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New World Sword and Shield Guide

Guide last updated: April 25th, 2022 for Patch 1.5 - Bugs and Balance Update

In this guide you will find the following:
Introduction & General information for the Sword & Shield in New World
Sword & Shield Mastery Trees
          - Swordmaster
          - Defender
Sword & Shield Recommended Roles & Abilities
          - Tank
          - DPS
          - PVP
Recommended Weapon Pairings with Sword & Shield
How to Level the Sword & Shield in New World
Sword & Shield Perks
Recommended Sword & Shield Gems
Enemy types the Sword & Shield is strong / weak against

Introduction & General information for the Sword & Shield in New World

The Sword and Shield in New World is a versatile weapon providing the ability to both dish out damage and tank a ton of damage. The Sword and Shield scales primarily off of strength but dexterity also contributes. It has some very good damage reduction abilities making this the premier weapon choice for tanking in New World. 

The Sword does a combination of slash and thrust damage. The sword has a 3 hit combo light attack chain. Light attacks from the sword deal 100% slash damage, and the end of the 3 chain light attack combination deals 105% slash damage. Your heavy attack with the sword deals 120% thrust damage, and the charged heavy attack deals 160% thrust damage.

You can't light or heavy attack with the shield, but there are abilities that make it possible to deal damage with your shield. When dealing damage with the shield you will deal strike damage to your target.  

In this guide we will go over the sword and shield mastery trees, recommended abilities for different scenarios, and tips to optimize the use of the sword and shield.  

For a complete list of changes for the Sword and Shield, you can check out our Sword and Shield change log.

Sword & Shield Mastery Trees Mastery Trees

The Sword and Shield mastery trees consist of the Swordmaster and Defender trees. 

Swordmaster

The Swordmaster tree focuses on dealing damage and is a solid choice in both PvP and PvE. The three active abilities in this tree are Reverse Stab, Whirling Blade, and Leaping Strike. The key passive in this tree is called Leadership.
 

Reverse stab is a high damage dealing attack, dealing 175% weapon damage to your target. Once the ability is upgraded you also gain grit, making the attack unstoppable, which is incredibly strong, and you will gain cooldown reduction on the ability once it is fully upgraded. 

Whirling blade is a spinning AOE ability that deals a decent amount of increased weapon damage to enemies within 2 meters. This ability also causes rend (reduction in your targets armor) when upgraded, and cooldown reduction for each enemy hit when fully upgraded. The decent damage, rend, and AOE, making this ability a strong ability in most situations. 

The last ability in the Swordmaster tree is Leaping Strike. When using Leaping Strike you’ll leap forward 6 meters and if you land the ability you’ll hit your enemy with increased weapon damage. When upgraded, this ability can serve as an execute dealing 50% more damage to enemies under 30% health, and has some CC tacked on to the ability when fully upgraded in the form of a slow if you hit your target in the back. 

The Key passive in this tree is called Leadership and will increase the damage of all members in your group by 10% when holding your sword. 

The remaining passives in the Swordmaster tree focus heavily on dealing increased damage, and a passive that increases movement speed, and one that applies a slow. 

Defender

The Defender Tree is focused around using your shield to do damage, CC your opponents, and mitigate damage. The abilities on this tree coupled with the strong blocking from the shield make the sword and shield the premier tanking weapon in New World. The three active abilities in this tree are Shield Bash, Shield Rush, and Final Stand. The Key passive in this tree is called Defensive Formation. 


Shield bash is taunt gem compatible (causes a 2 second taunt to all enemies hit), and applies a strong stun to your enemy. When upgraded this ability generates significantly more threat, making it a strong taunting option, and increases the duration of the stun. 

The next ability in the tree is Shield Rush. Upon use you will rush forward 5 meters and knock back your enemy and deal increased weapon damage. The forward rush makes this a decent option as a small gap closer in PvP, and the upgrades to this ability enhance its use as a tank. Upon upgrading the ability all enemies within 5 meters will weaken (reduction in damage output) and slow applied to them. 

The last ability in the Defender tree is Final Stand. This ability is also taunt gem compatible, and will cause a 6 second taunt to all enemies within 8 meters. The AOE taunt makes this a very strong option for tanking, but that’s not the only reason it’s strong. When Final Stand is activated you will gain 30% damage reduction for 8 seconds, and when upgraded you will receive an additional 20% damage reduction if your health is above 50%. On top of the significant amount of damage reduction you receive you will also receive some nice self healing when the ability ends when it’s fully upgraded. 

Final Stand is the strongest tank ability in the game providing 50% damage reduction, a self heal, and an AOE taunt. 

The Key passive in the Defender tree is Defensive Formation. This passive will reduce damage to all other allies within 2 meters by 30% while blocking. Another very strong option for you when taking on the tank role. 

The remaining passives in the tree focus heavily on additional damage reduction and increased threat generation, again making this the ideal tank setup. 

Recommended Roles & Abilities

The Sword and Shield is one of the more versatile weapons in New World. It can be played as a DPS or a Tank, and is a great option for melee PvP. Additionally, as mentioned earlier the Sword and Shield is the strongest tank option in New World. 

Tank

The below is simply an example of how to set up a tank build in New World with the sword and shield. The build you choose will depend greatly upon your secondary weapon that you pair with the sword and shield, and your overall group composition. There are many instances in which you will want to utilize various abilities, such as reverse stab, for additional cooldown reduction or push into the key passive on the swordmaster tree to give your group additional damage. You can check our builds section for specific tank builds for various situations as the meta shifts in New World.

When performing the tank role it's important to point out that you must have a Carnelian gem slotted in your weapon in order for your taunting abilities to work.  For armor gems it's recommend to run either Cut Pristine Onyx or Cut Pristine Diamond to provide physical damage absorption. However, these gems may need to be replaced with other gems when running mutations, depending on the type of damage in that mutation. 

Recommended Active Abilities:
  • Shield Bash (Only the Ability)
  • Reverse Stab
    • Unstoppable Stab
    • Tactician
  • Defiant stance
    • Final Countdown
    • Restoration

Recommended Passive Abilities:
  • Achille's Hill
  • Freeing Justice
  • Counter Attack
  • Opportunist
  • Sturdy Shield
  • Elemental Resistance
  • One with the Shield
  • Final Blow
  • Sturdy Grip
  • Defensive Training
  • Recuperation

Recommended Key Passive:
  • Defensive Formation

There are 2 abilities on this tree that are taunt gem compatible allowing you to maintain aggro easily. Shield bash will taunt all enemies hit, and Defiant Stance is a nice AOE taunt upon activation of the ability. 

Shield bash not only taunts, but also applies a nice stun to enemies hit, allowing your DPS to go to work. 

Defiant Stance is one of the best tank abilities in New World. It not only applies a very nice AOE taunt when activated, but when fully upgraded this ability will reduce your damage taken by 50% when you’re at full health. You will also get some very nice self healing once the ability ends. 

Reverse stab is incorporated into the tanking build because of the cooldown reduction it applies. Each enemy hit with reverse stab will reduce all your sword cooldowns by 25%. This will allow your taunts to be up more often. 

The Key passive you’re going to take for your tank ability set is Defensive Formation. This passive is a very strong choice for a tank in New World. When you’re blocking allies within 2 meters will have their damage intake reduced by 30%

DPS

The below is simply an example of how to set up a DPS build in New World with the sword and shield. The build you choose will depend greatly upon your secondary weapon that you pair with the sword and shield, and your overall group composition. There are many instances in which you will want to utilize various abilities and diversify your build. You can check our builds section for specific tank builds for various situations as the meta shifts in New World. 

There isn’t any reason to get creative if you choose to run the sword as a DPS weapon. You are going to max out the Swordmaster Tree. 

The Key passive in this tree, paired with some of the hard hitting abilities and the AOE that causes Rend, make this a viable choice for a DPS build. 

Recommended Active Abilities:
  • Reverse Stab
  • Whirling Blade
  • Leaping Strike

Recommended Passive Abilities:
  • Precision
  • Mobility
  • Opportunist
  • Confidence
  • Empowered Stab
  • Freeing Justice
  • Counter Attack
  • Critical Precision
  • Achilles Heel

Recommended Key Passive:
  • Leadership

Reverse Stab is a single target high damage ability that when fully upgraded will reduce all sword cooldowns by 25%. This ability also gains grit which will make it unstoppable during use. The cooldown reduction that this ability provides will help your whirling blade come off cooldown faster, which in turn will allow you to keep Rend up on your enemies more often. 

Whirling Blade is a spinning attack that will damage all enemies within 2 meters. This ability will also apply Rend to all enemies hit, reducing their armor for a short duration, and when fully upgraded the cooldown for whirling blade is reduced by 10% for each enemy hit. 

This AOE Rend is going to allow your party to dish out more damage, and when coupling the cooldown reduction from Whirling Blade with the Reverse Stab cooldown reduction you will be able to use your sword abilities frequently, and more importantly be able to apply the Rend debuff on your targets more often. 

The last ability in the tree is Leaping Strike. It is not the most ideal ability for a DPS. It does not do near as much damage as Reverse Stab, and has a slower animation. However, it can be useful as an execute on your DPS build when fully upgraded. 

The Key passive, Leadership, will increase all group members damage by 10% when you are holding a sword. This key passive paired with the ability to apply an AOE rend to your targets make the sword a decent option for DPS in New World.

The remaining passives in the tree are heavily focused on dealing more damage. One of the more important passives in the tree for a DPS ability set is Empowered Stab. Empowered Stab grants you Empower upon a successful hit. Empower increases your damage for a short duration. 

Another important passive in the tree that’s very useful for a DPS is Freeing Justice, which will remove all debuffs from your character when successfully landing a heavy attack. 

In between applying Rend with Whirling blade, doing big damage with Reverse stab, you can weave in Heavy attacks to also bolster your damage output and remove all debuffs that you may have. 

PvP

The Abilities you take in PvP are going to really depend on what type of role you want to play when engaging in PvP, as well as the other weapon you are going to have equipped. The abilities you take could also vary greatly depending on what type of PvP you are engaging in. For example, Sieges, Open world PvP, 1vXing, etc. 

The below recommendation is just one example of how you could customize your build to suit your activity and playstyle. The below abilities would be suited for open world small scale PvP. 

For more information about specific builds for specific situations see our builds section

Recommended Active Abilities:

  • Reverse Stab
  • Whirling Blade
  • Shield Bash

Recommended Passive Abilities:
  • Precision
  • Opportunist
  • Confidence
  • Empowered Stab
  • Freeing Justice
  • Counter Attack
  • Achilles Heel
  • Sturdy Shield
  • Final Blow

Recommended Key Passive:
  • Leadership

This idea behind this ability set is to apply rend to your target, stun them, and then land big damage with Reverse Stab. 

Whirling Blade does additional weapon damage and applies rend to your opponent allowing you to dish out more damage for a short duration. 

Once rend has been applied you can land a stun with Shield Bash which, when fully upgraded, will give you a very nice stun. 

Once stunned, land a Reverse Stab on your opponent to dish out some big damage. When upgraded, Reverse Stab also gains grit making it unstoppable. This becomes very powerful in PvP because now you can dish out damage without the threat of the ability being interrupted. It’s important to point out that just because you aren’t interrupted during the attack does not mean you will not take damage. You can still take damage during a grit attack. 

With this particular ability set your passives Achilles Heel and Final Blow are going to make the last swing of your 3 chain light attack much more powerful. This will apply a slow to your target and the last light attack in the chain will dish out increased damage. Landing the last hit and getting the slow is important because that then synergized well with the passive Opportunist. When Opportunist is taken you will deal increased damage to slowed targets. 

So, in between your combo of Whirling Blade, Shield Bash, and Reverse Stab, you should weave some 3 chain light attack combos in, as well as, some heavy attacks to take advantage of the Empowered Stab Passive. Empowered Stab will give you the Empowered buff increasing your damage even further for a short duration upon landing a heavy attack.

Recommended Weapon Pairings with Sword & Shield

The Sword scales primarily off of strength and secondarily off of dexterity so pairing the sword with other weapons that scale from the same attributes is recommended. However, you could also utilize weapons like the ice gauntlet as a back bar weapon in PvP simply for the utility it provides. The recommended pairings for the sword in New World are the following:
  • Spear - Although the spear's attribute scaling is opposite of the sword (dex primary and str secondary) it makes a great pairing with the sword. Pairing these two together can provide some powerful crowd control options, as well as, some high damage output. You can utilize the spear to apply rend with the Perforate ability which can help you greatly increase your team's and your damage output. The spear also has some very good crowd control abilities, such as, sweep and vault kick that can provide additional CC along with the sword's CC abilities allowing you to consistently apply stuns and knockdowns to your target. You can also apply additional pressure to your enemies with the bleed damage from the spear's Skewer ability. 
  • Great Axe - The great axe scales solely from strength, making this an easy pairing with the sword. The great deals quite a lot of damage, and provides some mobility that the sword is lacking. The great axe also provides you with additional movement speed with the Blood Lust passive making this a great choice to track down enemies, Gravity Well them, stun them with your sword, and finish them off. 
  • War Hammer - The war hammer scales solely off of strength making this a great pairing with the sword and shield. The war hammer is also a strong pairing with the sword and shield when tanking in New World due to the amount of crowd control and taunts that it provides. When pairing it with the tankiness and utility of the sword and shield it makes a great tanking combination. 
  • Hatchet - The hatchet scales primarily off of strength and secondarily off of dexterity making this an excellent pairing attribute wise with the sword and shield. When pairing these two together you can also have a very powerful combination when utilizing leaping strike into shield bash stunning your target. From there you can go behind the enemy and utilize your Feral Rush ability to root the target and then continue to apply heavy damage with the hatchet.  
 
How to Level the Sword & Shield in New World

In order to effectively level the sword it's recommended to take abilities that do high Area of Effect Damage. This will allow you to group mobs together and quickly kill them for fast weapon experience.

It's recommended that you start by putting a point into the Whirling Blade ability. This will increase your damage by a significant amount to groups of enemies. You'll then want to take the first upgrade of whiling blade that will allow you to apply rent to the enemies. This will help you clear them much faster. From there you'll want to take Reverse stab and then Shield Rush the defender side of the tree. 

Next you'll want to begin upgrading your activate abilities and begin putting additional points into your passive abilities. It's recommended that you take:
  • Unstoppable Stab
  • Precision
  • Empowered Stab
  • Achilles Hill
  • Opportunist
  • Tactician
  • Confidence
  • Counter Attack
  • Leadership
  • Sturdy Shield
  • Defensive Training
  • Improved Rush
  • Final Blow
  • Intimidating Rush
  • Recuperation



The overall strategy is to train a group of mobs, get them lumped together and utilize your Whirling Blade to deal a lot of damage and your Reverse Stab to reduce your cooldowns. You can utilize the shield rush for additional damage, knockbacks on the groups of enemies, and to weaken them for reduced damage which can be helpful when you are burning down large groups of enemies.

Sword & Shield Perks

Every Weapon Ability in New World has a corresponding Perk that can be found on armor and weapons. Most of the perks scale in power with the Gear Score of the item they are on. It's important to note that you can only benefit from one instance of a weapon ability perk at a time. You can obtain the weapon perks randomly from drops or you can craft gear with the specific perk on it. You can enhance your chance at obtaining a specific perk by utilizing timeless shards.

It is recommended that you apply the specific weapon perks to your armor because these perks can be applies to either the weapon the perks pertain to or any piece of armor. There are other perks, such as, enchanted and vicious that can only be applied to weapons. So, your perk slots for your weapons should be reserved for the perks that can only be applied to weapons. 

The Ability perks for the Sword in New World are as follows:
| Ability Perk Name           | Crafting Mod Item       |
| Contagious Reverse Stab     | Steel Sword Charm       |   
| Empowering Whirling Blade   | Starmetal Sword Charm   |
| Empowering Leaping Strike   | Orichalcum Sword Charm  |

The Ability perks for the Shield in New World are as follows:
| Ability Perk Name           | Crafting Mod Item       |
| Repulsing Shield Bash       | Steel Shield Charm      |   
| Fortifying Shield Rush      | Starmetal Shield Charm  |
| Accelerated Defiant Stance  | Orichalcum Shield Charm |

Recommended Sword & Shield Gems

The type of gem you  will want to slot into your bow is heavily dependent upon your build and what you're trying to accomplish. It's also going to vary based on PvP vs PvE activities (You can check our quick reference guide for gems for a full list of gems and their effects).  

A few good overall recommendations for bow would include:

- Opal: +X% damage while your stamina is not full
- Emerald: +X% damage against targets with less than 30% health
- Onyx : +X% damage against targets with full health
- Carnelian (only when PvE tanking): Taunts are active. You generate additional threat



Enemy types the Sword & Shield is Strong / Weak Against

The sword deals slash damage with light attacks, and thrust damage with heavy attacks. Therefore, the sword's light attacks are strong against the Angry Earth enemy types, but heavy attacks with the sword will do reduced damage to that mob type. Heavy attacks with the sword are strong against both corrupted and beast with the light attacks being neutral against those enemy types. The shield performs strike damage but can only be utilized by using the abilities from the defender side of the tree. Strike damage is strong against Ancient and Lost enemies, and weak against Corrupted and Varangian enemies. You can check our Damage Type vs Mob Type Quick reference guide for a full list of damage type vs enemy type strength and weaknesses. 

About the Author:
BDLG is 1 of the 3 founders of StudioLoot. You can find BDLG on Twitch every Tuesday - Friday from 8:00am CST to 1:00pm CST, and creating content on the StudioLoot YouTube channel. 

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