Most shields can’t fully block non-physical damage in Elden Ring. As such, you’ll always take a bit of chip damage unless you dodge the attack entirely. An alternate and efficient way to deal with spells is to parry them.
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The Ash of War That Lets You Parry Spells
The Ash or War: Thop’s Barrier is the one that can give your shields the ability to parry spells. However, it can only be applied to small or medium shields. Thankfully, since there are plenty of those with no skill (or boring ones), you’ll have lots of candidates for Thop’s Barrier.
If you’re using a build that makes use of a shield to parry foes, applying Thop’s Barrier to it would almost always be an improvement. This is because you can also parry regularly with Thop’s Barrier. Furthermore, this skill also gives your shield the Magic affinity, which will alter its scaling bonuses.
You can apply an Ash of War at any Site of Grace or at Smithing Master Hewg’s workshop at the Roundtable Hold.
Where to Find Thops’ Barrier
In Liurnia of the Lakes, you can find the scarab that carries the Ash of War: Thop’s Barrier a bit northwest from the Temple Quarter Site of Grace. This scarab will be one of those that teleport away as you attack them.
How to Catch the Gray Scarab
The beetle will initially be at the highest point of the island—the center. However, if you miss your attack, it will teleport to either the west or east side of the island. If you miss your attack again, the scarab will teleport to either the other side of the island or back to the central high point. Things will continue in this pattern until you slay the scarab. The best way to take down this tricky bug is to sneak up on it and then use a ranged attack of any kind.
After its HP drops to nothing, you’ll get the Ash or War: Thop’s Barrier. Incantations, sorceries, ranged weapons, or even throwable consumables can be great methods of taking down this wily beetle. The little scarab thankfully doesn’t have much HP. If you leave and come back to this location, the gray scarab will reappear. However, they will not drop anything unique if you kill them again.
Ash of War: Thop’s Barrier Versus the Thop’s Barrier Spell
If you complete Thop’s questline, you can find his corpse later on possessing some unique items including the spell version of Thop’s Barrier. This spell functions the same as the Ash of War, however, you must use a sorcery catalyst to cast it. As such, this can give spellcasters the ability to parry both spells and regular melee attacks without a shield. As such, the spell version of Thop’s Barrier is meant for sorcery builds while the Ash of War version is meant for shield-using builds.
The Uses for Thop’s Barrier
Whether you’re using the Ash of War version on a shield or casting it as a spell, Thop’s Barrier can be very useful while exploring Liurnia of the Lakes. This area of Elden Ring is full of spellcasting enemies of all kinds. For this reason, having an efficient way to deal with incoming spells can make many areas less dangerous. There are certain spots where dodging and blocking can be precarious. However, a parry that doesn’t require you to move or take chip damage can be the ideal solution. Just make sure to practice your timing.