Introduction / Tips
Welcome to my simple speedrun guide! I wanted to make something that was specific enough to not leave anyone lost, but also wasn’t too hand-holdy and complicated. After a few hours of work, I can finally publish this and hopefully help you understand how to speedrun the game.
I came up with this route myself, having never speedrun any other game or been in any speedrunning community, so it should be understandable by the average player whether or not they have speedrunning experience. I split this guide into a bunch of segments that travel through one or multiple marked points on the map (below), with a total of 20 marked points. I’m not going to give you super specific routing so that you don’t have to look at the map every second, but I made marks frequent enough that nobody should get lost. There’s also a video of my run, with timestamps, so if you do get lost you can just check it out. Good luck!
Have the guide open in another tab on your computer at all times. Hitting ESC stops the run timer, so you can check back as much as you want.
Practice bosses in Godhome so you don’t lose too much time retrying them. We’ll be fighting False Knight, Hornet Protector, Mantis Lords, Soul Master, Watcher Knights, Dung Defender, Uumuu and THK.
Also be aware that five hours isn’t that tight of a speedrun. Unless you’re going for a better time than that or for a personal best, don’t be discouraged if you screw up or even die a couple times. You can make up time pretty easily in such a loose time limit.
Finally, make sure you’ve played through the game at least twice before even attempting this. You should recognize the rooms and should be able to navigate decently well without an in-game map with wayward compass. That being said, if you forget an area, go to the Video section of the guide and skip to that part of my run.
Use this map to navigate Hallownest.
1: King’s Pass / Forgotten Crossroads
The beginning of the game is about the same as any other playthrough. You go through the King’s Pass as quickly as possible and drop right down into the Old Well (after talking to Elderbug, of course). Since the gate on the far right it locked off, you’ll need to go left to the tall room and drop down. Then go past Cornifer, to the bottom of that room and then right. Keep heading right until you hit the sign going up to the stag station (You’ll need to collect at least 50 geo on your journey there!) and unlock the stag station. Then go up and left, above the stag station (kill the guard for extra cash) and then fight False Knight at point 1 on the map. Don’t go through the breakable wall, FK is quick and we need the city crest. Once he is defeated, open the geo chest and go get Vengeful Spirit. Then kill the baldur in the entrance to greenpath and make your way inside.
Greenpath is needed for one thing in this speedrun – the Mothwing Cloak (dash) ability. To get this, we need to defeat Hornet Protector. Once you first see Hornet, perform the mosquito skip (my video, timestamp is 10:17) to pogo onto the ledge. In addition to making your way through Greenpath as fast as possible, you’re going to need to collect geo. Make sure you get as many geo caches as you can find. We’ll need 1,800 geo by the time we get out of the City of Tears, so that we can afford the Lumafly Lantern. Don’t spend any geo on anything else (other than stag stations), we need as much as we can get. When you get to the room by the Moss Knight, go in and kill it for extra cash, then kill the Vengefly King. Also defeat the two Moss Knights that are guarding the triple geo cache for a lot of money. Then head to the stag station beneath point 2 and rest, and also unlock the station. Once you’ve done that, fight Hornet at point 2 and obtain the dash ability.
3-5: Fungal Wastes
Once you’ve defeated Hornet and picked up the Mothwing Cloak, head to the stag station and ride to the Forgotten Crossroads. Then head down and left to point 3. Go down and collect the triple geo cache, and then dash onto the ledge and go down into the Fungal Wastes. From here, you can pass everything and go straight to the Mantis Village, where we will collect the Mantis Claw and some geo. Go to point 4, the central point of the Mantis Village. Here, collect the Mantis Claw and go through the platforming in order to flip the switch. Then go into the pit and fight Mantis Lords. This will unlock an entrance to Deepnest (for later) and give you a LOT of geo. Once you’ve defeated them, go collect that geo by going to the Mantis Village bench and opening two chests – one containing plain geo, and one containing a Hallownest Seal (which we will sell later). Once you collect this, go to the Hegemol statue at point 5, insert the city crest, and advance to the City of Tears.
6-7: City of Tears
The City of Tears is actually a pretty optional area (until later), so if you want to skip it you can – however, you’re going to get a lot of your geo from here and you’ll also be getting two upgrades that will seriously help you in the long run – so I don’t recommend it. Skipping City of Tears will completely change the course of your run, so I won’t be covering it here. Anyways, once you enter the city, it’s an instant mad dash to the bottom – first you’ll want to go to the Nailsmith’s hut (marked on the map as point 6) and purchase the first nail upgrade. It does take some extra geo, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s the only nail upgrade we’re getting in this run, and it almost doubles your nail damage. After obtaining the upgrade (or skipping it, but good luck with Watcher Knights and THK if you do), you need to head up the elevator and jump off to the right – then unlock Lemm’s shop and sell that Hallownest seal you got earlier. Then head up and go to the Soul Sanctum. Rush to the Soul Master, who is placed at point 7 on the map (we need DDive for this run to work), and kill him. Once you’ve done that, make your way to the room below the Stag Station and get the Simple Key. Then unlock the station.
8-13: Crystal Peak
The crystal peak is a complicated area of the game, and you might need to view the video in the Conclusion section to see my routing. Before you enter the crystal peak, you’ll need the Lumafly Lantern. Go to the stag station in the Forgotten Crossroads and head down to fight Gruz Mother, at point 8 on the map. Then unlock sly. If you have at least 2,020 geo (220 more than the 1,800 required for the lantern), go to Salubra’s shop and buy Shaman’s Stone – then equip it. If you don’t have 2,020 geo yet, come back later when you have enough to buy it. It’s gonna help you out big time. Once you buy / don’t buy Shaman’s, go to Sly’s hut and save him, and then take the stag station up to Dirtmouth, which is at point 9. Go to Sly and buy the lantern. Then go back to the Forgotten Crossroads station, and go into Crystal Peaks. You can save 50 geo by going through Myla’s cave (marked as point 10) and using DDive instead of paying to open the gate. Now you may need to use the video guide, since the routing in Crystal Peaks is a bit tricky. Eventually, you’ll make it to point 11 and obtain the Crystal Heart. Then you’ll use this ability to make it to point 12 and unlock DDark, which will only take a minute and will make the upcoming bosses much easier. Once you get that, drop down into the Resting Grounds and go to point 13 to unlock the Dream Nail.
14-19: The Three Dreamers
The Three Dreamers are one of the last parts of the speedrun. All you need to do before you can finish all of them is obtain Double Jump, so you can reach Lurien, and Isma’s Tear, so you can reach Monomon. First, you’ll need to use DDark to get into the area below the Resting Grounds, and go left and down the elevator to point 14 – King’s Station. You will need to unlock the Stag here, and then drop down. If you don’t have Shaman’s Stone yet, now is the time to get it! Kill the Gorgeous Husk for 420 geo (nice) and then head back to the Crossroads and to Salubra. Once you have Shaman’s, go down into the Ancient Basin, head towards point 15, and get the Double Jump. I know about the Watcher Knights pogo skip, but it will save time in Deepnest and also makes Uumuu’s and THK’s fights significantly easier. Once you have it, go back up and then fight the Watcher Knights. Then destroy Lurien and leave the tower, left into the City of Tears.
Now we will go into the Royal Waterways. Remember that key we got earlier? It’s going to come in handy here. Unlock the entrance, and full rush to Dung Defender. Then hit the switch to the right, but don’t go into the next room. From here, shimmy your speedy little bum over to point 17 and get Isma’s Tear. Now you can go to King’s Station and fast travel to Dirtmouth (normally the Crossroads station would be faster, but the infection had to cut off the most convenient shortcut in the game…). Now go left and into the room with the acid pool and the grub. Go through the acid and to point 18. Now fight Uumuu, and destroy Monomon.
Finally, you have to take out Herrah, (*audible sigh*), which means Deepnest. This area is like a kitchen knife in your rear end. Unless you are a god of memory, you might need to check out the video of my speedrun. Anyway, go straight from the Teacher’s Archives and go to the Mantis Lords arena. Then enter Deepnest. Make your way through here and to point 19. Now, since you have Crystal Dash and Double Jump, you can skip Beast’s Den entirely (just climb the left wall, superdash right, and jump into the hole in the ceiling). Then destroy Herrah (feels good) and unlock the Stag. Then prepare yourself for the final battle.
20: THE HOLLOW KNIGHT
The king’s vessels don’t have genders, so I’m just going to refer to THK as “it”.
Once you’ve destroyed Herrah and made your way out of the pits of hell Deepnest, fast-travel to Dirtmouth. Now head down and to the right and reach point 20 out of 20… the Temple of the Black Egg. Here you’ll fight the Hollow Knight and finish the speedrun. This might take a few attempts, but that’s ok. If you want to get good at it, practice Pure Vessel in Godhome. Just keep reminding yourself that you DON’T have shade dash and dashing straight up THK’s a*s is NOT a good idea.
-Use your double jump a lot, since you can’t rely on shade dash.
-Stay far from THK so that you aren’t taken by surprise when it does a dash or slash attack.
-Use DDark a TON. It does huge damage compared to your nail, and gives you INV frames.
-Once THK starts to stab itself, you should take the opportunity to heal – since each nail strike while it’s stabbing itself only does one damage. After that phase starts, you’ve pretty much won.
My Speedrun Video
This video is my footage of a speedrun guide.
19:17 Entering Greenpath
16:04 Entering the Fungal Wastes
26:26 Entering City of Tears
38:55 Lantern / Crystal Peaks
54:49 The Dreamers (and Isma) in order Lurien > Monomon > Herrah
So that’s it! You’ve finished your speedrun of Hollow Knight, hopefully reached the time you were going for, and most importantly had fun doing it. Thank you so much for using this guide, I spent a lot of time on it and really hope it helped you out. If you have any questions or if I got anything wrong, let me know in the comments and I’ll edit the guide ASAP. Thanks again for reading, and good luck with your future runs!
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