The Best Staves in Dark Souls II (Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Some call it mind power, others call it intellect. A few just resort to saying “brains over brawn”.
But in the end we all agree on using one common word for it…
In the world of Dark Souls, magic comes in many forms.
The pious use miracles, the scholars use sorceries, the depraved casters use hexes, and the pyromancers use… well, pyromancies!
Today we’ll be focusing more on sorceries and hexes. Or to be more accurate, the equipment that you require to cast said spells.
Staves in general are a weird bunch, because some of them are exclusive to one spell-school, while others can cast multiple.
Take this tierlist with a grain of salt, since you might value properties different from me!
Anyway, let’s get to slinging spells and ranking staves so you too can be the arch-magus you’ve always wanted to be!
14. Bat Staff
As is tradition, I’m not going to spend a lot of time dwelling on the “garbage” part of our list.
Instead I’ll leave you with a few words on why you should avoid using most of these trash-sticks.
Kicking things off we’ve got the Bat Staff.
This used to be paired along with the Dark Fog hex, to instantly inflict poison on your enemies, but it was patched after a while.
You can now only inflict poison through melee attacks, so this poor staff is basically useless.
How to get: Dropped by Hollow Mages in Brightstone Cove Tseldora.
13. Azal’s Staff
Perhaps one of the more unique staves, but not in a great way.
Azal’s staff is the single most powerful staff in the game, but it comes with huge downsides.
It has very low durability, it cuts down your total spellcasts by about half, and it’s the slowest staff in the game.
Basically everything other than damage sucks – making it a “high risk, terrible reward” kind of deal.
Avoid using it, unless you’re trying to do some 1-hit glass cannon shenanigans.
How to get: Frozen Eleum Loyce, found on a corpse on a broken bridge.
12. Bone Staff
Another mediocre hex staff.
It’s an okay substitute for the Sunset Staff, until you can upgrade it to +5.
There shouldn’t be any reason (other than looks) to use this when you have every other staff in your disposal.
How to get: In a chest behind a wall near the Cell bonfire in Lost Bastille.
11. Transgressor’s Staff
Just like the previous staff, this one should be used until you get your hands on something better.
The one thing going for it is its very high durability, so give it a thought if you’re running into those sorts of problems.
How to get: Sold by Chancellor Wellager in Drangleic Castle.
10. Retainer Staff
A staff that has no scaling at all?
What an oddity!
Though it may be useless to any real wizard, the Retainer Staff can be a handy tool for melee-oriented builds that wish to get their hands on some magic, while investing the minimum amount of points required (18 Intelligence).
Think of it as what a raw infused weapon is for casters who don’t want to invest heavily into strength/dexterity, while also wanting to have a physical sidearm.
How to get: Frozen Eleuym Loyce, found on a corpse before the area with a fountain. Also dropped by Retainers.
9. Olenford’s Staff
Melfia must not have had very good sorcerers if Olenford was revered as their best.
This staff might not look so bad.
But it’s simply outclassed by many others, while asking a whopping 40 Intelligence to equip it!
You also need twinkling titanite to upgrade it, a resource that is quite rare at the time you find it in your playthrough.
How to get: Undead crypt, behind the Pharros lock in the room with the hollows that ring the bells.
8. Sorcerer’s Staff
The good ol’ starter staff.
Don’t dismiss it just because it’s a humble starting weapon!
The Sorcerer’s staff is the second fastest in the game, while also doing pretty good overall damage.
It’s strong enough to keep until you can get your hands on one of the more specialized staves, depending on what path you decide to go down (hexes or sorceries, or both).
Due to its speed, it can also be used to apply buffs like Magic Weapon, without having to invest 6 extra points in intelligence.
How to get: Starting weapon of the Sorcerer, sold by Carhillion of the Fold, in a chest behind an illusory wall in the Forest of Fallen Giants.
7. Lizard Staff
It’s literally a lizard on a stick. What more can I say?
This staff drops only from Necromancers, who are the guys hidden in the alcoves during the Executioner’s Chariot bossfight.
That means for the best way to farm this, you’re gonna have to pass the fog gate, kill all the dudes, and either quit the game or use a homeward bone to teleport out if you don’t want to waste all your Bonfire Ascetics.
A decent option if you wish to focus on sorceries, that’s if you manage to get your hands one before you die of old age.
How to get: Dropped by Necromancers.
6. Archdrake Staff
The Archdrake Staff is a straight upgrade over the Sorcerer’s staff, if you still happen to be sporting that one.
A +10 Archdrake Staff has an A scaling for both sorceries and hexes, making it a nice bridge between the beginner and endgame staves.
A nice, boring staff.
How to get: Sold by Felkin the Outcast.
5. Staff of Amana
Here’s the first staff of our list that I’d classify as a powerhouse.
The Staff of Amana is a great option if you are mostly using sorceries due to its perfect S scaling.
It also possesses a special effect of boosting the damage of your spells while you’re in your human form.
The one drawback is the staff’s relatively slow speed, oftentimes making it unwieldy and unsuitable against some enemies.
How to get: Dropped by Amana Shrine Maidens.
4. Black Witch’s Staff
Up next here, we’ve got my favorite staff.
If “Utility” was the name of the game, then the Black Witch’s staff would be the king.
This piece of wood can be used to cast sorceries, hexes, and miracles, taking the crown for the most versatile staff in the game.
You can also just use it purely for hexes to skip the annoying part of staff/chime juggling for certain spells.
Lastly, due to its multiple damage types, you can sometimes just whack enemies to death.
Of course the tradeoff is its inferior scaling compared to the top staves.
How to get: Dropped by Leydia Witches, the Peculiar Kindalur invader, and a Mimic in Aldia’s Keep.
3. Staff of Wisdom
The staves at #3 and #2 of this list are interchangeable, really.
So it all comes down to if you prefer sorceries or hexes.
With that said, the Staff of Wisdom is the best staff in the game for sorceries.
The length of the staff might cause you to sometimes miss when firing at enemies from up-close, but you can also use that to your advantage to fire your spells over barriers and objects.
This staff also increases the length of a Soul Greatsword sorcery, often causing it to hit enemies that are behind you.
Don’t forget to infuse it with magic to further amplify its properties.
How to get: Dropped by a Mimic in Brightstone Cove Tseldora, inside an abandoned house.
2. Sunset Staff
The dark counterpart to the Staff of Wisdom, this one is best-in-slot for all your hexxing needs.
I’ve only ranked this above the SoW because this one can also cast sorceries, and you might find that helpful in some scenarios.
Infusing it with dark is always a good idea if you want to increase your damage.
And if you’re finding the staff a bit too slow, try wearing a Clear Bluestone Ring.
How to get: Talk to Felkin the Outcast with 20+ intelligence and faith. Dropped by a Mimic outside Aldia’s Keep.
1. Witchtree Branch
Dark Souls is not a game that will go easy on you.
Enemies won’t just stand there waiting for you to kill them.
For that reason, I’ve put the Witchtree Branch at the very top of this list, since it’s the staff with the fastest casting speed in the game.
While it doesn’t do the absolute max amount of damage, it’s still very powerful at what it does, while doing it fast.
Even in PvP you can chain spells and execute various combos to devastate your enemies.
So go ahead, heed my words.
Pick up the Witchtree Branch and destroy anything and anyone, while sinisterly mumbling to yourself “I am speed”.
You won’t regret it.
How to get: Found in a chest inside the pit in Majula. Requires the Forgotten Key, dropped by the Giants in Black Gulch.