False Knight Failed Champion

A maggot driven mad by a strange force. Inhabits a stolen armoured shell.

Weak creatures love to steal the strength of others. Their lives are brief and fearful, and they yearn to have the power to dominate those who have dominated them.

Dialogue Bottom

The False Knight is one of the main bosses in Hollow Knight. He keeps the City Crest required to open the gates to the City of Tears. The Failed Champion is his dream form, faster and stronger.


The False Knight is a Maggot wearing the armour of Hegemol, one of the Five Great Knights of Hallownest.[3][4][5] This weak creature wanted to find means to protect his siblings living in an abandoned storeroom in the middle of the Forgotten Crossroads.[6] When he discovered Hegemol seemingly sleeping in his armoured shell, he took it for himself in hoping for the great strength wearing the armour seemed to promise.[7] Even though madness did not drive him to do this, the False Knight eventually fell to the Infection's control.[7][3]

In-game events

The False Knight falls from the ceiling when the Knight enters the hall below the Maggots' storeroom, killing any husk still wandering inside. He then attacks the Knight, deluded on his own strengths, while threatening to collapse the building in his rage.[8]

At the end of the fight, the False Knight accidentally breaks down the floor and falls outside the storeroom below, where the Knight can execute the final blow. Once defeated, the Maggot is expelled from the armour along with the City Crest.

When returning to the storeroom, the Maggot's corpse can be found laying on an upper level hidden by a breakable wall. His brethren are mourning him, and flee at the Knight's approach. Using the Dream Nail on the corpse brings the Knight to a dream projection of the storeroom where the Failed Champion, a much stronger form of the False Knight, can be fought.

After this second defeat, the False Knight's ghost appears floating above its corpse to tell the Knight the reasons behind its cowardly acts. It then shatters in Essence absorbed by the Dream Nail.

Behaviour and Tactics

The False Knight possesses a variety of attacks:

  • Leap: False Knight will jump a distance in the air to either reposition or prepare for a Slam attack. False Knight will also never be able to leap twice in a row. False Knight will stop using this move in Phase 3.
  • Charge: False Knight will run a small distance to get close up if the Knight is too far away and to perform a Leaping Bludgeon at the end of the charge.
  • Slam: False Knight will rear back priming the mace for a moment before swing it forward, slamming it into the ground. The impact of the mace creates a shockwave that travels forward across the whole arena. In Phase 2 this attack will also cause barrels to fall and in Phase 3 even more barrels will fall per slam.
  • Leaping Bludgeon: False Knight will leap into the air and slam his mace down in front of him when he lands. False Knight targets the Knight when he leaps so he will strike where the Knight was when he started his leap. While False Knight is in the air, he lifts his mace above his head and then swings it in an overhead arc before he lands, bringing his large body and mace down simultaneously. In Phase 3 this attack will also cause barrels to fall.
  • Rage: After enough damage is dealt to his armour, the False Knight will stagger, falling down and revealing the Maggot inside the armour. When the Maggot takes enough damage, it will reenter its armour and initiate this attack. Jumping to the centre of the arena, False Knight will slam his mace multiple times on their left and right. Each time the mace strikes the ground, barrels will fall from the ceiling. False Knight will continue to slam the ground with their mace for about three seconds. If the Maggot is left to stagger for too long without being attacked, the False Knight gets back up and continues his regular attacks without going into Rage.

Stagger Values
Description: False Knight's stagger is based on their health, and every time the armour health is depleted to 0 False Knight is staggered.

When staggered they will fall back and land on their chest revealing the head of the Maggot.

Hits: - Stagger Limit: none
Combo: - Combo Time: -

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion False Knight

Hollow Knight Boss Discussion False Knight

False Knight Guide Video

After False Knight recovers from the first stagger he goes into Phase 2: the muffled voice of the maggot is now audible in each attack (in Phase 1 False Knight is completely silent) and barrels will fall for the Slam attack. After False Knight recovers from the second stagger he goes into Phase 3 where barrels will now drop for the Leaping Bludgeon attack and more barrels will drop for the Slam attack.

When the False Knight Staggers and the Maggot pops out, heal if necessary then get in as much damage as possible. This is the only time the Knight gains SOUL from attacking the False Knight.

It is important to note that attacking the armour does not award SOUL, so players should conserve their SOUL meter if they need to heal and/or use Grubsong to regain SOUL when struck.

If healing is needed, the safest opportunity is to wait until the False Knight goes into a Rage and then heal up in a corner of the room. Watch for falling rocks.

While the falling rocks do no damage when they hit the armour from above, the Knight can hit the rocks from the side causing them to fly into the False Knight when angled properly, doing 10 damage each. This is a great way of harming him during the Rage attack if healing is not necessary. Hitting these falling rocks into the False Knight can also cause him to Stagger.

After exposing the Maggot's head three times, the False Knight will perform one more Rage attack before breaking the floor, falling to the level below and revealing the Maggot. Drop down and attack the Maggot to end the fight.

After the first time the False Knight Rages, a segment of the wall above the left gate will become breakable, granting the player the chance to flee the battle if they so choose. This is useful as the player obtains the Vengeful Spirit Spell in the room immediately after the False Knight room, allowing them to either attempt the fight again with a stronger, ranged attack or simply proceed through the rest of the game and come back later. Returning to the area after escaping resets the fight.

After defeating the False Knight (Or the Failed Champion), the player can still strike his armour with the Dream Nail, yielding dialogue and SOUL like usual.  This is particularly useful when challenging the Pantheons that contain him in Godhome, as it allows the player to accumulate additional SOUL for the subsequent battles before being taken to the next one.


Dream Nailed Randomly:
  • I'm braver than all of you!
  • I'm the strongest now!
  • This great shell...It belongs to me!

Dream Nailing the living mace Free at last!
Ghost after defeating Failed Champion I wanted it.... the strength to protect the others...

When I saw that Knight... sleeping... safe in his big armoured shell...
It wasn't madness that drove me to it... I just wanted it...
But... in the end? If strength cannot save you, then what can...?

Godmaster Icon Godmaster Content

Statue False Knight
False Knight
Hall of Gods text: "I protect the weak in the heart of the crossroads"
"Angry god of the downtrodden"

Pantheon Pantheon of the Master, 3rd boss
Health Attuned Badge 260*3
Ascended Badge 560*3
Radiant Badge
Arena changes The arena is larger than in the base game, no difficulty differences. He does not fall through the floor prior to defeat.


False Knight is located in the centre of the Forgotten Crossroads.



Achievement Falsehood Falsehood
Defeat the False Knight


Mace Bug
  • After the False Knight is defeated, the head of his mace is revealed to be another bug with an armoured shell. It can be hit it to knock it rolling in a direction while also stunning it, but it will not take damage and simply scurries off-screen when it gets the chance to. Hitting it with the Dream Nail gives the dialogue "Free at last!" and will also give SOUL.
    • When struck with a nail, the bug will make the same sounds as an idle Belfly.
  • The False Knight's Dream Nail dialogue along with the SOUL gained from using the Dream Nail on them actually originates from the body's hitbox as it is separate from the head's. This means that even if False Knight has been defeated and the Maggot has been removed from the armour, the empty armour casing can still be Dream Nailed.
  • The False Knight has an infinite amount of health points. Both his armour and the Maggot within reset their respective points as they interchange stages. However, he is scripted to die after 3 armour stages and 4 Maggot stages.
    • This also means that if enough damage can be done each during each armour stage, False Knight can be fought infinitely as he will not die unless he finishes the Rage attack.


  1. Maggot Dream Nail dialogue: "Wake up, brother! Help me!"
  2. Reddit AMA comment by Team Cherry.
  3. 3.0 3.1 False Knight Hunter's Journal entry: "A maggot driven mad by a strange force. Inhabits a stolen armoured shell."
  4. Relic Seeker Lemm: "Others have told me there's a statue out by the city's entrance depicting a large knightly figure. Could be one of the Kingdom's great five."
  5. Background sprites in the arena of Hidden Dreams Icon White Defender.
  6. False Knight: "I wanted it.... the strength to protect the others..."
  7. 7.0 7.1 False Knight: "When I saw that Knight... sleeping... safe in his big armoured shell... It wasn't madness that drove me to it... I just wanted it..."
  8. False Knight Dream Nail dialogue: "I'm braver than all of you!" "I'm the strongest now!"
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