The Bandit class in Elden Ring is meant to build into an archer, but that isn’t really the best way to approach the character.
Most classes are specialists that effectively go all-in on one attribute but that’s not the case with the Bandit. With the right build, Elden Ring’s Bandit is a versatile threat with physical, magical, ranged, and melee tools. This is thanks to Bandit’s status as the lone class with a strong arcane stat at the start of the game.
Arcane’s biggest use is bolstering item discovery, which is what determines how frequently enemies drop items upon death. This allows Bandits to more efficiently farm crafting and upgrade items such as Smithing Stones and gives easier access to incantations and sorceries with arcane prerequisites.
That emphasis on a stat with minimal combat application still requires very precise leveling. Here’s the best way to play and build the Bandit class in Elden Ring.
Are Bandits a good class to play in Elden Ring?
Bandits in Elden Ring are a decent class but aren’t good for new players.
Bandits have the highest arcane stat of any class in Elden Ring and are roundly decent past that. Their second-best stat is dexterity, which fits well with the starting Great Knife and Shortbow weapons.
The trouble with Bandit is that it’s very easy to fall into the trap of being a worse version of the Samurai. Samurais are the definitive class for those looking to focus on dexterity-based weapons and skills, and anyone that is looking to build an Elden Ring character in that direction should look there instead of at the Bandit.
The game tries to differentiate Bandits and Samurais by politely nudging Bandits in the direction of ranged combat while Samurais are all about their katana. The trouble is that the Samurai will still likely pan out to be comparably good from a distance. Because of that, it’s best to use the Bandit as a jack-of-all-trades character that balances magic and physical damage.
The best Bandit build in Elden Ring balances dexterity and faith
A good build to make the most of the Bandit’s starting stats in a new game of Elden Ring is one that uses dexterity and faith.
In order to start really playing as a blended dexterity-faith character, players will need to progress in the game until they reach Roundtable Hold. Once there, a Finger Seal can be purchased from Twin Maiden Husk for 800 runes. Finger Seal is likely the best early-game item to pick up for casting Incantations.
In Stormveil Castle, players can use a Stonesword Key to gain access to the Black Flame incantation. Black Flame works similar to the Dark Blade miracle from Dark Souls 3, adding a damage-over-time effect to attacks.
From there, the best way to leverage the Bandit’s high arcane stat is to use it for covering the prerequisites for incantations obtained from the Church of Dragon Communion. This area on the southern island of West Limgrave allows players to trade Dragon Hearts to purchase spells.
While most spells only require intelligence or faith, incantations obtained from the Church of Dragon Communion also have arcane requirements. The Bandit’s starting arcane covers some of these spells, and requires relatively little investment to cover all of them.
In terms of weapons, players can find the Reduvia dagger quite early in the game, which is a perfect weapon for Bandits that scales off strength, dexterity, and arcane. The dagger can be found on Bloody Finger Nerijus, an NPC invader. Nerijus can be found by following the river to the northeast of the Dragon-Burnt Ruins and will drop the dagger after being beaten.
This build for the Bandit ultimately peaks in the middle and later stages of Elden Ring, but Reduvia is a perfect fit for the class in the early stages of the game. Samurai and Prophet are the best classes for pure dexterity and faith, but this lets the Bandit go in its own unique direction.