Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Duelist

Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Duelist

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 Duelist” comes from community member Rangrok and is a Dex focused build.

Dark Souls 3

Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Duelist

Keeping things simple, this is the standard Dex build. It’s very tempting and easy to try working crazy/gimmicky magic and weapons into your build, so this is meant as a counter-balance to that. Whether you are just starting Dark Souls or are an experienced vet, this build will work effectively in all situations.

Stats & Vitals

Weapons, Armor, Rings & Spells

Dark Souls 3


Standard dex build for a NG cycle. It’s a good build to learn parries with, as the Crow Quills have an above-average crit modifier. However, as stated above, this build can run just about any dex weapon. With the Prisoner’s Chain and the Knight’s great starting Vit, you have plenty of wiggle room to wield whatever weapons you want. The 16 strength is just so you can one-hand Astora’s Greatsword, which is the lightest Ultra Greatsword (and works great with a Sharp infusion). Optionally, you can drop it down to 14 str (bump up Vig/End to an even 35), while still keeping the Hollowslayer Greatsword and Lothric Knight Long Spear open to you. Regardless what you pick, you should definitely have two different weapons: one short-range (ex: straight sword, katana, rapier), and one with good reach (ex: Ultra-greatsword, Greatsword, Spear). Sharp Sellsword Twinblades on this build will completely decimate bosses in a flash. So quickly that I often don’t bother with them because they kill the fun too quickly.

Simplicity is the key to this build. It’s meant to directly connect the player, to a weapon, to the enemy’s soft/squishy area. No fancy magic, no odd tricks, no funny exploits. Just a weak, mundane ashen one relying on speed and finesse to defeat fallen heroes, ancient royals, old warriors, traitors, and usurpers.

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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4 comments on “Dark Souls 3 Build of the Week: The Duelist”

  1. Nunkuruji says:

    I run one of my late game invasion builds very similar, with the following differences

    Warrior vs. Knight

    SL paired down to SL69 at the expense of End. This leads to a Dark Spirit invasion maximum host level of 95, which in turn has a maximum white/blue ally level of 119, thereby hedging out meta level 120+ helpers.

    Str 19 in order to access Lothric Knight Greatsword with Knight’s Ring +5 Str. LKGS is relatively absurdly strong with Gold Pine Resin in this level range, and I prefer the WA over Astora’s.

    Enough Armor Poise to reliably poise a 1H/2H weapon swing when using the UGS. The prescribed armor setup in the build meets this for 2H Greatsword and UGS, which is worth noting.

  2. Rangrok says:

    Personally I find myself using Weapon Arts quite a lot, so I prefer the alright starting attunement over the next to nothing that the Warrior starts with. If you total up the Knight’s Faith + Int + Luck + Attunement, you get 35 "wasted" levels on a pure physical melee build, while the same total on the Warrior is only 34. IMO, I’m fine trading that one wasted level for 4 additional points in Attunement and the added FP it gives. However Warrior will work perfectly fine on this build.

    Also, because this is meant as a Dex build, your first weapon is most likely the Uchigatana, which requires 16 dex to use properly. Warriors start with a base 9 dex, and thus need 7 levels. Knights start with 12 dex, and thus need only 4 levels. Alternatively, you can use the Rapier for the early game (12 dex), but the lack of a kick against the shielded enemies at the High Wall can be very problematic (and why I pair the Crow Quills with the Astora’s Greatsword, instead of just the Crow Quills on their own). If you can parry like a champ, then you’ll not have an issue, but I find it a bit inconvenient. Or you can throw the dex Duelist theme out the window and just rely on the Deep Battle Axe. Ultimately it’s up to the player. I just find the Deep Battle Axe to be a bit… barbaric on a build that’s meant to be a finesse duelist.

    Minor sidenote: In the original article, the first banner still reads Great Swamp Standard, instead of the Duelist. (Fixed now)

  3. Avatar skarekrow13 says:

    Nuh uh :D

  4. Nunkuruji says:

    That’s fair. I set myself up a long time ago with full cleared base+sigil leveled Deprived and Warrior that have everything. I often also don’t find myself needing quite that much Vit except in the case of Ultras. Warrior’s base Vit + Prisoner’s Chain being more than enough, Knight being overkill. The allocation for attn is fair, but I just personally don’t use WA that much. I tend to only throw it out if I know I’ve trained someone into a pattern and then use it to facilitate a finisher- ex. R1/R2s until enemy starts relying on blocking then Stance and it’s game over. Playstyle dependent, certainly.

    For an unassisted start, some best starting weapons are the Astora’s SS infused Raw and the Deep Battleaxe right out of High Wall. Vordt is weak to dark, and the Raw Astora’s tends to give the best AR for little investment (unless nerfed?) – leaving one to invest almost purely in the unquestionable best stat – Vigor. Granted respec will be needed. All of my low lvl clears were Raw Astora, Raw Barbed and Irithyll SS – for Dragonslayer Armor. Quills and Astora GS are late and mid game respectively, so if you want to play with something of a similar feel/pairing in the early game you’re left with rapier/estoc and zwei.

    Of course, much more fun to get an assisted start and start using the weapons you’re destined for. /rant BB for Scythe being at the end of the game.

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