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The Soul of Cinder is the manifestation of all Lords of Cinder that have pledged to defend the First Flame by linking it.
The final boss of the game. The fight with the Soul of Cinder has two phases. In his first phase, he mimics, both the Chosen Undead and the Bearer of the Curse from Dark Souls 1 and Dark Souls 2, if they linked the First Flame, and in phase two, he mimics Gwyn, Lord of Cinder from Dark Souls 1. Defeating him allows you to link the fire, or to summon the Fire Keeper, if you gave her the Eyes of a Fire Keeper and let her select a world without flame. Killing the Fire Keeper here will trigger another ending, one that does not grant a trophy/achievement.
In Kiln of the First Flame. Once the ashes of all four Lords of Cinder have been placed on their respective thrones, you can speak to the Fire Keeper, and rest at the Firelink Shrine bonfire to proceed.
- Yuria of Londor - only if you have finished Anri of Astora's quesltine.
- Londor Pale Shade - only if you possess five Dark Sigils.
The boss will cycle through various builds similar to those that appear ingame. He starts off using a Strength moveset, and will cycle through Faith/Halberd, Intelligence and Pyromancy/Scimitar movesets at random. Once reaching 0 HP, he will regenerate and enter Phase 2.
In this phase he acts similar to Gwyn, Lord of Cinder from Dark Souls I, and uses several multi-stage moves. He gains a grab attack, similar to Gwyn's, and a 5-hit attack that will juggle the player in the air and finishes with an explosion after thrusting the sword into the ground; this attack is similar to one of Manus' attacks. He'll also use several sunlight spear variants with similar looking startup that must be dodged differently.
In phase one the boss will utilize abilities from four classes.
The 'Shortsword Phase' is arguably the easiest one to deal with, as it just contains basic swipes, but uses several delayed attacks to catch overzealous rolling.
The 'Cleric Phase': he utilizes move sets from a halberd-wielding Herald - be mindful of his charge attack - he uses a healing miracle and wrath of the gods in this phase.
In his 'Sorcerer Phase' he will use a spell similar to Homing Crystal Soulmass from Dark Souls 1, except that the soulmasses will renew several times after firing. This buff can even persist through changing movesets. He can also use Heavy Soul Arrow, a large sweeping attack reminiscent of Crystal Soul Spear, Soul Greatsword, and Soul Stream.
His 'Curved Sword' phase contains erratic movement and is not as aggressive as his other phases. He uses the pyromancies toxic mist, great combustion, and a great fireball. He will also buff himself with a variant of Power Within - except he does not take damage from it.
In Phase 2, his moveset is primarily made up of regular sword swipes, similar to Gwyn's. He gains a kick and a grab attack. Also, he will buff himself with Power Within every time he grabs you. Finally, he will use Sunlight Spear as his primary ranged attack. He can hurl it straight at you, into the ground, or in the air- which will rain down Sunlight Spears upon you.
Play aggressively during the Sorcerer and Shortsword phases, but cautiously during the Curved Sword and Cleric phases. Play the latter two like any 'hit and run' boss, prioritizing dodging. The former two can be played more aggressively as his skills are easier to dodge or block. Be mindful of the Crystal Soulmass, moving to dodge it - and keep an eye out for Crystal Spear - which is very easy to dodge - as long as you know what to look for. His Soul Stream is also heavily telegraphed and can easily be punished. Dodge rolling predominantly to the right should be okay in this phase.
When using the sword, he can do several combos which start with a right-to-left swing. In most cases, the second attack is a left-to-right swing which can be instantly, or has a short delay that can catch your roll. Which it will be depends on whether you get hit by the first slash or not, and whether you hit the roll button or not. Either way, the purpose is to always catch you. A guarantee way to dodge these combos completely is to make three successive rolls without any pause. It is best to roll backward on the second and third rolls. This works no matter which his second attack is, but you need to be able to dodge at least the first slash. You can, of course, simply block the attacks, if you are able to. When he starts walking slowly without attacking, you have several seconds to safely hit him, before he resumes his offense.
The sorceries are the easiest attacks to deal with. Most of the damage you inflict on him will be during his sorcerer phase. One thing to keep in mind, is that every time he casts Homing Soulmass, he will create a blue aura around his body. This aura will spawn Homing Soulmass automatically every few seconds, without any action from him. Staggering the boss will stop this aura as well as destroy any active Soulmass. This aura can persist even after he has changed to another fighting style, and will last for a while if you cannot stagger him.
When using the halberd/spear, using a shield is a good idea, since he does not have any combo. Some attacks are fast but there are always good pauses in between his attacks. Dodging these attacks could be tricky, since some attacks are fast, but he also has a delayed thrust that will catch you at the end of your roll. If you are very close to him, and keep strafing to the right, his one-handed stabs will mostly just miss, but at this range, he will also do the left-to-right sweep, which is fairly fast, as well as a fast version of Wrath of the Gods that deals considerable damage. If you do not have the HP to withstand at least a few hits, a safer approach would be to keep as much distance between you and him as you can, and punish his charge attack, then immediately back out again. A Black Knight Shield +5 can block the entire charge attack fairly easily.
When he changes to the scimitar, it can be fairly hard to get any hit in and get away with it, since he attacks fast and almost continuously. It is best to focus on dodging/blocking, and wait until he casts Toxic Mist, Power Within, or Fireball to punish him. His attacks with the scimitar does not deal heavy damage, and he usually changes to a different style soon.
The second phase should be easier to deal with, since the boss has less health, and his patterns have a lot of openings to take advantage of. During the second phase, if the boss pauses - move back! He could be charging up his grab attack. Though it is easy to dodge, it has a fair range, so keep that in mind. Punish the boss after this - with a fast weapon you should be able to get a few attacks off. A viable tactic could be to just bait this attack and punish him in return. The same thing can be done for his kick. After his multi-swing attack is a great time to get a few hits in, as well.
The safest approach is to keep staying far away from the boss to bait out his leap attacks, then punish him. He tends to follow up the long-ranged leap with the 5-hit combo, which can deal over 1000 damage in total on NG+. As for the quicker leap attack, he usually follows up with a grab, or a delayed stab, which can also be punished. It is best to always back away after scoring a hit, or two at most, if your weapon is fast enough. It is possible to roll through the slashes in his 5-hit combo and avoid being knocked airborne, but you can still take some damage because of the flame coming from his sword.
If you have ranged damaging spells, or ranged weapons, you can get a few hits in whenever he is charging up the lightning bolt volley spell, or when he is doing the five-hit combo (just make sure you are out of range). The lightning volley can be tricky to roll through, but an easier way to dodge it is by sprinting to either side (in a direction perpendicular to the flying path of the bolts). Just make sure to keep an eye on the boss since occasionally he will leap at you, or throw another lightning bolt at you at the same time the volley arrives at your location. Parrying the bolts with a spell parry shield (with a well-timed parry) can help you avoid being knocked down, but you will still take damage. The Dragonslayer Greatshield when two-handed can block this attack easily.
He is relatively vulnerable to staggering - three two-handed light attacks from a Greataxe will stagger him, for instance. An aggressive playstyle can reap a lot of damage this way if he uses one of his buffs or highly-delayed swings.
- In the second phase, the boss-fight music changes to a variation on Gwyn's boss-fight music from the original Dark Souls.
- If you strike him when he's recovering from being staggered during his scimitar phase, he'll parry and riposte you.