The best Elden Ring talismans are incredibly hard to pin down. Out of all the gear in the game, they’re arguably the most build-dependent — the most reliant on what you want to specifically accomplish. This means that picking a single “best” talisman in Elden Ring is pretty much impossible. Something useful to a spellcaster may have literally zero impact on a player focused entirely on melee damage. Most slow weapons won’t benefit from Winged Sword Insignia, but the Starscourge Greatsword and Marais Executioner’s Sword can due to their special properties and skills. All of which is to say: this is one of the most “your mileage may vary” gear categories in the game. We simply trust our audience to employ their best judgement when using this tier list as inspiration for their builds. Yet we figured that organizing the list according to our tastes and community feedback would be of some use! Let’s get to that list now.
NOTE: Reading past this point will lead to MINOR SPOILERS for Elden Ring. This is a game all about exploration and discovery. Some players might not even want a hint of a whiff of what new powers await them. If that’s you, skip this for now and come back later! Though we suspect you already know what you’re in for if you’ve read this far. With that out of the way, here’s the current talisman tier list in its simplest form.
UPDATE 1.04: Elden Ring continues to drop massive balanced updates. The latest (at the time of this writing) was Patch 1.04. You can read the full patch notes here. This list reflects changes made up to that point. Several theorycrafted and popular builds at this stage were also taken into account. Though not all of them are directly referenced in this guide.
|Rotten Winged Sword Insignia||Shard of Alexander||Godskin Swaddling Cloth||Lord of Blood’s Exultation|
|Carian Filigreed Crest||Kindred of Rot’s Exultation||Greatshield Talisman||Green Turtle Talisman||Primal Glintstone Blade|
|Warrior Jar Shard||Assassin’s Cerulean Dagger||Claw Talisman||Curved Sword Talisman||Millicent’s Prosthesis|
|Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman||Godfrey Icon||Crimson Seed Talisman||Cerulean Seed Talisman|
|Companion Jar||Graven-Mass Talisman||Assassin’s Crimson Dagger||Crepus’s Vial||Flock’s Canvas Talisman|
|Radagon Icon||Radagon’s Scarseal||Radagon’s Soreseal||Marika’s Scarseal||Marika’s Soreseal|
|Erdtree’s Favor, (+1), (+2)||Axe Talisman||Winged Sword Insignia||Arrow’s Sting Talisman||Arrow’s Reach Talisman|
|Dragoncrest Shield Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Bull-Goat’s Talisman||Red-Feathered Branchsword||Blue-Feathered Branchsword||Spear Talisman|
|Magic Scorpion Charm||Fire Scorpion Charm||Sacred Scorpion Charm||Lightning Scorpion Charm||Ritual Sword Talisman|
|Ritual Shield Talisman||Two Fingers Heirloom||Stargazer Heirloom||Starscourge Heirloom||Prosthesis-Wearer Heirloom|
|Graven-School Talisman||Stalwart Horn Charm, (+1)||Clarifying Horn Charm, (+1)||Immunizing Horn Charm, (+1)||Silver Scarab|
|Prince of Death’s Pustule||Prince of Death’s Cyst||Crucible Knot Talisman||Shabriri’s Woe||Gold Scarab|
|Spelldrake Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Boltdrake Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Haligdrake Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Flamedrake Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Ancestral Spirit’s Horn|
|Pearldrake Talisman, (+1), (+2)||Mottled Necklace, (+1)||Hammer Talisman||Faithful’s Canvas Talisman||Dagger Talisman|
|Old Lord’s Talisman||Arsenal Charm, (+1)||Great-Jar’s Arsenal||Blessed Dew Talisman||Crucible Feather Talisman|
|Roar Medallion||Taker’s Cameo||Cerulean Amber Medallion, (+1), (+2)||Crimson Amber Medallion, (+1), (+2)||Viridian Amber Medallion, (+1), (+2)|
|Blue Dancer Charm||Host’s Trick Mirror||Furled Finger’s Trick-Mirror||Sacrificial Twig||Lance Talisman|
|Moon of Nokstella||Crucible Scale Talisman||Perfumer’s Talisman||Concealing Veil||Longtail Cat Talisman|
What is Being Ranked?
Elden Ring armor is largely very granular. One helmet may sport higher defense values than another or add a single stat here and there. Talismans, on the other hand, are highly specialized equipment. They have little-to-no visual impact on the player character. What they do have is potentially massive impact on your playstyle. This can include anything from regenerating health to faster spellcasting. This means you want to have the right items for the right build!
What “right” actually means will be extremely different for each player. As mentioned above, talismans are highly build-dependent. That means you probably already have a rough idea of what you want. Faith-based casters, for instance, will probably gravitate towards items that booth Faith or spellcasting speed. Players that lean heavily on a lightning-based weapon will want to boost their lightning damage. You get the idea. This tier list is more of a guideline to what our own testing and community conversation have gravitated towards. It’s a guideline: not a hard and fast rule.
What Do the Rankings Mean?
Since talismans are designed to support or augment specific playstyles — rather than define them the way Incantations, Sorceries, and Ashes of War do — there are precious few pieces that fit every situation. Most talismans don’t even fit the majority of situations. As such we’re grading these on a slightly different curve than our other Elden Ring tier lists. Extremely situational talismans will still be given less weight than ones that are potentially more valuable in a wider variety of situations. But talismans that very greatly benefit a particular style of play or build also rank highly.
Shard of Alexander is a great example: it only affects weapon skills, rather than basic attacks or magic of any kind, but it’s high damage buff to those skills is simply too consistent and useful to ignore. Taker’s Cameo, by contrast, is a good example of the C tier. It’s a good talisman, but more situational by definition since it does little to help during boss fights. It also has heavy competition since there are a huge number of ways to restore health in Elden Ring. Thus it ranks lower than the truly “standout” talismans that populate the upper tiers.
Most talismans can work well with setup, prep, practice, and/or patience. That’s a good thing. That’s variety. Our philosophy is that players should be proud of their ability to have fun and make a particular build work with enough tuning. Yet accounting for every single, possible scenario in the game is not the intent behind this or any other tier list. As such, we’ve categorized nearly all of the talismans between S and D. Pretty much anything can work. You just might need to put in more effort as a result.
The one exception (and indeed the first exception out of all our Elden Ring tier lists so far) is Daedicar’s Woe. This is because this item has no positive effects whatsoever. It exists purely as a way to boost the game’s challenge, by making the player take more damage, or as a lore item.
Here’s what those categories mean at a glance:
- S – Exceptional in a wide variety of situations.
- A – Great in properly applied situations.
- B – Good in a wide variety of situations. Great for a particular weapon, build, or ability.
- C – Not generally recommended, but either situationally useful or broadly effective with setup.
- D – Not generally recommended: either because the benefits are too niche to matter regularly, or because other skills do the same thing but better.
- F – No positive value whatsoever.
Getting any more granular with higher and lower tiers (or pluses and minuses) felt pedantic to the point of opaqueness, rather than being informative. If you’ve read our other tier lists, all of this should be pretty familiar to you.
How Are the Rankings Selected?
As with our other, less niche tier lists this is a subjective tier list. All tier lists are subjective. Different people will weigh things like damage versus defense versus animation time versus efficiency… differently. Anyone that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. If you know that, and still believe there is such a thing as an “objective opinion,” then live your best life my friend. This is simply the way of things.
Also like our other tier lists, we consider both PVE and PVP applications for each talisman. Moderately greater emphasis is placed on PVE purposes, however. This is operating under the assumption that most players focus on single-player and/or cooperative play rather than invasions and duels. The logic is simple. The game is, first and foremost, an action-RPG. You can beat the game co-op or solo. You can play online or off. Yet you do need to actually beat some bosses to beat the game. While there is a very dedicated competitive player base, PVP is an almost entirely optional and opt-in element of a much larger Elden Ring community, while progressing through dungeons and AI fights is not.
Just to reiterate one last time though: talismans are more build-dependent than spells and abilities. You will need to think about your own needs before employing any one of these particular items. With that out of the way, though, let’s provide some useful data in the list below.
Important Notes on Specific Incantations
- Several talismans in Elden Ring sport +1 and +2 variants. These are flat upgrades over their non-numbered versions. The Crimson Amber Medallion +1, for example, gives a seven percent HP bonus versus a six percent HP bonus from the Crimson Amber Medallion. All such talismans have been tiered together and are simply marked with a (+1) and a (+2) in the rankings where applicable. The talismans’ relative utility remains the same; just make sure to replace the weaker versions with better ones as you progress through the game.
- Blue Dancer Charm: This sadly does not function like similar items from past From Software games. Rather than increase your damage based on a percentage of unused equip load, it only boosts your damage at certain tiers of (exceptionally low) total equip load. If your load reaches 30 or higher, there is no benefit whatsoever, even if you raise your Endurance or wear an Arsenal Charm. The buff is also limited to physical damage. That makes this a very niche talisman mostly useful for naked or near-naked runs.
- The Radagon Icon is quite useful, but only up to a point. It provides 30 “Virtual Dexterity.” This is a community term not used in-game. It basically means the talisman shaves off the same amount of spellcasting time that an extra 30 Dexterity would, if you leveled the stat up normally. The downside is twofold. One rub is that the spellcasting bonus of Dexterity caps at 70. This talisman therefore provides diminishing returns past 40 Dexterity. That’s not a huge issue on its own, but we’re also talking a tiny number of frames shaved off every spell. Elden Ring is indeed a game where even five frames can make the difference between life and death. However, you need to be extremely mindful to make use of it, versus the easier-to-use benefits of other talismans.
- There are four “heirloom” talismans in Elden Ring at launch. Ones for Faith, Intelligence, Dexterity, and Strength. Each provides an identical type of bonus, which is +5 in whichever stat they represent. This makes them quite versatile since they don’t just provide a raw bonus to something like damage or spellcasting speed. They provide all the benefits of having bonus stats. You can use them to equip other items you wouldn’t normally have access to yet in-game: Sorceries, Incantations, and weapons. That’s in addition to bonus damage from scaling.
- There are also four Scarseal and Soreseal talismans in Elden Ring. One of each for Ragadon and Marika. These are somewhat divisive… Some players swear by them while others maintain they fall off completely in the late game. Each talisman raises a subset of attributes by +3 for the Scarseals and +5 for the Soreseals, while increasing damage takne by 10 percent or 15 percent. The damage modifier isn’t technically accurate, however, since higher attributes also raise your defense. Meanwhile, Radagon’s Scarseal and Radagon’s Soreseal raise your Vigor and Endurance — which raise your HP and the weight of armor you can equip. This makes them the safer option over the Marika talismans (which only increase spellcasting stats). However, since the Marika talismans suit a more ranged playstyle, you may find yourself getting hit less anyway as you hang back and fire spells. You can further counter the increased damage with items like the Ironjar Aromatic, by equipping other defenseive talismans, or by using a shield. The long and short of it…? These come down to personal taste. They’re too general-purpose to be mandatory on any sort of min-maxed build. Thus I’ve put them in the B tier to indicate they’re worth trying for yourself.
- Shard of Alexander is a flat upgrade over Warrior Jar Shard. The only benefit to the latter talisman is that it can be acquired much earlier in the game. Though both talismans are incredibly good due to the overall power and flexibility of weapon skills. The Shard of Alexander is sadly only available near the end of Elden Ring, but you can acquire the Warrior Jar Shard by killing Iron Fist Alexander without completing his quest. You monster.
- Assassin’s Cerulean Dagger and Assassin’s Crimson Dagger both trigger when landing a backstab or a critical hit (after breaking an enemy’s posture). The blue version gets a slight nod over the red talisman, simply because there are far more alternatives to healing HP than FP.
- Resistance talismans, like Prince of Death’s Pustule and Clarifying Horn Charm, are often more useful for countering specific strategies in PVP than in PVE. They do exactly what they say on the tin, of course, but they’re each highly situational as a result. Thus they’re in C tier.
- The same goes for talismans that raise resistance to a particular elemental damage type. They’re amazing in the right circumstances, but only those circumstances. The Haligdrake Talisman, for instance, is a huge boon during the final boss of the game. Yet it does literally nothing against the majority of enemies in Elden Ring. Thus these go into the C tier — not for a lack of usefulness, but for being situational.
- The exceptions to these rules listed above are the Dragoncrest Shield Talisman and the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman. The Dragoncrest items reduce incoming physical damage, which is vastly more common than any other type of attack in the game. Thus they get a bump. Note that the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman is functionally just a +3 version of the three Dragoncrest Shield Talismans with a fancier name.
- Last but not least, the Pearldrake Talisman protects you from a wider variety of elemental damage types. This isn’t terribly useful in practice. Very few PVE foes specialize in more than one element. It makes more sense to simply adjust your talismans according to the area, as the single-element variants (Spelldrake Talisman, Boltdrake Talisman, etc.) are more potent. That might make this more useful in PVP, where damage types are less predictable, but damage resistance talismans provide significantly less defense in PVP than in PVE.
- Crucible Knot Talisman: Note that “headshot” doesn’t just include ranged attacks. Certain skills and overhead strikes that ignore shields also count. That said, you still probably won’t need it very often.
- Shabriri’s Woe: This is highly situational but can be fantastic for co-op. It effectively lets a cooperator play a tank — drawing aggro while another player focuses on damage. Combine it with a very defensive build (e.g. a greatshield and spear combo) for even better results.
- Rotten Winged Sword Insignia is a flat upgrade over the Winged Sword Insignia, similar to a +2 version of the latter. Millicent’s Prosthesis is arguably the “middle option” of these three (i.e. a Winged Sword Insignia +1). Though it also gives a straight-up stat boost of +5 Dexterity. This leads some to prefer Millicent’s Prosthesis even over the Rotten Winged Sword Insignia — which provides the best damage boost but no extra stats. However, the higher damage boost is arguably more versatile, since it benefits fast-hitting weapons that don’t scale well with Dexterity. Notably the Marais Executioner’s Sword (thanks to its fast-hitting drill skill) or the Starscourge Greatsword (because it hits twice per swing when two-handing).
- Old Lord’s Talisman only works with a small subsection of spells. Some of which can only be used on a subsection of weapons (because not every weapon can be buffed with extra damage). It’s still a decent way to increase FP efficiency — and slightly extends the otherwise atrocious duration of Black Flame Blade if you’re determined to use that Incantation.
- Godskin Swaddling Cloth: This talisman is excellent on its own, but pairs especially well with the post-nerf Mimic Tear. Combine with aggressive playstyles (like power stanced dual katanas) or fast-hitting weapon arts for even better results.
- Great-Jar’s Arsenal is a flat upgrade to the Arsenal Charm (basically acting as a +2 version of the talismans). All three versions of the item simply raise your equip load. This can be useful for opening up certain builds at lower levels of Endurance, but doesn’t accomplish much else once you begin to level.
- Bows are finicky in Elden Ring. This makes them less so, for those players that want to make the weapon type work. This seems to make arrows travel farther by making them fly faster. That way they reach longer distances before their hidden value of flight duration ends. An added benefit is that projectiles hit moving targets more easily. I say “projectiles” and not arrows, because players have discovered that the talisman also affects some spells and thrown items. The Sorcery Rock Sling, for example.
- Curved Sword Talisman: After the buffs to Colossal Weapons in Patch 1.04, this talisman is a great deal more versatile. Guard Counters are extremely potent in Elden Ring — not just for their damage, but for their high posture damage. Previously this only really mattered if you were using a shield. Now most Colossal Weapons are effective shields in their own right when two-handing.
- The Roar Medallion notably doesn’t work with any of the Dragon Incantations. Oddly enough, it does increase heavy attack damage performed while under the effect of roar-based buffs (e.g. Beast’s Roar). It also buffs the initial wave of the Starscourge Greatsword weapon skill.
- Ancestral Spirit’s Horn: Even with the limited number of ways to regain FP in Elden Ring, this just isn’t worth it. Each kill only restores three FP. That’s five times less than the Assassin’s Cerulean Dagger, which is less consistent, but can proc multiple times per fight — even in the middle of a boss battle.
- The Crimson Seed Talisman and Cerulean Seed Talisman only come into play at very high levels of Vigor and Mind. However, they functionally add extra flask charges beyond Elden Ring‘s maximum limit near the endgame. This can make them quite efficient when you have lots of either stat.
- The Red-Feathered and Blue-Feathered Branchsword talismans require some forethought but are quite nasty. Especially when used in tandem. If you only want to use one, it should probably be the Blue-Feathered Branchsword, as it’s difficult and dangerous to maintain the 20 percent threshold for the damage buff without the added defense.
- The Ritual Shield and Ritual Sword Talismans are another side of the previous coin. They increase your damage and defense at full health. This is more useful than it may sound. Players typically try not to get hit at all — much less multiple times in a row. Taking a hit is usually followed by dodging or guarding against following attacks as the player recenters. That gives you time to heal to full and go back on the offensive. The Ritual Shield Talisman even reduces the total health you need to restore to return to max HP. This obviously includes passive healing like Incantations and the Blessed Dew Talisman. Even if you do take more than one hit, it can make the difference between surviving three blows and just two. On that same note: it helps negate the immediate downside of Scarseals, Soreseals, and the various Scorpion Charms. This may allow the player to survive blows that would otherwise one-shot them while using these other damage-boosting talismans.
- Whether on purpose or due to a bug, the Perfumer’s Talisman doesn’t seem to actually work on most perfumes. It raises damage of Spark Aromatic. However, it doesn’t appear to affect the perfume-based buffs, which is what most players use them for in the current meta.
- Greatshield Talisman: This was notably nerfed in Patch 1.04. Less stamina management is still a huge boost to greatshields and tank builds.
- Lance Talisman provides a fairly meaty buff. On the other hand, it’s the very definition of situational, as you can’t ride Torrent in most of the harder sections of the game. Mounted combat is also a bit unwieldly to begin with and this talisman does not affect spells.
- The Spear Talisman is obviously very situational. It only workings on weapons with Piercing attacks, and only when enemies are mid-attack themselves. Not to mention it seems to have mixed results in PVE. However, the buff is quite easy to take advantage of from behind the safety of a greatshield (e.g. the all-powerful Fingerprint Shield).
- While Concealing Veil is interesting in theory, it’s quite finicky in practice, and easily countered by certain mechanics in the game. Such as footprints and the Blue Cipher Ring.
- Every Scorpion Charm does the same thing: 12 percent increased damage of a particular element at the cost of 10 percent lower defense across the board. This increases to 15 percent lower defense in PVP. The downside obviously knocks points off the talismans. However, there are plenty of ways to build around and mitigate defense debuffs. Hyper-consistent damage buffs are harder to come by. It’s also a percentage-based buff — meaning it won’t cap out the same way stat scaling does. I’ve included this in the B tier for now to show respect for the defense reduction, as well as the fact that they are damage-type dependent. Yet these are great damage talismans.
- The Gold Scarab and Silver Scarab are pure farming tools with no combat value whatsoever. In fact, they can be considered a net negative in a fight, given the opportunity cost of your equip load and talisman slots. They’re still extremely valuable for what they do, but you should know whether or not you want them equipped already. As such they’re in the C tier for being, you guessed it, situational.
- Daedicar’s Woe: This is the first time I’ve included an F tier on any of these tier lists, but… Well, it’s a talisman that makes you take more damage. That’s it. This functions similar to the Calamity Ring from Dark Souls. It’s presumably meant purely as a way to provide extra challenge. Plus some potential lore implications.
General Notes & Jargon
Here are a few other concepts that go into our decision-making. Not all of these affect talismans so much, specifically, but do influence the spells and abilities in our other tier lists. Thus we’ve included them below for reference:
- Animation Time: Most abilities have a “startup” or “windup” period before they do anything at all. Short startups are almost universally better, and we tend to weigh this pretty highly. Some skills compensate for long startup times with other benefits, like super armor, of course.
- Super Armor: Speaking of which, super armor is a concept not just found in Elden Ring but fighting games and more. When an ability provides super armor, it means the user cannot be interrupted (or is much harder to interrupt) until the move completes. This is useful but tricky to rely on since it doesn’t usually stop incoming damage — just the stagger you would otherwise suffer from preemptive attacks. Though spells in particular
- Cancelling: Many skills can be “cancelled” midway through. Usually by dodging or performing some other common action. This allows the player to begin moving again before they normally would if they simply let the animation complete. Some skills can be cancelled much sooner than others. This is typically a desirable bonus trait. Skills with long animation times that can’t be cancelled easily are less desirable.
- Stagger and Posture Damage: Most offensive skills can stagger opponents. This causes the target to flinch and stop moving very briefly, often interrupting attacks that would otherwise hit the player. Lighter attacks are less likely to stagger while heavier armor reduces the chances of being staggered altogether. At the same time, several skills damage an invisible “posture” bar, to borrow a term from Sekiro, which leaves foes open to a Critical Hit when it depletes. Some skills do incredible posture damage and are especially desirable on builds that exploit Critical Hits.
- Spam: The ability to use an ability over and over again very quickly, before the enemy has time to respond.
- Status Effects: This refers to indirect damage types. Across Elden Ring this includes Poison, Blood Loss, Frostbite, Scarlet Rot, Madness, Instant Death, and Sleep. Blood Loss, Frostbite, and Scarlet Rot tend to be the most effective and sought-after status types — due to their fast damage, usefulness in PVP as well as PVE, and easy application.
- AoE (a.k.a. Area-of-Effect): A broadly used term that basically means any type of attack that hits in a wide area — be it a circle, a cone, etc.
- Sidegrade: As opposed to an upgrade or a downgrade. If two items or skills are sidegrades of one another, it means they fill mostly the same role but each feature tradeoffs that makes them useful in different situations.
- One-Shot: To kill or be killed by something in game in a single blow, or “in one shot.”
Final Note: I have no idea why some of the font is all messed up in these guides now. I assume it’s something to do with the lists? Or the image tables? I’ll ask our devs about it.