Guide to defeating the Hollow Knight Boss: The Radiance. (Story Spoiler Free).
Other Hollow Knight Guides:
- Hollow Knight 100% Achievement Guide.
- Maps of Hallownest.
- Hunter's Journal.
- Geo Farming.
- Trial of Fools (Step by Step).
Charm Build and Introduction
This guide is dedicated to defeating The Radiance. This is a spoiler free guide. It will not include any relevant story information, just a strategy to defeat The Radiance. If you don't know how to get to The Radiance it should be pretty obvious during the Hollow Knight Boss fight. If you can't figure it out just click on the link above.
There are likely many ways to defeat The Radiance but the strategy detailed below gives a sure fire way to get through the fight. There are certain charms/spells/etc. required to perform this strategy. By clicking the links below, it will take you to the relevant wiki page which should help you find those charms/spell if you don't already have them. Important note: I recommend having all of the Soul Vessels (9 fragments / 3 vessels) in order to get the most spell uses in. Having more spell uses will significantly shorten the fight.
You will also need all of the Notch Slots in order to use the Charm loadout detailed below. You can probably live without the Lifeblood Core if you don't feel like getting all the notches but having it will give you some extra breathing room if you're having a tough time. If you do not have either of these maxed out, click the links above to head over to the relevant wiki page which should get you on track to find those items.
The following spell is required for this strategy:
I was having a lot of difficulty trying to use my nail to hit The Radiance while avoiding taking serious damage. The Radiance hits for 2 masks with each attack, which makes this one of the toughest boss fights in the game for trading damage. I decided to adopt a spell focused/life blood build which will allow you to generally avoid using your nail and focus on dodging. The key to this strategy is to spam Abyss Shriek and dodge The Radiance's attacks. This combination will make quick work of the boss battle. By using life blood, you'll have a ton of health during this fight. That should buy you enough time to finish off the boss. Using both Joni's Blessing and Lifeblood Core will increase your health by 8 masks. I had 15 or 16 masks during the fight (including the added Lifeblood). That was plenty of health to get the job done. On a side note: It doesn't matter how much health you have when you get to the "Challenge" interaction before the fight begins because once you accept and start the fight, your health will be restored to full. So don't worry if you're starting this fight at half health, it'll automatically bump you up to full.
Now since your health is lifeblood, you'll be unable to heal, but that won't make a difference because you're not going to be in this fight long enough for your health to get that low. This is not a fight of attrition and with a little practice (and patience), you shouldn't be taking too much damage or trading hits with The Radiance. The spell Abyss Shriek deals up to 4 strikes at 16 times base nail damage (plus the bonus from the Shamen Stone). That is an incredible amount of damage and it won't take long to progress through The Radiance fight.
You goal is to spend your time in between your spell attacks dodging The Radiance's various attacks. When it's safe, use Abyss Shriek to deal damage to the Radiance. I'd recommend starting the fight with full soul but when you've exhausted that (or if you have none) you will need to get some quick hits in to stock up on soul. You should only have to refill on soul 1 or 2 times as each spell use consumes 33% of your soul meter, which with all of the soul vessels will allow you to use the spell 6 times at full soul. I'm not sure exactly how much health The Radiance has but it shouldn't take more than 12-18 spell uses to put this guy to bed. All that said, avoid spending too much time focusing on nail hits, it is very risky and difficult to find consistent openings. The Radiance is a tough boss and its' attacks can be difficult to dodge while also trying to find a window to get a nail hit in. It is far easier to go for Abyss Shriek attacks and they do significantly more damage. If you need soul and have to recharge, it's ok to trade some blows with The Radiance as the valuable soul you're building up will allow you to spam Abyss Shriek and get the fight over with.
The Radiance's Attacks:
- Firing homing orbs (3 total) (similar to the Soul Masters).
- Various flying swords (some from the sky, borders of the arena, or from The Radiance itself in a circular pattern).
- A sweeping light beam which moves from one side of the arena to another (you will need to use Shadow Dash to dodge this otherwise you WILL TAKE DAMAGE).
- Shooting lasers from its' eyes in a spread pattern. It will do this three times and shift position of the lasers each time.
The Radiance has 5 total phases but I wouldn't necessarily worry about each phase as with the consistent application of Abyss Shriek, you'll probably sequence break through them and jump from Phase 1 to 3 and then to the Final Phase. Yes, it really does do that much damage.
In Phase 1, The Radiance will use all of the attacks mentioned above while occasionally teleporting around the arena. With these attacks in mind, phase one will essentially consist of you dodging these (which isn't too tough once you know what you're looking at, there aren't any cheap shots in this phase). When you get a break in the attacks, use Abyss Shriek as many times as you can. Just spam it. You'll likely do enough damage in a short enough window to completely skip Phase 2 or just nearly do that.
In Phase 2, The Radiance will continue this pattern but will also make spikes appear which cover half of the arena. These spikes are telegraphed with white orbs on the ground that appear a few seconds before the spikes pop up. It's really just one more thing to avoid while you're spamming Abyss Shriek. You may need to get a few nail hits in to charge your soul vessels at this point but otherwise, it's just a bit more annoying. Focus on getting Abyss Shriek hits in and you won't be in this phase for long.
In Phase 3, Spikes will appear at the far edges of the arena while The Radiance continuously rains swords from above. There will be breaks in these sword walls and they're essentially pretty easy to dodge. I'd recommend getting in a few nail hits to recharge your soul fully at this point then just lay into The Radiance with all 6 uses of your Abyss Shriek. You'll likely be jumped straight to the last phase or may need to get just 1 or 2 hits in phase 4 to move onto the final phase. I was not in phase 3 long at all and after 12ish strikes, the fight was over.
If you've managed to land in phase 4 for any period of time, it's likely because you spaced your attacks out. This isn't a problem but phase 4 does add the difficulty of continuing phase 1's attack pattern while on floating platforms. This can make the fight a lot tougher and I would emphasize getting those Abyss Shriek hits in and moving through this phase as quick as possible.
You'll know the final phase has begun when The Radiance appears to escape upwards. Start jumping up the platforms (which will already be on screen if you made it to phase 4 or will appear when the final phase starts). You'll begin climbing a long series of platforms. The only attack you need to worry about is a downward (and likely angled) laser attack similar to the ones you may of seen while in the Crystal Peak. You'll get a small telegraph before they appear. Just keep double jumping out of the way and move up. Eventually you'll encounter The Radiance. Go in for a good nail hit (it just takes one) and enjoy the game's secret ending. Good Work Skeleton!
Written by Shellnew.