When considering ranged combat options, most Elden Ring players will likely think of magic as their first choice. But for those who do not want to incorporate magic into their build, crossbows are a solid option in Elden Ring — especially for Strength and Dexterity builds.
Although a crossbow won’t be the primary weapon for most players, they make great sidearms and open up a variety of combat option. But with all of the crossbows available, it can be tough to narrow down which one is best suited for a particular build.
That’s why today, we’re looking at the 5 best crossbows in Elden Ring, where to find them, and how to incorporate them to give your build ranged capabilities.
5 Best Crossbows in Elden Ring, Ranked
Let’s launch right into our list of the 5 best crossbows in Elden Ring, ranked from solid to slick!
As the most common crossbow on our list, the Heavy Crossbow’s simplicity and availability make it great for most builds — provided the user has the proper stats.
The Heavy Crossbow has a solid base Physical attack of 64. Like most crossbows, it has a range of 42. Crossbows do not scale with any attributes like most weapons, but increase in power with each upgrade and deal different damage depending on the type of bolt fired. However, the Heavy Crossbow still needs 14 Strength and 10 Dexterity in order to wield it.
Where to Find It
The availability of the Heavy Crossbow is one of its greatest assets. It can be dropped by any number of soldier enemies that wield it, including Godrick Soldiers, Raya Lucaria Soldiers, Radahn Soldiers, Mausoleum Soldiers, Leyndell Soldiers, and Haligtree Soldiers.
The earliest and most easily accessible of these enemies are the Godrick Soldiers that can be found in and around Stormveil Castle. The ones wielding only a sword have a 2% chance of dropping the crossbow, so they should be your focus.
How to Use the Heavy Crossbow
With its relatively low requirements to wield and wide availability, the Heavy Crossbow can find use on most builds. It comes with the Weapon Skill Kick, which is the default on all crossbows and cannot be infused with any other Ashes of War.
Instead, players should focus on upgrading the Heavy Crossbow using standard Smithing Stones in order to increase its power. By upgrade +25 (the max for this weapon), it has an attack power of 288, making it an overall decent crossbow.
The real value in crossbows comes from the various types of bolts they can fire. The standard crossbow bolt works well for the Heavy Crossbow thanks to its solid base damage. However, players looking to shake things up a bit should seek out Bloodbone Bolts, which can inflict Blood Loss buildup on foes at the cost of decreased damage. The bolts can be crafted from Thin Beast Bones and Bloodrose using the Nomadic Warrior’s Cookbook .
Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow
This crossbow can deliver quick, powerful shots across a longer distance than any other crossbow in the game. As such, it is perfect for those looking to pick off enemies from afar.
Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow has a higher base Physical attack than that of the Heavy Crossbow, coming in with a base of 68. It also has the longest range of any crossbow with 47, meaning you’ll be able to keep an even greater distance from enemies while picking them off.
Those looking to wield it should most likely do so on a Dexterity build, as it requires 14 Strength and 16 Dexterity in order to wield.
Where to Find It
To acquire this crossbow, you will need a Stonesword Key. Then head to Roundtable Hold and follow the stairs down just past Master Hewg. Take a left at the bottom and place the Stonesword Key in the Imp Statue to unlock the Fog Wall. Open the chest in this room to obtain Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow.
How to Use Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow
Although it has slightly higher requirements to wield than the Heavy Crossbow, Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow is still easy enough to use that it can find its way onto most builds. It requires Somber Smithing Stones to upgrade and has a max level of +10. While it doesn’t quite reach the same damage capabilities as the Heavy Crossbow, its increased range makes up for the difference in power.
One bonus to using this crossbow are the twenty Black-Key Bolts that can be found alongside it. These bolts are limited in quantity, but offer the very useful ability to inflict Scarlet Rot buildup on enemies. Use these bolts sparingly, but take advantage of them when needed to quickly drain an opponent’s HP from a distance.
The Arbalest is more powerful than other crossbows in its class, but comes at the cost of a higher Strength and Dexterity requirement to wield.
With a base Physical attack of 69, the Arbalest is the strongest crossbow in terms of raw power. However, it needs 18 Strength and 12 Dexterity, giving it the greatest attribute requirements needed to wield.
It also doesn’t have some of the bonuses that crossbows like the Pulley Crossbow and Full Moon Crossbow have, making it slightly weaker compared to those two. It has a range of 42, like most other crossbows.
Where to Find It
Inside Stormveil Castle, players can find the Arbalest on one of the eastern ramparts above a myriad of Exile Soldiers along a long staircase. Climbing up the rocky outcropping next to this staircase and platforming from one ledge across to the other will allow the player access to the rampart. From there, defeat the enemy using the ballista and grab the Arbalest on the corpse next to them.
How to Use the Arbalest
This crossbow works best on a Strength build due to its above average Strength requirements. It can reach some high levels of damage output thanks to its 25 levels of upgrades using Smithing Stones.
As with most crossbows, the Arbalest tends to have a greater distance at which they can shoot projectiles before drop off occurs. Use this to your advantage when aiming at enemies. The Arbalest is not the best over a long range, but using it to space out enemies and deal heavy damage at the same time can be quite useful.
The Arbalest is only as good as the ammunition it uses. As such, one trick that can be done with this weapon is using Sleepbone Bolts to inflict enemies with the Sleep status ailment. These bolts can be crafted from Thin Beast Bones and Trina’s Lilies and work great for tough bosses like Godskin enemies. Stay at a distance and put these bosses to sleep before getting close and whaling on them.
While it lacks the power of some of the other crossbows in Elden Ring, the Pulley Crossbow makes up for it with its ability to fire multiple bolts per shot.
The Pulley Crossbow has a base Physical attack of 65, lower than that of the Arbalest and Crepus’ Black-Key Crossbow. However, it only needs 16 Strength and 16 Dexterity in order to wield. This means it can find use on a variety of builds, especially Quality builds. It still has a range of 42, but tends to have an upward kick to its shots due to the multiple bolts it fires in succession.
Where to Find It
To find the Pulley Crossbow, players will have to navigate the treacherous border between Mt. Gelmir and the rest of the Altus Plateau. Directly to the south of Mt. Gelmir’s volcanic center is the Craftsman’s Shack.
This area can be reached by traveling west from the ravine below Wyndham Ruins, past Seethewater Terminus, and south of Fort Laeidd. Along with a site of grace, players will find the Pulley Crossbow here.
How to Use the Pulley Crossbow
The strength of the Pulley Crossbow lies in its ability to shoot three rapid-fire shots with a single pull of the trigger. As such, this weapon is well suited for mid-range combat against larger enemies more so than long-range combat.
It can only be upgraded to +10 using Somber Smithing Stones. As such, it doesn’t have the raw damage potential of other crossbows. But the fact that it gets three shots for the price of one means it will do three times the damage, whereas most crossbows don’t get the same damage multiplier.
As always, ammo makes a huge difference in the damage the Pulley Crossbow can do. Since it fires three bolts at a time, bolts that inflict a status condition are ideal here, as they can build up the status meter three times as fast. Poisonbone Bolts, Bloodbone Bolts, and Coldbone Bolts are all great options that are relatively easy to craft. This crossbow pairs especially well on builds that already focus on dealing one type of status condition.
Full Moon Crossbow
Despite appearing weak at first glance, the Full Moon Crossbow has the power to deliver magic-infused shots with the potential to deal crazy amounts of damage to enemies.
As the only crossbow to deal more than just Physical damage, the Full Moon Crossbow has its power split between 50 Physical and 50 Magic damage stats. While overall low, its attribute requirements are oriented towards Intelligence builds.
It needs 10 Strength, 10 Dexterity, and 14 Intelligence in order to wield. This makes it best suited for an Intelligence hybrid class with either Strength or Dexterity being the secondary attribute.
Where to Find It
The Full Moon Crossbow can be found atop a bell tower located along the roofs of Raya Lucaria Academy. The easiest way to reach this bell tower is to head north from the Debate Parlor site of grace into the courtyard.
From here, head to the northwest up a series of stairs and over a railing onto some roof tops. Then look southwest to see the bell tower, climbing up a ladder and crossing a bridge filled with enemies to reach it. Climb up the ladder at the bell tower to find a chest containing the Full Moon Crossbow.
How to Use the Full Moon Crossbow
With its damage stats split between Physical and Magic, the Full Moon Crossbow can deal twice the damage of other weapons in its class. This is further boosted by upgrading the crossbow up to +10 using Somber Smithing Stones. What makes this crossbow so powerful is the damage bonus it receives when firing Meteor Bolts, not the holy-infused bolts as its description claims.
The obvious choice for ammo here are Meteor Bolts, so you can take advantage of the additional (approximately) 20% more damage they’ll deal when fired from the Full Moon Crossbow. Meteor Bolts already deal quite a bit of damage, with base damage stats of 25 Physical and 80 Magic. They are also easy to obtain in massive quantities, as the Isolated Merchant near Raya Lucaria has an unlimited stock of them to sell for 120 runes per bolt.
Players hoping to use the Full Moon Crossbow should stock up on these bolts. This way they can rack up damage with this powerful ranged weapon.
Join the High Ground
Do you agree with our list of the 5 best crossbows in Elden Ring? Which crossbows have you found success with? Let us know in the comments down below and feel free to share any additional build tips with the community! Also, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss out on any upcoming Elden Ring guides!