Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: Dagger Guy

Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: Dagger Guy

Welcome to our 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, “Dagger Guy”  comes from community member Achtpuntzes  and is an Luck and Vigor focused build.

Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: Dagger Guy

It’s the “All Status Effect build-up” build. Inflicting Frostbite, Poison, and Bleed at the same time.

My favorite build. Though it isn’t the strongest around, it’s still a viable one. But more importantly, it is unique. As I’ve never seen any other guy do this. This used to be a Vigor/Luck build with the rest of its stats at base, or at least at the minimum requirements, for use with a pair of Poison and Bleed infused Bandit knives.

However, at some point I decided to mix things up just for fun with Frostbite damage build-up and the opportunity to add an Avelynn with Splintering Bolts. And it has worked quite well, so i decided to stick with the new toon.

darksouls3-review

Stats & Vitals

*Also, at 99 Hollowed.

**PvE is a beast too; playthrough was real easy including both DLCs.

Weapons, Armor, Rings & Spells

*When I’m in the mood for it, I add an Avelynn with Splintering Bolts.

**Something ultralight to stay way under 30% equip. load.

***The last ring you don’t really need, as “Dagger Guy” doesn’t take much stamina. But if you’d like, you can be a little bit more aggressive, so feel free to swap to another ring of choice.

****You can also add a third Hollow-infused Bandit Knife and swap Hidden Body to Frozen Weapon. But, Hidden Body is real fun on an aggressive Quickstep “Dagger Guy”, so I’d go for that one.

Strategy

Be highly aggressive.  Inflict the status ailments as fast as possible so that your opponent will have 3 effects building up at the same time. Good chance they will panic at some point. First, I would freeze them with Snap Freeze; and it’s quite easy to do with the fast casting Witch Tree Branch stave, and also cast Hidden Body in the frost cloud.

Then I two-hand my Poison-infused Bandit Knife and go max aggro-style on the opponent to poison them. Now that the opponent has been frostbitten and poisoned, and since Bandit knives innately do some bleed, their Bleed bar should  almost be filled as well. Then, it’s a piece of cake to finish them off with the Bleed-infused Bandit Knife.

The simple Caestus gives you near infinite Quickstep use as it fills up FP slowly. And since I have 16 STR and 14 DEX, I can also wield an Avelyn and shoot away Splintering Bolts if I’m in the mood for it. If they don’t have any Purple Moss to heal the poison, I can just stop attacking when they’re close to death and let the poison kill them, just for the fun of it.

darksouls3-review

The strength of this build is in your own hands. Assuming that you can master the timing of Quickstep, you’re kinda invincible 1 vs 1 because you can quickstep through ANY attack from your opponent. Against slower weapons, you can quickstep by sight, and against fast weapons, you need to anticipate attacks for your quickstep. Also, don’t spam R1 so much on parry fishers and instead mix up your R1s with quickstep.

So, if you master Quickstep timing, you’ll be OK. But sometimes the lag is against you and then you need some luck, so adjust your timing a bit to still have a chance. Furthermore, notice that Curved Swords and Curved Greatswords have smaller windows for your quickstep, therefore, be careful when facing them. Another thing to mention is that this build isn’t the best gank spank build, but is doable if mastered.

Lastly, a nice thing is that opponents can read this build wrong at start of a fight. They’ll assume I’m a mage when I cast Snap Freeze and Hidden Body, and then rush into melee distance where I can slaughter them.

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24 comments on “Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: Dagger Guy”

  1. Avatar announakis says:


    I love it. It is special enough to completely alleviate my hatred for quickstep abuse.
    I am still a bit sad that quickstep is so good that it has become a must in competitive PvP lately: in the arena I barely ever see someone without a quickstep swap.
    that being said, Lightning arrow abusers had me adopt it myself so…

    I am sure it is a lot of fun to play especially at this level.

    Well done!

  2. Avatar Polyedra says:

    I love the snap freeze to hidden body!

  3. Achtpuntzes says:

    wow, my build is build of the week :)

  4. Nunkuruji says:

    I like this, and I’ve tried something similar at somewhat lower level prior to snap freeze being a thing, and I was a big fan of condition builds in DS2.

    However, I find it extremely difficult to be effective in multi-opponent invasions with the daggers and shorter twin weapons, unless I’m making the most out of parries – which can be of questionable effectiveness when you’re really going for the condition aggression.

    For the extra evil, I’d personally run this at slightly lower SL / WRL to target catacombs invasions, where mobs are also throwing out bleed. Though I suppose you might get some frosty mobs running this in central Irithyl.

  5. Masterslash says:

    I dont have any dlc. Any variations to frozen weapon or snap freeze?

  6. Avatar announakis says:

    Irithyl weapons (rapier and straight sword) or vordt hammer

  7. Avatar Polyedra says:

    You can use Poison/Toxic Mist and Pestilent Mercury (I’m not sure if that one got renamed?), any cloud type spell. They’re also useful for slinging spells through.
    I just think that Snap Freeze to Hidden body is genius because the outline of the character will be particularly difficult to see through the mist moreso than with the purple. Snap Freeze also cover a big area, which is better than Pestilent Mercuries area coverage that has the same advantage of color and particles moving.
    Not really sure about the perception disadvantage, it’s just something I suppose; I’m a romantic, you see 😉

  8. Psiberzerker says:

    Also, the Storyteller’s Staff, the Weapon Art Poison Spores doesn’t require an Attunement Slot. Handy for a Sorcerer/Assassin, since You can use it with Pestilent Mist. (Also note: Poison Spores is Purple, so you can go Moundmakers. Instead of Hidden body, you can cast Spook, and leave off the Silvecat Ring to get more bonus damage out of the Flynn’s Ring.)

    Also, if you want to be even weaker, you can substitute the Brigand Twindaggers. (Requires 18 Dexterity) as with any Flynn’s Ring build, I tend to strip down to the Dragon Torso Stone to stack the Roar bonus on top of the Ring’s. I use a somewhat semi-sorta similar build, at times, but based on an Assassin, so with much lower Health, and instead of the Twink Rings, I use damage increasing effects. (Pontiff’s Right Eye) The lighter your load, the greater the bonus you get out of the Flynn’s Ring, but of course the more vulnerable you are.

    I just might do a Sorcerer variant of this, which would be a little more Stat/level efficient. Hoever, i’d probably still go with a Shortbow and Poison Arrows than a dagger, since you’re kinda squishy, and parryable Quickstepping in to spam attacks. rather than trying to proc all 3 Status effects, I would rather focus on proccing 1.

  9. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    I’m just curious why the level 60? Is this a point where the build has optimal effectiveness in PvP?

  10. Avatar Polyedra says:

    60 is the new 120, haven’t you heard!
    There’s invasions and PvP to be had at that level and that’s why people play there. Meta level is for dueling mostly while 60 is for invasions since you can invade plenty of areas.

  11. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Good to know. I wonder if it’s because there aren’t many casters, since they need more points to get anything respectable built (short of a glass cannon)…?

    I may have to give this dagger guy a shot. I think I already have a thief on the go from a bow build I was trying out.

    EDIT: What’s the ideal weapon level at sixty, around +6?

  12. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    I’m also curious, how do you get through bosses which don’t bleed? I’m trying to imagine, for example, how I’d approach Wolnir with a bandit knife? Or did you respec as you went along, using different builds to go after certain bosses?

  13. Psiberzerker says:

    You don’t have to respec. Wolnir requires Strike damage to bust his Bling, so the best way I found to do it as a Dexy/Quality build is Caestus (And the Pontiff’s Left Eye. Pretty much all my builds use this.) You raise a good point, however: There’s no 1 weapon for every fight. That’s why you see the pros switching weapons mid-fight.

    Yeah, a general rule is 1/10 your level, however. Look at the Areas you’ll be invading. for example, before Abyss Watchers you basically can’t get Large Titanite. Okay, maybe if they know to chase off the Drake from the High Wall, AND trade a firebomb to the crows, they might have a +4. 1, +4 weapon.

    Likewise, you can’t get Chunks without killing Cancer (Of the Boreal Valley.) So, all the way up to Lothric Castle,/Consumed king’s garden, the highest possible level of improvement is +6. Maybe tthey put it all in 1 weapon, and maybe they spread it around between 2, or a shield, or several, but the Titanite is a finite resource, until you can farm Souls, and buy them from the Handmaiden. (However, that gets expensive.)

  14. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Good tip…I’ve never used a caestus on any build, and I suppose with those fast punches you can build up a nice combo at close range.

    The one boss I can see me personally having to respec for is Aldrich. I often have to fight him alone (no summons), and always have a terrible time with his arrows. I find that getting the VoS and a chaos weapon just makes life less frustrating.

  15. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    I’m still trying to get the hang of tacking big enemies with a bandit knife (hence, your observation about there being different weapons for all situations). I should have recorded the gong show of me trying to get the swamp ring from the crab. What a mess. Died about a dozen times. My timing is terrible. In the end I kept orbiting him until he would do the vomit attack, then swing away (hoping for a crit). Still, I do like the quickstep, and it seems like I can do it even when my FP is gone.

  16. Psiberzerker says:

    I actually use the Demon Fists, Flame Whirlwind makes pretty short work of the bracelets, especially the 2 on his left side, because you can hit both of them. However, those require 20 Strength. Perseverance isn’t very useful in that fight at all, but it really helps to know what your main weapon won’t work on. Slash away at those bracelets all day with the bandit knife, if you’re that patient.

    With him, and pontiff, I prefer the Twin Daggers. Again, fater striking>Bleed in certain situations, among them bosses that are too mobile to reliably proc Bleed before they’re gone again. (Also the Sages, and the Princes.) They have time for the bleed buildup to tick down before you can re-apply it, so you’re better off putting as much damage in as you can when you have the opportunity.

    With the Darkmoon Bow? I’m sorry, you just have to dodge it. I wish there were a better option, but honestly there isn’t. lots of Endurance, and less than 30% Weight.

  17. Avatar announakis says:

    all bosses have a different weakness.
    On normal playthrough, you can power through them disregarding those weaknesses . But on low level runs, you need to learn them:
    dancer dark and bleed
    dragonslayer frost
    etc…

    for example, to get rid of a boss like Oceiros, I usually bleed him for his first static phase with the knife or the claws because he is static enough to rapidly ramp up the bleed meter. In the second phase, you can land too few hits in any given time to make bleed really good anymore (you can still use kukris and splintering blots through to maintain the bleed) but it then is better to switch to a big damage weapon, buff it with lightining bundle right before landing the running R1 rinse and repeat.

    bosses like the dragonslayer armor: forst irithyl rapier for fast pokes and frost build up…retreat and use crossbow…rinse and repeat.
    for the demon king, bows, crossbows anything that is not melee makes it a joke.
    for Yhorm : bow shooting the head
    for Midir…despair and give up like lol.

  18. Avatar announakis says:

    the crabs are prone to big damage in crushing and normal type only: small slashing damage is doing nothing to them.
    protip for the quickstep: FARRON RING allows to use it 30% more and this makes up for a few blue estuses that can be used as normal ones for long difficult fights (I learned that soloing bosses like the nameless king at level 20 with my trusty bandit knife +3…aouch, it is long!)

  19. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    The nameless king at level 20…you deserve a medal for that. I used to have much more patience for challenge runs / low level runs, but I’m not sure I could do it anymore.

    I guess the point of my questions is, if you do a run like this, with the featured build (dagger guy), it seems like all the stats are framed around bleed or status effects. That’s why I wondered about doing respecs. I guess, like you say, anything is possible if you have the patience for a long fight, but otherwise it seems like changing up your stats for certain sections is the only way for mere mortals to get through.

  20. Avatar announakis says:

    I think using the buff with right element should suffice

  21. Psiberzerker says:

    The trick there is using Rolls to avoid damage (more Iframes) and Quickstep as an offensive maneuver. This saves your FP by only using it half the time, and longrolls are actually a better Defensive maneuver, unless you use a weapon with a good Rolling Attack (Gotthard’s Twinswords) which don’t have Quickstep. Don’t spam it, well don’t spam anything, but QS is much better in Pursuit against something evasive. You used the example of the Giant Mudcrabs, and yeah. You’re absolutely right, that’s just a bad matchup. Bad damage, they move too quicky, but don’t Avoid your attacks. They just chase you relentlessly until you get on dry land.

    A better example is the Crossbacks. They jump-back to avoid your swings, and the Grave Wardens outside the Cathedral. They use Backstep aswell, Quickstep>Backstep. Just roll laterally, because their combos are predictable. That saves your FP, and has better defense (Again, longer Iframes, even if you have the FP, even without the Bloodring.) You also travel farther if you have sub-30%. Why I personally use longrolls, instead of Quickstep, and a Fire-Whip on Grave Wardens. They hate that. That’s another one with a great Rolling Attack.

    I’m not going to go through the whole list of all the weapons that are best for all the enemies. You don’t have the stats for that anyway, but add the Notched Whip to your repertoire. Not just your arsenal, practice with it, and learn the moveset. It’s an invaluable asset to a Bleed Build, and pairs exceedingly well with the Bandit Knife to DPS. Whips are Crowd Control. I use them as a Kite String so they follow me at the distance where I can hit them, and they can’t hit me. Also as an Anchor Chain to nail them down with Stun for a followup strike. Also to apply statuses like Burning, and Bleed. Impact can reliably proc Bloodloss once you prime them with a few quick slashes, but you have to get the timing right to hit them with the full combo, and there’s a switch to 2H in there.

  22. Avatar Polyedra says:

    Let me just butt in here and say what you meant to tell: Quickstep has no i-frames without Focus Points. You can do them, sure, but you’ll get hit ;-P

    Quickstep is a lot of fun! But I’m cursed it seems. I use a ps4 controller with steam beta for controllers and while there was a patch that addressed a double input bug it has not worked for my L2.
    Curiously quickstep is the only skill affected by this though and the bug happens randomly. Sometimes I just quickstep twice. Which is of course aggravating.

  23. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    I didn’t realize the QS doesn’t work as intended when you have no FP…good to know.

    I think my biggest problem with DS3 is that I play, and have played, most of the time with some variation of a caster, so my weapon experience is limited. If I had run a quality toon, I’d probably make better choices for certain areas and enemies. I should do a run with the intention of only using weapons I’ve never tried (and there are MANY).

  24. Avatar announakis says:

    This is a good lesson for future FROM games:
    Start playing the game only using melee
    Then try spells
    Not the other way around because spells are designed as crutches more than anything else


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