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Dark Souls Washing Pole – Smough and Ornstein Boss Fight

July 1, 2012

Here is the video for the boss fight (taking out Smough first). The inset PIP video shows how to obtain Power Within.
Strategy for Washing Pole
This is the toughest but most rewarding and fun fight in the game. It is also the reason the washing pole is my favorite weapon. We can abuse the extended range of the washing pole to be extremely aggressive. We can roll into the boss attacks and immediately do a counter, and we are almost guaranteed a hit. In addition, the quickness of the washing pole can help us take one shot and then roll back to a safe distance.
I recommend the following as general tactics for all builds during this fight. Make sure you can move quickly by equipping the Dark Wood Grain Ring or keeping equipment load to 25%. Circle back and use the entire play area. Try to keep both bosses in your sight. Do not let one of them flank you or gain your back. Use the pillars to shield you for attacks or to position for healing. But remember that some attacks will pass through the pillars. Finally, make sure you can switch lock-on from one to the other quickly.
You need to concentrate all your attacks on one enemy. That is because after one has fallen, the other will absorb his comrade’s life force and turn into a giant version of himself with upgraded attacks, range and speed.
To complement my aggressive playstyle, I am going to cast Power Within to buff my damage by 40%. This pyromancy will deplete your life. Make sure you have high vitality and an unascended base level pyro flame.
If you stay close to Ornstein, his swings attacks can be evaded by rolling into them with the proper timing. He will do a jumping AOE attack that gives off lightning when he lands. It is very powerful and covers a large circular area. Quickly roll back twice to evade it and follow up from his side with a running two-handed attack.
You will be hit plenty of times, especially at the beginning of the fight when both bosses are on screen. Bring plenty of Estus flasks, or equip extra humanity.
Other strategies
Ranged attacks are difficult with both enemies on screen. Magic builds can use Homing Souls Mass. Be wary of any ranged attacks with a long cast time at the beginning of the fight. Cast these spells after you have defeated the first boss.
It is generally easier to take out Ornstein first. He is faster than Smough and you will have a better chance to fight him one-on-one, as he separates from Smough trying to chase you down. When in human size, Orsntein’s attacks can be blocked and he can even be stunned with heavy weapons or strong attacks.
The giant version of Ornstein is more difficult than Smough. Giant Ornstein has very fast attacks that cover a huge amount of ground. He also has ranged lightning attacks, one with a bit of tracking.
You can summon Solaire (his sign is on the stairs close to the Black Knight archer) or a white phantom if you want to even the odds. This is a good way to engage only one boss at a time.

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