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Dark Souls 3: Best & Worst Axes

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Axes are a type of weapon found in many games, though they often get outshined by swords or spears. Despite not getting much glory, this class of melee weapon boasts some of the highest damage of any that can be found in Dark Souls 3. Their horizontal one-handed attacks combined with vertical two-handed strikes allow them to make the most of many situations.

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RELATED: Dark Souls 3: A Guide To Building The Ultimate Two-Handed Weapon Character

Greataxes are the upgrade to axes that require more stamina and strength but can unleash much greater damage. They also grant their wielders hyper armor to shrug off lighter incoming attacks while mid-swing. In addition, they are so hefty that their vertical strikes have a slight area of impact that makes dodging their heavy blows tricky, even for agile adversaries. Not all are made equal, however, as some pale in comparison due to poor damage or mediocre scaling and movesets.

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Updated on July 22, 2021, by Reyadh Rahaman: Before one can begin cleaving their foes asunder with their favorite axe, the Ashen One should make sure to check the stat requirements of their preferred weapon. Even though gamers can use melee armaments that they don’t meet the requirements for by two-handing them, being able to use a weapon in one hand while possessing a shield or catalyst in the offhand allows for both better offensive and defensive tactics. Furthermore, alternating between the one-handed and two-handed movesets of any given axe will allow players to confuse and confound their enemies with versatile assaults and few can keep up with or counter.

10 Worst: Butcher Knife

Butcher Knife Overview

This thing barely counts as an axe. It is more like a cross-breed between one and a sword that was left in a sewer for a few decades because no one wanted to use it. This explains how it got into the hands of Isabella the Mad, a unique enemy that the Ashen One can encounter on the Road of Sacrifices. This madwoman is the spiritual successor to Maneater Mildred from the first Dark Souls; a foul adversary who will sometimes throw dung pies at the player. Much like its owner, the Butcher Knife doesn’t do much damage and is a weapon most will pick up and then never look at again.

Butcher Knife Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

The HP leeching effect of each successful hit is minuscule and is not worth relying on in any scenario, even if players use the weapon skill, Sharpen, to increase it. Don’t be fooled by its A-tier Strength scaling, either, as even with this big boost, the Butcher Knife does less damage than most other axes. It may gain S-tier scaling at the +10 upgrade (cannot be infused), though with its slow swings and max 190 physical attack, it is not worth wasting a Titanite Slab to fully enhance.

Butcher Knife Stat Requirements

If one truly wants to use this axe, it would be best to use it while playing with a Strength build character. Pure Strength builds would be ideal, as focusing on boosting the potential of this one stat is clearly the best way to gain the highest damage numbers.

  • 24 Strength
  • 0 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

9 Best: Yhorm’s Great Machete

Yhorm’s Great Machete Overview

It’s called a “Great” machete for a reason. Once wielded by the Lord of Cinder Yhorm, the Giant, it can be transposed with his soul if the Ashen One speaks to Ludleth of Courland at Firelink Shrine. Essentially a very tall axe, it has the longest reach of this weapon type in the game, allowing its wielder to out-space foes with ease. It also scales to higher levels compared to most other axes.

Yhorm’s Great Machete Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

This greataxe achieves A-tier scaling with Strength at the max upgrade of +5, and Yhorm’s Great Machete can make excellent use of it with a monstrous 338 physical attack. With such big numbers and long reach, players wielding this colossal cleaver can come out better from most damage trades. For an added boost to the already huge damage potential, be sure to use the Warcry weapon skill.

Yhorm’s Great Machete Stat Requirements

Thankfully, 10 Dexterity isn’t a huge chore to acquire, and many classes even start with this much or more Dex, making this giant machete a viable and easy to specialize in weapon for pure Strength builds. If playing on New Game+ or beyond, Yhorm’s Greatshield makes a great companion for Yhorm’s Great Machete.

  • 38 Strength
  • 10 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

8 Worst: Earth Seeker

Earth Seeker Overview

This greataxe can be found in the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, both as a usable weapon and in the hands of foes. The Millwood knights that use them against the player can summon localized earthquakes to great effect. Though, when the player tries to do the same, the result is often too slow and doesn’t have the range to be genuinely helpful in most scenarios. Furthermore, it needs Faith investment to be wielded and have decent damage, making it less than an ideal weapon for the Strength builds that would make the best use of it.

Earth Seeker Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

Players attempting to use the Earthen Wrath skill will undoubtedly be disappointed and will rely on this greataxe’s stats to compensate, though they will likely be let down here as well. At the maximum upgrade of +5, the Earth Seeker only achieves 280 physical attack. For a frame of reference, anything under 300 physical attack for a greataxe is below average and usually not worth the slow attack speed and often lackluster reach. The awkward scaling of B-tier in Strength and C-tier in Faith means only very niche quality builds have anything to gain from these boosts.

Earth Seeker Stat Requirements

The awkward split will be annoying for some builds, however, this isn’t really an issue for higher-level players who can utilize Rosaria and a Pale Tongue to re-specialize their character. With this method, players can re-allocate unneeded stat points into Faith to be able to wield this strange axe.

  • 24 Strength
  • 0 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 15 Faith

7 Best: Dragonslayer’s Axe

player about to do some pvp with a single-handed axe.

Dragonslayer’s Axe Overview

Not to be confused with the Dragonslayer Greataxe, this weapon has a very similar moveset to that of the standard Battle Axe. Though, it differs in that it deals innate lightning damage, and has relatively low stat requirements to wield. Because lighting damage is useful against many enemies in the game, and because it can be found relatively early in Irithyll of the Boreal Valley, the Dragonslayer’s Axe is a great weapon for mid-game or low-level players.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: The Best Curved Swords, Ranked

Dragonslayer’s Axe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

There are two upgrade paths that will yield the best variations of this excellent single-handed axe. The first (for any build with the stat requirements to wield it) is the +10 Raw upgrade, for it does away with the minimal scaling and boosts the physical attack much higher than any other possible upgrade to 273 while also retaining the very useful 210 lightning attack. The other ideal path is the Lightning upgrade (for Faith builds) due to the Dragonslayer’s Axe achieving B-tier scaling with Faith, along with D-tier in Strength and E-tier with Dexterity. The 123 physical attack isn’t great, though with this upgrade path players should be focusing on the lightning attack, which reaches 220. However, any variation of this axe can still benefit from the versatile Warcry weapon skill.

Dragonslayer’s Axe Stat Requirements

Quality builds would not go wrong in trying out the Dragonslayer’s Axe, as the split between Strength and Dexterity is fairly even when compared to most other axes. Though, which stats one boosts will be dependant on which upgrade path one takes while wielding this one-handed weapon of great potential.

  • 18 Strength
  • 14 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

6 Worst: Man Serpent Hatchet

Man Serpent Hatchet Overview

This oddly shaped implement can be dropped by the man serpents upon Archdragon Peak. It looks cool and its description implies that it is good for getting around shields. Sadly, it isn’t, as its hitbox is not that of a hook but more like a normal axe. It doesn’t have particularly good scaling or a decent weapon skill either. This is one better left to the reptilian humanoids with whom it originated.

Man Serpent Hatchet Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

The best upgrade path for this hatchet is the Refined upgrade, though even so it only achieves 218 physical attack. The C-tier scaling in both Strength and Dexterity may make it seem like a decent choice for a quality build, however, its lack of range, generic moveset, and absence of a unique weapon skill (it has Warcry, though the damage boost doesn’t help much) make this armament one to avoid.

Man Serpent Hatchet Stat Requirements

This is another decent choice for a quality build, as the split between Strength and Dexterity is not too significant. The low stat requirements for a weapon found in an end-game area seem odd but just means that it will be easy to wield and play around with for those curious enough to give the Man Serpent Hatchet a swing.

  • 16 Strength
  • 13 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

5 Best: Black Knight Greataxe

Black Knight Greataxe Overview

This beast of a blade can be found upon the remains of the black knights who once wielded them against the Ashen One. It requires a tremendous amount of stamina, Strength, and a sufficient amount of Dexterity to wield. The Black Knight Greataxe is worth the investment, as it deals the most physical damage out of almost every axe or greataxe in the game. Its two-handed strong attack is a delayed upward slash that can send most foes flying as well as stagger greater adversaries.

Black Knight Greataxe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

At the max level of +5, the Black Knight Greataxe attains a significant 350 physical attack along with C-tier scaling in Strength and D-tier in Dexterity for moderate boosts. The weapon skill is, like with many axes and greataxes, Warcry, however, this huge weapon gains a unique strong attack combo after using it. When primed, players can unleash a surprisingly fast chain of slashing slams that can both close distance and unleash massive damage onto targets.

Black Knight Greataxe Stat Requirements

Appropriately, this greataxe will suit those intending to wear the Black Knight armor set, as they will need similar stats to don that gear and to wield this huge weapon. This means that those who love the lore of Dark Souls 3 and the innate fashion of the world can really get into character with this Black Knight weapon.

  • 36 Strength
  • 18 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

4 Worst: Hand Axe

starting weapon of the pyromancer class.

Hand Axe Overview

This is not a weapon, but a tool for chopping wood. It is the starting weapon for the pyromancer class and is sufficient to fell pathetic hollows but it will soon be outclassed by almost every other axe in the game in terms of damage and reach. Maybe leave this one in the Great Swamp for people who need to make some kindling.

RELATED: Dark Souls 3: The Worst Weapons In The Game

Hand Axe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

Despite gaining B-tier scaling in both Strength and Dexterity with the optimal upgrade path (Refined), its physical damage only reaches a pitiful 192 at +10. Its Warcry skill won’t ever make it useful enough to compensate for this pathetic damage potential, especially since its reach is barely more than that of a dagger.

Hand Axe Stats Requirements

Minimal stat requirements reveal this mediocre weapon to be the early-game-only weapon that it is and hint that this section of the game is where one should part ways with the Hand Axe.

  • 9 Strength
  • 8 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

3 Best: Demon’s Greataxe

player having fun with fashion in dark souls 3 holding a huge greataxe.

Demon’s Greataxe Overview

This demonic destroyer can be transposed from the soul of a Demon and wields similar fiery might. It also scales with all major stats, making it a great armament for higher-level characters with lots of stat points allocated. On top of this, it also consumes less stamina than most other greataxes, allowing the Ashen One to unleash more strikes per stamina bar than they expect.

Demon’s Greataxe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

At the maximum upgrade level of +5, the Demon’s Greataxe obtains 286 physical attack and 160 fire attack for a combined total that rivals only the most powerful weapons in the game. The B-tier scaling with Strength in addition to the D-tier scaling with Intelligence and Faith make the boosts gained substantial, and it even gets a little bit extra from the E-tier scaling in Dexterity.  Furthermore, its weapon skill Demonic Flare lets loose a huge explosion that can be great for dealing with multiple enemies.

Demon’s Greataxe Stat Requirements

With some diverse stat requirements, it can be a bit tricky to plan a character to wield the Demon’s Greataxe effectively, though it is recommended to go with a dominant Strength build and put a few points here and there into Intelligence and Faith instead of Vigor or Dexterity.

  • 28 Strength
  • 0 Dexterity
  • 12 Intelligence
  • 12 Faith

2 Worst: Thrall Axe

shortest and weakest axe in the game.

Thrall Axe Overview

The thralls of the undead settlement often wield these tiny hatchets that chip away at one’s health little by little. If wielded by the player, it will have a similar effect on foes, as this is undeniably the weakest axe in the game. The Thrall Axe’s low base damage and pitiful scaling make its Attack Rating abysmal. The short reach and ugly design are additional reasons to avoid this mediocre tool.

Thrall Axe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

Out of all the upgrade paths available, the best one for the Thrall Axe is the Refined path, which still yields the lowest total damage for any axe in the game at 182 physical attack. The B-tier scaling in both Strength and Dexterity helps it a bit in the damage department, though, like with the Hand Axe, its abysmal reach and near-useless weapon skill make it quite clear that this axe is never going to be viable. Its weapon skill, Quick Step, sounds like it would grant the player easy backstabs but smarter foes simply roll away to moderate safety.

Thrall Axe Stat Requirements

These low numbers are almost a warning that indicates the low damage potential of the Thrall Axe. Don’t bother with this little hatchet unless one is simply fooling around in the Undead Settlement and trolling the Thrall enemies with their own weapon.

  • 8 Strength
  • 8 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

1 Best: Dragonslayer Greataxe

player holding the best greataxe in the game.

Dragonslayer Greataxe Overview

This behemoth of iron deals the most physical damage of any axe or greataxe in the game. It scales well with Strength and deals lightning damage without needing to be infused, making it useful in many situations. Ideally, it is a weapon for dedicated Strength builds as it requires great power to wield.

Dragonslayer Greataxe Scaling, Damage Output, & Weapon Skill

At +5, it has an incredible physical attack of 364 alongside 136 lightning attack, which are further enhanced by C-tier scaling in Strength, D-tier in Faith, and E-tier in Dexterity. The Dragonslayer Greataxe is an ideal ultra weapon for anyone favoring unrelenting force as a combat tactic. Additionally, its weapon skill Falling Bolt calls down a brilliant storm upon the heads of foes that deals huge damage and has a significant area of effect for a melee weapon skill.

Dragonslayer Greataxe Stat Requirements

Despite being perfect for a Strength build, players would do well to insert some spare attribute points into Faith for a slightly higher lightning attack stat. However, that’s optional, and that the Dragonslayer Greataxe lets it be so is another sign of what a great weapon it is for the mightiest warriors.

  • 40 Strength
  • 0 Dexterity
  • 0 Intelligence
  • 0 Faith

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