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Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Best Dryleaf Arts Build

Inflict Bleed by punching someone with this Hand-to-hand Bleed build, using Shadow of the Erdtree weapons and gear.

The Tarnished stands in Scaduview wearing the White Mask, Champion Set, and Dryleaf Arts weapon in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
Image credit: VG247/FromSoftware

With Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC introducing over 100 new weapons to the game, including eight new weapon types, there is plenty of interesting gear to be experimenting with. While some weapons are fun to use but don’t really stand a chance against the Realm of Shadow’s formidable foes, Dryleaf Arts manages to be both fun and viable against bosses.

One of two Hand-to-Hand weapons that allow you to turn Elden Ring combat into more of a boxing match, Dryleaf Arts allows you to punch your enemies to smithereens. And with the right gear, and a sprinkle of Bleed, it’s one of few weapons that is fun and powerful without feeling too cheesy. So, without further ado, here’s our Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Dryleaf Arts build for you to try.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree Best Dryleaf Arts Build

Dryleaf Arts is one of two new Hand-to-Hand weapons in Elden Ring’s Shadow of the Erdtree DLC. Unlike Fists and Claw weapons that we’ve seen before, these allow you to beat up enemies using the ‘way of the warrior’, and they’re damned good fun to use.

Creating a build around Dryleaf Arts can go multiple ways; Strength/Dexterity builds can infuse Dryleaf Arts with a Heavy or Keen Ash of War to get the most out of its stats, Intelligence builds can infuse the weapon with a Cold Ash of War for quick Frostbite build-up on opponents, and Dexterity/Arcane builds can infuse the weapon with Bleed for some quick, easy Bleed stacks.

On this page, we’re going to run through everything that you need for a Dryleaf Arts Bleed build in Shadow of the Erdtree.

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Stats and Class

When it comes to the foundations of this build, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, you can choose any starting class. Considering Dryleaf Arts is a DLC weapon, the starting class you choose is not going to matter by the time you have your hands on it.

As for your Flask Spread, decide what feels right after experimenting with the build. While playing around, I figured that 10 Crimson Flasks and 4 Cerulean Flasks was a good mix for me, especially given the fact that you’ll use a few buff spells as a part of this build. Fortunately, Dryleaf Arts Ash of War - Palm Blast - doesn’t consume too much FP.

Now, for your stat distribution, we recommend aiming for the following as you approach the late-game and DLC content:

  • Vigor: 55+
  • Mind: 30
  • Endurance: 30+
  • Strength: 12
  • Dexterity: 50+
  • Intelligence: 17
  • Faith: 20+
  • Arcane: 45

There’s plenty of wiggle room with those stats, too. For example, if you’re confident, having 50-55 Vigor is perfectly fine. We recommend 60 Vigor to protect you from fatal attacks in the DLC, but again, a Crimson Seed Talisman can always temporarily bolster this if needed, and the same goes for the rest of your stats.

As for Endurance, I’d personally recommend having more than 30 whenever you have the stats to spare for it, as the Dryleaf Arts will see you using a lot of stamina. Your Faith, however, can be as low as 20 provided you have the Two-Fingers Heirloom Talisman, which will give you an additional 5 Faith when equipped.

Your Strength and Intelligence stats are neglected for this build, though we do need 17 Intelligence for the Golden Order Seal. Dryleaf Arts - at +25 - will have a C scaling with Dexterity, and our Bleed-effect will scale with Arcane. So, once you’re happy with where your Vigor, Endurance, and Mind is, focus on funneling your Runes into Dexterity and Arcane afterwards.

Also, remember that the soft-caps for Arcane are 25/45/60. So, I don’t recommend leveling Arcane past 45 unless you happen to have a Rune Level 200+ build and have the levels - or Runes - to spare. As for Dexterity, you can likely expect the softcaps for Dryleaf Arts to be around 20/60/80. So again, unless you have dozens of levels to spare, I’d try to get Dexterity as close to 60 as possible and leave it there.

If you’re a lower Rune Level, that’s fine too! Before I fully respecced into Dryleaf Arts, I was running it with 50 Dexterity and 20 Arcane, and was able to do around 2500+ damage each time I used the Palm Blast Ash of War. This made light - and fast! - work of the Tree Sentinel.

Those who want to use Dryleaf Arts without Bleed need only focus on improving their Dexterity stat, but it’s worth pumping any spare levels into your Strength stat to get the most out of the Hand-to-Hand weapon.

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Weapons

Your main, primary weapon for this Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand build is Dryleaf Arts, a martial-arts style weapon given to you by Dryleaf Dane during the early hours of the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC.

You’ll be using a Sacred Seal as a part of this build too, to be able to apply buffs before big fights. And because we’re using this for buffs only, you don’t need to worry too much about what Seal you use or whether it’s upgraded - though, a fully upgraded Golden Order Seal is the best of the best for this build.

I tested a few different seals and buffs against the Tree Sentinel with the shield in The Hinterlands, while using the Palm Blast skill only (infused with Blood), and given that this build uses Golden Vow to buff our attack, the Golden Order Seal outperformed all other Seals at +1. Using buffs with the Finger Seal saw me doing around 2500-2600 damage, while applying these with the Golden Order Seal boosted this damage output to 3000+.

With this build, you should have a relatively good Equip Load, too. As a result, we recommend picking a secondary Dexterity weapon with a ranged skill or Ash of War; something you can switch to when your melee fighting becomes unsafe and you need to retreat for a while.

I previously had the Fallingstar Beast Jaw to hand as it also scales with Dex, and has a phenomenal weapon skill - Gravity Bolt. This allows you to do Physical and Gravity damage to foes from afar, and is incredibly good for breaking Poise, too. That said, I do recommend something a little lighter. I’ve since opted to have Rivers of Blood as my back-up weapon. Its Skill, Corpse Piler, isn’t quite ranged but it does have amazing reach while also making use of both my main stats, Dex and Arcane.

The Milady with a ranged Ash of War - such as Thunderbolt, with a Lightning infusion - can also be a good secondary weapon, or any type of katana or light greatsword that takes your fancy. You can also try the Smithscript Cirque, a throwing weapon, which has C scaling with Dexterity at +25.

Some other Ashes of War you can consider, without applying any elemental affinities, are Vacuum Slice, Storm Blade, and Beast’s Roar.

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Ashes of War

We’re opting for a Dryleaf Arts Bleed build, so whatever Ash of War you pick for the weapon, you want to ensure you have a Bleed affinity for the Arcane scaling.

I actually stuck with Palm Blast for quite a while and had a lot of fun with it. It takes a hot minute to charge up, but once it does, it deals a blast of damage in the surrounding area. The range isn’t fantastic, but it still has more range - and hits harder - than you’d first expect. I was also able to prevent the Tree Sentinel from finishing multiple of its moves by using it.

Another Ash of War to consider is Dryleaf Whirlwind, which sees you jumping up into the air and kicking your opponent repeatedly. This doesn’t hit quite as hard as Palm Blast, but it’s much quicker to execute, uses a tiny amount of FP, and will trigger Bleed very quickly. All in all, I’d say this is the best Ash of War for Dryleaf Arts right now, especially given that it sees you using the same martial-arts style as all other Dryleaf gear.

Other Ashes of War to consider are roars. Beast’s Roar is one that you can easily get by returning to the base game and giving Gurranq four Deathroot. This one sees you screaming at opponents and blasting your cries at them from range. This is one we recommend for your secondary weapon if you don’t end up using it on Dryleaf Arts!

A player build is shown with the Dryleaf Arts weapon and other suggested gear equipped in Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree
Your build should look a little like this. | Image credit: VG247/FromSoftware

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Talismans

The Talismans for our Dryleaf Arts Bleed build are similar to most Bleed builds. Here are the ones you’ll want to consider equipping:

  • Lord of Blood’s Exultation - a must-have for Bleed builds, as it raises attack power when blood loss is nearby.
  • Millicent’s Prosthesis - raises dexterity and raises attack power with successive attacks.
  • Rotten Winged Sword Insignia - if you already have 60 Dexterity, opt for this instead of Millicent’s prosthesis. It greatly raises attack power with successive attacks.
  • Two-Headed Turtle Talisman - speeds up stamina regeneration greatly, which is ideal for this stamina-heavy build.
  • Two Fingers Heirloom - save yourself spending Rune Levels on Faith by equipping this, which raises your Faith stat by 5.
  • Shard of Alexander - if you use your Skill more often than your attacks, this is a must-have, as it increases the attack power of Skills by 15%.
  • Claw Talisman - if you’re a fan of jumping attacks while using Dryleaf Arts, be sure to equip this to enhance them.
  • Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman - this Talisman is great for any build, but considering you’re going to be up close and personal with enemies while using Drylead Arts, some Physical damage reduction can go a long way.

In this build, Lord of Blood’s Exultation, Millicent’s Prosthesis (or Rotten Winged Sword Insignia), and Two-Headed Turtle Talisman are your must-haves. Feel free to mess around with your fourth slot or even swap your Turtle Talisman for more damage/damage negation Talismans, depending on the fight you’re facing.

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Incantations

Now, it’s completely up to you if you use Incantations in this build or not. You can run Dryleaf Arts without them and be completely fine. For those who want an extra bit of damage output or damage negation before a particularly tough fight though, you’ll want to equip the Golden Order Seal and a few spells.

We only use two buff Incantations to boost our attack in this build, but considering you’ve five Memory Slots to fill, you can always use Incantations such as Divine Fortification or Golden Lightning Fortification to boost elemental damage negation prior to a fight if you’re having a tough time. You’ll have the stats for them!

The two Incantations we recommend are as follows:

  • Golden Vow - increases attack power and defense for caster and nearby allies.
  • Flame, Grant Me Strength - raises physical and fire-affinity attack power.

Golden Vow is our main Incantation, pairing nicely with the Golden Order seal and giving us a solid attack and defense buff. Flame, Grant Me Strength is best paired with a Fire weapon, but it can help boost our Physical attack too, so we might as well use it.

Elden Ring Hand-to-Hand Build: Armour and Gear

Armour in Elden Ring has always been more of a fashion statement rather than something that can actually protect you in battle, and the same goes for this build, for the most part.

One piece of gear that is considered a must-have for any Bleed build is the White Mask headpiece, which raises your attack power when blood loss is nearby. That said, this buff to attack is only slight, so swapping it for something that suits your Tarnished more isn’t going to ruin the build whatsoever.

With that in mind, Dryleaf Dane’s armor, of course, looks really good when using Dryleaf Arts. Though, I opted for the Champion Set of armor in the end (which you can buy from the Merchant in the south of Caelid), which I felt looked pretty badass while punching random folk across the Lands Between.

That’s it for our Dryleaf Arts Bleed build! For more on Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree, check out how to get all the Map Fragments, how to get an anti-dragon katana to make your life easier, and how to beat Furnace Golems.

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