Challenging boss fights is what you’re here for when you’re playing Cuphead for the Nintendo Switch. Grim Matchstick, a terrifying dragon with an assortment of attacks, is one of these tougher boss fights. You’ll find that the first phase of this fight proves challenging for reasons outside of your control, but once you’ve gotten past this section you’re going to find yourself in a world of hurt going up against the boss’ final phase. You’re going to need luck and skill to topple this fearsome dragon.
When you enter the fight, you’re going to find yourself floating above the clouds. However, unlike other matches that have given you a plane to use, you’re not going to have one. The entire battle is going to have you jumping back and forth on clouds, which randomly generate during the encounter. The erratic behavior of these clouds spawning can make and break a particular run, so you’ll want to watch your jumping throughout each phase.
There are three attacks you need to watch for during the first part of this fight: eye ray, fireballs, and Matchstick’s tail.
You’re going to see the eye ray attack pretty early on. Matchstick’s eyes being to light up colorfully before he releases the attack. The dragon fires out three rings, the first two being golden and the last one being pink, which you can parry. You’ll want to rely on the parry to recover if you’re about to fall off a cloud or need an extra jump.
When Matchstick is about to release a fireball, you’ll see him grab his stomach and suck in a large amount of air. After a few seconds, he’ll release a fireball that goes across the screen in an ‘S’ formation. These are relatively easy to evade until he starts firing two of them at once, one starting at the bottom and the other on the top.
The final attack Matchstick uses in this phase is his tail. He’ll typically use it when he’s spitting out the fireballs. The tail jets up from the bottom of the screen and shoots up into the middle of the map. You’ll know he’s about to shoot it up by seeing the tail swaying back and forth on the bottom right before he shoots it up.
After you’ve beaten his first phase, he’ll pull away from the screen and fly around the castle in the background. He’s going to show up on the left side of the screen where he sits his head down to jet his tongue out, where little firey minions run across his tongue.
These little fire minions are going to gleefully attempt to jump up from the attack and lash out against you. When you see one of them stop, you’ll want to wait on a cloud for a moment and then jump away after they have. You should be able to leap higher than they can, calculating out where you’re going to land on your next cloud.
While this is going on, Matchstick is going to eject a stream of fire upwards from his nostrils. So, you won’t be able to get in too close to him. You’ll want to remain in the middle, to the right side, of the screen. He doesn’t shoot the fire out forever. Eventually, the stack becomes smoke, and at times he’ll stop altogether.
You can wrap this phase up pretty quickly.
The final phase is an extremely tough battle. After you’ve forced Matchstick to recoil, you’re going to see him conjure two more heads, turning him into a far more deadly Hydra.
The three heads are going to rotate in a rotating cycle motion, with the two outside heads occasionally firing out fire orbs at you. It’s best to avoid these, as hitting them causes them to explode and release even more fire you have to handle. It’s better to dodge them, and continually fire at Matchstick.
You need to watch out for the middle head, as it can transform into a deadly flamethrower. This attack releases a single jetstream of fire outwards, forcing you to settle on the bottom or the top of the clouds.
What makes this fight exceedingly tricky is the fact you have to make sure you’re watching the cloud formations. If you don’t pay attention to them or expect them to be in particular places, you’re going to fall off. It’s better to focus on the attacks, and then the clouds, so you can adjust yourself during the fight. You’re going to rely on some clever dashing to keep yourself alive throughout each of Matchstick’s phases.