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Dark Souls Top 10 Weapons – New and Improved!

May 16, 2013

Here is the link to the video if you want to see these Top 10 Weapons in action:

There is probably no other game where the selection of your weapon is as important as in Dark Souls.  That’s because Dark Souls has the most responsive and efficient sword play mechanics of any action RPG.  Each weapon has its own set of moves which, along with its weight, reach, damage rating and player’s tactics, dictates your play style during battles with in-game enemies or other players online.

After much contemplation, testing and yes, even some hand-wringing, I have come to the conclusion that my first “Top 10 List” needed to be upgraded.  The new bosses in the DLC are pretty much immune to magic and elemental damage, plus they attack relentlessly and in fast waves.  Those changes have big implications for your build and for your weapon selections.

There are many weapons available but the upgrade system can be expensive (in terms of “souls” which is the game’s currency) and also time consuming.  So to help you pick the best weapon for your character, I have ranked the best weapons in Dark Souls.

I created a weighted scoring system that includes the weapon’s weight, attack rating, ability to be buffed (via enchants or rings), required stats for wielding, and required stats for optimizing damage (capped at 50).  I also added bonuses for attack speed, stun, reach, move set, projectile attacks and any static buffs (like increasing magic defense or poison resistance).  The result is not only objective (based on data) but also does take into account those little idiosyncrasies that make our favorite weapons special to us.

Before we get started, there are 5 weapons worthy of honorable mentions.  They are great weapons on their own right but they just could not crack my Top 10 list.  The next best weapons in Dark Souls are:

The Re-inforced Club – pound-for-pound the strongest weapon in Dark Souls.  It can dish out heavy damage with puny stats, can stun and has bleed as well.

The Scythe – an obscure but powerful halberd with low stats requirement.

The Black Knight Halberd – this powerful but heavy halberd was left-out because its top end damage is limited and it requires high stats.

The Zweihander or the Greatsword – a great tool for doling out massive amounts of damage but can be dangerously slow at times.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the countdown of the Top 10 weapons in Dark Souls.

#10 – Lucerne

Initially this appears to be one of the weaker halberds.  However with high STR and DEX, Lucerne becomes the strongest of the halberds.  And it deals thrust damage exclusively.  If you combine it with the Leo ring, power within and a weapon enchant, it becomes an absolute boss killer.  Lucerne is easy to pick up in the Catacombs and available in early game but only once per play through.  It is viable for both STR and DEX builds. The 1H and 2H normal attacks are fast and difficult to parry.   It may lack the reach of other halberds but it still has the superior running attacks, which are especially deadly for boss fights where the counter window is much greater than for regular enemies.  Alternatives are the pickaxe or any other halberd, but nothing quite compares to my sweet Lucerne.

#9 – Obsidian Greatsword

Thank you From Soft for the Obsidian Greatsword.  Finally, a suitable reward for a truly terrifying boss encounter with a very tricky tail cut.  This sword will be your reward for chopping off Kalameet’s tail.  But why would you want it?  After all as a dragon weapon, the obsidian sword has no scaling.  Well, it does a flat out beastly 480 physical damage when maxed out and wielded with 2 hands.  And, it’s enchantable!  This is a Drake Sword on horse steroids which can be buffed with CMW or Sunlight Blade.  But wait, it also has an AOE 2-handed strong attack with decent hit radius that can knock back your enemy.  The AOE is useful for finishing boss fights from distance and it’s a lot of fun on PVP.  It has the same moveset and reach of the bastard sword but the stat requirements are down right pedestrian at 20 STR and 16 DEX.  Alternates are the Claymore, the Bastard Sword and Greatlord Greatsword.  But if you want an equally powerful Claymore, you would need 30 STR and 27 DEX. This is an obvious must-have weapon for INT and FAI builds.  Did I mention that it looks pretty bad-ass?

#8 – The Balder Side Sword

Yes, everyone’s favorite straight sword makes its appearance in the eight spot.  Take an Estoc, combine it with a straight sword, give it some reach, add an incredibly rangy, fast and useful poking attack, and you get the perfect straight sword.  The Balder Side Sword is the ultimate dueling sword.  It’s fast, ignores armor with critical attacks and it’s powerful.  It is actually stronger than the much heavier Washing Pole.  The Balder Side Sword is lightning fast allowing you to hit slower opponents or bosses, and letting you time a counter when you are wearing the Leo ring. This DEX weapon was made for spell-sword builds.  The BSS is one of the few weapons that will make you a better player because it is so much fun to sword play with it.  It is also very light. Even low endurance builds can string together several attacks in a row, each one adding up damage if enchanted with CMW or SB.  If you have high poise, you can rain down multiple shots on your enemy and quickly cut them down to size.  The only negative is that you need to farm for it, and the BSS is a rare drop from the Balder Knights in the Undead Parish or Sen’s Fortress.  But a little farming is a small price to pay the best straight sword in the game.

#7 – The Moonlight Greatsword

A no brainer for INT builds, the Moonlight GS has a rating of 480 magical damage at 50 INT. Additional stat requirements are puny at 16 STR and 10 DEX.  So, magical builds are free to concentrate on becoming powerful sorcerers and they get a hard-hitting weapon at 32 INT.  Most enemies and shields are susceptible to magic, making this sword one of the deadliest weapons in the game.  The Moonlight GS cannot be enchanted so you can equip the catalyst in the right hand, a useful option that allows blocking after casting a ranged spell.  But who needs ranged spells?  The Moonlight GS move set combines the normal attacks of a Claymore with magic projectiles on both the 1H and 2H strong attacks.  This sword is very light, fast and can stun.  It seems to be a tad faster than the Claymore.  To get it, you must get to Seath’s middle tail (his longest one) and chop at it.  It can be updated with dragon scale so you should be able to max it out soon after obtaining it.  Magic builds should plan on a secondary weapon with physical or elemental damage for enemies that have high magic defense.  Alternates include an enchanted claymore or bastard sword.  Another great option, if you can increase your STR and DEX levels, is casting CMW on the Obsidian GS.  Here is to the Moonlight GS, the best weapon for magic builds.

#6 – The Uchigatana

Dark Souls only has 4 katana’s. They are all outstanding but the best of the bunch is the Uchigatana.  It drops from the undead male merchant or you can buy it from Shiva of the East.  This is a pure DEX weapon that was made to be wielded with 2H.  It is fast enough that you can score multiple hits on a boss during recovery animations.  The uchigatana has an attack rating of 420 at 40 DEX so the damage quickly adds up. More importantly, this is a bleed weapon that will reward chain attacks with a satisfying blood-spurting animation that deals bonus damage.  What really keeps me coming back to this weapon is the move set.  Duels are particularly fun and have a dance-like quality to them.  The normal attacks have large hit boxes that hit up and to the side.  The 1H running and both 1H and 2H strong attacks are powerful thrusts, extremely useful in tight corridors, and covering a lot of space in front of your character.  The thrust damage means that the uchi can be buffed with the Leo Ring.  That, along with CMW or Sunlight Blade and the bleed bonus, makes it a killer even in NG+.  The uchi does need to be repaired frequently because of its low durability.  And the rangy strong 2H attack is slow but provides a graceful way to end a boss fight.  Those are minor complaints and do not detract from Dark Soul’s most elegant weapon.

#5 & 4 – The Great Club and the Large Club

Yes, it’s a virtual dead heat for the 5th and 4th position in this countdown.  Sometimes it feels good to pummel your enemies into the ground.  Either of these clubs will let you bully even the baddest bosses in the game.  Both weapons are very similar to each other: the Great Club a bit heavier and slightly stronger, but I give the edge to the Large Club because of its poison damage.  The movesets are the same, except for the 2H strong attack.  Make sure your build has poise because the normal attacks are slow.  But they will stun when they connect leaving your opponent helpless for a follow up.  The overhead running attacks are outstanding, hitting hard, fast and with immense hit boxes.  These are pure STR weapons with high attack ratings of 674 and 648 at 50 STR.  The damage is on par with the strongest weapons in the game but without the weight penalty.  Fast rolling with these big clubs is a lot of fun.  They will absolutely mow down bosses, when buffed with an enchant or power within, even after multiple playthroughs of the game.  The Great Club and the Large Club are the best heavy weapons in Dark Souls.  It’s clobbering time!

And now for the top 3 weapons in the game: a strong case can be made for each one and the final decision will probably come down to personal preference.  But this is my list so here is how I ranked them.

#3 – The Claymore

In spite of the slight nerf in the latest patch, the Claymore is still one of the best weapons in the game.  It is available only once per playthrough but can be had in early game.  As soon as they reach Lordran, most players make a beeline to the bridge guarded by the Hellkite Drake to pick up this greatsword.  It is viable for all builds due to its low required wield stats.  It scales with both STR and DEX and has an attack rating of 460 at 25 STR and 25 DEX. The moveset has a thrusting 1H strong attack that can be buffed with the Leo Ring.  The running attacks sweep out a large arc in front of the character.  The 2H normal attack is fast and can stun.  It is deadly when used in a combo along with high poise when you are trading blows with an enemy.  Alternates to the Claymore are the Bastard Sword and the Greatlord Greatsword.  They might be slightly stronger but they lack the reach and the thrust damage of the superior Claymore.  The Claymore is the best sword in Dark Souls.

#2 – The Gargoyle’s Halberd

From Soft trolled us by describing it as a “perfectly standard bronze halberd without any special power.”  The emphasis is on “perfect.”  The Gargoyle’s Halberd is one of the strongest halberds with improved range.  The attack rating is 469 at 40 DEX.  But it’s excellent for any build since it scales with STR, and it’s also one of the most powerful elemental weapons.  With added STR, it outmuscles the mighty Black Knight Halberd at less than half the weight, while being enchantable.  The running attacks are very fast overhead chops, with extended reach.  It begs to be wielded with both hands. Few enemies will be left standing after a 2H 3-hit combo, also deceptively fast and rangy.  The Gargoyle’s Halberd is a rare drop from the Belfry gargoyles and a guaranteed drop from the Anor Londo gargoyles if not already in your inventory by then.  In addition to being an offensive powerhouse, this weapon will boost your defenses with a 25% reduction in poison and bleed build-up.  The Gargoyle’s Halberd comes pretty close to perfection in my book.

#1 – The Great Scythe

In my humble opinion, the choice for best weapon is an easy and obvious one.  The Great Scythe combines the high damage of a halberd with the most unique and best moveset in the game, and it adds some bleed damage to boot.  This is a pure DEX weapon available in early game by venturing into the Catacombs.  At 40 DEX, it has an attack rating of 483.  The normal attacks are moderately fast but will build-up your enemies bleed meter.  The running attacks are the best in the game, incredibly fast and covering an amazing amount of ground.  The Great Scythe really shines in boss battles.  The 2H strong attack quickly propels you forward and cuts a giant swath of space in front of you.  More importantly, it can be chained for a combo, which will dissolve huge chunks of the boss’s life bar, especially when the bleed damage kicks in.  The Lifehunt Scythe is the only worthy alternate with higher bleed damage, but it is shorter and cannot be enchanted.  If you don’t believe what I have said, take this weapon for a spin in your next playthrough.  I am sure you will agree with my conclusion that the Great Scythe is the best weapon in Dark Souls.

  1. karloz permalink

    I think you should concider the Black Knight Greataxe. At 40 Strength and 18 Dex and fully upgraded it has 609 Attack rating.
    This weapon is very effective because of it’s high damage, decent swing speed and long range. My favorite 🙂

    • Samurai 7 permalink

      The irony is incredible this is his second list the bkg was # 1 on last one

      • leffehz permalink

        Lol okay, didn’t know that

  2. TruthSayer permalink

    Queelag’s Furysword is where it’s at. It might not scale too great but add a few humanity and it becomes a 500 damage fire weapon.

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  1. Top 10 Weapons in Dark Souls | techphantomreviewer

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