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Death’s Door: how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns

Death’s Door is a kooky indie action-adventure game that packs a bigger punch than you’d expect. Here’s how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns, the game’s first challenging boss fight.

Death’s Door is one of 2021’s best kept secrets – an indie game with solid gameplay mechanics and a rewarding balance between challenging combat encounters and engaging puzzles. However, considering that the game has finally come to PS5, and its name keeps popping up on this year’s best-of lists, we are expecting more players to soon discover its unique charm.

With that in mind we thought we’d hit you all with a double feature; a quick tech demo that shows off Death’s Door on the PS5, as well as a guide to how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns. This boss is the first big difficulty spike in the game, and the last thing we want is for players to get disheartened, give up and miss out on what is a truly special experience.

Death’s Door takes some of the Dark Souls recipe for success but chooses to go its own way in a number of important ways. Firstly, you unlock spawn points and shortcuts to minimise your time spent trying to get back to where you previously perished. This feature, combined with the fact your souls are yours to keep (no losing them each time you die), means frustration is mitigated.

And this is a good thing because, even if our guide teaches you how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns, you will likely die a fair bit. With that in mind, let’s start by looking at the combat in Death’s Door in general, which should lay a solid foundation for your continued success.

death's door
Image: Death’s Door / Acid Nerve

General combat tips for Death’s Door

When I said that Death’s Door shares some DNA with Dark Souls, a big part of that comes down to how combat and character development works. There is a simple leveling up system which allows you to spend your collected souls on your strength, dexterity, magic, or speed. Do this whenever you can, as these upgrades are an important solution to the game’s difficulty curve.

I would recommended spending a single point in each category first, as good play in Death’s Door will benefit from all of these buffs. As you progress you may find that your style of play relies more on one or two attributes, and in that case you should commit to them and reap the reward.

Now onto the actual act of fighting in Death’s Door – combat in this game is challenging but fair, at times overwhelming but manageable with patience and poise. As we will discuss in relation to the specifics of how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns, each enemy has a unique set of moves.

death's door boss
Image: Death’s Door / Acid Nerve

Knowledge is power in Death’s Door, so do your best to learn how each enemy attacks and work out an appropriate strategy. For example, many enemies will cast dangerous spells that follow your movement, meaning that dodging these attacks is risky and time-consuming. A better strategy is to attack the spell, which will either destroy it or deflect it back towards your enemies.

Finally, prioritise enemies you can quickly dispatch; Death’s Door makes a habit of throwing large numbers of enemies at you and if you don’t deal with them in a prompt manner, you can easily find yourself overwhelmed.

Spellcasters and archer enemies, due to their ability attack from a distance, should generally be taken out first.

how to beat grandma the witch of urns
Image: Death’s Door / Acid Nerve

How to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns (and find her)

Alright, so now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get to how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns. After exploring the Witch’s humble abode, which it must be said is a wonderful example of clever level design, you will be forced into a non-negotiable fight.

If you are having trouble finding Grandma the Witch of Urns, you must first find and release the 4 trapped crow spirits that are hidden in the witch’s mansion. Once this has been done, you must go through the special door (it should now have 4 pink lights on it). This will result in you learning a fire spell.

Return to Grandma the Witch of Urns’ manor and light the two fire pits on either side of the door just past the entrance. This will take you to the basement, a series of puzzles that involve shooting fireballs into furnaces that continually open up the next section of the level.

Rinse and repeat until you find yourself at her location.

death's door how to beat grandma the witch of urns
Image: Death’s Dorr / Acid Nerve

Key strategies

If you are to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns you will need to learn her moves. You should prioritise not taking damage while she attacks, and then rush in between her phases to dish out some damage. If you happen to be rather far away, blasting her with fire balls is a solid strategy. If you are lucky you might even light her on fire!

One of her most dangerous attacks is her spinning urn move where she blasts out projectiles in a ‘bullet hell’ fashion. When she does this, run to the edge of the arena where the spread should make them easier to avoid. If you are feeling confident, feel free to blast her with your ranged attacks.

Conversely, if you want to know how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns in a more up close and personal style, rushing her works too. During her attack where she throws pots into the air, close the gap between her with a few quick rolls and hit her repeatedly. After three solid hits it’s normally a good idea to retreat and regroup.

If you are struggling with one particular attack then focus on avoiding damage during that phase – other attack patterns will follow and you can take advantage of them instead.

Be sure to check out our video of how to beat Grandma the Witch of Urns, as it shows the strategies that I have just discussed (although be sure not to fall off the edge of the arena as I embarrassingly do early on in the video).

Good luck and I hope you enjoy your adventure in Death’s Door!

Death’s Door is available on PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Windows.