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The Sanctum Shield is incredibly unique amongst all of the weapons in the game, in that aside from being a small shield, it also functions as a catalyst that can cast sorceries, miracles, AND hexes. This makes it one of the most versatile weapons in the game, which allows players to cast 3 different types of spells without the need to equip 2 or 3 different catalysts that cater to those spell types. And because it has the weight of a small shield, weighing in only at 2.5 units, this further eliminates the need to equip other catalysts which can take up unnecessary weight, and so is extremely useful for players who might need to bring with them weapon buffs like Magic Weapon or utility spells like Heal.
Upon upgrading it (upgrades with regular titanite, up to +10), the stability, defenses, and damage output are all increased. going as far as 88.7% physical damage reduction and 48 stability. The scaling, however, does not improve at all, and players will need hefty investments in both intelligence and faith to make use of the broadly spread-out scaling.
One should note that this weapon does not deal any form of physical damage, but rather it features magic, lightning and dark damage. This makes it a very useful offense weapon against enemies that have low elemental resistances, as the damage from these 3 types will stack on top of one another. While players might attempt to raise their elemental defense, it is impossible to block 100% of all three damage types at once. If they do manage to block 100% of one of the shield's damage types, the other 2 types will punch through.
This weapon however, has two big downsides. Firstly, small shields are the usual go-to by players when they want to parry enemies, but you cannot parry with this shield because the heavy attack button (which normally functions as the "parry" button when using shields) instead activates the shield's special ability, which is casting spells. Secondly, being a catalyst, it has overall low scaling on its elements, nor does the scaling improve when you fully upgrade the shield, and it also has a slow casting speed. While you still can use offensive spells with it, their effectiveness is drastically reduced. As such, it is more useful instead when casting other types of spells:
- restorative spells or character buffs (Caressing Prayer, Great Heal, Sacred Oath, etc...)
- utility spells (Cast Light, Repair, Chameleon, Unleash Magic, etc...)
- It is very similar to the Black Witch's Staff in terms of versatility, but is inferior when casting offensive spells.
- In-game, it is classified as a Sacred Chime.