Dark Souls 2: Lvl 55, Still can't beat The Pursuer.

Realitycrash

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Yeah, so I decided to grind every single Old Knight in Heide's Tower of Flame until they disappeared. I'm a very patient man. I play a Knight with 25 Str and 20 Vit, high health and a full Old Knight's armor and shield. And guess what? I still can't beat the Pursuer. I just can't dodge his attacks, and his attack-pattern seems very random. Any tips concerning what I could do to win? Except summon other players.
 

Legion

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Oct 2, 2008
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My tactic = Keep your distance, it will then do a charge at you with an upwards swing (it "announces" the attack each time too), as it gets towards you roll to the side so that misses and get a strike in before it recovers. Move away from it again to encourage it to do that attack again. Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes it will do a ranged attack but this should be easy to avoid if you are far away. On other times it will attack again once or twice after the charge so be prepared to roll back just in case. Although it does this quite rarely in my experience.

The official boss location for it (with the fog etc.) also has the Ballista's you can fire at it, which will take down most of it's health. It's difficult to get it in the path of them on your own though.

Manoeuvrability is the key to this one.

I keep seeing people mention how difficult it is, yet for some reason I never struggled, for me it was the Sentinels I failed dozens of times against.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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Just use the Dark Souls 101 tactics for humanoid enemies.

Get close and circle him, hugging his shield.

He'll miss a lot. A couple of his attacks have long recovery times. Wait for them then smack him around. Don't get too greedy with the follow ups, try to leave enough stamina for one block.
 

Sean Hollyman

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He's not too hard. What I did was wait till he does his blue stab, or 3 swing attack, then smack him a few times while he recovers from that. You don't even need to roll, most of his attacks you can just jog away from.
 

Realitycrash

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Legion said:
My tactic = Keep your distance, it will then do a charge at you with an upwards swing (it "announces" the attack each time too), as it gets towards you roll to the side so that misses and get a strike in before it recovers. Move away from it again to encourage it to do that attack again. Rinse and repeat.

Sometimes it will do a ranged attack but this should be easy to avoid if you are far away. On other times it will attack again once or twice after the charge so be prepared to roll back just in case. Although it does this quite rarely in my experience.

The official boss location for it (with the fog etc.) also has the Ballista's you can fire at it, which will take down most of it's health. It's difficult to get it in the path of them on your own though.

Manoeuvrability is the key to this one.

I keep seeing people mention how difficult it is, yet for some reason I never struggled, for me it was the Sentinels I failed dozens of times against.
Problem is that after I dodge/attack his initial strike, I try to get some distance, but as I do he does his 3-attack combo towards me and I can't get far enough away. If I use all my stamina to roll away I can sometimes get away but then he charges me right after and I have no stamina to do an attack after the charge. I have tried going lighter armor, but it doesn't seem to help.

Sean Hollyman said:
He's not too hard. What I did was wait till he does his blue stab, or 3 swing attack, then smack him a few times while he recovers from that. You don't even need to roll, most of his attacks you can just jog away from.
Did you use to lock-on feature? Because kinda hard to jog away if you are locked on.

Anyone know if spells do decent damage vs him, or miracles?

Is there any point at all in blocking some of his attacks? I have a 100% physical block shield (Old Knight shield), or does it just waste my stamina?
 

hazabaza1

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Zhukov said:
Just use the Dark Souls 101 tactics for humanoid enemies.

Get close and circle him, hugging his shield.

He'll miss a lot. A couple of his attacks have long recovery times. Wait for them then smack him around. Don't get too greedy with the follow ups, try to leave enough stamina for one block.
Yup.
Get close, roll towards the swings, attack once when the opportunity arises then go back to keeping defensive position so you have the stamina to dodge/block and swing again.
Don't forget that your stamina raises lower when blocking so keep your guard down whenever possible.

He also gets absolutely wrecked by lightning damage. If you can get some range and throw lightning spears, even at the lowest faith requirement you'll take off a tenth of his health per spear.
 

Rosiv

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Dodging in the game is affected by the Adaptability stat. The more of it you have, the more "invincibility frames" you will have. For example, if you have low adap right now a dodge might only give you 1 sec of "avoidance" for a attack, where as pumping it up higher would give you more, ( the actual stat that adaptability affects to give you the "better" dodging is Agility, for my mage, since he had light armor, i made him have it at least over 100 to get easier dodges.)

I also wouldn't bother to use a reg. shield to block unless its from weak mobs. For a boss you want a great shield with high stability, since the way poise works in the game is a bit gimping for heavy characters.
 

Sean Hollyman

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Realitycrash said:
Sean Hollyman said:
He's not too hard. What I did was wait till he does his blue stab, or 3 swing attack, then smack him a few times while he recovers from that. You don't even need to roll, most of his attacks you can just jog away from.
Did you use to lock-on feature? Because kinda hard to jog away if you are locked on.

Anyone know if spells do decent damage vs him, or miracles?

Is there any point at all in blocking some of his attacks? I have a 100% physical block shield (Old Knight shield), or does it just waste my stamina?
At that point in the game I still didn't have dodging mastered so I didn't bother locking on. I just waited for him to attack, hit them then got out of there. Seemed to work just fine. And don't bother blocking, he takes off a shitload of stamina.
 

StriderShinryu

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Despite what some others have said here, I actually think Pursuer is one of the best examples in the game of locking and and circling at close range not being the optimal strategy. Pursuer has too many wide tracking combos and guard crush moves for that to work well. Not to mention that he also has moves that are best stepped to different sides.

My tips:
- Don't stay too close
His move variety at a medium to long range is the easiest to bait and punish

- Watch for the glowing blue sword of doom
You can't block this and it has a deceptively long range in the direction of the thrust, but it tracks sideways poorly compared to some of his other moves. It's best side rolled but can be avoided simply by circling toward his shield hand if you feel brave. As a bonus (for him), if he hits you with this, you get Cursed and he actually gets new moves that make him harder to fight. Don't get hit by it.

- Learn his moves
It's a little obvious, but they all are fairly telegraphed and can be evaded with practice

- Don't get greedy
Even his biggest moves don't have enough recovery time to allow you to get more than a hit or two ion safely. One or two quick swings OR one heal timed immediately after a dodge are all you have time for

- Don't heal just because you have to
I know it can be tempting when you're low on life but only heal when you are either really really far away from him (not likely to happen, he is the Pursuer after all) or instead of an attack after dodging/blocking one of his moves/combos.

- Learn to roll
Rolling is harder in DS2 than in DS1 so there's a little more technique to it. Vertical attacks can generally be dodge rolled to either side. Horizontal attacks, however, can't reliably. For horizontal moving attacks, it's almost always best to dodge against the grain of the swing. For example, if the attack is coming from L -> R you'll want to dodge towards the L. This maximizes the invincibility frames on your roll by having you "inside" of the attack for a shorter period of time given that it's moving one way (towards the R) while you're moving the opposite way (towards the L).

- Be okay with finding him tough
Considering how early you can fight him in the game and how tough he actually can be compared to even later bosses (and considering he's actually totally optional), he is actually legitimately difficult. The upside, though, is that once you know how to fight him you'll have successfully learned the tools you need for almost every other challenge you're going to face. The rewards for beating him are very good (a great ring, a great weapon/shield/armour set, a "shortcut" that actually allows you to skip one of the other bosses that people generally hate) so beyond the learning process it's worth the effort.

Some of his moves:
- Shield bash
He'll only do this if you've got a shield equipped and are holding it up. Blocking it is possible but it will totally drain your stamina and stagger you. Don't block it. Instead, roll towards him or towards his shield hand to evade it.

- Shield up charge
He raises his shield in front of him, hovers and flies towards you then attacks with a vertical sword slash. With the right timing and direction, you can actually just side walk around this to his shield hand side. I prefer to roll just to be safe. You want him using this move as much as possible because it's easy to punish and he generally only does it when you're at medium to long range. You may be tempted to back roll if you need to heal but it's safer to side roll as the vertical slash he does at the end has deceptively long range in a straight line in front of him.

- 3 hit combo
This comes in a few varieties but all are generally treated the same way. He usually starts with a horizontal slash, then does a shield bash, then a third attack that's either a slash or a dive attack. For the slash you can block but a roll is better. Roll towards his sword hand. You need to roll the shield bash. Roll towards his shield hand. If he does another slash, roll towards his sword hand. If he does the dive, roll towards him so that he'll fly over your head. The timing on the third attack is a little delayed so it may take a few attempts to get the timing right.

Hope that helps. :)
 

Realitycrash

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hazabaza1 said:
Zhukov said:
Just use the Dark Souls 101 tactics for humanoid enemies.

Get close and circle him, hugging his shield.

He'll miss a lot. A couple of his attacks have long recovery times. Wait for them then smack him around. Don't get too greedy with the follow ups, try to leave enough stamina for one block.
Yup.
Get close, roll towards the swings, attack once when the opportunity arises then go back to keeping defensive position so you have the stamina to dodge/block and swing again.
Don't forget that your stamina raises lower when blocking so keep your guard down whenever possible.

He also gets absolutely wrecked by lightning damage. If you can get some range and throw lightning spears, even at the lowest faith requirement you'll take off a tenth of his health per spear.
Rosiv said:
Dodging in the game is affected by the Adaptability stat. The more of it you have, the more "invincibility frames" you will have. For example, if you have low adap right now a dodge might only give you 1 sec of "avoidance" for a attack, where as pumping it up higher would give you more, ( the actual stat that adaptability affects to give you the "better" dodging is Agility, for my mage, since he had light armor, i made him have it at least over 100 to get easier dodges.)

I also wouldn't bother to use a reg. shield to block unless its from weak mobs. For a boss you want a great shield with high stability, since the way poise works in the game is a bit gimping for heavy characters.
So in order to get a better dodge, the aim is to get higher Agi, not necessarily Adaptability?
I have a lvl 45 Cleric (did ye ol grind as well) that I just beat Dragon Rider with, and boy was that boss easy. If it is true that Pursuer is weak vs Lightning then my cleric should be able to beat him.
For the Cleric I was planning on going melee-dual weild with faith and high health but little armor. Is it better to go for the strenght-attribute and dual-wield, or go for dex since it pumps Agi as well?

Also, I have noticed that for certain classes certain attributes increases Poise, while for other classes it does not. How does that work? Or am I merely confused? Adaptability seem to raise poise for my swordsman, but Vigor appears to raise it for my Warrior.
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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My methodology to kill the Pursuer VERY easily with most builds. If your build is one that refuses to put point into endurance, or to use a shield, then you need to learn to abuse broken dodge rolls to win. If you aren't a ninja yet you should do the following:

Prefight-
Grab the middle shield from the armorer, its 1500 souls and you don't need to upgrade it at all.

Get around 12+ endurance and equip the Chloranthy ring. Preferably also have the Ring of Restoration to help with the chip damage you will have from blocking.

Equip your hurt-a-ma-jig of choice, preferably NOT dark based as he resists it. Lightning is best, and a Mace/Halberd/Broadsword are about the best you'll have by then. Or use spells.

I prefer to fight him on the roof by Cardinal Tower bonfire as its a large area free from all those annoying barrels/ballista that get in my damn way. Be careful to avoid getting knocked out of the ring on the 2 open sides as this will result in failure. But remember you can totally bail out if you need to by jumping unlike the other location.

STRATEGY- When he lands, hit him once, or twice if you are using magic.

Raise your shield, lock on, and get in front of him.

If he decides to raise his shield and dash at you, casually walk to the right avoiding the hit entirely and them smack him once as he takes forever to recover.

If his sword glows blue, get in close and circle quickly to the right. He will miss you and you can heal or smack him once as he recovers.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: If you see him raise his shield over his head then you need to dodge to the right or back (preferably both) to avoid getting guard broken. He might not follow up with anything, or he might end you, so don't get shield bashed.

For any other moves just circle to the right with your shield up. If he starts his 3 hit combo, try to keep far enough away so that you can avoid the second hit after blocking the first (you don't need to roll) and then his flying 3rd hit will pass over your head. Don't hit him. Let your stamina fill up by dropping your shield. He might do the overhead slash for the 3rd hit instead. Just block it. If you end up blocking all three hits you will be staggered, but he won't do anything about it. Let your stamina fill up and wait for him to charge/curse you.

If he DOES manage to curse you, then you are doing it wrong, and good luck. He will have many fun new attacks for you and at that point you should probably dodge them or jump off.

This strategy also works with the Old Dragonslayer who is even easier. Circle to the right and smack him after he misses.

For the Dragonrider dodging is really easy, but also circle to the LEFT and under his arm. Alternatively summon Glenncourt and take turns spanking him.
 

Fat Hippo

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Lots of good advice and sound strategies here, should lead you to victory. So far, he's really been the only boss I had any difficulty with, so when my 5th attempt or so started turning sour, I just said "fuck it", ran over to a ballista and blasted him good. Although some people here have said that this is actually difficult to pull off, so I guess I just got lucky.
 

Sean Hollyman

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StriderShinryu said:
- Learn to roll
Rolling is harder in DS2 than in DS1 so there's a little more technique to it. Vertical attacks can generally be dodge rolled to either side. Horizontal attacks, however, can't reliably. For horizontal moving attacks, it's almost always best to dodge against the grain of the swing. For example, if the attack is coming from L -> R you'll want to dodge towards the L. This maximizes the invincibility frames on your roll by having you "inside" of the attack for a shorter period of time given that it's moving one way (towards the R) while you're moving the opposite way (towards the L).
As somebody who was stuck on Smelter Demon for 2 days before figuring this out, I can confirm this is essential.
 

Realitycrash

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Also, which is the "X" key to open Illusionary Walls on the PC? Is it the standrad 'interact' key? Because it doesn't seem to work. Which is the default key?
 

StriderShinryu

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Realitycrash said:
Also, which is the "X" key to open Illusionary Walls on the PC? Is it the standrad 'interact' key? Because it doesn't seem to work. Which is the default key?
Not sure about PC, but it is the same as the standard interact on console (so it's A/Green on 360). Note that there are both "interactable" and breakable hidden walls in DS2, so some have to be interacted with and some have to be hit.

Oh, and there are also a few walls that are only "explodable" so you need to get a gun powder barrel next to them and then have them hit with a fire based attack (firebomb, flame enchanted weapon, etc.).

If you find yourself trying to open something you know is an "openable" wall but it's not opening, it could be because you're trying to open it with the wrong method.
 

Subbies

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If you're able to parry him, he will stay stunned for a substantial amount of time.
 

My name is Fiction

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Realitycrash said:
Yeah, so I decided to grind every single Old Knight in Heide's Tower of Flame until they disappeared. I'm a very patient man. I play a Knight with 25 Str and 20 Vit, high health and a full Old Knight's armor and shield. And guess what? I still can't beat the Pursuer. I just can't dodge his attacks, and his attack-pattern seems very random. Any tips concerning what I could do to win? Except summon other players.
Get good would be the most honest Dark Souls player response. Almost all enemies can be beat by just hugging them to the left. Roll under one of his swings in the combo and be fine. Also you could parry his readable swing and then balista him to death.
 

garjian

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Why has nobody mentioned the ballista?

Go through the fog,
Wait... maybe move to the right a little,
Dodge the attack, (or apparently, parry him, but I've never bothered to try myself)
Sprint to the ballista,
Shoot him for 98% damage.

Even without that he's fairly easy. He telegraphs all of his attacks a lot and therefore easy to roll. I know it's early days but rolling is a must-learn mechanic. Also, leveling doesn't do very much in comparison to upgrading your equipment... being even max-level, 838, will not help you that much if you're not good with the game's mechanics.
Also also also, shields are terrible... there aren't many circumstances blocking with a shield is better than rolling, and having a shield just hinders you from learning how to roll effectively because it's easier to do, and weighs you down.

Edit: 1 person actually did mention the ballista... which still surprises me 'cause I was sure that's how everybody did it on anything other than their first time just to get it out of the way quickly.
 

StriderShinryu

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garjian said:
Why has nobody mentioned the ballista?

Go through the door,
Wait... maybe move to the right a little,
Dodge the attack, (or apparently, parry him, but I've never bothered to try myself)
Sprint to the ballista,
Shoot him for 98% damage.

Even without that he's fairly easy. He telegraphs all of his attacks a lot and therefore easy to roll. I know it's early days but rolling is a must-learn mechanic. Also, leveling doesn't do very much in comparison to upgrading your equipment... being even max-level, 838, will not help you that much if you're not good with the game's mechanics.
Also also also, shields are terrible... there aren't many circumstances blocking with a shield is better than rolling, and having a shield just hinders you from learning how to roll effectively because it's easier to do, and weighs you down.
I don't mention the ballista for two reasons. First, it can be more trouble than it's worth to get it right and if you're focusing on using the ballista then you're not really learning the fight. Second, and this carries on from the first, is that I consider The Pursuer to be probably the best fight in the game from a learning perspective. Almost everything you need to know in the game combat wise is encapsulated in the fight and one shotting Pursuer with the ballista doesn't teach you anything other than that there aren't convenient ballistae around when fighting other tough enemies.

I also don't take issue with anyone wanting to use a shield. I would wager most players probably use one on their first playthrough. Plus, due to the guard break mechanics in DS2, it's not really as 100% viable an option as it used to be (and Pursuer teaches you this). Not relying on a shield makes you a better Souls player overall, sure, but I see it as more of an advanced stage of learning/challenge than something a first time player should be burdened with.
 

Realitycrash

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garjian said:
Why has nobody mentioned the ballista?

Go through the fog,
Wait... maybe move to the right a little,
Dodge the attack, (or apparently, parry him, but I've never bothered to try myself)
Sprint to the ballista,
Shoot him for 98% damage.

Even without that he's fairly easy. He telegraphs all of his attacks a lot and therefore easy to roll. I know it's early days but rolling is a must-learn mechanic. Also, leveling doesn't do very much in comparison to upgrading your equipment... being even max-level, 838, will not help you that much if you're not good with the game's mechanics.
Also also also, shields are terrible... there aren't many circumstances blocking with a shield is better than rolling, and having a shield just hinders you from learning how to roll effectively because it's easier to do, and weighs you down.

Edit: 1 person actually did mention the ballista... which still surprises me 'cause I was sure that's how everybody did it on anything other than their first time just to get it out of the way quickly.
I've never been able to reach the ballista and fire it on him without him showing up and destroying it before I can use it, so there's that.
Just beat him with my Cleric. Going to try with my Warrior. And yeah, Shield DO seem rather useless.

Anyone have a tip for a high-def/low-weight armor that can be acquired early? Best I have found so far is the Bandits-armor in No Man's Wharf. Are there any better?