The Dark Souls series is infamous for how difficult it is, making even the most patient of players throw their controllers at the wall. With a game that requires so much patience, it can be beneficial to use a powerful build to make the game less frustrating.

Related: Things You Can Miss By Accident In Dark Souls 3

Of course, the best thing to do is take a break, but some items present in Dark Souls 3 can ease the frustration. Besides summoning phantoms for co-op, your main way of improving your damage is to get better weapons, spells, or improve your stats. To help you create the strongest Ashen One possible, here are the ten best PvE builds in Dark Souls 3 that make the game significantly easier.

Updated August 12th, 2021, by Charles Burgar: Creating a build in Dark Souls 3 can be intimidating when starting out. A large range of stats, items, and spells can make finding a build somewhat difficult. To help you create a good PvE build, each build in this article had its stat and gear breakdown reorganized. They're now listed in tables at the start of the entry, making it much easier to parse. We've also done a review of some of the builds on this list, noting alternate weapons or rings you might want to use.

10 Bleed and Hollow

Dark Souls 3 Bleed

Stats And Gear

Starting Class

(Pick One)
  • Thief
  • Deprived
  • Mercenary
Core Stats
  • Dexterity: 40
  • Luck: 40
Weapon
  • Warden Twinblades
    • Blood or Hollow Infusion
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Prisoner's Chain
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

Both Bleed and Hollow are included in the same entry because there is quite a bit of overlap between the two. If you talk to Yoel of Londor at the Foot of the High Wall Bonfire, he will return to Firelink Shrine and allow you to gain a free level. In exchange, you gain a Dark Sigil, allowing you to become Hollow. That's perfect for this build, as Hollowing increases the damage of Hollow-infused weapons.

Bleed is a status effect you can inflict on enemies and some bosses, dealing a percentage of damage to their health bar and staggering the target. Rapid attacking weapons usually come with this effect intrinsically, so most bleed builds spec for some Dexterity atop Luck to scale the damage of their initial hits and Bleed procs. Luck is what scales your bleed damage for this build, so spec heavily into that stat and increase your Hollowing stat. When done properly, you can stagger most bosses in the game and rapidly defeat tanky enemies. It's pretty good in PvP too. Just note that some enemies and bosses are completely immune to bleed, so be prepared for some boss fights to take ages.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

9 Hexes

Dark Souls 3 Aldrich

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Pyromancer
Core Stats
  • Intelligence: 30
    • 45 if possible
  • Faith: 30
    • 45 if possible
Weapon
  • Crucifix of the Mad King
    • Only if you're playing hybrid
Catalyst
  • Caitha's Chime
  • Izalith Staff
Spells
  • Vow of Silence
  • Great Soul Dregs
  • Affinity
  • Dark Blade
    • If hybrid
Rings
  1. Sage Ring
  2. Ring of Favor
  3. Dark Clutch Ring
  4. Preference

Hexes have seen a significant nerf in Dark Souls 3 compared to the second entry, distributing these unique spells throughout every school of magic instead of being a dedicated magic archetype.

With that in mind, Hexes are still fantastic for players who want plenty of utility with their build. Want to prevent a boss from using any special attacks? Use Vow of Silence. Want to make an enemy instantly bleed? Using Dorhy's Gnawing. It's a very versatile school of magic that veteran players should try.

Upgrade your Faith and Intelligence evenly, trying to hit at least 30 in each stat. Your chime and catalyst will determine which stat scales your Hex. For this build, we'll be using Caitha's Chime for miracles and the Izalith Staff for sorceries—both of which scale with Faith and Intelligence evenly. The soft cap for both stats is 30, although you'll still gain a sizable damage boost for raising both stats to 45. This build comes online towards the end of a playthrough, although its versatility and ease of use make it a great choice for PvP and NG+ playthroughs.

8 Mage

Dark Souls 3 Sorcerer's Staff

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Pyromancer
    • Best stats
  • Sorcerer
    • Starts with sorceries
Core Stats
  • Attunement: 24
  • Intelligence: 60
Weapon
  • Moonlight Greatsword
    • If using melee
Catalysts
  • Court Sorcerer's Staff
Spells
  • Homing Crystal Soulmass
  • Soul Greatsword
  • Crystal Soul Spear
Rings
  1. Sage Ring,
  2. Magic Clutch Ring
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

Pure mage characters take a long time to come "online"—capable of finishing the game comfortably. When they do, mages can do nearly anything you would want.

Related: Dark Souls 3: All Titanite Slab Locations

You can either focus on a pure mage build, allocating most of your levels in Intelligence and Attunement, or you can run a hybrid build with Strength or Dexterity. For the former, look out for the Crystal Sage's Staff and any Crystal spells; they're the best for this build. If you are playing a hybrid build, check out the Moonlight Greatsword. This sword's damage scales off your Intelligence and can shoot projectiles with its heavy attack. Whichever route you take, you'll be one-shotting most enemies by the end of a Dark Souls 3 playthrough and subsequent NG+ playthroughs.

7 Dexterity Build

Dark Souls 3 Onikiri and Ubadachi

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Mercenary
Core Stats
  • Dexterity: 60
Weapon
  • Uchigatana
  • Sellsword Twinblades
  • Onikiri and Ubadachi
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Chloranthy Ring
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

Dexterity might not be as powerful in Dark Souls 3 as in previous installments, but you can absolutely make a Dexterity build work in DS3. In fact, some of the best weapons in Dark Souls 3 scale incredibly well with Dexterity, making Dexterity builds a solid choice for beginners that aren't sure what to play.

Once you reach Firelink Shrine, defeat the Sword Master that roams near the Firelink Shrine Tower. Killing him will grant the Uchigatana, a fantastic starting weapon that will carry you through the rest of a playthrough. Alternatively, start as the Mercenary to get your hands on one of the best weapons in the game (detailed in our final build entry).

Scale your Dexterity to 60 as soon as possible to get the most out of your weapons. Sharp Gems are also excellent for Dexterity builds, enhancing their Dexterity scaling. Rings are entirely up to you, although you might want to consider the Ring of Favor and Chloranthy Ring to help with Stamina management. Attacking and dodging will chew through your Stamina bar if you aren't careful.

6 Dex/Faith Hybrid

The Nameless King Dark Souls 3

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Cleric
Core Stats
  • Dexterity: 30
  • Faith: 30
Weapon
  • Dragonslayer Spear
  • Any Blessed/Sharp-infused weapon
Catalyst
  • Yorshka's Chime
Spells
  • Sacred Oath
  • Great Heal
  • Lightning Spear
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Sage Ring
  3. Lightning Clutch Ring
  4. Ring of the Sun's First Born

This build is focused on using Dexterity weapons and miracles to turn the tide. Utilize the power of lightning and Blessed weapons to smite your foes.

Related: Dark Souls 3: A Complete Guide To Miracles

For this build, your two main stats are Dexterity and Faith. The Dragonslayer Swordspear is a good choice for this, as it scales off of both your Faith and Dexterity quite well. For an earlier alternative, get any weapon you favor and infuse with a Blessed or Sharp Gem to get even more damage. Your miracles allow you to heal and cast lightning-based miracles, giving you a solution to every problem you'll face. The versatility on offer is some of the best you can find in Dark Souls 3.

5 Paladin

Dark Souls 3 Paladin

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Warrior
Core Stats
  • Strength: 30
  • Faith: 30
    • 60 for stronger miracles
Weapon
  • Astora Greatsword
    • Uninfused
  • Any Lightning-infused weapon
Catalyst
  • Yorshka's Chime
Spells
  • Lightning Blade
  • Sacred Oath
  • Great Heal
  • Sunlight Spear
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Sage Ring
  3. Lightning Clutch Ring
  4. Ring of the Sun's First Born

Paladins focus heavily on Faith and Strength, casting lightning spells and healing cantrips in between melee attacks. They serve as a great gish or spellsword class in Dark Souls 3, allowing you to carve through enemies with a large sword while throwing an occasional lightning bolt or healing miracle. This is similar to our last entry, except this build focuses more on Strength instead of Dexterity.

Due to Ashen Flasks and a dedicated mana resource being introduced in Dark Souls 3, you'll need to either scale your Attunement or sacrifice a few Estus Flasks for Ashen variants. Don't let that discourage you. With a 60 Faith stat and the Sunlight Talisman, you can output some powerful Lightning Spears and healing miracles. Sunlight Spear and Lightning Stake will shut down most enemies, while healing miracles will be comparable to an upgraded Estus Flask. Since it's a hybrid build, you'll want to be using rings that enhance your miracles and cast speed to prevent the build from feeling clunky. If you value utility but love melee combat, this build is for you.

4 Quality Build

Dark Souls 3 Knight

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Warrior
Core Stats
  • Strength: 40
  • Dexterity: 40
Weapon
  • Hollowslayer Greatsword
  • Any Refined-infused weapon
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Prisoner's Chain
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

If you're indecisive about what to play, it's hard to go wrong with a quality build. Quality builds are those that invest equally into Dexterity and Strength to scale a weapon's Attack Rating as high as possible. In practice, this means you can use virtually every weapon in the game.

You can use any weapon you enjoy; just be sure to infuse it with a Refined Gem. If you care about min-maxing, the best weapon for a quality build is the Hollowslayer Greatsword, a boss weapon obtained after killing the Curse-Rotted Greatwood—one of the first bosses you'll face. It scales absurdly well with both Strength and Dexterity, reaching an Attack Rating of 516 when both stats are 40. It also has a great moveset with a healthy mix of hyperarmor (preventing you from getting stunned mid-animation) and swings. If you don't like greatswords, feel free to use any weapon that scales somewhat well with either or both stats. Once again, a Refined Gem will do wonders for this build.

3 Pure Strength

Dark Souls 3 Black Knight Sword

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Warrior
Core Stats
  • Strength: 60
Weapon
  • Lothric Knight Greatsword
  • Any Greatsword or Ultra Greatsword
Rings
  1. Ring of Favor
  2. Chloranthy Ring
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

If casting spells doesn't sound appealing, try out a pure Strength build. Allocate at least 60 points into strength and watch as you one-shot all but the toughest of mobs and bosses.

Greatswords are a fantastic weapon of choice for this, with weapons like the Black Knight Sword and Lothric Knight Greatsword having good movesets and great scaling. Ultra greatswords like the Fume Ultra Greatsword allow you to wield weapons twice their size and deal ridiculous amounts of damage. If you can stand the slow playstyle, this is one of the best builds any player can use. Use rings that enhance your Stamina pool; you're going to need it.

2 Pyromancer

Dark Souls 3 Link The First Flame

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Pyromancer
Core Stats
  • Intelligence: 30
  • Faith: 30
Weapon
  • Demon Scar
  • Any Chaos-infused weapon
Catalyst
  • Pyromancy Flame
Spells
  • Power Within
  • Chaos Bed Vestiges
  • Rapport
Rings
  1. Sage Ring
  2. Fire Clutch Ring
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

With a series focused on linking the fire, it's surprising how pyromancy took a backseat to sorceries and miracles. Thankfully, Dark Souls 3 gives this school of magic a time to shine.

With 40 points in both Faith and Intelligence, pyromancy will deal significant damage and outclass most hexes. Plenty of great damage pyromancies, such as Floating Chaos and Black Serpent, allow you to deal with nearly any situation. Power Within and Flash Sweat are also some fantastic buffs if you want to create a hybrid build. You can even use the Demon Scar to cast pyromancies while cutting through mobs with a burning curved sword. Versatility, damage, defense, this build has it all.

1 Sellsword Twinblades

Dark Souls 3 Mercenary

Stats And Gear

Starting Class
  • Mercenary
Core Stats
  • Dexterity: 60
Gear
  • Warden Twinblades
    • Sharp Infusion
Rings
  1. Hunter's Ring
  2. Ring of Favor
  3. Preference
  4. Preference

There's a reason the community calls these pair of curved swords the "Sellsword Winblades." The damage this pair can dish out is nearly unmatched in Dark Souls 3's PvE content.

Funny enough, it's also the easiest build to get going on this list. Pick the Mercenary class, and you'll already start with these blades. Focus on obtaining a Sharp Gem in the early game, then infuse the Sellsword Twinblades. From there, increase your Dexterity stat to 60. You'll be outputting as much damage as some greatswords twice as quickly. It's the reason why so many speedrunners and PvE players use this weapon over others. Equip any rings that increase your Dexterity or Stamina.

Next: Dark Souls 3: Must Know Things For New Players

Dark Souls 3: Every Ring And Where To Find Them

The stats and location of every ring in Dark Souls 3.

Read Next
About The Author