Demon’s Souls – Ultimate PVP Guide

This guide was specifically designed to help players both new and old have a better and more thorough understanding of PvP in the remake version of the game.

Definitive Guide to PVP

By Logic

The Fundamentals of Build Making/FAQs

Basic stat requirements

Before getting into build making, it’s important to know a few basic things. Firstly, regardless of what build you choose, you will always level intelligence to at least 15 (13 if using silver coronet) and faith to 16. This is for the second chance miracle, which grants the user half hp once the users hp bar drops to zero.

Aside from the obvious value this miracle offers, this is necessary to survive certain attacks that would otherwise one-shot you, including, but not limited to, firestorm, a northern regalia backstab or riposte, most hyper-mode set-ups, etc. As for the strength stat, you’ll always want to level strength to 16 unless you’re playing as a pure spellcaster.

This will allow you to meet the minimum strength requirement on many weapons in the game, in turn increasing the size of your arsenal. Most importantly, this allows you to wield the adjudicators shield and dark silver shield. The adjudicators shield is essential for staying alive when on the brink of death and afflicted with one or more status affects, dealing with a passive opponent, or playing passive yourself.

While the strength requirement for the adjudicators shield does not need to be met to receive its hp regeneration, the requirement will still need to be met for the dark silver shield. The strongest shield in the game, it boasts a whopping 100% defense in both physical and magic damage, all while maintaining 65 guard break reduction at +5.

What starting class should I choose?

When choosing a starting class, ask yourself these questions: will I need to level magic and/or luck? If not, temple knight will always be the best choice. If you’re leveling magic and/or luck at all, choose royalty.

What soul level should my character be for dueling?

Dueling meta is soul level 125, and always will be unless otherwise stated beforehand.

How much vitality should I have?

50 is the minimum vit level on all pvp builds, regardless of what kind of build you’re using.

What rings should I be using?

If playing in human form, the regenerators ring and eternal warriors ring will always be the best for non-mage players, as both rat rings are banned in duels. For human-form mages, the ring of magical sharpness is a must, along with swapping regenerators ring with fragrant ring accordingly.

For black phantoms, cling ring and foes ring are superior. When blue, simply swap the foes ring for the allies ring. For the more advanced player, feel free to swap the cling ring when low hp for a ring of more value, such as eternal warriors ring or regenerators ring. This same strategy should be applied for mages, swapping cling ring for the ring of magical sharpness.

What armor should I wear?

Armor has very little impact on gameplay. The old raggedy set is arguably the best light-weight armor, as it boasts the highest plague resistance in the game. In the end, feel free to use whatever you’d like, so long as it doesn’t result in your character fat rolling.

Why do I always stop at 50 when leveling a stat?

In Demon’s Souls, leveling a stat past 50 is usually a waste of time, due to diminishing returns. For example, at 50 vitality, your character has a total of 1,500 hp in human form. At 99 vitality, you have a total of 1,900 hp in human form. We have almost doubled our total vitality investment, yet all we have to show for it is a 400 hp increase. This isn’t even a 3rd of what we have at 50 vit. The only exception to this rule is the luck stat, which suffers no diminishing returns.

Standard PVP Rules and Regulations

Invasions

There are no rules here. Both parties are free to do as they please, regardless of how others may feel. However it is not uncommon to encounter a player who tries to opt for a more duel-like fight during an invasion (taking a bow before engaging, disengaging when pve gets involved, not healing, etc). Despite this, you are free to do as you please and disregard the duel-like rule set your opponent is trying to follow.

Duels

These are a more structured fight against a specific opponent. Duels do not begin until both players make it clear that they’re ready to engage (usually by taking a bow). Before a duel begins, players are allowed to cast the second chance miracle, heal to full hp, restore fp, etc. Players are also allowed one pre-buff before the match starts (curse weapon, light weapon, resin, etc).

Keep in mind though that players are free to try and reapply a buff in the middle of a duel, but should be careful since the opponent is no longer obligated to allow it, and thus will most likely try to punish your action. In an attempt to try and make fights more fair and balanced, certain actions, items, equipment, etc, are banned. Restoring hp via grass, grass jelly, and miracles (with the exception of the regeneration miracle) is prohibited.

Other miracles that are entirely banned in duels include anti-magic field, banish, and evacuate. The list of spells which are banned are acid cloud, firestorm, and soul sucker. Weapons that are prohibited include the morion blade and scraping spear. Banned rings are the clever rat’s ring and dull rat’s ring.

Fight clubs/tournaments

These follow the same rules as duels, but may include a more strict set of rules that the host may apply. The most common ones are no weapon buffs, the banning of the adjudicators shield, and the possible restriction of one phantom color (or both, should world tendency be neutral and not pure black or pure white) not being permitted to use their corresponding phantom ring (foes or allies).

This is due to the fact that pure black world tendency increases black phantom damage by 20%, just as pure white world tendency increases blue phantom damage by 20%. Another 20% increase to damage can be obtained by using the appropriate ring with the corresponding phantom, along with having the proper character tendency (pure black for black phantoms, pure white for blue phantoms). Since all of these damage buffs stack with one another, giving a grand total of a 60% increase to damage, this restriction can be rather common in fight clubs and tournaments.

Basic PVP Tech

Roll backstab

A roll backstab is initiated by rolling towards either the left or right side of your opponent after they have missed an attack (typically against a weapon featuring high recovery time, such as the dragon bone smasher, great sword, claymore, etc.) while simultaneously disabling the lock on feature, performing a 180° pivot as your character recovers from his roll so as to face your opponents back, then locking back on to your opponent and pressing R1 simultaneously. While this may take some practice to pull off consistently, this is an essential skill to have in PVP.

Roll backstab visual demonstration

Roll catch

Roll catching is when a player initiates their attack at just the right time so as to have it land as soon as their opponent’s dodge animation finishes. This not only has your attack become undodgeable even if your opponent is repeatedly rolling, but also gives your attack a 15% damage increase should it successfully land. Note that this tech can be difficult to do against an opponent with high latency. It is also worth mentioning here that even if your opponent manages to dodge your attack, status affects and build ups are still applied.

Dead angle

Dead angling is the method of performing an attack which goes through your opponents shield, regardless of how much damage the shield filters. Different weapons will require different methods and/or attacks to successfully dead angle. This is an essential skill to have when playing against turtle poke or shield users in general.

Dead angle tutorial

Riposte cancel

A riposte cancel is whenever you successfully parry, your opponent takes the proper damage and enters the parry animation, but your own character skips the animation and is free to move around normally. This time frame can be used to do a variety of things, such as heal (outside of duels), eat spice, cast spells, swap weapons, etc.

Riposte cancel tutorial

Parrying

Not much to add here, since this mechanic is taught in the tutorial area of the game.

Parrying guide

Guaranteed wake up

A guaranteed wake up (commonly referred to as “gwu” for short) is an attack performed right after a backstab or a riposte that is completely undodgeable and unable to be parried. Not all weapons have gwu’s, and some even require a specific process be done so as to guarantee it’s success. Note that gwu’s may not work on high latency.

Guaranteed wake up explanation and visual showcase

Along with

Setup Exclusive Tech

Broken ToB

Essential for any build wishing to make use of the powerful curse weapon spell, this method of casting the buff allows you to drastically cut back on the hp loss you receive from using said spell. If you use the curse weapon buff without meeting the stat requirements for the talisman of beasts, you’ll only lose 1 hp a sec instead of 1 percent hp a sec.

To further break down the value of this, let’s look at the numbers. If you have 50 vitality, that means that your character has 1,500 health points. So if you don’t meet the requirements for holding it, you could last 25 minutes before dying to the spell (the spell obviously doesn’t last nearly this long). Or if you meet the requirements and use curse weapon, you’ll lose 15 hp a sec, meaning you’ll only last 100 seconds before dying.

Pivot casting: Pivot cast explanation and tutorial

Pivot cast frame analysis (original vs. remake)

Pushlock

Mainly used for wielding dual katanas specifically, pushlock allows you to infinitly stun your opponent in a series of pushes and swings, until your stamina is depleted. While standing still, press L1 to swing your left hand katana, then push with your right hand. To push, flick the left analog stick in a forwards motion while simultaneously pressing R1.

Continue to repeat the series of “L1, push, L1, push” inputs until you exhaust your stamina. Your opponent will be infinitly stunned until you eventually run out of stamina. To initiate this devastating combo while sprinting, simply sprint towards your opponent and press R1. This will send your character forwards, making a thrusting motion with the katana.

Should this attack successfully hit your opponent, immediately press L1. Then begin to pushlock them using the above formula. Should you find yourself stuck in this combo yourself, spam  left on the d-pad (the button you use to swap your left hand weapon) all while holding down on the left analog stick and simultaneously mashing the roll button. While this may take some practice to consistently pull off, this will allow you to escape this devastating combo. It is worth noting that against an opponent with high latency it may not work. 

PVP Builds

Strength

This is a basic strength build, with just the right amount of endurance to equip the dragon bone smasher, dark silver shield, talisman of beasts, and full old raggedy armor all at once. Since the armor has such high plague resistance, and is incredibly light, it is a must on all strength builds. Being plagued while on a strength build severely hinders your play making capabilities, due to the fact that it heavily slows your stamina refresh rate, something vital on such a heavy hitting build. This build also features 18 intelligence, granting access to the curse weapon spell, effectively increasing physical damage by 50%.

66 Strength Variation

This is a 66 strength variant of the first build, centered mainly around the use of the great axe. The reason this build takes strength to 66 is to max out base damage as much as possible, since two-handed damage bonuses stop existing after 66 strength. The purpose of this build is to take advantage of the roll catching mechanic (explained previously under “basic pvp tech”), which can be devastating with the great axe.

Dexterity

One of, if not the best build in the game, this build is centered around using a shield and katana or dual katanas. It is highly recommended to use sharp infused uchigatanas and not hiltless. The self inflicted damage (3% of your max hp, which is 45 per hit at 50 vitality) isn’t worth the very minor increase to damage (21 AR increase at 18 strength and 50 dexterity). This build features 18 intelligence, so that you may cast the curse weapon spell, effectively increasing physical damage by 50%.

Light Weapon Variation

Another variation build, this one sacrifices 7 points of endurance for 16 magic so that the user may cast the light weapon enchantment on their right hand uchigatana. While not nearly as effective as the curse weapon variation, this build is still very viable and can be a fun alternative to the very powerful curse weapon buff.

Magic

This is a pure spell casting build. You’ll want to avoid melee combat as much as possible, but should you find no other alternative you’ll be equipped with a crescent falchion. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with spell tech to make this build work. Since it would be to difficult to explain this tech in text form, I encourage anyone interested in learning this tech to examine the video linked above in the “setup exclusive tech” under “pivot casting”.

Faith

Arguably the strongest build in the game, faith builds are capable of regeneratoring very significant amounts of hp over time. This specific one is most notably used by the Japanese players, taking advantage of mechanics such as dead angles and riposte cancels.

The cloud spells this build is equipped with become a great combo after a riposte cancel, since they can be cast while your opponent is stuck in the riposte animation. Note that 10 magic is required to learn these spells, and it is advised after obtaining them to soul suck the magic stat back down to base level, so as to maximize stat allocation efficiency.

This can be done by either abusing the repeating Mephistopheles soul suck exploit, the false king one, or by finding player to do it for you. The old raggedy set is used here since plague heavily impedes your hp regeneration, defeating the main purpose of using a faith build. Dexterity is leveled to 13 on this build for the use of magic sword makoto, which has no scaling in any stat. Makoto deals 300 raw damage at +5, a valuable addition to any faith user’s arsenal, due to the fact that many faith weapons are slow but heavy hitters.

Faith Claymore Vit Gouge

A dedicated claymore build, this build is a heavily gutted faith build, leaving only the bare necessities in each stat, save for faith, so as to pump up vitality. Vitgouge refers to when a build takes stats that are deemed standard on specific builds and instead uses them to level vitality significantly past level 50. Having much more survivability than the previous faith build due to the extra vit investments, aswell as being able to cast warding when your second chance is popped, the drawbacks to this are the lack of other stat investments.

Faith/Dexterity Hybrid

Boasting the largest arsenal of weapons out of any build, this build combines both the faith stat and dexterity stat so as to maximize options. While having a 40 in both primary damage stats does result in a loss of AR, this drop in damage is not as significant as you might think. This build is still a very viable option at meta level, despite the fact it does suffer from a lack of endurance. This build is also equipped with warding so as to withstand physical attacks once second chance is popped.

Northern Regalia Vit Gouge

Another vit gouge build, this one is centered around the use of the northern regalia, one of the highest AR weapons in the game. With the same moveset as the claymore with slightly less range, this sword deals significantly more damage and is capable of eliminating some opponents with a single backstab/ripost combined with a GWU (guaranteed wake up). GWU’s can be devastating with this weapon due to the high AR it offers. While this build has fewer options as far as weapons go due to the relatively low stat distribution outside of vitality, weapons with the dragon infusion along with the magic sword makoto are available should the player wish to use them.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 7125 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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