To reach Huntsman's Copse you first need to have beaten the Dragon Rider boss in Heide's Tower of Flame. You then need to exhaust the dialogue options of Licia who can be found at the 'tower of flame' bonfire (if you haven't already). This will move her to the cathedral in Majula (the torch over the entrance will be lit if she is present). Head into the cathedral to the path splitting contraption and give her 2000 souls to change the path here. This will block off foot access to the tower of flame (you can still travel there via bonfire) and open up the path to Huntsman's Copse.
Now the metal gate is out of the way, head into the newly opened tunnel. Immediately in your path should be a body with a Rouge Water on it. Keep heading up the tunnel, past the cavernous drop on your right to the top where a door sized gap in the stone can be found. To the right of this is Felkin sitting in a large wooden chair. He is the game's hex trainer (dark magic – the eye image on magic weaponry). He will only deign to talk to you if you meet the stat requirements of 8 intelligence and 8 faith. If you have 20 faith and intelligence he will give you the Hexer's Armour Set and the Sunset Staff. Once you are done talking to Felkin, head through the nearby gap in the wall to find the first bonfire of the area.
Keep moving along the path while looking to the left wall to spot a slouched down hollow. A second one will also be concealed in the nearby cave so make sure you quickly kill off the one on the left before engaging the cave dwelling one to avoid being double teamed. Further inside the cave, the path will open up slightly. Stop moving forward when it does. You should see clouds of poison drift down from above (and a couple of other locations in the room). These are caused by large poison butterflies attached to several surfaces in the room. They can be taken out easily with a ranged weapon (throwing knife, arrow or spell) but if you get too close can instantly take you to a full poison level. Generally if you are only hit by the edge of the spray it will only add a little to your poison counter though. You can eliminate them from range or just run through this part of the cavern if you like instead.
As you approach the exit to the cavernous room, be wary of a slouched hollow on the path against the left wall (you will almost trip over him if you follow the path so he should be easy to spot). Quickly kill him off before he can rise. When you emerge out of the cave you will be presented with only one real path, a set of stairs heading upwards to the right. The large tree across the gap can be kicked down from the other side but we need to get there first. Take the stairs to start with, head up to the darkened doorway and adjust the camera to take a look inside. Straight across the room you should see a poison archer. To the left of the doorway inside is also a dagger wielding hollow thief that can be lured out by running in and out of the doorway (this avoids his heavy damage dual blade attack). Use the arrow free area outside to finish him off quickly.
Ranged characters can use this opportunity to clear the remaining visible enemies from the room. For those that are melee however, they will need to perform the following action as quickly as possible to avoid getting stuck full of arrows. To the left inside is a wooden door. You don't actually need to open it, just get as close as you can to it to trigger the hollow thief behind it into destroying it. This opens the way forward and also prevents the thief ambushing you when you slowly open the door. Retreat back outside and deal with the thief before heading through the newly open doorway. You may also (while you are here) want to smash the boards off the windows with a weapon to illuminate the room better for later. Take the new path outside and the path should split (straight ahead or right). Take the straight ahead path first to spot a club wielding hollow around the corner. Trigger him and then back up to avoid his overhead attack and then finish him off to get at the body he was guarding with a Cracked Red Eye Orb on it.
Head back to the other path (with a ladder at the end) and descend to the lower level. You should now be on the opposite side of the gap you were before and able to kick down the tree to create a bridge across. In a small room next to the tree is the areas second bonfire. You may notice that across from the bonfire is a small square area with a corpse on it. Believe it or not, that corpse has two great items on it. A Pharro's Lockstone and a Token of Fidelity (can be used to make Targray in the Cathedral of Blue talk to you. This is very useful for dealing with the boss of Huntsman's Copse, as will be detailed later in his section). To reach these valuable items, you need to climb back up the ladder (deal with the club wielding hollow if you rested) and simply sprint off the edge towards the corpse below (don't jump as you will automatically roll off the edge and die). Misses off the edge of the platform aren't a worry as your souls will appear on the bonfire side.
This may take a few attempts (although it should be relatively easy if you are just running off like you are supposed to). Once you succeed (or if you miss and land on the platform below the corpse) you will need to make your way back to the bonfire. This can be a little tricky as you will have to go through the cave with the poison butterflies again (a different section) and the room with the thieves and poison archers you went through before (the opposite side).
To start off with, from where you landed you should see the bonfire directly opposite you. Look below it to find the ledge you need to drop down to. Sprint and drop down to it to reach a small cave and follow it inside until you see it open up (and most likely the clouds of poison from the butterflies within). Ranged characters should be able to quickly find and kill off both poison butterflies here (melee characters will have to resort to throwing knives or just sprinting through). At the far end of the walkway is a corpse with a Monastery Charm and Soul of a Proud Knight to grab. From here you should be able to see the first butterfly directly to your right. The second one is on the actual walkway itself (clinging to the side) so use your ranged weaponry to clear it away as well.
You can drop down onto the mushroom to the right of the corpse to get a better view of the room below. This is just as well as below you is your first purgatory guardian. These nasty guys are quite fast, can use staves or whips and will hunt you relentlessly if you try to run (all the way to a bonfire). So don't bother trying to run past it. You can use your advantageous position to throw or fire ranged attacks downward without risk (purgatory guardians have no long ranged attacks) or just drop down and engage him in melee. Either way, once he is defeated you gain access to the chest he was protecting. Inside is a Ricard's Rapier to add to your collection.
Nearby is a hidden door in the wall you can interact with (it's pretty obvious as it looks like a separate slab of rock in the shape of a door). Open it up to find a small tunnel that leads to a corpse with a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier on it as well as an iron maiden lift (seriously, how are those things lifts?). The iron maiden will take you to an upper area with a short corridor (hidden door at the end naturally) that opens out into the room with the poison archer and thieves we fought before. The main difference? You are now on the side where the archer is. When the hidden door finishes opening up you should have a hollow thief right in front of you. Deal with him quickly from the cover of the hallway and then take a peek at the enemy placement around the room.
A poison archer should be the next closest enemy, standing between two staircases. Three knife wielding hollows should be on the staircases and the floor below (and will all head for you when you attack the archer). Your useful positioning and their general weakness means they shouldn't pose much of a threat though. Once the room is clear (on this side anyway loot the two corpses in the lower area for a Bandit's Knife, the Soul of a Nameless Soldier and a Life Gem. Now head back up the stairs and climb the ladder at the far end of the room.
This takes you outside once more and you should be able to see a club wielding hollow thief nearby. Lure him towards you (don't rush over to him as it will trigger a second thief to appear). Finish him off and then move closer to the left edge to trigger a dagger wielding hollow thief to jump up from below. Wipe the floor with him and look through the gap in the wall to the left. You should see that you are on an upper level overlooking the kicked down tree and second bonfire. A corpse below you contains Poison Moss and a Life Gem to pick up. You can drop down from this ledge to the path below and return to the bonfire to heal and restock. If you still haven't got the lockstone and token yet it may be worth retrying until you do.
Now that you've got those two valuable items, it's time to explore the other side of the copse. From the second bonfire of the area, head outside and turn right. This leads to a path that trails down. As you travel down it you should spot a hollow holding a flaming torch on a bridge ahead. When you do, look to the trees to your right to spot another knife wielding hollow hiding behind a tree. They are just regular hollows so you should be able to blow through them quickly at this point. Before crossing the bridge the torch holding hollow was on, take a left from it to find another hollow (holding a club) hiding behind a tree near the edge of the cliff. A nearby corpse (right on the cliff edge) will contain a Large Soul of a Lost Undead and a Small Orange Burr.
Traipse back to the bridge and look along the path ahead as you cross to find your first sickle wielding giant of the area. These enemies are quite aggressive but easily lured into attacking the air when alone, they are generally less dangerous than the large mummies from the lost bastille as their reach is shorter. Draw it into attacking the air and take the time to learn how it moves and attacks (as there are a few in this area and you want to be able to take them out quickly). Once you finish it off, look up in the trees to the right of the bridge to find a poison butterfly (you probably already saw the poison cloud). Use your ranged attacks (or throwing daggers) to get rid of it. There are two more sickle giants in this small area, one patrolling straight ahead and another against the cliff wall slightly to the left when standing at the end of the bridge. If you finish off the one patrolling straight ahead, you can access the hut he was blocking to find a corpse with a Morning Star and a Large Soul of a Nameless Soldier on it. The second giant against the cliff wall is guarding a corpse with Aromatic Ooze to pick up.
The small clearing nearby (to the left of where the aromatic ooze corpse was) has a second poison butterfly to take out, which will trigger two hollows to rise up and attack you. Clear them out and raid the nearby body for a Life Gem. Now that this area is clear, it's time to let you know that you are standing at a split in the path. The two paths available are: The first path that leads to the Undead Purgatory can be found if you turn right immediately after crossing the bridge. The second path is to head up the hill past the hut that was guarded by the patrolling sickle giant. This path leads to the area boss and to Harvest Valley.
Undead Purgatory path:
In this guide's order of progression we are traveling to the undead purgatory first before traveling to harvest valley, so I will cover that path first (also it's shorter and a decent spot to grind some XP if you are a ranged character – this also clears the path to the boss of the undead purgatory which will probably kill you quite a few times). Walk back to the end of the bridge and turn right to find a second bridge you can cross. As you cross, you will see at least one hollow near the cliff edge to the right with a second one shambling among the trees straight ahead. Once you attack them (or if it spots you from the ledge above) a staff purgatory guardian will drop down and engage you. Back up onto the bridge and lure it into attacking before dodging and starting your counter-attack. This should take it down fairly quickly.
Head up the winding path the purgatory demon was patrolling and when you get to the split in the path (left or straight ahead) keep going straight ahead to find a corpse with a Notched Whip clutched in it's dead hands. Turn around and take the other turning to come out in a narrow gorge with several pillars jutting out of the ground near the walls. At the top of each of these four posts are purgatory guardians. You can trigger them one by one (by cautiously approaching them and retreating when they drop down) and use the small ledge to the left as a firing point if you are a ranged character while they harmlessly attack the wall below. Melee characters really only have to worry about moving too far forward and triggering multiple guardians at once. An occasional bug will trigger all four at once and they will chase you all the way back to the bonfire (I personally experienced this). Take them out one by one and continue along the path until you see a massive bridge ahead.
Two things to note about this bridge is that you can fall through the holes here (the first one actually drops down to the small stub of land with the pharro's lockstone that we leapt across to before). But if you miss this when you fall, you will drop into the abyss instead. The other thing is that a red phantom wielding a greatsword and large shield. Depending on your fighting style (melee or ranged) this guy can be a real pain or fairly easy to deal with. He can also accidentally fall through the holes in the bridge but so can you. Ranged characters may note that the latter half of the bridge is mercifully free of holes and you can just fire and retreat until the halfway point (or hit him as a lure and then fire from behind a hole in the bridge, allowing you to retreat safely or if you are lucky get a free kill). Don't forget, you have the whole area back to the bonfire pretty much to retreat thorugh safely if you need to chip damage him to death.
Melee characters will have the harder time here as they will actually have to get near him to inflict damage (shock, horror, gasp!). Your biggest threat is being staggered by his massive weapon. You will want to time your blocks well and try to circle around behind him for a backstab when possible. Retreat to safer ground than the bridge before engaging him as you will need the room to move and roll around. Keep hacking away and learning his patterns and he should eventually fall. This leaves the path to undead purgatory open at the end of the bridge (thankfully this red phantom won't reappear). You can also grab the Sublime Bone Dust and Fire Seed from the corpse on a small ledge to the right of the end of the bridge that can be reached by a well aimed leap. Take a look at the undead purgatory section to continue from here or read on below to learn how to reach the boss of huntsman's copse and how to reach harvest valley afterwards.
Area boss and Harvest Valley path:
Back at the first bridge where you met your first sickle giant, head straight ahead from the end of the bridge to find a small path that rises up a slope to your right (to the right of the small hut at the rear of the lower area). As you move up the slope, be ready to be attacked by a pair of hollow thieves (club and knife). A poison archer near the fire pit nearby will also take shots at you if you move to far before engaging the thieves. A second poison archer will be in the trees to the right of the huge raised bridge at the top of the slope. The easiest way is to lure the pair of melee thieves away from the fire pit archer first, then take out the archers individually. Now the path is clear, you can look over the small cliff on the right side of the path to see the roof of a hut below that we ignored before. You can actually drop down from here to get inside and access the two corpses that hold a Green Blossom, Poison Moss and the Soul Spear Spell (powerful but very few shots, usefull for taking out a single powerful enemy – like red phantoms).
Lollop back up the gradient to the bridge and look to the cliff to your left. You should see another hut with a lever inside if you look through the doorway. Be careful as you enter though, as a dagger wielding hollow thief is on a ledge above the doorway inside waiting to impale you as you enter. Pull on the lever now that it's safe to bring down the massive bridge nearby. Cross all the way over and keep an eye on the corpse pile to the left as a hollow thief may be triggered by your approach and attack. Once he is taken care of, you will see two doors to your right. The first containing a bonfire (blocked off by a locked door) and the second leading to a dark cave with skeletons and necromancers (dark sorcerers with the ability to revive skeletons which you may have already met if you went to the undead purgatory). The first thing we are going to do is get the key to unlock that bonfire, giving us a closer return point if things go bad. For now ignore the cave (we will head in from another entrance later that allows you to attack the necromancers from behind). Instead, cross the nearby bridge and attack the dagger hollow thief on the other side.
A club hollow thief will be around the next turn in the path, a poison archer slightly further on will also open fire when you round the corner to engage this hollow so keep an eye out for incoming arrows. Draw the hollow thief back around the corner to engage him without being shot. You will have to move up the path while avoiding arrows, but look into an alcove on the left as you approach the archer to spot a knife hollow thief crouched down in the corner. Either finish him off quickly or back up to the safety of the last corner to deal with him. Now you can take on that annoying archer that has been pelting you all this time. Shortly after this is a split in the path, one that leads up and to the left, while the other continues onwards along a narrow ledge.
First, head left up the sloped path and look for a crouched down dagger hollow thief to the left. A club hollow thief and poison archer will be triggered to the right when you engage him so you will need to take him out quickly before backing into cover from the archer while you take out the club hollow thief. A corpse up here has a Poison Throwing Knife to pick up. You can (if you are a ranged character) head to the far end of this small area and attack the poison archer below who is waiting to attack you when you take the lower path. Travel back to the path split and take the other path. Wander along until you approach a wooden bridge on the right. Ignore the wooden bridge path for now (it leads to the necromancer area we'll access later). Instead, peek around the corner nearby to see a club hollow thief. Lure him back around the corner towards you to avoid another poison archer's shots. Race along the path and attack the archer.
The archer was standing next to a hut embedded in the wall of the cliff. Another poison archer will be visible through the door of the hut with a club hollow thief hiding to the left of the door inside who will attack when you are seen by the archer. Retreat back outside and take care of the club hollow thief (the archer will remain inside) and then deal with the now alone archer. Inside this hut you will finally get your hands on the Undead Lockaway Key on a body within. This key opens the cell door blocking your path to that bonfire we passed a little while back. You will most likely want to head back and light the bonfire so take the time to do so (especially before we start dealing with necromancers). Next to the bonfire will be an NPC by the name of Creighton who you can talk to and learn the fist pump guesture from. You can also kill him to get his mask if you want as well.
Back at the hut where you found the key in, you can continue along the path for a little while before you are invaded by Merciless Roenna, another NPC red phantom. The best way to deal with her is to lure her back to the upper path (at the path split earlier) and use this area to your advantage when you engage her. She uses a scythe and bone shield to attack as well as inflicting the bleed status on her moves. She is relatively easy to damage and ranged characters should have little problem chipping her health away. Melee characters should also be fine with their blocking unless the bleed status actually activates. Thankfully once she falls, she won't be back.
Now that the path is clear you can move around behind the waterfall to find the mist door for the boss of this area, The Skeleton Lords. But we will come back to them shortly after finishing off clearing out this area. If you want to enter now, just skip down to the boss section below. For those continuing on past the mist door, you will find the entrance to a cave nearby. This is the back entrance to the necromancer cave that I've kept telling you to wait for. The advantage of this approach is that you can take the time to scope out the area within (spotting the necromancer on a platform to the left, a archer skeleton directly ahead and a sword skeleton to the archers left. Another sword skeleton will be hidden in a cave to the right as well.
Ranged attackers will be able to use their attacks to take down the necromancer quickly with minimal risk. This prevents him using his magic as well as his ability to revive fallen skeleton minions. Melee characters will want to close the gap quickly but be careful of the holes in the floor, as the necromancer is standing on an isolated platform. Once the necromancer is down you should be able to easily kill off the sword skeletons and archer. Once the room is clear, head down the small path to the right to pick up the Combustion spell and a Titanite Shard on a corpse at the end. When you are ready take the other tunnel out of this room and you will round a bend in the tunnel and be face to face with a sword skeleton in front of a gate. Use the tunnel to back up and take on the skeleton. A corpse where the skeleton was standing will disgorge a Flame Butterfly for you.
Flick the lever on the wall next to the gate to open it and look a little bit further along to see the back of a necromancer ahead. This one should be easier to finish off quickly as there isn't a hole in the floor directly blocking your way. Quickly close with the necromancer and take him out, A skeleton archer will be just beyond where the necromancer was and will open fire. A sword skeleton will climb out of the chasm to the right and another will move along the path across the gap to the right. Back up into the tunnel to bottleneck the skeletons and finish them off. Deal with the archer if you haven't already and then stop and look at the vases dotting the edges of the room (don't actually walk over to them as they spew out mist that causes the dangerous curse status in an area around them. These can be destroyed by ranged attacks. Melee characters can sprint through or try to take out the vases quickly. Just a note that only the vases standing up exude the mist.
On the other side of the room the path will split, the tunnel on the right being guarded by a sword skeleton leads to the wooden bridge across the chasm that we passed up earlier. The left path leads to another room, this one has a curse vase against the wall next to a body that holds a Magic Mace and a Titanite Shard. Once you are done, head out the other tunnel nearby to find yourself back at the cave entrance next to the bonfire. While you are here, if you want to do some preparation for the area boss, read ahead to the strategy section and see what you can do. When you are ready to take them on, head back to the mist door behind the waterfall that we passed up earlier.
Boss: Skeleton Lords
Personal Death Count: 6
Big Swing: The scythe lord moves his arms to the side and his scythe behind him before swinging it in a massive arc towards you. He can follow this up with a second swing as well. Roll backwards or towards the lord to avoid this attack.
Double Swing: Slightly quicker than the big swing attack, the scythe lord will slice out two horizontal arcs toward you. Roll back or past the scythe lord to avoid it.
Fireball: The scythe lord will extend his arm towards you and launch a fireball towards your position. Depending on your distance he will launch a fast or slow fireball. Keep moving or roll to the side to avoid this.
Last Gasp: The scythe lord will summon four skeletons wielding estocs upon death.
Stabbing Thrust: The spear lord will pull his right arm back and then thrust his spear forwards towards you. Roll to the side to avoid this attack. He can also follow this up with a swinging arc attack.
Fireball: The spear lord will extend his arm towards you and launch a fireball towards your position. Depending on your distance he will launch a fast or slow fireball. Keep moving or roll to the side to avoid this.
Overhead Smash: The spear lord will raise his spear behind his head by lifting it straight up with both hands and then slam it down towards you. A sideways roll should get you out of trouble here.
Double Swing: The spear lord will raise his spear behind his head by swinging it to the side with both hands and then arc it in your direction twice. You should be able to simply back up or roll backwards to avoid this attack.
Last Gasp: The spear lord will summon four skeletons wielding falchions upon death.
Staff Swipe: If you get really close to the staff lord he will pull his staff behind him and swing it in a large arc in front of him. Dodge past him or backwards to avoid this attack.
Fireball: The staff lord will extend his arm towards you and launch a fireball towards your position. Depending on your distance he will launch a fast or slow fireball. Keep moving or roll to the side to avoid this.
Firewall: If you get close to the staff lord, he may move his staff to the side in front of him and blast a wall of fire from it's tip (similar to the belfry gargoyles flame attacks). Back up or roll past the starting point of the wall.
Flame Explosion: The staff lord lifts his arm and throws a small ball of fire into the air towards your location. When it touches the ground, it will explode like a grenade, knocking back and damaging all allies and enemies around it (even other skeleton lords – hilariously, it happens in the video 🙂 ).
Last Gasp: The staff lord will summon four bonewheel skeletons upon death.
Holy water urn strategy:
Remember how I insisted you pick up that token of fidelity before? This is where it pays off. Now that you have this item, with it Targray at the Cathedral of Blue (upstairs from the bonfire) will talk to you and sell you items. One of the items he sells (for 300 souls each) is holy water urns. These items deal massive damage to undead enemies. Guess what type of enemies the skeleton lords are. These items can kill a skeleton lord in two hits and his summoned minions in a single shot. If you are going to exclusively use the urns in the battle you will need at least eighteen to kill everything. You will still want to know the order you should deal with the lords in and what their movement patterns and abilities area though as you will only be able to throw urns at a single enemy at a time (so knowing what the other enemies can do is handy). Read the regular strategy below to find out.
With the firestorm spell (pyromancy), you can run into the center of the area between the three lords and cast the firestorm spell. It will then proceed to wipe out the lords and their summoned minions. Not really much else you need here unless some stragglers survive. If they do, use your other spells to finish them off and end the battle.
The yearn spell (sorcery) essentially creates a decoy that lures enemies towards it. This can be very useful in keeping the spawned minions away while you deal with a skeleton lord or for just distracting them while you thin their numbers. Combine this with the general strategy to defeat them a little easier.
As you enter, the three lords will descend from their thrones in front of you. Target the left lord (scythe) first as his attacks are the hardest to deal with and removing them will make your life far easier as you strafe the other enemies. Unload your powerful abilities to take him out as fast as you can. His last gasp ability summons four estoc skeletons which will spawn after around ten seconds and join the fight. Use their spawing animations to kill off as many as you can quickly while still avoiding the attacks of the spear lord (the staff lord's fire attacks generally inflict little damage and don't pose as much threat as you move around rapidly). Kill off all the minions before resuming the battle against the remaining lords.
The spear lord is the next one to target, why? Because his spawned skeletons are not as dangerous as the staff lord's. Whittle down his health until he falls and the falchion skeletons appear. Resume the smackdown of the minions until the only enemy that is left is the staff lord. This is a good oportunity to recover if you need to as you can position one of the body piles between you and drink your flask. When you are ready, finish off the staff lord to unleash the bonewheel skeletons. These are the most dangerous enemies in the fight (yes, moreso than the lords). They rapidly move around the area, targeting you and dealing significant damage. The best method is to kill off as many as you can while they spawn (most people can kill off at least two). Hide behind the body piles to screw up thier pathfinding and then attack them when they run into the piles. If you aren't careful against these enemies you can suffer a very annoying death against the final minion (been there, done that). Beat down the final minion and the battle will end.
Now that the boss room is clear you can take the passage in the left wall that winds its way around until you stand in front of a raised bridge with a lever to your right. Pull it to lower the bridge and heda over it to the other side. A short distance along the path on the other side you will reach a ladder to descend. Keep traveling on until you spot a broken cart on your right next to a pool of poison. You can actually cross this pool at a walk relatively safely to reach the bonfire in the cave on the other side (don't roll as this will cover you in poison, increasing the effect quickly). This is the border of Harvest Valley so you can read on in that section.