In this guide, I’m going to rank all charms in Hollow Knight from the worst to the best with in-depth explanations of their usefulness, charm notch efficiency and strategies.
Extremely Situational / Useless
Heavy Blow (45/45) – The knockback on it is so poor that it has very little interactions with melee enemies. This charm can even make the game harder for you as it makes ranged enemies such as Aspid Hunters, Primal Aspids & Soul Twisters have an easier time kiting you from far. Not to mention it houses 2 CHARM NOTCHES. Unless Team Cherry eventually buffs it, it’s gonna remain as the worst charm in the game.
Void Heart (44/45) – Has no gameplay benefits except that it unlocks other endings and protects you from Void creatures.
The reason why it isn’t last on the list is because it doesn’t house any charm notches.
Kingsoul (43/45) – Houses 5 charm notches but has very little use. The small amounts of soul you get over time is totally not worth it.
Carefree Melody (42/45) – There is absolutely no reason for you to use this charm. It houses 3 charm notches for a chance to protect you from damage. It’s definitely not a good trade off for Grimmchild.
Hiveblood (41/45) – This item is very good for White Palace if you run out of soul, but that’s about it. It’s not even that good in Path of Pain considering you’re given infinite amounts of soul on “checkpoints”. Combat-wise, this is one of the worst charms you can equip.
Baldur Shell (40/45) – Doesn’t provide enough but asks for 2 notches. Other defensive charms will just be way better than Baldur. It can be useful in Prince Zote and Radiant bosses as it does protect you from damage, but its long cooldown makes it not worth it outside of those instances.
Stalwart Shell (39/45) – Can be useful for exploring new boss fights in the early game but it falls short compared to other charms later on.
Situational / Okay-ish
Joni’s Blessing (38/45) – Good against fast paced boss fights such as Nightmare King Grimm where you won’t have a lot of time to heal. The charm notch penalty is huge though so it’s not higher on the list.
Sprint Master (37/45) – Not much to say about this one, it’s okay and it does its job until you get Super Dash.
Dash Master (36/45) – As you get this charm earlier than Sprint Master, you’re gonna have plenty of time to use it before you unlock Super Dash.
Dream Wielder (35/45) – Useful in Trials as you’ll be able to dream nail weak enemies and heal more often in pauses with Quick Focus.
Weaversong (34/45) – Can be used to cheese difficult bosses such as Watcher Knights paired with Glowing Womb. It can also be good for exploration combined with Grubsong.
Glowing Womb (33/45) – The only reason why it’s higher than Weaversong is because it has a good synergy with Defender’s Crest.
Sharp Shadow (32/45) – This charm can be quite useful for fighting enemies that you aren’t confident enough to face ranged or melee. One of the best times to use this charm is while fighting Traitor Lord as his pattern is heavily focused on dashing.
Spore Shroom (31/45) – Very charm notch efficient and useful while exploring the map.
Mediocre / Good for Builds
Lifeblood Heart (30/45) – It’s good if you’re going for a tanky charm build while paired with Lifeblood Core.
Lifeblood Core (29/45) – Can be used even without Lifeblood Heart as it’s extremely notch efficient.
Shape of Unn (28/45) – There are a bunch of better options for 2 charm notches, but Shape of Unn is pretty good when paired with B. Shell.
Grubberfly’s Elegy (27/45) – Useful in Trials and Godhome. You need some decent knowledge of the game if you want to go anywhere with this charm though, as getting hit just once is going to nullify this charm completely. It’s the best to use against slow melee enemies and bosses as you can zone them away from you almost infinitely if used correctly.
Defender’s Crest (26/45) – Would be WAY higher on the list if Flukenest didn’t receive a huge nerf.
Spell Twister (25/45) – Not very useful compared to other options.
Flukenest (24/45) – Sadly, Flukenest has been killed by Team Cherry after FlukeCrest strategy was discovered. It has way less uses now that the damage got decreased and charm notch count increased. It’s still very good against The Hollow Knight.
Soul Eater (23/45) – Very good in full spell builds but it houses way too many charm notches. If the soul amount gets increased in the future, it’ll be higher on the list.
Wayward Compass (22/45) – One of the essential charms on your first run, after that it becomes obsolete.
Steady Body (21/45) – Criminally underrated charm. It allows for extremely precise platforming and easier combat all for just 1 charm notch.
Deep Focus (20/45) – Good for exploring new areas as you’ll have plenty of time to heal. Shares a similar problem with Wayward Compass. It’s just not very useful after your first run as you’ll know the areas way better than on your first run.
Good / Useful
Dream Shield (19/45) – Skill-based charm. The better you are at the game, the better this charm will become. Blocks loads of projectile types. It’s not charm notch efficient so it falls off late game.
Grimmchild (18/45) – Deals decent damage and it doesn’t drain your resources in order to function. It’s pretty much a better version of Glowing Womb and Weaversong. It’s an essential for spawner charm builds.
Fragile Greed (17/45) – Super useful while exploring. Gives a lot of geo and it doesn’t house way too many charm notches. You have to be careful while having it on though as you’re gonna have to spend a hefty amount of geo to fix it if you die (The same applies to all Fragile Charms).
Unbreakable Greed (16/45) – The same as Fragile Greed except you don’t break it upon death (The same applies to all Unbreakable Charms).
Gathering Swarm (15/45) – This charm is almost a must have while exploring. You don’t have to waste time on collecting geo for the low price of only 1 charm notch.
Thorns of Agony (14/45) – Useful in boss fights and when getting swarmed by enemies (such in Soul S.). It’s especially good in Hornet’s second encounter as you remove the spike traps she makes when Thorns collide with them.
Fragile Heart (13/45) – Not much to say about it other than very good for some decent defense in combat.
Unbreakable Heart (14/45) – The same as above except unbreakable.
Excellent / Very Useful
Long Nail (11/45) – One of the first charms you’ll get at the start of the game. It’s very useful even in late game but gets overshadowed by Mark of Pride.
Grubsong (10/45) – It’s very useful against encounters where you know you’ll take a lot of damage. Good when paired with Quick Focus. Almost a must have in the mid-late game on your first run.
Soul Catcher (9/45) – Useful at all stages of the game. You get it pretty early on and you’ll want to have it equipped until the mid-game.
Shaman Stone (8/45) – Increases spell damage by a good amount and it’s only 2 charm notches. Falls off terribly in late game though.
Nailmaster’s Glory (7/45) – This is essential in Pantheons as your nail arts deal crazy damage. You’ll get to Absolute Radiance 10 minutes earlier in Pantheon of Hallownest if you use Nailmaster’s Glory all the way through. Not to mention it’s ONLY 1 charm notch.
Mark of Pride (6/45) – Very good for kiting and even better when combined with long nail. Not any higher because it’s not necessary for the ultimate strategy.
Quick Focus (5/45) – Almost all of the time you spend playing this game you’ll want to have this charm equipped. It’s just perfect for almost every situation. Exploring, basic combat, boss fights… While exploring you’ll save up a lot of time when quick focusing with deep focus, in basic combat you’ll have a way bigger window to heal and in boss fights you’ll be able to heal in sections where bosses are actively attacking you.
God Tier / Optimal
Quick Slash (4/45) – This is one of the strongest charms in the game for many reasons. This charms allows you to demolish pretty much all bosses in the game. The attack speed you receive from it is actually mind blowing for a 3 notch charm. This charm is so broken to the point that you can block Massive Moss Charger’s path by just attacking it. You might wonder, why is it not the first charm on the list? It’s simply because you unlock it in mid-late game, where you’ve already defeated most bosses. The following next charms are unlocked way earlier and thus can be abused way earlier.
Fragile Strength (3/45) – The biggest source of damage you can get from a charm. You get it early-mid game for a low price of geo. If you’re good enough to never die, you’ll never have to worry about repairing it. In Steel Soul, it’s especially useful as you lose all your progress if you die anyway.
Unbreakable Strength (2/45) – Same as Fragile Strenght except it can’t be broken.
Furry Of The Fallen (1/45) – By far the best charm in the game. You can get it in the first 10 minutes of the game. If you’re a speedrunner or a professional player, this is the best charm in the game. Nothing can outperform it. Its damage stacks with Unbreakable/Fragile Strength providing a 162.5% damage increase when at 1 mask and having both equipped. If Furry of The Fallen was a mid-late/late game charm, it would be way lower on the list. But as you get it in the first area of the game, its potential for speedruns is way too better than Strength’s and Quick Slash’s.