Large, strong and surprisingly mobile, Smough takes advantage of his size (and the size of his hammer) to cause devastating damage to anything caught within his reach. Smough attacks with large hammer swings, jumping into the air and bringing his hammer down onto anyone caught standing still and will even charge at you with his hammer, throwing the player into the air if caught at the end of his hammer. His charge move can be quite dangerous, as he can pursue a player a long distance and will eat through a shield block very quickly if the player is both trampled and then struck with the hammer swing at the end of the charge. Upon death, he will be absorbed by Ornstein who then grows in size substantially. If Ornstein is killed first, then Smough's already long attack range becomes even greater and several of his abilities gain different attributes from his increased size and strength. The most dangerous ability Smough acquires is a electric-charged jumping attack which, from experience, is completely unblockable.
Quick and agile, Ornstein is opposite of his partner Smough attacking with leaps, thrusts, large arcing sweeps and shooting bolts of electricity from his spear. Upon death, he will be crushed and absorbed by Smough, who gains Ornstein's electric attacks which cause large amounts of damage. If Smough is defeated before Ornstein, his attacks gain even greater range, improved damage and a thrust, if a player gets caught in, will be impaled and shocked by Ornstein's imbued spear.
Ornstein is the faster of the two bosses, but his hitbox is narrower and his attacks are easier to dodge. But take care if you decide to kill Smough first, as Ornstein sometimes may be hidden by Smough's large body and he can also attack you through Smough. Use his Gliding attacks to get some distance between the two, or use the walls. Keep your attention on the other boss while attacking his partner. Move the camera to a position where you can see both of them. Do not let them corner you and try to evade their attacks rather than blocking them because that would leave you out of stamina quickly and open to his partner's attack. After he transforms, keep close to him and attack at his legs, but watch out for the Impale and crash attacks. Keep up the pressure and read his movements and he will eventually go down. It is also important to keep your shield up when first entering the boss fog particularly when playing online, as due to lag or possible coding issues Ornstein often seems to teleport across the arena very quickly and may land a devastating thrust attack on the host in the opening moments of the fight. He may also send large lightning bolts at the host in a similarly dangerous fashion.
Super Ornstein trick (requires sorcery/bow): When fighting Super Ornstein, make your way behind a broken pillar (one of them should be broken from the first part of the fight), while keeping him at a range. Stay behind the pillar and wait for him to spam his lightning attack. If he rushes at you, you did it wrong. If he spams his lightning attack, that means you did it successfully, which means you can simply target him, and use sorcery/a bow and easily kill him. You may need to move a bit to the side so your magic will shoot over the pillar, but make sure you don't get hit. Be wary that even if you get him in his lightning bolt attack, he can still stop the attack and resume his usual pattern of attacks, so be ready to pull out your shield when that time comes.
Toxic (Dung Pies preferred): Make sure you have about 15+ dung pies on hand (just in case you miss or die). Keep a good distance and hit them with about 5 or so to put them in toxic. If you can avoid dying for the duration of the battle the toxic kill will them without you even having to attack once. After one of them dies and you move on to the super form, just repeat the strategy. (Only been tested on NG, don't know how well it works on NG+ and on.) Also works with Dark Silver Tracer's R2 (DLC item). Gravelord Sword has yet to be tested as well.
Ornstein First: Run backwards—with shield ready to block—and wait for to Ornstein to attack. Hit him one to three times and back up again. Watch out for Smough`s jump attack (just roll and you can avoid Smough's attack) When Ornstein is killed, use the same backing-up tactic to lure Smough into using his jump attack. Roll to the side and quickly hit him few times. Only attack him when he uses the jump attack.
Ornstein First V.2 (melee): If Ornstein is difficult to hit, due to being constantly close to Smough, the pillars around the room can be used to separate them for some quick hits and will make phase two Smough extremely easy. Make sure you have a decent shield and Queelag's Furysword or another fire based weapon. A lightning spear is helpful but not required for Smough phase two (Sen's fortress mimic, the Demon Spear from pink gargoyles or make one). You will want to have below 50% carry weight at the very least; below 25% is better if you think you can do it.
Lock on to Ornstein and pay attention to where Smough is. Next time Smough does a charging attack, make sure a pillar is directly between you, so that he 'hits' it with his hammer. The key to this tactic is that Smough seems to path straight when charging (unlike Ornstein's floating charge that goes around objects). As long as you move around a pillar, so that it is directly between you and Smough, and occasionally bait his hammer blows by moving closer to the pillar, you can effectively separate him from Ornstein, who will walk/float around the pillars to you. Wait for Ornstein to start a combo while Smough is behind the pillar, block or dodge it, hit him a few times, and then check on Smough's position to make sure he is still behind a pillar. If he is walking around to get to you, simply strafe until he is once again on the other side relative to you.
This may take a few tries to get the hang of, but the advantage of the tactic is that by separating them you buy yourself a few precious seconds during which you need only worry about Ornstein. When phase 2 begins, equip your lightning spear if you have one and position yourself the same way, with Smough on the opposite side of a pillar. Run around the pillar towards him with your shield up to bait his attack. Back up to dodge his sweeps and roll to dodge his forward hammer slam. While he recovers, run around the pillar and stab him a couple times. Rinse and repeat. The advantage of a spear is that you can hit him from further away, making more efficient use of his vulnerable recovery time. The only attack you need to be aware of is his electrified butt-slam; when he jumps in the air, roll back twice and you should be fine. Under 25% weight for this will make the butt-slam a joke: you shouldn't be taking hits. *By standing behind a broken pillar with enough distance between you and Ornstein, he will keep using the lightning bolt attack and you can shoot at him from a safe distance with no fear of the other attacks.
( * indicates: "Only when in Super form")
Swing Combo- Ornstein will swing his weapon in vertical and horizontal arcs up to four times. Use this chance to either get around him and hit him between swings or move towards Smough while he is executing this move. The move has relatively decent tracking and range and is fairly easy to block.
Spear Slam- Ornstein jumps and stabs his spear down in front of him. The attack has decent tracking and hits rather far in front of it and can go through pillars if you are close enough, but its hitbox is quite narrow, simply roll to the side.
Lightning Bolt- The enemy hurls a lightning bolt at you. The cast time is relatively long, so take this time to get some hits in on him or Smough, provided one is close enough. Until he throws the bolt, he will track you, so be prepared to dodge. Thankfully, the bolt moves fairly slowly, but it is guided and will connect if you roll too soon.
Gliding Stab- Ornstein will glide across the room as he makes his way towards you to stab you. The tell-tale sign of this attack is when he starts to kneel and begins a pouncing stance, once he does this, prepare to roll out of the way. Think of this attack as Old King Alant's gliding attack in Demon's Souls. Warning- if he glides into an obstacle on his way to you, he will continue the attack until he reaches your position, so keep an eye out and see if he resumes gliding after running into a pillar.
Lightning Stab- If you are close enough, instead of the lighting bolt, he will just stab you.
*Spear Swing- Ornstein will spin his spear right to left and—if you are still in front of him—left to right. Take the time to run under his legs and get some damage in.
*Back-step sweep- Ornstein jumps into the air backwards, making a sweeping motion and doing damage to a wide area in front of him. This can be avoided by simply being under him at all times, and this should not hit. If your weapon is fast enough, you should be able to get in one attack after he lands.
*Spear Slam- Similar to the one used in round one, but he's just bigger; plan accordingly.
*Spear downward stab- Ornstein thrusts his spear at the ground, if this connects, it has a good chance of breaking your guard, as he may continue with a charge, doing major damage.
*Gliding Stab- He will only do this when you are far away from him, similar to the first form.
*Electric Crash- Ornstein leaps into the air and lands, producing a huge electrical Area of Effect below him. If you see him leap up offscreen, sprint or roll away. After he lands, you can rush him and get some damage in as well. Be aware that the lightning hitbox lingers slightly after he lands, so don't rush in too quickly. Some of the electricity damage can be soaked by a high electric resistance shield (such as the Eagle Shield or the Effigy Shield) but it is far safer to roll out of the damage zone. If Ornstein or Smough actually land on top of you, you will take additional physical damage in addition to the electricity burst. This is often enough to OHKO a player.
*Lighting Impale- Ornstein's ultimate attack. If you are near him, he will charge his spear and then thrust it in front of him. The tracking is sub-par but unpredictable, you can roll to his side to avoid it but sometimes he will abruptly switch targets or turn around completely and surprise you or a summon. Your best bet is to simply roll backwards or if you do not have a fast enough dodge go under him while he charges his attack, and it should not hit you. Rolling backwards or to the side too soon often results in impalement. If the attack does hit you, Ornstein skewers you and lifts you into the air, and does a considerable amount of damage with a powerful Lightning Bolt, before hurling you to the ground. He is also invulnerable to damage during the long animation of this attack, up to and including his recovery time after hurling his victim to the ground. At the same time, he will be locked into that animation throughout, so this attack can be an opportunity to heal for other players not affected. It is possible to use a humanity or even cast a heal spell while standing right next to him during when he is lifting someone else into the air and not be harmed.
( * indicates: "Only when in Super form")
Hammer Smash - Smough will rear back with his giant hammer in both hands and then slam it down in front of him. This attack is slow and has poor tracking, and easily evaded by strafing or rolling to one side. It can pass through broken pillars, however, so make sure to keep your distance if you are using one as cover. This attack is a good opportunity to evade to one side and then deal some damage, due to its slow recovery time.
Jumping Hammer Smash - Smough will leap forward and slam his hammer on the ground in front of him. This attack can also be evaded by strafing or rolling to one side. The area of effect of the impact zone is hard to predict, so rolling forward or through the attack is not recommended since the hammer or even Smough himself may still hit you.
Single Hammer Sweep - Smough will pull his hammer back to one side, and then swing it around to the other side where it eventually impacts the ground. This attack has a wide radius and unpredictable hitbox, so it is best to try to get behind him or back well off. Another option is to actually run into his chest and wait for the swing to go by behind you, as the handle of the hammer will not hurt you, and you can immediately start dealing some melee attacks or close range spells/pyromancies.
Double Hammer Sweep - This rare attack starts with the above Single Hammer Sweep, and then after the hammer strikes the ground Smough will reverse his grip and bring it back around in the other direction. This can surprise people charging in after what they thought was a single sweep. You can still avoid damage by getting within the attack radius by pressing right up against Smough, but otherwise you should continue to try to get behind him or stand well off. Do not try to block or tank.
Trample Charge- One of Smough's more dangerous attacks even in his regular form, this involves him dropping his hammer in front of him in both hands, and running towards you. If you have the misfortune to be caught by this attack, you will take damage from the hammer and from being trampled by Smough himself. Worse, once he reaches the end of his charge (which can vary significantly depending on whether he runs into any players or has to chase them across the area), he will finish with a powerful popup swing with his hammer that deals additional, significant damage. The safest way to deal with this series of attacks is to recognize it when it starts, and then get a pillar between you and Smough. If you place yourself correctly, when he runs into the pillar it will end his charge and he will then do his popup attack (which can pass through the pillar, so be careful). If you do not place yourself properly, it is possible for Smough to clip around the side of the pillar and still hit you. If you are nowhere near a pillar, rolling several times to your right in a circle around Smough while locked on can carry you past both the charge and his eventual hammer swing. Finally, in his regular form it is possible to block this attack while backpedalling, although you will need a high stability shield (70+ to be safe) and full stamina. Even then, your guard will likely be broken, and Smough has been known to chain his trample attacks. If you are playing with other characters, it is also possible to stagger Smough from the side or behind as he starts his run, cancelling it entirely.
Buttslam - Smough leaps straight up in the air, and then crashes down on his rear end while holding his hammer sideways. You can take damage from either having Smough land on you, or from being under his hammer when he lands (even though he does not swing it). Backing up slightly or strafing around to your right are safe counters. This attack also has a long recovery time as Smough ambles back to his feet, so it is a good opportunity to land some attacks.
*Electric Hammer Smash - Super Smough will use a powerful overhanded smash to flatten players. This attack is best evaded to one side, as it is difficult to block or tank.
*Electric Hammer Sweep - Super Smough will swing his hammer horizontally in a wide arc in one direction or the other, similar to his regular Hammer Sweep above.
*Jumping Electric Hammer Smash - Super Smough will leap forward while bringing his hammer down in front of him. This is best evaded to the sides, or by using a pillar as cover.
*Electric Buttslam- One of Super Smough's most dangerous attacks. He will leap up in the air while drawing in a large electrical aura, and then when he lands he will blast a 360 degree electrical charge onto the floor. The effect is similar to Ornstein's electric crash attack above, but has a much larger radius and does a lot more damage. If you are in the middle of trying to attack him, it is possible to be hit both by the electricity, and the force of Smough's body impacting the ground at the same time, usually resulting in a OHKO. As this attack is extremely visible and recognizable, as soon as he leaps players should backpedal or ideally roll backwards several times to try to get out of the blast radius.
*Electric Trample Charge- Arguably Super Smough's most dangerous attack. In form it is very similar to his above regular Trample Charge, but with significantly increased damage. This attack is far harder to block as even a very high stability shield will likely not be sufficient to block the entire series of charge and hammer swing attacks. Hiding behind a pillar is the only guaranteed way to avoid damage, but it is possible to evade by rolling to your right several times as he approaches, or rolling directly backwards just as he reaches you with his charge and begins to go into his popup hammer swing. Failure to time the evasions properly, however, often results in extreme or fatal damage. This attack pattern becomes particularly brutal in NG+ and beyond.
TIP: The arena is filled with large pillars that will be broken by attacks from Smough and Ornstein. The base of each pillar that remains will make good cover to protect against many of their attacks, notably Ornstein's lightning bolts, and Smough's charge-and-hammer-sweep move. Some of their attacks have sufficient reach to clip through the pillars so always be alert, but the pillars can be a good way to find a moment to heal, or to get out of the way if they are being very aggressive.
TIP: Ornstein is weak against fire, using a +5 fire weapon in this fight will be significantly easier. However, if you do not have easy access to the Fire Ember located in the Demon Ruins (After Queelag's domain) needed to upgrade a weapon to fire attribute, Queelag's Furysword is also a good alternative. Smough is weak to Lightning in the first form, but gains slight resistance once he transforms, but also shares Ornstein's vulnerability to fire. Pyromancies are therefore also quite effective.
TIP: Both Smough and Ornstein can be staggered by melee attacks, which disrupts their attack patterns. This remains true, albeit more difficult, when they are in their larger forms as well. The staggering appears to be based on rapid cumulative damage (similar to poise breaking), rather than the particular strength of an individual attack. With sufficiently aggressive and skilled summons, it is possible to keep either Smough or Ornstein in a cycle of near stunlock. This can be critical for high weight/encumbrance fighters who lack the mobility to escape the large AoE lightning charges caused by their jump attacks, as staggering during the buildup for those jumps will negate the attack. Certain spells will also stagger Smough and Ornstein with varying degrees of consistency. The best option seems to be regular soul spears, followed very closely by crystal soul spears. Homing crystal soul mass, homing soul mass, and heavy soul arrows can also be effective. Miracles are generally less useful for staggering, although they will still deal regular damage. Wrath of the Gods, Emit Force, and the various sunlight spear type miracles are all useful, but Force should not be used.
TIP: When one dies and absorbs the other the survivor's health is restored, so don't waste the time and healing potions to whittle one down before the other dies. Focus exclusively on whichever one you wish to kill first. If you are playing with summons, most summons will know to decoy the other one away and simply block their attacks for a while, permitting you time to focus on and kill your preferred target. You can also message any summons before the fight to ensure they know which one you intend to kill first. Also, be mindful of where you are standing when the first of the two is slain. Following the cutscene, the survivor will always appear in "super" form at the far end of the cathedral floor from the entrance. If the initial fight ended up in that area, the survivor can immediately start attacking unprepared players who are standing next to him after the cutscene.
TIP: When facing Super Smough his extended reach will sometimes cause him to completely miss close range attacks. Use these misses to deal some damage. This does not mean he can't still hit you so keep your guard up.
TIP: The miracle Replenishment can be surprisingly helpful during this fight, as you may not have much time to stop and heal. Cast it once just prior to entering the fog gate, and then a second time as soon as the cutscene following the defeat of one of the two foes plays.
Soul of Ornstein or Soul of Smough (depending of who you kill last).
Leo Ring (if you kill Ornstein last).
Note: the armor set of the last you killed will be available for purchase from Domhnhall of Zena.