Friday, June 3, 2016

Dark Souls 3 - Extensive guide to Luck/Hollow build and why it is viable by Soul_Borne

Hey everyone, before I start this guide I just want to say that I have sunk 250+ hours in to my luck characters and I have been using hollow weapons since release. I have had success with them in both PvP and PvE, and have compared them extensively to other infusions on the same weapon.

I see a lot of people on here who are both misinformed on how to best utilize a luck build and misinforming others on the matter. This guide is aimed at new players who may have never heard of luck scaling, as well as veterans who dont feel like experimenting in untreaded waters. I plan to convince you by the end of this post that Luck builds are completely viable, and even better than non-luck builds with the same weapon in a lot of cases. Note that when I say "viable" I am referring to using a luck build for PvP at SL 120, as I believe that anything is viable for PvE. I will not be referencing Anri's Straight Sword, even though that sword scales with luck. This is because it is the most over-powered straight sword and no one should require a guide to use it. (heres the guide: hit r1 a lot) For the purpose of simplicity, I will assume that you are playing a deprived, but everything still applies to every starting class. If you already know how the hollow infusion works, you can skip the next section.

THE BASICS____________________________________________________________________________
Dark Souls 3 introduced a new upgrade path called Hollow. In order to infuse your weapon with Hollow, you need a Hollow Gem as well as the Profaned Coal. You can acquire a Hollow gem in Farron Keep and you can acquire the coal in Irithyll Dungeon. Another new mechanic introduced in DS3 is character hollowing. If you don't know how to make your charactar Hollow, look up Yuria/Yoels questline. It can be done very early in the game. I feel it is important to mention here that in order to maximize this builds effectiveness, you must be ok with your character looking like a weird zombie.

Infusing your weapon with Hollow does a few things. It reduces the base damage of your weapon slightly (almost always by a lesser amount than any other damage-reducing infusion), it DOES NOT change your weapons natural scaling, and it adds damage that scales with luck. As far as I can tell, the Luck scaling is almost always in the high B to low A range. This scaling is not represented by a letter in the Attribute Bonus area, but the extra damage is shown next to your weapons natural damage.

Another less obvious effect of the Hollow infusion is that it gives you extra points in your Luck stat, provided your charactar is sufficiently hollowed. I believe you need to be somewhere around 20 hollowing for it to take effect, and you are granted 1 extra point of luck for every 2 levels of weapon reinforcement. This means that a +10 Hollow infused weapon will give you 5 extra points in your luck, and having a Hollow weapon in each hand gives you 10 total points of luck. I cannot stress how beneficial this is to making luck viable. This gives you 10 free levels of weapon damage scaling, reducing the levels you must invest in order for the weapon to reach maximum effectiveness.

MORE ADVANCED STUFF___________________________________________________________________
I want to expand on some of the less obvious benefits of using a Hollow weapon. When you have a hollow equipment in both hands, you are essentially giving yourself 10 free Soul Levels. This is important, because it means you only have to put 20 points into your luck stat to hit the softcap (and yes, the softcap is the same) rather than the 30 levels required to invest hit the soft cap for dex and stregth. This makes Hollow not only a very good choice to add extra damage to an already well scaling weapon, but also makes hollow a good choice for a weapon that has naturally crap scaling. Assuming you want to go with a luck and str or a luck and dex build, you only need to invest 50 levels into your stats to maximize damage. This leaves you with another 70 levels that you can invest in Vit/Vig/End or whatever you want if you are trying to stay at SL120. If you want to go with a "pure" luck build, you only need to invest 20 Levels into your weapons damage, leaving a whopping 100 levels to invest in Vit/Vig/End and/or weapon level requirements. Infusing crap scaling weapons with Hollow not only makes them do significantly more damage, it also gives you WAY more levels in other stats that are useful for PvP, because you will not have to invest much in Str/Dex.

A common misconception is that in order to utilize a luck build efficiently, you should find a weapon that has natural bleed damage. This misconception stems from the fact that bleed damage is increased with a higher luck stat. This is true, but the increase is almost completely insignificant, and should not factor in to your weapon choice. I'm not saying that Luck/Bleed builds don't work, they certainly do. I'm simply saying that only using weapons that have natural bleed is significantly reducing your build options for a very small benefit that almost never make a difference in the end. I will talk more about Luck/Bleed later in the guide.
Now that the association between bleed and luck builds has been broken, you are open to an extremely wide range of options when it comes to Luck builds. But what weapon should you use?

WHAT WEAPONS WORK WITH LUCK AND WHY?________________________________________________
Short answer: A lot more than you would think.

Dex/Str weapons: Practically all weapons that have a natural C or better in Dex or Str scaling will benefit MORE from a hollow infusion than a Sharp or Heavy infusion. The drawback to the extra damage is that you have to invest 20 more levels into your scaling stats. I personally think that with a Sharp or Heavy build, you end up with more levels than you really need especially if you plan on being SL120, but this is up to you to decide. Hollow is generally more effective on a dex build, because there are not many weapons that naturally scale highly with strength. When directly comparing Sharp weapons to Hollow weapons, at 40dex/40luck you will do around 40-50 more damage per swing. When comparing Heavy weapons to Hollow weapons you will do around 30-40 more damage per swing. This is because in both cases, the Hollow infusion reduces the base damage by less and does not effect the scaling of the other stat.

Quality Builds: I generally would not recommend using a Hollow infusion on a naturally C/C scaling weapon. I have not tested the waters but I can only assume using a refined gem is more beneficial. This is because of the huge stat requirements. You will presumably do massive damage with a quality/luck build, but I do not think that 40 levels is enough to spread across your non-damage stats to realistically do well in PvP.

Pure Luck builds: Weapons that don't scale well naturally have potentially the most to gain from using a luck build. For example the Brigand Twindaggers are a weapon that almost everyone probably dismissed as soon as they realized it had D/D scaling at +10. However, if you infuse it with hollow and only invest in your luck stat for damage, you will be getting around 200 damage per hit with an investment of only 20 Soul Levels. this gives you 100 damn levels to invest in your other stats. If you have a bunch of Carthus Rouge, you can actually do viable damage with this weapon, stack bleed quickly, and use quickstep. Really a deadly combo. I am not sure about the actual numbers, but it seems that very low scaling weapons actually benefit MORE from being infused with hollow than other weapons. Any weapon with high base damage and low scaling is an extremely good candidate for Hollow infusion. It is a great way to bring trash-tier weapons into viability. You may not do as much damage, but you will have SO much more tankiness and endurance.

Bleed builds: Finding a very fast weapon and infusing it with Hollow is probably the most effective strategy for a bleed based build. Something like Painting Guardians Sword or Brigand Twindaggers will always do better with a a hollow infusion. Use Carthus Rogue to give bleed to non-bleed weapons and you can be a tanky, fast rolling, bleed monster that does more damage than anyone would expect.

Magic builds: The Man-Grub's staff is the only magic catalyst in the game that offers luck scaling. It is acquired from maximizing devotion to the Rosaria's fingers covenant. I have not personally used it, but from what I hear the luck scaling is better than the int scaling on every othr staff. Of course, you still need to meet int requirements for spells so this is probably not a great choice.

If you are using a Dex scaling weapon, a Str scaling weapon, or you want to make a crap scaling weapon viable, try investing 20 points into luck and infusing with Hollow. It almost always gives you a significant damage increase and I think it is always worth it. If you have any questions or critiques, mention them in the comments. And if I forgot about anything, or if I got anything wrong please tell me. I hope you guys found this guide helpful, as it took me a long time to write. I love the Luck stat and the Hollow infusion, and would hate to see it not included in future games. Cheers!

edit: the covenant that gets you Man-Grubs staff is Rosaria's fingers, not Mound-Makers. I have also been told that the requirement for hollow luck-boost to take effect is 15 hollowing.



  1. Ive looked,and looked for a guide like this on luck scaling and was starting to worry id need to do all the in game research myself. I of course started with anris sword, b h t i wanted to try hollow infusions since a luck build or even a lucks stag have,been missing ever since demon souls. Thanks.

    1. Hi, and the end of the guide there is a link with the original source. Created by Soul_borne. Here you can ask about this guide