By Will Sawyer
Contributions from Joel Franey, Leon Hurley
Joel Franey, Leon Hurley
Which Elden Ring classes are best ultimately depend on how you play
- All Elden Ring classes
- Best Elden Ring classes for beginner players
- Best Elden Ring class for experienced players
The best Elden Ring class is dependent on you, but if you're new to the series, we recommend going for tanky, melee classes like the Hero or Vagabond. Of course, more experienced players used to FromSoftware games can find a foothold in more complex classes like the Astrologer or Samurai, or effectively choose "hard mode" by picking the near-nude Wretch.
The important thing to know is that players aren't trapped by their classes too much in Elden Ring - with time and effort you can level up into stats that weren't your starting strengths, and find weapons and armor that match or exceed those given to you by the other classes. Still, it'll probably determine your overall experience of the early game, and clearly it's a little more efficient to pick what suits you first rather than getting buyers remorse and having to course correct later.
As well as these freely adaptable classes, the Elden Ring respec and Larval Tears system lets you complely repec your Elden Ring character. Once you unlock the ability you can reallocate all your skill points to try new builds, or fine tune the one you have.As we briefly mentioned earlier, picking a starting class in Elden Ring can also get you certain weapons and armor. That can actually be more important than the points to start with, giving you a choice of some gear that can carry you through quite a lot of the game. You can get a lot of this stuff, later from merchants or by finding it in the world, but picking it as class gear will see you start with some incredibly useful tools from the get go in Elden Ring.
All Elden Ring classes
These are the all the Elden Ring classes in the game.
Each class offers base stats and starting gear unique to that class, though you can find the gear held by each class at varying points in the game - so if you choose the Bandit and decide you want the Samurai's katana afterwards, it's out there somewhere. It might take you a while to find, but they're all there somewhere.
What Elden Ring Attributes mean and how classes work
Each class comes with a loadout of weapons and pre-levelled with an emphasis on certain character statistics known as Attributes. Each Attribute affects certain things about your character and gameplay in Elden Ring. Defeating enemies will give you Runes you can use to level up your character and boost Attributes letting you hone your build and play to its strengths.
You can start spending points in different Attributes to diversify your character’s abilities whenever you want due to an uncapped levelling system. For example, if you’ve been using a melee weapon-focused build, you might decide you want to get into Sorceries, so you’ll need to start spending points on boosting your Intelligence Attribute. Be aware that this is something you should only consider later in the game once you’ve already considerably levelled a few other stats.
Here are all the Elden Ring Attributes as well as what they affect:
- Vigor: Increases your character’s Health Points (HP, the red bar).
- Mind: Increases your character’s Focus Points (FP, the blue bar).
- Endurance: Increases your character’s Stamina (the green bar), and their maximum Equip Load, allowing your character to hold heavier items or more at once.
- Strength: The damage modifier and usage requirement for heavy, Strength-based weapons.
- Dexterity: The main damage modifier and usage requirement for lighter, Dexterity-based melee weapons and some ranged weapons. It’s also the secondary damage modifier and requirement for most other weapons, and slightly increases the speed at which you can cast Sorceries and Incantations.
- Intelligence: The damage modifier and usage requirement for Sorceries, but also a few Incantations.
- Faith: The damage modifier and usage requirement for Incantations, but also a few Sorceries.
- Arcane: The damage modifier and usage requirement for certain Sorceries and Incantations. Also boosts the rate at which you discover items out in the world.
All Elden Ring classes
Below we'll go through all the various classes in Elden Ring, what they have to offer, and the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Flick through and see which matches your taste and playstyle!
- Beginner Friendly
- Highest starting Vigor/HP
- Good all-rounder for melee builds
The Vagabond is a very beginner-friendly, basic Elden Ring class that can be specialized for Strength or Dexterity to craft strong and relatively simple melee builds. You’ll start with a standard Longsword, Halberd, and a Heater Shield, although we reckon it's best to stick with the Longsword and shield for relatively fast attacks and good blocking capabilities. The shield is a great defensive tool but is also good to practice parrying with on the low-level soldiers that you’ll find early.
With the highest starting Vigor (health) of any Elden Ring class, Vagabond players will be able to take more hits from the start, and receive a nice set of armor for decent protection. Although, you’ll have to remove some of this armor to get your weight below the 70% equipment load threshold to have a medium roll speed - above that and you’ll do a ‘fat’ (or slow) roll. Dedicate a good amount of your levels to boosting your Endurance to increase that equipment load, and you’ll be able to fully gear up for maximum protection and still roll at medium speed.
- Agile melee class
- Highest starting Dexterity
- Good for weapon skills
The Warrior is the Dexterity-focused melee class of Elden Ring, so lighter melee weapons that require a bit of finesse, or ranged weapons such as bows will be your go-to armaments. You’ll start with two scimitars and a shield, so you can use the Warrior more defensively like the Vagabond or go all out with dual-Scimitars.
A base Dexterity of 16 will set you up nicely in terms of early melee damage with those Dexterity damage scaling Scimitars, allowing you to focus your first few levels on boosting Endurance for more dodge rolls and attacks with your Stamina. This will also mean you can avoid using your shield and will get you into the habit of dodging effectively and parrying, rather than just blocking and taking hits.
- Highest starting Strength
- Heavy melee class
- Tanky with high Vigor and Endurance
Choosing the Hero means you’ll be focusing on all-out strength with this Elden Ring class. Serving as the opposite to the Warrior class, Hero players will use heavier weapons with slow attacks that deal massive damage. Starting off, you’ll be doing this with 16 points in Strength and a big axe, but putting even more points into Strength will help you meet the requirements of some truly hefty Strength-based weapons early on.
Elden Ring Heroes start off with good Vigor and Endurance, so more HP and Stamina, meaning they’re at least a little tanky and agile too. You can boost these Attributes more in the early levels to make the Hero more balanced or can focus purely on Strength to up your damage as much as you can.
- Highest starting Arcane
- Good up close and at range
- Stealth is essential
The Bandit class is Elden Ring’s stealth assassin. With a dagger and a small shield, Bandit players need to avoid direct conflict with groups of enemies and should instead focus on critical hits with backstabs or sniping with the starting Short Bow.
If things do go loud, you’ll have to rely on your dodging abilities and parrying as the Bandit has pretty low stats in all things except for Arcane, giving this class a decent item discovery rate for new gear - much like the Luck in Dark Souls. However, the Bandit’s stats are generally low and balanced enough that re-specializing into a different playstyle shouldn’t be too difficult, provided you can also find the right gear.
- Highest starting Intelligence and Mind
- Powerful magic user
- Fragile glass cannon class
The Elden Ring Astrologer class is one of the few options built for magic from the start, with an impressive 15 Mind and 16 Intelligence stats. Astrologers will be able to cast many powerful Sorcery spells for single and multiple targets, making it quite a destructive ranged magic class.
However, all its other stats are quite low, so it might be a good idea to spend your first Runes on boosting Vigor and Endurance to boost HP and Stamina to make the Astrologer less squishy and more agile. Then you can focus on bringing up your Intelligence even more to meet the higher Attribute requirements for better spells, making your older ones more powerful in the process.
- Highest starting Faith
- More balanced stats compared to Astrologer
- Incantations focus less on dealing damage
The Elden Ring Prophet class is the other side of the magic coin, focusing instead on Faith and casting Incantations, which are generally more supportive than offensive. This will allow you to fulfill a holy warrior role, backing up yourself and any allies with healing Incantations, and smiting your foes with Fire and Holy damage if you can find the right Incantations. So long as you have good access to healing spells, focusing your Runes on the Mind Attribute will increase your available FP and therefore how many Incantations you can cast.
- Highest starting Endurance
- Very good Strength and Dexterity
- Versatile melee and ranged build
The Samurai class in Elden Ring is a sort of hybrid of the Vagabond and Bandit. Combining good Strength, the highest base Endurance of any class, and great Dexterity, the Samurai is all about Dexterity-focused melee, with ranged sniping as a secondary option. Players should focus on mastering dodges, parrying, and the two-handed weapon stance to deliver precise strikes and attack combos. The starting Long Bow adds extra versatility to the Samurai too, allowing this class to dominate at close and longer ranges.
- High starting Dexterity and Intelligence
- Rapid spellcasting and melee attacks
- Heavily relies on Dexterity
Sitting between the Warrior and Astrologer, the Prisoner Elden Ring class, combines both good Dexterity-based melee with Intelligence-based Sorceries to deal a range of damage. The high Dexterity has the added bonus of quickening the casting of spells, so Prisoners have the potential to deal a lot of damage very rapidly.
This class is let down by its lower Vigor and Endurance, so boosting HP and Stamina should definitely be a focus for leveling up when it feels necessary. However, putting a lot of points into Dexterity is going to improve your melee and magical capabilities, so that should be a priority.
- High starting Faith but balanced Attributes across the board
- Good for beginners interested in magic
- Doesn’t excel in anything particular
Similar to the Prisoner, the Elden Ring Confessor class blends the balanced melee capabilities of the Vagabond with the Faith-focused Incantations of the Prophet. Base Strength and Dexterity stats of 12 mean there’s a lot of freedom in which weapons Confessor players can specialize in, so we recommend pooling your Runes into either Strength or Dexterity initially to give you more of an advantage in close-quarters. Balance this with levels in Faith, Vigor, and Endurance to keep your Incantations up to speed and your Confessor healthy, and you should have a relatively balanced character competent in both martial and magic attacks.
- Total build crafting freedom
- Extremely vulnerable when starting
- Do not choose this unless you are very experienced
The most basic, blank-slate Elden Ring class there is. Wretches start with 10s across the board in all Attributes and almost no equipment. This allows players to fully build up their character, but it means having to start from scratch, while finding your own weapons and armor - wretch players will start with a measly club and nothing else – not even clothes. This class is only recommended for players with a lot of experience with previous FromSoftware games, and even then, it would be a better pick for a second playthrough of Elden Ring once you’ve become properly acquainted with it.
Best Elden Ring classes for beginner players
- Vagabond: The Vagabond is arguably the best Elden Ring classes for beginners. Melee builds are generally easy to pick up without having to familiarize yourself with loads of in-game systems, making them great for players unaccustomed to FromSoftware gameplay. The Vagabond’s high Vigor makes it forgiving, and the good Strength and Dexterity gives players the freedom to try all sorts of melee armaments.
- Hero: Similar to the Vagabond, the Hero class in Elden Ring is a starting point for melee-focused builds. With Strength as its best starting Attribute, this class is all about dealing lots of damage with each hit. If you’re not interested in experimenting with magic or more complex Dexterity-scaling weapons, choose the Hero for a pure melee-combat experience.
- Confessor: If you’re on the fence about committing to magic or weapons-based combat, the Confessor is a good Elden Ring class to start with. It allows players to dip into the complexities of Incantations without fully sacrificing too much in terms of melee capabilities for a balanced build early on.
Best Elden Ring class for experienced players
- Prophet or Astrologer: If you’re a fan of magic from previous FromSoftware games, you should definitely start with either the Prophet or Astrologer Elden Ring classes depending on which flavor of magic takes your fancy.
- Samurai: If Dexterity, agility, and parrying are for you, the Elden Ring Samurai class is definitely one of the best for experienced players. The starting Katana and Long Bow make it a versatile class that’ll see you through all kinds of encounters early on in the game.
- Wretch: As previously mentioned, this is the sort of Elden Ring class for highly-skilled Soulsborne players who want to have total control over their build. This is still something that even the top players should consider for a second playthrough, but the fact that you have a totally blank slate to work with gives the Wretch undeniable potential.
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Will Sawyer is a guides writer at GamesRadar+ who works with the rest of the guides team to give readers great information and advice on the best items, how to complete a particular challenge, or where to go in some of the biggest video games. Will joined the GameRadar+ team in August 2021 and has written about service titles, including Fortnite, Destiny 2, and Warzone, as well as some of the biggest releases like Halo Infinite, Elden Ring, and God of War Ragnarok.
With contributions from
- Joel FraneyGuides Writer
- Leon HurleySenior Guides Co-ordinator