The first Dark Souls III DLC has been released, and it's called Ashes of Ariandel. This extra content costs $15 and contains two new bosses. Today I will talk about the first boss you can get to, the Champion's Gravetender.
First up, let's take a look at the boss fight, courtesy of xTGE:
The Champion's Gravetender is placed in an optional area that can be accessed by knocking down the bridge after crossing it the first time. The broken bridge will form a ladder, which can go down, similarly to the wooden bridge in the Catacombs area. After descending the ladder there will be some roots the player can drop to. Be careful, though, because there are multiple enemies placed in various locations. After making his way down the roots, the player will encounter a bonfire. Following a rest, going left to the bonfire area will result in falling down in an area filled with flowers. When going to the center of the room between the columns, the boss fight will trigger.
In his first stage, the Gravetender will spawn in with three other wolves. These will be regular wolves and can be taken out relatively easily. The Gravetender will have a Valorheart as his weapon — a combination of both shield and sword. He will be able to block, swing and perform two different weapon skills. The first one is a shield bash, which effects a large area in front of the shield and will break the player's guard. The second special attack is a knockdown that can only be performed if the player's shield is not blocking. This phase ends when the Gravetender reaches the halfway mark of his HP.
After his health is depleted to less than half, the Gravetender will summon his companion in battle, the Gravetender's Greatwolf. This wolf is very similar to the one you might have fought after killing the smaller ones in the beginning. The Gravetender will also use magic in this second stage.
This stage starts when the wolf gets to half health. This is easily recognized by the player because the Greatwolf stops for a second and buffs himself, now showcasing red eyes. In this stage, he does what the other enemies in the game do when their eyes blaze: He is a lot more aggressive with his attacks.
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Advice For The Fight
When the fight is triggered, the player should quickly take care of the first three wolves, as the fight with the Gravetender will be a lot easier this way. The Gravetender himself should not be a challenging fight at this point in the game.
Basically, what he does is what any NPC invader does, but this time he has no actual method with which to heal. What I recommend is getting him to about 55 percent health and then performing a backstab. This will make it so that his Greatwolf spawns when he has around 30 percent HP, which makes it easier to finish off the Gravetender before the wolf even enters the arena. Another factor that makes the fight a little easier is that the Valorheart's shield does not have high blocking capabilities, which means that R1 spam is a viable option.
Now to get to the Greatwolf part of the fight. This can be compared to certain bosses from the previous games in the series — such as Sif, the Great Grey Wolf, and the Royal Rat Authority — mostly because of the multiple charges the boss can do, a lot like Vordt's second phase. In this phase I do not recommend trying to block if the player's shield doesn't have high stability and resistances.
The element I have personally found the Greatwolf to be most affected by is bleed. Using a high bleed weapon like a katana or applying the Carthus Rouge to a weapon will give the wolf Blood Loss after around five consecutive hits. The move set should be pretty familiar to the player, as it consists of a few bites, 2–3 consecutive charges, and an attack in which the Greatwolf spits out ice, which causes Frostbite, similar to Vordt of the Boreal Valley.
The Champion's Gravetender and Greatwolf is a pretty good fight when it comes to the level of difficulty, but I highly recommend finishing the actual game before engaging in a battle with this boss. This is also a good way to test the player's skill while trying to fight multiple enemies, taking into consideration that one of the rewards obtained from killing this boss is the Champion's Bones, which can be burned at Firelink Shrine to gain access to the Hollow Arena.
I hope this guide was helpful to those of you who got stuck or needed some hints for this boss. If you enjoyed my rundown and want more boss guides, feel free to give me a follow and get notified when I post about other bosses.
Next boss is: Father Ariandel and Friede (when I actually beat them). What do you think about Dark Souls III: Ashes Of Ariandel so far? Answers in the comments section below.