DARK SOULS™: Prepare To Die Edition

DARK SOULS™: Prepare To Die Edition

32 ratings
Cheap Spellswording - How to use just a bit of MAGIC
By MaenaZ
In the long run, it's not that hard to hit the damage caps in Dark Souls 1, particularly if you two-hand a quality or strength weapon. Melee can easily carry you through the game and is the primary tool for PVP, but it would be a mistake to think magic is useless to your warrior, or one type of magic is unavailable and forgotten if you can use another type, when quite the viable options are within hand's reach!
Prelude, part 1 : Why should I try magic?
People who get into Dark Souls are often frustrated by magic at first. Since almost nothing is given as far as useful and thorouhg information within the game goes, skipping a crucial magic teacher or two, or accidentally losing them, is easy. Understanding how magic work and how it can work in your favor can be difficult, because when done wrong it feels extremely underwhelming.

In short, you should try magic because the game encourages you to adapt your tactics to enemies. Some enemies have particularly strong resistances to your main source of damage, no matter what that is, and having another option to fall back upon can be extremely helpful. Since split damage weapons are normally more underwhelming, having a spell or two to fall back upon is not a bad idea, particularly if you know what you're doing - which hopefully, you will, with the aid of this guide!

Another reason why you should try magic is that tools for using spells as a fighter, using sorceries as a cleric, or miracles as a sorcerer are already in the game, waiting to be utilized and explored, and because at the end of the day, all stats hit their semi-hard caps eventually, which means that looking for strength elsewhere is a good idea - but rather than try completely from the bottom in a long term effort, you can gain an almost immediate, compatible increase in power WITHOUT hurting any such long-term plans and efforts.

Final reason is that buffing a weapon generally increases status build up per hit on it, as does putting it on split damage path. Your Bleed or Poison regular buffable weapon may just be that much easier to trigger the status effect with when buffed, and a bit of good old direct damage helping with taking down an opponent always helps, too.
Prelude, Part 2 : Magic? BUT I BARBARIAN!!! (Magic vs Starting Class)
Contrary to the expectations of some, your starting class matters very little in Dark Souls except when you're PVP optimizing. You can start as one thing and do something completely different. My first PC character was a spear-wielding wanderer that used Magic Weapon on said spear well into the Depths, then finished as a sword specialist utilizing Ricard's Rapier and two dex-based straight swords (with occasional switch to greatsword or Quelaag's Furysword) along with... Miracles. My sorceress/pyromancer started as a thief. My curved greatsword wielding, minor sorcery-using tanky dragon covenant swordswoman started as a pyromancer.

Of course, as time goes on, we become better at making builds and more interested in the PVP aspects, and that means at least partial optimization. So, there ARE, in fact, classes that are better at turning into minor or major spellcasters along the way, and towards a specific type of magic

Sorcerer and cleric are self-explanatory, but can supplement themselves easily through pyromancy.

Warrior, Hunter, and Deprived are technically not geared towards any magic, but that also means they're geared towards all types of magic equally. Of these, warrior has it the hardest to adopt a magic style other than pyromancy because his initial Attunement is the lowest. In Deprived's case, not creating a magic-utilizing hybrid build on something that starts with 11 in every stat feels like a crime if you ask me.

Pyromancer and Thief are adaptable into mostly anything, but have a slight edge in intelligence, making them more suited for sorceries, if only mildly so (pyromancer, of course, is good at staying a pyromancer as well).

Wanderer starts as a dexterity-centric character already capable of using the most minor of sorceries thanks to its starting Attunement and Intelligence. As such, supplementing a Wanderer with Sorceries and/or Pyromancies is by far the easiest in both the long and short runs.

Knight and Bandit are more suited to Faith than they are to Intelligence, making them better to supplement with miracles or pyromancy. Of these two, Bandit has less of both Faith and Attunement, initially, but he also starts with 1 level lower and as such the difference is minimal. Furthermore, buidls that optimize a physical stat and only use minor Faith magic are often better served in terms of level by picking Bandit over Knight.

It bears repeating, however, that no matter what your initial class choice was, you can make them a hybrid of anything in the semi-long run, and a master of quite a lot in the very long run if level limits are not an issue.

Overall Magic essentials : MagAdjust
Every time you use a spell, its damage, healing done, or weapon buff damage applied (personal buffs are overall independent from it) is calculated based on the catalyst's used MagAdjust (Magic Adjustment). Different catalysts can have different or the same MagAdjust depending on your level, and in case of sorceries, some catalysts can do things like halve your amount of spells when using that catalyst, or work in a somewhat weaker fashion for regular sorceries, but double up as a decent melee weapon and cast stronger Dark Sorceries.

However, barring those 'tricks' of sorcery catalysts, the concept is extremely straightforward : At different levels of upgrade or attribute related to casting stat, a catalyst will have higher MagAdjust than others, and that catalyst is the one you want to use for that type of magic.

- Pyromancy Flame is the only catalyst in Dark Souls 1 for casting pyromancies. It scales only with upgrade level (It DOESN'T scale with Intelligence!). It can be upgraded 15 times, then ascended. Once ascended, a further 5 upgrades become available. Pyromancy Flame benefits from items that boost spell damage like the Crown of Dusk, Crown of the Dark Sun, and Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring, allowing you to make pyromancy your main source of damage.
Pyromancy deals fire damage, fire + physical damage, damages enemy equipment, builds Toxic or Poison status, or is a self-applied buff.

- Miracles allow for easy, renewable healing during invasions and co-op as a phantom via miracles and are full of defensive and utility spells at lower levels of Faith, while higher levels provide one with more destructive tools like Faith weapon buffs, Wrath of the Gods, and the stronger versions of Lightning Spear. As such, miracles aren't on the offensive side when casting spells in a minimalistic manner, but can still be tremendously useful. Miracle catalysts almost all scale with Faith : The sole exceptions are Velka's Talisman, which scales with Intelligence (but still requires a Faith stat appropriate to actually cast the miracle) and Thorolund Talisman (which doesn't scale at all). They also benefit from Crown of Dusk or the Dark Sun, but doesn't benefit from Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring. Instead, Ring of Sun's Firstborn improves miracles. These effects do not work on weapon buffs.

- Sorceries do have several buffs and utility spells at early levels, including ways to detoxify yourself, lower your curse buildup, buff your shield for a very short time, or buff your weapon, but most of the time sorceries serve either for the last purpose (weapon buffing) or as a source of direct (usually ranged) damage.
All Sorcery catalysts except three scale with Intelligence. Many have identical levels of MagAdjust at the same level of Intelligence, but differ cosmetically or in Durability, while those that do not share that level of MagAdjust are either early-level intended, high level intended, or have a quirk that makes them beneficial for melee and/or Dark Sorceries. The sorceries that do not scale with Intelligence are the Oolacile Ivory Catalyst, which has no scaling, Oolacile Catalyst, which has no scaling either, has equal MagAdjust to O.I.C. but is heavier, poisons on hit, and is mildly better for Dark Sorceries, and Tin Darkmoon Catalyst, which scales with Faith but still requires suitable Intelligence to cast the spell.
Sorceries benefit benefits from items that boost spell damage like the Crown of Dusk, Crown of the Dark Sun, and Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring. Weapon buffs do not benefit from these effects, similarly as was the case with miracles.
Overall Magic Essentials : Attunement
Attunement is the one stat every person using magic needs to have, and it is also the one stat you should never overestimate. In practice, unless you use magic as your exclusive source of damage for some reason, Attunement is extremely easy to overlevel, and trust me, I know this from experience : I overleveled Attunement on two characters and sometimes regretted that later when they developed glaring weaknesses in certain areas that could've been avoided.

Attunement does what it says it does : Defines your number of Attunement slots, that can be used to attune spells, which is neccessary for actually casting the spells. Spells attuned can be changed at any bonfire to any spell you can actually cast. Attunement scores aren't strictly neccessary for any spell, but some spells require more than one attunement slot to be attuned.

Attunement slots go :
<10 : No slots.
10 : 1 slot.
12 : 2 slots.
14 : 3 slots.
16 : 4 slots.
19 : 5 slots.
23 : 6 slots
28 : 7 slots.
34 : 8 slots
41 : 9 slots.
50 : 10 slots.

Attunement in DS1 provides no benefit to the character other than attunement slots and the (increasingly mild) defense bonuses from leveling up, so one can see how leveling Attunement in the increasingly big differences needed to obtain a slot are 'empty' and useless levels. Attunement slots can also be increased via using a ring; there are two rings for this in the game and as such one can gain 1-2 attunement slots by sacrificing a ring slot. I do not recommend this except if you're a pure caster.

My suggestion is this :

- Characters who are almost exclusively melee and only desire minor supplementation via magic should stick to 10-14 attunement stat.

- Characters who are actual spellcasters and use spells as a major self-buff or main source of damage should stick to 14-19 attunement.

- Characters as described above who want to use two types of magic should keep their attunement in the 16-23 range.

- 28 and 34 attunement should only be used by characters who overuse spells that require several attunement slots and characters that are clearly overleveled and no longer intended for co-op or meta level PVP, or characters who basically intend to *never* engage in melee and only use spells. It should not be neccessary to have this much attunement under most circumstances.

- 41 and 50 attunement is excessive and it's difficult to ever justify going so high.
Overall Magic Essentials : Casting Speed
In general, the speed at which you cast a spell is dependent purely on the spell itself. However, in a mechanic that is never actually revealed in-game, offensive spells do get a boost to their casting speed if your dexterity is between 30 and 45 (the higher, the faster you cast note that 45 dexterity is above the semi-hardcap for dex-based weapon damage). Do note that this either does not affect most utility spells, or only does to a much lesser degree. As such, if you're going for an offensive spellcaster, having high Dexterity only helps, but if you wish to buff instead, it's not neccessary that big of a deal whether you're a dex or strength based character (though if your buffs are strong, quicker weapons benefit more from them and most quick weapons are either quality or dex-based).

Essentially :
- If opting for a low level, don't worry about Dexterity overmuch.
- If opting primarily for weapon buffs and utility spells, choose Strength or Dexterity as the damage stat as you see fit.
- If opting for offensive sorceries or pyromancies, try to bring your dexterity significantly above 30 if possible.
How To : Pyromancy
Let's make this clear : There is nothing minimalistic or special about selecting pyromancy as your back-up magic plan. Pyromancy is helpful, straightforward, can always deal good damage if the enemy isn't fire-resistant, and it doesn't require stats other than attunement and potentially dexterity, making it long-term extremely easy and cheap to incorporate in builds, or short term extremely easy to use as the main source of damage. It fits any build, sooner or later, the catalyst has no weight whatsoever, and you literally lose nothing except maybe a couple points of Attunement (that and the fact you need souls to upgrade it, but sometimes it pays to NOT overlevel) if you decide to add pyromancy to a build in the long run.

What is worth noting about Pyromancy is that unlike the other two spell-types it does not have a weapon buff spell in DS1. This is presumably because it would be *too* suited for warriors if it did, and take away even more from unbuffable weapons, as well as make it far too easy to have hax weapon damage, so rather than try and balance a pyromancy weapon buff, they opted not to have one.

As such, pyromancies work well with unbuffable weapons, lower level builds (especially as the main source of damage), and in fact pretty much any build that is too minmaxed to have the equip load for a catalyst or can spend several points in Int or Faith. Unlike other magic types on the list, pyromancy can partially nullify the pyromancy of others in and of itself via the

Here are some examples of spells that you can find useful in certain situations :

 great-combustion.png]Great Combustion & Black Flame black-flame.png]

Those two are similar enough to get a single entry. Basically, Black Flame deals fire and physical damage, which for almost any enemy in the game means it'll deal less damage per hit due to the damage split. However, it also consumes more stamina when blocked with a shield and deals more poise damage, leading to higher stun chance.

Both of these are similar in function : Quick spells that help in melee range, deal solid damage, and help you damage turtles if getting behind them is not an option. At highest Dex rating (and by extension casting speeds), you can kick an opponent and immediately open them up to a Great Combustion when they're stunned with almost no time for them to roll away. Deals good damage for its number of casts, too, particularly Great Combustion, particularly when item-buffed.

 fire-surge.png]Fire Surge

Basically the Dark Souls' equivalent of a flamethrower, this spell can be used for quick sprays of flame, a long discharge, or anything inbetween. Excellent for finishing low HP foes or dealing huge amounts of damage to overly cocky in-your-face chargers, though it only starts doing *serious* damage when buffed via a spell-boosting item. Still, a versatile and useful spell.

 power-within.png] Power Within

A somewhat risky personal buff, Power Within finds much use amongst both those who are confident they can minimize taking damage while still sporting a large HP pool, those who can overcome its limitation and those who are fond of glass cannon builds. Power Within boosts damage - all kinds of damage you deal, including spells - and stamina regeneration, making it, to many, an invaluable offensive tool that helps them keep scoring vital and powerful blows. You'll see it used in both PVP and PVE; the flaw is the constant HP drain that *does* scale up with your maximum HP.

Other Self-Buffs

Only two other buffs can be found amongst Pyromancy spells, both counting as personal 'body' buffs and thus impossible to use at once or together with Power Within. Those buffs are Flash Sweat and Iron Flesh. Flash Sweat reduces any incoming fire damage, making it a useful if situational spell. Iron Flesh reduces incoming physical damage, gives your body the deflection trait and makes your poise skyrocket, but in turn it causes you to only be able to move very slowly and disables roll, making it also only useful sometimes, but completely unviable in PVP. It also appears to actually increase incoming lightning damage.

PVE Centric DPS (Pvp to a lesser extent)
Whatever the heck you like and want.

Only barely a hyperbole. There's a lot of spells that can work. Several Fire Storm variants that spawn flaming pillars all around you (see above), several variants of Fireball... Those are the more common ones. If you want something that risks you getting hit but can completely burn a bosses or large enemies' healthbar, try Fire Whip or Chaos Fire Whip. Want to make an enemy a temporary friend? Undead Rapport (only works on undead, as name suggests). Want things to burn and explode? Fire Ball, Fire Orb, Great Fireball, Great Chaos Fireball. Want to leave lava? Try Chaos Pyromancies. Want to inflict Toxic? Dung pies are not your only option other than two very specific weapons anymore. Just make sure to not overdo it on attunement slots filled with Pyromancy or you'll end up a Pyromancer instead of a minimalistic 'spellsword' . ^.^
How To : Miracles
While miracles do have some fine and dandy offensive options, in general, miracles cover the 'defensive' spectrum of spells. While not exactly akin to the 'support' roles in some RPGs, as very few positive spells in Dark Souls affect someone other than yourself, it does specializes in healing, self-protecting, or otherwise buffing to come up against a challenge. Faith-dependent weapons often also work well on skeletons (extra damage and elimination without them reanimating constantly) or against 'holy' opponents if they are Occult weapons, but those are options for people who focus on the Faith stat rather than those who just want to dabble in it. Dabblers can initially find some use out of Astora Straight Sword as a weapon, and later on in Crescent Axe since Astora Straight Sword quickly goes from overperforming to being mediocre to underperforming.

But, back to spells. What can miracles do? They can help you heal as a phantom, or when low on humanity or estus, but that is one of the less useful aspects of low to mid faith builds.

For healing and damage to be effective regardless of level, you want to optimize your MagAdjust. In the lowest faith range, one talisman reigns supreme, and other talismans need between 27-31+ faith to actually surpass it, with only Canvas Talisman doing it prior to the 30 faith barrier.

 thorolund-talisman.png] Thorolund Talisman
Sold by Patches or Petrus for 5000 souls, and thus available basically from the start of the game if you can meet that requirement, Thorolund Talisman offers magic adjustment efficiency from the lowest levels, suiting pretty much any build that doesn't rack up at least 27 faith, or over 30 in case of talismans that aren't Canvas (since getting that one can be tricky). Making even the regular Heal restore a reasonable amount of HP and allowing thoses semi-minimalistic Sunbro builds to get some advantage out of their lesser Lightning Spears, it is a Faith-dabbling builds' best friend, and any Faith build's best friend early on.

 gravelord-sword-dance.png]No Faith requirement miracles - Gravelord Servant Miracles gravelord-greatsword-dance.png]
Those are the miracles you get if you join, or rank up once, in the Gravelord Servant covenant. They're very similar to the Firestorm pyromancies except they deal magic damage. Ranking up in the covenant improves their damage, and while you can use them after leaving the covenant their damage will be cut down by 10% of the base if you do. Otherwise, they work with any build as long is it uses a nonscaling Talisman, a.k.a Thorolund's, or Velka's if it's an Int build.

Minimalistic Approach - =< 14 Faith
 Force.png] heal.png] magic-barrier.png]

Force 12 Faith, Heal 12 Faith, Magic Barrier 14 Faith.

To make things simple : Force doesn't deal damage, but does cause knockback, and has a lot of casts. While this has only limited usefulness in PVE as it will only really toss the lighter opponents around like ragdolls, it can be sometimes pretty useful in PVP, and the investment is much cheaper than Wrath of the Gods.

Heal in and of itself is pretty weak if used with a faith-scaling talisman at low Faith, but together with Thorolund Talisman it can actually be a very viable way of healing for most of the game.

Magic Barrier is the one to really look out for. This significantly decreases magic damage taken (About 45% decrease). In PVE, that means things like Channelers, some of Seath's attacks, and most importantly, ALL of Four Kings' attacks will do noticeably less damage. In PVP, the usefulness is much higher, with Emit Force and Wrath of the Gods miracles as well as all sorceries dealing less damage to the user. The only drawback is that no other active buff can be on your person when using Magic barrier, and it only lasts half a minute, but with four casts, that is often enough. This is a good place to stop if you don't care about attacking power of miracles and only wish to have some useful utility spells. If you put extra points in Attunement, you can fill out the other points with Pyromancy as well, or use the Gravelord Servant miracles.

How To : Miracles, Part 2
Max utility, minimum offense approach : 16-20 faith

 replenishment.png]  homeward.png] emit-force.png] lightning-spear.png]

Replenishment 16 faith, Homeward 18 Faith, Emit Force 18 Faith, Lightning Spear 20 Faith

Of course, reaching this stage doesn't mean Gravelord Servant miracles or Magic Barrier becomes any less useful, and several of these spells should be used depending on need. Replenishment is the local regeneration miracle; it only affects you, and does not scale, but it DOES stack with the Sanctus' regeneration effect, making bruiser-regenerator builds somewhat more viable (although it is worth noting Sanctus requires 18 faith to properly use as a shield). I would rate it as generally less useful than Great Magic Barrier, but more universal. Homeward is the dream grinding miracle that allows you to return to the bonfire and revive enemies without using up a Homeward Bone. Emit Force is unlike Force and Wrath of the Gods; it sends forward a magic orb that explodes with similar range to these miracles, but has to be charged and aimed, but is sometimes more effective, particularly against PVE enemies. Lightning Spear is the base Sunbro miracle, 10 casts of a relatively slow charge, but high range lightning missile. Together with Thorolund Talisman, it, Emit Force, or Gravelord Servant miracles can deal respectable damage and be a nice addition to your arsenal, particularly when you come across the surprisingly rare fire resistant enemy.

This range also unlocks the support miracles Karmic Justice (which is a little too incidental to be truly useful) and Tranquil Walk of Peace (which can work wonders on players who do not know how to deal with it, but is seen as a pretty a**holish, honorless move if such things happen to matter to you).

 great-magic-barrier (1).png]Mage Killer Hybrid Build, 24 Faith great-heal (1).png]

Great Magic Barrier 24 Faith, Great Heal 24 Faith

It's hard to call a build that goes this far 'minimalistic' in approach, but it is in fact perfectly viable for some fighter variants to have this much faith. It can help with using Crescent Axe, too, since the total scaling on that weapon is somewhat even in physical and mental stats.

What this build does is basically maximalize your burst healing potential as a phantom or your estus/humanity saving ability by letting you heal a LOT of HP with a quick chargeup. More importantly, it gives you a ridiculously strong defensive measure against spells. For 30 seconds, but only 2 casts as opposed to the regular Magic Barrier's 4, Great Magic Barrier removes ~85% of any source's of magic damage impact on you. This trivalizes Four Kings (as ALL of their attacks deals either magic or split magic/physical damage), and is a major defensive help against them in NG+ and past that, as well as being the only way to defend against some hax magic styles if you can't roll out of the way for some reason.

Offensive Miracle / Boss Slayer hybrid build, 30 faith.
 wrath-of-the-gods.png] great-lightning-spear.png] sunlight-blade.png]darkmoon-blade.png]

Wrath of the Gods 28 Faith, Great Lightning Spear

Again, this is no longer a small investment, but a hybrid build. Yet if you want to take advantage of Faith's weapon buff in DS1, Sunlight and Darkmoon Blade, you have to go this far. Both deal tremendous damage, but have only one cast. Use it on the player who invades you, or on the boss at the end of a stage, but use it wisely, and remember to make your hits count. Remember that Darkmoon Blade and Sunlight Blade are mutually exclusive in a single NG run, but not over two or several NG+ cycles. Since basically no enemy is resistant to both lightning and magic, this makes a build with access to either of those miracles strong, and a build with access to both a genuine 'boss wrecker'.

Wrath of the Gods is a better, often thought to be annoying and mildly overpowered, version of Force that deals strong damage and adds a powerful stagger, but can only be used 3 times per assigned attunement slot. Great Lightning Spear is pretty much a better Lightning Spear by all accounts, only requiring that you reach Warrior of Sunlight +1 rank, but giving no penalties if you're using it when already out of the covenant.

How To : Sorceries
 oolacile-ivory-catalyst.png] oolacile-catalyst.png]Your friends this time are the Oolacile Catalysts, with a MagAdjust of static 180. To surpass this score, most other catalysts need at least 27 Intelligence (29 faith for Tin Darkmoon Catalyst)

The 'Poisonous' version, which does cause poison buildup on hit, requires 10 int, and is a bit heavier, only drops in the DLC areas, while you can but the 'regular' version, which has the same mag adjustment (but because of lower physical damage, is marginally weaker for dark sorceries), doesn't cause poison buildup on melee hits, is lighter, and requires 12 int, from either Dusk of Oolacile or Elizabeth of Oolacile.

Minimum Effort (10-12 Int)

magic-weapon.png] heavy-soul-arrow.png] soul-arrow.png]

Magic Weapon (10 int), Soul Arrow (10 int), Heavy Soul Arrow (12 int)

I have to stress this : This sort of attitude does not work in the long run and on higher level builds. However, at very low levels (both PVP and area-wise), 12 or so int with Oolacile Ivory Catalyst can really be useful in terms of weapon buffing and longer range attacks. Cast with Oolacile Catalysts, regular Magic Weapon gives 144 magic attack rating; this is almost the equivalent of a free Gold Pine Resin. This is very useful low-level, as well as somewhat useful against any enemy weak to Magic later on, but eventually average magic resistance is such it only provides a mild buff. Same with the Soul Arrows; at some points, they just aren't enough. Early on, however, this is a nice and cheap investment which you should either improve and capitalize upon, or exchange for some nice hardcore Pyromancies.

Low Investment Spellsword (15-16 Int)
 great-magic-weapon.png] dark-bead.png] great-heavy-soul-arrow.png]

Great Magic Weapon (15), Dark Bead (16), Great Heavy Soul Arrow (16), bunch of utility spells (14-16).

This level truly does encompass what this guide set out to do. Since a lot of the best weapons are buffable, it pays to have a cheap but effective way to buff them. In practice, Charcoal Pine Resin is too weak to be helpful at any level higher than starting areas of the game, and Gold Pine Resin is rare and annoying to grind. If cast via Oolacile catalysts, Great Magic Weapon gives 198 magic attack rating, making it noticeably better than even Gold Pine Resin, and with 3 casts per every rest at a bonfire. This means it will add significant amounts of damage against any genuinely weak-to-magic enemy and give just enough damage for it to matter against anyone who's not specifically magic-resistant. Dark Bead and Great Heavy Soul Arrow provide a nice magic damage option in and of itself in this combo, up close and at range respectively. At 14 to 16 int, you can also cast spells for utility like Cast Light, Fall Control, Hidden Body, Hidden Weapon, Hush, Remedy, Resist Curse, and both Magic Shields. As such, it's perfectly viable to pump your int up to 16 and take advantage of all these options, and you can access a lot of said options from pretty early on (Great Magic Weapon is found early in Anor Londo while Great Heavy Soul Arrow can be bought from Griggs).

Space-controlling Hybrid Build (25 int)
 crystal-magic-weapon.png] homing-crystal-soulmass.png]

Dark Bead (16 Int), Crystal Magic Weapon (24 Int), Homing Crystal Soulmass (24 int, 25 for 4 magic soulmasses), optionally Dark Fog (18 Int).

This suggestion has one specific flaw : Several levels of Int leveling that give literally nothing to your character. However, the results are pretty fine indeed. Crystal Magic Weapon via Oolacile Catalysts provides a 252 magic attack rating buff, which is enough to contend even with the resistances of higher-end enemies as long as they are not specifically resistant to magic damage. While you only get to fire four Crystal Soulmasses (out of possible five), they are stronger than they would normally be and most opponents cannot afford to just take them, so they're a nice way to force a roll from an opposing human player - and from there you can train roll catching with either Dark Bead or your weapon. Crystal Soulmass can be cast 10 times per attunement slot assigned, meaning it works nice as a main source of magic damage too over Great Heavy Soul Arrow and initiates encounters well in PVE. Dark Fog is a rarely used spell; if you can complete the poisoning via knives or a naturally poisonous weapon like Large Club or Guardian Tail, it's a fun way to start fights against players as it isn't uncommon for players to roll right back into its area of effect when they see you prepare to cast a Dark Sorcery. However, with not enough casts and with Poison being weak as it is, it often turns out to be a waste of a slot, particularly for PVE unless the enemy is specifically weak to poison.
How to : Pyromancy + Other Magic
Just as Pyromancy meshes well with pure melee fighters, it also acceptably mixes with sorceries and miracles. Providing a new damage type to otherwise sometimes very specialized builds, and more mid and short -range spell options, Pyromancy can also benefit from items that boost the other two. Crown of Dusk or the Dark Sun boosts all spell damage types while Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring boosts both sorcery and pyromancy damage.

Chaos Pyromancies can serve well to help you control terrain and set an enemy up to be hit with some spells that are easier to evade. Chaos Firestorm can provide you, if cast correctly, with the temporary reprieve needed to use a magic buff or miracle-based heal. Combustions and Fireballs help your miracle or sorcery build gain spell-based options for closer combat, while forcing an opponent to expend their roll via Soulmass can help you land that Fireball or Dark Bead right after. If you focus on fast rolling, casting speed, pyromancies, and dark sorceries, you can keep yourself mid-range from your opponent and put constant pressure on them without ever bothering with getting into melee range, while focusing on Wrath of the Gods and Combustions does the reverse, making you extremely dangerous up close and forcing the enemy to dance around you.

Finally, if you like to use pyromancies, Force, Emit Force, and Wrath of the Gods can be helpful with staggering the enemy long enough to unleash a Fireball or, when you're up close, a full power Fire Whip in their face.
How to : Sorcerer + Cleric
It may come off as a surprise, but there are tools in the game to allow a player to use Miracles effectively as a Sorcerer, or vice versa. Granted, the fact the spells still require a certain Faith or Intelligence level to use can limit the usefulness of that, but there are some pretty useful miracles and sorceries we've mentioned in the earlier parts that can be helpful as long as they either don't depend on high MagAdjust or the statistic is obtained elsewhere.

 velka-s-talisman.png]  tin-darkmoon-catalyst.png]Friends of a Sorcerer/Cleric hybrid are, depending on which stat is dominant, Velka's Talisman - a miracle-casting tool dependent on Intelligence, and Tin Darkmoon Catalyst - a sorcery-casting tool dependent on Faith.

They are respectively bought from an NPC (Oswald of Carim) and crafted from a Boss' soul. Velka's talisman is almost equal with Thorolund Talisman at 29 intelligence and surpasses it afterwards, while Tin Darkmoon Catalyst is almost equal with the Oolacile Catalysts at 28 faith and surpasses them afterwards.

In general, a recommendation would be to keep one stat lowish and focus on the other one when creating such hybrid builds, unless you're fine with grossly overleveling your character. Tin Darkmoon Catalysts lets you viably use Intelligence weapon buffs for when a Faith weapon buff would be an overkill, as well as utilize Dark Bead or other, more long-range damage centric sorceries. Velka's Talisman gives sorcerers a method to heal themselves without using Estus or Humanities, gives them personal buffs like Magic Barrier or Replenishment, allows them to take advantage of being a Sunbro or at the highest level use Wrath of the Gods or the Faith weapon buffs. Physical stats can be conserved if one can find a buffable Twinkling Titanite or low scaling weapon.

Suggestions :

Darkmoon Buffer
Int 16, Faith 30+, Tin Darkmoon Catalyst, chosen talisman.
Dark Bead, Great Magic Weapon, Darkmoon Blade/Sunlight Blade, additional offensive miracles / sorceries.

This build depends on the player's memory and skill when it comes to equipment swapping. Great Magic Weapon has 3 casts, easily being useful for an entire area, while Sunlight Blade would be used by swapping the hands one uses to cast a miracle or a sorcery (or just forgoing shield and putting both in the left hand) to use the strongest weapon buff when facing a miniboss, boss or an invading player. Bonus points for being able to deal high damage up close with both Wrath of the Gods and the shotgun spray to the face.

Defensive Mage

Faith 14 or 20, Int 25+, any decent stability but <100 physical resist shield (or fighting an opponent with elemental damage weapon), optionally Magic Shield or Weapon, Velka's Talisman, chosen catalyst.

Magic Barrier, Karmic Justice, chosen sorceries (close range sorceries like Dark Bead suggested).

Basically a good option for those who like to use a split damage magic / physical weapon or prefer to hold on to their catalyst at all times. Magic Barrier for when you are facing magic-using enemies, and Karmic Justice for when you're up close and personal with someone whom is very aggressive, but whom you can block. Karmic Justice triggers in such fights leading to a staggering and, thanks to usage of a catalyst or a magic weapon in the right hand, highly-damaging explosion that allows you to follow up with counters if your stamina is high enough. Since Magic Shield improves stability it can be used to help with this, although the buffing takes a long time then and Magic Shield tends to disappear easily (ring slot can be sacrificed for Lingering or Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring, of course).

The same strategy will work with a Pyromancy Flame, setting up opponent for a Combustion or two to the face or letting you unleash a full Fire Whip. Only viable in PVE and low to mid level PVP.
Addendum I : Three Swords of Sad & Edgy Knight
Once you have successfully raised one or both of your 'mental' attributes into the lower teens, a temptation may occur to you.

Greatswords of Artorias only require 18 and 20 in both Faith and Intelligence. "I am finally so close, should I use them?"

Answer is a resounding 'no'.
Both swords of Artorias are not particularly good weapons, difficult to get up to the level where using them is justified via damage, and having clunky and difficult movesets. Only at very high level do they seem to shine through. There are, however, two exceptions worth noting to this case.

If you manage to keep your overall level in the range where you can still perform PVP of your preferred type, the Divine Greatsword of Artorias has high scaling off of both mental stats. Reaching enough Faith to use miracles like Wrath of the Gods and Great Magic Barrier while pushing Intelligence all the way up to 44 to use Crystal Soulspears makes the Divine Greatsword of Artorias a fairly viable weapon that doesn't require buffing to take advantage of your stats. Alternatively, you can go up to 25, 32, or 36 intelligence to use Crystal Soulmass, Pursuers, or regular Soulspear, and keep grinding up your Faith high enough to use the highest end miracles like Sunlight Spear.

The second exception is part of the DLC content. The Abyss Greatsword.

Unlike the GS-s of Artorias, Abyss Greatsword has a significantly more easy-to-use moveset, particularly for PVE, and thanks to its focus on physical damage, along with humanity scaling and quality Str/Dex scaling, is MUCH easier to get to high damage ranges, being in fact potentially the most damaging weapon in its weapon class. While unbuffable, it is also lighter than the other two, leaving you with enough weight to have a sidearm to be buffed if you wished so, or just to utilize for better armor and such.
This is pretty much it. Incorporating magic, particularly weapon or self-buffing ability, into your build can be a big help to you in the long and short run both, and it is much easier than you might think originally thanks to the tools showcased here. Several enemies, areas, and bosses, particularly Four Kings on both NG1 and NG+(+....+) levels, display a noticeable enough weakness to one or more magic types that such an investment can genuinely help you, while buffs that help with limiting damage can vastly boost your survivability against bosses as well, including Quelaag, Ceaseless Discharge, Four Kings, or the final boss himself should you be unable or unwilling to utilize the easiest method to defeat him. Unlocking some pretty efficient and interesting weapons or weakening the common PVP strategies of other players can also be an additional motivation to try and invest in a little bit of magic of your own, whether to counter-attack or defend yourself better.

Thanks are owed to the Darksouls Wikidot and Mugenmonkey sites for using their resources to support the writing of this guide.

Now, dear reader, hurry along. Feel free to ask and see if there's more I can do for you.

Whatever you do, do not crack and go Hollow. Lest my time spent on you be wasted.