Lords of the Fallen is the first non-FromSoft Souls-like game in a long while to truly capture the fanbase’s attention. With a 2014 version of the same name garnering mediocre reviews, it took a long while for the developers to hone the formula into something distinct from that of its originators, and reinvent the series into the latest entry.
It’s back with fresher ideas and more robust game mechanics that have both emboldened the spirit of the genre and offered something you won’t find in Elden Ring or Dark Souls.
While the degree to which the game deviates from the above is mostly down to its impressive use of verticality and Mirrored, Lorule-style Underworld, Lords of the Fallen’s flexibility in its Builds and Classes is one of the main elements that will keep fans coming back.
Whether you’re struggling to decide what to pick from the start or are going in for your second run, in this article, I’m going to go through what I consider the main points to consider for each presently available Build.
Bottom Line Up Front
If you’re in a rush, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know to choose the best Builds in Lords of the Fallen:
- As is the case with most Souls-likes, the possible Builds are intrinsically linked with the game’s starting Classes.
- The current Build-Class relationships are Strength, Agility, Wither, Quality, Radiance, and Inferno.
- The three key aspects you should consider when choosing a build are playstyle (what sort of mechanics you consider yourself most skilled with), ease of use (the degree to which a Build is adapted to your overall experience with this game and other Souls-likes), and fun factor.
- No matter what Class you use, remember that Lords of the Fallen is very forgiving in enabling you to change your mind, so don’t stress about it too much!
- If you’re looking for a great beginner class, go with the Hallowed Knight: it has excellent starting stats and is the best at enabling you to adapt your Build as you go along.
Builds in Lords of the Fallen follow the same structure as the From Software games you might have played, but they do differ in several key ways.
For starters, it’s important to understand the difference between a Build and a Class. There are a total of ten available starting Classes in the game (not including the secret ones unlocked upon completion), but only six potential builds: Strength, Agility, Wither, Quality, Radiance, and Inferno.
Think of a Class as a template that gives you a head start toward a certain build (such as starting weapons, armor, and stat points), whereas a Build is dictated by your dedicated focus toward leveling a certain group of stats to further a specific playstyle.
As such, there’s not a ‘best’ Build in the simplistic sense. Instead, it’s about figuring out what play style you’re best at and what you enjoy most, as that’s going to be the most important factor for succeeding.
Below, I’ll discuss below what sort of Class works best with each Build, why you might want to pick a particular Build, which items are recommended for each, and what playing this way involves.
Each Build Explained
- Ideal starting class: Hallowed Knight or Udirangr Warwolf
- Benefits: Maximum damage output, maximum damage negation
- Negatives: The slowest movement speed and reaction times of all other builds
A Strength Build is always a popular choice for both beginners and experts alike. As the name implies, this is the Build where you prioritize doing the maximum amount of damage possible while mitigating damage from enemies at all costs. That means large, two-handed weapons like Hammers and Great swords and medium or heavy armor.
A great Class pick for a straight Strength Build is the Hallowed Knight. With 12 starting points in Strength and 15 in Endurance to counteract the heavier armor, the Hallowed Knight Class is ideally balanced for players looking to hit hard but still have enemy attacks feel a little more forgiving in the beginning.
The main weapon, the Hallowed Knight Sword, scales with Strength (C-) and Agility (E), and the armor is a mix of medium and heavy weight, giving you both something highly protective but that doesn’t turn you into a lumbering tank.
Another solid option is Udirangr Warwolf. This class has the highest starting Strength stats of any in the game (16), giving you your best start for straight Strength leveling. It’s not as balanced as the Hallowed Knight, however, given the lighter armor and lower base Vitality (health), so this one’s best for your second run with a Strength build.
Due to the heavy-set nature of this build, your character is inevitably going to take an agility hit, and at some point, having accumulated enough weight, you’re going to induce fat rolling—the process whereby your character’s rolls become heavy and labored, thus reducing their combat effectiveness.
You always want to stay below the Heavy encumbrance threshold to avoid this, which can be viewed in your equipment menu.
Other than this, focusing on a strength build is pretty straightforward, as you’re only going to need to focus on dumping points into your Strength stat to progress.
Weapon-wise, I’d upgrade to the Ancestor’s Sword once you reach strength level 25. You can pick it up from the Fief of the Chill Curse area near the Umbral Flowerbed at the ruins, and it has D Strength scaling and a decent starting stat of 164 physical damage.
You should also equip Paladins Pendant, which you can find after defeating Ruiner at Bramis Castle; it offers you a permanent boost to your Strength and Endurance stats.
Note: There’s an item called Ring of Bones that effectively reduces your equipment load: check out this tutorial on YouTube for how to acquire it.
- Ideal starting classes: Mournstead Infantry or Exiled Stalker
- Benefits: fast, evasive, and rewarding of lightning reactions
- Negatives: the timings required to succeed can be hard to handle for new players
Those adept at utilizing the Agility Build are fast and chancy; Agility Builds have the fastest dodge and are perfect for players with the quickest reaction times.
You better make sure your reaction times are good, though, as this is a Souls-like – you’re not going to be let off for your mistakes! As such, the build takes a while to master, but once you get there, you’ll be borderline unstoppable.
For a starter Class, the Mournstead Infantry is a brilliant choice. As well as having an elevated 14 Agility stat, the Mournstead Infantry Spear is a fantastic melee weapon with great strength and agility scaling, and it’s also perfect for beginners as it lets you prod at enemies from a middling distance.
The spear can also pierce through enemies and into those standing behind it – excellent if you start to get overwhelmed by multiple enemies or have to fight in tight spaces.
The class also comes with a ranged javelin, which allows you to pick off enemies from medium range to thin the herd before going into close-quarters combat.
You’ve also got a full set of medium armor, enabling you to move about nimbly whilst being able to weather the damage you’ll inevitably receive, and while the standard shield isn’t the best, the other attributes mentioned above more than counteract its weaknesses.
The Exhiled Stalker is another solid Class option. This Class has the highest agility stat in the game at 16, and it’s the only one to provide duel-wielded weapons which, in Lords of the Fallen, are particularly fast and deadly when it comes to Agility Builds.
The Throwing Daggers you get with the class are also highly effective at mid-ranged combat, and while the light armor is pretty risky for beginner players, it offers the best maneuverability if you can handle it.
My advice would be to go with the Mournstead Inantary if you’re just starting with Souls-likes, and the Exhiled Stalker if you have some more experience under your belt.
Once you get into the flow of things, I also recommend you get your hands on the Bloodlust short sword, which has B- Agility scaling and the benefit of inflicting both Bleed and Burn damage (you can find it in a nearby chest after defeating Crimson Rector Percival)
- Ideal starting classes: The Partisan
- Benefits: It enables the player to reap the benefits of both Strength and Agility Builds.
- Negatives: Being a jack-of-all-trades can have its downsides for situations that require proficiency in one area
Think of the Quality Build as a best-of-both-worlds situation between Strength and Agility. You won’t be maximizing both, but in being able to wield both Strength and Agility-based weapons and effectively wear the armor of both classes, this is easily the most versatile Build in the game.
There are technically several different classes you could go for with a Quality Build, but The Partisan Class is my go-to as it’s the most balanced in the game giving you a lot of scope to experiment.
As is the case with Quality builds in general, the class is also an excellent choice for beginners as it’s not lacking in any one particular area: spend a bit of time leveling Vitality and Endurance first, and then appropriately spread your points between Strength and Agility, alternating between each as you go along.
The Partisan’s primary weapons will see you through a good chunk of the game, but if you’re going for a Quality Build, I highly recommend you seek out Harrower Dervla’s Sword.
You can purchase this weapon from Molhu having obtained Remembrance of the Unbroken Promise after you beat Harrower Dervla, and with great Strength and Agility scaling, it’ll be the only weapon you need as a Quality player for the rest of the game.
It’s also a good bet to wear the aforementioned Ring of Bones to increase your equip load with a Quality build if you prefer to fight without a shield, and armor-wise, I’d recommend always sticking with Medium-weighted gear to remain as well-rounded as possible.
- Ideal starting classes: Orian Preacher
- Benefits: very beginner-friendly as you can pair high damage output with invaluable healing spells early in the game
- Negatives: healing has a lot of utility, but it means you might not find a Radiance Build quite as fun as the other options
A Radiance Build is an excellent choice for beginners and arguably allows for some of the most effective yet easy-to-learn battle strategies in the game.
Because the Build allows for both high damage output and excellent healing abilities, your survivability during both boss fights and large ambushes can be greatly increased if you learn how to use your magic properly.
If you want to shoot for a Radiance build, choose no other class than the Orian Preacher; it has the highest starting Radiance stat of any other class at 18 points and is perfectly tuned to scale with this type of magic.
This is one of the best classes for having an easier time with the game initially, as both the Orian Preacher’s ranged spell and melee weapon make quick work of nearly any enemy for the first few hours.
What’s more, the best weapon for the Radiance Build, Pieta’s Sword, can also be found very early on after fighting the first boss, making things particularly straightforward.
Your healing abilities as a Radiance caster are just as important, of course. I recommend you visit Exacter Dunmire’s store at Skyrest Bridge as soon as you can to purchase Healing Radiance; a spell that’ll save your life more than once during a Radiance playthrough.
Finally, make sure you focus simultaneously on leveling your Strength stat a little in the beginning with this Build, as initially, this can be a bit of a bottleneck where your melee abilities are concerned (a style of play you’ll want to make good use of as the Orian Preacher).
Given the above early game benefits, the Radiance build is an excellent choice for a beginner player, and this is the Build and Class I’d pick if I’d never played a Souls-like game.
- Ideal starting classes: Pyric Cultist
- Benefits: enables the player to deal a tremendous amount of magic damage
- Negatives: it’s a slow burn (pun intended): many enemies have fire resistance, so it isn’t too powerful early on
For me, there’s no other way to play this game that’s quite as fun as it is with an Inferno Build (and maybe that’s just because it’s overpowered!).
In more ways than one, Inferno is like the Strength build but for mages: the game’s most destructive spells are yours for the wielding, and as such, this is an incredibly effective build for causing all-out destruction if you manage things properly.
If you want to get the best possible start with an Inferno Build, go for the Pyric Cultist Class. You’ll begin with a huge 18 points in the Inferno stat from the beginning, a long-range fireball as your throwable, and the Pyric Cultist Staff that inflicts burn damage and has a great sweep to it.
It isn’t all thrills and spills, though. You’ll find that a large number of the enemies you face in Lords of the Fallen will be resistant to fire damage, making your Inferno-based arsenal a little problematic.
You’ll have a harder time in the early game, but if you persist, your patience is rewarded: those extra Inferno points with the Pyric Cultist mean you can reach a blisteringly high DPS past the mid-game, rendering the enemy’s resistances not much of an issue.
One of the favorite weapons for Inferno Builds right now is the Grinning Axe, and having recently tried it out for myself, I can’t deny its potency. This monster of a melee weapon has B- scaling with Inferno and inflicts burn damage: head to Bramis Castle and explore the towers to find it in a lootable chest.
With this being a single-handed weapon, you can dual-wield it with the Bloodlust sword I covered above, which has A- Inferno scaling as well as its Bleed effect. This is a truly deadly combo.
To take things even further, seek out the Infernal Weapon spell found behind the Shrine of Adyr at the Vestige of Betrayed Eliard. This spell imbues your already deadly weapons with an even further Inferno buff, allowing you to stack damage like no one’s business.
- Ideal starting classes: Pyric Cultist & Orian Preacher
- Benefits: rewards patience and dedication with a uniquely potent type of magic
- Negatives: has the steepest learning curve of all three magic builds and isn’t viable until the mid-game
The Wither Build is a strange beast, with the required items to utilize it only being available from the middle of the game onwards.
Wither as a status effect, however, is something you’ll quickly get acquainted with, as it’s marked by the greyed-out part of your health bar that appears after blocking that’s turned back to red when successfully landing a hit.
Wither damage can be considered temporary damage: it only permanently damages you if you’re hit again, in which instance, however much is indicated by the grey bar will turn into actual health loss. A Wither Build focuses specifically on dealing with this sort of damage to your enemies.
There’s no direct Stat for Wither as it scales off of both Radiance and Inferno, meaning that you’ll want to pick a class adept in these skills to go for an effective Wither Build from the start.
Therefore, choose either Pyric Cultist or Orian Preacher to first specialize in either Radiance or Inferno and then switch to leveling up specific Wither spells and weapons once they become available.
With no dedicated stats to focus on, these special spells and weapons are at the crux of a successful Wither Builds.
One of the earliest and best Wither weapons you can get your hands on is the Right-hand Bringer of Stillness sword: it’s dropped at random from the Bringer of Stillness enemies you’ll come across frequently during the middle of the game, and the right-hand version is the one you want as the left-hand variation deals Frost damage instead of Wither.
So far as armor goes, this is mostly up to you (you’ll likely be using that which works best with Radiance or Inferno Builds) but you should definitely buy the Faceless Carving Pendant from Malhu, which becomes available after you get through the Upper Calrath Mining District.
Spell wise you’ll want to get your hands on Latimer’s Javelin: an Umbral spell that casts a highly effective exploding javelin to compliment your melee-focused Bringer of Stillness – it too can be purchased from Malhu after you’ve defeated The Hushed Saint.
Wither builds are extremely powerful given your ability to stack so much damage, but given the effort involved in getting to that point, you might want to try an easier Build if this is your first time with the game.
Some Closing Tips
How to Re-spec
Lords of the Fallen is pretty liberal in the extent it allows you to re-spec your character, meaning that if you decide a Build isn’t for you halfway through, you’re not stuck with it.
After you beat the boss Pieta, you’ll be able to visit her true form at Skyrest Bridge to perform upgrades, and she can also re-spec your character for you so long as you have an item called the Rebirth Chrysalis, also purchasable in Skyrest Bridge from the vendor Molhu.
One Rebirth Chrysalis allows for one re-spec, so you’ll need to find a second one if you want to do it again. These are pretty rare items, so make sure you think carefully about that first re-spec so you don’t have to do it again!
Don’t Forget about Vitality and Endurance
Continually improving the power and efficiency of any build is going to consist of tirelessly dumping points into the relevant attributes, but in the very beginning, you’re going to want to focus on your ability to sustain damage.
You’re going to be weak when you start, so before focusing on anything specifically, put some points into Vitality to increase your health bar and into Endurance to ensure you have the energy to see each grueling battle to the end.
The Condemned Class
Upon starting the game, you’ll also come across the oddly balanced Class, The Condemned. This Class is meant as a blank slate with no specialties and perfectly balanced stat levels of 9 across the board. This means you can develop it into any Build of your choosing, but know that this makes for a particularly challenging early game.
Damage mitigation is very low, and the comically terrible Broken Bucket weapon has the lowest damage in the game. The pilgrimage to polishing this class into a decent build is a long and arduous journey few players have accomplished at this point, so if you want the ultimate challenge, this is it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I Mix and Match Elements of Different Builds?
Answer: Of course! While many other players prefer to pick one build and playstyle and run with it, nothing is stopping you from spreading out your leveling more evenly for a more well-rounded character.
Just know that placing points for an all-rounder build takes some time and effort. I wouldn’t recommend it until you’ve completed your first run and understand the ins and outs of the game properly.
Question: Do You Think any New Builds will be Added to Lords of the Fallen?
Answer: I’d consider this quite unlikely. Each build is tightly woven into the fabric of the game as it is in something like Dark Souls or Elden Ring. While I imagine it would technically be possible for CI Games to add in a seventh Build, that would likely require some serious alterations to the foundation. Much more likely is that we’ll get more items to complement the existing Builds.
Question: Should I Attempt The Condemned Class as a Beginner?
Answer: It depends on what you mean by ‘beginner’. If you’re brand new to Souls-likes, avoid this route as it’ll be far too punishing. If you’re very well-versed with the likes of Dark Souls, Blood Borne, or Elden Ring, however, you should be up for the challenge. I’d still only really recommend this Class for your second run, though.
I hope this article was helpful for either getting you off to a good start with Lords of the Fallen or helping you pick a Build for your next run.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks with Lords of the Fallen, keep it locked on RPG Informer for more in the coming weeks. Also, don’t forget to check out our News section for the latest developments with the game as soon as they’re announced!