Charms are one of the main features of Hollow Knight's world, as they allow the player to freely choose their approach to anything. Combat, travel, SOUL collection, the damage taken by enemies and/or hazards — all of these and more can be controlled and determined by the Charms you're wearing in any given situation, meaning how you overcome Hallownest's various challenges is totally up to you.
However, Charms are not perfect, and you can't try them all out at once. Some are definitely better than others and the number you can experiment with depends on how many notches you currently have. You start off with three at the beginning and gain more through various means throughout the game. Here, we'll outline those means to make life a little bit easier when trying out different Charm combos.
Salubra's Shop (Notches 1-4)
The first four Charm Notches are actually all obtainable from the same place, albeit at different times. When you encounter Salubra in the Forgotten Crossroads, you'll see that she has four Charm Notches available for purchase. However, they all have different Geo costs and are purchasable after some conditions are met. The exact conditions for each are as follows:
- The first one costs 120 Geo and can only be bought after collecting five Charms.
- The second costs 500 Geo and can only be bought after collecting ten Charms.
- The third one costs 900 Geo and can only be bought after collecting 18 Charms.
- The fourth one costs 1,400 Geo and can only be bought after collecting 25 Charms.
These items and five other charms — the Lifeblood Heart, the Shaman Stone, the Longnail, Steady Body, and Quick Focus — are the only items in Salubra's Shop, so make sure to save up to buy all of them.
Fog Canyon (Notch 5)
Your fifth Charm Notch can be found in the Fog Canyon, though not right away. You'll need either Isma's Tear, the Monarch Wings, or the Crystal Heart ability, though the latter of which requires some skill. Isma's Tear is more helpful than the other two. Once you have any of these items, make your way northeast of where you find Cornifer to traverse through a small opening to a hidden room. Make your way through the enemies, carefully avoiding the egg bombs to find the notch around here:
Fungal Wastes (Notch 6)
The sixth Notch can be found in Fungal Wastes. You don't need any special items to get it, but you do need to defeat a couple of enemies. When you make your way to this room, two Shrumal Orgres will fall on either side of you and attack:
All they really do is shoot large blobs of goo that you can move away from, and bash their heads on the ground seven times. Just move away whenever they attack or use your spells and they shouldn't give you any trouble.
Colosseum of Fools (Notch 7)
This notch can only be acquired by completing the Trial of the Warrior in the Colosseum of Fools, the second trial you can take on. It costs 100 Geo to access and will grant you both this notch as well as 1,000-1,024 Geo upon completion. Also, if you chose to save Zote the Mighty in both Greenpath and Deepnest, he will appear as the final boss of this trial. Don't worry too much though, because he can't damage you at all. If you didn't rescue him, you'll fight two Gruz Mothers at the end instead.
The best strategy is to take enemies as they come in, knowing where there will appear and leaving at least one or two alive to give yourself time to heal. Keep note of the shifting platforms and practice using skills like your Nail Arts and down pogoing to take out enemies like Primal Aspids quickly. It is highly recommended that you have your nail fully upgraded to the Pure Nail to make this trial a little easier.
Troupe Master Grimm
The final Charm Notch can only be acquired after activating the Grimm Troupe side quest. Upon doing so and receiving the Grimmchild from Troupe Master Grimm, whose tent can be found in Dirtmouth, you'll need to make your way to the three flames marked on your map and defeat the respective Grimkin Novices. After returning you'll have to do it again, this time with the Grimkin Masters.
After all this, you will have to fight Troupe Master Grimm, whose main perk is his speed and range. His attacks come out rather quickly and it may take a bit to get used to his pattern, but paying attention to where his attacks actually go and making use of Spells when the opportunity arises is key.