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Nioh: Which Skills You Should Get First


Nioh: Which Skills You Should Get First

Nioh Sword Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

Skills are a mechanic within Nioh that allow players to spend points earned in-game that unlock more abilities and move sets for a specific weapon type. These range from basic swords to incredibly powerful spells, allowing users to customize how they want to play Nioh. Starting early on it can be a bit daunting to figure out where to spend your hard-earned skill points, so here are our suggestions for some of the best early skills to unlock. It’s important to note that these will, for the most part, be level one skills that offer either great utility to branch out in more powerful directions, or are fundamental abilities that should be a part of any arsenal.

For those who want to use the sword, one of the first skills we highly recommend grabbing is the Leaf Glide. This allows you to parry an opponent’s attacks while you’re in the Mid-stance by hitting Square. This is a very powerful move to have early on, as it allows you to take advantage of all the bandits and base Yokai. Given much of Nioh’s combat is focused around exploiting an enemy’s weakness, being able to flip behind them is a wonderful way to catch a foe by surprise. The other defensive sword skill worth trying out is Sword Ki, as it allows you to create a shockwave that knocks enemies back when you’re guarding. Since it’s easy to get ganged up on in Nioh, Sword Ki will offer players some much-needed breathing room to either escape or find better positioning.

For less defensive skills, both Tempest and Swallow’s Wing can output some serious pain if you time them correctly with your combos. The latter is a follow-up attack that not only lets William land another hit, but pseudo dodge in the process. Given that a lot of one-on-one battles result in players doing some damage and then rolling away, this is a fantastic alternative. If you’re running a heavy armor build, Swallow’s Wing is one of the best skills for adding a bit more maneuverability to your character.

Tempest is simply just a powerful move that not only throws an enemy off balance but allows you to follow up with some strikes of your own. While it can be used in both Mid and Low stance, we recommend using it with Low since you’ll have a better chance of landing all your hits on an enemy when they’re lying on the ground. Breaking an enemy’s guard can be great for either dealing with foes that play super defensively, or when the terrain doesn’t offer a ton of maneuverability options for players.

Nioh Dual Swords Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

If you prefer to simply use dual swords there are quite a few skills that can increase your damage per second (DPS) against foes. One of the most notable skills, at least early on in Nioh, is the accurately named Random Slice. This ability allows you to charge forward and strike wildly in front of you with both swords until you’re either hit or run out of stamina. This move may seem cumbersome at first, but since you can be confined to some pretty tight corridors, Random Slice turns William into a massive wall of death.

Living Water: Man is more of a utility skill than one directly tied to your dual swords. Activated only in the Mid stance, players can Ki Pulse while dodging. Since Nioh’s combat is pretty fast-paced, being able to always be on the move while fighting is a fantastic bonus. Since the dual swords are more focused on speed, being able to constantly refresh your Ki while dodging means you can follow up attacks easier.

Finally, if you have a few left over Skill Points left, then Windstorm might be worth picking up. This ability allows William to spin around like a helicopter and strike in every direction for a brief period of time. Since enemies really like to ambush you during battle, Windstorm can let you hit targets from behind while you are fighting an enemy in front of you.

Nioh Spear Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

For the spear users in Nioh, you have a pretty nice complement of defensive and offensive skills to pick from. Two of the best skills early on are Twirl and Entangle, both of which are focused around knocking an opponent off balance. Twirl is your basic parry that ends in a shove, while Entangle is a sweep attack that knocks enemies to the floor. Both of these skills are fantastic defensive options, especially if you are looking for great ways to initiate attacks on more powerful samurais.

If you’re planning to go on the offensive, then Spear Shove is one of the best choices, as it knocks an enemy to the ground allowing you to follow up with some powerful strikes. The best part is that this skill works on any stance, meaning you can tailor the follow-up combo to your preferred fighting style. However, the flashiest skill is Flying Monkey as it rockets William into the air over an enemy after a combo is finished. If you can perfect the button prompts for this, it will allow smart players to finish a combo, jump over an enemy, and follow up with another set of strikes. Just make sure to Ki Pulse when you finish!

Nioh Axe Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

The axe skill tree is unique as it doesn’t offer a ton of damage or combo focused abilities right from the start. While you can upgrade into them, we recommend focusing more on any skills that increase the potency of your Ki Pulse. Since an axe user can run out of stamina very fast, being able to Ki Pulse while dodging via the Living Water skill sets are critical. This will ensure you can perform more moves without running the risk of enemies capitalizing on your lack of Ki.

However, if you do want to focus more on damage specific skills, the Adamantine and Rumbling Earth I are decent choices. The former allows players to sacrifice movement speed in order to increase their defense and tank more damage. This is useful if you’re fighting against a large boss and need to output some serious damage without running the risk of being one or two shot. As for Rumbling Earth I, it’s a decent initiator that creates a shockwave around your axe. However, we still recommend focusing more on Ki-based skills first, before grabbing the offensive skills offered to players.

Nioh Kusarigama Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

The Kusarigama is a rather interesting Nioh weapon as it offers a combination of powerful ranged and close quarters combat options. This makes it incredibly dangerous in the right hands, especially if you equip certain skills early on. Serpent Strike is a High stance skill that lets you pull targets towards you. Being able to close the gap with a simple button press is fantastic given that the Kusarigama thrives at point blank range combat in the High stance. You can also get this skill for either a Mid or Low stance via the Black Vines ability.

Reaper is another good combat skill that is unlocked after you purchase the Grapple ability. While you are only allowed to use this when guarding, being able to constantly swing the sickle in front of you is a wonderful way to cause a lot of damage to either a stunned or defensive enemy. After all, if you force them into a corner or in a tight corridor they will have nowhere to escape this move.

We are going to break our rules a bit with this last one and recommend a skill solely because the following one after that is so critical to this weapon. Ki Pulse: Man is rather powerful as it gives you a damage boost to your Mid stance after a successful Ki Pulse. However, the skill after this one, Waterfall, is a parry ability that not only blocks an enemy attack, but tosses them onto the ground. If you use this ability and then switch to a Low stance, players can then follow up with some seriously powerful, quick attacks that can stun lock enemies.

Nioh Ninja Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

The ninja skills are a bit different as they are more focused around either upgrading or unlocking various projectiles/items. This skill tree also has its own separate point system, meaning you don’t have to worry about managing a balance between items and weapons. However, the majority of the early skills are more focused on adding buffs to weapons or giving you new weapons to hurl at targets. Poison: Gallnut Broth I and Poison: Hemlock Broth I are great picks as the former adds a poison effect and the latter can paralyze foes.

When it comes to projectiles, the Shuriken: I is a decent choice if you want to deal with enemies while keeping yourself at a moderately safe distance. While it’s not initially powerful, once you upgrade them you can quickly deplete an enemy health bar. Other weapons like the Blinding Shell I and Fire: Kayaku-dama I are good bomb upgrades that give you some more versatility when it comes to approaching combat scenarios.

Nioh Magic Skills

Which Skills You Should Get First

Finally, we are onto the magic Onmyo Magic skill tree, however, this one will be unlocked at a far slower pace than the rest. Many of the early skills offered just allow you to infuse your sword with fire, electricity, or water which can be quite useful in the right situation. However, once you begin to explore those element based branches, players can sling fireballs at enemies from afar. Other skills like Resistance Talisman: I and Oasis Talisman: I allow you to prepare nice status enhancing effects that can be lifesavers under the right circumstance. Magic, unlike the other skills, is more about preference and simply accumulating which items you’ll think you need more than others. These fit more into specific fighting styles, which will differ from player to player so try and experiment with a few from time to time.

Finding the right skills early on in Nioh can determine if your first few missions will be rather difficult or slightly easier. Tailoring your gear and skills to your weapon’s specialty is key to succeeding so make sure to consider some of these skill choices in Nioh. Try not to spread your weapon points to across more than two weapons early on, as you will need some of the extra punch offered as the game progresses. After all, who wants to be underpowered when walking into a boss fight?

For more Nioh guides, tips, and walkthroughs make sure to check out our wiki.

About the author

Twinfinite Staff Writer

Collin MacGregor

Collin is a Senior Staff Writer for Twinfinite and is a lover of all things horror. When he's not healing his teammates in Overwatch, raiding in Destiny, making poor choices in Dark Souls, or praying for a new Ape Escape you can find him writing for and Nerd
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