|Health *||NG: 3,864|
|Souls *||NG: 10,000|
|* Recorded in PATCH 1.05|
Black Hydra is a Mini-Boss in Dark Souls.
Black Hydra Information
While similar to the Hydra found swimming around Darkroot Basin, the Black Hydra has the upper-hand in the form of higher HP. It will also follow and harass you constantly throughout Ash Lake, chasing after you and pelting you with water projectiles about every ten seconds, making its harrowing presence the primary theme of Ash Lake. It is identical to its cousin, the Hydra in appearance, except for being a menacing black color.
- 10,000 souls
- 2x Dragon Scales
Each head can spit a powerful water projectile that can travel a disturbingly long distance, and is not affected by gravity. The range on these projectiles is so great, that the Hydra often begins spitting them even before the player can see the culprit. The player should utilize all available cover when working their way up towards the Hydra, as the projectiles are numerous, and only very precise rolling will allow you to evade them.
While it can be considered magic, the water attack is deals only physical damage, so don't go into this fight thinking a magic shield will do you any good. About a second before firing the projectile, the Hydra will suddenly jerk its heads around faster than normal, which you can use as a sign of impending (watery) doom.
While the player is within range, the heads will all strike the ground in different areas, in an attempt to hit them. These attacks can be blocked almost entirely with a good shield but you can also reduce the risk of getting hit by evading them, using some good ol' dodging and rolling skills. This attack is preceded by an easily distinguishable loud shriek, which allows you to prepare yourself.
If the Hydra has waited a bit longer than normal between attacks and has not shrieked, it is time to start running sideways and zigzagging as the projectile attack is probably coming.
If you are on the opposite side of the beach than it, the Hydra may seemingly jump across the entire strip of land and will attack you from its new position.
Strategy 1 - Melee
From the Bonfire, head straight towards the Black Hydra. As you approach the shoreline, the Hydra will close the distance too, getting very close to as well. From here, the strategy can follow that for the Hydra from Darkroot Basin. Standing on the shallows will cause the Hydra to switch primarily to its head strike attack. Once close, just keep up your shield - the Hydra's attacks are fairly weak and with a good shield like the Heater Shield you should deflect all damage. After a strike, the heads will rest on the ground for a couple of seconds before raising back up and striking again. Simply locate one of its heads during this period, and hack away. A few hits with a decent weapon should cut it off. Rinse and repeat until the Hydra is no more.
Strategy 2 - Ranged
Use the Melee Strategy above, but only in getting the two heads in the middle. While there is a spot around the middle of the lake's edge where none of the Hydra's heads will attack, it is safe to cut the two in the middle to ensure your safety. Find that spot and you can shoot with arrows or use sorcery. You won't even need a shield to block at all. You must hit a neck, a head or even the stump where a neck used to be, because the body itself is not vulnerable at all; which is also why it's a good idea to stump the two heads first, giving you a more stationary target. The Hydra is also weak to lightning. For a mage, the Grass Crest Shield and Ring of Steel Protection are life savers
A good crossbow, such as the Heavy Crossbow located in the Depths, can be very effective once the player reaches the edge of the lake. A crossbow, it's not needed, enables the player to block with a shield between shots, and the Hydra can be target locked from quite a distance. However if you find yourself in a situation where you have to, simply block the Hydra's bite attacks with a shield, and then fire crossbow bolts at its main body. Often the Hydra's heads or necks will interfere with the shot, resulting in even greater damage due to the close range.
- The water projectiles should be avoided at all costs. They do heavy damage and can travel a surprising distance. There is terrain you can use to hide from the attacks as you progress through the level, but it's best to just close the distance and deal with the Hydra, to get it out the way.
- Obtaining the Rusted Iron Ring would lessen the difficulty of the fight as it allows you to walk through water without speed reduction.
- The Hydra will seem to stop chasing the player once they pass the final Man-Eater Shell and will simply shoot projectiles towards them.
- Using the bonfire next to the Everlasting Dragon after being chased does not reset the Hydra back to the beginning but instead places it half-way along the pathway next to the large tree. The Hydra's awareness of the player though is reset and it will not give chase until spotting the player again.
Unlike it's cousin, the black hydra can be lured onto land. When it tries walking on solid ground it dies.
If you lure the Hydra to the far side of Ash Lake, other side of the large tree with the Mushrooms and Basilisks, you can fight it from behind the sand dune, still need to dodge its head strikes, but the water shots will largely miss you, on top of that, if you run low on healing you can run to the 2nd bonfire to recover and any heads you've already cut off will still be gone, giving you an extra edge if your having trouble taking it down. Seen with 3 other people but could use full confirmation (believed to be patched as the heads respawned for me).
You can also find a safe spot to the left of the Hydra's starting position (near where you would run to pick up a dragon scale), among the small trees and fallen logs. There is a place up against the side of the map where you can wedge yourself into the trees/wall and take shelter from the water attacks. It doesn't look safe, but it is. You will still have a view of 3-4 of the Hydra's heads, so with some patience ,and a bow and arrows you can shoot a number of the heads off in safety. This will let you cut down on the water attacks and also open up a huge gap in the pattern of the physical head attacks, making it easy to then run out and attack the Hydra directly.