Elden Ring best shields 2024: For parrying, mage, early game, and more in 1.10

Elden Ring
(Image credit: Windows Central)

While they're hardly needed to conquer the dangers of the Lands Between, shields can be a huge boon in Elden Ring, especially if you keep one handy that works well with your build. Aside from enabling you to block incoming strikes you'd take significant damage from otherwise, many shields also feature the ability to parry; if timed properly, this maneuver will deflect an enemy's attack and leave them open to being stuck with a critical hit. Some larger greatshields can be used to shield bash foes, too, and all of them are ideal for guard counters — special heavy attacks that can be thrown immediately after blocking a hit. There are even one-of-a-kind shields with special Ashes of War that can give you powerful buffs or unique options in combat.

There are tons of shields to find and use in the game — and more are coming in Elden Ring's Shadow of the Erdtree DLC, including dueling shields — but which are the best? It's a tough question with different answers depending on what type of character you have. To help you pick some to use, I've put together a list of the best shields in Elden Ring below that goes over what makes each one a top-tier pick, along with each one's location and stat requirements.

Elden Ring best shield for parrying: Buckler

Stat requirements: STR 8, DEX 13

The best shield for parrying in Elden Ring is the Buckler, which is a very light small shield that doesn't offer much protection, but has the largest parry window of any shield in the game. This makes it more forgiving than other shields that can be used for parrying, which makes it your best option for consistently pulling off the maneuver.

To obtain the Buckler, you'll have to purchase it for 1,500 runes from Gatekeeper Gostoc near the main gate of Stormveil Castle. Note that he'll only sell it to you after you have him open the castle's gate.

Elden Ring best early game shield: Inverted Hawk Heater Shield

Stat requirements: STR 10

The best shield available in Elden Ring's early game is the Inverted Hawk Heater Shield. Not only does this shield provide full protection against physical damage unlike most other early game shields, but it's also very light with a weight value of just 3.5. It also has an incredibly low Strength requirement of 10, making it a shield that every class in the game can either use immediately or use after just one or two levels are put into Strength.

Getting your hands on the shield can be done very quickly after starting a new game, as all you need to do is use the Siofra River Well elevator in eastern Limgrave, reach the Siofra River Bank Site of Grace, and then run east up the nearby hill until you find the body with the shield on it.

Elden Ring best medium shield: Brass Shield

The Brass Shield in Elden Ring. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Stat requirements: STR 16

There are several excellent medium shields in Elden Ring, but the best one overall is the Brass Shield. It's on the heavy side with its weight of 7.0, but it also provides a fantastic guard boost rating of 69 when upgraded (nice). This significantly reduces the amount of stamina that's used up when you block attacks, allowing you to block for longer periods of time in combat or successfully block attacks that would break your guard if you were using a less stable shield.

Another reason the Brass Shield is so great is that it's incredibly easy to get. All you have to do is farm the generic soldier enemies that use it in each of Elden Ring's main regions until one of them drops it.

Elden Ring best greatshield: Golden Greatshield

The Golden Greatshield in Elden Ring. (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Stat requirements: STR 34

Greatshields are heavy and require a lot of Endurance to use, but also have very high guard boost values and provide some of the best protection available in the game. The best greatshield in Elden Ring is the Golden Greatshield, which offers an excellent balance of weight and stability that makes it the best shield for Strength and guard counter-focused builds. The shield is heavy with its weight value of 17.0, but this is actually on the light side compared to other greatshields. Meanwhile, the Golden Greatshield has a guard boost value of 78 when upgraded, making it an extremely effective option for blocking tons of attacks before your stamina gets depleted.

The Golden Greatshield can be obtained by farming the Leyndell Knight enemies found in the Altus Plateau and Leyndell, Royal Capital until it drops from one of them.

Elden Ring best guard boost shield: Fingerprint Stone Shield

Stat requirements: STR 48

If you want the absolute best guard boost available in Elden Ring, there's no better shield than the Fingerprint Stone Shield greatshield. It's absurdly heavy at 29 weight and requires a whopping 48 points in Strength to use it, but it also has an absolutely ridiculous guard boost value of 86 when upgraded. This makes this shield capable of enduring dozens of attacks with ease, including attacks from bosses. You can make this shield even more effective by buffing it with the Barricade Ash of War or the Scholar's Shield sorcery. These enhancements allow the shield to absorb hits without causing you to lose hardly any stamina, which is insane.

To find the Fingerprint Stone Shield, you'll need to progress through the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds found in Leyndell, Royal Capital and complete the platforming puzzle found in the secret area behind the arena where you fight Mohg, the Omen. Note that you won't be able to access the hidden area if you haven't defeated Morgott, the Omen King yet. The Subterranean Shunning-Grounds can be reached by going down a well that's found in northern Leyndell.

Elden Ring best shield for mages: Carian Knight's Shield

Stat requirements: STR 10, DEX 10, INT 15

Players with sorcery mage characters will love the Carian Knight's Shield. This medium shield boasts a strong guard boost value of 60 when upgraded, and its low Strength and Dexterity requirements make it ideal for sorcerers who want to upgrade from the Inverted Hawk Heater Shield but don't want to invest any more levels into these melee-focused stats. Its 4.5 weight is also fairly light compared to something like the Brass Shield, making it easy to use for mage builds that naturally have lower Endurance. It also has a fairly high resistance to both magic and holy damage, making it useful when fighting other mages or incantation users.

You can get the Carian Knight's Shield by killing Moongrum, the Carian Knight in the northeastern portion of the Raya Lucaria Academy, just before the elevator that takes you to fight Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon.

Elden Ring best Faith shield: Erdtree Greatshield

Stat requirements: STR 30, FAI 12

If you're using a Faith or Strength/Faith build and want a strong greatshield, the Erdtree Greatshield will be perfect for you. Its 13.5 weight is light as far as greatshields go, while its 66 guard boost value when upgraded and its relatively high resistance to both sorceries and holy damage make it very well rounded. On top of that, the shield also comes with a special weapon art called Golden Retaliation that allows you to deflect incoming sorceries or incantations and then convert them into a magic projectile that shoots back at your attackers, dealing huge damage (especially if you upgrade the shield and have a lot of Faith).

To get the Erdtree Greatshield, you'll need to defeat the pair of Tree Sentinels located at the top of the large staircase in southern Altus Plateau.

Elden Ring best shield against magic: Silver Mirrorshield

Stat requirements: STR 12, DEX 10, INT 10

Sorcery is incredibly powerful in Elden Ring, to the point where you could argue the best Elden Ring builds are Intelligence ones. However, one effective way to deal with sorcerers in PvP is to equip the Silver Mirrorshield, which boasts an incredibly high magic resistance of 89 while still offering a full 100 resistance to physical attacks. It also only has a weight of 3.5, although its maximum guard boost of 49 is low compared to something like the Brass Shield. Still, if you need an effective way to minimize damage taken from sorceries, the Silver Mirrorshield is extremely useful.

You can get the Silver Mirrorshield in the destroyed Apostate Derelict church, which is located at the northernmost point of the Consecrated Snowfield region.

Elden Ring best offensive shield: Dragonclaw Shield

Stat requirements: STR 28, DEX 12

If you want a shield that's geared for offensive use as well as protection, give the Dragonclaw Shield a try. This greatshield is very well-rounded, with a weight of 13.5, a max guard boost stat of 67, and a special Shield Bash weapon art that allows you to ram enemies with it while keeping your body behind the shield. Not only does this bash do great damage, but it also has a great chance of staggering enemies, leaving them open to a critical hit follow up.

You can obtain the Dragonclaw Shield by defeating the Draconic Tree Sentinel boss guarding the entrance to Leyndell, Royal Capital in the northeastern Altus Plateau region.

Elden Ring best healing shield: Icon Shield

Stat requirements: STR 22

There aren't many items that provide passing health regeneration in Elden Ring, but the Icon Shield is one of them. This greatshield only offers moderate protection from elemental attacks and has a physical guard stat of 95, meaning that you'll take some very minor chip damage when blocking physical attacks. However, the tradeoff is you passively regen three HP per second whenever you have the shield equipped. This effectively makes the physical chip damage you take redundant, and it also helps counteract the effects of damage-over-time status effects like poison or the Scarlet Rot. You can also use the regen to fully heal between fights, allowing you to save all your health potions for combat use. Note that the Icon Shield's regen effect stacks with the regen provided by the Blessed Dew Talisman, which is one of the best talismans in Elden Ring.

You'll find the Icon Shield in the central Altus Plateau region, in the northern part of the Woodfolk Ruins within a crumbling stone structure. There are several deadly enemies near it, so we recommend running in, grabbing the shield, and running out before they begin attacking you.

Elden Ring best utility shield: Jellyfish Shield

Stat requirements: STR 20, DEX 14

The Jellyfish Shield is a unique shield that buffs your equipped weapon by 20% for 30 seconds whenever you use its Contagious Fury weapon art, which gives it unique and valuable utility compared to other shields. It also fully blocks physical attacks and has a decent guard boost value of 57 when fully upgraded, which isn't terrible considering it's a greatshield with a very low weight of 8.0.

You can find the Jellyfish Shield just west of The Four Belfries area in western Liurnia of the Lakes, on a body surrounded by four jellyfish enemies.

Elden Ring is one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time, and I strongly recommend picking it up and beginning a playthrough now if you haven't done one already. That way, you'll have plenty of time to experience all of what 2022's Game of the Year has to offer before the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC launches on June 21. Notably, the expansion is available to preorder on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Windows PC now, and there's even a Collector's Edition with several awesome collectibles included.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $37.09 at CDKeys (Steam)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $37.09 at CDKeys (Steam)

Elden Ring's upcoming Shadow of the Erdtree DLC will take players to the dark and mysterious realm of the Land of Shadow, tasking them to follow in Miquella's footsteps and discover what he's doing there. Get ready for a new map, new bosses, new dungeons, and more.

Also at: Steam ($39.99, PC, Digital) | Xbox ($39.99, Digital)

Collector's Edition: Bandai Namco Store (€249.99)

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.