At the heart of Heide's Tower lies a formidable opponent known as the Dragonrider. Like so many of the boss fights in Dark Souls 2, positioning is key as you dance away from your opponent's damage. If you're struggling to finish off this fight, take a look through our guide to the essential tactics needed to win this battle.
How to kill the Dragonrider
The main thing to be aware of in this fight is that the very first attack the Dragonrider launches can knock you off your platform and into your very own personal oblivion. If that happens, you might want to consider clearing out Heide's Tower of Flame once in order to activate the switches that raise platforms around the Dragonrider.
Either way, always watch out for the lunging attack this boss uses as it'll knock you back a huge amount - and that can mean falling off the back of the platform at any given time. If you haven't raised the outer platforms, make a point of consciously realigning yourself closely with the centre of the platform whenever possible.
There's another devious attack that the Dragonrider likes to make use of too, and that's a horizontal sweeping attack delivered in single and double blows. You won't take as much damage from this attack as you do from the lunging spear, but it can still stack up quickly if he comes at you twice.
"It's worth keeping in mind that magical damage is by the far the most effective type in this encounter."
When it comes to your own offensive strategy, try and stick to the Dragonrider's back as much as possible. Wherever your opponent moves to, move with him and stay to his rear, so that none of his attacks can make contact with you. Depending on the attack speed of your weapon, you should be able to sneak in between one and four attacks of your own when you're not focused on maintaining your position.
It's worth keeping in mind that magical damage is by the far the most effective type in this encounter. You can use regular weapons if you wish, but you'll find you dish out much more damage if you can imbue your weapon of choice with either a permanent or temporary magical effect. Just be prepared for a longer fight if you're not prepared to tinker with your equipment in this way.
If you're really struggling, consider popping back to the trader near the second Forest of Fallen Giants bonfire and stocking up on firebombs. These will allow you to pepper the Dragonrider from a short distance. It leaves you slightly exposed, so timing is crucial, but it's a handy second-string attack if you're running low on health and high on nerves.