Opinion; Mario & Luigi Dream Team’s Toughest Bosses
Generally, Mario & Luigi Dream Team is seen as a more difficult game than the others in the series. With bosses that have dangerous attacks that actually take some effort to avoid (unlike everything in Bowser’s Inside Story), enemies that can hit pretty hard and long, confusing dungeon like areas, the game is seen as arguably the most brutal Mario RPG in the entire history of Mario RPGs.
But which bosses are the toughest to beat? The most annoying to take down? Well that’s what this list is all about. Here are what I consider the toughest and most annoying bosses in Mario & Luigi Dream Team.
10. Thunder Sass (Dreamy Wakeport)
First on the list, one of Big Massif’s apprentices in Dreamy Wakeport. Now admittedly, all of them can be annoying if you’re bad at some aspect of the game, since their gimmicks range from ‘win in three turns’ to ‘get Excellents only’ to ‘constantly heal non stop’. But even out of all these annoying minibosses, Thunder Sass is the most aggravating.
Why? Well let me mention the ‘battle condition’ in one line:
‘Win only via counter attacks’.
Yep, that’s pretty much the most aggravating battle ‘gimmick’ you can ever come up with, and against this guy, it’s just plain torture. I mean, his attacks are super fast to an almost ludicrous degree and hit like a truck, and you want Mario to only fight by counter attacks? Hell, when most people get to this point and see the gimmick (or how quickly he charges at Mario), their face ends up looking like Mario’s after the Zeekeeper asks for 80 million of his coins to take down the castle! And this guy’s a bloody mini boss!
Ah well, at least his health is low enough that it’s not too bad, and you only get to heal anyway (meaning you can keep alive as long as your items hold out). The others on the list? Not so merciful.
9. Big Massif (Dreamy Wakeport)
And after the student, we have his mentor, in the form of Big Massif in Dreamy Wakeport.
Put simply, this guy is seen as one of the first ‘hard’ battles of Dream Team in general. Okay, he’s not exactly anywhere near as hard as the latest bosses on the list or anything of the sort, but after the likes of Torkscrew, he’s an absolutely massive difficulty spike.
What makes this the case is one thing; Big Massif hits ridiculously hard with his attacks. As in, hard enough that many players will end up getting two hit KOed by just about anything he does. That’s quite scary, and it only gets more so on Hard Mode.
Additionally, Massif has absolutely no ‘tells’. Really, I’m not kidding. You have to pay attention to the Hooski guys in the background to figure out what he’ll do next, since the main man shows absolutely no signs of how his attack is going to go as its in progress. This means that telling the difference between when he’s going to run straight/jump and when he’s going step back before punching a tower at you is far easier said that done. Or figuring out at which point he’ll stop bouncing of his minion’s hands and charge into you.
There’s also his chase attack, which has a slow but weirdly timed shockwave that can be tricky to dodge and his jump attack that can easily hit an unwary player for six. If he does this after another attack at the end of the battle (and Mario is weak), then you’re in trouble.
Above: Oh God no…
So that’s why he’s listed. But if he’s so hard, why is he only the ninth on the list?
Because of a couple of things. Namely how he’s just plain less of a challenge than at least the last seven entries on the list and because all his attacks bar one are shared with his Hooraw followers that you have to beat up before him. And so if you’re figured out how to counter most of their attacks, you should have figured out how to defend against Big Massif too.
That’s why Big Massif ends up at ninth place on this list.
8. Bowser and Antasma (Dream’s Deep)
The boss seen by many players as the first real ‘challenge’ in the game (outside of Hard Mode), the Bowser and Antasma fight in Dream’s Deep can be a pretty difficult encounter for that point in the game.
For one thing, you have very little in the way of attacking options, with only Luiginary Ball being at your disposal. Which, when you consider the lack of damage said attack actually does to stronger enemies, makes this fight much, much tougher and longer than it’d usually be.
Additionally, their attacks are also kind of challenging to dodge, with the punch attack being very easy to mess up the timing on and the chase scene being even worse (and doing a hell of a lot of damage if Bowser his you in spike ball form). So it’s not particularly easy to last out their attacks either.
However, it’s not the most challenging fight in the world, or even high on the list. What stops it from being this is their health It’s too low, to the point even GROBOT has more health than this duo does!
Above: A comparison of their stats. Data taken from this boss guide
Indeed, in the Battle Ring, they’re actually one of the easier opponents due to how quickly their 771 health ends up being drained by your powerful Luiginary Attacks. I mean, one or two Luiginary Walls and that’s about it for old Bowser in this fight. And even in the first encounter, it’s not like he can survive too many hits with Luiginary Ball or the like before he goes down.
So Bowser and Antasma (as a team) get listed as the eighth boss on this list for being an annoying wake up call boss after a fairly easy run. Albeit with their low health hindering their placement.
7. Drilldigger (Hard Mode)
Wait, what? Drilldigger? You mean the first ever giant boss of the game? This guy was easy!
Well yes. On Normal Mode. On Hard Mode? Good god the fight becomes a pain.
He shoots out multiple tornadoes at a time, forcing you to jump with almost surgical precision. He shoots missiles by the dozen load, forcing you to counter a hell of a lot more shots than you would normally…
And then you try the Battle Ring version and get promptly torn apart.
Above: Notice something about the ‘turn limit’ and ‘best turn’ records? Yeah…
Because you see, Hard Mode’s Giant Battles in the Battle Ring are not lenient with you making mistakes. Your turn limit is literally identical to the exact number of turns you theoretically need to beat the boss on a ‘perfect run’. Which means an easy boss like Drilldigger becomes an infuriating pain in the backside. You miss one attack, you might as well restart the battle, since you physically CANNOT WIN. Oh, and did you mess up those jump/hammer attacks? Better restart there too, since anything less than a Great on most of them means you won’t take this guy down in time.
For putting us through a perfect run experience with no room for error, Drilldigger reaches the 7th spot on the difficult bosses list.
6. Kamek (Neo Bowser Castle)
Next on the list, is Kamek. Kamek, especially in his final battle, can basically be summed up as ‘that boss you need Luiginary Wall to defeat’. That’s no joke, just having Luiginary Wall and mastering it makes this battle ten times easier.
But the reason he’s on this list is this; if for some reason you haven’t been paying much attention to Luiginary Attacks and have only a few basic ones (especially if you only have Luiginary Ball for some reason), then the battle becomes a complete and utter nightmare.
This is because to be perfectly blunt, Luiginary Ball absolutely SUCKS as far as damage done to enemies goes. And those other non Wall/non Typhoon attacks? Either only hit one enemy or (in the case of Flame) only hit for an absolutely miniscule amount of damage.
So you either have to hit all the Kamek clones at once for maybe 100 damage per hit, or hit one at a time for about 300-400 damage per hit. Which when coupled with the high health of each Kamek clone, means plenty of opportunities for them to team up against you.
Team up in this case means ‘raise each other’s attack and defence stats’. Which means that in this battle, them getting the chance to do this just make it take even longer. Oh, and since there are four opponents, that means they get to use four tough attacks against you in sequence. Of which one (the Thwomp chase) seems to take about 10-15 minutes and another (the broom attack) seems to be kind of annoying to dodge. Oh, and sometimes they’ll spend much of that time healing each other, making their decent amount of health take even longer to take down.
All in all, Kamek’s third boss battle in Dream Team is a potentially difficult and annoying one, and hence while it ranks 4th on this list.
5. Pi’illodium (Somnom Woods)
And as is the rule for these games, one of the last and most annoying bosses happens to be yet another killer robot. Kind of like Junker from Mario & Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story really.
Pi’illodium though has a few interesting aspects to his boss battle that can make him really, really annoying if you don’t quite figure out what to do properly.
Like that hammer attack where he goes off screen before striking. That’s kind of cheap to be honest, what with the fact you have no way to really tell when you’re supposed to counter and hence can only learn how to avoid it through trial and error.
It also seems to have annoyingly high chance of causing the hit character to become dizzy and unable to attack or defend themselves. This is pretty much a death warrant in a boss battle like this one, where Bros Attacks are near enough required to defeat the enemy quickly and where Pi’illodium himself seems to be savvy enough to capitalise on Mario or Luigi’s misfortune.
How? Easy, he just tends to follow up his hammer attack with another one, and deliberately aim to take down the character who’s now too dizzy/stunned to fight back. That’s pretty smart for a boss in an RPG, and annoying as hell for whatever players have to actually fight it. Especially as his attacks are just about powerful enough that an unfortunate character stunned by the first attack is most likely going to be immediately KOed by the follow up one. And we all know what that means. More opportunities for this Pi’illodium thing to try and blow up Mario and Luigi with missiles, laser blasts and whatever else it seems to have at its disposal.
And soon after, it all ends up going downhill, like a long, extended sequence of disaster dominoes. One failed hammer hit equals one dazed Luigi. One dazed Luigi equals one knocked out Luigi. One knocked out Luigi means Mario wastes a valuable turn to revive him, so then fails to keep up his own health. Pi’illodium’s next attack then wipes out Mario, leaving Luigi running like mad while missiles are fired from all sides before potentially being knocked flying for a total party kill. In the Battle Ring, this scenario’s chance of happening is pretty much doubled.
Above: Tealgamemaster’s loss at 10 minutes in shows exactly how fast this fight can go downhill.
In fact, I’d say Pi’illodium’s battle difficulty isn’t so much that the boss itself has a ton of health or the like, but that it’s a boss that can very easily kill you in a few hits if you accidentally take too long, which is incredibly easy to do if you don’t cotton on to how he’s weak to Slingsniper and has breakable wings. And then there’s the self destruct sequence, which can easily wipe out an unprepared player simply due to how little time you get given to end it. Good luck if you forget to destroy the wings first!
That’s why Pi’illodium is at number 5 on the list.
4. Dreamy Bowser (finale)
The final boss. The battle to end all battles. And believe you me it’s a tough one.
I mean, his attacks hit hard and come fast, with that spike hammer attack being fairly tricky to dodge, his pick up and throw move requiring a fairly unreliable control scheme to counter it (mashing A or B so you catch the other bro as they’re about to hit the floor) and his chase with fire sequence being insanely long, very difficult to dodge and being used fairly often. The attacks look impressive and are fun to dodge, but damn you have to admit they can wipe you out pretty easily.
And when he goes into the background and sets a swarm of dreamy enemies to take on the Mario bros in his stead, you get possibly one of the most annoying parts of the battle, where you have to take out all the dream enemies while Bowser heals a huge amount of health per turn with an infinite supply of meat. This can easily make the battle take a ridiculously long time if you’re either unlucky enough that he’ll use the move non stop or don’t have very many Bros Attacks to hit a large crowd of enemies with (if you’ve got no Zee Egg or Fire Flower, this is ridiculous).
But wait, Dreamy Bowser’s only fourth on the list? Why?
Because to be honest, his health is low enough that it’s ridiculously easy to complete break the fight wide open with either the right gear or some useful badge effects.
Now admittedly, this was also true of the other final bosses in the series too (I can completely destroy Cackletta’s Soul, Elder Princess Shroob and Dark Star Core in seconds now), but at least their health was high enough that a normal leveled character could theoretically do something like stop time and still not do enough damage to wipe them out immediately.
Dreamy Bowser on the other hand? His health is only about 2500 something, so anyone within about 20 levels of Rainbow Rank can take him down before much of a battle ensues. Indeed, someone on Youtube supposedly managed this very feat… in only about 10-15 minutes at level 23.
Above: And I can wipe him out in under three minutes flat.
That’s not to say it’s a bad thing (it’s actually the opposite, in that I LIKE having a final boss which isn’t a glorified puzzle that you have to slog through for two hours), but it does limit his difficulty in general, and hence cause him to only reach spot number 4 on this list.
3. Earthwake (Dreamy Wakeport)
Oh God, this thing. When it comes to annoying bosses and attacks in the game, Earthwake is probably the only enemy in the game that almost everyone dislikes fighting. And his hammer attack? The one attack almost everyone seemingly has trouble with, to the point not ONE person on Youtube has managed to counter/dodge it entirely.
Now admittedly, once you do manage to avoid the hammer attack (either through good timing or plain luck), this fight isn’t so bad. But damn, that hammer attack can go to hell. Oh, and do you know something here?
That one attack gets even more aggravating on Hard Mode. Why? Because he swings at Luigi more often when attacking. And what this ends up meaning is that whereas you had a small chance of coming out in one piece in Normal Mode and couldn’t do too well against the attack, on Hard Mode you can literally go from full health to dead in a single turn. That’s… impressive for a giant boss to be honest, considering that even the Zeekeeper and Giant Bowser can’t quite drain Giant Luigi’s health that quickly.
And to add to the frustration, this is a long, long battle with the most annoying part being at least three quarters of the way through it. So if you die to the hammer of death that pretty much damn near everyone seems to have died to once, that means you have to go through the first five to ten attacks before getting another shot at avoiding/countering it. And on Hard Mode?
You don’t even get the luxury of restarting the battle, you just get booted to the title screen. Oh, did you forget that this battle doesn’t start quickly? Yeah, it doesn’t. You have to hit at least one ! block, listen to a bunch of speech from Earthwake, see his head fly into the air and summon a bunch of buildings with more speaking, watch him chase Mario and Luigi, hold the L mark on Luigi’s cap to make the Luiginoids fly into him, skip the cut scene where he chases giant Luigi for a bit…
And then play through the entire damn first three quarters of the battle again, hoping you both avoid taking too many hits in part 1 and avoid the dreaded hammer in part 2. Really, if you’re playing on Hard Mode, this guy and the Zeekeeper will test your patience to their limits, if only because of how much damn speaking and how many random things you have to skip through to get to where you ‘messed up’ the first time around.
Above: This gets very, very annoying after the second, third or fifty second time in Hard Mode.
To add to all this, the battle has an annoying tendency to end up being extremely long. Why? Because Earthwake takes less damage from your normal attacks than most Steel type Pokemon do, and so the only way to cause him significant damage is to knock him back into the sea. Unfortunately, if he hits you… then you get knocked back the other way, and hence your next hammer uppercut move won’t knock him back far enough to get in a ton of hits. Did I mention how later in the battle he just magically seems to hold his ground and not get knocked back as far with each hammer hit? It just means the battle ends up taking forever if you can’t counter everything perfectly and makes the turn limit in the Battle Ring an absolute pain in the ass.
Finally, the whole fight itself kind of comes out of complete nowhere when you think about it, since you only ever learn of a ‘terrible guardian’ two minutes before the fight in a single cut scene. So it’s basically a giant space flea from nowhere that also happens to be one of the most annoying and somewhat difficult bosses in the entire adventure. How fun…
2. Zeekeeper (Dreamy Somnom Woods)
And now, the boss everyone seemingly finds infuriating. It’s a great battle to play if it works, but the Zeekeeper fight is just plain aggravating in so many different ways in this game.
Like how the entire battle is basically the boss’ turn. So if you can’t counter or block one of his attacks properly, that means about half your chances of taking down his health are unavailable and you’re pretty much screwed. Oh, and while some people likely haven’t noticed this, you have to counter/dodge his attacks perfectly to catch up with him. If you get hit once? Then you fall behind and he moves onto his next move. And his next one after that.
What this means is that the battle can end up being very, very long indeed if you can’t dodge everything perfectly, since constantly failing means you have to go through three different attacks before you even get a turn, every single time.
To add to this, Hard Mode makes the battle even more sadistic still. You see, at least in Normal Mode, you sometimes get a chance to restore health by collecting Mushrooms mid attack. And the amount of shots you have to dodge is fairly low in each one.
On Hard Mode? He attacks faster, he attacks more often… and you get no chance to heal via Mushrooms found in the battle itself. So if you get hit and somehow end up with less than a third of your health, you either have to waste one of your precious two attacking turns (assuming you somehow make it through all his attacks beforehand) or hope for some sort of divine mercy and go charging through the rest of the fight as a one hit wonder. Either way, it’s a choice between either making the battle even longer than it has to be or virtually guaranteed death. Ah fun.
There’s also the infamous anti gravity portal sections, which are both somewhat annoying to control to begin with (really Nintendo? Gyro controls here?) but that also have a very, very annoying chance of glitching up and making it impossible to win. How? In absolutely any damn way the game feels like, ranging from just not responding at all (Luigi’s stuck in either the corner or centre of the screen permanently), being very unresponsive but stil theoretically work or even in some cases, INVERT THEMSELVES mid battle! Did I mention you have to dodge a bunch of attacks to even get to these sections? No? Well you do, so it means you lose the battle at seemingly random for no freaking reason at all.
Above: This guy sees exactly what sucks about the gyro controls at about ten minutes in.
Add in how the Hard Mode Battle Ring gives you yet another ridiculously low turn limit (just FOUR turns this time!), forcing you to counter everything perfectly again, and you’ve got the recipe for one of the most infuriating boss battles of all time.
Oh, and if you’re playing in the story in Hard Mode, this battle gets even harder and more annoying by how you get sent back to the TITLE SCREEN when you die! So not only is this a difficult battle made up of about 80% dodging enemy attacks, but it’s also making you click through the title screen, file select menu, egg breaking part of the game and fifteen minute cut scene every time you want to restart. It’s enough that I nearly wanted to throw my 3DS out of a 20th story window by the time I was done with this fight, or at very least take a sledgehammer to the screen myself.
Above: Brawl in the Family’s Video Games Lives video is basically the tedium of fighting the Zeekeeper in Hard Mode, having to redo damn near everything just to have another shot and blow it soon afterwards.
The Zeekeeper battle is infuriating, and its Hard Mode version one of the most gruelling, difficult experiences in RPG history. Hence why it comes in at number two on this list.
1. Antasma/Antasma X (Neo Bowser Castle/Battle Ring)
Finally, we’re done to this. The hardest boss in the entire game.
What is it?
Yes, you read that right. Not Dreamy Bowser the final boss. Not the aggravating annoying Zeekeeper or Earthwake. Not one of the other numerous baddies listed above. But plain old Antasma and his X clone from the Battle Ring.
So what makes him worthy of this you may ask? Well to be honest, three things do.
For starters, his health is ridiculously high (especially in the Battle Ring). No seriously, he has more health than the final boss does and yet in the Battle Ring, they give you a whopping FOURTEEN turns to defeat him! Think that sounds generous? His gimmick will often cut that in half, and then his other attacks and tricks will then take even more turns away from that. So he’s got a high amount of health, and in the Battle Ring is actually harder to take down quickly than the bonus boss.
His ‘gimmick’ is another thing that makes him hard here. You see, if Antasma or his Battle Ring version hit you with an attack, then you fall asleep. Falling asleep means a potentially difficult chase through a void filled with holes to various rooms, of which most have deadly sawblade traps you have to dodge with the gyroscope. And not only is the right pit kind of hard to choose due to its extremely obscure ‘hint’ (jump over each pit to mark the colour of its border, the rainbow one is the exit), but it’s made nearly impossible by how Antasma’s attacks in the nightmare void are random and can knock you clean into the wrong pit through no fault of your own. Or you jump the energy blast, then find you have no space to jump the pit in front of you or take a diversion to check one at the top or bottom of the screen. It’s infuriatingly random.
Oh, and that’s not all. If you fall into the nightmare realm, you lose a whole turn. Those twelve turns in the Battle Ring? Can easily come down to seven or so if you’re unlucky/bad with timing.
So you’ve got a boss with a lot of health and a gimmick that can waste your turns and cause no end of aggravation. That wouldn’t be so bad in most cases, especially if his attacks were easy to dodge. Unfortunately, quite a few of them aren’t.
Like his bat swarm attack for instance. Remember that easy attack he used in the tutorial? It returns here, except with about ten times the amount of bats. And hitting just ONE of those causes Mario to get surrounded by a dark aura and fall asleep when it’s over. To add to this, trying to work out which bats are gonna hit you without the 3D effect on is far more difficult than it seems, and tripping here (assuming you don’t get put to sleep by the bat that did it) means you’re practically guaranteed to end up in nightmare land when the attack ends due to having no way to dodge the next bat coming towards you.
Another one of his attacks that’s annoying is the orb ring attack. You see, in this battle, he generates a bunch of orbs (somewhat funnily called ‘Antasmamunchies’ that he eats to power up before attacking). And in one attack, he chases Mario while throwing the orbs in a ring, with Mario having to be inside and then jump to avoid the shockwave. This is trickier said that done (thanks to both the camera angle and how he sometimes changes the orb’s direction mid throw) and extremely painful if you miss to boot. Did I mention that this can also send you to the nightmare realm? No? Well it can.
Above: This shows exactly what can go wrong if you’re not great at dodging his attacks…
But it’s not even just his deadly attacks that are annoying. No, he can also pull Dreamy Luigi out of Mario’s body and toss him in one of those orb things, forcing Mario to waste a turn trying to free his trapped bro (and having no way to do Luiginary Attacks until he succeeds). This is more than a tad annoying, especially if there happens to be quite a few Antasmamunchies surrounding him and you just happen to blink at the wrong time when they’re being arranged. And in the Battle Ring, you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose if you take more than two turns when he does this.
He can also generate a forcefield and turn the orbs into spider like creatures you have to take out. While healing himself by 200 HP per turn. This can be extremely annoying if you take too long getting rid of his minions.
And so that’s why Antasma/Antasma X is my choice for most difficult boss in Mario & Luigi Dream Team. He’s not the final one, not a giant battle opponent, but is still generally one of the most annoying to fight.
Honourable Mentions (and non inclusion reasons)
The boss people will likely call me insane for not listing, I didn’t list Giant Bowser because to be honest, I always found it more of a fun fight than a difficult or annoying one.
His attacks are fairly simple to dodge (especially in his even bigger form at the end of the battle), the gyro section is thankfully kept to just one small part of a longer battle and even Star Driver isn’t that bad, since there’s no big consequence for failing and you can even have it simplified.
And after defeating him in merely two tries on Hard Mode, then my first try in the Battle Ring, I really can’t take him too seriously as a challenge any more.
I didn’t include this guy (despite his bonus boss status) because his attacks are just not that hard to avoid and don’t really hit hard enough. His health is impressive, his difficulty level not so much.
Well, did you agree with my list? Think I missed out some bosses that were extremely difficult and should have been on there? Comment here or on Nintendo 3DS Community.com today!
P.S. If you want to see most of the above get blasted to pieces, watch my level 100 ‘maul everything to a KO in one turn’ Battle Ring run here: