Hollow Knight: The Radiance Boss Guide

The light. The infection. The source. The Radiance is the secret final boss in Hollow Knight, but challenging her is no simple feat. Sealed away and contained where none could find her, players must acquire powerful items, discover hidden locations, and piece together the fragmented history of Hallownest before they can confront the Radiance. Learning the nature of the downfall of this decrepit kingdom will reveal the truth, and free its remaining inhabitants from the grasp of this ancient enemy.


While this guide endeavors to be as spoiler-free as possible, pursuing the Radiance will involve reaching significant plot points in Hollow Knight. Readers’ discretion is advised.

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How to Reach the Source of the Infection

Obtain and Awaken the Dream Nail

Upon their arrival at the Resting Grounds, players can interact with a memorial located at its center. Here, they will be approached by the Dreamers for the second time, who attempt to trap the Knight in a Dream to prevent the player from continuing their quest. Players will be saved by a member of the Moth Tribe known as the Seer, who will entrust them with the Dream Nail.

This powerful relic will allow players to cut through the veil between dreams and reality, but it has dulled over time. Players can awaken the Dream Nail by acquiring Essence: a resource that can be collected from battling the Warrior Dreams, Dream variants of certain bosses, striking Whispering Roots, or through random drops after slaying regular enemies.

Players must collect 1800 Essence or more to obtain the Awoken Dream Nail, which is required to access previously hidden areas that lead to the final confrontation.

Collect the White Fragments

Finding and obtaining the two White Fragments is the next step in the player’s journey to reaching the end of Hollow Knight. They are held by the revered rulers of Hallownest, but these monarchs have long since returned to obscurity, making them difficult to track down.

Unsurprisingly, the White Lady bound herself to the Queen’s Gardens, but the path to her is impeded by the Traitor Lord: a former Mantis Lord that was cast out from the tribe. After defeating the Traitor Lord, players can find the Queen of Hallownest in a cocoon-type structure, with her roots sprawling out in various directions, and the body of one of the Five Great Knights who died protecting her from the Mantis Traitors. She will give players her White Fragment after they speak to her for the first time.

Finding the Pale King requires players to have the Awoken Dream Nail and the Monarch Wings, which can be collected after defeating the Broken Vessel. Using the Monarch Wings, players can reach the Hidden Station and Palace Grounds in the Ancient Basin. Along the path, players will come across the corpse of a Kingsmould, which can be interacted with only if players have the Awoken Dream Nail.

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Players will then be transported into a Dream, where the Pale King moved the White Palace in order to hide from the Infection that consumed Hallownest. The White Palace consists of multiple platforming challenges, providing a greater need for players to have all mobility upgrades and certain Charms, such as Hiveblood and Mark of Pride, to complete each section. After reaching the end, players will find what remains of the Pale King, seated upon his throne but utterly powerless as players collect the second White Fragment from his body.

After gathering both White Fragments, they will combine to create the Kingsoul. This Charm will gradually generate Soul every two seconds, but its uses are limited due to its steep Notch cost. However, it is necessary for the next step.

Find the King’s Brand and Acquire the Void Heart

While exploring the Ancient Basin, players will reach a sealed doorway at its lowest level. Apart from a lore tablet, there is nothing for players to interact with here until they acquire a specific item.

To the far east of Kingdom’s Edge, Hornet guards the path to the King’s Brand and players must bring her down once again before she will allow the Knight to pass. After defeating Hornet for the second time, players can progress into the Cast-off Shell, the corpse of a giant Wyrm, where the King’s Brand can be collected at the end.

Acquiring the King’s Brand will reveal new dialogue from several characters, such as Bardoon and the White Lady, but most importantly it will now allow players to unlock the door in the Ancient Basin. This doorway leads to the lowest depths of Hallownest known as the Abyss: a significant location in the story of Hollow Knight.

With the Kingsoul equipped, players must descend to the bottom level of the main chamber of the Abyss where the ground will open. Following the newly revealed path will bring players to the Birthplace, where an egg that shows the Knight’s reflection is lying in wait. Using the Awoken Dream Nail on the egg will reveal past events, and the Kingsoul is transformed into the Void Heart.

This new Charm becomes permanently equipped to the Knight but no longer has a Notch cost. With the Void Heart in tow, all necessary elements to reach the true ending have been collected and players can ready themselves for the fights ahead.

Enter the Temple of the Black Egg

Earlier in the adventure, players will come to understand that their objective is to defeat the three Dreamers to destroy the seal that keeps the Temple of the Black Egg shut. While defeating the Dreamers and entering the Temple can be done without following the steps to reach the Radiance, this will limit players to experiencing only one of the endings that Hollow Knight offers.

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Inside the Temple of the Black Egg is the Hollow Knight. Held aloft by four chains, they can be cut down to initiate the battle against them. If players have followed the path to obtaining the Void Heart, Hornet will appear during the final phase of the fight and restrains the Hollow Knight, allowing players to use the Awoken Dream Nail and enter their mind to challenge the scourge of Hallownest at its source.

As the Radiance is not considered a Dream Battle in the usual sense, players must fight the Hollow Knight on each failed attempt.

The Radiance’s Attacks & How to Counter Them

Due to the position of the Radiance throughout the fight, she cannot deal contact damage to the Knight. However, players will not be able to hit her wings or legs and must instead focus their attention on her face and torso.

All attacks, excluding the Spike Floor and if the player falls out of bounds, deal two Masks of damage. It is highly recommended that players have all available upgrades for their Nail, Spells, health, and Soul. Furthermore, mobility skills such as the Shade Cloak and Monarch Wings are essential for survivability as there are several phases in this battle of attrition.

There are many Charm builds that players can use going into this fight depending on their preferred play style. Longnail or Mark of Pride and Quick Slash are great all-rounders for Nail attacks, and Spells will provide excellent damage output, especially when paired with Shaman Stone. However, because of how few opportunities there are to land hits on the Radiance, it can be difficult to generate Soul. Charms like Soul Catcher, Soul Eater, and Grubsong are helpful to gain more Soul for Spells and healing.

As the Radiance is found within a Dream, if players haven’t upgraded them to Unbreakable, it is perfectly safe for players to use Fragile Heart or Strength without the fear of breaking them. Joni’s Blessing, Lifeblood Heart, and Lifeblood Core also provide an extra cushion for players that are struggling to heal. During the Beam Burst attack, if players have Shape of Unn equipped, they will be able to shimmy to safety while also healing on the move.

If players like using companions, combining Charms such as Weaversong, Grimmchild, and Glowing Womb can also be effective for passively dealing damage to the Radiance while focusing on evasion.

Phase 1

Sword Burst, Sword Rain, and Sword Wall

Each of these attacks is a variation of the others, consisting of a wave of swords appearing from numerous directions. Avoiding them is simply a matter of finding the gaps between the swords and keeping out of harm’s way.

Sword Burst will see twelve swords appear in a circle around the Radiance’s face before shooting outwards in a spread. Sword Rain and Sword Wall are similar to one another, with the only difference being where they originate from. Sword Rain comes down from the sky and Sword Wall will be from either side of the arena. There will be large gaps for players to utilize to avoid the swords, but it is possible to thread the needle and use the smaller gaps if players are feeling lucky.


Similar to what players experienced during the Soul Master fight, the Radiance will produce a series of glowing orbs that will track the player. Dashing towards them when possible will eliminate the threats faster as it will cause the orbs to hit the ground, dissipating on impact.

Wall of Light

Beginning from one side, a vertical wall of light will begin traveling across the arena. In some cases, the wall may disappear when it reaches the middle of the arena, quickly followed by a second wall. Players can only avoid this attack by using the Shade Cloak to dash through it.

Beam Burst

In this attack, the Radiance will produce three waves of light beams that emit from her face and move slightly between each flash. While the attack is simple to dodge, players must be careful not to overshoot their dashes and accidentally get a face full of light. It is preferable to simply step out of the way while the Radiance performs the attack during this phase.

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The Radiance will be stationary during this attack, leaving her wide open. Players can take advantage of Abyss Shriek here, as they have a high chance of hitting the Radiance with each burst from the Spell.

Phases 2 & 3

Spike Floor

During phase 2 of the battle, the Radiance will continue using all previously mentioned attacks while adding a new obstacle for players to avoid. A row of spikes will appear and protrude from the ground, covering 50% of the arena, and it can switch between the left and right sides.

Players will have even less space to maneuver during phase 3 as the Spike Floor will now split and cover both of the far ends of the arena while the Radiance brings down an endless stream of Sword Rain. Finding the gaps, players must dodge and weave through the swords while dealing damage. Similar to the last phase, the Radiance will be stationary throughout the onslaught until she sustains enough damage to begin the next phase.

Phase 4

The ground will disappear during this phase, meaning that players must jump between various floating platforms to avoid the Radiance’s attacks. Performing all attacks, players will only be spared from the Radiance’s Sword Rain and Spike Floor after reaching this phase.

As before, players should dash towards the orbs that the Radiance generates but be mindful of their footing as the platforms are small. The Monarch Wings are perfect for making precise jumps back to safety if the player finds themselves needing to dash away from solid ground. During attacks such as Beam Burst and Wall of Light, players can also take an opportunity to heal.

Phase 5

In this final phase, the Radiance will only perform one attack. Similar to Beam Burst, a single beam of light will flash intermittently and gradually becomes more accurate as the player ascends the platforms leading up to her location. She will continue to shoot the Big Beam until the player is face-to-face with her, and a single Nail strike is all players need to finally defeat this Higher Being.

Players can relish in the following cutscene, marking the end of the Infection that ravaged Hallownest, earning the Dream No More achievement and bringing the base game to a close.

Hollow Knight is available on PC, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

MORE: The World of Hollow Knight: Silksong Explained

https://gamerant.com/hollow-knight-how-to-beat-the-radiance/ Hollow Knight: The Radiance Boss Guide


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