Hollow Knight Best Charms (Top 10)

hollow knight, charms
With so many Charms in the game, how can I choose which ones to use?

Find out which top Charms fit your playstyle!

If you’re looking to make it through Team Cherry’s wildly popular game, then it’s key to understand how to use Charms to your advantage. Charms are the bread and butter of any Hollow Knight player because it’s using combinations of the forty-five in-game charms that really let a player choose their playstyle, whether in combat or while traversing the world. But, with so many options, it’s sometimes a feat in itself just to start choosing what Charms to use. To make that choosing process a little easier, here’s a list of the overall ten best Charms in Hollow Knight.

10. Wayward Compass

It's always a good idea to know where you are

Wayward Compass is one of the very first Charms that the player has access to and with good reason – it is the best way for the player to navigate the game world. By equipping this Charm, the player will find a locator attached to the map when opened that shows where the player currently is. Although this may not, at first, sound like a top ten worthy effect, playing the game without the Wayward Compass will often result in players getting completely turned around and makes traveling much more difficult as a whole. Additionally, having the Charm equipped gives the player a valuable reference point when exploring unmapped areas, which can be essential for those situations when an accidental fall or unanticipated enemy encounter leaves a Shade lost in the new area you had just discovered.

Although the Wayward Compass should be the first Charm to be unequipped when facing a difficult boss fight, its navigation and reference effects make it a must have for exploring Hallownest. Purchase this charm in Iselda’s shop in Dirtmouth after meeting Cornifer.

9. Gathering Swarm

Who doesn't love an easy way to get money?

Gathering Swarm is another Charm that is not directly involved in combat but makes the top ten list for its sheer overwhelming usefulness in streamlining the game. Gathering Swarm does exactly one thing – collects money. Every time an enemy is defeated or a treasure trove is discovered, the swarm comes to life and retrieves the Geo that is released into the area around the player. This is incredibly helpful for the many rooms that have acid pools, spike floors, or rapidly moving enemies that would otherwise make some Geo completely unreachable and has the extra use of being able to collect Geo that falls off screen entirely.

Keeping this Charm equipped as you journey through the game will end up making the early and middle portions of the game much easier on the player, as having a constant source of Geo collection will make purchasing some of those more expensive items (looking at you Lumafly Lantern) much lighter on the wallet. Purchase the Gathering Swarm from Sly’s shop in Dirtmouth.

8. Mark of Pride

Anything that keeps enemies away is A+ to me

The Mark of Pride is the first of a few primarily combat-oriented Charms on this list and also one of the few Charms in the game that actually adjusts the weapon used by The Knight. The Mark of Pride lengthens the reach of the Nail, allowing the player to take enemies down from a slightly safer distance, and giving that extra reach to catch enemies and bosses in their most vulnerable moments. It is a particularly useful charm to have equipped when taking on the Colosseum, or other areas in the game where the player must deal with hordes of different enemies. This is because the Mark of Pride provides defensive capabilities by giving the player more chances to knock an enemy away before it can land an attack.

This Charm can be accessed after defeating The Mantis Lords and reaffirms The Knight’s status as accepted by the Mantids of Hallownest. To find it, just go to Mantis Village after defeating the Mantis Lords and enter the room to the northeast of the boss room.

7. Spore Shroom

A Charm that can allow me to defeat enemies from a distance? Yes please

This one is a personal favorite of mine, both because of the varied uses of the Charm and because of the many combination options available with it. On its own, this charm allows the user to release damaging spores when channeling Soul. The spores don’t do a lot of damage all at once but, when an enemy enters into the spore cloud, the ticks rack up quickly – easily taking down small enemies and doing a few strikes worth of damage to bosses. This damage quickly increases when combining it with charms like the Defender’s Crest or Deep Focus which increases the damage or area size, respectively.

Spore Shroom is particularly handy because it has a lot of creative uses. Using the Charm in the right place can allow the player to take out enemies on the other side of walls, while in cover from enemy attacks, or by exploiting the movement patterns of different enemies. Best of all, Spore Shroom is capable of dealing damage to almost any enemy in the game, meaning that enemies which are normally shielded or unable to be damaged from nail attacks will take damage from the spores. Overall, Spore Shroom is a great Charm for an adaptable playstyle – pick it up in the room directly beneath Queen’s station once you have the Mantis Claw.

6. Shaman Stone

If you want to kill enemies quickly, then this Charm is your new best friend

The Shaman Stone is one of two charms that directly boost spells used by the player. Unlike its counterpart, Spell Twister, which reduces the cost of spells, Shaman Stone increases the damage of all spells. This is great for players who prefer to burst down enemies quickly, rather than risk a drawn-out fight. By entering a fight with full Soul, a player can let loose a volley of spell attacks in quick succession, which, done properly with the Shaman Stone equipped, can cut bosses’ health in half immediately.

Although some players prefer to save their Soul for health regeneration purposes, Shaman Stone is a must-have for those moments when regenerating health and risking nail strikes isn’t an option. It’s also key for an aggro strategy where the player can stock up soul during a boss fight and unleash it all at once to finish the fight. Find this charm in Salubra’s shop in the Forgotten Crossroads. 

5. Quick Slash

Some say that the best defense is a good offense

A must have for aggressive players, Quick Slash does exactly what you’d expect it to – it makes your nail attack faster. This is particularly important against the stronger bosses who may not give the player a chance to heal during the fight. It’s also great in horde situations, like the Colosseum, and in multiple-enemy rooms where the player may have to attack in multiple directions in very quick succession.

Quick Slash also works well in combination with most playstyles. Combining it with Mark of Pride or similar Charms allows for the opportunistic players to really capitalize on their moments of attack, while combining it with Charms like Steady Body or Heavy Blow can allow the player to stay on the defensive against the onslaught of enemy attacks. Quick Slash is certainly one of the most versatile combat Charms and is worth considering no matter the situation. Find this charm on an altar in Kingdom’s Edge in front of the large skeleton of the Ancient Nailsmith.

4. Nailmaster's Glory

If you have the patience to get this Charm, it is definitely worth it

Nailmaster’s Glory is often overlooked by players because of how long it takes to get and because of the simplicity of its effect. However, players who have taken the Charm into battle with them can vouch that it is in competition for the best Charm in the game, especially for speed-oriented aggressive players. The Charm’s effect is straightforward – it reduces the amount of time needed to charge a Nail Art. What players don’t realize, though, is that this time reduction cuts the charge rate by one second. This allows players to chain together their Nail Arts by immediately charging after delivering the first blow, usually allowing the next Art to be prepared by the time an enemy has finished recoiling from the first blow.

The Charm has truly devastating capabilities, especially considering that Nail Arts have the highest potential damage output and can also be used to maneuver around the screen during combat and extend the range of normal attacks. It is a must have for fighting the many Dream Bosses in the game and for taking on the later rounds of the Colosseum. Pick this Charm up by visiting Sly’s shop in Dirtmouth after being taught by all three of the Nailmasters.

3. Sharp Shadow

I feel like the sneakiest ninja when I'm using this Charm

Sharp Shadow is my absolute favorite Charm and is one of the most powerful combat-oriented Charms that the game offers. It increases the length of the dash of the already immensely strong Shade Dash technique and sharpens it to allow the user to deal damage to any enemy they pass through during a Shade Dash. Best of all, the damage dealt is equal to an attack, or more, depending on what other Charms are equipped. This essentially means that equipping Sharp Shadow gives the user an extra attack every time they unload on an enemy and allows them to charge the enemy head on to attack without taking damage and get behind the enemy so as to continue unloading another volley of strikes.

Using Sharp Shadow to its fullest potential can allow players to completely avoid taking any damage while doubling or tripling their damage output in each set of attacks. Collect this Charm in Deepnest, southwest of the trolley behind a shade gate.

2. Unbreakable Heart/Fragile Heart

A handy Charm for those who have difficulty against any bosses

Occupying the number two spot is the Unbreakable Heart Charm, the unbreakable upgrade to Fragile Heart. With a straightforward effect and a low two-notch cost, this is a Charm that every player should pick up and use in their game. Equipping this charm gives the player two extra Masks, offering much needed survivability against bosses and journeys through hazardous areas alike. Unlike its un-upgraded counterpart, the Unbreakable Heart will also not break when the player is defeated making it a great investment to getting before taking on the more difficult bosses and areas in the game. I use this charm against every boss fight and challenge area, and it works no matter what playstyle you prefer.

Unfortunately, getting this Charm can be a little steep. It first requires purchasing the Fragile Heart from Leg Eater and then feeding it to Divine once the Phantom Troupe is summoned to Dirtmouth. Then, the player needs to accumulate 12,000 Geo and the Fragile Heart Charm turns into the Unbreakable Heart. If you are playing on Steel Soul mode, however, or if you are certain that you will not be defeated at any time while using the Charm, there is no need to upgrade Fragile Heart into Unbreakable Heart as the desired effect will already be fully achieved.

1. Dashmaster

Haha! Can't catch me!

Unequivocally, this is the best charm in the game. Giving the player the ability to dash twice as often and the ability to dash downwards, this charm is the very first goal for speedrunners of the game and a must have for taking into combat against any boss or hazardous area. Additionally, when equipping Sharp Shadow alongside this Charm the damage dealt and distance traveled by using the Shadow Dash are increased, giving the player a valuable and powerful all-purpose tool for combat.

Dashmaster is also a charm that can be found very early on in the game but never loses its usefulness at any stage of the game because of the incredible boost to maneuverability. Find it near the entrance to the Royal Waterways under a statue beneath the Mantis Village.

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