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Cuphead boss guide: Grim Matchstick in ‘Fiery Frolic’

We should all strive to house a marching band made of flames in our stomachs.

Grim Matchstick is the final boss in Inkwell Isle II. Appropriately, he is also the hardest fight you have faced yet. But this is not a regular difficulty increase. This is a full-blown “you better get ready for Cuphead to get very hard” situation. Enter the giant, spiral castle at the back of the island to face down this terrifying dragon in “Fiery Frolic.”

Phase 1: Grim Matchstick

StudioMDHR Entertainment

This fight starts by being difficult, but not because of the boss. Like other fights, this battle takes place in the air. The only difference here is that you don’t have your trusty biplane. Instead, Cuphead will be jumping on randomly spawned clouds. Here in lies the difficulty.

While every fight in Cuphead is different every time you fight it, the randomness of the clouds makes recreating a solid attempt very difficult. The first step to beating Grim is understanding that sometimes cloud positioning is going to make things very hard to dodge. So, once you have his attack pattern down, try focusing on the clouds as hard as you can so you don’t miss a beat.

Grim Matchstick has three attacks in this phase:

  • Eye laser: Grim will fire beams out of his eyes, the last of which is always pink. Dodge them all and then jump in to parry the last one if possible.
  • Tail stab: Grim will wiggle his tail under you for a moment. Soon after, he’ll stab it up into the air, creating an impassible wall and hurting you if you come into contact. Watch for it, and it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Flame ball belch: Grim, being a dragon, also has fireballs. When he looks a little ill, it means that he is about to launch a fireball in your direction. These tend to skate up and down across the screen. Dodge them by waiting for them to dip down and then hopping over them. If he fires two at once, try going through the center.

When yo’ve shot Grim enough, he’ll exit the screen and come back in.

Phase 2: Flame brigade

StudioMDHR Entertainment

This is probably the most inconsistent phase in this entire fight. Grim will appear on the left side of the screen and stick his tongue out. Small flames will then proceed to march down his tongue. Stand on the bottom two rows of clouds (otherwise your shots will miss Grim) and keep shooting at the dragon, careful not to get too close to his flaming nostrils.

What makes this section tough is that the little baby flames will begin flinging themselves at you in an attempt to save Grim. Keep jumping back and forth and look for any opportunity you can to dash out of the their way.

When you’ve damaged him enough, the flames will die down and Grim will grow two more heads. Why not?

Phase 3: Hydra

StudioMDHR Entertainment

This phase is extremely difficult, and clouds make it even harder. Grim’s heads will now shoot little orange balls at you over and over. Avoid shooting these. Hitting them will cause them to explode and radiate out more fire for you to dodge.

Keep shooting the heads and jumping on the clouds. When one of the heads opens its mouth wide, jump to the upper or lower level clouds. The central head will now transform into a flamethrower, ruining your day if you are in the center. Depending on cloud positioning, you may have to dash in some clever ways to get back to safety.

Keep jumping and shooting, and eventually this utter pill of a boss will go down.