Dark Souls 3 isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill RPG – it is riddled with complexities and creative elements that set it well apart from its competitors in the RPG genre. Only Soulsborne veterans can understand the love, care, and creativity that FromSoftware puts into its games, as well as why did a game like Dark Souls 3 take a whole 3-year period to develop before its official launch. For instance, while one may think that basic stats such as damage values, attack speed, and stamina consumption mainly dictate the viability of a weapon, Dark Souls 3 shrugs and says, “not really.”
Status effects are a relatively mainstream RPG element, where coming in contact with particular objects or dealing damage from certain projectiles causes ailments like poison which affects you negatively. Dark Souls 3 takes this one step further and makes it so players can inflict status effects on the environment and other players, also known as “Auxiliary Effects” in this specific context. There are three auxiliary effects in Dark Souls 3: Poison, Bleed, and Frostbite – certain weapons tailored towards maximizing even any Rwof these effects can make them a force to be reckoned with in both PvE and PvP. While diving into all three auxiliary effects would be too much for the scope of one guide, I will go over the Best Bleed Weapons in Dark Souls 3 and the factors surrounding them.
Bleed: The best Auxiliary effect?
If you’ve never strived for a bleed build before, then you have most likely come in contact with this auxiliary effect at some point in your playthrough. Maybe you breezed through some Cathedral Grave Wardens in the Cathedral of the Deep; maybe you traded blows with a Carthus Swordsman in the Catacombs of Carthus, or perhaps you got sliced up by a Pontiff Knight the moment you step foot in Irithyll of the Boreal Valley. These enemies inflict bleeding with their weapons.
The Bleed HUD status bar appears the moment you deal damage from a bleed source, be it a weapon or a spell – the bar will fill up with every hit taken from the said bleed source until the target’s bleed resistance is exceeded. Finally, once it gets proc’d (complete), the bar will vanish, and bleedout/bloodloss will occur, which is instantly dealing damage equivalent to 15% of your target’s max HP on top of an additional 50 – 200 flat damage depending on the bleed source.
The Bleed effect can be mitigated with equipment such as the Bloodbite Ring, Fleshbite Ring, by items such as a Mossfruit and spells such as Deep Protection and Profused Sweat. Furthermore, bleed can be cured before fully proc’ing with things such as the Bloodred Moss Clump, Divine Blessing, and Caressing Tears (a spell).
Best Bleed Weapons In Dark Souls 3
For example, if your target is an unembered player with 40 vigor (equating to 1213 max HP), 15% of their HP would be roughly 182 points. So, with a bleed weapon, the amount of damage you can deal with the bleed status effect ranges from 182 to 382! Isn’t that scary? It gets more frightening when you center your build around not only maximizing that spicy bleed damage but also the speed at which the status effect procs.
Now that you’re well-familiar with how Bleed works let’s take a look at some of the best Bleed Weapons in Dark Souls 3.
Carthus Curved Greatsword
The Carthus Curved Greatsword is considered one of the best bleed weapons in Dark Souls 3. If you don’t want to delve into the statistics and want a bleed weapon that won’t disappoint, try this bad boy out! The upgrade path for this weapon is quite apparent: reinforce it up to +10 with titanite and carry out blood infusion with a Blood gem. This, along with 40 luck, gives the Carthus Curved Greatsword 99 bleed, meaning that you can easily inflict bleeding within just 3-4 hits! Having 99 bleed in Dark Souls 3 is insane since very few weapons can achieve this feat with such stats and eviscerate enemies susceptible to bleed.
The Carthus Curved Greatsword has a D scaling in Strength and a C scaling in Dexterity, making it a wiser choice to fit it onto a dex build. Moreover, as you may have expected, being a greatsword, this weapon comes with solid range and hyper armor. Its hyper armor or poise is particularly useful for its Weapon Art which is Spin slash. Spin Slash is a very deadly Weapon art that deals immense damage as your character unleashes a large spinning slash followed by a strong attack.
As far as PvP combos are concerned, I would recommend going for the ones where multiple hits connect on top of the first one. This is because your focus is not to deal the most damage but to inflict as many hits as possible since Bleed will do the rest of the job for you. A combo you should heavily rely on is the right light attack followed by the right heavy attack. Another potent combo for trading blows would be the right light attack into its Weapon art – if you’re ever able to land this one in, the outcome is virtually decided at that point.
Location: Dropped by Grave Warden Skeletons in the Catacombs of Carthus.
Onikiri and Ubadachi
The Onikiri and Ubadachi, a katana, used to be one the meta weapons in discussions regarding Bleed builds and, despite the nerfs, has not entirely lost their charm. It is ranked as one of the best Bleed weapons in Dark Souls 3, most notably because of its Weapon Art. The upgrade path for this weapon is, of course, +10 reinforcement with titanite.
However, as far as its infusion is concerned, the Onikiri and Ubadachi do pretty well in both Hollow and Bleed builds – but for the sake of consistency in this guide, I will be expanding upon a Blood infused Onikiri and Ubadachi. A Blood Onikiri and Ubadachi +10, along with high luck, similar to other weapons on this list, grants amazing auxiliary Bleed, which can be proc’ed quite quickly thanks to the Weapon Art, which, one could say, was designed for this purpose.
The Onikiri and Ubadachi should be integrated into a dex build as it comes with a C scaling in Dexterity and D scaling in Strength. The weapon itself, moreover, is very viable as it comes with a decent range, fast attack speed, and of course, dual-wielding capability. While it does supplement an aggressive playstyle, it does fall short on the defensive side of things – you cannot hold a shield or equip a catalyst for spell-casting in your off-hand, so only take up this weapon if you’re looking for high risk, high reward.
Furthermore, let’s not forget its Weapon Art that I particularly praised earlier. Its Weapon Art is called Onislayer, which is found on none other weapons apart from itself. Once activated, your player will jump and slice your enemy open with a powerful, double-bladed slash.
Do not underestimate the lethality of this Weapon Art as it deals insane bleed buildup and has so much hyper armor that it poises through any light attack. With that said, you don’t need to rely on unique combos for this weapon, as spamming its Weapon Art at crucial points of time will be more than enough.
Location: Dropped by Black Hand Kamui at the top floor of the Grand Archives.
Another way of inflicting bloodloss as fast as possible is using weapons that hit fast and hard. This is where the Warden Twinblades shine and earn a spot in my list of the best Bleed weapons in Dark Souls 3. The upgrade path for this lethal pair of swords is similar to that of the Carthus Curved Greatsword: reinforce it up to +10 with titanite and carry out blood infusion with a Blood gem. This, along with 40 luck, gives a bleed of 77 auxiliary points, which, while not as much as the Blood Carthus Curved Greatsword +10, is still quite frightening given its faster attack speed.
On the other hand, the Warden Twinblades have a D scaling in Strenght and a D scaling in Dexterity – while equally viable on both builds, I would recommend centering a dex build around it is arguably a more dexterity-centric weapon. This is complemented by the fact that the weapon is highly spammable and somewhat rewards “R1 spamming”.
Therefore, as you usually expect from dual-wielding weapons, the Warden Twinblades support a very aggressive playstyle. You will intimidate your enemies not only with raw aggression but with a bleed HUD bar that will constantly remind them of how close they are to a bleedout, almost as if saying, “think carefully before making your next move.”
PvP combos are not as noteworthy in the case of the Warden Twinblades because, in comparison to the Carthus Curved Greatsword, you do not need to rely on combos to connect several hits successfully. The Warden Twinblades are fast, and their attack speed should not be underestimated. One quite powerful combo with them is easily the right light attack into the weapon art, which will proc bleed quickly.
Location: Dropped by Cathedral Grave Wardens, outside Cathedral of the Deep and Untended Graves.
How to make these weapons overpowered
In order to make the most out of Bleed, keep three things in mind: Luck, Blood infusion, and Carthus Rouge. While the Luck stat conventionally determines how often your enemies will drop items upon dying, it also increases Bleed and Poison applying speed for those of you who didn’t know. Between 0 and 20 luck, the Bleed buildup sees a low increase; between 20 and 40 luck, bleed buildup speeds up by a reasonably good amount; between 40 and 50 luck, bleed buildup experiences a moderator boost. I recommend staying within the 30-50 range as going higher, even up to 99 luck will give little to no benefit relatively.
Another reason luck is so important is that the infamous Carthus Rouge actually scales with it! This is also why Hollow Builds have been rising in popularity, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Carthus Rouge applies to bleed on any right-hand, buffable weapon and should undisputedly be used extensively with weapons that, by nature, passively cause Bleed (such as the ones mentioned above).
Apart from Carthus Rouge and its significant addition to bleed buildup in general, don’t also forget to Blood infuse your weapon via a Blood Gem. Blood infusions are almost a necessity as they are primarily responsible for increasing the damage inflicted upon bleedout/bloodloss.
Hollow Builds: A new trend
Hollow Builds are in heated competition with Bleed builds, in a sense that some of the best bleed weapons in Dark Souls 3 can also be fitted onto a Hollow Build. The logic behind Hollow Builds is to exploit the viability of the Carthus Rouge, which, as I discussed earlier, scales with luck.
Instead of a blood infusion with a blood gem, you can opt for a hollowed infusion with a hollow gem. What this does is that while it reduces base damage along with Strength & Dexterity scaling, it improves luck scaling and grants five extra points to your luck stat if you’re hollow. Hollowing is a sort of a stat that is incremented when the player dies whilst being branded with a Dark Sigil which is given to you by Yoel of Londor. Essentially, the amount of hollowing gained every death is equal to the number of Dark Sigils in your inventory – you become hollow at 15 or more hollowing.
Now that you’re hollow, you will achieve five extra points to your luck stat with every hollow-infused weapon equipped. This, as you may expect, will significantly increase your luck and consequently make Carthus Rouge much more potent, not just on Bleed weapons but on any right-hand, buffable weapon in general. Read more from our Hollow/Luck build guide!
As I said at the beginning of the guide, the discussion of viability around weapons in Dark Souls 3 isn’t just centered around stats like attack speed, damage values, or stamina consumption – things go much deeper than that! And I believe I have demonstrated that point by opening a new chapter in that discourse regarding Auxiliary effects bleed being arguably the best amongst them. If you want to go for a bleed build, you must select a weapon that innately causes bleeding as opposed to relying on bleed-giving buffs like Carthus Rouge. Amongst such bleed weapons, some of the bests are the Carthus Curved Greatsword, the Onikiri and Ubadachi, and the Warden Twinblades. Give them a shot if you’re feeling adventurous, lest they face another nerf in the near future!