Dragon Hero (WIP)

A pretty crazy build; not for the faint of heart, or those lacking in skill.

Starting Class: Pyromancer (statistically best, as it'll allow you to hit several important parameters while still staying in the SL 120 region). Starting Gift: Master Key (essential!)

Concept and General Info:

A jack-of-all-trades that utilizes any and all possible advantages to achieve victory. Primarily employs speed and range to whittle down opponents, but easily capable of ending fights quickly given the opportunity.
Let me just start by saying that this build is pretty tough. To really get up and going, you'll probably die a lot, but I find it incredibly fun and rewarding once mastered. You've been warned!
As suggested by it's name, this build revolves around the Path of the Dragon covenant and Dragonoid form. With very little armor, speed and dodging become basically your entire defense, though we'll invest a good deal into vitality so you aren't entirely squishy. To circumvent your pretty terrible defense as a Dragonoid, your primary weapon will be one that is pretty underused and neglected. The Dragonslayer Spear. Mock the irony of it, but yes, the sheer range of this weapon coupled with it's unique shield-breaking property and decent scaling make it an awesome weapon. Eventually, your stats will allow the use of the Cursed Greatsword of Artorias, another underrated weapon in my opinion, which scales pretty decently with your strength and dexterity. You'll also be making moderate use of sorceries and miracles, though not for offense like many nublets. No, your offensive capability comes from aggressively poking foes from afar with the spear or using your Dragonoid abilities, not turtling behind a shield or spamming Wrath of the Gods. Your offensive magic will include solely the melee-supplemental Great Magic Weapon and Power Within, which are arguably only useful in PvE. You'll have to switch out equipment and attune your magic quite often to fit the situation with this build, but this very adaptability is what makes it a unique and interesting build in my opinion.

Weapons and Equipment:

Being a Dragonoid for the majority of the time, you'll have access to some heavy weapons without even breaking the >25% breakpoint for fast rolls. Therefore, you can really choose whatever weapons you want, but this particular build is geared to some specific and underrated weapons. As to armor, you'll only ever need it if you choose to run around in non-Dragonoid form, which at times might be neccessary if you get stuck or something. In this case just choose a set that best suits the challenge.

Main Weapons:

Dragonslayer Spear: A highly underrated weapon, the Dragonslayer Spear boasts the second-longest reach of any weapon in the game, beat only by an inconspicuous margin by the Demon's Spear. While it requires an unorthodox stat investment, I find that it's reach, damage, and guard-breaking potential to be well worth it. The additional lightning damage scales with faith, whereas physical damage scales solely through strength and dexterity. Since split lightning and physical damage is worse than pure physical, the stats of this build focus on just that so as to maximize damage while minimizing SL investment. This weapon is really the only 'crucial' one to this build, the others are more personal preferences.
Greatsword of Artorias (Cursed): Again, an unusual weapon that normally requires a huge stat investment to pay off. Due to its pure physical damage as opposed to its "holy" counterpart, the stats required to boost it coincide quite well with this build. I haven't personally tested its effectiveness, so while it may look good on paper, I can't personally vouch for its effectiveness. It definitely makes New Londo easier, though. Plus, it looks pretty awesome. You can switch this out with another strength/dex scaling weapon if you would prefer, this is merely my preference.
Great Lord Greatsword: Yet another underrated weapon, the Great Lord Greatsword (henceforth, GLGS) really isn't a bad weapon. Another physical-damage greatsword, it scales decently with strength and dexterity, swings slightly faster than a comparably-sized greatsword, and uses less stamina to boot. While it cannot be buffed, it is basically has the damage and reach of an ultra greatsword with the speed and minor stamina drain of a regular greatsword like the Claymore. Sadly it requires one to be in NG+, but it's usefulness against certain enemies/bosses such as Seath the Scaleless cannot be argued. With this build's stats, it'll actually deal a whopping 1 less AR of pure phyiscal damage versus the Cursed Greatsword of Artorias. The moveset and various things like stamina drain per swing might be better though, but I haven't tested this yet.

Backup Weapons:

Pike: Just use this early on until you get the Dragonslayer Spear. It actually isn't a bad weapon to keep, as it has good range, decent damage, and can be buffed, making it excellent for PvE or the daring PvP player. You can replace it with the Silver Knight Spear or Demon's Spear once you reach Anor Londo even before you battle Ornstein and Smough, or can opt to keep it for the above reasons.
Washing Pole: Though it doesn't scale very well, I like this weapon for its range, speed, and decent power. It can be deadly if buffed, or simply made lightning as a good backup weapon. I recommend using the pike as your buff weapon and using this as a lightning weapon, but it's ultimately up to you. You may wish to forego this weapon entirely; I personally cannot attest to its usefulness. I do plan on a thorough testing of this build once the PC "Prepare to Die" edition is released... by which time it'll probably be obsolete. Time will tell.

Secondary Equipment:

Grass Crest Shield: Very useful for the stamina regeneration; stamina is more important to Dragonoids than pretty much any other class/build/whatever. While obviously not the best for tanking hits, once it's upgraded it can block some blows with its decent stability, but I recommend dodging in the first place.
Oolacile Ivory Catalyst: Giving the best MagAdjust for your low intelligence, this catalyst can boost otherwise fairly weak sorceries into fairly strong ones. Since buffs like Great Magic Weapon are reliant purely on MagAdjust, this can work in the favor of a character with lower intelligence. Depending on how early on you wish to get this catalyst, you could actually opt for some lower level sorceries like Soul Arrow to help clear some of the earlier bosses. This catalyst is also extremely light at 0.5 encumbrance, something worth noting if you plan on toting some heavier weaponry.
Balder Shield: For the players who are "dodging-challenged", this shield is an excellent alternative, as it is light and has surprisingly high stability. It can be farmed off of the Balder Knights in the Undead Parish if you want it early, or you can simply buy it from the Crestfallen Merchant in Sen's Fortress.
Pyromancy Flame: Leave this unupgraded if you wish to use Power Within, as that will minimize HP loss, and you can equip Sanctus on your back and put on the Lingering Dragoncrest Ring to further minimize the damage. Since Power Within already increases stamina regen, there's little point to leaving the Grass Crest Shield equipped.

Class Stuff:

Don't follow this table exactly; its not very good. I may or may not polish it, but what ultimately matters is the last SL 120 one.

Class: Pyromancer SL: 1 SL: 10 SL:38 SL: 72 SL: 100 SL: 120  
Vitality 10 11 16 32 40 45  
Attunement 12 - - - 14 14  
Endurance 11 - 15 24 - 30  
Strength 12 16 - - 24 27  
Dexterity 9 11 24 - 34 40  
Resistance 12 - - - - 12  
Intelligence 10 - 15 18 - 18  
Faith 8 11 12 18 - 18  
With these stats, you'll maximize damage with the Dragonslayer Spear, and deal excellent scaling damage with essentially any dex/strength weapon. This is one of the reasons we boosted intelligence so high, so you can buff your weapon with Great Magic Weapon, and thus make it at least equal to the common, slightly overpowered elemental weapons. You can level up the stats to reach 120 in any way you like, really, this is merely a rough draft on how to attain this goal. Below you'll find another rough guide on how to go about getting all the weapons and junk essential to this build as early and efficiently as possible.
SL: 10
Continue leveling; get the Ring of Favor and Protection from Lautrec, either before or after getting his reward. Buy the Pike, then after unlocking the Undead Parish shortcut, buy the Thorolund Talisman, and Heal. Take the shortcut back up and jump off to Snuggly's nest and head back to the Undead Asylum. With some pro parrying, kill the Black Knight that guards the Rusted Iron Ring. This isn't essential, but it'll make your imminent trip to Blighttown much easier. Buy the Crest of Artorias with your accumulated souls, and spend the rest on levels. Join the Forest Hunters, and if you want the Washing Pole, head down into Blighttown and buy it from Shiva. If not, kill his bodyguard then and there for the DWGR. You can always just run from a very angry Shiva and absolve your sins; he'll be your bro afterward like nothing happened. While you're here, you can kill the Hydra and the Golden Crystal Golem in order to buy the Oolacile Ivory Catalyst from Dusk. The Hydra might be difficult at this point; try to find a 'sweet spot' where his main bite attack can't hit you and proceed to whack at his exposed heads. Use the longbow + arrows you found on your way here in Darkroot Basin to shoot off any unruly appendages of his after you've melee'd most of them off.
SL: 25-30
Head back into Blighttown. Using the Master Key shortcut you can basically rush straight down to the bottom bonfire, where a convenient dragon scale sits awaiting you in a chest towards the back. If you haven't already, kill Quelaag and ring the bell. Head through and rush through the Great Hollow, but remember to equip the best curse-resistant armor you have. I usually just rush through the place and head straight into Ash Lake, and after a couple of runs through the Great Hollow you should be able to do the same. Be careful, it can be quite treacherous to the new player. Upon arrival at Ash Lake, grab all the Dragon Scales off the scattered corpses, and take on the big bad Black Hydra. Just strap on some good armor and a good shield, and follow the above strategy. I would opt to rush straight to the Path of the Dragon covenant and get the Dragon Head stone first, giving you a better ranged attack than any measly arrows you might have left over.
SL: 38
Now, from here you have a few options. You can either opt to begin farming for Dragon Scales from the Drakes in Valley of Drakes if you really want the Dragon Torso Stone, or you can go for the Dragonslayer Spear in Anor Londo. If you prefer the latter, I would recommend killing Sif beforehand so you can go ahead and make the Cursed Greatsword of Artorias. I recommend having a good weapon ready for Lightning ascension, as that'll kill Smough-boy pretty quickly. Or you can just buff your weapon and do the same with Great Magic Weapon you'll find on the way.
And boom, there you go. Level 40 and you have most of the necessary equipment of this build, and can proceed to do whatever you want. It might be difficult for some to achieve all of this at such a low level, so you can always just level more as needed. Also, I don't really recommend following my little table thingy outlining the stats, at least not yet. Level them up as needed to coorespond with which weapon you wish to employ next.

PvP Strategy:

While this is a balanced build as opposed to the highly specialized and tailored builds crafted by many pros at PvP, I find it viable enough for casual or lower tier PvP. I'm sure in the hands of a true pro it can be deadly, but here's my general strategy:
Exploit your range: As stated, the Dragonslayer Spear boasts the longest range of the spears, which can used to your advantage. This weapon's strength lies in it's massive range, not in the amount of damage it deals. This very fact tends to make most players shy away from it, often in preference for their Lightning Zweihander +5, which at first glance, would seem superior from a numerical prospective. In practice, the Dragonslayer Spear is fast, consumes little stamina, and has awesome range. Poke, roll away, poke, and repeat. With proper timing and distance, you can potentially prod your foe to death without ever getting in reach of their weapon. Such would be quite necessary in Dragonoid form, as you'll have no armor or poise to cushion their attacks. You'll have to play it extra careful for this reason, but with range and speed on your side you should be able to beat most of your opponents... if you're patient. The rolling R1 on the Dragonslayer Spear is quite useful, as is the regular poking R1, which drains tons of stamina from turtles; but don't ever use the R2, 1 or 2 handed, they both are practically invitations for backstabs, unless you have godly timing. Also, always use this spear 2 handed. NEVER turtle, it's probably the worst possible tactic for a spear user. At times you may find it helpful to block, but you should pretty much always dodge.
Exploit your inner Dragon: Okay, so that sounds a bit cheesy, but it's true! Your Dragonoid abilities are invaluable in PvP, at least the roar. If timed properly, you can stun your opponent for just long enough to land a solid blow on them. Thus do I recommend a greatsword as a backup weapon; roar to break their block or just stun them, then whack 'em with your greatsword of choice. Or you can just keep your trusty Dragonslayer Spear out if they prove quick enough to dodge before you can get a greatsword hit in. Keep in mind the Dragon roar takes a very large bite in your stamina, so be careful how you mitigate it in the wake of your roar and attack combo. One possible combo you can use is the stun+R2 from the Dragonslayer Spear 2 handed. I know I said to never use it, but if you manually direct the attack in the direction you think they might roll, it just might connect. They're dodging anyway, so you don't have much to lose. Now, the dragon breath, while not as valuable as the roar, does have some practical use. A backpedalling nub could easily be stopped cold (no pun intended) by a solid stream of your fiery hot breath, giving you an opportunity to catch up and punish him. Usually, you shouldn't let your breath go on until it drains all your stamina; it's actually more efficient to only let it drain about halfway before either attacking or unleashing a fresh bout of flame. The 'wind up' time for the fire breath gives you a cushion for your stamina to recharge anyway, so it's hardly a pause in your barrage.
Exploit anything else you have: Be prepared if you're about to engage or be engaged in PvP. Do you opt for two weapons in your right hand slots? A weapon and a talisman? And your left hand? Since you can use both sorcery and miracles, you should decide whether you want to use one or the other... or both! You should then attune your slots appropriately. You could opt for the Power Within/Sanctus/Lingering Dragoncrest Ring combo, or a simple Great Magic Weapon buff. Personally, I play it safe with my Grass Crest Shield, a Heal miracle, and either Emit Force or Replenishment, with a Dragonslayer Spear + Greatsword combo in my right hand.

    • old build?16 Mar 2016 14:14

      Reading this makes me feel it was a build a long time ago and is just being reposted on this site? I am currently attempting to follow it for my first playthrough in DS1. I'll report back if I am able to complete it.

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