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7 Absolute Best PVE Builds in Dark Souls 3

7 Absolute Best PVE Builds in Dark Souls 3

From Software has perfected the SoulsBorne genre in such a way that it provides an impressive sandbox for all the RPG enthusiasts to go to town in terms of creating builds and experimenting with various playstyles. Dark Souls in particular is filled to the brim with a crazy amount of unique weapons and other items to support this hobby and it is one of the reasons why each new entry in this franchise is able to withstand the test of time for years to come and stay relevant in the world of gaming.

Dark Souls 3 was the culmination of years of experimenting with different ideas and perfecting them for this entry. The game features so many ways to tackle the combat variety, which can be seen by the sheer number of builds that are circling the internet.

In this article we will be focusing on the PvE builds and ranking them accordingly:

  • Lightening Paladin
  • Pyromancy Knight
  • Pure Pyromancer
  • Lifestealer
  • Ringed Knight
  • Blizzard
  • The Bleeder

Related: 12 Best Straight Swords In Dark Souls 3 (For PvP And PvE Builds)

Lightening Paladin

Starting ClassKnight
Vigor30
Attunement18
Endurance28
Vitality20
Strength40
Dexterity12
Intelligence9
Faith30
Luck7
  • Weapons: Dragonslayer Greataxe & Sunlight Straight Sword
  • Shield: Grass Crest Shield
  • Talisman: Saint’s Talisman
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Chloranthy Ring, Knight’s Ring, Ring of Steel Protection, and Ring of Favor

This is a Strength and Faith build where Faith is for buffs in particular like Lightening Blade and Deep Protection. Deep Protection will offer you damage absorption, more attack rating, and increased stamina regen. Faith is there for utility as this build will be using mainly lightning weapons, so whether you are using the Lightning blade to buff up regular heavy weapons or whether you are using a lightning-infused gem. 

Both of the weapons in this build complement each other very well. Not only do they have different attack styles but the Dragonslayer Greataxe’s heavy weight and the Sunlight Straight Sword’s light weight lets you stay below that 70% weight threshold. The Dragonslayer Greataxe can’t be infused or buffed technically and since we are using a Faith build and the Sunlight Straight Sword we can buff the Greataxe by other means. To do so we have two different ways, first, the special skill from Sunlight Straight Sword can be used to buff and increase damage absorption and increase damage, and second, we have Deep Protection which also increases damage absorption and provide attack power along with an increase to stamina regen. Use both the buffs in quick succession to get the most boost to the axe’s power.

For the Sunlight Straight Sword, you can even add the Lightning blade to it to increase damage and give it an elemental effect. These buffs last for 45 to 60 seconds giving you a lot of time to put a lot of damage on an enemy or a boss. The Dragonslayer Greataxe has a heavy hard-hitting playstyle and the Sunlight Straight Sword is more nimble and fast, so you can easily switch between these weapons according to the situation at hand.

Pyromancy Knight

Starting ClassKnight or Pyromancer
Vigor30
Attunement24
Endurance25
Vitality20
Strength26
Dexterity12
Intelligence40
Faith40
Luck7
  • Weapons: Pyromancy Flame, Lorian’s Greatsword, and Chaos Rapier (left hand)
  • Shield: Grass Crest Shield
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Prisoner’s Chain, Witch’s Ring, Sage Ring, and Fire Clutch Ring

The Sage Ring is crucial as the build only has 12 dexterity which slows down spell casting speed for the pyro flame. With the Sage Ring equipped it gives us a plus 32 virtual dexterity meaning with this ring equipped we technically have 42 virtual dexterity for spell casting time. The spell of choice here is the Great Chaos Fire Orb, it has amazing fire damage and its fire lingers on the ground for additional overtime damage to the enemies. Other spells include Fire Surge and Firestorm,

The Lorian’s Greatsword has an impressive weapon art which increases the damage on it quite a lot, this weapon is for slow heavy methodical hits while the Chaos Rapier on your other hand can be switched to when you are opting for a more poke and dodge tactics. The Rapier can be very useful in catching enemies off-guard quickly.

The overall tactic with this build is to pummel your foe with pyromancy and when they are near you can use the swords to cut them down. Using the right type of sword at the right time is key.

Related: How Does Dark Souls 3 Multiplayer Work?

Pure Pyromancer

Starting ClassPyromancer
Vigor37
Attunement30
Endurance29
Vitality20
Strength13
Dexterity18
Intelligence35
Faith35
Luck7
  • Weapons: Chaos Lothric Sword, and Pyromancy Flame
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Prisoner’s Chain, Witch’s Ring, Sage Ring, and Great Swamp Ring

The weapon in this build is a kind of secondary weapon just so that you can do a little bit of melee fighting. The Chaos Lothric Sword is a lot of fun to use and has great animation where you can roll and do a forward thrusting attack when you come out of the roll, this attack animation is kind of unique to the straight swords in general and is perfect for quick pokes.

Pyromancer basically just revolves around the Great Chaos Fire Orb, Seething Chaos, Firestorm, and Fire Surge spells. The spell of choice is the Great Chaos Fire Orb for its lava ticking damage over time. Seething Chaos is perfect for setting up traps for incoming enemies and Fire Surge is your basic fire spewing sidearm that you can deploy on the fly. If you do get some distance between you and the enemy then you can go for Firestorm for that amazing AoE damage and stunning effect.

Lifestealer

Starting ClassKnight
Vigor28
Attunement18
Endurance30
Vitality15
Strength40
Dexterity12
Intelligence9
Faith60
Luck7
  • Weapons: Butcher Knife, and Blessed Longsword
  • Talisman: Saint’s Talisman
  • Shield: Blessed Llewellyn Shield
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Sun Princess Ring, Ring of Favor, Knight’s Ring, and Priestess Ring

The Butcher Knife’s weapon skill allows it to restore HP upon each hit with a regular light attack will give you 31 HP per hit and then a regular heavy attack will give you 58 HP per hit. If you are able to land your hits successfully in the time the buff stay activated you can easily get a lot of health back. This weapon is huge so two-handing it will yield better results while fighting. The shield on the other hand is there for parrying so get used to it.

The way this build is set up you end up getting around 15 HP per second and using this with the Bountiful Sunlight, which you should be doing, and if you use the Blessed Longsword then that HP regeneration goes up to 18 HP per second. Add Lightening Stake into the mix to get some increased poise and spell damage near an opponent.

With everything working right you will be regenerating HP on the fly while with the Butcher Knife you need to keep the assault going with continuous attack and you will never run out of health.

Related: 8 Best Axes In Dark Souls 3

Ringed Knight

Starting ClassKnight
Vigor28
Attunement18
Endurance30
Vitality15
Strength40
Dexterity12
Intelligence9
Faith60
Luck7
  • Weapons: Ringed Knight Spear
  • Talisman: Saint’s Talisman
  • Shield: Ethereal Oak Shield
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Ring of Steel Protection, Havel’s Ring, Ring of Favor, and Chloranthy Ring

The Ethereal Oak Shield provides a 100 physical guard absorption, it also gives you HP regen, and it doesn’t have a weapon art so you can go right into the weapon art of the spear while you are blocking making this build kind of unpredictable for your enemies. The talisman can be used for Bountiful Light.

The Ringed Knight Spear by itself isn’t that great damage-wise but its weapon art gives a significant buff to its damage. The weapon art also coats the weapon with fire so you get that added elemental-damage advantage and the weapon art when used does this leaping thrust attack with great range that can cover some distance and easily poke enemies from afar. The main focus of this weapon is the three-hit combo with the weapon art which goes like L2 into R2 and then R2 which sends out a wave of flame on the ground, the combo is a great damage dealer. 

Blizzard

Starting ClassKnight
Vigor35
Attunement10
Endurance34
Vitality21
Strength66
Dexterity14
Intelligence18
Faith9
Luck7
  • Weapons: Vordt’s Great Hammer and Irithyll Straight Sword
  • Staff: Sorcerer’s Staff
  • Shield: Blessed Target Shield
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Scholar Ring, Havel’s Ring, Ring of Favor, and Chloranthy Ring

This build is designed for inflicting frostbite status ailment onto your enemies which takes off 11% of their maximum HP with the burst also 82 additional damage on top of that and lowering their stamina regeneration along with increasing their damage taken by 7%, so it’s a pretty massive debuff, to say the least.

The staff is for using Snap Freeze which works out perfectly with this frostbite build. All you have to do is just cast this spell two or three times and if someone walks into this for one or two seconds then it only takes two hits from the great hammer to inflict the frostbite burst. The Scholar Ring will let you use the Snap Freeze at just 18 Intelligence.

The main weapon Vordt’s Great Hammer does good damage by itself and it has the Perseverance weapon art buff, that boosts poise and reduces damage taken, which is amazing. The other weapon in your arsenal is there for quick plays as the great hammer is slow.

Related: Can You Continue Dark Souls 3 After The Final Boss?

The Bleeder

Vigor38
Attunement14
Endurance33
Vitality20
Strength22
Dexterity38
Intelligence9
Faith15
Luck45
  • Weapons: Blood Carthus Greatsword, Hollow Notched Whip, and Hollow Claw (left hand)
  • Crossbow: Arbalest
  • Armor: Any armor that stays below 70% weight limit
  • Rings: Hunter’s Ring, Havel’s Ring, Ring of Favor, and Prisoner’s Chain

The Blood Carthus Greatsword inflicts bleed relatively quickly, it only takes like three to four to five hits depending on what kind of armor your opponent is wearing and what is their bleed resistance. Hollow Notched Whip is for backup and doesn’t weigh much and has a good reach. The Hollow Claw is here for its quickness and you can parry with it, being that it is hollow you can get some bleed build-up and you also have a nice weapon art the Leaping Slash which can easily catch enemies. The crossbow provides ranged support for those pesky long-ranged enemies, pair it with Splintering Bolts and Lightening Bolts.

A mix of fast weapons as backup and a greatsword as primary and everything aimed towards inflicting the bleed proc. This build demands a rather aggressive playstyle so that you can keep the pressure up and don’t let the bleed status bar go down of your opponent.


We are aware that there are so many builds available in Dark Souls 3 and the choice is very much dependent and subjective to the player but with these builds, we hope to cover all the different playstyles you can go for. These builds were chosen with PvE in mind but they all posess` the viability to be used in PvP.