Dark Souls Remastered: PvP Builds For Strength, Dexterity, & Magic

With the release of Dark Souls: Remastered, it's time to dust off the dueling gloves and lay out the soapstones. These are the best PvP builds focused on Strength, Dexterity, and Sorcery/Magic.

One of the most grueling aspects of Dark Souls: Remastered is the game's PvP element. Whether you're voluntarily summoning players to duel with you in the arena or getting invaded by irritating red phantoms, player versus player combat isn't always easy.

Knowing which build fits your playstyle is essential to success. But that's something only you can determine by playing the game. However, knowing which builds are the best for PvP -- and those you should fashion your character after or outright construct -- is what we're here for. 

In the following sections, I'll list out a variety of builds alongside what weapons and armor you'll need to make them. We won't exactly be min/maxing here, but there will be suggestions for well-rounded starter builds for each stat type.  

If you have any that aren't listed here but are effective in PvP, let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page. We'll add it (or them) to this list and credit you with the addition. 

Be sure to check out our other guides for the re-release here: 

Strength Builds

This category is for players looking to utterly crush their opponents using pure power to win any encounter.

Strength builds are typically more patient than other builds. Players do not need to turtle during encounters (unless they're making a turtle build). Liberal use of shields and defensive maneuvers is recommended since Vitality and Endurance stats are used to create walking fortresses and tanks.

It's also worth noting that many of the weapons and armor sets in this category are slow, making strategy and defense the primary principles of these build types. Of course, there are hybrids with high DEX values, but pure strength isn't known for it maneuverability. 

Prioritize These Stats First

  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Vitality
  • Dexterity (after everything else)

The higher your Strength value, the better you'll be able to wield powerful weapons. However, increasing this attribute is also because your strength value combines with the Strength Parameter Bonus to provide additional damage based on scaling.  

Endurance gives you more stamina, so you'll be able to attack more and block more. You'll also be able to use heavier weapons without expending all of your stamina. Endurance benefits taper off around Lvl. 40

Vitality benefits taper off around Lvl. 30 during your first playthrough. This stat is important for PvP, but you should not sacrifice other stats to increase its level. 

Ignore Intelligence, Faith, Attunement, and Resistance until much later in the game -- or entirely. You should only assign points to these stats after you've reached the soft caps for Strength, Vitality, and Endurance or if you're going for a hybrid build that, for example, might wield a catalyst. 

Also be aware that if you wield a weapon with both hands, you get a strength multiplier of 1.5. On top of that, you want to make sure your equip burden never eclipses 50% so that you retain a high poise value -- which keeps you from getting stunned. 

Pure Strength

This Soul-level 120 build might be as min/maxey as we want to get in this guide. It puts a ton of emphasis on strength and wielding heavy weapons. Here are the stats: 

  • Strength: 60-65
  • Endurance: 40
  • Vitality: 30
  • Dexterity: 20-25

Dexterity is listed because once you hit the caps for END and VIT, DEX will help you wield a few of the higher level weapons -- such as the Silver Knight Straight Sword -- if you choose to use them. It will also let you wield the Black Knight Great Axe or the Demon's Great Axe, both of which are excellent choices for two-handing here.

You'll also want to use the Giant's Set because although it's heavy, it provides a poise boost in return. On top of that, use Havel's Ring because it increases your equip load by 50%. 

Of course, you won't be able to dodge much using this type of build, but you will be able to take damage while dealing large amounts of it in return. You can also wear either Red Tearstone Ring or Blue Tearstone Ring to increase damage and/or defense on low health respectively. 

Dexterity Builds

Players in this category like to toy with their opponents, using misdirection and speed to gain the upper hand. 

Dexterity builds are typically more agile than other builds. Players should not turtle or rely on traditional blocking during encounters. Liberal rolling and evading are recommended, as well as backstabbing and riposte maneuvers

Many of the weapons and armor sets used in this category are fast and nimble, making speed and precision the core principles of these build types.

Prioritize These Stats First 

  • Dexterity
  • Endurance
  • Vitality
  • Strength 

A higher Dexterity value will boost your overall attacking power, as well as your finesse. Increasing this attribute also boosts the Dexterity Parameter Bonus, which increases your damage when wielding Dexterity-based weapons such as Rapiers, Daggers, Spears, and Bows. 

Endurance gives you better bleed resistance. This is very important because Dexterity builds often wear light armor and do not carry shields. 

Vitality will also decrease fall damage. This is important for stealth builds such as the Ninja and Rogue. 

Strength gives you weapon options. Don't invest heavily in Strength early on. Instead, increase Strength to wield more powerful Dexterity-class weapons in the mid- to late-game. 

You can ignore Intelligence, Faith, and Attunement until the late-game or subsequent playthroughs. Resistance could be useful for a Dexterity Build; however, Dex builds should not get hit very often, so skill points are better spent elsewhere. 

Pure Dexterity

This Soul-level 122 build focuses on speed and evasion. Here are the stats: 

  • Dexterity: 45
  • Endurance: 48
  • Vitality: 45
  • Strength: 20

Putting 20 into your STR stat will let you wield a fair amount of Dark Souls' weapons, effectively giving you a few extra choices for this build. You'll want to wield something like the Balder Side Sword or the Uchigatana (which also provides good bleed damage). Alternatively, you could also wield Great Scythe, which surprisingly very powerful for DEX builds. 

If you want to go ranged, choose either the Longbow or the Black Bow of Pharis

Since Dexterity doesn't necessarily affect armor, you can theoretically where whatever armor you like as long as you can roll quickly and have enough STR. However, to be fast and light while also having a good defense rating, equip the Elite Knight Armor, Elite Knights Gauntlets, Chain Helm, and Chain Leggings. All of these give you good poise to weight ratios. Alternatively, you could swap some of these light armor pieces out for medium armor pieces if you increase END and STR or wear Havel's Ring

Use the Grass Crest Shield to take advantage of its Stamina regen, which works whether you're wielding it or if it's on your back. 

Sorcerer/Magic Builds 

Honestly, Sorcerer/Magic builds are some of the most difficult to use in PvP because spells can take forever to cast and sacrificing stats such as Strength and Vitality to increase your Attunement and Intelligence slots can put you at an early disadvantage. 

I would recommend using a hybrid build such as the Pyromancer or a Knight/Mage variant. 

However, if you're determined to create a Sorcerer/Magic build, play defense from afar. You use the environment to your advantage. Casting spells such as Chameleon and Hidden Body are recommended to surprise your enemies, while learning the cadence of spells such as Great Heavy Soul Arrow, Crystal Soul Spear, and Great Magic Weapon is essential to timing your attacks. 

It's also recommended you finish the game before going into PvP as a Sorcerer since you'll be able to find some of the most powerful talismans, spells, and weapons during the end-game or New Game+. 

Prioritize These Stats First 

  • Intelligence
  • Dexterity
  • Attunement
  • Vitality/Endurance

Intelligence will let you cast more powerful spells. This is very important for Sorcerer/Magic builds. To get the best Catalysts and to cast all of the spells in Dark Souls: Remastered, you'll need to get your Intelligence stat to 50. Going higher gives no advantages. 

Dexterity means you can cast spells faster. This is important because you will need to increase the animation speeds of spells to land more of them against a human opponent. 

Attunement will let you equip more spells and magic. Unless you want to swap spells in and out -- or find the Dark Moon Seance Ring or White Seance Ring, both of which give you +1 Attunement slot each -- you'll want to make sure you have your Attunement stat leveled to 50 if you want to equip 10 or more spells.  

Depending on your playstyle, you will not need to put many points into Vitality. As long as you play defensively (and with good wit), you can get away with a Vitality stat of 15 or so. If you feel like you will take more damage, push Vitality up to around 25. 

You can ignore Resistance and Faith altogether -- or at least until the late-game or subsequent playthroughs. Much like DEX builds, you shouldn't be getting hit much as a Sorcerer. And Faith is only for casting miracles, which you won't be doing with this build very much.  

Pure Sorcery/Magic

There are several ways to go about making a Sorcerer in Dark Souls: Remastered. Here, we'll focus mostly on using increasing INT and ATT to cast more spells faster. However, there are a few strength options, one of which works very well with the build we're currently working on. 

Here are the stats: 

  • Intelligence: 45
  • Attunement: 50
  • Dexterity: 45
  • Strength: 16 
  • Vitality: 15
  • Endurance: 15

For this Soul-level 124 build, you'll need enough STR to wield a decent weapon just in case you need to engage in melee combat. However, putting 16 points into Strength will aloow you to wield the Moonlight Greatsword. This sword's damage scales with your INT rating, so it's perfect to have for this build. In your primary hand, you'll want to wield either Logan's Catalyst or the Crystal Catalyst

On the armor front, you'll want to wear the Crown of Dusk and the Dragoncrest Ring because both increase your damage. For light armor, go for the Xanthous Set. For medium armor, equip Havel's Ring and wear either Ornstein's Armor or the Eastern Armor with either the greaves and the leggings of the Xanthous Set or those of the Chain Set. Just be wary that those two cuirasses decrease stamina regen. 


Outside of these builds, one of the best things about Dark Souls: Remastered (and all the Souls games, for that matter) is that you can come up with your own builds if you don't like what I -- or anyone else -- has on offer. 

What is your favorite build in this revamped ARPG? Let us know in the comments below! 

Editor in Chief

Published May. 25th 2018

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