PvP guide
Guide by sonosagmensonosagmen | Last updated at 09 Feb 2022 18:46 | Your rating:


this guide for invasions and duels is intended to teach you what to do and what not to do while fighting other players. you could learn even if you just play casually.

vital explanations

defense and absorption are 2 different things. defense is essentially a flat reduction while absorption reduces by a percentage. defense is applied before absorption.
defense is coded… strangely. the calculations are pretty insane… but essentially, damage cannot be lowered below 10% of it's original value by defense. this doesn't apply to absorption.

EX: you attack with 100 attack power to a player with 250 physical defense. their defense reduces your damage to 10. (this example does not include absorption.)
other than these specific situations, defense is basically just a flat reduction.


WA= weapon art
R2= strong attack
R1= normal attack
L1= block/twin attack
L2= weapon art
AR= attack rating
true combo/TC= a series of attacks that are inescapable if performed correctly
poise= stun immunity, only active during some attacks. can be difficult to time and use practically
AUX= poison, bleed, etc.

to be expanded

Self defense VS Invaders

this piece of the guide is a small anecdote for those that wish to improve but not necessarily to directly participate (not "by choice".)

the basics

what to do when you just got invaded.

first thing's first: get to a safe place. be it a bonfire or a cleared area, as long as you're only fighting the invader, you've got your best chance. if they try to get you to fight enemies, maybe even backtrack a little to make them think you might have a teammate or are going to summon one.
try to avoid narrow hallways or closed in areas. the more room you have to move around the better. If there are pillars around that helps to let you heal by circling around one.
if you can't find the invader, then continue progressing. be careful however, because if you take or deal any damage they can see the damage numbers and health bars through walls.

don't give up immediately. if you ALT+F4 or close the game, it resets your invasion timer. if you jump off a cliff, this does not happen, but you lose on the experience. it'll be easier next time if you have more knowledge on how people play and timing and what not. some invaders will just leave if they can see you don't want to fight, they might even give you an ember or something. if you really aren't feeling it, giving them an ember is a good negotiation tool. ~80% of the time they will just try to kill you though so might as well fight them anyways.

making the fight easier

USE YOUR ITEMS. green blossoms, bug pellets, pine resins, it makes all the difference to have these bonuses.

green blossoms are considered a "body buff" and do not stack with other blossoms, siegbrau frost resistance, bug pellets, etc. if it gives you a boost, it probably doesn't stack.
resins and bundles do not stack. most weapons that are upgraded with titanite scales or twinkling titanite cannot be buffed by resins or spells.

bundles last 11 seconds, resins last 60. green blossoms last 60 seconds, bug pellets last 120 seconds.

do not use divine blessings impulsively. if you think you're going to lose, another health bar probably won't change that. they get the most use from using them in a close fight.
same with your siegbraus. they will heal (100+ 0.2*MaxHp).

Pine resins: pine resins become less and less useful as the game progresses. as people's defense increases, the damage becomes negligible.
in the early game, you should always buff your weapons, however.
For example: in the early game, even the weakest resin (charcoal pine resin) will add ~25 damage. compare this to late game which will only add ~8.

damage values: charcoal pine resin adds 85 fire damage, gold pine resin adds 95 lightning damage, human pine resin adds 95 dark damage and pale pine resin adds 90 magic damage.
auxiliary values: rotten pine resin adds 45 poison aux. and carthus rouge adds 20 bleed aux.

Pine bundles: these are useful all the way through the game. you should stock up on these as soon as you can, as early as the undead settlement.
for example: early game, a charcoal pine bundle will add nearly 50 extra damage to your attacks against most players. late game, they will add ~15.
damage values: charcoal pine bundles add 110 fire damage and gold pine bundles add 120 lightning damage.

firebombs: these scale well with strength, but perform best on a mix of dex and str. best to keep your enemies at range, or to goad them into coming closer.

types of firebombs
firebombs: can hold 20, weak but good for a little keepout.
black firebombs: can hold 10, strong but very limited. only use them if your enemy is distracted or otherwise unable to dodge for a while.
lightning urns: can hold 20. rare to obtain, scales strongly with faith.

rope bombs: good to use while running away. fairly weak, and can only hold 10 of each. small hitbox, so only use them when your enemy is running right up on you, and they come out quickly.
can be used without stamina, and will make you begin regenerating stamina instantly.

throwing knives: good for keeping up pressure. generally only deal good damage on dexterity and quality builds, but do ok for it's use on strength builds.

throwing knife: deals the second-most damage. can hold 40, good for finishing people off and deal thrust counter attacks.
poison throwing knife: deals the least damage. adds 26 poison aux at base luck, and 42 at max luck. good supplementary for poison builds.
kukri: deals the most damage, near the same amount as black firebombs on dexterity and quality builds. deals slash damage and has 36 bleed buildup at base luck, and 59 at max luck.
church guardian shivs: have mild tracking and deal less damage than normal throwing knives. cost 9 FP to throw rather than being limited. great for finishing off, but not for damage.

hunter charms, dung pies, etc.

undead hunter charm: blocks ESTUS healing for 20 seconds. (does not apply to any spells, regen, siegbrau, or divine blessings.) also blocks ashen estus use.
duel charm: blocks weapon buffs (spell buffs, bundles, resins) for 20 seconds. this and the undead hunter charm have a large radius but low throwing range, and should not be wasted.
dung pies: used to either show salt or to increase toxic buildup. inflicts toxic on the user and whoever gets hit. people will generally be less honest if these are thrown. essentially useless.
rope dung pies: same as rope firebombs, but with dung pies instead. essentially useless.
mossfruit: not the most useful. increases aux resistances by 80, could be used against luck builds. can be eaten for fun, I suppose. is considered a body buff and replaces other buffs.
alluring skull: can be used against certain enemies to gain an advantage. risky, only works for 8 seconds.
repair powder: useless. only really applicable on certain very low durability weapons since everything is repaired when resting at a bonfire.

making a build

when picking a starting class, you only really have 1 simple question "do i want to make a physical build, or a magic build?"
if you want a physical build, then choose the knight. if you want a magic build, then choose the pyromancer. the few exceptions to this rule are luck builds and specific minor differences.

these 2 classes considerably outperform all other classes due to having tied for the lowest luck stat, and generally are well optimized for their roles.

stat allocation

good breakpoints

vigor: 21, 26, 34, 39, |47 PvE only|

attunement: 10, 14, for physical, 18, 24 for casters. (dont go any higher.)

endurance: 14,19,26,30,34,40 are all good breakpoints. learning stamina management is very important, so if you're just starting, you probably shouldnt go past 26.

vitality: no real breakpoints, but you should have atleast 20. for any good armor. never go past 40 unless you are going for a specifically tanky build, as that is where the defense hardcaps.

strength: 26/27 (for 2 handing), 40, 60, 66.

dexterity: 40, 60, 70 (for only sharp infused weapons), 80.

intelligence: 30(only for dark and chaos infusion), 40 (ONLY for crystal/simple infusion, gets basically no scaling with catalysts except dark and fire), 48 (should go to 60, only for catalysts), 60.

faith: 30, 40, 48, 60 (same as INT)

luck: 40 (for hollow infusions), 50 (for bleed/poison)


these are only examples. around this skill level, you should avoid sl110-133 like the plague. (you should aim for something like these builds.)
strength builds:

at sl40: 21VIG-14ATT-11END-15VIT-26STR-16DEX-9INT-10FTH-7LCK……….most of these strength builds get tears of denial, which is more or less optional, but very important.
(thus the 14 ATT and 10 FTH)
at sl60: 26VIG-14ATT-21END-18VIT-26STR-18DEX-9INT-10FTH-7LCK……….getting some stamina is very important for strength builds, vitality doesn't come in much for a little while.

at sl90: 34VIG-14ATT-21END-26VIT-40STR-18DEX-9INT-10FTH-7LCK……….with higher strength comes heavier weapons. higher vitality becomes a necessity, and can no longer be ignored.

at sl120: 39VIG-14ATT-25END-27VIT-60STR-18DEX-9INT-10FTH-7LCK……..this level has a lot of skilled players, so until you gain experience sl90 and lower is safe enough.

ETC. magic builds:

at sl40: 19VIG-14ATT-10END-8VIT-16STR-11DEX-30INT-14FTH-7LCK……….all magic builds lack at this level. dark infusion will deal more than crystal here due to strange scaling rules.

at sl60: 24VIG-14ATT-10END-8VIT-16STR-16DEX-40INT-14FTH-7LCK……….now, at this point crystal is now stronger, but catalysts are still very weak. they don't get any strong until ~50 int.

at sl90: 30VIG-18ATT-10END-8VIT-16STR-16DEX-60INT-14FTH-7LCK……….hitting 60 intelligence is vital for caster builds, as you gain 90% of all magic catalyst scaling at this point. even at the softcap of 48, you only gain 70%.

at sl120: 39VIG-24ATT-21END-8VIT-18STR-18DEX-60INT-14FTH-7LCK………you could swap out the 24ATT for 18. END can be swapped for VIT if you've learned good stamina management.

quick tips

  • face tanking heals is a terrible idea. i see many early players heal as soon as they can, and get punished almost instantly.
  • learn fast menuing. being able to quickly switch weapons or rings is very important.
  • use the life ring. swapping it out after getting hit usually saves more HP than using the lloyds shield ring. remember to put it back on before healing though, using the estus ring alongside works well.
  • have blessed items. putting a blessed gem on something light like a shield or caestus and putting it in the offhand means free constant health regeneration. with just one blessed weapon, after only 5 minutes you heal the same as one +10 estus.
  • play slowly. being overly aggressive against invaders will only get you killed.
  • keep pressure up. whittle them down at any chance you get, be it with firebombs, fall damage, all damage counts.


as you start to fight more people, you might begin to realize that it's an intended mechanic for a pretty good reason…

starting out

beginning can be one of the hardest steps in the process of becoming a PvP player, theres still a lot of info to sift through.

what weapons should you use?

some quick tier lists for each build. just what's good though, you should try and experiment a little yourself.

strength tier list

S tier: Splitleaf Greatsword (4 hit combo, best damage)
Ringed Knight Straight Sword (poise weapon art, good range)
Ledo's Great Hammer (fast weapon art, 1 shot capability)
Gundyr's Halberd (best WA in the game, long range)
Rotten Ghru Curved Sword (lowest stamina consumption of all CS, poison, best damage)

A tier: Claymore (best moveset, good damage for speed)
Dark Sword (best damage on SS)
Harald Curved Greatsword (Best WA of all CGS, great damage)
Dragonslayer Greataxe (Great WA, Great damage)

B tier: Flamberge (bugged WA, extremely high damage on WA R2)
Black Knight Greatsword (burger flip)
Greatlance (R1->WA combo, unique moveset)
Four Pronged Plow (longest spear on strength, good damage)

Dexterity tier list

S tier: Scimitar (longest non PK CS)
Sellsword Twinblades (highest damage combo, fastest twin weapons with true combo L1->WA->L1)
Dagger (highest crit damage, quickstep, thrust damage)
Gotthard Twinswords (longest SS, L1>WA>WA-R2 combo usually deals almost 1k)
Estoc (longest TS, offhand combos with most anything)

A tier: Lothric Knight Straight Sword (unique 2H R2 shared only with the shortsword, high damage)
Lothric Knight Greatsword (highest damage on dex)
Four Pronged Plow (high damage, long range)
Red Hilted Halberd (extremely high damage on dex, long range, hard to parry, good for offhand)
Crow Quills (high range, 120 crit, better damage than rapier)
Onikiri and Ubadachi (WA with poise, high damage)

B tier: Rapier (best crit, WA with Iframes)
Washing Pole (longest katana by a lot)
Great Corvian Scythe (longest non-whip weapon in the game)
Astora Greatsword (highest damage on dex, unique WA)
Whip (hits through walls, fun to use)

Quality tier list

S tier: Winged Knight Twinaxes (best damage on quality, ridiculous speed)
Gael's Greatsword (R1>WA>R1 true combo, strike damage, best damage on quality)
Corvian Greatknife (literally only usable quality infused)
Warpick (longest hammer, thrust counters, high poise, high damage on quality, strong shield piercing)
Black Knight Greataxe (ridiculous damage, R1->R2 combo if done correctly)
Wolf Knight's Greatsword (very high range, great damage, unique WA)

A tier: Irithyll Straight Sword (good damage on quality, high frost buildup, good range)
Profaned Greatsword (strongest horizontal UGS on quality, good moveset)
Tailbone Spear (strongest on quality, unique WA)
Ringed Knight Straight Sword (strongest on quality, poise WA, high range)
Lorian's Greatsword (strongest on quality, free 80 damage with WA)

B tier: Drang Hammers (crazy damage on quality, somewhat hard to use)
Black Knight Glaive (good true combo with WA, good poise, good damage)
Ringed Knight Spear (Buff WA gives longer range, great damage on quality)
Hollowslayer Greatsword (very fast poise, good moveset, good damage)

chaos/dark tier list (40/40)

S tier: Demon's Scar (can cast pyromancies, R1->black flame combo, long range)
Onyx Blade (longest GS in the game, high damage, buffable with WA)
Saint Bident (on 40/40 gains crazy scaling, longer than 4 pronged plow)

A tier: Witch's Locks (best whip in the game, gains extra fire damage on WA)



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