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The Dark Souls franchise is specifically known for being a content-rich RPG that gives the player more gameplay options than one could ever try out in a single playthrough.
And on top of that, it’s an incredibly difficult series of games and it takes dozens of hours to reach the endgame too.
Dark Souls 3 took everything that made the previous games so much fun and added so much more to the formula, which eventually led to a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. And like the other games, the builds that the player makes still play a major role in how you will be able to play the game and what abilities you will have.
Although the game does feature PvP combat, the real meat of the game is the PvE enemies and bosses. And to defeat them with honor, you need to create the best PvE builds for your character that will help you fight the strongest of enemies and also make you look good while you’re at it.
Best Dark Souls 3 PvE Builds
It can take a lot of time to figure out what the best builds for your playstyle are, so we’ve created a ranked list of the best PvE builds in Dark Souls 3 – so that you can jump directly into the action instead of relying on trial and error. Let’s get started!
1. Dexterity & Strength (Hybrid)
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When a single build isn’t doing the job for you, it’s time to pick something that offers you the best of two worlds. Dexterity and Strength are both builds that you hear about a lot in the Dark Souls community and that’s because they are all-rounders and deal immense damage to most enemy types.
What makes it even better is that these core stats are the least complicated in terms of leveling up and are great both for the early and endgame scenarios. And it’s not like it’s boring in any way, you can always be flashy with the right combination of combos and gear since versatility is a big part of this build.
- Recommended Class: Mercenary, Knight, Warrior, Assassin
- Core Stats: Dexterity (40), Strength (40)
- Recommended Rings: Sun Princess Ring, Leo Ring, Chloranthy Ring, and Ring of Favor.
- Right Hand: Astora Greatsword, Hollowslayer Greatsword, Washing Pole, Gargoyle Flame Spear, Exile Greatsword, Gundyr’s Halberd, Black Knight Glaive.
- Left Hand: Blessed Caestus +10
- Chest: Drakeblood Armor
- Legs: Drakeblood Leggings
- Head: Hood of Prayer
- Hands: Gauntlets of Thorns
Additional suggestions: You can use Havel’s Ring too in place of the Leo Ring if you want.
- The Best Dexterity Weapons Ranked
- The Best Strength Weapons Ranked
- Dark Souls 3: Best Faith Build Weapons
2. Sellsword Twinblades with Dexterity
The Sellsword Twinblades build is great for several reasons. First off, it’s one of the easiest builds that you can make and your journey with it will begin early on in the game.
Once you pick the Mercenary class, you will immediately get this sword and then you can play the game until your Dexterity stat reaches 60.
By that point, your damage output will be as good as other strong swords in the game but the speed that your character will have will be superior. But do make sure that you obtain a Sharp Gem and infuse the sword with it – otherwise you might not be able to use this build to its full potential.
- Recommended Class: Mercenary
- Core Stats: Dexterity (60)
- Recommended Rings: Prisoner’s Chain, Sun Princess, Chloranthy, Ring of Favor, Hunter’s Ring.
- Left Hand, Right Hand: Sellsword Twinblades
- Chest, Head, Hands: Winged Knight Set
- Legs: Black Iron Leggings
This build also works well with the Dagger, Gotthard Twinswords, and Estoc.
Let’s be honest, it just looks cool to be able to channel fire into your attacks and burn everything that stands in your way.
But it’s not just the flashiness that makes this build great – Pyromancy is very good in Dark Souls 3 from a damage-based standpoint too because it’s extremely efficient and customizable.
With the right gear that we recommend for this build, you’ll be burning your way through both the early and endgame enemies throughout the game, and you’ll realize what true power means by the time you have maxed out your Faith and Intelligence stats.
- Recommended Class: Pyromancer
- Core Stats: Intelligence (40), Faith (40)
- Recommended Rings: Witch’s Ring, Great Swamp Ring, Priestess Ring, Scholar Ring.
- Left Hand, Right Hand: Astora Straight Sword (Infused with Raw) for early game, and Carthus Curved Sword, Astora Greatsword, Corvian great Scythe, and Follower Sabre for late game.
- Chest, Head, Legs: Karla’s Set
- Hands: Pyromancy Gloves (Flame of Pyromancy)
- Spells: Black Fire Orb, Chaos Firestorm, Rapport, Dark Combustion, Great Chaos Fireball
Additional suggestions: If you want to go overboard with the Pyromancy aspect of this build, try to use the Witch’s Locks and Onyx Blade weapons as they are developed specifically for Pyromancers.
In a game that is all about fighting giant monsters with all the might that you can carry in a sword; an Archery build might sound like a bad idea.
However, this is what makes the Dark Souls games so good, to begin with since players are given the freedom of approaching the challenge in any way that they prefer.
If you use an Archery build, you will be able to keep a distance from the enemy and your goal is to make sure that you’re not hit very often. Not only does this add a new challenge for any player, but it’s also a great way to refresh things on a secondary playthrough too since it feels very different from playing Dark Souls 3 with swords.
- Recommended Class: Mercenary
- Core Stats: This build is very flexible, so you can go with any core stats that you prefer. But we recommend having your core stats on those levels: Dexterity (72), Vigor (27), Endurance (25), Vitality (25), Strength (18), Intelligence (10)
- Recommended Rings: Hunter’s Ring, Hawk Ring, Prisoner’s Chain, Carthus Milk Ring
- Right Hand: Composite Bow, Onislayer Greatbow, Black Bow of Pharis
- Left Hand: Gotthard Twinsword, Knight’s Crossbow, Pyromancy Flame
- Chest: Leather Armor
- Legs: Leonhard’s Trousers
- Head: Sellsword Helm
- Hands: Black Knight Gauntlets.
Additional suggestions: Keep large arrows in Slot 1 and Poison or Dragonslayer arrows in Slot 2.
5. Raw Strength Build
Every role-playing game needs a tank class, and the Strength build is exactly that in Dark Souls 3. Not everyone likes the idea of using complicated spells or statistics such as faith, luck, or intelligence – and that’s completely fine.
The Strength build allows you to be a complete powerhouse that can fight any gigantic enemy that stands in your way, even if they are immune to certain elemental attacks otherwise.
Just grab a powerful weapon, put on the right gear, and lay siege to the barren lands of Dark Souls.
- Recommended Class: Warrior, Knight
- Core Stats: Strength (60)
- Recommended Rings: Prisoner’s Chain, Knight’s Ring, Havel’s Ring, Ring of Favor, Chloranthy Ring.
- Right Hand: Heavy Greatsword, Lothric Knight Greatsword, Great Club, Splitleaf Greatsword, Exiled Greatsword, Black Knight Greatsword
- Left Hand: Small Leather Shield
- Chest, Head, Legs, Hands: Morne’s Set (Armor)
- Spells: Great Lightning Spear/Lightning Spear, Lightning Blade (Spells are optional for this build).
Additional suggestions: This is a very flexible build that you can always modify or switch from, based on your playstyle and preferences. Keep in mind that you’ll need to watch your Stamina since heavy attacks without magic use a lot of energy.
Hexes is a build that was mostly ignored when Dark Souls 3 was new because everyone wanted to be powerful – especially since it was nerfed in DS3 compared to the second game.
But ask any player in 2022 and they will say that Hexes was very underrated as a build and unfairly ignored by fans.
If you manage to upgrade your stats to the right level and utilize the build to its true potential, you will be able to fight your enemies as if you were the boss. For example, you can prevent bosses from using certain attacks and also inflict a lot of damage effects such as bleed and poison.
- Recommended Class: Pyromancer
- Core Stats: Intelligence (45), Faith (50), Attunement (Optional)
- Recommended Rings: Young Dragon, Dark Clutch Ring, Sage Ring, Bellowing Dragoncrest, Ring of Favor
- Right Hand: Izalith Staff, Carthus Curved Sword, Crucifix of the Mad King
- Left Hand: Pyromancy Flame, Scholar’s Candlestick
- Chest: Vilhelm Chestpiece
- Legs: Lorian’s Leggings
- Head: Blindfold Mask
- Hands: Cornyx’s Wrap
- Spells: Dead Again, Vow of Silence, Gnaw, Lifehunt Scythe, Dark Blade, Great Soul Dregs.
Additional suggestions: This is a bit of a flexible build, so you can change some things to your preference. Especially since spells like Atonement allow you to make the game more challenging for yourself if that’s what you prefer.
7. Paladin of the Light
Can’t decide whether you want to be a sorcerer or a warrior? The Paladin build gives you the chance to be both.
To explain it in an easy way, this class allows you to cast powerful lightning spells that even include cool things like summoning a bow made solely of lightning and then electrocuting even giant dragons if they stand in your way.
And then before and after each spell, you can slide in some weapon damage too that will keep your enemy in check while your spells are ready to be cast again. Not only that, but this build is great for defense too since healing miracles can be performed and their likelihood increases a lot at 60 Faith.
- Recommended Class: Warrior
- Core Stats: Faith (60), Strength (30)
- Recommended Rings: Sun Princess Ring, Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn, Priestess Ring, Lloyd’s Shield Ring, Ring of Steel Protection.
- Right Hand: Lightning Lothric Knight Sword +10 with an S scaling in Faith, Blessed Mace +10 (or Astora Greatsword)
- Left Hand: Lothric Knight Shield +10, Yorshka’s Chime
- Chest, Legs, Hands: Sunset Armor Set
- Head: Chain Helm
- Spells: Sacred Oath, Sunlight Spear, Great Heal, Lightning Blade
Additional suggestions: Although you can use any of the recommended weapons in this build, we suggest keeping one weapon uninfused and another one Lightning-infused.
If you’re a hardcore player, you probably wouldn’t like Bleed as a build since it’s slightly limiting in terms of options and takes the challenge down a notch too.
But if you’re someone who wants the game to become a little bit easier, or to just be a scary threat to everyone in your way in general – this is the way to go.
To put it simply, Bleed is an effect that many enemies and bosses can be attacked with and they start receiving a specific amount of damage each time that they’re hit.
This eventually staggers them a little and as you keep attacking them while they’re already bleeding – the damage potential is insanely high and it makes you a powerhouse against most threats.
Just remember to keep some extra things by your side since some enemies and bosses will be immune to the Bleed effect.
- Recommended Class: Warrior, Mercenary
- Core Stats: Dexterity (50), Luck (40)
- Recommended Rings: Ring of Favor, Hunter’s Ring, Obscuring Ring, Havel’s Ring, Prisoner’s Chain.
- Right Hand, Left Hand: Warden Twinblades, Carthus Curved, Frayed Blade (All blades have to be infused with the Bleed effect)
- Chest: Slave Knight Armor
- Legs: Leggings of Thorn
- Head: Desert Pyromancer Hood
- Hands: Gauntlets of Thorns.
Additional suggestions: You can also use Poison, Curse, and Frost infusions alongside this build.
The Mage build does not need an introduction when it comes to role-playing video games because it’s always very fun to use the power of magic to win your battles.
With the right stats and spells, you can become very efficient in sorcery and destroy your enemies before they get any chance of standing up to you.
What makes it even more fun is that you can match the elemental aspect of your enemies and stop them from doing certain things, which is pretty helpful. And of course, you can still use weapons for taking down your enemies in a conventional manner if things get to that point.
Or just shoot projectiles.
- Recommended Class: Sorcerer
- Core Stats: Intelligence (60), Attunement (30), Vigor (40), Endurance (40)
- Recommended Rings: Magic Clutch Ring, Young Dragon Ring, Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring, Red Tearstone Ring, Dusk Crown Ring, Sage Ring, Life Ring.
- Right Hand: Crystal Longsword, Moonlight Greatsword
- Left Hand: Pontiff Knight Shield, Dark Hand (optional)
- Staff: Sage’s Crystal Staff, Court Sorcerer’s Staff, Izalith Staff (if high Int & Faith)
- Chest, Legs: Fallen Knight Armor
- Head: Crown of Dusk
- Spells: Great Heavy Soul Arrow, Pestilent Mist, Rapport, Hidden Body, Great Farron Dart, Great Deep Soul, Crystal Soul Spear, Homing Crystal Soulmass.
Additional suggestions: This build is also compatible with the Pyromancer class, if that suits your preferences more. Another thing to note is that this is a flexible build and you can mess around with the Core Stats a bit.
Dexterity is one of the best builds in Dark Souls 3 without any question. Then why is it rated so low on the list? That’s because it’s one of the most overused builds in the game and everyone already knows of its importance.
Regardless, let’s go over what makes it so good and our recommended way of utilizing it.
First of all, it’s only one stat that you will need to max out compared to other builds that require more complexity. On top of that, a large number of the game’s best weapons scale very well with Dexterity.
And of course, it’s something that you can start off with very early into the game and it’s extremely flexible too.
If you’re a player who feels intimidated by the complexity of Dark Souls 3 builds, choose Dexterity in your first playthrough.
- Recommended Class: Mercenary
- Core Stats: Dexterity (60)
- Recommended Rings: Havel’s Ring, Ring of Favor, Prisoner’s Chain, Life Ring, Chloranthy Ring
- Right Hand, Left Hand: Sellsword Twinblades, Gotthard Twinswords, Carthus Shotel, Onislayer Greatbow, Silver Knight Shield (preferably for Left Hand)
- Head, Chest: Winged Knight Set
- Legs: Black Iron Leggings
- Hands: Winged Knight Gauntlets, Pyromancy Flame.
Additional suggestions: The Dexterity build is one of the least specific builds in the game, so you should always feel comfortable about changing to a different one or heavily modifying it throughout the game.
At the end of the day, none of these builds are built in concrete and if you feel like something else works for you better which isn’t on the list – follow your gut.
But this list does include the most effective and liked PvE builds in Dark Souls 3, so you’ll be going in the right direction if you choose any of those.
We hope that you found this guide useful, and while you’re here, make sure to check many of our other helpful Dark Souls 3 articles too!