Character builds are the bread and butter for nearly every single FromSoftware title, stemming all the way back to the original Demon Souls. They have and still continue to be a significant feature in many RPGs, however, they are arguably the most pivotal in FromSoftware games like Elden Ring.
There are countless builds to choose from in Elden Ring, however, this piece will be focusing on one of the more varied builds: Sorcerers.
It is important to note that there isn’t necessarily one set way to play a sorcerer type character in Elden Ring, as even builds have sub-builds within them. Nevertheless, this piece will be covering the overarching points regarding sorcerers to identify if they really are any good in Elden Ring.
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Obviously, the main reason why people choose to be a sorcerer is to utilise the vast amount of cool magic spells to be found in this massive open world.
Spells are really the make or break point for sorcerers; if the foundation isn’t there, there’s nothing to build on. Thankfully, Elden Ring does not disappoint when it comes to spells to choose from.
Sure, there are some spells that are completely useless and will likely never be used within any given scenario, but those are far and few. Even the starting spells for the Astrologer class are decent enough to be used well into the later portions of the game.
Like Dark Souls 3, there’s a cost with everything, for example, some spells cost little FP but have weak damage output, and some spells cost a lot of FP but have larger damage output. You need to apply each spell to the given situation.
Some stand out spells include Rock Sling, Comet, Carian Greatsword, and Comet Azur, just to name a few.
In order to make the most out of these spells, you should mainly invest your level points into Mind and Intelligence, as this will both increase the damage of spells and the amount of FP you can use before your meter drains. All spells require a certain level of Intelligence to use, so you really need to invest if you want to get to the good stuff.
By now, you’ve probably seen videos online of people defeating high-difficulty bosses in a matter of seconds whilst using some of these spells. Well, that can be you if you play your cards right.
Before you can even go about casting a spell in the game, you’ll need to have a staff equipped first. Luckily, these nifty long sticks aren’t particularly difficult to find, with two classes (Astrologer and Prisoner) both starting with one in their inventory. However, you’ll soon realise that it isn’t practical to hold on to the same staff throughout your entire playthrough.
This is where the pros for being a sorcerer start to become a bit shady.
An issue that you’ll likely find when beginning your playthrough (especially for Astrologers) is that most of the staffs you’ll come across throughout your travels will be less powerful than the starting one that you are already using. This isn’t really ideal and isn’t as common an issue for other builds such as Strength or Dexterity builds.
If you know where to look, you will be able to come across one of the best staffs in the game quite early on. Although, you will be set up for disappointment when you realise that almost every other staff in the game will be underpowered and basically useless.
One staff (and arguably the best) that you will likely find later on in your playthrough is Lusat’s Glintstone Staff, which has the benefit of enhancing the power of all spells but at the cost of additional FP consumption. This is an ideal staff for sorcerer builds, and can make a huge difference when facing off against bosses.
It’s really having staffs like these which separate great sorcerers from amazing sorcerers. You won’t get far by sticking with the bear minimum in a game like this.
An additional sidearm can be useful to have equipped for people opting for a battle-mage build. Thankfully, there are a fair few unique melee weapons to be used for sorcery builds. Equipping a magical ash of war on any weapon also works as an alternative. Just make sure not to completely neglect other stats like dexterity which are often a requirement for the more decent magic melee weapons.
ARMOR AND ITEMS
It’s safe to say that armor, like in other Soulsborne games, is less essential for sorcery/ranged builds than it is for up-close builds such as warrior builds. With that said, it still plays a large role in optimising your character to be the best spell caster in the valley.
Unfortunately, like staff variation, whilst there are a decent amount of sorcerer armor sets to choose from, the majority of them are less powerful than the starting armor set for the Astrologer set, meaning that sorcerers can start to feel a bit bland when it comes to progression outside of spells.
You’ll likely find yourself clinging onto your starting gear for a large portion of the main questline, and even then it’s very possible to miss any decent ones if you don’t fully explore the areas.
This again is an area where sorcerers seem to fall short in comparison to other builds.
Armor aside, talismans can be very beneficial for sorcerers and can often negate some of the weaker aspects of the build. For example, using the Radagon Icon talisman combined with an upgraded Azur’s Glintstone Staff and high intelligence can increase spell casting speed by a whole 25%, which is an invaluable asset for facing off against some of the faster bosses in the game.
Like armor and weapons, you will need to know where to look to get some of the good ones. However, thankfully, a fair few can be obtained through defeating bosses or looting corpses/chests.
COMPARISON TO OTHER BUILDS
If you are a SoulsBorne veteran, then the chances are one of the main things you are thinking about is how sorcery compares to other builds.
Generally speaking, there isn’t a huge amount to fault about most builds in Elden Ring. This is a game that has been years in the making, and every build has been accounted for when designing every single feature. There are some strong weaknesses for some builds, but these are often cancelled out by the benefits to be reaped later on.
It is worth noting that in games such as Elden Ring, there are countless different scenarios you will be faced with, some of which might not be catered to your specific build. Equally, there are many bosses where sorcery is very much in your favour. Just don’t be surprised if you get stumped by a boss who seems to be unphased by your magical attacks.
There is definitely a large payoff to be received for investing time and skill into sorcery, and in the long run, sorcerers can easily be one of the best builds in the game. Being able to tackle enemies from a distance is something that most melee-oriented builds cannot do. On the other hand, the chances are most people will not experience the full value of being a sorcerer until much later in the game.
It’ll take some grinding, but it won’t take long for you to unlock the true capabilities of what sorcerers have to offer.
(YouTube video by: Solsenu)
What’s your favourite character build in Elden Ring? Let me know in the comments below!