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Dark Souls Tips and Trick – #4: Supercharge Your Attacks

June 3, 2012

(As promised, here is the video for this tip.  Enjoy!)

Dark Souls does not like to hold your hand.  The lack of help extends to weapon upgrades.  Souls, the currency of the game, are in low supply and high demand.  You are often faced with the choice of using souls to level up your character or upgrade your weapon.  Weapon upgrade materials are rare.  Even worse, while regular weapons are cheap to upgrade, some of the more useful ones require large amounts of souls.  Dark Souls does throw you a bone to give you a fighting chance.  There are a number of items that can buff your attacks.  Some of them can even be combined to unlock massive damage.  In this post, I explore some of the best ways to supercharge your attacks by exploiting and combining the most useful attack-buffing rings and spells.  I have found these strategies to be essential in early game, and, especially in NG+ or higher boss fights.  But make sure to experiment on your own.  There are many options for stacking items, and some combinations may be more effective based on your individual build or playstyle.

FYI, when I mention magic weapon I am referring to the entire family of sorceries (Magic Weapon, Great Magic Weapon and Crystal Magic Weapon).  Also, Crystal Magic Weapon and Crystal Spear may not be affected by some of these items.

Hornet Ring – this ring will increase critical damage by 50%.  Critical attacks include backstabs and ripostes after parries.  While all weapons can be used for criticals, weapons that deal thrust damage do more critical damage than other types of weapons.  Pair this ring with the Red Tearstone Ring, Power Within, Magic Weapon, or Sunlight Blade.

Red Tearstone Ring – increases damage by 50% when your health is 20% or lower.  You will know you can deal “hyper” damage, when you see the red glow around your character.  Pair this ring with the Hornet Ring, Magic Weapon or Sunlight Blade.

Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring – increases damage from sorceries and pyromancies by 33%.  Crystal Magic Weapon is not affected by this ring.  Pair it with the Hornet Ring and Magic Weapon for massive critical damage.

Dusk Crown Ring – doubles the number of cast from sorceries but at the cost of half your health.  This ring can be used with the Tin Crystallization Catalyst or the Red Tearstone Ring.

Crown of Dusk headgear – increases damage of sorceries and miracles by 20%.  Pair it with the Dusk Crown Ring and the Bellowing Dragon Ring.

Tin Crystallization Catalyst – if you have high intelligence (above 40), this catalyst will unlock the highest damage from sorceries but it halves the number of casts.  Pair it the Dusk Crown Ring and the Dusk Crown.

Power Within – all damage increases by 40% but you lose health gradually, while the spell is active, based on the level or your pyromancy flame.  Pair it with the Lingering Dragon Crest Ring and an unascended pyromancy flame.  The damage from Crystal Soul Spear is not affected.

Lingering Dragoncrest Ring – increases duration of sorceries and pyromancies.  Pair it with Power Within or Magic Weapon to lengthen the amount of time you can deal higher damage.

Weapon buffs – Crystal, Raw and normal weapons ascended by Andre of Astora can be buffed with Sunlight Blade, Moonlight Blade, the Magic Weapon family of spells and resins.

Now that you know how to increase weapon damage, let’s explore ways to supercharge your attacks.  Here are some examples that I find very useful for a variety of builds:

Melee builds – if you have high Vitality and have unascended your pyromancy flame, use Power Within, the Hornet Ring and the Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring to deal massive amounts of damage in PVE.  Melee mages and melee clerics can also buff their strongest weapon with Great Magic Weapon or Sunlight Blade.  If your Vitality is low, exchange the Bellowing Ring with the Lingering Ring.  For boss fights, try this combo: Power Within + Bellowing Dragon Crest Ring + Red Tearstone Ring + Fire/Lightning Gargoyle Halberd or Sunlight Blade/Magic Weapon on a +15 Gargoyle Halberd.  You will be shocked at the amount of damage you can dish out, especially in hyper mode.

Pyromancy builds – you don’t want to use Power Within since your flame is likely very strong.  But you can wear the Bellowing Dragon Crest Ring and the Red Tearstone Ring.  In NG+, you will have access to a base level flame.  Try this little trick for NG+ boss fights: Unascended Flame on left hand + ascended flame on right hand + Power Within + Great Combustion followed by Fire Surge.  Make sure you cast Power Within with the left hand, and presto, you become a living flamethrower.  If the boss is still standing after Great Combustion, wait for the Red Tearstone Ring to kick-in and then cast Fire Surge and burn him to a crisp like a cheap steak.

Magic builds – you have the most available permutations, but be warned that Crystal Magic Weapon and Crystal Spear may not be affected.  I don’t recommend the Magic Weapon family of spells during your first playthrough.  It is better to build an enchanted weapon (try a Halberd or the Claymore) that can scale off your high intelligence, or use a fire/lightning weapon.  If you are good at dodging, use the Tin Crystallization Catalyst + the Dusk Crown Ring + the Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring and the Crown of Dusk headgear.  If you have good vitality, Power Within is “safer” and may even surpass the damage from the Tin Catalyst.  For boss fights I recommend: Power Within + Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring + Red Tearstone Ring.  To quickly take down mini-bosses, equip the Tin Crystallization Catalyst plus the Dusk Crown Ring and hit them with Crystal Soul Spear for a quick kill.  Never remove the Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring nor the Crown of Dusk since their combined effect is significant, universal to all sorceries and allows you to level up attributes other than intelligence every once in a while.

Divine builds – the Ring of the Sun’s Firstborn will boost your defensive and offensive spells but, unlike the Crown of Dusk headgear, it is not essential.  If you like to melee, use the Lingering Dragoncrest Ring, Power Within and wear out Sunlight Blade (or Darkmoon Blade).  Boss fights will be a breeze if you have a maxed out weapon with high scaling (like the Claymore or Greataxe).  The Lingering Dragoncrest Ring will simultaneously reduce the gradual loss of health but extend the length of time Sunlight Blade is available.  With high Faith, the Sunlight Blade miracle is devastating to just about any boss, and useful in NG+ or higher when it can be cast multiple times.

All builds – Power Within along with the Red Tearstone Ring create a powerful 1-2 punch for your attack power.  If timed properly, you can use Power Within to safely trigger the Red Tearstone Ring effect.  With practice, you will be able to transition into hyper mode just as Power Within is wearing out.


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