The Rotten

HP 7,080 (Standard Game)
Weakness Lightning, Magic, multihit AOE attacks
Resistance Poison, Toxic, Dark Mist

The Rotten is an enemy in Dark Souls 2.


The Rotten Information 

The Rotten is a boss in Dark Souls 2. A hideous monster made of corpses stitched together, that rules the Black Gulch. It carries a large Butcher's Knife in one arm, and crawls using the arms of corpses where its legs would be.
The arms can be cut off to reduce the lethality of the Rotten, preventing it from using the Butcher's Knife. However eventually they will grow back. The left arm will drop a Pharros' Lockstone once cut off.

  • The Rotten embraces all, in the sanctuary for all things unwanted or tossed away.









Counter Measures

Forward Slash The Rotten slashes straight forward as many as three times with its Butcher's Knife. - Rolling to its left could be a viable option.
- Blocking could be a viable option.
Horizontal Slash The Rotten slashes once horizontally with its Butcher's Knife. (Note: The Horizontal Slash has two versions: One from right to left, and another from left to right at a slight upward angle. - Rolling to the opposite direction of swing could be a viable option.
- Blocking could be a viable option.
Pummel The Rotten pounds the ground with its left fist if the player is close. - Rolling could be a viable option.
Side Pummel The Rotten pounds both fists, in succession, into the ground at its sides. - It's possible to run/roll towards its back/front and land a few hits.
Grab The Rotten swings its left hand when in close range to grab the player. Cannot be blocked. - Rolling could be a viable option.
Sludge Wave The Rotten slams its Butcher Knife into the ground to shoot out a cone-shaped projectile of sludge.  
Acid Spit The Rotten grabs its chest and spits out ball of acid a couple meters in front of him. Can spit twice very quickly. - Just keep some distance.
AOE Blast The Rotten charges then releases a high-damaging Dark AOE blast 360° around him. - Run as fast as possible!
- As a last resort, block the explosion with whatever you have at hand. It may mean the difference between life and death.
- It's possible to dodge through the explosion.
Forward Slash + AOE Blast The Rotten charges his cleaver with the same energy from the AOE Blast. First he swings the cleaver vertically, and then the AOE blast occurs on the location of impact. Used when low on health.  

Souls Awarded

Bonfire Intensity Souls Awarded
1 47,000
2 94,000
3 117,500
4 129,250
5 141,000
6 152,750
7 164,500
8 188,000
  • No changes to souls awarded beyond Bonfire Intensity 8.

NPC Summons

Lucatiel of Mirrah

Lucatiel of Mirrah can be summoned for this fight, provided the player has exhausted her dialogue in the hidden pathway in the Black Gulch. Her summon sign is located near the Hidden Chamber.
Lucatiel, as in all of her appearances, can be very useful during this fight by distracting the boss. She will not do a large amount of damage, but she does have a vast health pool and can withstand a pretty good beating while the player deals damage to the Rotten.

Lone Hunter Schmidt

Lone Hunter Schmidt can be summoned for this fight. His summon sign is located before the Razorback Nightcrawlers, near jars.
Schmidt is not especially durable and doesn't do very much damage, but he can still be useful as a distraction while the player attacks.

Bashful Ray

Bashful Ray can be summoned as a Shade between the two Razorback Nightcrawlers near Lone Hunter Schmidt's sumon sign.


Wear light armor with the Old Leo Ring and use a thrusting weapon (for example, a Rapier). Since his attacks are very slow, there is a larger window to take advantage of the Leo Ring's counterattack damage bonus. Roll from his attacks and just jab away but keep an eye on your stamina. Keep in the middle so the flames can't hit you.

  • Arm chopping strategy

Using a weapon with an arcing overhead attack can make it easier to remove his limbs. A Bastard Sword one handed heavy attack (R2 on PS3 and RT on Xbox) was effective at doing this and caused heavy damage. If an arm is lost he will still try to attack with it but it will be meaningless to the player. If left alone for too long he will regrow the limb.
Keep load weight under 55% for effective dodge rolls. Armor not necessary, shield should be used for absorbing minor damage taken.
Line boss up with a pathway that has no fire pits either behind or in front of you, utilize this as your fighting area (as if on a narrow bridge). KEEP A LOOK OUT for overhead swinging attacks, you need to be vigilant and notice when he's readying his swing. After most attacks you will have 1 or 2 hit window in which you can hit and immediately dodge or walk backwards to avoid damage. *Suggestion, when boss uses Acid Spit use it to utilize heavy hits.

  • Easy spell strategy

Equip Lion armor for casting speed buff, priest hoodie really helps to get more spellcasts. Any type of magic works, you have to be a little bit good at pulling off dodges, just don't be afraid. In particular, Soul Vortex is incredibly effective due to his large frame allowing the vortex to hit many times. Bait him to attack if needed, be aware and watch your bars. Check the second video for the kill footage.

  • Poke strategy

Wear light armor, and wield a very long ranged fast melee weapon, such as a spear, lance, or Halberd. Walk close to him and bait an attack, then quickly back up to evade it, rolls aren't necessary and can even be dangerous. While using light armor simply sprinting back should be enough to dodge his attacks. After he attacks poke him for some damage, heal, or get away from walls. This strategy is great for dodging every attack he has except cone wave, which can either be blocked by a powerful shield or dodged, though be mindful of the fire pits. Please note; locking on to this boss is a bad idea, and this strategy is best used with weapons that deal heavy damage in 1 hit rather than damage over time.

  • Co-op strategy

Best implemented with a phantom being the melee bait for ranged/casters. Bait gets The Rotten to aggro on him and begins to circle without locking on. The Rotten will often keep focus on the bait and follow across the arena allowing him to be drawn away from walls and other players. This also allows the bait to stay just out of range of his melee attacks while still distracting him if desired( works best if other players are ranged/casting to prevent an unexpected shift of aggro). If he moves to attack another player then the bait dashes in an hits him until he follows the bait again. In the event the host is also melee then the bait just circles close in to The Rotten while the other players attack from the other side and repositions The Rotten as needed. - Priority of the bait should be keeping The Rotten's attention over doing damage with most attacks following the Poke strategy.

  • Miracle strategy

Heavenly Thunder miracle can easily cheese this boss to near death. 4 casts of Heavenly Thunder (44 faith) will reduce the boss' hp to 1/3 of its maximum health.

  • Greatsword Strategy

Bring the boss to center of the arena and lock on. Stay close and rotate clockwise. By doing this, you can out-turn him and most of his attacks will miss, allowing you to deliver 1-2 strikes after each. With luck, you will be able to chop off his sword arm this way. Be wary of his AoE attack, which will still hit you reliably.

  • Soul level 1 strategy (mace)

Run up to him and lock on. You should circle his right all the time, baiting his attacks and rolling through. His recovery is slow enough to get a few hits in, but don't be greedy. Keep doing this until he's got about half his HP left, when will start doing his AoE attack. This will kill you if you are too close. After each of your attacks, lock off and run away from him. He may do his AoE attack, but if you are far enough you will be safe.  Following this method, you can gradually chop his HP away while taking no damage,  granted you dodge well.

Video Strategies



  • When trying to cut off The Rotten's arms, try to fight without locking-on. You could also use a weapon with good vertical reach.
  • The Rotten is immune to Dark Fog and Toxic Mist.
  • The Rotten has high resistances to non-physical damage, but has a weakness to thrust damage. Try using a rapier or a spear for a good damage output.
  • When backing up, The Rotten will move his left hand in front of him. Long reach weapons such as spears can attack the hand at least once per animation without fear of a retaliatory attack.



  • If you are on the fire and he grabs you, you'll continue to take damage from the fire for a few seconds after. He'll then hurt you with his grab attack and it's basically a 1-Hit KO.



  • The Rotten's moveset is modeled after Gravelord Nito from Dark Souls, of whom he is a reincarnation.
  • There is a lone person sticking out of The Rotten's left shoulder. This is possibly Pharros, who is likely controlling each move The Rotten makes. (Needs Confirmation)
  • The Rotten shares some of Nito's movesets, such as dark explosion, grapple attack, and the way he swings his knife (or possibly related to Milldred).
  • During the opening cutscene, it is trying to replace a broken statue's head, suggesting it cares for the statues, or where it lives.



    • Anonymous

      15 Jul 2020 00:43  

      if you are struggling with the runup, save the fragrant branch of yore you got at the start of the area, and use it to get the hidden bonfire. You'll have to run past 3 statues, and no enemies.

      • Anonymous

        18 May 2020 01:20  

        The trivia about Pharros is ridiculous. Rats drop lockstones too don't they? Are all those rats Pharros too?

        • Anonymous

          07 Dec 2019 16:35  

          The fact that this***** happens in six flaming tar pools makes it so much harder than the fight actually is.

          • Anonymous

            17 Apr 2019 20:27  

            In SotFS ALL the shattered statues and everything resets back to normal if you die. ***** this whole place.

            • Anonymous

              16 Feb 2019 16:36  

              I bait-rolled him and spammed the everloving Sun out of him with 16 fireballs and 4 Lingering Flames. While each one did little against him (and that's with a +5 flame, penal cuffs and 30+ Fth, base Int) it added up enough for me to finish him off with a couple sword swings. Easy boss for casters. Could probably have done more damage with 6 lightning spears instead of the fireballs, but oh well.

              • Anonymous

                04 Dec 2018 02:05  

                Everyone saying the boss is slow and easy to dodge with rolling but with 16% encumberment my rolls don't dodge any attacks. He continues to turn locked on to me even on the down swing. And the NPC that was supposed to be able to help me isn't there. This is the hardest boss fight I've been in in all of dark souls 1 and so far in dark souls 2

                • Anonymous

                  24 Oct 2018 21:47  

                  Just did this boss, finished with a final spear hit whilst he hit me, when I respawned the fog wall was still there but when I went through he wasn't. Got his soul in my inventory but didn't get the soul reward. Sad

                  • Anonymous

                    23 Sep 2018 20:53  

                    Easy strategy. Equip lion mage gear. Staff and vessel shield on back. Use Gowers ring of protection and great heavy souls arrow. Cast crimson water to replenish spells. I’m a heavy melle character and this was a cake walk.

                    • Anonymous

                      05 Jun 2018 05:34  

                      Is It normal that after the fight there is a corpse on the ground with a Pharro's Lockstone? Happened to me after i killed him with the Basic Ultra Greatsword...

                      • Anonymous

                        26 Dec 2017 01:58  

                        basicly the easiest of 4 old ones. he may appear terryfying, but after spending some time in game he became so easy to me, i started to farm him instead of burning ascetics in other areas. with mimics head and serpent ring, and with "breaking" the old undead and the rotten souls i earned ~315.000 souls per fight.

                        tactics im using -
                        light or medium armor (to leave yourself "backdoor" in case you time ti wrong or had to scratch your nose) and my favourite scythe of wants (nashandra soul, 240 physical dmg and 200 dark per normal hit), weight 55% with third dragon ring, energyrestoring ring, silver serpent ring and carryweight-increasing ring.

                        rotten is big, fat, strong, and PATHETICALLY SLOW. for each of his attacks you have enough time to roll->lighthit->lighthit->move back and restore stamina. eventually if you get hit you will end up with around 10%hp, so just time it correctly this time and do roll->drinkestustwice.

                        his attack are so clearly telegraphed and he cant hold them back like smelter demon, so you should make over half of fight without getting hit or eventually getting hit once and drinking estus.

                        (now its where it gets tricky.)
                        if you dont know what to do or expect - roll. allways. dont waste time to think or analyse. when rotten is doing unknown to you animation - roll back and slithly to side immediately. as he would use his AOE. after fighting him tens of times i eventually came into conclusion:

                        >all of his attacks give you enough time to hit him twice, but allways conserve energy for at least 2 rolls.
                        >his basic attacks and grabs can be allways dodged with rolling sideways, and still keeping close to him for hits.
                        >his dark-sword-pulse can be avoided with two rolls, direction - towards him 1:30 o`clock, first roll when his blade reaches peak above his head.
                        >his AOE blast can be dodged with two rolls backside or radius 5-7 o`clock, if you need to avoid firelakes.

                        • Anonymous

                          20 Oct 2017 18:01  

                          When you cut off The Rotten left arm an hollowed corpse appear with a drop. The drop is a Pharros lockstone. This should be enough of a confirmation right?

                          • Anonymous

                            11 Oct 2017 18:07  

                            Everyone says this boss is a huge joke but honestly, his AOE burst is a bit hard to dodge. I recommend the Hexers gear for this fight along with a fire protection ring. The most damage you receive (if you got the dodging timed right) is rolling around in the burning oil. Pity it doesn’t hurt it.

                            • Anonymous

                              16 Jun 2017 09:14  

                              The 2 phantoms you can summon are the most useless I've ever seen. One does 0 damage and the other keeps commiting suicide. I'm q pure mage wtf am I suppose to do ?

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