Creating a Samurai build in Elden Ring is proving to be one of the most popular ways to pay, offering an offensive playstyle with a range of katanas.
Whether you start with the Samurai as a class, or decide to respec your character into it, note that Elden Ring’s open-ended nature encourages experimentation, so don’t be afraid to be selective with what you take from this page.
Either way – we explain some of the best Samurai build weapons, Samurai build armor and Samurai build stats that we’ve found particularly useful.
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How to play as the Samurai class in Elden Ring
Before we get into stat investment and equipment, it’s worth taking a brief look at how to play as the Samurai in Elden Ring for those who have chosen it as their starting class.
There isn’t exactly a wrong way to play the class, but if you’ve never touched the Samurai before there’s a few things you should know to help maximise your success.
Also, you absolutely can shift in and out of the playstyle depending on your items and if you respec your character, so don’t worry about over-committing to anything listed below.
For starters, you should aim to have a Medium Load as your weight classification – you can see this on your equipment screen in the bottom right. You don’t want to equip much more and go over this, as it will slow down your ability to evade and make you ‘fat roll’, which will negatively impact the class at this early stage.
The Samurai doesn’t start with very good defensive capabilities – as the Red Thorn Roundshield only negates 68% physical damage – so your best bet is to get on the offence. The easiest way to be offensive from the very beginning as the Samurai is by two-handing your starting weapon, the Uchigatana.
This can be done on a controller by holding triangle/Y and then pressing either shoulder button on the side you’re holding the sword (so R1/R2 or RB/RT if it is in your right hand).
At first you may think you have little to no defence when two-handing, but if you practise your rolling enough and understand enemy attack timings, you can get in plenty of hits before backing away.
Another reason two-handing is so important is because of the Unsheathe weapon art on the Uchigatana. By holding L2/LT, you’ll sheathe the Uchigatana, and if you then press R2/RT you unleash a heavy downward slash that consumes FP (the blue bar, with Cerulean Tears used to replenish it).
You can only do the Unsheathe ability when you either have nothing in your other hand, or another weapon, or you are two-handing.
The Unsheathe ability can be used as both a heavy and light attack, and between the two you can often break the block of enemies, interrupt them mid-attack (although this can be very tricky and doesn’t work on some big enemies), or just finish them off due to the attack’s higher damage.
The Uchigatana also has the passive effect of blood loss build up, which is incredibly useful against bosses and enemies that take a fair few hits to take down.
When hit with a blood loss weapon, enemies will have an invisible metre that fills over time, and if you keep up the pressure and stop the metre from regressing, you can hit an enemy for a lot of damage when it fills.
This is really useful on enemies with a lot of health – such as bosses – but if you upgrade the Uchigatana as you play, you could still be using the weapon and getting the benefits of blood loss build up a fair few hours into the game.
The pressure you need to create for blood loss build up to work is another reason why the Samurai starts out as a very offensive class, meaning you need to get used to two-handing and dodge rolls if you really want it to take its maximum effect.
You also come equipped with a bow (but not too many arrows, so you’ll need to buy some), which is a great starting tool to help you separate your enemies if they’re in groups.
The Longbow itself may not do that much damage, but you can use it to aggro enemies onto you to fight them one at a time or to eliminate weaker enemies before taking on the stronger ones at close range.
Best Samurai build stats
When playing as a Samurai you’ll probably be wondering what stats are best to invest in early on. Whilst there’s no hard and fast rule, we’ll outline the build’s starting stats below and where you should put your valuable Runes.
Samurai starting stats:
- Vigor: 12
- Mind: 11
- Endurance: 13
- Strength: 12
- Dexterity: 15
- Intelligence: 9
- Faith: 8
- Arcane: 8
For Samurai build stats, you’ll mainly need to focus on Vigor, Endurance, Strength and Dexterity.
With your first handful of levels Vigor is going to be an essential investment. This stat increases both your HP and general defence power, and shouldn’t be neglected early in the game.
Whilst less important right out the gate, Endurance gives you more stamina and a higher equipment load, which will help you better your odds with stronger armour and weapons and still let you keep that essential Medium Load classification.
To wield some solid early area weapons, you’ll want to make sure your Strength and Dexterity are at 18. That said, make sure your Vigor is levelled first for the extra health.
Best Samurai build weapons
When it comes to equipment in Elden Ring, it really boils down to what you like using and what positively impacts your build more than anything else. That said, we’ve put together some good Samurai and Samurai-adjacent equipment you can pick up both early-on and further into your adventure, should you fancy it.
Some of these require stat investment outside of Strength and Dexterity, which is where respecing your character will come in useful if you want to change up your build further into the game.
As we mentioned in the stat section earlier, investing up to level 18 for both Strength and Dexterity will let you wield some excellent early game weapons, which we’ve detailed below:
Bloodhound’s Fang: Defeat Bloodhound Knight Darriwil at Stormhill Evergaol, Limgrave (inflicts blood loss buildup).
Twinblade: Hop over a wall and go down into some catacombs at the Dragon-Burnt Ruins in Limgrave.
There are also some more late game katana we recommend, which we’ve listed below:
All of the following katanas are good offensive weapons that inflict blood loss build up, meaning keeping the pressure up whilst attacking is vital. Each also comes with slightly different stat investments and external abilities, outside of the raw speed and damage they offer.
Moonveil requires an Intelligence stat of 23, but has the Transient Moonlight weapon art.
This acts incredibly similarly to the Uchigatana’s Unsheathe, except it inflicts magic damage in a horizontal or vertical slash on top of the powerful swing. Whilst this consumes FP, any sort of liberal use of the Transient Moonlight ability will make quick work of most enemies.
The required investment into Intelligence also means the Moonveil sword goes well with a staff for Sorcery attacks as well, so keep that in mind.
Rivers of Blood has the weapon art Corpse Pilar, which sends multiple slashes forward in quick succession to inflict extra blood loss damage.
This can do six consecutive blood loss swings when you continually press L2/LT, making it incredibly powerful in terms of fast attacks and inflicting a status effect. Just make sure you have enough FP to use it.
Nagakiba has by far the longest range of the katanas above, and its Piercing Fang weapon art lunges you forward in a straight strike.
As this weapon relies solely on Strength and Dexterity to wield, it allows for a lot of experimentation outside those two stats.
Meteoric Ore Blade has a heavy attack capable of inflicting a lot of stagger damage, making it great to find an opening for a follow up attack. This weapon also requires an Intelligence stat of 18, making it good for a part sorcery build as well.
What this blade really has going for it is the Gravitas weapon art, this area of effect attack pulls enemies towards you and deals damage, allowing you to get some close swings in before rolling to safety.
Hand of Malenia is a very late game weapon that requires a Dexterity stat of 48 to wield, and its Waterfowl Dance weapon art unleashes a lightning fast flurry of aerial attacks that does lots of damage. It also has an attribute scale of B, meaning the 48 Dexterity required to wield it adds a lot of damage to the weapon from the get go.
Of course, you’re not beholden to the above as a Samurai – our best weapons in Elden Ring explains other recommended armaments you should explore.
Best Samurai build armor
The best armour is subjective, so as long as you don’t fat roll due to going over a medium equip load and have good physical damage negation (as most attacks are physical), you’re golden.
That said, here are some options.
The Land of Reeds set is what the Samurai class starts with, and looks pretty good too. To buy the set go to the Isolated Merchant’s Shack Site of Grace in Caelid and talk to the Merchant, he’ll sell you the entire set for 4500 Runes.
The Ronin Set is another Samurai-style armour that has both good stats and helps complete the look. Whilst you can complete Bloody Finger Yura’s Questline to obtain it, you can also go to the Zamor Ruins Site of Grace in the Mountaintops of the Giants, where you’ll find Yura standing next to a cliff. Kill him for the set.
Another Samurai armour – called the White Reed set – can be found at the Spiritcaller Cave Site of Grace in the Mountaintops of the Giants. To obtain it, simply head all the way down the cave until you come to a large room filled with trees, spirit wolves and blue fluorescent water.
As you make your way down you should face Inaba, a spirit wearing the same White Reed armour you’re looking for, this means you’re on the right track. Defeat the enemies and head over to the back end of the room to pick up the White Reed armour.
If any of the above don’t suit, our best armour sets you can find early give you some other options if you want to scope out in different ways.
Once you have settled on a starting class (such as the Samurai) and starting Keepsake item, you should first work out how to level up, how to respec and use Ashes of War and Attribute Scaling. Need some direction from there? Try finding Golden Seeds, Sacred Tears, Crystal Tears, Talismans and some of our best weapon and best armor set choices. If you want to improve your prowess, then we recommend rune farming – especially before taking on Magrit, Godrick the Grafted, Crystalian, Leonine Misbegotten, Starscourge Radahn (required as part of the Ranni quest), Red Wolf of Radagon and Renalla Queen of the Full Moon after you have found the Glintstone Key location.
Best Samurai build talismans
In Elden Ring there are a lot of extra talismans to choose between, and whilst none of them will truly make or break your success, picking between the options below should help you gain that extra edge in a tough battle.
That said, here are some Talismans that will help you out with the Samurai class:
Prosthesis-Wearer Heirloom: Raises Dexterity stat by 5 (finish the Gowry side quest in Caelid).
Starscourge Heirloom: Raises Strength stat by 5 (found in a chest in Fort Gael, west Caelid).
Winged Sword Insignia: Raises attack power with successive attacks (defeat Cleanrot Knight in Stillwater Cave, south Liurnia).
Lord of Blood’s Exultation: Raises attack power when blood loss occurs (defeat Esgar, Priest of Blood in Leyndell Catacombs).
Erdtree’s Favour: Raises HP, stamina and equip load (use Stonesward Key to get behind fog wall next to the Stranded Graveyard Site of Grace and navigate to altar at the bottom).
Arrow’s Reach: Increases effective range of bow (in a tower chest north of the Stormhill Evergaol).
Though the above are specific to our Samurai class recommendations, our other best Talismans in Elden Ring can offer other powerful effects – from increasing runes dropped from enemies to reducing physical or magic damage.