Meet the High Dragun
This is it. You've battled through the Bullet Kin, slaughtered the Bullet King, and survived the High Priest. This is your final test. This is what determines whether you're a Gungeoneer - or just a pitiful attempt at one. This is the High Dragun. Descendent from Gunrax, the first Shelldrake, the High Dragun was once thought to be invincible, reigning terror with impudence against all those who enter. Draguns sit atop mountains of ammo, jealousy guarding their hoard, luring challengers to their untimely death.
The High Dragun is not invincible, however, despite the many rumors to the opposite. The High Dragun can be managed, mitigated even, and possibly, with a dash of luck, a good weapon and item outfit, and the smiling of the Gungeon gods themselves, defeated.
The High Dragun is a special boss in that it has two primary phases to its encounter. The first, Phase One, contains the most varied attacks, but is arguably the "safest" of the phases, dealing basic or slightly elevated damage. The Second Phase, however, is incredibly dangerous. As the High Dragun loses health, it becomes enraged, and launches into a vicious all-out assault. The counterpoint to this, thankfully, is that this is the phase in which the High Dragun is the most vulnerable, and is the bulk of where the player's damage will fall.
The Stream of Bullets
The most basic of basic attacks, the High Dragun fires a stream of bullets at the player in a funnel or fountain pattern. The Dragun follows the player's movement, directing the stream towards them as it moves its head in unison.
- This attack is rather easy to mitigate if you keep in mind one point - the Dragun follows you. Use this to kite from a distance. Move to the far side of the room, wait until the stream almost reaches you, then roll out of reach. Doing this once or twice should completely negate the stream, as the Dragun will waste time following your movements, and thus waste time for this active state attack. This attack is where you can deal intense first phase damage, so make sure to keep the pressure up.
The Pistol Rings
In this attack, the Dragun will draw to pistols, and begin to fire rings of bullets that radiate from either the side-front or far-side of his body. This attack has a spreading effect, meaning that the further the bullets travel from the central mass of the High Dragun, the more they will spread from each other. While this grants an opportunity for dodging, it is rather short lived, as the rings fire off in rapid succession..
- This attack is dodgeable, but you really need to pay attention. Because of the rapid succession of the rings, and the Dragun's penchant for following this up with even more intense attacks, you might find yourself rapidly outnumbered by bullets, and thus vulnerable to damage. Move far away from the radiating points, as this will give you ample space between the bullets, and thus more room to dodge.
This is a very difficult attack, and beyond the Bouncing Terror (more on that in a minute), is likely the one that trips up most Gungeoneers. The Dragun fires a Shelldrake Rocket, which speeds across the room, dealing huge damage. This isn't the primary threat, however, as when the rocket encounters the wall, it explodes into a huge series of concentric rings, emanating from the impact zone. This is a very damage attack if hit, and if not properly mitigated (and with bad luck), can even one hit minimally upgraded Gungeoneers.
- There is no real way to negate this attack while staying safe. You can try moving up towards the Dragun, which will mete out some measure of security from damage, but will put you in greater damage to his other attacks. The best course of action here is to use a Blank to negate the rings of damaging bullets.
The Bouncing Terror
In this attack, the Dragun utilizes his pistols to fire several spreads of bouncing bullets. While he can fire to the sides, like his other attacks, he can also fire straight forward. The bullets do not just bounce off the walls, though, so be careful, as they can bounce on the area near the entrance, behind your Gungeoneer.
- This attack is the one that most often trips up novice Gungeoneers. Because of the ability of the bullets to not only bounce off the walls surrounding you, but off the space behind the player, this is entirely a game of space management. Don't be concerned with dealing damage during this time - all the damage in the world is worthless if you're dead. Like other attack strategies, simply move backwards to increase the space between yourself and the first shots - this will give you enough room to dodge between bullets.
The Homing Skulls
This attack sees the Dragun firing a shot of homing skulls. These skulls will follow the player across the arena, and deals decent damage when impacting. Of key note here is that the Dragun often uses a one-shot configuration, meaning as soon as he fires the skulls, he'll pause for a moment, and then resume with a different attack. This makes this attack very dangerous, as you will have to deal with the homing enemies at the same time as more damaging, hard to dodge attacks.
- Whatever you do, destroy the skulls immediately. Because of the short time between this attack and others, you have a sweet spot where you are dealing with only a small amount of enemies; if you wait too long, you'll be facing off against the skulls in addition to whatever the next attack is.
The Fire Bullets
One of the easier attacks to mitigate, this has the Dragun summon fire bullets that travel down either side of the arena, and then cross through the middle. Because of how the bullets cross, there will always be a dead space or path by which you can traverse to safety. A rather simple attack, paired with a rather simple strategy for negation.
- Move backwards and wait. Because the attack hugs the side of the screen and then crosses in front, moving backwards will give you the greatest vantage point. This is a very simple attack to avoid as long as you move away from the crossing point. Look for the dead space between the bullets, and hug the pocket. If you get too overwhelmed, don't be afraid to use a blank, though you likely won't need it once you get the hang of hugging the pockets.
The Large Knives
During this attack, the Dragun throws two rather large knives into the sides of the arena; these knives then emanate bullets, similar to the Pistol Rings, but less verbose.
- Another great, simple attack. During the ring fire, simply target the enemy and deal as much damage as possible. This is going to be a prime opportunity to deal a ton of damage before the Dragun decides to use a more damaging, intense attack.
Now you've gone and made him mad. In the second phase, the High Dragun alternates between vulnerable and invincible. Dealing damage is all about balancing this encounter, and ensuring you are dealing damage when appropriate.
The Bullet Waterfall
The end of many a Gungeoneer, the bullet waterfall is exactly what it says on the tin. The Dragun will rain down an almost impermeable layer of bullets. Thankfully, however, there are several dead spots that the player can take advantage of. Rolling during this section is a good idea - as well as, you know, not dying.
- This is the attack that kills most players. Watch for the dead spots, and roll from the very edge of one dead spot to the next one to make sure you take advantage of the temporary invulnerability granted by the dodge roll. During this attack, the High Dragun is completely invulnerable, so don't worry about dealing damage. If you do make contact, no damage will be dealt.
Dragun Heart Exposed
This is what we've been waiting for. In this momentary lapse of reason, the Dragun will recover from his first waterfall attack, and as such, will expose his heart. There is no "attacks" during this moment, so get in all the damage you can!
- A molotov combination is incredibly effective here. Drop your molotov, then immediately start firing to compound damage quickly and take down the Dragun before it has a chance to breathe.
Bask in Everlasting Glory
The Dragun is beatable - keep that in mind. He's no God, he's just a very angry lizard, and thus can be knocked down a peg or two if you follow this guide closely. Manage your inventory, come with some good weapons, and watch for dead zones - they might stop you from being dead yourself.
For more gameplay tips, check out the Official Wiki, packed to the gills with secrets, references, and guides to surviving the bullet hell onslaught. Want to chat up some fellow Gungeoneers? Head over to our forums!