Ilkar's Faith Build (SL 123)
rating: +165+x

Build summary My variation and setup, on request.
Recommended starting class(es) Temple Knight
Recommended Soul Level 123

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

Vitality 50
Will/Intelligence 18
Endurance 40
Strength 20
Dexterity 12
Magic 6
Faith 50
Luck 7
Recommended equipment

Recommended Equipment

I'll arrange this by priority, and where you should equip it (if most of it isn't self explanatory anyway). For the sake of the few pedants on here, you can't equip this all at once.

Left Hand:

Right Hand (Otherwise known as weaponry):

Armour (Subject to Weight, you may need to rearrange or augment this with more Black Leather depending on your equipped weapons):

Usually if you need to lower equip weight changing the leg piece to Black Boots will be enough.
This is based on a Male character. If using a female, literally just wear the entire Binded Set.

Rings:

Other Items

I'll even include consumables for you (as in my recommendations as to your 5 slot PvP setup):

  • Dark Moon Grass
  • Full Moon Grass
  • Widow's Lotus
  • Old Spice
  • Kunai.
Recommended spells/miracles

Spells and Miracles

Justification and notes included in brackets:

Miracles

Spells

I can hear you already - "Wait..spells? On a Faith Build!?" Well, the trick to this is to get the minimum 10 Magic required for getting these spells from Sage Freke, and then getting Soulsucked or deleveling yourself until Magic returns to the base value of 6.

  • Warding (Excellent alternative to SC, low MP cost and instant casting. If your SC gets cracked, you are going to want and need this to survive.)
  • Poison Cloud(Great for added versatility and in drawn-out battles)
  • Death Cloud(If for some reason you don't want to use Warding)
  • Any other spell you have a spare Demon Soul for.
Gameplay tips and progression

Gameplay tips and Progression

Before I begin to talk about how to get from your first getting squished by Vanguard to SL 123 and dominating those silly Katana users in PvP, I'm going to do something not a lot of other people do - provide justification, in short.

Why those stats? What did you mean by variation?

  • 50 Vitality should be fairly obvious. As this build only really pours points into two other stats, you'll find yourself with plenty to spare leading up to SL 120. If you like, you can drop 3 points from it and be exactly on SL 120.
  • The 18 Intelligence is one of the areas where this build differs from the standardised 'Cookie Cutter' Faith builds in favour of increased versatility. I personally prefer the extra spell slot to allow use of Poison Cloud and Warding, and since you'll be getting 15 Int anyway to use Second Chance, another 3 points when you have little else to put them into to reach the desired PvP level won't hurt.
  • 40 Endurance really shouldn't need explanation. For the sake of argument, getting 40 End is standard for all melee PvP builds, and should be for all PvE builds as well. You reach the Stamina cap (160), and get a decent bit of equip weight and other things thrown in as bonus.
  • 20 Strength is another variation area. In brief, I favour 20 Str for the use of a Guillotine Axe, as a few people on here who I have duelled will tell you - it is deadly.
  • 12 Dexterity is base, it's not necessary to increase it.
  • Magic should be increased to 10 and then deleveled back to 6 to save 4 SLs. (See above)
  • 50 Faith is the maximum I would ever advise, given that the diminishing returns afterwards are punishing. The difference between 40 and 50 barely even make 50 worth it, but this build has few other options for dumping SLs.
  • Luck should never be increased except on a BBS build.

Basic Progression

In order to save you from being a century old by the time you've finished reading this, I'll be brief about the progression, and presume that you know what you're doing.
I'd recommend that you increase the stats roughly in a ratio to those above, with a lesser emphasis on Faith until you've obtained a decent blessed weapon. Try to cap Endurance reasonably soon, Stamina (as either Damoene or EWGF famously said) is the most precious resource in DS and it never hurts to have more. Also, getting the Int and Str to meet the weapon base requirements is a given.
I was able to finish this build exactly as described around the start of my first NG with a bit of farming, so aim to hit SL 120 around about there.
Grab the Blessed Mace and Crescent Falchion and you will sail through most of the game with ease, but don't waste Faintstone on the Mace. Save it for something like the Guillotine or Mirdan Hammer. Finding out where to get all of the above and the other gear should be easy on the wiki.

I will add a step by step guide to getting the basic gear setup as soon as I have time.

Knowing yourself before knowing the enemy

Presuming you know the basics of PvP, it's important to remember the relative strengths and weaknesses of this build compared to others. In short:

Pros:

  • Higher HP than most SL 120 PvP Builds
  • Excellent Magic Defense due to high Faith
  • 18HP/s regeneration with a +5 Blessed weapon, Regenerator's Ring and Adjudicator's Shield
  • Reasonably versatile in melee attack style, like a Dex build
  • Damage is in part magical, so Warding is not much of a hindrance
  • Can use Miracles, non-scaling Spells and Melee effectively
  • No reliance upon weapon buffs.

Cons:

  • Low damage compared to a similar Strength, or BBS/MC
  • Can be difficult to finish off an evasive or somewhat grass-hungry opponent due to low burst damage
  • No weapon buffs
  • (Really trying hard here) Regenerative Aura is a giveaway as to your build, and in PvE when using the Thief's Ring.

How to use your equipment

We'll start with the weapons.

Mirdan Hammer

First in the list and Primus Inter Pares of the 'broken' weapons in Demon's Souls.
Famous for the nigh-abusive stunlock and tracking, especially when used in two hands. The advance of the Mirdan Hammer over the other polearms is that it inflicts blunt damage, which has a greater effect on the amount of Stamina drained per hit on an opponent's shield.
Your standard moveset should consist of (all in 2 hands):

  • The infamous R1 spam combo. Use this sparingly, by now most players are aware that this will be your likely killer move, and will often use the predictability of this combo against you. Try to vary the timing somewhat to throw off parriers.
  • The sprinting attack. Has excellent tracking and range, can also be used with a backhop to counter a roll-centric opponent.
  • The R2 attack. This generates what some players refer to as 'hyperarmor', where you become to an extent immune to stunlock. Great for catching a nimble opponent off guard, but against use it sparingly as the long recovery time leaves you wide open.
  • The rolling sweep. Great for starting off an R1 combo or testing the opponent's defenses.

Guillotine Axe

An often underestimated and unnoticed weapon that perfoms well on any build with the stength to use it. Despite the short range, in two hands it stunlocks like the BBS, what more can you ask for? Not to mention being capable of inflicting 2000 damage in a 40 End combo, without breaking a sweat. (Did that get your attention?). Your key moves are essentially the same as the Mirdan Hammer, except you have the option of using this in 1 hand too for a wider swinging angle and some shield blocking. The sprinting attack can be hard to aim, especially without lockon, so try using it with the backhop instead. The rolling attack is especially vicious, with a wide attack range and good damage.

Claymore

Clay. More. No seriously, I am in love with this weapon as of my first creating it. The ridiculous swing arc, the high damage, the ability to use it without lockon, a versatile and surprising (for the opponent) moveset, what more could you ask for? It performs well in both 1 and 2 hands, though I'd recommend two to get the most out of the range.
This thing makes a mockery out of Katana users and BBS users, punishing their short range combos and preventing their rolling backstab attempts with ground level sweeps.

Great Axe

One of the hardest hitting weapons in the game, the rolling and running attacks are totally lethal. 550 Attack on this build, dwarfing a similarly leveled Meat Cleaver character.

  • When using the R1 combo, you're effectively 'hyperarmoured', so you can flatten enemies even if they hit back mid-swing.
  • The R2 attack can be used to crush enemies when they are in the middle of an attack, or as a good followup to the rolling attack.
  • The rolling attack is one of the most dangerous things in the game, with high damage, an AoE effect and next to no Stamina consumption. Feel free to spam it, or combo an R1 or R2 attack after it onto a stunned enemy.
  • Finally, the hardest hitting attack in your arsenal is the sprinting/backhop attack. This can crush a shield block (or an opponent's face) in a single shot, and has impressive stunlocking (as well as hyperarmour).

Knight Sword

Think of this as your own personal Faith BBS. The moveset and stunlocking capability is identical when wielded in 2 hands, and if you're familiar with the Blueblood fighting style then you'll find this a useful asset.
Your main moves should be the same as the BBS. The one handed running lunge stands out in particular, as do both of the rolling attack and, as always, the 2 handed R1 combo. Using it in 1 hand increases the arc of the swings somewhat, good for pinning down nimble opponents.

Great Sword

The most powerful Blessed weapon per hit on paper, this thing swings slow, hits hard, and takes some serious guts to use against anyone you think might have PvP experience. Unless your timing and accuracy are perfect you will have difficulty scoring hits on anyone familiar with your moveset, and you constantly leave yourself wide open to backstab attempts. Not recommended for beginner players anyway.
Your main moves should be the rolling attack and sprinting attacks, and the risky R1 combo if you can pull it off. The range of the R2 attack is also very handy.

Baby's Nail

The main repository of Plague in Demon's Souls, this thing is always handy to have. Against builds with HP regeneration, or ones with a high rate of Stamina use, this thing is a lifesaver. Don't forget that Bramd and Istarelle users will be very difficult to inflict it upon, as will those wearing Old Raggedy Robes.

Large Sword of Moonlight

Not a weapon I listed above, I know, but I suppose it is one that warrants a degree of discussion.
The moveset is identical to the Claymore or Northern Regalia, and it penetrates (or rather ignores) shields in a similar manner to the Blind. However, the total reliance on magical damage and low damage even at +5 make it a fairly useless weapon. The two main advantages of it (Shield penetration and the ability to block 80% of magic damage) are pretty much nullified by the PvP Meta, given that few people use shield except on their backs and when confronted my a spell user you should block with the DSS instead.

Against other players

As long as you keep the above in mind, it's easy to figure out how this build performs against other common ones. Allow me to summarise:

Against a Katana user:

This build performs well, as the range of the Claymore and Mirdan Hammer along with stunlock give you an advantage. The high Vit and HP regeneration allow you to survive the pushlock combo when other builds wouldn't, and you can use status effects to put increasing damage over time strain on the health of a Curse Weapon user.

Against a Great Axe moveset user:

This includes the Meat Cleaver. As long as you play defensively when they use Curse Weapon, and do your best to avoid the rolling AoE attack, you should have no trouble. Feel free to use their own weapon against them, and the Claymore again performs well because of its range (especially when used without lockon to throw them off with new angles of attack).

Against a Mage:

Put simply: Faith builds exist to kill mages, appropriate considering the rivalry between the Magic and Faith users exhibited by the NPCs in the Nexus.
Your defense will allow you to survive any non-fire based Magical damage with ease, and the DSS takes care of Fireball and Firespray. Firestorm still poses a threat, as does Ignite and hypermode 'glass cannon' Mages. Remember that Warding won't help against a Spellsword's melee attacks.

Against a BBS user:

This can prove to be a difficult matchup. A Blueblood Sword build, well built, can match you in terms of stunlocking, and severly outdamage you when using Light Weapon.
Play defensively, and use probing hits with the Mirdan Hammer and Claymore, or wade in and return their stunlock with a Guillotine Axe combo.

Against another Faith build:

Use your status effects and variation to your advantage. Poison and Plague to stop their regen, halve their healing and nerf their Stamina regen. If they use a heavy weapon, use the Guillotine Axe in 2 hands and flatten them. Don't ever let up, you'll only give them a chance to heal.
Parrying and pulling off the riposte can be great for the burst damage you need to overcome another similar build, I'll cover these in my big PvP section I'm producing for the wiki.

Next up, the reasoning behind the rest of the gear choices

The Armor

The first thing you should take a look at is the stamina page. Most armor, to a degree, has a penalty upon your stamina regeneration. For example, when wearing the full Brushwood set, your Stamina will regenerate at a rate of around 32 points per second.
The Ancient King's and Binded sets however have no such penalty, allowing your Stamina to regenerate at around 39 points per second, meaning that it takes just under 4 seconds without the Eternal Warrior's Ring for your 40 End length bar to refill. With the ring, you can cut another half a second off of that.
Both sets of armor have low weight and excellent defenses too, meaning there is no reason not to use them on any build.
The logic behind using the Assassin's Hood is that although each of the other pieces of the Black Leather set has a negligible penalty, the Hood does not, not to mention it provides admirable bonuses to defense and weighs next to nothing.

The Rings

You all by now should know what the Cling, Friend's and Foe's rings do.
So, in brief, I'll simply say that in Body Form I usually prefer to take advantage of the huge HP regeneration by going with the full set of regen gear. Also, there is no substitute to the bonus from the Eternal Warrior's Ring in heated combat. However, you should be prepared to switch around your gear in the midst of a fight, or upon seeing the infamous 'Custard Tornado', in order to use the Ring of Magical Dullness and the DSS+5. The Clever Rat's and Dull Rat's Rings can also be lifesavers against a similar build.

The Consumables

This might seem a little strange, but LC's post below made me realise that these might need explained too. Feel free to use what you prefer, but I'll tell you why I use this particular 5 slot setup. Dark Moon and New Moon Grass should be fairly obvious, as should the Widow's Lotus. I neglected to include either of the other Lotuses as the regenerative effect of your weapon alone negates their damage, although the Poison's healing reduction could prove dangerous.
As for the Old Spice, in my experience even paying a little more these from the Once Royal Mistress is worth it, as often in even fair duels a player will not allow you to use two Fresh Spices to restore your MP, and in heated combat should you need a Warding or a Poison Cloud you do not want to be fiddling with several kinds of spices. This is even more important in a fight against multiple opponents, as I have learned the hard way with the help of some of my Vent buddies.
The Kunai, as I have said below in the comments, are mainly used for those awkward times (you know what I mean) when you have enough Stamina to hit an opponent who is fleeing to heal but just not enough to catch them. Try throwing something sharp at them. It might not kill them, it might not even poison them, but there's a fair chance it'll buy you the time you need to get to them, or at least setup a backstab.

Phew, that took a long time to type, and I still feel I barely scratched the surface.
So anyway, I hope this gives you an idea for something to do that's a little different yet effective in all kinds of combat. If you like it, rate it up and make it easier for other people to find it.
Also, please give me feedback if I missed anything!

I'll be editing this constantly over the weekend to try and add in as much as I can in bursts, as well as improve the syntax.

02/05/10 - I'll add the rest in later, too tired to do it now.

03/05/10 - More stuff added, I'll think of anything else I can include for future use.

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