Sorcerer is one of the starting classes in Dark Souls. While the majority of the starting classes in Dark Souls 3 focus on melee damage, Sorcerers are optimized for magic-based combat.
The class serves as one of the three primary class types: rouge, knight, and Sorcerer. Because of this, it has a sort of universal appeal that draws a lot of new players towards it. I’m willing to bet that if this is your first DS3 run, you generally play a mage in other RPGs.
Sorcerers have the highest intelligence and attunement in the game. This is great in terms of your magic damage output, as well as the range of spells you have quicker access too. That being said, it also has the lowest vigor out of any starting class.
It also has the lowest strength, but that doesn’t matter too much, given that your main damage output is going to be from spells.
This means that your mage is effectively a glass cannon to start out with. You’re going to be able to do good damage at range, but if you get hit, you’re going down like a ton of bricks. Considering this is Dark Souls, you’re going to be getting hit a lot, so keep that in mind.
I wouldn’t recommend mage for your first playthrough. The lack of health, combined with how limited you are with your build options, tends to lend itself towards more experienced players, but you do you.
How to Get Sorcerer
Sorcerer is one of the starting classes in the game, so all you have to do is install DS3, and you have it. Having said that, there are certain steps that you need to take to make the class viable in the early game. These little bits of knowledge are going to be the difference between a lot of fun and a rage uninstall, so listen up.
For starters, Sorcerers start off with Heavy Soul Arrows. You need to learn how to use this spell in order to effectively clear a lot of areas at the start of your run. Specifically, you need to understand that the range of the spell is longer than your lock-on range.
Make a habit of using your binoculars and Heavy Soul Arrows to initiate fights early. This is going to give you more time to kill off enemies at a distance before you get swarmed.
Keep your binoculars hotkeyed, use them, aim at an enemy, and cast. You’re going to get kicked out of your binoculars when you do this, but your Arrows should be on target, provided you don’t move.
Speaking of not moving, make sure you’re moving while you’re casting! Yes I know I just contradicted myself, but the binoculars situation is an exception to the rule. Dark Souls is all about your ability to not got hit, which means it’s all about positioning. Your walking speed is slowed while you’re casting, but you’re not paralyzed, so use those legs.
Effective Sorcerer Combat
On the topic of positioning, how you operate combat encounters as a Sorcerer is quite a bit more difficult than with other classes. While it’s true you can’t go charging into a fight with a knight, either, you need to remember that you’re a lot more squishy.
Long and painful story short, you need to pay attention to where you are and where enemies are. There’s going to be a learning curve to this, so take your time. Realizing the speed and attack range of enemies, in particular, is going to be important.
Understanding this is going to allow you to be both defensive and offensive with your cast-walking. If you’re out of range, but you know you can kill an enemy before it reaches you, move up, if not, back down.
This might sound counterintuitive but try move into range of your target after you cast your first spell. “Why,” I hear you ask? Well, because it’s going to allow you to get off an extra spell. If you move and time your lock-on correctly, then you’re not going to be noticed with your first spell, letting you fire another before you have to take the defensive. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be doing this all the time, but it can help in certain niche situations.
Lastly, let’s talk about dodging. You’re no battle mage, so getting up close to the enemy is unideal, but unavoidable. There are going to be times, and a lot of them, where you’re casting a spell and realize that big bad is about to rush you and pound you into a wall.
At the start of your journey, you are going to receive that pounding. But as you get a better feel for your cast times, you can start timing your dodges frame perfect. If you cast and then start spamming your dodge straight away, you should be able to get out of the way of a charging enemy just in time.
As well as that, make sure you twice every time you’re getting out of the way of an attack. Yes, this is going to drain stamina. No, this isn’t debatable. You should be trying to hit that dodge twice every time.
As a sorcerer, you need some distance between you and your enemy. You need time to get your spell cast off and dodge out of the way of the next attack. Most of the time, a single dodge isn’t going to give you that distance, but two dodges will.
Sorcerer Essential Steps
Sorcerers are tricky little beasts when compared to the other starting classes from Dark Souls 3. In particular, you’re going to need to learn how to manage your resources.
But first, be aware that you’re using no shields. It should be fairly obvious why we’re forgoing using a shield with our thin, frail Sorcerer, so I’m not going to insult you by elaborating on it.
What I will elaborate on are the three depletable resources that make up the cogs and gears of your Sorcerer build. Stamina, health, and focus are the three standard bars that you should be used to in all RPGs. Specifically, I want to draw your attention to focus, also known as mana. Managing this blue bundle of joy is going to be key to mastering a Sorcerer’s playstyle, much more so than stamina or health.
Why focus is so much more important than health is a bit of a hot topic. If you disagree with me, build your Sorcerer however you like, but this is my stance. As a spell caster, you want to focus on not getting hit instead of being able to take a hit. You should be keeping your enemies at range, and if you’re not, then you’re playing Sorcerer wrong.
You can make a bigger case for stamina, and I do tend to pump some points into it later on in the build, but you don’t need it as much as focus. If you know how much of your bar each action takes and keep your third eye on it throughout your fights, you’re not going to need to increase it all that much.
Focus, though, directly effects how many spells you can cast, which is pretty important. We only level it slowly, though, because there is one other element of your build that is even more important. And that’s damage. You’re a mage that shots magic fireballs out of their hand, so you should be efficient at killing things.
For Sorcerers, the stat that affects your damage is intelligence, so that’s where the majority of our early game focus is going to be. You want to slowly scale attunement (your focus bar) up to 20 in the early game, and around 30 by the time you’re at Yhorm. Everything else goes into intelligence.
You’re a glass cannon, so without a high intelligence stat, you’re just a glass noodle. And nobody wants to be a glass noodle. Depending on what Soul Level you want to finish up at, you can stop pumping points into intelligence at certain milestones. As a rule of thumb, though, try to keep the ratio of attunement to intelligence as 1/2.
Best Sorcerer Builds
We’ve already talked about the attributes that you should be focusing on, so I’m going to keep this brief. Your main split should be between intelligence and attunement.
Intelligence affects the damage of your spells and has a soft cap at 40, a sharp cap at 60, and a hard cap at 99. You want to aim for between 60 and 80 by the time you finish your build.
Attunement affects how many focus points you have. It soft caps at 35, which is the point that you should stop investing in it.
Aside from those two, you can put some points wherever you like. Vigor is a popular choice, purely because of just how easy you can die, but that is entirely up to you. You’re not going to have many points to put into it anyway.
True Sorcerer Build
I hate to break it to you, but being a mage in Dark Souls 3 doesn’t give you a lot of options for builds. It’s a weak class if you don’t use the right items or put enough points into the right stats.
It does leave you a little room for getting techy, though. So to avoid giving you a purely on-rails sorcerer build, I’m going to give you the foundations, and you can build on top of that; however you want.
Int 50 / 60– Intelligence is the most important attribute you have as a spell caster. It’s so important that we’re going to get it up to 34 (just before the soft cap) before we invest in anything else.
Once you get your intelligence to that point, then you can start splashing a little bit into your attunement. While you’re leveling that, you can also put some points into vigor or vitality, depending on what your playstyle is like.
Alternatively, you can level up attunement and intelligence simultaneously, at a rate of 1 to 2, until attunement is at 20. However, I wouldn’t recommend this. Playing an early game mage without any of your key items and low intelligence, is going to make you cry.
Attunement 30 / 40 – what level you get both your intelligence and attunement up to is going to be determined by what Soul Level you’re aiming for, so keep that in mind as you theory-craft your build.
I know I’m flogging a dead horse at this point, but you need to recognize how important it is to level these two attributes over all others, and that you’re using the proper equipment. For better or worse, Sorcerers are under-powered in DS3, so save yourself the pain of using a sub-optimal build.
Equipment and Armor
- Sage Ring – Increases your casting speed.
- Scholar’s Candlestick – Boosts sorceries damage by 10% percent.
- Crown of Dusk – Boosts spell damage by 20% percent.
- Magic Clutch Ring – Increases sorceries damage by 15% percent.
- Young Dragon Ring (you start with this) – Boosts sorceries damage by 12% percent.
- Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring – Increases sorceries damage by 20-ish% percent, depending on the spell.
These items are absolutely non-debatable for a sorcerer build. The buffs you get from them are what give you your main damage, especially later on in the build.
Some of these items have other effects like decreasing your resistances, but that’s not what is important here. All of those damage bonuses stack. So, if you put all of that together with high intelligence, then you may as well be shooting nukes out of your hands.
You can swap out Sage Ring with the Young Dragoncrest, depending on which you prefer, although I’d argue that the Dragon Ring is much more beneficial.
As for armor, it really is up to you. As long as you avoid stumbling into the slow-roll territory, style your mage in whatever you think looks good. Having said that, you should at least dabble in the sub-30% percent equip load territory.
Most people don’t care for fast rolls, and that’s okay. Most people don’t need them. However, as a Sorcerer, the range and speed of your maneuvers are much more important than other classes.
With an equip load below 30% percent, you roll faster, and you roll further, which can be great for creating that range that we keep talking about. It’s by no means vital to the build, though. So if you’re not a fan, that’s no issue.
Spells are the fun part of any Sorcerer build, not just this one. After all, why are you even playing a mage in the first place if you don’t love the variety of casting different, wonderful ways to slaughter your enemies.
You have a very large pool to pull from when you’re assigning sorceries to your slots, but for a fully optimal build, you should be using the following:
- Great Heavy Soul Arrow
- Crystal Soul Spear
- Magic Great Sword
- Great Soul Arrow
GHSA and CSS should be included in your spell line up no matter how you like to play. These two sorceries are going to be your main damage source, with Crystal Soul Spear being particularly useful in boss fights.
The rest of your spells are up for debate. Having the regular Great Soul Arrow hotkeyed is a good utility choice. It doesn’t use up as much FP, and it has a faster cast time, so it tends to be more useful than GHSA in a few situations.
Soulstream and Magic Great Sword come in handy for certain fights in the game, too, although you can go without them. Regardless of what your spell setup looks like, just make sure you have GHSA and CSS, and you should be good to go.
The Best Overall Options for Sorcery Builds
Your best overall options for sorcery builds are fairly simple:You need high intelligence, Magic Crest Ring, Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring, and Crown of Dusk. While we’ve aimed to provide you with the most powerful mage foundation possible, there is room to spice it up a little. Just a little, though.
You need your INT and those items to make the build even remotely viable to use. This is where Sorcerers really come up short in DS3. Most other classes have all kinds of different ways you can build them and set them up, but you just don’t have that luxury here.
I hope the words of wisdom that I’ve imparted come in at least somewhat handy during your playthrough.
If my constant nagging has you thinking about foregoing a Sorcerer run, don’t. While it can be challenging, it is also incredibly fun and rewarding. Once you master it, you’re going to feel like an absolute badass.
Sorcery isn’t all about stats and specs, though. You get access to a lot of different spells and playstyles that other classes don’t so feel free to venture far beyond the constraints that our build puts on you.
You can always respect if you don’t like how things are going. Getting a feel for what you enjoy and what you don’t is infinitely more important than building the most powerful mage possible.