What are Catalysts In Dark Souls 3?
Magic (Sorcery, Pyromancy, and Miracles) is considered to be the most overpowered force of combat in the game, both in PvE and PvP – the statement has been reinforced time and time again as the Dark Souls community continues to amaze the player base with frightening one-shot builds that eviscerate even endgame bosses in PvE and Havel monsters in PvP. But how do you use magic in Dark Souls 3? That’s where Catalysts come into the equation.
- Catalysts are specialized weapons used in Dark Souls 3 to cast spells equipped in Attunement Slots; they are considered to be the most overpowered force of combat.
- Best catalysts in Dark Souls 3 depend on the type of build you’re going for: Sorcery, Pyromancy, Miracle, or Melee-hybrid.
- Catalysts are acquired through different methods, such as drops from enemies, soul transposition, or purchased from merchants.
- Heysel Pick is a melee and sorcery weapon which is one of the best catalysts in Dark Souls 3, and can be combo’d with potent sorceries.
- Demon’s Scar is a pyromancy and melee weapon and is one of the most common weapons used in Pyromancy Builds.
- Rose of Ariandel is a melee and miracle weapon that deals both physical damage and magical damage.
- Court Sorcerer Staff is one of the most powerful Sorcery Catalysts, and can cast the strongest sorceries in the game.
- Pyromancer’s Parting Flame is a pyromancy catalyst that excels at close-range combat and is particularly effective in PvP.
- Yorshka’s Chime is one of the most powerful Miracle Catalysts, and can cast the strongest miracles in the game.
Catalysts are a highly specialized class of weapons in Dark Souls used to cast spells equipped in one’s Attunement Slots (which can be increased by leveling up the Attunement stat or providing specific rings obtained in the game). While their viability only extends as far as spell casting is concerned, there are a few exceptional ‘Melee Combat Catalysts’ that bilaterally behave as both Catalysts and viable Melee weapons.
Best Catalysts In Dark Souls 3
Now this begs the question: What the Best Catalysts in Dark Souls 3? The question, as you may have guessed, does not have a straightforward answer, and depends on what kind of build you’re going for: Sorcery, Pyromancy, Miracle or Melee-hybrid (mainly relevant to PvP).
Heysel Pick (Melee + Sorcery)
The Heysel Pick reigns amongst the meta weapons and is considered one of the Best Catalysts in Dark Souls 3. It requires 12 strength, 10 dexterity, and 19 intelligence to use – once usable; it performs feats that no other catalyst can come close to doing.
On the magic side of things, it can be combo’d with potent sorceries such as Farron Flashsword, Great Farron Dart, Great Soul Arrow (even Soul Greatsword or Old Moonlight if the player has a fast enough cast speed). On the other hand, as a melee weapon, it deals chip damage (damage through shields), has the flexibility to perform jump attacks, and possesses counter damage capability as it is technically a Thrust-type weapon.
While it can not be infused, Heysel Pick, as is the case with most catalysts, has Steady Chant as the weapon art – this increases both the damage of the spells cast by it and the melee damage of the weapon itself.
Putting these two aspects of the weapon together, we get its True Combo in PvP: First, attack from the weapon in your main hand, then perform a light attack from Heysel Pick in your off-hand and then cap it off with a Soul Greatsword (which will roll-catch even if the enemy tries to roll away).
Location: Drops from Yellowfinger Heysel, an invading dark spirit encountered in the Road of Sacrifices.
Demon’s Scar (Melee + Pyromancy)
The Demon’s Scar is one of the most common weapons used in Pyromancy Builds (see our guide on Pyromancy Builds to learn more), making it to the list of Dark Souls 3’s Best Catalysts. It requires 16 dexterity, 17 intelligence, and 17 faith to use – it is the lightest Curved Sword in Dark Souls 3.
As a pyromancy catalyst, it can cast powerful pyromancies such as Chaos Bed Vestiges, Great Combustion, Black Flame, etc. It can also combo with Black Flame and Great Combustion, provided that one has a high enough casting speed (commonly achieved by equipping Sage Ring +2). As a melee weapon, it is fast, capable of performing jump attacks, and arguably outdoes every other Curved Sword in terms of critical damage.
Unlike the Heysel Pick, it has the ‘Spin Slash’ skill as its weapon art, whose description goes as follows: “Spin to stoke a fierce chaos flame and use momentum to transition into a strong spinning attack, creating a short-lived lava pool.” The proper combo for Demon’s Scar is unanimously agreed to be a light attack (R1) into Black Flame – a bonus tip with this combo is that it usually compels opponents to panic roll, which, if you’re good at roll-catching, can send them down into a hellish sequence of relentless being roll-caught.
Location: Acquired by Soul Transposition of the Soul of the Demon Prince at Ludleth of Courtland in Firelink Shrine.
Rose of Ariandel (Melee + Miracle)
The Rose of Ariandel is arguably one of the most underrated weapons in the game, which we will recognize as one of Dark Souls 3’s Best Catalysts. It requires 10 strength, 12 dexterity and 17 faith to use – understanding this weapon inside out is key to using it at its best.
As a miracle catalyst, the miracle that complements this weapon best is undeniably Lightning Arrow. Lightning Arrow is the most versatile miracle in the game, with fast casting speed, and equally fast arrows that hone in on enemies – due to this, it shines brightest when it comes to punishing opponents trying to fall back in an attempt to heal on some Estus Flasks. It has the ‘Awakening’ skill as its weapon art which increases miracle damage by an astonishing 25% for the next 2 minutes
. On the other hand, as a weapon, the Rose of Ariandel is both a whip and a club – in other words, it has a moveset similar to that of a club, but is governed by the mechanics of a whip, meaning it can not be parried but conversely can not backstab or riposte either.
The only limitation with this weapon is its true combo, which is agreed to be with the miracle called Force, a miracle that does not deal damage but knocks the enemy down, which situationally can be pseudocombo’d into other powerful attacks – be creative!
Location: Acquired by Soul Transposition of the Soul of Sister Friede at Ludleth of Courtland in Firelink Shrine.
Court Sorcerer Staff (Sorcery)
The Court Sorcerer Staff is community-ranked as the most powerful catalyst in Dark Souls 3 for sorcerers that do not use dark spells. It falls under the category of a Stave, catalysts that are used to cast sorceries (see our Top 4 Staves guide to learn more about Staves). Remember when we talked about builds that eviscerate even endgame bosses? Well, the Court Sorcerer Staff is often centered around those builds. Hence, it easily counts as one of the Best Catalysts in Dark Souls 3.
The Court Sorcerer Staff requires 6 strength and 14 intelligence to use. It has an A scaling with intelligence, meaning it gets stronger the more you invest into your intelligence stat – at 60 intelligence with +10 reinforcement, it has a frightening spellbuff of 238, which where the real ‘magic’ begins (pun intended). That is, however, the spellbuff calculated without taking Steady Chant into account! Although, bear in mind that the cost of Steady Chant is double in the case of this catalyst, so use it with the mentality of “high risk, high reward”.
Location: Drops from a mimic encountered in the toxic swamp area in the Profaned Capital.
Pyromancer’s Parting Flame (Pyromancy)
Pyromancer Flame is what Pyromancer class players start off with, and while it is considered to be one of the best pyromancy catalysts in the game, its only real competition comes from Pyromancer’s Parting Flame. It requires 15 strength, 13 intelligence and 13 faith to use.
While the Pyromancer’s Parting Flame lags behind just a little in terms of spellbuff, it leaves a trail of fire during its casting animation with pyromancies such as Fireball, Fire Orb, Chaos Bed Vestiges, Great Combustion, Black Flame etc. It could then be argued that this compensates for the slightly less spellbuff.
Testing has also revealed that if any one pyromancy is taken and casted with both Pyromancer Flame and Pyromancer’s Parting Flame, the Pyromancer’s Parting Flame actually deals more damage if the trail damage is also accounted for, and all other variables are kept constant. This, coupled with its skill (Parting Flame), makes it the perfect catalyst for crowd control. Parting Flame can be activated after killing 12 enemies, which grants a small amount of FP and one whole Estus Flask.
Location: Found on a corpse in the area where the Livid Pyromancer Dunnel, a dark invading spirit is encountered in the Ashes of Ariandel DLC.
Yorshka’s Chime (Miracle)
Yorshka’s Chime marks the last entry in our list of Dark Souls 3 Best Catalysts. A bonus that this catalyst comes with is the skill ‘Gentle Prayer’ that is found with most Sacred Chimes. This casts a shade of healing over the player, slowly recovering HP for a duration of time – it must be noted that the ‘Gentle Prayer’ only stays in effect for as long as Yorshka’s Chime is equipped; unequipping it will nullify the effect.
It requires 3 strength and 30 faith to use and has an A scaling with faith. One of the main reasons Yorshka’s Chime is considered to be one of the best catalysts in the game, and arguably the best in its category of Sacred Chimes is its spellbuff, which caps at 60 Faith at 247. Achieving the highest Spell Buff possible for any miracle catalyst, it is objectively the most effective in its league and any player should consider centering their pure faith build around it.
Location: Drops from Company Captain Yorshka, Covenant Leader of the Blades of the Darkmoon when killed. She is located in Anor Londo across the invisible bridge (can be found using prism stones).
In conclusion, if you are more of a PvP-oriented Dark Souls 3 player, then you should consider going for ‘Melee-combat catalysts’ as using pure pyromancy/miracle/sorcery builds can backfire and be heavily punished in situations where you can not use your spells (such as FP running out or low stamina) – opponents will be quick to close the gap if you slip up.
Amongst the ‘Melee-combat catalysts’, we rank Heysel Pick, Demon’s Scar and Rose of Ariandel as one of the best – each caters to a category of magic so you can surely find one that fits your build! On the other hand, as far as PvE is concerned, pure magic catalysts stand out In Dark Souls 3 due to the variety of situational spells available whose damage output can be maximized with the right catalysts. Amongst these, we rank Court Sorcerer’s Staff, Pyromancer’s Parting Flame and Yorshka’s Chime to be one of the best catalysts available.
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