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Pontiff Sulyvahn

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Pontiff Sulyvahn, also known as Sulyvahn the Tyrant, is a boss in Dark Souls III.

In-Game Description

Pontiff Sulyvahn of Irithyll imprisoned a god of the old royalty in the abandoned cathedral, to be fed to the devourer.[1]


Sulyvahn is a tall man in ceremonial robes adorned with jewelry, he wears a crown over what appears to be a chain mail. His skin is very pale and appears to be decayed, covered in large cracks, and he does not appear to have a face. Due to his origins, it could be surmised that he was born this way.

Sulyvahn dual-wields two greatswords; the Profaned Ultra Greatsword in his right hand and the Greatsword of Judgment in his left. When the Ashen One enters the church Sulyvahn is seen standing still with his swords apparently in sleep mode, when the Ashen One approaches his swords light up and he starts slowly walking towards the player before quickly charging with an overhead slash.

During the fight Sulyvahn could be heard grunting and growling in a deep distorted voice as he attacks. it is unknown if he still has his sanity by the time the Ashen One confronts him.


In the large cathedral at the end of Irithyll of the Boreal Valley.


Though almost nothing is certain in the main game, the DLC reveals that Sulyvahn was born in the Painted World of Ariandel. Despite being born and raised inside the painting, he had not yet experienced loss or despair as most residents of the painting do, which results in them being drawn into it. As such, he had no meaningful connection to it, and he left the painting behind, even forsaking the frost sorceries that his painted worlds had pioneered.[2]

After he left the Painted World, the young frost sorcerer found the Profaned Capital below a tundra some distance from Irithyll, and the Profaned Flame with it. Taking the Profaned Greatsword along with his ambition,[3] he set out to conquer the area for himself, traveling to Anor Londo and taking it over. After doing so, he imprisoned Gwyndolin and Yorshka, and formed his Outrider Knights as a means of limiting dissent. He would conscript people, and made certain that they would obey him by way of his Pontiff's Left Eye and Pontiff's Right Eye rings, driving those who would oppose him to a beastly madness with visions of endless combat. Due to the obvious risk of having them in the city, the Outrider Knights were made something identical to exile, sent abroad to other neighboring lands, unable to even think enough to fight back against Sulyvahn.[4][5][6] He also forced a distant daughter of the royal family to first become a dancer, then conscripted her into the Knights and sent her abroad,[7] with Vordt of the Boreal Valley never far behind.[8]

Sulyvahn, taking the title of Pontiff, became a high ranking member of the Church of the Deep and devoted follower of Saint Aldrich, with his Greatsword of Judgment fueled by his Deep sorceries.[9] The Church was created in order to protect Aldrich and also provide sacrifices to sate his hunger, eventually transforming him into a creature powerful enough to become a Lord of Cinder. Following his revival, Aldrich to Anor Londo with McDonnell and a handful of deacons, where Sulyvahn had prepared to fed Gwyndolin to his lord. Gwyndolin would also sacrifice himself willingly to prevent Yorshka's death, to which Sulyvahn seemed to honor, and instead imprisoned Yorshka in the tower above her own church.

Fight overviewEdit


Once you enter through the fog gate, be cautious as you approach Pontiff as he will likely leap at you with his flaming sword from a distance. With good timing, this attack can be parried, immediately giving you the upper hand on him.

During the fight, it is advised to not extend one's attacks for more than two swings as you would need your stamina to dodge or absorb Pontiff's aggressive retaliation. Sulyvahn's attacks can be difficult to avoid due to varying delays, rapidly chaining combos and large distance that they can cover. Watch out for the downward strike and impaling slide attacks that he performs - they are telegraphed and have long recovery time, giving you time to strike back or heal up.

Once Pontiff loses half of his health, he enters the second phase. The transition animation deals area of effect damage over its duration. At this point Pontiff starts using new attacks, including area of effect ground slams, long-range lunges and magic projectiles. At some point, he will summon a phantom copy of himself that mirrors Pontiff's moves moments before he executes them himself. Do not bother attacking the phantom, instead aim for striking Sulyvahn whenever he is recovering.

Pontiff Sulyvahn is extremely susceptible to parrying, each riposte dealing upwards of 1000 damage. A couple of his moves can be easily exploited as the swings of his flaming sword are usually telegraphed and can be predicted. Utilizing parry and riposte throughout the battle can end the fight quickly, leaving him close to death just as he begins to summon the phantom.

Good fire and/or magic block, such as the Dragon Crest Shield, is recommended.


Item Soul of Pontiff Sulyvahn
Soul of Pontiff Sulyvahn
Drop Rate Guaranteed



  • There is a statue in the High Wall of Lothric that resembles Sulyvahn, in the square patrolled by the Winged Knight. It depicts a bare-footed man in the Robe of Prayer wielding the Profaned Greatsword and wearing bracelets, both of which are in the right hand, similar to Sulyvahn's.
    • In addition, Sulyvahn's robes appear similar to those of the Grand Archives Scholars, except they are white instead of red.
  • Pontiff is another word for pope.
  • He appears to have no face, covered in root patterns.
  • His knights have spread throughout the kingdom of Lothric, but it does not seem clear as to what their goal is, though they could be attempting to capture the princes to prevent anyone from linking the fire.
  • Given that most sorceries are derived from certain mediums natural to the inventors (flame sorceries came from the Life Soul of the Witch of Izalith, while Seath invented other sorceries through the study of the souls and crystals, and humanity forms the dark sorceries), it can be theorized that Sulyvahn's essence is quite unique, given that he was apparently skilled at frost sorceries when he left.
    • Clearly he did not fully forsake that power of frost sorceries, as he seems to have introduced a multitude of cryomantic energies to Irithyll after his rise to power, including the Outrider Knights such as Vordt, the weapons of Irithyll, and that the biome became wintery after his takeover.
      • His boss room, specifically where he starts the fight at, has evidence of freezing, seen as an area of frost on the floor, which could mean that he is cryomantic as basic nature. It could also be from the door leading outside.
  • "Sulyvhan" sounds very similar to the Irish name "Súileabháin" (related to the more common, Anglicized name "Sullivan") which means "One-eyed" in English.
    • It can also mean "little dark eyed one" in Irish, which matches the black rings he gives to his knights to devolve them.




Yuka Kitamura - Pontiff Sulyvahn (Full) (Dark Souls III Complete Original Soundtrack)03:56

Yuka Kitamura - Pontiff Sulyvahn (Full) (Dark Souls III Complete Original Soundtrack)


  1. Excerpt from the Soul of Pontiff Sulyvahn description.
  2. Frozen Weapon and Snap Freeze description.
  3. Profaned Greatsword description.
  4. Irithyll Straight Sword and Irithyll Rapier descriptions.
  5. Outrider Knight Set description.
  6. Pontiff's Left Eye and Pontiff's Right Eye descriptions.
  7. Soul of the Dancer description.
  8. Soul of Boreal Valley Vordt description.
  9. Greatsword of Judgment description.
Abyss WatchersAldrich, Devourer of GodsAncient WyvernChampion's Gravetender and Gravetender GreatwolfChampion GundyrCrystal SageCurse-rotted GreatwoodDancer of the Boreal ValleyDeacons of the DeepDragonslayer ArmourFather AriandelHigh Lord WolnirIudex GundyrLorian, Elder Prince and Lothric, Younger PrinceOceiros, the Consumed KingOld Demon KingPontiff SulyvahnSister FriedeSoul of CinderThe Nameless KingVordt of the Boreal ValleyYhorm the Giant

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