Cuphead: How To Beat Captain Brineybeard

Calling Cuphead challenging would be an understatement. This boss gauntlet is an unforgiving ordeal. Studio MDHR’s breakout success is known for inducing rage in its players, upping the challenge with each new encounter. Cuphead is an exercise in frustration. You’ll die a lot, but each death will provide invaluable experience. Those interested in perfecting an addictive platformer need to look no further. There are few games as rewarding, but it’ll take some patience to achieve each victory.

Once Cuphead makes it to Inkwell Isle Three, he’ll have two boss options available, one of those being Captain Brineybeard. This pirate will use every tool and crewmate in his arsenal to send Cuphead down to Davy Jones’ Locker, so going in unprepared is sure to send Cuphead to an early grave. This guide catalogs this boss’s attacks and actions, so you can breeze through this sea-faring fight.


Before heading into the Shootin N’ Lootin, make sure that Cuphead is fitted with the right weapons and charms. Outfit Cuphead with the Charge Shot, Spread Shot, Smoke Bomb, and Super I. Each item will serve a purpose in the upcoming battle. If you’re missing some of the items listed, check out Porkrind’s Emporium and purchase your outstanding weapons and charms.

Cuphead can find Super I in the game’s first Mausoleum. Check this guide out to see where Super I is located. Once you’re prepared, head up down to Captain Brineybeard’s ship at the bottom of Inkwell Isle Three.

Phase One

When the fight begins, Captain Brineybeard enters the fray with a modest list of moves. Phase One consists of only two attacks. The first of his attacks persists throughout the entire boss fight. As soon as the battle begins, Brineybeard will summon his Barrel minion, a sentient container that will move from left to right on the dock. Once Cuphead is below it, the Barrel will make Contact and Fall Down (shown above), crushing anything beneath it. Keep mobile throughout this fight to avoid being smashed by this minion.

The captain’s second move during his first phase is his Octo-Shot. Brineybeard will grab an octopus and shoot projectiles from its mouth. Several of these projectiles can be parried, so do your best to hit them in midair for a boost to the EX Gauge. Use the Charge Shot during this phase to shoot Captain Brineybeard. If you have a chance to get close, try using the Spread Shot for a few seconds before retreating. Make sure to aim your shots at the captain himself, as shooting his ship won’t hurt him.

Phase Two

After Brineybeard takes enough damage, he’ll add another ability to his catalog: Sea Summon. After whistling, the captain will call one of several minions to attack Cuphead while he and the Barrel continue using their moves from the first phase. Each of these minions behaves differently, with their own unique attacks. Make sure you know what to expect with each adversary.

Scar The Shark

Brineybeard’s first minion, Scar, is a shark that encroaches on the dock, taking a Bite out of anything on the back half of the platform. After the captain’s whistle, listen for a siren and look to the background for a shark fin. These signs telegraph Scar’s arrival, and players have several seconds to react before the apex predator attacks. Once you’re out of the line of fire, try to unload several Charge Shots before Brinybeard starts attacking again.

Sea Dogs

Where Scar attacks the back of the dock, the Sea Dogs come from the front. Keep an eye out for an underwater telescope rising to the surface right in front of the ship. After an eye looks through the telescope, a group of four dogs will flop on the deck and slide across the entire dock. They’ll attack using the Crawl-Up Bite while they flounder on land. Cuphead can kill these minions, so swap to your Spread Shot and fire at any you can’t evade. Always prioritize avoiding these enemies when possible, though, as they’re quick and can get the jump on you.

Inky The Squid

Captain Brineybeard’s final summon brings out Inky the Squid. This six-legged miscreant uses his Ink Balls to obscure Cuphead’s Vision. Each Ink Ball that hits players will darken the screen, so swap to the Spread Shot and unload on the cephalopod until he sinks back into the sea.

Phase Three

After Brineybeard takes enough damage, he’ll initiate Phase Three, where he continues to add to his growing repertoire of moves. His newest move lets his ship join in on the action, firing off a Cannonball after chewing it up thrice. The boss will use all the moves he’s stockpiled up to this point, so carefully evade each attack, using the Charge Shot from a distance and the Spread Shot when you can get close. Eventually, the ship will become enraged and transform; this signals the boss fight’s final phase.

Final Phase

In the Final Phase, Captain Brineybeard disappears, and The Ship takes over. Most of the boss’s previous moves are forgotten, with only the Barrel remaining. In return for ditching some of his earlier attacks, however, he gains two more powerful moves:

  • Looping Fireballs
  • Laser

The Ship’s Looping Fireballs attack launches an attack from the sentient uvula that travels around the stage in loops. It’ll fire off several of these projectiles in rapid succession, so be prepared to duck or use your Smoke Bomb to flee from damage. Keep an eye on the Barrel as it still patrols the stage, waiting for a chance to crush Cuphead. Fire at the uvula to do damage, using the Charge Shot from a distance.

While the Looping Fireballs are problematic, The Ship’s Laser is the most dangerous move in its arsenal. The ship fires off a pink beam that covers the entire stage. If you can, duck down and get close, using the Spread Shot to attack the uvula while it’s preoccupied. The Laser can be parried, but do your best to avoid making contact, as it can be hard to parry and dodge the Barrel at the same time. If you’ve got your Super, use it here to drain the boss’s health right after it shoots off its Laser. Cuphead can take out this salty seafarer with careful movement, grabbing his soul contract in the process.

 Next: Cuphead: How To Beat Grim Matchstick

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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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