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Unless you're speedrunning, just pick this. It'll save you souls early on because of the large number of poison moss and lifegems you get.
Disagree. Bonfire Ascestic is the best, because you can cheese Dragonrider, throw the bonfire ascetic, then cheese him again for insta-souls.
Eh. I'd have to say either healing wares or petrified something would be best to carry you through early game. DS2 hands out souls and levels like... something that hands out souls and levels, I didn't think this analogy through.
My personal ranking of these:
7th - Life Ring (It's pretty useless most of the time)
6th - Homeward Bone (cheap, easily obtainable. No real point in picking)
5th - Seed of a Tree of Giants (hard to get item, but not very useful 99% of the time)
4th - Human Effigy (You usually can get them easy enough if you don't waste through them, but in difference to #5 to #7 pickable imo)
3rd - Healing Wares (it saves quite some souls early on which is nice)
2nd - Petrified Something (#1 if you are lucky)
1st - Bonfire Ascetic (Okay, hear me out on this one: You can use it on Majula's bonfire in order to get the Moon Butterfly shield)
you can use a bonfire ascetic to kill dragonrider early on for extra souls
they forgot poison moss