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Dark Souls Ten Overlooked but Powerful Items

April 27, 2012

Dark Souls allows you to mix and match equipment anyway you want.  Due to the large available inventory, there are several items that, although powerful, may be rare and quirky and thus not popular or commonly used.  However, I urge you, my fellow gamers, to give these items a try.  They represent some of the best “value” items in the game.  Here is my list.  What are your favorite quirky items?

#10: Blacksmith Giant Hammer

A fully upgraded hammer yields 300 units of lightning damage. And 180 units of physical damage… and it adds low strength scaling.  The move set is that of an axe (no jumping attacks).  It is light and has low strength requirements.  Take this one for a spin during your next farming run in Dark Root Garden past the sealed door.  Two-handing a fully upgraded hammer, you can dispose of all the enemies much faster than you could trick them into a fall.  This is an excellent option for anyone looking for a blunt back-up weapon that packs a good punch.  The lightning damage is handy since most enemies are susceptible to it, and it can be swung very fast.

#9: Dark Hand

Dark Hand can be farmed from the New Londo Darkwraiths or gained as a reward in the Darkwraith Covenant.  In the right hand, the strong attack sucks souls from NPCs, higher amounts depending on your covenant level.  When equipped in the left hand, it acts as a relatively powerful shield.  The Dark Hand shield has high elemental defense but low physical defense (80% physical, magic, fire and lightning).  This is an excellent shield for ranged PvPers or magicians due to its extremely low weight penalty.  This item can be used in several boss fights and world areas where elemental defense is needed.  Its low weight shield facilitates the use of heavier weapons or armor, not possible with other shields.  It also sports the coolest see-through animation effect in the game.

#8: Velka’s Rapier

Velkas’s Rapier is an outstanding weapon for intelligence builds.  It begins to outpace an enchanted Estoc at ~20 or higher intelligence.  It is also much easier to max out requiring expensive but more readily available twinkling titanite.  This unique weapon is a little difficult to obtain though.  You must unlock the annex in the Painted World of Ariamis, and then break down a wooden wall blocking the path to the weapon.  The tricky part is getting the annex key in the underground labyrinth, which is loaded with dangerous Undead Skeletons riding Bone Wheel Shields.  If you don’t already have a magic Estoc or magic Ricard’s Rapier, do not pass up on this excellent magical thrusting sword.

#7: Set Of Favor

Raise your hand if you have worn this armor just for its looks?  Well, it is actually one of the better sets when fully upgraded with twinkling titanite.  Although Ornstein’s Set is superior at base levels, the Set of Favor unlocks much higher ratings after upgrades.  It is a hair lighter than Ornstein’s Set and maybe even cooler looking.  It has good physical defense but high elemental defense plus curse resistance.  The only detriment is availability.  This set can only be accessed after invading Knight Lautrec of Carim’s world in Anor Londo.  You must beat him but beware his two buddies, a magician who likes to spam cast Soul Spear and a tank with shield and spear.  After killing Lautrec, his armor will be in the same floor as the Chamber of the Princess’ bonfire.  You must not kill Lautrec in Firelink Shrine and let him assassinate Anastacia of Astora.  She will drop her outfit and a Black Eye Orb that will let you invade and revenge her.  Builds that like to keep armor weight below 30 units should patiently wait for the opportunity to obtain this outstanding set.

#6: Scythe

This rare weapon is only mildly overpowered by the fire or lightning version of the Gargoyle Halberd, another unique.  Almost identical in damage output, it is superior to its cousin Lucerne due to its larger strike area and two-handed attack range.  Most players will likely miss out on this weapon.  You must get to the swampy basement of Sen’s Fortress and battle a Prowling Demon to gain access to the Scythe.  That is a tough challenge that the faint-of-heart will opt to avoid.  If miss out on the Gargoyle Halberd after battling the Gargoyles in Anor Londo, equip Iron Flesh and a heavy weapon and go get the Scythe.  You won’t regret it.

#5: Great Lord Greatsword

Many gamers are disappointed when they discover this soul weapon deals physical damage only.  The fire damage component is limited to Lord Gwynn apparently, since the weapon cannot be enchanted.  Additionally, you will not be able to swing it as fast as Lord Gwynnn.  However, this is a fine sword.  It outmuscles heavier weapons and most others in its weight class.  Full upgrades will unlock an attack rating of 346 physical damage plus low strength and dexterity scaling.  This melee-build sword is usable in NG+ or even PvP.  It can be swung relatively quickly and has decent range.  It is one of the few soul weapons that are worth upgrading.

#4: Royal Helm

This helmet has horns and a cutout for your eyes so it looks like a mask.  When fully upgraded with plain titanite, it provides very high physical defense relative to its weight of only 4.5 units.  It also rates high elemental defense, and good poison and toxin protection but not against curse.  This is a suitably satisfying reward for offing Vamos the Blacksmith in the Catacombs, who is a real SOB.  Fans of the classic PS3 game ICO should not pass up on this item.

#3: Washing Pole

Ah, the most misunderstood, dizzed and ridiculed weapon in the game.  It is not a caricature of a sword or some tribute to Japanese anime.  It has the same move set as the Uchigatana but offers much more range because of its exaggerated length.  Additionally it scales on both strength and dexterity making it a better option for strength builds.  The Washing Pole is difficult to obtain and very expensive but worth it.  If your build can handle the high weight and stat requirements, treat yourself to a fire version and let your sword skills loose in Anor Londo.  A fire Washing Pole is the best choice to take down the Bat Wing Demons, easily the most annoying and cheapest enemies in the game.  A buffed pole is extremely effective for boss fights due to its range.  Try it against Smough and Ornstein, or when battling the Hydras.

#2: Xanthous Waistcloth

After the 1.05 patch, the Xanthous Waistcloth takes the crown for best light leg armor in the game.  When fully upgraded with twinkling titanite, only a few much heavier “leggings” provide better defense.  It has high ratings across the board (especially against magic and lightning) lacking only in curse defense.  Actually, the entire set is very good; the Gloves are also a great value item with an excellent defense to weight ratio, and the Crown adds high curse defense (although it is a bit heavy).  To get the set, you must first travel back to your original jail cell in the Northern Undead Asylum and find the Peculiar Doll.  With this item in your inventory, walk up to the wall painting in the Anor Londo cathedral.  You will be sucked into the Painted World of Ariamis.  Go to the snowy area with the large blocks and dispose of Xanthous King, Jeremiah when he invades.  The set can be picked up on your way out of the level past Priscilla the Cross Breed (you don’t have to fight her to get the set).  If you don’t mind looking a bit ridiculous in a hot mustard skirt, wear this powerful item proudly during your next playthrough or PVP encounter.

#1: Power Within

This pyromancy will raise your damage by 40% and increase stamina recovery rate, but at the cost of a depleting health bar.  The depletion rate scales with the level of your pyromancy flame.  I am willing to bet that many of you avoid using Power Within because your pyro flame is already powered up by the time you get it.  Using this item is dangerous without high vitality or a complimentary ring.  This spell really shines in NG+.  By then you are likely to have 40 or more vitality and a plain pyro flame plus other items that can be combined to maximize your damage output.  You really need the damage buff in NG+ or higher especially for the end game bosses.  Power Within can be combined with the Hornet Ring, the Leo Ring, the Ring of the Evil Eye, the Dragoncrest Rings, the Server, the Sanctus shield, the Tin Crystallization Catalyst, the Crown of the Dark Sun, or the Crown of Dusk just to name a few.  The combinations are numerous and open up some interesting and intriguing strategies.  Here are two of my favorites.  Pyros and magicians can cast Power Within while wearing both the Dragoncrest Rings.  Your resultant spell or pyro damage will be 186.2% stronger! And the health bar depletion will be spread out over a much longer time. The second combination is highly effective for faith builds with high vitality.  Cast Power Within and then buff your favorite weapon with the Sunlight Blade or Moonlight Blade miracles to supercharge your character into a Bane-like venom induced rage.  Power Within is available in Blighttown past a very aggressive and strong Parasitic Wall Hugger.  It can be taken out with ranged attacks or by finding the well opening leading to its exposed back.  Do not be afraid of the “Power Within” you.  This powerful spell is usable during your first playthrough if you can withstand the desire to upgrade your pyro flame.  Your patience will be rewarded.

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3 Comments
  1. sad permalink

    power within is a constant 6 Hp per sec now, no matter how much u upgrade your flame

    • This is one change that has not affected me. I always used PW with an unascended flame only in the console version of the game. Yes, that means no pyromancies for me during the first playthrough (other than PW and Iron Flesh). Thanks for the update.

  2. chris permalink

    you know there is 2 pyro gloves in each gameplay

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