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Dark Souls Top Ten Fire or Lightning Weapons

April 17, 2012

In Dark Souls, your weapon is your single most important possession.  It characterizes and guides your build and upgrade progression.  Weapons that deal normal, divine or magic damage scale on a specific stat (STR, DEX, INT, FAI).  A strong magic build will deal more damage with an enchanted sword, while a melee build with high STR will deal more damage with a large sword or hammer.  That is not the case with Fire and Lightning weapons.  These deal the same amount of damage regardless of your build.  The only requirement is the ability to wield the item successfully.  There is an opportunity to make very powerful fire and lightning weapons for any type of build, and most importantly, for use in early-game.

The upgrade material for fire and lightning weapons is expensive and rare at least until the Lord Vessel unlocks new world areas.  In addition, some weapons are only available once per playthrough or require laborious farming.  Once you have obtained a rare or unique weapon, you might be tempted to ascend it immediately.  But is that the right decision?  You don’t want to waste precious upgraded materials on the wrong weapon.  Read on my fellow gamers, for my recommended best choices for ascension to fire and lightning.  What are your favorite ones?

#10: Zweihander

As a general rule, I don’t like to ascend heavy weapons with high stat scaling since most of my builds have high STR in NG+.  However, I can easily make an exception for the Zweihander.  The game developers are tempting us to sink all our early-game souls into STR by making it available as soon as you reach Firelink Shrine (head to the area leading to the catacombs and explore one of the skeleton guarded tombs).  Relative to other heavy weapons (Ultra Great Swords, Great Axes and Great Hammers), the Zweihander has the lowest stat and weight requirements.  You can be wielding this beast after only a few upgrades at a bonfire.  The sword does heavy damage in fire or lightning modes and has the useful one-handed strong thrust attack.  Even a base Fire Zweihander will terrorize enemies and bosses in early-game, and will deal severe punishment in late-game when fully upgraded.  It is a good choice for NG+ as well, especially if you favor heavy weapons, have high endurance, or want to switch from a pure STR build after meeting its requirements.

#9: Greataxe

If you are a psychopath and want to hack your way through the game, you probably yearn for a +10 Fire or +5 Lightning Greataxe.  There is nothing in the game with higher damage rating when ascended, and boy, does it deliver.  One blow will outright kill, stun, or knock away just about any enemy in the game.  Large chunks of the boss life bar will disappear when a two-handed strong attack connects.  As with the normal version, the associated stat and weight requirements are very high.  And it is hard to find.  You must explore every inch of the dangerous Depths, buy it from the Sen’s Fortress merchant or wait for a rare Heavy Knight drop.  Melee builds that like to carry a “big stick” will love this ascended weapon.  Good alternates are the Great Club or the rare Large Club.  They have slightly lower but comparable damage ratings and are lighter.  I don’t recommend them in fire or lightning form. Because of their high stat scaling, melee builds with high STR can deal more damage with a normal version of either of these large hammers.  That is not the case with the Greataxe, making it an excellent option for ascension to fire or lightning.

#8: Washing Pole

A +10 Fire Washing Pole is my favorite weapon in the game.  The range is obscene.  Once you get the hang of the move set, you can two-hand your way through any boss fight.  The range and speed of the attacks open up new boss strategies, leading to an operatic dance rather than a haphazard fight.  The larger range allows you to score hits from what feels like a mile away, especially if the one-handed strong attack or running attack is timed well.  The two-handed strong attack is rangy and powerful.  I relish ending a boss encounter with this as the finishing move.  The larger hitting zone makes the Washing Pole superior to the Uchigatana.  But the high stat requirements, high cost, and difficult accessibility, mean that it is less of an overall weapon value.  Regardless, once you have beaten Smough and Ornstein with a fire pole, or quickly killed the Hellkite Dragon with a lightning pole, you will know your souls and time were very well spent indeed!

#7: Reinforced Club

A tiny club, really?  Yes, this particular club has the highest damage rating of anything in its weight class when ascended to fire or lightning.  It outpaces the katanas by ~7% and gets to ~93% of the ascended Claymore rating, at a lower weight but giving up range.  True to its brutish looks, this is a straight out two-handed medieval tool.  The two-handed jumping attack is very effective against bosses for its increased range but alas cannot be chained.  This is a great secondary weapon for those who prefer ranged attacks but need some solid back-up.  It is light and has paltry stat requirements (one of the few weapons that can be wielded by a level 1 character) but really packs a punch when ascended.  Thanks to the power of a +10 Fire Reinforced club, I was able to finish the game at level 1 (took me ~21 hours).

#6: Lucerne / Scythe / Halberd

Is it just me or are the Halberds like Tim Tebow?  You are either a lover or a hater.  They outclass much heavier weapons with better damage and range.  But the move set and strike area are limited, especially with one hand.  They do shine as two-handed weapons with a superior running attack.  These 3 weapons have exactly the same rating when ascended to fire or lightning and the damage output is quite high, only slightly lower than the superior Gargoyle Halberd.  Any of them will transform into you a butt-whooping bully as soon as ascended.  They are also very good alternates if you miss out on the Gargoyle Halberd drop.  Their stat requirements are slightly different with Lucerne having the lowest ones, while the Scythe is the lightest but most difficult to get.  But the Halberd is the easiest to obtain and in available in early-game (found in the Undead Parish courtyard close to the Basement Key).

#5: Uchigatana

I love this sword because of its move set.  There is nothing like making your way through the game or a boss fight while two-handing a fire or lightning katana.  The damage rating is reduced from other swords and halberds but you can swing it much quicker for chain attacks that unlock the bleeding bonus (END should be pumped until you can chain at least 4 normal two-handed attacks).  The one-handed strong thrust attack is fast, and the two-handed strong attack animation is almost as cool as the Iato’s.  DEX builds must wait until high stats and a +10 or more normal upgrade to match some of the damage that is immediately unlocked with a fire or lightning uchigatana.  Be careful, once you try this weapon, you may ignore the rest of your arsenal.

#4: Claymore / Bastard Sword

Both of these weapons have identical weights and stat scaling.  A fire or lightning Bastard Sword does more damage, but the Claymore has the superior range and a thrust attack good for tight quarters.  The Claymore is available very early in the game but only once per playthrough.  The Bastard Sword is also available relatively soon and can be had in multiples, but it does cost 3000 souls a pop.  Once fully ascended, each one combines high damage with low weight and low stat requirements, an attractive package for any non-melee build.  If you don’t like Halberds and prefer swords, this is the right weapon for you.  My recommendation is make a fire or lightning Bastard Sword and upgrade the Claymore through its normal path.  In NG+ with improved STRE and DEX stats, a buffed +14 Claymore is very powerful (try it with the Sunlight Blade spell for some fun).  However, a fully ascended fire or lightning Claymore is the better choice if you are focused on your first playthrough, because of its superior range and move set.

#3: Estoc

Dexterity weapons benefit the most from ascension to fire or lightning, as the high damage rating is unlocked immediately upon ascension.  The Estoc is the prime example.  This is an incredibly useful sword that allows for attacks while shielded and for very quick unshielded attack chains.  Although heavier than other thrusting swords, the Estoc is longer yielding a larger attack range.  The Estoc does massive critical damage, usually higher than weapons that are much heavier or with greater damage rating.  My first ring is typically the Hornet ring to pair with a normal +5 Estoc.  With this combo, it is possible to backstab your way through Havel the Rock and most of the black knights in early game.  When ascended to its fire mode, the Estoc breaks early game.  One poke while shielded will bring down weak enemies.  Larger ones can be hit multiples times or from a safe distance or dispatched via backstabs.  A +8 or higher Fire Estoc will make mincemeat out of the Anor Londo knights or the New Londo Ruins Darkwraiths, in concert with the Hornet ring, a good shield and decent stamina.  I recommend the fire over the lightning version, because of the higher damage rating and high lightning defense of the Anor Londo knights.  This is an important consideration since the Estoc is only available once per playthrough (take the tower elevator down from Firelink Shrine, go past the wall opening and look right for the dead corpse with the Estoc).

#2: Balder Side Sword

The Balder Side Sword is to straight swords, what the Estoc is to thrusting swords.  Both do the same damage as their cousins but have superior range and a better moveset.  The Balder Side Sword is an outstanding weapon that can be used to finish the game in its fire or lightning modes.  This sword is both quick and light.  It is very easy to hit slower foes once, twice or even 3 times, with the damage adding up quickly due to the decent fire and lightning rating.  The added range makes it a great counter-attacking weapon and keeps you at a safe distance most of the time, difficult to do with all other shorter straight swords.  The strong one-handed thrust attack has huge range and is fast, a useful combination when in tight quarters.  This is a good choice for PVP as well because of the high criticals and ability to get life-draining quick hits on an opponent.  Unfortunately, the Balder Knights have a low drop rate for this sword.  Getting it can be painfully long without equipping a lot of humanity or the Covetous Gold Serpent Ring (but worth it in my view).

#1: Gargoyle Halberd

The Fire/Lightning version of this weapon does the highest amount of damage of any other one in its weight class.  The 16 STR and 12 DEX requirements are accessible to just about any build.  This means you will be able to do massive damage at low character levels, while keeping a safe range from your foe.  The weapon does thrust damage which improves the rating of criticals and can be paired with the Hornet ring for huge damage on parries and backstabs.  Add the increase in toxin and poison resistance, long range and strike area, low weight and it is easy to see why it ranks first on my list.  This is a boss-killing machine when maxed out.  The running two handed vertical attack is fast, powerful and allows for quick recovery.  If you prioritize other attributes over strength and dexterity, this is a must-have ascended Dark Souls weapon.  The Gargoyle Halberd can be farmed by beating the first Bell Gargoyle, and letting the second one kill you if you don’t get a drop. Rinse and repeat until you get it.  The Anor Londo gargoyles will typically drop it as well.

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10 Comments
  1. psnidburzynski89 permalink

    thanks a lot for that post dude, you helped me a lot.

  2. Chippy permalink

    Thanks for de post!:D
    However, I was wondering about chaos weapons since you didn’t mention them,
    Will a fully ascended chaos Washing Pole be superior to a fire one?

    • I think not. Carrying lots of humanity around is tough if you are playing online since you always run the risk of being invaded. However, if you like chaos weapons and they work for you, stick to them. Check out my new Youtube Dark Souls PC movie. I am also working on a post and video for all of the new equipment in the new DLC. The Obsidian Greatsword is a beast! I owned Kalameet after I cut off his tail and maxed it with dragon scale to +5.

  3. Domino permalink

    YES! Great list. I adore the lightning gargoyle halberd +5 even after the nerfing of elemental weapons in 1.06. Able to get through the normal content bosses with it, without a sweat except for Gwyn I needed to use great combustion, and then ended him with the halberd–halberd a bit too slow, and used solely the halberd for the DLC bosses, which I found harder than the original bosses (except for Gwyn).

  4. What about the Barbed Straight Sword from Kirk? With its Bleed build-up, its maxed out at 220/224 Lightning +5 Isn’t that slightly better than the Balder? (Or is it because it’s a rare drop…?)

    • That is a very good question. I still prefer the Balder because it has better reach and moveset. But the bleed of the Barbed Sword is nice and you are able to build up bleed pretty quickly due to its fast attack speed. The Barbed Sword also has lower stat requirements so if you are going to keep either DEX or STR at only 10, the Barbed Sword is the way to go. I thought the lightning Balder would win outright but it is not so obvious after doing the research. If you want a low level ganking weapon for PVP, the Barbed Sword is incredibly annoying!

  5. kratos permalink

    Am using a +10 fire zweihander and it really kick ass on newgame+

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Dark Souls – Make a Fire Washing Pole +10 (and other +10 Fire Weapons) « techphantomreviewer

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