She granted me new life... So that I may take yours!

Formerly a thief and adventurer named Donovan, Specter Knight is one of eight Knights of "The Order of No Quarter" who serves the Enchantress and keeps watch over his lair, the Lich Yard.

Specter Knight also serves as the protagonist of the Specter of Torment campaign, the official prequel to Shovel of Hope.

Official BioEdit

In life, Specter Knight was a cruel and cunning warrior. And although his blood is now icy cold, he is no less formidable as a phantasm. The most begrudgingly loyal knight of the Order, Specter Knight follows the Enchantress only because she is capable of magically extending his undeath. Clutching a grim Scythe in his shriveled claws, Specter Knight commands his weapon with uncommon cunning... and his next target is Shovel Knight.
  • Pros: Tattered crimson cloak, supernatural scythe, immortality
  • Cons: Overly sentimental, tries too hard to act cool

Dig the Vote Edit

Tone Edit

As an undead creature, Specter Knight is a serious and complex character. His macabre story will explain more about his tragic fall from grace.

Original Play Style Ideas Edit

  • Rapid scythe attacks which all move Specter Knight forward
  • Scythe Toss and Teleport – Throw scythe for a damaging multi hit attack and then wait for *its return or immediately teleport to its position.
  • Hover and Air Dash.
  • Fast – Can run through levels quickly.
  • Glass Cannon – Has lower health than other characters.
  • Desperation Attacks – Special attacks drain health if available. Can otherwise use *special attacks infinitely if at low health.

Personality Edit

Specter Knight is a thoroughly cruel Knight, showing sheer coldness towards his enemies, as well as being somewhat sarcastic.

When about to face Shovel Knight, he taunts him with the memory of Shield Knight by insisting she is dead. Whilst many of his comrades acknowledge Shovel Knight's strength to some extent after the Battle Royale, Specter Knight instead affirms his faith in The Enchantress and assures Shovel Knight that he cannot succeed. He may do this because he fears what may happen to him should The Enchantress die, as her powers are what keep him "alive".

Before battling Plague Knight, he is quick to mock him for his cowardice, being the only one able to reduce Plague Knight to stunned silence.

Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an event that occurs later in the game.

As shown in Specter of Torment, Donovan's loyalty to The Enchantress is actually incredibly forced, despite her being the one who resurrected him in the first place. In reality, Specter Knight hates The Enchantress and deeply resents her treatment of him, only serving her because he is forced to, as he had relinquished his free will to her.

At the start of Specter of Torment, he only agreed to serve her as part of a deal so she can restore him back to life. This is enforced by the Keepsake Locket, which The Enchantress granted the power to reverse death, but only when 8 knights swear their loyalty to her, thus Donovan is forced on a quest to gather them for her.

After discovering that The Enchantress is actually Shield Knight, he also shows how angry he can be, and proceeded to attempt to slay her, knowing he would never be restored to life if he succeeded. He does not believe that there is anything left of Shield Knight in the Enchantress, and that attempting to return her to normal is a pointless endeavor, nor does he care to try due to his deep-seated hatred of her. His sarcastic remarks about Shield Knight being dead to Shovel Knight may stem from this.

Though his loyalty to The Enchantress is forced, his loyalty to his late-friend Luan is genuine. He swore to protect Luan's son, Reize, at all costs, even at his own life. He honors this oath so far, that he took Reize's place as the 8th knight of The Order of No Quarter, relinquishing his own free will to The Enchantress, and then used the locket's power that could have restored his humanity to save Reize from The Enchantress's power.

While he can be genuinely ruthless and cold, his heart is not as dead as he is. He still feels incredibly guilty over having a hand in the death of Luan.

Relationships Edit

Luan Edit

Specter Knight's friend in life, and father of Reize. Donovan and Luan were longtime partners, who set in a quest to find a magical amulet which they believed would be able to protect Reize from harm. Luan considered Donovan part of his family, and even handed his treasured keepsake locket to Donovan. Luan dies in the Tower of Fate after Donovan's battle with Shield Knight.

Reize Edit

Luan's son, whom Donovan swore to protect if anything would happen to Luan. As Specter Knight, Donovan still honors his promise and tries his best to protect Reize.

Shield Knight Edit

Specter Knight holds a grudge against Shield Knight, as it was her interference that prevented him and Luan from obtaining the magical amulet inside the Tower of Fate. Donovan's fight with Shield Knight caused the ceiling of the chamber where the amulet was to collapse, resulting in Luan's death. After Specter Knight discovers that Shield Knight is The Enchantress, he becomes even more fueled by rage, blaming her for the death of his friend and his state as a serving wraith.

Black Knight Edit

He was the very first Knight that Specter Knight attempted to recruit, under the orders of The Enchantress, and the one that reveals to Specter Knight that she is actually Shield Knight possessed. Specter Knight and Black Knight show a mutual respect for each other's abilities. He is one of the few characters to only refer to Specter Knight as Donovan.

Plague Knight Edit

In Plague of Shadows, it is revealed that it was Plague Knight who stole Specter Knight's keepsake locket, then traded it with Chester for the Leech Liquid, who in turn sold the locket to Shovel Knight in Shovel of Hope. Considering how important it was to him, it is possible that Specter Knight has a deep hatred towards Plague Knight (although it is not actually shown directly except for an ending scene in Plague of Shadows).


Specter Knight utilizes the lighting of the stage and the Boneclangs found earlier in the stage to bolster his defenses, using darkness to hinder his opponent's sight.


  • Judgment Rush
    • Specter Knight raises his scythe briefly before charging. Upon reaching the player's location, he unleashes a powerful slash, similar to Shovel Knight's Charge Slash, then slowly drifts back to the side of the arena. This attack is easily avoided by jumping and Shovel Dropping on his head.
  • Scythe Toss
    • Specter Knight moves to one of the four corners of the arena and tosses his scythe toward any corner of the arena in an arcing trajectory. While the scythe is spinning, he will teleport to whichever corner of the arena his scythe is heading toward (unless its trajectory is set to return to him).
  • Raise Dead
    • Specter Knight will raise his fist into the air and summon three Brittle Boneclangs, one on each platform and one on the ground. Given their fragility, they serve more as a distraction than a serious threat, although they can drop jars.
  • Purge
    • Specter Knight raises his fist and absorbs all present Boneclangs, restoring a bit of his health for each one.
  • Scythe Slash
    • This is a close range attack. Specter Knight holds his scythe behind him and floats into close range to attack.
  • Lightning Strike
    • Specter Knight raises his fist, shrouding the stage in darkness and making his attacks difficult to see. Occasionally lightning flashes, giving the player a brief view of what's happening. This will only occur after the player have reduced Specter Knight's health to three full circles or less.

One of the easier ways to defeat Specter Knight is to use a combination of the Phase Locket and the Shovel Blade. The Phase Locket can be used to easily avoid Specter Knight's Scythe Charge and Scythe Toss attacks which can be difficult to dodge. If you have the Ornate Plate, you can see where you are, despite the darkness.

Specter Knight can be seen in King of Cards, and appears to be using Curios such as the Dread Talon.

As a playable characterEdit

Similarly to Plague Knight in Plague of Shadows, in Specter of Torment Specter Knight receives a new sprite set that makes him smaller (almost the same size as Shovel Knight) and with unique animations for walking, jumping and climbing, among others. His design has been slightly tweaked, as his cloak no longer covers the majority of his body, allowing players to see his armor.

Specter Knight's gameplay is fast and melee oriented, using his Scythe's Slashes as his primary way of attack. He can also perform an attack called Dash Slash against enemies and certain objects while airborne; a gash will appear on the target, and if the attack he attacks in that moment, Specter Knight will fly through the target with a scythe attack. He can Dash Slash downward/upwards if he is above/below his target, respectively; it is also possible to perform Chain Dash Slashes by hitting opponents/objects multiple times.

Much like Plague Knight, Specter Knight has a very short jumping height. This is balanced by his ability to use Chain Dashes, and he can also climb walls and perform wall-jumps, granting him high mobility. He also has the ability to break dirt blocks by simply jumping off of them, but he completely falls though sand blocks due to this ability.

Specter Knight has access to Relics of his own, called Curios, which require Darkness (the equivalent of Magic) to be used. Darkness, unlike Plague Knight's Power, does not refills over time, but can be replenished collecting Darkness Jars, which drop from opponents and some breakable objects. Unlike both Shovel Knight and Plague Knight, Curios can be upgraded for 4000 gold apiece by visiting Legion in the Tower of Fate.

In addition, in order to unlock Curios, Specter Knight must collect Red Skulls, which are scattered on each stage, in a similar way to Cipher Coins in Plague of Shadows. These Red Skulls can be turned in to Red, who will lead Specter Knight to a small dungeon in the Tower of Fate, where the player must pass a small gauntlet using the Curio they bought before they can leave.

Specter Knight can also equip different kinds of Cloaks, similar to Shovel Knight's Armors and Plague Knight's Cloaks. These can be bought from Manny in the Tower of Fate.


Shovel of HopeEdit

Before his boss fight:

"Specter Knight: This is no place for the living, mortal. You shall be summoned when it is your time. And everyone has a time, as we saw with your beloved Shield Knight."
"Shovel Knight:
I won't believe such talk from phantoms! Your very existence is a vile deception!
"Specter Knight:
Heh heh heh
... The Enchantress is just full of surprises. She granted me new life...
So that I may take yours!

Plague of ShadowsEdit

Before his boss fight:

"Specter Knight: So, reaper meets reaper. But you are no kindred spirit. What have you come to harvest, foolish alchemist?"
"Plague Knight: Hahaha! If only you could see me yawning under this mask!
Ooooooh, spooky ghost!
Whee hee haa haaaa!
"Specter Knight:
A mask indeed. As befits a hollow, blustering fool. You hide only from yourself!
"Plague Knight: ..."
"Specter Knight: How tragic that you shall never emerge from cowardice! For here... your story must end."

King of CardsEdit

Before his boss fight:

"King Knight: Your taste in attire leaves much to be desired. You shall have no place within my kingdom. Begone
cloth man
"Specter Knight: My servitude lies with the Enchantress... Join us as a knight, and see what a real kingdom looks like!"
"King Knight: My destiny is greater than that of a mere knight and servant. I'm a king!
Outta my way!

Stage Introduction SplashesEdit

  • Press Onward!
  • Into the Shadows
  • Darkness!
  • Summon thy Scythe
  • From the Shadows
  • Blight the Earth
  • Hone your Edge
  • Reap your Rewards
  • Into Oblivion
  • Darkness Looms
  • The Reaper Cometh
  • Dash and Slash
  • Escape! (Curio Stages)


  • Specter Knight appears to be based on the concept of the Grim Reaper.
  • Specter Knight was one of the 3 boss characters (alongside Plague Knight and King Knight) that won the "Dig the Vote" contest, and as such, Yacht Club Games had promised to release separate campaigns for each one.
  • Like the other "Dig the Vote" winners, he has his own Steam emoticon.
  • Not counting the Japanese version portraits, he has the second most unique portraits (first being Shovel Knight), having three: one as a boss, one as a playable character, and one as Donovan.
  • However, his boss portrait was changed to his Specter of Torment portrait in all campaigns.
  • He has a tendency to hiss at people when he's angry or annoyed, as shown with his interaction with Plague Knight, and a few others.
  • If there are Brittle Boneclangs present when Specter Knight is defeated, they will run away.
Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an event that occurs later in the game.
  • Since The Enchantress is defeated at the end of Shovel of Hope/Plague of Shadows, it is unknown how long Specter Knight will be able to maintain his state of undeath before passing on, or if he will continue living in his current state.
  • In Plague of Shadows, a game-breaking glitch can occur after defeating Specter Knight and/or King Knight. After beating either one and returning to the Potionarium, Plague Knight will be unable to move after the dialogue between Mona and Plague Knight, making it impossible to continue the game. The cause of the glitch is currently unknown, though some cases have been traced to using the "God Mode" cheat code in Plague of Shadows.
    • However, this glitch was later patched.
  • The credits of Plague of Shadows show him upset over the missing Phase Locket, which serves as a major plot element in Specter of Torment.
    • He then uses some kind of magic to lift up the chest and cut it, hinting that he may have powers beyond what he has shown.
  • Although Specter Knight's official bio states he was a "cruel and cunning warrior", this contradicts with his past, being caring and loyal to Luan and Reize.
    • It is assumed that this Official Bio was most likely written before Specter Knight's past was developed for his campaign.
  • As Specter Knight's real name was revealed as Donovan in Specter of Torment, this makes him the only Knight whose true name has been revealed.
  • He is one of the few Knights whose face can be seen (as Donovan), alongside Shield Knight and, in part, Polar Knight.
  • In the ending of Specter of Torment, Specter Knight is seen in his original sprite set, after a brief talk with Black Knight, where he admits there is no hope for him, and that he is bound to The Enchantress' will. He then embraces his fate, and covers himself with the tattered cloak he uses as a Boss.
  • As shown in Specter of Torment, Specter Knight keeps a room in The Lich Yard which is guarded by a Super Skeleton impersonating Specter Knight, to ward off trespassers. The room contains various items from when Donovan was alive, including a picture that can be torn (which will spawn an Invisishade) and an empty chest guarded by chains.
    • If you examine the painting before and after destroying it, you can see the happy faces become sad upon the painting's destruction.
  • As revealed in the ending of Specter of Torment, Specter Knight hides his keepsake locket inside the empty chest, as a reminder to his promise to Luan.
    • This is the same room (albeit somewhat different) where Plague Knight finds the Phase Locket in Plague of Shadows, which he later trades with Chester, and which is then sold to Shovel Knight in Shovel of Hope.
    • As Specter Knight did not return from the Tower of Fate alive, this would mean Donovan had kept the room there for quite some time and had already possessed some control over the undead (or he had simply convinced the Super Skeleton to keep guard).
    • Entering this room awards the player with a feat, similarly when entering Plague Knight's room in the Explodatorium in Plague of Shadows.
  • Specter Knight's real name before they came up with Donovan was "Johnny Specter". This is why the cheat code to always look like Donovan is "SP&JOHNY".
  • In King of Cards, Specter Knight fights King Knight using his appearance and abilities in the Specter of Torment campaign, such as using the Dash Slash and several of his Curios.
  • Donovan's original cloak is similar to a serape, except not very colorful compared to real world serapes.
  • Donovan's original weapons, a nimcha-like sword and caltrops, are both weapons that originated in Persia.
  • Unlike the other playable characters, he does produce air bubbles while underwater in stages such as the Iron Whale.


Boss FormEdit

Playable FormEdit



Shovel of Hope Characters
Main Characters: Shovel KnightShield KnightBlack KnightThe Enchantress
The Order of No Quarter: King KnightSpecter KnightPlague KnightTreasure KnightMole KnightTinker KnightPolar KnightPropeller Knight
The Wandering Travelers: Reize SeatlanBazMr. HatPhantom Striker
Guest Characters: KratosBattletoadsMadame Meeber
Village: BardGoaticianGastronomerMagicistJuice MaidDancerDeposed KingGrandma SwampMonaCroakerChesterTroupple AcolyteHoop KidHedge FarmerWater CarrierGrizzled Seer
Armor Outpost: WallaceFishermanToaderMary SweetsLeoPeacock GentDollyArmorerShovel SmithYopplerAirship Enthusiast????
Hall of Champions: TicketerCultured FellowPatron
Other Characters: Troupple KingTroupple
Plague of Shadows Characters
Main Characters: Plague KnightMonaBlack KnightShovel KnightThe Enchantress
The Order of No Quarter: King KnightSpecter KnightTreasure KnightMole KnightTinker KnightPolar KnightPropeller Knight
The Wandering Travelers: Shovel KnightReize SeatlanBazMr. HatPhantom Striker
Guest Characters: Madame Meeber
Potionarium: MagicistHedge PupilMail MinionPercyOolong
Armor Outpost: ChesterTroupple AcolyteLeoPeacock GentDollyAirship Enthusiast
Hall of Champions: Head GuardCultured FellowPatron
Other Characters: Troupple KingTroupplePlague of ShadowsCorrupted Essence
Specter of Torment Characters
Main Characters: Specter KnightShield KnightLuanReize SeatlanDark ReizeThe Enchantress
Order Recruits: Black KnightKing KnightPhantom StrikerPlague KnightTreasure KnightMole KnightTinker KnightPolar KnightPropeller Knight
Guest Characters: Madame Meeber
Tower of Fate: RedMannyMissyDark AcolyteCreechLegionScrying GlassEdge FarmerHoraceScarletDancerGall
Other Characters: Baz
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