The Bloody Crow of Cainhurst is an enemy hunter in Bloodborne, and is the last enemy to be faced as part of Eileen the Crow's questline.
The Bloody Crow of Cainhurst is a hunter who has presumably gone mad with bloodlust, and as a result became a target of Eileen the Crow. However, in her old age, she proved to be no match for him in combat, as the player finds her in a pool of her own blood, barely alive on the steps leading up to the entrance of the Grand Cathedral.
He is outfitted with the Cainhurst Set with the exception of his chest piece, which is the Crowfeather Garb. His weapons are the Chikage and the Repeating Pistol.
This battle is very difficult to take on solo, as he is capable of dealing massive damage up close, as well as from distance, and has quite a substantial pool of health (~4160, needs confirmation). He makes frequent use of the Hunter's Bone, and will also begin throwing Numbing Mist at you in the later stages of the battle. He is also able to heal by using a blood vial, which he will usually do when he drops between 30%-50% health.
He begins the battle one-handing the Chikage, and will switch between this and the transformed Chikage, which deals poison damage to him as long as he has it in trick mode. It appears as though he avoids transforming and taking poison damage after he has used his blood vial and his health drops around the 30% mark (needs confirmation).
As long as he has the repeating pistol out, you must be ready to dodge because it deals tons of damage. He tends to fire following a quickstep, so it is a good idea to quickstep yourself immediately after you see him quickstep just in case he follows it up with a shot. Also, attempting to stunlock him can prompt him to fire in retaliation if he is able to get a shot off between your attacks, which will likely parry you. In one of the few examples of its usefulness, the Wooden Shield may be used to mitigate much of the damage he can do if he connects with his pistol, but well timed/directed dodges should be enough, and putting on armor with high Blood defence (eg. White Church set) before this battle is worth consideration.
He will come at you with a variety of moves in the Chikage moveset, switching between two-handed and one handed forms, and using the Hunter's Bone to quickly close the distance on you, so you must remain equally mobile. Every now and then he will wind up with a heavy attack, sometimes fully charged, sometimes not, but baiting out these attacks will allow you to either attempt to parry, or swoop in for a quick strike or two. However, he will punish you for getting greedy with trying to stunlock him, or attempting to jump attack from distance, as he will quickly deliver strikes with his Chikage if you run out of stamina, or are left vulnerable following the jump attack.
Due to the hazard he poses at close range, employing weapons with a decent amount of reach such as the Transformed Hunters Axe or Threaded Cane can provide an extra layer of safety as you can land hits from distance and slowly whittle him down. Poison knives, if timed right, can also deal damage for you if you are able to connect with three of them.
Although a straight-on fight with him is possible, you can give yourself an advantage by luring him into the stairwell. This limits his angle of attack to directly in front of you if you maintain medium range, and also allows you to quickly dart out of the Cathedral to heal up from safety, or even swap out weapons/equipment if you need to.
One particular method involves exploiting his approach patterns with well timed charged R2 attacks of long-reach weapons, such as the transformed Hunter's Axe, or Ludwig's Holy Blade. Based on whether he is running, or walking towards you, charge up your attack so that he basically walks right into it as he prepares to attack you. However, this obviously will leave you open for punishment if mistimed. In addition, he may dash through the attack if the Hunter's Bone is active, and as a result, the Hunter's Axe double spin gives you an added layer of security, since the second spin will connect if he dashes through the first.
Whatever strategy you choose to employ, you will want to be well stocked on vials, and be patient no matter how low his health is, because one moment of recklessness can mean your death due to the insane amount of damage he can dish out.
Alternatively, you can cheese him by using a combination of Poison Knife and Numbing Mist, as he can be poisoned with three knives. You may also blast him with Cannon if you have 4 Bone Marrow Ashes and having all three Formless Oedon Runes equiped. For Arcane users, either Tiny Tonitrus or Executioner's Glove would serve the same purpose. This is especially useful as he gets low on health and stops tricking the Chikage, and Tiny Tonitrus can effectively be used up to 29 times with all the Formless Oedons equipped thanks to blood bullets.
If none of the previous strategies of cheesing this jerk to death appeal to you, you can try a stunlock strategy centered around Beast Roar. Equip Beast Roar and a fast-attacking weapon such as the untransformed cane or one of the silver swords. This will only work if you lure him into a corner. The best place to do this is right near the doors to the cathedral: The half-opened door and the wall form a little triangular funnel that is perfect for keeping him in place. Induce him to follow you as far down the stairs as you can before he starts moonwalking back up. He probably won't move all the way to the doors so once he is as close as you can get him, run around behind him so you're facing the doors and use Beast Roar to knock him back and down. Ideally, you'll be able to use a couple Beast Roars to push him into the three-sided corner formed by the wall and one of the cathedral doors. Once he's stuck in that corner, get in close and hit him with quick-striking light attacks over and over until your stamina is nearly depleted. Then, use Beast Roar to knock him down. Make sure the movement caused by your attacks don't put you behind him or to the side, or the Beast Roar will knock him free from the corner of death. If you position yourself right, you can get off at least 4-5 attacks depending on your stamina, Roar him to the ground (he won't have anywhere to be blown backwards to, so you can keep attacking him as he stands up) and repeat until he's dead. To make sure you have enough bullets to keep this strategy up until he's dead, bring the Formless Oedon rune.
Beast Roar can also be used to push him out of the Cathedral doors. The player can then stand in the entrance, blocking his path as he attempts to move back inside. At this point he is completely vulnerable to attacks and will not fight back or heal. If he gets back inside, chances are you won't have enough bullets left to repeat this strategy so care should be taken to keep him outside.
Even though you can kill this overpowered NPC character with ranged attacks you can also, if you are willing, kill him by taking your time. The newest patch prevents you from cheesing him by abusing his Chikage poison damage so you need to choose other options, unless you are overleveled. This strategy consists of keeping away from the NPC, attacking sparingly and letting the NPC whittle away his HP each time he uses the Chikage transformation. Quickstep is important, keep strafing and be careful of his gunshots. The NPC will use his Chikage transformation from time to time and whittle away his HP. Parry him when you can and use a visceral attack to punish him. Do not get greedy and try to hurt him since he will more than likely parry you and one shot you with a visceral attack.
Take care to avoid his Numbing Mist when he starts using them because you will need to, inevitably, heal. He will, as said before in the page, use a Blood Vial once, but do not despair. Tolerate this and keep using this strategy. As said before, quickstep and strafe, quickstep when he does or you will most likely get shot and take tremendous amounts of damage. The Chikage poison damage will do the work for you. Attack from time to time. There is no need to take the fight to the Boss when he will do the work for you. It should not be said but Blood Vials are a must here. To use this strategy strafe around the room, take your time, let the Boss hurt himself and do not get impatient or he will punish you. Try to bait the Boss to use the transformation, this is the trick to the strategy.
Patience Strategy Addendum
It's possible to cheese him in an alternative way. First, draw him out to the cathedral entrance. Due to his program he will continue to walk towards you despite the fact that he can't cross the threshold of the Cathedral entrance. Now, look to either side of the entrance at the statues of the Amygdala and notice the line of stones that extend from right in fron of the statues. Using a long weapon (rifle spear for my playthrough) it is possible to R2 attack him from safety without him being able to hit or shoot you, provided you backstep away after each attack and maintain his view so that his gunshot would hit the wall in front of him. You will be unable to lock on, so a trial-and-error of hitting him is required. It's possible to use the monocular to aid with aiming. It is also possible to get him stuck in the hinges of the doors or on the statues in the stairway inside the cathedral, but he is unlikely to maintain this stuck position for very long.
The room is enormous. Use this. Strafe and quickstep. Keep away from the Boss. The poison damage will eventually kill him or give you the opportunity to kill him yourself. This will take time so do not expect to kill him quickly.
Another simple strategy requires the use of Simon's bowblade. If the player has acquired the bow by the time the fight occurs, an easy cheese strategy can be achieved. Simply kite him towards the cathedral steps and go far enough down that he has to retreat back to the inner parts of the cathedral. While retreating up the steps, shoot at him with the bow.
If you can draw the Hunter down the stairs and through the main doors, he will still attack up until the absolute edge of the Cathedral building. But physically cannot step out. By moving just to the left of the door, he can become "wedged" in the small triangle of space between the door and the edge of the foundation. Using a weapon such as the Threaded Cane, you can safely continue to hit him and draw his attention, while keeping the thick door of the Cathedral and the Pillar on it's left between the two of you. If he retreats inside, fire a bullet, or strike with the Cane to clip him through the door and cause him to charge again. This strategy is incredibly cheap, but nearly 100% safe once you reach the door, you can stay to the left, and continue an almost constant barrage of attacks, while being shielded from his counters and bullets.
The Poison Knives Strategy
This requires the least amount of skill, all you really need is 20 poison knives. Lure the hunter past the midpoint of the stairs, then wait for him to begin his retreat. NOTE: If he transforms the chikage, this makes it much faster. Upon his retreat he dodges much less. Use three poison knives to poison him, and wait. He appers to only have one blood vial, so you can let him use it or throw some numbing mist to stop his healing, but the numbing mist will likely wear of if you use this method of cheesing him right away. Otherwise, let him heal and re-poison him again. You will clearly need to poison him more than once due to his ludicrously massive health pool, so keep poisoning him, use the stairs and just wait.
(note: this method takes 10-15 min and decent timing is required but I assure you this is one of the more tactical ways of fighting him)
1. 10 molotovs (to use near end of fight)
2. 10 oil urns (to use near end of fight)
3. 10 throwing knives (to use near end of fight)
4. 20 blood vials
5. note in phase 2 (depending how accurate your attacks are but bring extra items (not pebbles) like pistol ammo (20 bullets) and a pistol/gun with decent damage to finish him at a range.)
know that you should not engage him using this method will also make it less likely he will use pistol attacks
How to fight him:
1st. Begin by entering by entering the cathedral then walk up to him then back away and be ready to dash back. When you hit the stairs after backing up he usually starts using the hunters bone (to evade his quick lunges when he has hunters bone active keep in his aggro (notice range) range but at a distance).
2nd. keep moving towards him then going back and forward up and down the stairs (if necessary outside the cathedral and then continue step) with him coming towards you and you stepping back when he tries to move forward. (note he has unlimited use of the hunters bone and roughly over 3000 health) your goal is to get close enough to make him switch his blade to extension mode (this mode causes him to lose health but gain damage) once he does keep on your toes by moving back as often and as quick as possible.
3rd. when he get to 1/3 or 1/2 of his health he will use blood vile once to heal then preceded with the same method till he gets back to 1/3 then precede to next phase. on the off but extremely rare chance he uses a second blood vile repeat this step and use caution.
This phase should take approximately 10 minutes.
When he is at 1/3 he goes into a unusual protection mode so he wont be using his sword extension mode anymore. At this point use the knives to damage him then use the Molotov`s. This should assuming you hit him with 2/3`s of all the per-requisite items kill him. otherwise if you missed some hits use the rest then your pistol and if absolutely necessary your main weapon to deal final or final 2 attacks to finish him.
Assuming you did this correctly you wouldn't have to actually engage him and the only damage you might take is his pistol shots (they're pretty damaging).
(note: depending how accurate your attacks are but bring extra items (not pebbles) like pistol ammo and a pistol/gun with decent damage to finish him. )
Blue Elixir Strategy
Right away as you pull him, kite him down the stairs. After he's on the stairs, dodge past him, and run to the end of the cathedral, behind where he spawns. Run to one of the two corners and use a Blue Elixir.
At this point he should lose aggro, and go back to his normal position, where he'll now stand with his back turned against you, facing towards the entrance like he does when you start the encounter.
All you have to do now is to sneak up behind him, use a charged R2 attack, and follow it up with a visceral. A backstab sequence if you will.
This strat does depend on two things however.
1. You gotta make sure he isn't running after you, but walking, when you're running to the back end of the cathedral. Every once in a while he'll run towards you to attack, but he usually just walks,
which is what will allow you to make him lose aggro.
2. You gotta have quite a few Blue Elixirs, and a hard hitting weapon, which you might not have yet, depending on how much of the game you've completed at this point.
If you find yourself with only 3-4 Blue Elixirs, I'd recommend having him slowly kill himself with his' blade's trick mode, and using this strategy to kill of the remaining health after he stops damaging himself entirely.
Hide and Backstab Strategy
Almost identical to the method above but without the need for the Blue Elixirs:
- Lure the Bloody Crow down the stairs, then run past him right to the back of the Grand Cathedral past the lamp and hide yourself behind one of the wall outcrops/pillars closest to the Cathedral altar. The Bloody Crow will de-aggro and walk back to his starting position.
- When the Bloody Crow has returned to his starting position and turned his back to the lamp, walk up behind him and backstab for a visceral.
- Have The Bloody Crow chase you to the stairs and repeat the method until dead. Recommended to equip as many Clawmark runes as possible to speed up the process
(Credit for this method to an anonymous user in comments section).
- The wooden shield or loch shield will effectively trivialize his repeating pistol shots, and can be useful to a smaller extent against his chikage. The shields will reduce his damage from gunfire to mere chip damage, barely anything at all, and will reduce his chikage damage by a good portion, although you'd be best served by simply dodging against melee attacks. When a gunshot connects against a shield, stamina loss is minimal, and the player recovers very quickly. It was very useful in my fight with him in NG+. Against his chikage, the player will recieve somewhere between half and two thirds standard damage, and will drain stamina fairly quickly, which is a big problem, considering he'll just swing at you again and again and overwhelm your shield. It's best to dodge or keep your distance against melee attacks.
- If you kill Rom before helping Eileen defeat Henryk, you will not be able to have this encounter. Instead, Eileen will turn against you at the Cathedral.
- It was once possible to cheese him by exploiting a pathfinding glitch which caused him to get stuck behind the cathedral doors, leaving him vulnerable to attacks "through" the door with weapons like the transformed Threaded Cane. This was patched out as of version 1.04 however, so more legitimate approaches are necessary.
- He can still be cheesed after 1.04 with a bit of luck. If he tricks Chikage and the player sprints out of the Cathedral, he will sometimes lose interest and forget to transform Chikage back, resulting in his eventual death thanks to the Chikage's self-damage.
- Pathfinding isn't fixed as of 29/11-2015, managed to get him stuck on one of the side ledges going down the staircase towards the doors, his AI wasn't capable of walking him back off, so he ended just standing there staring.
- Since he wears the crowfeather garb, it is possible that he either was a Hunter of Hunters and joined the Vilebloods, or killed one and took their garb. Regardless, he is hostile to all, so runes do not make a difference.