Darkest Dungeon II – Mastering Denial: Guide to Defeating the Shackles of Denial

“Mastering Denial” promises to light a lantern of clarity on thy perilous journey, guiding thee through the labyrinthine intricacies of this monstrous adversary and steering thee toward triumphant conquest.

Attack Strategy

Your attack strategy against the Shackles of Denial should be fluid, changing in response to the changing denial effect each round. Here are some points to consider:

Focus Fire:

Although each shackle has a considerable amount of health (90 HP for Latch of Regret, for example), focusing your attacks on one shackle at a time can help you eliminate the denial effects more swiftly. This approach means less disruption to your party’s skills and more damage output or healing, depending on the shackle you eliminate first.

Denial Priority:

The denial effect that you should prioritize depends on your team composition and the current state of the fight. If your team’s health is running low, it might be beneficial to first focus on the Padlock of Wasting, which denies healing skills. If you have a melee-heavy team, focusing on the Latch of Regret (denies melee skills) might be more advantageous.

Skill Diversity:

Make sure your heroes have a diverse skill set to adapt to the changing denial effects. If a hero’s primary skill gets denied, they should have an alternative option. For instance, if melee skills are denied, a hero with a strong ranged or healing skill can still be effective.

Status Application:

As the Shackles have varying resistances, applying status effects can be an effective way to deal additional damage over time or hinder the boss’s capabilities. For instance, since most shackles have low Blight and Bleed resistance, skills that apply these effects can be beneficial.

Buffing and Debuffing:

Taking advantage of buffing and debuffing skills can significantly shift the fight in your favor. Buff your party’s speed to get more attacks in before the shackles can act, or debuff the shackles’ damage or resistance to reduce their impact on your party.

Stress Management:

Lastly, the Shackles can deal a fair amount of stress damage. If a hero is at risk of becoming afflicted, you may need to prioritize using stress reduction skills or eliminating the Shackle of Despair, which denies stress healing skills.

Your attack strategy should always be flexible and adaptive to the situation at hand. By understanding your heroes’ skills, the shackles’ abilities, and the denial effect for each round, you can effectively strategize and turn the tide of battle in your favor.

Targeting Priority

The Shackles of Denial consist of four unique shackles, each having a different set of skills, resistances, and denial effects. Here’s a detailed look:

1. Latch of Regret:

The Latch of Regret denies melee attacks. If your team relies heavily on melee damage, such as a team with a Hellion or a Leper, this shackle should be a priority. Its main attack can also apply a Stress debuff, making it a nuisance for heroes nearing their stress limits.

2. Bolt of Lamentation:

The Bolt of Lamentation prevents ranged attacks. This would be particularly hindering to heroes like the Highwayman or the Grave Robber who rely on ranged attacks for damage. It can also apply the Blind debuff, reducing your heroes’ accuracy, making it a higher priority if your team has a lower accuracy stat or lacks debuff clearing abilities.

3. Padlock of Wasting:

The Padlock of Wasting denies healing abilities. If your team’s HP is low, or if you rely heavily on your Vestal or Occultist to keep your team’s health up, this shackle should be eliminated as soon as possible. It can also inflict Bleed, Blight, and Burn effects randomly, making it dangerous for heroes with low resistance to these statuses.

4. Shackle of Despair:

The Shackle of Despair prevents the use of stress healing skills. If stress levels are high among your party members, this could become a priority. It mainly deals stress damage, making it a considerable threat to a party already high on stress.

Remember that the priority can shift based on the denial effect that most hinders your party’s situation. The key is to be flexible and adapt to the changing battlefield dynamics. Strategically choosing your target can be the difference between defeat and victory against the Shackles of Denial.

Debuff Management

The Shackles of Denial possess a plethora of debuffs that can hinder your party’s performance, ranging from reducing your damage to making you more susceptible to further debuffs or increasing your stress levels. Effective debuff management is essential to maintain your team’s efficiency throughout this tough fight.

Identifying Key Debuffs:

Pay attention to the debuffs applied by the Shackles. For instance, the Bolt of Lamentation’s “Mental Lashes” can inflict the “Blind” debuff, reducing your heroes’ accuracy. Understanding the key debuffs allows you to anticipate and counteract their detrimental effects.

Using Debuff-Cleansing Heroes:

For example, the Plague Doctor’s Battlefield Medicine is a superb skill to cleanse debuffs and heal a small amount.

Employing Items:

Certain trinkets, combat items, and inn items can increase your party members’ debuff resistances. By using these items, you reduce the probability that your heroes will suffer from debuffs in the first place.

Turn Order Management:

Some debuffs may force you to alter your turn order. For example, if a high-damage dealer is blinded, you may want your Plague Doctor to act before them to remove the debuff.

Capitalizing on Self-Buffs:

Many heroes can apply self-buffs that counteract debuffs. For instance, the Man-at-Arms can use “Bolster.” The Hellion’s “Adrenaline Rush” can also cure her own debuffs and buff her damage and accuracy.

Status Resistance

Resistance plays a critical role in battling the Shackles of Denial. Each Shackle has varying resistance to different status effects, and understanding these can help you devise an effective strategy.

Bleed, Blight, and Burn Resistance:

Most Shackles have low resistance to Bleed, Blight, and Burn effects. For example, the Latch of Regret has a Bleed resistance of 60% but a low Blight and Burn resistance of 10%. Heroes that can inflict these conditions, like the Plague Doctor with his “Noxious Blast” (Blight) and “Incision” (Bleed), or the Hellion with “If It Bleeds” (Bleed), could be particularly effective.

Stun Resistance:

The Shackles possess a high resistance to Stun (around 75%). Therefore, trying to stun them might not be the most effective strategy. However, if you have taken trinkets, skills, and hero paths, that increase your heroes’ stun chance, this could still be a viable option.

Move Resistance:

The Shackles have a high move resistance (200%), meaning attempts to alter their position will most likely fail. Therefore, it’s advisable to not depend on strategies that involve moving them.

Debuff Resistance:

The Shackles have varying debuff resistance, with the Latch of Regret having the lowest at 20%. Skills that reduce the enemy’s effectiveness or boosts your own can be quite useful in this fight. For example, the Leper’s “Intimidate” skill not only debuffs the enemy’s damage and accuracy but also buffs his own resistance.

The key to managing resistance lies in understanding the individual stats of each Shackle and exploiting their weaknesses with your heroes’ skills. Flexibility in strategy is crucial in the Darkest Dungeon, and this boss fight is no exception. Choose your party wisely, equip appropriate trinkets, and make tactical decisions to conquer the Shackles of Denial.

Party Composition

The Shackles of Denial boss in Darkest Dungeon II requires a carefully considered party composition due to their ability to deny certain skills. Each hero’s diverse skill set should be leveraged to ensure flexibility in the face of denial effects.

Frontline Fighters:

The Highwayman and the Hellion are versatile frontline fighters. The Highwayman’s Duelist Advance is a potent melee attack, and his Pistol Shot offers a reliable ranged option. Hellion has a mix of strong melee attacks like Iron Swan and Bleed Out, with the additional perk of self-healing and stress reduction through Adrenaline Rush.


Vestal and the Occultist are the primary healers. The Vestal provides a reliable, consistent heal with Divine Grace and an AoE heal with Divine Comfort. She can also contribute to damage with Dazzling Light. The Occultist’s Weird Reconstruction offers potentially high healing but can also inflict bleed on your heroes, which adds a layer of risk.

Stress Management and Buffs:

  • Jester: The Jester excels at stress management and buffing. Inspiring Tune significantly reduces a hero’s stress, while Battle Ballad improves the party’s accuracy and speed.
  • Man-at-Arms: This hero offers defensive buffs with skills like Defender and Bolster, improving the party’s survivability. Although his skill, Rampart, is less effective in moving high move resistance enemies like the Shackles of Denial boss, it can still be useful for its stun effect and the ability to reposition the Man-at-Arms in your party lineup.

Debuff and Damage Over Time (DoT):

The Plague Doctor excels in applying DoT effects and debuffs. Noxious Blast and Plague Grenade inflict blight, while Battlefield Medicine can cure DoTs and heal. Disorienting Blast is a useful stun skill, and Emboldening Vapours provides a valuable damage and speed buff.

A diverse team composition can ensure that no single denial effect from the Shackles of Denial will cripple your team entirely. Remember, the flexibility to adapt to each round’s denial effect is the key to overcoming this boss.

Recommended Party

Use Jester to Manage Stress: The Shackles fight can be a prolonged one and, due to its move resist and its “Invoke Authority” ability, it can cause quite a lot of stress on your characters. It’s important to manage this effectively. Use the Jester’s “Inspiring Tune” skill to reduce stress and boost the stress resistance of your heroes. The Jester’s “Solo” skill can push him to the front while putting a combo on the Shackles, which can then be followed up by his “Finale” for big damage.

Use Plague Doctor’s Blight: Shackles may have a high move resistance, but it doesn’t have particular resistance to blight. Plague Doctor’s “Noxious Blast” or “Plague Grenade” can be effective here, continuously causing damage every turn. If you have a way to reduce stun resistance, disorientating blast can make this an easy fight.

Hellion’s Bleed and Damage: Hellion’s “Bleed Out” and “Iron Swan” abilities can do significant damage to the Shackles. It is advised to keep Hellion in the first position to utilize the best of her abilities.

Buff and Protect Party with Man-at-Arms: Man-at-Arms can provide a solid defense for your party. His “Defender” skill can guard an ally, which can be essential in protecting your more vulnerable characters like the Jester or Plague Doctor. “Bolster” can also be useful, decreasing stress. “Rampart” won’t move the Shackles, but it can stun it, giving you a free round of attacks.

More on Items

In the relentless struggle against the Shackles of Denial, the labyrinthine caverns of the Darkest Dungeon II demand not just the might of your heroes, but a clever exploitation of their trinkets.

The ‘Price of Pride’ for the Man-at-Arms proves its value in this battle, providing a block plus token when hit and potentially stunning enemies when using the Bellow Skill.

The Leper’s ‘A Simple Flower’ can work wonders in this fight, as it provides regeneration and block plus tokens when the Leper resists move and stun effects respectively. This can be particularly useful if the Leper is facing the Shackles that deny healing.

On a final note, before you ascend the Mountain, fill your pockets with Clarifying Poultices. The locks share a stun move, and bolstering your heroes’ stun resistance can save them from losing turns entirely.


In the shadowed depths, where horrors lurk and sanity wanes, the Shackles of Denial await. A trial of endurance, it beckons to test the limits of mortal mettle. Through careful resource management and unwavering adaptability, your party shall navigate the treacherous path. Attend to the well-being of body and mind, for the cosmic forces that bind demand vigilance.

Let your strikes be calculated, each blow delivered with purpose and precision. May fate favor the brave as they stand against the shackles that seek to confine. As darkness looms, may your resolve shine bright. May victory be your ultimate reward in this cosmic dance of denial.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13678 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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