- Why Use Hexes?
- Attuning And Casting Hexes
- Unlocking Dark Sorceries
- Scaling Hexes
- Every Dark Sorcery
Dark sorceries are one of the most underutilized trees in Dark Souls 3. There are a few reasons for this. One is because dark sorceries have very few variants compared to normal sorceries. This can lead to less utility overall for combat. Another reason is that the scaling system of dark sorcery is convoluted and can be hard to understand.
This guide aims to help remove some of the mystery of dark sorceries, and teach players how to properly utilize this powerful school of magic. So whether you are a brand new player or an old veteran of the Souls series, take a look below to start your next journey to link the First Flame.
Why Use Hexes?
Hexes are one of the most restrictive schools of magic in Dark Souls 3. They require both Intelligence and Faith to wield at full capacity. Additionally, there are only a handful of dark magics to come by in the game, so your choices are far more limited than a normal sorcery build.
Because of these restrictions, many players will forsake the school of dark magic, and as a result, most players will miss out on a very powerful build. The benefits of using dark sorceries are great. To start, almost every mob in the game including bosses are weak to dark magic. Ancient enemies like Black Knights are particularly susceptible to it. Since these sorceries are so often overlooked, they can be great PVP tools, as many players will not build against dark damage, and even fewer will have a clear idea of the movesets associated with dark spells.
Attuning And Casting Hexes
Dark magic is attuned the same way as any other school of magic. The stat requirements for the spell must be met, and the player must have enough FP to cast the spell. After attuning spells, they can be cast by any sorcery catalyst.
Attuning Dark Magic
Attunement Slots are granted by meeting level milestones in the Attunement tree. With the appropriate number of Attunement Slots, the spell can be attuned at any bonfire by pressing the "Attune Spell" button. It is also worth putting many points into the Attunement tree, as this also determines how much mana the player has.
As stated above, dark magic can be cast by any normal sorcery catalyst. That said, certain catalysts are designed specifically for dark sorceries. These catalysts are:
- Izilath Staff
- Murky Longstaff
These two catalysts will have their own entries in the Scaling section of this article, as they interact differently with dark sorceries.
FP or Focus Points act as mana in Dark Souls 3. Being a primarily magic build means that you will be consuming it often. As such you need a reliable way to refill this mana so that you can consistently do damage. Mana acts as a stamina bar when casting spells, that can only be refilled via Ashen Estus Flasks.
It is recommended to get the Attunement skill to 26. This will give the player access to four Attunement Slots, and a very large mana bar. Additionally, it is recommended that ten Flasks are allotted to be Ashen, while the remaining five stay regular health flasks. With this setup, you will be hard-pressed to run out of mana even in stressful situations.
Unlocking Dark Sorceries
Unlike the other magic schools in Dark Souls, Hexes are considered a heretical area of study, and as such, the few dark magics that have not been destroyed are scattered to the winds. What this means for the player is that there are no tomes, scrolls, or Braille books that have records of these sorceries. Instead, they will have to be collected through the Ashen One's travels.
One sorcery is available as a boss soul transposition, two are Covenant rewards, and the others can be found on corpses of other unfortunate hollows. That said, the heretic witch Karla also has a small selection of Hexes to choose from. She can be saved from the bowels of the Irythill Dungeon and will offer some powerful dark magics to the player. These sorceries include Dark Edge and Affinity. More details on what these Hexes are and where to find them all can be found at the very end of this guide.
Dark sorceries are unique in that they scale more similarly to Pyromancies. In other words, they scale on both Faith and Intelligence. However, there is an additional catch. Dark magic scales with the lower of the two stats. This means that if you have a character with 40 Intelligence, you would see the best damage returns with 35 Faith.
Dark Boosting Equipment
Dark Sorceries are boosted by much of the same equipment that is outlined in our Sorcery Guide here. Those entries won't appear here, for the sake of being concise. Instead, this guide will show only equipment that specifically boosts Dark damage. Just know that any of the equipment listed in the other guide will also boost magic damage.
Additionally, this section will cover the two staves that have increased Dark damage buffs. Choose your items carefully, as many of them cause the player to take increased damage, in exchange for their buffs.
Dark Clutch Ring
This ring increases Dark attack by 15 percent in PVE and eight percent in PVP. At the same time, it increases physical damage taken by ten percent in PVE and 15 percent in PVP. Many players choose to forsake this ring as the increased damage is significant, but if you need just a little more DPS, keep this ring on hand. This ring is dropped by a Mimic in the Irythill Dungeon in the back of the sewer tunnel that is swarmed with rats.
This mask, which you may remember from Dark Souls 2, makes a reappearance in the Ringed City DLC. The mask is dropped by Moaning Knight Dark Spirit after he invades inside the mines near the Ringed City Streets bonfire. This mask boosts the power of dark sorceries by ten percent, and the power of Dark-infused weapons by five percent. The mask gives the player a negative 30 percent defense to Dark damage. However, if the mask is broken, it will give the same damage buffs but only a negative 15 percent defense to Dark damage.
The Izilath Staff will be the go-to pick for most Dark builds. This is because it scales equally with Intelligence and Faith, and in order to maximize damage, these two stats need to be kept in close level proximity to one another. This staff can be found in the Smouldering Lake by descending down to where the Fume Knight can be killed for his equipment. Before you reach that area there will be a hallway with a large rat. That hallway hides an illusory wall with a chest behind it. There is a second illusory wall behind this chest where you can find the staff.
The Murky Longstaff is in the Dreg Heap Section of the Ringed City DLC. After running past the Corrupted Lothric Knights in the chapel, hang a right. In the small building past the fountain, this weapon will be sitting on a corpse. This staff was technically made for Dark sorceries, but it scales primarily with Intelligence rather than Faith. It does also feature a weapon art that specifically buffs the damage of dark sorceries.
This is so that your character can maximize points put into the Intelligence tree to meet spell requirements and still cast dark sorceries at minimum faith if you choose to do so. That said we here at TheGamer did some testing with these two staves. At optimal Dark damage stats of 40 Intelligence and 35 Faith, the Izilath Staff provided a damage output of 1,166 against Lothric Knights with all buffs active. The Murky Longstaff Provided 1,146 damage. In other words, At high soul levels, these two staffs are essentially interchangeable.
Every Dark Sorcery
While dark sorceries are few in number, this means that you can complete your arsenal with little effort. You can gain access to dark sorceries as early as the Deacons of the Deep boss fight, so you can start your build early. If you want to steamroll the game first and go back to collect the sorceries later, consider giving Rosaria a visit to reallocate your stats, as Dark builds don't truly shine until the latter half of the game.
This sorcery can be transposed by the Soul of the Deacons of the Deep. This spell is a slow-moving one with some amount of homing attached to it. This spell consumes a tiny amount of mana and does a surprising amount of damage. It is comparable to Great Soul Arrow in both damage and cast speed.
Great Deep Soul
Great Deep Soul is the rank one reward for the Aldritch Faithful Covenant. Offering ten Human Dregs to Archdeacon McDonnell will reward the player with this spell. The cast speed is almost identical to Deep Soul but does significantly more damage.
Great Soul Dregs
Think of this as the Dark counterpart to Crystal Soul Spear. Huge damage with a very low cast time. The main difference here is that Great Soul Dregs does not pierce through enemies. This spell is a part of the Ringed City DLC and can be found behind an illusory wall in the Dreg Heap near the angel hollows that fire projectiles at the player.
This Hex is sold by Karla after rescuing her from Irythill Dungeon for 15,000 souls. This is the Dark counterpart to Homing Soulmass.
This Hex is sold by Karla in Firelink Shrine for 8,000 souls. This is the Dark counterpart to Soul Greatsword with two key differences. First, Dark Edge only slashes vertically, as opposed to the horizontal slash of the Soul Greatsword. The second is that Dark Edge does significantly more damage than its counterpart. In fact, it nearly matches the damage of a Soul Spear while consuming only half the mana.
This interesting spell can be bought from Orbeck of Vinheim after giving him any one scroll. This sorcery is very odd. It creates a mist of vaporized Mercury on the spot where it is cast. It eats away at the HP of anything it touches, caster included. This spell has a lot of utility against bosses, as the tick rate of the spell is increased with the percent health of the target many guides suggest using this spell against Darkeater Midir due to his enormous health pool.
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