Elden Ring: How Arcane Works & What It Does [Explained]

This guide extensively covers how Arcane works in Elden Ring, and how you can use Arcane-scaling weapons and incantations for a strong build.

Arcane is an attribute in Elden Ring that’ll be unfamiliar to most veteran Soulsborne and even RPG players. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to have much influence on necessary stats like stamina or HP. However, if you want to make a niche yet powerful build in line with the meta later down your playthrough, you should start raising this stat.

Key Takeaways
  • Arcane is one of Elden Ring’s primary attributes, with a soft cap at Level 45.
  • Enhancements include increased spell/weapon status effects, Holy Defense, Vitality, and +1 Discovery per level.
  • Higher Arcane levels maximize damage for Arcane weapons and incantations.
  • Weapons have Arcane-scaling grades (S to D) in the Equipment Menu.
  • Top melee weapons for Arcane build: Rivers of Blood, Mohgwyn’s Sacred Spear, Eleonora’s Poleblade, Morgott’s Cursed Sword.
  • Best Arcane incantations: Swarm of Flies, Ekzykes’s Decay, Greyoll’s Roar, Bloodflame Talons.
  • Talismans can boost attacks and increase FP.

Arcane Stat Effects

Arcane isn’t like most traditional Elden Ring attributes because it’s extremely situational. This is because it only boosts certain niche aspects and, therefore, encourages very specific playstyles and builds. Furthermore, in my experience, it’s one of the only attributes that actively increase your offense and defense.

arcane
Leveling up Arcane (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
Important: This stat soft caps at Level 45 since that’s when most status effects in Elden Ring start to stagnate and see less dramatic improvements. So, In my opinion, there’s no major benefit to leveling up Arcane past this level since you won’t see viable returns.

Offensive

  • Arcane focuses on raising the potency of most status buildups on weapons, which include:
    1. Blood Loss
    2. Poison
    3. Sleep
    4. Madness
  • Most weapons and Incantations centered around these status effects belong to specific subcategories of more common archetypes like Faith, Intelligence, and Dexterity builds.
  • Therefore, I suggest you level up 2 attributes simultaneously to properly use an Arcane weapon or build.
  • For instance, the Rivers of Blood is a hybrid Bleed weapon that scales with Strength, Arcane, and Dexterity, requiring high levels of all three stats to be combat-effective.
RoB arcane weapon elden ring
The Rivers of Blood (Screenshot taken by eXputer)
Important: These improvements can be seen in arrows and Ashes of War that cause status buildups.

Defense

  • For defense, this attribute mainly impacts the following resistances:
    1. Holy Defense: While Arcane raises most physical and elemental resistances like Magic and Fire, its influence is more prominent against Holy attacks by immensely boosting your Holy Defense.
    2. Vitality: Arcane is the only attribute that actively raises Vitality, which gives you higher immunity against Death Blight, an instant-death mechanic.
  • Here’s how much these resistances scale as level up this particular attribute alone:
Holy DefenseVitality
+2.2 Increase from Level 1 to 20 +1.6 Increase from Level 1 to 15
+1.0 Increase from Level 21 to 35+1 Increase from Level 16 to 40
+0.6 Increase from Level 36 to 60+0.8 Increase from Level 41 to 60
+0.3 Increase from Level 61 to 99+0.3 Increase from Level 61 to 99

Passive

  • Besides what Arcane does in Elden Ring in terms of combat-oriented stats, it also increases your Discovery by +1 with each level up.
  • This, in turn, yields a higher chance of getting rare item drops from enemies when you kill them.

Arcane Weapons

As previously mentioned, Arcane is a situational attribute that you’ll need for going for and even countering specific builds. This includes making sure your weapon scales well with it and ensuring that the runes spent on leveling up the attribute increase your attack potency.

Important: It’s also worth noting that a weapon’s blood loss or status buildup ability only scales with Arcane if the weapon itself scales with the attribute too. If the weapon has no Arcane scaling, the stat will not affect it.

How To Find An Arcane Weapon?

Here’s the path I would suggest you to find the Arcane Weapon:

  • One way to view a weapon’s scaling attribute is by checking its details in the Equipment Menu.
  • Here, you’ll see the weapon’s scaling grade between S-rank to D-rank and the attribute(s) it scales with.
  • The higher the scaling grade, the more it relies on its corresponding attribute and the more damage it dishes out.
  • Besides that, you can also view that weapon’s overall damage output and any other passive abilities it may have, giving you a clearer idea of how versatile it is.
ripple blade
An S-rank Arcane-scaling weapon (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)

Best Arcane Melee Weapons And Incantations

Compared to other attributes like Strength or Faith, only a handful of Arcane melee weapons exist. Fortunately, though, most of these are considered some of the best weapons in their respective weapon types. And apart from their insane damage output, they cause extremely high Blood loss buildup, which most players regard as the most overpowered status effect you can apply.

To get you started, I’ve listed down some of the best melee weapons you can get if you’re going for an Arcane build:

Weapon NameTypeArcane ScalingAsh of WarRequirements
Ripple Crescent HalberdHalberdSSpinning SlashStr: 12 | Dex: 12 | Arc: 20
ReduviaDaggerBReduvia Blood BladeStr: 5 | Dex: 13 | Arc: 13
Varré's BouquetHammerBBlood TaxStr: 8 | Dex: 16 | Arc: 24
Mohgwyn's Sacred SpearGreat SpearCBloodboon RitualStr: 24 | Dex: 14 | Arc: 27
Eleonora's PolebladeTwinbladeDBloodblade DanceStr: 12 | Dex: 21 | Arc: 19
Morgott's Cursed SwordCurved GreatswordDCursed-Blood SliceStr: 14 | Dex: 35 | Arc: 17
Rivers of BloodKatanaDCorpse PilerStr: 12 | Dex: 18 | Arc: 20
Serpent BowBowDMighty ShotStr: 8 | Dex: 15 | Arc: 11
weapons
Arcane Melee Weapons (Image Credits: eXputer)

Regarding incantations, Arcane is mostly associated with Bleed and Dragon spells. However, despite the limited possibilities, these incantations are unique and powerful, and you can use them in various circumstances.

With that said, here are some of the best options for this category:

IncantationTypeItem EffectRequirements
Swarm of FliesBlood LossReleases a swarm of Bloodflies before casterFaith: 11 | Arcane: 16
Ekzykes's DecayDragonSpews Scarlet Rot breath of Ekzykes from aboveFaith: 23 | Arcane: 15
Greyoll's RoarDragonEmits the roar of Elder Dragon GreyollFaith: 28 | Arcane: 17
Bloodflame TalonsBlood LossCreates bloodflame lacerations that then explodeFaith: 13 | Arcane: 15
DragonclawDragonChannels dragon to rend foes with dragon clawsFaith: 17 | Arcane: 13
BloodboonBlood LossScatters bloodflame before caster to set area aflameFaith: 14 | Arcane: 17
arcane spells
Arcane Incantations (Screenshot by eXputer)
Important: Remember to use the Dragon Communion Seal for these spells since it’s a S-rank Arcane scaling weapon and boosts Dragon Communion incantations as well.

Arcane Talismans

Alongside a good Arcane weapon, you can equip certain talismans that can enhance your build by either strengthening your attacks or lowering their costs. Since most Arcane-based damage comes from Ashes of War and Incantations, here are a few talismans I would like to mention that can make them exponentially more adaptable:

Shard of Alexander

  • The Shard of Alexander raises the attack power of skills by 15%.
  • Coupling melee weapons like the Ripple Crescent Halberd that rely on Ash-of-War attacks with this talisman can drastically increase your damage output and melt through enemy HP.
  • This item is dropped from Alexander the Iron Fist after you complete his quest line in Crumbling Farum Azula.
Shard of Alexander Talisman
The Shard of Alexander talisman (Image Credits: eXputer)

Godfrey Icon

  • The Godfrey Icon is excellent for boosting both your melee and Incantations’ potency by enhancing charged spells and skills by 15%.
  • You can ideally pair it with Arcane-based Incantations with effective charged attacks like Dragonice and the aforementioned Ekzykes’s Decay.
  • Furthermore, it can stack up with the Shard of Alexander to give you a 30% attack boost in Ash-of-War attacks.
  • You can obtain this talisman after killing Godefroy the Grafted in the Golden Lineage Evergaol, located east of the Grand Lift of Dectus in the Altus Plateau.
Godfrey Icon elden ring
The Godfrey Icon talisman (Image Source: eXputer)

Flock’s Canvas Talisman

  • This talisman raises the attack potency of Incantations by roughly 8%.
  • Like the prior skill-talisman combo, you can use the Godfrey Icon talisman alongside Flock’s Canvas to considerably boost your Incantations’ combat power by 23% overall.
  • You can find this talisman once you visit Gowry after completing Millicent’s Questline, after which he’s seen mourning her death.
Flock's Talisman elden ring
The Flock’s Canvas Talisman (Screenshot by eXputer)
Important: An alternative route to quickly getting this talisman is by killing Millicent early on and visiting Gowry afterward.

Primal Glintstone Blade

  • The Primal Glintstone Blade encourages an offensive playstyle and lets you perform more Incantations by reducing the FP cost of spells by 25%.
  • However, it does drop your maximum HP by 15%, effectively making you sacrifice one meter for another.
  • Unlike previous talismans on this list, this one is slightly more divisive because of its outlying caveat.
  • But if you’re primarily an Arcane-spell user and regularly run out of FP, this is the talisman for you.
  • And to get the Glinstone Blade, you’ll need to unlock a chest deep in the Stargazer’s Ruins located in the western region of the Mountaintops of the Giants.
glintstone blade talisman
The Primal Glintstone Blade Talisman (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)

That wraps up our guide on what Arcane does in Elden Ring and how you can make a build around it. Despite the attribute supporting a tight niche, most players will actively go for that niche since the current meta hovers around it.

Sink your teeth into more niche archetypes by checking out our Elden Ring Bolt of Gransax build. If you want to improve your build by other means, here’s how you can upgrade Spirit Ashes. Also, consider reading our guide on the Best Remembrance Weapons and put your rare loot to good use.

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Huzaifa is eXputer's Review Editor, who’s all about RPG games. He’s got several years of experience critically judging games and writing his unbiased thoughts on them. You can also find his content published on sites like Twinfinite & GearNuke. Huzaifa has been gaming for 23+ years, during which he managed to amass 400+ hours on Elden Ring! You can follow his gaming activity on his Xbox and Steam Profiles.

Experience: 5+ years || Previously Worked At GearNuke & Twinfinite || Mainly Covers RPG Guides & Latest Games Reviews || Education: Bachelors in Hospitality.

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