Grimm is a part of the Grimm Troupe Hollow knight DLC. He might be one of the last bosses you will fight in Hollow Knight, and presumably, you already have everything in the game ready for this fight. This Grimm Hollow Knight guide will provide input and tips on how to take on Grimm and the Nightmare King Grimm.
Summoning the Grimm Troupe
First, to get access to the Grimm Troupe DLC, you will have to go to Howling Cliffs, Dream Nail the bug dressed in red, and light the Nightmare Lantern that spawns in the room you just entered from.
After this is performed, Grimm’s tent will appear in Dirtmouth, and you can go inside it and talk to troupe master Grimm. He will give you the Grimmchild charm, and here it all begins.
The Grimmchild charm and Grimmkin
The Grimmchild charm spawns a companion that you must have equipped but deals no damage until you collect the first three flames.
The task that follows is very repetitive and somewhat tedious. You will need to fight the three Grimmkin Novices located in Greenpath, the Forgotten Crossroads, and Crystal Peak. The fights aren’t long, and all you have to do is get the timing right as they lunge towards you and deal damage when you can.
These are shown on the map as red flames, and after collecting the three flames, you will have to go back to Grimm, and he will upgrade your Grimmchild charm two times (one upgrade every three flames) before you can fight him to get your Grimmchild to level three and the eleventh charm Notch. After collecting nine flames and defeating Nightmare King Grimm, he will upgrade your Grimmchild to level four.
Grimmkin gets harsher the further you go with the Grimmkin Nightmares dealing two masks of damage with more biting attacks, but they all have clear tells and aren’t that more vicious than the Grimmkin Novices and Grimmkin Masters. They spawn in locations where it is a bit challenging to dodge their attacks, but they will follow you until you leave the room so you can move to a safer place and continue the fight there. Your Grimmchild will attack the Grimmkin as well as Millibelle, the banker, preventing you from opening a bank account using your muted hollow head funnily enough.
- After getting six flames and defeating the Troupe Master Grimm, the Grimmkin Nightmares are what you will be after. At this point, you’ll notice that there are four flames on the map, with one being in the Distant Village. If you didn’t already get the three flames needed, you would find Brumm at that location, and he will suggest banishing the Grimm Troupe as he believes that they are slaves to the Nightmare’s Heart – in a similar way that the bugs of Hallownest became husks because of Radiance. Getting this flame will allow you to banish the Grimm Troupe at the same place you summoned them with Brumm’s help. If you do so, you can get the Carefree Melody charm. Nymm will appear in Dirtmouth and give you Carefree Melody which will replace the Grimmchild charm.
Grimm is an optional boss in Hollow Knight and arguably one of the harder ones. You can first fight him after collecting six flames and visiting his tent with the Grimmchild charm equipped. The Grimmchild charm takes up two charm Notch slots, and even if you already have all ten Notches, you will have eight to work with; this is the biggest reason why Grimm fights are slightly more demanding than other boss fights.
After collecting nine flames, you can go back to Grimm’s tent and find him sleeping in the room on the far right. You will have to Dream Nail him to begin the fight, which makes him a Dream Boss, but defeating him won’t give you Essence; you will instead get the final Grimmchild charm upgrade. As Nightmare King Grimm is a Dream Boss, and as this is your second time fighting him, this one is unmistakably going to be more difficult. Nightmare King Grimm is probably one of the top three hardest bosses in the game, depending on who you ask.
You can fight Grimm without the Grimmchild charm in Godhome only, after unlocking him in Godhome by defeating Troupe Master Grimm and Nightmare King Grimm in Dirtmouth, or after getting to him in the Pantheons – even if you’ve banished the Grimm Troupe.
Related read: Comprehensive Godhome Guide.
Troupe Master Grimm
Health Nail level 0: 800
Health Nail level 1: 800
Health Nail level 2: 800
Health Nail level 3: 930
Health Nail level 4: 1000
Stagger values: 14 hits; Combo 12 hits (<1s per hit)
Let’s start by noting that he will bow before this fight – dance. You can hit him as he’s bowing before the fight begins, but that will make the fight start instantly with the Pufferfish attack.
Troupe Master Grimm’s attacks
The list below will explain all of his attacks, avoiding them, and when to attack and heal. Healing spaces in this first fight are much more open than in the fight against Nightmare King Grimm, but it is the safest to heal when he is staggered in both fights. When he flies away with random bats, he is staggered. You can easily tell which one he is and attack him to end it.
This is rarely the first one you’ll see, but I love to see it. Grimm opens his cloak, indicating that he is about to release bats flying at you; you can see it even when he is off the screen. He sends off three bats that you can jump over and start hitting him as he releases the third bat; you can dash through them as well, but I find that jumping over results in one hit more with the Nail before he teleports away.
If you do get to him before he sends out all three bats, he will teleport to the other side of the arena, and you will probably only land one hit.
One more thing worth mentioning is that you can charge up Great Slash and hit him at the end of the Fire Bats attack.
The Dive Dash attack is when Grimm curls himself up in a drill figure and dashes towards you, followed by a melee dash attack. You have two chances to hit him here. The first is when he lands either by bouncing off him or being fast enough to hit him after he lands and dashes away.
The second one is as he is finishing the attack where you can do the same thing again. The way I found it best is bouncing off of him as he lands and dashing towards him to hit him again as he is finishing the dash.
The way you can just dodge the Dive Dash is by walking away, jumping, and dashing.
The Dash Uppercut attack is the one I found is the most difficult to deal damage to him. He dashes across the arena and then launches into the air leaving flames falling in the same form each time. You can get a Nail bounce hit in, dash through him to damage him, and dodge the flame rain that follows.
If you time it right and position yourself well, you can get one mask of healing during this attack.
The Cloak Spike attack is the best and safest time to heal, the attack is very predictably telegraphed, and you can get a mask of healing in. If you don’t need to heal and are confident in your dashing abilities, you can deal damage to him during this entire attack if you’re close enough to him and have Nail range increasing charms. The spikes are there for less than a second and deal damage as they rise, but I recommend staying on the ground during this attack.
You can’t Nail bounce off him, and you can only hit him from the safe places in between the spikes if you’re close enough.
The Pufferfish attack happens when Grimm is at 75% HP, 50% HP, and 25% HP. He surrounds himself with a shield immune to Nail damage but not immune to spells. Grimm sends off fireballs for around ten seconds, but this is literally the most boring part of the fight, and it feels like forever.
He can’t be staggered during this attack, and this is also the attack that he begins with if you hit him during his bow at the begging of the fight – so don’t start with the most uninteresting part of this whole battle lasts 30 seconds. You can, however, Dream Nail him for Soul, and he won’t mind.
During this attack, all you can do is cast Vengeful Spirit/Shade Soul and dodge the fireballs.
The Teleport & Skitter attacks
If Grimm teleports too close to you, he will Skitter away before casting one of the usual attacks. The teleporting part is self-explanatory, and he just teleports further away from you.
These are charms for straightforward Nail damage dealing build, spell damage build, and an offensive build. If you want to see the full list of charms in Hollow Knight and how to acquire them all, check this charm guide here.
Through the fight, Grimm gets faster, and it isn’t hard to adjust to when you memorize how to combat his attacks. Charms that I would go into this fight with are Longnail and Unbreakable Strength. Those two already take up five charm Notches, and adding in Quick Slash gets you to eight – remember that you have to have the Grimmchild charm equipped during this fight. I like to get fights over as soon as possible, and I frequently face my greatest enemy – contact damage.
If you have more patience than me and are leaning towards a magic build, you can switch these out for Shaman Stone, Soul Catcher, Spell Twister, and even Grubsong, as those would get you to eight charm Notches as well. One more charm that goes well against Troupe Master Grimm is Flukenest which can be used with the Defender’s Crest and Shaman Stone; those together get you to seven charm Notches. You can again put Grubsong into that, but I’d recommend Nailmaster’s Glory instead.
If you have even more patience and need durability, survivability, and security, you can use Quick Focus. You can equip it with Shape of Unn and Soul Catcher, leaving you with one free charm Notch that you can fill out with Grubsong.
Charms that I couldn’t leave out: Sprintmaster (Notch cost: 1), Dashmaster (Notch cost: 2), Mark of Pride (Notch cost: 3), Sharp Shadow (Notch cost: 2) Unbreakable Heart (Notch cost: 2), Steady Body (Notch cost: 1), Quick Focus (Notch cost: 3), and Hiveblood (Notch cost: 4).
- Hiveblood is in the last place as it takes up half of your charm Notches, leaving little space for more useful charms. If you want to go this route, you can also go with Lifeblood charms as you already don’t have many chances to heal, and Hiveblood will only get you so far. You will most likely take the second hit of damage before the first one regenerates, but you can also wait out and dodge his attacks until the twelve seconds pass for it to regenerate. It is certainly more useful against Troupe Master Grimm as he only does one mask of damage.
- Steady Body is an all-around useless charm, but it can help you in the second fight while he’s casting Flame Pillars. He tracks your movement and teleports away shortly after the last pillar, but you can steer around him and get several hits in.
Everyone’s playstyle is different, and you should go with what is the most comfortable for you. Experimenting with other charms after several failed attempts isn’t a bad idea, especially against Nightmare King Grimm.
Nightmare King Grimm
Stagger values: 14 hits; Combo 12 hits (<1s per hit)
Nightmare King Grimm has almost the same moves, but he is faster and deals double. He is Troupe Master Grimm on steroids. This fight is very different from the first one, and when you first walk into the arena, you’ll probably die within five seconds, wondering what even happened.
I would go as far as to recommend going into this one with different charms depending on which charms you used in the first fight. Even though these two fights can happen within a short period, you might feel like it’s an entirely separate fight – which it is, but the difference is prominent.
Nightmare King Grimm’s attack compared to Troupe Master Grimm’s attacks
Nightmare King Grimm has one new attack, the Flame Pillar attack. He summons four pillars, and the best way to go around it is to go step by step until he casts the fourth pillar, and then you can either Great Slash him, hit him, or the best one uses Abyss Shriek.
His first attack, Fire Bats, now happens noticeably faster and has one bat more shooting out towards you. This time you have a very wide space between them, and they travel in a predetermined pattern starting with the first one being at the top. Jumping and dashing over them is still a viable option, but this time if you get to him before he shoots out the last bat, he will teleport to the other side of the arena and shoot out two more bats – one at the top and one at the bottom at the same time.
Dive Dash now leaves a trail of mist similar to the Defender’s Crest trail but lasts much longer. The mist follows Grimm from the moment he starts dashing downwards and as he lands to when he finishes the attack. Avoiding it is just moving away, but dealing damage is a bit different. You can attack him as he lands and dash in midair to hit him again before he stands up and teleports away; carefully as not to fall into the mist or hit yourself on him standing up.
The Dash Uppercut is faster now, and the pause that follows the dash is almost nonexistent. There is also one more flame falling as he teleports at the end of the uppercut. Taking the time to heal in this battle as the flames are falling is very risky because his next attack will come in literally right after.
Cloak Spikes are still almost the best and safest time to heal; they just come out faster and deal double the damage. When you know that Nightmare King Grimm is going to cast Cloak Spikes to the time when the spikes are up to is also shortened, healing is still an option but borderline impossible. Hitting him is impossible.
With Nightmare King Grimm, the Pufferfish attack just happens faster, and it still marks the passing quarters of his health.
The Teleport and Skitter attacks are the same as in the first battle.
You now have the extra charm Notch, bringing you to eleven. This means that you have nine. This fight, though, should be a head-on Nail damage-dealing deathmatch. Deal damage in any chance you can because there is only one chance to heal and very little time to comprehend what is happening around you.
If it took you five tries to take down Troupe Master Grimm, well, good luck it took me five hours at least to defeat Nightmare King Grimm the first time. In the end, I think I ended up with Unbreakable Strength, Quick Slash, and Mark of Pride, like a scrub. The only tip I have for defeating Nightmare King Grimm is “Good Luck”.
Some charms work better with Nightmare King Grimm than with Troupe Master Grimm. You can use the same charm built in both fights, but Sharp Shadow is excellent in the fight against Nightmare King Grimm, but it isn’t as worthwhile against Troupe Master Grimm.
- Sharp Shadow counts as a hit when you dash through an enemy, and it adds onto the stagger counter. It’s worth noting that using Nail arts that deal more damage will lead to him being staggered less often, and if you need to heal, just use Nail damage and heal every fourteen hits.
If you find that you can’t take him on and that you need to heal:
- Unequip Unbreakable strength as he will get staggered more often and leave room for more healing. While he is staggered, you can get three masks of healing in. Using Soul Cather is enough and leaves you with more free charm Nothces than Soul Eater. It is great if this is a strat that you’re going for.
- Hiveblood is something that you shouldn’t use against Nightmare King Grimm, it’s a great charm, but in this battle, it’s a waste and provides no additional aid in winning, healing, or staying alive for longer than four seconds. He is just too fast and with the double damage, Hiveblood helps a little.
- Lifeblood charms and Unbreakable Heart are helpful if you need more time, and really after the first phase, other than when he is staggered, you can’t heal without risking more than what you’d gain. Using Sprintmaster or Dashmaster might help you here as well.
- While he is doing the Pufferfish attack, you can use the wall to evade the fireballs.
Question: What is the easiest way to beat the Nightmare King in Grimm?
Answer: Unequip Unbreakable strength as he will get staggered more often and leave room for more healing. While he is staggered, you can get three masks of healing in. Using Soul Cather is enough and leaves you with more free charm Nothces than Soul Eater. It is great if this is a strat that you’re going for.
Question: How much HP does Nightmare King Grimm have?
Answer: Nightmare King Grimm has 1500 HP. Stagger values are 14 hits for him to get staggered and a12 hit combo (<1s per hit)
Question: What are the best charms to fight Grimm?
Answer: Charms that I would go into this fight with are Longnail and Unbreakable Strength. Those two already take up five charm Notches, and adding in Quick Slash gets you to eight – remember that you have to have the Grimmchild charm equipped during this fight. I like to get fights over as soon as possible, and I frequently face my greatest enemy – contact damage.
Question: What do you get for beating Grimm?
Answer: get your Grimmchild to level three and the eleventh charm Notch. After collecting nine flames and defeating Nightmare King Grimm, he will upgrade your Grimmchild to level four.
Question: How many charm notches are there?
Answer: After you defeat Troupe Master Grimm, you get the extra charm Notch, bringing you to eleven.
Question: Is Nightmare King Grimm the hardest boss?
Answer: Nightmare King Grimm is probably one of the top three hardest bosses in the game, depending on who you ask.
Question: Can you get unbreakable charms after defeating Grimm?
Answer: You can. After defeating Troupe Master Grimm and Nightmare King Grimm, his tent will disappear, but Divine’s won’t, and she will be inside.
Question: Is it possible to get both Grimm Troupe Hollow Knight endings?
Answer: It isn’t possible. You get separate achievements and a new charm if you banish the Grimm Troupe. Doing either won’t change your game percentage, and it isn’t possible to do both on one save file.
Question: How do you get Grimmchild charm?
Answer: First, to get access to the Grimm Troupe DLC, you will have to go to Howling Cliffs, Dream Nail the bug dressed in red, and light the Nightmare Lantern that spawns in the room you just entered from. After this is performed, Grimm’s tent will appear in Dirtmouth, and you can go inside it and talk to troupe master Grimm. He will give you the Grimmchild charm, and here it all begins.
Question: How do you fully upgrade Grimmchild?
Answer: After collecting nine flames and defeating Nightmare King Grimm, he will upgrade your Grimmchild to level four.
Question: How do you keep Grimmchild?
Answer: Even if you banish the Grimm Troupe, you can just not talk to Nymm. If you accidentally walk into the lantern room in Howling Cliffs and talk to Brumm, just click alt+F4. Worked for me!