The 7 best new Elden Ring DLC builds I'm using with Shadow of the Erdtree weapons, spells, and more

Elden Ring
My Death Knight build has quickly become one of my all-time favorite Elden Ring builds. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The scale of the Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is truly gargantuan, with the size and depth of its map rivaling the entirety of full games. You can easily spend upwards of 40-50 hours exploring its highest peaks, deepest valleys, and everything between — and scattered throughout it all are dozens upon dozens of new weapons, spells, Ash of War skills, armor sets, and more to find an add to your arsenal. Some character types will enjoy a wider selection of fresh gear than others — there are tons of new Faith weapons and spells, and far fewer Intelligence ones — but overall, there's a healthy amount of new kit for everyone in the Land of Shadow.

Since Shadow of the Erdtree came out a few weeks ago, I've been having a ton of fun buildcrafting with these new armaments and creating setups for my favorites that maximize their combat potential — and now, I'd like to share those builds with my fellow Tarnished champions. Below, you'll find the best seven Elden Ring DLC builds I've put together so far, including complete overviews of how each one works as well as which stats, weapons, spells, armors, talismans, and Ashes of War you'll need to make them shine.

Disclaimer

NOTE: These builds assume you're Level 150, which is considered the "meta" level for Elden Ring PvE co-op and PvP invasion multiplayer. Many players are going up to 200 for Shadow of the Erdtree, though, so don't be afraid to level up a bit if you need or want to while using one of the below builds. Also, don't forget you can respec stats!

Strength build: Frosthammer Flinger

This Crucible Knight armor matches the look of the Smithscript Hammer perfectly, and has great stats to boot. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Hero
  • Minimum stats: 20 STR, 10 DEX, 11 INT, 11 FAI
  • Stat priorities: 60 VIG, 60 STR, 25 FAI, 27 END (Medium Load)
  • Armor: Crucible Hammer-Helm, Crucible Axe Armor, Crucible Gauntlets and Greaves
  • Talismans: Two-Handed Sword Talisman, Axe Talisman, Smithing Talisman OR Shard of Alexander, Two-Headed Turtle Talisman
  • Weapons: Cold Smithscript Greathammer (Savage Lion's Claw), Dragon Communion Seal (offhand)
  • Spells: Golden Vow, Flame Grant Me Strength, Blessing's Boon OR Bestial Vitality
  • Flask: Strength-Knot Crystal Tear, Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear

We're starting off with a build for what may be my favorite new weapon in Shadow of the Erdtree: the Smithscript Greathammer, a Greathammer that you can hurl at enemies from afar with heavy attacks for no FP cost whatsoever. Of all the Smithscript throwing weapons, this hammer has the best range and damage, and it also performs exceptionally as a traditional melee weapon, too. Another bonus is that it's hilarious.

My favorite way to use it is with a classic Strength build, though I don't recommend using the Heavy infusion. Instead, go with Cold, which only deals slightly less overall damage but adds tons of Frostbite buildup to each hit you land — melee or thrown. When the Frostbite status effect procs on an enemy, it will deal damage equal to 10% of their max HP (7% for bosses) and weaken them for 30 seconds, increasing all damage they take by 20%. Combined with the sizable buffs you can take advantage of by leveling Faith to 25 and using Golden Vow and Flame Grant Me Strength (cast with something like the Dragon Communion Seal that doesn't have any weight), this weakening effect will help you put out some incredible DPS. Oh, and did I mention that plenty of Shadow of the Erdtree bosses are weak to Frostbite?

You'll have tons of opportunities to fling the hammer at foes while roaming the open world or in a co-op boss fight, but in 1v1s with an aggressive boss, you'll likely have to stick with melee unless you call in some Spirit Ashes. For that reason, you'll want to use heavy protection like Crucible Knight Armor (the DLC even added a Crucible Hammer-Helm that fits the build theme perfectly), along with something like the new Savage Lion's Claw Ash of War that deals a ridiculous amount of both health and stance damage if you're able to land both of its slams (you can opt to use just the first if desired). With it, the weapon will gain unmatched versatility.

The Two-Handed Sword Talisman, Axe Talisman, and Smithing Talisman all boost the damage of the Smithscript Greathammer when you charge up two-handed throws, so I like to use all three along with the Two-Headed Turtle Talisman for speedy stamina regen. In situations when you can't reliably get your tosses off, though, you'll want to switch out the Smithing Talisman for the Shard of Alexander to give Savage Lion's Claw a nice 15% damage boost. As for your Flask of Wondrous Physick, I recommend combining the Strength-Knot Crystal Tear and the Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear damage buffs since the Cold infusion splits your damage between Physical and Magic.

Dexterity build: Milady Duelist

I went with armor that looks as elegant as Milady itself, and it offers good protection, too. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Warrior
  • Minimum stats: 12 STR, 17 DEX
  • Stat priorities: 60 VIG, 80 DEX, 25 END, 25 MND
  • Armor: Rellana's Helm and Greaves, Cuckoo Knight Armor and Gauntlets 
  • Talismans: Two-Handed Sword Talisman, Shard of Alexander, Rellana's Cameo, Arrow's Soaring Sting Talisman OR Rotten Winged Sword Insignia
  • Weapons: Keen Milady (Wing Stance), Ansbach's Longbow
  • Spells: N/A
  • Flask: Dexterity-Knot Crystal Tear, Thorny Cracked Tear

Another incredible new weapon from the DLC is Milady, a Light Greatsword with fluid, beautifully animated combos and the best of Greatswords, Straight Swords, and Thrusting Swords combined into one elegant blade. You can take it in several different directions, but for this build I went with a Dexterity setup and a Keen infusion, along with plenty of weapon-buffing grease consumables and the new Light Greatsword-exclusive Wing Stance. This Ash of War allows you to hold the sword out before performing either a flurry of rapid slashes (light attack) or a huge thrust attack (heavy attack), and you can even combo the slashes into the thrust by pressing the heavy attack input after the slashes end.

I've paired Milady with Ansbach's Longbow, which is unquestionably the best bow in Elden Ring for Dexterity builds. Like the Black Bow, it has a Lightbow moveset even though it's not one, meaning you can shoot it quickly while jumping or after rolling; this makes it very reliable to use in boss fights or against tougher enemies. Its unique Ash of War, Fan Shot, shoots eight arrows at once in a spread, and while this does burn through your ammo quickly, it's capable of proccing status effects like Bleed, Poison, Scarlet Rot, and Frostbite in just one or two shots if you're arrows that inflict them.

Armor is up to you, though I recommend using something that gives you good protection (I went with a combination of Rellana's Set and the Cuckoo Knight Set). Talisman-wise, you'll want the Two-Handed Sword Talisman, Shard of Alexander, Rellana's Cameo (the 15% damage boost to your Wing Stance combos after holding your stance for a second or two is massive), and the Arrow's Soaring Sting Talisman so that your arrows hit harder and have less damage falloff. If you'd prefer not to use a bow or are having trouble making good use of it in a boss battle, swap that last one out for Rotten Winged Sword Insignia since you'll be landing lots of attacks rapidly.

Intelligence mage build: Finger Sorcerer

The helmet and robe overwhelmingly dominate the look here, so feel free to use heavy gauntlets and greaves for good damage reduction. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Astrologer
  • Minimum stats: 8 STR, 10 DEX, 60 INT
  • Stat priorities: 60 STR, 80 INT, 40 MND
  • Armor: High Priest Hat and Robe w/ Finger Robe alteration, heavy gauntlets and greaves
  • Talismans: Graven-Mass Talisman, Magic Scorpion Charm, Godfrey Icon, Graven-School Talisman OR Blessed Blue Dew Talisman
  • Weapons: Carian Regal Scepter, Magic Rapier, Maternal Staff (offhand)
  • Spells: Fleeting Microcosm, Glintstone Nail, Glintstone Nails, Cherishing Fingers, Carian Slicer, and whatever else you want
  • Flask: Magic-Shrouded Cracked Tear, Cerulean-Sapping Cracked Tear

After completing Count Ymir's questline, purchasing the spells he offers, and defeating a certain boss, you'll have everything you need to put together a devastatingly effective mage build that has Shadow of the Erdtree's new Finger Sorceries at its heart. By wearing the Finger Robe (you get it by altering the High Priest Robe) and holding the Maternal Staff in your offhand while casting with the Carian Regal Scepter and 80 Intelligence, you'll get excellent base damage with them that will then be boosted by a whopping 23% (and that's before you factor in other Magic buffs you can get, such as the ones from Terra Magica and the Magic-Shrouded Cracked Tear).

Glintstone Nail and Fleeting Microcosm will be your bread-and-butter spells, with the former acting as a harder-hitting, easier-to-land Glintstone Pebble for single targets and the latter allowing you to "nuke" groups of enemies or beefier targets, often killing them in one blast and knocking any survivors to the ground. There's also Glintstone Nails — best used to stagger large bosses like dragons — and Cherishing Fingers, which surrounds you with large fingers that deflect projectiles and heavily damage foes close to you. Cherishing Fingers is an excellent and fairly unique defensive spell, though I do recommend following it up with Carian Slicer slashes and pairing it with a Magic-infused Rapier for additional close-quarters combat options.

The build is rounded out by the Graven-Mass Talisman, the Magic Scorpion Charm, and the Godfrey Icon talismans, all of which give you further damage boosts (Godfrey Icon requires you to charge your spells). Your fourth talisman can either be the Graven-School Talisman for another small sorcery buff, or the Blessed Blue Dew Talisman that slowly regenerates FP over time. A Physick flask with the Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear and the new Cerulean-Sapping Cracked Tear is useful, too; notably, the latter will briefly return some of the FP you use to cast spells back to you when they hit your targets.

Faith build: Holy Paladin

I haven't taken the time to farm the Black Knight Set yet, but the Oathseeker Set and Haligtree Knight Set work well as fashionable substitutes. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Prophet
  • Minimum stats: 25 STR, 11 DEX, 17 FAI
  • Stat priorities: 55 VIG, 70 FAI, 23 MND, 28 END (Medium Load)
  • Armor: Black Knight Set OR Oathseeker Set (lighter weight)
  • Talismans: Erdtree's Favor +2 OR Two-Handed Sword Talisman (with lighter armor), Curved Sword Talisman, Dagger Talisman, Blade of Mercy OR Blessed Blue Dew Talisman
  • Weapons: Flame Art Black Steel Greathammer (Flaming Strike or Flame of the Redmanes) OR Sacred Black Steel Greathammer (Prayerful Strike or Sacred Blade), Messmer Soldier Shield (offhand, No Skill), Erdtree Seal, Dryleaf Seal (offhand)
  • Spells: Golden Vow, Flame Grant Me Strength, Blessing of the Erdtree OR Blessing's Boon, Protection of the Erdtree (don't cast w/ Flame Grant Me Strength), Erdtree Heal, Heal From Afar, Multilayered Rings of Light
  • Flask: Deflecting Hardtear, Flame-Shrouding Cracked Tear OR Holy-Shrouding Cracked Tear (depending on your infusion)

Though this build uses a Greathammer, it's actually not a Strength/Faith setup, and that's because the new Black Steel Greathammer scales far better with the Faith-based Flame Art and Sacred infusions than anything else (Flame Art gets the highest damage). It also has a decent Physical damage negation of 72% while blocking and a unique guard counter that creates Holy explosions, which is what inspired me to use it with the DLC's "Sekiro Tear," AKA the Deflecting Hardtear for the Flask of Wondrous Physick.

When used, the Deflecting Hardtear allows you to deflect attacks Sekiro-style with perfectly timed blocks for five minutes, reducing their damage and stamina drain to almost nothing. These deflections also buff the damage of follow-up guard counters, which will then likely stance break whatever you're fighting after a few of these land (Greathammers are exceptional at staggering enemies), leaving them open to a critical strike. With the Curved Sword Talisman, you'll stack an additional 20% boost on top of the buff the Deflecting Hardtear gives to guard counters, while the Dagger Talisman makes critical hits on enemies and bosses you stagger with these guard counters deal 17% additional damage. The Blade of Mercy then gives you a 20% boost to all damage for 20 seconds after you land a crit — and yes, that stacks multiplicatively with the aforementioned buffs. Provided you've learned a boss' moveset well enough to consistently deflect its attacks, you'll be shocked at how fast you can smite them to death with this loop.

For your fourth talisman, you'll need the Erdtree's Favor +2 to have a Medium Load with the Black Knight Set I've chosen for the build, though you could swap it to the Two-Handed Sword Talisman if you choose to use lighter armor. I also recommend equipping a good medium shield capable of blocking 100% physical damage like the Messmer Soldier Shield and using it when your Flask of Wondrous Physick buff isn't active (I wish the Deflecting Hardtear was a talisman).

For spells, I opted to cast with the Erdtree Seal and typically use the usual Golden Vow and Flame Grant Me Strength buffs (you can use damage mitigation spells like Protection of the Erdtree instead of Flame Grant Me Strength if you want), as well as HP regen incantations like Blessing of the Erdtree or Blessing's Boon that help replenish any health lost from chip damage or missed blocks while deflecting. I also use Erdtree Heal and Heal From Afar to support co-op summons and Spirit Ashes, and Multilayered Ring of Light (with the Dryleaf Seal in the offhand for a 15% damage buff) as a ranged damage tool. Note that you may want to swap the Blade of Mercy out for the Blessed Blue Dew Talisman if you want to use spells more frequently, especially in co-op.

Arcane build: Poisonous Perfumer

I'd hardly call it "drip," but the Scaled Set kind of works with the Mushroom Crown and offers excellent protection as well. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Bandit
  • Minimum stats: 9 STR, 13 DEX, 18 ARC
  • Stat priorities: 60 VIG, 70 ARC, 25 FAI, 23 END
  • Armor: Mushroom Crown, Scaled Set
  • Talismans: Kindred of Rot's Exultation, Shard of Alexander, Shattered Stone Talisman, Rotten Winged Sword Insignia
  • Weapons: Occult Venomous Fang (The Poison Flower Blooms Twice), Deadly Poison Perfume Bottle, Poisoned Hand (offhand)
  • Spells: Golden Vow, Flame Grant Me Strength, Flame Cleanse Me, Blessing's Boon OR Bestial Vitality, Rotten Breath
  • Flask: Thorny Cracked Tear, Greenburst Crystal Tear

Hey, an Arcane build that doesn't have Bleed! That's right: while Poison builds have always been pretty mediocre in Elden Ring, Shadow of the Erdtree added a new Ash of War called The Poison Flower Blooms Twice that instantly made them a powerful option for Arcane users. When used, it allows you to perform a speedy kick that not only deals a ton of Scarlet Rot buildup, but also instantly "pops" the enemy for all the damage they would have taken over time from Poison or Scarlet Rot they're currently afflicted with.

The best weapon to put this skill on is the Venomous Fang Claws, as it builds Poison up with its attacks intrinsically and has excellent damage scaling when infused with Arcane — a stat that also ramps up status effect buildup on any weapon that scales with it. Put simply, when set to Occult, Venomous Fang deals great damage and inflicts Poison ridiculously fast, allowing you to proc The Poison Flower Blooms Twice damage chunks frequently. Unlike the similar Ash of War Poison Moth Flight, The Poison Flower Blooms Twice can also "pop" foes afflicted by Scarlet Rot, which the skill will inflict itself after a few uses.

Why call this the Poisonous Perfumer build, then? Well, as a secondary, I like to use the new Deadly Poison Perfume Bottle weapon to build up Poison on an opponent from medium range in scenarios where I'm having trouble getting lots of attacks in up close. Its Deadly Perfume Spray Ash of War is also fantastic for inflicting Poison on crowds of mobs or players in PvP. Note that Deadly Perfume Spray also poisons you, but thanks to the build's final touches I'll go over below, that won't be a problem.

By investing levels to get Faith to 25, you can use Golden Vow and Flame Grant Me Strength for more damage and protection, tools like Flame Cleanse Me and Bestial Vitality to help counteract self-inflicted poison from Deadly Perfume Spray, and even the Rotten Breath Dragon Communion spell to inflict Scarlet Rot from long distances.

For armor, go with the Scaled Set for strong defenses, along with the Mushroom Crown; with this headgear, a Poisoned Hand weapon in your offhand, and the Kindred of Rot's Exultation Talisman, you'll get an incredible 42% damage buff whenever you proc Poison on an enemy or yourself. You can take that buff even higher by proccing Milicent's Prosthesis or Rotten Winged Sword Insignia with Venomous Fang's rapid attacks, and with Shard of Alexander and the Shattered Stone Talisman, you'll boost the power of your The Poison Flower Blooms Twice kicks, too.

Strength/Faith build: Death Knight

The Malformed Dragon Greaves look great with the Death Knight Set and get you over the 51 Poise threshold. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Vagabond
  • Minimum stats: 23 STR, 12 DEX, 18 FAI
  • Stat priorities: 60 VIG, 60 STR, 36 FAI, 23 END (Medium Load)
  • Armor: Death Knight Set w/ Malformed Dragon Greaves
  • Talismans: Two-Headed Turtle Talisman, Two-Handed Sword Talisman OR Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, Shard of Alexander, Carian Filigreed Chest OR Blessed Blue Dew Talisman
  • Weapons: Death Knight's Longhaft Axe OR Death Knight's Twin Axes, Clawmark Seal, Gravel Stone Seal (offhand)
  • Spells: Knight's Lightning Spear (and other Dragon Cult spells), Golden Vow, Flame Grant Me Strength, Blessing's Boon OR Bestial Vitality
  • Flask: Lightning-Shrouded Cracked Tear, Greenburst Crystal Tear

Most Lightning-focused builds in Elden Ring are Dexterity setups since the element's damage typically scales with that stat, but this one is actually a Strength/Faith setup since its two weapons — the Death Knight's Longhaft Axe and the Death Knight's Twin Axes — perform best with those attributes. Both are phenomenal, and have made this one of my favorite builds from this list.

The Ash of War on both weapons allows you to "blinkbolt" forward with some iframes, and following up with a heavy attack allows you to perform a special high-damage move. With the Death Knight's Longhaft Axe, this is a leap into the air that ends with a slam and a heavy lightning strike, while with the Death Knight's Twin Axes it's a flurry of spinning, Lightning-infused slashes. I use the Two-Handed Sword Talisman when wielding the former and the Rotten Winged Sword Insignia while using the latter, and always have Shard of Alexander equipped. The Two-Headed Turtle Talisman helps with stamina management, and using either the Carian Filigreed Crest or the Blessed Blue Dew Talisman does the same for FP.

With 36 Faith, I also love using Shadow of the Erdtree's new Knight's Lightning Spear with this build, which is essentially just a direct upgrade to Lightning Spear that adds additional bolt projectiles and damage (definitely charge it, as doing so will create more extra lightning bolts). It's best to cast this with the Clawmark Seal — it's the best for most Strength/Faith setups — while holding a Gravel Stone Seal in the offhand, as it boosts Knight's Lightning Spear and other Dragon Cult incantations by 15%.

The use of every part of the Death Knight Set except the greaves for your armor rounds out the build, as each piece gives the aforementioned Death Knight weapon skills and Dragon Cult spells like Knight's Lightning Spear a 2% buff. You could use all four pieces to get a full 8% increase, but I prefer using the Malformed Dragon Greaves since they'll get your Poise over the 51 threshold (many enemy attacks will stagger you out of your animations if you're below this). As with all other builds that incorporate Faith, you should also use Golden Vow and Flame Grant Me Strength.

Hybrid build: Mage Monk

The Dryleaf Set is perfect for this build's theme, and by unequipping the arm wraps, you'll stay just under 16 weight and get a big boost from the Blue Dancer Charm. (Image credit: Windows Central)
  • Class: Prisoner
  • Minimum stats: 8 STR, 8 DEX
  • Stat priorities: 35 STR, 35 DEX, 40 INT, 24 END
  • Armor: Dane's Hat, Dryleaf Robe and Cuissardes
  • Talismans: Blue Dancer Charm, Milicent's Prosthesis OR Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, Shard of Alexander, Shattered Stone Talisman OR Godfrey Icon OR Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman
  • Weapons: Cold Dryleaf Arts (Divine Beast Frost Stomp) OR Cold Dane's Footwork (Divine Beast Frost Stomp)
  • Spells: N/A
  • Flask: Thorny Cracked Tear, Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear

I'd be remiss to finish this list without a build that uses the Hand-to-Hand martial arts weapons, but don't worry: whether you're using Dryleaf Arts or Dane's Footwork, you'll have a blast with this one — provided you don't mind playing as a bit of a glass cannon. It features an unorthodox stat spread that takes full advantage of the Cold infusion on these weapons, which gives them C scaling in Strength and Dexterity, B scaling in Intelligence, and plenty of Frostbite buildup.

With 35 in Strength and Dexterity, 40 in Intelligence, and a total weight beneath 16 units so you can take advantage of the Blue Dancer Charm talisman, you'll be hitting enemies for stellar DPS while also proccing Frostbite, weakening them and interrupting their animations so you can keep attacking them rapidly. Your kung fu combos will also quickly activate the effects of Milicent's Prosthesis or Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, giving you even more of a damage buff.

The biggest weakness of Hand-to-Hand in Elden Ring is that it's terrible for dealing with multiple mobs at once due to its extremely short range and complete lack of horizontal cleaving attacks, which is where Divine Beast Frost Stomp — the Ash of War you can get with the Remembrance of the Divine Beast Dancing Lion — comes in. This skill creates a huge cone of ice shards in front of you that deal tons of damage and proc Frostbite near-instantaneously, giving you a terrific way to handle crowds.

Shard of Alexander is a must to make Divine Beast Frost Stomp hit even harder, but your last talisman slot is a flex pick. The Shattered Stone Talisman buffs both the skill and the kicks in your Hand-to-Hand moveset by 10%, Godfrey Icon boosts Divine Beast Frost Stomp by an additional 15% when you fully charge it, and Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman will reduce incoming physical damage by 20%; switch between these based on what you need. For your Flask of Wondrous Physick, use the Thorny Cracked Tear and Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear for some bonus damage buffs.


The Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree DLC is finally here, and it makes one of the best Xbox games and best PC games of all time even better. It's out now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and Windows PC for $39.99.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree | $34.89 at CDKeys (Xbox)

Shadow of the Erdtree is Elden Ring at its most refined, with the base game's overly formulaic elements cut away and some of FromSoftware's best boss fights. The result is a 40-hour-long masterpiece of a DLC that's an absolute must-play for any Soulsborne fan.

Also see: Shadow of the Erdtree (PC, $37.09) | Deluxe Edition (PC, $90.89)

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.