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Dullahan

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Dullahan as it appears in Dark Dawn.

Dullahan is the strongest optional boss monster in both Golden Sun: The Lost Age and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. In The Lost Age, it fought at the end of the optional dungeon Anemos Inner Sanctum, which can only be accessed in a Password-enhanced game where the player has amassed all 72 available Djinn in the GBA games. In Dark Dawn, on the other hand, it is fought in the post-game exclusive dungeon Crossbone Isle (an apparently separate incarnation of the Crossbone Isle featured in Golden Sun), which is accessible once the final boss of Dark Dawn has been defeated and a postgame save file has been created. In both games, the reward for defeating Dullahan is the Iris summon tablet, which is the "ultimate" summon.

As a boss in The Lost Age[edit]

DullahanSpr.gif
Dullahan.png

The boss fight with Dullahan (who is level 50) at the end of Anemos Inner Sanctum automatically ensues the moment the player casts Hover on the glowing purple circular portion of a bird-like pattern that a puzzle requires arranging six white blocks to form.

Dullahan easily qualifies as the game's equivalent to many JRPGs' "optional superbosses", in that it is a much more deadly foe than any other individual enemy in the game, including the final boss. Put bluntly, this enemy cannot reasonably be expected to be fought successfully with a standard battling methodology, unless the party has been elevated to the highest possible level and is using an idealized class setup, because Dullahan regularly uses the abilities Formina Sage (an enormously powerful single-target attack), Charon (the second largest summon sequence in the game, which will both deal massive group damage to the battling party and likely instantly down an Adept or two with its side effect), and worst of all by far, Djinn Storm, which puts every Djinni on every currently-alive frontal party member into recovery mode. This erases a large fraction of the entire party's necessary statistics for a fairly long time, for only one Djinni will restore itself per turn, and it will take nine turns for all Djinn to return. Even if a party is developed enough that they could weather the proverbial storm of Dullahan's other powerful abilities on their own (which would actually not be all that hard assuming well-distributed healing and reviving measures like Pure Wish, Revive, and Water of Life across many party members), occurrences of Djinn Storm will mean that these other abilities can easily pick off severely weakened Adepts, and the lack of raised-class-stages will remove much of the party's access to the aforementioned Pure Wish and Revive Psynergies, as well as other potentially helpful options.

Unlike other bosses in the game, Dullahan's moves are not determined at random; instead he will use pre-determined sequence of attacks. Once the fight starts he will pick a random move in the sequence and will then proceed to pick moves based on the sequence:

Condemn, Charon, Curse, Djinn Storm, Haunt, Formina Sage, True Collide, Attack, Formina Sage, Break, Attack, True Collide, Elemental Swap, Haunt, Curse, Charon, Bind, Break, Attack, True Collide, Formina Sage, Attack, Elemental Swap, Attack

He will skip Break if none of your party members have any stat buff; he will skip Haunt if all party members are already haunted and he will skip any psynergy-based attack if his psynergy is blocked. In the case he skips a move he will use the next move in the sequence instead. You can also force him to skip any action by using the djinn Ground or Petra, this way you can prevent him from using his most dangerous abilities such as Djinn Storm or Charon. Because the djinn prevents only the first move he uses, you should make sure Djinn Storm will be the first move he uses in a turn; there is a 1/3 chance this will be the default. There is also an 1/24 chance that he will use Djinn Storm as his first move in combat, and an 1/12 chance that he will use Charon. If he ends his turn casting Curse, you know his first move next turn will be either Djinn Storm or Charon; so switch in a party member with either the djinn Ground or Petra and use it to prevent the move. If you then make sure he doesn't skip any other action by making sure you reapply buffs after him casting Break and dispel haunts, you can easily prevent him from ever casting Djinn Storm, which makes the fight significantly easier.

Dullahan can easily down party members with single moves such as Formina Sage, which does enormous single-target damage.

Granted, it is still entirely possible that a party that has been level-grinded into extremely high levels (with the help of the Wonder Birds at Islet Cave) and put into powerful classes - most popularly a setup where Isaac, Felix, Jenna, and Garet have all been placed into the Ronin class, which is both very durable and has access to a very powerful and consistent move in Quick Strike - can defeat Dullahan, assuming he never randomly selects Djinn Storm to essentially cripple half the group and turn them into sitting ducks (or at least only uses it when his HP has already been brought down to a fairly low level. At level 99, each Ronin can deal a Quick Strike amounting to 500 damage or more, and four Ronins can deal over 2000 damage a turn, which means Dullahan can be defeated in 7 or 8 turns.) But obviously, this is highly dependent on the luck factor that Djinn Storm introduces into what would otherwise be "just" a very damaging and stat-intensive battle. Most of Dullahan's other abilities are comparatively weak, and the fact Dullahan has so many such abilities helps reduce the likelihood of a Djinn Storm being fired off.

But in the much likelier scenario where the party's levels are around 50 or below, it simply becomes no longer quite viable to attempt to fight Dullahan traditionally at length, because Dullahan's abilities would likely be too powerful to contend with even if the party is lucky enough never to get hit by a Djinn Storm. Therefore, the most common method of battling Dullahan is to basically go into the battle with all eight Adepts having almost all of their Djinn On Standby, so that the extremely vulnerable Adepts use what little time they have alive to fire off as many high-powered Summons as possible. Summons will deal thousands of damage points because they deal additional damage proportional to how high the enemy's maximum HP rating is, and Dullahan has the highest HP in the game to begin with. Furthermore, summons deal the same damage regardless of the party's levels and are only affected by the party members' Elemental Power ratings, so the only method of making summons even more effective is wearing equipment that boosts elemental power, like the Feathered Robe, Big Bang Gloves, and Triton's Ward (though in general, Mercury-aligned summons will be the least effective because Dullahan's highest resistance is Mercury). This method essentially treats the battle as a coin flip, where the player is hoping that at least one of the second party's Adepts remain standing when Dullahan finally falls (and is also hoping that a Djinn Storm does not hit the current party before the current party can use all of their Djinn for summoning), and the player simply reloads the game file when defeated and tries this approach again until their victory.

One of the most important ingredients in raising the chance that this Summon-rushing approach against Dullahan will be a success is that the party's Agility ratings are high; Dullahan has 241 Agility, so each surviving party member that has more than 241 agility will be assured their chance to fire off a Summon against him at the start of the turn, while each party member close to the 241 agility mark will at least be able to take their action before Dullahan's second and third actions for the turn. Therefore, Quick Boots, Running Shirt, Feathered Robe, Wild Coat, and various other pieces of gear that raise Agility can be more useful to use for this battle than equipment that increases power or survivability. If Agility is a particular problem for the party, Moloch can be used as one of the mass of summons being unleashed against Dullahan, for its side effect will halve Dullahan's agility for several turns (note that this agility-halving will only start coming into effect on the following turn).

Dullahan using Djinn Storm to completely cripple the party's battling and summoning abilities for many turns, which can be game-ending on the occasions it is randomly chosen.
Assuming that each Adept only has Djinn matching their element, there are several established setups for both the front and back parties that allow party members to try to summon all they can in the most efficient manner:
  • One party has both Venus Adepts and both Jupiter Adepts, allowing them to summon Charon twice and Thor multiple times, while the other party has both Mars Adepts and both Mercury Adepts, allowing them to summon Ulysses many times.
  • One party has both Venus Adepts and both Mars Adepts, allowing them to summon Daedalus and others, while the other party has both Jupiter Adepts and both Mercury Adepts, allowing them to repeatedly summon Eclipse.

In a rarer setup, if every frontal party member's Agility rating is higher than Dullahan's even without there being Djinn Set to increase each of their class stages, then the Jupiter Djinni Lull can effectively allow an entire free turn worth of summons against Dullahan for the first turn of battle. If the party member with the lowest Agility rating among this super-fast group has Lull Set onto him/her while most or all of his/her Djinn are on Standby, then after each of the other three faster party members perform their summons, the fourth member can use Lull to end the turn before Dullahan can perform any of his own moves. Then, for the second turn, since all four of the party members will assuredly be both untouched and be able to act before Dullahan's actions that turn, they will all be able to deliver another full-powered round of summons. Remember that a party member that performs a summon receives a large temporary boost to their Elemental Power rating, which will cause another summon performed by the same Adept to be even more powerful than it would have been the first turn. Depending on the setup of the party, which summons each Adept is allowed to use, and which pieces of Elemental Power-increasing equipment the Adepts can wear, it is possible to have Dullahan defeated by the second turn, before Dullahan can execute a single battle command.

Note that in the Hard Mode, Dullahan does not receive as large a boost to his difficulty as other enemies because there is a hard cap of 16,383 HP on enemies in The Lost Age, so Dullahan's 16,000 base HP will only gain 383 HP extra. However, the boost to his Attack statistic and Defense statistics will not be inhibited, which will cause his Formina Sage attacks to be all the more likely to down an Adept in one hit, and will cause physically-aligned attacks used against him to be somewhat lower in damage output.

Dullahan's statistics are as follows

Name HP PP Attack Defense Agility Luck
Dullahan 16000 300 676 269 241 59
Elemental Resistances Turns Exp Coins Item Dropped Drop Rate
Star mercury.gif 190   Star venus.gif 150   Star mars.gif 130   Star jupiter.gif 110 3 15600 6775 N/A N/A

Dullahan regenerates 200 HP and 100 PP at the end of every turn, effectively granting him infinite PP.

Dullahan uses these battle commands:

Command Chance
to use
Elem. Stats
used with *
Description
Attack  ?? -- Standard physical attack.
Bind  ?? Star jupiter.gif Level 10 Psynergy costing 4 PP that displays a glowing symbol onto a targeted Adept. There is a chance that the target's Psynergy capabilities will be Sealed for a period of time.
Break  ?? -- Psynergy costing 5 PP that removes any statistical buffs from the current battling party.
Charon  ?? Star venus.gif 110 Power
Star venus.gif Level 17
Summon sequence that deals a Venus-aligned attack that hits the whole party with medium damage distribution exclusive to summons. Its damage is equal to 500 base damage plus an amount equal to 30% of the target's total health, meaning this ability gets stronger on a higher-leveled party. Each hit target has a chance to be instantly downed by this attack.
Condemn  ?? Star venus.gif Level 17 Psynergy costing 8 PP which attempts to instantly down a party member.
Curse  ?? Star venus.gif Level 17 Psynergy costing 6 PP that may afflict the target with a 7-turn Death Curse status ailment.
Djinn Storm  ?? -- Enemy ability that forces all of the current battling party's Djinn into Recovery mode.
Element Swap  ?? -- Enemy ability that changes the order in which recovery Djinn will recover
Formina Sage  ?? Star jupiter.gif 100 Power Enemy ability where Dullahan wields a huge beam of purple lightning fashioned in the shape of a long sword and slashes through an Adept with extreme power while stationary. Deals a Jupiter-aligned standard physical attack with the end result multiplied by 2.8.
Haunt  ?? Star venus.gif Level 17 Psynergy costing 5 PP which attempts to afflict up to 3 party members with the Haunt status condition.
True Collide  ?? Star venus.gif 110 Power
Star venus.gif Level 17
Enemy ability where Dullahan remotely siphons energy in the form of masses of dark-purple energy orbs out of multiple enemies and into himself. Deals a Venus-aligned attack with 180 base damage that is spread out across 3 enemies with high damage distribution, and for each enemy hit by this attack, Dullahan has a chance to restore HP equal to the damage dealt.


As a boss in Dark Dawn[edit]

Dullahan DD.png

The boss fight with this version of Dullahan (who is level 48) takes place at the end of the deepest floor of the Dark Dawn incarnation of Crossbone Isle, ensuing once you approach the Iris summon tablet (at first, the six blue torches in the room will light out as though to provide the player with an opportunity to turn back, and then taking a step further toward the tablet will make Dullahan appear and engage the battle).

Dullahan is essentially a slight modification of his appearance in The Lost Age, so most of the strategy posted in the above section applies to this battle in the same way. Despite this version of Dullahan having a very slightly lower Attack statistic, he may be even harder than before because he has significantly-increased Defense and Agility statistics, as well as one all-new ability in his repertoire: the exact summon-stealing mechanic that Valukar used in his own boss battle in The Lost Age, "Crucible". So now, not only can he entirely defeat a summon-rush approach with a random Djinn Storm, he has a secondary chance to turn a summon-rush approach back at the party by using the highest-available summon sequence the party's Standby Djinn can allow for at the party itself, at the expense of the party's own Djinn. The higher agility also makes it harder for all party members to be able to unleash their summons before they are hit and potentially downed by Dullahan's abilities, and makes a Lull-based summon rush much harder to execute successfully. Despite all this, a similar summon-rushing tactic to The Lost Age is still the "standard" method of winning the Dullahan battle, though the chance it will fail will be higher. (Be sure never to allow Dullahan the Standby Djinn necessary for him to summon Coatlicue, since its extremely powerful regenerative effect will undo all of the damage you have accumulated on Dullahan.)

As for a traditional battling approach with a very highly-level party in high-tier classes, a variety of things makes this harder to pull off as well. In addition to the higher agility, Dullahan has higher Defense, which will partially mitigate some of the damage dealt by the party's physical attacks. Furthermore, the more randomized weapon unleash system of Dark Dawn will make attacking with weapons with a high unleash rate somewhat less effective on average, increasing the value of using Ronins with access to the Quick Strike Psynergy - but the "Four Ronin" approach mentioned in the previous section is partially defeated by the fact that only three Adepts can be Ronins (Himi does not have access to it), so some kind of substitute will have to be made to form a party that can possibly survive Dullahan's attacks after being hit by a Djinn Storm. Sveta in her Beastform is an extremely powerful but temporary option.

Nonetheless, battling Dullahan with a high-class party that does not require summons is a more appealing option in Dark Dawn than in The Lost Age, primarily because it is very easy to gain many levels in the endgame by repeatedly battling the Tua Warriors at Apollo Sanctum. Furthermore, every single battle with a Tua Warrior gives a guaranteed Water of Life, so all party members can be given a collection of the reviving items, which can help a party survive even a Djinn Storm if their levels are high enough.

Like the GBA version of Dullahan, the Dark Dawn version has a uniquely pre-determined cycling sequence for his attack choices. The sequence of moves he uses is similar to the sequence from the GBA version, except for group F below. His choice of moves can be predicted accurately based on the following chart:

Group A: 1. Condemn 2. Charon 3. Curse
Group B: 1. Djinn Storm 2. Haunt 3. Fulminous Edge
Group C: 1. Dark Contact 2. Attack 3. Fulminous Edge
Group D: 1. Break 2. Attack 3. Dark Contact
Group E: 1. Element Swap 2. Haunt 3. Curse
Group F: 1. Fulminous Edge 2. Bind 3. Crucible
Group G: 1. Attack 2. Dark Contact 3. Fulminous Edge
Group H: 1. Attack 2. Element Swap 3. Attack

Unlike the GBA version where he can pick any of his moves as starting move; when the battle with Dullahan starts, the first move he will use will be the first move of any of the eight "groups" listed above, chosen at random. Following this, he will use every move to follow in exact order, and when he has carried out the last Attack in Group H, his next move will be the first Condemn in Group A. These 24 moves will therefore be cycled through indefinitely throughout the fight; note, however, that Dullahan will pass over using Break if no party members have any statistical increases that can be removed with Break at that point in time, and that Dullahan will similarly pass over using Crucible if there are no available Standby Djinn for the frontal party at that point in time. Taking the above into consideration, the following strategic points present themselves:

  • Dullahan has an effective 1/8 chance to use Djinn Storm as his very first move when battle is initiated, and there is no way to discern whether "Group B" will be his starting point for his attack cycle until he uses the first move. In the case that this does end up being the first move, you will most likely want to reset and start the battle, so that Dullahan's attack cycle starts at one of his other seven "starting points".
  • Djinn Storm will otherwise be fairly certain to occur roughly only once every eight turns, and will always take place two actions after his highly dangerous Charon summon, which also effectively takes place roughly every eight turns. If the battle starts at his "Group A" of attacks or at a group shortly before that, you can ensure relatively certainly that Djinn Storm will be the first of his three moves attempted during your party's next turn. In that case, you have the capacity to negate the threat by having a party member (hopefully still alive after Charon) use either Doldrum or Ivy to prevent the action with which Dullahan would have carried out Djinn Storm, forcing him to proceed with his subsequent attacks.
  • Crucible - which yet again is essentially used only once every eight turns due to Dullahan following a strict cycle - will always follow his usage of the Bind Psynergy. If Dullahan's third and last action for a given turn is Bind, and you still need to use a large number of your party's On Standby Djinn for a salvo of summons, you can choose to prevent Dullahan from wasting your own Djinn by using Doldrum or Ivy against him.

Dullahan's statistics are as follows:

Name HP PP Attack Defense Agility Luck
Dullahan 16000 351 657 325 297  ?
Elemental Resistances Turns Exp Coins Item Dropped Drop Rate
Star mercury.gif 190   Star venus.gif 150   Star mars.gif 130   Star jupiter.gif 110 3 58800 4732 n/a n/a

Dullahan, like in the previous game, regenerates 200 HP and 100 PP at the end of every turn, effectively granting him infinite PP.

Dullahan uses these battle commands:

Command Chance
to use
Elem. Stats
used with *
Description
Attack  ?? -- Standard physical attack.
Bind  ?? Star jupiter.gif Level ?? Psynergy costing 4 PP that displays a glowing symbol onto a targeted Adept. There is a chance that the target's Psynergy capabilities will be Sealed for a period of time.
Break  ?? -- Psynergy costing 5 PP that removes any statistical buffs from the current battling party.
Charon  ?? Star venus.gif 110 Power
Star venus.gif Level ??
Summon sequence that deals a Venus-aligned attack that hits the whole party with medium damage distribution exclusive to summons. Its damage is equal to 500 base damage plus an amount equal to 30% of the target's total health, meaning this ability gets stronger on a higher-leveled party. Each hit target has a chance to be instantly downed by this attack.
Condemn  ?? Star venus.gif Level ?? Psynergy costing 8 PP which attempts to instantly down a party member.
Crucible  ?? Star venus.gif 110 Power
Star mars.gif Star jupiter.gif Star mercury.gif 100
Power each
Enemy ability that allows Dullahan to perform a Summon fueled by the party's currently available Standby Djinn, and the party's own Djinn are put into recovery mode appropriately. When executed, the summon chosen is always the "highest" summon the party's current collection of on Standby Djinn would allow for at that moment.
Curse  ?? Star venus.gif Level ?? Psynergy costing 6 PP that may afflict the target with a 7-turn Death Curse status ailment.
Dark Contact  ?? Star venus.gif 110 Power
Star venus.gif Level ??
Enemy ability that deals a Venus-aligned attack with 180 base damage that is spread out across 3 enemies with high damage distribution, and for each enemy hit by this attack, Dullahan has a chance to restore HP equal to the damage dealt.
Djinn Storm  ?? -- Enemy ability that forces all of the current battling party's Djinn into Recovery mode.
Element Swap  ?? -- Enemy ability that changes the order in which recovery Djinn will recover
Fulminous Edge  ?? -- Enemy ability where Dullahan wields a huge beam of purple lightning fashioned in the shape of a long sword and slashes through an Adept with extreme power while stationary. Deals a Jupiter-aligned standard physical attack with the end result multiplied by 2.8.
Haunt  ?? Star venus.gif Level ?? Psynergy costing 5 PP which attempts to afflict up to 3 party members with the Haunt status condition.


Background and story[edit]

Dullahan awaits Adepts brave, capable, or foolish enough to challenge him for the Iris summon tablet in either The Lost Age or Dark Dawn.

Dullahan has little provided context and even less relevance to the story in the Golden Sun games themselves. It is merely an extremely powerful entity resembling a large, animate suit of purplish-blue armor without a head, redesigned in its Dark Dawn appearance with a ghostly flame emitting from its head and a shield with a self-animating face (which may possibly represent Dullahan's "head"). It guards the capacity to summon Iris, "the sun's power", in both games it appears in - in The Lost Age, it is situated in the furthest depths of the Anemos Inner Sanctum near Contigo and the giant crater that was the former site of the City of the Anemos; originally, this allowed for speculation on its origins in regards to the Anemos culture, but Dark Dawn, taking place 30 years later, seemingly contradicts Dullahan's previous details by having him guard the Iris summon in a completely different location on practically the opposite end of Weyard, the Dark Dawn incarnation of Crossbone Isle (which also does not seem to adhere to much of the canon from its GBA appearance; as it is postgame-only content in a game with a story that resets to just before the final boss after the game is completed and saved as a postgame file, the Dark Dawn versions of Dullahan and Crossbone Isle may be intentionally non-canonical, spiritual carry-overs from the past games included strictly for gameplay's sake). Regardless of the game, when Dullahan is approached by the party of Adepts near the end of the game, he telepathically recites the following line before attacking the party:

“I am the shadow, the keeper of light. If you want the sun’s power, show me your own.”

In the meantime, the Necromage class in The Lost Age, provided by the Tomegathericon item, includes a Psynergy that resembles the user summoning an image of Dullahan to attack an enemy with its extremely powerful Fulminous Edge, in the same vein as earlier-level Psynergy that lets the user call on images of zombies and demons to attack the target. This is possible regardless of whether the real Dullahan in the Anemos Inner Sanctum has been defeated or not. It is unknown what relevance this has to the series lore.

Cultural references[edit]

The dullahan is a powerful fairy from Irish folklore, and is essentially the Irish version of the Grim Reaper (its name means "dark man"). It takes the form of a horseman who carries his head under his shoulder. This head has tiny, constantly flitting black eyes, a hideous ear to ear grin, and flesh the color and texture of moldy cheese. Often, the horse itself is headless, and the dullahan may drive a coach pulled by several such headless horses. Gates cannot stop the dullahan's journey--they just unbar automatically as it approaches. Once the dullahan stops riding, it calls out a name. The mortal who is named dies, and the dullahan drags his or her soul to the afterlife. Those who try to spy on the dullahan riding across the country are rewarded with a bucketful of blood splashed in their faces. Curiously, dullahans are terrified of gold--even a gold pin can drive them away from their task.

That dullahans are so closely associated with death is probably the reason why Necromages can call upon one to fight on their behalf, and why the boss can call on Charon so readily.

Trivia[edit]

  • As of Dark Dawn, Dullahan is the only summon-guarding "superboss" whose elemental weakness has no relation to the primary element of the summon it guards. In this case, Dullahan is vulnerable to Jupiter attacks but protects a Mars summon. By comparison, the other three superbosses in The Lost Age are weak to the element opposite of the summon they guard, while the two new guys in Dark Dawn are weak to the same element as their summon.
  • Dullahan is the enemy with the second-highest HP rating in Dark Dawn, behind the 16,066 HP of the fifth Ogre Titan.

External links[edit]

Bosses in Golden Sun
Vault BanditsTretSaturosKiller ApeHydros StatueManticoreKrakenAzartSatrageNavampaToadonpaStorm LizardTempest LizardSaturos and MenardiFinal bossDeadbeard
Bosses in Golden Sun: The Lost Age
ChestbeatersKing ScorpionBriggs and Sea FightersAqua HydraSerpentAvimanderPoseidonMoapa and KnightsKarst and AgatioFlame DragonsFinal bossValukarSentinelStar MagicianDullahan
Bosses in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Tangle BloomDim DragonDim Dragon PlusStealthy ScoutsSand PrinceKu-Tsung and Ku-EmbraIce QueenSludgeMountain RocBlados and ChalisBlados, Chaos Hound, and ChalisFinal bossOgre TitansAncient DevilStar MagicianDullahan
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