Dark Souls 3: A Complete Guide To Sorcery

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  • Why Use Sorceries?
  • Attuning Sorceries
  • Unlocking Sorceries
  • Scaling Sorcery And Sorcery Boosting Equipment
  • All Sorceries

Sorcery is one of three schools of magic available to the player in Dark Souls 3. Whether your goal is to one-shot your foes from a distance or to sneak by threats undetected, sorceries have what you are looking for. Sorcerer builds can really shine when paid with a powerful weapon imbued with magic.

Sorcery can easily be one of the most powerful builds in the game. That said it is critical that the correct gear and catalysts are collected first. The biggest downfall of a sorcery build is that all the spells are predictable and easily dodgeable, meaning invaders will often best you. In terms of PVE though, you can kill any boss in the game in only three shots at your most powerful, so let's see how that is done.

Why Use Sorceries?

New players will have undoubtedly heard about the legendary difficulty curve of Dark Souls. For many new players or even veterans that are flying solo, the idea of taking on the game head-on can be intimidating. Sorceries are great for practicing timing and dodging, while also allowing the player plenty of room to maneuver while still dealing damage.

As seen in the picture above, sorceries do incredible damage even with base spells and no reinforcement. Even if the impressive damage output doesn't draw you in, certain sorceries can be used for stealth, allowing the player to sneak by any enemy in the game besides bosses. If the ranged life isn't for you, simply slapping an enchantment onto your sword or great club can yield striking results.

Attuning Sorceries

Casting sorceries requires the appropriate number of Attunement Slots, a Sorcery Catalyst, and the appropriate number of points in the Intelligence tree. Using magic in Dark Souls is much more complicated than more traditional builds, so catalysts will be covered in their own section further on, as they can make or break sorcery builds.

Attuning sorceries can be done at any bonfire. Simply sit at the bonfire, select Attune Spell, and you can place any spells in your inventory into the available slots. Spells first have to be found in the world or bought from a vendor. Make sure to read the Intelligence requirement of the spell, as you can still attune spells, even if they are beyond your casting capabilities.

Depending on the starting class you picked, you may find that you have no available slots. This simply means that you need to put more points into the Attunement skill tree until you unlock more. This tree also increases your mana so you can cast more spells. Additionally, some rings like the Darkmoon ring and the Deep Ring give you additional slots as long as the ring is worn.

Managing FP

Dark Souls 3 introduced a mana bar for casting magic. It works as your health bar, in that it can only be regenerated by Ashen Estus Flasks. Spells consume FP and Stamina so it is important to pump your Endurance, and Attunement stats as much as possible. This will probably leave you will a very small health pool, but you should be far away from enemies more often than not.

With such a small health pool, a single Estus Flask will be enough to save your life. And since all of your damage is coming out of spells, it is critical that you never run out of mana. Have five Estus Flasks assigned to health, and set all the rest to Ashen Flasks. This will ensure that you never run out of mana and can go for long stretches without sitting at a bonfire.

Optimizing Leveling

In order to optimize the build, we recommend getting you Vigor to only about 15 or 20 max. This ensures that most bosses cannot kill you in a single hit while leaving as many levels available as possible to go towards attunement slots and damage. Optimization is the name of the game for a sorcery build, so it is critical that you waste levels as little as possible.

Intelligence stops scaling at 40, but the strongest spell in the game requires 48 Intelligence to cast. Go for 50 Intelligence to meet the hard cap for damage. Invest to 26 for Attunement this will leave you with a large mana pool and four Attunement Slots. Any additional levels at the end of the game can be pooled here for more slots, but once you have access to Crystal Soul Spear, you will find that you don't make much use of more than four slots.

If you took the Sorcerer as your starting class, pump the Dexterity and Strength to 16. This allows you to have much more versatility in picking a weapon and allows you access to one of the best magic-based weapons late in the game. Vitality can be left alone. This stat determines how high your equip load is, but even at the minimum of seven, your character can still wear armor as heavy as the Brass Set, and still fast roll. If you feel you have made a mistake or your build isn't working, make good use of Rosaria's level reallocation. You can use it five times every new game cycle so don't be shy.

Unlocking Sorceries

There are three primary ways to get sorceries in Dark Souls 3. The first is going to be by finding scrolls and giving them to Orbeck of Vinheim. He will then sell the spells from the scrolls to you. A few can be found on the ground in the overworld. The rest can be transposed from boss souls, so make sure to check before you consume each one.

Where To Find Orbeck Of Vinheim

Orbeck can be found in the Crucifixion Woods, studying scrolls on the second level of the ruined tower just before entering the Crystal Sage boss fight. You have to take a left outside the building's wall after crossing the small bridge but before entering the room with the hollows that wield two spears and shields.

It must be noted that Orbeck will refuse to go back to the shrine if the player does not have at least ten Intelligence. That said he will not die or go hollow like many other NPC if you do not collect him right away, so recruit him at your leisure.

Scaling Sorcery And Sorcery Boosting Equipment

Sorceries scale only on Intelligence. As stated above, 40 is the soft cap for Intelligence scaling. This term means that up until level 40, the player will receive two to three points of damage for sorceries. After that, Sorceries only gain a single point of damage until level 50. After level 50, sorceries only gain a single point of damage every two to three levels, so it is advised to not put more than 50 points into any one tree.

Sorceries also gain damage via equipment. Catalysts with the Steady Chant weapon art will boost the damage of sorceries cast for 30 seconds. Certain helmets, rings, and weapons can further boost the damage of sorceries.

Catalysts

Catalysts will be the first piece of equipment covered, as they are always critical to a sorcery build. These staves are the tools that sorcerers use to cast magic. All have different effects, and each one will fill a different niche in a sorcery build. Below, each of the catalysts will be listed and what niche they fill in each build, as well as where to find them.

Sorcerer's Staff

This is likely the first catalyst that will become available to you in a run. It is the starting gear for the Sorcerer class and can be bought from the Shrine handmaiden for 500 souls. This staff is good for builds that don't go too far down the intelligence route. It is a mid-class catalyst that is best if your Intelligence does not exceed 30.

Court Sorcerer's Staff

The Court Sorcerer's Staff, better known as Logans Catalyst in Dark Souls, is an odd case. Upon picking up the item you may find that it does the same or even less damage than the Sorcerer's Staff. This is because it belonged to one of the most intelligent mages in Souls history, and your build has to reflect this in order to make good use of the stave. This staff is only worthwhile if your Intelligence is above 50. It provides stronger scaling past 50 Intelligence, but until then it will be outclassed by the Sage's Crystal Staff and the Sorcer's Staff. This staff is found in a Mimic chest near the hollowed Court Sorcerer NPC in the Profaned Capital.

Heretic's Staff

The Heretic's Staff can be found in the Crucifixion Woods in the same building that Orbeck resides. This Staff is a clear upgrade over the Sorcerer's Staff. It has a higher Spell Buff than that staff, meaning spells deal increased damage. Additionally, it scales decently with Dark Sorceries which we cover here.

Witchtree Branch

The Witchtree Branch can be found behind an illusory wall in Irythill Valley near an Evangelist that guards the Dorhy's Gnawing Miracle. This catalyst has a below-average spell buff. This might be enough to dissuade some users, however, this staff has a passive ability that offers increased cast speed to the wielder. It is the highest buff of its kind in the game and stacks with the Sage's Ring.

Storyteller's Staff

This staff is dropped by Corvian Storytellers. There is not much to say about the stats of this catalyst as they are rather forgettable. Instead, the value of this weapon lies in its unique weapon art: Poison Spores. This weapon art provides the same effect as the Poison Mist or Toxic Mist Pyromancies but in a much more potent form. The Poison buildup is much faster than its counterparts and the poison deals much more damage than any other poison in the game.

Archdeacon Great Staff

This staff is rewarded to the player for reaching rank two in the Aldritch Faithful covenant. Not only is this staff hard to get because of its status as a covenant item, but it is also wholly not worth the effort. It deals better damage past 50 Intelligence like the Court Sorcerer Staff but only begins to out-scale it at 90+ Intelligence.

Man Grub's Staff

This catalyst is certainly one of a kind. This staff scales sorceries off of Luck rather than Intelligence. This is a unique mechanic to this staff and can be put to good use in a Bleed build. That said, spells still need the Intelligence requirement in order to cast them. That is on top of the fact that it is a tier two reward of the Rosaria's Fingers covenant, meaning it is difficult to get ahold of, and most people won't collect this item.

Mendicant's Staff

Another staff that has a fairly normal Spell Buff, and stats. This staff has a unique passive ability that allows the player to collect increased souls from fallen foes. This soul yield is equivalent to the Covetous Silver Serpent Ring, and does stack with this ring. It also stacks with the Symbol of Avarice, so you can triple your soul yield as long as all these items are equipped. This staff is dropped by the Man-Serpents just outside the Nameless King boss fight.

Preacher's Right Arm

This staff lacks the Steady Chant weapon art, instead, replacing it with a weaker Soul Greatsword effect. This staff has the highest Spell Buff at 29-34 or 44-52 Intelligence. This is a good choice for PVP play, but its sorceries cannot be buffed, so it will not have the highest damage per spell, like some other staves. This item is on a corpse in the Ringed City Streets, to the right of the Judicator enemy in the swamp.

Crystal Chime

This item is located in the lowest level of the Grand Archives. It is guarded by a Lothric Knight with a great shield and spear. This chime allows the player to cast both sorceries and miracles from the same catalyst and is the only dual catalyst of its kind. The Spell Buff is decent, but it is mostly used for utility in a Faith/Intelligence dual build.

Sage's Crystal Staff

Leaving the Grand Archives, you will be assaulted by three hollow NPCs. The one furthest in the back wields this catalyst and will drop it when killed. For most builds, this is the most powerful catalyst in terms of damage. It also consumes double the FP per spell to compensate for its huge damage output.

Other Damage Boosting Equipment

To further increase magic damage, try incorporating these items into your build. Keep in mind though, that many of these items will cause you to take more damage in exchange for their buffs.

Crown Of Dusk

The Crown of Dusk is found in the Farron Swamp. It sits underneath a white tree guarded by a giant crab to the left of the Undead Bone Shard guarded by a bunch of slugs. This item increases the power of spells by 10 percent. It also increases the power of magic weapon arts by 5 percent. Beware though, this helmet will cause the wearer to take increased damage from magic damage.

Young Dragon Ring

This ring is the starting equipment for a Sorcerer. If another class was chosen, Orbeck of Vinheim will give the player this ring once three sorceries have been purchased, and a scroll has been presented to him. This ring boosts the power of sorceries by 12 percent with no negative effects.

Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring

This ring lies behind a locked gate at the very beginning of the Irythill Dungeon. The key to the gate is called the Jailer's Keyring and is found in a cell right next to the very first shortcut in this area. This Ring stacks with the Young Dragon Ring and offers a 20 percent boost to sorcery damage with no adverse effect.

Magic Clutch Ring

This ring boosts magic damage by 10 percent in PVE and 8 percent in PVP. It does stack with all of the aforementioned equipment, but it has a negative effect. The player will take 15 percent increased damage from PVE sources and 10 percent increased damage in PVP. Many players agree that the severe damage increase is not worth the spell buff, and opt for rings that offer more Attunement slots instead.

Scholar's Candlestick

The Scholar's Candlestick can be found in two places. It will be available in Greirat's inventory if the player sends him to pillage Irythill Valley. If not, it can be dropped from the Scholars in the Grand Archives. It is a fairly low drop rate though, so be prepared to farm if you never saved the noble thief. This weapon offers 10 percent damage to spells as long as it is in the player's off-hand. This spell buff stays the same no matter what upgrade level the weapon is at so you don't have to waste resources upgrading it.

Sage's Ring

This ring lies in the Crucifixion Woods in a pit with a sleeping Lycanthrope. Though this ring does not offer a raw damage buff, it does drastically increase the cast speed of the wearer. This effect stacks with the Witch Tree Branch and can be further increased the higher the player's Dexterity stat. Related: Dark Souls 3: Weight Ratio Explained

Every Sorcery Scroll

Orbeck can only do so much for you without providing him with scrolls. There are only four scrolls in the game, but each one provides you with extra damage and utility to add to the build. Here is where you can find them all.

Sage's Scroll

LocationBonfireUnlocks
Farron Swamp


Head left of the Keep Ruins Bonfire. Hug the wall of the swamp, and you will eventually come to an island connected to the wall. Three Mushroom Men will lie dead, letting you know this is the correct island.

  • Keep Ruins
  • Farron Dart
  • Farron Hail

Golden Scroll

LocationBonfireUnlocks
Farron Swamp


Walk towards the three Gru enemies positioned behind this bonfire. there will be a hole in the wall to the right. Drop down until you land in the swamp with the curse lizards. You should land right in front of the mouth of a cave. The scroll is on the body near the open chest inside the cave. Combine Hidden Body with Spook to sneak past virtually any NPC in the game.

  • Farron Keep Perimeter
  • Hidden Body
  • Twisted Wall of Light
  • Repair
  • Hidden Weapon
  • Cast Light

Logan's Scroll

LocationBonfireUnlocks
Profaned Capital


Found deep in the Profaned capital. Cross the poisoned swamp and climb the tower. On top of the tower is a sorcerer NPC. Defeating him drops the scroll.

  • Profaned Capital
  • Soul Spear
  • Homing Soul Mass

Crystal Scroll

LocationBonfireUnlocks
Grand Archives


The second Crystal Sage will assault you as you traverse the Archives. Kill him and he will drop this scroll.

  • Grand Archives
  • Crystal Soul Spear
  • Crystal Weapon
  • Crystal Soulmass

All Sorceries

We have a Complete Sorcery List in the works, and this article will be updated with a link to take you there once it is complete. Make sure to check back soon for that!

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