Sir Knight Artorias was one of the four Knights of Gywn, the commanding knights of Lord Gywn's army. Artorias had an unbendable will of steel, which both helped and fed into his hatred for dark servants, the Darkwraiths of Kaathe in particular. Artorias was unmatched with a greatsword, which was why Lord Gywn had the Wolf Ring made to help further his skill with one. When in New Londo, Artorias discovered the ability of abysswalking, which gave him the name Artorias the Abysswalker and allowed him to enter the home of the Darkwraiths and the Four Kings themselves. At some not specified time in the past, when Oolacile was attacked by the Abyss, Artorias traveled to Oolacile to rescue Princess Dusk of Oolacile.
Artorias, deeply marked by the Abyss (after realizing he was losing against the Abyss), gave his shield which served as a magic aura, to protect his loyal battle-companion, Sif The Great Wolf, (which was very small at the time, compared to the time the player faces him in the present) from the Abyss. Then he was defeated by the Abyss and became Artorias of the Abyss. After that, an unknown hero (the player), who traveled to the past, killed Artorias, releasing him from his wretched state. This helped keep his honor intact, because no one would ever know what really happened to Artorias; he was instead believed to died while facing the Abyss, instead of being defeated and corrupted to fulfill the Abyss's goals. Then the hero killed the dark creatures of the Abyss and saved Sif, who was being held captive (protected by the magic aura of Artorias' Shield but unable to escape) by them. This way the player can acquire the Cleansing Greatshield.
If the player didn't kill Sif The Great Wolf before saving him in the past, when the player faces Sif, there will be a new opening. In which Sif will recognize your scent and reluctantly picks up his Greatsword, but will fight you.
- Savage Leaping Strike, Artorias howls, then leaps to the player to use him as a sheath for his sword, dealing massive damage. Can be blocked while moving sideways or avoided by rolling forward/to the side when he's about to land. Good moment to hit once.
- Stabbing Charge, Artorias dashes to the player in an attempt to pierce the player. This attack hits twice, unless you manage to avoid it, and while blocked, can take most of your stamina bar away if you dont have a proper shield for it. If blocked, it's a good moment to hit safely on Artorias as he will back off if hit. If hit in the back, he will swing his sword around wildly while jumping away.
- Light Stab, Artorias will often follow with a light stab after closing up on the player with a previous attack.
- Gliding Slash, Artorias glides a short distance to slash horizontally in front of him. There is another version where Artorias rather slashes downwards after approaching with a disarticulated upperbody motion. Can be blocked or avoided by rolling sideways. May follow with a Light Stab.
- Slashing Combo, Artorias will swing his blade 1-3 times. Commonly followed by 2-hit Hurricane Swing/Light Stab.
- 2-hit Hurricane Swing, Artorias will swing his blade for 720°, hitting the player twice in the process. Can be blocked or dodged. Used when standing near him for a long time/after he does a melee attack.
- Sommersault Smashing Combo, at medium range, Artorias might do a fast sommersault towards the player to heavily smash his sword downward. If it connects, might be repeated up to 2 more times while locking on the player. Dodging/blocking the first attack is vital as each strike will stagger the player/crush the player to the ground, which are very hard to avoid if having higher than 50% Burden. Not recommended to hit after avoiding the first hit since Artorias can do the same counter as the follow-up of Stabbing Charge. Can safely hit if you blocked the 4 sommersaults. (he slowly regains his stance after the last smash)
- Oozing Darkness, if standing behind Artorias for too long, he will throw sludge at the player with a backhand swing of his free hand. Medium-ranged, can be blocked or avoided with a back roll.
- One with the Abyss, after chopping off close to 1/8 of his HP, Artorias will gather Darkness around him to unleash a violent AoE explosion while giving him a damage buff and a trail of harmless Darkness will float behind him. He can stack the buff if he does it again before it runs out and the explosion has a medium-sized AoE. The explosion can be avoided/blocked and the whole attack can be interrupted by hitting Artorias a certain amount of times while he channels the explosion, causing him to get staggered. The number of times you have to hit him depends on the weapon (3 hits with a Man-Serpent Greatsword or 2 hits with the Avelyn crossbow were enough, for example, but it's very hard to pull it off with Ricard's Rapier). A headshot with a bow will always knock him out of the channeling process, but you've only got enough time to get maybe 2 or 3 tries at it if you're quick. It seems to occur no matter the damage output, since headshots on humanoids always stun. It is better to interrupt the buff as it may be troublesome to deal with Artorias when a buffed Savage Leaping Strike might drain a whole HP bar/stamina bar, even with Havel's Greatshield. While he is channeling this ability the damage he receives is reduced significantly.
Artorias lives up to his billing as being unmatched with a greatsword, and even co-op battles against him can be a drawn out and exhausting affair. He is extremely aggressive (pretty much like Gwyn) and usually controls the pace of the fight, but also uses his speed and dodge-rolls to defend himself or break away from walls or multiple attackers. He switches rapidly between defense/offense as well as his targets, and will press his attacks against injured opponents to finish them off before they can heal. It is very important to keep moving and not let him wind up on you. Summoned players should try to maintain aggro on him and keep him away from the host, as his aggressive tactics and leaping abilities can make it easy for him to cover a lot of ground and surprise a host particularly if they are trying to cast a spell or drink Estus. Staying at a close or middle distance while constantly strafing to one side can be an effective way to avoid his various gliding stabs and sommersaults, but backing off too far can result in punishing leap attacks that track fairly well, or give him time to use his charge up attack. All of his attacks can be blocked with a fairly nice shield quite easily (Balder Shield + 5 for example is more than enough) so you should try to use a good shield and keep your guard up whenever possible. Blocking with a high stability shield and good stamina tends to be safer than trying to roll through his attacks, as a number of his attacks have the range and tracking to punish all but the most perfectly timed and directed roll evasions. But when he pauses to kneel down and start charging his power up, that is the moment you NEED to attack him. He can be staggered out of his charging animation with a few swings of a strong melee weapon (such as a greatsword or ultra greatsword wielded two handed) or by the obsidian greatsword's 2-handed R2 AoE attack. This can also be an opportunity to hit him with a few spells. If you let him fully charge however he will emit an AoE attack and increase his damage for some time. After a few times he may be far to strong to be blocked in any way, depending on the shield used.
NG+: The charge-up which increases his damage will not last for the entire fight, but he might charge again before it has run out. Even charged though, he remains blockable, only his very high leap can be unblockable and must be avoided by walking backwards from him, otherwise he will strike behind your shield. If only attacked in uncharged state and healed when he´s at a distance makes this fight very controllable.
Always keep stamina bar over 50% at all time as none of his direct attacks are to be taken lightly and considering Artorias' extremely fast stance recovery/follow-up speed.
Note: I've experienced the fight easier with a long ranged spear, like the Silver Knight Spear. With a long ranged spear, you can safely hit him once or twice when he has landed his Savage Leaping Strike, Somersault Smashing Combo and his Gliding Slash (always remember that while rolling to his left side, you cant be hit with this attack), just remember to quickly roll backwards after you've hit him. Also, some poise will help you with the fight, as with around 40 poise you can outstand one or two of his weaker attacks, and one hit of his Somersault Smashing Combo, and safely roll out if you miss the timing.
Video Strategy (Melee)
- 25,000 souls if fought with a sunlight warrior or 50.000 souls without (100.000 in NG)
- Soul of Artorias
- Artorias possess most of the attacks of Great Grey Wolf Sif.
-The cover-art from the Prepare to Die Edition is vaguely similar to Issue 28 of the Berserk manga. By coincidence as well, both Artorias and Guts, the main character in the Berserk manga, are both unmatched with greatswords, and both have the same physical handicap in left arm (Guts' was cut off, while Artorias' arm is practically dust inside his armor.). Also both characters seem to have connection to wolfs - Artorias has wolf companion named Sif, while Guts has wolf-resembling armor. Their armors also look similar, and they both are "consumed by darkness" while fighting - Guts is lost in hatred, Artorias is posessed by dark magic.
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