The best builds in Elden Ring

Elden Ring build
(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

FromSoftware's RPGs always give me choice paralysis. There are so many weapons to choose from, and I want to try them all, yet I end up sticking with the same pairs of swords or pokey lance for hours and hours and hours. The best Elden Ring builds will ensure that whatever weapon you choose to stick with, it'll be both fun to use and give you a leg up on the beats of the Lands Between. Every single build starts with a weapon.

The rest of your choices, like what armor sets and Ashes of War to use, are determined by the weapon in your hand. The weapon defines how you play Elden Ring; if you're looking for a powerful PvP build or one focused on slicing down the healthbars of mighty bosses, there are different tools ideally suited to each job.

Below are the best Elden Ring builds we've played with ourselves or seen in the wider Elden Ring community. One important thing to keep in mind: this decision is never permanent. You can always respec to try out a wholly new play style, and in Elden Ring it's not too hard to get the upgrade materials you need to bring a new weapon up to par.

Some of these builds are viable for PvP and others are great for PvE bosses. All of them dish out a ton of damage or otherwise make you a fearsome threat.

Character build tips

How to put together an Elden Ring build

The first thing to consider when creating a build is what you find fun, and how you can refine that playstyle to deal as much damage as possible. If you're a seasoned player, consider starting with the Wretch class to take full control of your stats from level 1. That's not super important in Elden Ring, though, and in each of our builds below we've recommended a starting class with specs that make sense for the playstyle.

The Wretch is simply the most flexible of the Elden Ring classes if you don't mind a tougher start.

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(Image credit: FromSoftware)

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One of the best things about Elden Ring is that you can respec far more easily than in the older Souls games. As you can see in our Elden Ring respec guide, you grab a Larval Tear and redistribute your attributes based on your starting class. This means you can change your build on the fly as soon as you beat Rennala, an early-ish major boss.

If you want to play as a pure melee warrior, stat distribution isn't difficult, since it depends entirely on the scaling of your desired weapon. You're either pumping points into strength or dexterity, most likely.

But if you want to be a melee/spellcaster hybrid—a great experience in Elden Ring, because there are tons of cool magical abilities—you'll want to focus your build on a weapon that has good scaling with, say, faith or intelligence. But you don't need to fret about that too much, either, thanks to Ashes of War that let you tweak the elemental affinity of most weapons.

Some examples of good hybrid builds: the Darkmoon Greatsword scales very well with intelligence, yet doesn't have a high strength or dex requirement, making it a great pick for a sorcerer. If you're more interested in incantations, the Staff of the Avatar is amazing for faith and strength scaling. You can experiment with the spells and incantations to find ones you like before arranging a whole build around one type of magic.

Okay, enough general advice: let's jump into some specific Elden Ring builds now.

The best Elden Ring builds right now

FromSoftware has been actively patching Elden Ring, so a few builds popular in its first two months are no longer as hot. We've also removed one from the list altogether that was based on an exploit FromSoftware fixed. Despite some balance patches that affected status ailments like bleed, many of those skills and weapons remain very powerful, so they're still here among the best builds in Elden Ring.

The anti-Malenia

Let Me Solo Her fanart

(Image credit: u/Asphodelaphophiliac)

🍯Dex/Arc: Let Me Solo Her's build

  • Ideal starting class: Wretch
  • Viable weapons: Cold Uchigatana (right hand), Rivers of Blood (left hand)
  • Armor: None, except Jar helm
  • Stat priorities: Dexterity, Arcane, Stamina
  • Ashes of War: Hoarfrost Stomp

Elden Ring's first legendary player earned Reddit fame in April by defeating Malenia, the game's fiercest boss, in 1v1 bouts. Let Me Solo Her player KleinTsuboiOW posted the basics of their build on Reddit, which you can see above. Unfortunately this equipment won't grant you the preternatural skill necessary to beat Malenia solo in multiplayer, where she has a greatly increased health pool.

Let Me Solo Her didn't specify their exact stats, but with two katanas capable of dealing bleed damage, dexterity and arcane will be most important. Let Me Solo Her has a substantial stamina bar for multiple dodges. They may also have  some points dumped into intelligence to deal more frost damage.

Deathblight

Elden Ring character using the Eclipse Shotel

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

🏃‍♂️👼Dex/Faith: Eclipse Shotel Deathblight build

  • Ideal starting class: Prophet
  • Viable weapons: Eclipse Shotel (late-game), Erdtree Greatshield (mid-game, deflects spells)
  • Talismans: Taker's Cameo, Blessed Dew Talisman, Sacred Scorpion Charm
  • Minimum stats: 10 Strength 💪 / 25 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️ / 30 Faith 👼
  • Stat priorities: 55 Strength 💪 / 55 Faith 👼 / 50 Endurance 🐢
  • Spells: Fire's Deadly Sin

The infamous Deathblight build isn't anywhere as broken as it was before patch 1.03. You can no longer equip the Eclipse Shotel and use Fire's Deadly Sin to inflict the Death status on enemies near you, but that doesn't mean the Eclipse Shotel and the Erdtree Greatshield aren't still strong choices for PvP. You can close distance or outright kill people with the shield equipped and then you can spread Death onto them with the Death Flare skill.

Redmane Greatsword

Elden Ring Flame of the Redmanes

(Image credit: Youtuber Daniel / FromSoftware)

💪Str: Flame of the Redmanes greatsword build

  • Ideal starting class: Hero
  • Viable weapons: Greatsword, Gargoyle's Twinblade, or any Strength scaling weapon
  • Armor: Imp Head (Fanged) for +2 strength, General Radahn Set
  • Talismans: Starscourge Heirloom, Radagon's Soreseal, Great-Jar's Arsenal
  • Minimum stats: 31 Strength 💪 / 12 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️
  • Stat priorities: 80 Strength 💪
  • Ashes of War: Flame of the Redmanes

Flame of the Redmanes is a slept-on Ash of War for strength builds. This attack unleashes an arc of flames in front of you that deals immense poise damage; 2-3 hits can stagger some of Elden Ring's fiercest bosses. This build is all about taking advantage of Flame of the Redmanes' damage output by piling on more strength.

Despite being a fire attack, Flame of the Redmanes scales on your weapon level and your total strength, which is why you'll be pumping point into that stat more than anything else. Its damage isn't impacted by the strength scaling stat of your weapon, but to maximize the benefit of your strength stat you'll want to pick a weapon that scales well with strength. The Greatsword is a good one, but you can apply Flame of the Redmanes to any melee weapon, so long as it can accept an Ash of War.

If you decide to throw some magic into the mix, use the Clawmark Seal, as it scales on your strength stat in addition to faith.

Dark Moon Spellblade

Elden Ring character using the Dark Moon Greatsword

(Image credit: Tyler C. / FromSoftware)

🧠🏃‍♂️Int/Dex: Dark Moon Greatsword spellblade build

  • Ideal starting class: Astrologer
  • Viable weapons: Dark Moon Greatsword (mid-game), Carian Glintblade Staff (early game), Moonveil (early game), Meteoric Ore Blade (early game)
  • Armor: Preceptor's Big Hat (increases Mind, mid-game)
  • Talismans: Godfrey Icon, Radagan Icon, Stargazer Heirloom, Green Turtle Talisman
  • Minimum stats: 16 Strength 💪 / 11 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️ / 38 Intelligence 🧠
  • Stat priorities: 60 Intelligence 🧠 / 55 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️ / 55 Mind 👩‍🏫 / 55 Strength 💪 / 50 Endurance 🐢
  • Spells: Glinstone Pebble, Magic Glintblade, Glintblade Phalanx, Loretta's Great Bow

If you want to make use of one of the most beloved swords in FromSoftware's games, the Dark Moon Greatsword build is for you. This build has you utilizing the Carian Glintblade Staff to pre-cast Magic Glintblade and then to go for the Dark Moon Greatsword's charged heavy attack. This can repeatedly stagger enemies and deal massive damage. Glintblade Phalanx is also nice to add in if you want yet another stagger. And if you need some ranged, you can use Glinstone Pebbles.

Rivers of Blood

elden ring bleed

(Image credit: From Software)

🏃‍♂🔮Dex/Arc: Rivers of Blood dual katanas build

  • Ideal starting class: Samurai
  • Viable weapons: Uchigatana (early game), Nagakiba (mid game), Serpentbone Blade (mid game), Rivers of Blood (late game)
  • Armor: Silver Tear Mask (arcane boost) or White Mask (attack boost)
  • Talismans: Winged Sword Insignia, Lord of Blood's Exultation
  • Minimum stats: 12 Strength 💪/ 18 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️/ 20 Arcane 🔮
  • Stat priorities: 55 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️/ 50+ Arcane 🔮
  • Ashes of War: Corpse Piler (unique to Rivers of Blood), Seppuku, Bloody Slash

Bleed is good. In Elden Ring, bleed isn't just a way to terrorize other players in PvP: regular enemies and bosses throughout the game melt away under the hemorrhage status effect, and with the right build you can absolutely pile on the bleed buildup to cleave off giant chunks of those screen-filling lifebars. What makes bleed so effective against bosses is that it actually takes away a percentage of their total health, so even those with deep reserves of vigor will go down quickly.

You can use bleed on a variety of weapons (daggers and claws are excellent alternatives), but katanas are the go-to in Elden Ring for their bleed-based abilities and excellent range. As a samurai class you start with the Uchigatana, a strong blade that can stick with you through much of the game, but ideally for this build you'll be dual wielding the Rivers of Blood for its excellent bleed Ash of War and the Nagakiba as a powerful off-hand hitter. 

Use a Blood Ash of War affinity on the Nagakiba or Uchigatana to add Arcane scaling, which will dramatically increase your bleed buildup. Rivers of Blood's unique skill Corpse Piler multi-slash attack will be your main source of damage, but you can also use Ash of War Seppuku on your off-hand weapon to pile on even more bleed. Make sure to upgrade your katanas, as that's the primary way to increase their bleed buildup. If you get tired of straight bleed, consider using Serpentbone Blade as your second katana: it inflicts severe poison damage, too.

Sword of Night and Flame

posing with the sword of night and flame

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

🧠👼Int/Faith: Sword of Night and Flame spellblade build

  • Ideal starting class: Astrologer
  • Viable weapons: Sword of Night and Flame (early/mid game). Off-hand: Astrologer's Staff or Meteorite staff (early game), Prince of Death's Staff (mid game), Golden Order Seal (mid game)
  • Armor: Glintstone crown or Queen's Crescent Crown (intelligence boost)
  • Talismans: Carian Filigreed Crest, Marika's Scarseal, Stargazer Heirloom, Two Fingers Heirloom
  • Minimum stats: 12 Strength 💪/ 12 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️/ 24 Intelligence 🧠/ 24 Faith 👼
  • Stat priorities: 60 Intelligence 🧠/ 60 Faith 👼/ Mind 👩‍🏫
  • Spells: Rancorcall, Ancient Death of Rancor, Explosive Deaeth of Ghostflame, Flame Grant Me Strength (incantation)

The Sword of Night and Flame may be the most unique blade in Elden Ring: it requires a significant investment in both intelligence and faith, but rewards your spread out stats with an incredibly powerful pair of magical abilities. If you love the idea of a hybrid playstyle, this is the build for you: you'll be wielding this magic sword in one hand while casting spells or incantations with the other. (Alternately you could use a shield, but this sword really excels when you're mostly keeping enemies at range). Its damage was scaled back in the 1.03 patch, but it remains a great weapon nevertheless.

The Sword of Night and Flame's unique Ash of War lets you blast off a magical beam attack or swing in front of you to light everything on fire. Upgrading the weapon increases the damage of these skills, while the sword also has decent B tier scaling with both Intelligence and Faith at level 10 (max). The challenge with this build is how squishy you'll be early in the game, as you'll need to dump so many levels into Faith and Intelligence just to use the sword, and more into Mind to have a decent FP pool. The Marika's Scarseal talisman can help you boost those stats up a bit. You'll want to keep your distance as much as possible, which is where an off-hand staff or seal comes in handy.

You can make this build your own by deciding what kinds of sorceries or incantations you want to cast with your off-hand, but there are two ideal weapons to use, the Prince of Death's Staff or the Golden Order Seal, which both scale on faith and intelligence just like the sword. There are several Golden Order incantations and Death spells that require both stats, which you'd likely never get to use in a more conventional build. Flame, Grant Me Strength can also buff your sword's fire attack.

Moonveil

💪🧠Dex/Int: Moonveil katana build

Elden Ring - a player holds the Moonveil katana blade

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

  • Ideal starting class: Prisoner
  • Viable weapons: Moonveil (early/mid game). Off-hand: Magic/Cold Uchigatana, Academy Glintstone Staff, Horn Bow
  • Armor: Haima Glintstone Crown
  • Talismans: Green Turtle Talisman, Assassin's Cerulean Dagger, Carian Filigreed Crest
  • Minimum stats: 12 Strength 💪/ 18 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️/ 23 Intelligence 🧠
  • Stat priorities: 60 Dexterity 🏃‍♂️ / 60 Intelligence 🧠
  • Spells: Glintblade Phalanx, Glintstone Pebble, Great Glinstone Shard

The dexterity and intelligence Moonveil build is pretty simple. It's all about equipping anything that increases your ability to cast the Transient Moonlight projectile skill. It uses both FP and stamina, so that's why you should equip the Green Turtle Talisman along with the Assassin's Cerulean Dagger and Carian Filigreed Crest. Everything else, like armor, doesn't really matter.

For most fights, you want to fling out as many Transient Moonlights as you can. If enemies are too far away, you can use a staff or bow to take them out, but generally this is a mid-range melee build for dealing heavy damage and delivering consistent staggers.

Thematic Elden Ring builds

More of our favorite builds

Here are some fun thematic builds we've come up with. If one doesn't quite fit what you're going for, hopefully they can give you some ideas for your own:

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The best Elden Ring confessor build

Crucible Knight Captain

  • Starting class: Confessor
  • Weapon: Siluria's Tree, Golden Halberd, Staff of the Avatar, Golden Epitaph, Ordovis's Greatsword, Gargoyle's Blackblade
  • Casting: Clawmark Seal
  • Armour: Crucible Tree or Crucible Axe set
  • Attribute priority: Strength/Faith/Endurance/Mind
  • Ashes of War: Sacred Blade, Golden Vow, Vow of the Indomitable (if using shield)
  • Spells: Aspects of the Crucible: Tail, Aspects of the Crucible: Horns, Aspects of the Crucible: Breath, Beast Claw, Bestial Sling

The Crucible Knights are one of Elden Ring's coolest mini-bosses. They are devout warriors who can use Aspects of the Crucible incantations to sprout giant tails and smack opponents with, fly into the air, or shoulder barge foes from a distance. This build focuses on Crucible Knight Siluria, who's found in the Deeproot Depths, but there are plenty of choices available in the early game that'll work here, such as the Golden Halberd, or the Treespear if you decide on a dexterity focus.

The most important thing is that you pick a weapon that also scales with faith. In terms of casting, the Clawmark Seal scales with strength and faith, and boosts bestial incantations. These deal physical damage, and are generally pretty good for staggering enemies so you can deal a critical blow. This is definitely a later-game build, since the first Crucible armour set that we know of, is located in the Auriza Hero's Grave just outside Leyndell. That said, you can get Aspects of the Crucible very early on, with the Tail incantation located in the Stormhill Evergaol.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The best Elden Ring prisoner build

Carian Battlemage

  • Starting class: Prisoner
  • Weapon: Darkmoon Greatsword, Moonveil, Troll Knight's Sword, Sword of Night and Flame, Crystal Sword
  • Casting: Meteorite Staff, Carian Glintstone Staff
  • Armour: Battlemage set
  • Attribute priority: Strength/Intelligence/Mind/Dexterity
  • Spells: Carian Piercer, Carian Greatsword, Glintstone Pebble

This is your sword-and-sorcery build, very similar to the Crucible Knight above, but with intelligence scaling and slightly more emphasis on casting. There are lots of excellent intelligence-scaling weapons in Elden Ring, and they are some of the best in the game. The Moonveil katana, for example, can fire a wave of magic, while the Sword of Night and Flame has become popular for its beam attack. 

In terms of casting, you'll want the Elden Ring Meteorite Staff for its absurd intelligence scaling, and close-range sorceries like the Carian Greatsword and Piercer. Glintstone Pebble is also a very cost efficient spell for longer range. For armour, the Battlemage set you can get in the Altus Plateau really fits the aesthetic, and the Haima Glintstone Crown increases intelligence and strength in exchange for slightly less FP.

Elden Ring build with greatsword

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The best Elden Ring hero build

Berserk-er

  • Starting class: Hero
  • Weapon: Greatsword or any strength-scaling weapon you can equip War Cry to
  • Armour: Blaidd set or whatever will keep you at medium equip load
  • Attribute priority: Strength/Endurance/Vigor
  • Talismans: Roar Medallion, Axe Talisman
  • Ashes of War: War Cry

This is a typical strength build and all about using the War Cry ash of war to increase the power of charged attacks. You can push this even further with the Roar Medallion you get from the Stonedigger Troll in the Limgrave Tunnels dungeon, and the Axe Talisman you get from the cellar of the Mistwood Ruins in East Limgrave. Since both talismans are available early on, and you can purchase War Cry from the Warmaster on Storm Hill, this is a build that's possible from the early game. 

You want a heavy strength-scaling weapon, such as the iconic Greatsword you can get from the broken down caravan on the road into Caelid. In terms of other early game options, you could grab the Greataxe from the convoy on the road south of the Agheel Lake North site of grace. The Battle Hammer from the Murkwater Catacombs dungeon would also work, as would the Brickhammer on the back route into Stormveil Castle. Unleash your roar and go to town with those charged attacks. For armor, wear the heaviest you can while retaining a medium equip load. We went with Blaidd's set to fit the overall Berserk vibe.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

The best Elden Ring bandit builds

Black Knife Assassin

  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Weapon: Misericorde, Reduvia, Scorpion's Stinger
  • Armour: Black Knife set
  • Attribute priority: Dexterity/Strength/Arcane/Endurance
  • Ashes of War: Blood Blade, Bloody Slash, Poison Moth Flight, Poisonous Mist, Spinning Slash, Quickstep, Impaling Thrust, Repeating Thrust, Parry

This is more your classic dex-based dagger build, but with bleed as good as it is in Elden Ring, daggers are extremely strong in the early game. You can get Reduvia almost straight away by the Murkwater Cave dungeon, and it's a great weapon against a lot of Elden Ring bosses. Misericorde is also very good and has a high crit stat. You can find it in Stormveil Castle's armory.

The best thing about this build is you can push it any way you want in terms of Ashes of War, favoring bleed, poison, pure dex, or even something like scarlet rot if you decide to use the Scorpion's Stinger dagger. Either way, the essence is the same—fast attacks that build status to deal damage. If you favor dex, bleed, and poison, there are also lots of great katanas you can switch out for, such as Rivers of Blood and the Serpentbone Blade. You can't get the Black Knife armour set until later in the game, but there are plenty of other lightweight sets to use before then.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Ancestral Hunter

  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Weapon: Longbow, Shortbow, Pulley Bow, Horn Bow, Serpent Bow, Erdtree Bow, Spear, Pike
  • Armour: Shining Horned Headband, Fur Raiment
  • Attribute priority: Dexterity/Strength/Mind
  • Ashes of War: Mighty Shot, Barrage

Being able to use bows on horseback has completely changed the game for archers: it makes them a pretty good class for facing down a lot of open-world bosses. There are a variety of bows with different scalings, which somewhat makes up for the fact that most Ashes of War can't be used with them. The Erdtree Bow for instance, adds a faith scaling, while the Serpent Bow adds one for arcane. You can even deal magic damage with the Horn bow.

The key to this build is dexterity and strength to increase damage, and mind to boost the number of times you can unleash your skill. You might want to graduate onto a greatbow later, such as Radahn's Lionbow, but these can't be used on horseback. There are also some fun ranged options in the Jar Cannon and Hand Ballista, though they require a lot of strength to wield. 

For your melee option, I recommend a spear or pike so you can maintain distance. In terms or armor, anything light works, but for that hunter-y feel, I went with the Shining Horned Headband and Fur Raiment you get from the Ancestral Warriors in Siofra River.

(Image credit: FromSoftware)

Lord of Blood

  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Weapon: Reduvia, Winged Scythe, Bloody Helice, Rivers of Blood, Ghiza's Wheel, Great Stars
  • Casting: Frenzied Flame Seal, Finger Seal
  • Armour: Sanguine Noble set
  • Attribute priority: Dexterity/Arcane/Faith/Mind
  • Ashes of War: Blood Blade, Bloody Slash
  • Spells: Swarm of Flies, Bloodflame Talons, Bloodboon, Bloodflame Blade

There are lots of great bleed weapons in Elden Ring, whether you want to go with strength or dexterity. Reduvia, Bloody Helice, and Rivers of Blood are all solid dex weapons, but for strength, there's also Great Stars, and Ghiza's Wheel, which can't help but remind of the Whirligig Saw from Bloodborne. 

Most of the bleed incantations aren't available until later in the game, so your first focus will be on building damage with your weapon. I recommend dex weapons for bleed since they hit a lot faster and build bleed status quicker than a slow strength weapon would. Reduvia is a great early game pick, as are the hookclaws or the Imp's Forked Tongue dagger, if you're lucky enough for it to drop. You can even get shields that deal bleed if you want a little more defense, such as the Marred Wooden Shield in Stormveil and the Spiked Palisade Shield in Caelid.

If you want to cast those blood-based incantations later in the game, you'll also want to build some faith. If you do, I recommend using the Winged Scythe from the Weeping Peninsula, since it's one of the few faith-scaling bleed weapons in the game. Building faith will also let you throw some other incantations into your build, such as healing or status cure.

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Wes Fenlon
Senior Editor

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.


When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).

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