Nioh – Raining Ronin – Sword Build


In my previous post Nioh Dual Sword Build we have take a look at dual sword build, focusing on the skill Sign of The Cross, very powerful when you like facing enemies directly, with some basic buff you can put the build to it’s peak when optimize correctly. Today, to cool things down, we will go through another weapon – Sword/ Katana (There are some western swords in Nioh, but it’s only the look, the animation is still derived from Katana fighting style) a very balance weapon in both attack and defense. This also introducing a Nioh Sword Build for you to try.

The style may seem slow at first glance, but the damage is devastated.

KATANA – Flexible in maneuver

Katana – Japanese Sword, no need for more description 🙂 Originally from Japan, this has been an iconic weapon in many Samurai movie and manga. This sword has been kind of over-used in movie now, not just for it’s coolness, but also for the elegance and effective style. With Nioh, of course this is the first weapon many will want to use. In gameplay, the devs have carefully tailor this weapon to make it become a weapon for new player as well as experienced one.




Nioh Sword Build - Heart is the Sword

Sword is in the heart

In Nioh, aside from normal stats like other RPG inspire game, the game add in HEART (more like center, mind, represent by folding hand icon – normally see in Zen) and this stat is both used to affect the Ki bar and the main stat for Sword. Without much saying, this must be your main focus on first play through.


HEART helps increase your Ki and damage for Sword

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)



(The first part is from previous post)

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%


Just like in Dual Sword build, there are equipment sets that suit your play styles. With Sword we will have Kingo Set – The Crossed Sickle.

Why this set? In Nioh, when attacking from behind, you damage will increase by an fixed amount, with 5 pieces of this set, we will have 20% ATTACK FROM BEHIND, with 2 pieces we will have KILLING STRIKE 15%


The Crossed Sickles – A set mostly focus on damage, however there are some condition to it

In these bonuses, KILLING STRIKE should be used heavily in human opponent (with the assist of Spirit – Moment Talisman Daibawashi or Mizuchi is a good choice or Groundfire) why ATTACKING FROM BEHIND can be utilize for Yokai with some proper movement.

As for mixing, in this build we will bring in Gallantry Set (the smithing text is dropped from Ishida Mitsunari in RESTLESS SPIRIT or main mission THE DEFILED HOLY MOUTAIN) with two pieces on this set, Night Rain skill damage will increase by 30%, this set include a sword, so you can use the sword from this set as your main weapon (ideally should have star skill Night Rain affix on it) or using any pieces from this set as we only need this bonus.


Personally, I used the Gallantry helm to have the bonus


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.

  • SKILL DAMAMAGE (Night Rain) 17 – 23%

In Sword, you can also use:


ATTACK FROM BEHIND should be used when you don’t have CCD or tired to roll it 🙂 the increasement is usually higher than normal attack increase, but in turn limit you to go to the back of the enemies which some may not fond of.

CHANGE TO ATTACK (HEART) is ideal when you using Sword build from the beginning – as your first max stat is HEART, however, if you are using Sword as a secondary weapon, and your first max stat is not HEART, this should be the one that you are already maxed (STRENGTH, STAMINA, SKILL…), 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 (NIGHT RAIN) – This affix only appear when you Forge Weapon or from loot drop, which mean you can’t reforge it using Black Smith. One of the way to get this is to obtain the SMITHING TEXT for the sword of your liking (should prefer the Gallantry or the Kingo Sword as it synced with your set)

If you use the sword from Kingo set (Atagi Sadamune) you can reduce the armor pieces to 4 to get the bonus DAMAGE FROM BEHIND +20%

Good sword

A Sword I am using for this build, Close Combat Attack Ki Reduction should be replaced by something better

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 we are using Kingo & Gallantry, we don’t need this stat:


However, if you are planning to mix some Heavy Armor set, this should be on your priority list.

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.




If you like heavy armor, you may want to enable this affix:


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 🙂


This time, there are no need to level up all skills unless you want to experiment, as I myself find that some of them are not useful (Tiger Sprint, Sword of Meditation) and is hard to use in combat. Please let me know otherwise!

  • Flux – All moves – This help your regenerate Ki when changing Stance using R1 at correct time, master this skill is crucial to every builds.
  • Sword Ki – Disperse Ki from sword to an area around you, great for reduce opponent Ki (mostly Human) but is slow and require some skill to use perfectly
Sword Ki

Pew pew pew pew

  • Iai Quickdraw I II III – Getting inspiration a fighting style (where the sword is sheathed) William will charge his strenght and unleash a powerful slash.

Taking a lot of pics until getting this

  • Backwave I & II + Tempest – This skill tree allow you to use guarding (L1) as a counter attack, while standing still if you hit L1 at the right time, opponent will be deflect and William will follow up with a powerful shove to knock down the opponent making him open to Final Blow.

This is one of the best counter for Sword, but require practice to master

  • Haze I & II – “Parry” skill of sword, opponent will be left open for a back thrust. This is also a very strong counter skill in the game.

Of course it’s impressive man

  • Morning Moon – A combo executed in High Stance, look medicore, but hiding a great power, the damage output is very awesome considering the button press 🙂
Morning Moon

A little ugly on this one though 🙂

  • And of course Night Rain – Executed by holding R1+O, William will gather strength and slashes 5 or 6? times
Night Rain

Ok, one slash for references

  • Mystic Art – Relentless Strike- A passive help increase damage of sword when attacking from behind. No need for explanation right?
Sword of Execution

Mystic Art – Relentless Strike


Relentless – Increase your Ki

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


Once again, another build using skill, so we will make friend with spirit that help increase Skill Damage. Kato is one of our first choices

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

This time you can also try Tengen Kujaku – Elemental Peacock 🙂 This Oda’s Spirit has many useful affixes, one of which is increase attack when adsorbing armita in High Stance. However, this does require some skill in switching stances, the Triangle attack of High Stance is a very good start-up for this spirit.

Finally, we will choose a secondary spirit, this time Aya-Komori (The Bat) is your choice for it’s increase attack from behind by 7.5% (at level 40)


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


Nioh Ninjutsu Skill

Enlightment – Allow you to cancel animation when performing Ninjutsu

Nio Magic

Awakenening – Allow you to cancel animation when performing Onmyo Magic


So that’s a lot of attack from behind, which mean this build will get the most damage when you position is good (behind enemy) At first, this may seem a little limited, but given the tendency to doge side way, you will be surprised how easy you are behind an enemy 🙂 What make this build easy is the fact that your normal attack has a very high damage compare to other weapons, this in turn enable easy time for normal mobs and big Yokai if you time your doge correctly.

More over, we have Night Rain, which is a skill similar to other R1+O skills where character sheathed the sword before execution. Just like in Dual Sword SOTC, we need to familiar with Ki Pulse combine with Sheathing technique.


Ki Pulse in combination with Sheathing the sword R1+O

This skill damage is higher than SOTC (in full combo) but lacking the Ki damage and speed of that skill, however, for Yokai, this is still the killer. See below:

[wpvideo dwa41ZrO]

With that said, this does not have much affect on Human opponents, they will mostly block your slashes from the begining, to counter this we can use the normal bread and butter, Groundfire >> Final Blow from behind, or Paralysis Groundfire/ Medusa Mist. You can also use Moment Talisman and Daiba Washi or Mizuchi to make them fall to their death!

Sword is my secondary weapon when I moved to Way of The Strong and Demon. This stand out as an easy and friendly for new comer, along with that Kingo set is a very viable set where you can use it for other weapons as well.

Next time, we will move on to the last “sword” style – the Giant Odachi!

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. 

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