Dark Souls 3: Pontiff Sulyvahn Ultimate Parry Guide

Dark Souls 3: Pontiff Sulyvahn Ultimate Parry Guide

After months of analyzing Pontiff Sulyvahn, his attack patterns and how to parry them, I decided to make this guide for everyone that is interested in an extreme challenge and deeper boss mechanics. He is one of the more challenging bosses in the game overall, whose difficulty increases the more you challenge yourself. These are detailed instructions on 10 different ways to parry Pontiff Sulyvahn and his clone. Some are really difficult and some beginner friendly. Read on for more!

Dark Souls 3: Pontiff Sulyvahn Ultimate Parry Guide

Your Need to Knows

  • These are caestus parry timings. 9/10 of them work with small parry shield too.
  • During phase one, after riposte done with small or medium size weapons (not hammers tho), Sully gets up and 99% of the time continues with only two different types of attacks if you stay in front of him. This is how I predict and manipulate his moveset during phase one.
  • If you riposte him with larger weapons (different animation), he can continue with any attack after getting up.
  • During phase two, I stay close to him and walk left. And keep both Sullys always on my sight. This helps on keeping both Sully and his clone in sync and to avoid some of the faster attacks even if you have no time to react.

Parry Timings Against Lonely Sully

Jumping slash

  • Usually the first move he does if you run towards him. As he lifts his sword up, keep running and hit the parry button when his right hand is lifted around 10 o’clock. Difficulty level 2/5 Example in 00:08
  • If not the first move, it gets pretty tricky to parry since jump travelling time varies. If he is close, you need to hit the parry button sooner, when his arm points to your left (9 o’clock). Not everyone find this hard, but I find it difficulty level 4/5. Example here: 03:24

Side swipe

  • It triggers when you are left and little behind the real Sully. Hit the parry button as soon as the swipe starts.
  • There is a sweetspot that you need to be standing on to be able to parry this attack which makes it harder. If you can find the spot everytime (like dodging the jumping slash left and waiting there), difficulty is 2/5 but if you can’t or try this the way I did it in the video, the difficulty is 4/5. Example here: 00:18

Sidestep to slash

  • You are in front of Sully and he smoothly slides behind you and slashes. Then he continues with a combo.
  • Easiest way to parry this is to keep him locked on. Camera follows Sully as he slides and then the camera calms down right before Sully attacks. Press the parry button as soon as the camera settles. Difficulty level 1/5. Example here: 01:05
  • You can parry also without the camera trick. As he stops after the smooth slide behind you, the sword moves a little before the actual slash. That slight move or the sound of his steps or overall the rhytm of his attack is always the same so you don’t even have to see the attack. Learning to parry this way helps if you try to parry this move during phase two. Difficulty level 3/5 in phase one. Possible to do in phase two but clone usually stops you from parrying the real Sully. Example here: 00:45

Sidestep to poke and delayed slash

  • Sully sidesteps behind you and then pokes with the magic infused sword, waits a second and continues with the flame sword slash.
  • Easiest way to parry is to keep him locked on. Camera follows Sully as he glides behind you. You need to dodge the poke straight away from him. Then wait until the camera ALMOST readjusts behind you and then parry. Difficulty level 1/5. Example here: 00:53
  • Like with the other sidestepping attack, Sully’s rhytm and pattern is always the same so you can estimate the right timing or muscle memorize it. This way the difficulty level is 3/5 in phase one. Possible in phase two but clone usually stops you. Example here: 00:35

Parry Timings Against Clone & Sully (In Sync Moves)

Delayed overhead smashes

  • Clone lifts the flame sword, takes a few steps towards you, hops little upwards and then smashes the sword in front of it. Sully follows the clone and does the same thing little after, in a cappella.
  • Dodge the clone towards the real Sully at the last moment, when you see the clone slightly lifting itself up right before the smash. Parry right after recovering from the roll. Difficulty level 4/5 since the timing is very precise. Multiple examples in the video, first one is here: 01:40
  • A single overhead smash from Sulyvahn without the clone is of course parryable but in some ways it is more difficult than the pair telegraphing the parry timing together.

Delayed Jumping Slashes

  • Clone goes up, lifts the sword over its head and comes slashing down. Sully does the same moveset, but slightly after the clone.
  • When the clone lifts the sword, parry when his hand points directly up (12 o’clock). The sword is pointing towards 12 o’clock or 2 o’clock depending on what angle you are watching. It is possible to hit the parry button as late as when the clone begins to move towards you and still get a parry, BUT not even caestus recovers fast enough from a late parry to be able to parry the real Sully that comes down next so the first parry has to be early rather than late. Usually you can parry Sully as soon as caestus recovers from parrying the clone, BUT better to use the same timing as with the clone. Difficulty 3/5 and example 02:43
  • The reason for parrying both the clone and Sully actually is not just to show off. If the clone recovers from the stagger animation while you are riposting Sulyvahn, the clone will not do the slow, AoE explosion jump right when you finish the riposte and i-frames stop. It is impossible to avoid, if the explosion happens right then.
  • You can’t parry both the clone and Sulyvahn with shields or other parry tools beside claws and fist type weapons.

Quick single slashes to combo

  • Clone slashes quickly, Sully slashes right after. Both continue with a long and dangerous combo, if player is still in front of them.
  • This one needs setting up and you need to be ready for it. The real Sulyvahn’s fast slash is the one to parry. Stay close, move left and turn right when the clone harmlessly goes through you while it slashes. Hit the parry button immediately after turning right, before even seeing real Sulyvahn move. Max. difficulty level 5/5 and example 03:34
  • I failed this twice in the video and got hit.

More useful information and an easier, beginner friendly parry tactic see the video on the Pontiff Sulyvahn wiki page. Any tips of your own to share? Feel free to let them fly in the comments!


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A lifetime gamer from Finland who loves to challenge himself. Guides and extreme boss challenges are what I do.

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2 comments on “Dark Souls 3: Pontiff Sulyvahn Ultimate Parry Guide”

  1. Avatar ElvesRule says:

    I don’t like to read long articles, sorry, but I’ve seen a player or two parry the Pontiff. Mighty impressive to see.

  2. Avatar Fexelea says:

    Excellent guide Kamies 🙂
    I linked it on the Pontiff page – I’m sure it’ll help many!