Dark Souls Weapon Rankings – The Best Swords, Axes, Spears, Hammers, Catalysts, & More (for Multiple Builds)

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36 Responses

  1. McLaughlin says:

    There’s definately a lot to know about this issue. I like all the points you made.

  2. Bob says:

    As a starting player, I am finding this list truly useful.

    Still, may I inquiere why there isn’t a faith list?

  3. Albright says:

    Good question Bob, its simply because I had not fully experimented with Faith builds at the time of writing this article. In the future it may be added, or if you (or anybody else) has any recommendations, please comment! I will start adding information about this in the near future.

  4. Bob says:

    Thanks for the update. Also, I find flabbergasting how this page is not more visited/more commented; IMO this article is the most educative piece of writing i have found about DS.

  5. Albright says:

    If you are a member of any forums or have anywhere else to post it, feel free to share a link to this page – it really helps!

  6. DamageInc01 says:

    Awesome game. I’d like a possible list on what weapons work best against which foes. Can you do that?

  7. Shady white says:

    Great article! With PvP kinda big, maybe put a good PvP build down for some to think about trying? And what SL are you showing for in most of these builds?

  8. Albright says:

    Good idea, though really all of these builds are designed as pvp builds in the sense that pretty much any decent build will probably be some combination of what is listed. This collection is left more open because I feel like people want to experiment with a lot of different options to see what suits them best. This gives a good start and direction to that experimentation.

    For the summoner level its also left open with stats listed as “35+” etc. Generally pvp builds stop at either summoner level 100 or 125, in which case you’ll want to get those that have the “+” up to 45-50. However some people will finish the game at level 60/70/80 so I didn’t want to be too specific on every stat point.

    A new article with more specific builds might be a good idea though.

  9. Shady white says:

    All in all this is a great article for new players!! Or a long time player looking for a whole new build to try. Which is what brought me here lol trying out a dex/faith today and got me the claymore!

  10. Anh says:

    I have got Greatsword of Atorias but when I hit enemy it only take about 127 damage but when on Youtube it like more than 8000

  11. Albright says:

    That would probably be due to stat scaling. A maximum level character around summoner level 750, will have much much higher stats, and if I recall that weapon scales off of 3 stats rather than just one or two that most weapons scale from. This combined with other boosts like the ring that raises your attack when you are low health (red tearstone), as well as attacking against something with low defense can get you up there.

  12. DC says:

    the dragonslayer spear is good for faith builds if you have the stats as it’s lightning attack scales with faith. it’s the only scaling lightning weapon.

  13. killest says:

    For the Faith build also good is Divine Composite Bow: it has A-scaling after +9

  14. Oikake says:

    Thanks for this great list. It is hard to find good info for starting out. I’m going for a Strength build but already put too many points in dexterity and levelled up the wrong weapons. With your info I can now put things right.

    Thanks again.

  15. Acanger says:

    I suggest the great scythe for a dex build. It has a B scaling with dex

  16. Acanger says:

    Also has A scaling at +14 and +15

  17. Aksel says:

    on strengh you need black knight sword

  18. TacticalProdigy says:

    Thanks, you did a great job on this really helped me on my decision.. I really wanted to be a heavy tank like that havel guy down the steps.. but i would be way to slow & have to spend most of my levels just to handle my gear.. seems a dex build with a spear and catalyst would be smooth together.. Moonlight butterfly horn seems to be my goal kinda unsure about whether i should try and max dex or int for best output with that thing

  19. Fnarclop says:

    “Great Scythe (medium damage, medium range, but adds bleed effect. moveset is not good however)”

    Minor Correction: In a straight Dex build, the Great Scythe is actually one of most damaging DEX weapons that I can find. Even with a quality build (28str45dex) it tops out at 492 damage, while the Uchi tops out at 422.

    That being said, a lot of people find the move set confusing and prefer the Uchi as they can get more swings in, and both have equal bleed effects. The only Dex-type weapon that cranks out more damage on paper is the Furysword (502), but then we’re back into double resistance territory and the Dex weapons end up on top again.

    In all honesty, the highest scaling dex weapon I’ve found at 45 dex is actually the Murakumo, topping out at a whopping 522 damage with really solid stunlock potential, but you have to figure out how to counter the weight restrictions and I personally dislike the move set and it has a pretty restrictive STR requirement for most users unless you build specifically for it, as I believe it’s the only A Dex Scaling great sword.

  20. Paragon says:

    Enchanted Dark Sword is highest damage “small weapon” in the game for an intelligence build, dude. Nice list though, but maybe you should add that!

  21. Selterai says:

    Dude this is all subjective, stop misleading people by saying that it’s the be all and end all.

    In my opinion the Great Scythe is far superior to basically any other dex weapon, and Iaito has a better moveset than Uchi.

    Also, this doesn’t look like it;s up to date for the DLC. Where are the Gold and Dark Silver tracers?

  22. Needlenose says:

    Selterai-

    You took the time to make a comment and criticize the author about a year-old post. So now I’m doing the same thing to call you out and defend him.

    This list is a great starter tool for rookies and veterans alike. Bookmarked for every future character I create.

  23. Micky says:

    To be honest I agree with Selterai. Regardless of how old this post is, it categorizes and “ranks” weapons in a rigid and straight-forward manner. The game isn’t that simple… and none of the claims about the weapons are fully explained or justified. I understand that its meant to be for rookies, but in that case please at least admit this is pretty subjective, because there are numerous examples where I totally disagree with your reasoning. The guide has a very official and “objective” tone, yet there are weapons you either don’t mention, or outright diss on here that I found to be my most valuable assets as a new player! There are also weapons you speak highly of that I frankly wouldn’t even CONSIDER recommending to newbs…

  24. Micky says:

    “This collection is left more open because I feel like people want to experiment with a lot of different options to see what suits them best. This gives a good start and direction to that experimentation.”
    At least you’re making sense in the comments… I can make a more constructive post mentioning what I think should be added to this guide if that’s alright at this point? (It IS a rather old guide now…)

  25. Albright says:

    By all means, please feel free to post your own insight. I don’t mean to imply that that what is posted so far is the only right answer and I hope it doesn’t come off that way. The order of weapon ranking is also certainly more of general order, with the lesser used items toward the bottom and the higher ones toward the top, rather than a set-in-stone list. With all this in mind I think this article has provided a lot of good information collected together to help people looking for build and weapon information as well as a bit of good discussion in the comments on the topic.

  26. Micky says:

    STRENGTH:

    Demon’s Great Machete- Hits much higher than the Zweihander. It’s quite heavy, and the strong attacks are a bit slow compared to the Zwei, but the running and jumping attacks can compensate for that.

    Man-Serpent Greatsword- Some may prefer the lighter Claymore’s more versatile thrusting attacks. But make no mistake, this weapon puts the Claymore to shame damage-wise.

    Reinforced Club- Why leave out hammers from your STR section? These weapons may have short range and leave you open if you miss, but they’re extremely powerful once you get up close and personal.

    Butcher Knife- Pretty heavy for an axe. It’s great for dishing out quick damage, and it has a slight healing effect. Hammers tend to out-damage it, but it has more range.

    Black Knight swag- You need a high 18 DEX to wield these weapons, and they’re pretty heavy. But they’re all decently powerful and have unique move sets.

    DEXTERITY:

    Great Scythe- This weapon should be a lot higher on the list. It out-damages all other DEX weapons except the Murakumo. The overhead chops seem a tad slow at first, but they have a ton of range. It also has wide sweeping attacks quick and powerful enough to take out groups of enemies in one fell swoop. What really makes the Great Scythe stand out from most weapons aside from its astounding range is that the followup combos are ridiculously fast, and allow you to deal enormous amounts of damage without even getting close to the opponent. All of that plus the bleed damage make it a boss killer. Did I mention the running attacks are also really really good? You should seriously consider re-testing this weapon, because calling the move set “bad” baffles me… it’s arguably the single most versatile weapon in the game.

    Balder Side Sword- You aught to mention that this weapon is famous for its Leo Ring thrusts.

    Falchion- This weapon has fairly short range, but in 2 hands it can deal some of the highest DPS in the game, especially when buffed with Crystal Magic Weapon or Darkmoon/Sunlight Blade. It’s also viable as an of-hand to heavier weapons since it’s relatively light. The Painting Guardian sword hits harder and has a bleed effect, but it’s generally less useful since it has such short range.

    Gold Tracer- Similar to the Painting Guardian Sword, but with superior range and bleed build up. It cannot, however, be buffed.

    Murakumo- You need a fairly high 19 STR to 2-hand this weapon. It’s somewhat slow, but it deals high damage and stuns easily.

    Scythe- This at least deserves a mention for having the highest damage/weight ratio of the DEX weapons. It gets majorly out-classed by the Great Scythe, and it unfortunately cannot benefit from the Leo Ring, unlike most other halberds.

    QUALITY:
    You really should add a separate section for this, as it’s a pretty important part of planning a character. You listed some of these weapons for your STR and DEX sections, but they’re really not as effective unless you invest in both STR and DEX.

    Halberd- Quick, powerful thrusting attacks that benefit from the Leo Ring, along with some quick sweeping attacks that work nicely for groups of enemies.

    Gargoyle’s Halberd- Very similar to the halberd damage-wise. The 2-handed overhead chop is amazing for popping counters with the Leo Ring. It has a better hit box, and might actually be faster than that of the Halberd. But the Halberd is slightly faster when held in 1 hand.

    Claymore- Pretty much the top-dog greatsword with a versatile move set for dishing out quick damage.

    Zweihander- Very wide poise-breaking sweeps for normal attacks. Famous for the charging slams.

    Greatsword- Heavier than the Zweihander, and has slow thrusts instead of slames. But if your timing is right, this weapon can deal some of the highest single-hit damage in the game with the Leo Ring.

    Hand Axe- A useful light off-hand weapon when you need quick attacks.

    Rapier/Estoc- Also great off-hand weapons when you need to conserve health and turtle behind your shield, or deliver powerful crits.

    Lucerne- Shorter range and a little slower than other Halberds. But the attacks are supposedly tricky to parry, and they have a decent hit-box for boss fights. Based on my testing, ONLY the normal attacks are thrusts, despite the description.

    There are actually many other weapons I would consider decent for quality builds, as it’s basically the most broad category, but these are some of the most popular in my book.

    ELEMENTAL-
    The Gargoyle’s Halberd deals exceptionally high damage as an elemental. Even at 50 INT, a Chaos+5 Gargoyle’s Halberd will out-damage the Moonlight Greatsword and pretty much any enchanted weapon. All that and it only requires 11 STR to 2-hand, making it incredibly efficient. For that matter, it also makes a great Enchanted weapon…
    The Scythe is also noteworthy. It’s as light as a katana, but it has higher base damage, more range, and a lower DEX requirement. You can wield a Chaos+5 Scythe with just 10 STR and 12 DEX, making it ideal for “vitality builds” although I can’t say I’d ever recommend such a build myself…

  27. Micky says:

    Currently testing a STR build with the Stone Set, Stone Greatshield, and Demon’s Greataxe.
    I like the way the demon weapons look with stone armors.

    Anyhoo, after using the Demon’s Greataxe a bit more in PvP, I’ve found the 1-handed strong attack extremely useful for punishing backstab fishers. It swings around behind you, and you can easily pivot the followup to face your opponent if they happening to be behind you. And don’t give me that “well anybody with SKILL could take u down bla bla bla” I’m just basing it off of my own limited experience. :P
    Players who are unfamiliar with the axe assume because it’s a slow weapon that they can strafe around and backstab. Instead they get LAUCHED sky-high. TBH I count it as a win if I can launch somebody, even if I lose the duel. (It’s just so satisfying x3)

    I’ve still lost plenty of times, but it was never due to back-stab spamming or parrying the way it often is with dex builds… Even when I did get backstabbed, I seemed to take pitiful damage because either my opponent wasn’t using good stuff, or the stone set has great defenses. Probably both.

    I guess I’ll try the Demon’s Machete next. Ultra-greats are known for their stunlocking, but I still prefer the Greataxe so far since it seems slightly quicker, and it consumes less stamina.

  28. Youngin says:

    Tbqh id say this is the most helpful weapon/build guide ive read for darksouls. im going to try numerous different builds but currently im running a strength build mid game. i think a good weapon to include for strength builds would be the Black Knight Greatsword. sure it has the same power as a Black Knight sword and swings slower but with it being an ultra greatsword its stunlocking is phenomenal. it scales fairly well with strength. and does massive damage. i beat the unceased discharge in less than ten hits with it. also, can someone point out which weapon has the best strength scaling in the game?

  29. Micky says:

    ^
    The Demon’s Greataxe has the highest STR scaling of any weapon. It has slightly lower base damage than weapons like the Great Club or Demon’s Great Machete, but it surpasses those at high levels of STR due to the stupendous scaling. The main reason I like this weapon is because the 1-handed strong attack is a sideways-sweep that hits behind you, followed by an up-sweep that stuns most enemies and launches other players into the air regardless of poise! It’s very heavy compared to the Great or Large Clubs though.

    IIRC a fully upgraded Dragon Bone Fist also gets an ‘S’ in STR, but it has fairly low base damage so it doesn’t really compare.

    The Mace is the strongest of the hammer-type weapons, followed by the Reinforced Club, which has a more limited move-set but also has a bleed effect.

  30. ben says:

    whats the best build for a starter

  31. David says:

    Why do none of the builds give a suggested number of points in Resistance? Is it not useful enough in the long run to be worth investing a few points in?

  32. Albright says:

    Thats correct, its not worth it at all

  33. Shift says:

    If you’re doing a balanced build that focuses on Miracles over Sorceries, Astora’s Straight Sword, on one of the corpses near the Undead Dragon in the Valley of Drakes, is excellent. Does 180 Base Damage, half and half Physical and Magic, has a 12- Divine effect, C scales with STR, DEX and Faith, and has a large, fast, versatile moveset, amplified with an extremely easy to meet set of requirements. I’m late in my first playthrough, and I’ve got a light loadout and no shield, with a Pyrohand and Talisman in the left slots, with the AsSword in my only right slot, and I have enough versatility and maneuverability to blaze through most of the areas (Although I was doing a HUGE STRENGTH build up until after Anor Londo, so I switch to superheavy armor, greatshield, and 1-hand ultra greatsword for boss fights, because I’m can’t bother with them)

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  35. Leon says:

    Very awesome was looking for info like this. Thanks man!

  36. Shokanju says:

    Use Astora’s straight sword early on, assuming you take the Master Key from gifts. Head down the stairs and into the New Londo elevator. Go down from their and go in the tower straight ahead. Up those stairs through the door, go over the bridge and head left. When you get to the stone dragon grab the soul. When you go by the two items, you can grab the sword without waking it if your careful. You will prob want both so expect to die lol. You can dodge its attack with good timing though, and get away if done correctly. Its useful early on for faith builds. The shield is nice too. :D

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