Hollow Knight – How to Defeat the Nailsage Sly

Hollow Knight - How to Defeat the Nailsage Sly
Hollow Knight - How to Defeat the Nailsage Sly

Other Hollow Knight Guides:

Nailsage Sly

Cunning God of Opportunity.

Health: 800(250)/1200(600)

The third and most frustrating of the new bosses… in my opinion, anyway. This little guy has a tiny hitbox, a huge sword, and entirely too much mobility. Which is why this is one of those fights that you really should just Grubberfly’s Elegy cheese. You’ll thank me later.


  • Price Cut: Sly will do two overhead slashes, and then, if the player is nearby, throw in a jumping spinslash. Sly may be small, but his nail is large, and he moves forward a lot! Don’t get complacent, and don’t get pinned against the wall. You can sneak in a hit once he lands.
  • Double Down: Sly will jump over the player and slash downward, and then, if the player is nearby, throw in another overhead slash. You can sneak in a hit once the attack is finished.
  • Discount Dash: Sly jumps to one end of the stage, charges, then dashes to the other. You can gauge where he’ll stop using the background props. He’s vulnerable to a hit from behind, but that slash reaches slightly behind him, too. Don’t get greedy!
  • Whirlwind Sale: Sly jumps into the air and charges up, letting off his cyclone slash! He then homes in on the player. DO NOT try to dodge on the ground- climb the walls and pogo off Sly if you need to!
  • Great Deal: Sly heads straight toward you and charges up a Great Slash! He gets a lot closer to you than usual for it, so I actually end up dodging it by reflex most of the time (do not remain close to sly, ever). This attack deals double damage.
  • Back in 10: After about 15 hits, Sly will drop his nail. The player has time to focus twice, thrice if they’re greedy. (Amusingly, if he is pushed into his next stage before picking the nail up, it’ll remain there for the rest of the fight.)
  • Everything Must Go!: Sly’s only attack in his second phase. He jumps around to random floors, walls, and ceilings, and if he gets near the player, he launches a circular slice that homes in just enough to make you hate it with a fiery passion. He can be hit ONCE after he stops- use a Nail Art if you can.

Strategy: do not be close to sly. Shadow Dash through his attacks if you’re pressed, and always stay close as you can to centerstage, because Sly moves around A LOT. Ranged attacks are your friend here. Don’t be ashamed to let your charms do all the work. Sly is TRICKY, and so you should be, too. When he gets to phase 2, DON’T PANIC. Save your Shadow Dash for when he launches his attack. Stay close as you can to about 1/3 the length of the stage, so Sly usually comes at you from a predictable direction, but you have space to fall back. And seriously, you have no business being closer to sly than the maximum range of your Nail.

Charms recommended: Longnail, Quick Slash, Strength, Grubberfly’s Elegy, Heavy Blows, Grimmchild, Weaversong, Nailmaster’s Glory.

Ascended changes: 50% health boost (phase 1), 240% health boost (phase 2).

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2706 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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