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What is the best armor in Elden Ring for mages and melee?

Turtle up!

Choosing the best Armor in Elden Ring can be very difficult. When there are so many options of different armor sets, all with their own dizzying stats and numbers, it’s tough to work out what’s worth even taking off your starting armor to equip.

That's before you even get to creating your own mixed sets from different armor pieces, and it can be tough knowing when to prioritize utility or to just wear whatever looks the coolest.

But when protecting your meagre life bar is so important, turtling up inside the best defensive shell you can find can mean the difference between sweet success and yet another failure.

However, with the different ways you can build out your Tarnished, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the best armor set either.

It’s worth noting that - like in most FromSoftware games - the early armor you find in Elden Ring is often only an incremental boost from your starting gear. Nothing you find throughout most of the game is going to blow you away with how incredible its stats are until deep into your adventure.

With that said, there are other reasons to choose one set or another though.

To avoid late-game spoilers, we will update this page with more armor sets periodically.

What is Equipment Load and how does it affect the best armor in Elden Ring?

Like in previous FromSoftware games, an armor’s weight is more important than you first think in Elden Ring.

The heavier your overall equipment set - which mostly depends on your 5 pieces of armor - the higher your Equipment Load.

You can have Light, Med, or Heavy Equipment Load, and how burdened you are determines which kind of dodge roll you have.

Given the amount of times you have to hurl yourself out of the way of harm in Elden Ring, you can see why this is so important.

Med Equipment Load gives you the standard roll, whereas Light grants you the speedy somersault you might have seen Dark Souls speedrunners exploit. But if you’re rocking a Heavy Equipment Load, then you have a very slow, cumbersome roll.

This means you have to weigh up - literally - the benefits of the tankiest melee reduction versus the movement penalties.

So when you’ve considering which is the best armor set in Elden Ring for you, think about your playstyle, how much you dodge and how much you block, before settling on an outfit.

What are the best armor sets in Elden Ring?

Cleanrot Knight set

The Cleanrot Knight set has some excellent resistances and is relatively straightforward to obtain. You just need some patience and a fairly high equipment load. Head to Aeonia Swamp in Caelid, defeat the Cleanrot Knights that spawn there, and you'll have a chance at looting pieces from the set.

Night's Cavalry armor

The Night's Cavalry set offers good defenses without being too heavy, though obtaining it is a bit challenging. Head to the Consecrated Snowfield after obtaining the Haligtree Medallion, specifically the Inner Consecrated Snowfield Site of Grace. Wait until nightfall, then travel southwest of the Site until you reach a treasure caravan. Two Night's Cavalry guard it. Defeat them one at a time, and you'll get the armor set after the last one falls.

Royal Remains set

The striking Royal Remains armor set is one of the most distinctive melee armor sets in Elden Ring, and is quickly becoming one of the most popular.

Despite its physical resistances being slightly lower than some starting sets, the difference in weight, poise bonuses, and its passive ability make it worth grabbing.

When you’re down to very low health, the Royal Remains set will regenerate your health slightly, which could just save a run.

You can get the Royal Remains set before you beat Margit if you skip Stormveil Castle using the hidden path north of Stormveil Shack.

Your goal is to go from the start of the Liurna of the Lakes area, all the way up to the northwest in pretty much a straight path after a quick trip north.

From the first Site of Grace in Liurnia of the Lakes, head north through the ruins in front of you then go west down the hill and sneak around the side of the Kaiden camp.

On the other side is another Site of Grace with a merchant next to it.

From the Site of Grace, walk north past the merchant and hug the cliff face on your left. Keep going north through the shallow water, past the Spiritspring Jump - without using it - and towards the high cliffs in front of you.

Underneath the cliffs, ride across the poison ground, avoiding the crabs, then take a left once you see the high wooden poles there.

Here you reach the Village of the Albinaurics. Rest at the Site of Grace in the middle of the village, then turn around. At the top of the hill behind you is an difficult enemy, but you can sneak up and backstab him for some damage, then summon your spirit helpers to finish him off.

At the top of the hill the enemy was guarding, there’s a pot on the right. Attack it once, then speak to the man that appears.

Next, fast travel to the Roundtable Hold, and your game will be invaded by a tough spirit, Ensha of the Royal Remains.

Defeat them by any means necessary - spamming jump attacks after hopping off the table works - just remember to roll towards them when they start magic attacks to avoid them and keep up the pressure.

If you die, just travel back to Roundtable Hold and try again until you get lucky. But on death, they drop the Clinging Bone.

Finally, you will spawn back into the Roundtable Hold once they’re defeated. Head left from where you start, grab the spirit wisp from the floor, and the Royal Remains set is yours!

Crucible Axe Set

As you approach the later game of Elden Ring, you will probably want something with more resistances, poise, and more equipment load to take advantage of your higher Endurance.

Once you reach the Altus Plateau past the Grand Lift of Dectus, seek out the Azuria Hero's Grave to the north of the capital city of Leyndell.

There you take on another variant of the Crucible Knight enemy you've fought a few times, but this one's called Crucible Knight Ordovis.

Defeat him and you get a heavy, but very resillient armor set with a lot of poise.

General Radahn Set

Did you know that the Maiden Husk that communes with the Two Fingers starts up a shop which gets more stock whenever you collect a Great Rune?

Once you've defeated the third major boss, General Radahn, you can buy his armor set from her in the Two Fingers chamber at Roundtable Hold.

While this is a very heavy armor set meant only for high Endurance players, it has sky-high resistances and a huge amount of poise to brute force your way through mobs.

Lionel’s Set

If you enjoy looking like a barrel, this is the set for you. While the armor set is rather heavy and may make rolling a bit of an issue, it is incredibly helpful in terms of defense. And we think it looks fun.

To acquire the set, head to Leyndell, Royal Capital. Travel to the Avenue Balcony Site of Grace specifically, and go down the stairs here. As you exit, jump over the wall on your left and onto the roof of the buildings below.

Once you’re here, jump down to the right, and climb the rubble ahead of you and to your left. You should see a building ahead with the Lower Capital Church Site of Grace inside it.

Run over to this building, and on the bed in this room, you can find Lionel’s Set (and Fia’s Deathbed Gown).

What are the best mage armor sets in Elden Ring?

Sage Armor Set

While there are a couple of interesting melee choices, most mage protection can seem a bit mediocre.

However, since the aim of mages is to defeat enemies from distance and nimbly dodge their attacks rather than block them, you don’t need masses of physical resistances.

This is where the Sage armor set comes in. While it likely has weaker resistances than your starting set, its lighter load means you can have greater flexibility with other parts of your equipment while still being able to dodge freely.

You can get the Sage armor before you beat Margit, like all the other armor sets, but you have to use the hidden path north of Stormhill Shack to skip the castle like with the Royal Remains set.

Next, at the first Site of Grace in the Liurnia of the Lakes, go northeast to the Liurnia Highway South Site.

From there, drop down to the southwest into the shallow lake part of the map using the large stones protruding from the cliffs.

A little way in front of you, with spirit jellyfish floating outside, you can find Stillwater Cave..

At a low level with a magic character you will most likely have to die and respawn to get out of the cave, but you’ll keep the armor after you’ve picked it up.

From the Site of Grace just inside the entrance, drop down and take a right into the cave. Don’t drop down to the left, instead run around the far side of the ledge.

Then, run and jump across the ledge in front of you.

Sprint past the enemies and through the passage in front of you. Then at the bottom, grab the item on the body in the poison pool. This is the Sage set.

Now either high tail it out of there, or let death ferry you back to a Site of Grace with the mage armor safely in your pocket.

Queen of the Full Moon Set

It's not just melee characters that can make use of boss armor, there's a good set for mages too.

Remember Rennala? Well, you can also look like her if you wish. Her set is highly resistant to the likes of magic, fire, lightning and holy damage.

After you defeat Rennala, Queen of the Full Moon, at the Reya Lucaria Academy, her full set of gear becomes available for purchase.

To grab it, head to Roundtable Hold and speak with Finger Reader Enia to buy it.

Alberich’s Set

Of the multiple NPC Invaders that you’ll face across The Lands Between, Alberich is one of them. He sports a set that looks fit for any mage, with a pointed hat to boot, and some great elemental resistance. The stats for this armor aren’t great overall, but this is a set that is worth showing off.

Travel to the West Capital Rampart Site of Grace. From the position that you spawn in, head right. Just pass the descending staircase, you can jump over the wall to your right and onto a ledge, before safely making it to ground level.

From here, go into the cathedral-like building to your left. At the end will be Alberich’s corpse.

Head forth, be wary of the dogs likely chasing you, and Alberich’s Set can be looted from the corpse here.

Spellblade Set

Another great set for mages, you might’ve seen Sorcerer Rogier sporting this particular outfit. With the set equipped, the amount of damage your character inflicts using glintstone spells can be increased. So, if you’re a fan of the Glintstone Pebble or Glintstone Shard spells, this set is for you.

There are two ways in which players can acquire the armor. The first is to simply kill Rogier once you meet him in Stormveil Castle, but he sells some nice spells later down the line, so we advise against this.

The second way is to let him relocate to Roundtable Hold. As you speak with him on occasion, you’ll notice him getting weaker. At this point, commence with Ranni's quest by speaking to Ranni at the top of Ranni's Rise Tower in Three Sisters.

You'll need to go through Caria Manor and defeat Royal Knight Loretta first to be able to get to the area. Once you do this, liase with Ranni and complete her questline, which also involves completing Blaidd's questline. Rogier will die as a result.

With Sorcerer Rogier dead, you can return to loot his corpse from the main hall's balcony in Roundtable Hold, and the Spellblade Set is all yours.

Blackflame Monk set

The Blackflame Monk set is a standout collection for magic users since it's fairly light and offers more protection than other mage sets. Getting it is a bit of a pain, though. The (relatively) easiest way to acquire the full set is traveling to Caelid's Divine Tower and, instead of turning right to reach the elevator, turn left.

Descend the tower, and activate the Site of Grace at the bottom. Further down the path is a Blackflame Monk you can farm for the armor. There's another monk you'll encounter before that, but farming is far less convenient since it's halfway down the tower.

For more on the riches you can find in The Lands Between, check out our Elden Ring guide.

About the Author

James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

James suffers so you don't have to. Whether it's raging so hard at Sekiro that he bit his own hand, or confronting a 20-year fear of zombies to complete Resident Evil 2 eight times, he creates guides and reviews for the biggest blockbuster games.

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