Mortal Shell Boss Guide: How to Beat Hadern
You'll fight Hadern four times in your journey through Mortal Shell. He is the boss guarding three of the game's four weapons: the Smoldering Mace, the Martyr's Blade, and the Hammer and Chisel. He's one of the easier bosses you'll face — as long as you know a few basic strategies to counter him.
This guide will detail the core tactics you'll want to use against Hadern, as well as some of the more specific ones for the different weapons since his attacks change a bit for each of them.
How to Beat Hadern: The Basics
You'll first face Hadern in the tutorial area. How you fight him in subsequent encounters doesn't change much. There are three core tactics here: dodge, Harden, riposte (if possible).
All of Hadern's forms use telegraphed attacks. Make sure you always have a little bit of stamina at your disposal. After a two-hit combo, he's liable to stagger before a brief period of stagger resistance where he'll hit you regardless of how many attacks you get in.
The bread and butter strategy is:
- Attack twice
- Go back in
- Wait for Hadern to Harden
- Harden yourself
- Attack twice
As mentioned above, Hardening is part of the core strategy for fighting Hadern. He'll teach you the ability's power in your first fight, and he'll use it in all subsequent engagements. Usually, if you're any distance away from him, he'll open by Hardening in the hope you attack and bounce off his stone skin.
You can — and should — counter his Harden with your own. He'll stun himself rather and leave himself open. At that point, you'll want to back up to let your Harden recharge, as the safety and counter-attack options it provides are too useful.
You won't have the ability to parry in your first fight with Hadern, but as long as you have the Tarnished Seal and some resolve, future fights can go much smoother. Check out our parry guide if you need a refresher or some extra tips on how to get the most out of Mortal Shell's riposte abilities.
Hadern's jumping slashes are the safest attacks to riposte. The timing is generous, and depending on your weapon upgrade level and unlocked abilities, you can potentially remove a full quarter of his health.
Be aware of the faster attacks with weapons like the Hammer and Chisel. Some of Hadern's attacks with that weapon have almost no startup animations, so be prepared to either dodge or Harden if you don't want to take damage.
Hadern Weapon Strategies
Fighting Hadern with different weapons requires different strategies. The most challenging encounter is probably the Hammer and Chisel, only because the attacks are fast and sometimes difficult to avoid. The Martyr's Blade and Smoldering Mace encounters are much slower, making dodging them a much less harrowing task.
Hammer and Chisel Hadern
You'll want to play passive in this fight, using Harden and Riposte abilities only as necessary. The main attack you want to watch out for is the offhand chisel swipe. It comes out almost instantly and usually leads into a three-hit combo that deals severe damage if you can't dodge out of it.
He's liable to throw it out alongside a Harden of his own, meaning you'll be staggered, damaged, and open for more attacks.
Watch out also for his attack with a long, spinning windup. Hadern will rotate his body before jumping in the air and slamming down with a large burst of spikes that can one-shot the squishier Shells like Harros or Tiel. You can Harden through the attack and stagger the boss, or dodge it entirely.
Other than those attacks, your tactics are still bread and butter.
Martyr's Blade Hadern
Fighting Hadern with the Martyr's Blade is dangerous but straightforward. The bread and butter strats will serve you well, save for any of Hadern's ice attacks.
If you see him charging up ice on the blade, get the heck out of dodge. One of them, when he buffs the weapon, ups his damage and increases it enough that you'll probably want to let the buff run out before you re-engage.
The other attack is an area of effect ability that sends out ice spikes in all directions, which will freeze you and deal high damage.
The Martyr's Blade also has a deceptive range, and the stab follow up attacks will hit you from a significant distance, stagger you, and open you up for more hits. Anything else is easy enough to either dodge or Harden through.
Smoldering Mace Hadern
Probably the easiest fight to win, Smoldering Mace Hadern only has one attack you need to watch out for: his jump attack. When he lands, the mace will create a massive explosion that deals big damage and knocks you back.
Watch out for any of his slam attacks as well, as they have a smaller area of effect, and his smash attacks tend to have a lingering hitbox, meaning you can be hit even if the animation looks like it's over.
Other than that, be mindful of the horizontal swings, and they can catch you at the end of a roll. The range of attacks is deceptive, as well, so never assume they're going to miss unless you're on the other side of the arena.
That's about all there is to know about the various ways to beat Hadern. Check out our other Mortal Shell guides for more tips, tricks, and walkthroughs.