How to beat Golden Hippopotamus: Shadow of the Erdtree boss

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This Shadow of the Erdtree guide will tell you how to beat Golden Hippopotamus boss.

Golden Hippopotamus is an optional boss who guards the Shadow Keep main gate on Scadu Altus. This guide will help you figure out how to defeat the Golden Hippopotamus and what strategies are effective against it.

How to defeat Golden Hippopotamus

Before the boss fight with Golden Hippopotamus, you can summon Redmane Freyja or, under some circumstances, Hornsent, and as usual, this will increase the boss’ health. You can also, of course, summon your Spirit Ash. This boss does not require any special weapons or build; however, heavy weapons are effective against Golden Hippopotamus, such as the new Black Steel Greathammer, which can drop from any Black Knight, especially in the Church of Consolation. Its poise can be broken by repeatedly hitting it with heavy attacks. Since the Golden Hippopotamus’ arena is covered in water, this makes the boss more vulnerable to Lightning, so you can also use Lightning weapons or spells.

You should not underestimate Golden Hippopotamus, and if your Vigor is less than 60 or you have not leveled up Scadutree Fragments enough, the boss can wipe you with one or two combos. You can equip Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman to reduce Physical damage. After Golden Hippopotamus’ second phase, you may need the Haligdrake Talisman, which reduces Holy damage; it can be found in the Stranded Graveyard at Limgrave.

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Golden Hippopotamus has two phases: during the first, it mainly uses either melee attacks, trying to eat you, or slamming its body into the ground with a massive area of damage. During the second phase, Golden Hippo uses its thorns and different AoE attacks. Don’t underestimate the Hippo’s bites, as well as its area attacks, which are larger than they seem.

Golden Hippopotamus’s first phase

Typically, a Golden Hippopotamus boss fight will start with it running at you with its mouth wide open, trying to devour your Tarnished. You can easily roll away from its grab attack. Then, the Hippo typically slams its body into the ground, dealing area damage. The best option for this attack is to roll backward.

So, the Golden Hippopotamus’ phase one moveset is a combination of the following attacks:

Hippo opens his mouth wide before its bite attacks, so you can definitely recognize them. To avoid being chewed, it’s better to roll toward the Golden Hippopotamus’ body or away from the head. Since the arena is relatively small, against slams, it’s better to run away and dodge area damage in advance.

You can tell that Hippo is about to attack not only from visual, but also from audio cues: it also grunts distinctly before attacks. After each attack, Golden Hippopotamus makes a short pause, during which you have an excellent window for a counterattack; this boss is also easy to knock off balance to deliver a critical hit to the head area.

Golden Hippopotamus’s second phase

After the Golden Hippopotamus’ healthbar drops below 50%, it enters the second phase. Hippo will glow golden and grow huge porcupine-like spikes. At the moment of its transformation, you will have an excellent window for a charged heavy attack. However, immediately after the transformation, the Golden Hippopotamus will bring down needles to the ground, causing area damage, from which it’s better to run sideways or roll backward. In the second phase, Hippo uses all previous attacks, but the belly and side slams can now cause a rain of needles around the boss. If Hippo glows gold, you can tell it’s going to release projectile needles with its next move.

Recognize Golden Hippopotamus’ attacks in advance: if the Hippo raises its head and doesn’t take its paws off the ground, then the slam would only be with its head, but if it stands on its hind legs, it will hit with its whole body.

Try to stay away from Hippo’s mouth and strike the beast from the side or behind, but don’t get greedy and wait patiently for your attack windows. Overall, the Golden Hippopotamus boss is not difficult, especially if it’s distracted by your NPC ally or Spirit Ash. For defeating the Golden Hippopotamus, you will receive 200,000 Runes, Incantation Aspects of the Crucible: Thorns, and two Scadutree Fragments.


In this guide, you learned tips and tricks against Golden Hippopotamus, who was closing the entrance to the Shadow Keep dungeon. The next enemy will be much more dangerous, so we recommend reading our Messmer the Impaler boss guide in advance.

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Alex Rainbow
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