Elden Ring is no doubt FromSoftware’s biggest game as of yet. With all the customization, best weapons, skills, best swords, and much more, gamers can develop any sort of playstyle that they are looking for. These playstyles are mostly determined by the sorts of builds that you choose. There are builds those suit players that want more sorcery and dexterity and even builds that focus solely on intelligence. However, the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build is a build that focuses on the bleed effect in the game whilst utilizing arcane and a few of the best spells in the game.
Rivers of Blood Build Gear
Before we move further, read our Elden Ring Rivers of Blood location guide if you are still trying to obtain in katana. Or, you can watch our video regarding how to obtain this amazing Arcane weapon in Elden Ring.
Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build may seem simple gear-wise initially. Especially considering the build surrounding the blade and maximizing the output that we can get from it. However, the blade on its own is not enough, we require other items to help strengthen the build.
The other items, such as incantations, also allow us to vary our attacks and get an edge in some stats. These incantations also allow us to get the extra power we may need to overthrow a tough boss fight. While we’re discussing boss fights, read our Elden Ring Bosses Tier List and learn about the easiest to the toughest bosses in the game.
Knowing which items are the best from the many items in Elden Ring can be hard, so we’ve compiled some of the best which work with the Rivers of Blood build. Without further ado, here is the list of all the gear you will need. On the subject of items, read our Elden Ring items tier list and learn about the most and least reliable items in the game.
- Rivers of Blood – Our main weapon for this build, as suggested by the name. Our primary goal is to build up bleed damage with the Rivers of Blood.
- Blessed Dew Talisman – an overall great talisman. It will regenerate health slowly during battle, allowing us to be riskier with our attacks to build up the bleed bar.
- Godskin Swaddling Cloth – allows for HP restoration with successive hits.
- Winged Sword Insignia – successive attacks increase attack power.
- Erdtree Favor talisman – increases stamina and the equip load that the player can handle.
- Marika Scarseal – a talisman good for the early game where you’d need a boost in stats like arcane, faith, and mind.
- Green turtle talisman is good for stamina recovery, allowing us to perform our successive attacks more easily.
- Dragonclaw and Rotten Breath – these are the two main incantation spells that we will be utilizing to leverage our arcane stats. Great starters to deal a good chunk of damage onto tough bosses.
- Dragon Communion Seal – good seal to increase the power of dragon incantations that we will be using alongside the Rivers of Blood build.
Do note, many of the talismans mentioned are optional and you can interchange them to suit your needs. For example, the Marika Scarseal is a talisman that you may only need initially when stats are low, and you need the additional stats. And you may use only the Godskin Swaddling Cloth or Winged Sword Insignia depending on whether you want more HP regeneration or additional attack power.
Of course, you can use both as well. But generally, the mentioned gear is what works great with the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build and you can choose them according to what you want the most.
Rivers of Blood
As suggested by the name, rivers of Blood is our main weapon of choice for this build. The weapon is great for mid-range battles as it has plenty of options for slash and piercing attacks. Additionally, the blade comes with the blood-build-up ability which we will be utilized heavily.
The Rivers of Blood blade can be found in the Mountain tops of the Giants, near Church of Repose. The path towards the church is quite a long one, so make sure you have your trusty stead, Torrent, with you for the journey. Once you reach the Church of Repose, there will be an NPC there who will attempt to invade you. Simply engage and defeat him in battle, allowing you to earn the Rivers of Blood blade.
Be careful as you approach that area, you can commence in a story-related boss fight with the Fire Giant if you end up straying too far ahead. If you end up killing the Fire Giant before engaging with the NPC, you will lose your chance to get the blade. That is because, once you go back to the church of repose, the NPC will simply not spawn, and you will not get the chance to fight him.
Stats And Requirement
Rivers of Blood is an arcane hungry blade as it requires:
- Arcane: 20
- Dexterity: 18
- Strength: 12
Luckily for us, with our Elden Ring Rivers of Blade build, we are pushing towards an arcane build. So the requirements align with our aimed stats goal. The required increase in dexterity will also allow us to land more successive strikes and make use of the bleed effect and some of the best talismans that we will be using.
Prior to the 1.03 patch, there used to be a problem with River of Blood’s scaling. However, it has now been fixed and the weapon can become extremely powerful when scaled. These scaling stats are strength, dexterity, and arcane. With Strength starting off with the E scale and the other two being on the D scale.
However, if you are looking for a weapon to replace the Rivers of Blood but keep all the other elements of the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build then you should consider it one of the best katanas. You can use another katana which comes with the bleed effect similar to the Rivers of Blood. That is the Uchigatana.
Blessed Dew Talisman
The Blessed Dew Talisman is overall a great Talisman for one to have. It will help us recover health in midst of battle and even in the open world as we are moving from one encounter to the other.
The Blessed Dew Talisman can be found quite early on in the game. Make your way to the Weeping Peninsula, to where the marker is shown. The said location is southeast of the isolated merchant shack. When you get to the location, there will be a tower on a hill, the Tower of Return, that you can get on top of by climbing the ladder. There will be an enemy waiting at the top which you can handle easily.
But once you get to the top, you will find one of those trap chests that teleport you to a totally different location. If you open it, you will be transported to Leyndell, Royal Capital. Once you get there, you will be able to see the stairs ahead of you.
Climb those and rest activate the site of grace as you will now have to engage in a battle unless you’re stealthy enough. Right in front of you, there will be a giant that you can either take out or try to sneak past to the right. On the right, there will be yet another chest that will contain the Blessed Dew Talisman.
If you decide to sneak past, make sure to be quick and run out as soon as you get the talisman. That is because the giant will eventually notice you and try to take you out.
With that, you now have the Blessed Dew Talisman. It recovers 2HP/sec which may seem slow but can give you the edge in battle if you are able to maintain your distance for long enough. It is also useful in the open world when you do not want to waste one of your flasks. Mostly because upgrading your flasks through Golden Seeds or Sacred Tears can be quite the grind so you want to save them as much as you can.
But luckily, you can actually speed up this 2HP/sec process, but you will need to be in a safe spot. If you equip and unequip the talisman quickly, it will continue to regenerate your health each time, speeding up the amount that is healed per second.
Godskin Swaddling Cloth
Getting to the Godskin Swaddling Cloth is relatively easy. Just make your way over to the Spiritcaller’s cave. Over there you will have to face the Godskin Noble. If you have progressed far into the game, you may remember this enemy from the Godskin duo fight. But worry not it is not as hard to beat the Godskin Noble as it was in the Godskin Duo.
Godskin Swaddling Cloth works well with the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build as our aim is to work with successive attacks to build up the bleed effect. But if we combine the talisman, not only will we be working towards the bleed effect but also will be able to restore our HP.
The Godskin Swaddling Cloth requires you to 3-7 land successive attacks for its effects to trigger. But when they do trigger, you have a chance of getting 4.5-5% of your health regenerated. Additionally, the successive attack counter does not solely depend on one enemy. You can chain your attacks between different enemies and still activate the perk.
All-in-all, it is a good Talisman and encourages a faster and more aggressive playstyle.
Winged Sword Insignia
The Winged Sword Insignia is yet another Talisman that works well with the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood playstyle. As we are aiming to be aggressive with successive attacks, it would be desirable to get awarded with more attack power. The additional attack power will make up for some of the stats lacking in strength that went into arcane, faith, or dexterity.
Winged Sword Insignia can be found in the Stillwater cave. You will need to fight the Cleanrot Knight to get the Talisman as a drop.
It is worth noting that the effects are only induced through melee attacks and not ranged attacks like those with a bow. Regardless, the effects of the Talisman stack as you continue to land successive attacks. However, it can also decay over time if you are not attacking fast enough. The sweet spot for activating the Winged Sword Insignia effects is about 3 hits. Here are the effects according to their stacks:
- First Stack grants a 3% attack power increase
- Second Stack Grants 8% attack power increase
- Third Stack grants a 10% attack power increase
- Fourth Tier grants a 14% attack power increase
Although there could be more, but it is unlikely that you will be able to go beyond the second or third stack that often. In general, it is good for a strong offensive. Of course, if you are looking for pure strength-based items and weapons then consider reading our 16 Best Elden Ring Strength Weapons guide.
The Erdtree’s Favor works great with the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build in terms of helping us maintain our successive attacks. Not only that but as our stamina may be low due to all the investment into the arcane stats, we would need the extra edge. Therefore, we will be using the Erdtree Favor to increase our stamina and equip load.
The Erdtree Favor can be found in the Fringefolk Hero’s Grave. You will be needing two Stonesword keys to get past the imp statue before entering the dungeon. As it is one of those areas that you come across early, you most likely will not have a Stonesword key until you chose it as a Keepsake. Therefore, you would have to access this area later, perhaps when you’re level 30.
Once inside you want to head down until you come across a path leading to a secret area. There will be some imps that you can run past, finding the item in an altar beyond a fire trap.
However, that is not all that there is to the Erdtree Favor. There are actually three different variants to it that upgrade its stats. Here are the differences in the stats:
Effects of Variant 1
- HP Increased by 3%
- Stamina increased by 6.75%
- Equip Load increased by 5%
Effects of variant 2 (+1)
- HP increased by 3.5%
- Stamina increased by 8.25%
- Equip Load increased by 6.5%
Effects of variant 3 (+2)
- HP increased by 4%
- Stamina increased by 9.5%
- Equip Load increased by 8%
To get the +1 variant, you need to access a room after the boss fight with Mohg, the Omen. He can be found near the forsaken depths site of grace in the Subterranean Shunning-Grounds.
The +2 version, although sounds great and is a legendary Talisman, is perhaps might be quite hard to acquire. The main reason for this is that it can only be accessed near the end of the game or after you’ve finished it. That is because the item can be found in Leyndell, Capital of Ash. The said place is only available after making significant progress in the story. Regardless, Erdtree’s +2 variant can be found on top of a branch in the courtyard guarded by three rotten beasts.
Marika’s Scarseal is an optional Talisman that you might want to utilize early game. As the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build has a high arcane requirement, getting the stats early on might be hard. Therefore, you can use Marika’s Scarseal Talisman to raise mind, intelligence, faith, and arcane. But there is a catch, you will end up taking additional damage. In general, you will get +3 for all the mentioned stats and your damage negation will decrease by 10%. However, as soon as you level up and have enough stats, you can remove Marika’s Scarseal to strengthen your defense.
You can find Marika’s Scarseal on a corpse at the Siofra River.
Dragon Claw and Rotten Breath
Dragon claw and Rotten breath are some of the best incantations that we will be using alongside the Elden Ring River of Blood build. Usually builds that are beside the mainstream melee or dexterity builds tend to utilize incantation or sorcery. With incantations, especially the dragon-related abilities, we can give the River of Blood build the extra power that it needs to take on the stronger bosses.
If you are still quite early on in the game and have perhaps not reached Caelid, you can utilize the location that is about to be discussed.
To get the Dragon claw specifically, we first need to get to the Church of Dragon Communion. For that, we need to go through the coastal cave, allowing us to come out through a narrow exit deep within. The exit will have us on the Island southwest of the coastal cave as seen in the image. If you turn around and keep going forwards, you will eventually run into ruins. Going inside, you will see an altar to which you can offer dragon hearts in exchange for dragon abilities.
However, the Church of Dragon Communion does lack the Rotten Breath which is yet another incantation that we can utilize. To acquire that we will visit a similar place but in Caelid. If you travel to the Caelid Highway South, you can head straight ahead.
There will be the Decaying Ekzykes dragon boss that will try to engage you in battle, but you can keep running straight. You will eventually run into the Cathedral of Dragon Communion. It will also have an altar from which you can exchange skills for Dragon hearts.
Getting Dragon Hearts
Dragon hearts are items that get dropped after you beat many of the dragon bosses found in the Lands Between. They can be traded at the Cathedral or the Church of Dragon Communion for powerful incantations. Although some require 2 hearts, the incantations that we are utilizing will only be needing 1 per each. So 2 total dragon hearts.
This does mean that you will need to fight two different dragons to get the required amount. There is one near the beginning of the game at Agheel Lake. It is the Flying Dragon Agheel. There will also be a dragon that you will encounter when going to the Cathedral of Dragon Communion. That is the Decaying Ekzykes.
Additionally, there is an exploit that is part of the best Rune farming methods. It allows you to fight a dragon that just sits still, granting up to 75k Runes as well as five dragon hearts. You can find out more about it in our Elden Ring Fastest Rune Farming Methods And Exploits guide. Also, equip Golden Scarab talisman while you’re rune farming in Elden Ring.
Abilities and Requirements
Both the incantations are quite strong but of course, they have their high arcane requirements.
- Intelligence 0
- Faith 17
- Arcane 13
- FP cost 42
- Stamina cost 50
Dragon claw allows you to raise upwards and shoot at your enemies with well, a dragon claw. Although it is expensive, it does have great Poise damage. The greater Poise essentially means that when you’re using the incantation, much of the oncoming damage may get neglected; allowing you to land your hit. You can actually chain the move for two downward thrusts, with the second one having a shorter build-up.
- Intelligence 0
- Faith 15
- Arcane 12
- FP cost 36
- Stamina cost 48
The rotten breath incantation will act as the ranged weapon attack for the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build. It releases a brownish gaseous attack which does indeed resemble “rotten breath.” The more official name for the attack is “scarlet rot breath.” It does great damage and could be a useful incantation to start off your boss fights with.
Dragon Communion Seal
The last item that you would be needing to complete the build would be the Dragon Communion Seal. It is essentially a seal that increases the strength of your Dragon incantations. Additionally, it scales with arcane and faith, stats that we will be using quite a lot with the Rivers of Blood build. Furthermore, it also increases the rate at which the bleed effect builds up. You can also upgrade the Dragon Communion Seal with Somber Smithing Stones. All of these factors contribute towards what makes it a great item to have with the Rivers of Blood build.
You can get the Dragon Communion Seal from the Fringefolk Hero’s Grave in a similar manner to the Erdtree’s Favor talisman.
In terms of armor, there is nothing specific. You just have to make sure to pick an armor that lets you have a medium load roll. This is crucial as you do not have any specific forms of defense with the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood guide. But as you increase your stamina and use the Erdtree Favor talisman you can increase and improve your armor. If you are looking for armor to use alongside then you must go through our 10 Best Elden Ring Armor Sets With Locations guide.
Rivers of Blood Starting Class and Stats
As mentioned earlier, Elden Ring Rivers of Blood class is quite similar to an arcane build which is why we will be biasing towards the arcane stats. However, we also need a blend of dexterity for the Rivers of Blood weapon itself and to land successive strikes to build up Bleed.
What Class do The Rivers of Blood Build Require?
Much of our arcane will go towards working with the dragon spells and increasing the blood build-up. Therefore, having a starting class that has great arcane, to begin with, would be ideal. However, we also need to consider the Rivers of Blood blade itself as it does have quite a demanding requirement for dexterity and strength. We will also be needing faith to meet the requirements of the spells. While discussing spells, also read our Elden Ring Spells Tier List and learn about the best spells in the game.
So picking a class that is primarily focused on faith or arcane like Prophet or Bandit would mean that we will be spending much of our initial points just being pumped into dexterity and strength. However, Bandit also does lack in the faith requirements (arcane 17). Therefore picking something like samurai may work in the long run.
Additionally, a samurai comes with the Uchigatana which is one of the best Elden Ring katanas. The Uchigatana also has a blood build-up and can be a substitute to the Rivers of Blood until you have the stats needed to equip it.
However, you can also stick with the warrior’s starting weapons which are the Scimitar Riveted blades until you get the Rivers of Blood. They’re great dual-handed weapons that can also inflict great bleed damage once combined with the Bloody Slash ashes of war. It is considered one of the best Ashes of war. The warrior class also has decent stats to get you to the required stats as soon as possible.
Choosing Between Bandit, Samurai, Prophet, Or Warrior
Therefore, from the requirements of the build, it can be concluded that the Warrior, Samurai, Bandit, or Prophet Class maybe suited as a good starting class for the Rivers of Blood build. None of them are perfect and are more dependent on which item you want first.
If you want to get the blade as soon as possible, then the higher dexterity and somewhat decent arcane of Samurai will get you there quicker. But if you want to utilize the dragon spells, then you can consider the Prophet or Bandit class. With Bandit having the highest arcane and prophet having the highest faith.
And if you’re overall looking to improve the build by replacing the Rivers of Blood weapon while keeping all the other elements the same, then warrior could be a good pick for you.
The Rivers of Blood build is a demanding build in terms of stats. Therefore it is not one of those builds that you may be able to jump into right at the start like the Darth Maul Build. However, with the right farming techniques, you can reach the needed stats easily.
These are the bare minimum stats that you will need to make the Rivers of Blood Build work. But if you want to step it up a notch, as mentioned before, we want to target Arcane and Dex. Therefore, a good Rivers of Blood Build would look something like this:
In terms of stats, we want to pump arcane as much as we can early on after meeting all requirements. Doing so will increase and make up for our lack of pure melee weapon strength by making our dragon spells stronger. Also, the Dragon Communion Seal scales with arcane. And as it is helping our spells, it gives us all the more reason to upgrade the arcane.
Asides from that, we will need to additionally meet the faith requirements but after that, we can stop investing in them. The Rivers of Blood is not like one of the Faith builds so there’s no point in wasting stats on that.
Additionally, we will need to invest points into dexterity to meet the stats and work with the Rivers of Blood blade. The dexterity stat is more important when you consider that we are trying to land successive strikes to activate many of the perks of the Talisman that we will be using.
After you’re done meeting the requirements, you can consider investing in other points like stamina and Vigor. Stamina is definitely quite important as we need to swing our blade a lot. You may struggle with health initially as you’re investing all your points into the other stats. To make up for that consider upgrading your Sacred Flasks.
Rivers of Blood Build Playstyle
We want to maintain a face-paced playstyle with Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build. Our main weapon for melee is going to be the Rivers of Blood sword which has the bleed build-up effect on it. The way bleed works in Elden Ring is with an invisible bar that fills up each time you land a blow with a bleed effect weapon.
As you keep hitting, the bar continues to fill up. But if there is a gap between the strikes then the bar starts depleting. Therefore, to have a better chance of inflicting bleed, we need to maintain our attacks. But once we do finally activate the effect, a substantial chunk of our enemies’ health will decrease.
Luckily for us, we are making use of the successive strikes with our Talisman. Depending on which ones you chose from the list, you could either regenerate health or increase your attack power all the while building up the bleed bar. Not only that but with our increased arcane and dragon communion seal, we’ll be able to build up bleed faster.
Using The Incantations
Coming onto our two main spells for the Rivers of Blood build, Dragonclaw and Rotten breath are going to be used in tougher situations like with bosses or bigger enemies.
Dragonclaw will allow you to close the gap between certain enemies whilst coming down with a strong Poise attack. Poise is essentially the stat that decides how easily one can get staggered. Essentially, if you are in an attacking motion, the higher your poise is the less chance there is of your attack getting disturbed by an incoming attack. With Dragonclaw you’re essentially a tank as you take on any attacks and inflict your own. It works well against enemies with a big hitbox and those that have shields. The shield enemies can be annoying to deal with, but Dragonclaw will tear through their defense without a problem. However, Dragonclaw is expensive so you might not get to use it too often in the same battle. So, look for the right chance to deal the most damage on your opponent.
Rotten breath is a great opening attack against bosses. Additionally, you can use it as a mid-ranged attack and for crowd control. Furthermore, you can even use it while riding your Horse Torrent, as you charge around a boss or deal with a mob of enemies.
It does quite a lot of damage and you can easily remove up to half a bar of the health of bosses if you begin with this attack. Another plus point is that it works well against bosses that are immune to bleeding. As much of the Rivers of Blood build is centered around the bleed effect, you will need to fall back to the Rotten Breath to assist you. However, that’s still not a major issue as the majority of the bosses are prone to the bleed effect.
Coming onto defensive play, Rivers of Blood works best when you use both hands with it. However, this will mean that you cannot use any of the best shields with the blade. Therefore, you need to rely heavily on rolling out of the way of attacks. So, be careful not to get cornered as you will have a hard time getting out of that situation. And especially do not get trapped in between a mob of enemies. You will also need to manage your armor to remain in the medium-load roll range so that you get adequate invincibility time per roll.
Additionally, even though we may use Talisman that regenerates health, they sometimes might not be enough. So, although successive strikes will regenerate health with the use of Godskin Swaddling Cloth, it is not enough to trade blows for the extra 1-2 strike. If you are looking for a build that has an insane amount of health regeneration by going on the offense, then consider the Vampire Build. But essentially what this means is that whenever you’re about to chain multiple attacks, look for the right opening and do not just jump in there.
That is everything there is to know about the Elden Ring Rivers of Blood build. It is good as it makes use of melee as well as some blood incantations, making it a mixture between a dragon build and a blood build. But at its core, we are relying on arcane so one can consider it as an arcane heavy build as well. If you’re looking for other builds to mess around with, check out: Elden Ring Dex Build.
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