Hollow Knight is packed with bosses to fight on your path to discovering the fate of Hallownest. Towards the late stages of the game, this path will take you down into the bowels of the fallen kingdom, into the Ancient Basin. This area houses a few noteworthy secrets, but the main priority for the Hollow Knight is to slay the Broken Vessel. In this guide, I’ll show you how to do just that.
Where to find the Broken Vessel in Hollow Knight
The Broken Vessel resides deep in the Ancient Basin, off to the west side of the area. To reach the boss, you will need the Crystal Heart to cross the hall of spikes. While you can nail-bounce your way across most of it, you can’t bounce high enough to reach the platform at the end. You can find the Crystal Heart up in Crystal Peak, if you haven’t got it already. I’ll assume you have this item from here on.
Reaching the Ancient Basin
To reach the Ancient Basin, start in the City of Tears and head to the large chamber with the flowery door and a bunch of big guards. Over to the left is a path that goes down, which leads to a long elevator shaft full of spikes. Make your way down to the bottom, then head left. Crystal Heart your way over the small spike corridor, then follow the platforms until you’re on a Tram station. Jump into the nearby hole, then continue making your way down until you have a path to your left and right. If this is your first time in the Ancient Basin, you can open the Hidden Stag Station if you go right, which has a bench at the far end, but only after you’ve defeated the Broken Vessel and received your reward.
Finding the Broken Vessel
Once at the bottom of the Ancient Basin, head over to the left until you see a long corridor of spikes. A bench is at the first ledge, but you’ll need to pay 150 Geo to open it. Since there’s no other bench past this point, activating it is a good idea. Once you’ve done so, Crystal Heart your way across the corridor, but make sure you stop right at the second ledge. There is a small wall of spikes at the end, which you’ll fly right into if you aren’t careful.
Once you’re on the other side, continue left and drop down into the first hole you see. Follow this winding path down and around, but beware of the Mawleks down here. You don’t have to fight them, but you might take some damage by skipping past them. Continue until you see a path down and a path left. Following the left path is the correct way to go, but if you drop down, you can get yourself a Simple Key. Once you’ve made it to the top of this mini labyrinth, turn back and destroy the breakable wall, then continue left. The Broken Vessel awaits you in his chamber.
Fighting the Broken Vessel in Hollow Knight
Broken Vessel isn’t the easiest fight in Hollow Knight. It’s aggressive, has fast attacks, and has a degree of area denial. You should take these qualities into account when deciding on your Charm loadout. I suggest you use Quick Focus to heal quicker, anything that deals damage when you’re hit, and anything that increases the range of your nail. You won’t have much of a window to heal or deal damage, so anything that extends those windows is very useful.
Once you’ve got your Charms set, it’s time to face the Broken Vessel. There are six attacks in total you’ll need to deal with. Some are fairly easy to deal with, while others are a bit of a challenge. The meat of Broken Vessel’s attacks will be its slash and leap attacks. These are exactly as they sound; Broken Vessel will dash at you, dealing damage with its nail, or attempt to jump on you to deal contact damage. These are easily avoided by either jumping or dashing out of harm’s way.
Another easy attack is its flail. Broken Vessel will stop moving, then swing its nail four times. This gives you a good window to either heal or use a ranged spell, but it isn’t wise to try and sneak in damage with your nail. You’re likely to get hit yourself, so it isn’t worthwhile.
The other two main attacks are a little more difficult to deal with. Broken Vessel will sometimes initiate a leap attack, but change into a slam. This generates Infection blobs on impact, which will deal contact damage. You’ll need to stay on your toes to dodge this attack, though staying close to Broken Vessel should let you get away unscathed. The other tricky attack is similar, telegraphed by the Broken Vessel thrashing around, spawning loads of Infection blobs. As soon as you see Broken Vessel act erratically, you should gain distance and watch how the blobs spawn. The arena will be nearly covered in them, so it’s easy to take damage with this attack.
This isn’t really an attack, but it sure is annoying. Periodically, Broken Vessel will spawn a handful of Infected Ballon enemies that will float toward you. You’ll notice them spawning easily, as they materialize in the air for a couple of seconds before approaching you. It’s best to focus these enemies down, as they’ll surely box you in, combined with Broken Vessel’s swift and aggressive combat style.
Rewards for defeating the Broken Vessel in Hollow Knight
Once you’ve defeated the Broken Vessel, you’ll be able to continue leftward and obtain the Monarch Wings. This is an incredibly valuable item, allowing you to double jump, and is useful for both exploring parts of Hallownest and in combat. If you have a Dream Nail, you can get 400 Essence for defeating the Dream variant of the boss, Lost Kin.
Broken Vessel in Godhome
Once you’ve defeated the Broken Vessel, you’ll unlock the fight in Godhome. If you didn’t know, Godhome can be accessed if you have a Simple Key. Head down into the Royal Waterways, then go left until you reach the bench. Drop down, then Desolate Dive into the unstable floor. In this new area, go right until the drop-down, then left to the wall. Climb up, then break the wall at the top. Navigate through the small maze until you reach a large room with a pool of water. Inside this room is the Godseeker, who can be freed with a Simple Key.
The Broken Vessel in Godhome is the same as the Lost Kin fight. Most of the attack patterns are the same, but it moves and attacks much quicker. Lost Kin also has a good bit more health, roughly double that of the Broken Vessel. If you had trouble with the last one, you’re sure to have trouble with Lost Kin, too.