I really like using a bow in DS2, but my current one seems a little weak. I'd like to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible. For simplicity, we can assume that scaling in one stat is as good as scaling in another stat (I can always respec), and that I'm using wooden arrows for all of them. Which bow will let me do the most damage? Does the answer change if I use greatarrows instead? What is the best if we only consider bows on the normal upgrade path (Titanite Shards, Chunks, and Slabs)?

  • I can't access the wiki right now for specifics but I remember the bellkeeper bow (for dex, the dragonrider bow for str) to be a pretty good scaling bow (in terms of the light bows). You also need to use a greatbow if you want to use greatarrows but I can't for the life of me remember any of the greatbows in game... Jul 23, 2014 at 17:34
  • I've actually been using the bellkeeper bow for a while, because the scaling is good. But I can't really tell if it's the best because scaling seems to depend on upgrade level, and I can't upgrade every bow to 10 just to check. Jul 23, 2014 at 17:36
  • The dark souls wiki should have specific scaling and base damage per level for every item in the game. This can be seen here Jul 23, 2014 at 17:42
  • There are actually a lot fewer bows than I expected. However, there's a lot of information to synthesize here, and the wiki is not complete. The bellkeeper bow page, for example, has no information about the infused version. Plus, I don't really understand how scaling works. It would be much more useful to just have an answer that says "This bow does the most damage." Jul 23, 2014 at 17:52
  • I'd give you a more definite answer if I was able to load the wiki and I knew your current stats. The wiki is very incomplete atm since all the data is calculated by players vs being given by to us by the devs, and bows are low on the list of priorities. All you really need to know about scaling is that S is the best, followed by A, B, C, D, and E. If you have a quality build, C/C (str/dex) is usually the minimum effective scaling to go for while "pures" typically use a S or A scaling weapon. I recommend finding a weapon that you enjoy using and has a good move set because skill > damage :P Jul 23, 2014 at 18:02

3 Answers 3


To answer this question, it entirely depends on what stats you are focusing on. Scaling plays a big part when choosing the right weapon, in any situation.

What scaling does:

Scaling boosts the damage that you do with any particular weapon, depending on which stat(s) and which level of scaling are defined (S, A, B, C, D, E) as @slow_excellence pointed out; S being the best, E being the worst.

This picture shows a boost from strength scaling (shown by the blue numbers):

enter image description here

How scaling affects damage boost:

  • E: one point every 3 levels.
  • D: 2 points every 3 levels until 30, then 1 point per level till 40, then 4 points per 10 levels.
  • C: One point per level until level 30, then 1.5 points until level 40, then 0.5 points until level 50, then 0.3 points until level 60.
  • B: 2 points per level until 30, then 3 points until level 40, then 1 point per level until 50, then 0.5 points every level after.
  • A: 2.5 points per level until 30, then 3.5 points until level 40, then 1.5 points until level 50, then 0.6 points every level after.
  • S: barely higher than A, but still enough to make a difference.

Bows and their scaling stats:

  • Short Bow: STR - D / DEX - A
  • Long Bow: STR - D / DEX - A
  • Composite Bow: STR - C / DEX - C
  • Sea Bow: STR - C / DEX - C
  • Dragonrider Bow: STR - B / DEX - D/ INT - C
  • Bell Keeper Bow: STR - C / DEX - B
  • Bow of Want: STR - C / DEX - A / LIGHTNING - C
  • Hunter's Blackbow: STR - E / DEX - S


  • Alonne Greatbow: STR - C / DEX - C
  • Dragonslayer Greatbow: STR - B / DEX - C

Also important to note that you cannot move while firing a greatbow, unlike a regular bow. This can affect your play style greatly.

  • This answer, while helpful, fails to address most of my question. You only show the scaling of un-upgraded weapons, which is misleading. I already said that I would re-spec to maximize scaling, so leaving me to consider "which stats I am concentrating on" is unhelpful. Plus, do Sea Bow and Composite bow do exactly the same damage at the same stats? If not, the table is misleadingly oversimplified. And it completely fails to answer my primary question: assuming that I can respec to take advantage of scaling, what bow does the most damage? Jul 23, 2014 at 23:02
  • I really do believe there are too many factors to pick just one bow. This answer might not answer your question specifically, I have tried to provide an answer that will help pick a bow for any one who might choose to read this. IMO my top 3 bows to pick are purely for supportive roles, being the Blackbow for DEX builds, Bow of want for Faith builds, and Alonne Greatbow for STR builds (more aesthetic than for stats).
    – Ben
    Jul 23, 2014 at 23:09
  • How are there too many factors? I have one simple objective function: damage. At the very least you should be able to narrow it down to "bow 1 if you have low stats, bow 2 if you have high x and y stats" (maybe a couple more options, depending). If I have N stat points to distribute among str, dex, int, faith, there should be one bow that does the most damage so the answer could be a function of N. And why do you think it's OK to not answer this question? This is the question that you are answering. Jul 23, 2014 at 23:23
  • 1
    DPS is what I'm asking for. I already said that we are assuming wooden arrows, though I don't expect that changing to a different arrow will change which bow does more damage. If you excluded infusion the answer would at least partially answer the question. And if you think that answering the question is too much effort, don't answer it. Jul 23, 2014 at 23:39
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    In order to give the best possible answer, we need to know the details of your character. The bow of want will have the highest dps on faith builds but if you put it on a strength build, its basically useless. You could go up the mundane upgrade path depending on your stats and get insane dps. If you don't give us specifics, we can't give you specifics. Ben's answer is great and it just seemed like you discounted it since it didn't have exactly what you wanted. Dark Souls has ng+ for a reason, upgrade your weapons and find out which ones work the best for you. Jul 24, 2014 at 3:46

It all depends on how you are attempting to scale. If you're going for a strength bow,use the Dragonrider bow,it has a B scaling on strength. If you are aiming for dex,use the hunter's blackbow. I have recently started up an archer and I've tested the differentiation of the bows. I hate greatbows mostly because you can't move with em',making it a gamble if you miss your shot in PvP.


I run 45 dex and 40 str and the hunters black bow+10 has the highest damage excluding great bows. Next highest damage is the longbow+10 then the Sea Bow +10 which is actually my favorite because it has the highest rage out of ANY bow in the game. Also the hunters blackbow has the fastest fire rate as well. So it is definitely worth trying a few out and seeing what you like for yourself as opposed to asking other people what YOU should do with your own build. That's how I figured out what I liked. I just did a bow only run and planned on using the longbow but ended up using the sea bow for primary and fire short bow as a backup. Hope this helped :) ps:don't forget to buy poison arrows

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