When you start out in Dead Cells—or whenever you die and restart—you’ll be given the option to choose between two different styles of secondary weapons, a bow or a shield. Between the bow or shield in Dead Cells, each weapon supports a different playstyle, so it’s important to figure out which weapon works best for you early on. Selecting the best starter weapon in Dead Cells will make your journey much easier to cope with along the way.

Shield or Bow? What’s the Difference?

The most important thing you need to think about when choosing between the shield or the bow at the start of Dead Cells is whether or not you want to play aggressive or defensive. Both weapons offer a good, solid option for players, but it’s all about the kind of playstyle you want to support as you move through the game world and take on the various enemies.

Now, obviously, as with any weapon combinations out there, you’ll definitely find some differences, as well as some pros and cons between the two. While the bow is great for more aggressive players, the shield itself offers you another way to fend off enemy attacks, giving your combat roll an extra layer of protection to rely upon.

If you enjoy rolling around constantly and want a way to take enemies out from afar, then the bow is definitely going to be a solid choice for your playstyle. It’s a really good weapon for dealing large swaths of damage from a good distance and can be useful at breaking enemy attack stances and even something stunning them—especially if you shoot a door that an enemy is next to, as this will stun them, giving you time to get close to them.

If you prefer to have more defensive options available to you, then the shield is your best course of action. While you won’t have any kind of ranged combat available, the shield is great because you can easily block enemy attacks, giving you a moment to parry attacks and even counterattack. This can be very useful, especially in later levels where the enemies get more plentiful and dangerous. It’s a great item to use in combination with the dodge roll, giving you an extra measure of protection from enemies. There are also some really good shields out there that you can get your hands on—like the Punishment Shield—that will give you additional attributes and abilities.

Now that you know the differences between the bow and the shield, make sure you check out our guide on how to get upgrades in Dead Cells for more help starting out. You can also check out our Dead Cells guides for more in-depth content and strategy information.