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Nioh 2 starting weapons guide: Swords, spears, tonfa, odachi, and more explained

Nioh 2 weapons best
(Image credit: Team Ninja)

Being able to identify what the Nioh 2 best weapons are is important, as you have a long and difficult adventure ahead which you want to be well prepared for. Naturally you want to select a weapon that matches your individual playstyle in Nioh 2, but you also need to ensure you're getting the most effective one too so you're not putting yourself at a disadvantage.

In the rotten hollow of an ancient tree you'll find a hefty cornucopia of damage dealing swords, axes, and everything in between sticking into the dirt. We’re going to run you through all of the Nioh 2 starting weapons so that you can make the right choice before embarking on your grand adventure.

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What are the Nioh 2 best weapons?

Honestly, it depends on your style and what you want to do. Nioh 2 lets you trial all the kit before you lock it in. You’ll notice as you pick each weapon up that they offer distinct advantages to your skills as well as feeling different to one another. Keep a note of what skills you’re advancing so you can get off to the best possible start with your character build. We’ll list the benefits beyond affinity next to each weapon.

It’s worth noting that regardless of what weapon you pick at the start, you’ll be able to use anything in the main game. The weapon you choose will just level up the related skill that is tied to the chosen weapon, but you can really use anything. It’s worth focusing on a few weapons though, as Nioh 2 has skill trees and affinity systems for each type. 


nioh 2 sword

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Heart (Affects your Ki and your resistance against Fire, also benefits Bow)

The sword is your run of the mill starting weapon, a smaller blade that works well when combined with a good amount of Ki (stamina.) Across all stances it’s great for lunging at enemies and overhead slices that deal massive damage, though it’s not the fastest weapon in the game, it is deadly. 


nioh 2 spear

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Constitution (Affects your Life, and your resistance to Poison and Paralysis)

The spear is great for jabbing enemies from afar and keeping your distance from the Yokai. Naturally it uses a lot of stamina but involves some fluid acrobatics, ensuring combat feels like a dance regardless of your stance. 


nioh 2 axe

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Stamina (Affects your Life and maximum Equipment Weight, also benefits Hand Cannon)

The axe is brilliant at dealing with lots of enemies at once in the mid stance with its wide swinging motion, and can be devastating up close thanks to its overhead leaping charged attack in high stance. Great for beefy builds.


nioh 2 tonfa

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Courage (Affects your Ki recovery speed, and your resistance to Lightning)

The tonfa are my favourite weapons in Nioh 2, which I used throughout my playthrough. They’re nimble wooden arm braces that provide an excellent blocking stance and are quick to rip apart an enemies stamina when creating a fluid combo. A charged attack in high stance allows the protagonist to wield them as a duo and cleave at an enemy for massive damage. Great for high stamina builds. 


nioh 2 hatchets

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Skill (Activates special effects of Light Armour, also benefits Dual Swords and Rifle)

The hatchets are fast-paced and deadly when chained together in a combo. They can also be thrown in any stance when holding Triangle to attack enemies from afar. Another weapon benefitted by high Ki recovery and a nimble character.


nioh 2 Kusarigama

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Dexterity (Affects the effectiveness and capacity of your Ninjutsu)

The kusarigama is by far the most peculiar weapon in the game. A bludgeon and a sickle chained together, it is fantastic for crowd control when fighting big groups of enemies. In high stance you can hold Triangle to perform a Scorpion-esque “Get over here!” move, hooking enemies with your sickle and pulling them in close. 


nioh 2 Switchglaive

(Image credit: Sony)

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

The switchglaive is pretty much a Bloodborne trick weapon that changes depending on the stance you choose. In low stance it’s a deadly fast one-handed blade with a massive area of attack. In mid stance it transforms into a sword and spear combination that is better at dealing with enemies at a distance, similar to the reaper’s scythe that appears when you switch into high stance, which, if you can pull off the charged combo, is devastating at any range. The most versatile weapon in the game. 

Dual Swords

nioh 2 Dual Swords

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Skill (Activates special effects of Light Armor, also benefits Hatchets and Rifle)

The dual swords are a lot like the hatchets except arguably a little worse given that you can’t throw them. They feel a bit stunted in use but are admirably nimble and acrobatic in low and mid stance. Useful if you’re wanting to slice and dice, but there are better options. 


nioh 2 Odachi

(Image credit: Sony)

Skill benefit: +1 to Strength (Activates special effects of Heavy Armour and Water resistance)

The odachi is a gigantic katana that deals a devastating amount of damage at any range, compensated by slow attack animations. It’s charged low stance attack is a special treat, sweeping at a foe’s feet in a wide circle. Very useful when combined with a beefy heavy armour build, but given how fast Nioh 2’s enemies are, you’ll want something nimble on your off-hand.

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.