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A massive dragon nestled off the shores of the Academy of Raya Lucaria, Glintstone Dragon Smarag is a compulsory encounter but an optional boss. You must visit Smarag's little nest to advance the game, but fight it? Nope. You can sneak in, grab what you need to grab, and sneak out again without the dragon being any the wiser. If you want to fight it, though...
This guide will help you defeat Glintstone Dragon Smarag. Be prepared for a long-distance battle, as Smarag is a little on the shy side, and it doesn't like it when you get too close.
How to Find Glintstone Dragon Smarag
Smarag is found in the vast wetlands surrounding the Academy of Raya Lucaria, in the Liurnia of the Lakes region. You'll need to defeat Godrick the Grafted to access this region.
Once you've reached Liurnia on the Lakes, head northwest along the path until you start seeing sunken buildings. Pretty soon you'll see the cliffs of the Academy on your left. Follow the shoreline to the northwest, through and past the Temple Quarter, and up to the rock formation just off the coast of the Academy. This is Smarag's nest...
... and the dragon will be sitting here in plain sight, napping. Your compulsory mission is to grab the Academy Glintstone Key that's sitting behind Smarag. Sneak in, snatch it, and if that's all you want, sneak back out and leave. But if you want to fight the dragon, well, take a good smack or two, because Smarag will quickly take off. The fight is on.
(Make sure you find the Crystalline Woods Site of Grace just north of Smarag. You may die a couple times fighting this beast, and any other Site of Grace will require a trek back by horse.)
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Smarag uses a lot of moves that you would expect of a massive, winged lizard with magical powers. There's a strong combination of long- and short-range attacks here, and you may see a lot of one, a lot of the other, or an even split between both. You can expect the following attacks from Smarag:
- If you're in front of or on Smarag's flanks, it will try to bite you. Given Smarag's size, this can be difficult to see coming, so if Smarag's whole body stops and tenses, be ready to roll away from its head. Occasionally this bite attack will be directed behind Smarag, causing its whole body to spin around towards you.
- Smarag will try to sideswipe you with its wings. So long as you remain under or behind the dragon, you won't see this attack very often.
- If you're under Smarag, it will try to stomp you with its feet. Nothing you haven't seen before while fighting a giant monster, and Smarag seems a little slower than most. Roll to avoid.
- If you're behind Smarag, it will use its tail to knock you away. You'll tell this is about to happen when Smarag raises its tail and sways its hips a little. This attack has a massive range and really hurts if you're trying to kill Smarag on horseback. If you want to be in melee range, try to stay under Smarag, not behind.
- Occasionally, Smarag will fly into the air, and if it hovers over you, it's about to slam down onto the ground. Start rolling the second you see Smarag move from its position or you're going to get badly flattened.
- Smarag will begin breathing long-range fire. It pans from right to left while doing this, and if you get caught in the flames, you're going to take damage. Roll out of the way and keep ahead of the flame until it stops.
- If it wants to get away, Smarag will fly into the air and soar away from you, leaving long streams of fire in its wake. Unless they fall on you while you're running this attack is more disruptive than painful.
- Smarag will charge up and launch a massive, magical arrow at you. This is a quick spell, but it's not that difficult to avoid so long as you watch Smarag's motions carefully.
How you fight Smarag depends on its conduct during the battle. Its melee attacks, while imposing and vicious, are fairly easy to avoid, and you can spend most of the fight under its belly and stabbing at its legs. If Smarag decides to take to the skies, however, you'll need to follow. Don't try for the head with a melee weapon unless you're right in front of Smarag and you're confident it's not about to attack.
Ranged fighters can stay in front of Smarag, though doing so is dangerous thanks to its magic and breath attacks. If you can find some cover, however, sniping Smarag from a distance is a feasible strategy. Make sure you aim at its head, as enough damage to the ol' cranium will stagger Smarag and bring it to ground for a few valuable moments.
Another viable option is fighting Smarag on horseback, especially for melee fighters. So long as Smarag is on the ground, you can use your horse to sweep past or through its legs or wings, deliver a hit or two, and keep going. Wheel around before getting too far out front and repeat. Smarag's tail will generally catch you, so try not to spend too much time behind the dragon. Even if you don't spend the majority of the fight on your horse it's a good idea to hop on and give chase if Smarag flies away.
Ashen Spirits are a good choice for this fight, though you want something both durable and with a decent range to its attacks. Anything with arrows can distract Smarag and give you the opportunity to run in and smack it around. Just stay away from your Spirits so you're not all getting hit by fire breath at once.
Defeating Glintstone Dragon Smarag will earn you 13,000 Runes and a Dragon Heart.