Hollow Knight City of Tears Guide

Hollow Knight City of Tears Guide

The City of Tears is the capital of Hallownest, and at first glance, it might seem like there is nothing there except the Nailsmith. This drizzling city will be the center of your playthrough, and you will be going back a lot. You might remember the Abyss, the Ancient Basin, or Deepnest, but the City of Tears that looks the least memorable is the place that will finish the game for you.

Look at this like it’s a quest. In detail, in this Hollow Knight City of Tears guide, we will go through this Hollow Knight City of Tears guide and see what we can get out of it.

The Pain

This is going to be a long journey, and it will be amazing. Getting lost in Hollow Knight is the best part of it, and no matter how many times you play, it’ll never get untangled because you can always take different routes and pick up charms, spells, upgrades, etc in a different order.

After Fungal Wastes, you have many ways of entering the City of Tears, and we will catch them all. Each one gives you different benefits and helps you get to where you’re trying to go. Every area connected to the City of Tears will also be mentioned, and you will see a clear view of how to get to your favorite part of the game or that one Pale Ore you’re trying to get.

There is no one right way to play Hollow Knight. Any way you take will bring you closer to what you need, just in a different order. This guide will tell you how to get everything in the City of Tears, a bit more, and finish the game in under five hours. Press F3 for Speedrun achievements.

In this article, we will go from Dirtmouth to the Mantis Village, and from there will be the intended way to enter the city using the City Crest. After that go through every other (alternative) way to enter the city, what you will get out of those and how to clear out the whole city in the easiest way.

There will be no cheesing in this guide.

The methods will be explained in steps and marked as “Intended” and “Alternative”.

Dirtmouth/Forgotten Crossroads – the grey dirt level/part/area/thingy of the game

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 1st
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Getting lost meter: Low if you’re not like me
  • Time: Dependant on how many times you got lost or died

Let’s get things straight. With so many things in Hollow Knight that help you go through the game in a more manageable way, it can be hard to remember what to look for, even more so when you don’t know it’s there.

Before you get to the City of Tears, you will defeat the False Knight and get the City Crest. Exploring a bit more and getting a few charms can’t hurt either; losing or spending Geo is a part of Hollow Knight, so don’t hesitate to buy everything.

I recommend getting the Wayward Compass charm with the quill and the Gathering Swarm charm because, in the beginning, you will need Geo for a lot of things, and 1000 Geo will seem like a lot at first. You can collect the Geo you lost safely and faster if you die with those. With Gathering Swarm, you will manage the Geo that flies off the Geo deposits a lot better as well.

  • Even if two ways lead to the same place, which you will realize in Greenpath, take both! In King’s pass, there is already a charm that will help you when you’re low on health.
  • You can also unlock shortcuts that will save you a lot of time with exploration.
  • You will need Geo for maps, Stag Stations, and of course, charms, but you will also need Geo to unlock a door to a bench in Greenpath, and that one isn’t optional.
  • The first big purchase that I always save my Geo for is the Lumafly Lantern. It’ll help you get a Mask Shard and open an entrance into Crystal Peak.

Greenpath – the “where am I?” level

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 2nd
  • Requirements: The Vengeful Spirit spell
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Getting lost meter: Medium to high
  • Time: Dependant on how many times you got lost or died

You will get lost in Greenpath, but eventually, you will get to a boss that can be tricky to defeat. There is a guide if you get stuck here; follow this link to see the Hornet guide.

After defeating Hornet in Greenpath, you will have the dash ability, and you will be able to collect the Grubs you couldn’t get before. With the dash ability, you can also get the Thorns of Agony charm in Greenpath.

The next place to go is Fungal wastes but don’t forget about the Grubs you rescued.

After you rescue five Grubs, you get a Mask Shard – you need four to get a new mask. The Grubhome is already one place that you will keep going back to. The Grubfather will give you Geo and other rewards for saving his Grubs. After saving ten, you will get the Grubsong charm. When you rescue thirty-one, he will give you Pale Ore.

The map looks like there are many places to go, but the further you go into the game, you will realize that you can’t go there without certain abilities.

So now that you have dash and you’re back in Dirtmouth, you can visit more areas. You can now get to Salubra, buy a charm Notch and any charms you think will fit you, and finally pass over that one platform you couldn’t get past before. You will see the first thing that will require you to go through the City of Tears to go into – the cracking floor right at the entrance into the Fungal wastes.

– The cracking floor –

Fungal Wastes – the “not even the mushrooms want to be here” level

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 3rd
  • Requirements: Mothwing Cloak
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Getting lost meter: Meh
  • Time: Dependant on how many times you got lost or died

After taking a stroll through the Fungal Wastes, you will find Hornet, who will be waiting for you at the entrance into the City of Tears, but you need one more ability to get into the city.

You will have to go the long way around again, but unlike in Greenpath, you can open a door if you stray away from the main path, and that is one of your shortcuts for going back. This one is pretty hard to miss; you just have to kill a spitting ballon enemy called the Fungoon to access that entrance. There is a lever there, and if you find Cornifer, the map maker, this will all make even more sense. If you don’t find him, you can still buy the map in Iselda’s shop.

You will eventually find a bench that isn’t next to the Leg Eater, and remember this bench because the Mantis Lords aren’t easy to defeat. The good thing is the game already prepared you for the fight.

As you noticed, you have been fighting mantises already; they’re fast with long-range and strike from above. You will see even more of them much later in the game – they will just be much stronger and have fiercer moves – the mantises in Queen’s Gardens where the Love Key is.

  • To the left of the bench is Bretta; you will need the ability that you will get here to reach her. Don’t forget about her, aside from the charm there; after you save her, you will find the second Mask Shard in her house in Dirtmouth. Hint – there’s a hidden passage left of the statue where you get the Dashmaster charm.
  • You get the Mantis Claw before fighting the Mantis Lords so if you find yourself at the bench again, save her. The Mantis Lords can wait; just don’t die.
  • Tip – the Sprintmaster and Longnail charms can help you in this fight. Don’t forget that you have the Vengeful Spirit spell and that you can bounce off spikes.

After defeating the Mantis Lords, you can go back into the room above and enter the passage that a mantis guarded. This time, he will let you in as you gained their respect after defeating the Mantis Lords, and you can get the Mark of Pride charm. Wherever you go next, the Mark of Pride charm is something you will be using a lot, but if you decide to go into Deepnest, it is the one that you will need the most.

The Mantis Claw ability is what you came here for and what you need to get into the city. You can go back to where you saw Hornet and jump through the thorns above the bridge to smack a lever to bring the bridge back for easier access. Here is where you need the City Crest.

You can already get your first full mask upgrade at this point in the game. There are two Mask Shards in Sly’s store, one that you get for saving Bretta and the one you get from the Grubfather. There are more options, though.

If you were saving up for the Lumafly Lantern, you could get the Mask Shard behind the No Eyes’s arena and open the gate into the Crystal Peak. With the Mantis Claw, you can get one in the Forgotten Crossroads; if you’re strong enough, you could have gotten one by defeating the Brooding Mawlek; also in the Forgotten Crossroads – I recommend a Nail upgrade for that one first.

That already puts you at seven. There is one more in Queen’s Gardens right of the Stag Station. That’s two new health masks. So if you want to see where the rest are and how to get them, look no further! I mean, do look here; here’s a link.

The City of Tears

The bridge you opened up was closed off because of the infection that Radiance spread to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the city. Before the gate was sealed and the bridge was closed off, the bridge was used to transport goods into the city where there was an evident divide between the rich and the poor. Many goods reached the city, but not many came out.

Travelers came into the city from all around Hallownest in search of a better life and going over that bridge is the intended way to get into the city. Travelers were promised that if they make it through the Forgotten Crossroads, Greenpath, and the Fungal Wastes, they would have the privilege of sharing the city’s glory.

the city of tears map
– The City of Tears map unmarked –

Since you made it this far, you can enter the city using the City Crest, and the gate will close after. There is a hidden room in the ceiling that will allow you to get out of the city, but only after going through the Soul Sanctuary. There are many ways to enter the City of Tears, but we will start with the intended way – constructed as two steps.

The Difficulty parameter won’t be on the list from this point on.

1. The entrance from Fungal Wastes using the City Crest

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 4th
  • Requirements: Mothwing Cloak, Mantis Claw & the City Crest

You got the City Crest as a reward after defeating the False Knight. You will place it on the statue of the Great Knight Hegemol after passing the bridge, and you are officially in the city. You will find a lot of dead ends that you will unlock later.

You will find a bench, but you will spend a lot of time here before proceeding. You might see Quirrel on the bench sitting and looking out the window and find Lemm and the Nailsmith a few floors below.

Lemm is a relic collector, and if you’re low on Geo, you can sell the ones you got so far to him before heading to the Nailsmith to upgrade your Nail. Trust me; you will need damage for this. The first upgrade to your Nail doesn’t require you to have Pale Ore; you only need 250 Geo.

Every upgrade will give you four more damage, and after this first upgrade, you will have almost double the damage you had before – your Nail will do 9 damage. Here is a detailed guide for Nail upgrades, but we will go through getting the Pale Ore you’ll need for the City of Tears.

  • There is a Hallownest Seal in an accessible area in the city close to Lemm and the Nailsmith that you can sell for 450 Geo.
  • While completing everything in the City of Tears, you will get more than you think you will get out of the game. Getting the last three Pale Ore requires a detour, but you will be all over the place anyway, and the more Pale Ore you have, the easier the game is. Based on where you go and which one seems the easiest to you is what is the important part.
  • Other than Lemm and the Nailsmith, you will also see Hornet and new different-looking enemies. The mantises in Fungal Wastes gave you the training to prepare for those, so don’t be afraid to get into their face; they are strong, though.
  • There will be enemies that will show you how the city used to look, and they will usually run away, bounce around or weakly flap their arms at you – that’s the City of Tears for ya’.

Taking this route will lead you to the Soul Sanctum. An area with a boss who will give you your second spell, allowing you to leave the City of Tears from the room above the Great Knight Hegemol’s statue. This spell can help you reach many areas, just like the dash and Mantis Claw, so in a way, this is the first thing you should do.

– Here is how you get out of the City of Tears to go into the Fungal Wastes using Desolate Dive –

The Soul Sanctum

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 5th

You will enter the Soul Sanctum, and you’ll know that danger is coming. You will instantly be met with a Soul Twister with one orb floating around you and a second orb he generates to shoot at you.

He teleports around the room, and the best tip I can give you at this point is to use the platforms to dodge his orbs. He is a tricky enemy, and running away is a bad idea because a bit deeper into Soul Sanctum, more than one will spawn at a time.

Dying once, twice, or how many times to grasp how he works isn’t something you should be afraid of. Walking back and facing them again is a good idea because the boss in this area does the same things only more wickedly.

There is a second boss here. I like to say that he is barely a boss, but still, he also prepares you for the main boss of Soul Sanctum. This boss is the Soul Warrior, and he dashes towards you, shoots orbs, and teleports into the air to strike you down from above. There are enemies in the Soul Sanctum that aren’t cruel, though; they spawn right into you, though.

You will notice that there is a lot of Soul everywhere and even a Rancid Egg because this is a hard part of the late early game, and the developers wanted you to survive.

Eventually, you will get to the Soul Master, and he has a second phase that I won’t even get to; I want you to experience the heart attack I experienced the first time I played it. His attacks are everything you already saw, but now it’s personal.

Soul Master

Soul Master Undertale

  • HP: 275 (First Phase)
  • HP: 110 (Second Phase)
  • Stagger Values: 9 hits; 7 hit combo – <1s per hit
  • Rewards: the Desolate Dive spell & 380 Geo

He has six attacks, and it’s a fact that this fight is the hardest one yet. Very unexpected when it starts and very shocking when you think it ended. Attacks that he throws at you are unlike the attacks of the bosses you’ve fought so far. Fighting him for the first time can be frustrating, but just like with every other boss, you have to look for the signs and learn when to attack, dodge and heal.

Luckily, there are two very safe opportunities to heal during the first phase of the battle. One is while he is staggered and floats in the air for a few seconds, and the other is in the middle of one of the attacks.

  • Teleport: this one is self-explanatory, and he will teleport around a lot.
  • Dash: he will dash, or should I say float, very slowly from one side of the arena to the other. You can strike him from above; you can also hit him twice if you’re fast enough – once when you bounce off him and then again after you fall back down. If you’re lucky, you can dash over him and get one mask of healing in. I do not recommend it. His dash is the easiest attack to avoid if you don’t count teleporting as an attack.
  • Orb: the Soul Master will stand in place and throw orbs at you before teleporting to another location in the arena. Hitting him here is harder than dodging the orbs, but you can still catch him. Just don’t dash into him as I do.
  • Clock: the Soul Master will float through the arena with four orbs circling him. You can get a few hits in while avoiding the orbs, but this is the save heal time. When the orbs are going back to the other side, and you stand in the middle of the arena, you can get two masks of healing in.
  • Slam: slam is his Desolate Dive and connects in every way with his last attack, the Fake Out Slam.
  • Fake Out Slam: if you dash while he is in the air about to slam down, he will move to where you dashed to and slam into you anyways. The way to counter this is to wait for that perfect millisecond to dash or jump away.

At this point in the game, you already have charms to make this fight easier, healing less stressful and dodging more manageable. The ones I recommend are Longnail, Dashmaster, and Grubsong; depending on what you bought and your playstyle, I would even recommend Steady Body, Shaman Stone, and Quick Focus.

Remember that you can buy charm Notch slots from Salubra in the Forgotten Crossroads and that exploring is a key part of this game.

After this is over, you have Desolate Dive, and you will get a chance to use it instantly, so you’ll see that it breaks through floors and deals damage. Let your memory and creativity guide you; good luck! My memory sucks, so here is what I always forget: you can go back and open up the entrance at the Great Knight Hegemol’s statue so that you don’t have to go around.

  • Every floor that crackles when you walk over it is breakable, and you can use Desolate Dive to break it.
  • The only place in the game where the floor doesn’t crackle when you walk over it is when you defeat the Dung Defender in the Royal Waterways and hit the acid vessel. There is a breakable floor right under that vessel, and that is where you fight the White Defender.
  • The Spell Twister charm is in the Soul Sanctum on the upper right.

2. Using the Royal Waterways as a route to gain access to the other side of the city

  • Method: Intended
  • Step: 6th
  • Requirements: Simple Key & Desolate Dive

You might have realized that you could have bought a Simple Key from Sly or that you got one in the City of Tears anyways. But there is more to do in the City of Tears and using that Simple Key to open the Royal Waterways is the next logical thing to do. The entrance is right beneath Lemm, and it may be the first place to ask you for a Simple Key (if you didn’t open Jiji’s cave in Dirtmouth using the one you bought from Sly). I think most people go this route.

This is a creepy place, and if you haven’t gone to Deepnest yet, this will be your temporary nightmare fuel. There are two bosses here (three if you also count in the second optional Dream Boss, the White Defender).

You will need Desolate Dive to get to the bench, but Cornifer is on the left side of the Royal Waterways, and there is also less nightmare fuel there. The Dung Defender is on the right of the bench, and after defeating him, you will be able to access the second part of the City of Tears and the Ancient Basin.

  • You can’t do much in the Ancient Basin yet, but you can get Pale Ore to upgrade your Nail again – with 800 Geo. After that, you will need two Pale Ore and 2000 Geo to upgrade your Nail again.

Dung Defender

Dung Defender Undertale

  • Nail level 0: 700HP
  • Nail level 1: 750HP
  • Nail level 2: 800HP
  • Nail level 3: 850HP
  • Nail level 4: 900HP
  • Stagger Values: 16 hits or one successful Desolate Dive strike; 8 hit combo – <1s per hit
  • Rewards: The Defender’s Crest charm & access to Isma’s Grove

The Dung Defender is an easy boss to defeat, and you can use your new Desolate Dive on him a lot. He is kind of unpredictable but very easy to avoid. He seems like a lot because of how many different attacks he can throw at you:

  1. Evade – he just jumps away from you when you’re too close
  2. Dung Toss – he collects the dung into a dung ball and throws it before moving to his next attack
  3. Burst – the Dung Defender goes underground, and after a few seconds, he jumps up with two dung balls on both sides
  4. Curl – the Dung Defender curls up in a ball and bounces too
  5. Toss Combo – he now gathers two dung balls and throws them, and it is followed by either the Burst attack or the Curl attack
  6. Dive – the Dung Defender dives underground and moves randomly
  7. Zeal – this attack is the same as the Burst attack, but it lasts until you defeat him; he starts doing this at 50% HP

Why did I say that he is an easy boss and put this in a numbered list? All of these attacks come up to him throwing balls and/or himself, and you can hit and evade them pretty easily. The Dive attack is still just avoiding balls again.

The Burst and Zeal attacks are still avoiding balls but differently. The only thing added is him tracking your position and you can Desolate Dive him to knock him up. Desolate Dive deals 35 damage if you hit it right; accordingly, you have only two things to do:

  1. Avoid the balls and deal damage
  2. Avoid the balls and deal damage

After that, you can get on with your life because you have a new charm and Isma’s Grove, and I have some suggestions:
1. Defeat the Flukemarm because you will also get a charm after defeating her, and it goes well with the Defender’s Crest charm, and the more charms you have, the more charm Notches you can buy from Salubra.
2. Go to Crystal Peak because you can enter it with Desolate Dive, but you probably already assumed that, and go back to get Isma’s Tear so that you can get more charms.
3. AND THEN, most importantly, the Love Key from the Queen’s Gardens that requires you to have Isma’s Tear to collect – more on the Love Key in the Collector part of the article. Use F3.
4. After that, not as important, go and defeat the Broken Vessel (you need Crystal Heart from Crystal Peak to reach it) so that you can get the double jump and finish the game – right, you also need double jump to get to Lurien the Watcher.

Tip: use Desolate Dive on Broken Vessel.

  • Go on along this way, and you will soon find the Dream Nail and finish the game. Further in the article, there will be a guide around the Dream Nail. It is labeled as 5 on the map below.
  • Okay, if you have Crystal Heart, you can find Isma’s Grove by going under the path leading to Isma’s Tear. You can now exit to the main menu to go back to the bench.

Alternative ways to enter the City of Tears

The article so far described how you should get to the City of Tears, the Soul Sanctum, the Royal Waterways, and open the other side of the city; marked on the map below as 1 (City Crest) and 2 (Royal Waterways).

City of Tears entrances
– Hollow Knight map with the entrances assigned from “the intended ways 1 & 2” to “why 7” –
  1. City Crest > City of Tears > Soul Sanctum > City of Tears – Explained above
  2. City of Tears > Royal Waterways > City of Tears – Explained above
  3. Deepnest > Ancient Basin > Broken Elevator > City of Tears – Alternative way
  4. Deepnest > Ancient Basin > Kingdom’s Edge > King’s Station in the City of Tears – Alternative way
  5. Forgotten Crossroads  > Resting Grounds > City of Tears – Alternative way
  6. Kingdom’s Edge > Tower of Love in the City of Tears – requires the Love Key Optional 
  7. Kingdom’s Edge > Colosseum of Fools > City of Tears Optional

There are ways to get goods coming from a different source. The City of Tears is the capital and can’t be called the hardest area in the game, but you can do a lot to get a different experience and come into the city stronger.

After defeating the Mantis Lords and getting the Mantis Claw, you can buy two charm Notches from Salubra in the Forgotten Crossroads (after collecting ten charms). You will already have one charm Notch more after defeating the two Shrumal Ogres in Fungal Wastes. That will bring you to six charm Notches already, making the game a lot easier; whichever way you take, this is an action deserving of carrying out.

overcharmed charmed hollow knight
If you were overcharmed before getting the charm Notch in Fungal Wastes (the fourth charm Notch), something interesting will happen; I just wanted to share. ♥️

The other ways to enter the City of Tears require you to acquire the Tram Pass in Deepnest that you enter right out of the Mantis Lords’ arena.

Getting the Tram Pass

  • Method: Alternative
  • Step: 1st
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Getting lost meter: Very High
  • Time: Yes
– Deepnest map –

1. After you defeat the Mantis Lords and NOT forget to pick up the Mark of Pride charm, you can go back and enter Deepnest from the Mantis Lords arena (1). You will see a Mask Shard (2) and don’t bother trying to get it because you can only get it after attaining double jump, then going through the Fungal Core and falling right onto it.

2. Cornifer (3) is very close, and from there on, you are lost. You will have to go through the labyrinth that is Deepnest to get to the Tram Pass. You will somewhat easily find the closed area where you will fall right into the Hot Spring with the bench on the right. If you want to open a shortcut going from Fungal Wastes into Deepnest, you will need to go all the way up to the spot labeled with the number (4).

3. The tram is very close to the Hot Spring (5), but you will have to find your way to the Tram Pass (6) on the other side of Deepnest before you can use it.

undertale tram pass
– where the tram pass is –

Useful tip: If you don’t sit on a bench at the Failed Tramway, you can exit onto the main menu and save yourself from recurring nightmares.

Not so useful tip: Leave Zote. He won’t die there if you just go past him.

The steps from this point on won’t include the first three steps (Dirtmouth, Greenpath, and Fungal Wastes); they will instead continue from the Mantis Lords’ arena (getting the Tram pass was the first step).

3. The Broken Elevator Tram

  • Method: Alternative
  • Step: 2nd

After getting the Tram Pass, you have a world of possibilities. The path through Deepnest is more challenging, but you will end up with a lot of Geo, and you will find Pale Ore in the Ancient Basin, which is the first tram stop after Deepnest. You can buy a map there and head to the broken elevator to enter the City of Tears. Good luck with the platforming! ..spikey.

– The path to Pale Ore –

After seeing the Hollow Knight’s statue and meeting Hornet again, you can then go straight past Lemm, who you can’t reach yet because that door is closed. With a bit of exploring, you will get to Lemm (there is a very apparent and in the way lever) and sell any relics you found on your way here if you don’t have enough Geo for the two Nail upgrades that you can get if you picked up the Pale Ore in the Ancient Basin. The Nailsmith is on the far left side of the city. You will need 250 Geo for the first upgrade and 800 Geo and one Pale Ore for the second one.

If you don’t hit this lever you won’t be able to go back that way, so don’t miss it.

– The very apparent and in the way lever –

Getting the almost triple Nail damage compared to the damage you started with before fighting the Soul Master will help a lot as well as the other enemies in the City of Tears and the rest of the game.

What you would miss out on if you went into the City of Tears using the City Crest:

  1. Two Nail upgrades when you first visit the Nailsmith, taking you from 5 damage with one hit to 13 damage with one hit – instead of 9 damage per hit without Pale Ore
  2. A LOT of Geo – you’ll be way closer to getting the Lumafly Lantern and the Elegant Key from Sly (more on the Elegant Key soon)
  3. Access to the tram – the tram goes from Deepnest to Kingdom’s Edge
  4. More relics to sell to Lemm
  5. The Fungal Wastes/Deepnest shortcut very early in the game
  6. Access to the King’s Station Stag Station
  7. You will see Cloth – a missable spirit later in the game – sorry for the spoiler
  8. Grubs

At some point, either now or after exploring a bit further (Kingdom’s Edge), go back to the Grubfather to collect more Geo if you need to.

You won’t immediately have access to the City Storerooms Stag Station because of this door:

4. Kingdom’s Edge Tram

  • Method: Alternative
  • Step: 3rd

So now you’ve probably already visited the Kingdom’s Edge and have the King’s Station open with two Nail upgrades. You’ve already seen a lot of things that you would normally see after seeing the City of Tears. You still need to Defeat the Soul Master for multiple reasons. This time though, it will go smoothly and at least twice as fast.

You notice here that you now also have access to the Hive and Cornifer is in one of the holes on the left side of Kingdom’s Edge. The map is always the most important, and finding Cornifer here is easy.

The Hive is a rather difficult area full of bees; there is an optional boss, a charm, and a Mask Shard. You’ll realize where it is when you see two random bees flying above spikes next to a breakable wall (tip: you can use Vengeful Spirit on the wall). You needn’t have to go through the whole Hive to get the Mask Shard; you do have to defeat the Hive Knight to get the Hiveblood charm, though.

It is beautiful and you can go inside get the Mask Shard by having a Hive Guardian (the biggest bee there) break the wall. You will see the Mask Shard just like in Deepnest, and the wall does look breakable – like some platforms. Just be cautious. I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THIS ONE. The bees are vicious, and the Hive Guardians deal two masks of damage.

What you would miss out on if you went into the City of Tears using the City Crest:

  1. Everything listed in the third step
  2. The Hive and the Mask Shard in the Hive – only three more, all in due time
  3. There is a place that you can’t reach without Isma’s Tear – all in due time again
  4. You will see the entrance into Isma’s Grove – you don’t have the Crystal Heart to reach it

For me, this is when I go back to Dirtmouth and the Grubfather. After that, I go to Crystal Peak to get the Crystal Dash so that I can get Isma’s Tear and gain access to more areas – one being the Broken Vessel in the Ancient Basin to that I can then get the double jump – or as it is named in Hollow Knight, Monarch Wings.

This is all that you need to get Lurien the Watcher. You can defeat the Watcher Knights with these alone, but we have a lot more to talk about.

The Missing Mash Shards you need to get the third mask at this point are very easily attainable. You can get the one you saw in Deepnest with a double jump by dropping into Deepnest from Fundal Wastes.

You’ve been to Crystal Peak so you may have found the Shopkeeper’s Key, and those unlock Sly’s further stock allowing you to buy two more Mask Shards from him. Other than that, defeating the Enraged Guardian will open the door to another mask. Here’s the guide; I know this is a long article.

5. Forgotten Crossroads Tram

  • Method: Alternative
  • Step: 2nd step for access after reaching any other Stag Station to go to the Forgotten Crossroads / 5th on the map above
  • Requirement: Getting Desolate Dive after getting the Dream Nail

Seer in Resting Grounds gives you a lot of rewards for collecting Essence, and she is another NPC that you will visit more than once. You can get the Dream Nail and continue in whichever way you wish to get to the Soul Sanctum. My recommendation is to get that Pale Ore in the Ancient Basin and continue with more damage.

After defeating the Soul Master, you will have access to the elevator that will lead you down to the City of Tears, and you can take on the Soul Tyrant right after defeating the Soul Master in the Soul Sanctum. Soul Tyrant is the Dream version of the Soul Master; he is faster and has a total of 1250HP in the two phases.

You won’t have to go back and replay areas to get Essence to get these, making the game faster and easier. Here is a list of rewards that will convince you to get the Dream Nail very early in the game:

  1. 300: Pale Ore
  2. 500: Dream Wielder charm
  3. 700: Vessel Fragment – you need two more to get the reserve vessel
  4. 900: Dreamgate
  5. 1200: Arcane Egg – to sell to Lemm for 1200 Geo
  6. 1500: Mask Shard

One more thing that you will get when you acquire the Dream Nail is the Dreamers’ locations becoming visible on the map.

For the third Nail upgrade, you need Pale Ore and 2000 Geo. Having more Pale Ore can’t be bad in any way. You can get the first one from Seer, very easily as you saw, and the second one from wherever is the easiest for you. For ease, here is the Pale Ore guide again. Personally, some of these can be hard to get, but let your exploration guide you to it.

  • The Dreamgate is another major part of Hollow Knight that makes my runs much easier. It is without a doubt the best mean of fast travel in the game – aside from exiting into the main menu, of course.

What you would miss out on if you went into the City of Tears using the City Crest:

  1. The Dream Nail and the three Dreamers are shown on the map even in the places you don’t have access to
  2. Dreamshield charm right under Seer’s room
  3. Access to the Resting Grounds Stag Station
  4. Access to the Grey Mourner (the Delicate Flower quest to get the Mask Shard) and the Soul Eater charm if you acquired Desolate Dive
  5. Xero and 100 Essence after you defeat him and a Whispering Root where you can collect 20 Essence – with that having every other Whispering Root tree and Dream Warrior unlocked
  6. Soul Tyrant and other Dream Bosses unlocked – don’t forget that you do have to take on the Soul Master whichever way you take
  7. More Pins in Iselda’s shop are unlocked after you acquire the Dream Nail

6. Tower of Love

The Tower of Love is the place you can see in the tunnel under the Stag Station, but there are closed doors until you go inside using the Love Key from Kindom’s Edge.

The Collector is a boss made entirely out of Void and is locked in the Tower of love in the City of Tears. You will see where it is but the key to access it is on the other side of the map.

The previous owner of the Tower of Love is an aristocrat Husk Dandy whose corpse can be found in the Queen’s Gardens. There you will find the Love key.

The Love Key

You need Isma’s Tear to reach the Love Key, and based on where it is, you may assume you need the Shade Cloak (the black dash), but you can enter Queen’s Gardens from Fungal Wastes and find it fairly quickly. That entrance is right across Leg Eater’s room, where the acid pool is.

You can also get to Monomon the Teacher this way, and then you only need Herrah the Beast to enter The Temple of the Black Egg (if you don’t include Lurien the Watcher yet).

Tip: This way, you get both Speedrun achievements (finishing Hollow Knight in under ten hours and five hours).

By “this way“, I mean getting the Tram pass, getting Pale Ore, going to the City of Tears, using the tram to the Resting Grounds, going back using the Stag Station, defeating the Soul Master, and moving on.

The Collector

The Collector Undertale

  • Requirements: The Love Key
  • Nail level 0: 750HP
  • Nail level 1: 750HP
  • Nail level 2: 750HP
  • Nail level 3: 800HP
  • Nail level 4: 850HP
  • Stagger Values: 14 hits; 11 hit combo – <2s per hit
  • Rewards: The Collector’s Map (the Grub map) and 3 Grubs

The Collector is pretty easy if you upgraded your Nail enough to one-hit every enemy that comes out of his jars. He drops three different enemies out of jars, and two require you to deal 15 damage; the Baldurs and Aspid Hunters.

This does require you to have a Coiled Nail which is Nail level 3, and you need two Pale Ore and 2000 Geo. Other than Pale Ore already mentioned, you can get whichever two are the easiest for you to acquire; here’s the link again.

I have recommendations. Each one is difficult because of a different reason and depends on where you are and what the difficult part for you is. There is no doubt that the easiest one is the one you get from Seer after getting 300 Essence, but for the second one, I usually go for the Colosseum or Nosk. This is all if you already had the Channelled Nail beforehand.

The Collector, in essence, has two attacks: dropping jars and jumping around.

There isn’t much to say here except killing the Vengeflies, Baldurs, and Aspid Hunters first and then focusing on him. He jumps down after dropping one to three jars, so just avoid taking damage. Using Mark of Pride or Longnail (Quick Slash is fantastic if you got it) will help a lot.

“Why 7.” The Colosseum of Fools

The Colosseum of Fools is mostly an arena you can farm Geo at. You have three trials, and the first two are very useful for concluding the game. After completing the first two, you will get a charm Notch and Pale ore with ~3000 Geo.

Now the “why” part, you can get to the other side of the arena from the bottom floor, where the bench is, on the far right. Behind the steel gate on the right side of the arena is a breakable wall that will grant you one Simple Key after defeating an enemy that just runs away from you and access to the God home.

You can open up a shortcut from the elevator in the City of Tears that leads to Resting Grounds. Going from Resting Grounds, down the elevator is my go-to for the Colosseum.

Shade Soul

You’ve probably seen the door that you can’t access in the Soul Sanctum right above the bench. That door requires you to have the Elegant Key to open it, and you can buy it in Sly’s shop for 800 Geo if you found the Shopkeeper’s Key.

When you open it you will face the Soul Warrior and Follies. The reward for defeating him is the upgrade to Vengeful Spirit that will help you a lot when you get to the six Watcher Knights.


Lurien the Watcher is one of the three Dreamers and is located in the Watcher’s Spire in the City of Tears. You need to get all three Dreamers to finish the game and Lurien is the one that didn’t want the seals to break. The Watcher Knights won’t stop you – their weakness is chandeliers.

With what you saw in Hollow Knight so far you will have to open a few doors to get to Lurien the Watcher and the bench. The bench is very close to the Watcher Knights.

The Charms I recommend are as always Longnail and Mark of Pride, but also Shaman Stone, Spell Twister, or even Soul Eater or Soul Catcher. If you have Shade Cloak, you won’t have any issues.

When you eventually get to the top of the tower there is one thing that you don’t have to do, but here it is. There’s a breakable wall right before the arena where you strike down a chandelier and kill one of them, leaving only five.

The Watcher Knights

  • Nail level 0: 6x/5x 220HP – total: 1320HP/1100HP
  • Nail level 1: 6x/5x 220HP – total: 1320HP/1100HP
  • Nail level 2: 6x/5x 220HP – total: 1320HP/1100HP
  • Nail level 3: 6x/5x 240HP – total: 1440HP/1200HP
  • Nail level 4: 6x/5x 260HP – total: 1560HP/1300HP
  • Difficulty: Yes

Only one will wake up when you walk into the arena, but if you don’t kill him fast enough, the second one will wake up too. After that, only two will be awake in the arena at a time. They have three attacks:

  1. Rolling
  2. Rolling and jumping
  3. HIThit

I won’t even count the backward roll (to move further away from you) but be cautious because they can start rolling backward right when you’re jumping over them.

Every time two of them are on the same side, use Shade Soul/Vengeful Spirit even if they’re rolling because even though they’re immune to Nail damage while rolling, they can still take damage from spells. That’s it; you got Lurien.


Thank the Hollow Knight Wiki for this image.

This is almost everything that you can find in the City of Tears.

Since you know how to get everywhere, this might be useful if you think you missed something.

Let’s mention some other fun and useful things you can find here.

  1. If Millibelle the banker lady stole your Geo, you can find her in the Pleasure House and punch the Geo out of her. You need a Simple Key for this. Here you will also find Marissa, listen to her sing and then Dream Nail her for 1 Essence.
  2. You can open a shortcut from the Royal Waterways to Emilitia.
  3. Other than the Grub being shown in King’s Station, there is one more door that you go into and just get a lot of Geo.
  4. You can open a shortcut from God home to the City of Tears. It is very close to the Nailsmith


Question: How do I get to the City of Tears in Hollow Knight?

Answer: After Fungal Wastes, you have many ways of entering the City of Tears, and we will catch them all. Each one gives you different benefits and helps you get to where you’re trying to go.

Question: Can you get stuck in City of Tears?

Answer: Here is how you get out of the City of Tears to go into the Fungal Wastes using Desolate Dive

Question: How do you open the door in City of tears?

Answer: In this article, we will go from Dirtmouth to the Mantis Village, and from there will be the intended way to enter the city using the City Crest. After that go through every other (alternative) way to enter the city, what you will get out of those and how to clear out the whole city in the easiest way. You’ve probably seen the door that you can’t access in the Soul Sanctum right above the bench. That door requires you to have the Elegant Key to open it

Question: How do you get a simple key in City of tears?

Answer: You might have realized that you could have bought a Simple Key from Sly or that you got one in the City of Tears

Question: How do you get monarch wings?

Answer: After that, I go to Crystal Peak to get the Crystal Dash so that I can get Isma’s Tear and gain access to more areas – one being the Broken Vessel in the Ancient Basin to that I can then get the double jump – or as it is named in Hollow Knight, Monarch Wings.

Question: How do you get a crystal heart?

Answer: Crystal Heart is on the right side of Crystal Peak

Question: How much HP does soul master have?

Answer: HP: 275 (First Phase) HP: 110 (Second Phase) Stagger Values: 9 hits; 7 hit combo – <1s per hit Rewards: the Desolate Dive spell & 380 Geo.

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