Skyward Sword Tips: How to Beat Boss Rush Mode (How to Beat the Lightning Round)

Updated on January 26, 2013


This hub is going to explain how to beat Boss Rush Mode in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, as well as several important details such as prizes and tips/tricks. Officially called the Lightning Round by the Thunder Dragon Lanayru, this optional challenge will test your limits and ability to win consecutive boss fights without the aid of your trusty Adventure Pouch (the only Adventure Pouch item allowed is your shield; no potions for you!). Completing a large enough part of this mode will grant you the Hylian Shield, which is the best shield in the game, and a great asset for you in the last leg of Skyward Sword.

So read on to see what all the hype is about!

How Do I Access Boss Rush Mode?

Before you can beat Boss Rush Mode, you need to have unlocked it. While the Lightning Round itself is optional content, the process of unlocking it is part of the main plot and thus required content.

  • After finishing the events of the Gate of Time, attain the pieces of the Song of the Hero possessed by the Water Dragon and Fire Dragon.

IMPORTANT NOTE: While you can complete the Song of the Hero in any order, a game-breaking glitch can render your game unwinnable if you start with the Thunder Dragon. So, my personal recommendation is to attain the pieces of the song in the order of the regions. Faron > Eldin > Lanayru

  • Complete the whole Lanayru Gorge section of the main plot.

Once you have cured the Thunder Dragon of his lethal disease, he will urge you to return later for a "special surprise". That special surprise, my friends, is Boss Rush Mode, or as he likes to call it: The Lightning Round!

What's Boss Rush Mode?

As mentioned in the introduction, Boss Rush Mode is a series of consecutive battles against all bosses that you have unlocked up to that point in the game. So, if you go to Lanayru Gorge just before the very end of the game, you'll be able to fight every boss except Demise. To fight the game's Big Bad in Boss Rush Mode, you need to have beaten the game already and be playing in Hero Mode.

At the start of the mode, the Thunder Dragon will allow you to choose your first opponent. He will then randomize all of the remaining bosses and send them at you, one by one, after you beat the first one. After each win, you have a chance of stopping the mode (and getting a reward; the more wins, the better the reward), or challenging the next boss in line.

Since you have no Adventure Pouch, you cannot use potions during Boss Rush Mode, so your Hearts are effectively limited to whatever you started with and whatever you can scrounge up during the boss fights themselves (practically none if you're in Hero Mode). As a result, the emphasis is on finishing the fights quickly, but carefully. Dodge if you need to, and don't risk getting hit just to land another slash.

You are also limited to the items you would've had legitimately when you first faced off against that boss (so, no using the Bow during the Scaldera fight, for example).

Assuming you never grab a single Heart Piece, you can have a minimum of 12 Hearts going into Boss Rush Mode. I recommend having at least 15 and the more the better!

In the next section, I will list the prizes for Boss Rush Mode.

This can be yours for a mere cost of four boss fight victories!
This can be yours for a mere cost of four boss fight victories!

Prizes for Boss Rush Mode

The rewards for defeating a certain number of bosses in Boss Rush Mode are listed below:

  • 20 Rupees
  • Small Treasure (this is something cheap like Eldin Ore or an Ornamental Skull)
  • 100 Rupees
  • Heart Piece (after you claim the Heart Piece, the future reward will be 200 Rupees)
  • 300 Rupees
  • Rare Treasure (something expensive like a Blue Bird Feather or a Golden Skull)

The indestructible Hylian Shield can be yours if you can claim victory over eight bosses. Good luck!
The indestructible Hylian Shield can be yours if you can claim victory over eight bosses. Good luck!
  • 500 Rupees
  • Hylian Shield (after claiming the Shield, the reward will be 1,000 Rupees)
  • 2,000 Rupees (you'll need a Giant Wallet to hold this amount)
  • 3 Rare Treasures
  • 3,000 Rupees
  • 9,900 Rupees (this is the maximum amount of Rupees Link can carry in this game, period, assuming he has both the Tycoon Wallet and all 3 Extra Wallets)

In addition, the first time you beat a boss you will get 50 Rupees as an additional reward. This will also happen if you break your previous time record as well.

In the next section, I'll post the perfect strategy for clearing Boss Rush Mode to your satisfaction!

Tips, Tricks and How To Beat The Lightning Round!

Given that you can't access Demise in Boss Rush Mode until you complete the game and return to Lanayru Gorge in Hero Mode, one could argue that the Lightning Round can't be beaten until then. However, that depends on your definition of beating. After all, if you take a look at the rewards you can get, the most appealing one is the Hylian Shield; followed closely by the Piece of Heart. Once you've gotten those two items, the nearly infinite Rupees are a freebie. So, once you have both the Piece of Heart and the Hylian Shield, you can consider Boss Rush Mode complete (unless you're in Hero Mode and are a completionist; in that case, knock yourself out!).

The basic strategy for getting that Hylian Shield is the following:

  • Out of the list of bosses, pick the one that gives you the most trouble. After all, you will have all of your Hearts and your shield will be in perfect condition, which leads me to the next point...
  • Please, please, PLEASE use a Goddess Shield! Since shield durability also carries over from fight to fight, your trusty companion could very well break if it takes too many hits. This could happen with a Goddess Shield as well, but at least it self-repairs, which is more than the other two types of shields do.
  • Feel free to use a Guardian Potion Plus before starting the Lightning Round. You can't use the Adventure Pouch during the challenge itself, but no one said anything about before the run. This also allows you to beat the first boss (or more, depending on how fast you can win each fight) without taking damage, which conserves your limited resources for the following battles.
  • Gauge your progress to determine whether it's worth going for the Hylian Shield. If you haven't won anything from the Thunder Dragon yet, you can always shoot for the Heart Piece instead. Mainly, see what bosses the Thunder Dragon is pitting you against. If you have already beaten your toughest matchups and have a decent supply of Hearts go for that Hylian Shield! If, however, he has been giving you the easy fights, you might want to play it safe and just go for the Heart Piece.

By following the above tips and my boss guides, you will prevail!

The first of my boss guides details how to beat Ghirahim at Skyview Temple. I have one for each of Skyward Sword's bosses, so feel free to run a search on my profile (or use the navigation bar at the bottom of my Ghirahim hub), to read the other ones if you need help with a particular boss.

Now, if you're in Hero Mode and are a die-hard completionist that won't take anything but the 9,900 Rupees as an answer, here is the optimal order for the boss fights, in my opinion. Keep in mind that this is just based on how hard each fight is for me personally and that every bout after the first is actually randomly picked. This is more of a "if this is the order your fights are lining up and you're doing fine, then push on" kind of note rather than an absolute "you won't win if the random order deviates from this" kind of statement.

If your order has been any variation of the one listed to the left, and you're still alive with a decent amount of Hearts, you've probably already won. Do you doubt me? Read this:

  • Imprisoned Fight 2 - He's more annoying than dangerous. Just use your Bow on his appendages to play it safe...or just abuse the ledge hopping technique mentioned in my boss guide to win even easier.
  • Ghirahim Fight 2 - Plays much like the first form, but he can take a decent amount of punishment. Otherwise, easy.
  • Ghirahim Fight 1 - A joke fight with the Master Sword. Push yourself to win in under a minute with no damage taken (just because you can!)
  • Scaldera - Your Master Sword does so much damage that Scaldera goes directly from Phase I to death in about two rounds of slashes. So, an easy under two minutes type of fight.
  • Imprisoned Fight 1 - You don't even need to abuse the ledge hopping technique: Your Master Sword one-shots the toe appendages. So, it's not unrealistic to assume that you can wipe out all of his appendages without taking damage.

From first to last:

  • Demise - FOUR Hearts of damage during Phase II in Hero Mode. Need I say more?
  • Monster Horde - Technically not A BOSS (so not sure what they're doing in a BOSS rush mode) but in any case they can do quite a bit of damage if you're not careful, so you want to fight them sooner than later.
  • Koloktos - He has nasty attacks that punish minute mistakes in your timing, especially when near-death. Also the fight is LONG, even with the Master Sword, which is all the more time to make costly mistakes.
  • Tentalus - I hate Phase II of this fight SO much, because the snakes tend to get a lot of cheap shots in between your sword slashes.
  • Ghirahim Fight 3 - Not that hard, but he's a solid boss. In terms of difficulty, he's no Koloktos though.
  • Imprisoned Fight 3 - He can insta-win if you're not on your A-game since he can fly after Phase I, but he's not as immediately dangerous as the above battles.
  • Moldarach - Again, a king at punishing mistakes in your timing. Pretty easy once you get the hang of him though.

At this point, you've pretty much won Boss Rush Mode. If you don't believe me, read the blue box on the right to see why.


So, that's about it for this rather lengthy hub. You now know how to beat Boss Rush Mode (or at least get the Hylian Shield and the Heart Piece, which is the most important part of the content). If you have any questions or comments about this hub, or just want to talk about Skyward Sword, feel free to post in the comments section!

Also, don't forget to check out my Skyward Sword boss guides (accessible by searching my profile on this site) if you need help defeating a particular boss!

Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)



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    • Nathan Kiehn profile image

      Nathan Kiehn 

      22 months ago

      I've been playing through Skyward Sword for a third time recently and not looking forward to this portion, since I always hated trying it the previous two times. These are some great tips that I'll put to use if and when I get to this round.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Got any tips on the horde battle in hero mode. I keep dying when I am almost close to Ghirahim. ☹️

    • Winterfate profile imageAUTHOR

      Darrin Perez 

      5 years ago from Puerto Rico

      @Angel: No, just the top prize you are eligible for. So, if you beat it completely on your first playthrough, you'll get 3000 Rupees. If you beat it on Hero Mode, you'll get 9999 Rupees. It stinks that it works like that, but that's how it goes, I suppose. :/

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      If I beat it all do I get all if the prizes?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I prefer to go Eldin, then Lanayru, then Faron. That way you avoid the potential glitch, and you don't have the chance of fighting that douchebag the imprisoned third form. Plus you have just enough bosses for the hylian shield

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      16.86 for Ghirahim first time :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I got 17.41 on the first battle with Ghirahim.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I got 19:65

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I got 19.66

    • profile image

      Ryan Iguina 

      7 years ago

      Although ive beaten the game on both modes ive never made it to the last boss, thank you for the info ... Now I need to get the rest of the crystals... And and I wannanoe if any one beat my record of the first battle of ghirahim 0:20.12

    • Tammy Powell profile image

      Tammy Powell 

      7 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      Thanks so much!! Gonna give it a shot.

    • Winterfate profile imageAUTHOR

      Darrin Perez 

      7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Hey there Tammy!

      Well, to get the shield, you have to win exactly eight consecutive boss battles. After that, the Thunder Dragon will mention something about either being able to claim the shield or continuing onto the ninth boss. Claim the shield and it's yours. If you go on to the next boss, you won't get the shield.

      Hope this helps!

    • Tammy Powell profile image

      Tammy Powell 

      7 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      I have completed all the boss battles with the thunder dragon and still no shield. Does anyone have any ideas? PLEASE HELP!!!

    • profile image

      Miss D 

      7 years ago

      I can't find anything regarding too your soo called ledge hopping tegnique, not even by copying the exact text and searching on google. Where can I find this? It's certainly not findable on your page


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