Hollow Knight – The Eternal Ordeal: Beating Zote at His Own Game (Godmaster)

Godmaster introduces an endurance challenge dedicated to everyone’s favorite NPC, Zote the Mighty. This content is highly secret which means that most absolutely everything that follows is a spoiler. This guide will outline the best possible ludicrous way of completing the challenge (and thus unlocking the best of all possible Title Screens).

Other Hollow Knight Guides:

The Ordeal

You will face wave after wave of Zotes. There is a Zote-counter. The goal is to brutally murder at least 57 of them. Our goal is to do it the dumb way, the Zote way, namely, by getting beat up.

Getting to the challenge room is silly. (I cannot imagine how anyone found it in the first place, except by being an extreme masochist. Or maybe looking at the game files.) It’s at the top-right of the main area of the Hall of Gods (where you can fight any boss you’ve encountered), accessed from the bottom of Godhome. I will assume you know where these places are, as this is the main meat of the Godmaster DLC.

First, you need to get on the wall of the arch 3rd-from-the-right at the top of the main room of the Hall of Gods. Super dash from the top of far right wall, cancel it quickly, and then jump-dash-jump/double-jump frantically until you are on it. Wall jump as far up as you can. Next we need to break a hidden wall, which is either the ceiling or maybe on the left, it’s not clear. I find it’s easiest to just Abyss Shriek, as it always works. Above you is now the challenge room. A statue of Zote will explode into the room, accompanied by Zote’s voice. Challenge it to enter the ordeal.

The Eternal Ordeal will always start with the player facing Zote the Mighty. I will note this first Zote is the only one I’ve found that can be dream-nailed, so stock up on Soul if you feel like it. After defeating him, a full-screen title card will inform you of THE ETERNAL ORDEAL, and a counter with Zote’s stupid head will appear in the lower-left to track Zote-kills. Zote will begin to sing along with the music. You will like this. Also many waves of Zotes will begin to spawn. For each Zote killed, the difficulty will increase and more variants will appear. We’ll discuss this more in a moment.

Once the player has killed 57 Zotes, the counter will turn gold (as does the hidden Zote statue we challenged) and a new title screen will be unlocked: The Eternal Ordeal. The title screen features a statue of Zote. Zote will sing the main menu theme of the game. You will like this. Congrats.

Getting Beat Up FTW

The point of this guide is the magic build I call “Beating Zote at His Own Game”:

Hollow Knight - The Eternal Ordeal: Beating Zote at His Own Game (Godmaster)

  • Quick Focus
  • Grubsong
  • Grubberfly’s Elegy
  • Thorns of Agony
  • Stalwart Shell
  • Spore Shroom

Yes, this looks terrible. It kind of is. But it’s also REALLY funny, and it actually works as we all once hoped (at least in this fight).

Your job is to heal. A lot. This implies you get your ♥♥♥ kicked. A lot. Does it look like you can panic heal there? Try it! Nice! Almost that time! (We just gotta get off maybe half of those!) Each time you get punched, Thorns deals 2x Nail damage to your surroundings. Each time you get punched, you will also gain 25 soul. (Your main meter holds 99; each pip holds 33. A spell or heal is costs 33. You gain 11 with each Nail strike.) This means you will have enough to heal after one nail strike. The heal takes half time (Quick Focus) and also triggers the Shroom DoT (which deals at most ~1x nail hit to everything that stays around). Due to Stalwart Shell, you will be invulnerable for 2 full seconds after being hit; if you were on the ground, that’s long enough to pop off a heal.

So, to review, your goal is to get hit a lot. I did this by being mediocre at dodging. Once this occurs, you will look for a mediocre place to heal. A lot of the time you’ll not succeed. But with each try, you’re doing quite a bit of area damage via Thorns. You knock a few Zotes back and try again. You still ought learn the patterns of the enemies, but it’s important to keep this strategy in mind, as it’s feels like “bad play”. I mean, normally it *is* bad play. But it works very well here as the tempo of the fight will rapidly become overwhelming, and ♥♥♥ just happens for no reason at all.

We also have a few clever, unobvious advantages. The projectiles from Grubberfly’s Elegy knock back any Zoteling that can be knocked. So if you focus on staying at full health during the early part of the fight (<20-ish kills?), you will find you can bat away most guys to focus on your arch-nemesises, Zote Turrets. (These are the guys who hang from the ceiling and shoot projectiles.) I know, Zote Fatties feel horribly disruptive, but their shockwave does not traverse the whole room, and their AI is not very smart; you can easily get a heal in as they jump away so long as the rest of the situation is under control understood. So dodge them. Everything dies to Thorns eventually.

Here is an example of us winning, with both Thorns and our Plan clearly on display:

Hollow Knight - The Eternal Ordeal: Beating Zote at His Own Game (Godmaster)

…Except the turrets. Turrets have a nasty habit of interrupting your heals, so it is important not to stand close. They spawn in exactly two locations, about a third of a screen from each wall. While Thorns will not reach them from the ground, Abyss Shriek will. I try to time it to hit more than one guy, but there’s no shame in simply burning them out. It requires one additional nail hit after a Shriek to end a turret.

Midway through the fight, the diversity of Zotes will make turrets rare. Strangely, this portion (~20-35) feels easier than the earlier and the later parts. The difficulty really ramps up when the Zote Ghosts show up. These hapless idiots float around above your head, yelling, and slowly syphoning off soul. This is a huge problem as it is continuous, has unlimited range, and uh we need that soul. Moreso than people who are better at dodging, we need it. Once again, it works well to Shriek them out. But you can also hit them with a Shade Soul fireball from across the room once you get the height right. Given that this is soul you’d otherwise be bleeding off to every tick of their existence, it is worth it to spend up front to kill em off.

Apart from those two enemies, you will find that most the fight is about looking for enough quiet to heal. You will often find your soul meter completely full, which is another reason to use spells against our highest priority enemies.

Finally, it is mildly important to prioritize targets. There is always a limit to the number of Zotes alive at any time; it goes up with kills. Each kill therefore frees a slot up to spawn a new Zote. And as the worst and most annoying Zote-species are spawned as your kill count goes up, it is wise to leave the hapless Zotes alive if you can help it. This is another place GFE shines: it lets you bat things back with the projectiles and only deals half a hit of damage, preserving those gents lovingly and haplessly waving their weiner at you. You go. I will hop over you and be over here now. GFE also helps to eliminate hoppers, fliers, and turrets by letting you add extra damage as you dodge about / miss your nail strikes. As the first two really don’t have much health, it adds up fast.

Hollow Knight - The Eternal Ordeal: Beating Zote at His Own Game (Godmaster)

I’ve gotten to 81, I think. But it’s hard to mash the screenshot button at the right time.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13514 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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