Nioh 2 Guide – Choosing the Best Starting Weapon and Strong Builds

Team Ninja's latest can be tough but it's possible to excel with the right weapon.

Posted By | On 11th, Apr. 2020

nioh 2

You have a variety of weapons to choose from in Nioh 2. Only two of each type – melee and ranged – can be equipped at a time but you can use pretty much any weapon you’d like. If you want to really tear through the game, it’s a good idea to focus on a weapon type or two. The more a weapon is used, the hire its Affinity, which also increases its damage and unlock skills for each respective type.

The first thing to keep in mind is that each weapon will scale off of a different stat. The higher the stat, the more damage you can deal. You shouldn’t pour all your points into one stat though – stats like Heart and Courage can be very important for Ki recovery speed, especially in the Dark Realm.

Since melee weapons will get the most usage, we’ll focus on those here. Some weapons are innately better in some ways – like Dual Swords blocking more Ki damage than, say, the Katana. And while some of the better end-game weapons will definitely be restricted to some weapon types, there’s no clear “better” weapon in the beginning. Your play-style and how you build around that weapon will often determine your success.

With that out of the way, what should you keep in mind when choosing a starter weapon? Let’s go over each, one by one.

The Katana is your all-rounder, with decent skills and range while scaling off of Heart, and then Skill. While they’re not the best at blocking, they can break through an enemy’s guard pretty well. Katanas are good for general play and can be utilize with both light and heavy armor sets without any issues. Definitely recommended for beginners.

The Dual Swords deal slightly less damage with each hit but benefit from landing more strikes at a given time. They’re good at blocking Ki damage and scale off of Skill and Heart. If you like to move around quickly and inflict status damage on foes, Dual Swords are worth looking at.

The Axe is for the huge damage dealers who don’t mind slower attacks. It scales off of Stamina so pairing it with heavy armor and increased health is good. Though it’s not the best for blocking, chunking down an enemy’s Ki is easy with the Axe.

The Spear scales off of Constitution, and is excellent for poking foes from long range. It deals pretty good damage and can whittle down an opponent’s Ki pretty quickly. The main challenges of using a Spear include adjusting to tight spaces (which can be remedied by carrying a Katana as a backup) and timing different skills. This isn’t a weapon that’s very spam-happy so keep that in mind.

The Kusarigama has a variety of attacks across its stances and can dish out some strong attacks at mid range while also hitting opponents from afar with the ball and chain. It’s also useful for pulling enemies, momentarily stunning them and opening them up for combos. The weapon scales off Dexterity which means it’s ideal for Ninjutsu builds. Though it doesn’t have the highest damage or blocking, the Kusarigama is still very potent in the right hands.

The Switchglaive is easily the weirdest weapon in the game, with each stance being a different “form” in its own right. The weapon scales primarily off of Magic and while not the highest damage or the best blocking, it still has a range of attacks that can be useful for different scenarios. Plus you can utilize higher tiers of Onmyo Magic which is always nice. Don’t count on using heavy armor with it though.

The Odachi is akin to the heavy swords from others Souls-like game but altering its stance can allow for some quick attacks and combos as well. It deals good damage, has great reach and can break through an opponent’s guard very easily (at the expense of below average blocking). Scaling with Strength, the Odachi can take a bit of getting used to but is ideal for those using heavy armor, elemental attacks or just favoring long-range melee weapons.

The Tonfa scale off of Courage (followed by Constitution and Dexterity) and are ideal for those who like quickly attacking despite the trade-off in range. While not the best in terms of breaking or blocking, the Tonfa can be paired with Ninjutsu and quickly overwhelm an enemy with rapid strikes, often resulting in finishers.

The Dual Hatchets scale off of Skill and are another strong option for quickly attacking foes. Along with decent blocking and Ki damage, Dual Hatchets can work alongside magic to dish out strong elemental damage.

A few builds that you can rock with each weapon type can be seen in the videos below courtesy of Fextralife. For more details on Nioh 2, check out our review for the game here.


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