Diablo 3: Act 1 Boss Fight Strategies

The bosses of Diablo 3 are going to give you trouble — unless you have the right strategy. Learn how to defeat each boss with each class as we provide strategies and general tips to survive against the big bad beasts causing problems in Sanctuary. Dropping some of their previous simplicity, the diabolical giants have a wide range of special moves and abilities that change the shape of each fight and make the bosses truly unique. Don’t go into battle blind, check out our quick strategies below.

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WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Act 1 Boss Fight Strategies

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Skeleton King

Location: The Cathedral

Quest: Reign of the Black King

Recommended Level: 7-9

General Strategy:

  • The Skeleton King is your first major boss, but he won’t be easy. If you take your time before approaching, you’ll be able to beat his starting level of 8.
  • Bring the Templar with you if you’re alone, he’ll save you with his Heal Ability, and his penchant for absorbing damage from the Skeleton King’s summoned skeletons.
  • Don’t let the skeletons he summons swarm your hero. If you’re a Wizard, Demon Hunter, or Witch Doctor, you’ll have some useful crowd control abilities to slow them down. The Monk and Barbarian will need to move around like their ranged counterparts to avoid being surrounded and attacked by all the enemies at once.
  • The Skeleton King’s other two major special attacks are an area-of-attack spin, and a teleport. Watch for a slow wind-up when he’s about to spin, and stay out of his range. Long range characters can hit him while he stands in place spinning.
  • The teleport is more dangerous, he’ll appear right infront of you and immediately attack. Try to avoid him, and then return the favor.

Barbarian Notes:

  • Stun the skeleton army with a quick Ground Stomp so you can focus on the Skeleton King.
  • Otherwise, just keep hitting your opponents hard with Bash, Cleave, or Hammer of the Ancients. Go for the Skeleton King, and don’t let him catch you in his spin attack.

Demon Hunter Notes:

  • For the Demon Hunter, circle the Skeleton King and keep attacking with crossbows. Lay caltrops down to protect yourself from the summoned skeletons and take them out if need be, or just slow them down.
  • Just remember that the Skeleton King will teleport to your position, completely dodging the Caltrops. Luckily, the Demon Hunter can pelt the Skeleton King during his lengthy spin attack.
  • Wait for the wind-up, and continuously hit him while he stands in place.

Monk Notes:

  • When pulling the Skeletons away, use Tempest Rush to kill or slow them, giving you more time to deal with the Skeleton King.
  • Blinding Flash is also useful for stunning the skeleton army. Clear them out quickly, or turn to attack the King.
  • Use Breathe of Heaven as needed, you’ll definitely want this level 8 skill for the fight.
  • Use Deadly Reach to strike the Skeleton King while he spins to pull out a little extra damage.

Witch Doctor Notes:

  • The Skeleton King resists poison, making your Poison Dart less effective.
  • The Corpse Spiders are perfect for slowing or killing the skeletons. Try Grasp of the Dead for this same purpose.
  • Hit the Skeleton King with Firebats as he spins. And always keep your Zombie Dogs up and ready to fend off the boss and skeletons so they aren’t all trying to kill you at once.

Wizard Notes:

  • Ray of Frost will help control the crowd of summoned skeletons.Frost Nova can be even more useful for this purpose.
  • While slowed, blow the skeletons up with a strategically used Arcane Orb.

Queen Araneae

Location: Caverns of Araneae

Quest: Trailing the Coven

Recommended Level: 10-12

General Strategy:

  • The giant spider will try to fight in close range either with a normal attack, or a poisonous bite.
  • At longer ranges, it’ll attempt to snare you with a spider web and keep you still in preparation for a wide poison spray attack. The lengthy arc attack is a perfect time to attack from behind.
  • Once it’s taken 1/3rd damage, then 2/3rd, the spider will summon six minions to fight for it. Kill all six, and the battle will continue normally.
  • You’ll have access to the Scoundrel at this point. Hire him to help control the spider minions the boss summons.

Barbarian Notes:

  • Face the spider up-close and pound it down when it tries to attack up close, don’t bother running away, just face the monster head on.
  • Don’t let the spider hold your hero with webbing, your low resistances will make the attacks even deadlier.
  • Pick up the Pound of Flesh ability to help generate extra health orbs from the spider minions.

Demon Hunter Notes:

  • Use your extra speed to swivel around the Spider Queen and avoid her webs.
  • Vault is a good skill for jumping away from the Spider Queen’s deadliest attack, don’t forget to use it!
  • Save your Bola or Rapid Fire for when the boss is stationary to do the most damage while it’s stuck in place.

Monk Notes:

  • The Lashing Tail kick with the Vulture Claw Kick Rune will bring the Queen’s health bar down while it’s immobilized.
  • Dashing Strike will also serve you well, as it teleports the monk directly through your opponent to attack them from behind. Once the Spider Queen charges, use the Dashing Strike to immediately appear behind and crush the monster from behind.

Witch Doctor Notes:

  • Keep a base of Poison Darts on the Spider Queen as you fight, that way it’ll always be ticking down damage.
  • Stay out of it’s bite range, using the summoned undead dogs to do the heavy lifting while you knife the spider from behind or the sides, especially after it tries to vomit poison on you.
  • The Jungle Fortitude passive skill will keep you and your minions alive slightly longer during this fight.

Wizard Notes:

  • Dodge around the Spider Queen, and hit her with a Ray of Frost while she’s spewing poison and stationary.
  • Diamond Skin will save your life if you’re caught in a web and unable to escape the Spider’s charge attack.
  • If you prefer to play with a more melee style, make sure to pick up the Blur skill to take less damage in melee combat.

The Butcher

Location: The Cursed Hold — Halls of Agony

Quest: The Imprisoned Angel

Recommended Level: 13-15

General Strategy:

  • Not only is the Butcher a brute of an enemy focusing on pure strength, sections of the arena will burst into flames. Avoid the flames if you want to survive long.
  • In the top corners are two healing wells that recharge every half-minute or so. Use them often to refill your health, and try not to drop below 50% during the fight, especially if you have a low armor rating like the Witch Doctor, Monk, and Demon Hunter.
  • Never stop moving around the area, or you’ll be caught in the random bursts of flame beneath the metal grating.
  • The Butcher has two telegraphed melee attacks, and two hook attacks — at longer range, it will attempt to pull you in from afar and stun you. At a more medium range, the Butcher will use wide arc chain attack that can be tricky to dodge.
  • Avoid enough of the Butcher’s attacks and he’ll attempt to charge your hero. This is your best chance to stun him. Let the creature charge, making sure to get out of melee range after it begins to grow. If you successfully dodge, the Butcher will ram a wall and stun itself. This’ll give you plenty of time to attack.

Barbarian Notes:

  • Use the Barbarian’s Leap skill to escape the Butcher’s charge quickly, or to grab extra health at the wells when you’re dangerously low.

Demon Hunter Notes:

  • Caltrops will help you keep the Butcher out of your face, but only for so long. Try to pick up Evasive Fire, allowing you to backflip away while attacking to dodge crucially dangerous attacks.

Monk Notes:

  • Attacks like the Exploding Palm will keep the damage coming, but to maximize effective damage while the Butcher is stunned, give Way of the Hundred Fists a try. Just never stop clicking until the Butcher wakes up again.
  • Never forget the Monk’s very useful healing skills.

Witch Doctor Notes:

  • While fighting all difficult enemies, you’ll want to keep laying down Poison Darts. Watch to see if damage keeps ticking off the Butcher’s health bar. Switch up and use Haunt to do the same thing.
  • Once again, slot the Jungle Fortitude passive skill, it’ll save you during boss fights where new minions do not appear.
  • Your undead dogs are your bread and butter, but sometimes sacrifice is even more useful. Let the dogs focus their attacks on the Butcher, then sacrifice them all in one gloriously deadly explosion.

Wizard Notes:

  • Protect your wizard hero with a trio of abilities; Ice Armor, Diamond Skin, and Blur. If you want to survive the Butcher’s brute strength, that’s your best bet.
  • Wave of Force will help save your ranged hero from the Butcher’s hook projectiles, as well as slow the melee monster down.

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