If you play Elden Ring so far and then do not try out bow builds, you're really missing out on a ton of fun and some really excellent boss-melting damage. Despite the shortcomings of this weapon category, bows can truly be devastating and oftentimes completely outclassed even weapons that are normally considered god-tier for most of the content. So that's why in today's guide, we're going to take a look at the highest damage viable end-game bow builds for Elden Ring.
In Elden Ring, since Bows have a low scaling with their primary damaging dealing stats - there's not even a single long or short bow in the game that goes beyond a D, simply bows are considered just not that good. Bows also have this issue of you needing to farm and craft your arrows yourself, so why not just go for one of the other OP ranged options in the game that seemingly are easier to maintain make, and easier to play with? While there is more to bows than you might think, an OP bow-only build even can cover your progression path for the early, mid, and late game in Elden Ring. Now check out the below top 5 best bow builds to discover the powerful secret of this weapon category:
1. One Shot Golem Greatbow Archer Build
If you are looking to dominate Elden Ring with a Bow Build that has the capability to one-shot any boss in the game, this is the ideal build for you. This One Shot Archer is incredibly OP and makes use of the strongest Bow in Elden Ring with other Top Tier optional quality build weapons as well. So whether you want to 1 shot Bosses with a Greatbow, a Colossal Weapon, or just a Greatsword, this is the build for you - being a ranger that Snipes your enemies with headshots and just destroys everything, utilizing the distance to his enemy is agility, using bows to deal ranged DPS and just having this skill in handling the bow.
On a range build, we don't need too much Vigor, so we put 40 soft cap as always feel free to put a little bit more. Strength is our main damage stat so we're going to push it all the way up to the soft cap of 80. This is sort of a quality build because of the scaling on our main weapon, so you're initially going to push Dexterity to 60 and then use some tools later to try to get it as close to that 80 soft caps as possible. As always we're going to hit that PVE Poise breakpoint of 51 and we're doing this so the enemies' light attacks do not interrupt our attack animation and this could become a real factor with the slower animation of bows.
Mian-Hand Weapon: Golem Greatbow
When it comes to a bow one-shot build, we obviously want the strongest bow In Elden Ring, which turns out to be the Golem Greatbow - it is the highest AR bow in the game, and has q 10% drop rate from respawning Golems.
Off-Hand Weapon: Lion Greatbow
Another bow we're going to pick up for this build is the Lion Greatbow - it provides a 20% buff to Radahn's Spears, even equipped in the off-hand slot. In order to get this bow, all you need to do is kill Radahn, and then you can purchase it at any point in the roundtable.
Arrow: Golem's Great Arrow
Now for larger enemies like dragons when you're using through, you want to use the Golem's Great Arrow - it has a wind AOE that will knock over Humanoids and provide AOE damage as well, the AOE air explosion pairs very well with Rain of Arrows and Through and Through.
Arrow: Radahn's Spear
Now on small to medium-sized bosses, you're going to want to use the Radahn's Spear greatarrows for a 20% damage bonus on Headshots. You can also purchase it from Enia at the Roundtable Hold after killing Radahn. Even when the Lion Greatbow in your offhand, you still get the damage bonus for using these.
Arrow: Great Arrow
If you're using your greatbow for just general exploration, you don't want to burn through your top-tier ammunition, just head to the Hermikt Merchant or Nomadic Merchant and buy Great Arrows, they sell an unlimited supply. We would recommend using these in non-boss situations.
Melee Weapon Giant Crusher
Now as a barbarian with so much strength, we would recommend picking up the Giant Crusher - it's the highest AR weapon in Elden Ring and it skills incredibly well with the build that we're already using. This weapon is just ground loot, all you need to do is defeat the Ulcerated Tree Spirit that's guarding it.
Ashes of War
For melee weapons, use whatever Ash of War skill you want, but for bows there are some that we specifically recommend:
Through and Through - This is the most important ash of war for this build - arrows will pass through all enemies, particularly effective against large Bosses hitting multiple times as it passes through.
Rain of Arrows - Greates a large shower of arrows from the sky, even more, effective with Golem's Greatarrows' AOE.
With armor, as usual, there are two major considerations, we have the defense and Poise side of things and then the fashion Soul side. This setup ticks all the boxes
Legs: Night's Cavalry Greaves - Give 15 Poise and have a great Poise to weight ratio
Gloves: Night's Cavalry Gauntlets - Give us another 5 Poise and they match the Knight's Cavalry Greaves
Chest Armor: Night's Cavalry Armor which - Give us 25 Poise.
Helm: Black Knife Hood - For purely aesthetic purposes and 5 Posie
This set has really good poised-to-weight ratio and lots of Fashion Souls Swagger. Realistically all you need to do is try to hit the 51 Poise breakpoint for PVE and wear whatever armor you want now
Talismans play a huge role in adding damage to your build, now the Talisman that carries the most weight for this build might actually surprise you:
Shard of Alexander - It raises damage from skills by 15%, this will apply to both Through and Through and Reign of Arrows.
Arrow's Sting Talisman - For any bow build in the game, you're always going to want to use the Arrow's Sting Talisman, this is just a flat 10% increase in damage to all arrows and bolts.
Spear Talisman - Now counter-attacks provide 30% more damage and that actually stacks with the Spear Talisman which provides a 15% increase to counterattack damage.
Ritual Sword Talisman - Ritual Sword increases damage by 10% while at full HP.
Arrow's Reach Talisman - Increases the range of projectiles by 65%.
Buffs & Flasks:
You can help you absolutely dominate in under 5 seconds with only three Buffs:
Rallying Standard - Raises all damage and damage negation by 20% for 30 seconds.
Bloodboil Aromatic - Raises physical damage by 30%, but increases damage taken by 25% for 60 seconds
Strength-Knot Crystal Tear - Raises strength by 10 for 3 minutes
Dexterity-Knot Crystal Tear - Raises Dexterity by 10 for 3 minutes
You can use whatever consumables you want with this build:
Sleep Pot - This one we would recommend strongly, situationally these can be incredibly strong in making a hard boss fight into a very easy boss fight, it also indirectly increases your damage output by 20%.
2. One-Shot Blackbow Archer Build
This is going to be a quality build that makes use exclusively of bows and several buffs to reach that max damage potential and truly melt bosses. Specifically the black bow, the Albinauric greatbow, and the lion's greatbow are what we're using with this build, all pretty much best in slot for their intended purposes. This means you're constantly going to try to take down enemies and especially bosses from really far away and unleash as much damage as possible before they can even reach you. Since you need quite a bit to make this work, you'll also spend a bit of time pre-buffing before major fights but we did not find it to take too long, and the extra damage you get at the end of it more than makes up for any slight downtime. Now because most of the bosses in Elden Ring have rather large hitboxes, this means you're going to have an excellent time unleashing both massive physical damage but also status buildup, like for example bleed and frostbite despite having minimal to no investments into arcane whatsoever. There's also an option for single target damage and you can also go in uninterrupted as this is all going to give you the possibility to shoot your arrows even when jumping or dodging away from incoming attacks.
In terms of the stats, as we've said this is a quality build, so since most of the bows do get a descaling in both dexterity and strength, we're going to use about 60 points into each of these at level 150, but you should push towards 80 above.
Main-Hand Weapon: Black Bow+25
Despite being just a bow, it does use the jump and the dodge arrows shot attacks from the short bones, this allows you to jump and then immediately follow up with a much faster arrow shot upon landing, which is quite amazing since you're going to still want to like to dodge incoming attacks. And speaking of dodging, you can similarly dodge and then follow up with a shot, it's going to still be extremely fast giving you incredible uptime and DPS even when avoiding attacks. But most important this does give you a very good weapon skill called the Barrage, this lets you shoot arrows continuously and a lot faster than normal making it a perfect option for both damage and applying status effects.
Off-Hand Weapon: Albinauric Bow+25
Albinauric Bow is more centered towards AOE slash large hitbox options. This is a slightly better option than the basic longbow. Coupled with a Reign of Arrows as Ash of War, this is going to transform it into an incredible way of raining damage upon enemies' heads, especially ones with large hitboxes, this ensures that all arrows hit, and this is basically the way to stack up the damage and also the status effects.
Off-Hand Weapon: Lion Greatbow
This has a much higher base damage than any other bow in this build, and also one of the best weapon skills called Radahn's Rain. This Ash of War is basically a much stronger variant than the Rain of Arrows, so it is going to deal more damage. Furthermore, if you combine this with radon spears, you're going to get an extra 20% physical damage. This is basically the bow that you'll want if your enemies resist any of those status damages or if you just want pure physical damage and extremely high numbers.
Left Hand Weapon: Commander's Standard
This isn't even required to be upgraded and its special ability gives you a 20% damage buff for 30 seconds.
Use of the Seppuku plus the commander standard for the final piece, this is going to give us the full damage potential, and results in buffing your damage and unlocking that insane boss melting damage completely destroying any boss in Elden Ring or at the very least the high-end ones.
Lord of Blood's Exaltation - We're going to make use of the white mask plus the Lord of Blood's Exaltation talisman for an additional 30% damage for 20 seconds whenever there's bloodlust in our vicinity.
Arrow's Sting Talisman - We can't make an aerocentric build without also including the Arrow's Sting Talisman for that extra 10% damage to arrow damage
Shard of Alexander - A no-brainer for almost any build that makes use of weapon skills, which this one, in particular, does rely on quite a lot
Axe Talisman - It does affect the Rain of Arrows ash of war since that is considered a charged attack so this buffs it for an extra 10% damage
Spiked Cracked Tear - In terms of the strategy, we do need to buff the damage as much as possible to truly melt bosses which is why we'll start any fight with a spiked cracked tear physic potion, this buffs charge attacks by 15% but it lasts for a whopping 3 minutes.
Bloodboil Aromatic - Follow up with a Bloodboil Aromatic and it gives you a hefty 30% damage boost for 30 seconds.
3. One-Shot Lion Greatbow Archer Build
This build is able to throw out tons of damage at every boss, in the game regardless of how tanky, small, or mobile they are. So this solid bow build that is going to be one shot for a variety of enemies and it's really good for bosses as well. We've basically been an Unstoppable force that goes through everything, but anyways let's actually dive into the build now.
We can go over the minimum stats required to use everything in this build:
Surprisingly we're not going to be using this bow normally, but rather for its Ash of war and passive buff that are both extremely good. So the Ash of War on this weapon is Radahn's Rain which is the exact same thing as Rain of Arrows - shoot one Arrow into the sky and rain down 20 of them obliterating large targets. Except, this is a greatbow, so it's going to do a lot more damage than if Rain of Arrows was placed on a regular bow or a short bow.
Golem's Great Arrows
With the way we have this build set up, no matter how big or small your opponent is you're going to be able to rain down tons of damage regardless. Now the way we achieve this is with the type of arrows we use them being the Golem's Great Arrows, these absolute missiles are insanely good all around. And there's a good explanation for why we are calling them missiles, whenever you shoot one of these great arrows the first thing it comes into contact with causes them to explode, so if we combine this with the ash of war Radahn's Rain, we're basically just calling down an airstrike that obliterates anyone in front of us.
Because those arrows are a bit difficult to get a lot of, we add a second bow to this build that we're actually going to be using normally this time - the Golem Greatbow. It's one of the best bows to use having a C rating in strength which is amazing because all the bows in the game usually have a D rating or nothing at all. Therefore we can increase its damage output by putting the majority of our points into strength, making it a strength-focused build. Besides this, we have another way of making this bow hit a lot harder. Now if you remember the lying great bow, it has a really good passive buff to it that being a 20% damage increase when firing Radahn's Spears, so what's fantastic about this is when we have the Lion bow in our offhand, we can still get that 20% damage increase while firing the arrows from the Golem bow which has a higher attack power rating. On top of that the arrows or spears that give us a 20% damage increase are infinitely buyable. At the end of the day, it's phenomenal for dealing with strong opponents and even the toughest bosses in the game with how much damage you do per shot.
You always need at least one melee weapon for any build in general, regardless if it's magic or consumable-focused, hence the sword we're using is the Iron Greatsword, absolutely astonishing. It's the hardest-hitting Greatsword that skills with the strength which we have a lot of points in because of the Golem Greatbow. Even if you don't put the heavy Affinity on it to skill with strength, the damage difference is so minor that almost having nothing to do but level the sword up and you're good, even the ash of war that comes with it Stamp the upward cut variation is phenomenal against most enemies.
Overall the Iron Greatsword is good against all enemies, but we do have a very good alternative to this - the Zweihander. It does a bit less damage than the Iron Greatsword not by a great amount and weighs a bit more as well except it's 100 times easier to get.
Speaking of damage, we have the below talismans, which most of you probably saw coming since they are the only two bow-related talismans in the game
Ritual Sword Talisman - We can throw on the Ritual Sword Talisman that gives us an extra 10% damage increase while at full health, this Talisman just makes a lot of sense for this setup - because it's a bow build, we're going to be staying far away from our targets avoiding any incoming damage.
Arrow's Sting Talisman - It increases all damage from arrows and bolts by an extra 10%, very straightforward, and no catch to it at all.
Arrow's Reach Talisman - It's going to decrease or damage fall off when shooting at a distance, now this is really key because we want to keep as much range as possible from our targets but also not lose any damage due to the far range.
Shard of Alexander - Increases the damage of all Ash of war attacks including our bow's as well, by an extra 15%. So this is going to benefit every weapon we have equipped.
Black Knife Set
This armor set just looks really fashionable which we think we can all agree on, but it also offers a fair amount of protection for how light it is and a good passive that comes on the chest armor. When wearing the black knife armor, unaltered which is very important, it silences all of our walking rolls and jumps entirely. This is just going to make it far easier to sneak by enemies to avoid close-range fights and even set ourselves up in a good position to shoot some arrows. This isn't an absolute must-have but it is very helpful. If you intend on using other armor no worries it's not going to ruin the build or anything at all.
Flasks of Wondrous Physick:
Greenspill Crystal Tear - There aren't any particular tiers that really help out with our bows besides the Flask of Wondrous Physick that'll increase our maximum stamina by 15% for 3 minutes, so we can use the Ash of War Through and Through more times before we completely run out of stamina.
Greenburst Crystal Tear - This one increases our stamina recovery speed by 33% for 3 minutes as well, nothing spectacular but these will benefit us the most compared to the other tears by quite a bit. We would recommend using this during boss fights or areas where you know you're going to be shooting a lot of arrows or just consuming tons of stamina.
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