Diablo 3 all boss strategies explained, including how to beat Diablo and Malthael

We've got all the information you need to beat every boss in Diablo 3, from the Skeleton King to Diablo himself, and your new nemesis Malthael.

Given the option to simply tune down the difficulty at any point you like, the bosses in Diablo 3 represent less of a threat than they might do in the average RPG. That said, anyone playing a Hardcore character - where death is permanent - would be well advised to read ahead of each encounter and prepare to avoid the worst. Here's everything you need to know about all the significant enemies you'll meet in the game.

Diablo 3 boss guide

Act 1 - New Tristram

The Skeleton King

The first major boss encounter in Diablo 3 shouldn't present you with too much of a problem, but the mad king's still capable of cracking a few unprepared skulls. By combining skeletal summons with a handful of deadly melee attacks, he can catch you off-guard at higher difficulty levels. Do deal with those packs of skeletons quickly when they appear, but otherwise just keep chipping away at the star of the show.

[4K] Diablo 3: Xbox One X vs PS4 Pro 4K Dynamic Res Graphics Comparison!

Melee characters like the Barbarian, Monk and Crusader should keep him at arm's length whenever he swings his huge mace around, while ranged attackers need to keep enough distance to avoid his charged attacks. He'll also teleport directly to you at certain points, however, so have one finger near your emergency escape button at all times.

The Butcher

The next boss ups the challenge a little bit, thanks largely to an unstable environment that can erupt into flames at any moment, forcing you to adjust your positioning in order to avoid a toasty death. The Butcher himself's no slouch in the damage department either, and keeping an eye on his attack type telegraphs is key to surviving the fight.

Watch out for the line of flashing arrows that lead out from him towards a wall, as he'll charge right along it - and through you - to get to his destination. Make sure you then throw out all the damage you can while he's stunned. Watch out for the hook he throws at you too - get caught up in this and you'll have no choice but to take a powerful melee attack in the face. He'll point to his cleaver before flinging the hook your way, so keep your eyes peeled before the Butcher peels them for you.

Act 2 - Caldeum

Maghda

You'll be sick of Maghda's ramblings by the time you face off against her, which only makes killing her all the sweeter. Her preference is to get a little distance between the two of you, then throw some magical damage your way. She might not have the biggest boss health pool in the game, but she does have an invincibility shield which she'll sporadically activate.

Watch out for the minions she spawns throughout the fight. They're not painfully difficult to deal with, but you will want to despatch the lot of them before returning to Maghda herself. None of her damage is particularly overwhelming, so just concentrate on rushing her down as quickly as you can.

Zoltun Kulle

Zoltun gets off to a bit of an unfair advantage by having two massive magical golems on his side. Concentrate on taking the pair of them down before getting started on Zoltun - they can really cause a problem if they're left unchecked.

Once they're dead, you'll have to contend with Zoltun himself, as well as his arsenal of arcane magical tricks. Stay out of the way of the tornadoes he summons, as they can quickly whittle your health down, and move out of the slowing bubble as soon as it appears. Don't worry too much about the fireballs he throws your way though, as they do very little damage.

Belial

There are a few phases to the fight against Belial. First of all, he'll summon waves of guards which you'll need to finish off as quickly as you can. They don't do a lot of damage, so just keep thinning out their ranks as quickly as you can. Once you've survived a flurry of ambushes, you'll move into the second phase of the fight.

At this point, Belial himself gets stuck in while continuing to summon more minions. When fighting these creatures, stay out of the way of Belial's green orbs, and make sure you move out of any blue damage zones that appear beneath your feet. Otherwise, just deal with the minions and throw as much damage Belial's way as you can.

Eventually, you'll trigger the third and final phase of the fight, and it's by the far the trickiest of the three. Watch out for the green circles that appear on the floor, and move out of them as soon as they appear. This is particularly important when they arrive in a flurry, as getting stuck in one of these will strip your health down rapidly. Avoid his swirling breath attack by staying far to the right-hand side of the battle arena.

Act 3 - Bastion's Keep

Ghom

The trick to surviving the decidedly sticky fight with Ghom is to stay out of the pools of poisonous fog he drops behind him as he moves. Fortunately he moves rather slowly, so you shouldn't have too much trouble surviving as you whittle down his health.

You need to watch out for his melee attacks, though. While they're not particularly strong by themselves, he is fond of combining these swipes with a vomit attack - if you can't tank through this bonus damage, get out of the way. He also summons some surprisingly powerful oozes from time to time. These are more powerful than you might think, so do kill them before returning your attention to Ghom.

Siegebreaker Assault Beast

This boss is a piece of cake if you're into ranged damage - just stand back, stay out of the way of his swinging arms, and keep doing your thing. He will charge from time to time, however, so be ready to dodge out of the way when necessary.

If you're a strictly melee-orientated character, your best bet is to simply dart in, do some damage, and then step back to either heal up or let one of your followers or minions take the heat. Unlike most bosses in the game, we certainly can't recommended standing there and tanking everything he puts out.

Cydea

This spider boss is one of the easiest encounters in the game. She'll slow you down with a web attack, but that's not really going to impede you too much, as she's a weak fighter and you want to be in her face as a melee character.

The most annoying thing about this encounter is that she'll scuttle away several times during the fight, leaving you to fight a few of her summoned minions. Just knock them out as quickly as possible, wait for Cydea to join the fray once more, and repeat the cycle until she's dead.

8
It's worth reading ahead of the battles with Malthael and Diablo if you're playing a Hardcore character.

Azmodan

Azmodan can be a bit of a shock after the breeze of battling Cydea. You must stay out of the way of his slow-moving fireballs, but be aware that they'll home in on you. Just run for a while and they'll eventually come to a stop and explode.

You need to move out of the poisonous pools that appear during the fight too, although these will disappear after a short while. There are two other direct attacks that Azmodan makes use of. First, a rain of corpses that's easily avoided by staying out of the circle that appears on the floor. Secondly, he has a laser beam attack that you just need to stay out of.


Need more Diablo 3 help? Learn how to unlock Zelda outfits like Ganondorf in Diablo 3 Switch, get some Diablo 3 boss strategies, and learn how use the Mystic, Blacksmith, Gambling and Horadric Caches. We also have advice for every class, from the Barbarian to the Crusader, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard.


Act 4 - Heaven

Rakanoth

You shouldn't have any trouble dealing with Rakanoth as the fight is really very simple, even if he can dish out a fair amount of damage. You can try to dodge out of the way of his teleport attack, but it's very difficult to do so. Instead, just make sure you have plenty of health before entering the fight and smash away at him up-close. Do break away to deal with his minions when they're summoned though, as they're quick to dispatch and can quickly become annoying as the numbers pile up.

Izual

The fight with Izual is more annoying than challenging, thanks to the seemingly endless volley of frozen orbs he scatters around the battlefield - just keep moving when they start appearing. If you can kite him around the battlefield, you'll find it much easier to survive his damage, even if it extends the fight quite a bit. We also recommend dealing with his minions, unless your gear's so good that it's better to just keep ploughing away at the main target.

Diablo

Diablo is far and away the most complex fight of the vanilla game, and it's one that takes place across several different phases. In the first, just chip away at Diablo's health as you would any other boss, but make sure you move out of the shadows when they appear on the floor. If you don't, you'll become trapped in a skeletal cage, then suffer a pretty frightening amount of damage. If you do find yourself trapped, spam your health potion button so you stand the best chance of recovering.

Eventually you'll be transported into a darker realm where you first have to fight a clone of yourself before switching to Diablo once more. Kill the clone as quickly as possible, as Diablo will return after a set amount of time has passed. When you've killed this new version of Diablo, you'll be taken back to the original arena.

In this next phase of the fight, Diablo will not only carry on with his regular attacks, but also rain meteors down from the sky and sweep the screen with a radial laser attack. Move out of range of the former and position yourself towards the rear of Diablo to avoid the latter. Focus on survival, deal your own damage whenever you can, and you'll wrap up the original end-game boss in no time.

Act 5 - Westmarch

Urzael

The great thing about Urzael is that he telegraphs all of his significant special attacks pretty clearly, but you do have to keep your eyes peeled for them. Whenever you see red circles appear on the ground, get out of their radius or you'll either take a mortar to the face, or have him land his leaping attack right on you. When he checks his weapon, be ready for a circular attack with the flamethrower. Finally, you'll see rectangular markings appear on the floor from time to time. These indicate the imminent arrival of burning timbers, so make sure you run out of the way.

Adria

The fight against Adria is more annoying than it is challenging, as it can seem as though it's dragging on forever. Watch out for the blood creatures she summons, and make sure you don't touch them or they'll explode and leave poisonous patches all over the battle arena. She'll also randomly teleport to a different part of the arena, forcing you to chase after her through those explosive creatures.

Malthael

If you were finding the bosses up until now just a little too easy for you, Malthael would like to have a quiet word. Again, this is a fight of three phases but there are a handful of attacks that Malthael makes use of in all three: summoned fog patches that do damage over time, a charge attack that can knock you into these patches, and a swirling ring of energy that damages anyone inside its perimeter.

For the first phase, he'll also summon glowing orbs which move out towards the edge of the battle arena. These are pretty easy to dodge, but they will slow your movement speed down if you're caught by them. Just dodge everything that comes your way and throw whatever damage you can at Malthael.

In the second phase, he'll occasionally summon a swarm of souls that spiral in towards the centre of the combat zone, before flying out to the edges. Do not come into contact with any of these or you'll take a large amount of damage. Malthael will also summon assistants during this phase - kill them to get hold of some very handy health globes.

For the final phase, expect those foggy patches to represent a massive threat, along with a new Soul Sweep effect from the boss. When activated, Malthael will head to the middle of the room and then launch a series of flaming waves. You must get behind him when this happens and stay there for as long as it takes the spell to dissipate.

You can find the rest of our Diablo 3 guide from the first page of this article.

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John Bedford

John Bedford

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John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

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