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Best bows in Elden Ring

Take aim with the best bows, light bows and greatbows in the Lands Between.

A warrior holds the Golem Greatbow against a red sky in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The best bows in Elden Ring excel in both range and power, being able to pick off enemies from a distance and help soften bosses without putting yourself in harm’s way. With a selection of short bows, bows and great bows to choose from, finding the best bow for your character is important whether you plan on using it as your main weapon or pairing it with another weapon.

Most bows in Elden Ring will require you to have a minimum amount of Strength and Dexterity to wield, with some adding magical effects that also demand Intelligence, Faith or Arcane. Even those without added elemental damage can be equipped with powerful Ashes of War and paired with Elden Ring’s different arrow types to inflict maximum damage to your opponents. Bows’ lightweight nature and ranged ability makes them an essential tool while exploring the Lands Between, with the most powerful greatbows matching up to some of the best weapons in Elden Ring as a way to build your character into a demigod-slaying powerhouse.

This guide will introduce you to the best bows in Elden Ring, including shortbows, standard bows and greatbows, and we'll also tell you where to find each weapon, the stats you’ll need to wield them effectively and their unique advantages in combat.

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Best bows in Elden Ring

With Elden Ring offering such a vast open world, the best bows provide a way to engage dangerous foes at range, utilising their power and elemental effects - through both weapon attributes and different arrow types - to thin groups of weaker enemies and help weaken bigger opponents before they can reach you.

Many character builds use a bow as an off-hand weapon in combination with melee weapons such as swords and shields, exploiting enemies’ AI to draw single foes away from groups before finishing them off in close combat. However, some of the best bows in Elden Ring can inflict damage comparable to other weapons when specced correctly, making them viable as primary weapons by themselves if you prefer to fight from afar.

Bows in Elden Ring are divided into three categories - light bows, bows and greatbows - which offer a different balance of power, range and weight (with crossbows falling into their own distinct group.) This flexibility - in combination with different arrow types - makes bows some of the most adaptable weapons in the game, allowing them to complement a number of different character builds and loadouts. In most cases, you’ll just need the modest Strength and Dexterity attributes required to wield them effectively.

Lion Greatbow

A warrior wields the Lion's Great Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The Lion Greatbow is obtained by defeating Starscourge Radahn, before trading the formidable shardbearer’s Remembrance of the Starscourge with Finger Reader Enia in the Roundtable Hold. In return, you’ll be able to use Radahn’s own greatbow, undoubtedly one of the most powerful bows in Elden Ring thanks to its own strength and its passive buff it grants to gravitational arrows.

As you might expect from its use by the towering warrior, the Lion Greatbow requires 22 Strength and 18 Dexterity to wield - making it one of the more demanding bows in Elden Ring. That stat investment is rewarded by high damage and good range, especially when paired with the Radahn’s Spear arrows, as the bow grants the arrows additional damage. When used together, the bow and arrows can inflict high physical damage with significantly more damage against Gravity-type enemies. (The buff still applies even if you’re using another bow with the Lion Greatbow in your other hand, making it a worthwhile acquisition for ranger builds.)

When using the Lion Greatbow and Radahn's Spears, you can unleash its unique weapon skill Radahn’s Rain, calling down a shower of arrows onto enemies - especially deadly against groups and larger foes.

Pulley Bow

A warrior wields the Pulley Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The Pulley Bow is one of the best bows in Elden Ring for long-range combat, boasting a mighty range and excellent damage scaling for Strength builds. Would-be snipers should head to the top of the siege tower near to the First Mt. Gelmir Campsite on Mt. Gelmir, where they’ll find the Pulley Bow held by a corpse. By that point in the game, you should easily have the 11 Strength and 11 Dexterity needed to wield it.

The Pulley Bow scales well with both additional Strength and Dexterity, bolstering its pure physical damage, making it an excellent bow for physical character builds. Like most bows, it comes equipped with the Mighty Shot weapon skill - which in this case cannot be swapped for another Ash of War - pulling back the string for a powerful shot that can also break enemies’ guards. The skill also provides additional distance to the Pulley Bow’s already exceptional range.

With both strong power and almost unparalleled range with low stat requirements, the Pulley Bow is an outstanding bow for long-distance archers and those after a reliable ranged option to complement their character’s melee strength.

Black Bow

A warrior wields the Black Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The Black Bow falls into Elden Ring’s standard bow category, but it has unique attributes that allow it to be used like a lighter bow, making it a top bow pick for nimble characters who prefer to stay on their toes during fights.

The Black Bow is found quite late in the game, held by a corpse atop one of the rooftops in Leyndell, Royal Capital near to the 'Avenue Balcony' Site of Grace. As the weapon appears in Leyndell, you’ll want to grab it before the defeat of Maliketh in Crumbling Farum Azula transforms the city into the Ashen Capital, otherwise you won’t be able to acquire it until your next playthrough.

The Black Bow’s minimum stat requirements of 9 Strength and 20 Dexterity hint at its specialisation as a bow for agile characters. It also comes equipped with the weapon skill Barrage, shared with the majority of shortbows in comparison to bigger bows’ common default of Mighty Shot. The ability allows the player to let loose multiple shots in quick succession, again catering to a much faster combat style. The Black Bow’s physical damage scales best with extra Dexterity; while it’s far from the most powerful bow in the game, its deftness makes it deadly in the right hands, especially if you’re looking to kit out a Dexterity build character.

Albinauric Bow

A warrior wields the Albinauric Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The Albinauric Bow requires some luck and effort to acquire, dropping randomly from the Albinauric archers found dotted around the frosty Consecrated Snowfield - including the mounted rangers riding wolves.

For Dexterity builds, the effort will be worth it. This is among the very best bows in Elden Ring for Dex scaling, building on its starting requirements of 8 Strength and 18 Dexterity to reach one of the highest powers for any longbow in the game. Whereas other bows reward Strength and Dexterity in near-equal measure, the Albinauric Bow is especially suitable for pure Dexterity characters.

Like most longbows, the Albinauric Bow comes equipped with Mighty Shot as its default weapon skill, which can be swapped out for another Ash of War - making it more adaptable than similar Dex-based bows such as the Pulley Bow. Combined with its unbeatable Dex scaling and high power, the Albinauric Bow stands out as one of the top bows in Elden Ring.

Golem Greatbow

A warrior wields the Golem Great Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

Wielded by the towering giants across The Lands Between, the raw power of the Golem Greatbow matches up to its imposing size. To get your hands on one, you’ll need to take down a Golem archer and hope it randomly drops. Once it does, you’ll have one of Elden Ring’s most powerful greatbows in your armoury.

Given its use by the enormous titans, it’s little surprise that the Golem Greatbow demands significantly higher stat requirements than many other bows. A mighty 24 Strength and 18 Dexterity will grant you the power to use it, with both stats then scaling its purely physical damage to greater heights - with a preference for Strength builds.

On top of its already fantastic base damage, the Golem Greatbow shares the Through and Through weapon skill of most greatbows, firing off an even more powerful shot that can penetrate through enemies, demolishing groups and causing significant hurt to bosses. Despite being much slower and heavier than the vast majority of bows, the Golem Greatbow balances those trade-offs with unmatched power, making it an excellent bow for sturdy characters looking to make every shot count.

Serpent Bow

A warrior wields the Serpent Bow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

The Serpent Bow is one of few bows that require an additional stat requirement in addition to Strength and Dexterity. In the case of this poisonous bow, you’ll need 11 Arcane on top of a modest 8 Strength and 15 Dexterity to wield its toxic power.

The Serpent Bow’s poisonous nature is applied to every arrow it shoots, gradually building the Poison status in enemies. As you might expect, the bow is especially effective when used with Serpent Arrows, which amplify the bow’s passive poisoning, though it can still be used with other arrows. Using the bow’s Mighty Shot weapon skill also increases both damage and poison affliction, which can be made even faster with additional points in Arcane, while Dexterity and Strength will increase its base physical damage.

To find the Serpent Bow, you’ll need to brave the scarlet rot-filled Abandoned Cave in Caelid, where it’s sat by a pool of the deadly substance. It’s definitely worth exploring the cave in full, as you’ll also find one of the best claw weapons, the Venomous Fang, here, and the essential Golden Scarab talisman.

Misbegotten Shortbow

A warrior wields the Misbegotten Shortbow in Elden Ring.
Image credit: Eurogamer/FromSoftware

Light bows sacrifice power and range for speed, letting the player let loose with arrows at a pace that can fell even bigger enemies. Our pick for the best light bow in Elden Ring is the Misbegotten Shortbow, which has the shortest range of any bow in the game but makes up for its close-quarters limitations with a valuable damage boost.

The Misbegotten Shortbow, as the name suggests, is dropped by Misbegotten foes found around the Lands Between, though you may need a bit of luck and patience to finally find one. Requiring 16 Strength and 8 Dexterity to wield, this bow's extremely short range is balanced out by its high damage output, which can be scaled with extra Strength and Dexterity. Indeed, focus more on Strength and this quickly becomes a great short-range option for Strength builds.

There are some options to help offset the short range of the bow, too. Using a talisman such as the Arrow's Reach Talisman will help increase the bow’s effective range, arguably essential to making it worthwhile compared to other light bows or stepping up to a regular bow such as the Black Bow. While its limited reach makes it less adaptable than other bows, the Misbegotten Shortbow’s combination of speed and power - especially when loosing a flurry of shots with the Barrage weapon skill, or another Ash of War - once your foes are within range make it well worth the overall trade-off.

Need more help? Jump back to our best Elden Ring builds or our Elden Ring walkthrough.

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