This is a guide for Dark Souls Polearm Thief, a game made by Hamster and Grazing Goat Games. It is an action-platformer where you run around doing various acrobatic things, avoiding enemies and stealing things, with a strong emphasis on the collect-a-thon element.

Dark Souls is one of the most challenging games out there, and there’s a lot of things that can make it harder than you think. It’s not just the Dark Souls itself, but the weapon you’re using, the enemy you’re fighting, and your own character. If you’re stuck up a level with no way to progress, have a hard time figuring out what’s going on, or can’t get past a boss or miniboss, try the tips in this guide.

When you think of the Dark Souls series, you probably think of Miyazaki’s beautiful art and haunting music. You probably think of the macabre atmosphere, the beautifully crafted animations, amazing combat mechanics, and the challenging game play. These are all great things, but what about the loot? Are you going to carry all the swords from the game to the grave?

Moonlight Butterfly’s Dark Souls Polearm Thief Guide is an introduction to Dark Souls Polearm Thief. bijalba [at] is your guide.

Select a section.

  • Introduction to the Guide
  • Introduction to the Series
  • Introduction to the Thief
  • Statistics
  • General Strategies
  • List of items
  • The First Time Through


Introduction to the Guide

If you attempt to play the thief as a small-weapon assassin with great dexterity, the beginning of the game may be excruciating, and although you may like the challenge, you may develop undesirable habits. The goal of this introductory tutorial is to show you how to set up your thief so that you may become a farming machine capable of holding your own in every scenario, not just ones where the thief shines. Why are polearms used? Because the way they work naturally forces you to learn how to play properly…but for a thief? For a thief, yes. Particularly for a thief! The DEX counteracts the two beginning polearms’ inherent flaws, and the nature of spears enables you to understand the importance of shielding and not giving up opportunities.  

Introduction to the Series

Those unfamiliar with the series are in for a harsh awakening: it’s a 3D RPG/platformer in which you’re not meant to kill everything at once. The souls series (demon’s souls and dark souls) harken back to the difficulties of NES games, when you may have to grind experience several times to complete a level. This, combined with a harsh penalty system that could result in you losing everything you’ve earned, has resulted in mixed reviews for the Souls series: you either despise the games because they’re pure punishment and incomprehensibly difficult, or you accept the systems and find them to be a refreshing exercise in risk and reward.  

Introduction to the Thief

The thief is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, playstyles to master in the Souls series. What it comes down to is that your speed and mobility don’t compensate for the lack of damage you deal and the difficulty of effectively backstab/critting anything, particularly ones that are hard to position correctly. As a result, the thief begins slowly since, in order to become an assassinating murdering machine, you must balance out other numbers, which requires farming.  


Strength, dexterity, and endurance will be the most essential stats to balance. The thief has 9 str and 15 dexterity to begin with. At this time, it is unknown if STR affects your swing speed at various high levels. This tutorial won’t go far enough to make a difference; the primary reason we’ll invest points into STR is to be able to equip different weapons. Early on, endurance is crucial; it might be the difference between two and three strokes when provided with an opportunity. The first step is to increase your strength to 16.  

General Strategies

I. Get in the habit of locking on to a specific target. Polearms’ radius stinks, thus this is very essential. You swing your swords, even your daggers, in a fairly wide open arc. This may seem to be a better option for the time being, but you’ll ultimately want your assaults to be in a straight, controlled motion, particularly when striking the wall lowers your attack. II. Hold the shield and then release it. Learn your opponents’ attack patterns, and only use shields when absolutely necessary; the objective is to recover as much stamina as possible before blocking or attacking again. Even a sliver of change may be the difference between life and death. Even if you stumble or suffer some damage as a result of the block, it’s better than dying. III. Hold your breath and wait for the adversary to strike. First and foremost, you should not be a thief if you’re becoming irritated and want to hack and slash. Second, you may want to take a break. This game is not like Demon’s Souls in that it does not get more difficult as you die. So any apparent “increased difficulty” is just a result of you losing your cool and your patience, particularly if you’ve recently lost a large number of souls. IV. Don’t bother with parry + riposte or attempting a backstab from behind enemies. You want to get the knack of countering everything in the first dozen or so levels. Sure, practicing timing is beneficial against select bosses, but a better habit to develop is to play defensively and only counterattack when an opportunity presents itself. Spears and shields do not provide the same kind of opening as 2h, swords and shields, and so on. When Spearmen with shields assault, now is not the time to counterattack. It’s when they slam against your shield and knock you out. Just wait it out if they stagger you or don’t offer you an opportunity.  

Item List

Use them until you have enough STR to use a flying spear. Hold shield in when hitting with 1H mode with winged spear: 13 STR 15 DEX. The Hollow Soldier shield is the one to employ; it deflects all physical attacks and has excellent non-interrupt stats, especially when compared to subsequent shields. 16STR 12DEX Halberd: the objective of this tutorial  

The First Time Through

I am not going to go into details of precisely what do to, just give a roadmap for how you can go from dying repeatedly to clearing everything through the bell gargoyles without dying at all. I put dozens of hours into learning this, only to start over and be able to kill everything without dying once at 10+ humanity. I. Intro. Nothing special here, clear it like you normally would. Apparently if you want even more challenge you can kill the boss the first time you beat him (with your broken item, without the plunging advantage) and get a pretty nice intro weapon… for STR classes. II. Your first (and only, for a while) thief-like action: grave robbing! When you make it to the shrine, move to the graveyard area and hug the right wall, running past any skeleton spawns. You should find a corpse with a winged spear (and a huge skeleton spawn). Run in, run back to the bonfire, laugh maniacally as you have your first real loot. Unfortunately, it requires 13 STR to effectively 1hand it, so you’ll have to grind a bunch of levels, dumping points into strength. III. Grind time. OK, now you’re going to follow the path up and into undead burg. You’ve got a bunch of grinding to do, but with all of your souls found as treasure/items you should be able to get 4 levels very quickly to use the winged spear. Follow the general tactics: hold shield down when an attack is coming, thrust after they’ve staggered. Your immediate goal is to get 16STR for the halberd, then start putting points into endurance. IV. Levelling pattern: ok, so you will clear undead burg up to the spot where the fire barrel is dropped a bunch of times until you have 16STR. You will go to the merchant downstairs from where the two spear+shield skeletons near the bonfire are and purchase about 1k-1500 souls worth of firebombs, a couple dozen. You will also farm until you at least have the hollow soldier shield as well, or some other 100% physical resist shield. With firebombs and that shield, the first boss is completely trivial. Go through the white light, go on top of the tower and kill the two skeletons, then run across the bridge to trigger the boss. Now run back to the white door where you came in and hold down shield, locking on to the boss. Throw a firebomb whenever he’s far, let go of shield to charge up but never let him hit you without shield up. Easy kill. Before the next bridge you’ll see a knight. it’s not an enemy: talk to him and he’ll give you the coop tool. if you’re human you can summon ghosts to help you, he will apparently help you with the bell gargoyles but i didn’t talk to him because i thought it was an enemy and soloed the gargs. The next part can instagib you if you’re not careful, just stutter step out on to the next bridge with skeletons until you hear/see the dragon coming then sprint back. They’ll all die to the breath. You have two options here, one is to sprint for the stairs on the right, go kick the ladder down to rest and open up the path from the bonfire, and two is to wait around in the stairs for the dragon to fly down, then you can run past him and there’s a bonfire in there and he’ll take off. I think this is a bit of a meaningless bonfire, as it is literally 5 enemies away from another one. Also there is a secret that if you are underneath and shoot the dragon’s tail 30-40 times you’ll get a drake sword. haven’t done it, though i did shoot the tail a few times to see what would happen. Underneath there is a room of 3 rats, they actually drop humanity at a very high rate so keep a note that they’re an easy farm. So now you’ve opened up a whole new area, which is still fairly trivial if you’re holding down shield and using your spear during openings. So very much easier than the low damage dagger! Clear those areas a bunch of times and it’s time to exploit / use strategy on the bull boss. Basically you clear all the skeletons then drop down behind the boss to the stairs down, you’ll notice that it charges but gets stuck in that doorway. Firebomb / melee him when its walking away and its very, very easy. Clear all of the mobs and the next “challenge” arrives and you start seeing the power of a polearm rogue, the knights with the red capes are ridiculously easy (in fact the polearm skeletons are harder). hold down shield, wait for them to attack and stagger, then counterattack. If you thought it was easy with the spear, just wait until you get the halberd because you’re right there. Return to the other side of the gate where you killed the boar boss and the halberd is on one of the corpses. Success! V. Now what? Well you should immediately notice the pros and cons of the halberd. If you don’t connect your attack you stagger forward giving your pretty undead face away to whatever’s attacking you. This *forces* you to make sure you’re locked on and connecting. Next, you’ll notice it doesn’t give the same “shield is still up” benefit of a spear when attacking, again it requires you to block then counter. But look at the crazy damage it does? You should now be 2-3 hitting things that you were previously 4-6 hitting. You have insane reach where, once you learn its limit you can hit things hard from far away. Also it is still straight forward attacks but it has a much better arc than the spear, so you can clear groups much easier. Once I got this combo, farming was so easy i farmed up the 20,000 souls to unlock the forest door. I wouldn’t recommend it, everything in there destroys me but it’s cool to run through and see a pretty epic boss at the end of it. VI. Gargoyle time. You’ve muddle with farming and have everything memorized and could do it in your sleep. You’ve upgraded your flasks by taking the fire keeper’s soul back to her (don’t do what i did and use it on yourself…) One of the things that makes this really, really easy is magic weapon. In order to get this you’ll have to go into lower burg and free the sorceror. There is a ton of souls down there and nothing should give you problems with your new halberd! You can also start upgrading your halberd, its very cheap to upgrade any normal weapon to +5, and you should have some materials besides. There are a bunch of rarities with the gargoyles. i got the gargoyle helmet which is an amazing helmet but plate, and if you chop off the tail you can get a nice weapon. Really I just magic weaponed and the rest was fairly obvious. No real strategy. I accomplished all of this without dying at level 20, with an even spread of STR/DEX and endurance. VII. Post blacksmith boss. Another exploit/strategy, is circle behind it to those steps. Most all of its attacks will go over your head, allowing you to slam it from below. He does one plunging attack that will hit, so avoid that. To fully realize the power of this, try attacking the stone giants in the back of the forest near the locked door. You can easily outreach them, and when they cast their slow you still move fast enough to range them and have time for potions. Any heavier armor and you’ll crawl, any shorter range and you won’t be able to hit them enough between their attacks. This is an ideal setup. VIII. The butterfly is very simple. I would switch to as much magic defense as possible as all of the damage done is magic, roll away from any attacks and when she moves in get magic weapon up and clobber it.


So far, you’ve slain the Moonlight Butterfly, Bell Gargoyles, and two minibosses. Using: your starting equipment, one shield upgrade, a winged spear and halberd, a few firebombs, a magic weapon, and the halberd improved as much as you like (I did it with 0 upgrades). In around 2 hours of farming and/or playing. If you complete it without dying and just increase two bonfires to maximum, your humanity should be about 8 (150 item find) depending on your luck with drops. This is a fantastic place to start grinding your dex or switching back to pure dagger / “true thief” mode while avoiding the game’s steep learning curve and teaching you on how to play, even though hacking and slashing seems more enjoyable!

Dark Souls is considered by many to be one of the best games of all time. It certainly is a masterpiece of game design, but it also includes some of the most frustratingly difficult aspects in video games. For a level 13 character, the game is extremely unforgiving. As you progress through the game you will encounter many gauntlets that will test your skill and patience. The first of these is called the Four Champions, and it is the first spell to unlock in the game. It is a spell that allows you to control a level 13 enemy, which can be helpful for defeating certain gauntlets. But, beware! It also makes you vulnerable to attacks from other enemies, and it can be difficult to control in tight spaces.. Read more about dark souls uchigatana and let us know what you think.

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