The Abyss Watchers are a collective boss in Dark Souls 3 and one of the first Lords of Cinder that players will face during their journey. In this guide we will discuss the lore of the watchers, available summons, interesting trivia, and share our tips for defeating them.
General Info about the Abyss Watchers
The Abyss Watcher is a mandatory group boss in Dark Souls 3 and the first Lord of Cinder that players will encounter during their playthrough.
Equipped with The Farron Greatsword, dagger, and a memorable scarlet cloak, the Watchers will attack with vicious invent, utilizing flipping maneuvers and wide sword-sweep combos to annihilate opponents… and each other.
In this guide we will cover the lore of the Abyss Watchers, a strategy guide to help you defeat it, as well as some fascinating trivia & unconfirmed theories.
- Weaknesses: Lightning, Staggering , Backstabs and ripostes
- Resistance: Dark, Bleed
- Immunities: Poison, Toxic
Abyss Watchers Lore
The Abyss Watchers were the main component of The Undead Legion of Farron, a group formed after the time of Artorias, the Abysswalker. Their singular purpose was to root out all traces of the abyssal corruption and prevent it from spreading. Although the cause was noble, the Watchers went to insane lengths to contain the abyss, often raising entire cities to the ground.
The Undead Legion of Farron is a caravan of Undead, sworn by wolf’s blood to contain the abyss. The legion will bury a kingdom at the first sign of the exposure.Source: Hawkwood, Deserter of the Undead Legion
The Watchers took inspiration from Artorias, and partook of the Wolf’s Blood to enhance their bodies and essence. The blood linked them to the soul of Artorias and distributed this essence between multiple bodies. Eventually, the Legion was corrupted by the very Abyss they sought to contain and fell. One of the most telling signs of this was the number of Farron Followers that were tasked with removing corrupted members.
In the end, the Abyss Watchers linked the fire and become Lords of Cinder. It is unknown whether they did this collectively, or if it was done by a singular member. After the linking of the fire, the Old Wolf of Farron, which can be found in the swamp, formed the Watchdogs of Farron, one of the covenants of Dark Souls 3, to protect Farron Keep from defilement.
Why Didn’t the Abyss Watchers Take up their Throne?
It is still unclear why the Watchers chose to abandon their throne.
[Theory 1] Maybe they didn’t want their home to decay further. Under Farron Keep, the ruins of Carthus are brewing with the taint of the Abyss. Although Wolnir was contained, his corruption is evident in the Cathedral of the Deep and the Smouldering Lake. With no more followers, the Watchers may be the last line of defence, but this would imply that they still have their sanity.
[Theory 2] Another theory would be that the Watchers were driven mad by the corruption of the Abyss. With their followers devolved to mindless beasts or fleeing to the Painted World of Ariandel, they were left alone in the rotting bog. Sensing the abyss in each other, and unable to die, they are locked in eternal combat.
What is the Connection Between the Watchers and Artorias?
The connection between the Watchers and Walker is very clear. Artorias was a knight of Gwyn, who took it upon himself to fight against the abyss that erupted in the Ancient Land of Oolecile. The Watchers share the same purpose. According to the description of the Wolf Knight Helm, the Undead Legion of Farron was created to bear Artorias’s torch.
The Undead Legion is the only mention of Undead in Dark Souls 3 that is able to fight for a greater cause, instead of being collectively hated.
It is also implied that Farron is connected to Oolecile. According to a Youtuber’s theory, Farron is actually Oolecile. There are very few coincidences in the Dark Souls universe, so the common elements between Farron and Oolecile cannot be random. Here are a few signs that support this theory:
- You can find dead Oolecile mushrooms while travelling through the swamp. If you venture forward, you can also find a small cave with a single corpse. On the corpse, you will find a Golden Scroll which reads: “In the lost land of Oolacile, the sorceries orchestrated light, and were said to shine in golden hues.”
- The corpse is protected by a mushroom that looks exactly like Elizabeth from Dark Souls 1’s Oolecile.
- You can also find Dusk’s set and the Crown of Dusk, which states: “Feathered crown bestowed upon the princess of Oolecile, land of ancient golden sorceries.”
There are a few other hints worth mentioning, but I’ll let you check out the video.
Why do the Abyss Watchers Attack Each Other?
The first thought would be that they fight for practice, since they can rise from the dead. But this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why fight each other while facing the Chosen Ash/Unkindled?
Another theory could be that they have gone completely mad and can sense the abyss in each other so they are fighting endlessly.
The sword and the dagger are reminiscent of how the knight and the wolf would have fought.
For more information about the Abyss Watchers lore, please check out this excellent video by VaatiVidya.
Abyss Watchers Strategy: How to Beat this Boss
Boss Moves Explained:
The first phase of the battle feels like your run-of-the mill encounter with a strong knight. However, after a few slashes, a new Abyss Watcher will raise from the ground. And then another, this time with red eyes. The fight can become very chaotic, very fast.
After you best the real watcher and survive the clones, you will enter phase two of the battle. In the second phase the Abyss Watcher essences will coalesce into one badass watcher, wielding a flaming sword. A few new moves are added but his attack patterns remain largely unchanged.
- One of the three Abyss Watchers that spawns will attack the other two. You can use this to your advantage. Let two Watchers fight amongst each other until one is defeated, and lure away the third one.
- Don’t rush into combat and attack all three Watchers at once. They will aggro on you and destroy you.
- The Watchers will do three and four-hit combo attacks. As soon as the combo ends, there is a window of opportunity to get some hits in. Don’t overextend.
- The Watcher will attack continuously during the second phase. Even if you manage to dodge his attacks, you might get caught by the line of fire left behind it. You can use the Red Bug Pellet consumable at the start of the phase to increase your fire defense.
- I know this has become kind of a meme at this point, but try dodging more. Don’t panic roll. Instead try remaining in close range and positioning yourself for a parry. Only block for emergencies and if you are using a shield with high fire resistance.
- Tip for mages: this fight might be easier as a caster (except for pyromancers). Simply keep a safe distance and utilize your spells between combos. The Watcher will try to close the distance quickly, so don’t get caught off-guard.
- Black Hand Gotthard is the standard summon for the Abyss Watchers boss. His summon sign is located at the top of the staircase before the boss room.
- Yellowfinger Heysel can be summoned if you have defeated her in the Crucifixion Woods and deepened your devotion for Rosaria’s covenant (in the Cathedral of the Deep).
- Londor Pale Shade can be summoned if you have completed Yoel of Londor’s quest-line and met Yuria of Londor.
- Sirris of the Sunless Realms can be summoned if you have offered the Dreamchaser’s Ashes to the Shrine Handmaid and exhausted Sirris’s dialog.
Upon defeating the Watchers, you will receive the Cinders of a Lord and the Soul of the Blood of the Wolf. You can also access a new area: The Catacombs of Carthus.
Abyss Watchers Trivia
- If you go back to Firelink Shrine, you will find Eygon, Knight of Carim sitting next to the Firekeeper. Speak to him to advance his story.
- Harkwood deserted the Undead Legion before things started to go awry. His fighting style is completely different from that of the Watchers. He uses a shield, proving that he is unfit to be a member of the Legion. Harkwood will give you the Farron Ring after defeating the Watchers.
- The description on the Soul of the Blood of the Wolf suggests that the Abyss Watchers are a reincarnation of Artorias himself, a theory supported by the many reincarnations in the Souls Universe.