LW Cleaver (SL 125)
rating: +2+x

Build summary The hardest hitting LW Meat Cleaver build within the active pvp range. Incredibly powerful with nice magdef to back it up.
Recommended starting class(es) knight, temple knight, royal
Recommended Soul Level **

Recommended stats (Leave at default (**) if not raised)

Vitality 45
Will/Intelligence 15
Endurance 28
Strength 20
Dexterity 30
Magic 30
Faith 30
Luck 7
Recommended equipment

-Meat Cleaver (2H)

-Talisman of God (cast SC, can be swapped after SC for backup weapon)
-Northern Regalia (riposte!)
-Magic Sword Makoto+5 (300 physical AR, 600 bleed, a decent backup when CT is neutral)
-Hiltless+5 (~303-307 AR, enchantable)
-Moon Uchigatana+5 (definitely worth considering)
-Moon/ Sharp Kilij+5 (same)
-Blessed Claymore+5 (same)

-Insanity Catalyst (light weapon)

-DSS+5 (~60 more magdef, does not affect LW)
-Adjudicator's Shield+5
-Blessed Iron Knuckles +5 (regen + riposte option)

-Ancient King's set/ Binded set (as much as possible while maintaining the ability to roll)
-Fill the rest with rogue's/ black leather/ venerable set
Male characters will have the same magic defense and higher blunt/slash defense than females if you fill the AK set with a mix of the black leather set.

Friend's/ Foe's Ring (blue/ black)
Cling Ring (soul)
Eternal Warrior's ring (great for both, preferably body)
Regenerator's Ring (body)
Master's ring (much better damage on direct hits)

Item slots:
Dark moon grass
Fresh/old spice
Royal lotus
Widow's lotus
Sticky white stuff or Kunai/secret throwing daggers

Recommended spells/miracles

-Light Weapon

-Second Chance

Gameplay tips and progression

This is now possibly the only build on here that completely eliminates the effect of diminishing returns and kicks ass! 694 AR when you buff with light weapon is nothing to scoff at. Obviously, strength builds are going to deal more damage with a cursed DBS, but they are slow and have little magdef and physdef. The cursed GAxe will deal almost equal damage against normal defenses as the MC, but they have much shorter range than the MC, and don't combo nearly as often. In addition, this build severely outdamages a cursed Cleaver, the only exception being against a magdef-stacked foe (few of which I've seen, none of which were honorable players anyway). You can vary your vitality quite a bit, which is nice too because you can alter the build stats if you prefer damage over hp. That said, I strongly recommend closely following the guidelines above.

Here's what makes this build special over the other LW Cleaver builds:

The magical AR gained on the MC between 16 faith and 30 faith is 38 AR (2.7 AR/point). Doesn't sound like much, but it makes a huge difference because most builds don't have magdef high enough to affect that extra damage (which scales up very well with soul tendency and direct hit bonuses). The gains from putting those points in dex and strength are only 1-2 AR/point. While other weapons suffer greatly at high levels, the MC does to a lesser degree because diminishing returns occur over a greater number of stats. This build simply exploits all three offensive stats (four with LW) with no diminishing returns. You could very well polarize this setup to deal more physical or magical damage, but your average output may not be as high and you lose stat efficiency.

Blue's and BP's always die in 1-2 hits if they don't heal or amp their defenses up unrealistically high. You normally deal about 400-750 damage through warding with all soul form bonuses.

In normal red stone duels (not including the magdef-stacked warding users, who also tend to be grass munchers and extremely rude), I am dealing roughly:

Against faith builds: 500-950 damage/hit
Against BBS builds: 650-1050 damage/hit
Against physical builds: 700-1100 damage/hit
Against mages: 900-1250 damage/hit

I find this build plays much better in soul form, even with mismatched character tendency. The health increase in body form and the extra ring slot aren't helpful in my personal opinion. I recommend mostly using this build for co-op and red stone duels. Body form is good for PvE though, so keep that in mind. In addition, you have ~270 magdef with the DSS, which diminishes damage taken from magical weapons by a lot.

The build defaults at 45 VIT, which is doable for PvP. At 28 endurance, you do have to manage your stamina closely so you don't get bs'd because you can't roll away from stamina depletion. This setup also OHKO's any normal-def soul form with 45 vit or less on a direct hit and OHKO's any soul form 50vit mage on a direct hit.

If you like this, please vote :)

Here is another option with more physAR:

45 VIT
15 INT
28 END
34 STR
30 DEX
30 MAG
16 FTH

327 physAR, 361 magAR when buffed (688 total). You lose 6 AR, a few points of magdef, and the ability to use blessed weapons as a backup, but you will be doing more consistent damage at the cost of having a narrower range of output values (higher lows and lower highs). Strength has better scaling than DEX because of the bonus in 2 hands, so you still have good stat efficiency. Leveling DEX is not recommended unless you plan to take this build to a higher SL. Your backup weapon for this setup should either be a moon or quality weapon. Crushing weapons are another option (ex claymore).

You can progress through your first playthrough as any of the following, but stay within the goal stats for the build:

Mage (pushed ToB, makes things pretty easy for the whole game)
Faith Build (gives you more durability in combat until you acquire the MC and LW)
NR Vit (which isn't a misnomer until you cap at 45 Vit, my least favorite)

Recommended setups for the Meat Cleaver:

Option 1: Inspired by the BBS setup, the most practical for invasions/duels
RH1: Meat Cleaver
RH2: ToG
LH1: iCat
LH2: DSS/Adj. shield/blessed iron knuckles+5

Option 2: Shieldless, but jumper-ready
LH1: iCat
LH2: ToG

Option 3: Jumper-ready, weaker LW
LH1: ToB (decent LW, cast SC)

Option 4: Strong LW, no SC
LH1: iCat

Option 5: SC + strong LW + shield, but difficult to pull off when jumped
LH1: ToB (cast SC) -switch-> iCat (strong LW)


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