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Dark Souls Ornstein boss fight, lore, and more

Dark Souls’ Ornstein is a man of many stabby talents, so in this guide we look into his role, lore, and tips for the Dragon Slayer’s boss fight.

Dark Souls Ornstein in golden armour standing next to a window

Dark Souls is a beast of a game in terms of difficulty and heavy exploration into the dark unknown. So when you reach the heavenly area full of light that is Anor Londo do you expect mercy? You shouldn’t. Dark Souls Ornstein is a required boss that, paired with his cohort Executioner Smough, will kick you out of Anor Londo quicker than you can drink an Estus flask.

His battle is a tough one and may be the difficulty wall that makes you quit your Dark Souls adventure. Well, don’t you go hollow, because we have this guide that tells you where to find Ornstein, his backstory, and what strategies to keep in mind when you face this deadly dragonslayer.

Few bosses offer the level of challenge and lore that Dragonslayer Ornstein gives us, but those few do exist, so we do recommend checking out our Dark Souls Gwyn, Dark Souls Gwyndolin, and Dark Souls Artorias guides, so you get the full picture surrounding Dark Souls’ Ornstein.

Who is Dark Souls’ Ornstein?

To completely understand the lore of Ornstein, we must first look at the Nameless King from Dark Souls 3. The Nameless King is Gwyn’s firstborn son and is thought to be the God of War of Dark Souls. After the war against the dragons, the Nameless King betrayed his father, siding with the remaining ancient dragons leading Gwyn to disown and erase all mention of him from history, exiling his son from Anor Londo never to be seen again.

Dark Souls Ornstein slashing his weapon towards the player

Dragonslayer Ornstein, at one point, serves as the captain of Gwyn, the Lord of Cinder’s four knights. Which contains himself, Lord’s Blade Ciaran, Artorias the Abysswalker, and Hawkeye Gough, all of which you can find in the Dark Souls Artorias of the Abyss DLC. Ornstein resides in the Grand Cathedral alongside Executioner Smough guarding Princess Gwynevere as his fellow knights fall one by one while on grand adventures. It’s hard to pin down whether Ornstein too is an illusion.

At some point, after Gwyn rekindles the First Flame, Ornstein leaves Anor Londo in search of the Nameless King he once served under, casts away his dragonslayer armour and title, and pledges an unseen oath to Gwyn’s son in the hidden mountains of Archdragon Peak. Where the inhabitants follow the way of the dragon in peace. That is until you consider the Nameless King a test of strength.

In Dark Souls 2, you can find a pretender in the form of the Old Dragonslayer who’s, oddly, protected by a dragon before you discover him. This imitator uses dark magic over lightning, and his armour is more shaded and worn than the glistening gold Ornstein wears. Little is known about the Old Dragonslayer. Is it Ornstein on the way to Archdragon Peak, is it an imitator that worships the dragonslayer, or is it simply a tie-in for the sake of one?

Where can I find Dark Souls’ Ornstein?

You can find Dragonslayer Ornstein in the grand cathedral of Anor Londo. Start from the second bonfire after you scale the rooftops and enter into the quarters building beside the grand cathedral. Take the spiral staircases up and down, navigating the only clean rooms you find in this game, you discover a staircase leading into the cathedral with giant guards blocking your way to the boss room. Getting past these giants rewards you with the chance to die over and over against Ornstein and Smough.

Dark Souls Ornstein boss fight featuring his and Executioner Smough's health bars

Dark Souls Ornstein boss fight

When you first encounter Dragon Slayer Ornstein, he teams up with Executioner Smough as the penultimate challenge, where the reward is an audience with Dark Souls’ Gwynevere.

If you defeat Executioner Smough first, Ornstein takes a moment to respect his fallen brother in arms. The dragonslayer then grows several sizes and utilises lightning to defeat you.

The best advice we can give here is to get as close to Ornstein as possible during his regular attacks. His spear is very long, so getting right between his legs and attacking is the best course of action most of the time because his attack should swing straight over you. Yes, we know how this sounds. We’re very mature here at Pocket Tactics. Beware of his jumping slam attack and the massive lightning blast that comes with it.

When he jumps in the air, there should be enough time to run out of there, be sure to RUN not dodge roll to gain as much distance as possible. This all depends on how you manage your stamina so using items that increase your stamina regeneration speed, the Grass Crest Shield, Green blossom consumable, and Cloranthy ring all greatly help you with this strategy. There may be even more rings that can help you, so check out our Dark Souls rings guide for all their effects and locations.

You don’t have to go in alone! Everyone’s favourite sunbro Solaire is available to summon and help take down this deadly duo. Progressing Solaire’s quest to the point where you find him sitting inside the room with the bonfire in the side tower you climb in Anor Londo and be sure to exhaust all of his dialogue. You’ll find his summon sign halfway up the stairs in the grand hall before Ornstein and Smough’s boss room, heading towards the giant blacksmith. For more articulate information, check our Dark Souls Solaire guide.

Dark Souls Ornstein and Smough looking menacing

Upon victory, you receive 50k souls, the Leo ring, and the Soul of Ornstein item that can upgrade a +10 spear weapon into the Dragonslayer Spear that the knight himself uses. You can also consume Ornstein’s soul for an additional 12k souls or give it to Frampt, where he trades 8,000 souls for it. It seems to be an obvious choice with which to pick here, but we’ll leave it up to you to make the best decision!

There we are fellow hollows, Dragon Slayer Ornstein’s lore, location, and tips for his boss fight. You might just head to the Catacombs after Anor Londo. If so, see our Dark Souls Nito guide to help find the buried Gravelord. If you’re struggling with the big beasts of Lordran, check our Dark Souls bosses guide – it might just save your skin.