Best Dark Souls Class, Ranked

The Souls-like genre has become one of the most popular styles of video game. What started with Demon’s Souls has not only resulted in a full-fledged series by FromSoftware but also dozens of Souls-like games from other developers. The game most responsible for this significant impact on the gaming industry is Dark Souls.

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The game had everything from lore to gameplay to visuals working for it. People were amazed by the length, reliability, and level design of the game, which was unlike any other action RPG. The replayability in this game comes from the fact that each time players can experience it differently because of multiple builds and classes.

Updated on March 30, 2023, by Ritwik Mitra: Dark Souls is one of the greatest video games of all time, spawning an entire subgenre of its own and helping FromSoftware’s reputation skyrocket to new heights. The game is aggressively tough with a fun and ingenious combat system that is a joy to master. With the best equipment and a great build, players can steamroll through opponents that were giving them a tough time, letting players feel a genuine sense of satisfaction and progression as the game went on.

That being said, players who want to excel in this game should be slightly mindful of the class they choose. For what it’s worth, the game’s classes function more as basic templates that slowly nudge the player in a particular direction. After a bit of exploration and getting Souls, players can pursue the build they want regardless of what their starting class was. So, even if players make a mistake early on, rectifying it is pretty easy. People getting into Dark Souls who want to avoid making this mistake will find out everything they need to know about the game’s starting classes here.

What To Know Before Choosing A Class

As stated before, many players might feel overwhelmed while choosing a class in Dark Souls. After all, the general aura of this game being hardcore, followed by the wary messages online about the ineffectiveness of certain builds, might pressure certain players to choose only the most perfect build around with no compromises whatsoever.

However, taking up so much pressure while selecting a build is not required in the slightest. There’s a really important fact about builds in Dark Souls that players need to keep in mind — no build in Dark Souls is set in stone, not a single one. These builds just decide the starting equipment of the player and their initial stat allocation, which becomes pretty moot in the grand scheme of things after players manage to get a steady stream of Souls that allows them to level up their character.

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Instead, players should look at these classes as a gentle push toward the build of their choice instead of the be-all and end-all of character-build choices. Ultimately, there’s no need to stress over the choice of character builds that players can opt for, and no character class choice is objectively wrong. Even a class like the Deprived is viable in the game — in fact, veterans consider it to be Dark Souls’ best class since it allows for the highest level of freedom when trying to form a final build!

Here is a breakdown of some key information for each class:



Starting Equipment

Best For…


  • Level: 6
  • Vitality: 11
  • Attunement: 11
  • Endurance: 11
  • Strength: 11
  • Dexterity: 11
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 11
  • Faith: 11
  • Returning players who want more challenge at the beginning
  • Turning a blank slate with decent stats into a well-rounded character


  • Level: 4
  • Vitality: 9
  • Attunement: 11
  • Endurance: 9
  • Strength: 9
  • Dexterity: 15
  • Resistance: 10
  • Intelligence: 12
  • Faith: 11
  • Bandit’s Knife
  • Target Shield
  • Thief Mask
  • Black Leather Armor
  • Black Leather Gloves
  • Black Leather Boots
  • Master Key
  • Aggressively pursuing a Dex build
  • Players who want to utilize backstabs and parries


  • Level: 5
  • Vitality: 14
  • Attunement: 10
  • Endurance: 10
  • Strength: 11
  • Dexterity: 11
  • Resistance: 10
  • Intelligence: 9
  • Faith: 11
  • Broadsword
  • Tower Kite Shield
  • Knight Helm
  • Knight Armor
  • Knight Gauntlets
  • Knight Leggings
  • Players who don’t mind a heavy equip load early on
  • Players who want high Vitality to tackle the early game


  • Level: 4
  • Vitality: 11
  • Attunement: 9
  • Endurance: 11
  • Strength: 12
  • Dexterity: 14
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 9
  • Faith: 9
  • Shortsword
  • Large Leather Shield
  • Short Bow
  • Leather Armor
  • Leather Gloves
  • Leather Boots
  • 30 Standard Arrows
  • Dealing ranged damage to bait enemies early on
  • Gradually forming a Dex build without sacrificing other stats early on


  • Level: 3
  • Vitality: 8
  • Attunement: 15
  • Endurance: 8
  • Strength: 9
  • Dexterity: 11
  • Resistance: 8
  • Intelligence: 15
  • Faith: 8
  • Dagger
  • Small Leather Shield
  • Sorcerer’s Catalyst
  • Sorcerer Hat
  • Sorcerer Cloak
  • Sorcerer Gauntlets
  • Sorcerer Boots
  • Soul Arrow
  • Players who want access to the Soul Arrow spell early on
  • Aggressively pursuing an Intelligence build


  • Level: 3
  • Vitality: 10
  • Attunement: 11
  • Endurance: 10
  • Strength: 10
  • Dexterity: 14
  • Resistance: 12
  • Intelligence: 11
  • Faith: 8
  • Scimitar
  • Leather Shield
  • Wanderer Hood
  • Wanderer Coat
  • Wanderer Manchette
  • Wanderer Boots
  • Players who want to pursue a Dex build
  • Players who want light armor to dodge easily in combat


  • Level: 4
  • Vitality: 12
  • Attunement: 8
  • Endurance: 14
  • Strength: 14
  • Dexterity: 9
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Faith: 10
  • Battle Axe
  • Spider Shield
  • Brigand Hood
  • Brigand Armor
  • Brigand Gauntlets
  • Brigand Trousers
  • Dealing heavy damage early on
  • Building a versatile and durable melee build


  • Level: 2
  • Vitality: 11
  • Attunement: 11
  • Endurance: 9
  • Strength: 12
  • Dexterity: 8
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 8
  • Faith: 14
  • Mace
  • East-West Shield
  • Canvas Talisman
  • Holy Robe
  • Traveling Gloves
  • Holy Trousers
  • Heal
  • Obtaining a great healing spell early on
  • Forming a Strength-Faith hybrid build


  • Level: 4
  • Vitality: 11
  • Attunement: 8
  • Endurance: 12
  • Strength: 13
  • Dexterity: 13
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 9
  • Faith: 9
  • Longsword
  • Heater Shield
  • Standard Helm
  • Hard Leather Armor
  • Hard Leather Gauntlets
  • Hard Leather Boots
  • Pursuing a Quality build
  • Gaining access to as many weapons as possible early on
  • Focusing solely on melee without any magic


  • Level: 4
  • Vitality: 11
  • Attunement: 8
  • Endurance: 12
  • Strength: 13
  • Dexterity: 13
  • Resistance: 11
  • Intelligence: 9
  • Faith: 9
  • Hand Axe
  • Cracked Round Shield
  • Pyromancy Flame
  • Tattered Cloth Hood
  • Tattered Cloth Robe
  • Tattered Cloth Manchette
  • Heavy Boots
  • Decimating enemies early on with the Fireball spell
  • Starting out with great all-rounded stats



10 Deprived

There is no one way to say that “this class is bad” in Dark Souls. Any class can be later morphed into another, so to judge these classes, one must talk about the initial build and how well it works. That is when the Deprived class comes out to be the last.

Firstly, this class starts with an old club and a wood plank in the shape of a shield. Secondly, this class is a naked person on the verge of losing humanity. Once that is done, players will be left playing as a naked Freddy Krueger stuck in a world more horrible than his dreams.

Many newcomers to Dark Souls assume that the Club this class starts with is lackluster compared to the main armaments of others, though this is a notion that is quickly dispelled once one actually uses it in combat. It may be one of the first hammers that players can get, but it offers all the positive traits that this weapon type usually comes with. It deals decent damage, possesses an easy-to-use moveset, and has great staggering capabilities against early and mid-game enemies. Furthermore, it comes with an A-tier scaling with Strength, making it an excellent choice for any build focusing on this stat.

9 Thief

The Thief class in Dark Souls

In a world that has monsters, mythical creatures, dragons, and undead enemies, what would a Thief even do? Even the Deprived class would feel more fitting to the game’s setting than this one. The worst part is, if players put logic on the back burner, this class is still one of the worst.

The class starts with excellent dexterity, but other than that, it is downright weak in vitality and strength. This will only result in a lot of “You Died” screens for newcomers. Especially when players see the size of the starting weapons. However, one good thing about this class is the inclusion of Master Key.

This class is meant for more experienced players who have learned how to use higher mobility and critical attacks to their advantage. The Bandit’s Knife that one starts with will make it vital to perform ripostes and backstabs if the Chosen Undead ever wishes to make progress. However, the Target Shield that comes alongside it has a pretty wide window for parry timing, which makes life easier for an aspiring Thief. In addition, the very high critical stat of 147 on the Bandit’s Knife means that it won’t take many critical attacks to fell foes.

8 Knight

The Knight class in Dark Souls

The Knight class, from a faraway distance, would look pretty good to anyone, especially newbies. But sadly, it has to be one of the lower ones on the list. Now, sound-wise, a knight fits the ambiance and feel of Dark Souls. But even then, the class becomes overbearing, as it is a low-rank Knight.

This means players will start with good armor, but almost everything else will backfire soon. The weight will be too heavy. The movement will be slow. And for the people picking this for sheer power, there are better classes on the list to start a Strength-based build.

Smarter players will ditch the too-heavy armor right away in favor of one of the lighter sets that can be found in the early game to avoid fat-rolling. If for no other reason, this class should be chosen for instant access to the Broadsword and Tower Kite Shield. This straight sword is incredibly versatile in terms of moveset and offers fast, reliable damage. The medium-sized shield has 100% physical damage reduction, making it very handy in almost any setting.

7 Hunter

The Hunter class in Dark Souls

The Hunter is very similar to the Thief class, except it has a lower starting level. But it is much better in terms of starting weapons, speed, and the fact that the class can be scaled into any build. This class has the right combination of skill, strength, and endurance.

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So damage will be a bit more, and running away from enemies would provide the players an extra second. This should be enough to help players through hard times. One downside would be making this class into a magic-based build that would require more souls.

The Shortsword given to this class acts very much like the Broadsword that Knights start with; however, as its name implies, it does not have the same reach as other straight swords. Instead, its power comes from its speed and low stamina cost per quick slash. Hunters also start with a Short Bow and 30 Standard Arrows, which allow for some great early-game cheesing of certain enemies.

6 Sorcerer

The Sorcerer class in Dark Souls

The Sorcerer is a player-specific class that is certainly not recommended for new players who hate learning. This class is perfect if used correctly with the right build. Sorcery is a unique way of playing the game, giving a different experience to the usual hit-and-parry.

The game is filled with unique spells and sorceries that will aid almost every player through the worst part of games with ease. On top of that, the fact that it is a magic-based class would mean that strength shouldn’t matter much.

The catalyst given to starting Sorcerers, boringly named the Sorcerer’s Catalyst, is actually one of the better casting tools that can be acquired in the game. It starts with A-tier scaling in Intelligence and has comparable stats with those found later on. The initial spell that players start with, Soul Arrow, is the bread and butter of Sorcerer builds due to its fast casting time, quick projectile speed (with a bit of homing), and a decent amount of magic damage.

5 Wanderer

The Wanderer class in Dark Souls

A Wanderer class is supposed to be a person who has wandered a great deal of land and seen a lot of things. This results in very balanced stats, with the only downside being the starting level. Wanderer class is pretty good and can be morphed into any build players want.

On top, it starts with decent armor, a scimitar, and a leather shield, which should be easy enough for most starting players to understand. However, the players who want a strength-based build should instead put their focus on the warrior.

Light curved swords, like the Scimitar, are versatile weapons that have some traits that make them preferable to straight swords for players that value mobility over more common maneuvers. The moveset of the Scimitar replaces the standard kick attack with a horizontal slash that is followed by an evasive backflip, which can make the player very tricky to land a hit on. The running attack is also very useful in that its attack start-up is remarkably quick and is an ideal way to initiate combat.

4 Bandit

The Bandit class in Dark Souls

For most people, there shouldn’t be much difference between a thief and a bandit, at least in terms of their sins. However, in Dark Souls, the Bandit class is much more useful. Firstly, the class starts with high strength and endurance, making it more brutal than the nimble thief class. Secondly, the class wields a battle axe and a spider shield.

This class is excellent for dexterity or strength-based builds. Most newcomers should enjoy this, as it is pretty straightforward to use.

With some of the best initial damage out of any weapon in the game, the Battle Axe is a solid starting weapon that can be useful for the entire game if one upgrades it. The Spider Shield that it comes with is arguably the best starting shield in the game, as it has 100% physical damage reduction and total resistance to both the poison and toxic effects, meaning that it can be a stalwart ally when entering the dreaded Blighttown.

3 Cleric

The Cleric class in Dark Souls

The cleric is the best class for people who want the right mix of faith and strength in their build, primarily because the healing miracles will be super handy to almost every player since recovering is important in the unforgiving world of Dark Souls.

The cleric comes with a mace and a pretty awesome east-west shield. This class also starts with the Way of White covenant, so newer players will have an easier time matching up with other co-op players.

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The useful Heal miracle can help players in a tight spot recover health without using a precious Estus Flask, granting the player increased longevity in every situation. The Mace is on par with the Club in most regards, though does not start with as high a scaling at B-tier for Strength. It can be upgraded to get A-tier relatively early, however, which will make it the best of the light hammers in the game because of its base damage outclassing that of the Club.

2 Warrior

The Warrior Class in Dark Souls

Warrior is, hands down, one of the best classes in the game. Almost every player will be able to understand it and play with it quickly. This is also a perfect class to morph into any build, especially strength and dexterity-based ones.

For starters, a warrior class comes with good power and weapon knowledge. This makes it easier to use weapons that require a dexterity cap to begin. On top, this is a new player-friendly class, and shouldn’t stop them from exploring every part of the game.

Some examples of why it is such a good starting class are its weapon, shield, and armor. The Longsword is as basic as straight swords come, though this actually means that it is sufficient in all regards, being the bar at which one should compare others in this weapon class. Its reach, fast attack speed, diverse moveset, and decent damage make it the most balanced weapon in the game.

The Heater Shield is also an awesome piece of gear as it has 100% physical damage reduction in addition to a crucially useful 70% damage reduction against fire. Finally, the armor provides great defensive numbers without being cumbersome enough to cause fat-rolling.

1 Pyromancer

The Pyromancer Class in Dark Souls

There shouldn’t be any doubt that Pyromancer is the best class to start with. It comes with a hand axe, round shield, and pyromancy flame that is very helpful. This is the class for people who want to play Dark Souls for the first time or want to experience a hybrid of strength and deadly pyromancy.

And even though the starting level is 1, this class still outmatches every category, especially when it comes to its usefulness in the vanilla form. This is also the class for people who want to experience the most out of the game in just one playthrough.

The Hand Axe and Cracked Round Shield are less than ideal when compared to other starting weapons and shields, meaning that the pyromancy potential is the biggest reason to choose this class. Starting with the Pyromancy Flame grants players immediate access to the notoriously overpowered fire spells in Dark Souls. Fire is a damage type useful against the majority of foes that one will encounter in Lordran, and this class starts players off with one of the best: Fireball. Lobbing orbs of flame at foes is exactly as deadly as it sounds, turning some of the most grueling areas in the game into fun kindling for lovers of Chaos.

Dark Soulswas released on September 22, 2011, and is available for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Switch, and PC

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