Nioh – Builds – The Cross Swordsman – Dual Swords

Nioh 2 is already here! The Dual Sword still remain one of the best weapons in Nioh 2. This build is still viable with some minor tweak to Guardian Spirits and the new mechanic Yokai Soul Cores.

Check out the Cross Swordsman 2.0 Build in below post

For Other Nioh 2 Build and Nioh 2 Weapon Guide, check out these post below


Base on your play styles, you can decide which weapons to use and tailor the build to suit your need. Today we will go through a very common build that not just easy to use, but also very cool to look at. I name the build base on the most used skill – THE CROSS SWORDSMAN

Nioh Dual Sword build – Speed is power.

This is a very common build since the beginning of Nioh (since the beta version), reason? Cool like ice cube! In reality, using two katanas at the same time is very troublesome and require a lot of skills to be a master, and most peoples will consider it as a novelty weapons – not good for real battle. However, in the world of manga & anime, the dual katana or some time triple katana have been used as a mark of the most skillful warriors. This also help pushing the popularity of this weapon to new height.




As mentioned above, using dual katanas requires a lot of skills 🙂 In Nioh, we can put in the “literally” part, SKILL is the main stat that scale with Dual Sword, starting at B+

Dual Sword scale.PNG

STARTING AT B+, Dual Sword scale with SKILL

So starting with Dual Sword build, your main focus should be the SKILL stat, this stat also help increase the damage of Rifle – which enable you to use a very strong ranged weapon although it’s a little slow compare to Bow. This stat also increase some Ninjutsu points although the rate is not high as DEXTERITY (Ninjutsu primary stat) it’s serve as a very good alternative for Kurigasama builds or a Ninjutsu builds

For STRENGTH & STAMINA, you will need an enough amount to equip some armor (Usually around 15 – 17 points)

Finally, with MAGIC & SPIRIT, depend on the Guardian Spirit you are using, SPIRIT should be around 10 – 15 points to enable some special affixes in these SPIRIT. If you don’t rely heavily on Onmyo Magic at the beginning, you can also neglect MAGIC stat. However, later these should be around 15 – 17 points (Way of the Strong and above)
HEART is also a very useful secondary stat for Dual Sword for it adds additional Ki to your arsenal, this also increase an amount of damage for Dual Sword (C+) and finally, this enable a good secondary weapons for this builds – SWORDS or Tri Sword Builds as some people called it 🙂 


HEART is the primary stats for Ki. (The above change in ATTACK is because my Dual Sword has CTA(Heart) hence the additional damage is higher than usual)


At the beginning  – Way of Samurai (lvl 1 -80), you will encounter Nioh first two sets (Equipment that will enable special affixes when equip together) – Warrior of the West and Red Demon Armor – mostly through Revenants (Red Graves resemble previous players deaths, usually carry their armor set and weapon) through out the mission

These two sets are the very basic set due to it’s damage increasement (10% for wearing 4 pieces of armor or equipment) and for 5 pieces the damage increase further more (~28%) when enemies are inflicted with Fire (Red Demon Armor) or Lighting (Warrior of the West)


Warrior of The West increase 10% damage when equip 4 pieces


The Red Demon Set is similar to Warrior of the West however support the Fire Element, with 5 pieces, the damage is increased by 27.5% if Enemies are Scorched

These two sets is also categorized as Light Armor, if you don’t have much STAMINA, the Agility Stats of the character will often stay at B – a very safe bet for you to not cost too much Ki when dodge and attack.


Agility C when character weight get over 70%

Near the end of the game (First Play-through on WOTS) you will encounter Master Swordsman set. This is the infamous must-have armor set for the Dual Sword build. Aside from the Close Combat Damage increasement as normal, when wearing 4 pieces the skill Sign of the Cross (a skill of Dual Sword) will have an increasement of 30%! However, this is a heavy armor set which mean you will need some investment in STAMINA stat to use this effectively.

Master Swordsman

Master Swordsman Set help reduce the Ki usage and increase the damage of Sign of the Cross skill.

After your first play-through you will enter Way of The Strong (lvl 100-180) at this time, you will get the hang of the play styles and full set of Master Swordsman. Luckily, you will also get the infamous Yasakani Magatama, an accessories that reduce the set requirement by 1 (You can wear 3 pieces and still receive the 4 pieces bonus of a set)

This open up opportunities for mixing sets as well as get your build to it’s peak 🙂 At the time this article is created, I am using the Master Swordsman set and Tanetashi Set – an armor sets that focus heavily on defense and damage reduce affixes, also listed is one of the most used tanky armor set. This also help you a lot when moving up to Way of the Demon where mobs are capable of one-hit kill you and sometime red mobs who put a lot of buffs on there own.

In Way of The Strong, most of your time is to level up (soul match) your weapons and reforge the affixes to get the most out of your builds, this is also the time where you can try different mix matching sets.

To sum things up, in equipment, you will need Master Swordsman and an additional set. This will depend on your styles, however, I suggest to add more in defense where we can balance out the damage output while keeping a healthy HP bar 🙂


The base damage reduction affixes is 7.8% – Not bad at all!

Tanetashi Bonus

At 3 pieces, we will have EQUIPMENT WEIGHT DAMAGE BONUS A, As both set are heavy armor, the damage increase is very attractive – around 15%!



To have the proper equipment is the key in Nioh, however, the most important things is still the affixes on it. Most of the builds efficient rely on the affixes.

            WEAPON AFFIXES

At the beginning (First Play-through) you don’t need to focus much on the affixes, simply pick up the stronger weapons on your journey and use it, as to modify affixes and change them require lot of upgrades and materials – which is more suitable for end game (Way of the Strong/Demon/Wise)

Just as mentioned in NIOH – THÔNG SỐ TRANG BỊ – PHẦN 1 – WEAPONS, there are many affixes that help increase the damage of the weapons, however, there are some core affixes that every weapons should have.

  • CLOSE COMBAT DAMAGE 10% – 20% / SKILL DAMAGE 15 – 20%
  • SKILL DAMAGE (Sign of the Cross I) 17 – 23%

CHANGE TO ATTACK (SKILL) is ideal when you using the Dual Swords build from the beginning – as your first max stat is SKILL, however, if you are using Dual Swords as a secondary weapon, and your first max stat is not SKILL, this should be the one that you are already maxed (STRENGTH, STAMINA, HEART…), this is the most efficient damage increasement affixes and very hard to roll as well, however with Temper, this process is a little easier.

SKILL DAMAGE & CLOSE COMBAT DAMAGE (CCD) These two affixes are not stack, which mean you can only choose one over another, at first glance CCD seem better as it increase overall damage, however, it’s hard to roll the best stat (20%) so you can use SKILL DAMAGE as an alternative

SKILL DAMAGE (Sign of the Cross I) – This affix only appear when you Forge Weapon or from RNG, which mean you can’t reforge it using Black Smith. One of the way to get this is to obtain the SMITHING TEXT from Master of Dual Sword in mission THE GRIMMEST BLADE or in MAROBASHI and forge the weapon from there, after that reforge other affixes to your needs

Master Swordsman Set include the weapon as well (Futatsu-mei Norimune & Hone-bami Toshiro) this mean you should find the materials and using this weapon as primary, this make the total armor you need reduce by one, enable other set to come in and boost your arsenal!

We still have one more slot for an affix, this is depend on your liking, if you want some “spark” here and there, elemental affixes is a good choices (FIRE, LIGHTING, WATER….) you can also choose Damage 50% which help increase damage of a specific element – this is the best when you are using Talisman as the main source of element damage. Finally, WEAKEN TORSO is also a good affix as it reduce the defense of the Chest Armor, in general, more damage for you!


Just like in NIOH – THÔNG SỐ TRANG BỊ – PHẦN 2 – ARMOR & ACCESSORIES Armor in Nioh also have some very good affixes (DAMAGE REDUCTION is a base affix that exist in all armor, however, higher in heavier armor)


For Armor in this build, as using Master Swordsman and Tanetashi, your Agility take a huge hit. As this build revolve around the Sign of The Cross, which is a heavy Ki usage build, a C Agility is your biggest opponent. To counter this, we have this affix:


This help reduce the weight of the armor and allow you to achieve B Agility when using heavy armor. With Temper, this is easier to get now.




With Tanetashi Set, a special affixes for 3 pieces is:


This help increase damage base on the weight of the character (~15% for over 30.1 Weight)

For Ranged Weapon, as the affix of the Ranged Weapon can be enabled if it’s used on primary slot, We can simply choose a weapon with AGILITY DAMAGE BONUS A and leave it there. At B Agility, this should be around 8% in Damage increasement, not bad for something that we never used much!

For Accessories, you will need a Yasakani Magatama (enable mixing the Sets) and any accessories to your liking as long as they have this:


A little limit there, but given your enemies in this game are mostly Yokai, this should be enough 🙂


Basically, you should learn all the Dual Sword skills, as most of them are very useful, the below list out some most used skills:

  • Flux – All moves – This help your regenerate Ki when changing Stance using R1 at correct time, master this skill is crucial to every builds.
  • Windstorm – Ah, the infamous Windstorm – give the dual sword user both good and bad reputation in the beginning. Good for the ridiculous damage and effect (Those Yokai with horns will fall down with one Windstorm cyclone) and bad for the spamming on PVP and PVE. This used to be the most used skill for any Dual Sword builds, but is nerfed after some patch, however they keep the break horn effect so, still good for comboing.

Wind Storm – Appear from the beginning of Nioh, become the most spamming skill, second to Blade Spin I believe 🙂 After the nerf, this rate has been reduced, but still an awesome addition!

  • Water Sword – Another skill in High Stance apart from Windstorm, throw a flurry of slashes until your Ki Bar depleted. Doesn’t have good mobility as other skills, but is one of the best skill that has good damage output. This should be considered “situational” skill

Water Sword – The character will stay put and throw out flurry of slashes, good damage output, but bad mobility

  • God of Wind I & II – This is by far one of the best combo in Nioh, start of with a slash to a kick and end up in two succession slash, good for Ki destroy and combo to Sign of the Cross, the combo that make Yokai shiver!
God of Wind

God of Wind – With good timing, instead of one slow slash, William will do double quick slash

  • And of course, Sign of The Cross – executed by holding R1+ Circle, character will gather strength and perform the “X” slash
Sign of the Cross

The Cross Swordsman

  • Mystic Art – There are two mystic arts for dual sword, one help reduce Ki after each attack, one help increase defense after each attack, in my opinion, Ki reduce is much more useful for Dual Sword, so go with that!

In Nioh, the passive skills from other trees can also be applied without using the weapon, so it’s worth to upgrade if those skills are suit your need. Some useful skills below:

Shadow Strike
Increase damage from behind – Kusarigama
Amour Piercer


Increase Final Blow damage – Kusarigama


200 HP Increase on AXE Skill


As this build using SOTC as the primary damage source, any spirit that help increase Skill damage is our friends. Kato is one of the most suitable in this situation due to it’s high support to Skill Damage

Another Spirit is Kara-Jishi, help increase your damage (as a buff) after each skill your performed on enemy, this spirit also support Lighting Element, if you like Lighting, this is your best choice.

INCREASE ATTACK (SKILL) does not show the exact number, but many ppls reported that this is around 40% increase, an impressive affix, during my play through, damage from Kara-Jishi is higher than Kato in most cases especially when using Lighting.

kato & kara

Kato increase Skill Damage 21% along with Close Combat Attack 14%, while Kara-jishi increase damage every time you use a Skill


Kara-Jishi – The Lighting Lion



In Ninjutsu & Onmyo Magic, you will need some basic skills. With Ninjutsu, you can use Quick Change Scroll – one more chance after death. There are also many other traps, bomb that you may like, however, this require some ninjutsu points and a will more suitable if you have high DEXTERITY

As for Onmyo Magic, you will need some basic stuff – Weakness Talisman, Carnage Talisman & Steel Talisman

After 1.14 patch, we have a new talisman – Leeching Talisman – increase damage base on HP loss, however, reduce HP during the duration. This can be a substitute for Carnage as it’s higher – around 55% 

The Paralytic Groundfire is also added in 1.14 for Ninjutsu Skills, which enable an awesome skills for Human Opponents

When playing, the order of buff should follow this:

Quick Change Scroll >> Carnage Talisman/ Leeching Talisman >> Steel Talisman >> Weakness Talisman

Nioh usables

Quick Change SCroll, Weakness Talisman và Carnage Talisman

You can also upgrade the skills in Ninjutsu & Onmyo magic to allow carry more ninjutsu items as well as the Mystic Arts that help cancel the buff animation



In general, this build does require some skill in combat, as SOTC require some charging time before unleashed, during this time, you are vulnerable to any attack and may get cancel out the charging time. To counter this, you need to familiar with the R1+O skills where character perform a Ki pulse as well as sheathing the swords.

This will reduce the time to charge and throw out the SOTC much faster. The flow is basically like this

Attacking (Normal Attack or Windstorm) >> Ki Pulse using (R1) + O at correct time >> Hold >> SOTC

This combo is very bad ass if you have good timing, with proper equipment, no Yokai or human opponent can withstand 4 SOTC.

Note: For Human opponents, there are no need to stab them when they fall, just continue SOTC till they are death!


SOTC is best used when using R1+O properly

Here is a video of me using this build on Hyakki Yagyo sub mission


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The play-styles can be varied if you like Poison or Paralysis, during my testing, a Paralytic Groundfire using with Hinno Enmma helm can one shot those Masters on Marobashi. 🙂 This is the build for people like speed and facing the enemy directly. I will share my Sword Build in the next post. STAY TUNE!

This is to share a character build with you guys, if you guys have comments, please don’t hesitate to share it, I will update the article when I have enough useful information! The article was created at 1.11 – 1.12 updates, so there are changes now with 1.16, however this is still a very awesome builds that can help you get through Way of the Wise. 

NOTE: At the time you read this, there are 6 builds articles on this site, but Dual Sword is my first article in English 🙂 Pardon any mistake as I am not native!


    […] my previous post NIOH – BUILDS – THE CROSS SWORDSMAN – DUAL SWORDS we have take a look at dual sword build, focusing on the skill Sign of The Cross, very powerful when […]



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  4. iFox

    Best tutorial I’ve read so far! Thx for sharing mate!

    1. admin

      Glad you enjoy reading! Let me know if anything need to be improved!

    2. admin

      Glad you enjoy reading! Let me know if anything needs to be improved!

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