In Elden Ring, nothing can compensate for a lack of knowledge and skill. Yes, this is an RPG in which you can abandon your main objective to go grind out more levels to boost your stats, which is all but required in a lot of instances, but in the end it comes down to how you build your character and use their strengths in combat that will see you win or lose. In terms of builds, Elden Ring is a bit more lenient and encourages players to not just focus on a single stat for damage, but at the same time, you will certainly have your primary one depending on what type of character you want to play. For those who enjoy unleashing flurries of swings with lighter, faster weapons, Dexterity is going to be that stat.
Dexterity, or simply Dex, is one of the primary damage stats in the game, and one of two next to Strength that most physical attackers will pick between. It also impacts your fall damage, but that’s really not why people go for Dex builds. This style is for players who like katanas, daggers, whips, spears, and other light weapons that let you stay mobile and not lock you into super long animations. This does come at the cost of raw damage per swing; however, there are some exceptional Dex focused weapons out there in The Lands Between that certainly don’t feel underpowered. Here’s a rundown of the best Dex weapons you should hunt down in Elden Ring.
Nerfed or not, the Moonveil Katana remains an absolute powerhouse in Elden Ring. The only slight negative you might consider is that it scales a bit higher with Intelligence than Dex and also has a high Intelligence requirement to even wield, but if you’re building for it, or respect your character, the payout is beyond worth it. It comes with your standard katana move set, including the innate bleed damage buildup. Once you get an enemy — boss or otherwise — to bleed, they instantly lose a huge percentage of their total HP in a single, glorious splatter of blood. The larger the enemy’s health total, the more damage that bleed will do once you get it to trigger.
The Weapon Skill for this weapon is called Transient Moonlight. When used, your character will sheath the Moonveil, waiting for you to release with an attack that will draw the blade as an attack but also shoot out either a vertical or horizontal beam of magic damage. This move is really fast, and if the enemy is close, you can hit them with both the sword unsheathing attack and the magic it shoots out.
Because this is a special weapon, the Moonveil can’t be infused with any Ashes of War or enchanted, and it requires Somber Smithing Stones to upgrade. If you want to get your hands on it, you can do so fairly early on in the game. Just go to the Gael Tunnel in Caelid and beat the Magma Wyrm boss at the end.
Rarely do you find that a game gives you one of the best weapons right off the bat. Still, if you pick the Samurai class, you’re automatically given the incredibly viable Uchigatana. It might seem a little boring to stick with a starting weapon for the entire game, and that may be true, but that doesn’t make this classic sword any less effective as you level it up through Elden Ring. It has a simple moveset you can get very comfortable with and use in nearly any situation, and it also has that fantastic bleed damage built into it. It scales with Dex most, and Strength too, but you can alter those based on the upgrade path you pick for it of course.
Another benefit that some may prefer with the Uchigatana over, say, the Moonveil is that you can replace its Weapon Skill with any Ash of War you like. Just like the upgrade path, this makes this weapon way more dynamic and customizable to fit your style or specific situation. If you didn’t happen to pick the Samurai starting class, no need to worry. You can find yourself an Uchigatana in the Deathtouched Catacombs located in Stormhill. This is an optional dungeon, and the weapon is behind a locked door you need to open by pulling a lever before backtracking to it.
This large curved blade may not look like a Dex weapon, and to be fair, it does also scale with Strength, but it is indeed mostly geared for Dex users since it comes at a base level with C scaling in the stat and can only be improved from there. However, this moveset is by far the slowest and heaviest of any weapon on this list. In that way, it is kind of a hybrid weapon that you can choose to use as a two handed weapon like a Strength sword or with a shield in your off hand.
This curved greatsword has the special Bloodhound’s Finesse Weapon Skill. Upon activation, you will do a massive upward strike, launching smaller enemies into the air, before flipping backwards to a safe distance. You can either take that distance to reposition or follow up with an additional attack, depending on the situation. Like the best Dex weapons, this blade also comes with a passive bleed effect, but it is arguably easier to trigger since it is better for breaking poise as well.
This is a tougher weapon to get early on, since it is the reward for beating a boss of an Evergaol. Located in Limgrave, this one is home to the Bloodhound Knight Darriwil, who is leagues tougher than anything else you’ll fight in that region. If you do get it, this is another weapon like the Moonveil that uses Somber Smithing Stones to upgrade, and it can’t have its build in Weapon Skill replaced with other Ashes of War.
So far, none of the weapons we’ve picked have been all that obscure or surprising. They can all be found in the early parts of the game, relatively speaking, and have been touted as some of the best weapons since Elden Ring launched. Now, with the Reduvia, we get into some of the lesser known, but just as interesting and powerful, picks. The gnarly looking dagger may seem like it wouldn’t be worth your time, but if you’re confident enough to dual wield it, that all changes. Why? Well, you should probably know by this point, but bleed, of course. The speed at which you can cause bleed by slashing away with twin Reduvias is almost comical. That said, it is a dagger, so you will need to get right up close to your opponent to get your hits in.
A named and unique weapon, Redivua comes with the Reduvia Blood Blade Weapon Skill and cannot be swapped out for any other. Again, preference will be the ultimate factor if that matters, but the skill itself is quite strong. It slashes the blade to shoot out a spray of blood that turn into blood blades that deal tons of bleed build up. Because it costs so little FP and comes out so fast, you can use it to keep pressure even when you can’t get in close. It’s a plain better version of the normal Blood Blade Weapon Skill since this version doesn’t also cost you your own HP to cast.
More Somber Smithing Stones are needed to upgrade this dagger, plus it needs a bit of extra Arcane stats to use. You can earn it by slaying the Bloody Finger Nerijus who shows up on the eastern side of a bridge in Limgrave.
Morgott’s Cursed Sword
Just like the Bloodhound Blade, Morgott’s Cursed Sword is another big curved greatsword that still falls into the Dex category. In fact, this one has the highest base requirements of any so far, asking for 35 Dex, 14 Strength, and 17 Arcane. By the time you get it, however, those stat requirements should be more than met. Guess what? Yup, you’re getting bleed damage out of this one too — the highest of any weapon yet — but it also has high damage output in its own right as well.
For a Weapon Skill, this boss weapon has the Cursed-Blood Slice, which is just as awesome as it sounds. If you saw that infamous episode of the Demon Slayer anime, it’s basically the most iconic move from that. After readying yourself, your character will dash forward, doing a downward slash that leaves a trail of blood that then combusts into flames. Even if you could replace it, would you even really want to?
Getting Morgott’s Cursed Sword is the tough part. If you didn’t guess, this is a boss weapon, meaning you will need to first reach and defeat Morgott at the end of Leyndell, Royal Capital. This will earn you the Remembrance of the Omen King that you can take to Finger Reader Enia at the Roundtable Hold. As with each boss item, you have two weapon options to choose, so make sure to pick the Cursed Sword.
Do you fear death, or will you become him? Okay, this weapon isn’t quite on the level as making you the literal embodiment of death, but you can at least look the part. The Scythe has been a weapon in just about every Souls game to date, and it was one of the best Dex weapons in the original Dark Souls. In Elden Ring, it has equal Strength and Dexterity requirements to use, but way better Dex scaling, especially as you upgrade it. It’s a bigger Dex weapon, meaning it hits hard on its own, and yes, will build up bleed damage on each hit.
The Scythe comes with the Weapon Skill called Spinning Slash, which basically does exactly what it sounds like: You spin around, slicing into anything that’s unlucky enough to be in range. If that’s not your style, feel free to replace it with a different Ash of War and upgrade it into any of the different paths you want for additional effects.
The Scythe can be grabbed not too deep into the game in the Cliffbottom Catacombs. These are accessed once you get through Stormveil Castle and is the reward at the end.
While not as famous as the Katana, the Wakizashi is just as iconic a Japanese weapon as its bigger brother. Essentially a dagger form of a Katana, the Wakizashi’s true potential only reveals itself if you complete the set and dual wield it with a Katana of any sort. When you do, the normal dagger moveset completely changes into a unique set of attacks. It’s light, has low stat requirements, and isn’t going to be a huge damage dealer by itself. However, as a companion to any of the other Katanas listed here, it’s the best. Oh, and yes, of course it has a bit of bleed associated with it, so don’t worry.
Aside from the unique moveset you get, the Wakizashi also has the normal dagger Weapon Skill of Quickstep to let you dip and dodge around the battlefield like a nimble ninja, even when dual wielding. Or, if you’re a real pro, you can replace it with the Parry Ash of War to really show your enemies who’s boss.
You can find the Wakizashi inside the Gaol Cave, which is just a short trip into Caelid. It will be waiting for you behind one of the locked cages.
Not nearly as exciting as the Wakizashi, but still a perfectly serviceable dagger type for Dex users, is the good old Parrying Dagger. The bonus is that it has next to no Strength requirements — just five — and is all about Dex by default. Otherwise, it is technically a somewhat worse version of the Wakizashi in all other aspects, save for a few details — most notably the fact that it can’t cause any bleed by default. Like all daggers, though, you’re best off pairing it to support your primary damage dealer, which doesn’t have to be a Katana to get the most out of this weapon.
How insulting would it be if the Parrying Dagger didn’t come with the Parry Weapon Skill? Thankfully we don’t have to worry about that, but go ahead and change out the Ash of War if you so please. And, if you’re feeling the lack of bleed, you can upgrade it that way — or any other, like any other normal weapon.
The Parrying Dagger only comes from one place, and you may not like it. This tricky weapon is sold by the one and only Patches inside the Murkwater Cave, but only after he pulls his usual prank on you, gets intimidated when you survive, and agrees to become a shop. Or, if you’d rather just not deal with this sniveling excuse for a man, you can kill him and give his Bell Bearing to the Twin Maiden Husks at the Roundtable Hold so they can sell his wears.
Finally, and we wish we could put these higher up, we have the Wolverine inspired Hookclaws. Despite being within their own Claw category of weapon, they’re very similar to daggers in most aspects. They have short range, are very fast, and have the same Weapon Skills. The bonus to Hookclaws, though, is that they come in pairs, meaning two handing one will equip you with a pair of them from just the single set. They’re extremely light and okay in damage, but they have the highest default bleed buildup stat of any weapon on this list. When combined with how quick these claws can slash, the speed at which you can trigger a bleed effect can more than make up for the lack of raw damage they deal. That’s assuming you don’t get hit yourself, of course.
Like a lot of daggers, the Hookclaws start with the Quickstep Weapon Skill. Go ahead and change that out with new Ashes of War if you like, as well as upgrade them in any way you chose. Stacking a second status trigger on them, poison for example, can make them extremely effective if you’re able to get in consecutive attacks without taking too many hits yourself.