What You Need to Know About Arcane Builds Before Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

What You Need to Know About Arcane Builds Before Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

This straightforward Guide equips you with everything you need for your Arcane build, BEFORE The Old Hunters Expansion is released!

4 Basic Principles

  1. If you’re planning on a proper Arcane build, aim for no less than 50 in your Arcane stat by the time your build is finished. The reason being that spells do not become effective until after you exceed 25 Arcane, and scale extremely well.
  2. The only 2 true Arcane weapons in the base game are the Logarius Wheel (in its transformed state) and the Tonitrus (with its buff). Both of these weapons scale well in both Strength and Arcane, and they have complementary elemental damage types, making them an excellent pair.
  3. Arcane builds are designed to exploit weaknesses.  Therefore, if you learn to utilize these weaknesses against your enemies, your attacks will become very effective.
  4. Pure physical weapons do not inherently scale off of the Arcane stat. They need an element on them. Any pure physical weapon – not including Chikage, Reiterpallasch, and Rifle Spear – can be made elemental with gems, making Arcane builds potentially the most versatile builds in the game. Since these weapons lose their physical stat scaling, investment beyond their physical stat requirements is unnecessary.

 

What Are My Weapon Options?

Fortunately, Arcane builds have few limitations on weapons if properly built. The only weapons they cannot effectively – or efficiently – use are Chikage, Rifle Spear, Reiterpallasch, Beast Claws, Blade of Mercy, and Burial Blade. The Chikage, Reiterpallasch, and Rifle Spear do not accept an element, making them almost useless to Arcane builds. The beasthood buildup from the transformed state of the Beast Claws does not affect elemental damage, neutering your potential damage output. The Burial Blade and Blade of Mercy already have a split between arcane and physical, but the weak arcane scaling on both of these weapons greatly limits their damage potential on a Pure Arcane build. So, what CAN Arcane use effectively and efficiently?

Looking at that list, there are a lot of weapon options and they’re soon to grow! In order to make the most out of your build, you need to choose the weapons you want to use. Will you use all of them? Omit the Wheel? Omit Ludwig’s Holy Blade? Use only the starting weapons? It’s up to you.

What about the Flamesprayer and Rosemarinus?

Both of these firearms are extremely potent in regular playthroughs and are of great help to you until you acquire decent elemental and nourishing gems. A Flamesprayer (with Bone Marrow Ash) can rack up thousands of damage against most bosses vulnerable to flame in seconds, especially if you use an oil urn first. The Rosemarinus works similarly, dealing double the damage to “Undead” enemies such as the Pickaxe Miners found in the Chalice Dungeons, and is excellent at bypassing high fire defenses, as seen on the Watchdog of the Old Lords and Keeper of the Old Lords. A word of caution: neither of these firearms will stun your enemies and both will eat bullet reserves rather quickly. To maximize your damage per bullet, remember that it costs 1 bullet minimum every time you spray and that you get 3 tics of damage per bullet. They are most efficient when taking out groups of enemies.

What Kinds of Gems Should I Use?

Now that you have the basics down, let’s talk Gems. More often than not, you’ll get the answer of “the best Elemental gems you have”.  In most cases, this is true because Arcane gems are hard to come by in the base game, as seen above in the Progression Guide. If we dig a little deeper however, Arcane builds can make a lot better use of some gems than other builds. It’s all a matter of finding them and knowing when to use them.  Categorically broken down, we can see how they work to your advantage:

  • Elemental Gems are your friend on otherwise pure Physical weapons. They are the most straightforward way to boost your weapon’s damage, and can be customized to deal with specific enemies, which is typically Fire for Beasts, Bolt for Kin, and Arcane for “Undead” type enemies. There are exceptions, but these rules remain true for the most part.
  • Nourishing Gems are wondrous Blood gems. Why? Because they increase attack no matter the type. They supplement any damage type when you cannot find good matching Elemental gems to stack. They also increase Visceral damage, unlike Elementals. They are very effective when used to fill all 3 gem slots on the Wheel and the Tonitrus since they increase BOTH of their respective damage types and self-buffs.
  • Beast/Kinhunter Gems are invaluable for fighting each respective enemy type. These gems act exactly like a powerful Nourishing gem against Beasts/Kin, and can be used in the same way. They won’t help you against neutral enemies like Hunters, but they can make fights against bosses, such as Ebrietas (kin) or Bloodletting Beast (beast), much, much easier. You won’t see the actual attack increases from these gems on your weapon, but you will see the difference in damage from them.

chalice_beast_1

Let’s say for example, I’m using the Logarius Wheel  for my 25Str/50Arc build, and I slot in 3 Nourishing gems. It gives me just over 500 Physical AR and 130 Arcane AR. The transformed state of the Wheel multiplies your Physical AR by 0.7 and your Arcane AR by 4.0, resulting in about 350 Physical AR and 520 Arcane AR (a total of 870 AR). Now, If I replace 2 of those Nourishing gems with 2 matching Beast/Kin gems, my Attack Rating looks like it goes down to 300 Physical and 90 Arcane, which translates to 210 Physical AR and 360 Arcane AR. It’s not very impressive at first glance, but 2 of those Hunter gems multiplies my AR by 1.6 and suddenly I have 630 Physical AR and 146 Arcane AR against the Beast/Kin I’m fighting. That turns into 441 Physical AR and 584 Arcane AR (a total of 1025 AR). A third Hunter gem would further amplify my damage. That’s nothing to “brush off dust” at! The damage difference then further increases when I use the self-buff, resulting in a substantial damage increase over the Nourishing setup. Beast/Kin gems can also be used to supplement your Elemental weapons in the same way. So where can you find these gems? The Chalice Dungeons, of course! Please check out our Gem Guide for detailed information on these gems.

What Are The Hunter’s Tools (Spells) Good For?

Make sure you become familiar with and make use of the following Spells. They are all designed to be used strategically and most scale very well with the Arcane stat (even past 50).

  • The Beast Roar can be used to create space for a heal, knock an enemy off a bridge/walkway/cliff, or to create an exit when you’re surrounded by a mob and can’t get away. 
  • The Augur of Ebrietas has the ability to deal damage and knock an enemy over, providing an opportunity for an attack. It can also be used to knock an enemy off of a cliff or put them into a tight space for a combo. 
  • The Tiny Tonitrus allows you to hit a player who is trying to roll away from you after a Visceral or for an enemy that is running at you for an attack. It can also be used to hit a number of enemies simultaneously if you can manipulate them to run in a line.  Narrow corridors are perfect for making the most of this tool. Using this spell instead of a Visceral can also be extremely effective. 
  • The Executioner’s Gloves can be utilized to create pressure, set up a combo with your melee, or bait an attack so you can get a counter-hit during their dodge at you. They are also an effective ranged option for exploiting head-weaknesses on bosses such as Amygdala. 
  • The Messenger’s Gift is great for disorienting  your opponent since it breaks their lock-on (PvP only) and helps to hide your next move. 
  • A Call Beyond allows you to hit your enemy from afar and deal a considerable amount of damage. It can also allow you to bait attacks in PvP or set up a melee combo if you expect to be attacked while casting the spell. 
  • The Old Hunter’s Bone will give you that edge you need to get in a few attacks and avoid a counterattack that could potentially kill you. Or make the most of it to psych your opponent out and cause them to make mistakes. 
  • The Empty Phantasm Shell is a very weak weapon buff and is non-scaling. Since it only adds 80 Arcane AR to a purely physical weapon, its use on an Arcane build is almost nonexistent. This one is more of a novelty than an actual Tool. 
  • The Choir Bell not only heals a large amount of HP, but it cannot be parried. These are both big advantages over Blood Vials! Don’t forget to employ this tool when playing co-operatively to heal all nearby allies. The only downside to the Choir Bell is it’s hefty amount of bullets per use. This tool scales extremely well with Arcane. 

Keep in mind that almost all of these Spells can have uses beyond what’s listed here, but with a little creativity and experimentation, you never know what new tactic you may discover!

Bloodborne Attack

Build Progression

The unfortunate part of using an Arcane build is that it is greatly hindered by a lack of Elemental Gems in the main game. The only Elemental Gems you get are 8% Waning Fire (found in the alleyways below the Cathedral Ward), 10.5% Triangular Arcane (in the poison cave between Central Yharnam and the Forbidden Woods), 16.5% Waning Bolt (in post-Rom Yahargul), and 18% Droplet Arcane (in the Nightmare of Mensis after pulling the lever to drop the Brain of Mensis into the Abyss). Other than these loot gems, the pickings are slim. You can farm weak Waning Fire and Bolt gems from the Loran Silverbeasts in Nightmare Frontier and weak Triangular Arcane gems from the Small Celestial Emissaries in the lower part of the Forbidden Woods, however the lack of Gem shape variety severely limits the amount of gem-stacking you can do. So, if Arcane is so gimped early-game, how do you even proceed then? The answer is to keep trying, and prepare yourself with a list of items in the order that you can obtain them:

1) It is recommended that you start with either the Hunter’s Axe or the Threaded Cane since the Saw Spear is available very early in the game and is more versatile than the Saw Cleaver. Starting in Central Yharnam, head to the first lamp and talk to Gilbert through his window. Exhaust his dialogue, and return after you defeat Father Gasciogne for a weapon that will carry you through a large portion of the game: The Flamesprayer. This simple firearm is extremely helpful until you can find decent gems, knocking boss HP bars down quite a bit to compensate for a lack of Melee power. It will continue to serve you throughout much of the game as you upgrade it and gain the ability to use Bone Marrow Ash and Oil Urns in unison. Make sure you upgrade this weapon!

2) The Waning fire gem in lower Cathedral Ward is a godsend and is surprisingly effective on the Saw Spear when it comes to fighting Vicar Amelia. The serration bonus combined with a fire weakness makes for some hefty combos without relying on consumables. That said, Fire Paper with physical gems on your Saw Spear may be more effective overall until you can stack at least 2 gems or have 25+ Arcane. To get this gem, you must first defeat the Bloodstarved Beast. Return to Cathedral Ward and the small double doors inside the chapel will have opened. Take the elevator up. You can collect the Radiant Sword Badge from the top of the tower leading to Upper Cathedral Ward or proceed directly to the Fire gem. Walk around the right side of the tower’s base and fall to the lower level. From here, make your way down. Jump down to the platform leading to the Abandoned Workshop, pick up all of the loot here, and light the lamp. Heal up, and then make your way to the bottom of the tower. Kill the Beast-possessed Soul, open the doors, and head down the lane being patrolled by the Masked Huntsmen and their dogs. The end of the lane comes to a “T”. Take a right and the gem is on a body guarded by a Brainsucker. After collecting the gem, return to Cathedral Ward.

3) You can either complete Hemwick at this point for the Rune Etching Tool, allow yourself to be killed by a Kidnapper so it can take you to Yahargul and allow you to retrieve the Tonitrus (recommended, but not entirely necessary), or proceed directly to the Grand Cathedral to fight Vicar Amelia. After defeating Vicar Amelia, you can head down to the Forbidden Woods. Upon reaching the cabin where you receive the Tonsil Stone, proceed past the dog cages and down the hidden path into the Poison Cave. There are 2 valuable Gems here that you should get: the 10.5% Arcane gem and the 9.1% Nourishing gem. At this point in the game, the Nourishing gem is probably the best Triangular gem you have because not a lot of enemies are weak to Arcane at this point in the game. From here, collect the Cainhurst Summons in Iosefka’s Clinic, after which you can go to Cainhurst to retrieve another valuable Tool: the Executioner’s Gloves. This is not necessary at this point, but can help against the Shadows of Yharnam if you have trouble with them.

4) Once you return to the Forbidden Woods, collect the Beast Roar hunter tool. From here, you can either farm the little Blue Aliens for more Arcane gems and hope for that low-percentage Radial drop, or you can defeat the Shadows of Yharnam and go to Byrgenwerth.

5) Upon reaching Byrgenwerth, collect all of the loot you need and defeat Rom. The battle against him will be tough. Kill the first round of summoned spiders, and then wail on him with everything you’ve got. Once he teleports, you can simply circle him and use your sprayer at his side. Sometimes, he will not react for a long time except to pivot, allowing you to rack up some serious damage. Rinse and repeat. The Beast Roar is a helpful tool here, as it can help you avoid getting trapped by the spiders.

6) After defeating Rom, you will be brought to the entrance to upper Yahargul. Collect Tiny Tonitrus, the Upper Cathedral Ward key, and the 16.5% Bolt gem in one of the prison cells here. If you haven’t already done so, collect the Tonitrus. That new Gem you just got is a great asset on the Tonitrus, which can make the upcoming battle against The One Reborn much easier.

7) After defeating The One Reborn, proceed to the Lecture Building and pick up the Augur of Ebrietas. From here, you can either go to the Nightmare Frontier or the Nightmare of Mensis (recommended). Run through the Nightmare of Mensis, collecting all loot that you deem necessary at this point, and defeat Micolash.

8) After defeating Micolash, proceed up the stairs and take the broken elevator down. Roll onto the ledge that leads to the Blood Rock. Do whatever you can to get past the Winter Lanterns, pull the lever to drop the Brain of Mensis, and drop down to the lower level. We suggest picking up the Droplet Arcane gem before going after the Choir Bell, guarded by a patrolling Winter Lantern. After that, if you didn’t die, collect your blood rock. Head back up to Mergo’s Middle and collect the 15% Nourishing gem from the path with the 3 Maneating Boars. Congratulations! You can now stack the Nourishing gem, the Droplet Arcane gem, and the Triangular Arcane gem on a weapon with a Triangular slot (such as the Threaded Cane, the Hunter’s Axe, or the Kirkhammer if you chose to invest for it) and are ready to take on the Chalice Dungeons for more powerful elemental gems or to collect any of the remaining Spells that you need! Since many of the enemies in the Chalice dungeons are quite weak to arcane damage, your trip should now be much easier.

Kirkhammer

What Should My Final Stats Look Like?

Well that’s entirely up to you, but here are some successful Level 110 builds to consider:

Arcane-Strength (Cruel Fate; Logarius Wheel+Tonitrus): 50Vit, 18End, 25Str, 12Skl, 5Bld, 50Arc

Holy Knight (Cruel Fate; Ludwig’s Holy Blade): 50Vit, 27End, 16Str, 12Skl, 5Bld, 50Arc

Pure Arcane (Cruel Fate; Starter weapons): 50Vit, 22End, 10Str, 9Skl, 5ld, 64Arc

Strength-Skill Fakeout (Cruel Fate; LHB and Stake Driver): 50Vit, 25End, 18Str, 12Skl, 5Bld, 50Arc

Skill-Arcane (Cruel Fate; BoM, Burial Blade, Simon’s Bow): 50Vit, 20End, 10Str, 25Skl, 5Bld, 50Arc

Note: Because we do not know what the new weapon requirements – or their ultimate scaling – will be from the DLC, it is recommended that you hold back on the final 10-15 stat points for your build to accommodate the stat reqs of any new weapons you like.

These builds are a perfect example of how customizable Arcane builds can be in their Stat allocation. Use it to your advantage and you can most certainly succeed with this underused build type!

We hope this Guide has been most informative and helpful. Special thanks to EMonaghan (TurquoiseWaters) for her contribution. Any feedback is greatly appreciated 🙂

Bloodborne Arcane Build Guide

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Pure Souls is a group created by dedicated Souls veterans. Our idea was to not only bring more information to the community on the more ambiguous aspects of the games we're working on, but to bring the community together. Our Logarius' Wheel guide unlocks the secrets of the mysterious weapon and details how best to use it. We also have a Bloodborne Single-gem Fight Club filled with skilled and dynamic players. Keep an eye out for future guides and events! Pure Souls Group Members: Astrichthyes_ (PSN: astrichthyes3), arctic_dan (arctic_dan) We stream our Fight Club on weekends, so tune in on Twitch: Arctic_dan to see the action, familiarize yourself with the rules, and join in on the fun we have!

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75 comments on “What You Need to Know About Arcane Builds Before Bloodborne: The Old Hunters”

  1. Avatar WyrmHero says:

    I’d like to add that going past 50 Arc still gets good returns on damage for the hunter tools due to their S scaling. I really wanna make a full 99 Arc pure mage, and the DLC seems like the best time to do it. I’m hoping they add at least 5 more spells.

    The Reiterpallasch imo is a great mage weapon due to low stamina costs and it can be used as a powerful gun without having to increase Blt (it’s Blt scaling is bad). The main problem is that the build can become very bullet hungry, using the gun, a Flamesprayer/Rosmarinus AND the tools. Also the physical damage isn’t very good either, and if the build doesn’t have 25 Skl at least (it’s primarily a Skl weapon) its damage will be very low.

    The Threaded Cane is another strong candidate for a mage weapon. Notice that I call mage a build that primarily uses the tools for offense, rather than backup. The cane has low stamina costs as well so it works great for builds with base End. Weapons like the Logarius Wheel and LHB consume too much stamina, and they work better on "battlemage" builds that focus on main weapon attacks and combos that need high End.

    As for guns on a Arc build I’d say the Hunter Pistol/Blunderbuss. The damage is negligible but you still need a gun for some fights and PvP. Ludwig’s Rifle while high damage without the Blt investment it’s kinda annoying to use due to the higher reload delay. You can also parry with the Flamesprayer/Rosmarinus but it’s incredibly difficult to do. If the DLC includes a better shield then using the Reiterpallasch in combination would be a excellent choice instead of the regular firearms.

  2. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Glad to hear that Arcane builds do have some viability. My first, and longest (but unfinished) run was Arcane. I did enjoy having all the tools to use, but judging by a lot of posts, I started to get the impression that arcane toons were sort of bastard cousins that nobody took seriously because they were weak. I got frustrated trying to find materials to open new dungeons, so I sort of gave up on them, and don’t have much for materials.

  3. Astrichthyes_ says:

    Without a doubt, Arcane is the hardest build to make. The farming is more than triple that of a pure physical build because of the limited sources for each gem type and the number of gems you have to farm. Physical is 1 gem type for all weapons. Arcane is 3-5 gem types, depending on your weapons. Our gem guide will soon be ready with all of the farming locations for every gem, including those needed by arcane builds.

    My personal hopes for the DLC are that they boost the arcane scaling of pure physical weapons a bit, reduce spell costs, and bring Bloodtinge gun damage and reload time into line with the rest of our potential setups. Using Tonitrus or ACB eats 1/3rd of my bullets to deal damage that isn’t even comparable to an ashed Evelyn. They’re barely better than non-ashed Evelyn or Reiter unless you get a solid counterhit. And Bloodtinge only needs 1 bullet to deal this amount of damage while you need more than 5 for that powerful a spell. That’s not including the fact that a gun is much faster than any spell and has the potential to parry an attack.

    That said, Arcane is completely viable if you build properly and put the time and effort in. Being able to strike weaknesses such as the Cainhurst set’s low boltdef, the Hunter set’s low arcanedef, and the Yahargul set’s low firedef can be a very powerful strategy to optimize damage. That is why I’m keeping 3 of every pure physical weapon that my new arcane build can use in my inventory; a copy for each element, so that i’m prepared to exploit the lowest elemental defense my opponent has.

  4. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Something else that absolutely destroyed my enthusiasm is the shortage of upgrade materials. I used all my chunks on a Ludwig sword and that Rosmarinus flamesprayer. Now I’m stuck with using those unless I roll the game (which I really don’t want to). Something I enjoyed about Dark Souls 2 is that you could purchase chunks once you hit endgame. It allowed you to keep playing, but with new weapons, and not have to restart the game or farm. I’d love to try new weapons, but it seems pointless without being able to upgrade them.

  5. Nunkuruji says:

    I don’t entirely understand the purpose or title of this article.

    What does an Arcane build have to do with ToH, specifically?
    Are there are lot of new Arcane scaling weapons/tools in ToH?
    Does Arcane change in a particular manner with ToH?

    Is Basic Principle #3 the actual article purpose? Making it easier to slaughter the ToH PvE challenges through weakness exploitation?

    It otherwise seems like a reasonable Arcane guide, with a nice progression explanation for beginners.

  6. Astrichthyes_ says:

    The purpose of this article was to clarify what Arcane builds were designed to do and how to use them. Many players I know tried the build type at some point in their playtime on Bloodborne, but it seemed like few understood it. Quite simply, most players wouldn’t know where to start for an arcane build and might struggle needlessly without a resource such as this. Our gem guide is almost ready and will synchronize well with this guide to help beginning arcane users overcome the many challenges of creating such a build.

    The reason this pertains to ToH is thus: there will be new spells and arcane-scaling weapons available. Because of the versatility of this particular build type, it’s excellent for PvE and can make quick work of potentially difficult bosses we will see in the DLC by exploiting weaknesses.

    Does this answer your questions? Thanks for the feedback :)

  7. Avatar TSMP says:

    Ah, a lot of this is information I’m familiar with. More stuff for you:

    Y’all need to talk about blood bullets more. Make five bullets, cast ACB: spends only two hard bullets instead of seven. Make five blood bullets again, repeat. With 20 bullets, you can cast ACB 10 times, Executioner’s Glove 40 times, Tiny Tonitrus 20 times, and Augur of Ebrietas potentially infinite times with a non-vial healing source like Blood Rapture or a regen gem. Same with Rosmarinus, but you’ll get far more damage out of it than you would from Augur.

    Oedon Writhe and Blood Rapture. Out of hard bullets? Make blood bullets, parry, and visceral. You now effectively have seven bullets and are at full health again, or close to it. Or, spend your blood bullets on more viscerals to get even more hard bullets back. Kind of excessive and pointless in PvP, but the combo results in practically infinite bullets in PvE.

    Cainhurst enemies and Pthumerians are weak to arcane damage. Cainhurst enemies in particular are also weak to holy/righteous/whatchamacallit damage, and an arcane LHB or Threaded Cane in cane form will turn gargoyles, bloodlickers, and ghosts into dust faster than a fire saw spear kills beasts.

    Don’t forget that some of the Tools have hyperarmor in weird places. Augur is uninterruptible once the tentacles come out, and ACB has it when the nebula forms and right up until the stars are ready to fire. Which is actually a bit sooner than the animation itself finishes, so being attacked at that point will help you recover faster.

    Little known fact: Choir Bell cures poison and negates rapid poison buildup. Doesn’t do much for frenzy though, you’ll need to keep Sedatives around for that.

    Very obscure and potentially irrelevant fact, but just in case: the game handles Beasthood as if it were a status effect, except that fully filling the bar does nothing in particular and changes occur at set breakpoints as you increase it. This means that, while this doesn’t currently exist in the game and probably won’t happen in the DLC, it’s technically possible for an enemy to inflict it on you as if it were any other status effect. Arcane builds and gun-focused Bloodtinge builds are the only ones who don’t gain any benefits from Beasthood, and so only get the defense drops. So, if you’re an arcane build or another non-physical setup, on the off chance there’s a DLC enemy or boss who can inflict Beasthood, it might pay to stock up on Sedatives so you can remove Beasthood buildup.

    Edit: Oh, completely forgot: Augur of Ebrietas is excellent for stunlocking strong enemies to death. You can spam it to kill Labyrinth Madmen and Watchers with no chance of them even getting back up to attack.

  8. Avatar kettpower says:

    What I think you should definitely mention about Arcane builds is that you’ll have to play the dungeons to get good elemental blood gems. Of course that’s true for every build, but while physical builds are somehow okay with the Mensis gems, there’s a lack of good elemental gems in the main game.

  9. Astrichthyes_ says:

    That was mentioned in the guide. If you read the progression section, it says that there aren’t very many locations to get elemental gems in the main game, which is why that particular section ends by saying you have everything you need for the chalice dungeons and referencing our soon-to-be-released Gem guide.

  10. Avatar BlitzKeir says:

    This is a very impressive article. You covered all the basics, then went deep into how to properly design an arc build. Even an experienced player like me learned something; namely, that Nourishing gems affect visceral damage. Very good to know. I resigned myself to viscerals being useless for my arc builds apart from health/QS regen.

    It’s worth mentioning that, unlike mage builds in Souls, arc builds have fewer stats to manage than phys builds. After meeting the min reqs for your weapons, you can dump everything into arc and vit, making you as durable as any other build at a potentially lower level.

    Also, one additional note: Empty Phantasm Shell is doubly useless for arc builds, since weapons that deal elemental damage cannot be buffed. Its sole use is a little extra damage for phys builds. Allowing it to scale would make some weapons severely unbalanced, namely LHB, Hunter Axe and Kirkhammer (which all make amazing arc weapons). Perhaps reducing the base buff to 30-40, lifting buff restrictions, and enabling scaling would fix it? Then an arc/str or arc/skl build would be able to deal meaningful damage with any weapon, and pure arc builds would match phys builds without optimal gems. The early game would also be more manageable.

  11. Avatar PrimeraEspada91 says:

    Still think you can shave off about 10 levels or so and elemental gems are perhaps just as easy getting them as physical builds, minus the arc ones. Fire is the easiest one with bolt coming second.

  12. Astrichthyes_ says:

    The ease of obtaining physical gems is much less daunting than elemental because of the lack of availability all the way up until the deeper dungeons. Pure physical gems have a high drop rate from the Watchers in both Isz and Pthum. Elemental gems have a moderate to low drop rate in Isz and a very low drop rate in Pthum. You’d be hard-pressed to get 3 decent matching elemental gems from the Watchers while tempering are readily available.The guaranteed drops from Watchdog, Ebrietas, and Abhorrent/Darkbeast are unlikely to be as good as the Watchers’ elemental gems or an equivalent of the Tempering gems. And you have 3 different elements to farm with no guaranteed way of filling all 3 gem slots for every weapon (some gems, such as arcane, aren’t normally available as radials). Meanwhile, the tempering gems are a piece of cake to obtain. So the claim that gems are not as easy to get for arcane isn’t unfounded in the least. You have triple the amount of farming and you won’t even match pure physical in gem quality unless you get REALLY lucky A LOT or you farm more than 3 times as hard. In the hundreds of hours of farming that I’ve done in total (probably in excess of 600), for all of my builds, I have only ever found less than 4 perfect gems of each element from the Watchers, and never matching in a way that allows me to use them all on one weapon. Nor have I found 3 perfect matching gems in fire/bolt/arcane from the Big 3 bosses mentioned. The gem quality just isn’t there without the proper glyphs and a lot of luck. 3 24.8% gems only multiply to 1.94 vs the 2.06 of tempering. It may not seem like much, but the AR difference really shines through because of the already-existing discrepancy between pure physical scaling and arcane scaling. It’s as much as 100-350 AR difference. What we do have to look forward to is new weapons that may have better arcane scaling than we have on the base weapon set.

    Shaving 10 levels off of a build is ultimately the player’s call. We came to the conclusion, after much experimentation and deliberation, that 110 was ideal. An arcane build that’s designed for the Wheel, for example, doesn’t need to run 15 endurance to use their weapon of choice (been there, it sucked). And bloodtinge loses a bit of damage from that additional defense. Dropping below 100 neuters build types while exceeding 110 just asks for OP hybrids such as 50/50 Ludwigs/Stake Driver – a build that easily outdamages the other build types per hit, barring Bloodtinge. The opinion on this matter differs from player to player.

    Thank you. We put a lot of effort into this. About the EPS, I agree that it is useless for arcane besides perhaps a buff until you get decent elemental gems in endgame and the dungeons. If EPS did scale, it could potentially make Reiter the scariest weapon out there because of the additional DPS with combos. The way they implemented it was correct, however the arcane stat req does not make much sense. It’s not even worth the cost since it only adds about 10 damage per hit in pvp for 3 bullets. If you could buff elemental weapons, I believe it could make them more powerful than pure physical. Imagine stacking fire paper on a fire weapon and using an oil urn. Or EPS on a flat-arc wheel

  13. Avatar Shimeon says:

    I’m curious as to why the article states that the Saw Spear is more versatile than the Cleaver? I was thinking of building around the Cleaver for a pure arcane.

  14. Avatar PrimeraEspada91 says:

    @Astrichthyes_
    I think we all know that elemental loses to straight physical. I was saying gem for gem fire and bolt are decent to obtain from bone ash hunters or from the bosses you stated (even perfect 24.8% element add same element abyssals). You can also get weird hybrids from certain enemies. Its in all the numbers that Arcanes builds are less powerful than their physical counterparts.

  15. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    So, essentially, Arcane builds must go through hell and back to get gems, proving that they are truly the baddest of the badasses in BB :)

  16. Astrichthyes_ says:

    Part of the reason the guide states that the Saw Spear is more versatile than the Cleaver is the fact that the former has Serration in both states while the latter only has it in its UTF state. The moveset is more useful in pve (while the Cleaver is excellent in pvp) and it has longer reach. If you wanted to start with the Cleaver, you very well could. We were simply recommending the axe or the cane as a starting weapon because you won’t be able to stack nourishing and arcane effectively on a weapon with a waning slot. This, of course, is easily solved by buying the starter weapons after obtaining the Saw Hunter Badge from the Yharnam aqueducts.

  17. Avatar Shimeon says:

    If I am, say, making an elemental focused build, say arcane with some points in str and skill to be able to use the Kirkhammer, (or some new weapon from the DLC), is the Tonitrus still worth using for bolt or should I use another weapon with bold gems?

    Would a kirkhammer elemental build fare well in pvp?

    Which is usually better in pvp? Fire or bolt? I guess we should look at the meta a little bit and analyse what people wear most of the time…

  18. Avatar Pure_Souls says:

    All good questions, answered in order:

    If you were making an arcane build to specifically use the Kirkhammer, you’d want 16 str and 10 skl to meet minimum reqs. The Tonitrus would most certainly be viable on this build with Nourishing gems, or bolt gems if you prefer. Nourishing gems increase visceral damage and are probably better overall, but bolt will give you a stronger Bolt AR when you charge Tonitrus with L1

    The Kirkhammer is a good elemental weapon and definitely worth having in your arsenal. It doesn’t deal as much damage per hit as a pure physical build, but you could bypass a lot of armor defense if you have the right element vs the right armor set. Which element you want to use in general is widely variable. Fire is your best bet against the Yahargul and Executioner sets, Bolt is excellent against the Cainhurst set, and Arcane is great against a plethora of commonly used sets, such as the Hunter’s set and the Bone Ash set.

    When choosing Fire vs Bolt, the better of the two depends on your opponent’s defenses. Most armors have relatively low bolt def, save for the Choir set, the Bone Ash set, and Henryk’s. Fire, on the other hand, is heavily mitigated by the Bone Ash set and the Charred Hunter Set. Since many players are geared toward mitigating physical damage (including Blood ATK), the best elements are often Bolt and Arcane, whichever you can effectively use. Arcane is much harder to farm for, making Bolt an excellent alternative. Fire can be bolstered by oil urns, so there’s that to consider as well. Although this may seem like a political answer to your question – having no element as the best of all 3 – it’s all we can recommend.

  19. Avatar Shimeon says:

    ”Although this may seem like a political answer to your question – having no element as the best of all 3 – it’s all we can recommend.”

    So you are saying that despite the usually lower defenses to elements, physical would still perform better in pvp? Or am I getting this sentence wrong?

  20. Avatar Pure_Souls says:

    Physical often gets dual scaling that stacks from Skill and Strength. Arcane gets single scaling by itself. So, if you were to have 50 in a physical stat and base reqs in the other stat, you’ll probably have slightly higher or equal no-gem AR compared to the arcane. If you dual-invest in physical stats, the AR can be quite a bit greater since you’re now using 2 stats to arcane’s one. The gems are also a factor. If you were to have three tempering gems at 27.2%, your physical AR on your weapon would get 2.058 times its gemless physical AR. You can have 27.2% gems for all slots of a particular element and get the same AR modifier that a physical build will get, but your scaling is often a full letter grade lower than the pure physical. The only time this really changes is when you compare dual-scaling physical weapons and their elemental equivalent, such as LHB with it’s B/B physical scaling and A in arcane.

    The upsides to arcane are:
    – it requires less stat management than a pure physical build (as it only has to invest in one scaling stat for ALL of its weapons)
    – it has the versatility to use any pure physical weapon in a chosen element to exploit weaknesses or have widely different movesets (which can even them out with or make them proportionally better than their physical equivalents).
    – it has two of the most powerful weapons in the game with their respective buffs in the Tonitrus and Logarius Wheel, and is soon to get more
    – it can use of all of the Hunter’s Tools (Choir bell, ExGloves, TT, ACB, all of which continue to scale very well beyond 50a to 99a; it also has access to Hunter’s Bone and will soon have more goodies)
    – it has two very high DPS firearms in Flamesprayer and Rosemarinus (potentially higher damage per bullet than Evelyn).

    So, Arcane does have a lot going for it overall, but no, it’s not going to hit as hard as a 50/25+ physical build per hit with the same weapon. Maybe equal or slightly better if you compare physical vs max physdef and arcane vs min elemdef. It’s all a matter of situation.

  21. Avatar arctic_dan says:

    This guide has been updated with embedded video’s instead of links. Thank you for all the support and feedback!

  22. Avatar Shimeon says:

    Ok, I need some help with my build.

    I am planning on using the Boom Hammer, Moonlight Sword and Tonitrus as my main weapons.

    So far, I have the minimal requirements for these (16 str, 12 skl) and 34 arcane. The options I am considering:

    40 Arcane – 40 Strength – 20 Endurance
    50 Arcane – 30 Strength – 20 Endurance
    50 Arcane – 25 Strength – 25 Endurance
    64 Arcane – 16 Strength – 20 Endurance

    Considering I will probably use them a lot in buffed form, what do you guys think would be the most viable in pvp?

  23. Avatar Sljm8D says:

    Boom Hammer deals no Fire damage without priming it first, be aware of that.

    Amygdalan Arm and Wheel are excellent Str/Arcane weapons you should consider as well.

  24. Avatar NPC_invader says:

    50 Arcane – 25 Strength – 25 Endurance

    Wheel – Amygdala – Hammer.

  25. Avatar Shimeon says:

    Or maybe Tonitrus – Wheel/Amygdala – Hammer, no? I need a bolt weapon…


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