Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build Guide – Sanguine Samurai


In this Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build Guide, I’m going to be showing you my Sanguine Samurai build. This is a level 150 build for endgame. There are a lot harder bosses at this point in the game, and I need to make sure each build can beat these bosses and tweak them accordingly. So they might come out a little bit slower, but we’re going to do lots and lots of endgame builds.

Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build Guide – Sanguine Samurai

A Dexterity/Arcane Build that uses the Rivers of Blood Katana to devastating effect.

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Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build Guide – Equipment

So first up, let’s focus on Rivers of Blood. This is the weapon that we use for this build. This is a hyped weapon. Lots of videos all over the internet about it, and it is very, very strong, extremely strong. It deals both physical and fire damage, scales off Strength, Dexterity, and Arcane, predominantly Dexterity and Arcane, I would say.

The Rivers of Blood scales primarily with Strength, Dexterity, and Arcane and is a good Weapon for mid-range combat and it is capable of inflicting both Slash and Pierce attacks.
Rivers of Blood

Something interesting is that even though Arcane is only D-scaling here, you can see if you scroll points during a respec or something like that, you’ll come out ahead putting points in Arcane if you just go all Arcane versus all Dexterity. Even though Dexterity has B-scaling, Arcane seems to do better anyway. What’s great about that is points into Arcane increase the blood loss buildup, meaning that you’re going to set the Hemorrhage status effect even faster, which is one of the great things about bleed builds. So putting points in Arcane is not only better for your damage with this weapon but also better for your bleed buildup—it’s a win-win.

The weapon skill itself actually does both fire and physical damage too, in my testing. So the weapon skill isn’t just physical or just fire or something like that—it does a mix of both damage types. And its damage increases with the weapon level as well as the scaling from your Arcane and Dexterity. So cranking these, which you’re going to do anyway, benefits this build immensely.

The Corpse Piler skill itself is a little unique, but not completely. If you use the double slash ability on, say, the Nagakiba or Uchigatana, you get the same move set. However, you do actually more bleed buildup and more damage with Corpse Piler. Even though the weapon itself, when compared to the Nagakiba and Uchigatana at the same upgrade status with having the blood affinity set on both those weapons, is higher by default on those weapons, the weapon ability actually sets the status effect faster, so it actually increases the blood loss buildup compared to your regular attacks with Rivers of Blood.

Swinging twice with Rivers of Blood sets the Hemorrhage status effect, even though I only have 73 blood loss buildup compared to the Nagakiba and Uchigatana, which have much higher blood loss buildup, it takes three hits from those to set it. So there’s seriously some blood loss buildup being added to that effect, which is how you’re able to set blood loss Hemorrhage, on enemies a lot faster.


What’s really good about the Corpse Piler weapon skill is that it has better range. It has further range than either the Nagakiba or the Uchigatana, and even though the Nagakiba is a close second, it’s still not as far. This range allows you to cue this weapon art up faster as enemies approach, so that you can get into the meat of it. The first couple swings are slower, and the next three are much faster. So sometimes you want to preemptively swing that first one, even though you know you’re going to miss with the first swing, because you want to get into that second combo, which deals a lot more damage and is far more likely to trigger the Hemorrhage status effect.

One of the things about this combo is that it doesn’t stagger enemies much at all. So you’re not going to go for staggers with this build; you’re relying on that Hemorrhage proc to sort of interrupt an enemy’s attack, where you then go into another combo with this ability. Getting into that second combo is what’s going to guarantee that you proc Hemorrhage. If you don’t get it in two hits and the enemy doesn’t stagger, if you’re point-blank, you’re going to take damage. But if you miss the first one, hit the second one, and then get two more hits real quick before he’s swinging, and you interrupt him with that slight interruption from getting the Hemorrhage to proc, then you’re safe, and then you can do your finishing animation for even more damage.

The Sacrificial Axe scales primarily with Strength and Dexterity, and is a good Weapon for for aggressive characters who like to face enemies head on. This weapon allows players to take swing after swing especially with the Skill, Wild Strikes.  The Sacrificial Axe scales primarily with Strength and Dexterity, and is a good Weapon for for aggressive characters who like to face enemies head on. This weapon allows players to take swing after swing especially with the Skill, Wild Strikes.
Sacrificial Axe

I like to use the Sacrificial Axe in my offhand for this build. The reason for that is that this weapon art just consumes FP like crazy. You’re going to be using it all the time. The regular R1 attack with this weapon—like, you shouldn’t be using it unless you absolutely have to. You should be going with Corpse Piler as much as you can. The Sacrificial Axe, being in our offhand even though we don’t use it or meet the requirements for it, gives us 4 FP with every kill we have. So this is going to help give you FP back, which will allow you to use this ability much more frequently.

Additionally, we have the Carian Filigreed Crest slotted here as well to further reduce the cost of this so that you can just spam it. We have a lot of Mind as well, so you don’t have to worry about it. This should become your default attack if you’re using Rivers of Blood.

Dragon Communion Seal

I also have a seal that I use for this build. Which one you use isn’t particularly important, and you don’t really need to upgrade it because we’re using just Flame, Grant me Strength, which is a default bonus—it doesn’t change no matter what your stats are. And that’s to get additional physical and fire damage for tough fights for 30 seconds. As I mentioned, the weapon does both fire and physical damage, so that synergizes really well.

However, if you’re going to take this build higher, like, if you’re going to go up higher levels, you’re probably going to get more out of putting 10 more points into Faith, getting 25 Faith, and using Golden Vow to boost your damage by a further 15%, than you will investing 10 more points into Dexterity and Arcane however you want. The damage is really starting to drop off at this point per point investment in those stats. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to crank those moving up, but you’ll probably want to get to 25 Faith first and then continue cranking Dexterity and Arcane.

What armor you use for this build isn’t super important as long as you can medium roll, but there are a couple of headpieces that are good for this build. Number one is Okina Mask. This increases your Dexterity by plus 3, which is just great. It also sort of fits the Samurai theme. The other option is the White Mask, which increases your attack rating by 10% for 20 seconds when something around you suffers from blood loss. This is going to be constantly happening. Out of the two, this is probably the one you want to use if you want to min-max this build. I happen to just like the other mask for the Samurai style, but if you want to get all the damage you can get out of this build, you’re going to want to use White Mask.

Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Build Guide – Talismans

When it comes to talismans I use for this build, I have Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, Carian Filigreed Crest, Shard of Alexander, and Lord of Blood’s Exultation.

Rotten Winged Sword Insignia

Rotten Winged Sword Insignia is an upgraded version of the Winged Sword Insignia, and it increases your attack power by a greater percentage. Since you attack very, very quickly with Corpse Piler, this builds up really fast and increases your damage a lot. You can also use Millicent’s Prosthesis if you have this one instead. This increases your Dexterity by plus 5 and gives you the same benefit of the Winged Sword Insignia, which doesn’t boost your attack power as rapidly or as much as the Rotten Winged Sword Insignia, but it does give you the extra 5 Dexterity.

However, as you get higher and higher levels, that extra 5 Dexterity gets less and less useful as the damage falls off, as the scaling of Dexterity starts to taper off. So it’s not quite as good in my opinion, particularly because the attack power of the Rotten version builds up faster, so you’re going to get more damage quicker. Something interesting is you can actually use both of these together if you have both. The only way to do that, to my knowledge, though, is to have someone drop you one of them and do the quest line one way to get the other one. So you can actually slot them both at the same time, which is extremely powerful, but probably most people won’t have that, so I didn’t structure the build around that.

Carian Filigreed Crest

As I mentioned, Carian Filigreed Crest is there to reduce the cost of Corpse Piler, so you can use it as your default attack. With the combined help from the Sacrificial Axe and the Carian Filigreed Crest, you can get enough FP to use Corpse Piler more often. But during boss fights, you’ll probably want to swap this out for the Green Turtle Talisman, as it’s not helpful there. One of the issues with this build is that your combo eats Stamina. Faster Stamina regen allows you to attack more often and boosts your overall DPS.

Shard of Alexander

Shard of Alexander is there to boost the damage of Corpse Piler by another 15%. This is your primary attack, so boosting that damage is fantastic.

Lord of Blood’s Exultation

Lord of Blood’s Exultation is a natural choice here too, boosting your attack rating by 20% for 20 seconds when something around you suffers from blood loss. This happens constantly with this build, boosting your damage significantly. I don’t really use any spells for this build besides Flame, Grant me Strength. However, Golden Vow would be a nice addition if you boost your Faith to 25 or more. If you add a Dragon Communion Seal, you can use some offensive incantations, like Lightning Spear or Black Flame. With enough Faith and Arcane, these can be effective options. You can also use Dragon spells, as they synergize with this build if you choose to add them.

Regarding stats, here’s what I recommend for this build. I have 50 Vigor, 30 Mind, 18 Endurance, 12 Strength, 48 Dexterity, 9 Intelligence, 15 Faith, and 50 Arcane.

Keep in Mind that the Dexterity is boosted by 3 from the Okina Mask, so the actual Dexterity stat is 45. The 50 Vigor is there to keep you alive, as you’re not wearing the heaviest armor, and you’re likely to take hits due to this build’s aggressive nature. 30 Mind gives you a good FP pool for using Corpse Piler frequently. This helps you avoid relying too heavily on FP potions.

The 18 Endurance gives you more Stamina, which is essential for spamming Corpse Piler. It also provides additional equip load for a medium or light armor setup. 12 Strength is just enough to meet the requirements of your weapon. Dexterity is at 48 to increase weapon damage and boost Corpse Piler‘s effectiveness. However, after this point, the damage output from Dexterity starts to taper off, which is why I focused on leveling Arcane for better scaling and Blood Loss buildup.

The 15 Faith is to meet the requirements for Flame, Grant me Strength, but if you plan to use Golden Vow, you should take it up to 25 to meet the requirements for that spell. The 50 Arcane is there to boost your weapon’s scaling and increase the Blood Loss buildup, making the build more effective overall.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind with this build. Start your combo before the enemies approach, knowing that the first attack might miss. This approach works when facing aggressive enemies, allowing you to land the remaining attacks without taking damage.

Greenburst Crystal Tear
Thorny Cracked Tear

When fighting large enemies, get close to their chest to avoid their swings. This strategy allows you to land multiple hits without getting hit yourself. Using the Flask of Wondrous Physick with a Greenburst Crystal Tear can be useful in boss fights and tough areas, giving you more opportunities to use Corpse Piler. The Thorny Cracked Tear is excellent because it increases damage with consecutive attacks, which is a key aspect of this build.

That wraps up our Elden Ring Rivers of Blood Katana Build 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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