Ranged weapons play a more important role in the open world of Elden Ring than any previous FromSoftware title before. Light bows, while not the most powerful ranged weapons, offer a solid balance between distance, weight, and damage. This makes them useful tools for a variety of mid and long-range encounters. However, it’s important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each in order to find the right light bow for your build. Today, we’re breaking down all light bows in Elden Ring, looking at where to find them, and how to use them most effectively.
All Light Bows in Elden Ring, Ranked
Let’s launch right into our list of all light light bows in Elden Ring, ranked from pitiful to powerful!
Although not the best choice for a light bow, the Harp Bow is easy to wield and can get the job done if necessary.
The Harp Bow has a base Physical attack stat of 62 and a base range of 29. It has the lowest requirements of any light bow, needing only 9 Strength and 9 Dexterity to wield. As such, it can be used on most build types. Its damage scaling is fairly even across both attributes. It has a base E grade in both, but Dexterity reaches a D by upgrade +9.
Where to Find It
For being a relatively weak weapon, the Harp Bow can’t be acquired until later in the game. You’ll find it located southeast of the Altus Tunnel in the Altus Plateau. However, it requires players to collect the Champion’s Song Painting from the Shaded Castle. Doing so spawns the apparition of the artist in the above location, who will drop the Harp Bow when interacted with.
How to Use the Harp Bow
It can be a bit of a hassle to acquire this weapon, and the payoff isn’t really worth it. However, if you’re in the market for an easy-to-wield light bow and at the point in the game where you can access it, the Harp Bow can be somewhat useful as a ranged weapon. It has the default Weapon Skill Barrage, which allows players to fire off shots in quick succession, perfect for close to mid-range combat. This is the default skill on most light bows, but can’t be changed on the Harp bow.
The Harp Bow is at its best when paired with the right ammo. Arrows that deal status effects buildup, like Bloodbone and Coldbone Arrows, are perfect to use with the Barrage skill, as they can quickly inflict the enemy an adverse status condition. To get more power out of the Harp Bow, use the Arrow’s Sting Talisman, as it increases the damage dealt from arrows by 10%.
The Shortbow is not much stronger than the Harp Bow, but it’s still easy to use and can be found early enough in game to be viable as a ranged weapon.
With a base Physical attack of 65, the Shortbow just beats the Harp Bow in terms of raw power and sets the standard attack stat for others in its class. It requires 8 Strength and 10 Dexterity to wield. Damage scaling is quite low, but balanced with a base E grade for both attributes that reaches a D by upgrade +24.
Where to Find It
Thankfully, the Shortbow is fairly easy to acquire and can be found quite early. It is a starting weapon for the Bandit class, should players want to use it from the get-go. Otherwise, it can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant located in southwest Limgrave near the Coastal Cave. Marionette Soldier enemies also have a chance to drop it, and can be found in several locations around the lands between.
How to Use the Shortbow
With the Shortbow being a straight upgrade to the Harp Bow, a lot of the same strategy applies. It also has the default Barrage Weapon Skill, which is again useful for building up status effects. However, unlike the Harp Bow, the Shortbow is able to be infused with ashes of war. This means there are a variety of skills available to use with it. A good choice is Rain of Arrows, as it allows players to fire several arrows into the sky, which will then rain down on the target. This can be a great skill for dealing damage to enemies out of the effective range of the Shortbow.
Like with the Harp Bow, arrows that deal status effect build up are ideal for both Barrage and Rain of Arrows, since they both utilize multiple arrows and can inflict statuses quickly. The Arrow’s Sting Talisman is once again a good option to pair with the Shortbow. Additionally, the Arrow’s Reach Talisman can be used to decrease the damage fall off for shots at longer distances, meaning the Shortbow can still be effective at a longer range than usual.
With better damage scaling and a weapon skill unique from other available options, the Composite Bow is a step up from the other light bows previously listed.
Like the Short Bow, the Composite Bow also has a base Physical attack stat of 65 and a range of 29. However, it requires a bit more investment in order to wield, needing 15 Strength and 15 Dexterity. As such, it also comes with damage scaling, starting with a base E grade in Strength and a base D grade in Dexterity. While this is a better base damage scaling, these grades do not change with upgrades.
Where to Find It
The Composite Bow can be obtained fairly early in the game as well. It can be purchased from the Nomadic Merchant located near the Bellum Church in northern Liurnia of the Lakes. Follow the highway south from the Grand Lift of Dectus to reach the Bellum Church. From the site of grace, descend through the hole to reach where the merchant is seated.
How to Use the Composite Bow
The Composite Bow’s claim to fame is the fact it does not have the default Weapon Skill Barrage. Instead, it comes with Mighty Shot, a skill that lets players fire a power shot that pierces enemy defenses. It can also be infused with other ashes of war if this skill doesn’t suit your fancy, but given its unique status among light bows, Mighty Shot is worth sticking with.
With less of an emphasis on delivering rapid-fire shots than other light bows, the Composite Bow can take advantage of powerful, non-status inflicting arrows like Stormwing Bone Arrows. Aside from dealing 55 base damage, these arrows can also knock back enemies with a gust of wind. This makes them perfect for delivering a powerful knockback strike with Mighty Shot, and has the possibility to fling foes off of cliffs.
The Misbegotten Shortbow is excellent for short-range combat with its higher-than-average damage output, but its lower overall range can limit its utility.
This light bow has a base Physical attack of 68, rather than the standard 65. However, this comes at the cost of a range of only 25. It requires 16 and 8 Dexterity in order to wield. It flips the damage scaling of the Composite Bow to a base D grade in Strength and a base E grade in Dexterity. Neither of these grades change with upgrades, however.
Where to Find It
To obtain the Misbegotten Shortbow, players will likely have to spend some time farming the Misbegotten enemies that drop it. These enemies are located around Castle Morne and Morne Tunnel in the Weeping Peninsula, south of Limgrave. The Misbegotten Shortbow only has a 2% chance to drop upon defeat, so it can take a bit of time to find one.
How to Use the Misbegotten Shortbow
Due to its below average range, the Misbegotten Shortbow is best utilized at close range. Luckily, the Barrage Weapon Skill means you can still deliver status effects to enemies with the added bonus of the Misbegotten Shortbow’s increased power. It does have a greater damage drop off over distance than other light bows, so be sure to maintain a fairly close distance to enemies. Its focus on Strength over Dexterity makes it a good option for any Strength build looking for an easy to use ranged weapon.
If you’re concerned about its range, then equipping the Arrow’s Reach Talisman can be a huge help. Otherwise, use the Arrow’s Sting Talisman or Starscourge Heirloom for greater damage output. Depending on which type of ammo you’re using, it may be worthwhile to use the Kindred of Rot’s Exultation or Lord of Blood’s Exultation. These talismans boost attack power when Poisoning, Rot, or Blood Loss occur in the player’s vicinity. Pair them with either Bloodbone, Poisonbone, or Rotbone Arrows to reap this benefit.
Red Branch Shortbow
Topping off our list of the best light bows in Elden Ring, we have the Red Branch Shortbow! While statistically identical to the Composite Bow, the Red Branch Shortbow gains the edge by having Barrage as its default Weapon Skill.
The Red Branch Shortbow has the typical 65 base Physical attack stat and 29 range as most light bows do. It needs 8 Strength and 16 Dexterity in order to wield. As such, damage scales best with Dexterity, having a base grade of D, while Strength has a base grade of E. Neither of these grades change with upgrades.
Where to Find It
You can find this short bow as a drop from Page enemies. There are a few locations where you can find them, including Leyndell, Royal Capital, Tombsward Ruins, and Royal Moongazing Grounds. While they have a higher chance to drop the Red Branch Shortbow than other enemies do of dropping weapons, it is still only a 4% chance. This may require some farming, but the enemies are not too difficult to defeat.
How to Use the Red Branch Shortbow
The strategy for this light bow is mostly the same as the other bows on this list, however, it is the most effective at fulfilling its role. Thanks to its overall solid stats and decent damage scaling, the Red Branch Shortbow is able to outclass the competition. While statistically identical to the Composite Bow, its default Weapon Skill Barrage is the superior choice for a weapon like this. Given that the primary use of light bows is to inflict status effects quickly on enemies, having a bow with good damage scaling and the Weapon Skill that allows for rapid fire shots is ideal.
The Arrow’s Reach Talisman is not as necessary for this bow. However we recommend the Arrow’s Sting Talisman, as well as the Prosthesis-Wearer Heirloom for increasing damage output. Once again, choosing the type of status to inflict using either Poisonbone, Rotbone, or Bloodbone Arrows is important. Once this status ailment has been decided, you’ll want to use either the Kindred of Rot’s Exultation or Lord of Blood’s Exultation, depending on which status you select.
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