Laurence, The First Vicar (初代教区長ローレンス Shodai kyōku-chō Rōrensu lit. "Laurence, The First Vicar") is a Boss in Bloodborne. He was added with The Old Hunters DLC.
"I tell you, I will not forget our adage."
"Fear the old blood."
Initially the boss room is accessible very early to get the Eye Pendant key item from Laurence's hand, whose body is inactive on the altar. The arena itself is exactly the same as the one in Vicar Amelia's fight.
Once Laurence's Skull is acquired, coming back to the arena and approaching his body will initiate a cutscene, after which the boss and the player will be put into set positions and the fight starts.
This fight has three phases:
- Phase 1:
- Laurence will look and behave very similarly to the the Cleric Beast, having a similar set of moves, but with fire added.
- He will have the same breakable body parts, with the head also being an opening for a visceral attack.
- Phase 2:
- After reaching about 70% health the second phase will subtly initiate.
- Laurence will suddenly gain new attacks, both from the Cleric Beast and his own.
- Becomes far more aggressive.
- Phase 3:
- Around 40% health the third phase is initiated as Laurence loses his legs and now crawls on the floor.
- He will now continually leave lava behind him, leaking from his lower body, and gain a completely new set of moves.
- None of the body parts can be broken in this stage.
- Hunter's Nightmare, in the Grand Cathedral after the flaming boulder.
- Beast's Embrace.
- Blood Echoes: NG (29,500), NG+6 and so on (310,045)
- Valtr can be summoned for this fight if you have the Impurity rune memorized. His "lamp" is located before the staircase that leads to the boss. Please be mindful that summoning help increases the health of enemies so if your summon does not do enough damage they are just making the fight harder for you. That being said, summons can provide an excellent distraction for the boss while you attack from behind.
- Very similar fight to the Cleric Beast fight from the main game. Stick to its back and attack a few times before backing off. In the second phase Laurence's legs will break and he will continue to fight crawling. The fire spitting can be easily dodged. Watch out for a swift forward crawling attack while Laurence slashes several times in front of him. Facing him, circle him clockwise and try to get to his side to avoid being comboed by the attack. Magic like Executioner's Gloves can make the second phase easier.
Target Laurence's head with pistols or the Piercing Rifle to stagger him, then follow through with a visceral attack. Staggering him work in exactly the same manner as with the original Cleric Beast; he will eventually repair the damage to his head, allowing you to injure it and stagger him again. You can also injure Laurence's limbs, but unlike most other bosses this will only stun him temporarily and does not actually increase the damage he receives. The Whirligig Saw's transformed L2 attack will quite figuratively tear Laurence to shreds, especially if you've also fortified it with Beasthunter Gems; fast weapons with serrated bonuses such as the Saw Cleaver and Saw Spear are also ideal for dishing out heavy damage as quickly as possible. If you're having trouble with the lava stunlocking you to death during Phase 2, try using a Lead Elixir - it'll give you enough super armor to walk through the flames without flinching, though you'll need to keep a close eye on your HP. The Loch Shield will absorb the impact and most of the damage from his AoE's, though it is NOT effective for blocking the actual, physical swings themselves.
- This boss deals fire and physical damage, so I'd recommend using the Charred Hunter set which has very good fire resistance. Level 40 vitality should be enough to withstand 2-3 hits with this attire.
- For runes I use Guidance (rally potential +20%), Fading Lake (Fire reduction +5%), Clockwise Metamorphosis (max HP +10%) and using Hunter Axe for its great regain potential.
- Obviously this setup is focused on aggressive attacks and regaining lost health with regain.
- This boss has 3 phases of combat, first phase similar like Cleric Beast fight, in the second phase it becomes more aggressive, and in the third it employs a lot of area of effect attacks.
- The method I found is effective with this setup is dodge to his right side when he attacks and stick behind him always and hack and slash. This will prompt him to swipe with his backhand but you can easily dodge towards the hand he's using.
- The same tactics are used when he changes to phase 2.
- It will come to phase 3 when it loses its leg and lava coming out of its body. Now its attacks will mostly focused in front of him, so it's clear you'll need to keep to its side and hurt him while cycling every time he moves.
- Things to note is dodge to his right if he's attacking with right hand, same goes for left hand (weak spot).
- Start off with as much fire and physical damage you can get via bloodgems. Suit up in best physical/fire defense gear.
- I was in NG+, around level 170, +10 Whirligig, and doing about 585 per R1 double handed attack. Buffed with phantasm shell or bolt paper about 750.
- Lock on for the first phase and treat it much like the cleric beast fight. Dodge his attacks by dashing back and then on his final swing while he recovers, dash up to him and get 2 good hits in. I noticed that on any attacks where he leaves his left arm (your right) open after an attack, a good R2 attack can stagger leading to a visceral attack for about 3000 damage.
- When he backs you into a corner dodge under his last swipe to get around him and back to open space to back up. I always dashed around to his left side (your right). I found dodging towards his big arm easier.
- Things get a bit more complicated when he loses his legs. Try to save all your bullets and most vials for this phase.
- Make sure your Blacksky Eye is equiped. You can whittle down health with good shots from this. I found I was dealing just over 100 damage per hit. If you have all 20 bullets, 2000 ain't bad for whats essentially free hits (if you can connect them all)
- I died countless times to Laurence in this phase being backed into a corner and trying to dash out once getting pinned by Laurence and his lava pool. While he is spitting lava or thrashing in the arena unload the Blacksky Eye on him, make sure you are close enough that your shots connect.
- (1) Wait to attack with your weapon until after he is done with his sequence of crawling slashes. I think they come in 5 slashes or 6 slashes. You can usually get a hit when he recovers his last slash with his big arm. Don't get greedy. I'd stick to one hit max.
- (2) There is a none fire slash that he does where he doesn't crawl, He will curl his big arm around his head while recovering and this is the safest time to attack.
- At some point he will start crawling towards you and you will get backed into a corner, but there is an easier way to get around this than it seems. When he starts his slashing crawl, get into a far corner of the room so as to guide him to the corner. Once, he is getting closer, unlock and run a wide arc around him as far from his arms as you can manage. Then book it to the other end of the arena and wait for your openings to attack him. (2) is much less risky than (1), but you get less opportunities. Laurence seems to favor (1).
- I died countless times to him in phase 2 until I thought to play more of a defense game. His attack have so much range and hit so hard, I think its a pretty good route to take.
- Hope that helps out. I hope that you slaughter Laurence with a little more confidence. Happy hunting.
- Keep enough distance that no matter what the boss does he can't hit you with his first move. Don't hang around too far though. If he does the high jump attack you were too far. The plan is to fish out his close range combos and wait in the distance for him to finish
- Once Laurence has complited his moves run attack with heavy hitting weapon. If you have time do running R2
- Immediately after your attack get back to the same distance you were before
- When above 70% health Laurence is pretty passive after his combos so hit and run is easy
- After health bar drops below 70% boss starts to fall around and gets more aggressive after finishing a combo. It is safest to hit and run after combos like "two punches to the floor + heavy smash" and "heavy left hand smash + out of the ground pull"
- After he loses his legs just stay in front of him and hit and run mostly when he uses his weak hand swipe. Don't go in when he swipes with his better hand but if he punches the floor with it you can hit it after the explosion
- Extensive observation has indicated the worst place to be around Laurence is the 180-degree arc in front of him (I died probably fifty times to him over three days). And while being a bit behind him is somewhat safer, he can still swipe you from there--and if you're locked on and close enough to hit him, the arc on his attacks is enough to hit you. If you're having trouble evading while locked onto him, forego the lock and run past him on his opening attack and get behind him and to his right. He'll have to turn to hit you, usually, and you can roll past his knees, getting into the safe zone behind him. He'll try to turn, but you can stay behind him most of the time, and evade him more easily there.
- When he flurries attacks, keep rolling to the right to stay behind him and with a touch of practice on timing, you should evade his long attack series. Just try not to get against a wall or corner if you can help it, it makes the camera become unhelpful.
- Your choice moments to attack are his three-hit ground slam (he starts off by punching the ground with his skinny arm, then the large one, then doubles up), his two-handed grab move, and if you can attack him enough, any time he's bleeding out, restoring his limbs or fallen over (which he will do if you're attacking his legs/hips, which are the handiest targets from behind.) If you're feeling daring, his explosive palm slam move also provides an opportunity for a hit or two when he's coming out of it--just don't get too close to him before the explosion happens.
- Always, always, always leave yourself a stamina margin. Don't get greedy, he has a lot of health and won't go down quickly. Don't use more than one-half to two-thirds of your stamina attacking him. Leave yourself some to escape him--you can outrun him if you need to heal.
- It helps to have a weapon with a bit of reach on it. The Threaded cane, the Moonlight Sword, whatever works. It'll help tag him sometimes when your spacing is a bit off.
- Once he's visibly under 50% of his health, I found it useful to disengage, lock onto his head, and try to shoot him into being open to a visceral attack. If you get it at the right point of his life bar, you can shorten phase 3 significantly.
- Once he's in phase 3, then you lock onto him--but only when you mean to attack him or he's crawling. Still stay on his right side and try your level best to stay there. Attack after he attacks with his skinny arm--I used the normal-form Strong Attacks of the Moonlight Sword (a straight thrust with a good bit of reach and good speed for as long as it reaches) to get him once or twice when he gave an opening. Still leave a margin, and don't be afraid to break lock and run well away from him to heal and try to bait him into spewing lava so you can approach him again.
Preparation: This strategy requires the use of Simon's Bowblade, primarily the use of its bow form. You'll want some degree of Bloodtinge investment (25-30. 50 is ideal.) If you have high skill, Clawmark Runes are an excellent supplement for this strategy.
- Come alone. Additional summons will only serve to make landing the shots you need much harder and make Laurence far more unpredictable.
- Make sure that you have Simon's Bowblade in bow form when initiating the fight and lock on to the upper portion of Laurence's body (the white dot should be able to line up with his head with positioning and timing).
- Stay close enough that he does not pounce, but just out of reach of his strong arm. You want to bait out the overhead palm smash followed up by the lift and explosion. When you see him beginning the palm smash, dash backwards out of range of the AoE while staying as centered in front of him as well as you can. Initiate a charged R2 just as his hand is lifted off the ground, if timed correctly, his head should lower directly into the arrow's path just as the arrow is released.
- After enough times (two for this player on NG++ with a +9 bowblade at 50 bloodtinge and three +27% attack bloodgems) he will stagger. Do not hesitate: give him a taste of the strongest attack you have. If you're pure Bloodtinge, this would likely be usage of the Chikage, or just use a few charged shots while he's immobile if you want to keep away. A strength-oriented build will want to simply use the biggest and baddest attack they've got with their best weapon. An arcane build will likely be hitting it with either their strongest spell or the Holy Moonlight Sword. A skill build will simply want to visceral him.
- After the first stagger, you will want to do one of two things: either one, stay at about the same range and wait for the head to regenerate or take a few swings to punish him after his attacks if you feel confident enough to dodge any counters Laurence might employ. Eventually his head will regenerate.
- Rinse and repeat this method until he starts crawling around. At this point, you're not going to be going for visceral attacks any more, just damage. If you've followed well in the last stage, you should still have plenty of blood vials and some extra bullets. You're going to need them.
- Stay to the outside of his weak arm at a slight distance, dodging attempts to counter as needed.
- Keep pumping him with arrows, but watch out for when he attempts to charge. If you're standing outside his weak arm, he shouldn't be able to hit you. Just dodge before his weak hand strikes the ground every time to avoid being damaged by the resulting AoE. Don't worry about him managing to maneuver the charge into you, his turning ability is terrible at this stage. Just stay to his side.
- Whatever you do: do NOT let him get you in front of him. If he charges you while you're in front of him, don't panic. Calmly, but quickly dodge perpendicular to the left of his path in time with each "step" until you're outside his turning radius.
- First, make sure you buff your fire resistance as high as you can with your clothes. Harrowed hat and the Yamamura gear worked for me. Bring a weapon geared against beasts and some fire paper. I used a +10 Saw Cleaver on a Strength build.
- Get to the cathedral and summon Valtr. He is your meat shield, albeit a lousy one.
- When the fight starts, Valtr should draw aggro pretty quickly. Circle around Laurence and punish his hind legs. Back off when he notices you or you run out of stamina.
- The goal for the first phase is to wear Laurence down and keep Valtr alive. Hit his back, then back off and heal when things get dangerous. Valtr will generally keep Laurence distracted enough that you can get away with this. Try to keep at least 10 blood vials available for part two of the fight.
- For the second phase, your goal is again to stay on Laurence's backside. Not directly behind him, but off at a slight angle so that you're only getting stunlocked by his flaming diarrhea half the time. The damage you'll take will be minimal with the right gear, and you'll spend your attacks punishing him. For Saw Cleaver the longer second form is more effective here.
- If Laurence is swinging at nothing or Valtr you're fine. If he tags you even once, back off quickly and heal. Make sure you keep your distance until your health is back up, then wait for Laurence to commit himself and dive around to his side.
- Valtr will die at some point, but if Laurence is down by 2/3 of his health you should be fine.
- I had 47 in HP and was around level 105-115 when I beat Laurence on a first playthrough, so your mileage may vary.
Moveset with legs
|Attack Name||Attack Description & Counter|
Moveset without legs (crawling)
|Attack Name||Attack Description & Counter|
|Crawling Pound Rush||Crawls towards you, pounding the ground with his hands, alternating with each slam. Left, right, repeat. He delays the last left hand pound slightly. This attack can start at any range but mostly if you are far away from boss. You can outrun him if you have the space. He tracks poorly so circling clockwise helps if he gets too close.|
|Right Hand Swipe||Swipes with his skinny right hand and gives an enormous opening. You can hit him 5 times or more for free.|
|Left Hand Smash||Punches the ground creating a small AoE blast. Heavily telegraphed and easy to dodge. Hit the hand after the explosion|
|Left Hand Swipe (+ Left Hand Swipe)||Swipes with left hand either normally or does a wide horizontal hook. Can perform series of swipe - pause - hook. Best not to try to attack, back up or quickstep.|
|Lava Spit||Spits lava at you that stays on the ground for a while. Dodge behind him and swing away.|
|Lava Charge||Charges at you, leaving a trail of lava behind him. Either stop locking on and run away, or stand close to him and strafe left or right, which causes you to manipulate his movement and force him to run around you in a circle.|
- He seems to be weakest to Physical, then Arcane, then Bolt (the difference isn't huge though) and very resistant to fire.
- Beasts have been strung up and put to the torch all over Yarnham, which suggests that possibly Laurence met the same fate when he came to turn.
- It could be that he resides in the nightmare trapped and smoldering, much like the blood drunk hunters who are trapped hunting.
- Laurence was the first Cleric Beast ever, as according to Laurence's Skull.
- Beast Laurence was destined to reunite with his human skull, but it's unknown if he attacks out of rage or despair or simple mindless aggression.