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Top 10 Weapons in Dark Souls

March 27, 2012

UPDATE: I now have a brand new list. Check out the updated post: Dark Souls Top 10 Weapons – New and Improved!

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You have asked for more weapon information for Dark Souls.  And the Tech Phantom aims to please.  So, here is my list for the best weapons in this dark, moody and challenging game.  Before you lavish “hate” on my post, take a deep breath and remember that this is based on my own play style preference.  The Tech Phantom loves sword play much more than ranged attacks (and even more than referring to himself in the third person).

Check out my post and video showing you these weapons in action in NG+++.

Check out my video showing you the location of 4 of these great weapons very early in the game.  I don’t get the Drake Sword in the video but you can, by chopping at the Hellkite Dragon  tail with a strong weapon buffed with pine resin.

Feel free to shout out with your own list of favorites.  Drum roll, please…

#10: Greatsword Of Artorias (Cursed)

The cursed version of this soul weapon can do some massive damage thanks to its stat scaling on 4 different attributes.  This version is superior to the Greatsword of Artorias because it damages ghosts, and causes physical damage only.  The normal version of the weapon does physical and magic damage.  On most enemies, the cursed version will do significantly higher damage than the normal version, in spite of its lower potential damage rating.  This is an excellent NG+ weapon for high level, balanced characters.  If you prefer an enchantable weapon, try the Zweihander, which is available from the beginning of the game.

+     One of 3 different soul weapons that can be made with the Soul of Sif (this should be first choice when using the soul).  Excellent for NG+ warrior magic builds that have balanced faith and intelligence, and some strength and dexterity.  Good for NG+ boss fights.

-      Very slow two-handed strong attack.  Requires rare material and expensive upgrade.  Non-enchantable.  Not a good PvP choice.

Alternates: Zweihander, Greatsword of Artorias (normal), Great Lord Greatsword, Man-Serpent Sword

#9: Drake Sword

Enemies in early game are no match for this sword.  An excellent choice for battling Queelag, since she is resistant to both fire and magic.  It has the same move set as the Bastard Sword but with a two-handed, weapon-depleting, energy wave attack.  This attack can be exploited to push Knight Lautrec of Karim to his death when he appears in Firelink Shrine, after the Bell Gargoyles boss fight.  This weapon should not be leveled up.

+     Can be accessed in early game by damaging the tail of the Hellkite Dragon tail on the bridge.   It does high physical damage. Good for the Taurus Demon, Capra Demon and Queelag boss fights.  The one-handed strong attack covers a lot ground quickly. Fire and defense increase when the sword is equipped.

-       Requires rare material and expensive upgrade.  Damage does not scale with any stats and the sword is severely underpowered by mid-game.  Average reach.

Alternates: Bastard Sword, Gargoyle’s Tail Axe, Gargoyle’s Halberd, Claymore

#8: Great Club

If you cannot beat Queelag with a lighter weapon, try this strength-based weapon.  A +5 or higher Large Club will obliterate her in no time.  You will give up some life for strength but this weapon is worth every point.  Excellent for large enemies and all bosses, with very high strength scaling and useful in NG+.  A fully powered up Great Club is only exceeded by the Greataxe in damage potential.  However it outranges it and weighs less.  Builds that can meet the minimum strength requirement can benefit from the massive damage of fire, lightning or enchanted versions. Recommended two-handed use with the Grass Crest Shield on your back.

+     Available in Blighttown lower levels but guarded by 2 Infested Barbarians, so it can be had in early game.  Very good reach and ability to chain attacks with large strike area.  Excellent choice for NG+ magic warrior builds, if enchanted due to high damage output.

-      Heavy with relatively high strength requirement.  Early game usage requires pure strength build.  More difficult to acquire than Greataxe and heavier than Large Club (a rare Infested Barbarian drop).  Not good for battling fast enemies or PVP.

Alternates: Greataxe, Large Club

#7: Queelag’s Fury Sword

This is likely the first soul weapon you will build.  The weapon will consume Queelag’s soul and a +10 curved sword.  A great choice for builds looking for a light and quick, high damage option.  My choice for best looking Dark Souls weapon.  If you plan on using it, Queelag’s Fury Sword should be fully upgraded for the highest fire damage. Usable in NG+ due to its stat scaling with humanity (up to 10 humanity maximum) but not great for boss fights.

+     Surprisingly effective since multiple lightning-fast attacks can be chained and yield high fire damage.  Try push blocking to unlock the backwards cartwheel attack animation.

-      Requires expensive and rare material for upgrade.  Low physical damage.  A chaos weapon that requires humanity for extra damage.

#6: Uchigatana

This Katana allows for quick but deadly attacks.  It has very high dexterity scaling and is relatively light.  A good choice for enchanting or buffing with fire/lightning.  The two-handed normal attacks cover a huge area.  The two-handed strong attack results in a very quick, forward-dashing, downwards strike that can be use strategically in any fights.  Favored by expert players in PvP due to its bleed effect, high criticals and parries, and thrusting attacks.  Excellent for magic builds as an enchanted weapon.  Dexterity builds should follow Normal upgrade path.

+     The Uchigatana is dropped by the Undead Male Merchant if killed and is available in early game.  Also sold by Shiva of the East. Both strong attacks result in thrusts.  A great dueling weapon for expert, high dexterity players that can chain multiple attacks and utilize the entire moveset.

-      Relatively high stat requirements for early game.  Brittle.

Alternates: Iato, Washing Pole, Longsword

#5: Black Knight Sword

You should immediately transition to a melee build if the Undead Burg Black Knight drops this sword.  It has massive physical damage output and can be upgraded to +4 in early game.  It will eviscerate all enemies and bosses through the Anor Londo boss fights.  Can be used to finish your first playthrough if fully upgraded with a melee build.  Usable in NG+ but outgunned by higher stat scaling of the Claymore and higher damage output of the Great Lord Greatsword.

+     Requires twinkling titanite for upgrade.  Excellent running swinging attack.  High physical damage output with low stat scaling.

-      Rare drop from sword wielding Black Knights in Undead Burg, Undead Asylum and Kiln of the First Flame.  Very slow but strong two-handed strong attack.  Cannot be enchanted or buffed.

Alternates: Claymore, Great Lord Greatsword, Greatsword of Artorias (Cursed)

#4: Estoc

I played through the game several times before trying an Estoc-wielding dexterity build.  Once you get the hang of the sword play, this weapon almost breaks early game.  The Estoc is my #2 choice for magical weapon (fire, lightning or magic).  It has very high criticals and parries.  An upgraded Fire Estoc paired with the Hornet Ring (boosts critical attacks) will backstab kill just about any sword wielding enemy in the game.  The Estoc shines in battles in crowded quarters, swordplay duels and PvP.  Be wary of Estoc wielders in PvP.  They are likely expert parriers and may be wearing the Hornet Ring and possibly the Leo Ring, which boosts counter attacks of thrusting weapons.  An obvious choice for magicians but all builds should have one in their arsenal.  Superior to the Spear because of the increased strike zone of one-handed strong attacks.

+     Available from the beginning of the game in New Londo Ruins before the water bridge. Allows you to attack with your shield raised.  Low weight and low required stats with good dexterity scaling. Quick thrusting attacks can stop attack animation of slower enemies.  Can be enchanted but higher damage potential if made into fire or lightning weapon.  High critical attacks.  Devastating damage output on backstabs and parries when combined with the Hornet Ring.  Counter attacks buffed by Leo Ring.

-      Not useful for bosses (except for Lord Gwynn who can be parried repeatedly) or large enemies because of the low normal attack damage.  Easy to block.

Alternates: Rapier, Ricard’s Rapier, Spear, Winged Spear, Pike or Bandit’s knife.

And now for my top 3 weapons.  You really cannot go wrong with any of these.  Your ultimate preference will depend on the specific build.  Each one is excellent for boss fights and can carry you through NG+ or higher.  One is heavy with very large physical damage rating, while the other two are lighter and enchantable.

#3: Gargoyle’s Halberd

Quite possible the strongest “pound-for-pound” weapon in the game in its fire or lightning versions.  The best choice for a magical weapon (magic, fire or lightning) for non-melee builds due to its low stat requirement and massive damage output.  Increases toxin build-up, and bleed and poison resistance when equipped.  This weapon should be immediately upgraded and ascended if you plan on using it.  If you don’t receive the drop, Lucerne and the Scythe are almost as good but without the toxin and poison buffs.

+     Higher damage output than even much heavier weapons.  Very large strike zone and reach, especially with two-handed strong attack, and superior two-handed running attack.  Can be used for final boss fight and in NG+.  Good for any build but especially efficient for non-melee.

-       Rare drop from Gargoyle enemies. Awkward move set.

Alternates: Halberd, Black Knight Halberd, Gargoyle Tail Axe, Lucerne, Scythe

#2: Claymore

A better weapon than the Gargoyle Halberd due to its higher stat scaling for NG+ or higher, but just barely.  The Claymore beats out the Gargoyle Halberd in Normal upgraded form but deals less damage in its magic/fire/lightning form, and is guaranteed to be available in early game.  This sword has it all.  It has stat scaling, it is lighter than uber swords but with very high potential damage, great reach and a fine move set. This is the swiss-army-knife of swords.  It has a strong thrust attack and a crowd-dispersing swinging running attack.  Balanced builds should upgrade via the normal path.  Can be used in NG+ and deadly in boss fights if enchanted (try the Sunlight Blade or Moonlight Blade miracle on a +15 Claymore during a boss fight).  Non-melee builds can make a magic, fire or lightning version. The Bastard Sword is an excellent alternate, with slightly higher damage but an inferior move set and less reach.

+     Located on the bridge guarded by the Hellkite Dragon. Will take you through the entire game if fully upgraded or enchanted.  Although heavier weapons do more damage, the Claymore weighs only 6 units, allowing for more efficient stamina use.  Good criticals and a PvP option.

-      Only available once per playthrough so you must choose your upgrade path wisely.  Outgunned by larger and heavier weapons.

Alternates: Bastard Sword, Great Lord Greatsword, Drake Sword

#1: Black Knight Great Axe

A massively heavy weapon that requires high stats.  However, it does very high physical damage so it can be used all enemies.  My favorite weapon for boss fights and NG+ or higher (makes the first few boss fights in NG+ a breeze).  Melee builds should venture into the Catacombs as early as possible with the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring and some humanity to increase the chance of a drop from the Black Knight.  This weapon will stun and stagger most enemies due to its weight.  However it “feels” much lighter than other heavy weapons due to its low stamina consumption for each swing.  Its range and strike area are huge.  The two-handed leaping attack covers a lot of ground and will OHK smaller enemies once the weapon is fully powered.  Non-melee builds that can afford the high strength requirements will not regret this choice in NG+. Endurance should be increased to allow for at least 3 to 4 consecutive normal swings.

+     Available as a drop from the Black Knight in the Catacombs by Vamos the Blacksmith, and in Kiln of First Flame. Can be upgraded with twinkling titanite. High strength scaling.  Depletes much less stamina than other heavy weapons but with very high physical damage (you can swing it more times than the alternates).  Excellent for boss fights and large enemies.  Most enemies will be staggered or stunned after two hits, if not killed outright.

-       Cannot be enchanted. High strength and dexterity requirements. Somewhat heavy. Not good in small spaces.  May be too slow for PvP.

Alternates: Great Club, Greataxe, Zweihander, Great Sword, Black Knight Halberd

 

 

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14 Comments
  1. That Guy permalink

    BKGA is viable in pvp due to its stunlock

  2. Greatsword Of Artorias (Cursed) is totally viable to PVP

    • Any weapon is viable in PVP. If PVP has taught me anything, it is that a weapon is actually secondary to skill, lag, tactics and possibly even the environment in PVP.

  3. Domino permalink

    With the nerfing of BKGA in 1.06, how is it now? I never got it in my first playthrough, though, but if it’s still as good as you say it is, I may farm for it next time and then use it for NG+. Just finding ways to improve a new character so that the DLC content wouldn’t be so hard as it was for me in NG, not to mention NG+.

    • It it still pretty good but the Great Scythe is the way to go for the new bosses. I don’t want to repeat myself but check out my youtube channel for my current playthrough. I have a pretty good build that is letting me get past the new DLC bosses pretty easily. Not knowing what your build is, I would recommend high vitality plus Havel’s and the Lingering Dragoncrest Ring. With a maxed out BKGA and Power Within, you should be able to cut down the new bosses. Don’t put anything into FAI or INT, instead increase VIT and END. That is because the BKGA cannot be enchanted. Good luck!

  4. Justin permalink

    In my opinion, Black Knight Halberd +5 is better then any of these weapons. The Black Knight Sword is the worst of the lot. The axe is pretty good but I like the Halberd better. Plus my toon looks bad ass Wearing Black Iron Armor With Black Knight Halberd and Bloodcrest+5. Invade me, I dare you. Bring your full Havel so I can backstab you hehehe.

    • I am curious, why is the BKH+5 the best weapon in the game, asides from looks? Your post does not provide any reason for it other than a subjective preference. By the way, there is nothing wrong with just liking a weapon better than others, but a dialogue is facilitated if we can have a meaningful discussion around stated reasons. I have come to like the BKH and it will make my new Top 10 list (check out my Youtube channel for an upcoming video), so I do agree with you that it is a top weapon (just not the best weapon in the game). Here are my reasons for liking it: excellent chainable moveset with minimum recovery, very high physical damage rating enough to finish the game when fully upgraded, can be upgraded with twinkling titanite which is readily available even in early game, very strong stun lock capability, difficult to parry 2H normal attack, available in early game as a drop from a black knight. Here are my reasons for not liking it: requires high stats for 1H wielding, 20-30% weaker than Black Knight Great Axe and other weapons in same weight/stat class, only about 15% stronger than Black Knight Sword but requires much higher stats, 2H strong attack is not chainable, cannot be enchanted, heavy, not viable for intelligence or faith builds.

      • sharp 7j permalink

        I find BKH great because its reach+speed. Its what I used to be O&S in NG+. If you miss the first hit though you get a big delay, and the second combo hit has less range. But that first hit is PERFECT for quick in and out pokes!

  5. Joey permalink

    Why no love for the balder side sword? The moveset is great, very fast, low stamina drain, looks great, and high damage (esp chaining). I tried all of the above but bss is the one I keep going back to. Maybe I’m so used to it, but when something is on the line (low vit, hard enemy, recover blood stain)I switch to be a.

    • It is a great sword. I am re-doing my Top 10 list now that the game has been patched and new weapons added. Stay tuned in this blog and my YouTube channel for the new list and find out if the BSS makes it!

  6. Hunter permalink

    For me the zweihander is my #1 weapon, at least at the moment. So far on my ng+ I’ve beaten the first bosses in under 5 hits,it does 325 physical damage as well as 325 lightning damage

  7. Samurai 7 permalink

    There isn’t a best weapon it all depends on builds I’m best with a +15 falchion and sunlight/darkmoon blade but I’ve taken a liking to my dragonslayer spear now and I’m killing it on pvp cosplaying as ornstein. You see a bkg is useless to a dex build . Personally I think the best strength weapon is the demon great axe crystallized because it does a lot of damage and i think the best dex is either balder side sword or falchion depending on the person

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