Boss: Ancient Dragon
Personal Death Count: 50+
Aerial Firestorm: The most dangerous attack the dragon has. The dragon will hunch down slightly and flap his wings before flying into the air for a few seconds (he may rotate or even fly backwards in an attempt to hit you) and then release a massive area fire attack below him. The area is much bigger than it looks and will one shot most characters. There are two main ways of "avoiding" this attack consistently. The first is to equip a shield with one hundred percent fire resist and hold it up whenever the dragon flies into the air. You will lose all your stamina from the attack, but you will survive. The other method is more dangerous but can work (see the video). Make sure you have under fifteen percent encumberance and when you see the dragon's wings flap and his body hunch down slightly, run towards the halfway point of the tail (it may move so keep following it until the attack is over).
Flame Breath: The dragon will arc his neck up and then lean it forwards and release a long blast of fire towards where you were standing when it initiated the attack. Quite easy to move out of the way from if you see it coming.
Great Balls Of Fire: The dragon will move both pairs of legs closer together and then rear up on its back legs before flaming it's underside. The recovery time of this attack is quite long and ranged characters should be able to get off multiple attacks while he is flaming his own nether-regions. Move out from under the dragon when you see those feet move together.
Stomp: The most basic of the dragon's attacks and the only physical based one. Standing near the feet of the dragon will cause him to raise the closest one to you and try to stomp you. The animation is different to the Great Balls of Fire attack as only one leg will move. When the dragon drops below half health he will gain and additional sideways stomp that can reach quite a way. Be very wary of this new attack as it can take you by surprise quite easily.
The ancient dragon can be found at the large open area at the end of the Dragon Shrine. This is the epic dragon battle we were promised by Dark Souls 2. Attacking him several times will turn him hostile towards you and begin the battle. One of the good things about this fight is that if you die, your souls with be deposited outside the battle area allowing you to pick them up and retreat to Majula if you wish. Below are two generally used strategies in this boss fight that people tend to follow. You might want to use one of them or come up with your own way of dealing with the dragon.
A very popular strategy (especially for melee characters) is to equip a shield with one hundred percent fire resistance (some boss shields have this ability). This will allow you to tank the dragon's dangerous aerial firestorm attack (at the cost of your stamina) and attack his legs when he lands. Your only real threat is his stomp attacks and forgetting to raise your shield. Be methodical and don't get greedy with your attacks and you should be able to whittle him down. Don't try to tank his flame breath though as it hits multiple times. Meaning it will take all your stamina and then hit again, staggering you and then hitting you for an instant kill.
Toe Position Strategy:
This is the strategy used in the video. Essentially you need to get under the dragon and stick right in between the claws on his feet. This reduces the chance of him using his aerial firestorm attack and baits his stomp and great balls of fire attacks. This means ranged characters can get in several hits during both these attacks recovery animations. It also means that if he does telegraph his flying attack (watch the shadows of his wings and back legs) then you are in a good position to sprint for his tail. It is recommended to have less than twenty five percent encumberance to ensure you have enough stamina and movement speed to sprint as much as possible. The Chloranthy Ring is also a good equip for this fight. Remember that equipment protection really won't help here as all his attacks are one hit kills for most characters.
Upon death he drops a Petrified Dragon Bone and the Soul of a Giant (making the Vendrick boss fight easier... but what a battle to make another fight easier. Reminds me of the Emerald Weapon in FF7.
Personal Death Count: 25+
Dark Power: The king will channel magic into his raised hand for a few seconds and then will release a fast moving dark attack towards you. Roll to the side to avoid it,
Horizontal Arc: His most common killing attack. He will move towards you with his sword arm behind him and then will swing it around in a massive arc. Depending on your positioning, generally a backwards roll will save you but sometimes you are too close. If you are you will need to time your roll perfectly to avoid being one shotted by the attack (see the video for a few examples). He can swing multiple times however, so be wary of this.
Leaping Slash: If you are out of melee range, the king may hunch down slightly and leap towards your position slashing downwards. Rolling to the side will get you out of the way but be careful he doesn't pin you against the wall of the room.
Overhead Smash: The king will run towards you with his sword behind him, tracking slightly (meaning you have to roll away quite late to dodge successfully) and will raise it overhead before swinging it down vertically into the ground. Time your sideways roll later than you normally would to avoid this attack. He can also perform this attack without running which makes it slower and easier to avoid.
Vendrick doesn't have much variety to his attacks, but every one of them will one shot you, so dodging is crucial. The amount of defense Vendrick has is dependant on the number of Soul of a Giant items you have in your inventory (don't use them to obtain souls). Each one halves the defense Vendrick has. He begins at a 32x multiplier with no souls, ending at 1x with five (the maximum number). The souls are located in several places and you will probably want to seek at least four out before engaging Vendrick in battle.
The souls can be found:
In the memories of the half tree half giants in the Forest of Giants (x3)
Held by two giants in the Black Gulch in a hidden passage near the second bonfire of the area (x1)
Defeating the Ancient Dragon at the Dragon Shrine (x1)
The final one is a dangerous optional boss fight that may or may not be worth it to you. Once you have collected the giant's souls you want and are ready to face the king, enter the mist door. In this battle speed (not defense) is essential. His attacks deal so much damage that even blocking or with maxed out high defense armour, you will only be able to take a single hit without dying. Your reduced speed making you more vulnerable to taking these hits in the first place. Instead focus on maxing out your damage in whatever ways you can (powerful spells, upgrading weapons, buying better projectiles) and reduce your encumberance to under twenty five percent. This will increase your stamina regeneration speed and allow you to run faster.
The boss only uses a small variety of attacks, but getting the timing right for dodging and staying out of his melee range is quite difficult. Ranged characters will want to bait his overhead smashes (as he normally doesn't follow them up with another attack immediately). Avoid attacking on his horizontal arc attacks as he has a nasty habit of adding additional swings at the worst possible times. Leaping slashes are also a good time to attack (after he lands). His dark power attack has a long chargeup but is rarely used, so don't rely on baiting that one. Melee characters will need to rely on traditional hit and run tactics. Running in during recovery animations and hitting once or twice. The battle isn't really complicated, just the fact that he can one shot you and has a ton of health make things far more difficult than normal.