Nioh 2 Builds are optimized combinations of equipment such as Weapons and Armor, Skills that define a specific set of playstyle or highlight a certain natural strength of a character. This page features several Nioh 2 Builds by the Fextralife Team, as well as user-submitted builds

Best Nioh 2 Builds

  1. Dual Swords - Flow and attack quickly with ki recovery Water Swordsman Build; Poison your foes to deal great DPS Poisonous Swordsman Build
  2. Kusarigama - Barrage of Poison attacks & DPS Poisonous Shinobi Build; Execute a great number of critical hits for massive DPS Immortal Kusarigama Build
  3. Fists - Deal massive Lightning DPS Lightning Monk Build
  4. Axe - Deal massive DPS and OHKO enemies Raging Tiger Build
  5. Odachi - Paralyze your Opponent and destroy them Paralyzing Blade Build
  6. Splitstaff - Quick and ki-friendly DPS Watery Devotion Build
  7. Spear - Heavy Lightining Attacks Thunderous Spear Build
  8. Hand Cannon - Outstanding Ranged OHKO DPS Explosive Cannoneer Build
  9. Hatchets - Debuff Ranged  & Safe Ice Shaman Build
  10. Tonfas - Break enemies to get grapple & final blow Heavenly Apocalypse Build
  11. Scythe - Lightning melee & ranged DPS Golden Scythe Build
  12. Bow & Katana - Self-healing Safe DPS Agile Archer Build

10 Tips for All Players in Nioh 2




Nioh 2 Builds by Fextralife

If you are looking for the Best Builds for Nioh 2's First Playthrough, check out our content below. You will find a variety of ideas and in-depth explanations of why certain choices are made, so you can optimize your own build and branch out to grow as you progress into NG+ and beyond. Onmyo, Melee and Ranged Builds are all viable, and you can make use of the many Status Effects of the game including Water, Lightning, Poison and Paralysis. Your Build Level doesn't necessarily matter, as you can continue to level up and customize at level 30, 50, 90, and beyond all the way to 200.

Your First steps should always be to decide what weapon movesets you like and how you prefer to approach a battle: Are you likely to run in and charge? Do you like blocking or deflecting? Do you prefer to debuff or slow down enemies, or perhaps take them out from a distance? Based on your weapon choice, your primary stats will determine what you invest in to start with. However, since Nioh 2 is a very expansive game with amazing Weapons and Armor Sets, you will find you have many more options than when you start, and by your third playthrough and DLC Builds you will likely be able to mix-and-match a lot more. Use these builds as a starting point for your progress.

Poisonous Swordsman: Dual Swords Build

Capitalize on having high survivability while inflicting poison and dealing huge damage with our Nioh 2 Poisonous Swordsman Build!

The Poisonous Swordsman boosts offense while still maintaining a decent amount of defense for better survivability due to the Master Swordsman’s Power Set. In terms of stats, the main ones you ought to invest in are Skill and Heart since Dual Swords scale with either of them. It’s also important to get Stamina and Strength to about 41 and 15, respectively, to attain B Agility to recover a decent amount of Ki and to increase movement range when dodging. What this Build offers are enhanced Active Skill Damage, Melee Damage vs. Poisoned Enemy, and Poison Accumulation (Enemy) on top of making use of Poison Shuriken. Tengen Kujaku also plays an essential role as it aims to enhance defense further in mid stance while improving melee damage in high stance.

The way this Build works is to initiate combat by poisoning the enemy and then sustaining this status effect throughout the fight in order to maximize the amount of damage you deal. The Double-Headed Slice is a vital skill to invest in because it lets you apply poison effectively. Additionally, you should obtain Firm Resolve to amplify the defense buffs you gain every time you attack, making it nearly impossible to put you down.

Lastly, the best Dual Sword weapon to use for the Poisonous Swordsman is the Bamboo Cutter & Bone Feaster imbued with poison due to its high base attack damage. It also synergizes with the Master Swordsman’s Power Set quite well.

Immortal Kusarigama: Kusarigama Crit Build

Inflict numerous critical hits while making use of high Ki for enhanced consistency with our Nioh 2 Immortal Kusarigama Build!

The Immortal Kusarigama utilizes the Kusarigama to deal massive, uninterrupted critical hits. As such, you will want to maximize Skill because of weapon scaling, which should boost the damage you deal. This Build also specializes in stealing Ki from your enemies, allowing you to sustain your high offensive and defensive capabilities.

The way this Build works is you will want to make use of the Ultimate Courage Skill because it reduces Ki usage when attacking enemies. However, remember that this requires a hefty investment in the Courage Stat at about 150. It also lessens the effects of ailments that harm Ki recovery. Maintaining good Ki levels will allow you to perform attacks constantly as well as prevent you from getting knocked down. Additionally, the Imbue Corruption special effect is essential to making this Build work. Corruption allows you to inflict additional Ki damage while stealing that same amount from the enemy you attacked.

Lastly, you should aim for the Seven Misfortunes, Eight Hardships Armor Set as it will make you pretty tanky. This not only increases critical melee damage done by a substantial amount but also reduces damage taken whenever you suffer from a status effect.


Lightning Monk: Fists Build

Deal fast and massive Lightning Damage with the help of your powerful Clawed Fists with our Nioh 2 Lightning Monk Build. This is another superb starter to early mid-game build!

The Lightning Monk makes use of Clawed Fists, which scale with Strength so even in the early game, you will want to have invested the most points into this stat. Magic also plays a huge role in this Build so be sure to bump this up next since you will be making use of Talismans like the (Element) Stop Talisman for better defense. Next, if the boss isn’t resistant to lightning, you will want to use the Lightning Talisman on your Fists to boost damage. If they are, then you won’t need to do this. Instead, you must rely on the Imbue Corruption special effect given that it’s very effective against human bosses. 

The way this Build works is you are going to fight enemies via the high stance to maximize your damage potential. Remember to utilize the Battering Ram Skill to not only deal great Ki damage but also send enemies flying into the air the moment their Ki drops to 0. You can also go for Reckless Charge to defend yourself as you are approaching them. This is closely followed by Dreadslayer in order to bombard them with multiple swift blows.

The Atlas Bear Guardian Spirit is also a must-have for this Build as it grants Damage Bonus (Low Ki), which further improves your damage when your Ki gets diminished in the high stance, together with enhanced melee damage. And finally, you should aim to equip Clawed Fists because they are stronger compared to the unclawed version as it significantly improves the damage you deal by 25%.

Watery Devotion: Splitstaff (DLC BUILD)


Utilise Medium Armor, Onmyo Magic and the new Splitstaff weapon with this Nioh 2 Watery Devotion Build perfect for late game. Click here to read full build.

The Watery Devotion Build uses a combination of Water magic, and the newly added Splitstaff Weapon to deal decent damage to enemies while tanking anything they can dish out. Splitstaffs scale primarily from the Magic Attribute, so this makes for a nice combination of spells and melee.

The biggest issue with the Splitstaff weapon type, is that it uses a ton of Ki for its attacks, making it difficult to attack and then Block or Dodge. With this Build we rectify this problem by getting our Toughness stat to 200, making Blocking much more effective. Additionally, a large investment into Courage not only improves weapon damage, but also increases Ki Recovery Speed, helping to alleviate this issue. And finally, by using the skill Unruly Revolution, which consumes almost no Ki at all.

If you want to use the Splittstaff, but you’re not quite sure how to use it, then this Build is a good place to begin.


Golden Scythe: Switch Glaive Onmyo Build


Master playing as a Mage/Tank that uses Lightning to buff its attacks and deal brutal damage to enemies with our Nioh 2 Golden Scythe build!

The Golden Scythe Build uses a combination of Lightning Onmyo Magic and deadly combos and Skills to take down enemies from point blank and at range. Because this Build uses Heavy Armor, you can tank hits and keep on swinging, taking drastically reduced damage while not being interrupted. This is important because the Switchglaive doesn’t always have the fastest moveset, especially when in High Stance, which you will use frequently as it’s vertical attack hits the weakspot of many Yokai.

The way this Build works is that you usually begin by picking off enemies with your Bow, since you will have increased Bow Damage from the Golden Boy set. Having isolated the tougher Yokai enemy, you will hit it with Lightning Shot Talisman a time or two to set the Electrifed Status Effect. This slows the attacks and Movement Speed of the enemy and increases your Melee Damage by +20% against them, which is not a small amount. Then you move into melee when appropriate, and hack away until they die, ALWAYS remembering to Ki Pulse. This Build is extremely Ki hungry, and if you don’t Ki Pulse you’ll be dead pretty quickly.

Water Swordsman: Dual Swords Build


Master an agile dual swordsman that uses Ninjutsu to compliment his skill with our Nioh 2 Water Swordsman build!

The Water Swordsman uses a combination of quick and powerful attacks to quickly get in and out of combat and deal high damage without being struck. Ninjutsu also plays a significant roll in this Build because it allows us to soften enemies at range, and to buff our own Ki Recovery so that we can keep up the offense.

The general strategy with this Build is to have the initiative when facing an opponent and then switching to a defensive playstyle. Using light armor provides high speed, dodge and Ki Recovery that all work together with our fast attacks and high Ki Pool. Wait for the enemy to attack, dodge, strike back dealing lots of damage, dodge backwards and repeat. Water Sword is used on enemies to stagger then when needed and deals incredible damage.


Paralyzing Blade: Odachi Build


If you’ve been looking for a powerful Odachi Build in Nioh 2, check out our Paralyzing Blade Build!

The Paralyzing Blade Build uses a combination of the Bloodspider Blade and Paralysis Ninjutsu to destroy enemies by rendering them immobile and then hitting them like a truck. The Bloodspider Blade does nearly 30% extra damage to enemies that are Paralyzed, which only means one hit, so you’ve got to make the most of that.

The way this Build works is that you’ll use your Rifle to pick off weaker enemies, and use your Cannon as necessary to deal tons of damage against stronger foes. Then you’ll Paralyzed your target, if it can be, with Ninjutsu and then deal a massive damage hit to it to finish it off. If it’s a human enemy, then you’ll be able to Grapple it when Paralyzed dealing tons of damage, and giving you an opportunity to attack them further as they are getting off the ground. Additionally, Odachis deal increased damage to humans, so this Build is especially good against difficult human enemies like Revenants or Bosses.

Agile Archer: Katana & Bow Build


An excellent Katana and Bow Build for mid game players that want to optimize their ranged and melee damage! Click here to read about the Agile Archer Katana and Bow Build.

The Agile Archer uses a combination of Bow and Katana to take down enemies quickly and with precision. Bows and Katanas both scale mainly off of Heart and Skill, which makes for a good pairing, especially when you use a Set that benefits both playstyles like Saika’s Yatagarasu. This Set gives you Life Drain, Dodge Ki Reduction Cost, Melee Damage, Reduced Defense Ranged Weapon Hit, and Untouched Ammo +20% so that you can keep on shooting without running out of Arrows as quickly. What more could you ask for?

The way this Build works is that you will be picking off enemies with your Bow, healing yourself for a good amount of Health if you hit them in the head. Once you’ve isolated your tough Yokai you’ll begin by attacking the weakspot with a Bow in order to reduce its defenses and drain a fair amount of Ki. Then you’ll bait attacks from the enemy until you have an opening and then have at it. Katanas have a very defensive style of play because they lack the range that other weapons do, so you will always want to react to the enemy when engaged, and not play aggressively.


Thunderous Spear: Spear


This Thunderous Spear Build uses Heavy Armor and a Spear to swing fast and furiously without dying. A perfect starter to early mid-game build! Click here to read the full build!

The Thunderous Spear combination of Heavy Armor and a Spear that allows you to not only Block most attacks done to you, but to also unleash a devastating barrage of attacks that keep enemies pressured and debuffed. Lightning plays a minor role in this Build, but it does allow you to set the Shocked Status Effect, slowing enemy attacks. The focus of this Build is using Low Stance so that you conserve your Ki when you attack, so that you can then Block afterwards without becoming Winded.

The way this Build works is that you will begin combat with either High or Low Stance depending on your opponent. High Stance is used to dispatch easy to kill enemies quickly, such as Gaki or Humans. The last hit of Spearfall will knock Humans to the ground, allowing you to hit them with a Final Blow. You’ll use Low Stance on most Yokai that are harder to kill, allowing for longer combos that drain more Ki than High Stance. Additionally, Low Stance combos cost less Ki, which makes it possible to attack and then Block afterwards.

Raging Tiger: Axe Build


The Raging Tiger Build makes use of Heavy Armor and an Axe to pound things to a pulp in one or two swings. A great choice for a starter to early mid-game build! Read about the Raging Tiger Axe Build here.

The Raging Tiger uses a combination of buffs and strong attacks to destroy enemies in one fell swoop. Additionally, because of the Heavy Armor we wear with this Build the damage we take tends to be rather low, and prevents us from being Staggered very often. This allows the Raging Tiger to complete it’s devastating 2 hit combo without interruption, often healing the damage received mid swing. Since the healing received is based on damage dealt, the higher damage you deal the more you will heal, so crank that damage up!

The way this Build works is that you’ll buff with Rage, and then simply run into enemies and use the Strong Attack from High Stance to do a two hit combo that will either outright kill enemies or Stagger them, allowing for a quick follow up of this same combo which will finish them off. If you happen to be struck mid combo, you’ll gain Health from the Obsidian Armor Set, your Guardian Spirit bonus and ideally you’ll have Life Gain from High Stance on your weapon. This usually heals you for most of the damage done, but if not, a couple more enemies comboed this way will top you off. This makes you nearly invincible while you swing away with prejudice.


Ice Shaman: Hatchets


The Ice Shaman Build makes use of Hatchets and Onmyo Magic to range down enemies from a safe distance. A great choice for a starter to early mid-game build! Read about the Ice Shaman Hatchets Build here.

The Ice Shaman Build uses a combination of Onmyo Magic spells and the Hatchet Skill Piercing Hurl to debuff enemies and then hit them with Hatchet throws and spells safely from a distance, engaging in Melee only when necessary. Because of the heavy focus on Water Damage, and the set The Spirit of Seimei, you’ll be able to Saturate and reduce the Defense of enemies at the same time. Saturated enemies take even further increased damage, so attacks from you and any party members will deal heavily increased damage, tremendously speeding up fights.

The way this Build works is that you’ll use All Ablaze to buff your Hatchet damage and Movement Speed, and then pick off enemies with Hatchets for weaker enemies, or use your Rifle since it’ll do insane damage with this Build. Then when you’re facing a Boss or difficult Yokai you’ll buff with Barrier Talisman, and then cast Water Shot in order to debuff the defenses of the enemy, while building up some Saturation and then you’ll use the Fiery Reinforcement ability of the Maelstrom Oni-bi Soul Core(Water) to finish the Saturation build up and coat your weapons with Water Damage. Then you’ll use Piercing Hurl until the enemy enters melee range, at which point you’ll use your mobility to strike quickly and then dodge out of melee range, switching to ranged attacks once again if needed.

Heavenly Apocalypse: Tonfas Build


Play as a combo chaining warrior who smashes their way through everything with our Nioh 2 Heavenly Apocalypse Build Guide!

The Heavenly Apocalypse Build uses a combination of Strong Attacks in quick succession to rip Ki off of enemies, disabling them for Grapples and Final Blows often, or simply allowing you to stun lock them with further attacks. Tonfas do exceptional Ki Damage with Strong Attacks, do so very quickly in Low Stance, and this can be boosted even further with passive bonuses and effects. This provides you some protection, since you have to stay up in the face of enemies often, and it isn’t safe to do so if they can attack you back.

The way this Build works is that you’ll begin attacking an enemy head on with Strong Attack from Low Stance. You’ll want to be lined up directly since this attack change doesn’t turn well, and tends to go forward in a straight line. You’ll comb with Triangle, Triangle, and then you’ll press Square to use the Skill Heavenly Chain to strike even faster. Then you’ll Ki Pulse, to use Demon Dance and follow up with Pulverize: Earth. Sometimes you will not be able to perform this entire combo, but usually you’ll stagger most enemies part way through, which will allow you to continue the combo.


Explosive Cannoneer: Hand Cannon Build


If you've been looking for a 100% ranged build then you'll want to check out the Explosive Cannoneer Build here!

The Explosive Cannoneer Build is a ranged build that focuses on the use of Hand Cannons and Rifles to surgically destroy enemies from range through out entire Missions without running out of Ammo, and without having to fire a million times to kill something. One of the advantages of Hand Cannons is that they not only kill most enemies in a few shells, but they also stagger them, allowing you to get off successive shots more easily. Headshots can hit for about 20k damage with this Build, absolutely devastating human enemies, and shredding Yokai as well.

The way this Build works is that by increasing our Untouched Ammo to a point where we can fire rounds without worrying much about Ammo count, then all that’s left to do is boost damage in anyway we can. You will kill most enemies on each Mission in one shot, with some of the Yokai taking two or three shots, and you’ll usually get at least half back. This is because we will have +20% Untouched Ammo from our Guardian Spirit, +20% Untouched Ammo from our Set, and +20% Untouched Ammo from our Accessories, Weapon and Armor, giving us roughly +60% Untouched Ammo.

Poisonous Shinobi: Kusarigama Ninjutsu Build


Play as a stealthy Ninja that uses Poison to deal increased damage to enemies with our Nioh 2 Poisonous Shinobi Build Guide!

The Poisonous Shinobi Build uses a combination of Stealth, good Agility and Poison to take down enemies one by one without getting into situations where you are outnumbered. Ninjutsu plays a big role in this Build because it allows you to weaken and damage enemies at range which is a must since you will be wearing some of the lightest Armor in the game, and do not want to get hit.

The general strategy with this Build is to pick off weaker targets at range with a Bow or Rifle, and then Poison the stronger Yokai before engaging them in combat. By using the Yatsu-no-Kami Soul Core you’ll gain a huge increase in Melee Damage against Poisoned enemies, helping you to finish them off more quickly. This is an extremely offensive Build, that relies on mobility to get out of melee range once you’ve pulled off your combos.


Nioh 2 Builds by the Community

How to add your own build:

  1. Register an account with Fextralife - it's free and easy!
  2. Click the "New Page" button at the bottom of the page. Or Type the Name of your Build into the URL:
  3. Select the "Builds" Template
  4. Add information and save
  5. Come back to this page, click "edit" on the top right, and add a link to your build

These builds are created by everyone in the Nioh Community. Share your own!

This table is sortable!

Build Name Main Weapon Level Range Creator Notes
Example Awesome Build Spear 0-50 Wiki Contributor Makes the start of the game a lot easier! Recommended for  new players
End-Game Elementalist  Kusarigama Any  Thiadon Very effective at all content grab the abilities, gear, and spirits as you progress through.
Prey on the Weak  Any (except Hatchets)  120  MikuMonday  More damage vs Poisoned Targets, and 0 Ki Yokai
Confusion Mage  Any  0-300  Mythrail
1000 Poisonous Blades  Dual Swords  99-223  ZenBlade262  
Noh's lost sister  Switchglaive  150-300  AlricOmega3  Buff yourself, debuff the enemy and stack a lot of damage and autohealing.
Mister Fister  Fist Weapons  Any Cinaed  Stack strength, get to fisting. "In exchange for gaining strength, have I lost something more important as a human being? Emotions used to swirl within me when I fought. Fear, impatience, anger... But now... Day after day, after one punch I go home unharmed and wash my gloves."

Tired of anon posting? Register!
    • Anonymous

      Kinda new playing this game and I'm at Twilight arc after beating Katsuie and my stats are nearly 20 each of them focusing on dual swords and fist.

      I'm more focusing on All-rounder the but I want to change now I'm lv100+ any recommendations on dual swords and fist?

      • Anonymous

        I'm deep in the endgame, I mean level 695 right now, and I've got my raw ninjutsu build down to a system.
        I'm talking full Flying Kato+ and full Omoikane's Grace and spins/inherits on my equipment for almost 64% untouched ninjutsu plus an additional 40% untouched jutsu (which rolls seperately) with Empowered Ninjutsu so even if I spend my ninjutsu I can regenerate it with melee damage.
        From there feather spam all day every day twice on Sundays with elemental damage boost on everything you can equip it too for a percentile damage increase instead of just the low number static damage increases you get from increased ninjutsu power.
        Combine that with nekomata's "Anima bonus (ninjustsu damage)" and a Oni-Bi Soul Core for more elemental damage and "Anima bonus (elemental damage) garunteed a direct hit with feathers can fully restore a depleted Anima gauge so instead of doing a burst counter to cancel the feather animation you can perform a yokai move to cancel the animation and keep layering additional damage on.

        • Anonymous

          Played the Raging Tiger build all the way through end game with the Kintaro armor set and the build worked really well.

          • Anonymous

            Why use Warrior of the East for a Thunder Spear build? Or specifically use high and low and not mid stance? Master Archer gives more electric damage, is heavy armor, Master of Spears gives you a spear bonus and Warrior of the West gives bonus to electrified enemy damage (so does Master Archer). Mid stance strong attacks are thrusts which do insane ki damage, have long range plus a mystic art that increase that range.

            • Anonymous

              Sadly katanas are the weakest weapon at the End of the list. You get no backstab damage cause the enemy would turn around so fast... and the parry is Useles against yokais and against humans if you fail to parry you get Hit.. Like niho 1 katanas are at the end.. shamefull... cause this should be a samurai game

              • Anonymous

                Why the hell is there no endgame upadate for any of these builds?... The most content creators are endgame since a week, also the lists are so far from be finished... what a waste of a wiki page for this game.. miss the old fextralife days.

                • Anonymous

                  Since nioh i found my favourite style is a major mix hybrid using sword, switchglaive ninjustsu and onmyo magic i havent focused on one stat while leveling to make it feel more balanced should i relook at my style or would i be fine just continuing my own way?

                  • Anonymous

                    Great advice for builds I am currently trying to build a swordsman and Switchglaive hybrid build. The Switchglaive is pretty good for crowd control and magic is pretty useful imo.

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