Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.
"Within the ranks of the Chosen Undead, those Bearers of the Curse and Ashen Ones all, there is not merely one discipline, but a multitude. For all that the redoubtable knights, mighty warriors, noble heralds, and cunning assassins might be most obvious, they are but a few amongst many." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Character Expansion Rulebook
Dark Souls: The Board Game
Dark Souls: The Board Game is a dungeon-crawler that uses dice, AI behavior cards, and node-based movement to simulate the tense atmosphere, solid combat, and overall difficulty of the video game franchise that it is based on.
The Characters Expansion adds new armour treasure cards as well as six new starting characters: Mercenary, Sorcerer, Thief, Pyromancer, Cleric, and Deprived. In this guide, I will only be covering the Sorcerer and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.
Other Character Guides
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Pyromancer
A quick guide to the Pyromancer starting character from Dark Souls: The Board Game Characters Expansion.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Herald
A quick guide to the Herald starting character from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Warrior
A quick guide to the Warrior starting character from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Cleric
A quick guide to the Cleric starting character from Dark Souls: The Board Game Characters Expansion.
The Sorcerer is what you would expect from a magic-based character. Horrible physical defense, great magic defense, and even better magical offense. She is great early game as there aren't a lot of enemies that have magical defense, so even with her starting equipment she is capable of taking down a whole room by herself. That being said, later on in the game when the enemies have magical defense and hit much harder, she will have a more difficult time holding her own.
Her ability, Spell Fury, allows her to give one of her magic attacks infinite range and reduce the stamina cost by three once per spark. This can be great for boss fights as it allows you to use your more powerful magic attack potentially for free while also keeping your distance from the boss. However, it can also be really good for normal encounters especially when playing with a group. If one of your party members is in trouble across the room then you can help without having to use additional stamina to sprint over to them.
The Sorcerer starts with four pieces of equipment:
- Sorcerer's Catalyst
- Sorcerer Robes
- Leather Shield
- Mail Breaker
The Sorcerer's gear is very similar to that of the Pyromancer's in that it gives you options on how you deal with an opponent's attack. Typically when a character is given dodge dice it is because they have poor magical and physical defenses (i.e, the Thief and Assassin). However, with the Sorcerer you get decent defenses as well as a single dodge die. That being said, with only one dodge die your chance of success is only 50%, so dodging should really only be attempted when you have additional dodge dice, or when blocking an attack would still kill you no matter what you rolled for defense.
Speaking of defense, the Sorcerer has one blue black for physical defense and a blue die and a black die for magical defense. You are guaranteed to block at least one damage if it is a magical attack, but you can potentially block zero physical damage as black dice have blank sides. Early on, it might be better to attempt to dodge physical attacks rather than blocking them.
The Sorcerer's Catalyst has a range of three nodes, and deals magic damage. Its first attack does cost one stamina to use, but it uses a blue die for damage meaning you are guaranteed to at least deal one damage. As previously mentioned, most of the enemies early on don't have magic defense, so you will be able to make quick work of them.
Unique Sorcerer Treasure
There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Sorcerer:
- Faron Flashsword
- Magic Shield
- Aural Decoy
- Dragonscale Armour
The Sorcerer has a few tricks up her sleeves with these pieces of equipment. The Faron Flashsword is a weapon upgrade that turns your zero-range attacks into magical attacks, and increases their range by one node. This can be good early on if you are using a weapon like the Rapier, but most of the Sorcerer's weapon choices are all ranged weapons.
Magic Shield is one of the best shields in the game for magical defense and it only requires 27 Intelligence and 14 Faith. It gives you gives you only one black die for physical defense, but an orange die for magical defense! It isn't upgradable, and it doesn't have anything special about it other than its magical defense. It is, however, definitely a shield you can take with you all the way to the final boss.
Aural Decay is an area-of-effect (AOE) attack that pushes all targets off whatever node they are on. It doesn't do any damage, and is meant as a crowd control utility. Enemies tend to bunch up on the same node at the start of an encounter, so if your activation is first you can potentially knock all, or most, of them back to give your party some breathing room.
The Dragonscale Armour, requiring 23 Dexterity and 23 Intelligence, is fairly strong considering you can potentially get it very early on in the game. You only get one black die for physical defense, but you get both a black and a blue die for magical defense as well as a dodge die. It even has an equipment slot for you to attack a ring. The Sorcerer is fairly weak to physical attacks, so having that dodge die to give you more options on how you choose to deal with those attacks is invaluable.
After you defeat the first mini-boss you are able to shuffle an additional five "transposed" equipment cards into the treasure deck:
- Crystal Hail
- Soul Greatsword
- Homing Crystal Soulmass
- Crystal Magic Weapon
- Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring
The Homing Crystal Soulmass can potentially be the most devastating item in the game. It requires 40 Intelligence to equip, offers no defense, and its only attack costs a whopping five stamina. That attack though is a magic attack that uses an orange die for damage and happens five times. This can be the Sorcerer's "nuke" option when fighting against bosses. I say bosses as all five attacks have to be directed at the same target, so it will not work against a group of enemies.
The Crystal Magic Weapon requires 30 Intelligence and is actually an upgrade for a weapon. It makes the weapon do magic damage, as well as giving it +1 to damage. Its essentially a Titanite Shard and a Lightning Gem combined.
The other item worth mentioning is the Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring. It requires 30 Intelligence and 15 Faith, and its boosts your Spell Fury ability by giving the attack you use +1. You will only get value from the ring once per spark, but that one additional damage can end up making all the difference in the right situations.
When you defeat the first mini-boss you are also able to shuffle five random "legendary" equipment cards into the treasure deck. There are ten legendary cards in the base game and they are:
- Dragon Tooth
- Fume Ultra Greatsword
- Santier's Spear
- Sunlight Straightsword
- Dark Sword
- Gotthard Twinswords
- Drake Sword
- Moonlight Greatsword
- Washing Pole
The Sorcerer really doesn't like two-handed weapons as it means you are either giving up your defense by not having a good shield, or you are forgoing using your sorceries. That being said, there is one option for the Sorcerer that can be a somewhat suitable replacement for your sorceries.
The Moonlight Greatsword is that option as all of its attacks do magic damage. It doesn't offer any dice for dodging, and it only has one black die for physical defense, so if you choose to use this weapon be mindful of enemy placement. It is also two-handed so you will need to rely on shields like the Effigy Shield to help offset the lack of defense. The Moonlight Greatsword requires 21 Strength, 21 Dexterity, and 31 Intelligence, so it is a modest investment should you choose to go this route.
The Sunlight Straight Sword is a one-handed weapon that requires 15 Strength, 15 Dexterity, and 30 Faith and can help the Sorcerer have a support option available. Its first attack costs zero stamina and uses a black and a blue die for damage. The Sunlight Straight Sword also has one upgrade slot available for something like a Titanite Shard to boost damage. Its third attack is the main appeal. It also costs zero stamina, but is not an attack. Instead, it buffs all allies — regardless of distance — by giving them an extra black die for magical and physical defense until the end of the next enemy activation. It may not seem like much, but any potential advantage in this game is your best friend.
The Character Expansion introduces ten new legendary armour treasure cards. You are still only able to add five of these to the treasure deck after you have defeated the first mini-boss, but you can pick which ones you want to add instead of doing it randomly.
What makes these especially unique is that there are "normal" versions of these cards that start in the treasure deck at the beginning of the game. They are weaker versions of the legendary alternatives, however, so obtaining the legendary version will always be an improvement.
The legendary armour cards are:
- Catarina Armour
- Guardian Armour
- Embraced Armour of Favour
- Adventurer's Armour
- Dark Armour
- Black Iron Armour
- Black Knight Armour
- Gold-Hemmed Robes
- Crimson Robes
- Havel's Armour
Note: The legendary versions will have an orange flame in the upper right-hand corner of the card, whereas the normal versions will not.
There are a couple armour cards that the Sorcerer can take advantage of and one of them is the Crimson Robes. It requires 22 Dexterity, 32 Intelligence, and 22 Faith, and has fairly impressive defenses. You get one blue die for physical defense, a blue die and a black die for magical defense, and two dodge die. Its ability can help the Sorcerer fill some sort of support role as it allows you to removed a condition token (i.e, bleed) from an ally whenever you use the her ability. It also has a slot for a ring, so overall it works well for the Sorcerer.
The other noteworthy armour would be the Golden-Hemmed Black Robes. These robes actually fit the Sorcerer better overall, but due to the stats required it can be a bit of a hassle. It requires 28 Dexterity, Intelligence, and Faith, so you will need to max both your Dexterity and Faith in order to equip it. If you manage to do that, it will give you one blue die for physical defense, two blue die for magical defense, and two dodge die. Its ability pairs fairly well with the Sorcerer's ability as it allows you to heal one stamina whenever you use Spell Fury. That means you are effectively saving four stamina whenever you use her ability. It also only has one slot for a ring, but that is okay as there is really only one ring that the Sorcerer really wants to be using.
There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Sorcerer can take advantage of should you come across them, and these are the most notable:
- Soul Arrow
- Great Magic Weapon
- Poison Mist
- Gold-Hemmed Black Robes
- Court Sorcerer Robes
- Black Armour
- Sorcerer's Staff
The sorceries are rather lackluster, but Soulstream can be a decent backup slot item. It only requires 22 Intelligence and has a range of one node. Its default attack costs zero stamina, uses one black die, deals magical damage, and is an area-of-effect (AOE) attack. Its second is also an AOE attack that costs two stamina, uses one blue die, and has a range of two nodes. Its third attack is still an AOE but costs four stamina, uses one orange die, and has a range of three nodes. There are not a whole lot of AOE options available to the Sorcerer, so if that's something you are needing in your party then this can be a suitable option.
The Sorcerer's Staff is a great two-handed option if you manage to find it. It costs 15 Strength and 30 Intelligence to equip, and offers one blue die for magical defense and one dodge die. It has an attack that costs zero stamina that uses one blue die for damage. It doesn't deal magical damage, but you can easily equip Crystal Magic Weapon to change that while also giving it a damage boost. If you upgrade it with a Titanite Shard as well you are guaranteed to do at least three damage each time you attack.
The Court Sorcerer Robes is a good pickup. It requires 17 Dexterity and 22 Intelligence, and has good defense. It gives you one black die for physical defense, and one blue die for magical defense. It also gives you one dodge die, and has two slots for rings.
The Adventurer's Armour is the clear standout for the Deprived. It requires 22 Strength, 32 Dexterity, and 22 Intelligence, and has phenomenal defense. It gives you two blue dice for physical defense, one orange die for magical defense, a dodge die, and two slots for rings. Its ability also gives you an additional dodge die against traps. It is a very well-rounded piece of armour and worthy of being called "legendary".
There are also nine other treasure cards you should look out for when drawing from the treasure deck:
- Sharp Gem
- Titanite Shard
- Heavy Gem
- Simple Gem
- Crystal Gem
- Blessed Gem
- Blood Gem
- Poison Gem
- Lightning Gem
The Titanite Shard — which requires no stats to equip — is arguably the most valuable out of the gems, as the extra +1 damage means that you'll break through most of the normal enemies' physical defenses without even having to roll the dice.
The Blood Gem is extremely rare — only one copy — and is great against bosses. The gem, which requires at least 15 strength, makes it so that the weapon you have it equipped to inflicts the bleed status on an enemy that you hit. It doesn't deal any extra damage until that same enemy takes damage from another source, in which case the bleed status activates and inflicts an additional three damage. Afterwards, the enemy is cured of the status and you can reapply it.
The Poison Gem is another extremely rare gem with only one copy. It requires 15 Dexterity and, when equipped to a weapon, inflicts the poison status on an enemy that you hit with an attack. It doesn't deal any additional damage until the end of that enemy's activation when it deals one damage. Just like with the Blood Gem, once the enemy takes the poison damage they are cured of it and you must reapply it.
Be careful when equipping gems as once they are equipped you cannot remove them from a weapon. Typically you want to wait until after the first mini boss — if you've managed to draw any of the gems — as you are bound to get better suited weapons to upgrade.
Strategies & Loadouts
There are two main builds for the Sorcerer: one-handed and two-handed. While you can make builds that do not incorporate any sorceries, both of the following builds do — especially one — as the benefit of having that option outweighs the benefits from other builds.
- Sorcerer's Staff w/ Titanite Shard and Crystal Magic Weapon
- Effigy Shield
- Dragon Scale Armour w/ Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring
- Homing Crystal Soulmass (in backup slot)
With this build you get two black die for physical defense, and two black dice and two blue dice for magical defense. You do also get two dodge dice to help dodge physical attacks rather than trying to block them.
The Sorcerer's Staff is upgraded with a Titanite Shard and Crystal Magic Weapon in order to give it a +2 to all of its attacks, as well as make them magical. You will primarily attack with its first attack that costs zero stamina and uses a blue die for damage. The Sorcery in the backup slot, Homing Crystal Soulmass, is going to be what you use against bosses. As it attacks five times — at the cost of five stamina — you are guaranteed to deal at least five damage. You should average well above that since it uses an orange die for damage.
Ideally, you will only use your Spell Fury ability when you are using Homing Crystal Soulmass so the first time you use it you will only have to expend two stamina. This will also activate Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring's effect giving you an extra point of damage that attack.
The Effigy Shield requires 10 Strength and Faith, and you can use it even when you have a two-handed weapon equipped. It has only one black die for physical and magical defense, however, but anything helps.
In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 8 levels:
- 2 Strength
- 2 Dexterity
- 3 Intelligence (maxed)
- 1 Faith
- Dark Sword w/ Titanite Shard & Crystal Magic Weapon
- Magic Shield
- Dragon Scale Armour w/ Bellowing Dragoncrest Ring
- Homing Crystal Soulmass (in backup slot)
This build will give you two black dice for physical defense, and one black die, one blue die, and one orange die for magical defense. You will also get one dodge die to help dodge physical attacks instead of attempting to block them.
There aren't a lot of one-handed weapons that stand out for the Sorcerer can take full advantage of, hence choosing the Dark Sword. Given the fact that you aren't guaranteed to have the sword added to your treasure deck any one-handed weapon can be used — especially if it has two upgrade slots. The Dark Sword upgraded with a Titanite Shard and Crystal Magic Weapon in order to give it a +2 to all of its attacks, as well as make them magical.
Any shield is viable, but the Magic Shield is used here specifically to make the Sorcerer into more of a magical tank. Something like the Dragon Crest Shield might be a better option as it gives a blue die for both physical and magical defense, but that is mostly up to personal preference.
The armour and backup weapon slot work exactly the same as the two-handed build. Homing Crystal Soulmass is used again because it is the best weapon that the Sorcerer has available to her for taking down bosses.
In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of 10 levels:
- 3 Strength (maxed)
- 3 Dexterity (maxed)
- 3 Intelligence (maxed)
- 1 Faith (maxed)
As there are so many cards in the treasure deck trying to find a specific build, much less a specific card, is going to be extremely difficult. Just use what you can, and hold off on using any of the gems until after you've defeated your first mini-boss at least. That way you will have a better assortment of gear to choose from and make a better decision.
I would recommend using the souls you collect from completed encounters to draw from the treasure deck first before leveling up. That way you don't level up Intelligence and Faith, for example, and then get a really good weapon you want to use that requires Strength and Dexterity.
Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea on whether or not playing the Sorcerer starting character is right for you or not. Feel free to comment below if I have missed something, or if you have found an even better gear combination than the ones I have listed above!
"You may be remembered either as Lords of Cinder yourselves, forever joining the Soul of Cinder, or as Ashen Ones, ushering in an Age of Humanity where the curse of undeath is at last lifted—but chaos will ultimately consume all." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook