Killing Floor 2 Beginner's Guide: How to beat the bosses without dying

Killing Floor 2, the stellar co-op horde shooter, features two terrifying bosses for teams to take down. If you're not careful, either one of them will wipe out your whole squad in moments. Don't worry, though – this guide gives you the intel needed to emerge victoriously!

General boss tips

At present, Killing Floor 2 offers 15 distinct maps for solo and co-op players to take on in survival mode. After clearing all normal waves of enemies, the team must face an unnumbered boss wave. Be sure to fully restock ammo, armor, grenades, and weapons before the boss wave starts – you won't get another chance to use the shop.

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Patriarch

One important tip, as outlined in our Killing Floor 2 beginner's guide, is to buy a healing pistol. The HMTech-101 pistol (found under the field medic tab) only takes up one inventory space, and it only costs 200 dosh. Buy one, and you can use its alternate fire to heal friends from a distance. If everyone on the team carries a healing pistol, you can heal each other after the boss delivers devastating attacks.

The boss you face is random, but there are only two current options: the Patriarch and Dr. Hans Volter. Both can summon minions (regular enemies) during the fight. If at least one member of the squad can survive and kill the boss, everyone gets credit and XP for the win.

Meet the Patriarch

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Patriarch

The first Killing Floor only featured one boss: the Patriarch, who returns in Killing Floor 2. He is the former head of Horzine Biotech, the company responsible for the outbreak of Zeds (monsters) across the world. When his company was in danger of being shut down for its dangerous and unethical practices, the Patriarch forced his remaining staff to implant all of their biomechanical technology into him. After the first game, he continued his work alone, creating more Zeds and further mutating himself.

Ol' Patty, as I assume he likes to be called, has several attacks at his disposal:

  • Minigun
  • Missile
  • Mortar barrage
  • Melee swing
  • Kick
  • Charge
  • Tentacle grab

At close range, you'll mainly face the swing and kick attacks, but Patriarch can also perform a charging shoulder ram that has a cooldown of 7-14 seconds (the cooldown lessens as the fight continues). Getting caught in melee range is dangerous, as all of these attacks pack a punch. But keep moving, and you should hopefully be able to limp off and heal, especially if other players are around to distract him. Also watch out for his tentacle grab, which pulls players into melee range.

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Patriarch

From a distance, you'll need to worry about Patriarch's minigun, missiles, and mortar barrages. He remains stationary when firing the minigun on lower difficulty levels, but can move while shooting on the two highest difficulties. A single burst of minigun fire will kill any player who catches the full burst. Rocket attacks are self-explanatory, dealing splash damage when they strike a player or object.

Patriarch's mortar attack involves him firing explosives up into the air. These fall down and cause a massive blanket explosion on the ground. Because the mortar's target is unpredictable, it's a particularly dangerous attack. Luckily, Patty can't perform it during the first phase of the fight, so your team has a chance of killing him off before he starts raining mortar down. Fighting him in an area with a ceiling will also prevent mortar attacks.

The key to avoiding Patriarch's attacks is to keep moving and stay near cover. Get caught out in the open, and you might be finished off before you can get to cover, so just try to stay near solid objects when possible. Patriarch mostly targets the player who is farthest away from him, so remaining within a reasonable distance (and near other players) is important as well.

Stopping the Patriarch in his tracks

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Patriarch

Patriarch can become invisible, appearing as a Predator-like shimmer. He often starts the fight cloaked, but he'll use it later on as well. Keep an eye out for his shimmer and fire on it as much as possible. Do enough damage, and his cloak will deactivate, which makes things a lot easier.

Cloaking makes things harder when Patriarch tries to heal. He carries three glowing green syringes on his leg, each of which is capable of fully restoring his health. After taking enough damage, Patty will run away (likely cloaking) and try to find an isolated location in which to heal. It's important for everyone to chase after and keep firing on him, as you can potentially stop his escape and even kill him before he heals.

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Patriarch

Patriarch can take paths that players can't, however, so catching him is sometimes impossible. If you're able to lure him into an enclosed place and seal the doors, you can greatly reduce the chance of escape – but the opportunity doesn't come up all that often.

The final key to finishing Patriarch off is to fire on his weak spots, his tentacled right arm (the one with the hand) and the tentacle on his chest. The chest tentacle is only vulnerable when he uses it to grab players. Firing on these areas does extra damage and makes green blood spurt out instead of the usual red. Note that Patty's left arm and especially left leg are damage resistant, so be sure to focus on the right arm, chest, and head above all else.

Introducing Dr. Hans Volter

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

The Early Access version of Killing Floor 2 launched with a single boss, Dr. Hans Volter. Little is known about Dr. Volter's background. He's an elderly mad scientist who wears a Horzine-designed exosuit that sustains his life and grants him dangerous powers. As the name implies, Dr. Volter is also the owner of Volter Manor, which debuted as a playable level in this game.

Volty has several deadly attacks:

  • Dual machine guns
  • Melee attack
  • Melee frenzy
  • Grenade toss
  • Grenade barrage (five or seven grenades)
  • Nerve gas toss
  • Nerve gas barrage
  • Grab and drain

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

Just like the Patriarch, Dr. Volter typically goes through multiple phases during the battle. You can identify the current phase by the color of his chest apparatus. The chest color also indicates how close he is to dying:

  1. Green
  2. Grab and drain
  3. Yellow
  4. Grab and drain
  5. Orange
  6. Grab and drain
  7. Red

Dr. Volter's phases

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

During his green phase, Volter spawns at a random point on the map before approaching the team. He walks slowly and taunts the team until he spots a player. Then he'll start attacking with his dual machine guns, melee attacks, and gas grenades. Getting hit by a grenade will cloud your vision, much like a bloat Zed's acid attack. Just dodge his attacks and fire away during the green phase.

Volter becomes more dangerous as he progresses through his phases. During the yellow phase, he throws more gas grenades and starts using frag grenades. When the orange phase starts, he'll move faster and chase players down more frequently. You can still outrun him and strafe to avoid his melee attacks, however.

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

Volter's red phase is when he becomes the most dangerous. He'll go berserk and relentlessly chase players down. He also starts relying more on melee attacks and grenade barrages than his machine guns.

Between phases, when his life drops low enough, Volter will do a grab-and-drain attack. He can only perform this move three times, just like Patriarch's healing. The bad doctor flies towards a random player and grabs them, then starts draining their life. The draining process takes five seconds, and he gains 85 percent damage resistance during the drain.

This makes shooting him somewhat wasteful, but a strong enough team can still cause Volter some pain if everyone is well armed. If you deal enough damage, Volty will drop his victim without fully recovering his health.

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

Still, the most effective tactic is usually to heal the grabbed player so that he or she doesn't die – hope you bought a healing pistol! After dropping the victim, Volter performs a short animation that leaves him vulnerable to attack. Be sure to take advantage of it.

Dr. Volter's weak spots are his head, chest, and backpack. Concentrate fire on those whenever possible. When he activates his shield, the shield will negate a certain amount of damage before exploding (and causing damage to nearby players). Don't let up on him when you see the shield; just keep attacking and maintaining a safe distance, so you don't get grabbed!

Survive the killing floor

Killing Floor 2 boss guide Dr. Hans Volter

Killing Floor 2 is a horde mode-style first-person shooter that can be played solo or cooperatively with teams of up to six players. It features a whopping 10 classes, 14 characters, and 15 memorable maps to fight through. Our detailed review named it the "best horde game" on Xbox One and awarded it a score of five out of five. If you're into co-op shooters, you can't afford to miss it!

Killing Floor 2 costs $39.99 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam. The retail version is exclusive to GameStop in North America.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!