Elden Ring has finally been released, and players everywhere are itching to dive into the Lands Between. One of the most crucial decisions in the game is your choice of starting class. Which will you pick, which direction will you initially build your character in? If these questions have you feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. We’ve created a Tier List for what we believe to be the best starting classes in Elden Ring, ranked from best to worst.
Elden Ring Best starting classes
Elden Ring Vagabond
Right at the top of the list, we’re starting with a defensive option. Elden Ring is going to come out swinging. And the Vagabond will let you survive more than a few blows while you learn the ropes. Their exceptionally high starting Vigor gives you the largest initial health pool of any Elden Ring class. This gives you a lot of wiggle room to stay alive whilst learning the game’s mechanics. And Vigor is a stat that never stops being useful, even if you pivot to other builds later on. More health is never a bad thing in a game like Elden Ring, and a few points in Vigor can often spell the difference between surviving a hit or not.
Beyond just their Vigor, Vagabonds come with a health dose of Strength, meaning that you’ll be hitting hard, even in the early going. And Vagabonds are no slouch in Dexterity either, further increasing their range of usable weaponry. Vagabonds’ Intelligence and Faith are only a little below average. So they can make an effective caster with only a little investment, hampered only slightly by a low starting Arcane.
Vagabonds display few if any noticeable drawbacks in Elden Ring. Flexibility, ease of use and consistency put the Vagabond at the top of the pile in our Tier List.
Elden Ring Samurai
Samurai are a fantastic starting class in Elden Ring. Their proficiency in close and long-range combat can get players to grips with multiple mechanics, without over-specializing. Their only real drawback is the classic ‘master of none’ applied to all-rounder classes everywhere. But this is a weakness that can be rectified easily enough. It is entirely possible to specialize in a build later on as a Samurai. Or indeed any class in Elden Ring. Starting stats don’t lock you into any specific build, they are simply there to guide you as you’re starting out.
With their slightly below average Intelligence, Faith, and Arcane, Samurai are not going to be immediately naturals at casting. But crucially, those stats aren’t so low that the casting ability can’t be improved later on.
There is a chance that Samurai’s flexibility may mean that newbies get overwhelmed with options and not immediately understand where their strengths lie, as they might with other specialized classes. But the Samurai plays well enough that this is only a minor concern and one that is limited to the very beginning of Elden Ring.
Elden Ring Hero
The Hero in Elden Ring is fantastic at what it does. And that’s hitting hard and taking hits right back. Its high Vigor and even higher Strength mean you can soak up a few blows and then rain hell on your foes in return.
The only real downside to starting off with the hero is their below-average Dexterity. This isn’t the worst thing in the world, but it does limit your chosen playstyle even further. Dexterity is a requirement for certain types of weaponry, and it also speeds up casting time. While a Hero was never going to make the best caster regardless, this only further weakens their arcane or divine potential.
Choosing the Hero gives you great health and damage-dealing right out of the gate, but their over-specialization makes them harder to convert into different builds further down the line.
Elden Ring Warrior
The Warrior is yet another melee-focused class in Elden Ring. But while previous classes all placed an emphasis on survivability, the Warrior is all about getting in, dealing hits quickly, and getting back out again. The Warrior very heavily invests in Dexterity, making it an offensive powerhouse with certain types of weaponry. And its Endurance and Vigor are both decent, though notably behind the highest-ranking classes on this list.
Dealing a huge chunk of damage is never going to stop be gratifying, and it can definitely help to sweep through the opening hours of Elden Ring. But once you do run into a challenge you can’t just steamroll through, your time with the Warrior is going to slow down a little as you learn and adjust. This staggered pace of mastering game mechanics puts the Warrior just a few steps behind its melee-focused brethren on our Tier List.
Elden Ring Confessor
The Confessor is the highest-rated primary spellcaster on this Tier List. Spellcasting is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool in Elden Ring. But its reliance on resource management rates it lower in terms of beginner friendliness.
Previous FromSoftware games often demanded heavy, initially somewhat exclusive stat investments to get the most out of spellcasting. Caster-specific builds were a necessity, forgoing physical aptitude for raw arcane or divine power In Elden Ring, however, it is easier than ever to play a hybrid melee-spellcaster. And that’s just what the Confessor offers. Its high faith gives it an immediate aptitude for incantations, while its Strength and Dexterity allow it to supplement its magic with some good old-fashioned close combat.
The Confessor’s stats are fairly even across the board, with only Intelligence and Arcane slightly below ten. While the confessor may not hit quite as hard as some of the purely melee Elden Ring classes, it can quickly be taken in just about any direction you prefer.
Elden Ring Bandit
Elden Ring’s sneaky rogue equivalent. The Bandit’s high dexterity and lower Vigor means that you are initially going to be best from afar, or utilizing hit-and-run tactics. Stealth will likely play a part if you choose the bandit, as you get the drop on your foes and take them out quickly. While the Bandit can be a true force to be feared, its gameplay is more initially methodical than previous classes on our Tier List. It requires a degree of planning and patience to get the most use out of, which may be at odds with new players’ impulses to jump right in and see everything the game has to offer.
Elden Ring Prisoner
The Prisoner is a class that you really want to keep foes at a distance with, even more so than the Bandit. Its Vigor is slightly better than the bandit’s so fragility isn’t a chief concern. The Prisoner’s best stats being Dexterity and Intelligence simply means that you are going to be most effective casting sorceries and using ranged weaponry. This requires a knowledge of positioning and knowing when to back off which may initially prove a challenge to new Elden Ring players. Though Prisoners are capable of mixing things up at close range when required, thanks to that Dexterity.
Their significantly lowered Faith score also reduces the prisoner’s ability to effectively cast incantations for a good chunk of time. But their Intelligence and sorcery aptitude more than makes up for it. This reduces the potential breadth and variety of the Prisoner’s spellcasting but is hardly a death sentence.
Elden Ring Astrologer
The Astrologer is Elden Ring’s primary sorcery caster. Magic builds have never been particularly beginner-friendly in FromSoftware games up until this point, with the possible exception of Pyromancy. But Elden Ring’s generosity in the early going means that the Astrologer – and the Prophet – are hardly the bottom of the barrel. The Astrologer’s Intelligence and Mind are second to none, and you’ll be able to throw around some truly devastating sorcery before too long. Just keep their slightly reduced Vigor in mind. Once an enemy gets in close, it doesn’t take much to shut the astrologer down.
Elden Ring Prophet
The Prophet is the Astrologer’s incantation-specializing equivalent. There is very little separating how the two fare in the early game, other than their selection of spells. And while the Prophet boasts slightly higher Vigor than the Astrologer, its lower Mind and Dexterity make it slightly less flexible when it comes to other potential builds. But even then, the Prophet’s strength can quickly be built up into a melee-capable combatant, even if it is a little let down by low Endurance.
Elden Ring Wretch
Look, we’ll be honest with you. The Wretch is pretty much a joke option. Like the Deprived before it, the Wretch is weaker in almost every conceivable way than the other Elden Ring classes. Its stats are paltry, its equipment is restricted to a simple Club. The only real benefit of the Wretch is its even stat distribution: tens across the board. This, and the fact that it starts at level one, means that it’s possible to build the Wretch into a force to be feared later on. But you’re really shooting yourself in the foot for the beginning portions of the game. If you like an extra side of masochism to go with your punishment, then, by all means, take the Wretch. But we can’t in good conscience recommend it for Elden Ring first-timers. And for that reason, it’s at the very bottom of our Tier List.
But hey, if you do pick the Wretch…it can only get better from here!
More Elden Ring content
We’ve been waiting to get our hands on Fromsoftware’s Elden Ring for so long, we almost can’t believe it’s finally arrived. Other than our Tier List, We’ll be here to walk you through every step of your journey through the Lands Between. Join us for all our Elden Ring content and guides over the coming days and weeks.