Few games are as punishing as the Dark Souls franchise. Each game puts players up against enemies that deal extreme amounts of damage. This series of games demands mastery over its systems, but there are ways of making the game easier. One such method is to block attacks using shields.
These items are especially useful in Dark Souls 2 with the game’s focus on group encounters. Blocking attacks from multiple enemies can help turn the tide, but not every shield is created equal. Some shields vastly outperform others whether by their stats or unique properties. Here are the 5 best and worst shields players can use in Dark Souls 2. This article is based on the Scholar of the First Sin edition of Dark Souls 2.
10 Best: Buckler
Parrying is an important skill to master in the Dark Souls trilogy. It is much harder to pull off in Dark Souls 2 than the first entry, but the Buckler somewhat returns the parrying window to what it was in the first game. Obtained from the Forest of Fallen Giants, this early-game shield is a fantastic parrying tool with solid early-game defensive stats. Its low weight also means virtually every build can use this shield.
9 Worst: King’s Shield
Statistically, the King’s Shield is a solid off-hand item for players to use. The issue is how much effort players must go through to obtain it. Players must kill Vendrick in the Undead Crypt, which in itself requires players to obtain Giant Souls. From there, players need to obtain the King’s Soul from Shrine of Armana, then transmute Vendrick’s Soul into the unique Ruler’s Sword, the incredibly powerful King’s Ultra Greatsword, or the mediocre King’s Shield with no auxiliary bonuses. It’s just not worth the effort.
8 Best: Havel’s Greatshield
Builds that wish to be tanky will want to obtain Havel’s Gretshield. Obtained from The Gutter, this greatshield provides complete immunity to physical damage and a solid amount of damage resistance against most magic damage types.
It is also one of the heaviest shields in the game, requiring 45 strength to use and taking up a whopping 20 equip load. Fortunately, it also has an absurdly high stability stat of 75 to help with blocking multiple attacks in quick succession.
7 Worst: Sunlight Parma
Dark Souls 2 had a competition before launch that asked the community to create various shield designs to be incorporated into the game. One such winner is the Sunlight Parma, a shield depicting Solaire from the original Dark Souls. It looks fantastic, but the stats on this shield are sorely lacking.
With a stability of 35 and below-average defensive stats, the Sunlight Parma is rather poor at blocking hits even when compared to other small shields. Its main use is to ignore lightning damage when infused with lightning, although this only works in the Scholar of the First Sin edition of the game. It sounds good on paper, but there are few times where players will fight Miracle invaders or PvE monsters using lightning. At least it looks amazing.
6 Best: Sanctum Shield
Introduced in the Crown of the Sunken King DLC, the Sanctum Shield is an undervalued shield amongst the Dark Souls 2 community. This shield has solid defensive stats for a medium shield excluding its rather poor 40 stability stat. However, it makes up for this by being able to cast every spell in the game.
Hexes, sorceries, and miracles can all be cast from this shield. It can mimic spell parrying shields by casting Repel, buff the player’s main-hand weapon with an infusion spell, or even be used as a two-handed bashing machine. There is practically no weakness to this shield, but only those who spec somewhat into magic will get the most use out of this item.
5 Worst: Spirit Tree Shield
Unlike most medium shields, the Spirit Tree Shield is capable of parrying spells if the player times their parries correctly. Unfortunately, that’s about all this shield has going for it. Subpar defensive stats and average requirements make this one of the game’s weaker shields. Worse, it can be obtained either from reaching rank 1 with the Blue Sentinels Covenant or reaching NG++. It just takes too long to obtain such a lackluster shield.
4 Best: Royal Kite Shield
Most players gravitate towards the Drangleic Shield for its above-average stats and low-stat requirements, but there is another shield that does this better. The Royal Kite Shield excels at the same things the Drangleic Shield does but can be obtained rather early at Lost Bastille and even has lower stat requirements.
A shield with 100% physical damage mitigation and around 50% for other damage types coupled with 50 stability makes for one of the best well-rounded shields in the game.
3 Worst: Rampart Golem Shield
Nothing is worse than having broken defensive items. That is exactly what the Rampart Golem Shield is. With a whopping 5 durability, this otherwise excellent shield will break after taking a couple of hits. Equipping a Bracing Knuckle Ring can help with this, although most builds can’t afford to sacrifice a ring slot just to use a shield. This weapon is amazing at blocking spell damage, but there are only a select few areas in the game where this shield can truly shine. Otherwise, it’s mostly dead weight.
2 Best: Rebel’s Greatshield
Nothing comes close to the defensive properties of the Rebel’s Greatshield. It requires 29 strength and 13.5 equip load, but this is well worth the benefits. 70% physical mitigation, 85% dark mitigation, and 90% mitigation to all other damage types make for one of the best stat-to-defense ratios in the game, but it gets better. When upgraded and infused, the Rebel’s Greatshield can obtain 100% resistance for its respective infusion without sacrificing the rest of its stats. Combined with its 65 stability, the Rebel’s Greatshield is easily the best shield in the game for builds that can wield it.
1 Worst: Red Rust Shield
Unless players are seriously struggling against bleed, the Red Rust Shield is easily the worst shield in the game. This shield only blocks 10% of elemental damage while fully blocking physical. A stability ranking of 55 is nothing special, either. Even upgrading this shield doesn’t save it from being lackluster at defending the player, which is the main reason for using a shield in the first place.
NEXT: Dark Souls: The 10 Worst Weapons In The Game
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