Hollow Knight – How to Defeat the Nightmare King

Hollow Knight - How to Defeat the Nightmare King
Hollow Knight - How to Defeat the Nightmare King

Other Hollow Knight Guides:

Nightmare King

God of Nightmares.

Health: 1250/1650

Isn’t it weird how Grmm isn’t actually mentioned in either his name or title? Well, that’s because you’re not fighting merely Grimm. No, you’re fighting an avatar of the Nightmare Heart. And the Nightmare Heart ain’t nothin’ to screw with. The strategy is largely the same as the Grimm fight, but his speed is, of course, souped up, and his attacks all have new properties that make them harder to deal with. Oh, and he deals double damage. Fun times incoming.


  • Rising Devil: Grimm will teleport near you, take a slash across the ground, then do an uppercut that explodes into five flame projectiles that are rather large. Jump and slash, you can hit him twice! Stay close to him for the flames- they don’t hit right near where he vanishes. 
  • Heads Off: Grimm teleports above you, dives diagonally downward, then dashes toward you across the ground, leaving a trail of burning flames. The first trail will disappear by the time he makes his dash. As for yourself- Dash to avoid the dive, then jump and pogo if you can, then dash to avoid the flames. 
  • Hellflash Onslought: Grimm teleports away from you and fires off four fiery bats- two below, two above. Jump halfway between them and dash toward Grimm to land some hits! 
  • Coiled Crush: With no warning, Grimm creates a series of wicked spikes along the ground with only a second’s delay. Grimm himself is nowhere to be seen, and there’s not enough time to Focus. 
  • Crimson Jet: Grimm appears in midair, and summons four geysers of flame from the floor in sequence under the player. He is vulnerable during this, especially to a Shriek, but be careful- even after the flames stop jetting, they still leave a damaging ember on the ground for a second. 
  • Charnel Cataclysm: At 3/4, 2/4 and 1/4 health, Grimm will teleport to centerstage to launch a series of quick-moving fireballs everywhere. Stick around the wings and jump/Shadow Dash through any of them coming at you on ground level. Grimm is immune to melee attacks during this (not that that would be a good idea), but not to spells. But the fire moves fast enough to nail you even if you attack when it seems clear- be careful. 
  • Rest For The Wicked: After about 12 hits, Grimm will explode into a swarm of Grimmkin. You can focus 2 times before he reforms, or use the opportunity to nail the big one with glowy eyes to do extra damage. You don’t have much time, though, so act fast! 

Strategy: This time, like last time, it’s all about staying on your toes and enduring all the various abuse Grimm throws at you. Not every attack leaves him open, but if you can sneak in a hit here or there, you can save up for a devestating Shriek while he does his Crimson Jet attack. This is also one of the few fights where I actually recommend against using a Slam to avoid damage- Heads Off and Rising Devil, not to mention his other attacks, can still leave something damaging on you even after you avoid the initial strike. Just hang in there and wait for your shot.

Charms recommended: Longnail, Strength, Quick Slash, Soul Eater, Shaman Stone, Grimmchild.

Ascended changes: 30% health boost.

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