Game Info

Nioh Skills Guide: The Best Skills you must grab right away

Like any big-name RPG, Nioh is absolutely packed full of a variety of different abilities and skills for character William to upgrade and grow into. Player choice is important, and William can be specced in a number of different and interesting directions throughout the game. In other guide pages, we've talked about some of the best builds and on what categories to funnel your points earned for leveling up into, but with the arrival of Nioh: Complete Edition for PS4 and PC we figured now was as good a time as any to revisit the skills William can pick up on his adventure.

Skills and skill points are a major part of Nioh, adding all-new abilities to William or powering up his base abilities in significant ways. But which should you prioritise? Well, we have some ideas for you tom consider...

Need more Nioh help? Be sure to check out our other Nioh Guides:

Nioh: The Best Skills you should buy

While your skill choice will to a degree be heavily influenced by the character build you choose to go for and preferred weapons picked at the onset of the game, some are absolute must-haves regardless of your play-style... or at least as far as we're concerned.

Skills should be purchased in a weapon discipline you plan to use, but if you're unsure sword or spear is the way to go initially. These skills will make your life a lot easier - so go buy them!

Skills to save Ki, Deal more damage and Ki Pulse more easily

  • Ki Pulse: Man, Ki Pulse: Earth & Ki Pulse: Heaven - whatever weapon you pick at the start of the game, you'll want to grab this right after picking your preferred weapon. This skill allows you to deal more damage right after nailing a Ki Pulse in different stances - Earth for Low, Man for Mid, Heaven for High. We recommend the cheaper Mid and Low options at the very least - so spend two skill points buying both. By unlocking these you then get access to:
  • Living Water: Earth, Living Water: Man & Living Water: Heaven - The first upgrade is just handy, but this is where those unlocks lead is here, a real game-changing set of abilities. As with the Ki Pulse ability, these are linked to a stance for each weapon - start out with the cheaper Low and Mid variants. This ability means you can activate the Ki Pulse (which we explain in full elsewhere) just by Dodging, and that means you'll have much more Ki at your disposal. Ki determines everything, and without these skills you run out so quickly that it actually makes the game significantly harder. Buy these skills. It'll make a difference.

Staggering and Grappling enemies into submission

  • Grapple - This move is pretty simple in terms of its utility - when you manage to exhaust an enemy's Ki, you typically follow up with a regular attack, using their vulnerability as an opening. With the Grapple move you can instead follow up with a specific grapple move that basically serves to deal massive damage to a stunned enemy; just head up to them and hit Triangle. Grapple is good, but like the Ki Pulse we're also interested in where on the skill tree it leads...
  • Kick - The Kick skill requires you to have access to grapple, but this move is a perfect compliment to that one. It works in mid or low stance and is basically a combo-ender - hit Triangle at the end of a combo and William will kick the enemy. This does an enormous amount of Ki damage, making it easier to get enemies to the point where you can grapple them.

Use Sneak Attack to devastate, even if you're not a Ninja Build

  • Sneak Attack - This move is absolutely fantastic. It's found in the Nnja Skill Tree, but even if you're not planning to set your William on a path towards a Ninja Build this skill is absolutely worth your time. Sneak attack basically allows you to deliver a huge sneaking strike to enemies that does a lot of damage - think the sort of thing that happens when you get behind someone in Souls. It's a little more difficult to pull off here, but it's well worth it. 
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