Elden Ring Great Katana Build – Savage Slasher Guide (Shadow of the Erdtree Build)


In this Elden Ring Great Katana build guide, I’ll be showcasing my Savage Slasher setup. This is one of our Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree DLC builds, and it centers around the Great Katana, one of the new weapons, and the new Ash of War called Savage Lion’s Claw. Great Katanas ranked highly in our poll, so I chose to begin with this one. You can acquire this weapon within two minutes of starting the DLC, which is fantastic, and the Ash of War I’m using is also obtainable within the same timeframe. This means you can assemble this build, including the armor set I’m using, very quickly – find them both on the Elden Ring Map.

Great Katana Build for Elden Ring DLC

Elden Ring Great Katana Build – Savage Slasher

In this Elden Ring Build Guide, I’ll be showing you my Great Katana build. This is a Shadow of the Erdtree build that takes place after level 150. If you’ve been looking for a build that does explosive damage then you might want to check this build-out.

We have over 110 Elden Ring builds. Each one is meticulously crafted to offer unique playstyles, strategies, and experiences, ensuring there’s something for every adventurer in the Lands Between. Whether you seek the raw power of heavy weapons, the finesse of spellcasting, or the versatility of hybrid builds, our collection has you covered. Explore the depths of the game’s mechanics and unleash your full potential with our diverse array of builds.

Elden Ring Great Katana Build – Savage Slasher: Equipment

First, let’s take a look at the Great Katana. This new weapon class was introduced with Shadow of the Erdtree. You can find it lying on a corpse in a pool of water near a sleeping dragon, about a two-minute ride from the very first Site of Grace. Just pick it up, and you’ll have it immediately.

The Great Katana scales primarily with Strength and Dexterity and is a good Weapon for Dexterity and Aracane Builds.The Great Katana scales primarily with Strength and Dexterity and is a good Weapon for Dexterity and Aracane Builds.
Great Katana

This weapon requires a bit of strength and dexterity to use and features a move set that is a mix between a curved sword and a Katana. It’s much longer than a Katana and has slightly more stance damage. What I really appreciate about it is the weapon’s reach, particularly its jump attack, which I find myself using frequently. The running R1 poke and follow-up poke are excellent, and the running R2 horizontal slash can hit multiple enemies at once. This move set offers a lot of versatility and reach, and it also has a native bleed status effect build-up, which is fantastic.

The default weapon skill for the Great Katana is Overhead Stance. By holding the L2 button on your controller, you hold your sword over your head. Pressing R1 executes a lunge forward slash, and pressing R2 performs a triple slash. This should remind you of Ichimonji from Sekiro if you’ve played that game. It has decent reach and pulls you forward well, though it doesn’t have much stance damage. However, it’s excellent for status effect build-up if your weapon has good status effects.

I’ve provided two options: you can use Overhead Stance if you like it, as it’s unique to Great Katanas and isn’t found in other weapon classes. Alternatively, you can use Savage Lion’s Claw, which offers more utility and versatility across different weapon types and is a better Ash of War overall.

Savage Lion’s Claw is essentially an upgraded version of Lion’s Claw. It allows you to perform a somersault and hit the enemy, then press L2 again to hit them a second time. This skill is excellent for dealing damage and stance damage, and it’s more effective overall than Overhead Stance. However, it costs roughly double the FP, making Overhead Stance easier to use more frequently. At level 150-ish, FP shouldn’t be a major issue, but if you’re starting out and just ventured into the DLC area with help, Overhead Stance might be better for FP management early in the game.

I’ve set this weapon to the Occult affinity for its weapon skill. The attack rating with Arcane scaling is quite impressive, only about 30 to 40 points less than the Dexterity scaling if you went Keen. Additionally, the blood loss build-up is nearly double compared to the default, resulting in more frequent bleed triggers. I highly recommend the Occult route for this weapon type.

Oathseeker Knight Set is an Armor Set in Elden Ring. It is a brand new Armor Set in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLCOathseeker Knight Set is an Armor Set in Elden Ring. It is a brand new Armor Set in the Shadow of the Erdtree DLC
Oathseeker Knight set

The armor I’m using for this build is the Oathseeker Knight set. I love its look and style, which reminds me of the classic Demon’s Souls aesthetic. One major advantage is its good protection and the fact that you can obtain it very early in the game. I’ll show its location on the map and in my gameplay footage. However, the downside of this armor is that it doesn’t provide 51 poise—it has 42. To reach the necessary poise level for effective combat with this weapon, you’ll need to use the Bull-Goat’s Talisman to avoid being interrupted during attacks.

While this is a drawback, you can swap out a piece or two if needed. Ultimately, the specific armor set you use isn’t crucial as long as you achieve 51 poise. For optimal performance, you would typically choose an armor set with at least 51 poise, allowing you to replace the Bull-Goat’s Talisman with another talisman.

Elden Ring Great Katana Build – Savage Slasher: Talismans

Shard of Alexander greatly boosts the attack power of Skills by 15%Shard of Alexander greatly boosts the attack power of Skills by 15%

For Talismans, we have Shard of Alexander to increase the damage of either Overhead Stance or Savage Lion’s Claw. Both are used frequently in this build, so enhancing their damage is crucial.

Rotten Winged Sword Insignia greatly raises attack power with successive attacksRotten Winged Sword Insignia greatly raises attack power with successive attacks

I also use Rotten Winged Sword Insignia to boost damage with successive hits, which works well with both Savage Lion’s Claw and Overhead Stance due to their rapid attack sequences. We don’t use Millicent’s Prosthesis here because we’re going with the Occult infusion, not Keen. However, if you opt for a Keen setup, Millicent’s Prosthesis could provide an additional 5 dexterity, making it a good choice for that route.

Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman enormously reduces Physical Damage taken, by 20%Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman enormously reduces Physical Damage taken, by 20%

I also include the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman in this build. This talisman is almost essential for the DLC because enemies hit very hard early on, before you acquire many Scadutree Fragments. There are numerous early-game Scadutree Fragments to collect, allowing you to reach about +4 or +5 on your buffs before encountering the first major boss of the initial Legacy Dungeon. Surviving enemy hits is crucial since both Overhead Stance and Savage Lion’s Claw don’t stagger enemies enough to stop their attacks, leading to frequent damage trades.

Bull-Goat's Talisman reduces Poise damage taken by 25%Bull-Goat's Talisman reduces Poise damage taken by 25%

Additionally, I have the Bull-Goat’s Talisman. Later, if you decide to change this armor set, look for a talisman that increases two-handed attack damage, which can also enhance this build. There are other valuable talismans as well, such as those increasing damage after killing enemies or performing critical strikes. New talismans introduced in the DLC can be beneficial, and even the Green Turtle Talisman for increased stamina recovery is useful.

Rellana's Cameo enhances attacks executed after maintaining the same stance for a while.Rellana's Cameo enhances attacks executed after maintaining the same stance for a while.

Another talisman I recommend is Rellana’s Cameo. It provides a 20% damage increase when using Overhead Stance if you hold it for about a second before attacking. Your body will glow red after a second, indicating the damage boost. While this boost is greater than Shard of Alexander, it requires that delay to activate, which may not be practical in tight combat situations. Shard of Alexander is more reliable in quick engagements, though it offers 5% less damage. However, you can stack both talismans when using Overhead Stance to achieve even higher damage output.

For attributes, I have 50 Vigor, 22 Mind, 25 Endurance, 14 Strength, 18 Dexterity, 16 Intelligence, 7 Faith, and 77 Arcane at level 150. Intelligence and Faith are unnecessary for this build, so you can disregard those. I started as an Astrologer, but you don’t need any of those stats.

  • Vigor at 50 is probably the minimum I’d recommend at this point. Enemies in the DLC hit very hard, so having even 60 Vigor might be better. If you don’t use the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman, you definitely want higher Vigor. With the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman, 50 Vigor should suffice, especially if you pick up some Scadutree Fragments.
  • For Mind, 22 is sufficient because you’ll only need FP for Overhead Stance or Savage Lion’s Claw. Overhead Stance isn’t FP-intensive, while Savage Lion’s Claw is more costly. However, with plenty of flasks available, you can afford to chug flasks occasionally rather than sacrificing points in other areas.
  • Endurance is set at 25, a standard amount for most of my builds. However, this depends on the armor set you wear. If you were min-maxing, you’d opt for heavier armor, thus requiring a higher equip load and potentially more Endurance. This build isn’t particularly stamina-hungry, so you won’t face significant stamina management issues, making additional Endurance unnecessary.
  • Strength and Dexterity are at 14 and 18, meeting the minimum requirements to one-hand the weapon. Since I always two-hand it, you could technically drop Strength to 10 and reallocate those points to Endurance or Mind. Although sometimes I end up one-handing the weapon accidentally, dropping Strength could save you some points.
  • Arcane is the primary stat, set at 77. With a few more levels, I’d increase this to 80, as this weapon scales excellently with Arcane up to that point. You get more damage with Occult scaling than base damage, which is quite good. At 77 Arcane, you have 107 blood loss buildup, which is significant. Despite Keen having 30 to 40 more attack rating, the double blood loss buildup from Occult is worth it. Consider adding Lord of Blood’s Exultation to your talismans to boost attack power when triggering bleed, depending on the enemies you’re facing. Note that some early DLC enemies are bleed-immune, so you’ll focus on Savage Lion’s Claw or Overhead Stance for those.

Additionally, some new Dragon Incantations in the DLC have high Arcane requirements. This build can accommodate those spells, though you won’t access them until much later in the DLC.

Elden Ring Great Katana Build – Savage Slasher: Final Tips

For the Flask of Wondrous Physick, I recommend two options for this build. First, Greenburst Crystal Tear helps ensure you don’t have stamina issues during boss fights where you’re dodging and rolling frequently. Second, Thorny Cracked Tear with successive hits is beneficial because you’ll get those from Overhead Stance and Savage Lion’s Claw in both boss fights and regular attacks.

Regarding Great Runes, Godrick’s is ideal for this build since you use six out of eight stats, which can save you many levels and make your build more efficient. Alternatively, Radahn’s Great Rune is also a good choice, providing more FP, stamina, and health, which are all beneficial for this build.

That wraps up my Savage Slasher build. I hope you enjoyed this guide. As always, let us know if you have questions or other tips in the comments below. We have a ton more builds coming for Elden Ring and Shadow of the Erdtree so stay tuned for those. If you need help finding the spells, items, or equipment in this build, and securing some personal objectives, make sure to check the Elden Ring Map.


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