Father Ariandel and Sister Friede are the non-optional boss in the DLC of Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel. I'm here to give you some tips and tricks for defeating them, as they can pose a challenge, more so than the optional boss that comes with this expansion, the Champion's Gravetender and Greatwolf.
The first time the player encounters Friede, she is non-hostile and gives the Chillbite Ring, which is very useful against enemies that cause Frostbite. She tells the player to leave the Painted World, as they are not welcome there. If the player does not listen to her and continues through the land, they will come across the chamber containing a switch that, if activated, will make the statue in the Ariandel Chapel turn around and reveal a hidden path. The player should be careful because in that chamber there are multiple bug-like creatures that have a high bleed potential because they are able to attack the player with worms that cause heavy blood loss. What I recommend is using a torch, as it stops the Bleed bar from filling up.
When the player returns to the chapel, there will be a white summon sign in the corner. If the player chooses to use it, Slave Knight Gael will be summoned later on in the fight. Now that the switch has been activated, the player will be able to enter the hidden path underground, where Father Ariandel will be sitting. Talking to him will trigger the boss fight.
In the first phase of the fight, the player will face Sister Friede on her own. She will be using a scythe, which can indeed ignore a percentage of the blocking power of the player's shield. She can perform different swipe attacks, a charge and a jump. She can also send waves of icicles on the ground, which can cause Frostbite.
The most dangerous attack is when Friede becomes invisible and circles around the arena until she finds a good opportunity to attack. When she goes for the kill, she will quickly dash to the player, and if she lands the attack, Friede will grab you and attempt to decapitate. This attack deals a very large amount of damage, so after four or five seconds of Friede being invisible, I recommend constantly rolling. However, the moment she is invisible is a very good opportunity to heal/ buff your weapon, as she will not attack for a short time. She is weak against Dark, Bleed and Fire, but very strong against Frost.
After Friede's initial health bar is depleted, she will be revived by Father Ariandel, who will fight beside her. She will have the same move set as before, but Ariandel will have new combos. The move he usually starts with consists of three to four hits in the direction he is facing. Every time he does one of these attacks he will move toward the player, so for this I recommend either running away or getting behind him, as he will have a difficult time hitting you there.
He will also have a flame-throwing attack when he sits in one spot and launches flames and lava at the player. This move is easy to dodge by running in the direction the projectile is going to, as it is not faster than the player. Two more attacks Ariandel can perform are a blast that deals very large amounts of damage to the player if he is too close, and an attack when he pours lava on the floor, which can also only hit players if they are nearby.
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For this phase I recommend letting Gael choose one of the two adversaries to fight while the player distracts the other. Father Ariandel is pretty weak to magic, so spells or weapons that have Pale Pine Resin applied on them are very effective.
In the third stage, after she is killed for the second time, Sister Friede now arises as Blackflame Friede. She will now be a lot more aggressive and will deal Dark damage, first creating a blast around her as she is rising, which deals tremendous damage. She will now be able to perform faster and longer combos than before.
Blackflame Friede can send a maximum of two Homing Dark abilities on the ground which, if not blocked/dodged, can even one-shot. She can still become invisible and will launch two consecutive icicle waves, followed up by a big, dark, high-speed projectile on the ground. She can also perform different slashing combos followed by a jump attack.
Her most dangerous maneuver in this phase is by far the grab, which will occur after she does a spin to the right. This attack is what she does after the invisibility in her first and second stage, but on steroids. This will surely kill any player that has less than 25 points into Vigor. It can't be blocked. Is this stage, Friede is weak against Bleed. I do not recommend trying to block, as she can easily guard break a lot of shields.
Opinions On The Fight
Sister Friede and Father Ariandel are among the most difficult, but at the same time fun and well-made bosses in Dark Souls III. Definitely in my top 3 with Yhorm the Giant, and Lothric and Lorian. The fight challenges the player's reflexes and, in the second stage, your teamwork with Gael. The soundtrack is amazing, in the first stage quiet and mysterious, in the second and third stages becoming energetic, chaotic and beautiful. As with the Champion's Gravetender and Greatwolf, I highly recommend finishing the main game before taking on this boss.
I hope this guide helps you to defeat Friede and Ariandel. If you would like to get another taste of Ashes of Ariandel check out the trailer below, and don't forget to tell me about your experiences so far with this Dark Souls III DLS.