Best Elden Ring starting class to pick for your first run

Elden Ring ashes of warFrom Software

Whether you’re a newcomer to the Souls series, have mastered every FromSoftware title, or are getting back into the game now the DLC is upon us, picking the right starting class in Elden Ring is vital. Here’s what we’d recommend for your first playthrough.

Elden Ring includes many of the starting classes you’d expect from a Souls game. There are spell-slinging wizards, powerful knights, incantation-casting clerics, and even a naked class for those who enjoy FromSoftware’s unique brand of punishing gameplay more than most. The game also features the standard Dexterity builds such as bandits and rogue characters, but this time it also includes a samurai class for those who like playing in medium armor and swinging katanas.

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While the class you choose doesn’t lock you into a specific playstyle, it will dictate your early hours. So, make sure you choose a class that suits your preferred combat style, as well as one that benefits your additional skills. Souls veterans may already have a clear idea of what class they’re going to start with, as they already have their build mapped out. 

Elden Ring features a lot of flexibility when it comes to starting classes, so just because you’re a magic-user, doesn’t mean you can’t swing a katana. Or that if you’re a knight you can’t dabble with incantations. The game also lets you craft similar builds to the ones that were on offer in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls 1-3. However this time, there’s even more freedom to get creative.

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While we cover how stats work in another guide, we also have some recommended custom builds you can try. However, when it comes to your first run, this guidance should help you choose the right starting class. 


Elden Ring player overlooking mapFromSoftware
Picking the right class for your play style is one of the most important decisions to make in Elden Ring.

Best Elden Ring starting class for beginners: Vagabond

Vagabond Starting Equipment: Longsword, Halberd, Heater Shield.

If Elden Ring is your first Souls game, you may want to try a tough character who can hold his own in combat and help you learn the basics. The Vagabond is Elden Ring’s knight character and comes already equipped with heavy armor, a sword, and a shield. 

The Vagabond starting class is essential for Strength, Vigor and Endurance build, but you can tailor them to your liking, adding a few points spells to your arsenal or anything else you fancy. You could turn the Vagabond into a competent battle-mage, or stay on the strength and heavy weapons route.

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However, we’d recommend pumping your Faith stat a bit to take advantage of incantations in combat to buff yourself and de-buff enemies. This starting class begins at Level 9 with stats spread evenly across the board.

Elden Ring class vagabondFrom Software
The classic Vagabond melee build.

Best Elden Ring Melee starting class: Samurai

Samurai Starting Equipment: Uchigatana sword, Long Bow, Bone Arrow, Firebone Arrow, Red Thorn Roundshield.

The Samurai is primarily a melee fighter, but they’re also skilled with bows, shields, and a range of different weapons. Dual-wielding katanas is also an option and something you’ll see many Samurai do in Elden Ring PVP. It’s also the ideal class to create the oh-so-deadly bleed build.

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This is a good starting class for those who have experience with Souls games and want to create a powerful Dexterity build that has a lot of flexibility and customizable options. It can also be mixed with Faith and Intelligence magic for a well-rounded build.

All in all, we feel like the Samurai is the best starting class for skilled melee fighters. Their combat style is more complicated and risky than the Vagabond, but deadly in the right hands.

Elden ring class samuraiFrom Software
The Samurai build is brilliant for Dexterity users.

Best Elden Ring Magic Build Class: Astrologer

Astrologer Starting Equipment: Astrologer’s Staff, Short Sword, Small Shield.

If you enjoy taking fights from a safe distance and relying on a range of spells while Spirits Summons do your bidding, the Astrologer starting class may be right for you. This is the ideal starting class for magic users.

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Although it begins at a low level of 6 with relatively low health, the Astrologer is strongest when it comes to spell-casting. With Mind, Dexterity, and Intelligence stats all leading the way, your abilities will be dealing as much damage as possible in the early game.

The idea with this starting class is to build a classic wizard character who’s dangerous from a distance, but weaker up close. However, once you reach your magic stat level caps, you can start building up your other attributes to make your Astrologer tougher in close combat. 

Red wolf elden ringFrom Software
An Astrologer battles the Red Wolf of Radagon.

So that’s a full rundown on the best starting classes in Elden Ring. Be sure to check our Elden Ring page and brush up on all the latest guides below:

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