Skip to main content

Nioh 2 guardian spirit guide: Which starting spirit should you pick?

Nioh 2 guardian spirit best
(Image credit: Team Ninja)

The Nioh 2 guardian spirit you select is important, as this choice goes far beyond the cosmetics of your alternate spirit form to determine your skills and buffs as well. There are three different options available – bird, wolf, or phantasm – which we will look at to determine the individual benefits of their Yokai Form, as well as identifying the skills they advance and how useful they can be in a fight. If you're ready to decide which Nioh 2 guardian spirit is right for you, then read on.

Nioh 2 tips | Nioh 2 healing elixir | Nioh 2 best weapons | Nioh 2 Ki pulse | Nioh 2 Soul cores | Nioh 2 Amrita

Which Nioh 2 guardian spirit should I choose?

(Image credit: Sony)

Guardian spirits denote what kind of Yokai you will transform into when you press Triangle and Circle together in battle, once your Amrita meter is filled. While you have to make a choice at the start you will unlock new spirit animals and change them throughout the course of the game. It will take some time though. It’s a lot like picking your starter Pokemon, so read on as we introduce you to each guardian spirit’s benefits and battle style.

Harbour the swift bird - Ame-no-Mitori (Feral)

Nioh 2 guardian spirit Harbour the swift bird

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Heart (Affects your Ki, and your fire resistance, benefits Sword and Bow weapons)

The bird spirit Ame-no-Mitori is the best spirit to pick if you want to attack with lightning speed in Nioh 2. It’s statistical benefits include a boost to running speed and Ki recovery, as well as a means to charge your Anima meter which you need to fill to use soul core attacks, which you will eventually attune to your guardian spirit as you defeat nefarious Yokai. 

In battle, the Feral Yokai Form is dangerously quick and can overwhelm a Yokai’s stamina with ease. One of its best skills is the ability to shadow step whilst mid-combo, allowing you to disengage when the enemy charges up a devastating attack. The Feral form’s special attack (activated by pressing Triangle and Circle together) has you leap into the air and bring down a lightning strike on your enemy, paralysing it in place and opening it up to further attack. 

Harbour the fierce wolf - Makami (Brute)

Nioh 2 guardian spirit Harbour the fierce wolf

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Strength (Activates the special effects of heavy armour and increases Water resistance, benefits the Odachi weapon)

The wolf spirit Makami is the most deadly of the three Guardian Spirits in Nioh 2. Statistically, the spirit will offer you a bonus to your Anima meter when guarded, reduce your Ki (stamina) consumption when performing melee attacks and add damage to final blows when you break an enemy’s posture. 

In battle, the deadly brute is sluggish but deals tons of damage with its massive, lava-encrusted bat, which has a gigantic area of effect. If you hold down Triangle you can charge the bat and turn it into a hammer which you can slam down on an unsuspecting Yokai. Its Yokai Burst move is slower than the Feral type but has an excellent animation for surprising foes. The Brute’s special ability sends the wolf darting towards your chosen enemy, leaving a trail of fire in its wake. 

Harbour the dark phantasm - Kagewani (Phantasm)

Nioh 2 guardian spirit Harbour the dark phantasm

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Magic (Determines the effect and capacity of Omyo Magic, benefits the Switchglaive weapon) 

The shark spirit Kagewani offers the Phantom Yokai Form in Nioh 2, which floats around the battlefield dealing magical damage, which is great for players who want to focus on Omyo Magic and would like a mix between the Feral and the Brute forms. Kagewani offers a boost to your Anima when landing ranged attacks, adds +200 to your Life meter and imbues you with Tenacity, an effect that makes your attacks deals damage over time. 

In battle, the magical phantasm is swift but deals its damage from afar, hurling spinning blades of magical energy at its opponents. Tapping Triangle will release a spear of deadly magic damage at your chosen enemy, whereas holding Triangle will I unleash two massive whirling blades which fly towards foes. Kagewani’s Yokai Burst attack is more like a shield - the Yokai stays still when blocking a burst attack. Its special move will be familiar to those who’ve played as Fizz in League of Legends, as tapping Triangle and Circle will summon a shark from the ground which leaps in the air and snaps at the unlucky enemy in its area of effect. 

Jordan Oloman

Jordan Oloman has hundreds of bylines across outlets like GamesRadar+, PC Gamer, USA Today, The Guardian, The Verge, The Washington Post, and more. Jordan is an experienced freelance writer who can not only dive deep into the biggest video games out there but explore the way they intersect with culture too. Jordan can also be found working behind-the-scenes here at Future Plc, contributing to the organization and execution of the Future Games Show.