When Elden Ring launched, there was a lot of debate about how good of a stat arcane (often written by fans as ARC) would be.
In FromSoftware’s earlier game Bloodborne, arcane was the stat that allowed players to use all manner of interesting and unique hunter trick weapons and tools, but in Elden Ring, all we got, to begin with, was the description that it is the stat that governs item discovery.
In the world of Elden Ring, where any enemy can kill you instantly, players weren’t so sure that it would be a good stat to choose.
However, since the game’s launch, a lot has been learned about arcane, and it actually turned out to be one of the strongest stats in the game.
Many of the weapons players consider to be overpowered actually use arcane as their main stat, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to create a strong build.
In this guide, we’ll be teaching you everything you’ll need to know about arcane—what it is, how it works, and how you can stack it to create some of the most powerful builds in the game.
What Is Arcane?
To take you back to the beginning, Elden Ring player progression is partly governed by a series of different stats that increase aspects of your character’s abilities.
This old system is taken from classic RPG games and works similarly. You collect runes and spend them to upgrade your character’s stat points.
Arcane is the stat that increases your character’s discovery, increasing your chances of finding different items when defeating enemies. Each character begins with 100 Discovery points; each time you select arcane as a stat, you will increase this by 1.
This can be helpful when trying to get a rare drop, but you might wonder how this helps you in combat. Are there viable builds with the arcane stat?
Well, the first thing to know is that arcane helps you with combat defense. It increases your Holy Defense, which helps mitigate damage caused by Holy Damage.
This can be especially useful against certain bosses and enemies. However, defense isn’t always the most essential thing in Elden Ring’s combat, and being able to do damage is often a lot more important.
In this next section, we will look at how players use the arcane stat to become powerful.
How Can You Use Arcane To Become Powerful In-Game?
While ‘discovery’ on its own doesn’t do anything to make your character more powerful, it does let you find some useful items. But it isn’t going to do anything to help you in combat, which is often what newer players need to focus on.
Elden Ring is a hard game and can be really difficult to get into as a new player—but what if we told you there is a way to use arcane to make the game a lot easier for yourself?
Arcane might not give you much in terms of power, but when you consider scaling weapons, it suddenly becomes a lot more powerful.
Weapon Scaling: A Brief Explanation
One of the most complicated aspects of Elden Ring is the idea of Weapon Scaling. In short, each weapon has a specific stat or set of stats that it scales off. The higher your stat, the more powerful a weapon becomes.
This can get fairly complicated, but you’ll generally want to use a weapon that works with your building stats.
So let’s use the weapon Rivers Of Blood, for example. This is a katana weapon that scales with three different stats. You can see these under the ‘Scaling’ section of its description. It will look like this:
This is one of the things new players find most difficult to understand, and if the letters seem confusing, you’re not alone! In short, the closer the letter is to A, the better it scales. The only difference here is if you see the letter S, which is the highest scaling that a weapon can have.
As we can see here, Rivers of Blood as an ‘E’ scaling with strength, which isn’t great, but it has a ‘D’ scaling with dexterity and arcane. But here’s where things get a little more complicated, the arcane scaling of the weapon is only used during its ‘ashes of war’ ability.
The skill is called ‘Corpse Piler’ and creates a close-ranged couplet of bloody slashes that greatly increase blood loos buildup.
This ability is the main reason that Rivers of Blood can be very powerful. By stacking a lot of arcane and using Corpse Piler, you’ll be able to do a lot of damage. This is powerful in PVE versus bosses, and for the longest time, was extremely powerful in PVP, dominating the meta for some time.
A Typical Arcane Build
So then, using our Rivers of Blood weapon, let’s take a short look at what an arcane build would be in Elden Ring. Below is an example of stats from a typical arcane build suited to using the Rivers of Blood.
Notice here that this build is ‘min-maxed,’ meaning the player in question has minimized stats they don’t need (Faith, Intelligence) and maximized stats they do need (Vigor, Dexterity, Arcane). With a build like this, you’re creating the ideal character to use arcane scaling weapons like Rivers of Blood.
Typically, all ‘blood’ weapons and spells scale off of arcane in one way or another.
Is Arcane A Good Stat For A New Player?
To conclude, let’s consider whether or not arcane is a good stat for a new player to use. It’s the starter class’s dominant stat, ‘ Bandit,’ but it is often seen as one of the more difficult stats, to begin with.
Until you find arcane scaling weapons (quite rare), the stat won’t help you, so generally, we’d suggest a newer player begin with something like endurance, intelligence, faith, or pure dexterity.
That said, if the idea of using blood magic appeals to you, just know that the arcane stat becomes extremely powerful in the mid to late game, providing you build your character right and find the appropriate weapons.