Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Great Swamp Standard
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Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Great Swamp Standard

Welcome to a new weekly series that features a community submitted Dark Souls 3 build. Dark Souls 3 build crafting is one of the most enjoyable parts of the game and a big reason for its longevity. Who better to turn to when in need of a new idea than your fellow players? To have your build featured on the blog, you may submit your best setups on our forum thread and every week we will select one at random to be featured here. Feel free to discuss and debate the build’s strengths and weaknesses but as always be constructive with your fellow Dark Souls players. This week’s build, “The Great Swamp Standard” comes from community member TSMP and is a pyromancer/caster focused build.


Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Great Swamp Standard

Pyromancers are more common than ever, and it’s no surprise thanks to all the crazy gear they have. Strong at both close and long range combat while still having the defense to take hits, it may seem like pyros have everything – and indeed, that may be true. The only thing that could truly be called a weakness on this build is the lower Endurance, but it makes up for this with crazy aggression and the ability to threaten their opponents at any range. And besides, who doesn’t want to sling fireballs around?

Stats & Vitals

Weapons, Armor, Rings & Spells



I’d be lying if I called this straightforward; compared to a physical melee build that can win just by pressing R1, with a pyromancer you need to be just a little bit tricky to get the most out of it. Your Chaos Bed Vestiges can push out insane damage if it hits, but it’s so easy to dodge that you’ll never hit anyone just by throwing it out by itself. The trick here is to mix it up and make your opponent think you’re doing something else so you can capitalize on their mistakes. Hit them with your weapons and/or Black Flame to keep them away from you, stay on the move to keep them from sitting still, use Fire Surge and dodge attacks if they try playing keepaway, and Black Serpent will force your enemies to dodge while you warm up a Vestiges.

Furthermore, what weapon you use will depend on what kind of opponent you’re fighting. The Onyx Blade will deal with fast, annoying attackers who would otherwise keep you off balance, the Demon’s Scar is exceptional at switching between melee and spell attacks, and the Witch’s Locks has a powerful weapon art with tons of range; you should be able to handle most threats between just the three of these, but if even that isn’t enough you can always infuse any weapon with Dark or Chaos and use that instead. You have so many options, but that’s because you need to use every one of them. It is, if nothing else, a very dynamic playstyle.

Thoughts on this Dark Souls 3 build? Get the discussion going in the comments. Have a Dark Souls 3 build that you think is grossly incandescent? Show us what you’ve got by submitting it in this thread!

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20 responses to “Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Great Swamp Standard”

  1. IMO, Demon’s Scar is meant as a catalyst first and a melee weapon second. It’s also used to trick your opponent as they won’t really know what you’re going to do with it.

  2. I wouldn’t mind Demon’s scar if the attack wasn’t so much less than the normal flame and a chaos/dark weapon. My Chaos long sword’s fire attack alone is more than DS’s total attack.
    Also as a pyromancer i’m much weaker at cqc than non-magic builds. Especially with lag and absurd hitboxes; it’s not even safe to fire surge. I’d rather avoid it when possible by having stronger nukes.

  3. As someone who loves Curved Swords to death and back… they’re a LOT less effective when wielded in one hand. The difference in the one-handed and the two-handed moveset is massive, especially because the Demon’s Scar is a light curved sword. While heavy curved swords, like the Falchion, got a two-handed attack speed nerf, lighter curved swords like the Demon’s Scar got no such nerf.

    The idea of the Demon’s Scar is that you can transition seamlessly between Chaos Bed Vestiges bombardments at range, Black Serpent pressure, and two-handed curved sword to clean up anyone who gets in close. Black Serpent in particular is great to mix in with the Demon’s Scar, as it can almost perfectly roll catch anyone caught in the two-swing combo, or force someone to roll into swing range. Furthermore, the weapon art is a great space maker, as it throws chaos lava around the place, which is exactly what a ranged caster wants.

  4. I’m not disagreeing with anything you said. I just prefer the inherent practicality in: A) Not having to spend time switching between attack/shield/cast, B) Faster alternating between attack/cast to get that rollcatch GCFO/SGS off a little earlier, C) Alternate damage type on a build normally restricted to just magic (Immolation-specific).

    It feels better to play that way, I worry slightly less about spacing since I don’t have to make room for weapon switches or control quite as much for attack to cast timing, and some of the casting weapons are surprisingly fashionable. Also, the requirements on Immolation Tinder are nearly identical to the requirements for Crystal Sage Rapier and Shield of Want, the first being one of my favorite weapons and the second being an annoyingly good (and thus practical) shield.

  5. 99% of the time I’m using a small shield, thus the mentioned riposte damage.

    Of course, I’m going to bring the raw data crunch

    Let’s first consider the defender, a somewhat generic SL120 40/40 build with 20 Vit.
    150 Physical Defenses
    167 Fire Defense
    120 Magic Defense
    20% absorption

    Let’s consider a Demon’s Scar SL120 build with Deprived 40 Vig, 18 Atn, 25 End, 16 Dex, 40 Int, 40 Fth. Ignoring rings.

    Demon’s Scar has 347 AR, 181 1HR1 damage
    Chaos Falchion has 484 AR: 148/336 split, 240 1HR1 damage

    Can’t even beat Chaos… well…

    Let’s consider a Sharp Falchion SL120 build, with Deprived, 40 Vig, 25 End, 40 Dex, with 44 points left over to do whatever… knock yourself out with DMB. Ignoring rings.

    Sharp Falchion has 399 AR, 227 1HR1 damage

    So, the Scar struggles to even be 25% less effective than a basic bitch Falchion build that has tons of room to grow.

    Does the ability to quick animation less effective (than glove) pyromancies pay off at all in PvP? It’s fun, but no, not really.
    Fire is really really bad in the current meta.

    Let’s consider an Immolation Tinder SL120 build with Deprived 40 Vig, 18 Atn, 35 End, 18 Str, 20 Dex, 46 Int, 12 Fth. Ignoring rings.

    Immolation Tinder: 517 AR: 267/250 split, 216 1HR1 damage
    Crystal Glaive: 521 AR: 210/310 split, 266 1HR1 damage

    Again, can’t even beat in-class infusion for which the prereq is already met. Granted, some of this gap is due to defender base defenses.

    Let’s consider a Heavy Splitleaf Greatsword as an in-class comparison with Deprived 40 Vigor 40 End, 33 Vit, 40 Str, 16 Dex. Ignoring rings.
    Vit has been purposefully pumped to wear high poise armor to make up for Halberd’s low poise health, in order to at least poise 1H light weapons. Something the Immolation Tinder build will also lack.

    Heavy Splitleaft Greatsword: 510 AR, 310 1HR1 damage

    So the Immolation Tinder is 43% less effective than the Splitleaf, and will struggle with the poise situation.

    That said, it is not all gloom for the Immolation Tinder, it has an effective niche.
    The Immolation Tinder at very high level play, SL200+: 40 Str / 40 Dex / 60 Int does overcome base defense problems and greatly rises in unbuffed in-class weapon comparisons, as it has very high scaling factor values. Though at this point it is also competing with fully realized weapon buff builds.

  6. That’s fair. I assume you don’t fight with a shield much? Because that’s largely what it comes down to, whether or not you prefer having a shield but don’t want to give up weapons and spellcasting.

    I actually like the Immolation Tinder at 60int, but its problem is that it’s a sorcery catalyst. Good for the Farron Flashsword, bad for the iffy projectiles.

  7. Of course I realize that, and it’s how I used it. However, it doesn’t salvage the decreased damage from melee attacks, nor what’s lost as a catalyst. The riposte was at least respectable.

    Sadly, it’s how all the weapons-as-catalysts ended up this iteration, even with the most focused of builds.

  8. >
    That’s because you’re only looking at the numbers. Demon’s Scar’s strength is that it can go from a melee attack into a spell faster than a normal weapon with pyro off-hand can do. It basically treats the R2 as a normal attack when following an R1, letting it cancel into the casting animation rather than waiting for the animation to fully finish. Also, you get to use a parry item in your off-hand instead of a pyro flame, greatly increasing your defensive options over a normal pyromancer.

    It’s less strong, but very practical.

  9. I finally got some time to give the Demon’s Scar a fair shake in PvP, and it’s… disappointing.

    At lower SL / WRL levels, the base damage and scaling factors are too low, damage is completely eaten by base fire defense.

    At higher levels, the story is largely the same.
    Within its own weapon class, it is extremely outperformed by every sharp infusion, with half-the-cost monostat investment.
    Against a very strength popular meta in the higher levels, damage is completely eaten by the large increase of fire defense that comes from strength investment.

    At best, one needs to have black pyromancies in play to diversify damage type, Black Flame playing reasonably into quick pseudo combos give its catalyst ability.
    The ideal matchup being against a low strength mage or cleric.

    Regadless, there’s nothing that can save it mathematically in point cost analysis. There is no niche level where it can shine.

  10. >
    Vitality’s already at base, cannot reduce further. Wouldn’t work.

    Well, this isn’t really a guide… it’s more of a build discussion. You’re talking about a playthrough guide, which is something else.

  11. Pyromancer were always the most fun casters because of their diversity when it comes to spells imo. And it looks the most badass.

  12. Could it be possible to make it more detailed like step by step guide for stats and early weapon choices, etc…?

  13. Alternate Options

    Golden Falcon Shield instead of the Kite Shield for superior parrying frames, similar stability, loss of physical damage reduction.
    Plays into the Demon Scar’s increased critical.

    Prisoner’s Chain instead of the Sage RIng +2. Vigor/Endurance reduced by 5 each, reinvested into +10 dexterity (27 total)
    Slightly slower casting time, increased melee weapon damage.
    Defenses should be substantially increased via base defense & additional armor over the 8 vitality equip load, despite the 4% absorption penalty from PC.

  14. Yeah I have a build very close to that. It’s my favorite so far. I’m working on a pure faith build now, and although it’s fun, it leaves other areas seriously lacking.

  15. Whoops, I probably shouldn’t have left the “, Crystal Chime, Izalith Staff, and/or Sunless Talisman” part in there. The spell list and strategy discussion makes no mention of sorcery or miracles, so those catalysts are just kinda floating around for no reason.

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