Best Elden Ring starting class explained

Being a FromSoftware title, Elden Ring has a (well-deserved) reputation for being a hard game. Early on before you’ve found any weapons, upgraded your gear, or leveled up much, the game can feel like a real challenge, so choosing a good starting class can be vital to a smooth experience.

There are 10 starting classes to choose from in Elden Ring, each with different starting equipment and stats.

Because Elden Ring is such a varied game with so many different paths to choose from (with many different weapon types and several different magic types), it’s hard to choose one single “best” starting class.

Choosing your starting class in Elden Ring based on the weapon you plan on using

If you’ve planned and know what weapon you intend to grab, it can be a smart move to pick the starting class that gets you closest to that weapon’s stat line.

For example, Bloodhound’s Fang is one of the most popular weapons in the game and is available in the very first area.

It requires 18 strength and 17 dexterity to wield, so you might choose the Samurai who starts with 12 strength and 15 dexterity and can two-hand wield Bloodhound’s Fang after putting just two points into dexterity.

The best all-around starting class in Elden Ring

If you’ve never played Elden Ring before and just want to dive in with a balanced starting class that’s good for new players, we’d recommend the Vagabond.

Starting with 15 Vigor and 11 Endurance means the Vagabond has the most starting health of any class and a high amount of starting stamina.

The Vagabond, a good all-around starting class. Image credit: Bandai Namco

This means you start pretty hardy, which can be very important in early Elden Ring while you’re getting to grips with the game. Having tons of health is a tactic that can last well into the mid-late game, so choosing the Vagabond gives you a head start.

As the Vagabond you also start with decent armor that can help protect you, a shield for blocking, and two weapons to choose from, the longsword and the halberd. We would advise unequipping one of these when you choose which you like so you move from a heavy equip load and into medium – this will make your dodges much more effective.

The Vagabond is a classic RPG sword-and-board class that’s well-equipped to weather the tough early combat of Elden Ring with plenty of HP and defensive gear and a decent starting weapon. A great all-rounder for your first playthrough.

Another great option for physical damage characters is the Samurai.

The Uchigatana is an excellent starting weapon, though it requires a bit of practice to get the most out of it because Unsheathe, the Ash of War, requires two button inputs to use – it’s well worth getting the hang of though. On top of this, you start with a shield with the Parry Ash of War, and if you can get used to the timing, parrying is extremely effective in Elden Ring.

The Samurai starts with versatile equipment. Image credit: Bandai Namco

On top of that, the Samurai is the only class that starts with a bow and arrows. While the starting longbow isn’t a great example of the weapon type and won’t take you far beyond the early game, it can be really handy to get used to the buttons and how a ranged character plays before investing in a better weapon.

The best starting class in Elden Ring for magic users

This isn’t quite as simple as choosing a good all-round fighter for the early game because the two different kinds of magic require different stats and different items to cast (sorceries use intelligence and wield staffs, whereas incantations use faith and wield magical seals).

The Confessor has good stats for a starting casting character. Image credit: Bandai Namco

The Confessor has a powerful and well-balanced stat line with a focus on incantations, but without neglecting some early game versatility in the melee-focused stats too. It also starts with a short sword, which has the Ash of War Square Up, one of the most powerful early game weapon arts.

However, if you intend to focus on magic, the starting spells the Confessor has aren’t that great – Assassin’s Approach lets you set up some critical attacks, and urgent heal can save you in a pinch, but neither are offensive spells.

For faith-based magical offense, the Prophet is a better bet, but sacrifices the excellent melee weapon and some robustness with the stat spread more heavily focused on faith. The spell Catch Flame can do a decent job for spell casters until you find something with a bit more oomph later in the game.

The Prophet starts with some good combat incantations. Image credit: Bandai Namco

If you want to come out of the gate with magical offense, the Astrologer class might be the one to go for.

Physically, the Astrologer starts off quite frail but comes with a decent staff and a huge pool of FP, ensuring you can last long enough in a fight to down your foe. Glintstone Pebble is by far one of the most effective early-game offensive spells too, with a quick casting time and decent damage, and Glintstone Arc can be a lifesaver if you get ganged up on.

The Astrologer is weak physically but has great magic combat options. Image credit: Bandai Namco

The Elden Ring Wiki has all the starting class stat lines and starting gear on one handy page so you can see what’s available at a glance.

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Featured image credit: Bandai Namco

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