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Cuphead: How To Beat Cagney Carnation

Studio MDHR’s Cuphead a game known for its beauty, charm, and difficulty. After a deal with the Devil ends poorly for him, Cuphead must collect the Devil’s debtors’ soul contracts. As Cuphead has to beat these enemies into submission to steal their souls, their souls won’t come easy.

One of the enemies standing between Cuphead is Cagney Carnation, an angry flower with no patience for the troubled mug. It’ll take a well-prepared and patient player to overcome this boss, so follow these tips and tricks throughout the battle to come out on top and snag another soul contract.

Preparation

Before heading into this boss battle, we recommend swapping up your Cuphead kit. Equip the Parry Sugar Charm, the Peashooter, and the Spread Shot. The Spread Shot and Parry Sugar Charm can be purchased from Porkrind’s Emporium.

If you’re low on coins, take on Inkwell Isle 1’s Run and Gun levels (Forest Follies and Treetop Trouble) to increase Cuphead’s funds. Having Super will also make beating this boss much easier, so head down to the mausoleum (shown below) and free Ms. Chalice to gain this powerful ability if you haven’t already.

The mausoleum asks Cuphead to guard a chalice against ghosts. To deal with these malicious spirits, parry them before they reach the chalice. Take care not to let any ghosts get past you, as one touching the pot will guarantee failure. Cuphead’s reward, Super I, lets him shoot an energy ray from the top of his head in a horizontal beam at the cost of five EX Gauge Cards. With these steps complete, Cuphead is ready to fight Cagney Carnation.

Once preparation is complete, head over to Cagney’s lair and get ready to fight.

Phase One

Cagney starts the battle dancing to the rhythm of the music, staring menacingly at Cuphead. Swap to the Spread Shot and get in close to deal some easy damage while he warms up. Be wary of his movements, as his hand movements can damage Cuphead. These are easy to dodge, but he’ll start attacking in earnest soon.

One of Cagney’s first moves is the Lunge Lurk, which allows him to stretch his face across the entire field. He can use it at both platform level and ground level, so swap between the two when you see him retract his face into his petals. He’ll always retract on the level that he plans to attack to telegraph this attack. Lock yourself in place and use the spread shot to rack up damage, as Cagney is vulnerable when this attack ensues.

This phase is short, so be ready for his next phase, where Cagney introduces a few new tricks.

Phase Two

After a brief first phase, Cagney will use a Gatling Gun attack to pepper several seeds across the stage. Once these seeds take root, they’ll spawn Toothy Terrors that attack Cuphead in various ways. Each color seed signifies a different type of Toothy Terror:

  • Blue Seed: Homing Toothy Terror
  • Purple Seed: Baby Toothy Terror
  • Pink Seed: Toothy Terror Floater

Homing Toothy Terrors emerge from long vines, slowly following Cuphead around the stage. To deal with them, douse them with the Spread Shot before they get too close.

Baby Toothy Terrors sit at ground level and make a small leaping chomp periodically. These can either be avoided or shot depending on player preference as they are the easier of the trio to avoid.

Toothy Terror Floaters spawn a flying plant that shoots a pink seed out intermittently. These can be parried, but with all that is going on, it can be hard to focus them when they’re so far out of reach.

Cuphead will have to keep battling Cagney while these minions populate the field. Because Toothy Terror Floaters spawn from pink seeds, they can be parried out of existence. This is where the Parry Sugar comes in handy. Parry Sugar gives Cuphead the ability to parry as he jumps instantly. With such a short parry window having an instant parry makes dealing with this item that much easier.

On top of his new minions and Gatling Gun, Cagney will start using the Magic Hands ability in this second phase. This will allow him to unleash one of two attacks:

  • Sycamore Seed Boomerang
  • Flying Acorns

The Sycamore Seed Boomerang (shown above) will target the upper level of the stage first before exiting the screen and looping back in a U-Shaped pattern to attack at ground level. To avoid this, flock to the level where the boomerang isn’t and wait for the attack to run its course, swapping between levels.

Cagney’s second Magic hand attack, Flying Acorns (shown below), shoots three of these seedlings. Their trajectory is determined by where Cuphead is standing on the field. Be prepared to evade, as they’ll come flying one at a time, each barreling toward this little mug.

 

To overcome this phase, get in close when there is an opening and unload the Spread Shot to deal with large amounts of damage quickly. Don’t be afraid to bow out to avoid taking damage, though, as Cagney will punish the overzealous. Once Cagney pulls at his petals in frustration, it’s time for the Final Phase.

Final Phase

In Cagney’s final phase, he’ll sprout Thorn Roots covering the entire bottom portion of the map. Cuphead must use the floating platforms for the duration of the match to survive.

When this phase begins, you’ll want to use your super to deal significant damage. Watch out for Ruses’ Roots as they will form spears and poke through the platforms over time. Hop between the platforms as needed, using your spread shot when close, and Peashooter at a range.

Cagney will also spit out dandelions with Pollen Toss that Cuphead has to evade on top of the aforementioned attacks. Some of these dandelions are pink and can be parried, so keep an eye out for these special seeds if you’re looking for an EX Gauge charge.

Keep these tips in mind to power through this challenging final phase, defeat Cagney Carnation, and check another debtor off the Devil’s list.

Next: Cuphead: How To Beat Ribby And Croaks

 

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Tai Hofmann is a gaming guide writer for TheGamer and list writer for GameRant. You can find him on Twitter @MI2_PICKLES

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