Joseph is an IT nerd who is a long-time fan of the Dark Souls franchise.
"You are the Chosen Undead, Bearer of the Curse. It is now upon you that the fate of this world rests. You must journey across the realms, defeat the many enemies that will confront you, and ultimately choose not only your destiny but also that of this world." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core 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.
There are four different starting classes in the base game for players to choose from: the Warrior, the Assassin, the Knight, and the Herald. In this guide I will only be covering the Warrior and various strategies and equipment you should look out for while playing the game.
Other Character Guides
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Knight
A quick guide to the Knight starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Herald
A quick guide to the Herald starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
- Dark Souls Board Game Character Guide: The Assassin
A quick guide to the Assassin starting class from Dark Souls: The Board Game.
The Warrior is the berserk of the starting characters whose main focus is dealing damage. He is tied with the Knight for the highest Strength - they both max out at 40 - but he does start three points higher meaning he can equip some items sooner than the Knight can. He has really good Dexterity and Faith stat progressions so you can use either has your secondary skill after Strength.
His ability, Berserk Charge, allows him to move an extra node without spending stamina once per spark. It also makes it so his next zero range attack costs zero and becomes an area-of-effect (AOE) attack.
He has the second highest taunt of the starting characters, the Knight has one level higher than him, so you will need to balance your offensive and defensive capability
The Warrior starts with three pieces of equipment:
- Round Shield
- Northern Armour
- Battle Axe
The Battle Axe is the only starting weapon that has an AOE. It is a fairly weak AOE, however, as you are only able to use two black die which both can roll a zero you can end up doing no damage at all. That being said, the Battle Axe starts the trend of weapons for the Warrior having AOE attacks.
His shield is effectively the same as the Kite Shield that both the Herald and the Knight start with. It gives you a single black die for physical defense and nothing for magical defense.
The armour for the Warrior, while being called something different, is effectively the same as the armour for the Herald and Assassin. It offers one black die for defense against physical and magic attacks, as well as giving you one dodge die to use when attempting to dodge an attack or trap. 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.
Unique Warrior Treasure
There are five unique equipment cards that you are able to shuffle into the treasure deck when starting with the Warrior:
- Silver Knight Shield
- Spiked Mace
- Great Wooden Hammer
- Knight Slayer's Ring
The Silver Knight Shield is a very interesting shield. When you make an attack in Dark Souls: The Board Game you are able to use the weapons in both hand slots. This includes shields that have attacks which the Silver Knight Shield does meaning that you are still able to get the defensive benefits of having a shield while also increasing your damage output. You get a single blue die for physical defense, and nothing for magical defense. Its second attack costs three stamina, but uses two blue dice for damage calculations. The minimum roll on a blue die is a one, and most early game enemies only have one physical defense and one health. This means that you can guarantee a kill on most early game enemies without even having to roll the dice.
The Caestus is another interesting equipment option as its second attack can be used from your backup item slot. It costs three stamina to use, but gives you an additional two black dice for damage. It is a little bit of a gamble as black dice can roll a zero as previously mentioned.
The Knight Slayer's Ring pairs exceptionally well with the rest of the Warrior's gear. It requires 30 Strength to equip, but allows you to heal one stamina whenever you make an attack that exceeds the target enemy's Block or Resist value by three or more. You may not be able to do that early game, but later on when you get better gear and weapons you will be able to consistently do it.
After you defeat the first mini-boss you are able to shuffle an additional five "transposed" equipment cards into the treasure deck when starting as the Warrior:
- Great Machete
- Balder Side Sword
- Dragonslayer's Axe
- Fallen Knight Armour
The Fallen Knight Armour requires 30 Strength and 22 Intelligence, and is a great armour choice for the Warrior despite the Intelligence requirement. It gives a blue die for both physical and magical defense, and it also gives you a dodge die. It even has two ring slots if you happen across any. A lot of the Warrior's equipment doesn't offer a lot of defense, so being able to equip something that gives you a blue die for both defensive types will help ensure that you can stay on the field long enough to complete encounters.
The weapons are all extremely viable options. The Dragonslayer's Axe makes for a great secondary weapon to switch to as both of its attacks do magic damage, plus its first attack costs zero stamina and uses an orange die for damage. It is also a singlehanded weapon meaning you're still able to get the benefits of having a decent shield equipped. Its second attack costs three stamina, but also gives you the ability to move one node before attacking. It does require levels in all four stats, however, so it can be a fairly pricey investment.
The Warpick is another singlehanded weapon that has the potential for impressive damage. Its first attack costs one stamina but uses both a blue and an orange die for damage, and its second attack costs four stamina but adds an additional orange die. The minimum roll on an orange die is still one, but there are fewer ones than on a blue die. Plus, the maximum roll for an orange die is a four. This makes the Warpick an exceptionally good weapon for taking down mini and main bosses.
The Great Machete requires 40 Strength and 35 Dexterity equip meaning you will need to max both stats completely. It is a two-handed weapon, but it has a range of one node. It's third attack costs four stamina, but is an AOE that uses three blue dice for damage. This can be a great secondary weapon for when enemies are grouped together as they do quite often.
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 Dragon Tooth and the Fume Ultra Greatsword both work as great secondary weapons. They require a lot of stamina to use, they both require two hand slots to wield, but they both also have a very strong AOE attack.
The Dragon Tooth's second attack costs a whopping six stamina to use, but uses one blue die and two orange die for damage and is an AOE. It's third attack costs zero stamina, and when used it heals you two stamina damage meaning you can effectively heal four stamina in one turn (two from the start of the Warrior's turn). However, you're not dealing any damage when you do that.
The Fume Ultra Greatsword's AOE attack is its third attack which costs four stamina to use. It only uses one blue and one orange die for damage, but the lower stamina cost compared to the Dragon Tooth can make it the better option in various encounters.
There are a lot of other normal treasures that the Warrior can take advantage of should you come across them, but these are the most notable:
- Hard Leather
- Drang Armour
- Eastern Iron Shield
- Silver Eagle Kite Shield
- Effigy Shield
- Great Axe
- East-West Shield
- Brigand Axe
The Hard Leather Armour can be an interesting choice for the Warrior due to it giving you two dice to use for dodging. The Warrior typically won't have as much armour as the Knight especially if he is two-handing a weapon like the Dragon Tooth. The armour will require you to max out your Intelligence though, so it may not be that viable of an option in shorter games.
The Drang Armour gives you a single die for dodging, and a blue die for physical defense. Nothing for magical defense, however. It only requires 18 Strength and 14 Dexterity, so it is easier to equip than the Hard Leather Armour. It can be a decent armour choice depending on what other equipment you have.
If you choose to have a two-handed weapon as your main weapon then the Effigy Shield can work wonders for you. It can be equipped while you are also wielding a two-handed weapon. It only provides a single black die for physical and magical defense, but something is better than nothing.
Speaking of two-handed weapons, the Great Axe fits the playstyle of the Warrior perfectly. It has a zero stamina cost attack that is actually pretty decent in that it uses two blue die for damage rolls. It has a three stamina cost attack that is also an AOE. It only has one blue die for physical defense, and nothing for magical defense. It does have two upgrade slots, however.
The Claymore pairs exceptionally well with the Warrior if you happen to have his Knight Slayer's Ring equipped. The Claymore's first attack costs one stamina but it uses two blue dice for damage rolls plus an additional one damage. This means that your minimum roll is always going to be a three. If you happen to find a Titanite Shard you can equip it to the Claymore and that will make your minimum roll a four. Most enemies only have a defense of one or two, meaning that by using the Claymore you can almost guarantee that you will be able to activate the ring's effect.
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. As previously mentioned, when equipped to the Claymore the minimum roll you can make when attacking is a four.
The Blood Gem and Poison Gem are extremely rare - only one copy of each - and are great against bosses. The Bleed Gem - which requires at least 15 strength 0 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 must reapply the status.
The Poison Gem 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's two main paths you can take with the Warrior. One that is a little defensive, and one is more aggressive.
The Defensive Build
The best defensive build I have found for the Warrior that doesn't sacrifice too much of his damage-dealing is:
- Warpick w/ Titanite Shard
- Silver Knight Shield w/ Titanite Shard OR Heavy Gem
- Fallen Knight Armour w/ Knight Slayer's Ring
- Dragon Tooth w/ Titanite Shard OR Heavy Gem (in backup slot)
This setup gives you two blue dice for physical defense, one blue die for magical defense, and one die for dodge rolling. If you end up in an encounter with a lot of enemies with magic-based attacks, you could switch to the Dragon Tooth. Doing this will decrease your physical defense from a blue die to a black die, but will increase your magical defense from one blue die to two dice.
You could equip with Warpick with a Poison or Bleed Gem for additional damage over the course of an encounter. This would make boss encounters a bit shorter. However, because you need to beat an enemies defenses by a value of three or more in order to activate the Knight Slayer's Ring it's generally better to have the shard equipped. This way you can more consistently meet that requirement, and the one stamina used to attack with the Warpick can be healed off immediately.
Remember, you can make an attack with each weapon in your handslots per turn so don't forget to use the Silver Knight Shield!
In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of ten levels:
- 3 Strength (maxed)
- 2 Dexterity
- 2 Intelligence
- 3 Faith
The Offensive Build
There are really several options you can take when building a purely offensive Warrior, but this is the one that I have found to be the most consistent.
- Great Machete w/ Titanite Shard
- Effigy Shield
- Fallen Knight Armour w/ Knight Slayer's Ring
- Claymore w/ Lightning Gem (in backup slot)
This setup gives you one blue die and two black die for both physical and magical defense, while also giving you a die for dodge rolling. This may seem like it is a more defensive build than the actual defensive build I previously listed, but keep in mind that black dice have a chance of rolling a zero.
The Great Machete is an impressive weapon that also has a range of one which gives the Warrior a bit more versatility in his attacks. It doesn't have any zero stamina cost attacks, but it makes up for it with its one stamina cost attack which uses three blue die. The three blue die means it is guaranteed to do at least three damage, and with the Titanite Shard that bumps the guaranteed damage up to four. Combined with the Knight Slayer's Ring you should be able to consistently be able to recover that one stamina used to attack.
The Claymore also has a range of one, and by equipping it with the Lightning Gem its damage turns into magic damage. Having this powerhouse of a weapon infused with magic in your backup slot will ensure that no enemy or boss will be avoid the Warrior's warpath. You will lose one black die for magical defense when you swap to it so keep that in mind if there are magic-based enemies still on the field.
In order to equip everything for this setup you will need to have a total of nine levels:
- 3 Strength (maxed)
- 3 Dexterity (maxed)
- 2 Intelligence
- 1 Faith
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 Warrior starting class 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