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Soulsborne- To Wield Or Not To Wield?| Column From The Editor

There are a lot of weapons across the Soulsborne universe. A select bunch have attracted a lot of attention for all the right and wrong reasons, but today’s piece is going to discuss some that have flown under the radar. We will talk about Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne and Elden Ring. One weapon will be selected for ‘wield’ and one will be picked for ‘do not wield’.

Demon’s Souls

Wield- Magic Sword “Makoto”

A double-edged sword

The Makoto has quite a lot of baggage, as it constantly drains HP from its user once equipped, and it has absolutely zero scaling. However, it has by far the highest base bleed stat in the game. This weapon will cause havoc in low level PvP and its base damage is high enough combined with its bleed to make most bosses in the game fairly trivial. You’ll want something for end game when this weapon has hit its full potential and begins to fade off, but otherwise, the Makoto is a great choice for a weapon.

Do Not Wield- Blind

It’s a novel concept at best

Katanas and daggers suffer from being weak against heavy armor. The Blind is the only weapon in all of Soulsborne to completely and utterly ignore the entirety of the opponent’s armor, including their shield. Sounds pretty useful, right? You’d be forgiven for thinking this weapon is worth using for that alone, but it simply isn’t. It’s base damage is horrendously poor even with massive Dexterity scaling. Though it does have a niche and can produce amusing results against new players who don’t know how to dodge, anyone else will tear you apart for using this due to its low damage and horrendous range.

Dark Souls 1

Wield- Obsidian Greatsword

Worth the effort!

This weapon is actually very difficult to obtain, as it requires the player to cut the tail off of Black Dragon Kalameet. Kalameet is already a really hard boss fight, but almost all of his attacks make his tail invulnerable. For all the mess the player goes through to get the weapon however, it is absolutely without a doubt worth it. It has very high base damage, incredibly modest stat requirements, and a really cool secondary attack which is lethal and easy to wield. When used two-handed, a strong attack will see the character plunge the sword into the ground as flame pillars erupt around them for major damage. The cherry on top is that the weapon is very light for a greatsword, and when combined with its low stat requirements, pretty much any build out there can use this sword. Overall, this is a wonderful reward for a daunting challenge, and is worth using for anyone.

Do Not Wield- Giant’s Halberd

Just a big disappointment

The Giant’s Halberd is just a mess of a concept handled very poorly. The only thing it has going for it is that it’s damage output is pretty solid against enemies who do not resist lightning. That’s about it. It’s moveset is really awkward and difficult to use, especially in PvP. It has weird stat requirements for a Halberd, demanding high Strength and low Dexterity. That, of course, means it’s for Strength builds. But why would you ever use this when there are many, many better, bigger weapons with comparable stat requirements? It doesn’t hit as hard as most colossal weapons that Strength builds are typically going to want to go for. This could have been salvaged if it could be used behind a shield, as it would then have a niche on turtle builds. Sadly, this can’t be done. To add insult to injury, the area before this halberd is found, Sen’s Fortress, gives the player a free Lightning Spear which is appropriate for Dexterity builds and can be used behind a shield to boot. Simply put, there is no reason to use this halberd unless you’re trying to cosplay as an Anor Londo sentinel for some reason.

Dark Souls 2

Wield: Blue Knight’s Halberd

The ultimate Swiss Army Knife

Welcome to the best halberd in all of Soulsborne. Not only does this title absolutely hold up following the release of Elden Ring, but it’s still not particularly close. Unfortunately, this weapon does have a tendency to get overlooked due to the means in which the player would acquire it- killing Blue Knight Targray, a friendly NPC. That said, if you’re willing to cut yourself off from the Blue Sentinels covenant, you can get this thing very, very early in the game. The reason it’s so incredible is because of just how much utility practically any build can get out of this weapon. For one, it has very modest stat requirements any build can easily meet. For another, it has a solid, typical halberd moveset. However, the selling point is how amazing it is in receiving infusions due to its naturally high base damage. It’s scaling properties in conjunction with this make it lose virtually no base damage when infusing, which is a problem most weapons have to contend with in being infused. As such, the Blue Knight Halberd can be tailored to deal with any situation the player might encounter. It can have an infusion of a particular element that an upcoming boss is weak to. It could also have a build-specific infusion for more general use, such as having a Lightning infusion to better fit a Miracle build, Dark infusion to fit a Hex build and so on. All in all, the Blue Knight’s Halberd is easily the most customizable weapon in the game, and it can provide a player with an X-Factor they can use to deal with anything.

Do Not Wield- Roaring Halberd

This one just gets overshadowed

Dark Souls 2 boasts practically perfect weapon parity that makes pretty much any weapon, even the lowly Broken Sword, at least usable. As such, when assessing less desirable weapons, it’s time to scourge the ranks of the merely decent, those which are notches below the genuinely good, great or amazing weapons in the game. In that regard, we have the unwieldy, outclassed Roaring Halberd. While split Dark damage does have its situational merit and the halberd does hit quite hard when used properly, it has quite the high skill curve for a fairly middling return. Like all halberds, the Roaring Halberd has a ‘sweet spot’ that is the tip of the weapon. Like all halberds, if the player has issues consistently hitting the sweet spot, they will find their damage output to be disappointing. However, the real kicker to the Roaring Halberd is it’s lack of flexibility, fairly amusing considering a halberd with unlimited flexibility just showed up as a ‘wield’ for this game. For one, the Roaring Halberd’s performance is actually slightly surpassed by having just a regular halberd infused with Dark unless the target is weak to Dark. The Roaring Halberd cannot be infused or buffed like a regular halberd or the aforementioned Blue Knight’s Halberd can be either. Another nasty negative about the Roaring Halberd is that it requires a very limited Petrified Dragon Bone in order to upgrade it. Why would you ever use Petrified Dragon Bones on this weapon when there are many better weapons which demand this resource for upgrade? All in all, you can perform passably at best with the Roaring Halberd, and for how badly overshadowed it is, there is scarcely a reason beyond wanting to cosplay as a Skeleton Lord to use this weapon.

Bloodborne

Wield- Rifle Spear

Lots of utility!

The Rifle Spear is an interesting, overlooked candidate for a weapon. It is acquired pretty early in the game and can be had in a couple different ways, both involving traveling through Old Yharnam. It’s a bit easy to see why it doesn’t get more love, as it is pretty aesthetically plain and it doesn’t have an eye-popping stat layout. However, the Rifle Spear offers surprising use in a few different fights and a couple different areas that help it to standout. Its untransformed moveset is actually generally its best, as it gives the player excellent crowd control, speed and range. It can also use a transforming attack that hits like a truck on Bloodtinge builds and can potentially act as a parry for other play styles. It’s fully charged heavy attack in its transformed version also hits extremely hard and will floor people in PvP if it actually hits. For its wide array of positive traits, the Rifle Spear’s damage output is a touch inconsistent but it otherwise makes for a solid pick that can be taken to end game competently.

Do Not Wield- Saw Spear

It just doesn’t distinguish itself

Like Dark Souls 2, there really aren’t any bad weapons in Bloodborne. As such, we take a look at a fairly middling one. The Saw Spear isn’t necessarily bad, but the reason it rightfully doesn’t see more use can be found by peering at the cover art for the game. The existence of the Saw Cleaver muddies any real niche the spear could have by virtue of the fact that it can be acquired completely for free as a starter weapon. The Spear does slightly outrange the Cleaver, but this isn’t enough to justify its use given that fights in Bloodborne tend to take place up close, and the cleaver has more than enough range as is. Unfortunately, there just isn’t much of a reason to use this weapon.

Dark Souls 3

Wield- Vordt’s Great Hammer

When high base damage and status merge

Dark Souls 3 introduced the Frostbite mechanic. When frostbite build up hits its max, the target will take a lot of damage, have their dodge rolling slowed down and take more damage from all sources for a period of time. Typically, the earliest the player can get their hands on a frost inducing weapon will be this one right here, trading Vordt of the Boreal Valley’s soul in to Ludleth for it. It hits just as hard as your average great hammer, but when factoring in its frostbite build up, it easily pulls ahead of them all. If co-oping with another player, the Vordt’s Great Hammer now just starts embarrassing the competition, as your friend will benefit from the enemy being frost bitten as well. It gets overlooked due to how early on it’s acquired as well as how it’s not the most aesthetically awe inspiring weapon ever made, but you can’t argue with results. Deploy and enjoy.

Do Not Wield- Valorheart

Horrible in every way

This is the part of Dark Souls 3 people were probably afraid of- when From Software ran out of ideas and just slapped a random concept together to call it a day. Here we have a horrible shield and a plain straight sword, thrown together and called the same weapon. You can’t use just the terrible shield or uninteresting sword by themselves, you have to use them together. The player would be better off equipping a Buckler shield along with a plain Broadsword and calling it a day, as they’d be getting a vastly superior defensive option and a relatively on-par offensive one, and they’d get those weapons much more easily and with lesser stat requirements to wield them than this absolute dog water Valorheart.

Elden Ring

Wield- Eleonora’s Poleblade

Stylish and speedy to slice the foe up

When the average Elden Ring player thinks of a good bleed weapon, Rivers of Blood undoubtedly is the first thing that comes to mind. Then you’ve got other strong picks such as the Mohgwyn Scared Spear, Morgott’s Cursed Blade or Reduvia. However, the Eleonora’s Poleblade deserves mention along these weapons, and perhaps should even be viewed as the superior overall pick. As a twin blade, it strikes very quickly and can build up bleed without using a weapon art faster than its contemporaries, minus the Reduvia. As for its weapon art, it offers both offensive and defensive utility. Inputting it once will see the character rush forward and quickly throw out five strikes, while hitting a second input sees the character throw out two more attacks before swiftly dashing backward. The backward dash can help get out of the way of danger, as whatever the player is attacking will likely have their retaliation readied at that point, and this dash back can potentially allow the player to avoid this blow. Possessing the same standout traits as meta-defining weapons and offering its own unique niche, this weapon should be viewed as one of the best weapons in the game. It is likely overlooked due to the fact that it’s a twin blade, so it’s options for powerstancing are limited, and the player does have to kill an NPC in a slightly obscure area to get the it.

Do Not Wield- Ordovis’s Greatsword

Aesthetically pleasing, but that’s about it

This is a weapon that actually could have been a top 5 weapon had it appeared in any other Soulsborne game. Here, however, it is embarrassingly weak. This is because it deals split Holy damage, an element nearly every important boss in the game and many important enemies a massively resist. This sword’s damage output in these fights will come up woefully short compared to even plain and ordinary items such as the Lordsworn Greatsword. The Ordovis Vortex, the weapon art, sure looks and feels cool to use but is highly unwieldy due to having a large wind up. It’s quite unfortunate, as the player has to win an incredibly hard boss fight and go through a difficult dungeon to get this weapon along with the Crucible Knight armor set.

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