Best Black Steel Greathammer build in Shadow of the Erdtree

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

✓ At a Glance
  • Weapon – Black Steel Greathammer and Black Steel Greatshield
  • Stats – Faith, Vigor, Strength
  • Incantations – Golden Vow, Flame, Grant Me Strength
  • Talismans – Curved Sword Talisman, Shard of Alexander, Erdtree’s Favor +2, and Two-Headed Turtle Talisman
  • Armor – Black Knight set
  • Mixed Physick – Deflecting Hardtear and Greenspill Crystal Tear

Available within minutes of starting the expansion, the Black Steel Greathammer is one of the best heavy weapons in the game. It’s slow but packs a punch with three different damage types thanks to its Faith scaling and the right Ash of War choice. Its chunkier sibling, the Black Steel Greatshield, makes a perfect pairing where you can tank and guard your way through pretty much every mob and boss in the game.

Though the build improves as you push up above 170, it stands its ground at 150 and should make easy work of early bosses like Rellana and the Dancing Lion. It also uses gear that’s either in the base game or fairly easy to get early on in Shadow of the Erdtree.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: equipment menu.
Stats and equipment for this build. Captured by VideoGamer

Stats and attributes

The Black Steel Greathammer scales with both Strength and Faith, but the focus here is predominantly on Faith. This is the expansion, which means a decent amount of points in Vigor to counter the heightened enemy damage output is a must. Endurance is important to handle the guarding that comes hand-in-hand with this build. More endurance means your guard is less likely to break. Strength at 35 is only to meet the requirements for the Black Steel Greatshield, though it does help somewhat with damage. Lastly, you’ll want 11 in Dexterity to meet the weapon equip requirements. Any further points go in Faith first, then Vigor. Here’s what you should aim for at level 150:



As the build name implies, our weapon of choice is the Black Steel Greathammer. It dishes out both physical and holy damage, but also fire damage with some clever Ash of War and affinity choices. Better yet, it has an inbuilt guard counter (tap R2 after a successful guard) that throws out exploding AoE holy damage that erupts from the ground.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: a map of the Realm of Shadow.
Black Steel Greatgammer location. Captured by VideoGamer

You can pick up the Black Steel Greathammer from the knight in the Church of Consolation in the southeast of Gravesite Plain. It’s down the hill from the Gravesite Plain site of grace, meaning you can snap it up as soon as you fire up the expansion.

Black Steel Greathammer stat requirements:

  • Strength – 25
  • Dexterity – 11
  • Faith – 17

To accompany the Greathammer, you’ll also want a Seal for Incantations. A simple Seal like the Finger Seal works, but so do popular picks like the Erdtree Seal. If you want to experiment with spells and have them, pretty much every Faith and Madness spell in the game pairs beautifully with this build.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: a map of the Realm of Shadow.
Black Steel Greatshield location. Captured by VideoGamer


For this build, you’ll want to pick up the Black Steel Greatshield by jumping down the cliffs south of the Scadu Altus, West site of grace into the Fog Rift Fort and defeat Black Knight Garrew. The Black Steel Greatshield not only pairs thematically with the Greathammer, but offers superb guard stats from all types of damage and a healthy guard boost stat. It more than pulls its weight when tanking and guard-countering all types of enemies and bosses.

Black Steel Greatshield stat requirements:

  • Strength – 35

Ash of War

We’ll use the Flaming Strike skill Ash of War, which emits a wide arc of flame in front of you. Though the skill itself performs well against most of the bosses in the expansion, it also coats the Greathammer in fire for a third damage type. Combined with Holy and physical damage, the total output stacks up. You’ll want to set the Affinity to Flame Art to boost Faith scaling to B.


Golden VowIncreases attack and defense for self and allies
Flame, Grant Me StrengthRaises physical and fire-affinity attack power

Standard buffs for a slew of builds, Golden Vow and Flame, Grant Me Strength come in clutch to add more attack power to the Black Steel Greathammer. Furthermore, Golden Vow buffs the hammer’s Holy damage and Faith scaling for even better damage output. Flame, Grant Me Strength synergises with the fire damage the Flaming Strike skill produces as well.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: equipment menu.
Talisman picks. Captured by VideoGamer


Curved Sword TalismanEnhances guard counters
Shard of AlexanderGreatly boosts the attack power of skills
Erdtree’s Favor +2Greatly raises maximum HP, stamina, and equip load
Two-Headed Turtle TalismanGreatly raises stamina recovery speed

The Curved Sword Talisman further improves the already excellent guard counter potential of the Black Steel Greatshield, increasing damage by around 20%. The Shard of Alexander enhances the Flaming Strike skill’s damage output. The Erdtree’s Favor +2 is a tank build’s best friend so a no-brainer with its boosts to HP, equip load, and stamina. Finally, the Two-Headed Turtle Talisman helps mitigate some of the stamina depletion that comes with guarding, allowing you to pull off guard counters more often.

Armor and gear

  • Black Knight Helm
  • Black Knight Armor
  • Black Knight Gauntlets
  • Black Knight Greaves

The Black Knight set is aesthetically aligned with the Greathammer and Greatshield, but also has solid damage negation stats, meaning it’ll work well to tank and guard attacks as you explore the Realm of Shadow. It’s not a set-in-stone pick though, so feel free to switch to other heavy armor sets if you prefer them.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: equipment menu.
Deflective Hardtear and Greenspill Crystal Tear. Captured by VideoGamer

Mixed Physick and Great Rune

First up in the Mixed Physick, choose the Deflecting Hardtear, a new one for the DLC. It enhances spontaneous guard, increasing damage negation and guard poise right after guarding. A successful guard (think of it like a parry) will also buff the guard counter. Given the build’s focus on pulling out guard counters, the benefits are obvious. Second, we’ll use Greenspill Crystal Tear, which raises maximum stamina to further help with tanking and guarding.

As for the Great Rune, Radahn’s Great Rune raises maximum HP, FP, and stamina, making your Tarnished even tankier and better able to withstand heavy attacks when guarding.

Elden Ring Shadow of the Erdtree best Black Steel Greathammer build: Tarnished using a weapon skill called Flaming Strike.
Flaming Strike in action. Captured by VideoGamer

General combat tips

Before jumping into a fight, do the following:

  • Use Golden Vow
  • Use Flame, Grant Me Strength
  • Drink Mixed Physick
  • Top up on FP with the Flask of Cerulean Tears

As you enter a fight, use the Flaming Strike skill on an enemy to coat the Greathammer in flames for a third damage type to supplement holy and physical. From there, it’s a game of guarding and following up with guard counters and charged R2 attacks until the enemy staggers (or in most cases dies). Flaming Strike works particularly well for large groups. Most mobs will go down in a hit or two. Just keep an eye on your stamina and reset as needed to avoid trouble. Weave holy spells into the mix if you’re using them.

About the Author

Tom Bardwell

Tom is guides editor here at VideoGamer.

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree

  • Release Date: June 21, 2024
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X
  • Genre(s): Action, RPG
10 VideoGamer