ELDEN RING – Pure Faith Build Guide (PVE)

Guide to PVE Pure Faith Build

Starting Class

Generally either Prisoner or Astrologer; they are within 1 stat apart from each other depending on the str / dex requirement of your weapon of choice, or if you choose to dip into faith for certain buffs. Vagabond is a very versatile choice if you intend to re spec out of int build later on.

Easy to miss items

I will not go into the details here for spoiler reasons. But those are the items you could potentially lock yourself out of based on your choices in game.

  • Magic Scorpion charm
  • Shard Spiral
  • Azur Crown

Catalyst (and Other Goodies to Equip)

Spells is probably the biggest appeal of pure int builds. Sorcery scaling on your staff determines how much damage you deal with your offensive magic. (Only catalysts scale; spells only have minimum stat requirements and do not scale.)

Some catalysts will buff certain spell schools, and as long as you hold it in either of your hands, you will receive the benefit. (E.g. you can equip lusat’s on your right hand, and meteorite on your left hand. Casting rock sling with lusat will gain the full benefit of 30% damage buff from meteorite.) You can equip 2 of the same staff and the passive damage boost will stack multiplicatively. (e.g. 2x staff of loss = 1.3 * 1.3 = 1.69)

Here are the catalysts to look out for in a pure int build:

  • Meteorite staff (30% buff to gravity sorcery; best early game staff, high scaling but cannot be upgraded)
  • Academy glintstone staff (when upgraded, best general purpose staff for 41 – 67 int. 60 int = 304 scaling)
  • Demi Human Queen’s Staff (technically best staff for <= 40 int but most people would probably be using meteorite and skip to academy glintstone as their next upgrade)
  • Carian Regal (10% buff to full moon sorcery; best general purpose staff for >= 68 int. 80 int = 373.6 scaling)
  • Lusat (+50% sorcery FP cost; will offer the highest spell scaling. 80 int = 413 scaling. Note it does NOT have any passive damage boosts.)
  • Azur (+ 40 vdex and +20% sorcery FP cost; vdex adds to your dex stat for the purpose of casting speed and hard caps at 70. I do not think cast speed is worth it in PvE.)
  • Staff of Loss (30% buff to night sorcery; 80 int = 339 scaling)
  • Carian Glintstone (15% buff to carian sword sorcery)
  • Carian Glintblade (15% buff to glintblade sorcery)

2x school specific staff vs 1 school specific staff

Here’s a comparison table for your “effective scaling” (scaling of casting staff X any buffs from staff or shield), when casting the specific spell school in question at 80 int. It’s not an exact science due to existence of flat defence, but should give a rough indication of the relative trade offs.

2x staff of loss is a notable exception, and this is what makes night comet one of the strongest PvE strategies (Only 1 copy per playthrough though).

Spells

There’s no single “best spell”; for the most optimal efficiency, you want to use the right spell for the right situations. Certain spells may be niche, but that does not necessarily equate to bad. That said, there are ones so universally strong that you can cruise through the game by just spamming the said spell over and over.

I recommend only equip the spells you need for until you reach next site of grace: extra, unused spells just make cycling through spells you do use slower. Having 10 memory slots does not mean you have to fill it to the brim.

Here’s a breakdown on the spell theoretical damage and FP efficiency at 80 int, taking pebble as the baseline. Note this ignores damage from frostbite procs.

Click to enlarge…

I will now discuss spells roughly in the order of acquisition, for the benefit of new players.

Glintstone pebble: one of the earliest spells you can find (and starting spell for astrologer). Very efficient damage to FP ratio, and surprisingly good dps as well.

Scholar’s Armament: generally not worth it compared to just use magic affinity, unless you’re lv200+. One exception is claymans harpoon: at 12 str 10 dex 80 int, standard affinity + scholars armament = 843 AR. Same stats magic affinity = 667 AR. But the armament set up also comes with damage sacrifices on projectile ash of war, and magic component of the damage does not benefit from counter hit bonus for thrusting attacks.

Scholar’s Shield: useful buff for shield poke set ups (e.g. brass shield + scholar’s shield + magic cleanrot sword + greatshield talisman + spear talisman). Shield poke is very strong in this game, and this helps to boost your guard boost when you can’t carry the heavier greatshields that demand high str stats.

Carian Slicer: the single most efficient damage to FP ratio spell even with cast with Lusat, plus ridiculous dps. If you want to button mash your way through the game, endure caestus + offhand lusat 4x slicer is the way to go. Swapping main hand to Carian Glintstone staff is actually a dps loss since you can’t even fit 3 slicers in an Endure… Endure completely negates the only downside of this spell – need to be in melee range.

Glintstone Arc: FP efficient AoE with decent dps. Once locked on, you can walk backwards while spamming the spell, and some mobs will form a single line after you. (I had a lot of fun with this spell in certain underground maps.)

Crystal Barrage: The spell is best described as a FP efficient, mini comet azur without the looooooong initial wind up. Does NOT benefit from Crystal staff.

Great Glintstone shard: Offers a great compromise between dps and FP efficiency. Compared to pebble, it’s a 39% dps increase at the cost of 19% FP efficiency. A good trade off if you ask me. In my opinion this is the best “bread and butter” spell in the absence of 2x staff of loss.

Swift Glintstone shard: initial cast comes out extremely fast. Useful for PvP but the poor dps makes it generally unattractive in PvE.

Rock Sling: extremely good in early game with meteorite staff, with a deceptively long range. Does 100% physical damage which is very useful vs enemies with high magic negation (e.g. Rennala). This also does a noticeable amount of poise damage.

Cannon of Haima: long-range AoE artillery. Free aim for best results.

Gavel of Haima: good for poise breaking Crystallian (alternatives would be phalanx ash of war or a strike weapon with cragblade). You can cast this faster by alternating cast with left and right staff. 2nd follow up swing has identical dmg and poise dmg as the initial swing, so there’s no incentive for following through the 2nd swing.

Terra Magica: 1.35x magic damage while standing in sigil. This also works for your weapon skills or magic damage from weapon attacks. The damage buff is massive. Endure = no need to dodge = more time stand inside sigil.

Comet: Azur’s Crown gives a 10% buff. Technically Lusat staff + Azur’s crown (+ jellyfish) is the highest dps projectile spell, but FP cost is prohibitively high (42 FP per cast) without Cerulean hidden tear.

Night comet: double staff of loss + night comet is realistically the best ranged spam spell. Dps remains very impressive with just 1 staff of loss. Since it’s an “invisible sorcery”, it has the added benefit of messing up certain boss’ AI and they won’t dodge the spell.

Shard Spiral: single highest dps attack in the entire game against the right targets (i.e. those who don’t move out of the way of the spiral). Very spammable. Insane when it works. Sucks when it doesn’t. Averaging 3 ticks per cast is a somewhat reasonable expectation against large / slower targets. Best case scenario during my testing is 7 ticks per cast, but don’t expect this to happen reliably in actual combat.

Loretta’s Greatbow: sniper rifle. Please don’t mistake this for a dps option.

Carian Phalanx: pre-emptively casting this is “free damage”, but you could be casting higher dps ranged spells instead. Much more useful in PvP but that’s not the topic of this guide.

Comet Azur: ah, everyone’s favourite Kamehameha spell. Don’t bother using endure for this spell, since it takes about 4s for the beam to even connect. A typical 1 shot set up includes: Azur crown, lusat staff, jellyfish shield, rallying standard, terra magica, rannis darkmoon, magic cracked + cerulean hidden tear. Optionally you can push dmg further with things like ritual sword / red feather, Lord of blood, white mask, kindred of rot, mushroom crown, black dumping, howl of shabriri.

Gelmir’s Fury: good dps and buffed by Gelmir staff. It is a great source of fire damage on a mage, and can be used effectively with Faith knot + fire cracked tear.  

Adula’s Moonblade: buffed by snow witch hat and carian glintstone staff. You should always cast this at melee range, so both the beam and sword portion of the spell land. Only landing the beam part leads to disappointing dps. Despite how impressive this spell is, it’s hard to compete against slicer. This is also a very good AoE option.

Ranni’s Dark Moon: great opener vs boss fights. Debuffs enemy magic negation by 10%. It has high frostbite build up, and when proc’d debuffs enemy negation by another 20%. Note negation can be reduced to negative numbers so a defense shredding debuff is always beneficial. Just keep in mind this is primarily a debuff spell, not a dps spell.

Zamor Ice Storm: buffed by snow witch hat. Since patch 1.07 the spell is good now, with decent dps and FP efficiency “as it is”. The high frostbite buildup over time makes it very effective when paired with Fire’s Deadly Sin + Standard Caestus with Endure + bloodflame blade. Endure offers the much needed protection when casting ice storm at melee range, and since your weapon is buffed with bloodflame, fires deadly sin will cause bleed build up as well. This does need 19 faith and 10 arc however, and I would not recommend this unless you are also going for golden vow and / or other greater barrier spells. (Note fire’s deadly sin is a body buff so will overwrite your Barrier spells.) If you just want to proc frostbite for the debuff, then rannis darkmoon remains to be the better option for its defense shredding effect.

Meteorite of Astel: Comet Azur 2.0 anti-large version. Good vs large targets and does hybrid physical magical damage (50/50 split), which means terra magica is half as effective here. It is boosted by meteorite staff. Just like Comet Azur, there’s no point using Endure here since the rocks take close to 4s to even connect.

Faith spells

You may choose to opt for some faith to pick up certain buffs. I will list out the most valuable ones, along with their non-faith alternatives. Buffs within the same category do not stack.

Strictly speaking, buffs like Black Flame Protect or Lord’s Divine Fortification is a much bigger negation buff than any damage increase you could achieve from those extra stat investments. So this is optimal if your goal is to be trading hits with boss blow for blow. But stacking for 89-90% damage negation is just really, really overkill and not necessary.

  • Flame, Grant me strength (15 Faith) / Exhalted flesh / Bloodboil aromatics
  • Golden vow (25 Faith) / Rallying Standard / Uplifting aromatics
  • Black Flame protection and its elemental equivalents (24 – 30 Faith) / Boiled Crab / XXXproof Liver

Weapons

First of all, I feel I should make a distinction between weapon art stick (e.g. weapon that was selected for its powerful weapon art) vs weapons that you actually hit enemy with (weapon that was selected for its powerful moveset).

Weapon arts don’t necessarily scale the same way as the weapon itself. Below is a great guide if you wish to understand the mechanics further.

You can treat weapon art sticks as “spells” if you like. That’s not to say those weapons don’t hit hard with their weapon swings. However, if you are going to spam the skill 90% of the time and swing 10% of the time, I don’t feel sacrificing the skill damage is wise from an efficiency perspective.

Weapon art sticks (all of which have pure int scaling skill unless stated otherwise, and roughly in order of dps descending, for their best use case scenarios).

Wing of Astel: the skill does decent damage vs small enemies, but it truly shines vs large bosses (or tight corners). As a bonus, it does a decent amount of poise damage with multiple explosions. In my testing, I did 16k dmg with this skill in just 4.5s

Death Ritual Spear: skill has good range, fast, fully spammable and absolutely shreds large enemies. Underwhelming vs small enemies though.

Death Poker: weapon art does good damage and great for proccing frostbite. In particular the lingering flames does a ridiculous amount of frostbite build up. My only reservation against this weapon is the frostbite aspect somewhat over laps with rannis darkmoon.

Standard clayman’s harpoon + scholar’s armament from lusat’s + repeating thrust: scales off weapon AR. This exploits consecutive hits buff for an absurd level of dps. Good damage, quick, not much else to say really. Endure buff recommended.

Moonveil: the skill is fast and hits hard. It’s just a good, versatile weapon overall and accessible very early in the game.

Magic Uchigatana + spinning slash: This scales off AR. You can fit 2 spinning slash after an Endure. Consecutive hits = amazing dps, and skill also does high poise damage. Unshethe works too if you rather not go down the consecutive hits route (but of course not nearly as broken in terms of dps).

Carian grandeur: great damage that is effective vs any sized enemy. Endure is highly recommended to protect you during the casting. Weapon itself doesn’t matter as long as it’s set to magic affinity and not Carian Knight sword (which simply does less damage with this skill). Since it’s chargeable, it benefits from Godfrey icon.

Sword of Night and Flame: the beam is pure int scaling and does great damage. (And the fire attack is pure faith scaling.) The 24 minimum requirement on both int and faith is truly regrettable (and I would argue not worth it on a pure int build, unless you already meet the faith requirement when pursuing golden vow / Lords divine fortification / Blackflame protection etc).

Darkmoon Greatsword: very similar to Carian Grandeur. Note the charged beam attack benefits from godfrey icon and shard of alexander, but does NOT benefit from axe talisman or spiked tear. You can also use Jellyfish shield buff with this. It’s slightly faster than Grandeur, and has higher dps at melee range. Don’t feel you have to land the weapon part of the beam attack though, since the extra damage this brings is small. However, if you plan to use Endure, then the weapon buff needs to be re-applied afterwards every time, which is a huge dps loss (and hence ranked below Grandeur). I’d say if you are running Endure then just stick to Carian Grandeur instead.

Magic Scythe + spinning weapon: scales off AR. Kind of a gimmick and somewhat awkward to use. But the dps is good, as with all things that benefit from consecutive hits.

Weapons 

You can use any non-unique weapon effectively by setting them to Magic affinity, so its AR scales with your Int. (Just make sure you meet the minimal str/dex requirements.) Endure + consecutive hits buff work exceptionally well for melee in general. As a rule of thumb, any ash of war that hits enemy with your weapon probably scales with AR.

Cold is another option but favours a higher investment in str and / or dex. Given the number of outstanding options we already have at proccing frostbite, I do not think this is the way to go on a pure int build.

Below are some general recommendations.

  • Broadsword
  • Claymore
  • Zweihander
  • Cleanrot knight’s sword
  • Godskin sticher
  • Bandit curved sword (While both the ground and jump powerstance attacks are amazing, jump has a bit higher dps with raptors black feather armor)
  • Uchigatana
  • Gargoyle’s twinblade (2h charged R2 is very strong with consecutive hits buff. Jump powerstance attack is also very strong but perhaps too demanding in terms of str dex and weight.)
  • Banished Knights Halberd
  • Butchering Knife (Endure lasts exactly the duration of the 3 swing powerstance attack here, giving you almost no down time on Endure for as long as your stamina lasts. Also heals you for 1% hp per hit as a bonus.)
  • Clayman’s harpoon

Weapons / skills for buffs or utility

Caestus + Endure: I think I’ve covered this more than enough times already, but included here for completeness.

Glintblade phalanx: your poise breaker. Projectiles scale off int and follow up attack scale off AR. If all 4 projectiles hit, it does the same poise damage as flame of redmane. Advantage of this over flame of redmane is the delay in the projectiles, which allows you to time your poise break and pre-emptively swap to misricorde + Royal Knights Resolve before doing the reposite attack. Recommend a long poke stick if you actually plan to using the follow up attack of this skill.

Rallying standard: the skill gives 20% damage boost and negation for 30s. It’s essentially a non faith version of golden vow that is stronger but lasts a shorter time. You’ll need 16 str and 14 dex to 2h this weapon.

Misricorde: great backstab / reposite damage.

Sword of Milos / Sacrifical Axe: restores 4 / 5 FP per kill. Does not need to upgrade the weapon or meet stat requirements for this effect. Nice to have for explorations, but not worth if it forces you into higher endurance / need an extra cast to kill after losing offhand damage buff.

Jellyfish shield: skill gives 20% buff to all damage for 30s. Shield requires 20 str 14 dex to 1h, or 14 str 14 dex to 2h. Also 8 weight. Buff is lost if you swap off the shield or 2h your other weapon; i.e. locks you out of weapon arts except DMGS skill. You should not use this alongside Endure because you don’t want to spend your dps window on buffing instead.

Twinkite shield: +5% attack and +10% defence when <= 20% of max hp. Often used in low hp one shot builds.

Shield in general: having a shield in your inventory is never a bad idea. Simply pick whichever shield that you can equip with your str stat, and the higher the guard boost stat, the better. If I have 16 str on my character, I tend to default to brass shield.

Talisman

Offensive talismans for spells: graven mass, magic scorpion*, graven school, green turtle, ritual sword, Godfrey icon.

Offensive talismans for skills: shard of alexander, magic scorpion*, Godfrey icon, Rotten winged sword insignia, Milicent’s prosthesis, green turtle, ritual sword.

Offensive talismans for weapon moveset: Rotten winged sword insignia, Milicent’s prosthesis, claw talisman, axe talisman, spear talisman*, dagger talisman.

Defensive talismans: Dragoncrest greatshield (and its elemental equivalents XXXdrake talisman), Bullgoat’s talisman*, greatshield talisman.

Nice to have but low priority: Radagon’s Soreseal (recommend remove this once you reach 40 vigor), Crimson Amber, Erdtree’s Favour, Greatjar’s Arsenal, Radagon Icon*.

Sounds useful but very unnecessary: Godskin Swaddling cloth, Carian Filigreed Crest, old lord’s talisman, Ancestral Spirit Horn, Taker’s Cameo, Moon of Nokstella, Primal Glintstone Blade.

As a side note, any build can take advantage of the following gear to boost their damage further, and then replace them once the damage buff is triggered. These are typically used in a one shot set up (e.g. Comet Azur, Carian Grandeur), alongside Red-feathered Branchedsword.

White Mask + Lord of Blood’s Exaltation (trigger with Seppuku), Mushroom Crown + Kindred of Rot (trigger with fetid pot), Black Dumpling (trigger with Howl of Shabriri)

Magic scorpion: increases magic damage by 12% and reduces your physical damage negation by 10%. On an Endure + dragoncrest + Opaline hard tear set up, this lowers your negation from ~72% to 69%. If you don’t want to rely on cheese like this, then value of this talisman would depend on how often you get hit. My philosophy is: without Endure, if you don’t feel you can take advantage of ritual sword, then maybe think twice before equipping scorpion charms.

Spear Talisman: damage bonus only applies to the Pierce damage component of the attack, and does not benefit the magic component.

Bullgoat’s Talisman: this talisman works by reducing incoming poise damage. As such, this benefits your hyper armor moves greatly. I do not recommend using this talisman for the sole purpose of raising your passive armor poise.

Radagon Icon: gives 30 vdex for calculating cast speed. Cast speed does not benefit the chain casting component. Overall I believe cast speed is not something you are interested in for PvE. (Unless you have already maxed every other stat of interest.)

Armor

PvE poise break points are 51 and 101, but you can’t reliably poise through a lot of boss attacks even with maximum possible armor poise (133).

The short answer would be Queen’s Crescent Crown (+3 int) and spellblade set (increases magic damage from weapon arts by 2% per piece)

Flask of Wonderous Physicks

Generally speaking, I recommend Magic cracked tear + Opaline hard tear. Greenburst is a more offensive alternative to Opaline hard tear.

Use Magic Cracked Tear + Cerulean hidden tear for Comet Azur / Meteorite of Astel / Comet

Thorny / spiked / stonebarb tear are great for consecutive hits / charged heavy attack / poise breaking.

Stats

Early game prioritise 40 vigor and meeting the minimal stat requirements on your spells / weapons.

A lv150 may look like:

  • 60 vigor
  • 20-30 mind (treat 38 mind as the hard cap, which is what a maxed cerulean flask will heal for)
  • Minimal Endurance needed for mid roll (without equipping more weapons than is necessary). As a ball-park figure, somewhere between 8 – 16 should more than suffice for most weapon choices.
  • Minimal str and dex for weapon of choice (notably rallying standard needs 16 str 14 dex with 2h, which is probably too good of a buff to give up. 17 dex gets you wing of astel and death poker, 18 dex gives moonveil, 20 dex gives Butchering Knife, cross-naginata and Death Ritual spear)
  • 80 int (or 77 with Queen’s Crescent Crown)

Base faith / arc

Click to enlarge…

This is a generic example to use a wide selection of weapons. But please optimize your stats and talisman based on your specific set up as discussed above.

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 6976 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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