Best Elden Ring builds 1.09: For beginners, PvP, bosses, and more

A Golden Halberd-wielding Tarnished in Elden Ring.
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While Elden Ring is different than previous FromSoftware action RPGs in many ways, one thing about it that's nearly identical is its character building system. As players accumulate runes by defeating enemies and bosses, they're able to level up their core stats whenever they visit a Site of Grace. By doing this, players can increase their HP, stamina, FP, and max Equip Load, raise their damage output, unlock the ability to cast powerful magic spells, and more.

In order to succeed in the Lands Between, putting together an effective build with these stat points is crucial. The top builds in Elden Ring are those that achieve a strong balance between core stats like Vigor, Mind, and Endurance and attributes such as Strength, Dexterity, Faith, and Intelligence that improve your damage and allow you to wield advanced weapons and spells. Arcane plays an important role in many builds, too, as it's required for some spells and improves the status effect buildup capabilities of any weapon that scales with it.

In this guide, we'll go over everything you need to know about putting together a build in Elden Ring. This includes an explanation of what makes a good build, as well as a detailed overview of all of the best builds in the game and the stats and weapons you'll need to make them work.

Note that these builds assume your character's end level will be 125, which is currently the standard level for cooperative play and PvP in endgame.

What makes a good Elden Ring build?

A Tarnished in Elden Ring.

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There are many different types of viable and powerful builds you can make in Elden Ring, but there are some general constants with most of them that you should keep in mind when building your character. The most important of these is that every build should have a good amount of health. Whether you're a ranged magic caster or a heavily armored melee fighter, you should have at least 50 Vigor if you're aiming to stop leveling at level 125 (60 is good on simpler builds that primarily use one stat, but more complicated builds work better with 50-55). You should never have less than this unless you're making an Int/Faith build that needs lots of points in both of those stats as well as the Mind stat for mana, and if you're planning on leveling up to 150 or so, the first thing you should do is raise your Vigor to 60.

Secondly, "pure" builds (pure Dexterity, pure Intelligence, etc.) should always aim to have at least 50-60 points in their primary damage stat. Players that want to go up to level 150 should increase this to the 70-80 range, especially when using pure magic builds.

When creating "hybrid" builds that use two different stats for damage (Strength and Faith, for example), you should plan for your character to have at least 40-45 points in each stat by level 125 (or something like 50/25 in situations where a weapon scales more with one stat than the other). Increase this to 50 if you're going to level 150 (60 points in both stats can be very powerful, too, but you'll likely have to cut some points from Vigor, Endurance, or Mind to make this happen). 

Finally, don't forget to seek out the best talismans that synergize with your build. There are tons of talismans in Elden Ring, and while some of them are pretty bad (looking at you, Crucible Knot Talisman), the majority of them are incredibly useful when paired with the right build. For example, the Graven-Mass Talisman boosts sorcery damage by eight percent and the Magic Scorpion Charm increases all magic damage by 12 percent, making both of these talismans incredibly useful for sorcery mages. You should also keep an eye out for armor pieces that provide passive benefits like stat increases and damage buffs as well.

Best Elden Ring build for beginners and new players

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If you're a new player and you're not sure what type of build to use while learning the ropes, we recommend going with a Strength build. Compared to more complicated builds, Strength builds are straightforward, easy to understand, and only rely on a handful of attributes. This makes them perfect for beginners.

The section below on the best Strength build setup to use contains everything you need to know about class choice and stat allocation, but in the early game, just know that you should focus on leveling up your Vigor, Endurance, and Strength. More health, stamina, and Equip Load will help you take some hits and wear heavier armor sets, while Strength will allow you to use most early weapons and also wield shields, including large greatshields that you can block most physical attacks with confidently.

Conveniently, the Heavy infusion that makes weapons scale highly with Strength is also one of the earliest upgrades you can get your hands on in Elden Ring. All you need to make a weapon Heavy is the Iron Whetblade, which you can find in Stormveil Castle, the game's first major dungeon. Since it's possible to upgrade most Elden Ring weapons with Whetblades like this, nearly every armament in the game can be turned into an effective Strength weapon.

Best Elden Ring build for PvE and bosses

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Bleed builds have been devastatingly effective in Elden Ring's PvE since the game launched, and in terms of overall damage output, nothing beats an Arcane or Dex/Arcane build using a Blood-infused Scavenger's Curved Sword in one hand and a second Blood-infused curved sword weapon of your choosing in your offhand. This is because the moveset of dual curved swords allows you to hit opponents quickly and repeatedly with L1 and jumping L1 attacks, dealing tons of damage while also ripping off additional chunks of health with rapid Bleed procs. Curved swords don't have tons of range or stagger potential, but that tradeoff is worth it for some of the highest possible DPS in the game.

Make sure to refer to the Dex/Arcane or Arcane builds below for information on what stats to use with this setup. Note that you can find the Scavenger's Curved Sword in the Mt. Gelmir region, right near the area where a Grafted Scion ambushes you before you begin the ascent to the Volcano Manor. Also, make sure you grab the Black Whetblade in Nokron, Eternal City, as it unlocks the ability to upgrade weapons with Blood and Occult infusions.

Enemies and bosses immune to Bleed are rare, but if you run into them using this build, you can change the infusion of your weapons to either Keen or Occult to maximize the raw damage coming from your Dexterity or Arcane stats, respectively.

Best Elden Ring build for PvP and the Colosseum

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Whether you're fighting in Elden Ring's new PvP Colosseum or invading players in the open world, having a strong build geared towards battling other players is important. Currently, the best build for PvP is a pure Strength build with dual Lances that have the Heavy infusion. Aside from doing tremendous damage, this setup also gives you access to the phenomenal power stanced great spear moveset, allowing you to constantly pressure other players with repeated long-range running and jumping attacks. 

The Lance also happens to be incredibly easy to acquire. It's on top of a ruined structure next to a camp of Godrick soldiers to the east of the Stormhill region in Limgrave, next to the road that leads to Limgrave's northeastern area and to Caelid. However, since you can't get more than one per playthrough, you'll need to trade with another player to get two. Alternatively, you can pair the Lance with the Serpent-Hunter great spear, which scales excellently with Strength naturally.

Best Elden Ring Strength build

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  • Starting class: Hero, Vagabond
  • Important stats: 60 Vigor, 35 Endurance, 60 Strength
  • Weapons: Strength-scaling weapons (use two hands for extra damage), medium or greatshield

If you want to make a pure Strength character, this build is your best option. The three main stats you need to level are Vigor, Endurance, and Strength. You'll need plenty of health and stamina to wear heavy armor and tank hits, and since two-handing your weapons increases your effective Strength by 50%, having 60 Strength effectively gives you 90 Strength whenever you use your weapons this way. This gives you incredible damage output that will flatten any enemy or player you encounter, especially if they're lightly armored and don't have a lot of health.

Alternatively, you can Power Stance two weapons of the same weapon class to deal maximum damage, though you won't be able to block any attacks while doing this. This method of attack is excellent in many boss fights since Power Stanced jump attacks are quick and deal heavy damage, though they do drain stamina very quickly.

Note that using your weapons with one hand and one of the best Elden Ring shields is also an effective option. Your high Endurance paired with an upgraded medium or greatshield will allow you to block tons of physical attacks with ease, and you can boost your damage even further with critical ripostes after parries if you're good at it (you'll need a small or medium shield for this). Guard counters (heavy attacking after blocking an attack) are also particularly devastating with Strength weapons since their high stagger damage stacks with the stagger damage of the guard counter itself. It's possible to stagger tough enemies and many bosses in just a few attacks while guard countering with Strength weapons, and against less dangerous foes, this move will typically stagger them in a single hit.

Best Elden Ring Dexterity build

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  • Starting class: Samurai, Vagabond
  • Important stats: 60 Vigor, 35 Endurance, 60 Dexterity
  • Weapons: Dexterity-scaling weapons, bows, parry shield

The best way to create a Dexterity character is to select either the Samurai or Vagabond class since they start with great Dexterity compared to other Elden Ring classes. Then, you'll want to level your health and stamina alongside your Dexterity for maximum durability, sustainability, and damage output in melee combat.

Something important to keep in mind is that as a Dexterity character, you're one of the few non-magic classes that can fight at range effectively. This is because most bows and crossbows scale with Dexterity fairly well. Weapons that deal tons of critical damage naturally have high Dexterity scaling as well, so we recommend using a parry shield like the Buckler and getting comfortable with the parrying mechanic if you're interested in taking advantage of this. Try to stealth around for backstab opportunities as well — the Black Knife Set, which is one of the best Elden Ring armor sets, makes this easy as it silences your footsteps.

In situations where a weapon you want to use doesn't have high Dexterity scaling, you can make it Keen via Ash of War infusion. Thought his will lower the weapon's base damage a bit, the increased Dexterity scaling from the infusion will make up for this.

Best Elden Ring Quality build

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  • Starting class: Vagabond
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 25 Endurance, 45 Strength, 45 Dexterity
  • Weapons: Str/Dex-scaling weapons, medium shields

A Strength/Dex hybrid build, more commonly referred to as a Quality build, can be very powerful in the right hands since the character gets the benefits of both stats. Additionally, since many Elden Ring weapons have equal scaling between Strength and Dexterity inherently, there are more viable weapons for Quality build users than for other types of builds. The ideal Quality build has the same Vigor stat distribution as a Strength or Dexterity build, but instead of putting a ton of levels into either Strength or Dexterity, you should evenly split them between the two.

We recommend using a medium shield with a Quality build, which often offers 100% physical damage protection while also still being able to parry (albeit with more difficulty than small parrying shields). You could opt for a small shield, but we think having the ability to fully block damage is worth having if you don't have a full Dexterity build to maximize damage with Dex weapons that have high crit multipliers like daggers. Of course, you could infuse these weapons with the Quality affinity to make them scale better with your Quality build, which is worth doing if you're planning on going for backstabs and ripostes.

Something to keep in mind is that Quality builds don't deal (roughly) equal damage to pure Strength or Dexterity builds until you level both Strength and Dexterity to 50 and above, which you shouldn't do unless you're planning on going up to level 150 since you need stats in Vigor and Endurance, too. Because your stat spread is wider than pure builds, consider making use of talismans like the Green Turtle Talisman and Radagon's Soreseal. The former will offset your lower Endurance with faster stamina regeneration, while the latter gives you an additional five points in Vigor, Endurance, Strength, and Dexterity. Radagon's Soreseal does make you take a bit more damage, but getting an extra 20 points spread across your four main stats is worth the tradeoff. 

Best Elden Ring Intelligence build

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  • Starting class: Astrologer
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 30 Mind, 20 Endurance, 60 Intelligence
  • Weapons: Staves, Intelligence-scaling weapons

Players that want to make a pure mage type of build with sorcery magic and Glintstone Staves should invest heavily into Intelligence, as it allows you to use more powerful spells and improves your magic damage with most staves. Additionally, you'll also want to level Mind quite a bit so that you have lots of Focus Points (mana) to cast your spells. Make sure you get 50 Vigor — while your low Endurance means you'll take more damage since you can't wear heavy armor, you'll generally be in less danger since sorceries are ranged attacks. Therefore, 50 Vigor is enough.

In addition to your spells, using weapons that scale with Intelligence is also a good idea if you need to engage in melee combat. There are many Intelligence weapons in Elden Ring's open world, and you can also use Ashes of War to change the scaling of weapons you already have to Intelligence. Make sure you have the minimum Strength and Dexterity requirements to use these weapons, though, as these can't be manipulated with Ashes of War.

Best Elden Ring Faith build

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  • Starting class: Prophet
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 35 Mind, 20 Endurance, 60 Faith
  • Weapons: Seals, Faith-scaling weapons

If you'd prefer to use incantations instead of sorceries, go with a Faith build. It's essentially the same build as the Intelligence build above, but with Faith instead of Intelligence and Faith-scaling weapons instead of ones that scale with Intelligence. You'll also need a Sacred Seal instead of a Glintstone Staff to cast incantations, which the Prophet class starts with. Like the Intelligence build above, Faith casters often attack from range and as a result, 50 Vigor will be sufficient.

Note that while sorcery is purely offensive, incantations can be both supportive and offensive in nature. Leveling Faith up to 60 will allow you to use stronger versions of both incantation types, and will also improve their effectiveness when using a Sacred Seal with high Faith scaling like the Erdtree Seal.

Best Elden Ring Int/Faith build

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  • Starting class: Astrologer
  • Important stats: 45 Vigor, 35 Mind, 45 Intelligence, 45 Faith
  • Weapons: Sword of Night and Flame, Prince of Death's Staff, Golden Order Seal

While Intelligence and Faith builds have traditionally been very difficult to use in FromSoftware games, this hybrid magic build is very viable in Elden Ring due to the power of the Sword of Night and Flame. This magical sword is one of the best weapons in the game since it allows you to either create a large arc of flame in front of you or fire a massive beam of sorcery magic. Even after this weapon was nerfed, these magical attacks do excellent damage and are more than powerful enough to take on even the toughest of Elden Ring's enemies and bosses.

Note that since you'll have a large number of points invested into both Intelligence and Faith, you can make use of all of Elden Ring's best spells, including ones that that require points both of these stats. Some of these spells include Rancorcall, Ancient Death of Rancor, and Triple Rings of Light. When you cast these sorceries or incantations, you should use an upgraded Prince of Death's Staff or Golden Order Seal since these both scale off of Intelligence as well as Faith.

The tradeoff with this type of build, though, is that you have to stick with minimal Endurance and 45 Vigor, which is lower than what many players are comfortable with at level 125. This is because you need to invest a large amount of points into Intelligence, Faith, and Mind while also giving yourself a solid amount of health, which makes this build very attribute-hungry.

Best Elden Ring Strength/Int build

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  • Starting class: Prisoner
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 25 Endurance, 50 Strength, 25 Intelligence
  • Weapons: Staves, Strength/Int-scaling weapons, medium shields

A hybrid build with Strength and Intelligence can be quite powerful when used well, as it gives you a wide range of ranged and close-quarters options with both magic and melee. You'll want 50 Strength and 25 Intelligence, as most Strength/Intelligence weapons scale better with Strength. That said, you could also opt for a more even setup if you find a weapon that scales equally between these stats. You should then upgrade your Vigor and Endurance so that you have a solid amount of health and stamina (as well as enough equip load capacity so that you can wear decent armor).

Finding weapons that naturally scale with Strength and Intelligence is difficult, but you will come across some good options if you explore thoroughly and do NPC questlines. One of our favorites is the Royal Greatsword, which deals both physical and magic damage and has an incredibly powerful Ash of War that hits like a truck. You can also manipulate Strength weapons to give them some Intelligence scaling with Ashes of War. It's also not a bad idea to use a medium shield with this type of character since you have the Strength to do so, and it will help you block damage when necessary.

Best Elden Ring Strength/Faith build

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  • Starting class: Confessor, Prophet
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 25 Endurance, 45 Strength, 45 Faith
  • Weapons: Clawmark Seal, Str/Faith-scaling weapons, medium shields

The humble Strength and Faith hybrid build is a FromSoftware classic, giving you much of the power of a pure Strength build and many of the useful buffs and damage options that come with incantations. It works just like the above Strength/Int build, but with Faith instead of Intelligence. There are many incantations like Golden Vow and Flame, Grant Me Strength that buff physical damage output and reduce the damage you take, making Strength and Faith a good combination. Health regeneration spells like Blessing's Boon can also help reduce the number of healing flasks you have to use and keep you healthy while you're brawling. We also recommend using the Clawmark Seal, as this seal scales strongly with both Strength and Faith and boosts the damage of bestial incantations like Beast Claw that deal physical damage. 

Note that unlike a pure Strength build, you won't be able to wear tons of heavy armor since you need to invest most of your stat points into Strength and Faith, as well as Vigor and Mind for a decent amount of HP and FP. Therefore, you'll need to play this build more carefully with smart positioning and an emphasis on dodge rolling over blocking attacks with shields. A medium shield is still a useful tool to keep on hand, though.

Best Elden Ring Dex/Int build

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  • Starting class: Prisoner
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 25 Mind, 45 Dexterity, 45 Intelligence
  • Weapons: Staves, Dex/Int-scaling weapons, parry shields

A hybrid Dexterity and Intelligence build is arguably one of the strongest builds in all of Elden Ring since you get the power of sorcery and the physical damage of Dexterity, as well as the benefit of having a very fast casting speed as well. You'll be limited to smaller melee weapons since you won't have much Strength, but that's not a huge deal, especially if you get good at parrying and dish out some big crit damage with daggers.

Like other melee and magic hybrid builds, you'll also want a good amount of Vigor and some Mind for HP and mana, respectively. You'll also want to find yourself a strong weapon that scales with both Dexterity and Intelligence. These aren't super common, but you'll find several of them by exploring thoroughly. Moonveil, for example, is an incredibly powerful Dex/Int weapon you can find by defeating the final boss of the Gael Tunnel dungeon in Caelid.

Best Elden Ring Dex/Faith build

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  • Starting class: Confessor, Samurai
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 25 Mind, 45 Dexterity, 45 Faith
  • Weapons: Sacred Seals, Dex/Faith-scaling weapons, parry shields

If you like the sound of a Dexterity-based hybrid class but you want to use incantations instead of sorcery, give this Dex/Faith build a try. The healing and buff spells available to Faith users are incredibly useful, and since you're also leveling Dexterity, you'll get good physical melee damage and a faster casting speed as well. With this build, you can buff yourself before combat with incantations and then devastate foes with powerful flurries of melee attacks. You can also use offensive incantations in situations where close-quarters combat isn't ideal.

The downside of this build is that weapons that scale with both Dexterity and Faith naturally are rare in Elden Ring's open world, though they're not impossible to find. We recommend picking up the Winged Scythe as soon as you can, as it's a powerful Dex/Faith weapon found at the Tombsward Ruins in the Weeping Peninsula, which is an early game area. It can inflict the Bleed status effect, and its weapon art can also prevent enemies from using healing abilities (this works in PvP, too).

Best Elden Ring Bleed build

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  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 50 Dexterity, 45 Arcane
  • Weapons: Rivers of Blood, Eleonora's Poleblade, Scavenger's Curved Sword, Dex/Arcane-scaling Bleed weapons

Unlike previous FromSoftware games, a good Dex/Arcane build centered around Bleeding enemies, bosses, and players is one of the strongest ones you can put together in Elden Ring. With 50 Dexterity, 45 Arcane, a Dexterity weapon that comes with innate Bleed buildup like the Uchigatana, and an Ash of War that makes it a Blood weapon with Arcane scaling, you can deal crazy amounts of burst damage very quickly. This is because the innate Bleed buildup of many Dexterity weapons stacks with the Bleed buildup that gets added when you give a weapon the Blood affinity and Arcane scaling. Some other great weapons to use include the Rivers of Blood, Eleonora's Poleblade, and the Scavenger's Curved Sword.

This build gets even stronger when you Power Stance two Blood Dexterity weapons, as it doubles the rate at which you build up Bleed. Using the Mimic Tear spirit summon makes Bleed build up even faster, raising this build to overpowered levels.

The only downside of a Dex/Arcane build like this is that you won't be as effective against Bleed-immune foes. In situations where you're facing enemies you can't Bleed, summoning allies in co-op is a good idea.

Best Elden Ring Arcane build

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  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 35 Endurance, 60 Arcane
  • Weapons: Arcane-scaling Bleed weapons, Occult weapons

A Dex/Arcane Bleed build can do tremendous DPS, but one weakness of it is that you're left doing poor damage against Bleed-immune enemies and bosses. Therefore, a pure Arcane build serves as a strong alternative, trading max overall Bleed buildup for better raw damage with Occult weapons. Most of your level up points should be put into Arcane, with the rest going into Vigor, Endurance, and whatever stats you need to wield your weapon of choice. Luckily, some of Elden Ring's best weapons have Arcane scaling, and those that don't can usually be infused  once you find the Black Whetblade.

Note that Bleed still plays a role in most Arcane builds, as plenty of armaments have intrinsic Bleed buildup and Occult infusions ensure that your weapons will have high Arcane scaling, increasing the speed of that Bleed buildup. You just won't Bleed enemies as often as you would with Bleed-infused weapons.

Elden Ring best Faith/Arcane build

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  • Starting class: Bandit
  • Important stats: 50 Vigor, 30 Mind, 45 Faith, 45 Arcane
  • Weapons: Dragon Communion Seal, Arcane-scaling Bleed weapons

You can make a viable Faith/Arcane hybrid build with Elden Ring's dragon powers, which are very powerful and unique spells. These Dragon Communion incantations are difficult to obtain since you can only get them by killing dragons and trading their hearts for one at the Cathedral of Dragon Communion altar, but they're also incredibly powerful. Unlike most incantations, they require both Faith and Arcane to use, which are conveniently the stats you need to effectively wield the Dragon Communion Seal — a Sacred Seal that buffs the damage of all Dragon Communion spells by a whopping 15%. In order to get the best possible damage out of these incantations and this Seal while still having enough points left over for a good amount of HP, stamina, and FP, you should put 45 points into both Faith and Arcane.

In situations where you can't use your magic effectively, you'll want a Bleed weapon as a backup option. These aren't too hard to find in Elden Ring's open world, but if you're struggling to find one you like, you can opt to use Ashes of War to make any weapon cause Bleed (and scale with Arcane for more raw damage, too, if you have the Black Whetblade).

Elden Ring is here, and it's available for $60 on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PCs, and PlayStation systems. It's one of the best Xbox games you can play right now if you're a fan of challenging action RPGs, and as such, we strongly recommend it. Between its amazing gameplay, phenomenal presentation, and its staggering amount of overall content, it's an absolute triumph.


Elden Ring

FromSoftware's latest role-playing game took the world by storm, so much so that it ended up winning Game of the Year 2022. It's easily one of the best games ever made, and we can't recommend it enough.

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.