Fully grown Vessel, carrying the plague's heart within its body.

The Old King of Hallownest... he must have been desperate to save his crumbling little world. The sacrifices he imposed on others... all for nothing.

The Hollow Knight is the Vessel that sealed away the Infection. It is one of two final bosses of the game.

Upon breaking the seals on the temple by destroying the three Dreamers, the player is allowed entrance in order to fight this boss. To begin the fight, the player must break the four chains holding the Hollow Knight.


Behaviour and Tactics

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Hollow Knight

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion - The Hollow Knight

The Hollow Knight Boss Guide Video

The Hollow Knight fight happens over 4 Phases. Each Phase is marked by the Hollow Knight standing still, turning their head skyward and roaring. This roar stuns The Knight. The fight changes with each phase.

In Phase 1, the Hollow Knight has three attacks: Triple Slash, Lunge, and Parry. The attacks come regularly. The Hollow Knight will back dash, teleport, and leap around the arena between attacks.

In Phase 2 of the fight, the Hollow Knight gains two more attacks (Rainbow and Diving Flame Pillar) and the Hollow Knight moves and attacks with greater frequency.

In Phase 3, the Hollow Knight begins stabbing themselves. The Hollow Knight gains two more attacks (Explosion and Bouncing Balloon) but they also slow down: rarely leaping or teleporting and their attacks come less often.

In Phase 4, the Hollow Knight can barely move. They don't teleport or leap anymore; they can hardly swing their Nail; and they only use two different attacks: the Bouncing Balloon and Desperate Attack.

The main weakness of the Hollow Knight is that they are vulnerable to attacks from above. During a Lunge or Triple Slash, jump above their head and Nail bounce a few times while they finish the attack. If they try to Parry, dash away before they counter-attack.

There are safe zones amongst the blobs during the Rainbow and Explosion Attacks so pay attention and move into safe zones. Dashing can often overshoot a safe zone, so walking is usually the safer option.

During the Bouncing Balloon Attack, the Hollow Knight will attempt to home in on the player. They will have trouble tracking if the player constantly changes direction. Dodge the first slam, then dash under it when it rises for a new slam, then reverse again after it comes down and repeat.

During the Diving Flame Pillar Attack, the pillars will briefly charge on the floor before erupting, showing where it's safe to stand. When the Hollow Knight jumps and readies their Nail, start looking for a safe zone immediately after dodging the downward strike.

The Hollow Knight's teleport will usually position them far away from the player, so using Vengeful Spirit/Shade Soul during this time is useful to get hits in before they charge another attack. Moving too far from the Hollow Knight makes it more likely they'll teleport close to the player, so be careful running away to heal.

Under normal circumstances, the Hollow Knight is immune to the Dream Nail and will not grant any SOUL on a successful hit.

Depending on the player's progress, one of the three endings will play out after the fight. After the ending, the player will spawn at the last Bench rested at.

When The Hollow Knight stabs themselves with their Nail, it is a great time to heal, allowing for at least two hit points to be healed without charms.


Phase 1

  • Triple Slash: The Hollow Knight will swing its Nail 3 times. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. Each swing of its Nail moves the Hollow Knight forward, covering about 25% of the arena in total. The swings are so wide that they can damage The Knight even if they are behind the Hollow Knight.
  • Lunge: The Hollow Knight will lunge along the ground with its Nail towards the Knight. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. This lunge covers about 50% of the arena.
  • Parry: The Hollow Knight will parry and riposte with its Nail. This attack only happens in Phases 1 through 3. The riposte has a huge arc and sizeable range because the Hollow Knight slides forward when it swings and it is very fast. The window for a riposte starts with a flash and lasts for a little more than half a second. Spells will also trigger the riposte.

Phase 2

The Hollow Knight gains these attacks in addition to the attacks of Phase 1. The Hollow Knight attacks and moves more frequently.

  • Diving Flame Pillar: The Hollow Knight will either jump or teleport into the air and then slam straight down with its Nail, causing columns of infected fire to shoot up from the ground. This attack only happens in Phases 2 and 3. No matter which method it chooses, the Hollow Knight attempts to slam down where the Knight was at the beginning of the attack.
  • Rainbow: The Hollow Knight will launch multiple blobs of infection towards the Knight. This attack only happens in Phases 2 and 3. The blobs are fired in arcs at multiple angles, starting low and working up. This attack covers about 75% of the arena. The Hollow Knight will launch 9 or 10 blobs in total. This attack doesn't track the Knight; the blobs will always follow the same arcs.

Phase 3

The Hollow Knight gains these attacks in addition to the attacks from Phases 1 and 2. The Hollow Knight attacks and moves less frequently and begins stabbing itself.

  • Explosion: The Hollow Knight will hover in the air and shoot blobs of infection everywhere. This attack only occurs in Phase 3. The Hollow Knight will always be in the center of the arena for this attack. It will remain in the air for 6.5 seconds. The blobs travel along three primary paths: an arc going left, an arc going right, and a third going down. Blobs will burst from the Hollow Knight for about 5 seconds.
  • Bouncing Balloon: The Hollow Knight will float around the arena and bounce up and down. This attack only occurs in Phases 3 and 4. Every time it bounces down, the Hollow Knight is targeting the Knight. The Hollow Knight bounces between 2 to 5 times throughout this attack.

Phase 4

Depending on the player's progress, the fight will be interrupted by Hornet, allowing player to access its mind with the Dream Nail and fight The Radiance, otherwise the fight will continue as normal. During the fourth phase of the battle, the Hollow Knight loses all other attacks except the Bouncing Balloon Attack and gains one new attack.

  • Desperate: The Hollow Knight will swing its Nail once and then fall to its knees. This attack only happens in Phase 4. Essentially, the Hollow Knight is attempting a Triple Slash Attack but as soon as the first slash happens, it falls over without moving forward at all.


  • It is unknown as to why the Hollow Knight begins to stab itself halfway through the fight. Though there are three equally viable speculations:
    • To help the player by attempting to kill itself .
    • To further increase its strength by opening up the Infection more, in an act of desperation .
    • It could also be going mad and trying to destroy the Infection that's slowly taking it over.
The Hollow Knight Shade
  • It is explained through NPC dialogue that the Hollow Knight could not contain the Infection due to an unnoticed flaw which caused it to not be "completely hollow." This is also hinted at with the Birthplace cut-scene and the cut-scene shown at the end of Path of Pain.
  • It is unknown if the Hollow Knight has a second arm, as it performs most of its actions with just one arm, and never show a second arm during the battle. Its Shade, however, appears to have both arms.
  • During the ending sequence of The Radiance fight, the Hollow Knight's shade appears and opens up a weak point on her head, allowing the player to land the finishing blows.
  • The Hollow Knight has cut Dream Nail dialogue which are the following:
    • ...Kill...
    • ...Shall blaze free...
    • ...This Vessel, broken...fails...
    • ...Dawn...Shall break...
    • ...No mind, the usurper...Only strength...
    • ...Kill the usurper...Our light it would suffocate...
    • ...Father?...