Location Darkroot Basin
Health * NG: 2,520
NG+: 5,770
Souls * NG: 5,000
NG+: 20,000
* Recorded in PATCH 1.05

The Hydra is a Mini-Boss in Dark Souls.


Hydra Information

Situated in a shallow lake at the very end of Darkroot Basin, lies a 7-headed Hydra. As if the challenge wasn't daunting enough, you are required to slay four Crystal Golem in the woods before the lake, all the while being shot at with water projectiles, by none other than yours truly.







Aqua Projectile

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.


Head Strike

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.



Strategy 1 - Melee

Once you've dealt with the Crystal Golems, head to the lake and position yourself a few feet into it, without traversing too deep; there is a slightly visible cutoff line that separates the shallow water from the depth, crossing that line will drop you to your watery grave. 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.

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.


Ranged Cheese

Another way to kill the Hydra and take 0 damage is to equip the Dragon Slayer Great Bow and a Hawk Ring. Using the Darkroot Garden entrance, climb down to the last ladder, but do NOT climb down beside the waterfall. You can shoot him from the top of the waterfall without him using his spit attack.


  • The most convenient bonfire to the Hydra is usually the otherwise little-used bonfire at the bottom of Darkroot Basin, near the lone knight with a halberd, and the Grass Crest Shield. The bonfire is located in a tunnel near the knight, and allows for a fairly easy run back to the Hydra in the event of the player's demise.
  • Summoning (and PvP) activity in the Basin tends to be low, so the player should expect to take on the Hydra solo.
  • The water projectiles should be avoided at all costs. They do heavy damage and can travel a surprising distance. Try to stick around the trees in the level and keep moving, as they'll sometimes block the projectiles. You can also use the Crystal Golems  as shields, as they can be killed by the water projectiles. You will have to contend with the Crystal Golem first. While they have strong attacks, they are less mobile, which can be used to your advantage as you manoeuvre around them and make them the victims of the Hydra's projectile attacks.
  • The water projectiles are actually classified as physical damage. This means that individual water projectiles can be blocked with a high stability shield (albeit at significant stamina cost), but be wary of the other projectiles landing behind or beside you - they can still damage you and even knock you into more incoming projectiles. It is generally safer to try to avoid the projectiles or hide behind cover rather than try to block them in the open.
  • Bring as many Estus flasks as possible, ideally at least 10, and try to upgrade your flask to at least +3 prior to the battle. You may have to heal repeatedly before you can even get to the shoreline thanks to the incoming water blasts, and may only have time for a single flask between the Hydra's projectile attacks. Thus your Estus should be strong enough to keep you alive if you get hit by multiple projectiles and have little time to heal.
  • Obtaining the Rusted Iron Ring can lessen the difficulty of the fight as it allows you to walk through water without speed reduction.
  • While melee attacking the heads after they strike the ground, move beside them and do not stand under/behind them (i.e., between the head where it has impacted the ground, and the main body of the hydra). As the head withdraws for another strike, it can drag you backwards towards the Hydra and there is a significant risk you will then fall into the drop-off zone in the water and instantly die.



Mini Bosses
Black Hydra  ♦  Black Phantom  ♦  Butcher  ♦  Fang Boar  ♦  Giant Cat  ♦  Giant Rat  ♦  Golden Crystal Golem  ♦  Havel The Rock  ♦  Ricard the Archer  ♦  The Berenike Knights  ♦  The Black Knight  ♦  The Channeler  ♦  Titanite Demon  ♦  Undead Dragon

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    • Anonymous

      The real enemy is the underwater ledge that you drop down into and die while trying to get close enough to trigger the head ramming attack. Blocking with a good shield is incredibly easy but depending on the angle they hit you they can still push you forward into your death

      • Anonymous

        If you are having trouble with last head (and you don't have ranged to deal with it), try going behind the hydra, by going around the lake, walking in shallow water area. Once I was at the opposite side of where i came from, that last head started occasionally using normal attack (where it dugs it's head into ground near you), so you have easy time finishing this ****er off.

        • Anonymous

          At first, I was scared to confront this guy due to its projectiles, and when I got to level 80 I tried to go near it and didn't know it was really as easy as that, I don't know if its fangs could deal damage (I didn't want to try) since I brought my Greatshield of Astoria with me, but it was surprisingly easy! I died one time trying to chop off one of its head and resulted to me falling though

          • Anonymous

            "As if the challenge wasn't daunting enough, you are required to slay four Crystal Golem in the woods before the lake, all the while being shot at with water projectiles, by none other than yours truly."

            Lmao, what is this cringe intro?

            • Anonymous

              Fighting the one in darkroot is bullshit in the remastered version because the graphical changes almost completely obscure the edge which makes falling in so much more likely especially with a melee character as the last head to be severed whiffs off to the far left nowhere near us and running over to it without vision of the edge is awful. If anybody played DS for the first time with the remastered copy I assure you the fight is much much fairer with the original graphics.

              • Anonymous

                Stand on the cliff, right by the ladder. Equip Hawk Ring and Dragonslayer Greatbow. Absolutely BTFO this ****er.

                • Anonymous

                  I just lure the golems out one by one. And I have to say that they’re not even that tough. Their attacks are mostly just frontal srikes, and they are slow to boot. And that AoE is very telegraphed. Its just that when I finished them of I tried to take on the Hydra and those watershots didn’t let me get close. I thought dodging would help, but the tracking on those things is ridiculous. Don’t tell me I can just block them and get close like that. Can you?

                  • Anonymous

                    Easiest strategy is to run to first use the Hydra to kill the golems. Run right down the middle to the first little narrow area where the tree and the rock is, that's where the Hydra starts shooting. Run a bit past that, then turn around and run back up, maybe zig zag to the right or left if you want, make sure the golems are all following you. Get out of range of the Hydra, then run down the middle again past the golems until the Hydra starts shooting, turn around and run back up the middle, make sure the golems are behind. Run out of range of the Hydra, then repeat until the golems are dead. You may need to zig zag and herd the golems a few times. Once they're dead, run to the right hand side, dodging the Hydra blasts. There's a rock outcrop thing right at the edge of the lake, get nice and comfy in there where ever seems best and have a decent shield, I used the grass crest +2, wait there for the Hydra's head strike, it'll usually miss, but sometimes you'll need to block, attack the heads from there. I killed all but two from that spot. After that, you need to actually turn around and run to the heads after they strike, but you can still get to them all from that general area. You should end up taking very minimal damage once you get into position, the biggest risk comes from dodging the water blasts on the way over.

                    • Anonymous

                      using the crystal halberd+3 insta-chops the heads. i got all but 2 off, and one of them was so damn close to the dropoff line that i couldnt hit it, sad.

                      • Anonymous

                        Ok, I'm not here to be all:"BWAHAHA MY STRATEGIC MIND BESTS ALL OF YOURS IN EVERY WAY!" . But I didn't really have a complex strategy for either one. Hell, I killed the first one with the grass crest shield and a plus 3 sever. You just block, and cut off their heads. It can be time consuming, but it works.

                        • Anonymous

                          Not only did fighting this bugger freeze my game, but the last head wouldn't strike close enough for me to hit, and I fell into the deep water after like 15 minutes of trying to hit it. I recommend at least some ranged attacks to avoid my fate

                          • Anonymous

                            You can use the Hydras water projectiles to kill the crystal golems and you also get the souls for it as well, it may be cheap but it works!

                            • Anonymous

                              There's a boulder towards the far right of the lake edge. Stand behind that and the water attack will hit the boulder. You have to stand slightly away from it but it works. Great for Estus usage too. Then, when the boulder gets hit, run to the water edge. It will go into dive mode. That's when you retreat back a little bit and let it slam down.

                              • Anonymous

                                This. Crap like this shows that Dark Souls isn't truly difficult, it's just a pain-in-the-ass to play. The game is more a measure of patience than skill. Skill just comes as the result of patience.

                                • Anonymous

                                  Black now of pharis from the top of the ladder also works. Though tedious it'll work just fine if you don't have a great how. I used poison arrows.

                                  • Anonymous

                                    You can use magic to kill the hydra. You have to aim manually, but it is possible to stand next to the body of the fallen knight and shield until the hydra strikes. When the heads are stuck for a moment in the silt (water logged muck) aim soul arrow or great soul arrow at the necks. Chances are you will strike them. I had 3 instances of soul arrow attuned and basically just stood still. If you lock on to the main body, your spells wont reach from the ledge in the lake.

                                    • Anonymous

                                      I just got my ass handed a few times at ash lake but then i got gud. For my melee dudes/dudettes. Get as close as you can as fast as possible with a 100% shield and a long reach weapon (i used the great club). Like it states hydra does two attacks. You wanna stay in the water several feet away from the black line. Lock on to that bad boy and wait with your shield up. If it screams start backing up and to the right, wait for the head to slam down, unlock, double grip and slam a head a couple of times. Shield back out and lock back on. If it backs up its getting ready for the water strike, all you need to do is get close to the black line of no return. It will miss you 100 percent of the time. Rinse and repeat. Also facing the hydra, the head furthest to your right and the second one from the left will do damage but you cant damage it. Good luck and praise the sun!

                                      • Anonymous

                                        What happens if you kill luckily kill the hydra before doing all the other stuff like the vessel and all? Does the game gets ruined?...

                                        • Anonymous

                                          Concept art portrays the hydras as gigantic alligator-like creatures that have been pinned underwater by their forelimbs and head, while the serpents take the place of the alligator's tail. This ended up being scrapped likely because the creature became too damn big to render, so they made it a sort of ray instead.

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