on his way.
  • Wear the Ring of the Sun.
  • The R2 attack of the Curved Dragon Greatsword makes quick work of both the normal rats and the Royal Rat Vanguard itself.
  • This boss can be skipped (along with Grave of Saints) if you can survive falling to the bottom of the pit in Majula.
  • Flame Tempest/ Fire Pillar, are both effective against the hoards of enemies. (Int-14, Fth- 19(with ring of prayer))
  • Soul Greatsword is great at killing many rats and damaging the boss at the same time (NG+ and above only).



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