Kratos has many tough baddies to beat during his time in God of War Ragnarok. One of his toughest adversaries comes at the end of a long quest to cleanse the Realms of the Berserkers: King Hrolf Kraki, the Cursed King.
King Hrolf is one of Ragnarok’s pinnacle endgame bosses, alongside Gna the Valkyrie Queen. He is a tricky foe, combining the talents and tools of his 12 bodyguards and bending them to his will. To fight him unprepared is to go in as a dead man.
Here’s everything you need to know to beat King Hrolf Kraki, the Cursed King, in God of War Ragnarok.
Want more God of War Ragnarok guides and content? You can find more here on KeenGamer:
- God of War Ragnarok: Gna the Valkyrie Queen Boss Fight Guide
- God of War Ragnarok: Where to Find All Berserker Gravestones
- God of War Ragnarok: Where to Find All Draugr Holes
- God of War Ragnarok: How to Unlock Muspelheim and the Crucible
- God of War Ragnarok: Across the Realms Quest Guide
How to Unlock King Hrolf, the Cursed King
King Hrolf can only be fought after all 12 loyal Berserker followers have been slain. To kill all 12 of them, you’ll need to have beaten the main story of God of War Ragnarok and completed a few other additional tasks.
Before Hrolf appears, Kratos must travel around the Nine Realms in search of Berserker Gravestones, small stone monuments where you can fight these lost Souls. The cursed sword Hilt, which Kratos finds during the Words of Fate main story quest, can activate the Graves.
In total there are 9 Berserker Gravestones, each containing a different Berserker Soul (or two). If you want to know exactly where to find each of these Graves, as well as some tips and advice on each of the Berserker Souls, you can find our Guide on that here.
Once all of the Berserkers have been slain, return to The King’s Grave in Midgard. This is the area where you first found the Hilt. Now, one final ominous Grave sits at the centre of the arena.
Activate it to summon King Hrolf Kraki, the Cursed King.
The fight against Hrolf is going to be a tough one. He has a lot of HP and a lot of different moves to remember. Like Sigrun and her Valkyries in God of War (2018), Hrolf takes a lot of the moves used by the Berserkers and uses them himself.
The following section will outline all of Hrolf’s available moves. Be warned: this fight does not have a phase transition, so any of these moves could come out at any time. Prepare for one of the hardest fights in all of God of War Ragnarok.
Close Ranged Attacks
Warhammer Ground Slam: Hrolf takes up the Warhammer of Haklangr the Bearded, raising it above the ground before dropping it for massive damage. This attack has a sickly green AoE and is unblockable. Get out of the AoE to avoid taking damage.
Tonfa Combo: Hrolf pushes up to Kratos and begins a series of close-range attacks, often accompanied by a different element. These attacks will defence-break Kratos if you block, leaving you open for big damage, so dodge or parry these attacks.
Hand Axe Combo: Hrolf pushes up to Kratos and begins a series of close-range attacks with his hand axes. These are a mix of defence-breaking and unblockable attacks so be ready to change tactics on the fly.
Battle Axe Combo: Hrolf stabs forward with the end of his battle axe before slamming it into the ground. The stab can be blocked or parried, but the slam is an unblockable attack so avoid it at all costs.
Jumping Slam: Hrolf jumps at Kratos with his Warhammer in an unblockable attack. Dodge out of the way and then rush back in to capitalise on the opening.
Charge: Hrolf takes up the Battle Axe of Fraekni the Zealous and charges at the player from the other end of the arena. This attack is unblockable and comes very quickly, so be ready to dodge when you see Hrolf back away.
Mace Jump: Hrolf takes up the dual Maces of Hjalti the Stolid before leaping at the player. This attack is unblockable.
Leaping Slash: Hrolf leaps at Kratos from the other end of the arena with a defence-breaking slash. Avoid or parry this back to open Hrolf up for some nice damage.
Off-Screen Jump: Hrolf leaps up and out of sight, crashing down Kratos a few moments later. You need to time when to dodge out of Hrolfs attack if you dodge immediately after he disappears, he will still catch you.
Elemental Barrage: Hrolf floats into the air before preparing a barrage of missiles. This attack is unblockable and the missiles can be a variety of different elements, inflicting different status effects on hit.
Elemental Ground Smash: Hrolf readies his left hand before slamming it downwards, causing a wave of fire, ice, poison, lightning or Bifrost to come charging at the player. This attack can be blocked or parried back to Hrolf.
Elemental Push: Hrolf dashes forward, readying his arms, before pushing them outwards in a blast of elemental energy. This attack will defence-break you if you cannot parry or avoid it, and Hrolf will often follow up with his close-range Tonfa Combo if you get caught.
Elemental Darts: Hrolf dodges to the left and then the right, throwing a small ball of fire, ice, poison, lightning or Bifrost with each dodge. These projectiles can be parried and sent back to Hrolf to leave him open for a combo.
Elemental Airborne Assault: Hrolf jumps up, holding both of his arms out as he is wreathed by a certain element:
- If he controls Fire, a large number of fast-moving AoEs will track Kratos as meteors rain from the sky.
- If he controls Ice, 3 larger AoEs will appear that deal Freeze on hit and stay for an extended period.
- If he controls Bifrost, he will inflict Bifrost onto Kratos no matter where he is in the arena. Hit him with a ranged attack to stop this.
Homing Ball of Doom: Hrolf gestures towards Kratos, spawning a small tracking orb of ice or fire. If this hits Kratos, it will detonate and inflict him with either Freeze or Burn. It can be prematurely detonated using any of your ranged attacks, which will instead inflict Hrolf with said debuff.
Forced Bifrost: Hrolf will stand still, head turned upwards, as wisps of Bifrost energy come to him. This will induce a state of Bifrost on Kratos that gains over time. You cannot avoid this attack so be careful after it occurs, as getting hit by Hrolf will detonate it.
Shield Break Stance: Hrolf assumes a defensive stance, raising both of his arms to the side. This attack must be broken with a Shield Bash to interrupt him from causing room-wide damage.
Health Shield: Once half of his health bar is gone, Hrolf will shield his health bar with a shield. The shield must be taken down before you can resume taking down Hrolf’s HP. This shield corresponds to one of Kratos’ weapons:
- Red shield needs the Leviathan Axe
- Blue shield needs the Blades of Chaos
- Gray shield needs the Draupnir Spear
Charged Punch: Hrolf steps back, readying his fist, then releases it into a massive punch. This attack will defence-break you if it hits.
Here is some general advice for King Hrolf in God War Ragnarok. This will mainly be about Runic Attacks, the general mentality around the fight, Freya and a few other things.
Overall, King Hrolf is a tough fight simply because of how much he has at his disposal. Because he can draw from the powers and abilities of his Berserker Bodyguards, he has a lot of tricks up his sleeve that can throw you off guard if you forget – especially his barrage of elemental attacks, which are numerous and deadly.
One upside to Hrolf versus another boss like Gna is that Hrolf has a pretty low tolerance for Stun. Compared to Gna, Hrolf’s Stun bar goes up considerably faster. If you build into Relics, Runic Attacks and general combos focused on building up Stun, you will likely be able to Stun Hrolf two (or maybe even three) times over the fight. This makes him considerably easier.
Another bonus is that he staggers pretty easily. Hitting him with a flurry of Runic Attacks or long combos with the Axe or Blades will keep him off kilter for a good while, allowing Kratos to get a lot of meaty hits in. Techniques like Meteoric Slam or Artillery of the Ancients can rack up a ton of damage very quickly while also keeping Hrolf staggered for your other combos. Meanwhile, Thrust of a Thousand Soldiers will deal very big damage and keep him locked in place for other Runic Attacks such as Helios Flare.
All 3 versions of the Spartan Rage do have some sort of place or purpose in this fight. The choice of which Rage to pick mainly comes down to what you’re struggling with throughout the fight.
The standard Fury version of Rage is a good all-around pick if a bit lacking in damage or healing. Popping Fury is a great way to keep yourself alive and deal a long string of damage, but unfortunately, it won’t be a lot of damage compared to Wrath. Similarly, the healing is nice, too, but is outclassed by Valour. What Fury does make up for, though, is giving you some extra time to plan and think, something the other two options do not allow. Pick Fury if you’re doing okay but need a bit of breathing room now.
Valour is great if you often find yourself in low health or failing to dodge a lot of the attacks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by throwing out Runic Attacks and combos, to the point where you get careless. If you find yourself getting to that point, the healing of Valour will be most beneficial to you. The main issue with Valour is that it leaves you pretty wide open (something Hrolf will take advantage of with his variety of gap-closers and ranged attacks). Despite this, Valour is still the best option if you find yourself consistently at low HP, even if you’re doing good damage.
Lastly is Wrath which is the strongest and most viable option if you are confident in your skill. The damage that comes from Wrath can make this fight so much easier, alongside interrupting a few of Hrolf’s more annoying attacks. You can panic-pop Wrath, too, giving you a nice opening if you are about to be hurt or killed. Although, that bonus damage and utility are worth nothing if you go on and die. Pick Wrath if you can confidently dodge, block and parry and have no problems surviving – the bonus damage will rack up quickly and make Hrolf a cake-walk.
A wide variety of Relics work for Hrolf depending on how you like to fight. Despite this, there are two that reign above as the two strongest all-around options.
The Hilt of Hofud is the Relic you obtain from killing Heimdall and it creates a Realm Tear on activation. This slows down time and staggers anyone in the nearby vicinity, leaving them open for a series of Runic Attacks or just some basic combos. For the Hrolf fight, this allows Kratos either a great opportunity to negate his many unblockable attacks or close the gap on him when he darts away. While some other Relics may be better in certain scenarios, the Hilt of Hofud is great for any build and any situation, whether defensive or offensive.
On the other hand, Motsognir’s Call can really abuse Hrolf’s lower tolerance for Stun to mess him up. This Relic can be found in the Broken Asgardian Prison in Niflheim after Ragnarok. Upon activation, it creates a shockwave that deals high amounts of Stun to those around it. For Hrolf, this can interrupt many of his most annoying moves as well as break down his Stun little by little. On bosses like Hrolf or Gna, when you hit maximum Stun it simply removes a large chunk of their HP, making Stun a crucial part of these fights. While not as universal as the Hilt of Hofud, Motsognir’s Call is a great option for offensive play.
Aside from these, there are a few other viable options. The Glaive of Dodher or Huldra Project #9 is both good options if you want to focus on a Bifrost detonation build, one that strips away Hrolf’s health in large chunks. Meanwhile, the Talisman of Meign and Hilt of Forsbrandr both give good offensive or defensive solutions to the fight, respectively.
Compared to the Gna fight, Freya isn’t as useful in this one. However, she is still an invaluable member, especially if you gear her right.
The choice of Thrungva (the Stun sword) or Mardoll (the Bifrost sword) is largely down to personal preference and build. Thrungva can work well with Relics like Motsognir’s Call to take advantage of Hrolf’s Stun to make the fight go quicker, or Mardoll can work well in Bifrosts builds to strip down Hrolf’s HP in more direct ways. Out of the two, however, Thrungva is your best bet in most builds and compositions.
As for her Runic Summon, I would recommend Invoke the Storm for general play. This wide AoE will stagger lock Hrolf very easily once he steps into the AoE, leaving him very open for all of your normal and Runic Attacks. If you wanted to double down on the Bifrost theme, Steel Harmony deals good damage and Bifrost application.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember for this fight is to keep calm and take breaks if you need to. Hrolf can be very challenging. However, if you’ve gotten here it means you’ve beaten the 12 other Berserkers so, before long, Hrolf will fall.
That is everything you need to know to beat King Hrolf Kruki in God of War Ragnarok.