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SL1 Darkwraith


Becoming a Darkwraith at Level 1 is a significant challenge, requiring a mandatory run in at the absolute lowest level against tough foes like Sif and the Four Kings. Your reward for doing so is the ability to invade anyone, especially low level players - being the absolute lowest level possible, it means a PvP opportunity can be found with other players aiming to stay at SL1, in and around the Burg area, or in the hotspots if you're looking to test yourself.

The tough task of staying SL1 is alleviated somewhat by the fact that the only way you can achieve that is by choosing the Pyromancer, a diverse and decently powerful class for taking on both enemies and other players. The starting gift should be the Master Key, for ease of accessibility to areas and items as early as possible.

  • Vitality -- 10
  • Endurance -- 11
  • Attunement -- 12
  • Strength -- 12
  • Dexterity -- 9
  • Resistance -- 12
  • Intelligence -- 10
  • Faith -- 8

These are obviously the default Pyromancer stats. As Pyromancy is the main way a SL1 class will be dealing high damage, having two attunement slots from the beginning is excellent. An intelligence stat of 10 provides the option of low-level magic - though a Faith stat of 8 closes the option of any miracles. 12 Strength is okay, as it means most medium and small shields can be wielded, and allows dual wielding of some hammers. The biggest disadvantage is that a Dexterity stat of 9 limits weapon choice to mostly hammers, axes and daggers for when you want to reserve your Castings. An Equip Load of 45.0 is okay, allowing you speed with most light armours, and the option of good defense.

Weapons:

(One Handed choices: Dagger, Hand Axe, Ghost Blade, Battle Axe, Club, Reinforced Club, Mace, Morning Star, Dark Hand, Caestus, Light Crossbow, Sorcerer's Catalyst, Beatrice's Catalyst)
(Two Handed Choices: Pick Axe, Blacksmith Hammer, Blacksmith Giant Hammer, Hammer of Vamos)

The best weapon is probably the reinforced club, hitting the hardest and with the added benefit of bleed. The club's moveset is pathetic, however, so the Battle Axe may be a more attractive choice. The starting Hand Axe is not too bad either, providing quicker attacks with decent enough power. The dagger can be considered for the purposes of critical attacks, but it is outclassed quickly. Once the Dark Hand is acquired, it makes a somewhat viable fist weapon. A good recommendation is the Light Crossbow, as it provides an option of reliable mid range attack and can make a good equipment choice as a secondary left-hand weapon.
Really, the weapon options for a S1 Darkwraith are quite limited, so you could easily carry all of the weapons described above without complicating your inventory too much. Ascending different elements to different styles of weapon are a decent idea, as well as ascending another one down the regular path so it can be enchanted with Resins. (e.g. Lighting Reinforced Club, Fire Hand Axe, +15 Battle Axe)

Shields:

With too little dexterity for the parry-based small shields, and too little strength for the greatshields, the SL1 Pyromancer is left with mostly Medium Shields. The Heater Shield's fast parry speed makes it the best for parrying, and for general defense there are lots of options. The Sunlight Shield, Balder Shield and Hollow Soldier shield provide great stability, with the Crest Shield, Dragon Crest Shield, Bloodshield, Spider Shield and Dark Hand specialising in resistances. The Grass Crest shield should always be considered for its stamina regen, being the best thing to equip whilst Two-handing a weapon, and a useful choice all-round.

Equipment:

With a low equip load and a playstyle that favours agility, light armour is probably best most of the time, and there are obviously lots of options. The starting Pyromancer Set is good, and The Hunter Set in Darkroot Basin, and the Crimson Set in Blighttown are easily obtained. Better Light Armour options require considerable progression.

For situations where you expect to take damage, the Elite Knight Armour and Stone Knight sets in the Darkroot Garden can be mixed together with the Wolf Ring to gain significant poise without exceeding the limit. The Elite Knight Armour is probably best for general defense, though Solaire's and Dornhall's make decent extra medium armour choices.

Magic:

Pyromancy is going to be what defines a SL1 Darkwraith's offense, providing powerful spells and a Catalyst that can deal huge amounts of damage when upgraded, despite the low level. It's what will carry the character through bosses and enemies, and when a Darkwraith, be the main mode of offense in PvP that threatens even high-level characters. The player should focus on upgrading their Pyromancy Flame, whilst purchasing key spells like Great Combustion and Great Fireball. Pyromancy also has the added benefit of providing defense and poise in the form of Iron Flesh, making it a great way to compensate for low vitality and defense. This all means that upon starting a new game, rescuing Laurentius from the Depths as soon as possible is recommended.

Sorcery provides some benefits too. Purchasing Soul Arrow and getting a catalyst (either from him, or in the same chest as the Crimson Set) from Rickert before you set off is a good idea to make use of that second attunement slot, and even when the player has obtained pyromancy, the range and high number of Soul Arrow castings makes it quite useful. Magic Weapon, Magic Shield and Aural Decoy can also be used, purchased from Grigg, who also sells two useful Dragoncrest Rings which will help your Pyromancy immensely.

Items:

At a low level, items are going to provide a more significant use than usual, more often than being substitutes for a function that magic would usually cover. The standard choices of Firebombs, Poison Throwing Knifes, Lloyd's Talismans, Dung Pies are good. Dragon Body is especially useful, sacrificing already low defense for a useful force attack and a rare attack boost. Resins especially are worth collecting, providing power and enchantments typically unavailable to you.

Rings:

No particular ring is required for a SL1 Darkwraith, either in-game or in PvP, but obviously some rings are more easily available and useful than others.

Cloranthy Ring, Havel's Ring - Useful for quick movement, taking hits and general combat
Wolf Ring - Extra poise for when it's needed
Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring - boost the damage of pyromancy, to make the most of their limited castings.
Lingering Dragoncrest Ring - boosts the length of Flash Sweat, Magic Weapon and Magic Shield, but most significantly Iron Flesh.
Hornet Ring, Ring of the Evil Eye, Tearstone Rings, Dark Wood Grain Ring - These all offer general utility in different ways.
Ring of Favour and Protection - This is obviously a good ring, but stuck at SL1 it gives you the only means of making up for those extra levels you can't obtain. Consider the fact you will be forced to wear the Covenant of Artorias at some point, so pick carefully when you want to use it.
Covenant of Artorias - Obtained from killing Sif, this is of course necessary for becoming a Darkwraith but not needed in PvP
White Seance Ring and/or Darkmoon Seance Ring - These rings both grant an additional attunement slot to make up for your low attunement stat. The White Ring is found in the Duke's Archives while the Darkmoon Ring is found in the Catacombs.

PvE:

The "test" of being a SL1 Darkwraith is defeating the Four Kings, a boss strong enough to challenge high level players with better equipment, so it won't be easy. It's entirely possible to skip out the Burg-Depths-Blighttown part of Lordran completely, but with Pyromancy being the only way for low level players to wreak significant damage, it's a good way making a dent on the last boss standing between you and the Darkwraith Covenant - so it's a good idea to focus your resources on upgrading it. Although you don't need to defeat most of the bosses in the game through use of the Masterkey, obviously doing so will yield the souls you need for upgrading your equipment.
Other things to regard: The Large Ember in the Depths and Vamos the Blacksmith in the Catacombs for upgrading weapons, Joining the Forest Covenant for its benefits, Collecting 10+ Humanity so you can get the Red Eye Orb from Kaathe as soon as you meet him. Lautrec is better off dead as soon as possible, both for his items and so the Firelink bonfire stays lit.

PvP:

The general journey through the areas of Undead Burg, Depths, Darkoot, Blighttown and New Londo that it takes to make the task of defeating the Four Kings easier, means you should already have most of the tools for PvP. Defeating players early on should be easy, and you'll be aware of what other Darkwraiths are capable of. Of course, any player that that is equipped to defeat the Four Kings is ready to take on pretty much the rest of their playthrough, so don't be surprised to meet people taking Twinking to the extreme by bringing Havels armour and other powerful equipment in at low levels. Obviously the same applies to you, you don't have to remain with what you obtained before defeating the Four Kings, and you'll have the tools necessary to make any journeys for items you can use in low level PvP.

Against regular low level players, any strategy is viable, but the only real advantage you'll have is an upgraded weapon and pyromancy, so their regular attacks can hit hard. Against higher level players, Pyromancy will probably be your only way to make a significant dent, and you won't be tanking many hits either. Against other Darkwraiths, you'll be applying similar tactics, so weapons will be damaging on both sides, and Pyromancy equally destructive, so the use of limited casts will be important. You can choose the use of high poise and Iron Flesh to tank hits, but staying light and rolling is probably a better way of avoiding heavy damage. A Hornet Ring-boosted Dagger is a possible threat, as well as the Blacksmith Hammers, though regular upgraded weapons will probably hit harder than other melee options.

You can at any point abandon the SL1 bracket and change instead to just a "low level Darkwraith", at which case it is best to invest in Dexterity to greatly expand weapon options, Attunement for more spell slots, or Endurance to slightly widen equipment choice.


    • 30 May 2017 01:23  

      I had something I wanted to add - I've just completed this without dlc and using the crown of dusk and the bellowing dragoncrest ring makes even the four kings begin easy to do with the ascended pyromancy flame, it's taken about six hours to do everything and was a decent challenge

      • Meh13 Jul 2016 22:24  

        basically being a sl1 darkwraith is the pinnacle of being a jerk. When the game came out, and players were invading doing this, while many newbies are out there, they 12 shot rookie players and even sent psn messages of 'git gud nub' when all they did is simply spam r1 with great combustion. Sl1 darkwraiths arent anything special, however they do get credit for completing the Four Kings at such a low level, its not easy, and their skill is equally good.

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