/ #Bloodborne #Arcane 

Bloodborne Arcane Build Guide

The Arcanist 2.0

How to Be a Proper Spell-Slinger in Bloodborne: The Old Hunters

by Reddit user Sljm8D

Please see The Arcanist Cookbook for specific gem configurations and other goodies!


Greetings, humans, beasts, and broccoli! I'm u/Sljm8D and I'm the fellow that wrote the original Arcanist guide. Well, now that I've had a chance to play with and test the new DLC content, it's time for an update! Rather than simply edit my old guide though, I thought it would be wiser to start from the ground up for the most part, because a great deal has changed in my perspective since the original version.

The "Pure Arcane" build has gotten a lot of attention since I published the original guide, which makes me so happy I can't stop grinning. Seriously, I've lost several friends due to "persistent and incessant jollity"... Ah, but they were probably scrubs anyway. Of course, I haven't been the only one pushing to get Arcane builds noticed, but I'm super happy to have been helping. Together, the Bloodborne community has dispelled a lot of myths and misunderstandings with how Arcane works, but... Thanks to the DLC and some accompanying patches, some of the information in my old guide, and some of my previous assumptions or conclusions, have changed. So just forget everything I've said prior to this! Yeah, let's just start over, ok?

Definition of Terms


  1. known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret; obscure; esoteric:
    She knew a lot about Sanskrit grammar and other arcane matters.

At first, I thought the choice to use Arcane rather than Intelligence as the name for the attribute that governs magical damage to just be a subversion of the "casters use Int" trope, but based on my experiences and the apparent design for Arcane as a build, I think there's more to it than just that... The build certainly lives up to the dictionary definition. Playing an Arcane build requires you to have hidden knowledge, not only of the enemies you're going to be up against, but also of where to find the rare items that are required to make the build function in the first place. Fortunately, knowledge is something that can be, and indeed should be, shared! For the purposes of disambiguation throughout the guide, I'll be using certain terminology to describe the different meanings of "Arcane" in the context of Bloodborne:

  • Arcanist
    • Any character that's built with a mind toward the ARC stat. Synonymous with "Arcane Build" for the purposes of this guide.
  • ARC
    • Simply "the Arcane stat," referred to as such to eliminate confusion with the damage type.
  • Arcane
    • The elemental damage type, which is based on ARC along with Fire and Bolt.
  • Elemental
    • Simply referring to the Arcane, Fire, and Bolt damage types as a group.
  • Conversion Weapon
    • Any purely Physical weapon that can be Converted into Elemental using appropriate Blood Gems.
  • Hybrid Weapon
    • Any weapon with both Physical and non-Physical damage built in.
  • Dedicated Elemental Weapon
    • A few specific Hybrid Weapons and one weapon that's purely Arcane damage, which have special mechanics that give a larger benefit from the Elemental portion than might be apparent at first.

Pros and Cons

Any build has them, and an Arcanist is no exception. Much of this build and play-style revolves around knowledge, which is one reason I think new players can have a hard time with this build. Make no mistake, when used properly, an Arcanist can be one of the most satisfying play-styles in the game. I think much of this has to do with the very same phenomenon that makes Bloodborne itself so satisfying: difficulty that can be overcome with enough knowledge, effort, and skill. But in keeping with the theme of knowledge, we should discuss the pros and cons of the build so you can make an informed decision about whether it's for you.


  • PvE dominance
    • Arcanists exploit very specific Elemental weaknesses of the enemies they encounter to easily meet or exceed similar Physical builds in terms of damage output. They have a variety of ranged options at their disposal as well, though these do take some time to procure. With the right strategy, nearly every boss in the game can be obliterated in mere moments by an Arcanist, even and especially bosses that would give Physical builds some trouble. However, that's the trick... With the wrong strategy, these same bosses can be as difficult for an Arcanist as anyone else. As ever, knowledge is power.
  • Enormous weapon variety
    • This has been exacerbated by the DLC, where Arcanists got no less than 3 exceptional Dedicated Elemental weapons, but several potential Conversion Weapons as well. Satisfying all the minimum requirements takes a good bit of investment, but including all the Conversion and Dedicated Elemental Weapons, an Arcanist can have around 17 different right-hand weapons to choose from! Hybrid builds can potentially make use of more... There's a total of 26 right-hand weapons in the game, so I think it's pretty safe to say you have plenty of options. Don't worry, I'll talk about all of them!
  • Fun!
    • Completely subjective, but the plethora of weapon options, in addition to the wide variety of tools and consumables ensure that a clever Arcanist can approach most situations in several different ways, so if you get bored it's probably your own fault! From beating high-level bosses with no weapons equipped, to tossing Oil Urns for your Fire Stake Driver... There are a lot of really fun tricks with this build.


  • Apparently low AR compared to Physical builds
    • I say "apparently," because in PvE an Arcanist can exploit enemies' special weaknesses, and some enemies actually take extra damage from a specific Element on top of their already low resistances. Dedicated Elemental Weapons also often have hidden mechanics that make them a lot better in practice when used properly than they might appear to be on paper. The weakness-exploit argument doesn't quite hold up in PvP however, so in some cases Conversion weapons in particular may have a hard time keeping up. Dedicated Elemental Weapons, on the other hand, should have fewer issues in this regard, but they aren't without their peculiarities in terms of moveset. This is a "Con" only in so much as it represents a learning curve for prospective Arcanists. It's not a meaningful deterrent from trying the play-style, it's simply a fact you should recognize and learn to work around.
  • Hunter Tools can be difficult to use
    • Each of the Tools has a unique delivery method, so if you're using the wrong one at the wrong moment, it can cause issues. They can also be difficult to land in PvP due to having fairly long tells and in some cases long recovery animations, but as with the AR discrepancy this is something that can be adjusted for. For PvE, the tools can easily be your main source of damage against bosses, but in PvP they're more useful to create pressure or to set up baits. For example, rather than using Executioner's Gloves merely to do damage from range, you'd be better off taking advantage of their slow motion and homing ability to put your enemy on the defensive so you can predict their movement and cut them off, potentially setting up a combo. If you stagger them with your weapon and your Gloves also hit, you've overcome any AR deficiency relative to Physical builds, and then some...
  • Elemental Blood Gems can be more difficult to obtain
    • The vast majority of gems you find throughout the base game and Chalices are Physically-oriented. That said, there are some gems (lol) you can find if you're clever. I'll have a section just for Blood Gems with locations so don't worry. Note that for endgame, the easiest gems to come by are Flat Arcane, Nourishing, Fire, and Bolt, roughly in that order. Percentage Arcane tend to be the most difficult to obtain, especially in Radial, but I do have more specific advice on that matter in The Arcanist Cookbook supplemental guide.

Quick Tips

Last, but certainly not least, I've got some quick tips to help you along with your Arcanist before we get into the really specific details about gear and accessories.

  • Respect the softcaps
    • This is the single biggest mistake prospective Arcanists make. 40 ARC is literally the minimum requirement to use A Call Beyond. 40 ARC can be plenty for the base game, but as someone who spends a lot of time in Chalices, 40 Arcane isn't very much at higher Depths or in the DLC in regards to non-weapon output. Hunter Tools in general have a much more gradual scaling curve than weapons, so while weapons reach 90~95% of their AR potential (base damage + scaling) at 50 ARC, most of the tools are around 60~70% of their potential output. Take a look at this spreadsheet for more detailed information. Relevant softcaps:
      • 20 ARC
        • Choir Bell, Blacksky Eye, and Augur of Ebrietas scale better from 20 to 50 than prior to 20
      • 25 ARC
        • All Weapons and Molotovs hit their first softcap, but continue to scale quite well
      • 50 ARC
        • All Weapons and Molotovs hit final softcap, scaling past this point is poor
        • Tiny Tonitrus scales better from 50 to 70 than prior to 50
        • A Call Beyond hits first minor softcap, but continues to scale quite well
        • All other Tools hit first softcap, but continue to scale fairly well until 80 where their scaling improves
      • 70 ARC
        • Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond hit final softcap, but continue to scale fairly well
      • 80 ARC
        • Choir Bell, Blacksky Eye, Augur of Ebrietas, Executioner's Gloves, and Accursed Brew all scale better from 80 to 99 than they did from 50 to 80
      • 99 ARC
        • Maximum Arcane investment
  • STRONGLY consider exceeding 50 ARC
    • 50 is the last softcap for weapon damage, but tools keep scaling well past 50. Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond don't softcap until 70 ARC. If you think these spells are not doing much damage relative to the Quicksilver cost (a common complaint), it's because you don't have enough ARC. If all you want to do is swing your weapon, why are you making an Arcanist build? Think about it. That brings me to my next point:
    • ~1 Blood Vial = 5 Quicksilver Bullets. This means you get 2 Executioner's Gloves or 1 Tiny Tonitrus for ~1 Vial and 1 QS instead of 6 QS, or A Call Beyond for ~1 Vial and 2 QS instead of 7 QS. If you're not blood-tapping, of course you're gonna run out of bullets, you silly goose!
  • Also consider 99 ARC
    • Though Tiny Tonitrus and A Call Beyond softcap at 70, all the other Tools actually have improved scaling from 80 to 99, and to be honest the softcap on TT and ACB isn't actually that harsh. That makes this climb well worth it. Think of it this way. You could have 50/50 Quality, or 99 ARC for nearly the same investment. It's seriously worth it for Tool damage. While 99 ARC is very hard to fit into a 120 build, if you go higher (such as to 150+), you can definitely make it work. Try it at least once, I implore you...
  • ...Unless you're doing a hybrid build
    • In which case, you may have other options. Most of what I talk about here is directed towards "pure Arcane builds," not hybrids. I still think 50~70 ARC is a fantastic idea, but in a hybrid build you can reduce or negate the weapon AR disadvantage inherent to the pure Arcanist build by using Physical weapons or leveraging the Physical components of Dedicated Elemental Weapons and still have some Tool damage, without as much need to focus on it to offset your weapon AR. I use 50 ARC on my ARC/STR Hybrid build and it's still extremely powerful. However, rather than focusing on Tools, I use Moonlight's R2/L2 attacks to deal heavy Arcane damage. With the understanding that your Tools will take a backseat, 50 ARC can still be quite something. If you like to spam spells more often, consider 70 or 99 instead.
  • USE your Tools
    • Your weapons are for trash mobs. Your Tools are for badasses and bosses. Please, please, please remember to use your Tools. I cannot understand why you would be trying to play an Arcanist if you didn't want to use them...
  • Remember to use the right Element for the Pokemon enemy you're fighting
    • This is a big one. In general, Fire will get the job done against most enemies, but some enemies take extra damage from certain Elements... Not all of them do, but even if they don't take extra damage specifically they still have low resistances to that Element.
      • Beasts often take extra damage from Fire
        • This applies to full-on Beasts, not generally the half-transformed humans, but even they have Fire as their primary weakness. Key exceptions are Keeper's Hunting Dog; Watchdog of the Old Lords; and Laurence, the First Vicar. Bolt or Arcane will be required for these enemies.
      • Pthumerians often take extra damage from Arcane
        • If their face looks like this, they're probably a Pthumerian. These are mostly found in the Chalice Dungeons, but there are also a few scattered throughout the main game. As with Beasts, they don't all take extra Arcane damage (this applies mostly to "Labyrinth Watchers"), but for the most part it's still their primary weakness. Notable exception is the Queen herself, who is weak to Fire and then Arcane/Bolt.
      • Kin often take extra damage from Bolt
        • There are few Kin in the game, but they are all pretty dangerous. If it looks like an Alien, it's probably Kin. Note that the enemies in the Fishing Hamlet are NOT Kin, and they tend to RESIST Bolt Damage. They're generally weak to Fire. True Great Ones and Nightmare creatures are also not Kin, these include Amygdala, Mergo's Wet Nurse, Moon Presence, Orphan of Kos, Brain of Mensis, and Winter Lanterns. Knowing is half the battle, fellow Arcanists... The following enemies are the only known Kin:
          • Brainsucker
          • Garden of Eyes
          • Fluorescent Flower
          • Rom and its Children
          • Celestial Emissary boss and mobs
          • Ebrietas and her Slug Babies
          • Living Failures

That covers the basics. What follows now are links to more specific information within this thread and a few other resources you might find useful. This'll make them easier to reference, even though due to the formatting of Reddit, they won't really show up in the right order as you scroll down. I literally didn't have room for it all in the first post though... Enjoy!

Conversion Weapons

Dedicated Elemental Weapons

Left-Hand Weapons

Hunter Tools

Story Gem Locations/Sources and Standard Chalice Gem Sources

Build Templates

How Are Blood Gems Determined? (Chalice Gem Generation Guide)

The Arcanist Cookbook (Endgame Weapon Gemming Guide)

The Bloodborne Sheets (Chalice Gems/Weapons/Runes and Other Info)


If you like this guide, please subscribe to my Youtube channel. I specialize in Bloodborne, with a particular focus on Arcane, so if you're into the build don't miss out! I also tweet every time I upload, and I'm trying to be more active on Twitter in general so look me up there too if you like.

I'm also doing a video series about how to beat the main game, DLC, and Chalice Dungeons with an Arcane build. These are just the tactics I like to use, it's up to you if you want to try something different. I know some people prefer Show rather than Tell, so I hope these videos can help complete the experience.

  1. Cleric Beast & Father Gascoigne
  2. Flamesprayer & Blood-Starved Beast
  3. Musings, Mooks, & A Blood Gem
  4. Henryk, Witches of Hemwick, Darkbeast Paarl, Vicar Amelia
  5. Amygdala, Shadows, Rom
  6. Celestial Emissary, Ebrietas, The One Reborn
  7. Micolash, Logarius, Wet Nurse
  8. Ludwig, Living Failures, Lady Maria, Laurence
  9. Fishing Hamlet
  10. Orphan of Kos


Wojtek, The author of Imitation Metagame