The Best Bows in Dark Souls 2 (All Ranked)

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While Dark Souls 2 mainly focuses on melee combat, there is a wide variety of ranged options too.

Ranging from the magical sorceries and hexes, to the more down to earth crossbows and greatbows, they’re all great choices for those that want to stay far from the fray of battle and take a more tactical approach.

For this list we’ll be taking a look at perhaps the simplest and most common one out of them, the bow!


8. Bell Keeper Bow

Bell Keeper Bow rendered in Ds2

I’d like to preface this by saying most bows in Dark Souls 2 are perfectly good weapons, that are all viable options and can be used throughout the whole game.

What I mean is that the top bows of this list aren’t miles ahead from the others, they might just have a better range or slightly more damage.

With that said, the Bell Keeper Bow is garbage and you should probably never use it over any of the other bows.

It’s only useful for Soul Level 1 challenge runs, since it’s the only bow that can be used if you are wearing a Dexterity Ring (good luck getting that though).

How to get: Dropped by Belfry Guardians.


7. Composite Bow

Composite Bow in-game preview from DS2

Another uninspiring entry in our list, the Composite Bow doesn’t have any unique characteristics to make it stand out from the rest.

It’s got Cs in both Str and Dex, making it an okay choice for quality builds if you don’t have any other bows…and that’s it!

Pretty boring, huh?

How to get: Sold by Weaponsmith Ornifex.


6. Longbow

Longbow in-game preview from DS2

One of the first bows you’ll get your hands on.

It has a good Dex scaling and good range, making it a decent option for up-and-coming Dex builds, or just anyone that wants to shoot down some hollows.

You can also just use it forever if you can’t be bothered getting any of the other bows further down the list.

How to get: Sold by Steady Hand McDuff, dropped by Skeleton Archers and Hollow Soldiers, or found in a chest in Shulva (this one is +7).


5. Shortbow

Shortbow in-game preview from DS2

Another very early option for your ranged arsenal, found as early as the character creation screen.

Just because it’s easy to acquire, you shouldn’t dismiss its power!

The shortbow has the lowest stamina consumption out of all the bows, and a very nice A in Dex scaling.

Those two stats combined turn an upgraded shortbow into a mini gatling-gun, capable of dispatching any foe.

How to get: Starting equipment for Bandits, in a chest inside Lenigrast’s shop, or dropped by Hollow Infantry.


4. Sea Bow

Sea Bow dark screenshot from DS2

Yarr matey, grab ye bow and let’s go shoot down some scallywags!

No? Okay… *sad pirate noises*.

Other than magically giving you a pirate accent and the desire to acquire landlubbers’ booty, the Sea Bow is also the best pick for quality builds.

It’s very similar to the Composite Bow, but having the longest range puts it above its mediocre counterparts.

It’s interesting to note that infusing the bow lets it keep its strength scaling intact.

Unfortunately, it might be hard to get. Since it’s only dropped by an enemy you encounter in a single area, at a relatively low rate.

How to get: Dropped by Varangians in No-Man’s-Wharf.


3. Dragonrider Bow

Dragonrider Bow DS2 screenshot

Dragon-riding its way into the top three, we’ve got a very interesting yet strong weapon.

A favourite of any muscly archer, the Dragonrider Bow has many unique traits.

It’s got innate magic damage (and thus, magic scaling), it’s the best Str scaling bow, and it does the most “damage per shot”. In turn, it requires more stamina to use than normal bows and is a bit slower to fire.

A good strategy when using it is equipping magic or dark arrows, to further amplify the non-physical oriented damage.

How to get: Trade the Dragonrider Soul to Straid of Olaphis.


2. Bow of Want

Bow of Want equipped in DS2

Next up we got a bow for the holy and pious.

Our semifinalist is yet another special case, being the only bow with innate lightning damage.

Lightning damage is usually very good against armor-clad enemies.

So if you want to capitalize on that weakness, I suggest infusing it with lightning, using lightning arrows, and investing some levels in Faith.

As an added bonus, the bow possesses a special attack that consumes durability and fires lightning spears instead of arrows, though it is pretty hard to aim.

Wearing the Bracing Knuckle Ring reduces the durability loss.

Certainly a weapon that you want in your arsenal.

How to get: Trade Soul of Nashandra to Weaponsmith Ornifex.


1. Hunter’s Blackbow

Hunter’s Blackbow weapon in DS2

Our top pick is a much simpler bow compared to the last couple entries.

The Hunter’s Blackbow is an amalgamation of the short and longbow, taking the best of both worlds from them.

Its high damage, range, and low stamina consumption, put together with the fastest fire-rate out of all the bows, is what propel it all the way to first place.

In addition, the blackbow is a great candidate for most infusions since it keeps its A scaling without losing much of its physical damage.

Poison and Lacerating arrows are especially great and effective with this bow (due to the fire-rate).

So if you’re an aspiring Robinhood, make sure to not miss this one.

How to get: Drangleic Castle, in a chest before the Double-Dragonrider bossfight.

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