Dark Souls 3 is the largest game in the franchise, which is only fitting since it’s the third and last entry in the mainline trilogy.
And when an RPG game meant for hardcore gamers is filled with content, it’s only natural that it includes all different kinds of gear that greatly alter the gameplay based on individual preferences and play styles.
One of the most important things in a video game about fighting powerful threats with melee weapons is to have armor that can protect you from dying when you make mistakes and get hurt – and Dark Souls 3 makes it slightly easier to pick your options by offering you Armor Sets to unlock and purchase.
Since the game has a long list of armor sets, it can be difficult to know which ones are the best ones that you can get your hands on and use for your playthrough of the game.
Dark Souls 3 Armor Sets Tier List
We’ve ranked the best armor sets in Dark Souls 3 for 2021, with all the DLC and patched changes are taken into account.
1. Wolf Knight Set
The Wolf Knight set is one of the most well-known armor sets from Dark Souls 3 and that’s for a very good reason.
It has a very good balance between weight and defense, so if you’re trying to find something that allows you to have an equal amount of effectiveness in terms of defense and offense – then this balanced set that happens to look great too is what you need, as it’s not particularly incompatible with any player build.
You can buy it at the Untended Graves for 46,000 souls – which makes it one of the most expensive items in the game.
2. Smough’s Set
These golden bosses are considered one of the biggest challenges that the Dark Souls franchise has to offer – so there’s no surprise that the Smough armor set is pretty damn good. It has the highest defense and is the heaviest to wear.
With it, you have remarkable strength, defense, and vitality – although it’s not very useful for builds that rely on dexterity due to its heavyweight.
It can be purchased in the Firelink Shrine after defeating Aldrich, Devourer of Gods.
3. Iron Dragonslayer Set
One of the best things that the Ringed City DLC has to offer, the Iron Dragonslayer set is one of the best armor sets in the game which happens to look very cool too.
It’s perfect for strength builds but can work well with some of the other ones too that are more on the offensive side. It offers a pretty decent amount of defense and its resistance to elemental damages is nothing special, but if you combine defensive gameplay with the right amount of strength – this armor will be very effective for all kinds of situations.
It drops from the Dragonslayer Armor, which can be found in the swamp outside of the Ringed City Streets bonfire.
4. Dancer’s Set
Here’s a rather specific armor set. It’s great for PvP, battlemages, and intelligence builds altogether. It looks great and works pretty well with both offensive and magic-based statistics, which is further complemented by the fact that it has a pretty good weight level despite its usefulness.
You can buy it from the Firelink Shrine once you defeat, as the name implies, the Dancer.
5. Exile Set
The Exile set has quite a unique appearance, the kind that usually a mother could love. However, that is easily compensated for by how useful this armor set is. It’s an excellent heavy armor that has good elemental resistance and offers great defense against bleeding damage.
So, if you’re looking for something that compliments your character build’s strength and offers a lot of elemental resistance – this is what you need.
You can buy it at the Firelink Shrine once you defeat the Exile Watchdogs duo found at the entrance to Farron Keep.
6. Dragonscale Set
The Dragonscale set makes you look like a powerful boss rather than a player character, and that’s because you can only obtain it if you beat one of the hardest bosses in the game, called the ‘Nameless King’.
The dragon has an amazing defense in general and it’s further increased against fire. It’s not very useful against lightning damage – but you can counter that by being good at parrying and dodging.
Once you defeat the Nameless King, you can buy the armor set at the Firelink Shrine.
7. Gundyr’s Set
Gundry’s set is an armor set that references an armor set that existed long before the first Dark Souls game. That’s because it’s from Demon’s Souls, which was a forgotten game until the PlayStation 5 remake came out very recently.
You can get this armor set very early on by killing Champion Gundyr – and then it can be purchased at the Firelink Shrine. Despite being an early item in the game, it has great defense and poise statistics which are effective even later on in the game.
8. Alva Set
The Alva set is something that makes a return from Dark Souls 2 and it’s even better in the sequel. It has a majestic knight-like appearance and offers a decent amount of resistance.
Combine that with its advantage in terms of having great poise – and that makes up for the fact that some other ~22 weight armor sets usually provide more protection than the Alva set.
You can obtain this armor once you defeat the Dark Spirit Alva, which is a part of the invasion that you face. But if you defeat Yhorm before obtaining this armor, you won’t be able to get it anymore since Alva will no longer invade you.
9. Xanthous Set
This set is mainly recommended for those who have mage builds in Dark Souls 3, as it offers a good balance of defense and resistance to elemental attacks from enemies that rely on magic.
It may not look very protective against steel – but don’t be fooled by its appearance. It has good resistance to most things and you can keep yourself safe with the right spells combined.
You can purchase this armor once you give the Xanthous Ashes to the Shrine Maiden.
10. Catarina Set
The Catarina set is always an interesting choice because although it appears in every game and is effective to use, players tend to ignore it because of the fact that it looks like an onion with lots of body fat.
However, the appearance does imply that it’s heavily protected armor and that is true – it will keep you safe from a lot of damage, as long as it’s not ‘Cursed’ attacks coming your way. Even then, you’ll just have to be careful, not at a major disadvantage.
You can purchase it from the Patches in Cathedral of the Deep. But if you want to be on a budget, it can be found in the boss arena of Yohrm too, once you finish the side quests given to you by Siegward of Catarina.
There are certainly many other armor sets to be purchased in the game, but they’re mostly just there for the sake of it and not useful enough to be included in a ‘top 10’ list, and would waste time to be discussed.
However, player skill and the build that you use make a lot of difference in terms of how useful an armor is for you, and it’s completely possible that you might end up using an armor set that isn’t found on this list on your playthroughs.
These are simply the ‘best of the best, based on expert opinion.
We hope that you found this guide useful and while you’re here, make sure to check out some of our other helpful gaming guides too!
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