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Strap yourselves in ladies and gents, for this is one long intro.
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In Dark Souls 2, the weapons you find can have a large variety of damage types.
Damage types (and resistances) are important to understand if you want to bring the most out of your slashing and stabbing, since certain enemies are weaker, or resistant, to certain things.
That’s not to say that taking a big stick and bashing the dragon until it flops over isn’t a good strategy. But perhaps you’d have an easier time if that stick was infused with lightning.
So what’s an infusion?
Infusing your weapon adds or increases one damage type, while usually lowering the others.
A good rule to follow is only infusing a weapon that already has some innate damage of the element you want to infuse it with, else the results are going to be disappointing.
However, no matter what path you choose, your physical scaling is going to drop to about half.
You’ll also want to have access to the spell-buff (like Sunlight Blade) of whatever element you infuse with, to further increase your power (I’ll spare you the math here).
Lastly, there’s not really a “best” infusion since they mostly benefit from different stats. So these rankings are a mix of personal opinion plus general usefulness, so take it with a grain of salt.
Okay, there might not be a best infusion, but there’s definitely a worst.
Mundane removes any innate scaling, and in return makes the weapon scale with your lowest stat. That means if your lowest stat is something like that “8 Faith” you never touched, all your mundane weapons scale with that.
It was cool in the sense that it allowed the use of unusual weapons, while having a balanced array of stats.
Sadly, it got nerfed to the point of being entirely useless.
So discard any memories of ladles past, and let’s move on to something better.
Arguably the weirdest infusion in the game, the enchanted path greatly reduces any other innate scaling, to add a low Intelligence scaling that gives… physical damage?
The one and only use this has is with the Moonlight Greatsword, which swaps all it’s magical damage to physical while keeping a good Intelligence scaling.
My advice is to forget this infusion even exists.
If you’re a Wizard looking for a physical weapon, keep on reading until you get to the Raw section!
Another unexciting infusion.
How does bleed work?
Attacking an enemy with a bleed weapon, starts building up a “bleed-bar”.
When that bar gets to full, your target is inflicted some damage, has slowed movement and rolls, and their stamina is reduced for about 10 seconds.
That might sound good. But the monsters in this game don’t have a stamina bar (cheating fiends!), thus the debuff doesn’t affect them.
So bleed ends up being a niche choice for PvP, mostly used to punish opponents who turtle behind their shields.
Using a fast weapon is advised for a faster bleed build-up.
The Raw infusion tanks any innate scaling a weapon might have, in exchange for raw damage.
A very good candidate for any weapon with very little, or no scaling at all.
For my wimpy caster friends or someone that is generally low level, a raw-infused weapon with low requirements makes for a good physical damage source.
More often than not regarded as a better version of bleed, poison builds up the same way and then gradually does a good chunk of damage.
It’s very useful against slow moving enemies with large amounts of HP, like the ogres, to whittle them down slowly but surely.
Though the best use to apply is probably from a distance through arrows or knives, a fast melee weapon is not a bad choice either.
Just like the rest, poison infusion lowers physical damage, so don’t use a poison weapon as your primary.
Keep it to the side for when the time is right.
This, and the next three infusions, are mostly going to be preferential to everyone based on what build they’re playing because of the scaling.
But starting things off we’ve got fire.
Fire scales with your Intelligence and Faith.
To reach the soft-cap you’ll need a combined total of 60 points, any combination works (e.g. 30/30, 10/50, etc.).
I’m placing it fourth because there are a lot of enemies and bosses that are fire-resistant (commonly found around lava, hint hint).
The go-to infusion for sorcerers!
Magic, as the name would have it, scales with Intelligence, making it an excellent pair for all the other sorceries (since you’d already be getting those levels anyway).
Instead of melee weapons, what you’ll want to infuse are your staves to further improve their spellcasting abilities.
As the sinister version of magic, dark is the ideal option for hexers.
There are quite a few choices to make when picking which weapon to infuse (if only someone had made an article on that..), the majority of them being very powerful.
A minimum of 30 in Faith and Intelligence is required to make any dark-infused weapon reach its maximum potential.
Don’t forget an accompanying “Dark” or “Resonant” weapon buff for big, big damage.
Thundering its way to number one, we’ve got lightning.
Lightning is considered the best (at least by me) infusion in the game, just because sooo many enemies and bosses are weak to it, and barely any resistant.
There’s also a huge variety of weapons to pick from. But in most cases, anything with innate lightning damage will turn into a weapon of mass destruction when infused.
50 Faith is what you’ll want to top the damage charts, and don’t forget to pick up the “Sunlight blade” miracle along your pious journey.