Best Dark Souls 3 PvE & PvP builds: Bleed, Quality, Holy Knight & more

Dark souls 3 knights battleFromSoftware

Looking for an edge to survive the brutal world of Dark Souls 3? You’ll need the right build! Here are some of the best PvE and PvP builds in Dark Souls 3.

Those who’ve done everything there is to do in the Lands Between may be keen to check out some more of FromSoftware’s work such as the Dark Souls series – at least while we wait for Elden Ring DLC. Dark Souls 3 is the final chapter in the trilogy that shares so many similarities with Elden Ring. The story involves a lone Undead coming back to life while looking for a way to escape an endless cycle of death and rebirth.

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Like Elden Ring, Dark Souls 3 features some addictive PvE boss battles, and players can team up in co-op, or invade each other’s worlds to engage in some frantic PvP. For each, you’ll want a build to serve you well in the trials ahead. So below, we’ve listed some of the best Dark Souls 3 PvE builds as well as some of the best PvP builds to help you survive the horrors of Lothric.


Dark Souls 3 warriorFromSoftware
Not all builds are equal in Dark Souls 3.

Best PvE builds in Dark Souls 3

Here are some of the best PvE builds you can use in Dark Souls 3:

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Classic Mage

The Classic Mage is often considered ‘Easy Mode’ in Dark Souls games as traditional magic can be overpowered at times. When it comes to this build, it pays to create a glass cannon, piling most of your stats into Intelligence and magic-based stats to boost the power of your spells and how many you can use.

It also pays to stick to light armor (that buffs your magic) while also pumping some points into Dexterity. Not only does this boost your casting speed, but it also means you can equip some melee weapons for close-quarter encounters. This is something you can equip in your off-hand while you primarily use a staff for your main weapon. The staff you use largely depends on the spells you want to specialize in, but the Court Sorcerer’s Staff is our choice.

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As for rings, consider the Sage Ring and Magic Clutch Ring to boost your offensive capabilities. When it comes to armor, consider light wizards’ robes. However, we like using Leonard’s Garb along with the Crown of Dusk.

Battle Mage

This is a custom build that involves using both magic and melee. There’s often more synergy in using an Intelligence plus Dexterity build, as these two stats work well together. Unlike the above Classic Mage, this build involves also pumping points into Dex, not just to improve casting time, but also to create a dangerous melee specialist who can also cast magic from afar.

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We like using the Crescent Moon Sword as it stacks with both stats, but we also like to use a staff in our other hand, especially one that stacks with Dexterity. This way your magic spells benefit from both, just like your melee attacks will.

There’s a lot more flexibility in this build when it comes to rings and armor, so we’d recommend equipping whichever gear helps you cover for any shortfalls while crafting the build. As with any custom builds, this pay-off will be at the endgame. Remember to change gear when required, as the build evolves and becomes more powerful over time.

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Dark Souls 3FromSoftware
Many builds used in Elden Ring also work in Dark Souls 3.

Quality build

A quality build is for those who want to take advantage of Strength and Dexterity weapons, as well as leveling both stats to maximize the damage output of a weapon. It can take a while for the build to really pay off, but once you reach a high level you’ll have a solid choice of weapons to use and every one of them will do decent damage.

We’d advise using weapons that stack with Strength and Dexterity equally, such as both being D scaling, or one C and the other D. This also lets you switch between Strength-based weapons like axes and greatswords, or katanas and other skill/speed-based weapons. Just be aware that unless you’re going to commit to a quality build, it can be more effective to pick a stat like Strength or Dex and stick to it.

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Remember, as you’re pumping points into both Strength and Dexterity, there’s little room for Magic. So, be prepared to have very basic spells at your disposal, if any. We’d recommend the Old Wolf Curved Sword as a primary weapon for this build as it stacks nicely with both Strength and Dex. It also increases the damage you deal with each successive hit and heals the user.

If you equip the Pontiff’s Left and Right eye rings, you’ll also double the healing and extra damage rates as these will stack with the sword. When it comes to armor, there’s a lot of flexibility but it mostly depends on you and how much you can carry. As you’re a melee-heavy build, we’d advise prioritizing defense.

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Best PvP builds in Dark Souls 3

Here are some of the best PvP builds you can use in Dark Souls 3:

Bleed build

While this build is even more powerful in Elden Ring, it’s still pretty deadly in Dark Souls 3, especially in PvP. The idea is Bleed status builds up as you land subsequent hits on your opponent before it procs doing massive damage. It also works well against a lot of bosses.

The Bleed build is a classic Dexterity build, but one that emphasizes weapons that cause Bleed to increase the frequency of the proc damage. Dual-wielding weapons can help cause bleed build-up, as there are two blades slowly causing the status effect. Sharp Warden Twinblades are a good choice, just make sure you upgrade them on the Bleed path.

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You can also cast the Miricle Dorhy’s Gnawing to increase Bleed build-up to cause even more damage. Don’t forget to pump a few points into Faith to be able to do this. When it comes to armor, stay light and mobile. Also, consider the Chloranthy Ring to keep your stamina refilled.

bleed build dark souls 3FromSoftware
The Bleed build is a favorite in most Souls games.

Classic Strength build

The classic Strength build is the most tempting one to make and is often the first one Souls players do. That’s because it closely resembles builds from other fantasy RPGs. In the right hands, a strength build can be deadly, but it can also be disastrous in the wrong hands. In PvP, they can be very effective, but you’ll need to stay mobile and have some secrets up your sleeve if you’re to outwit the sneaky Dex-build players.

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To craft this build pump most of your stats into Health, Endurance, and Strength. This way you can wear heavy armor without being slowed down. The Ring of Favor and Havel’s Ring are a great help for this, greatly increasing your encumberment so that you can wear the heavier gear and still remain quick.

As for weapons, most Strength-based gear should work, but we’d recommend something that also inflicts a status ailment on your opponent. That way rather than focusing on rolling away from you, they scramble to heal this aliment while you close in for the kill – which with this build, will only take you a couple of hits.

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Holy Knight

The Holy Knight is a Strength / Faith hybrid build that involves making a heavily armored knight who can also perform Micracles to smite their enemies. What’s great about this build, is that many opponents in PvP will assume you’re a traditional Strength build and won’t see your Faith-based spells coming. They can also hinder your opponent while buffing you.

The main mistake many Strength builds make is that they don’t put their blue skill bar to good use, assuming this is only for casters. Here, you’ll be putting every tool at your disposal to good use. To create this build, put points into Faith as well as the standard Strength build stats. Remember, because you’re doing this, you won’t be able to use some heavy armor sets and you’ll never be as physically tough as standard Strength builds, but that’s okay, as your Faith based skills will make up for it.

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Use a melee weapon that stacks with both Strength and Fairth such as a Faith-infused Claymore. You can also use a shield if you’re using a one-handed weapon, this also helps you switch between that and your Talisman to cast Miracles against your enemies. Choose rings that buff the stats that need a boost while you craft the build.

So that’s some of the best builds you can use in Dark Souls 3. If you’re looking for content based around its spiritual successor, Elden Ring, then check out some of the below guides:

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Elden Ring Stonedigger Troll | Elden Ring Margit the Fell Omen | Elden Ring Flying Dragon Agheel | Elden Ring Tree Sentinel | Elden Ring Grave Warden | Elden Ring Pumpkin Head | Elden Ring Soldier of Godrick