Hollow Knight has no shortage of bosses and other secrets hidden off the beaten path. One of these secret bosses is Nosk, a denizen of the Deepnest. While out of the way, it is easily one of the most memorable battles in Hallownest, only partially due to his unique attacks and the difficulty of the fight itself. The really interesting part is the lead-up to his arena, something that perfectly fits the atmosphere of the Deepnest. While I’d recommend seeing it for yourself unspoiled, this guide can help you track down Nosk in Hollow Knight, and give you a few tips on how to beat him.
Where to find Nosk in Hollow Knight
To reach Nosk’s arena, you’ll first need to obtain either the Crystal Heart, or the Mothwing Cloak, Monarch Wings, and Mantis Claw. If you’ve already obtained the Crystal Heart, you can hop up onto the ledge opposite the secret wall, then super dash across. With these items in hand, head down to Deepnest, and pay the hotspring a visit.
From the hotspring, head left and into the room with the spiky worm pits. Hop onto the platform with fluorescent mushrooms on it, then jump over to the platform on the far left. You’ll need to double jump, dash, then Mantis Claw up the far wall. Head through the passage and make your way down. Once you reach the bottom and start heading right, you’ll pass the point of no return. Unbreakable webs will block the way back, so either Nosk dies, or you do. At the end of this passage will be Nosk’s arena, where he’ll show his true colors.
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Equipping yourself for the Nosk fight
Since there’s a bench and a hotspring so close to Nosk’s arena, you’ll be able to make a bit of trial and error until you settle on a build you’re happy with. If you’d rather have a few ideas for Charms before heading in, here are a few suggestions:
- Shaman Stone – It’s a good idea to use spells against Nosk. He’s pretty nimble, but a fair number of his attacks leave him vulnerable to spells. As the Shaman Stone increases your spells’ attack power, it’s a pretty good Charm to use. You can get it in Forgotten Crossroads, purchased from Salubra for 220 Geo.
- Soul Catcher – Since spells are useful against Nosk, Soul will be a more important resource than for other boss fights. Soul Catcher increases the amount of Soul you gain per hit, letting you unleash spells more regularly, and heal when you need to. It can be found at the Ancestral Mound in the Forgotten Crossroads.
- Grubsong – Grubsong gains you Soul when you get hit, which synergizes pretty well with the previous two Charms. This will let you heal quickly, or retaliate with spells. You can get it by finding ten Grubs, then heading back to the Grubfather.
- Quick Slash – This Charm increases your attack speed, which in turn increases the amount of Soul you’ll gain. This works pretty well with the other Charms, making for a good addition to a spell build. You can find it in Kingdom’s Edge, over in the bottom right side of the area.
- Longnail – With Longnail, you’ll improve your nail’s range, allowing you to score hits on Nosk more easily with less risk. Given how nimble he is, it isn’t a bad addition. You can purchase it from Salubra for 300 Geo.
This is a build I’d suggest, but feel free to switch it up for something more fitting to your playstyle. Longnail in particular is debatable, with a few other Charms being a decent replacement. Sharp Shadow is good for dealing a bit more damage, as it makes you deal damage when you dash. Unbreakable Heart is pretty good for an extra two masks, Spell Twister will reduce the amount of Soul your spells cost, and Quick Focus is good for speeding up your healing. You’ll need to switch out Grubsong if you add Quick Focus though, or you’ll be overcharmed.
As a sidenote, the more upgraded your nail and the like are, the better. You’ll do more damage with an upgraded nail, take more with an upgraded Ancient Mask, and cast more spells with an upgraded Soul Vessel. Shade Cloak is another good upgrade to have, as you’ll be able to dash through attacks without taking damage. Having Howling Wraiths/Abyss Shriek and Vengeful Spirit/Shade Soul will be essential if you use the build I mentioned, as these spells will be your main damage dealers. Desolate Dive/Descending Dark isn’t that good in this fight, but you might find a use for it. Once you’ve got your build, it’s time to pay Nosk a visit.
Fighting Nosk in Hollow Knight
Nosk has four attacks that he’ll use at any point during the fight. His basic attack is charging from one side to another several times, which will be signposted by Nosk stopping and howling briefly. This is fairly easy to evade, either by double-jumping over Nosk, or hugging the walls of the center platform. If he charges from right to left, hugging the left wall will keep you safe and give you an opportunity to heal. When Nosk passes over you, this is a perfect time to cast Howling Wraith/Abyss Shriek.
The second attack Nosk can perform is Leap. He’ll use this either to attack you, or reposition in the arena. Dashing should be enough to avoid this, but hugging the platform can help avoid some of the leaps. You’ll still get hit every now and then, however. Abyss Shriek is still a good response as he leaps over you.
Eruption is Nosk’s third attack. Running to the middle platform is his signal for this, where he will fire 16 shots of infection, eight on either side of him, with two landing at his feet. These globs of infection will stick around for a few seconds, damaging the Knight on contact. The easiest way to evade this attack is to hug the middle platform. Nosk will follow up this attack with a charge, which can be dodged by default if you stick to the platform.
Nosk’s final attack is Rain. Nosk will jump into the ceiling of the arena, moving about and dropping blobs of infection directly down from where he is. These blobs will damage on contact. After a few seconds, Nosk will drop down to where he fired the last infection blob. You’ll be able to get some decent damage in with Abyss Shriek when he’s in the ceiling, as he’s still targetable. When he drops down, get in a flurry of nail swipes for more damage and Soul.
Keeping each of these attacks and how to handle them in mind will make the fight against Nosk fairly easy. The strategy generally boils down to sticking to the middle platform, only moving away in response to an attack or Nosk’s position. Being patient and using spells or upward slashes once Nosk makes himself vulnerable will be your ticket. If you need a heal, waiting for a charge or Rain is your best bet, as you have a good time window to heal and move. Above all, keeping a reserve of Soul handy is a good idea, just in case you need a heal to stay in the fight. You’ve got 680 hp to chip away at, so you probably won’t rush this fight with much success.
Rewards for defeating Nosk
You won’t get much for killing Nosk, but your reward is precious all the same. Behind his arena is a small chamber with a piece of Pale Ore inside. Pale Ore is required to upgrade your nail, making this item invaluable if you want to forge the Pure Nail. If you haven’t yet upgraded your nail, head over to the Blacksmith in the City of Tears with your newfound Pale Ore and a pocket full of Geo.
Nosk in the Pantheon of Hallownest
If you have the Godmaster DLC, you can fight an alternate version of Nosk in the Pantheon of Hallownest, along with two slightly different variants. To enter, you’ll need to head down to the Royal Waterways with the Dream Nail, break the hidden wall in the corridors below the bench, and make your way to the Godseeker found in the large open chamber. Hit it with the Dream Nail to be taken to Godhome.
The two stronger Nosks can be fought in the Hall of Gods; the first is merely a stronger version of Nosk, while the second removes the middle platform and deals twice the damage. Winged Nosk is the Pantheon of Hallownest variant, and is an all-around step up from the Nosk found in Hallownest. Here, he has more health, new attacks, and a new form. If you’d like another challenge, seeking out Winged Nosk and the rest of the battles in the Hall of Gods is a good call.