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

It's an understatement to say that Boss Rush Mode in "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" is challenging. Luckily, this article breaks it down so you have the best chance of beating it.

It's an understatement to say that Boss Rush Mode in "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" is challenging. Luckily, this article breaks it down so you have the best chance of beating it.

Welcome to the Lightning Round

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 mode itself is optional, the process of unlocking it is part of the main plot and thus required:

  • 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.
  • 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 Is Boss Rush Mode?

As mentioned in the introduction, Boss Rush Mode is a series of consecutive battles against all the 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.

To get started, the Thunder Dragon will allow you to choose your first opponent. After you beat the first one, he will then randomize all of the remaining bosses and send them to you, one by one. After each win, you have a chance of stopping (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 nothing 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. The more, the better!

In the next section, I will list the 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)

Note: 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.

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

You have to fight Ghirahim three times in the game, with his strength and moveset changing each time.

You have to fight Ghirahim three times in the game, with his strength and moveset changing each time.

"Beating" Boss Rush Mode: Tips and Tricks

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:

  • 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 can 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 it 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!

Optimal Boss Fight Order

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. 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 an "if this is the order your fights are lining up, and you're doing fine, then push on" than an absolute "you won't win if the random order deviates from this" kind of list.

If your order has been any variation of the one listed, and you're still alive with a decent amount of Hearts, you've probably already won.

From first to last (not including Demise):

  1. 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 make winning even easier.
  2. Ghirahim Fight 2: Plays much like the first form, but he can take a decent amount of punishment. Otherwise, easy.
  3. 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!)
  4. Scaldera: Your Master Sword does so much damage that Scaldera goes directly from phase one to death in about two rounds of slashes. So, an easy, under two minutes type of fight.
  5. 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.
  6. Demise: FOUR Hearts of damage during Phase II in Hero Mode. Need I say more? (Only if you go to Lanayru Gorge after the very end of the game)
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Tentalus: I hate phase two of this fight so much because the snakes tend to get a lot of cheap shots in between your sword slashes.
  10. Ghirahim Fight 3: Not that hard, but he's a solid boss. In terms of difficulty, he's no Koloktos, though.
  11. Imprisoned Fight 3: He can insta-win if you're not on your A-game. He can fly after phase one, but he's not as immediately dangerous as the above battles.
  12. Moldarach: He's another king at punishing mistakes in your timing, but fairly easy once you get the hang of him though.

At this point, you've pretty much won Boss Rush Mode. Congratulations!

Note: 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 for more specific help.

Now, Rush Through Those Bosses

So, that's about it. 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, or if you just want to talk about Skyward Sword, feel free to post in the comments section below.

Until the next time, take care and have fun!


Nathan Kiehn on October 03, 2017:

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.

Zeldamaster on March 24, 2017:

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

Darrin Perez (author) from Puerto Rico on January 06, 2014:

@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. :/

Angel on January 06, 2014:

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

FE11 on June 20, 2013:

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

Alecazam911 on February 28, 2013:

16.86 for Ghirahim first time :)

Elijones on December 18, 2012:

I got 17.41 on the first battle with Ghirahim.

Humbug123 on September 30, 2012:

I got 19:65

Me on June 15, 2012:

I got 19.66

Ryan Iguina on April 21, 2012:

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 from Salt Lake City, Utah on March 30, 2012:

Thanks so much!! Gonna give it a shot.

Darrin Perez (author) from Puerto Rico on March 30, 2012:

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 from Salt Lake City, Utah on March 30, 2012:

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

Miss D on February 19, 2012:

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