Dark Souls 2 Melee Hexing Guide: Join The Dark Side

Dark Souls 2 Guide

My SL150 Hexing character is just reaching NG++, and it is an insanely fun way to play the game, so I decided to share my knowledge concerning building an awesome, dark-honing, melee hexer.

How to build a melee hex character in Dark Souls 2

Hexes in Dark Souls 2 are basically the same as Dark Magic in the original Dark Souls; however, instead of scaling on Intellect, hexes scale on the lowest stat between Intellect and Faith. This hefty point investment is not without reward as your Dark modifier will rise quickly, and hexes are extremely powerful spells. The first step to becoming a hexer is deciding where you are going to spend your points.

Spending your points

If you want your main damage source to be a melee weapon and use hexes mostly to facilitate your melee close combat capabilities then this is the guide for you. As a melee hexer you shall not invest all your points into strength and dexterity like normal melee builds. Instead you want to only hit the requirements of the weapons you are planning to use. After that you should be looking to increase both your intellect and faith to a minimum of 30 because that is where the Dark modifier stops scaling well. If you want access to any spells that require higher stats, consider using spices. The rest of your points should be dumped into Vigor, Vitality, and Endurance which will give you more longevity on the battlefield.

Weapon Choices

First off, the Dark Weapon, or Resonant Weapon hexes give us a static damage increase but also a 30% or 50% damage on dark damage dealt by your weapon. This is why we want to infuse our weapon with Dark instead of Raw, or any other element for that matter.

Secondly, weapons that originally come with a dark scaling will do a lot better when infused with Dark, despite of what the letter ranking says. Taken from my guide on weapon scalings; “The Dark Silverblack Sickle receives +136 additional Dark damage from its B scaling on Dark; however, the Dark Great Scythe receives only +48 additional damage from its B scaling on Dark. They have the same letter scaling rank, yet the damage differs immensely. This is due to the fact that Dark scaling was already present on the Silverblack Sickle before infusing it with Dark, but not on the original Great Scythe. Noteworthy is that the Dark Roaring Halberd that also originally had dark scaling receives +104 additional dark damage with just a C scaling on dark.”

A list of weapons that scale well with Dark.

Dark Silverback Sickle.

You can farm these off the Crypt Guards in the Undead Crypts

Notes

  • Awesome choice as this item will scale with a B in Dark when upgraded
  • Fast reaper-type weapon
  • Decent attack speed and low stamina consumption, which are favorable traits on buff builds.

 

Dark Crypt Blacksword.

You can trade a Old One’s Soul with Ornifex the blacksmith. Old One’s Soul drops of the Rotten in NG+

Notes

  • This weapon has insane AR
  • mostly vertical moveset which is not desirable in Ultragreatswords.
  • Very good for boss fights in PvE where you can only get 1-2 hits in between their attacks.
  • Investing 20 or 40 Strength is unfavorable as we are already committing a lot of points to Intellect and Faith.

 

Sacred Chime Hammer.

You can trade the Soul of Veldstadt with Ornifex

Notes

  • Greathammer type weapon
  • Similar to the Dark Crypt Blacksword, the stat investment is hefty, but the damage is solid.
  • The R2 attack is a mini-affinity attack with a very long cast time

 

Silverblack Spear

Drops of the Crypt Guards in the Undead Crypts

Notes

  • Spear-type weapon
  • Relatively low damage, as spears in Dark Souls 2 aren’t really that strong right now

 

Roaring Halberd

You can trade the Soul of The Skeleton Lords with Straid

  • Halberd type weapon
  • The C-scaling is not amazing but the damage is reasonable.
  • The multi-hit attacks on R2 and running attack with Resonant weapon are bordering on overpowered.

 

Scythe of Nahr Alma

You can buy this from the Merchant hag after you killed the Blood covenant leader

  • Slower Reaper-type weapon
  • Excellent moveset
  • Low damage if you cannot hit your target with the blade of the Scythe

 

Black Witch Staff

Drops of Leydia witches in the Undead Crypts

  • This will be your go-to staff as it allows you to cast from all schools of magic

 

Other weapons worth looking at

The Chaos Blade

The Chaos Blade is often seen in hexing melee builds because of its B scaling in Dark when upgraded; however, because it did not originally come with a Dark scaling, infusing it will absolute demolish the additional damage given from scaling.

The math

A dark infused Chaos Blade has 185/185 in base damage.

The B-scaling in Dark and Dex grants us an additional 47 dark and physical damage.

Resulting in a 232/232 weapon.

You will buff your weapon with Resonant weapon to increase the dark damage on the weapon by a flat 50 and a 50% increase.

Thus, (232+50)x1.5 = 423

In the end we end up with a Chaos Blade that does 232/423 damage. Total AR is: 655

 

Now let’s compare that with a Dark Blacksilver Sickle

A dark infused Blacksilver Sickle has 90/189 in base damage.

The B-scaling in Dark grants us an additional 136 dark damage.

The C/D scaling in Strength and Dexterity grants us an additional 19 physical damage

Resulting in a 109/325 weapon.

You will buff your weapon with Resonant weapon to increase the dark damage on the weapon by a flat 50 and a 50% increase.

Thus, (325+50)x1.5 = 562

In the end we end up with a Dark Blacksilver Sickle that deals 109/562 damage. Total AR is: 671

Conclusion

The damage difference is negligible, but the real advantage for the Blacksilver Sickle lies in the fact that it deals mostly 1 type of damage, coincidentally most enemies in this game (including players) do not have much dark defense, so this ends up being really good. Another downside to the Chaos Blade is the 25 point investment into Dexterity to wield it, while the Sickle only needs a modest 10 Dexterity and 15 Str to wield. The Chaos Blade is also heavier by 2 units, and lastly, the Blacksilver Sickle can hit through shields which makes a lot PvE encounters easier (Syan Knights), but is also really useful in PvP.

Does this mean you should not get the Chaos Blade? No, it does not. The Chaos Blade has an amazing move set, superior range, and substantially larger critical damage bonus. You can easily make this weapon work in a hexer build; you just have to make a slightly larger investment in Dexterity.

 

The Moonlight Greatsword

This weapon is simply overpowered, and will fit any build that involves intellect.

The Math

A +5 Moonlight Greatsword with 30 intellect deals 380+107 magic damage for a total of 487 magic damage.

To gain its full potential you will need the Crystal Magic Weapon, which adds 50 flat magic damage and increases total damage by 30%.

Thus, (487+50)*1.3 = 698 total magic damage AR when buffed with Crystal Magic Weapon

 

Alternatively, infusing the Moonlight Greatsword with Dark and 30 intellect/faith will split its damage 190+75/190+54

Resonant weapon will increase the dark damage dealt by 50 and total dark damage by 50%.

Thus, (190+54+50)*1.5 = 441 dark damage

In the end we end up with a Moonlight Greatsword that deals 265/441 damage, so a total resonant weapon buffed AR of 706

Conclusion

As you can see the attack rating difference between infusing dark or keeping normal is only 8 points, now you need to consider that the dark damage is split, which means that the not infused version actually does more damage against an enemy with resistances. There is no saying this weapon is a bad pick, but if you are planning a  melee play style and going with an Intellect scaling weapon, why even invest the points in faith? Put 50 points in intellect and infuse the weapon with magic for an AR of 539 add crystal magic weapon to that and see this number raise to 765. So yeah the weapon is amazing, but should we really go full on hex/dark mode only to not use the Dark part of it?

Spells

Similar to the weapons, the spells you use as a melee hexer are completely up to your own preference; however, I’ve taken the liberty of listing the most useful spells for a dedicated melee build.

Hexes

Dark Hail

Can be bought off Magerold of Lanafir at the beginning of the Huntsman Copse.

  • This hex drains stamina and poise when hit, which can be highly effective against anything because every move in the game costs stamina
  • Superfast cast time making it viable in melee combat
  • You setup attacks by forcing a roll with this spell

 

Dark Fog

Can be bought off Magerold of Lanafir at the beginning of the Huntsman Copse.

  • This hex creates a cloud of a very potent poison (stronger than regular poison).
  • This spell gives you control of the area you are fighting in, forcing your opponent to stop attacking and step out, or stay in and risk getting poisoneed

 

Dark Weapon

Can be bought off Magerold of Lanafir at the beginning of the Huntsman Copse

  • This hex enchants your current weapon with Dark damage. (50 flat increase and 30% extra Dark damage, thus favoring dark damage dealing weapons)
  • This is your bread and butter Hex as it significantly increases your melee damage output

 

Whisper of Despair

Can be found in the Grave of Saints over the draw bridge near the first bonfire

  • This hex lowers enemies defense rating by 100
  • Not very strong as you deal mostly Dark damage with your weapon
  • Useful in scenarios where you have an ally phantom in your world

 

Repel

Can be bought of Straid in The Old Bastille

  • This hex makes you invulnerable for a brief amount of time
  • It requires 35 Int so you will have to use spices to make it available
  • Could be useful for beating stamina heavy attacks in PvP, or hard to dodge attacks in boss fights

 

Twisted Barricade

Can be found in the Doors of Pharros

  • This hex allows you to reflect spells
  • It requires 38 Int so you will have to use spices to make it available
  • Very high risk, high reward move in pvp, especially with latency

 

Numbness

  • This hex allows you reduce all incoming damage by 35% for 20 seconds
  • Requires 42 Int so again spices are needed
  • It makes about 50% of the screen black, leaving you an oval window in the middle

 

Resonant Flesh

  • This hex increases your maximum health with 20% for 60 seconds at the cost of 2000 souls
  • Can be useful for those quick, intense PvP, or boss fights
  • Does not heal you when you are already damage, so you need to cast this before fighting

 

Resonant Weapon

  • This hex enchants your weapon to deal 50 more flat damage, and 50% more Dark damage
  • This is your bread and butter when you are rich because it costs 2000 souls

 

Lifedrain Patch

Given when you reach rank 3 in the Dark Pilgrim Covenant

  • This hex deals area of effect damage on the place it is cast for 3000 souls
  • Similar to the poison cloud this gives you area control, forcing your opponent to stop attacking you and move out or receive damage
  • This hex requires 35 Faith, so spices or Ring of Prayer will be needed to meet that requirement

Miracles

Great Magic Barrier

You can purchase this miracle fom Chancellor Wellager greeting you in the Drangleic Castle

  • This is a must have miracle in PvP against the many sorcerers you will come across
  • In PvE I would not bother with this one, except for in the Shrine of Amana

 

Replenishment

You can purchase this miracle from Licia of Lindelt in the Heide’s Tower of Flame or Majula

  • A surprisingly good miracle as it will slowly heal you over 120 seconds, so you can cast it before a battle and have it tick over the course of an entire fight

 

Resplendent Life

You can purchase this miracle from Licia of Lindelt in the Heide’s Tower of Flame or Majula

  • Heals you for 840 health over 60 seconds
  • Very strong miracle to cast just before an encounter as it effectively adds 840 points to your health, assuming you’re getting hit

 

Bountiful Sunlight

You can purchase this miracle from Chancellor Wellager in ng++, or you can attain rank 3 in the Blue Sentinel covenant

  • Heals you and your allies for 840 health over 60 seconds
  • Amazing utility if you an allied phantom in your world (Lucatiel anyone?)
  • Requires 38 Faith to cast, so you might have to use some Skeptic’s Spice to lower it

 

Caressing Prayer

You can purchase this miracle from Licia of Lindelt in the Heide’s Tower of Flame or Majula

  • Removes poison and poison build up
  • Useful in certain areas of the game like The Harvest Mills, Earthen Peak, and The Gutter
  • Can be used in PvP against poison based Dexterity builds

 

Wrath of The Gods

You can purchase this miracle from Chancellor Wellager in ng++, or you can attain rank 2 in the Blue Sentinel covenant

  • Does a ridiculous amount of damage in a bubble around you
  • Mostly useful in PvP or against bosses with smaller enemies around it (Magus, Freja, Skeleton Lords, etc)
  • Seen as a dishonorable spell in PvP

 

Sacred Oath

You can trade the soul of Velstadt with Straid of Olaphis to gain this miracle

  • Increases physical attack damage by 50, and physical defense by 75 for you and your allies for 60 seconds.
  • Insanely strong miracle, especially with a white or gold phantom around, but it requires 4 spell slots

Sorceries

Strong Magic Shield

Can be bought of Navlaan in Aldia Keep, or found in Drangleic Castle

  • Enchants your shield to have 100% block against everything and increases its stability by 30
  • Insanely useful for those who prefer blocking over rolling

 

Hush

You can get this spell by reaching rank 2 in the Way of The Blue covenant, or you can find it in the Old Bastille behind an illusion wall in the Ruin Sentinels boss room

  • Silences your footsteps
  • Can be useful when dealing with invaders as sound plays a huge part in detecting other players

 

Chameleon

You can find this spell in the poison mist in Harvest Valley

  • Transforms you into a common object found in your environment
  • This spell is fun when ambushing people in PvP; however, it is also pretty strong in mid fight because it removes the enemies lock-on

 

Soul Greatsword

Can be found in Drangleic Castle

  • Swing a sword made out of souls in a horizontal sweep to damage the enemies in front of you
  • Very strong because the hyper armor during the initial frames
  • Instantly does damage during the start up if the enemy stands close enough, so its usable in melee range

Pyromancies

Flash Sweat

Can be bought from Rosabeth in Majula

  • Reduces damage taken from fire by 30%
  • Useful in the Iron Keep and against Pyromancers in PvP

 

Immolation

Found in Belfry Sol

  • Set yourself on fire to deal damage to nearby enemies and yourself
  • Standing close to enemies while immolated forces them to attack you to ensure you die before them, which is great for baiting parries

 

These are the bulk of the spells that you will be using in your adventure as a melee hexer; however, sometimes it might be beneficial to make use of your ranged capabilities. In those cases it can be nice to carry some Great Resonant Soul, Resonant Soul, or Dark Orb hexes with you. These hexes can all be purchased at Magerold of Lanafir at the entrance to Huntsman Copse. He is the guy sitting on a chair staring at the wall while mumbling something about the dark.

Leveling as a hex build character

It is easiest to level as a melee character at the start because sorcery is quite weak early on. Find and upgrade a melee weapon like the Falchion to +3, then level Dexterity and Strength to 16. After that, level Intellect to 10 and Faith to 12. Travel to the Huntsman Copse and visit Magerold Lanafir to buy the Dark Orb hex and a staff. Make sure to level Intellect to 16 and Faith to 14 as soon as possible for the Dark Weapon hex which is also sold by Magerold. Dark Souls 2 does not have a strict linear path you should follow, so after getting the Dark Weapon hex and the Dark Orbs hex, you can do whatever you want; however, I would suggest unpetrifying Straid in The Old Bastille asap because he can sell you another copy of Dark Orbs.

 Example Hex Builds

There are so many fun builds that involve hexes that I am not even going to try to list them all here, but I will leave you with some examples to spark your own creativity. Both builds are with the same stats.

Stats

30 Vigor

30 Endurance

16 Vitality

20 Attunement

16 Strength

16 Dexterity

15 Adaptability

30 Intellect

30 Faith

 

Build 1: The Tank

Rings: Third Dragon Ring, Ring of Giants +2, Royal Soldier’s Ring +2, Old Sun Ring (personal preference).

Hexes: Numbness or Great Magic Barrier, Dark Weapon, Resonant Flesh

Armor: Full Looking Glass armor with the Drakekeeper armor chest piece

Right Hand: Dark Silverblack Sickle

Left Hand: Black Witch’s Staff

The Plan

This build will be just below 70% equipment, thus allowing you to fast roll. If you do not think this is needed, you can take out the Royal Soldier’s Ring and put on the Looking Glass chest piece. The tactic is to try trading aggressively with your opponent as you will always come out ahead due to having 1k armor, 134 poise, 30% damage reduction from Numbness, The damage from the Old Sun Ring, and 20% more health from Resonant Flesh. Also it might be important to note that the Dark Silverblack Sickle is a great stunlocking weapon that can ignore shields against people who are trying to turtle your buffs out.

 

Build 2: The 3 strike killer

Rings: Third Dragon, Southern Ritual Band, Ring of Blades, Cloranthy Ring+2 (personal preference)

Spells: Resonant Weapon, Whisper of Despair, Sacred Oath

Armor: Fashion Souls

Right Hand: Dark Roaring Halberd

Left Hand: Black Witch’s Staff, (shield if wanted)

The Plan

You start the fight by casting the two buffs on yourself and then try to get a Whisper of Despair of on your opponent to decrease their physical defense. Ring of Blades + Sacred Oath give a solid damage buff to your Roaring Halberd, and with Resonant Weapon on top of that your running attacks should be hitting for crazy numbers. This strategy also works well with the Chaos Blade as it has a higher physical base damage, than the original dark weapons.

If you think I forgot to mention something important, or any other criticism, questions, or suggestions feel free to leave a comment and I will get back to you.

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  • Beef Guy

    I may have missed it but what class did you start as?

    • Qyntius

      This is a global guide, as your starting class may depend on your own preferences like Dexterity to 25 or 15, High or low adaptability, etc

      • Beef Guy

        Fair enough. Have you got any recommendations though, even if it’s just the class you started at personally…?

        • Qyntius

          I usually start with a melee class such as swordsman or Knight because I don’t like playing as a dedicated caster.

        • Bruno

          I’d recommend the deprived. Flat stats, level 1, you’ll have 149 points to distribute between each of the stats. 48 in int/fth, 30 for dex/vit/str, 48 for vgr/end, 9 for adapt and 14 for att.

  • Shea Bryce McCavit

    Are there any s or a dark scaling weapons or are all of the weapons mentioned b dark scaling and below when dark infused?

    • Qyntius

      The Dark Crypt Blacksword has an S scaling in dark when infused, but it
      requires 40 strength to 1-hand. The damage on it is very high though.

      • Shea Bryce McCavit

        I actually picked up the Crypt Blacksword the other day and I’m loving it. I two hand it at the moment almost one shotting in pvp. Are there any weapons that have an A scaling in dark?

        • Qyntius

          From the top of my mind, maybe the Scythe of Want.

  • DarthQuixote

    Any suggestions for weapons to use earlier in the game after you have the dark weapon hex?

    • Qyntius

      I like the Falchion because of its low stat requirements and quick swing speed (more applications of buff)

  • Brian Simpson

    this build looks really nice and i want to try it, would build 1 or build 2 be more viable for PVE? I dont really pvp all that much :P

    • Qyntius

      I strongly prefer dealing more damage in PVE because Dark Souls 2 bosses don’t really care that you went “tanky”, they will still 2-3 shot you. So I’d go with Build 2

      • Bruno

        I know how it feels, lol. I’ve died infinite times trying to kill vendrick, it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, which shield you got, he would still one shot me, either my health or my stamina (if I blocked).

  • Stevie Doors

    Amazing guide. One question, do dark infused weapons scale the same way as hexes do? With the lower of the two stats? I’ve searched everywhere for this but can’t seem to find a clear answer. Thanks.

    • Qyntius

      There is a Dark BNS in the stat screen, that’s what the weapons scale with.

  • sangetsu

    Can be bought off Magerold of Lanafir at the beginning of the Huntsman Copse>>>. i believe the dude at huntsman corpse is felkin and magerold is the dude in ironkeep if im not wrong, just pointing that out, if someone already hasnt,

  • Bruno

    I had in mind a 40/40 (fth/int) adaptable spellcaster build, but I don’t know how to proceed. there are too many stats to choose from, lol. Maybe a low str/dex require weapon? A rapier, for instance, +10 dark/enchanted/light, using spells more as a focus than a complement, and using the rapier in case people got up close? Is it viable? Hexes are so damn good!

  • typtypen

    what type of armory do you recommend for build 2?

    • Qyntius

      Fashion Souls

  • OniTenshu

    Why would you recommend the roaring halberd? Even on ng the thing couldn’t kill anything at all, even with the example build.
    I just use a vangarian sword and I do twice the damage without the buff.

    • Qyntius

      The Roaring Halberd isn’t amazing by any means, but it is a decent weapon because of the flurry attack when buffed with resonant weapon.