Bloodborne Arcanist Guide

Bloodborne Arcanist Guide by Sljm8D

How to Be a Proper Spell-Slinger in Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

Definition of Terms


  1. known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric:
    She knew a lot about Sanskrit grammar and other arcane matters.

At first, I thought the choice to use Arcane rather than Intelligence as the name for the attribute that governs magical damage to just be a subversion of the “casters use Int” trope, but based on my experiences and the apparent design for Arcane as a build, I think there’s more to it than just that… The build certainly lives up to the dictionary definition. Playing an Arcane build requires you to have hidden knowledge, not only of the enemies you’re going to be up against, but also of where to find the rare items that are required to make the build function in the first place. Fortunately, knowledge is something that can be, and indeed should be, shared! For the purposes of disambiguation throughout the guide, I’ll be using certain terminology to describe the different meanings of “Arcane” in the context of Bloodborne:

  • Arcanist
    • Any character that’s built with a mind toward the ARC stat. Synonymous with “Arcane Build” for the purposes of this guide.
  • ARC
    • Simply “the Arcane stat,” referred to as such to eliminate confusion with the damage type.
  • Arcane
    • The elemental damage type, which is based on ARC along with Fire and Bolt.
  • Elemental
    • Simply referring to the Arcane, Fire, and Bolt damage types as a group.
  • Conversion Weapon
    • Any purely Physical weapon that can be Converted into Elemental using appropriate Blood Gems.
  • Hybrid Weapon
    • Any weapon with both Physical and non-Physical damage built in.
  • Dedicated Elemental Weapon
    • A few specific Hybrid Weapons and one weapon that’s purely Arcane damage, which have special mechanics that give a larger benefit from the Elemental portion than might be apparent at first.

Pros and Cons

Any build has them, and an Arcanist is no exception. Much of this build and play-style revolves around knowledge, which is one reason I think new players can have a hard time with this build. Make no mistake, when used properly, an Arcanist can be one of the most satisfying play-styles in the game. I think much of this has to do with the very same phenomenon that makes Bloodborne itself so satisfying: difficulty that can be overcome with enough knowledge, effort, and skill. But in keeping with the theme of knowledge, we should discuss the pros and cons of the build so you can make an informed decision about whether it’s for you.


  • PvE dominance
    • Arcanists exploit very specific Elemental weaknesses of the enemies they encounter to easily meet or exceed similar Physical builds in terms of damage output. They have a variety of ranged options at their disposal as well, though these do take some time to procure. With the right strategy, nearly every boss in the game can be obliterated in mere moments by an Arcanist, even and especially bosses that would give Physical builds some trouble. However, that’s the trick… With the wrong strategy, these same bosses can be as difficult for an Arcanist as anyone else. As ever, knowledge is power.
  • Enormous weapon variety
    • This has been exacerbated by the DLC, where Arcanists got no less than 3 exceptional Dedicated Elemental weapons, but several potential Conversion Weapons as well. Satisfying all the minimum requirements takes a good bit of investment, but including all the Conversion and Dedicated Elemental Weapons, an Arcanist can have around 17different right-hand weapons to choose from! Hybrid builds can potentially make use of more… There’s a total of 26 right-hand weapons in the game, so I think it’s pretty safe to say you have plenty of options. Don’t worry, I’ll talk about all of them!
  • Fun!
    • Completely subjective, but the plethora of weapon options, in addition to the wide variety of tools and consumables ensure that a clever Arcanist can approach most situations in several different ways, so if you get bored it’s probably your own fault! From beating high-level bosses with no weapons equipped, to tossing Oil Urns for your Fire Stake Driver… There are a lot of really fun tricks with this build.


  • Apparently low AR compared to Physical builds
    • I say “apparently,” because in PvE an Arcanist can exploit enemies’ special weaknesses, and some enemies actually take extra damage from a specific Element on top of their already low resistances. Dedicated Elemental Weapons also often have hidden mechanics that make them a lot better in practice when used properly than they might appear to be on paper. The weakness-exploit argument doesn’t quite hold up in PvP however, so in some cases Conversion weapons in particular may have a hard time keeping up. Dedicated Elemental Weapons, on the other hand, should have fewer issues in this regard, but they aren’t without their peculiarities in terms of moveset. This is a “Con” only in so much as it represents a learning curve for prospective Arcanists. It’s not a meaningful deterrent from trying the play-style, it’s simply a fact you should recognize and learn to work around.
  • Hunter Tools can be difficult to use
    • Each of the Tools has a unique delivery method, so if you’re using the wrong one at the wrong moment, it can cause issues. They can also be difficult to land in PvP due to having fairly long tells and in some cases long recovery animations, but as with the AR discrepancy this is something that can be adjusted for. For PvE, the tools can easily be your main source of damage against bosses, but in PvP they’re more useful to create pressure or to set up baits. For example, rather than using Executioner’s Gloves merely to do damage from range, you’d be better off taking advantage of their slow motion and homing ability to put your enemy on the defensive so you can predict their movement and cut them off, potentially setting up a combo. If you stagger them with your weapon and your Gloves also hit, you’ve overcome any AR deficiency relative to Physical builds, and then some…
  • Elemental Blood Gems can be more difficult to obtain
    • The vast majority of gems you find throughout the base game and Chalices are Physically-oriented. That said, there are some gems (lol) you can find if you’re clever. I’ll have a section just for Blood Gems with locations so don’t worry. Note that for endgame, the easiest gems to come by are Flat Arcane, Nourishing, Fire, and Bolt, roughly in that order. Percentage Arcane tend to be the most difficult to obtain, especially in Radial, but I do have more specific advice on that matter in The Arcanist Cookbook supplemental guide.

Quick Tips

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve got some quick tips to help you along with your Arcanist before we get into the really specific details about gear and accessories.

  • Respect the softcaps
    • This is the single biggest mistake prospective Arcanists make. 40 ARC is literally the minimum requirement to use A Call Beyond. 40 ARC can be plenty for the base game, but as someone who spends a lot of time in Chalices, 40 Arcane isn’t very much at higher Depths or in the DLC in regards to non-weapon output. Hunter Tools in general have a much more gradual scaling curve than weapons, so while weapons reach 90~95% of their AR potential (base damage + scaling) at 50 ARC, most of the tools are around 60~70% of their potential output. Take a look at this spreadsheet for more detailed information. Relevant softcaps:
      • 20 ARC
        • Choir Bell, Blacksky Eye, and Augur of Ebrietas scale better from 20 to 50 than prior to 20
      • 25 ARC
        • All Weapons and Molotovs hit their first softcap, but continue to scale quite well
      • 50 ARC
        • All Weapons and Molotovs hit final softcap, scaling past this point is poor
        • Tiny Tonitrus scales better from 50 to 70 than prior to 50
        • A Call Beyond hits first minor softcap, but continues to scale quite well
        • All other Tools hit first softcap, but continue to scale fairly well until 80 where their scaling improves
      • 70 ARC
        • Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond hit final softcap, but continue to scale fairly well
      • 80 ARC
        • Choir Bell, Blacksky Eye, Augur of Ebrietas, Executioner’s Gloves, and Accursed Brew all scale better from 80 to 99 than they did from 50 to 80
      • 99 ARC
        • Maximum Arcane investment
  • STRONGLY consider exceeding 50 ARC
    • 50 is the last softcap for weapon damage, but tools keep scaling well past 50. Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond don’t softcap until 70 ARC. If you think these spells are not doing much damage relative to the Quicksilver cost (a common complaint), it’s because you don’t have enough ARC. If all you want to do is swing your weapon, why are you making an Arcanist build? Think about it. That brings me to my next point:
    • ~1 Blood Vial = 5 Quicksilver Bullets. This means you get 2 Executioner’s Gloves or 1 Tiny Tonitrus for ~1 Vial and 1 QS instead of 6 QS, or A Call Beyond for ~1 Vial and 2 QS instead of 7 QS. If you’re not blood-tapping, of course you’re gonna run out of bullets, you silly goose!
  • Also consider 99 ARC
    • Though Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond softcap at 70, all the other Tools actually haveimproved scaling from 80 to 99, and to be honest the softcap on TT and ACB isn’t actually that harsh. That makes this climb well worth it. Think of it this way. You could have 50/50 Quality, or 99 ARC for nearly the same investment. It’s seriously worth it for Tool damage. While 99 ARC is very hard to fit into a 120 build, if you go higher (such as to 150+), you can definitely make it work. Try it at least once, I implore you…
  • …Unless you’re doing a hybrid build
    • In which case, you may have other options. Most of what I talk about here is directed towards “pure Arcane builds,” not hybrids. I still think 50~70 ARC is a fantastic idea, but in a hybrid build you can reduce or negate the weapon AR disadvantage inherent to the pure Arcanist build by using Physical weapons or leveraging the Physical components of Dedicated Elemental Weapons and still have some Tool damage, without as much need to focus on it to offset your weapon AR. I use 50 ARC on my ARC/STR Hybrid build and it’s still extremely powerful. However, rather than focusing on Tools, I use Moonlight’s R2/L2 attacks to deal heavy Arcane damage. With the understanding that your Tools will take a backseat, 50 ARC can still be quite something. If you like to spam spells more often, consider 70 or 99 instead.
  • USE your Tools
    • Your weapons are for trash mobs. Your Tools are for badasses and bosses. Please, please, please remember to use your Tools. I cannot understand why you would be trying to play an Arcanist if you didn’t want to use them…
  • Remember to use the right Element for the Pokemon enemy you’re fighting
    • This is a big one. In general, Fire will get the job done against most enemies, but some enemies take extra damage from certain Elements… Not all of them do, but even if they don’t take extra damage specifically they still have low resistances to that Element.
      • Beasts often take extra damage from Fire
        • This applies to full-on Beasts, not generally the half-transformed humans, but even they have Fire as their primary weakness. Key exceptions are Keeper’s Hunting Dog; Watchdog of the Old Lords; and Laurence, the First Vicar. Bolt or Arcane will be required for these enemies.
      • Pthumerians often take extra damage from Arcane
        • If their face looks like this, they’re probably a Pthumerian. These are mostly found in the Chalice Dungeons, but there are also a few scattered throughout the main game. As with Beasts, they don’t all take extra Arcane damage (this applies mostly to “Labyrinth Watchers”), but for the most part it’s still their primary weakness. Notable exception is the Queen herself, who is weak to Fire and then Arcane/Bolt.
      • Kin often take extra damage from Bolt
        • There are few Kin in the game, but they are all pretty dangerous. If it looks like an Alien, it’s probably Kin. Note that the enemies in the Fishing Hamlet are NOT Kin, and they tend to RESIST Bolt Damage. They’re generally weak to Fire. True Great Ones and Nightmare creatures are also not Kin, these include Amygdala, Mergo’s Wet Nurse, Moon Presence, Orphan of Kos, Brain of Mensis, and Winter Lanterns. Knowing is half the battle, fellow Arcanists… The following enemies are the only known Kin:
          • Brainsucker
          • Garden of Eyes
          • Fluorescent Flower
          • Rom and its Children
          • Celestial Emissary boss and mobs
          • Ebrietas and her Slug Babies
          • Living Failures

That covers the basics. What follows now are links to more specific information within this thread and a few other resources you might find useful.

Conversion Weapons

This is a big section, because pretty much any purely Physical weapon can be used by an Arcanist with the proper Blood Gems. The only one I explicitly don’t recommend is Beast Claw, because the Beasthood meter it’s designed around only increases Physical damage. Other than that you can use anything you like once you meet the minimum requirements and have some good Blood Gems. Before I get into specifics about weapons though, I want to talk about the three possible Elemental types we can Convert them into. Although technically speaking you can find any Element on any gem shape, the likelihood of getting particular bonuses varies from place to place (and in some cases specific enemies). My recommendations here have a mind towards endgame viability as well as early game availability.

I highly recommend choosing a weapon that’s considered Serrated in one or more of its modes as your Fire weapon. Although only a handful of enemies are susceptible to this property, these weapons will significantly outperform most other options against them, while still being reliable against everything else. It’s very easy to find excellent Waning and Radial Fire gems, but Triangles are uncommon outside of special enemies.

There isn’t an analogue to Serrated weapons for Kin when it comes to Bolt Conversion, so you can pretty much use anything you like. Prior to the DLC Bolt gems were pretty scarce, but the fellows in the Fishing Hamlet that shoot lightning at you drop some good ones. While they aren’t suitable against the enemies in this area (who resist Bolt but are weak to Fire), they will come in handy for Isz Chalice. As with Fire, it’s very easy to find excellent Waning and Radial Bolt gems, but Triangles are uncommon outside of special enemies.

Unlike Fire/Bolt, it’s actually very difficult to get Waning Arcane gems of high quality. While percentage Arcane are also pretty uncommon in Radial, we can make do with good Flat Arcane or Nourishing options instead. Because of this, and because there are three excellent Dedicated Elemental Weapons with the Arcane element (Moonlight, Wheel, Parasite), I don’t really recommend Conversion for this element unless you’re really into a specific weapon’s move set and want it in Arcane.

This is just my opinion, based on my personal experiences, but here are all the Conversion weapons. I’m going to separate them by whether they start with a Waning or a Triangle slot, but keep in mind that Uncanny versions will have the other, while Lost will have both.

Waning Slot

For Fire/Bolt, this is my preferred imprint to look for, not only early on but also endgame due to enemies in Loran having rather high chances of dropping these types of gems, and usually in Waning. I also prefer these for my starting weaponry, until I get access to different imprint variants and gem options through the Chalice Dungeons.

  • Saw Cleaver & Saw Spear
    • The typical Serrated weapons. Note that Saw Spear is Serrated in both forms while Saw Cleaver is only Serrated in normal mode. These are actually my top picks as starting weapons, with the choice between one or the other coming down entirely to your preference for move set. I prefer Cleaver of the two, but I do use both depending on the situation. Don’t feel bad about upgrading the basic version of these weapons, because unlike Physical builds we actually thrive on Waning slots for Fire/Bolt damage.
  • Ludwig’s Holy Blade
    • The addition of many more Conversion weapons ripe for Bolt damage, and the dominance of Serrated Fire weapons against Beasts might make this weapon seem obsolete, but it’s still very powerful at one thing in particular: smiting enemies weak to Righteous weapons. In this capacity it’s perfectly viable in either Fire or Bolt, and it has the highest potential output in this circumstance among Conversion weapons. Though there are very few enemies that this applies to, one of them in particular will end up being very important for endgame gem farming: Gargoyles. Since their resistances to Fire/Bolt are similar, I think this is an excellent candidate for your Bolt Conversion weapon if you have the 16 Strength and 12 Skill required to equip it. Note that its sister weapon Holy Moonlight Sword also requires 16/12 to wield, and it’s one of the most powerful Dedicated Elemental Weapons for Arcane damage.
  • Beasthunter Saif
    • Despite being called “Beasthunter,” this weapon isn’t Serrated in any form and doesn’t have any specific bonuses against particular enemy types. Still, it’s an awesome weapon with a very unique move set and I highly recommend you give it a look. It requires 9 Strength and 11 Skill so it doesn’t require much investment to wield. Despite the Official Guide recommending against Converting this weapon, in my opinion the sheer speed and technical potential of this weapon more than make up for any AR deficiency it might appear to have. It’s particularly brutal as a PvP weapon!

Triangle Slot

For Arcane damage, this is my preferred imprint due to the available gems. For the most part I prefer to stick to Fire/Bolt for my Conversion needs and instead use Dedicated Elemental Weapons and Tools to deal Arcane type specifically, but for the sake of completeness I think it’s worth discussing all the Conversion weapons. While these don’t make great starting weapons for Fire/Bolt, they can be great Arcane type starting weapons, and can end up as good or better in some scenarios even in Fire/Bolt than the ones I’ve listed above if you either find good Triangles, or get the Uncanny versions to use them with Waning gems, or get the Lost versions and use both.

  • Whirligig Saw & Beast Cutter
    • These are both powerful, heavy-hitting weapons ripe for Fire conversion due to being Serrated. Whirligig is Serrated in Trick mode, but Beast Cutter is Serrated in both modes. They both excel at reach and stagger potential in their own ways. In particular, Beast Cutter has probably the longest range of any Melee attack on its Trick mode R2, and the 2nd hit in the R2 combo will flatten most enemies, making it really good at zoning enemies, especially in PvE. Whirligig Saw on the other hand… well, I’m sure simply googling videos of this weapon will tell you everything you need to know about its Trick mode L2. It… shall we say… shreds?
  • Threaded Cane & Church Pick
    • Now these are fast weapons that have both Righteous and Serrated bonuses at various times. Threaded Cane is Righteous in normal mode but Serrated in Trick mode, while Church Pick is both Serrated andRighteous in both modes, but only on moves that would have been Thrust on the Physical version (incidentally, that’s all of the Trick mode attacks, but only some of the normal mode). While there’s no enemy that is susceptible to both of these modifiers, having access to both on the same weapon can be useful. While these weapons lack some of the impact force of Whriligig & Beast Cutter, they make up for it in speed and flexibility.
  • Kirkhammer & Hunter Axe
    • Kirkhammer is considered Righteous in normal mode, but not Trick mode (despite being literally an epitaph on a stick). I’m putting these two together because they’re both very high impact weapons with good reach, damage potential, and Regain. They have quite different movesets, but I thought these similarities were sufficient to group them together. They’re classic weapons well worth a look.
  • Rakuyo
    • 20 Skill as a prerequisite is a pretty heavy investment considering the only Dedicated Elemental Weapon that can benefit significantly from it is Holy Moonlight Sword, but if you’re going to make that investment, this is a fine Conversion option that can come along with it. Like the Beasthunter Saif, this weapon seems to lack Elemental AR on paper, but the fast and technically interesting move set can make up for it if you have the time and skill (hoho) to get to know it.
  • Stake Driver
    • BOOM. This weapon has probably the highest potential Fire damage in a single, Oiled hit with its Charged R2, except maybe Ludwig’s Holy Blade against an enemy weak to Righteous weapons. Even aside from that this is a great fast weapon with a solid move set. It does lack reach, and it requires a lot of practice to learn how to use both modes effectively. But when it clicks, it’s a very satisfying weapon, especially when you get that sweet, sweet charge attack off.

Dedicated Elemental Weapons

Specifically, this applies to a set of 5 weapons among the weapons that come with non-Physical damage built in. On paper most of these look like merely Physical weapons with some decent Elemental AR, but they have hidden mechanics that give them a lot more potential than meets the eye. Every one of these weapons typifies the phrase “AR lies” in its own way. Do not judge these weapons based merely on the Status screen, for you will be misled. I’ll list recommended variants for each of these weapons, and a glyph where applicable. I’ll also make gem typerecommendations, but look to the relevant Gem sections, or The Arcanist Cookbook for more specific details.

A common thread among these Dedicated Elemental Weapons in addition to their “mechanics” is that the ones with Physical damage can often perform better than many Conversion options when gemmed properly. However this usually means Nourishing gems, which are exceptionally rare prior to Chalice Dungeon delving. These weapons are also even better on builds that invest into the relevant Physical stats as well as ARC.

  • Tonitrus
    • Basic or Lost (4i5efewz Lower Loran Fetid/Rotted/Cursed Layer 1, 1st bonus room)
    • Nourishing gems, or Bolt gems if you lack them
      • Atk vs Open Foes or Atk vs Kin Up secondary effect
    • This is one of my favorite Bolt weapons. Despite Kin being pretty resistant to Blunt damage, when this weapon has been buffed with L1, it’s rarely outperformed. Note that the buff only lasts about 7 seconds, but Transform Attacks will refresh the buff while doing rather substantial damage. This weapon lacks reach, and it can be cumbersome to use against some enemies, so the raw potential isn’t without its tradeoffs. It also has very low max durability and the buff increases its durability loss somewhat. This is a weapon that seems to be intended to be used sparingly, when you can make the most of its huge potential against something that requires it rather than as your main weapon. That potential makes it worth it, when you can properly make use of it.
  • Boom Hammer
    • Basic or Lost (8i29rqz3 Pthumeru Layer 1 main area, from the Messenger shop up the ladder if you obtained the Basic version)
    • Nourishing gems, or Fire gems if you lack them
      • Charge Atk or Flat Fire secondary effect
    • At first blush this looks very similar to Tonitrus, and it is in some ways, but it’s also very different. This weapon deals only Physical damage (unless you have some Flat Fire) in normal mode, but rather than a Trick mode, L1 applies a buff that activates the Fire damage. Unlike Tonitrus whose buff lasts about 7 seconds, this one has no timer, but it only applies to the next hit. You have to re-buff after “consuming” it. Fortunately L1 attacks deal Fire damage and also enable it for the next hit. Thus, you can alternate attacks that consume the buff and Transform attacks to re-apply it to (mostly) seamlessly utilize the Fire damage. Note that some of the attacks have unusually high Fire multipliers, but it already has rather good Fire damage and scaling. Stamina costs are increased for buffed hits, so this can be a difficult weapon to use with low Endurance. It also has very low max durability, so like Tonitrus it’s not a suitable main weapon. It can also be outperformed by Serrated Fire Conversion Weapons against the enemies susceptible to them, but otherwise it’s a great Fire weapon. Try the Running R2, Charged R2, and Jump Attack when buffed in particular… This weapon can be used to strategically unload a huge amount of damage in a single hit. Boom Hammer is blessed with one of the shortest Charge R2 windups.
  • Logarius’ Wheel
    • Uncanny (xy8abwm9 Pthumerian Defilement Layer 1, 1st bonus room)
    • Flat Arcane gems, or Nourishing gems if you want a more balanced approach.
    • Oh, man. Oh… man. Wheel. Even with all the fun new toys in the DLC, there’ll always be a place in my inventory for the glory that is Wheel. This is great in an Arcanist build with Flat Arcane gems or in a hybrid build with Nourishing. Note that Flat Arcane gems in particular favor the Trick mode attacks that hit multiple times per attack, such as the dodge R1 and R2 combo. Flat damage has the same value regardless of the Move Multiplier, so for attacks that deal several small hits, you can get a lot out of them. In a build with both high Strength and high Arcane you can utilize more of the move set (especially Normal mode) with Nourishing gems, but your multi-hit attacks will be a bit lower. This is another weapon that has hidden mechanics that make it a better Arcanist weapon than the Status screen might suggest. In Trick mode, the Physical AR is reduced by about 30%, but the Arcane AR is multiplied by 4. At +10 you’re looking at going from 200 & 50 to 140 & 200, with the resulting scaling bonuses being altered as well based on the new base damage.
  • Holy Moonlight Sword
    • Basic
    • Nourishing gems, or Percentage Arcane, or Flat Arcane
    • This is another favorite of mine, and it makes a great compliment to Wheel, and it’s tied with Wheel and Parasite for top Arcane damage weapon in my opinion. Yet another weapon with hidden mechanics, in Trick mode this weapon has rather large Arcane multipliers, and special attacks that consume bullets and deal even more extra Arcane damage. The R2 attacks shoot projectiles at various angles depending on the move, and the L2 is a powerful stab with enormous knockdown. These special attacks deal at least 3x Arcane damage on the Waves. The same fact that makes Flat Arcane so good on Wheel makes them less optimal for this weapon. Since the Flat value is the same whether the multiplier is tiny or enormous, for this weapon you can get more out of percentage gems to leverage those huge multipliers. Nourishing gems are the best bet because they also increase the very respectable Physical AR for your Trick mode R1 attacks and Normal mode.
  • Kos Parasite
    • Uncanny (8i29rqz3 Pthumeru Layer 1 main area, from the Messenger shop up the ladder if you obtained the Basic version)
    • Radials: Nourishing gems, or Percentage Arcane gems, or Flat Arcane gems, depending on certain variables
    • Triangle: Arcane with Flat Arcane below 99 ARC, or high Percentage Arcane at 99 ARC
    • This weapon, when used with the Milkweed rune, completes the three-way tie for my favorite Arcane-element weapon along with Wheel and Moonlight. This is Example Numero Uno for “AR lies.” When used with Milkweed, most of the Move Multipliers for this weapon linger around 200%, so you definitely should not be deceived by your Status screen, and especially be wary of Flat gems that may claim to increase your AR more than similar quality Percentage gems, yet can’t keep up with the large multipliers. One exception is the Trick mode L2, which has several weak hits leading up to one large one. I personally prefer to use more than just this telegraphed and easily parryable attack, so I recommend good percentage gems. It will still hit hard, but more of the damage will be concentrated on the final, huge hit than the little pulses leading up to it. Note that good Percent Arcane Radials are really hard to come by, but good Nourishing Radials are a lot easier, so I prefer those with Atk vs Open Foes to make up the discrepancy. For your Triangle slot you have 3 good options: Arcane/Flat Arcane from Brainsucker in Isz (>50 ARC), or Arcane from Watchers in Isz (>50 ARC), or Arcane from Ebrietas in Isz (guaranteed to be Arcane, the other two are uncommon drops). See The Arcanist Cookbook for more detailed information. Note that without the Milkweed rune equipped, you will simply use the unarmed move set instead of squid shenanigans, and the Move Multipliers are a lot lower so Flat Arcane are usually better in that case.

Left Hand Weapons

There are a lot fewer options here than for the right hand, but this guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning them. Don’t underestimate these.

I’m gonna go over the weapons that I think are good for Arcanist builds, and I’ll discuss potential reasons for using each one. Please don’t take this as gospel, experimentation is awesome!

  • Hunter Pistol or Hunter Blunderbuss
    • Early in the game, you simply won’t have a way to deal Elemental damage short of Molotovs and Paper. Also you can get one of these for free. Take Blunderbuss if you have a harder time with timing parries because even if you miss the timing the stagger value is huge. The range is short though, which is what Hunter Pistol is for. I don’t recommend raising Bloodtinge in a pure Arcane build, but if you want to try something novel like an Arcane/Bloodtinge hybrid, consider Evelyn or Repeating Pistolinstead of Hunter Pistol. They both scale with Bloodtinge extremely well. Repeating has the highest damage of any pistol, but it uses 2 bullets per shot. I wouldn’t bother with Ludwig’s Rifle, though. It has somewhat longer range than Blunderbuss but the recoil time after a shot is a lot longer and Blunderbuss actually scales better with Bloodtinge anyway.
  • Flamesprayer or Rosmarinus
    • The two “bug sprayer” weapons are not to be underestimated. Flamesprayer can be obtained from the Gilbert’s NPC window by the Central Yharnam lamp after defeating Father Gascoigne, and Rosmarinus is unlocked in the Bath shop with the Cosmic Eye Hunter badge from Upper Cathedral Ward. Flamesprayer deals Fire damage while Rosmarinus deals Arcane. It’s worth noting that more enemies are weak to Fire than Arcane, so I think for PvE Flamesprayer is a better choice. Player clothing tends to be the reverse, so Rosmarinus tends to be better in PvP. These have no gem slots, so if you can’t get creative with them later on they’re outclassed by Tools in terms of damage, but the fast windup time gives these weapons a use even after their damage falls a little behind.
    • Note that both of these can benefit from Bone Marrow Ash! The damage bonus applies to one bullet’s worth of damage, which amounts to about 3 “ticks”. Flamesprayer can also benefit from applying Oil to the enemy on top of Bone Marrow Ash… Use your imagination, and happy spraying!
  • Wooden Shield or Loch Shield
    • Not weapons per se, but worth mentioning as an excellent method for blocking Blood (Wooden) or Elemental (Loch) damage, if nothing else. The physical reductions are kinda poor, but if you can’t dodge something it’s probably better than eating the hit. I don’t have a lot of experience with these, maybe there’s more to them than I’m aware of…
  • Hunter’s Torch
    • Unlike the basic Torch found in Central Yharnam, the Hunter’s Torch from Old Yharnam can be upgraded! The scaling is pretty decent, but the damage doesn’t stay relevant for long, and it has no gem slots. Still, it’s a torch so it’s very useful for lighting dark areas and scaring away some Beast enemies. That trick works even if you’re two-handing your weapon, by the way. I run around with a Hunter’s Torch out most of the time.

Hunter Tool Locations/Analysis

I’m going to talk about all the Tools here, but I think the non-damage tools are more oriented for Physical builds, and especially PvP (or fighting NPC Hunters). I’m going to list them in the order you can (probably) obtain them. DLC Tools are at the end.

Please refer to this spreadsheet for more detailed damage output information.

Main Game

  • Old Hunter Bone
    • For 4 QS you get a special aura for about 13 seconds that makes you invisible during dodge rolls and quicksteps as well making them faster. Its explicit use is to make your movements more unpredictable, so this might not see much use outside of PvP. Make no mistake, it’s excellent at that. If you’re using Kos Parasite and Milkweed, this thing is borderline hax.
      • Abandoned Old Workshop from the Healing Church Workshop in Cathedral Ward after defeating Blood-Starved Beast. Go down the tower, but instead of going all the way to the bottom there’s a ledge you can jump to halfway with a door. This Tool is located by the tombstone at the top of the workshop, where in the Hunter’s Dream version of this area the doll will occasionally pray, which is the headstone for the DLC areas.
  • Beast Roar
    • For 2 QS let out a satisfying bellow, knocking down or staggering most enemies. The most straightforward way to use this is to knock down humanoid enemies to give yourself some time to recover stamina or heal. The cast time is really short, making it useful in both PvP and against NPC Hunters. The more esoteric use of this Tool is that it can deflect most projectiles… Use your imagination and you can probably think of a few times to use this.
      • Forbidden Woods in the house at the top of the hill after the dog cages on the way to Iosefka’s back door. Watch out for the Snatcher around back.
  • Madaras Whistle
    • For 4 QS summon a giant Snake beneath you that bites anyone foolish enough to be within the area. This tool, while scaling with Bloodtinge, still deals Arcane damage. I’m mentioning it here because maybe someone might want to try an Arcane/Bloodtinge build… This does a LOT of damage considering the cost, but this is offset by the fact that it can damage you as well if you’re not careful. Not surprisingly, this is a great PvP Tool because of the delay, you can set up combos and baits if you’re very clever.
      • Forbidden Woods after crushing at least one Vermin and talking to Valtr to receive the League Staff and gesture, the next time you enter this area the Younger Madaras Twin will attack you near the first Lamp. You can cheese him by running to the elevator and going down. He’ll leap to his death like a filthy casul and you’ll get his Snake Whistle. I’m pretty sure that’s a euphemism for something.
  • Augur of Ebrietas
    • For 1 QS unleash tentacles from your hand that deal damage to an enemy in close range. WOW this Tool got a buff in 1.07. The damage is actually pretty excellent, it’s one of the most efficient in terms of damage/cost. The main drawback being the fairly short range and long casting time. It has immense knockdown power and only costs 1 bullet. But… the best thing about this Tool is that it can allow you to Backstab and Parry. How effing sweet is that? This Tool is excellent.
      • Lecture Building 1st Floor on the right side from the Lamp. Get the Lecture Hall Key from across the hall, and slaughter all the students in the main hall. The chest containing the Tool is in a little side room on the right.
  • Messenger’s Gift
    • For 1 QS you turn into a wee Note Messenger! The disguise isn’t perfect so it doesn’t quite work in PvE, and clever PvP enemies will spot you, but it can be a lot of fun to use if you’re creative. Note that you can’t be locked onto when disguised, but the spell will break if you dodge, sprint, or attack. You can use this to break your opponent’s lock on and to mask your next move, or to hide under debris (or behind an obstacle) to avoid an invader. Get creative, and this can be a lot of fun for online play!
      • Nightmare Frontier at the very end of the poison pit where all the Loot Enemies are sitting in a little circle, after the tunnel with the Silverbeast on all fours. You can also get here through the bigger poison pit surrounded Rock Tossers, there’s a tiny hole along the right wall as you walk down into the poison that eventually leads to this area.
  • Executioner’s Gloves
    • For 3 QS fire three SPOOKY GHOSTS that home in to your lock-on target. By far one of my favorite Tools, these bad boys have everything: good damage/time/ammo ratio, spooky sound-effects… These can deal enormous Arcane damage in a pretty precise manner thanks to the homing. This can be used to exploit some serious weak zones on larger bosses. Note that they start out spread really wide, so you’re gonna want a good amount of distance to let them home in properly. Blacksky Eye deals more damage per-bullet, but it flies straight while these home in.
      • Forsaken Castle Cainhurst the bit where you go out the Library window, drop down and go through the door back inside. in the same room as the Knight Set, with all the screaming ghosts. This is before the roof with the Kin Coldblood, and before the shortcut lever that moves the staircase.
  • Empty Phantasm Shell
    • For 3 QS enchant your weapon with 80 Arcane AR. This is more for Hybrid builds, because this Tool is quite simply the Arcane equivalent to Fire and Bolt Paper. Only pure Physical weapons and Reiterpallasch can be enchanted this way, and only if they have no Elemental blood gems. While that makes this tool borderline useless for an Arcanist, it’s certainly viable and useful for Hybrid or Physical builds.
      • Byrgenwerth at the top of the tower where you find the Lunarium Key, in a chest guarded by a Garden of Eyes.
  • Tiny Tonitrus
    • For 6 QS summon a line of Bolt pillars that shoot out of the ground. This Tool is super cool, but I think it’s a bit too expensive to use on single targets. It can be used to hit several enemies in a line, so with some creative planning it can really impress. It doesn’t seem to hit even large bosses more than once per cast, so it falls a little flat compared to Executioner’s Gloves or A Call Beyond even against Bolt-Weak bosses. Still, give this one a try, it’s far from useless.
      • Yahar’gul Chapel on the way to the 2nd Amygdala, there’s a break in the fence on the big platform with all the crazy Hemwick folks. Drop down, kill the Chime Maiden (and the Ogre if you’re feeling fresh), drop into the jail cell in the middle, and don’t forget to grab the Upper Cathedral Ward key. The chest facing this cell guarded by the napping Ogre has the Tool. Watch out for the Wheelchair guy to the left as you exit the cell.
  • A Call Beyond
    • For 7 QS call forth a field of shooting stars, some of which home in, but all of which deal huge damage.{fap fap fap fap fap} This Tool is absolutely bonkers against large bosses. 7 of the stars try (rather lackadaisically) to home in on your lock-on target, but the rest just sort of shoot off randomly. Even so, the damage per-hit is higher than any Tool we have, and we get up to 7 hits per cast. Don’t expect all 7 to hit, especially against smaller targets, but even if a few of them hit the damage is completely worth it. It’s so good you can do shit like fighting Watchdog of the Old Lords with no melee weapons. You sold yet? Executioner’s Gloves if you want to hit a specific weak point, but if you just want damage and coverage this is the spell to use.
      • Upper Cathedral Ward after beating the Celestial Emissary, punch the window and drop through. To the right along the walkway is a corpse with this Tool. Why don’t you try using it on Ebrietas, the next boss? >:D
  • Choir Bell
    • For 7 QS heal yourself and your co-operators! Not much else to say about this one. Note that this can’t be parried like Blood Vials. The healing is quite significant at higher ARC values.
      • Mergo’s Loft: Middle after pulling the lever to drop the Brain of Mensis into the pit, turn back and drop through a hole in the floor. Across the rafters there’s a chest guarded by a Winter Lantern which contains this Tool.


  • Blacksky Eye
    • For 1 QS fire a tiny metor at your enemy. At first glance this might seem redundant with Executioner’s Gloves as a cheap ranged option, but they have very different delivery methods. Blacksky Eye fires a pretty fast projectile straight at your target, while Executioner’s Gloves home in slowly. Eye deals somewhat more damage per-bullet, but since you only fire one projectile at a time Executioner’s Gloves technically has higher “DPS.” I recommend getting used to both of them because there are situations where one or the other would be preferable.
      • Research Hall after you obtain the Balcony Key from Adeline after giving her the second Brain Fluid, go out through the locked door on the same floor as her room, and this Tool is on a corpse opposite the window. You an drop down and grab it quickly, but run like hell because the garden is full of enemies that hurl spells at you.
  • Accursed Brew
    • For 2 QS lob an “Arcane Grenade” at your target. This has a pretty large AoE and a similar throwing style to Molotovs, so it can take some work to get it to hit. In some cases this is best used unlocked by predicting where you enemy will go and lobbing it there instead of targeting them and probably missing. This takes some getting used to but it does a LOT of damage for the cost.
      • Fishing Hamlet before the lamp, there’s a fellow wandering around muttering crazy talk. If you’re wearing the Milkweed rune and you Talk to him directly, he’ll recite some kind of prayer at you and then give you this Tool. What a nice guy!

Story Gem Locations/Sources

I’ll be blunt. Main game Elemental gems are very scarce relative to Physical. With that being said, even one or two decent gems can make a huge difference for the main game if you’re upgrading your weapon as often as you can and investing heavily into the ARC stat. This will usually be enough for trash mobs, but you’re going to want to get your Tools ASAP for bosses. I’ll list the Elemental gems that I’ve found in the base game. This might not be an exhaustive list. If you see anything missing, please let me know! If you want more or better gems than these, you’ll have to visit the Chalice dungeons.

I’ll be listing the main game and DLC first, but I’ll also include the Standard Chalice Dungeons for the sake of completeness.

Static Loot

  • 8.4% Fire, HP recover +1 Waning
    • Cathedral Ward at the bottom of the Healing Church Workshop, guarded by a Brainsucker. Throw a single Molotov at it and it will die a beautiful, flamey death.
  • 12.6% Atk vs Beasts Radial
    • Cathedral Ward in the Grand Cathedral defeat Vicar Amelia and Use the Gold Pendant.
  • 10.5% Arcane Triangle
    • Forbidden Woods on the way to the back of Iosefka’s Clinic. You can drop down right on top of the gem from the entrance, and try your darnedest to roll through the worms out of there.
  • 9.1% Nourishing Triangle
    • Forbidden Woods on the way to the back of Iosefka’s Clinic. It’s in the poison water on the left side from where you enter.
  • 16.5% Bolt Waning
    • Yahar’gul, Unseen Village right after the first bridge with a bajillion assholes on it, in a jail cell behind the Chime Maiden.
  • 15% Nourishing Radial
    • Mergo’s Loft: Middle by a tree on the left right before the first set of stairs after the single Maneater Boar just asking for a Surprise Colonoscopy.
  • 18% Arcane Droplet
    • Mergo’s Loft: Middle after pulling the lever to drop the Brain of Mensis into the pit, turn back and drop through a hole in the floor. There’s a door to the outside, to a bridge with lots of items. The second corpse has the gem.
  • +27 Flat Fire, +8.1% Fire Triangle
    • Fishing Hamlet in the last house near the well before the path up to the Lighthouse Hut. It’s upstairs.
  • +47.3 Flat Arcane, +4.1% Arcane Triangle
    • Lighthouse Hut at the bottom of the ladder leading down into the “breeding pits” where all the Conch ladies reside. The gem is to the left after you turn around at the bottom of the ladder.
  • +42 Flat Bolt, +4.1% Bolt Waning
    • Lighthouse Hut near the elevator back up to the lamp, there are two paths: one leads to the boss, the other leads to two a fork. Left leads past 2 Winter Lanterns, right leads to several shell-less Conch ladies and eventually this gem. There’s also a Blood Rock, but I’m sure you don’t care about it. ;p

Enemy Drops

Note that enemy Blood Gem drops always have a small chance to be a different shape from what’s expected. You might get different bonuses sometimes, and there are more enemies that drop different gems, but I’m listing the ones that may interest Arcanists specifically.

  • Up to 8.4% Arcane Triangle
    • Small Celestial Emissary enemies in Forbidden Woods
      • The ones in Upper Cathedral Ward don’t seem to drop any :(
  • Up to 7.3% Fire/Bolt Waning
    • Silverbeast enemies in Nightmare Frontier
      • Arcane are rare, but possible
  • Up to 12.6% Fire/Bolt Waning
    • Silverbeast enemies in Nightmare of Mensis
      • Arcane are rare, but possible
  • Up to 14.5% Beasthunter/Kinhunter Radial
    • Cramped Casket enemies in Yahar’gul
      • Not as good as stacking Elemental since not everything is Beast or Kin, but better than an empty slot.
  • Up to 20.3% Bolt Radial
    • Fishman Mages in the Fishing Hamlet that shoot lightning at you drop these.

Standard Chalice Gem Sources

I recommend starting your Chalice journey right after Blood-Starved Beast. The first Pthumeru chalice is on par with Old Yharnam in terms of difficulty, and Central Pthumeru is a bit harder than that. There’s a more significant increase going to Lower Pthumeru, and a huge jump for Ailing Loran/Defiled and onward. There are actually HP multipliers at work here based on the Depth Rating of the chalice.

  • Depth 1 Pthumeru Chalice
    • 1.0
  • Depth 2 Central Pthumeru Chalice
    • 1.45
  • Depth 3 Lower Pthumeru Chalice
    • 3.83
  • Depth 4 Ailing Loran Chalice and Defiled Chalice
    • 6.46
  • Depth 5 Lower Loran, Isz, and Pthumeru Ihyll
    • 6.91 for Lower Loran and Isz
    • 7.63 for Pthumeru Ihyll

There are Blood Echo, damage, and defense multipliers too, and HP increases the deeper you go within the dungeon (Layer 2 > Layer 1, etc), but this list should give you a good guideline as to how much harder the next Depth will be compared to the one you’ve just completed. For more information, check The Bloodborne Sheets.

Note that enemy Blood Gem drops always have a small chance to be a different shape from what’s expected. You might get different bonuses sometimes, and there are more enemies that drop different gems, but I’m listing the ones that may interest Arcanists specifically.


  • Pthumeru Chalice
    • Up to 10.5% Fire, 2nd bonus, Cursed Radial
      • Layer 2 in the room to the left after the Lamp, turn right, 2 knife guys with flaming weapons will drop down from above
      • First place to get Fire Radials, rates are decent, but the Eye rune from Byrgenwerth helps.
  • Central Pthumeru Chalice
    • Up to 13.5% Fire, 2nd bonus, Cursed Radial
      • Layer 2 in the room to the left after the Lamp, turn right, a knife guy and a double-axe guy with flaming weapons will drop down from above (yes, the same as the previous Chalice)
      • Rates are low, consider skipping this farm and just going to Lower instead
  • Lower Pthumeru Chalice
    • Up to 16.5% Fire, 2nd bonus, Cursed Radial
      • Layer 1 bonus area before Lamp, up the ladder, kill the spider, go down the ladder, kill the Snatcher, enter the big room and 2 polearm guys with flaming weapons will drop down from above at the opposite end of the room. Note that there’s an illusory wall right by the polearm guys.
  • Defiled Chalice
    • Up to 18.8% Fire, 2nd bonus, Cursed Radial
      • Layer 2 bonus area before boss, a double-axe guy and later 2 polearm guys with flaming weapons. Sprint past everyone else if you can, or ignore trying to farm this dungeon because it’s mean and the gems might not be worth the hassle. The next Chalice gives you all your HP back and also has the “flaming weapon” enemies we seek for our Radials.
  • Pthumeru Ihyll Chalice
    • Up to 20.3% Fire, 2nd bonus, Cursed Radial
      • Layer 1 directly after the main Lamp, in the dark room, 3 guys with flaming weapons drop down in the corner to the right as you enter. Watch out for the Cleaver Watcher, but you can take him out without pulling the flame guys if you’re careful.


  • Ailing Loran Chalice
    • Up to 12.6% Fire/Bolt, 2nd bonus, Waning
      • Literally all the regular Old Yharnam Beasts (the ones without cloaks), Scourge Beasts (the very first Werewolf from the Clinic), and Loran Silverbeasts can drop nice Elemental gems. Keep an eye out for the Loot enemies. In Chalice dungeons, they drop nice gems instead of upgrade materials. However, these gems aren’t significantly better than the ones from the Silverbeasts in Nightmare of Mensis apart from having second bonuses, so you can skip farming here. You’re likely to get a decent gem or two just clearing the dungeon.
  • Lower Loran Chalice
    • Up to 14.2% Fire/Bolt, 2nd bonus, Waning
      • Same story here, you can find oodles of gems just by clearing out the Old Yharnam Beasts, Scourge Beasts, Loran Silverbeasts, and Loot Enemies.
      • Layer 1 Through the pre-Lamp bonus area, there are 2 Scourge beasts, 2 Silverbeasts, and an Old Yharnam Beast. There’s a Labyrinth Madman guarding a chest too (Ritual Blood 5), but he’s scary and his gems are mediocre. Then from the main Lamp, there are a few more Old Yharnam Beasts and a Loran Silverbeast guarding the Lever. The boss of this Layer is Loran Silverbeast, and he can actually drop gems 1 Rating higher than the one I’ve listed, sometimes. The gems here are pretty darn good, so it’s wise to stock up here before you start making Cursed dungeons, which is where the real gems live. Quick-search a Shared version of this dungeon to repeat the boss. Good source of Chunks, too!


  • Isz Chalice
    • Up to 14.2% Fire/Bolt/Arcane, 2nd bonus, Triangle
      • Layer 3 In the big room after the main Lamp there are 2 Scourge Beasts which drop similar gems to the ones in Loran, except they’ll mostly drop Triangles here. There’s a third one if you open the shortcut gate back from the Lever room. >209 Discovery recommended.
    • Up to 9.8% Tempering/Arcane, +32.6 Flat Arcane, Triangle
      • Layer 1 Brainsucker BOSS. Quick-search a Shared version of this dungeon to repeat the boss. Good source of Chunks, too! As a bonus, the Lever guardian is also a Brainsucker. He drops lower gems, but hey. There are also usually good Odd Arcane gems in chests throughout this dungeon.
    • Side note, this is one of the easiest non-Cursed Depth 5 dungeons to run. Brainsucker and Celestial Emissary can drop Chunks, and Ebrietas can drop Chunks or Rocks (!!!), making this a fast way to get Echoes and upgrade materials by quick-searching Shared versions of this dungeon and clearing the whole thing.

Build Templates

Some levels I recommend are 70, 100, 120, 145 and up. It can be marginally more difficult to find co-op and PvP as your level increases, but I think the best advice I can give anyone looking to make an Arcanist is to stop at whatever level you think your build is complete. Matchmaking has pretty generous ranges the higher your level goes, so it’s not a major concern unless you’re really interested in “fair” PvP, such as in a Fight Club.

The Arcanist (Base Template)

  • Level 70
    • 14 Vitality
    • 12 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 9 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 70 Arcane
  • Level 117
    • 32 Vitality
    • 12 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 9 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 99 Arcane
  • Level 145
    • 50 Vitality
    • 22 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 9 Skill (Borrow 2 from VIT or END for Beasthunter Saif)
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 99 Arcane

The titular build of the thread and star of my video series! The general outline is to start as Cruel Fate and start pumping ARC as high as possible. Grab a little VIT here and there along the way, but only enough so you can be comfortable. Don’t over-commit to it because you could be losing out on a lot of damage with the Tools. Play it safe, and remember Oil Urns! I don’t think you really need any other stats unless there’s a weapon you’re interested in that you can immediately gem up. Don’t think that because a weapon has low requisites that it’s not good endgame. I still use Saw Cleaver on my level 420+ character on NG+6. Every weapon is good when you understand it.

70, 117, and 145 are the major softcaps for level-based defense, so I like to use those as a benchmarks. I highlyrecommend trying 99 ARC at least once. 50 and 70 are fine ARC values too, but if you want to use Tools as much as I do, I can’t recommend going lower than that. Prior to 145 this is somewhat a glass cannon build and lacks END, so I don’t recommend it for BL 120 PvP as of now unless you’re crazy good or just crazy (though the 145 version is quite good).

You can move a few points around in the VIT and END departments to satisfy weapon prerequisites or to get a bit more Stamina, but I find Saw Cleaver, Saw Spear, Threaded Cane, Hunter Axe, and Kos Parasite to be a good mix of weapons. I’m constantly on the fence about Beasthunter Saif in particular, but other than this weapon I like my options.

The Battlemage

  • Level 70
    • 30 Vitality
    • 13 Endurance
    • 20 Strength
    • 12 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 40 Arcane
  • Level 120
    • 50 Vitality
    • 28 Endurance
    • 25 Strength
    • 12 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 50 Arcane
  • Level 145
    • 50 Vitality
    • 28 Endurance
    • 50 Strength
    • 12 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 50 Arcane

A.K.A STR/ARC Hybrid. This build sacrifices a great deal of Tool potential (compared to 99 ARC) to diversify into more Physical damage, which gives it more options. This build can utilize all of the Dedicated Elemental Weapons to great effect due to their innate (and often impressive) Physical damage and STR scaling. Logarius’ Wheel, Holy Moonlight Sword, Tonitrus, and Boom Hammer are the primary weapons, but a wide variety of Conversion weapons is available, and this build can use every Strength weapon and thus reap huge benefit from Beast Blood Pellets. Trust me when I say that Kirkhammer or Whirligig Saw with a full Beasthood meter are… quite something.

I find the 145 version to be quite good for Chalice delving and still satisfying for PvP. Another upside of this build at 145 is that you can actually use the one-handed mode of Wheel well. I will always recommend Flat Arcane for Wheel first for pure Arcane builds (or the 120 version of this one), but this build makes excellent overall use of Nourishing gems on it at 145. I think you’ll find you can still get a lot of PvP and co-op action despite not sticking rigidly to “the meta.” If you want to play at a lower level, drop some points from VIT/END, but the goal of this setup is for Chalice co-op. You’ll still be summoned by people as low as 105, so this is a fine helper build. The stagger from your Strength-oriented weapons and the damage from Tools are sure to please your Beckoners as you help them crush the Chalices so they can get their builds up and running. Note that password co-op ignores level. If you intend to push your level higher, definitely prioritize ARC.

The Raven

  • Level 70
    • 28 Vitality
    • 12 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 25 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 40 Arcane
  • Level 120
    • 45 Vitality
    • 20 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 50 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 40 Arcane
  • Level 145
    • 50 Vitality
    • 30 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 50 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 50 Arcane

While most Arcane Hybrid builds you’ll see will be STR oriented, there are other viable Hybrids, such as this SKL Hybrid. Like the Battlemage this one can actually do Physical damage. There are several weapons that scale almost exclusively with SKL, and you can use all of them. Despite a lack of what I’d consider a true Dedicated Elemental Weapon with SKL bias, this build can make use of both Conversion and Physical weapons. There’s a third option… Putting Flat Arcane gems on your Burial Blade or Blade of Mercy. These weapons work quite well in this build with pure Physical, Nourishing, or Tempering Flat Arcane, so I recommend trying each setup out to see which you like more. Always keep at least one weapon with Physical gems on you, because when it’s Visceral time, you’ll want it handy.

I know there’s only 40 ARC at 120, but I think the enormous Visceral potential makes up for it. You can still use Tools to try to cause those damage-based Viscerals on bosses, and then say goodbye to their faces. In essence, this is merely a Skill build that has access to many Hunter Tools for more combat options. If you’re going to invest more levels into this build, don’t think twice about putting them into ARC, the answer is YES.

The Witch Doctor

  • Level 70
    • 25 Vitality
    • 12 Endurance
    • 14 Strength
    • 14 Skill
    • 25 Bloodtinge
    • 30 Arcane
  • Level 120
    • 42 Vitality
    • 20 Endurance
    • 14 Strength
    • 14 Skill
    • 40 Bloodtinge
    • 40 Arcane
  • Level 150
    • 50 Vitality
    • 22 Endurance
    • 14 Strength
    • 14 Skill
    • 50 Bloodtinge
    • 50 Arcane

This is a Bloodtinge hybrid. Am I crazy? Perhaps, but I’m not the only one. A few other members of the community have tried this combination and have enjoyed it. One weapon in particular stands out: Bloodletter. When you switch to 2h mode it takes a big chunk of health, so using it with a firearm can present issues. But since Augur of Ebrietas can parry/backstab, we can overcome this! This build leverages both medium Tool damage and high Blood damage, and it’s the only Arcanist build here that can make use of Madaras Whistle, which hits like a freight train.

You can drop the SKL investment if you’d rather have more VIT/END, but there may be times where Chikage can be more useful than Bloodletter due to its less cumbersome transformation mechanics, and this also allows you to use Churck Pick as your Fire weapon, (it’s Serrated on every move that would be Thrust if it were Physical). As with the other builds so far, you can still see a lot of online action at 150 while having the room to hit your damage softcaps and prerequisites. Bloodletter is the primary weapon, but you can also use a good range of Conversion weapons against anything that’s particularly resistant to Blood damage (which isn’t much).

Eldritch Aberration

  • Level 120
    • 50 Vitality
    • 24 Endurance
    • 10 Strength
    • 11 Skill
    • 5 Bloodtinge
    • 70 Arcane

If I were going to PvP in a 120 Fight Club, I would probably use a build similar to this. This is a Pure Arcane build, plain and simple. The main weapon would be Kos Parasite, and with low STR and SKL your secondary weapon options are quite limited, but you aren’t “wasting” points just to equip certain weapons either. This is fully invested into Parasite, Tool, and Conversion Weapon damage. Don’t neglect Rosmarinus or Flamesprayer here, they can be game-changers. Use your tools smartly, they’re more valuable to put your enemy on the defensive than for damage, though with 70 ARC they’ll be pretty scary.

11 SKL is for Beasthunter Saif as a secondary weapon. Saif and the Saw weapons are absolutely fantastic in PvP, but you can also use Hunter Axe and Threaded Cane with this allocation.

For 145, I’d simply use The Arcanist. This is a special build specifically for 120 PvP.

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