Best Bows in Dark Souls 3: Every Bow & Greatbow, Ranked

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Dark Souls 3 has a wide array of long-range options, but the longest range of them all is the high-skill bow.

Requiring great timing and aiming to reach maximum effectiveness, bows are a ton of fun to use, with some players even taking on the challenge of bow-only runs!

Whether you’re on the path to become Robin Hood or just after a ranged option for your builds, here’s every bow and greatbow in the game, ranked from worst to best!


10. Darkmoon Longbow

Darkmoon Longbow Dark Souls 3

When I first saw this bow, I was really excited.

The thought of using Gwyndolin’s bow with DS3’s new weapon skills feature had me bubbling to see which of his abilities they had bestowed upon his weapon in the newest installment.

Sadly, it’s just wasted potential.

What’s more, its damage is considered the absolute worst of any bow, its unique arrows are too expensive, and it has intelligence scaling – meaning you’d use it on a build that has access to great ranged options like soul arrow and soul spear, among others.

Considering all this, I really cannot see why you would choose this weapon, and for that it sits at the bottom of our bow barrel.

How to get: Transpose from the soul of Aldrich.


9. Longbow

Longbow from Dark Souls 3

Next up is the early-game longbow.

Being one of the first bows you can get your hands on, the longbow is actually pretty solid, though it gets outclassed by the mid-game.

Still, for starting off, it’s hard to go wrong!

It has decent damage, good range, and a bunch of nice, cheap arrow options.

How to get: Found at the end of the path to the right of the first bonfire on the high wall of Lothric.


8. Short bow

Short bow Dark Souls 3 screenshot

Another early-game option, the short bow is generally favored over the longbow.

This is thanks to its quick attacks- special moves exclusive to smaller bows that can be weaved between rolls and backsteps to keep up the DPS whilst staying light on your feet.

For this reason it’s also popular in PvP, though better options are generally available by the mid-to-late-game.

How to get: Starting equipment for Thief, or purchased from Greirat after he comes back from the undead settlement.


7. White Birch Bow

White Birch Bow from Dark Souls 3

One of the bows heralding from the ringed city DLC, the white birch bow sports the same quick attack moveset as the short bow, but also the highest dex requirement.

Though this is hardly an issue, given that it’s likely the last bow you’ll encounter on your first playthrough, but because of this it won’t see much use until NG+ at best.

Its unique skill ‘unseen arrow’ is cool in concept, having you fire a nearly invisible arrow, but doesn’t have much use in reality.

Aside for that, it has great damage, good dex scaling, and is a great choice for players who want to stay quick while dealing damage!

How to get: In the ringed city swamp, by the hollow monks on the hill to the left.


6. Dragonslayer Greatbow

Dragonslayer Greatbow Dark Souls 3

Players of the original Dark Souls will have PTSD when seeing this one.

The dragonslayer greatbow is the first of the greatbows, and despite its huge size actually has higher scaling in dex than strength.

It has awesome damage and an enemy-piercing skill that will shred through lines of foes, as well as the built-in satisfaction of watching your opponents be sent flying!

How to get: Looted from a corpse in the Irithyll, where the bow-using silver knights are.


5. Onislayer Greatbow

Onislayer Greatbow from Dark Souls 3

Another greatbow, the onislayer sports the highest range of any bow in the game!

Though in exchange, it’s the lowest-damaging greatbow.

Still, the lowest greatbow is still pretty high, and it has the same awesome piercing skill as the dragonslayer as well as hitting a fantastic B scaling in dex!

How to get: In the profaned capital, on the arch above the broken bridge.


4. Dragonrider Bow

Dragonrider Bow Dark Souls 3

The dragonrider bow is a fantastic choice, and honestly could comfortably sit at the number 1 spot.

However, it is a bit clunky at times.

It is the highest damaging non-greatbow in the game, when used on a 40/40 strength/dex build. This makes it an awesome ranged option for most melee builds.

Being a longbow, however, it lacks the lovely quick attack moveset that makes it super viable in PvP.

It’s also quite heavy for a bow, and upgrades with titanite scales, which can be hard to get a hold of until late-game.

How to get: Found in the smouldering lake, half-way up the ladder that leads to the ballista.


3. Composite Bow

Composite Bow Dark Souls 3 screenshot

The composite bow is the most common bow choice for PvP duels.

It’s a quick attack bow, making it awesome for exchanges and punishing enemy attacks, and its scaling in strength and dex means it fits great into any quality melee build.

It takes some skill to exclusively use a bow, so it is still better off as an off-hand or swap-out.

For bow only builds, the composite bow can be seen as an end goal item for fast-paced combat, alongside the dragonrider bow for longer-range encounters.

How to get: Sold by the shrine handmaid in Firelink after giving her the dreamchaser’s ashes.


2. Millwood Greatbow

Millwood Greatbow Dark Souls 3

The millwood is one of the most iconic bows in the entire game.

And for good reason! It is a staple for long-range invasion builds, as well as one-shot shenanigans.

This is thanks to its weapon skill ‘pierce earth’, which causes your next fired arrow to explode after a short delay.

This deals crazy damage which is bolstered further by its fantastic A scaling in strength.

However, having the lowest range of any bow, it needs to be paired with the hawk ring if you plan on using it from far away.

How to get: In the painted world DLC, left of the ruins outside of the destroyed tower.


1. Black Bow of Pharis

Black Bow of Pharis from Dark Souls 3

A returning fan favorite from the original Dark Souls, the Pharis is just as impactful this time around!

It has the longest range of any non-greatbow and great damage on dex builds thanks to its B scaling.

It tops our list due to its ability to engage enemies from afar and pick them off in just a few shots!

Despite being a longbow, it can also be used close-range thanks to its triple-shot skill, which turns it into something of a bow shotgun against point-blank foes!

How to get: Dropped by one the three elder Ghru in Farron keep which stand in a circle around the poison gem.

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Tom ‘Cyresto’ Humphries

A game animator by trade, Tom’s insight into the game development world gives him a strong appreciation for the art form that is video games. Kicking off at the age of 3 with Spyro: Year of the Dragon on the PS1, Tom’s tastes in games has hardened over the 19 years he’s spent playing them. He now lives for the challenge that titles such as Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, Dead Cells, and many more offer him. Enjoying nothing more than a session of number-crunching game data and another platinum trophy on his PlayStation account, Tom is dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in even the most brutal of gaming content.