In Nioh 2, mastering the combat is key if you want to have a good time. And you should, because, as we explain in our review, it’s a great game. If you’ve been checking our guides, then you probably already saw our Combat Tips, our Weapon and Stats guide, and you even know how to Respec and how to play with other people.
In this guide, we’ll point you towards the 7 Best Soul Cores. In our Combat Tips we explain how important these are, but there’s one Soul Core for every single enemy type in the game, including bosses. As such, the list has over 40 different Soul Cores and picking only a few to equip yourself with can be a daunting task.
Nioh 2 Soul Cores: our picks for the best soul cores
Given that there are over 40 different Soul Cores, as noted above, that makes the task of picking a few very difficult. The true answer to the question of which is the best soul core is, of course, subjective - depending on your character build and your play-style of choice, different cores will make more sense for some than for others. You should also consider what the soul core does in tandem with your weapon pair choice and character build.
With that said, taking into accountboth the Yokai Ability they offer and their two innate passive effects, we've racked our brains and some up with this - a list of what we believe are the overall best Soul Cores, presented in no specific order.
Enki Soul Core
This is probably the very first type you will get, and you should start getting used to it because it’s definitely one of the best. It’s passive effects, Anima Bonus (Damage Taken) and Melee Damage vs. Humans aren’t game changers although they are quite useful. However, the Yokai Skill is the reason why you'll end up using this one. Monkey Dance transforms you into an Enki yourself, as you throw a javelin just like those enemies probably did to you. This causes massive Ki damage and is extremely useful on bosses. If you use it in the right moment, you can deplete any enemy’s Ki bar very fast, leaving them completely open to your attacks.
Mezuki Soul Core
Mezuki is the first boss in Nioh 2 and as such, you’ll have plenty of time to play around with this Soul Core. Its Yokai Ability, Razing Edge, is an attack you probably got hit by a lot, and now you can use its huge horizontal range on any enemy. On top of that, both of its passive effects work very well together and are really what puts it on this list. Attack (Yokai Shift) increases your attack when you transform into a yokai, just like it says in its name. The other effect, Pleiades (Enemy Killed), gives you a great buff that makes your Amrita Gauge fill faster every time you kill an enemy. Since you need a full Amrita Gauge to use Yokai Shift, these two effects go great together and they should allow you to both transform more often and deal more damage while transformed.
Nure-Onna Soul Core
The Nure-Onna can be a bit of a pain to deal with, since it can paralyze you with her gaze. As such, its Soul Core is so good because it gives you that same exact ability to use on for yourself. With Petrifying Gaze you can keep most enemies in place for quite some time, depending on their resistance to Paralysis. This can give you time to heal, use any other item or just prepare your strongest attack. Its passive effects are useful too: Poison Resistance raises exactly what it says on the tin, while Melee Damage vs. Uscathed Enemy increases the melee damage you deal to an enemy that is at full health. This last one can make for a nice combination with Petrifying Gaze, as it can be a very strong opener for a battle.
Skeleton Warrior Soul Core
You might think that this lowly enemy that was so common in the first game has nothing to offer you, but you would be wrong. Its Soul Core is great if you like to play at long range, since its Yokai Ability, Skeleton Bowman, calls two warriors to shoot arrows at your enemy. On top of that, one of its passive skills is Anima Bonus (Ranged Weapon Hit), which increases your Anima when you deal damage with arrows or bullets. As if that wasn’t enough, this Soul Core gives you a little bit of a safety net with its second effect: Auto-Grave Recovery. By default, this gives you a 10,5% change to not lose anything upon death, and it can go higher if you upgrade this Soul Core. It won’t trigger every single time, but when it does you’ll be grateful.
Mitsume Yazura Soul Core
The first time you saw this enemy you probably thought it was going to be a very scary fight, but once you figure out its weakness (those big red eyes), it becomes a cakewalk. Its Soul Core also might not be as imposing as it might seem at first, but it’s an extremely useful one to have. Besides having Anima Charge (Critical), which increases the amount of Anima you gain at low health, it gives you a passive Enemy Sensor, marking every single enemy on your radar. Never again will you fall into a trap where you can get surrounded, or turn a corner only to find a bunch of enemies waiting for you. Its Yokai Ability, Corrupted Breath, transforms you into one of these enemies and has you breathing fire in multiple directions, which makes it a great tool for dealing those crowds you will now see coming.
Namahage Soul Core
This enemy type introduced in the DLC for the first game makes a return in this sequel and the Soul Core it gives you is quite good. Whipper Snapper, its Yokai Ability, transforms you into a Namahage and deals a lot of fast, damaging hits to whatever enemy you lock onto. The passive effects complete the package: Defense (Yokai Shift) increases your defense while transformed, which will make it so that your transformation lasts longer even if you take damage; Melee Damage vs. Zero-Ki Enemy increases your damage against enemies that have run out of Ki, which is something you should constantly be aiming for anyway. What this Soul Core offers doesn’t really play as a cohesive whole, but in turn it covers a lot of different situations.
Kasha Soul Core
This one comes from a boss about halfway into the game, but it might just be the strongest. The reason is a combination of great passive effects and an amazing Yokai Skill. Its two effects are Life Drain (Yokai Ability Hit) and Faster Movement (Amrita Absorption). While the Faster Movement is very useful in general since even picking up objects gives you small amounts of Amrita, the Life Drain goes hand in hand with the Yokai Ability it offers: Hellfire Wheel. You essentially just throw a giant yokai beyblade at your enemies, which is not only great for crowd control and amazing for one-on-one battles, but also it hits a ridiculous amount of times, constantly activating the Life Drain effect. As if that wasn't enough, it inflicts Burning on your enemies and it lasts even longer while in the Dark Realm. It’s very hard to top this one.