Whether you’re new to the series or you’re a returning player from the first game, you should know that in Nioh 2 combat is everything. Like we said in our review, there’s a wide variety of weapons for you to choose from, each one with their pros and cons. Nioh 2 even adds all the weapon types from the first game’s DLC and some completely new types. As if that wasn’t enough, the stance system means every weapon has three different ways in which you can use them!
With so much variety, it’s important to know what each weapon does and how do they scale with your stats. This all feeds into your character development and eventually picking the best build and weapon combination for your character, as you'll of course ultimately be using a pair of weapons. You can always equip two weapons at a time, so take all of this into consideration in order to build your perfect yokai slayer.
Weapon Types and Stat Scaling: know your weapons
At the beginning of the game, you can pick your first two weapons. The game lets you try out all of the weapon types for a little bit before deciding, and each weapon type gives you a different bonus of +1 to a specific stat. In the long run, that bonus doesn’t mean much since you’ll be leveling up quite fast, and you will be able to find the weapons you don’t pick almost immediately.
Still, it is important to know how each weapon type scales with your stats. All of them receive a damage boost based on three different stats, and depending on which weapons you end up favoring, you might want to lean towards those specific stats.
The Sword is the most basic of weapon types in Nioh 2. With decent range, decent speed and decent damage, this weapon type doesn’t excel at anything but rather it’s a useful all-rounder. Some might find them a little bit dull compared to the other options, but you can never go wrong with a Sword. In terms of stat scaling, Swords have a B+ in Heart, a C in Strength and a C in Skill.
You’d think that two swords instead of one would be stronger, but the Dual Swords are your equivalent to dagger-type of weapons in other games. They’re faster than most weapons, but not as strong in terms of numbers. However, their speed is very useful when you want to inflict a status ailment if your specific weapon allows it. They have a C+ in Heart, a D+ in Strength and a B+ in Skill.
Spears are all about the reach, both horizontal and vertical. They might not be super fast, but they can cover ground that most other weapons just can’t. If you want to hit your enemies from a safer distant than most of the other weapons, then you might want to try these out. They have a B+ in Constitution, a C in Strength and a C in Skill.
Axes are your big damage weapons, but at the same time they’re the slowest and consume the most Ki. No matter the stance, an axe is never going to be your fastest option but it will do a lot of damage. If you really want to sacrifice speed for power, an Axe in High Stance can be absolutely devastating. They have a B+ in Stamina, a D+ in Strength and a C+ in Courage.
The Kusarigama have always been considered the most technical weapon in Nioh, and that remains the case in this sequel. They have reach and speed, even in the High Stance, but to master these weapons you will need to learn its shortcomings. They have a D+ in Strength, a C+ in Skill and a B+ in Dexterity.
Odachi, the first of the DLC weapon types from the previous game, is an alternative for the Spear if you want reach. They are slower, but offer more damage and go hand in hand with tankier builds since some of its attacks can’t be interrupted. They have a C in Heart, a C in Stamina and a B+ in Strength.
The Tonfas, the other DLC weapon type from Nioh 1, have the shortest range in the game. However, to compensate for that they are incredibly fast and most of its attacks move you forward, allowing you to keep pressuring your enemies and breaking their guards. They have a C+ in Constitution, a D+ in Dexterity and a B+ in Courage.
Hatchets are the first weapon type added for Nioh 2 and they’re quite unique. Just like Tonfas, they also have shorter range than most but unique to them is that by holding down the Strong Attack, you can actually throw your hatchet. They have a B+ in Skill, a D+ in Magic and a C+ in Courage.
The Switchglaive is the other new weapon type in Nioh 2, and they are one of the most versatile weapons in the game. Their gimmick is that each stance transforms the weapon. In Low Stance, they have short range and high speed like a Tonfa. In Mid Stance they act similar to Spears. In High Stance they basically become an Axe. These weapons are perfect for covering a lot of options. They have a C in Constitution, a C in Skill and a B+ in Magic.
Remodel: How to modify the stat scaling of your weapon
Remember how I said that the stat your weapon scales with is very important? Nioh 2 goes even further in that regard with its new Remodel system. As you progress through the game and do Sub Missions to upgrade the Blacksmith, you will eventually unlock this function that allows you to tinker with the scaling of your some of your weapons.
To Remodel a weapon, they need to have a +1 or more next to their level. You can get this bonus randomly by either forging new weapons or as loot drops in every level. You have four options for remodeling: the default is the original scaling, and three other options that greatly increase one of the stats but lowers the other two. For example, you could remodel a Switchglaive to scale better with Skill, resulting in a D+ in Constitution, a C in Magic but an A- in Skill.
Do keep in mind, however, that remodeling requires a specific item you need to forge from materials dropped by specific bosses.
Best Builds and Weapon Pairs: our recommended loadouts
Now that you have all that information, how do you pick which weapon to use? Nioh 2 gives you a lot of freedom, especially with the new Remodel system, but there are still some tried and true builds that will help you out a lot - for the purposes of this page, we're calling them our best builds with the best weapon pairs and combinations for Nioh 2 - though as with your choice of Soul Core, there is no absolute 'best' option - the answer will depend on your play style.
All of these options as listed are a great starting point for choosing a weapon pair and a character build, however. Here are some of our recommendations, based specifically in what kind of playstyle you want to follow.
- Sword and Tonfa: With these two weapons as a combo, the Sword will be great when dealing with more than one enemy, while the Tonfa will be best for one-on-one battles. The good thing about this combination is that investing in Heart and Courage, the two stats these weapons scale with, will greatly improve your Ki management, which is one of the most important aspects of Nioh. Heart increases your Ki value, while Courage increases your Ki Recovery Speed.
- Axe and Odachi: This is the tank build. With an Axe, you have very high damage even if your weapon is a bit slow, but that’s what the Odachi is for, since it also comes with better reach. These two weapons favor the Stamina and Strength stats, which also enable you to use heavy armor. Investing in Stamina increases your Equipment Weight, and high Strength value is a requirement to activate the special effects of heavy armor, while also increasing your Equipment Weight.
- Dual Sword and Kusarigama: This specific build is the one you should be going for if you want to explore the Ninjutsu skill tree The Dual Sword has the speed, while the Kusarigama has the reach. The thing is, these weapon favor Skill and Dexterity, two stats that will help you out with your Ninjuntsu. Dexterity increases your Ninjutsu power and capacity, while Skill is required to activate the effect of light armor and it also gives you a boost to Ninjutsu.
- Tonfa and Dual Swords: This weapon combination works similarly to the sword and tonfa combination listed above, giving you the multi-hit combos of the Tonfa that's ideal for one-on-one encounters but this time combining it with the dodge-friendly Dual Sword that can get you out of harms' way when an unblockable move is set upon you.
- Hatches and Switchglaive: This build uses the two new weapon types in Nioh 2, and it turns out it’s great if you also like using Onmyo Magic. The Switchglaive offers you versatility to cover pretty much any situation, and the ability to throw your hatchet is quite useful. Both weapons favor Skill, which helps you wearing light armor, and Magic, which increases your Onmyo power. What’s more, you could go even further by remodeling a Hatchet to increase its scaling with Magic, so you can invest even further in this stat while dealing great damage with both of your weapons.