Elden Ring players usually get lost in the plethora of weapons and magic the game has in store for them and in doing so have totally sidelined the archery side of this game. Many a time we have acquired a bow that piqued our interest only for it to be sent to the storage for lack of attributes or having better range capabilities in the many spells.
The range weapons though are attractive but rarely do players opt for them as their primary damage dealer and are oft left as a side weapon only to be used in times of ranged need considering you don’t have any other ranged solution in your current build. Bows can be used as primary weapons but do consider that this type of gameplay is not for everyone as dealing with enemies with just a bow requires some expert knowledge of tackling the enemies.
To channel the inner Legolas in you we have come up with one of the best builds that uses just bows as the only weapon and this will include the following set of equipment:
- Black Bow
- Pulley Bow
- Normal Arrows
- Fire Arrows
- Poison / Rot Arrows
- Golden Arrows
- Sleep Arrows
- Shard of Alexander
- Arrow’s Sting Talisman
- Blue Dancer Charm
- Ritual Sword Talisman
- Flame, Grant Me Strength
Considerations When Playing With Bows
As opposed to previous From Software games, in Elden Ring bows can be considered for a dedicated build. The idea of dealing with most enemies from a distance is amazing and the fact that there is a slew of different types of arrows that deal all kinds of status effects and damage types, the potential to capitalize on an enemy’s weakness can be achieved through this. And the many Ashes of War are also there to make things even more interesting.
But as mentioned before do keep in mind this type of playstyle will be considered a challenge run where it is difficult to maneuver this build as compared to the traditional builds. This build can be a lot of fun if you get the hang of it, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The other sad reality is the bows have abysmal scaling with attributes even after you have upgraded them. The only way you can raise the attack power is by using talismans and upgrading.
At the start of the game, you will be limited by bows and arrows at your disposal but with the enemies being relatively easier you can progress without much problem. The issue will arise later on as the bows don’t have great scaling even after upgrading and the enemies will get harder.
There are two bows that you can use each having their particular use case and advantages:
|Attribute||Required||Scaling||Best Upgraded Scaling|
- Ash of War: Barrage
- FP Usage: 2 per use
- Weight: 4.0
Though this bow is a normal bow but it uniquely functions as a short bow that you could use while jumping giving it the damage advantage of a basic bow and the mobility of an agile short bow. Along with that the Barrage skill it comes with enables it to fire off many arrows in quick succession which is perfect when you are trying to stack status effects quickly.
Black Bow Location
Marked on the map below, you can find this weapon on a corpse on a rooftop, in the area to the north east of the Avenue Balcony site of grace, in the Leyndell, Royal Capital.
|Attribute||Required||Scaling||Best Upgraded Scaling|
- Ash of War: Mighty Shot
- FP Usage: 6 per use
- Weight: 5.0
This bow will be your go-to weapon. It has the passive benefit of having increased range so you can take out enemies from a farther distance without the worry of arrow drop and losing attack power. The weapon skill Mighty Shot will let you charge your shot and deal extra damage to enemies. This weapon is the next best alternative to great bows where you don’t need to be bogged down when firing each arrow.
Pulley Bow Location
Pulley Bow can be found on a sitting corpse at the top of a siege tower near Mt. Gelmir campsite. The tower is located to the north of Gelmir Hero’s Grave site of Grace. Exact location is marked below.
Ammo / Arrows
The Arrows are the lifeblood here and with so many to use we must tell you how to get them. Each arrow serves a specific purpose and damage type and status effect so using them in an opportune position is key here. Knowledge of the weakness of enemies will direct your arrow usage.
Crafted arrows come in two varieties normal or fletched, with fletched having slightly more damage and faster travel time. You can either craft arrows giving you more control or you can get the arrows from particular merchants whereby not worrying about any crafting materials.
All craftable arrows require Thin Animal Bones which you can get by killing animals or you can easily buy them infinitely by killing the Ball Bearing Hunter boss in Limgrave and turning in the Bone Peddler’s Bell Bearing he drops to the Maiden Husks in Roundtable Hold.
The various arrows are mentioned below:
Your basic arrows which will be used most commonly, carry a lot of them as you will be running out of them constantly. To craft Bone Arrow (x10) you would need the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  as well as the following materials:
- Thin Beast Bones x3
Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  can be purchased from Merchant Kalé for 500 Runes. Kalé is located in Limgrave, Church of Elleh. You can buy the normal arrows infinitely from this merchant too without worrying about the crafting material.
Related: Do Elden Ring Merchants Restock?
Fire damage is very versatile and most enemies are weak to it especially beast-type enemies and those huge hands in Caria Manor. To craft Firebone Arrow (x10) you would need the Armorer’s Cookbook  as well as the following Crafting Materials:
- Thin Animal Bones x6
- Smoldering Butterfly x1
Armorer’s Cookbook  can be bought from the Nomadic Merchant for 600 Runes. He is located southeast of Coastal Cave.
Fire Arrows can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant east of Astray from Caelid Highway North Site of Grace for 120 runes.
Poison / Rot Arrows
To see the enemy’s health go down automatically then these are the arrows of choice. They let you poison from a distance and the enemy’s HP will slowly and steadily fade away while you mock from your safety.
Rot arrows cannot be bought from any merchants and are only craftable. To craft Rotbone Arrow (x10) you would need the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  as well as the following Crafting Materials:
- Thin Animal Bones x3
- Aeonian Butterfly x1
Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant in south Caelid for 4,000 Runes.
To craft Poisonbone Arrow (x10) you would need the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  as well as the following materials:
- Thin Animal Bones x3
- Poisonbloom x1
Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant in North Limgrave for 600 Runes.
Serpent Arrows are sold by the Dragonbarrow’s Isolated Merchant for 120 runes each.
These arrows deal Holy damage and are perfect for the undead and those who live in death enemies and kill them off completely without them reassembling or reviving. These arrows are uncraftable but can be purchased from Hermit Merchant at Hermit Merchant’s Shack for 120 Runes each.
These arrows cause a sleep status effect to build up and put enemies to sleep where you could target them individually or go in for a critical strike if you are using a melee weapon. Can also be used to get a moment of breather in a hectic boss fight. St. Trina’s Arrow cannot be crafted but you can craft Sleepbone Arrow. To craft Sleepbone Arrow (x10) you first need to obtain the Fevor’s Cookbook , once obtained the recipe requires the following ingredients to craft:
- Thin Beast Bones x 3
- Trina’s Lily x 1
Fevor’s Cookbook  can be purchased from an Isolated Merchant on the east path after entering the Academy of Raya Lucaria for 3500 Runes. This merchant sells 20 St. Trina’s arrows too.
The best status effect in all of Elden Ring that takes away a huge percentage of health with each proc. Ideal for most bosses and large health pool enemies. To craft Bloodbone Arrow (x10) you need the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  as well as the following Crafting Materials:
- Thin Beast Bones x3
- Bloodrose x1
You can find the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook  in Fort Haight, which can be looted from the dead body in the room at the top of the main stone stairs. You can find Bloodrose in this location as well and can be farmed as much as you want just keep resting and coming back.
With the lack of damage scaling that comes with the bows, you have to choose the best combination of Talismans to synergize with this build and boost damage output potential. The best Talismans for this build are:
Shard Of Alexander
Description: Greatly boosts the attack power of skills.
This talisman will boost the attack power of the skill used by 15%. This will provide great improvement to the previously lackluster damage each time you use the Might Shot and Barrage skills. Much of the damage you will be dealing with most enemies will be coming from either of the two Ashes of War hence the boost here will be quite beneficial.
Shard Of Alexander Location
You will be rewarded with this Talisman by completing the Iron Fist Alexander questline ending in Crumbling Farum Azula, follow the quest here.
Arrow’s Sting Talisman
Description: Raises attack power of arrows and bolts.
This talisman increases the damage of arrows by 10% and can be considered essential for a bow build. A general boost to damage is very necessary for this build owing to the poor scaling. With the damage increase, all your skills and normal shots will benefit from it.
Arrow’s Sting Talisman Location
Located in a chest on the top of the siege tower directly above Impassable Greatbridge site of grace, in front of Redmane Castle in Caelid.
Blue Dancer Charm
Description: Raises attack power with lower equipment load.
Keeping the nimble elf theme going you need to lower the armor weight on you to reap the benefits of this talisman. With a lower equipment load, you can benefit from increased damage output. For this talisman to work we advise you do not have any armor on and basically play it naked. You can equip some pants for decency’s sake just keep the equipment load below 8 or 16 for best results.
Blue Dancer Charm Location
Dropped by the Guardian Golem boss in the Highroad Cave. The location of the cave is marked below.
Ritual Sword Talisman
Description: Raises attack power when HP is at maximum.
Considering the squishy nature of the build you are likely to be one or two shot by most enemies so it’s advised that your HP is always topped up. With the maximum HP, you are able to gain an additional 10% damage with this talisman.
Ritual Sword Talisman Location
Located in Lux Ruins, in a chest after defeating the boss, Demi-Human Queen Gilika. The Location of the ruins and Talisman are marked below.
To further boost the damage potential of this build Incantations will be utilized. The spells in use are:
Flame, Grant Me Strength
This Incantation will boost the damage by +20% Physical and Fire Attack Power for 30 seconds. It requires 15 Faith so level up accordingly. If you are using fire arrows it will benefit that too. Before engaging in any fight use this spell to give yourself an extra pump of power.
Flame, Grant Me Strength Location
Found behind Fort Gael in Caelid, on a body between two Maneuverable Flamethrowers. The location is marked below.
How to Play With This Build
The Pulley Bow will be your main bow for general use. Using its extra range and Mighty Shot skill you can take out many of the foes from great distances. This will help you in dealing with the normal enemies in the game where Physical damage is more important than status effects. Use the L1 free aim ability of bows to target far-off enemies. This is particularly helpful for targeting heads for the extra head-shot damage.
The Black Bow should be used if and when you are going for a particular status effect like Bleed or Sleep. With the skill it has on, Barrage, the stacking potential is great. So only equip this when you know the enemies’ or bosses’ weakness or going for a status effect proc. Do be aware of the ammo count as a barrage can deplete it quite swiftly.
This build requires you to know how to dodge and read enemy attack patterns as there aren’t many defensive capabilities here. You have to opt for this glass cannon style to get the damage boost from the Blue Dancer Charm. Keep your HP full to gain the damage advantage of the Ritual Sword Talisman. The Talisman synergy needs to be on at all times for the maximum damage you could do.
Before bosses close the distance spam the Mighty Shot to deal the maximum damage that you can. And the jump shot is your best friend which fires off arrows rather quickly and you get I-frames on your lower body to negate all damage. If you are aware of the boss or enemy’s weakness then use the corresponding arrow. While the bleed and sleep arrow are an overall amazing choice. Some enemies are easily disposed of by poisoning them and standing at a distance and seeing their health whittle away.
This is a challenge build where some players like to dare themselves to play in a certain style and with certain limitations. It is not a beginner-friendly build and is aimed at veterans so approach with caution. A lot of patience and smart decisions will yield the best results here. If you tick all the boxes mentioned here then become the Archer of your dreams.