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Pontiff Sulyvahn

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Pontiff Sulyvahn 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]

DescriptionEdit

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 two swords, 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.

LocationEdit

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

LoreEdit

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 control Irithyll. He eventually accomplished his goal and used his Pontiff Knights to maintain control in Irithyll while the Outrider Knights were sent to conquer faraway lands. To make sure the outrider knights never betrayed the Pontiff or opposed him they were bestowed with certain rings that, unbeknownst to them, would eventually drive them mad with visions of endless combat and turn them in to beasts.[4][5] For this reason outrider knights were seen as exiles. Notable members among the Outrider Knights were Vordt and a distant daughter of the Irithyll royal family who were both sent to conquer Lothric.[6][7] He also became a devout follower of the Church of the Deep, founded by Aldrich, Saint of the Deep. He even proclaimed himself "Pontiff" in a show of faith. Himself, Archdeacon Royce, Archdeacon McDonnell, and Archdeacon Klimt were the main leaders of the Church after Aldrich.

After Aldrich rose from his coffin in the Cathedral of the Deep he was accompanied by Sulyvahn and McDonnell to Anor Londo. There Sulyvahn captured Gwyndolin after he sacrificed himself willingly to prevent Yorshka's death, to which Sulyvahn seemed to honor, and instead imprisoned Yorshka in the tower above her own church. Gwyndolin was then devoured by Aldrich.

Fight overviewEdit

StrategyEdit

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 performs each of the Pontiff's moves moments before he executes them himself. While it is possible to slay the phantom, the damage it takes is not drained from the Pontiff's own health, and as the Pontiff is also capable of resummoning the copy should it die, one should avoid exclusively attacking it unless it's at low health already.

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.

Summons Edit

Black Hand Gotthard: His summon sign can be found directly outside of the fog wall leading into the boss arena.

Londor Pale Shade: Can be summoned if the player is following Yuria's questline. His summon sign is located on a balcony just left of Gotthard's sign.

Anri of Astora: Anri's summon sign is located on a balcony opposite to the Londor Pale Shade (if he/she has not been killed yet).

DropsEdit

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

NotesEdit

TriviaEdit

  • 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 on the right wrist, similar to Sulyvahn's own bracelets.
    • 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".
  • The Pontiff seems to lack a face, and the front of his head is instead covered in what looks like roots.
  • 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.
    • Apparently, 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.
    • Both names are ironic, given that he seems to lack a face.
  • Sulyvahn might be considered the main antagonist of Dark Souls III, as he is responsible for the chaos happening around Irithyll and Lothric as seen in his lore.

GalleryEdit

VideosEdit

MusicEdit

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

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

ReferencesEdit

  1. Excerpt from the Soul of Pontiff Sulyvahn description.
  2. Frozen Weapon and Snap Freeze description.
  3. Profaned Greatsword description.
  4. Pontiff's Left Eye and Pontiff's Right Eye descriptions.
  5. Outrider Knight Set description.
  6. Soul of the Dancer description.
  7. Soul of Boreal Valley Vordt description.
Bosses
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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