Creating a fully magic build in a game designed primarily around regular attacks and equipment is quite a challenge. Doing something similar in most Castlevania games would be complete folly, although we could see a SOTN challenge in the same vein being quite fun, but thankfully Aria of Sorrow features a huge amount of Souls to collect, many of which act like powerful magical spells. Some of these do blur the lines between projectile and actual magic, so in many ways the build is something you’ll essentially have to agree to restrict yourself to, but thanks to the a combination of equipment and aforementioned Souls, it’s very much doable!
- Elfin Robe
- Dracula’s Tunic
- Death’s Robe
- Black Cloak
- Chaos Ring
Despite the general gaming convention, the INT statistic doesn’t actually interact with your MP bar in Aria of Sorrow. Rather it very specifically increases the power of your Guardian Souls, which are the blue type. Furthermore, we will admit at the outset that this is not a build that is capable of dealing the most damage in the game, mainly because you’ll be taking away from stats that increase both your own attacks and the damage of Bullet Souls, which are the projectile, red type. Swinging a hugely powerful weapon whilst throwing projectiles will always lead to more damage, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make this alternative work.
Should you decide to take this journey with us, then you’ll want to grab as much INT as possible. You’ll note that some of the generally powerful equipment will buff your INT, like Dracula’s Tunic and such, and the best option is Death’s Robe from Hard Mode, however the Elfin Robe will also increase it by +10, which is a good normal mode option. Depending on your penchant for throwing bullet souls, you’ll either want the Black Cloak, Satan’s Ring or Chaos Ring as your accessory, with both of the former being best for increasing INT itself.
- Wooden Golem
- Stolas / Headhunter
- Nightmare / Ripper / Demon Lord
Having established that you’re looking for INT to increase Guardian Soul damage, you can of course pick a few others that improve your outlook, particularly your Enchanted Souls, which are the yellow type. These tend to provide passive buffs that are always active, improving your situation in the background. In this regard, the best pure increase to INT is achieved either through the Stolas Soul, which increases it by a huge +16, or by a very highly levelled Headhunter soul. Outside of these, the Wooden Golem soul will also provide passive MP restoration, which is especially good before the Chaos Ring becomes available.
Outside of the ‘transformation’ souls, your best bet for damage is either through the Death or Alastor Guardian Souls, which will have their damage increased significantly by your INT statistic. The numbers aren’t absolutely huge; Alastor for example will have its damage increased by 30 – 40 depending on the increase in the late game, but relying on these is kind of the point of a restricted build like this, so you’ll need all the help you can get. Should you opt for MP restoration and the Chaos Ring in particular, then you can pair this increased Guardian Soul damage with some expensive Bullet Souls, like Nightmare, Ripper or Demon Lord, to complete that powerful mage look that you’re going for.
So how does the build stack up? Well, as we noted earlier, you really shouldn’t expect this kind of stat build to deal more damage than others. Having a very powerful weapon and prioritising Bullet Souls, both of which are optimised with the STR stat, will always technically outperform anything else. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with some novel strategies that revolve around Guardian Souls.
Those struggling with particular late game areas, like the fiery final zone or the three colosseum test corridors, will absolutely benefit from having powered up Death scythes dealing with the numerous enemies present. Likewise, taking on the true final boss of Chaos will see a great benefit for having souls on your side that can influence more areas than just that of your character and weapon. By the end of our time with this build, we will admit that it does feel a little too underwhelming when compared directly to others, but for a fun build that looks to focus on something other than weapons and projectiles, it does the job just nicely.
Categories: Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow