Death is a hidden mini-boss in Darkest Dungeon 2 who will ambush your party out of nowhere once you meet the right conditions. She rides on her skeletal mount in the hunt for the Flagellant who has defied her for too long. This is one of the more difficult boss fights in the game for two reasons. Firstly, you can be caught completely unprepared. Secondly, Death can wipe out your party in two or three turns.
While you can never completely kill Death in Darkest Dungeon 2, you can at least stall her from taking the Flagellant’s soul. That effort on your part will require a good understanding of her attacks, movements, debuffs, and more.
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How to encounter Death in Darkest Dungeon 2
There is a small 6 percent chance that Death spawns as a mini-boss at the end of a battle if you have Flagellant in your party. The blighted and self-tormented hero has defied Death too many times, so what better way to take his soul than by ambushing him at his weakest?
There will be no breathing room in between. Death will appear with two gravestones (more on that later) as soon as you finish off the last enemy in a resistance encounter. Hence, you can keep your fingers crossed that when she does spawn, your party will have enough health and damage to fight back in Darkest Dungeon 2.
There is no other way to find Death as a mini-boss other than in a random encounter. There are no specific nodes or lairs that you can go to. You can complete several expeditions without facing her once, while the RNG mechanics of the game can also activate to spawn Death twice in the same expedition.
Death’s strengths and weaknesses
Death has high resistance against Bleed (75 percent), so forget about using any Bleed-inflicting attacks. She, however, is highly susceptible to Blight (30 percent chance) and Burn (20 percent chance) status effects.
Death also has a permanent buff in Darkest Dungeon 2 that does increased damage against bleeding targets. This becomes pretty problematic because almost all of her main attacks apply Bleed to your entire party. You need to have a way to remove (or mitigate) the Bleed dots or else they will start stacking to do a ton of damage each round.
Something most players tend to ignore is her low resistance against Move (20 percent), meaning that you have a good chance of moving her into a favorable rank. This is important to know because Death will be shuffling between the back and front ranks. You need to make sure that she is in range of your damage-dealing heroes.
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Best strategy to defeat Death in Darkest Dungeon 2
The first thing that you need to know about is how Death will keep shuffling between her gravestones for different attacks. You cannot destroy the gravestones, so ignore them. What you do need to watch out for is when Death moves to the back lines with her Waning Crescent attack. This is where she does a terrifying attack called Trample that applies Bleed and Stress to your party while shuffling them. You need to make sure to move her to the front whenever possible to mitigate that damage or, at the very least, stop her from moving your heroes out of position.
That is not to say Death becomes a pushover when she is in the front. It is just that her first- and second-rank attacks are more manageable in comparison. If you do not have heroes that can pull enemies, hope that your party can still target the first three ranks or else it becomes nearly impossible to defeat Death in Darkest Dungeon 2.
Death uses Memento Mori once to stun Flagellant at the start of the fight. The stun, however, is not guaranteed and can be resisted or removed.
There are two natural counters to Death. You can, firstly, make short work of her by running the best Plague Doctor build. Considering the high amounts of Blight damage and healing potential, it is foolish to not have the Plague Doctor in any party composition.
Runaway has lower burst damage numbers in comparison, but she has a situational healing skill that proves excellent against Death. Either way, both are the best heroes you can hope to have when encountering Death in Darkest Dungeon 2.
Not to forget Flagellant, who is guaranteed to be in your party. He can taunt, soak up damage, heal back to full health, and still inflict Blight damage. His overpowered auto-healing build is how he has defied Death all these years.
Whatever your team composition is, the best strategy is to nuke Death with as many DoTs as possible. Since she takes two turns in each round, you get to do Blight/Burn damage twice. If you have managed to upgrade your skills before encountering Death, this boss fight becomes part of your farming routine.
If you finish each resistance encounter early with hero turns to spare, you will get to land some free attacks on Death when she spawns. This is because Death will not attack until the next round, so your heroes who still have their turns will get some free hits.
Rewards for defeating Death
If you do manage to defeat Death in her random encounter, you will receive a powerful trinket called Death’s Head which activates upon entering/leaving Death’s Door. While it is not one of the best trinkets to find in the game, it does come in handy for low-health or squishy heroes.
Death’s Head comes in five different variations. You are guaranteed to get only one of them per encounter in Darkest Dungeon 2. Here is what each Death’s Head variation does:
Removes all negative tokens, Bleed, Blight, and Burn dots upon entering Death’s Door.
-2 Stress; Speed and Stealth tokens upon entering and leaving Death’s Door.
+100 percent damage and +25 percent critical hit chance while on Death’s Door.
+100 percent health regeneration upon leaving Death’s Door.
-2 Stress; Strength and Block+ tokens upon entering and leaving Death’s Door.
You will also get a random number of Baubles, Relics, and Mastery Points along with a chance of other trinkets and inn items.
Darkest Dungeon 2
- May 8, 2023
- Red Hook Studios