Bloodborne is back with The Old Hunters, a brutal but brilliant slice of post-release content that not only massively expands upon the release's arsenal but also includes new environments and, of course, boss battles. Following on from our coverage earlier in the year we've decided to put together a guide for all five of the big new beasts that you'll encounter – but remember that there are spoilers within this article, so if you're scared of having something ruined, we'd recommend clicking away right now. May the good blood guide you.

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Ludwig, the Holy Blade

A key figure in Bloodborne lore, Ludwig's appearance will no doubt delight fans of From Software's gothic adventure. The beast starts out in his 'accursed' form, moving about on all-fours and generally making a nuisance of himself by thrashing his front claws about. Stand in front of him and he'll obliterate you, so you'll need to employ your usual Bloodborne tactics: get to the rear. Try not to back off the baddie too much as he has a pretty damaging leap attack which can be devastating if you dawdle. Fire Paper can be particularly effective if you're looking to do additional damage, while it is possible to stun the foe and hit him with some visceral attacks.

Once you've knocked down Ludwig's health bar about half way, he'll transform into his 'holy blade' form. This means that you'll now be facing a much taller foe wielding a gigantic sword. He has amazing range so you're safest hugging his legs if you can. It's possible to stun him so try to make the most of these opportunities to deal some real damage. Just be aware that when he points his sword towards the sky you need to get away, because he's absolutely going to devastate you at that point. It's also worth noting that he can hit you from far away with sonic boom-esque fireballs, though these can be dodged with the right timing. Pick your moments and damage him from up close to finish this fight.

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The Living Failures

This fight's not massively different to the one against the Celestial Emissary, as you'll find yourself overwhelmed by gelatinous substances known as the Living Failures. The trick with this one is to not let yourself get overwhelmed – you're in a round plaza, so start circling the sunflower and striking enemies as you move. Each foe can be dispatched with a handful of hits, but they keep respawning, so make sure that you never stand still. It's also worth trying to get behind them if you can – they'll pound the ground if you bring the fight directly to the front of them.

One thing to be aware of during this boss fight are magic attacks, which have heat-seeking capabilities. They can be dodged, but you'll need to be keeping a close eye on the entire arena to ensure that no one's targeting you. Another thing to be aware of is when all of the enemies stand still with their arms in the air. The screen will go dark at this point and you'll be peppered with fireballs from the sky. Keep dodging and you should avoid these fine. Once you've offed enough of the wannabe Great Ones, you'll have this battle in the bag.

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Lady Maria of the Astral Clocktower

Lady Maria is a pale faced antagonist with a pointy hat and should be fought while listening to the Blondie song of the same name. In her first phase she'll rush at you with her sword, and if you let yourself get cornered she'll pick you off with ease. We found using the Loch Shield – which is located in the Research Hall – to be an effective strategy here, as you can nullify most of her sword strikes with the right timing, and then open up windows of attack. If you don't want to play that way, just make sure that you stay on your toes, as when she closes the gap she's incredibly fast.

Once you've depleted most of her health she'll draw another sword and impale herself with it. Don't worry, she's not surrendering – this is just her way of powering up. At this point the fight becomes really difficult: her attacks deal obscene amounts of damage and have impressive range. Keep your distance, and chip away at her health while she's charging up – then get out of the way. On occasion she'll shoot you with streams of blood, which is particularly unhygienic and difficult to dodge, so make sure that your health's well topped up. Also be aware of the leap attack that she does – this can be particularly devastated. Keep tapping away and she'll succumb to the edge of your blade eventually. And just remember: Marrria, you gotta beat her.

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Orphan of Kos

The Orphan of Kos may not look all that tough at first blush, but don't allow appearances to deceive you – you're going to need a decent stock of Blood Vials if you hope to get anywhere in this fight. In his first phase, the shuffling something makes use of his kidney shaped claw, and he has a lot of tricks up his biological sleeve. By swinging it he's able to cover both close and mid-range distances, so stay away for the first swing and then roll forward when he comes around a second time – you can land a couple of hits here. He has virtually every angle covered in this form: get close and he'll upper-cut you, stay far away and he'll fling bits of meat at you. You're really going to need to be on your toes; pick your moments, and time your dodges just right. This is a difficult fight, but once you've depleted half of his health, it only gets tougher.

Indeed, about halfway through the battle he'll sprout some not-so angelic wings from his rear, which symbolises the fact that you've successfully made him mad. His attack patterns don't change a whole lot, but he gets faster, so you're going to have to be much more responsive to his tells – dodging out of the way of any strikes that he throws at you. One trick that we exploited was when he jumps – if you successfully dodge this, he remains glued to the ground for a second or two, which is a large enough window for you to smack him with a couple of attacks. The trick is to be really patient. He's quick but his attacks are very avoidable, so chip away at his health with every small opening that you have, and stay locked onto him so you know exactly what he's going to do. Oh, and if he buries some flesh into the ground, for God's sake get away – it may seem like you have a window to attack him, but he's planted a landmine, and it's rigged to explode.

Laurence, the First Vicar

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Have you got any additional tips to share regarding the bosses of Bloodborne: The Old Hunters? Which fight do you think is the most difficult? Prepare to die in the comments section below.