If you’re anything like me, the fight with Father Gascoigne early on in the game probably gave you a ton of grief because you didn’t know how to use your firearm properly to parry him. And because of that, you probably didn’t bother leveling up your Bloodtinge and buying all the new, shiny guns that were available in the Messenger’s Bath. Well, I have some good news for you: it’s still entirely possible to beat Gehrman, the First Hunter without having to fire your gun at all.
Of course, any player would know by now that parrying and pulling off visceral attacks is key to dealing massive damage to your foes in Bloodborne. In fact, if you’ve mastered the art of parrying, you’ll find Gehrman’s first phase very manageable to deal with, as the windups to his attacks are pretty easy to read.
Gehrman will start the battle with a long-reaching scythe. You can bait out his attacks by staying a short distance away from him, and then quickly backing away as soon as you see him raise the scythe. The scythe combo has him swing forward, slash to the side, and swing the scythe in an upward arc. After those three hits, he’ll be left open where you can run in and put in a few attacks. A more dangerous attack you need to watch out for is when he throws his scythe out and attempts to pull you in with it. If he is successful in grabbing you, he’ll then slash at you again, and this attack will take off a good 60 to 80% of your health, depending on how high your physical defense is.
When Gehrman has his scythe out during the first phase, you’ll want to keep close to him, but just out of reach of his scythe. His long attacks are slow and once he misses with his combo, you can easily get 2 or 3 hits in before he backs away. If you can get the timing down, it is entirely possible to stagger with your firearm when you see Gehrman lift up the scythe. Once staggered, you can rush in for a visceral attack for big damage.
Once he’s taken enough damage, Gehrman will transform his weapon into a short blade. In this form, he will have access to his gun and he also moves much faster than when he was using the scythe. You’ll want to be careful of the gun as it fires off scattershot bullets that can hit you even if you’re not directly in front of him. As soon as he fires the gun, quickly sidestep or dodge roll to the side to avoid those bullets.
With the short blade, he has less reach but he’s also a lot swifter. Gehrman’s short blade combos will have him rushing towards you, slash four times with the blade, before ending off the combo with a shot from his firearm. Make sure to dodge when he executes the combo and do not attempt to hit him until he’s fired his gun. If you’re not careful, the gunshot could stun you, allowing him to perform a visceral attack that takes away most, if not all, of your health. It’s better to stay close to him when he’s using the short blade, as you’ll have less time to rush in for attacks after he’s done with a combo as compared to when he was using the scythe.