Elden Ring: Best PvP Builds For the Colosseum Update

Elden Ring's Colosseum update is your best excuse yet to dive into the game's PvP scene. here are some of the best builds to help you survive the new content.

Elden Ring
Photo: Bandai Namco

Bandai Namco and FromSoftware surprised many Elden Ring fans by recently releasing a PvP-focused “Colosseum” update. While we hope to see some more Elden Ring PvE content in the future, this sizeable update has Elden Ring fans everywhere looking for the best PvP builds that will help them get in on the fun.

While we’ll happily share a few of those builds with you, you should know that Elden Ring‘s PvP scene is generally pretty challenging. It’s going to take a lot of practice (and a lot of failures) to get used to the game’s player vs. player battles. Furthermore, PvP builds are a bit different from PvE builds. Whereas the latter builds are often defined by specific strategies and pieces of gear, PvP builds tend to be a bit more flexible. As such, many of the descriptions below will tell you which items you absolutely need and what the build’s basic strategy should be. From there, it’s up to you to fill in the gaps, experiment, and generally learn to adapt to various PvP scenarios.

With all of that out of the way, though, here are a few Elden Ring PvP builds that would give you the perfect excuse to dive into one of the year’s best games once more.

Rivers of Blood Bleed Build

Primary Equipment: Rivers of Blood, Dragon Communion Seal, White Mask, Lord of Blood’s Exultation, Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, Millicent’s Prosthesis, Shard of Alexander

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Primary Stats: Arcane, Vigor, Endurance, Dexterity

Spells/Skills: Swarm of Flies, Flame, Grant Me Strength, Dragonfire

Rivers of Blood has been a dominant force since Elden Ring’s earliest days, and the game’s latest update does little to disrupt the katana’s reign of terror.

This build is as simple as it gets. Score as many hits with Rivers of Blood (specifically its powerful special attack) as possible, let the weapon’s Bleed effect build up, and you’ll eventually be able to enjoy a well-earned victory. You’ll occasionally throw out a spell when things get hairy (Swarm of Flies is an especially effective deterrent), but the sword will do most of the work.

While this build typically shines in one-on-one battles, evasive players will still be able to make it work in team contests. You’ll just need to make sure to focus on one target at a time rather than try to get both opponents to bleed at the same time.

Cold Slender Match Ender

Primary Equipment: 2x Noble’s Slender Sword (Cold-enhanced), Frenzied Flame Seal, Pumpkin Helm
Cuckoo Knight Armor, Erdtree’s Favor, Great-Jar’s Arsenal, Crimsonwhorl Bubbletear

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Primary Stats: Vigor, Dexterity, Intelligence, Faith

Spells/Skills: Fire’s Deadly Sin, Blessing’s Boon, Golden Vow

Another fairly simple weapon-based melee build, this set-up is designed to take full advantage of the Frostbite-based power of two Cold-enhanced Noble’s Slender Swords. In other words, you’re looking to get in as many hits as possible with the two swords in order to cause your opponent to deal with an often unmanageable amount of Frost damage.

There are a few ways to approach the gear in this build (beyond the swords, which are vital), but the basic idea is to increase your Frost build-up potential without sacrificing too much mobility or survivability. Much like the Rivers of Blood approach, you’re largely looking to focus on one opponent at a time with this build, though the effects of Frost make it slightly easier to bounce between multiple targets while one foe is dealing with the status ailment.

Just know that it’s actually incredibly tough to find two Noble’s Slender Swords. You’ve got about a 1% chance to see one of these swords drop in certain scenarios, so getting two will take quite a bit of time/luck. You can make this basic concept work with other quick swords, though this is obviously the best approach if you are able to grab the weapons. Alternatively, anyone lucky enough to get those weapons should be able to take this build in several different directions and get a lot out of it.

Clayman’s Magic Harpoon and Pebbles

Primary Equipment: Clayman’s Magic Harpoon, Carian Regal Scepter, Magic Miséricorde, Frenzied Flame Seal, Spellblade’s Pointed Hat, Malenia’s Armor, Malenia’s Gauntlet, Crimson Bubbletear, Magic-Shrouding Cracked Tear

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Primary Stats: Intelligence, Vigor, Mind

Spells/Skills: Swift Glintstone Shard, Comet, Magic Glintblade, Carian Slicer, Glintstone Pebble Ash of War, Bloodhound’s Step Ash of War

A good melee/magic build can be tough to pull off in PvP situations, but this build comes pretty close to balancing those sometimes contradictory concepts.

For the most part, you’re going to rely on Glinstone Pebble and your other ranged magical abilities when using this build. The majority of your damage will come from those spells, and you’ll use them in order to keep the enemy at a distance. The rest of this build is designed to give you just enough melee attack/evasion options in order to survive those close-range encounters you’ll still find yourself in.

While this build holds its own in one-on-one fights, it really shines in team battles when you’re able to really focus on your ranged attacks and let someone else cause the majority of the melee havoc.

Eclipse Shotel Death Blight

Primary Equipment: Eclipse Shotel, Prince of Death’s Staff, Golden Order Seal, Graven-Mass Talisman

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Primary Stats: Intelligence, Faith, Vigor, Mind

Spells/Skills: Fia’s Mist, Death Lightning, Ancient Death Rancor

The good news is that Elden Ring’s Death Blight ability will eventually kill the target once their infection meter is full. The bad news is that it takes quite a lot to fill that meter, and it’s not always practical to expect to win a lot of fights via that effect alone.

This build makes that powerful effect about as practical as it going to be, though. Eclipse Shotel does most of the heavy lifting so far as the Death buildup goes, though Fia’s Mist and Death Lightning are invaluable assets when you’re trying to get that meter over the top. Beyond those key abilities, you’re looking to turn to anything that allows you to limit an enemy’s survivability/escapability while increasing your own defenses and ability to get those precious extra hits in.

It’s admittedly still tough to get this effect to consistently trigger, but since one of the biggest hurdles of this build is learning to use it, it’s best to start practicing this strategy as soon as you can in order to get a feel for how it should work.

Rancor Mage

Primary Equipment: Sword of Night and Flame, Golden Order Seal, Prince of Death Staff, Magic Scorpion Charm, Graven-Mass Talisman, Ritual Sword Talisman

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Primary Stats: Intelligence, Faith, Vigor

Spells/Skills: Golden Vow, Flame, Grant Me Strength, Rancorcall, Ancient Death Rancor, Explosive Ghostflame. Terra Magica, Rykard’s Rancor

It’s sometimes hard to find a pure magic PvP build that doesn’t rely on some cheap “one-shot” trick to win fights. However, this mage build from Fextralife is actually a pretty solid overall option.

The heart of this build is actually the Ancient Death Rancor ability. This tracking-based spell is a touch broken at the moment. It auto-tracks enemies across incredible distances and is pretty tough to avoid in the vast majority of PvP scenarios. Most fights will see you start with that ability and not stop spamming it until you win. It’s especially annoying in Colosseum situations given the relatively small size of the arena.

For those times when an enemy does manage to cut through the cheese, you’re still able to rely on your Sword of Night and Flame and other close-range deterrents to buy yourself a little time and distance. Many of this build’s basic strategies also work well in PvE situations, so it’s perfectly fine to practice using this build out in the world before heading to the arena.

PvP Paladin

Primary Equipment: Ordovis’ Greatsword, Clawmark Seal, Shard of Alexander, Godfrey Icon, Flock’s Canvas Talisman, Rotten Winged Sword Insignia

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Primary Stats: Strength, Faith, Vigor

Spells/Skills: Golden Vow, Flame, Grant Me Strength, Aspects of the Crucible: Tail, Aspects of the Crucible: Horns, Aspects of the Crucible: Breath, Ordovis’s Vortex

Another excellent build from Fextralife, this almost “Paladin-like” approach to PvP combat is one of the most intriguing Strength-based builds I’ve seen so far.

Like most Strength-based PvP builds, this set-up is more than capable of using heavy attacks and massive armor to both deal and withstand incredible amounts of close-range damage. However, it’s actually the spells that make this build so special. Aspects of the Crucible: Breath is a hilariously powerful ability that punishes anyone desperate enough to attack you at close-range, while Ordovis’s Vortex offers incredible AoE damage that doubles as an effective deterrent.

This isn’t the fastest PvP build out there, but it’s about as reliable as PvP builds get. I highly recommend it for those looking to dip their toes into the game’s PvP scene.

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