Elden Ring Best Katanas
Elden Ring Best Katanas

Elden Ring Best Katanas: Upgrade, Location, & Build

As the player, you can choose from 30 different weapon classes, some new to the FromSoftware franchise and some old, dearly revered by the soulsborne fandom. These weapon classes include daggers, straight swords, colossal weapons, claws, fists, glintstone staff, sacred seals, and much more! And for all those weebs (such as myself) wondering if Katanas are in Elden Ring, fret not, for they are back, better than ever! You must also read our Elden Ring Katana Build before getting started. 

What are Katanas in Elden Ring?

When you hear the phrase “single-edged swords” Katanas are what you think about. Across our history, these blades have been known for their unmatched level of strength and versatility, being sharp enough to slice through bone and flesh in the cleanest way possible. Apart from their unique and unparalleled composition, Katanas also observe the optimal length, being long enough to be viable in mid-ranged combat and short enough not to disturb the wielder’s balance.

In Elden Ring, Katanas hold a similar place in the over 30 different ranks of weaponry, being the masters of mid-ranged combat. As such, katana users are generally very annoying to deal with due to their agile, long-ranged moveset. Additionally, their range is even more fearsome because FromSoftware has incorporated thrusting attacks into their traditional slash-heavy moveset.

Elden Ring Best Katanas
One of the first few weapons that FromSoftware teased were actually Katanas!

Best Katanas in Elden Ring

Katanas have always been the connoisseurs of Bleed across all FromSoftware games, an innate trait that has single-handedly carried them all the way into the meta in Elden Ring. Given how strong Bleed is in the game and the different kinds of bloodloss-inducing Ashes of War, Katanas have become a force to be reckoned with, in PvE and especially in PvP. So far, in the two months post its release, the PvP meta has been dominated by Katanas, first the Moonveil Katana and now the Rivers of Blood.

As such, Katanas have taken the Straight Swords’ place as the most beginner-friendly class of weapons in the game. They have everything you could ever ask for – serious damage output, R1-spamming, and range. However, that does not mean that all Katanas are equally good since some definitely stand out from the rest. Therefore, I’ll be going over my list of the Best Katanas in Elden Ring, ranking all eight of them!

Serpentbone Blade

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

The Serpentbone Blade is the first entry on my list of the Best Katanas in Elden Ring, mainly because it struggles to find its proper place in the player base. The Serpentbone Blade is one of the few weapons in the game that naturally inflict poison, but it will be a rare pick compared to other auxiliary effects. However, it does come with a very achievable stat requirement, that is, 11 strength and 22 dexterity.

Keeping in mind the weapon’s stat requirement, I would recommend choosing Warrior due to its better stat distribution towards strength and dexterity. The Warrior class comes with 10 strength and 15 dexterity, requiring you to invest only 8 more attribute points in order to wield the katana.

Upgrades and Build Affinity

The Serpentbone Blade does offer a scaling similar to its stat requirements, scaling poorly with strength (E-tier) but much better with dexterity (C-tier). Other than that, the weapon is astonishingly unique in its upgradability, not allowing for Ash of War infusions as unique weapons do but accepting reinforcement only at the hands of Smithing Stones instead of Somber Smithing Stones.

Fret not, for its dexterity scaling does improve from C to B at +10, although I would suggest upgrading it fully to achieve 294 base damage. As such, with 66 Poison, you can’t use this weapon on any other build other than a Poison build, which is still scary in its own right while not as good as Bleed builds. Additionally, the Serpentbone Blade comes with a unique kind of poison, lasting three times quicker than your regular poison but inflicting double damage per tick!

Elden Ring Serpentbone Blade
The Serpentbone Blade stats can be quite underwhelming when you first obtain it…

Weapon Art and Location

The Serpentbone Blade also offers uniqueness in its moveset, mainly its Ash of War: Double Slash, which is more than what it sounds like. Upon activation, your player two diagonal, crossing slashes, but it doesn’t end there – continued L2/LT inputs will unleash two more follow-up attacks, surmising into a complete combo! If anyone were to get caught up in this attack, they would leave with more than just a fully proc’d poison buildup.

As far as its location goes, the Serpentbone Blade is a reward for completing one of the bounties included in Tanith’s questline at Volcano Manor. More specifically, after assassinating Old Knight Istvan in your first task, returning to Bernahl’s room will get you assigned to your next task, completing which will yield the Serpentbone Blade. The task is centered around assassinating Rileigh the Idle at the Altus Plateau. Lastly, return to Lady Tanith in the Volcano Manor and claim your prize once you’ve done so!

Dragonscale Blade

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

The Dragonscale Blade is the second entry in my list of Best Katanas in Elden Ring, which might come as a shock to many (pun intended). While the Dragonscale Blade is cool and all, and its weapon art allows you to buff it with lightning, the overall katana is let down significantly due to its lack of Bleed. Regardless, the weapon requires 12 strength and 20 dexterity, similar to the preceding Serpentbone Blade, in order to use correctly.

With that said, similar to the Serpentbone Blade, I would recommend going with the Warrior class due to its excellent headstart regarding strength and dexterity. More particularly, choosing Warrior as your starting class gives you 10 strength and 15 dexterity; from where onwards, you only need to invest 7 more attribute points to wield the Dragonscale Blade.

Upgrades and Build Affinity

The Dragonscale Blade, albeit better than the Serpentbone Blade, rewards its wielders with a much better scaling set. More specifically, the katana comes with a natural scaling of D in strength and C in dexterity, opening up several build options. However, as is the case with most unique weapons, it does not entertain infusion with Ash of Wars and requires Somber Smithing Stones to upgrade, dealing both holy and lightning damage on top of physical damage.

As far as its build affinity is concerned, you can definitely fit the Dragonscale Blade onto more than one build. For instance, at +10 reinforcement, it achieves a B-scaling in dexterity, making it quite viable on a pure dexterity – a quality build could suffice too, but just don’t go for a strength build! Other than that, if you’re working on a build themed around dragon-slaying samurais, the Dragonscale Blade would complement your cosplay flawlessly!

Elden Ring Dragonscale Blade
Using the Ice Lightning Blade weapon art leaves your katana imbued with Ice Lightning!

Weapon Art and Location

The Dragonscale Blade hosts its very own unique weapon art known as Ice Lightning Blade, which neither exists as an Ash of War, nor can be found on any other weapon. Upon activation, your player will raise their blade to the sky, calling upon a bolt of ice lightning to imbue it before striking down their enemy – that’s not all, as the imbued buff does linger for another 20 seconds afterwards. The buff is quite unique as it deals additional lightning damage, but it also causes frost build-up.

The Dragonscale Blade is obtained through defeating a boss as opposed to some kind of discovery. The katana is dropped from the Dragonkin Soldier field boss in the Lake of Rot. Do bear in mind that the boss is very easy to miss as you’ll probably aim towards reaching the temple on the other side of the lake to avoid the scarlet rot as much as possible – don’t be scared to explore it further!

Meteoric Ore Blade

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

The Meteoric Ore Blade is the first weapon on my list of Best Elden Ring Katanas to have an innate bleeding effect – pretty crazy, right? Katanas are known for inflicting Bleed across the FromSoftware franchise and if a katana swaps it out for something else, especially in a game like Elden Ring where Bleed is very strong, majority of the players won’t use it. The Meteoric Ore Blade, thus, comes with a rather heavy stat requirement for its viability, demanding 15 strength, 14 dexterity, and 18 intelligence off you.

Thus, contrary to the Samurai Class, the Meteoric Ore Blade can be properly wielded the fastest with the Prisoner class due to its favorable stat distribution towards strength, dexterity, and intelligence. The Prisoner class comes with 11 strength, 14 dexterity, and 14 intelligence, already meeting the dexterity requirement. From here, all you need to do is invest 4 points into both strength and intelligence, and you’re good to go!

Upgrades and Build Affinity

The Meteoric Ore Blade stands out in the katana weapon class by having a very poor scaling in dexterity (E-tier). Other than that, though, it comes with a D scaling in both strength and intelligence, giving it a rather unprecedented set of build options. Furthermore, similar to the foregoing Dragonscale Blade, it does not allow for Ash of War infusions and can only be upgraded with Somber Smithing Stones, upto +10, where it achieves 274 physical and 176 magic damage!

As far as the katana’s build affinities are concerned, it should be noted that at +10, it achieves a C scaling in strength, a D scaling in dexterity, and a C scaling in intelligence. This upgrade, coupled with its 50 Bleed proc, makes it naturally versatile, allowing you to fit it onto a quality, intelligence, and, of course, a bleed build. My personal recommendation would be working it onto an intelligence bleed build, coupling it with blood magic to really strike fear into your enemy’s hearts!

Elden Ring Meteoric Ore Blade
It is quite possible to get the Meteoric Ore Blade right off the start of the game, but you need to know exactly what you’re doing!

Weapon Art and Location

The Meteoric Ore Blade comes with its own weapon art, which adds up with its meteoric origin, signaling the power of harnessing gravity: Gravitas. Upon activation, your player will thrust the blade into the ground, generating a gravity well upon pulling it out, pulling nearby enemies in while also damaging them simultaneously. Gravitas requires only 13 FP to use and is a good tool for crowd control!

The Meteoric Ore Blade is found in the Caelid Waypoint Ruins, near the border between Limgrave and Caelid, close to Fort Gael and Gaol Cave. While Caelid is not recommended to traverse during the early stages of your progression, you can somewhat get to these ruins, get the blade and get out unscathed. Regardless, once here, approach the underground section of the ruins from the northwest, where you will encounter multiple enemies guarding a chest – this chest will contain the Meteoric Ore Blade.

Moonveil

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

You must’ve expected the Moonveil to show up somewhere in the top five of my Best Elden Ring – it was what virtually everyone used in the first couple weeks prior to the game’s release. While the katana has been nerfed significantly since, it is still considerably better than the three prior katanas. Not as strong as it once was, the Moonveil still requires 12 strength, 18 dexterity, and 23 intelligence, similar to the preceding Meteoric Ore Blade.

Due to its heavy stat requirement, especially towards intelligence, you’re better off going with the Prisoner starting class. The class comes with 11 strength, 14 dexterity, and 14 intelligence, meeting much of the weapon’s requirements. From here, it is a relatively long trek to completely satisfy its needs, totaling about 14 additional attribute points, 1 in strength, 4 in dexterity, and a whopping 9 in intelligence.

Upgrades and Build Affinity

The Moonveil is much more intelligence-oriented in comparison to the similar Meteoric Ore Blade, rewarding its wielders with an E scaling in strength, D in dexterity, and C in intelligence. This becomes all the more apparent when you upgrade it maximally upto +10 with somber smithing stones as it does not support Ash of War infusions (not surprising).

At such a level of reinforcement, it achieves a B scaling in both dexterity and intelligence, leaving strength in the dirt with the same E scaling. While limiting your build options, such a killer combination makes the Mooveil stand out in terms of sheer performance when fitted onto a bleed/intelligence build. Additionally, it does massive magic damage, even more than physical, which is evident from its standard +10 upgrade where its physical damage is 178 while its magic damage is 213.

Elden Ring Moonveil
Pressing R1/RB upon activating the weapon art follows it up with a beautiful horizontal slash.

Weapon Art and Location

Now moving onto the best aspect of the Moonveil, which is what made it extremely popular in the first place: Transient Moonlight. Upon activation, your player will sheathe the blade, assuming a composed, tight stance – from here, you use a light attack to follow it up with a horizontal, projectile-based slash or a heavy attack to follow it up with a vertical, projectile-based slash. Both projectiles have considerable range and do massive damage when the katana’s strike itself connects with them!

The Moonveil is dropped from the Magma Wyrm boss found in Gael Tunnel, Caelid. The boss is quite challenging due to the constricted arena, but you can confront it quite early game if you try to cross the border between Limgrave and Caelid. Somewhere along the line, you will see a cave that connects the two continents, although getting past it will require beating the Magma Wyrm – good luck!

Uchigatana

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

My list of the best Katanas in Elden Ring would not be complete without the Uchigatana, one of the few weapons that have persisted across most FromSoftware titles. The Uchigatana, despite being very generic, has earned the favor of its fans, somewhat like the Claymore, and similarly makes a comeback in Elden Ring. The katana requires you to invest 11 attribute points into strength and 15 into dexterity, virtually making it a steal!

As far as its class recommendation goes, it is pretty obvious that I would suggest going Samurai for the Uchigatana – it is part of the Samurai’s starting gear, afterall! Along with the Uchigatana, Samurai players are also blessed with the Red Thorn Roundshield and a Longbow (default ammunition being Bone and Firebone arrows).

Upgrades and Build Affinity

As one would expect from a starter item, the Uchigatana comes with a natural scaling of D in both strength and dexterity. However, it is the first weapon on my list of best Elden Ring katanas to accept Ash of War infusions, opening the door to a wide range of builds! Other than that, you can upgrade it to +25 with regular Smithing Stones, ensuring that the tier of said upgrade material matches your weapon’s current level.

The doors to build fitting are wide open for the Uchigatana! For instance, you could go for a quality build by infusing with a quality Ash of War, granting the katana a B scaling in strength and dexterity. Conversely, you can also go for a Frost build, an auxiliary effect that the Uchigatana is pretty affine to, considering that it achieves 105 Frostbite buildup upon +25 Cold. However, if we’re talking auxiliary effects, bleed is practically king right now, and infusing the Uchigatana with a blood Ash of War grants it a whopping 82 bleed!

Elden Ring Uchigatana
One of the craziest things about the Uchigatana is that you can dual wield it very quickly in the game if you go Samurai!

Weapon Art and Location

The Uchigatana, similar to its previous iterations, comes with the Unsheathe Ash of War, a regular Ash of War specific towards katanas. Upon activation, your player will sheathe the katana and assume a tight stance, from where you can use a light attack to follow it up with a horizontal slash or a heavy attack to follow it up with a vertical incision. But if that’s not to your liking, you could always swap it out! I would personally recommend Sepukku, which significantly enhances its Bleed while requiring some HP to use!

While the Uchigatana can be obtained right off the bat by choosing the Samurai class, you can also obtain it quite early in the game if you didn’t choose Samurai. More specifically, the katana can be found in the Deathtouched Catacombs near Stormhill, just before Stormveil Castle in Limgrave. The Catacombs host a relatively easy puzzle, upon solving which, you should see the katana on a corpse hanging from the edge of a platform.

Hand of Malenia

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

Dropping down into the top three of my best Elden Ring katanas, we have the Hand of Melania, the fearsome weapon that has slain thousands of players and made even more rage quit. However, despite how strong it is when you go against it when fighting against Melania, it is nowhere as strong as when you get to wield it. Quite disappointing, but the weapon is, nonetheless, very good! Thus, it should not be surprising to see that it requires 16 strength and a whopping 48 dexterity to wield.

As far as class recommendations are concerned, you simply want to choose a class that starts with the most amount of dexterity, given that that is the major requirement here. I would once again recommend Samurai as it automatically satisfies the strength requirement, leaving you to focus only on pumping attribute points into its dexterity, which starts at a not-so-shabby 15.

Upgrades and Build Affinity

The Hand of Melania comes with a natural scaling of E in strength and C in dexterity, hinting at poor performance on a pure strength build. Unfortunately, as you may have expected, being a remembrance or boss weapon, the Hand of Melania can not be infused with Ashes of War, meaning its scaling can only be improved through reinforcement to +10 with Somber Smithing Stones. Make sure that the stone’s tier matches with the current level of your Hand of Melania; otherwise, the reinforcement won’t go through!

As mentioned before, the Hand of Melania works best when tied to the dexterity attribute, which makesa all the more when you upgrade it to +10 and realize that it achieves a B scaling in dexterity! Its new scaling, coupled with its 50 Bleed, undeniably performs at its best when fitted onto a dexterity-bleed build.

Elden Ring Hand of Melania
It may not be as strong as the original, but atleast we do the same daunting stance when executing Waterfowl Dance!

Weapon Art and Location

The Hand of Melania, as teased from the Melania boss fight, comes with the infamous Waterfowl Dance weapon art, a skill no other katana can conceive of performing. Upon activation, your player will leap up into the air gracefully and perform a lethal slashing combo, where the combo persists the more inputs you give it! Waterfowl Dance is, hands down, the best weapon art you can find on any katana naturally, and is partially why it earns its spot in the top three best Katanas in Elden Ring.

The Hand of Melania is obtained from Enia at the Roundtable Hold in exchange for the Remembrance of the Rot Goddess. Obviously, the Remembrance is obtained from defeating Melania, Blade of Miquella in her domain, Miquella’s Haligtree. She is a very challenging boss but is completely optional as far as the story progression is concerned, so don’t be afraid to summon a phantom to aid you or even resort to the Mimic Tear.

Nagikiba

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

Approaching the end of my list of the best katanas in Elden Ring, we have the Nagikiba, a rather typical katana that has quickly risen among the ranks of its category. From a glance, it comes off as an extended Uchigatana, but that is exactly what earns it the number two spot as one of the best Katanas in Elden Ring. What’s even better is that it only requires you to have 18 strength and 22 dexterity!

I would definitely recommend running the Samurai as your starting class due to its supreme strength-to-dexterity ratio. Players who start with the Samurai class are rewarded with 12 strength and 15 dexterity right off the bat. From here, all you need to do is level up strength six times and dexterity seven times – before you know it, you can wield the Nagikiba!

Upgrades and Build Affinity

One of the first things you’ll notice that make the Nagikiba better than its shorter counterpart, the Uchigatana is its scaling. The Nagikiba comes with a natural scaling of D in strength and C in dexterity, which can be improved through Ash of War infusions. Moreover, the katana itself can be overall improved through reinforcement upto +25 with Smithing Stones! Just make sure that the stones match with the level range of your weapon, as is generally the case.

While the Nagikiba does have better scaling and significantly longer range, it does fall a little short in terms of build affinity. While the weapon can technically be fitted onto a wide variety of builds, it performs the best on a bleed build achieved through infusion with any Blood Ash of War, bumping its bleed from 45 to 82 at +25. Conversely, you can also slap it onto a pure dexterity build, as the Nagikiba achieves its one and only A scaling in dexterity at +25, given that it has been infused with a keen Ash of War.

Elden Ring Nagikiba
When obtained from killing Yura, the Nagikiba comes with the Piercing Fang weapon art. But when removed, it reveals its original weapon art, Unsheathe

Weapon Art and Location

The Nagikiba, similar to the Uchigatana, comes with the Unsheathe weapon art. Upon activation, your player will assume a composed, tight stance, intimidating your enemy before following it up with an attack. You can opt for one of two attacks: a horizontal slash by giving the light attack input or a vertical slash by giving the heavy attack input. Either way, if the overall weapon art is not to your liking, remember that you could always swap it out for something else, thanks to the Nagikiba’s affinity towards Ash of War infusions!

The Nagikiba can be obtained from Blood Finger Hunter Yura in a variety of ways. First, you could simply kill the NPC to obtain a thousand runes along with the Nagikiba. Conversely, you could activate Yura’s questline and see through his quest until you found him dead in the Second Church of Marika, killed by Eleonora, Violet Bloody Finger. You will find the Nagikiba on his body, after which you will be invaded by Eleonora, who will drop Eleonora’s Poleblade upon death.

Rivers Of Blood

Stat Requirement and Class Recommendation

Now, moving on to the final entry in my list, the best of the best katanas in Elden Ring, Rivers of Blood. The Rivers Of Blood quickly replaced the Moonveil’s place in the meta after the 1.03 patch nerf and is arguably much more annoying to deal with now that I look back on it. Regardless, the Rivers of Blood has a unique stat requirement which is heavy in its own right, requiring all that approach it to have 12 strength, 18 dexterity, and 20 arcane.

With that said, I would actually recommend the Bandit class for wielding the katana, mainly due to the fact that it has the most arcane by default out of every other class. When you choose Bandit, you start off with 9 strength, 13 dexterity, and 14 arcane, putting you very close to all of the above requirements. As daunting as it may seem, the Bandit class starts off with the Great Knife, a Shortbow (with ammunition), and a Buckler, not bad!

Upgrades and Build Affinity

As unique as its stat requirement, the Rivers of Blood offers an even more unique scaling set. The katana comes with a natural scaling of E in strength, D in dexterity, and D in arcane. However, because it is a unique weapon, you are correct to assume that it is incompatible with Ash of War infusions, which does end up limiting your options as far as build fitting is concerned.

Thus, you can only really decide on what build to go with once you fully upgrade it to +10 using Somber Smithing Stones and observe its final scaling set. Turns out, at +10, the Rivers of Blood achieves a B scaling in dexterity and a D scaling in arcane. Keeping this in mind, the most overpowered build you can throw the katana on is a dexterity-arcane hybrid, making use of blood incantations as well.

Elden Ring Rivers Of Blood
When used, Corpse Piler showcases intertwined slash combos, almost making an X symbol out of blood.

Weapon Art and Location

The Rivers of Blood comes with its own unique weapon art, which is arguably the aspect of it that makes it overpowered – Corpse Piler. Upon activation, your player, upon repeated inputs, will unleash a combo of slashes imbued with cursed blood, traveling far and wide. Getting hit by the blood slashes will deal nasty damage and cause Bleed to build up frighteningly fast. Sure, you can’t swap out the weapon art due to the katana’s incompatibility with Ash of War infusions, but do you really need to?

The Rivers of Blood is obtained relatively late in the game, which is its only drawback in my opinion. Once you clear out Leyndell, Royal Capital, by defeating Morgott, you will be granted access to the Mountaintops of the Giants. Here, you can head southeast to the Church of Repose, where you will be invaded by Bloody Finger Okina, an invader who will be wielding the Rivers of Blood. You guessed it – defeating the invader will drop the best of the best katanas in Elden Ring!