Already neglected Zote but now want to fight the new Boss? And possibly get 2 more achievements? Here is a stripped-down plan to rescue him, plus all the tips I could find to beat him.
Other Hollow Knight Guides:
- Hollow Knight 100% Achievement Guide.
- DLC Achievements.
- Maps of Hallownest.
- Hunter's Journal.
- Geo Farming.
- How to Defeat the Radiance.
- How to Defeat the White Defender.
I've just played this again because I neglected Zote in all my runs (if you already neglected him in Greenpath he won't appear in Deepnest - I tried!) Now with Zote being a new boss and the promise of 2 more achievements, well... put in 3 more hours just to see him - and some more to beat him, at least once, and get the achievement.
I also had the pleasure to be attacked by Revek, an enraged ghost that deals 2 damage in Glade of Hopes. :)
I don't think it's a good idea, though, to take on Prince Zote with limited upgrades. With just 2 nail upgrades (13 damage) he needs 92 hits (1200 damage). Beating White Defender (once) with 100% upgrades was a no-brainer, compared to that.
Unlike White Defender, for Prince Zote you don't need to beat any Dreamers or bosses, no floor-dash, and no essence, just the normal Dream Nail. Quick Slash would have been nice but requires 3 more notches and floor-dash to enter the area where it's found, aka back to Soul Sanctum! :/
So, I was looking for a way to easily get Crystal Dash with the lantern and then double-jump, and somehow a 3rd nail upgrade (2 Pale Ores) and pick up easy-to-get relics along the way.
Just follow the 3HR+ Speedrun Guide but:
- Of course rescue Zote in Greenpath
- Unlock the Stag Station near Hornet so you can go back up to Howling Cliffs later!
- I did get Fragile Heart and Fragile Strength early on, 4 Maks Shards and 3 Vessel Fragments.
- Once you have the Dream Nail in Resting Grounds (blue  of LEG 4), don't fight Warrior Knights (well, you can, but there's an easier way to get 1000 Geo).
1) King's Idol + Journal ~1,000 Geo up in Howling Cliffs
I had unlocked the stag station in Greenpath (luckily), so going up there is straight forward. You only need to kill the right of the two Elder Baldurs (stay near the left one so it stays shut!) where the Baldur Shell is. Look at the Map for the location of the two relics. Quit to get back to the stag system.
If you are planning on collecting at least 300 essence for the Pale Ore take on Gorb and collect some from the essence tree while you are there. The tree in Crossroads is also quite easy as long as it's NOT infected (I think either before dream nail or Broken Vessel).
2) Sell relics, get Lantern, get Crystal Dash, get Double Jump
I had 2700 Geo before buying the lantern, so I also got the 3rd Vessel Fragment for 550g. That was after about 2 hours. Double-jump is also optional, I just feel much better with it, takes about 15-20 minutes.
(There is a Wanderer's Journal before you drop down the right channel in Crystal Peak, and another one right when you enter Ancient Basin from the well, below the entrance plattform, needs crystal dash.)
3) Rescue Bretta
Pick up Dashmaster (10 charms unlock another notch). Quit after you talked to Bretta. She rewards you with a Mask Shard when you visit her house in Dirtmouth. I gave Brooding Malek another visit - which is fun now :) - who gave me the second mask, and bought two from Sly.
Optional: 3rd Nail Upgrade
For a 3rd Nail upgrade you need 2 more Pale Ores and 2000 Geo. I thought it would be cool but it took me another 2 hours... On the upside I found 4 more mask shards for a total of 9 lives and two more notches to also equip Long Nail.
Well, that's 17 damage points instead of 13, or times 1.5 with Fragile Strength = 25 instead of 20. In other words, since Prince Zote takes 1200 damage, it requires only 48 instead of 60 hits (which is still a lot...)
2 Pale Ore, either:
- Free 31 Grubs? Nah!
- 2nd Trial in the Colosseum? okay...
- Down in Deepnest defeating Nosk (no fun, but has slightly new attacks)
- From Seer at 300 Essence (two Dream Warriors like Xero and Gorb, and a few trees). Also grants you entrance to Glade of Hope and a King's Idolbehind the waterfall. And - also new in Hidden Dreams DLC/patch 1.1 - meet Revek when you dream-nail one of the ghosts... Be prepared to die almost instantly!!! If you have a fragile charm quit right away!!! I'd recommend going there without fragile charms.
- Up at Crystal Peak (needs double-jump): long way but nice! Also, there is a King's Idol (800g) where the map guy was that you can now reach with double-jump.
Quit when you have the Pale Ore.
Need more money?
- If you try a few times you should be able to get the Hollownest Seal (450g) above King's Station. Dash over from the opposite wall, double-jump once, than nail down as usual...
- Another Hollownest Seal you'll find above Queen's Station, now with double-jump visit this giraffe and jump up where her head is.
- King's Idol (800g) in Resting Grounds behind the waterfall once the Glade of Hope door opens (needs 200 essence). Don't dream nail any of the ghosts if you don't want to anger Revek - with the newest patch 1.1 that berserk deals 2 damage in quick succession... Leave them alone, just get the Idol.
- If you got the Simple Key on your way to Broken Vessel use it on the door left of Georgeous Husk, up the Pleasure House. You'll find a Wanderer's Journal (200g) on the second floor.
- There is a Wanderer's Journal right before falling down from Greenpath to Fog Canyon in a hidden area, right of the sign to the city, needs wall-climb.
- Get the Tear? It's not really required for this run but makes a few jumps easier. You can then get a Hollownest Seal when you enter Fog Canyon from Crossroads, left, behind a hidden wall. Also get the notch in the room above Uumuu, just shoot your way through, use Dream Nail if you have to soul-up.
- Or fight any of the bosses you like, Warrior Knights (650g), Mantis Lords (650g), Soul Sanctum (450g), each coming with a Hollownest Seal of 450g.
Rescue and Defeat Zote
4) Rescure Zote in Deepnest
Yes, you do have to rescue him twice. If only saved in Greenpath he will NOT appear in the 1st Trial at the Colosseum. I tried that too...
I went down from Queen's Station and all the way down to the Hot Spring in Deepnest, then go left and up. I guess it makes sense to pick up the Tram Pass, who knows if you want to continue later and do the "under 20 hours" completion. But you may not need the bench since you want to "beam" back by quitting. (Or, if you do take the bench, the Tram Pass is your best way out, then also check out the new stag station right of the White Palace entry. Not much to see, though).
There is another King's Idol a bit left of Zote's location!
5) Defeat Zote in 1st Colosseum trial
Make your way up from King's Station through Kingdom's Edge, grab a Wanderer's Journal (200g) and King's Idol (800g) on your way. Rewards you with another notch and 800g net. It's suprisingly hard with 2 or even 3 nail upgrades and no Quick Slash, you've been warned! ;)
You should now find Zote sitting with Bretta in front of her house bragging away (does that remind you of someone we all know?). Enter her house, "descend" and dream-nail the statue of Zote.
Tips for Fighting Prince Zote
I took the first dozen rounds just to watch his movements, and evade with as little damage as possible. As usual, it's more important to stay healthy than to hit. The attacks are always the same, they don't get harder at the end.
At first, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that when I was dashing below his jump, and turned around to hit him, I will be standing in the middle of his wave attack... You'll notice that you have time to heal at least once when he throws two flying mini-zotes but maybe not if he only throws one. Also easy to get: when he just waves his sword dancing around you can't get away fast enough, so get to a wall quickly and stay up there - nailing-down and keep hitting him is hard. Note, you can also nail down on his sword to keep you up there even though that doesn't count as hit. And of course, like with almost all bosses, you can only hit him when you stay near, it's easier to see his attacks coming, and I guess it's generally better to keep the fight in the center.
His jump attacks just come out of thin air. He doesn't announce it so always assume he will jump (nail-down on top of him only once). Staying at a wall doesn't help since he will fall down excactly where you are. I kind of haven't figured out the best place to evade all the time: if you keep dashing away he still falls on you, not necessarily on your "last" position. If you run away like two dashes, then return one dash, that seems to be better. If this is near a wall you might run out of space. I didn't have problems with the fake-jump (that Soul Master does too) since I always assumed that and continued running. Same with a sequence of 3 small waves, one after the other, jump over and hit once.
The flying mini-zotes should be dealt with soon since they are pretty fast and always on your escape route - more so if you stay at a wall, less so if you switch sides fast and stay in the center. However, when he throws them he is an easy target for 2 hits. When he stumbles you can also bring in one hit after jumping the wave.
There are two pauses in the fight (assuming a total of 48 hits that's after 16 hits each) where you can heal twice if you start immediately. Once you have defeated him, the fight continues after the third pause for another 100 damage (4-5 hits more each time), up to 1500 damage. Also the flying mini-zotes become more dangerous. AFAIK you can fight him an unlimited number of times. Each time he's dealing one more damage per hit, up to nine masks per hit, and each time a candle is lit and another adjective is added.
You probably know that Fragile charms don't break in a dream fight - get them if you haven't. If you still can't beat him with 8 or 9 masks I guess the best idea is to pick up Quick Slash: get floor-dash in Soul Sanctum and travel to the snowy valleys of Kingdom's Edge. While you are there say hello to Hornet for me, her second fight is probably more fun than Zote's!