Nioh 2 is at its hardest in the early game, when players don’t have all the awesome late-game spells, gear, cores etc.
However… it doesn’t have to be that way! With these few tips, you’ll be able to greatly boost your survivability and damage in the early game!
What makes these build tips so applicable is that you really can use any main weapon you want.
If I had to recommend something, I’d go with either an axe or some kind of dual weapon. The axe is great because of its ma*sive ki damage, allowing you to quickly knock mobs and bosses down. Dual weapons are my second favourite because of their high block value. If you roll +flat block on them, spending a little bit of umbracite, you’ll have a much safer experience vs. most enemies.
Making good use of poison.
This is the first ‘trick’ you’ll have access to that will help to significantly increase your damage.
What we’ll be doing is stacking ‘melee damage vs. poisoned enemy’, as well as poison accumulation wherever we can. We can get + ~55% ‘melee dmg. vs. poisoned enemy’ very early on in the game.
But, before we talk about that, let’s take a look at how we’re going to be doing our poisoning.
In my opinion, there really is one best option here: Blister-Beetle Powder. It’s basically a poison bomb that creates a cloud of gas, poisoning anything that stands inside it. You get access to this after completing the novice ninjutsu dojo mission, which is unlocked before you leave the first area. At max skill level, you can carry five of these, which is more than enough for boosting your damage against stronger enemies and bosses. You’ll have to level up dexterity a few times to get enough ninjutsu capacity.
Okay, now lets get to boosting our ‘melee dmg. vs poisoned enemy’ and ‘poison accumulation’ stats.
The first way you can do this is by tempering the stats onto a purple accessory at the blacksmith. Both the stats show up very frequently, so it shouldn’t take very many tries.
(Purple rarity because you get better stats on equipment of a higher rarity)
This will use up two of the affix slots on your accessories, leaving one open. I recommend tempering extended elemental weapon in the last slot.
Do this for both purple accessories. This will get you up to ~40% bonus dmg. vs poisoned enemies.
The final way to get some bonus dmg vs poisoned is via the yatsu-no-kami soulcore, a.k.a. that bastard snake boss you have to fight early on. It gives +~15% for a total of +~55%. The soul core ability, impaling doom, is also really good.
Making good use of lightning.
The next method we’re going to be using to up our damage is by equipping the Master Archer Armor. You get this by beating the first boss of the second area, Imagawa Yoshimoto, as well as the side-mission ‘Iwagama diehard’.
“But wait”, i hear you say. “Isn’t that a heavy armor set? I’m not planning on doing a stamina build!”
Okay, so you’ll have to get over having to invest points outside your main stat. Very, very few end game builds don’t put at least 50-60 points in stamina anyway, and all endgame builds put points in the Magic and Dexterity stats. Onmyo and Ninjutsu just aren’t optional, neither really is heavy armor. Too many heavy armor sets have useful set bonuses, no matter what weapon you plan on using.
Okay, now that’s been cleared up, let’s continue.
The reason we’re going for that set is because of the ‘+15% lightning damage’ and ‘+20% damage vs. electrified enemy’. The ‘+20% bow damage’ isn’t bad either.
You’ll be making use of these buffs by applying a lightning talisman to your weapon, which you can carry 5 of. You’ll have to put a few points into Magic to increase your capacity.
Tempering extended elemental weapon onto your accessories will make the talisman last a lot longer.
Electrified enemies are also slowed and, stacked with the sloth talisman, make encounters a lot easier.
Making good use of confusion.
So, what is confusion? This particular debuff is applied automatically, as soon as a second elemental debuff has been applied to an enemy. It causes enemies to take 50% more damage and slows their ki regen.
Our first elemental debuff, as discussed in the previous section, will be electrified.
Our second elemental debuff will be purified. We’re going to apply this to stronger enemies by using sacred arrows (2 shots will apply the status effect) and salt vs bosses. 2 Salt throws will apply purified.
There are two things we need to know here: firstly, salt doesn’t replenish at a shrine; that’s why we only use it against bosses. You don’t get more than a total of 10 salt per mission. It can be bought from the blacksmith for pretty cheap.
Secondly, note that bosses will remove all status effects when they transition to the dark realm. You will have to reapply all debuffs multiple times per fight. Annoying, but still worth it. Don’t get greedy, keep dodging and do what you have to do when you see an opportunity.
For sacred arrows, you can farm these easily. I’ll put up a short video later if I find the time.
Purified makes enemies take 50% more ki damage. Generally amazing, but this really shines when combined with the high base ki damage of axes/hammers.
Making good use of rage.
Rage is an axe skill that provides a 30% damage increase, but increases ki use by 50%. Despite the drawback, I think it’s still very worth it due to the fact that it will end up producing more than a 30% boost once multiplied alongside other damage boosts.
You’ll need to use an axe for a little bit – enough to get the 3(?) skill points required for rage. Once you’ve applied the skill, you can switch back to your main weapon.
When prebuffing, be sure to apply your longer lasting buffs first and your shorter duration buffs at the end.
When applying damage buffs, the end result is actually multiplicative, not additive. What does this mean in practice?
Instead of calculating 1 + ~(0.5 + 0.2 + 0.5) = x2.2 damage multiplier, we get:
1 x (BASE) ~1.5 x (POISONED) ~1.2 x (ELECTRIFIED) x 1.5 (CONFUSED) = ~2.7
So we’re doing at least 2.7 times more damage, ignoring enemy resistances.
This also means that it’s better to stack a variety of different damage increases together (multiplicative increase) instead of multiple of the same (additive increase) as you develop your build. Another good damage increase to look for is + grapple damage, which you can get as a clan bonus once you unlock the hidden teahouse. It provides something like a +55% bonus grapple damage.
Good spells to get.
As said before, onmyo magic is mandatory no matter your build.
Sloth talisman has already been mentioned for its slowing effect with electrified, but life leech talisman is also very good. It works particularly well with a fast attacking weapon or a dual weapon. Defense reduction talisman is also really good, for more damage.
A favourite is elemental familiar talisman, whichever element you prefer. Applying a new elemental status also helps extend confusion. You only get access to those later in the game, though.
These will use up a lot of capacity, so make sure to keep leveling your magic. You stop getting 1 capacity per level at 30 magic, so you consider that as a kind of softcap for magic. It’s the same for dexterity.
Why A rank toughness is worth it.
When you have 200 or more toughness, you reach A rank. Typically you’ll need to wear at least 3 heavy and 2 medium armor pieces to reach this level.
The main benefit, aside from taking less ki damage when hit, is that you won’t get knocked out of animations when enemies hit you. If you get tapped while in the middle of an attack, your attack wont be cancelled.
Well, there you go. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to do some very good damage before even leaving the second area. Life leech talismans will help keep you topped up in fights and you can make use of a dual weapon with + flat block for that extra bit of tankiness if you feel like you need it. Enjoy!
Here we come to an end for the Early Game Guide: Boost your damage with this build (works with any weapon)! – Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition guide. I hope this guide has helped you with your gameplay. If you have something to add to this guide or believe we forgot some information to add, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually by approving them!
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