Shovel Knight Dig - Master Argus

In Shovel Knight Dig, there is a character you’ll meet named Master Argus. He’ll show up randomly in secret rooms throughout the mines to teach you Shovel Blade Techniques. You’ll definitely want to understand how these work if you want to get the most out of this devious roguelite.

What are Shovel Blade Techniques?

Shovel Knight Dig - Shovel Blade Techniques

First, I should explain what Shovel Blade Techniques are and how they work. These are basically temporary upgrades for your Shovel Blade. There are eight Shovel Blade Techniques in Shovel Knight Dig at launch (it’s possible they’ll add more with patches or DLC later down the line).


First, I should explain what Shovel Blade Techniques are and how they work. These are basically temporary upgrades for your Shovel Blade. There are eight Shovel Blade Techniques in Shovel Knight Dig at launch (it’s possible they’ll add more with patches or DLC later down the line).

Note that only three of them are unlocked at the beginning of the game. If you want to unlock the others, you’re going to have to meet Master Argus. Well, that’s not technically true. To unlock the other five Shovel Blade Techniques, you just have to complete Master Argus’ Tests. You could hypothetically do this without ever meeting him. But it’s all easier if you do meet him, because he tracks your progress on a gravestone.

Note that only three of them are unlocked at the beginning of the game. If you want to unlock the others, you’re going to have to meet Master Argus. Well, that’s not technically true. To unlock the other five Shovel Blade Techniques, you just have to complete Master Argus’ Tests. You could hypothetically do this without ever meeting him. But it’s all easier if you do meet him, because he tracks your progress on a gravestone.

How do you uncover Master Argus’ gravestone?

Shovel Knight Dig

You can meet Master Argus as early as you want if you uncover his gravestone. All you have to do is, instead of going down into the mine, just walk to the left as far as you can go. You’ll see a two-tiered hill. Jump to the top of it, then use your shovel on the dirt. That will uncover a gravestone. Dig at it a few times to fully uncover it, after which you’ll see Master Argus arm raise out of the ground and he’ll talk to you.

Shovel Knight Dig

Now, if you read the tombstone, you’ll reveal five of Master Argus’ Tests. Completing each Test unlocks a new Shovel Blade Technique. I’ll get more into the specifics in just a bit.

How do you earn a Shovel Blade Technique during a run?

Shovel Knight Dig - Shovel Blade Techniques

Okay, I hope this next part isn’t too confusing…

Shovel Blade Techniques are not permanent. When your run ends, your Shovel Blade Techniques won’t carry over to your next run. However, the unlocks will carry over.

As I mentioned in the previous section, you start out with three Shovel Blade Techniques. When you meet Master Argus randomly inside the mine, he will offer you three of them, but you can only purchase one of the three. The three he offers are randomized, but he pulls them out of the pool that you’ve unlocked. So if you haven’t unlocked any Shovel Blade Techniques, Master Argus will only offer you the default three. If you unlock, say, Whip Slash, there’s a chance that Whip Slash might now be one of the three offered by Argus from now on.

Oh, and I should point out that Argus’ prices are random. One Shovel Blade Technique might cost 800 gemstones in one run and 850 in the next one (I’ve literally seen that happen). I don’t know the full price range off the top of my head, but they generally seem to go for between 800 and 1,000 gemstones.

Make sense? Cool. Now let’s do some unlocking.

How to unlock every Shovel Blade Technique

Shovel Knight Dig - Shovel Blade Techniques

Here’s a list of every Shovel Blade Technique and the exact method for unlocking each one.

  • Hover Air Slash – Briefly stops your descent when swinging the shovel blade.
    • Unlocked at the beginning of the game.
  • Whip Slash – Attack with a long-range whip technique. Replaces your dig slash.
    • Shovel Drop 5 enemies without touching the ground.
  • Super Shovel Drop – Press down to gather your strength and plummet straight down.
    • Unlocked at the beginning of the game.
  • Charge Slash – Hold Attack, then release to perform a powerful attack.
    • Unlocked at the beginning of the game
  • Charge Boomerang – Hold Attack, then release to throw the Shovel Blade.
    • Complete a stage without Shovel Dropping an enemy.
  • Cyclone Slash – Attack in front and behind simultaneously. Replaces your Dig Slash.
    • Dig 100 times in a row without stopping.
  • Glide Cloud Drop – Press Down to float slowly to the ground.
    • Complete a stage without jumping.
  • Spiral Air Slash – An aerial technique that attacks all around you. Replaces your Dig Slash in the air.
    • Challenge the Omega Saw to a 60-second standoff.

How to challenge the Omega Saw to a 60-second standoff

Shovel Knight Dig

Okay, so most of these challenges are pretty self-explanatory, but this Omega Saw one is a real nightmare. I’m going to give you a few pointers on completing this hardest of all tests.

Whenever you linger too long in the mine, the Omega Saw will crash through the ceiling and attempt to drill you into oblivion. It can kill you in a single hit, so it’s no joke. What you’re trying to do is simply survive for 60 seconds in the same room as the saw. Don’t try to kill it; just try to dodge it for 60 seconds.

Honestly, I think 60 seconds is too much for this challenge. To keep this in line with the other challenges, I think 30 seconds would have been more fair, and you could even go up to 45 if you really wanted it to be challenging. But the 60-second mark is going to put this out of reach for some players. It’s really difficult.

Shovel Knight Dig - 56 seconds

The best technique I’ve found is to drop down just a little way from the starting area, then wait for the saw. It won’t chase you from the very start of the mine; you’ll have to drop down a screen’s height or so. When you’ve dropped far enough, you’ll see dirt clumps and debris start falling from the ceiling.

The saw doesn’t always start moving right away. If you can’t get the saw blade to spawn in, try dropping a little deeper until you see the dirt clumps start dropping.

Once it starts moving, you just need to keep it on the screen for 60 seconds without it killing you. You’ll want to slowly move ahead of it so that it doesn’t hit you, while being careful to not get yourself stuck. For example, if there’s just a narrow gap on the left side of the screen, the blade can cover the gap, in which case you have no choice but to die.

When the saw is chasing you, the background will turn reddish. If you get too far ahead of it, the background will return to its normal color. If this happens, the timer will reset, so be careful. Also, going into a secret room will cause the saw to give up its chase.

One thing to know is that you can actually temporarily stop the saw if you attack the right part of it with your shovel a few times in a row. The part you’re aiming for is the section that connects the saw with the arm that holds it. Be careful, because if you hit the blade, it’s an instant death. But if you can attack the arm in the exact right spot, you can buy yourself some time.

Shovel Knight Dig - Omega Saw

Note that you can only do this one time per run, because after that the damageable portion of the saw breaks off. Attempting to attack it again will cause you to hit the blade.

Also, I changed the game speed in the Accessibility Settings menu down to 50%, but it appears that this will also cause the saw timer to slow down, so you’re not really able to exploit this. I will say, though, that the game is a little easier when it’s at 50% speed (but I can’t deal with how slow it feels, so I very quickly changed it back to 100%).

Shovel Knight Dig

Update: I got a great solution from user RaijinK on GameFAQ.com. Basically, you just go to the Magic Landfill world and look for a spot where there are portals on the walls to the far right and left of the screen. Then just move back and forth using the portals as the saw blade approaches. As RaijinK points out, the notification won’t pop until the encounter ends. For me, the notification popped once I escaped the saw. I don’t know whether it would still pop if you end up dying at the end, but I have to assume that it still would count.

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Moon Knight
Moon Knight
2 months ago

Wait so, lol, u haven’t been able to beat it urself either? Is that why u still don’t know what technique unlocks when you beat that test?😅

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