Wondering what is the best starting class in Elden Ring? This guide explains what starting classes there are, what they do, what’s best for beginners, and what to avoid. There are 10 different starting classes in total. The starting class only affects your starting equipment and initial attribute point allocation. You can then skill your character as you wish. A melee starting class can still be turned into a mage and vice versa, once you find the needed weapons in the world and allocate attribute points accordingly.
What Starting Classes are in Elden Ring?
- Vagabond – a classic defensive melee build with heavy armor, a 100% physical damage resistance shield, sword and halberd
- Warrior – an aggressive melee build using dual swords without a shield, for dodging-based melee gameplay
- Hero – a melee build using a heavy axe and shield
- Bandit – a specialized melee/ranged build using bow and a dagger
- Astrologer – a classic mage/sorcerer build, using a two-handed staff and two long-range spells
- Prophet – a build for faith incantations (similar to spells), can cast short-range fire attack and has self-healing, with a small shield and spear
- Samurai – a specialized melee/ranged build with bow, samurai sword, shield, medium armor
- Prisoner – a mage/melee hybrid, uses a sorcerer staff in one hand and melee weapon in the other, uses one medium-range spell
- Confessor – a hybrid build for melee and faith incantations (similar to spells), has self-healing, stealth spell, shield and sword
- Wretch – naked level 1 base character, no armor or attribute points, only the most basic club weapon
What is the Best Starting Class in Elden Ring?
The best starting class is the Astrologer. This is essentially the classic mage / spellcaster / sorcerer. Especially for players new to FromSoftware games and the “Souls” genre, the Astrologer is the easiest class to get started with. The Astrologer uses a long-range magic projectile and an AOE spell that can hit multiple enemies at once. Because you can play at long range, you can almost completely skip the melee combat mechanics and can brute force most enemies. The enemy AI is bad at evading spells and you can stay at a safe distance. Any open world bosses and mobs are trivial with the Astrologer because you can ride on your mount and simply spam spells at bosses. You will rarely get hit because the goal with the Astrologer is to stay far enough away from enemies where you can hit them but they cannot hit you.
Melee characters are quite hard in this game due to the bosses hitting very hard and being able to kill you in 1-2 hits even in the early game. Astrologer is by far the best choice to exploit the AI and brute force most bosses after farming enough level-ups. Normal enemies are almost completely defenseless against the Astrologer, you will kill them before they even get to you. With a melee character you need to perfectly dodge or block attacks and really learn the moveset of bosses. With an Astrologer every fight is more or less the same as you’re staying out of the enemy’s attack range and don’t need to dodge so often and don’t need to learn the move sets to perfection.
The basic strategy is always the same: assign most of your flasks to FP (mana), stay away from the enemy and spam spells, run away when the enemy gets too close to you (hold to run) and repeat until the enemy is dead. We’ll go into easy strategies below how you can brute force the game even if you don’t have very much experience with the genre.
What is the Best Strategy for Beginners in Elden Ring?
- Pick the Starting Gift “Golden Seed”. It can be used at any site of grace in the flask menu to unlock +1 flask. Allocate the majority of flasks to FP (mana) for boss fights, so that you can cast enough spells without running out of mana.
- Stay far enough away from enemies where you can hit them but they can’t hit you. Dodge back or run back (hold to run). Then spam some spells and repeat.
- For open world bosses and enemies you can ride your mount, unlocked when reaching the Gatefront site of grace. This makes it easy to stay away from enemies and spam them with spells.
- For groups of enemies you can use the Glintstone Arc spell, it flies through all enemies in its path. Against single enemies and bosses use the Glintstone Pebble spell.
- For any indoor bosses you can summon Ashen Remains, which are essentially ghosts that fight with you in battle. You get the first one, called Lone Wolf Ashes, by talking to the witch at Church of Elleh, after unlocking the mount you can ride on. You can equip Ashen Remains at the bottom of the equipment menu, they can be summoned during every major boss fight (except open world bosses). The Lone Wolf Ashes are very good, it summons 3 wolves and they distract the boss, while the boss focuses on them you can spam magic. Attacking enemies from behind deals bonus damage, use this to your advantage during boss fights.
- Before difficult main story bosses you can summon a helper NPC even when playing solo offline. They are shown by orange markings on the floor. Always do this, while the NPC distracts the boss you can cast spells from behind for bonus damage.
- Because the game is open world you can freely explore many regions from the start. Grab as many Golden Seeds and Sacred Tears as you can. These give you more health flasks / mana flasks, which makes boss fights considerably easier because you can heal more often and can cast more spells. This lets you stay in the battle for longer and you can afford to make more mistakes. See Golden Seed Locations & Sacred Tear Locations.
- Grind levels! The game can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. It’s more efficient to spend 5 hours grinding runes to level up to get to level 80+ and then you can rush through the game with ease, instead of getting stuck at every boss and being constantly underleveled. You can farm level 100 first and put 40 points in Vigor and 60 points in Intelligence. The more runes you grind for leveling up, the easier it gets. See Elden Ring: Best Runes Farming Method (300,000+ per hour). See below for best build.
Best Astrologer Build, What Attributes to Invest In
With the Astrologer you will want to invest in the following:
- Focus on putting all points into Intelligence. This levels up your damage. More damage means you can kill bosses and enemies faster, which reduces the time you need to stay alive in boss fights. The faster you can defeat a boss, the less often you need to dodge attacks, and the shorter the time span you need to concentrate on evading. This eventually lets you brute force most bosses once your spells deal enough damage. It also means you need to cast fewer spells to kill an enemy, which conserves FP (mana). So instead of putting points into Mind which increases your FP (mana), it’s far better to skill on Intelligence which conserves mana by dealing the same amount of damage in fewer spells. The added advantage is you also kill the enemies faster with high Intelligence stat which makes everything faster and easier.
- Put a few points into Vigor to have more health. This becomes more important after reaching the region Liurnia, after the Godrick boss. Some bosses can kill you in one hit. As a rule of thumb, for every 2 points you put in Intelligence for more damage, put 1 in Vigor for more health.
- Put just enough points into Mind to have 100 FP. You need 100 FP to summon some of the more powerful Ashen Remains. 20 points in Mind is all you need. After this you don’t need to level it anymore, better to put everything in Intelligence.
- Put on medium or heavy armor when you find some. At the start you only have light armor, but some merchants sell medium armor, or it’s dropped by enemies and found in the world. This will reduce the damage you take per hit, which gets increasingly important in late-game areas, with light armor you often get 1-hitted. See All Armor Locations.
- Best Spells: Swift Glintstone Shard & Great Glintstone Shard. The Swift Glintstone Shard deals much more damage per mana than the default Glintstone Pebble, it has a faster casting time and deals about the same damage. Great Glintstone Shard deals more damage than the default Glintstone Pebble. See All Spell Locations.
Best Melee Starting Class in Elden Ring
If you absolutely want to play a melee character, first be warned that this is the hardest “Souls” FromSoftware game for playing a melee build. The difficulty spikes up significantly between main bosses and you can get killed in 1-2 hits. The bosses also have quite big move sets and you often face large monsters that deal wide-ranging blows so dodging perfectly or having a 100% damage resistance shield is key.
If you still want to proceed with a melee class, the best choice would be Samurai. The Samurai sword you start with is the best starting melee weapon, it deals good damage and attacks quickly. The Samurai also has decent armor and a bow for ranged combat. Samurai deals much more damage than the Vagabond and is a better all-round character. The bow of Samurai is also much stronger than the one from Bandit.
Best Elden Ring Starting Classes Ranked
Below the best starting classes are ranked from 1st (best) to 10th (worst).
- Astrologer – the ultimate best starting class, beginner-friendly, can fight enemies from a safe distance, good damage output, easy to handle, not so skill-dependent.
- Samurai – best melee starter class, samurai sword is the best melee starting weapon with good damage and fast attack speed, also has a bow for ranged attacks but not as good as magic (need to buy arrows for runes, unlike magic you can’t use arrows infinitely).
- Prisoner – a hybrid of spellcaster & melee, he’s a jack of all trades but master of none. It’s better to go with either a full-on mage (Astrologer) or full-on melee (Samurai) instead. Prisoner is interesting because it lets you use spells and melee, the best of both worlds, but if you waste skill points on improving melee weapon damage your magic damage will be left behind and vice versa. His magic spell is harder to time correctly and not as beginner-friendly.
- Vagabond – the best in defense, but low damage output with starting weapons. You will need to learn blocking and/or dodging perfectly but has good defense so you will survive more hits than with any other class. The 100% damage resistance shield is pretty good as it fully blocks physical damage but consumes stamina. Due to the low damage output in the early game, bosses will take a while to beat. Still overall the 2nd best melee starting class, but depending on your playstyle this could be better than Samurai due to the defensive nature of this class and 100% block shield.
- Warrior – dual-sword wielding melee class, doesn’t start with a shield and requires risky gameplay with perfectly timed dodges. This is for experienced players seeking an aggressive melee playstyle, not so beginner-friendly. The Samurai does more damage per second and is easier to control.
- Hero – the starting axe is a slow and doesn’t deal as much damage per hit as the Samurai’s sword.
- Prophet – While this was strong in the Alpha network test, you no longer start with the Beast Claw attack, making this class quite useless. Has light armor, dies quickly, doesn’t have good offensive abilities. If you’re going for a full-on Faith build this would be the class to pick, but there aren’t enough good faith-based incantations early on and you’d have to rely on melee, but this class is really bad at melee.
- Confessor – Too complicated for a starting class. Interesting for a 2nd playthrough, but not recommended for first run.
- Bandit – Very little damage, weak armor, weak bow.
- Wretch – The “blank” character that starts without any attributes or armor. If you are seeking a more difficult experience this is the class to pick, otherwise stay away from this one.
- Elden Ring – Best Starting Keepsake
- Elden Ring Wiki & Strategy Guide
- Elden Ring – Walkthrough
- Elden Ring – Boss Guide (All Bosses)
- Elden Ring – All Sites of Grace Locations
- Elden Ring – All Spells Locations
- Elden Ring – All Weapon Locations
- Elden Ring – All Armor Locations
- Elden Ring – All Talisman Locations
- Elden Ring – All Golden Seed Locations (Flask Amount Upgrades)
- Elden Ring – All Sacred Tear Locations (Flask Strength Upgrades)
- Elden Ring – All Ashen Remains Locations (Spirit Summons)
- Elden Ring – All Ashes of War Locations (Weapon Skills)
- Elden Ring – How to Use & Equip Skills
- Elden RIng – How to Summon Ashes
- Elden Ring – Where to Bring Great Runes
- Elden Ring – Infinite Runes Farming Exploit