Ever wanted to play a FromSoftware without constantly dying? Worry not; your plight has been answered. A sword and shield build has taken a customary spot in Elden Ring. With more powerful builds taking the spotlight, there’s one particular flaw that a shield addresses that perhaps nothing else can.
In terms of tankiness, you just downright survive more hits and even feel nigh-invincible against some bosses. With that said, the Best Sword and Shield Build in Elden Ring requires you to play the Vagabond Class and wield the following items:
- Poison Antspur Rapier
- Blood Antspur Rapier
- Blood Pike
- Greatshield Talisman
- Radagon’s Soreseal
- Ritual Sword Talisman
- Mausoleum Knight Greaves
- Vagabond Helmet
- Mausoleum Knight Armor
- Mausoleum Knight Gloves
However, this concoction of a build only works best when you have an idea of how shields work in the game and how to use them effectively.
For this build, the Vagabond Class is the way to go; it sets you off at a decent level of Strength right from the get-go and is considered the de-facto standard if you want to play a Tank in Elden Ring. In terms of scaling, place a large amount of focus on Strength. From there, level up your Endurance to the point where you can equip all the weapons mentioned below.
SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers beyond this point! Proceed with caution!
|Attribute||End Game Stats|
Shield: Fingerprint Stone Shield
The bread and butter of this build are the Fingerprint Stone Shield. Hailed as the heaviest shield in the game, with the Greatshield Talisman (more on that later), you’ll be able to have 100 Guard Boost. Essentially, this lets you block all Physical Damage without using any of your Stamina.
So, you’ll be nigh-invincible whenever you hold the Block button with the shield. You’ll only end up taking some damage by being inflicted with damage that the shield does not inherently block against. In this case, it is:
Bonus Tip: You can place Ashes of War on your Fingerprint Stone Shield allowing you to gain Elemental Resistance as well!
However, since most bosses in Elden Ring primarily deal Physical damage with a few instances of Elemental damage spread out here and there, you’ll be all set to make the most out of it. With the advent of Update 1.03, and the removal of SNAF from the meta, you’ll see more of the Stone Shield as its primary weakness (at least when not upgraded), Elemental damage is on its way out.
How To Find The Fingerprint Stone Shield
Since the Shield is an integral part of the build and finding it can feel particularly infuriating, here’s how you can do so. Before you proceed, you must have defeated Morgott, the Omen King.
- Head to the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds
- After doing so, head Westwards and climb the pipe
- After doing so, head toward the lower tunnels and move toward the eastern Sewer
- Once you reach the ladder, you’ll end up going into a lift, head down, and you’ll have to defeat Mohg.
- Hit the altar behind the chest, revealing a secret passage
- With some platforming, you’ll need to navigate towards the bodies found towards the bottom until you see the shield to the left.
If you are left confused, here’s a quick guide that’ll help you find the shield rather effectively:
Weapon: Antspur Rapier / Blood Pike
What treason! Why include a Pike in a build only meant for the Sword and Shield? Well, we have good reason to do so. But first, let’s talk about why you’d want to use a rapier or a pike. In essence, it is completely dependent on the situation at hand.
- Rapier: A Rapier lets you deal more damage and inflict more elemental damage. Moreover, it has a faster attack rate and is easier to maneuver.
- Pike: A Pike has a much greater attack range but is also slower. While it deals a respectable amount of damage, its attack rate generally leaves a lot to be desired.
From our experience, there are two kinds of bosses in Elden Ring. There are bosses like the Black Blade Kindred who like to keep their distance, while a boss like the Radagon of the Golden Order remains up close and person, which lets you use your rapier instead.
Alternate Build: Shield Crash
Say you aren’t a big fan of wielding anything else but the Shield; we’ve got you covered. To turn the shield into an offensive powerhouse, you’ll need to grab its Ashe of War, which grants you a new ability, Shield Crash.
With it, you’ll be able to effectively bulldoze your way through enemies with the same damage negation it already provides. It is located in the Lux Ruins and dropped by a Teardrop Scarab near the Trestle Site of Grace.
Now that we have three different builds let’s put them all in comparison and get an idea of which build suits what situation:
|Two-Handed Shield (Ash Of War)||Rapier Build||Blood Pike Build|
|Least DPS||Most DPS||Balanced DPS|
|No Range||Some Range||Most Range|
|No Extra Damage Attributes||Poison / Scarlet Rot||Bleed|
|Staggers Weak Enemies||Deals Poise||Deals Some Poise|
Talisman / Armor
From our playthrough, there’s a wide variety of different Talismans that you can use. For example, we recommend any of the following:
- Greatshield Talisman: Takes your Guard Boost to 100 allowing you not to lose Stamina no matter how long you block for
- Radagon’s Soreseal: Increases your damage taken but provides you with +5 attribute points
- Ritual Sword Talisman: Raises your attack power if your HP is maximum
- Spear Talisman: Allows you to counter-act better if you use your spear/pike
However, one consistent factor is the Greatshield Talisman which allows you to get the aforementioned 100 Guard Boost.
Here’s how you can get it:
- Go to the Erdtree-Gazing Hill Site of Grace
- Head directly East, and you’ll find a parked carriage
- Move towards the back of the carriage, and you’ll find the Talisman behind a chest
In terms of what we found the most effective, besides the Greatshield Talisman, the Ritual Sword Talisman worked great in PvE as we remained at max health for most of our engagements leading to the boost being permanently active. Besides that, though, Radagon’s Soreseal ensured our poke remained lethal even against harder bosses.
Regarding Armor, we stuck with the basic Vagabond Helmet alongside the Mausoleum Set, which can be farmed from the Mausoleum Knights found in the Lirunia of the Lakes.
While you are free to experiment, since you won’t be taking a lot of Physical damage anyways, investing in Armor shouldn’t be your biggest priority.
How To Play Sword and Shield In Elden Ring
You are required to play extremely defensively with this build. Staying on the offense is never an option until you can get a few hits in. To keep your Stamina high, let your guard down ever so often so that you can regenerate it.
Besides that, you should be able to fare well against any boss, given that you make the right weapon choice. Since most bosses do not do much Elemental damage, you should easily sustain through their relatively minute Magical / Elemental damage.
How To PvP With A Sword And Shield
However, in PvP, you might need to get some Elemental Resistance going before you take this build out against other players, as you might end up getting engulfed with Magic / Bleed damage fairly quickly. Since you won’t be facing off against AI, you’ll be met with a few cheesy players who’ll be able to get behind you.
However, if you can position yourself well, even their strongest attack won’t damage you, especially if they are Physical. While this build can feel extremely fun, it is also extremely annoying. So, use it with the caution of your sanity.