Want to learn how to sever your foes in two in New World? This guide is an in-depth dive into all things Greatsword in Amazon’s MMO!
This guide dives deep into the Skills, Passives, and some builds for the Greatsword in New World. It can be considered a more advanced version of our New World Guide to Weapons for Beginners. By the end of this guide, you should have a thorough understanding of the Greatsword and with practice be able to master it fully.
This guide is part of our detailed coverage for Update 1.7 “Brimstone Sands”
Table of contents
The Greatsword is a unique weapon that swaps between an Offensive Mode called Onslaught Stance and Defensive Mode called Defiant Stance after using its abilities or certain passives. These stances are temporary but offer powerful benefits while they are active.
The exact numbers of these effects are contained in Path of Onslaught and Path of Defiance passive entries below.
The Greatsword finds itself with a healthy mix of the Damage and Tank Categories, offering options for both. With Powerful multi-hit attacks, strong defensive options, and a slew of debuffs; the Greatsword it’s a very well-rounded weapon.
On the Damage side of things, Onslaught Stance helps to give you quick and powerful Charged Heavy Attacks, powerful buffs like Empower, and strong offensive debuffs like Rend. However, this comes at the cost of defense, as you take additional damage in Onslaught Stance as well as your Charged Heavy Attacks costing a small bit of stamina.
On the Tank side of things, Defiant Stance offers you greater defense at the cost of raw damage. While your Charged Attacks are at their normal speed in this stance, they are capable of blocking attacks. In addition to this, you have access to Fortify and Weaken to heavily reduce the damage output of an enemy on top of the passive damage reduction of Defiant Stance.
Greatsword Skills, Passives, and Perks
First, we’ll lead off with the skills and passives. We’ll talk a bit about each, their uses, and how effective they are. There’s a lot to cover here, so we’ll break it down per tree to keep things organized.
Alongside the general information, They’ll be given a Rating from C up to S tier for both PvE and PvP. C tier is exclusively for the passives that are not that great, either being forced by another upgrade or generally useless. A and B Tiers are middling tiers, putting them between the worst passives and the best, leaning one way or the other. S tier are the good passives, the ones you’re almost always going for if you pick up a skill or want to because it’s useful in many scenarios.
The Onslaught Tree is almost entirely offensive-focused with both its skills and passives. Your hardest-hitting attacks, Damage increasing Buffs and Debuffs, and cooldown reduction are here. The active Skills of the Onslaught Tree are Crosscut, Relentless Rush, and Skyward Slash.
Crosscut has you Slash 3 times unleashing two wide swings that deal 110% and 130% Weapon Damage followed by a powerful overhead swing that deals 160% Weapon damage. You will enter Onslaught Stance after this attack completes.
This is easily your best offensive skill by far, dealing a total of 400% weapon Damage over 3 hits. It’s quite good without upgrades, but its upgrades make both reliable and more potent. With the option to backstab, this skill has insane damage potential.
With a cooldown of 15 seconds, Crosscut is the Greatsword’s shortest cooldown.
Cross Cut Rating: S+ – PvE, B+ – PvP
There’s no denying it, this will be among your main sources of damage, next to Charged Heavy Attacks for Onslaught Builds. In PvE it’ll deal some insane damage even solo, but in a party that potential damage skyrockets due to backstab applying for this skill.
It’s a slower skill though, so it won’t do too great on its own in PvP. It will much more heavily rely on the Unstoppable Cuts passive to be consistent. However, it still remains a very strong block breaker.
Unstoppable Cuts provides Grit while performing Crosscut, preventing stagger. While used in Defiant Stance, Unstoppable Cuts provides stun immunity.
This passive is absolutely necessary for making this skill consistent. Crosscut on its own is slow and easy to interrupt via stagger or stuns, and this passive can fix both of those.
Unstoppable Cuts Rating: S – PvE and PvP
The Grit is all you’ll typically need in PvE to make this skill reliable. However, the bonus of having access to Stun Immunity for the duration of the attack can be a good way to shrug off one of the more annoying crowd control effects. This will rely on you having access to Defiant Stance, which for PvP you’ll almost certainly find a Defiance Tree Skill to fit your playstyle.
Cross Execution increases the base damage of the final strike by 100% when the target you hit is below 50% health. This threshold is increased to 75% in Onslaught Stance.
This passive is amazing in both PvE and PvP, though slightly less reliable in PvP situations outside of duels. It’s a huge damage boost, letting this final attack hit for 260% Weapon Damage. When used from Onslaught Stance, it’s easily capable of dealing 6,000+ damage critical hits, even without a perfect setup.
Cross Execution Rating: S+ – PvE, A+ – PvP
The sheer amount of damage this skill can deal in PvE with this passive is absolutely insane. You’re very easily capable of instantly removing some enemies or very large chunks of an Elite’s health in a single use.
It’s still powerful in PvP, but you’re relying on two things to happen to make it work well; the enemy reaching the threshold in the first two hits and not being healing out of it. This is easy enough in Onslaught Stance, as the first couple of hits can deal enough damage, but is highly dependent on both your gear and your opponent’s.
Relentless Rush dashes you forward 4 meters by performing a spinning attack that hits twice, dealing 110% and 120% for each respective hit. Successful hits apply a 20% Slow for 4 seconds. You will enter Onslaught Stance after the attack completes.
Relentless Rush is a decent mobility and catch tool for PvP, but feels pretty lacking for PvE. Unlike Crosscut, only the first of these two hits can backstab, which leaves it really lacking damage potential. While it can cleave through enemies similar to skills like Rapier’s Fleche, it will also displace you in a similar manner meaning you need to readjust your camera to follow up if you pass through a target.
With a cooldown of 20 seconds, Relentless Rush is one of the Greatsword’s longest cooldowns.
Relentless Rush Rating: B+ – PvE (A+ with Relentless Refresh), A – PvP
The lack of damage and useful effects for PvE leave it very lacking in overall performance. While it can gain Empower through upgrades, it’s a pretty low-value pickup compared to the other skills and passives of the Onslaught Tree. With Relentless Refresh, you’ll have access to it more often, offsetting its lower damage.
For PvP, the combination of a Gap Close and a Slow make it a fairly decent PvP tool. Add to that the fact you can hits multiple targets and it ends up being pretty decent. It’s by no means a weak slow, and can help to setup for combos or make escapes harder.
Relentless Power grants you a 10% Empower for 10 seconds after using Relentless Rush.
While Empower Effects are generally pretty good for offensive builds, this just happens to be on the offensive skill that lacks decent utility. While the other upgrades provide some additional utility, it’s not enough to really bring this us enough to be more than a small bonus when getting those upgrades.
Relentless Power Rating: B – PvE and PvP, (S in PvE and PvP with Relentless Refresh)
The duration of the Empower is generally long enough to be useful, which can make it a solid bonus if you are getting the other passives. When you add Relentless Refresh into the mix, you can get more value out of it as any refresh with 10 seconds of using the skill will allow for 100% uptime of this passive, barring reduction effects.
Adaptive Rush will now apply a 1 second Root when used in Onslaught Stance, or heal for 15% of the damage it deals (max of 5 hits) when used in Defiant Stance.
Both of these effects have their uses. Neither effect is super amazing for PvE, but both are great utility for PvP. The Root enhances the catch potential this skill offers, while the healing gives you a little extra sustain, if you don’t mind displacing yourself.
Adaptive Rush Rating: C+ PvE, A+ – PvP
Adaptive Rush doesn’t really offer much in PvE outside of an occasional heal, as the Root won’t be too useful.
In PvP, both of these effects can be great when used well. The Root gives better catch potential and makes Crosscut harder to avoid, but not quite a true combo. It does however combo into Skyward Slash, which can turn a fight when used well. The heal is more limited in its uses, but does provide sustain and can be useful in duels for that reason.
Relentless Refresh reduces the cooldown of Relentless Rush by 50% when you defeat a target with the Greatsword. This effect has a 5 second cooldown.
The better way to think of this, is that you will reduce the current cooldown by 9 seconds. This makes it quite promising and potent as a passive, especially in PvP. Any takedown with a Greatsword works meaning this skill doesn’t have to be the final blow, unlike Rapier’s Fleche.
Relentless Refresh Rating: A – PvE, S – PvP
While Relentless Rush itself may be lacking in damage, this easy-to-trigger passive allows you to use it frequently enough that it can be reliable AoE damage. Using Relentless Rush for AoE, then taking down an enemy with Crosscut will immediately reduce the cooldown to ~7 seconds.
The Same also applies in PvP, but in PvP additional quicker use means the sooner you can Root and potentially take down another opponent. It can also allow you to catch an opponent with the skill, and immediately get out after a takedown with a second use.
Skyward Slash is a quick upward slash that deals 80% weapon damage, staggers and applies 2 stacks of 5% Rend (max 4 stacks) for 10 seconds. When in Onslaught Stance, apply 3 stacks of Rend. You will enter Onslaught Stance after the attack completes.
This skill is quite good as an opening skill, especially in PvE. It’s a very quick attack that applies Rend, but also gets upgrades that synergize with plenty of other passives.
With a cooldown of 18 seconds, Skyward Slash is one of the Greatsword’s shorter cooldowns.
Skyward Slash Rating: S – PvE and PvP
The quick speed of this attack makes it great, and it really only gets better with passives, which will make it a strong option in most situations, if not all. It also becomes a pretty powerful two-hit combo, making it easy to get great damage and value out of the Rend it applies.
Skyfall Sword adds a follow-up attack that deals 140% by preforming a light attack or recasting Skyward Slash during the initial attack.
This is a pretty significant chunk of damage if the initial attack hits, which can guarantee it. However, there are some passives in the Onslaught Tree that pair really well with this additional attack and make it even stronger. Add in backstab and it’s even better.
Skyfall Sword Rating: S – PvE and PvP (S+ With Keen Posture)
Skyfall Sword’s damage is solidly in between the 2nd and 3rd hits of Crosscut damage-wise, and the 100% crit chance from Keen Posture just tips it over the edge. With Skyward Slash also staggering, this damage can be pretty hard to avoid if that connects.
Sickening Slash will apply Disease if the first attack hits successfully, reducing the targets healing by 20% for 10 seconds. In addition, Skyfall Sword now hits a 3-meter area.
Disease can be great for PvP, as there aren’t too many enemies that heal themselves or even others in PvE, outside of Mutated Expeditions. This helps the damage that you apply with this skill or the follow-up hit stick a bit better. The additional AoE that gets added to the guaranteed crit of the follow-up is also great for groups of enemies.
Sickening Slash Rating: A – PvE, S – PvP
The application of Disease gives this passive a good majority of its value. While it has some uses in PvE, it’s not quite as valuable as it would be in PvP. However, the additional AoE effect does help it overall to make it a great passive.
Path of Onslaught
After using any ability in the Onslaught Tree, enter Onslaught Stance for 10 seconds. Entering Defiant Stance or switching weapon will remove this effect immediately. Onslaught Stance provides the following bonuses:
- +15% Incoming and Outgoing Damage
- Heavy Attacks charge twice as fast, but consume 10 stamina.
Path of Onslaught is entirely passive and does not require a passive point to obtain. Onslaught Stance is a strongly offensive stance that boosts your offense, at the cost of some defense. The only time you don’t want to rely on Onslaught Stance too much is when you’re tanking.
Since this is entirely passive, it makes no sense to rate it on the value of taking it. Instead we’ll rate it for each respective playstyle
Path of Onslaught Rating: S – DPS, B – Tank
There’s no reason to ever not want to activate and maintain Onslaught Stance as a DPS. It boosts your damage and lets you heavily abuse the various Trenchant Perks, which affect Heavy Attacks.
As a Tank, it can be useful to fit some extra damage in during periods when a boss or elite is exhausted and will not be attacking. Outside of this, it will be much more detrimental than helpful.
Giant Slayer increases your Base Damage by 20% when hitting foes above 90% health.
This is an interesting passive, as it increases base damage. However, the threshold for it makes it much harder to use in a lot of scenarios.
Giant Slayer Rating: A+ PvE, S – PvP
In PvE, this passive is more useful to Tanks as this helps them build up early aggro without needing to rely too much on taunts until they’re useful. It’s okay on DPS for the same reason but falls off hard on DPS for anything that isn’t exactly a sturdy enemy.
In PvP however, you’ll often have to deal with healing being an issue. So this often means you can be more value out of this passive. PvP enemies will also typically be pretty durable as well, which this can help with.
Heavy Blade grants Charged Heavy Attack 15% Armor Penetration.
Regardless of your playstyle, the Greatsword is built around frequently using Charged Heavy Attacks, either for their damage or Guard Point from Path of Defiance. This makes this exceedingly hard, if not impossible to pass up as a passive.
Heavy Blade Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
This passive is a must-have in pretty much all scenarios. Bruiser, DPS, Tank; whatever the playstyle, it’ll be beneficial to have. While not too many enemies have high armor in PvE, the ones that do often have plenty.
Swift Onslaught grants you a 20% Haste for 5 seconds after using an Onslaught Tree ability. This has a cooldown of 10 seconds.
This passive works really well in combination with Relentless Rush, making it a stronger engage or catch tool. Outside of that, it still provides the Greatsword some much-needed mobility. A 20% Haste isn’t a terrible value either, despite its 50% maximum uptime.
Swift Onslaught Rating: B+ – PvE, S – PvP
Honestly, I’ve never found hastes too useful for PvE combat all too often. While there are situations it can still help, generally, it’s not necessary. In PvP however, every bit of mobility can make the difference between a won and lost fight.
Keen Posture makes your next hit after entering or refreshing Onslaught Stance a guaranteed Critical Hit.
This passive is absolutely insane and works really well into offensive-focused builds. Getting a guaranteed critical hit, regardless of positioning is incredibly powerful. Combined with some stronger hitting attacks, or AoE attacks it can be absolutely devastating when used right.
Keen Posture Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
Getting guaranteed crits on a high base damage weapon, with high base damage skills, makes this a passive you should never be without. If you’re a Tank however, you may struggle to get maximum value out of this. Bruisers and DPS builds can freely take this can reap the full benefits of this passive.
While PvP does have a prevalence of crit damage reduction, not everyone can afford to slot that passive into their gear. Even with Crit damage being reduced, it’s an amazingly strong passive.
Aggressive Shift put you into Onslaught Stance after a successful hit with a Charged Heavy Attack.
For offensive-focused builds, this gives you an easy way to enter Onslaught Stance to make sure all of your skills can benefit from any Onslaught Stance effects. If you’re playing a Tank Build however, you’ll definitely want to avoid this, or risk taking increased damage.
Aggressive Shift Rating: A – PvE and PvP
This passive is really helpful for getting into Onslaught Stance, but it can be a struggle in some situations due to the slow nature of Charged Heavy Attacks. Usually, there are not too many issues but the biggest drawback of this passive is that it can pull you out of Defiant Stance if you’re relying on staying in it. Outside of that, it’s great utility in most builds.
Critical Comeback restores 5% Base health and 5 Stamina per second after getting a Critical Hit. This effect can only be triggered once every 10 seconds.
Overall, this is a good bonus for DPS and Tank builds alike. While it doesn’t restore much health, the Stamina regen helps a fair bit. With Onslaught Stance making your Charged Heavy Attacks cost Stamina or Blocking just naturally consuming it, it makes it a reliable passive.
Critical Comeback Rating: A – PvE and PvP (S+ with Keen Posture)
By itself, it’s a pretty nice bonus but pairing it with Keen Posture makes it so well-timed use of Keep Posture can maximize the value you get. This makes it an effective way to regain Stamina without much worry.
Crush the Weak
Crush the Weak increases the Greatsword’s Critical Chance against debuffed foes by 10%.
Where Keen Posture grants guaranteed Crits, this helps the attacks that aren’t affected by Keen Posture. This is a more reliable way to get Critical Chance as a Tank but is still very beneficial to damage-focused playstyles. With nearly all of your attacks providing some kind of debuff, you’ll be able to take good advantage of this.
Crush the Weak Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
With easy access to debuffs, comes easy access to this Crit Chance. While it’s not guaranteeing Critical Hits, it does boost the rate of random crits. This is generally most impactful when they happen on Charged Heavy Attacks or Crosscut’s final hit. Whether your target is a monster or another player, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of those crits.
Step and Strike
Step and Strike grants you 10% Empower for the first three attacks within 10 seconds of dodging. This effect will only apply while you are in combat. Attacks empowered by this effect restore 10 Stamina on hit.
This Passive is both a great damage boost and a great way to play more aggressively with your dodges. Between Critical Comeback and this passive, you’ll have little issue with Stamina which is always going to be helpful.
Step and Strike Rating: A+ – PvE and PvP (S+ with Critical Comeback and Keen Posture)
If you want to adopt a more aggressive playstyle, this passive will definitely help in that regard. It leaves you with no shortage of Stamina, and helps offset the cost of Charged Heavy Attacks in Onslaught Stance. Used well alongside passives like Keen Posture and Critical Comeback, you won’t be hurting for Stamina
Unrelenting Onslaught (Ultimate)
Unrelenting Onslaught is the Ultimate passive for the Onslaught Tree and provides Cooldown Reduction on hit with basic attacks. Light Attacks provide 2%, while Charged Heavy Attacks provide 10%.
It goes without saying that Cooldown Reduction is great for skill uptime. Being the Ultimate Passive of the Onslaught Tree puts it in a weird spot though, as it’s nearly inaccessible to Tanks, and Cooldown reduction can do much more for them. It does however mean that every DPS build will take this, as it allows them to dish out incredibly consistent damage,
Unrelenting Onslaught Rating: S – PvE and PvP
This is absolutely THE go-to Ultimate for most content. Since a lot of what makes the Greatsword quite powerful is bound to your skills, having more access to them means more damage and more uptime for various effects.
The Defiance Tree is all about soaking up damage. The majority of the passives on this side of the tree are heavily geared toward the Greatsword as a Defensive Weapon. With defensive buffs like Fortify and defensive debuffs like Weaken, this tree has everything you want in a tank role. The Active Skills for the Defiance Tree are Calamity Counter, Roaring Rupture, and Steadfast Strike.
Calamity Counter Blocks with 90% reduce Stamina Damage taken for 2 seconds while granting you Grit, preventing staggers. After 2 seconds or by ending the ability early (Recasting or Light Attack), unleash a counterattack that deals 100% Weapon Damage in a 4-meter radius. You will enter Defiant Stance after the skill completes. This counterattack will apply different effects based on the number of blocked hits:
- 0 Blocks – Only Damage
- 1 Block – Adds stagger to the hit
- 2 Blocks – Increases Stagger duration
- 3+ Blocks – Knockback instead of stagger
Calamity Counter is a very niche skill, which will only prove useful in situations where you absolutely need to block everything thrown at you. The most useful component of this skill is the 90% reduced Stamina Damage, which makes like a pseudo-Perfect Block, but seeing as the Greatsword has a Perfect Block mechanic outside of this, the actual use of this is questionable at times.
Calamity Counter Rating: C+ PvE, A+ PvP
As far as PvE is concerned, while tanks can use this skill, they already get a weaker version that is more consistent and allows them to stay on the offensive much easier. However, this is great at letting you bunker down for a moment, which is what gives it the niche it has.
The nature of this niche works best against multiple attacks, so situations like Wars or general PvP tanking can get more use out of this. The ability to cancel early keep you from being a sitting duck, while bunkering down and may even tempt some players to try to maneuver around you.
Jagged Counter applies a stack of Bleed for each power level (max of 3 per counter, max of 5 stacks total). Each Bleed stack will deal 5% weapon damage every second for 6 seconds.
If used well this can net you a bit of extra damage, applying a 15% Weapon Damage bleed for 6 seconds if you counter at least 3 hits. Applying this in an AoE to multiple targets will also do wonders to charge your Heartrune after use.
Jagged Counter Rating: C+ PvE and PvP
While the extra DoT this applies can apply some extra pressure in group PvP situations, it’s pretty minimal damage and has low uptime on its own. While the Unflinching Blade passive can help it maintain and even increase these stacks, the damage is typically very easy to outheal.
Critical Calamity increases the Critical Chance of Calamity Counter’s counterattack by 25%. In Onslaught Stance, this effect is increased by a further 25% to 50%. In Defiant Stance, you will heal for 20% of damage dealt up to a max of 5 hits.
Roaring Rupture has to stab the ground to send out a shockwave in a 4 meter radius. This shockwave deals 120% Weapon Damage and grants 8% Fortify for 5 seconds for each enemy hit, up to a max of 24%. This attack has Grit and generates 200% Threat. You will enter Defiant Stance after the skill completes.
This skill is Taunt Gem Compatible: Slotting a Carnelian Gem into the Greatsword will allow this skill to taunt all non-player enemies for 8 seconds when hit by the skill.
Roaring Rupture is pretty decent on its own, offering fairly solid AoE damage. Its upgrades offer it a lot of useful utility for a variety of situations. While it’s not the highest damage, it does bring value to PvE as a Tank by acting as either a taunt or strong aggro generation.
Roaring Rupture Rating: A+ PvE and PvP (S with Upgrades)
While Roaring Rupture is a great skill, as a basic un-upgraded ability it has a good bit of utility but feels incomplete without upgrades to make it feel even better. Its strongest point is the amount of Fortify it can provide, alongside the PvE taunt.
Purifying Roar will cleanse you of two debuffs after using Roaring Rupture.
Having the self-cleanse is always going to be nice as any kind of tank or frontline. Between this and the Relentless Freedom Perk, you’ll be able to reliably cleanse major debuffs of you quite quickly. Even on its own, it’ll mitigate major issues like Disease and Rend.
Purifying Roar Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
While not all encounters for PvE or PvP will be packed with debuffs, this will always be nice to have for when you are against multiple debuffs. It’ll be a more common thing in PvP or Mutated Expeditions, but still useful outside of those.
Intimidating Roar applies a 10% Weaken to all enemies hit by Roaring Rupture for 10 seconds. Additionally, successful hits make you Uninterruptible for 5 seconds.
As far as useful debuffs go, Weaken is one of the better defensive options. Given Roaring Rupture hits a decent-sized area, and is capable of taunting, it’s a great tool to have as a Tank. While you won’t have the Taunt in PvP, the Weaken will still prove to be useful.
Intimidating Roar Rating: S – PvE and PvP
Weaken is a debuff that tends to have broader application potential, compared to things like Disease. Its usefulness in both PvE and PvP makes it a worthwhile pickup for most front-liners.
Adaptive Rush provides either a 3-meter push or pull effect, which changes the direction based on your current stance. In Onslaught Stance enemies are pulled towards you, while in Defiant Stance enemies are pushed away from you.
This upgrade is pretty hit or miss in its current state. Depending on your intended usage, it may or may not be providing a useful effect. While it does provide a little bit of PvP catch power in Onslaught Stance, the Defiant Stance variation only seems useful in PvE, which would just force enemies to run back into you.
Adaptive Rush Rating: C – PvE and PvP
This passive just does not seem at all worth investing in for the moment. Both effects are far too niche and generally impractical for a cohesive build to make them worth considering.
Steadfast Strike stab forward to impale an enemy, dealing 70% weapon damage, then rips the blade back out dealing 120% weapon damage pulling the target 1.5 meters toward you. Each strike restores 20 stamina and generates 150% Threat. You will enter Defiant Stance after the skill completes.
This skill is going to be an important one to upgrade early for more reliable and effective tanking. It does decent damage, and more importantly, gets an upgrade that allows you to reduce the cooldown of other Greatsword skills. With that and bonus threat generation, this becomes a staple skill for PvE tanks that don’t opt for a tree more focused on the Onslaught side of things.
With a cooldown of 18 seconds, Steadfast Strike is a moderately long cooldown for the Greatsword,
Steadfast Strike Rating – B+ – PvE, A – PvP (S in PvE with Steadfast Refresh)
In PvE this is going to be one of the primary ways a Tank can get any kind of Cooldown reduction; however, the base ability itself doesn’t offer it. It does however offer increased threat generation which makes it a solid tool for holding aggro early on.
In PvP, the quick animations of this skill make it harder to avoid. It can also set you up for a decent combo into Skyward Slash, giving you a really solid way to lead into a fight.
Steadfast Recovery makes the first hit of Steadfast Strike heal you for 50% Weapon Damage. In Defiant Stance, this also inflicts 2 stacks of Bleeding, dealing 5% weapon damage every second for 6 seconds.
This is a nice bonus but in terms of actual healing power, it’s pretty minuscule. It is slightly better if using this in a more damage-heavy setup, which most tanks or Bruisers will generally have less of overall. the Bleeding adds a little extra damage, but not enough to make much of a difference, ultimately ticking for just over a hundred per stack with most builds.
Steadfast Recovery Rating: C – PvE and PvP
Honestly this passive just doesn’t offer much to make it worthwhile for any reason other than reaching Steadfast Refresh. While it does provide some extra healing while solo, generally Critical Comeback will be a more reliable source of healing. Meanwhile, the bleed does help a little with overall damage in PvE, but even then it’s not going to be enough to generally help you hold aggro.
Steadfast Refresh reduces the cooldown of other Greatsword abilities by 20% when the second strike of Steadfast Strike hit an enemy.
With this being a single target skill, this really only has use for Tanks. This often becomes your only source of additional Cooldown Reduction, making it a must-have in defensive builds. However, it’s not really enough to make Steadfast Strike a stand-out skill overall for non-tanks.
Steadfast Refresh Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
As any kind of Tank or other defensive builds, this is a must-have. Since you typically can’t bolster your defenses while also getting access to Unrelenting Onslaught, the Ultimate of the Onslaught tree, which will require 11 of your 19 passive points to obtain; this becomes a valuable pick-up for any build, that plans to use two or more Defiance Tree Skills.
Path of Defiance
After using any Defiance Ability, enter Defiant Stance for 10 seconds. Defiance Stance end early if you switch weapons or you enter Onslaught Stance. Defiant Stance grants the following effects:
- 15% Reduced Incoming and Outgoing Damage.
- Guard Point: Block Attacks while charging Heavy Attacks.
Guard Point is going to be the way you block most of the time with the Greatsword. There are multiple passives that benefit from this, alongside the added benefit of attacking immediately after blocking.
Similar to Onslaught Stance, this effect is entirely passive, so it will be rated respective to the general playstyles of the Greatsword.
Path of Defiant Rating: A – DPS, S+ – Tanks
Unlike its Onslaught Stance counterpart, Defiant Stance is useful for most builds, to either tank harder or get out of sticky situations. Reliably getting into Defiant Stance without a Defiance skill can be a tricky thing to do on demand, but useful if you really need the damage mitigation.
If you want to play Greatsword as a Tanking Weapon, you’ll absolutely want to keep yourself in Defiant Stance unless the situation calls for an extra burst of damage. It’s core to your ability to tank, by providing Guard Point which makes it easier to benefit from passives like Faultless Defender.
Cleansing Chain allows the final attack of Greatsword combos to reduce the duration of debuffs on you by 10%. This effect has a 5-second cooldown.
This is ultimately a very niche passive, as you get much easier access to a cleanse from Roaring Rupture’s Purifying Roar upgrade. it can have some niche use in PvP or Mutated Expeditions, but very limited as you have better internal and external sources of cleansing.
Cleaning Chain Rating: C+ – PvE and PvP
The effect is far too niche to be useful in most situations. Getting one, maybe two seconds off of a debuff at most isn’t often going to be life or death when you have both healers and access to multiple forms of cleanse. In addition, you’re already likely to have some stacks of Freedom or similar passives as a tank to reduce status duration, and therefore the value of this passive.
Perfect Vigilance reduces the first hit of damage you take while at Full Health by 20% and grants you a 20% Fortify that lasts for 3 seconds. This effect has a 20-second cooldown.
This is a pretty decent passive overall, which the Fortify it grants is brief, it’s one of the stronger Fortify effects in the game. The full health requirement isn’t often too hard of a requirement to meet, especially in group activities. Even as a solo player, it can give you a bit of breathing room should something hit you when you’re not expecting it.
Perfect Vigilance Rating: A+ – PvE and PvP
This is a nice passive to have, and since you can get it for one point into the Defiance Tree, it can be useful for DPS builds too. While it’s not a must-have by any means, it is fairly good for the low investment and makes a better first-row option unless you’re taking Calamity Counter. Even with Calamity Counter, it can still be a nice defensive layer to make use of considering it’s similar to the 300 Constitution passive and works similarly.
Wary Posture reduces the damage of the next hit you take by 25% within 5 seconds of entering Defiant Stance.
This is a really strong passive for tanking, and even though it only mitigates a single hit, you can use it multiple times in a single rotation of skills. This allows you to more safely use your abilities, knowing that right after, the next hit of damage will be reduced.
Wary Posture Rating: A – PvE and PvP
While this is a fairly strong passive, you’re not going to have great uptime on it and it’s limited to builds focused on the Defiance Tree, or heavy use of Guarded Shift. That being said, a DPS can still appreciate it if they use a Defiance Tree Skill or Guarded Shift to enter Defiant Stance as needed.
Blade Honing increases your base damage by 3% for each Greatsword buff on you, up to a max of 12%.
This can honestly be more useful for Onslaught builds, despite being on the Defiance Side of the tree. The Onslaught side has more general access to buffs, making it easier to stack up and get more effect out of it. However, if you can make use of a single Onslaught Skill, it can be just as easy to fully benefit from, though less frequently.
Blade Honing Rating: B+ – PvE and PvP (S with Keen Posture and Critical Comeback)
By itself, it’s going to be hard to make it work well enough to consider it. However, add in Keen Posture and Critical Comeback and you get a few buffs that last a fair bit. This makes it a more reliable passive overall and provides more value.
Unflinching Blade enhances your Charged Heavy Attack with Grit and a Bleed that deals 5% Weapon Damage for 6 Seconds that can stack up to 5 times.
This is similar to the 300 Strength Attribute bonus, but adds in an additional Bleed. While most Bleed effects are worth considering on the Greatsword, this one is generally fantastic, as most of your damage will come from these Charged Heavy Attacks.
Unflinching Blade Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
Since you can continually stack and reapply this, this will often be dealing upwards of 400 damage per second, depending on your build. While this isn’t a whole lot, this is a great tool to help keep aggro in PvE, or apply extra pressure to enemies in PvP situations if you can keep it on them. The additional Grit also helps with heavily using Guard Point and Faultless Defender to Block safely and reliably.
Guarded Shift allows you to enter Defiant Stance by blocking for 2 seconds while in combat.
Guarded Shift is a fairly good passive, as it works well in unison with Wary posture to provide some situational defense where it’s needed. While it can’t constantly trigger it or even refresh Defiant Stance, it will allow you to enter Defiant Stance without the use of an ability to trigger it.
Guarded Shift Rating: A – PvE and PvP
While the time it takes to initially trigger it is slow, it is a reliable way to enter Defiant Stance. This can help in situations where your skill are on cooldown and Defiant Stance has expired, or you want an easy way to trigger it in combat as a DPS.
Arrow Deflection allows the Greatsword to block projectiles, at the cost of all incoming Stamina Damage being increased by 10%.
While this isn’t too bad of a trade-off, it can be a little niche depending on the content you’re dealing with. Blocking projectiles just isn’t a necessary function but does make it better for tanking overall.
Arrow Deflection Rating: A+ – PvE and PvP
While it is generally useful regardless of the build you use for the blocking potential, there are times where it’s just not needed. Most early PvE content doesn’t feature many ranged foes; while PvP is situational and you’d probably only consider using it in Arenas or small scale where the penalty won’t be felt as much.
Faultless Defender reduces Stamina Damage by 50% when blocking attacks shortly after raising your guard or while using Guard point. Melee Attackers are also afflicted with a 5% Rend that lasts for 10 seconds.
This is pretty decent at countering the penalty of Arrow Deflection, but it’s a minor penalty as-is. It’s overall better at countering Melee attackers, allowing you to block one or multiple melee attackers while using the Guard Point effect of Defiant Stance, Apply Rend to them, then return a hit of your own.
Faultless Defender Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
This passive makes it super easy to reliably tank with the Greatsword. In addition to that, the Rend makes the Charged Heavy Attacks you send at your foes deal more damage. Both of these effects in unison make it a very worth while pickup for most any builds for the greatsword.
Undying Defiance (Ultimate)
Undying Defiance heals you for 5% of all damage dealt by attacks. This value is increased to 15% if you’ve blocked any attack in the past 3 seconds.
While Tanks are generally the focus for the healing of supports, this can actually allow the Greatsword to functionally tank and sustain more damage with less overall health. Thanks to Guard Point, most of your Heavy Attacks will heal you for 15% of their damage.
Undying Defiance Rating: S+ – PvE and PvP
Guard Point makes this a little insane and can make it worth carefully balancing your damage-boosting Attributes and your Constitution. Since you have access to both Grit on Heavy Attacks without 300 Strength and 20% reduced damage to the first hit you take at full health without 300 Constitution, you have more points you can distribute elsewhere.
Greatsword Skill Perks
Below is a list of the Skill perks available to the Greatsword. The range for the effect’s value is determined by the gear Score of the item it is on. The Minimum value is at Gear Score 100, while the Maximum is at Gear Score 625.
Relentless Freedom increases Relentless Rush’s Crit chance by 12-19%, while also cleansing Roots and Slows on activation. The effect is reduced to 5-12% Critical Chance when this perk is not on a Greatsword.
Relentless Freedom is going to be a must-have for PvP. Being able to to take this skill and remove the major movement-impairing effects is really strong. It’s not even required to be on your Greatsword, allowing you to get a stronger version of a different Perk if you wish.
Relentless Freedom Rating: B+ PvE, S+ PvP
The debuffs removed by this park aren’t all too common in PvE. However, the added Crit Chance can still bring some value if you don’t want to swap too many pieces of gear.
In PvP, it’s a much different story where these effects can often lead to your death if you don’t play well enough around them. Being able to ignore them, and even have this on a skill that can refresh its cooldown quite a bit is a very potent effect.
Leeching Crosscut heals you for 48-72% of the damage dealt by the final hit of Crosscut. This effect is reduced to 25-49% damage leech when this perk not on a Greatsword.
Crosscut is your highest damage skill, and while this may only affect the final hit this can still restore a sizeable chunk of health for offensive builds. You’d ideally want this on your Greatsword for the strongest available version of this perk.
Leeching Crosscut Rating: S+ PvE, C – PvP
In PvE, you’re almost assuredly going to land this third hit, which means a lot of free sustain. When you have a hit that deals upwards for 5,000 damage, that’s anywhere between 1,250 and 3600 healing you can get every 20-ish seconds. It’s a great way to make up for loss of access to Undying Defiance from the Defiance side of the tree on an offensive build.
In PvP, simply put the ability is unreliable, making this healing unreliable. The attack itself is slow and hard to reliably setup and very easy to miss.
Skyward Nullifcation removes one debuff from a foe on successful hit. Their remaining buffs are reduced by 19-29%. This effect is reduced to 10-20% buff duration reduction when this perk is not on a Greatsword.
This perk is pretty niche, but can be useful in PvP. Though personally, I don’t think it’s the strongest effect to consider over other perks for the Greatsword. Reducing the duration of certain buffs can be impactful, but only if the base duration of them is fairly high to begin with.
Skyward Nullification Rating: C – PvE, C+ PvP
There are very few situations where this perk can be useful, most of which are limited to PvP. This makes it less worthy of taking up your limited space for Perks, especially on your weapon.
Energizing Counter immediately restores 19-29 Stamina when activating Calamity Counter. This effect is reduced to 10-20 Stamina gain when this perk is not on a Greatsword.
This can be a decent Tanking perk, allowing you to replenish stamina before using Calamity Counter, which you’d really only want to use when you’re expecting either a heavy hit or several hits in a short span.
Energizing Counter Rating: B+ – PvE and PvP
While it does have some use, it’s not a fantastic use of a Perk slot. Considering the peak effect is roughly the same amount you’d regain after triggering the Critical Comeback passive, it very quickly loses value. However, the extra burst of Stamina can be a life saver if used at the right moment.
Steadfast Purification reduces the duration of debuffs on you by 13-20% for each attack of the skill, max of 1 activation per attack. This effect is reduced to 7-12% debuff duration reduction when this perk is not on a Greatsword.
Honestly, the Greatsword has access to so many better sources of debuff removal that this isn’t going to be useful. Unless you absolutely cannot fit Relentless Rush and Relentless Freedom into your PvP build, this can be a decent substitute although not great. Its main saving grace is that it can trigger the effect twice, offering at max an effective 36% debuff duration reduction to all active debuffs.
Steadfast Purification Rating: C – PvE and PvP
With better cleanse options available, this isn’t a great option. If for some reason the better options absolutely aren’t available, this can be nice to have as a frontline in PvP.
Slowing Rupture applies a slow to enemies hit by the skill, reducing their movement speed by 23-34% for 5 seconds. This effect is reduced to 12-23% when this perk is not on a Greatsword.
Slowing Rupture is a firaly good way to maximize the potential of Adaptive Rush from Onslaught Stance. Having a Pull effect, that leads into a decently potent Slow can be hard to escape from. Even without that, applying a Slow to crowds can be a good way to force them to take a ton of damage.
Slowing Rupture Rating: C – PvE, A – PvP
In PvE a slow isn’t going to save you much or do much other than setup some passives, but you already have longer-lasting debuffs for that.
As mentioned, there are multiple situations this can be useful in PvP. Both situations also are flexible enough to where you can decide if you’d want it as a weapon perk or armor perk. Since Slows can impact the flow of a fight, it definitely has more use.
The Greatsword is pretty flexible in what it can do, allowing for a lot of build variety. Depending on what your intentions are, you may want to focus on a single stance, or swap between them based on what’s needed. We’ll showcase a few options solid offerings below.
Pure Onslaught DPS Build
As the name may imply, this build is all about the raw offensive power of Onslaught Stance. This means we’ll be using Crosscut, Relentless Rush, and Skyward Slash as skills.
The high damage of this weapon can easily carry you through most of the leveling process as a starter weapon, which can make it much easier to use this build to start with. It only gets stronger the more you level the weapon and apply your passives.
For the leveling process, I highly recommend starting with Crosscut as your first point and your first ability. We won’t want to upgrade it immediately, but it is an option due to Cross Execution’s strength in PvE.
We’ll follow this up with grabbing Keen Posture and then Skyward Slash for our second ability. Keen Posture gives us some early power for a single point and access to Skyward Slash, which provides us access to Rend to boost Crosscut.
Then we’ll grab Relentless Rush and Aggressive Shift to round out our early points. Relentless Rush allows us to go into Onslaught Stance before we ever use an ability, boosting the Rending power of Skyward Slash and our overall damage
Next, will max out Crosscut and get Cross Execution’s high damage bonus which will help us take down all but the strongest of foes for most encounters. Then we’ll grab Heavy Blade, so our Charged Heavy Attacks will deal more damage, as we’ll be using them often. Finally, we can grab Crush the Weak as well as Step and Strike to get access to Unrelenting Onslaught and pick that up as well.
With our Ultimate in hand, we’re going to hop over and grab the passives from the Defiance Tree. We’ll be taking Perfect Vigilance for the occasional damage reduction it provides, which helps in solo play a fair bit. Blade Honing serves to boost our damage, which while weak currently will be fairly strong later on.
Then we grab what we came here for, Unflinching Blade, which makes our attacks harder to interrupt by applying Grit as well as a Bleed on each Charged Heavy Attack.
Then to round things out, it’s back to the Onslaught Tree to pick up the remaining passives. Starting with Critical Comeback for the sustain it provides an additional synergy with Keen Posture.
We’ll upgrade Relentless Rush next, to get the additional Empower effect and be able to use it more often with Relentless Refresh. Skyward Slash we can upgrade last, as while the second attack can be good damage, it’s more useful currently to just apply Rend. It can be taken earlier if desired, replacing Crush the Weak and Step and Strike to get our Ultimate passive.
As far as Ultimate Passives go, Unrelenting Onslaught is really good. Since we’ll be using primarily Charged Heavy Attacks, so each hit will reduce our cooldown by 10%, allowing us to frequently rotate our skills.
Step and Strike is a more optional Choice, as you could replace it with another passive like Swift Onslaught for another stack of Blade Honing. Though I’m inclined to believe the 10% Empower it offers outweighs the 3% base damage. In addition to the Empower, Step and Strike essentially removes the Stamina cost for the next 3 attacks after a dodge which can be useful.
Skill Perks, Usage, and Rotations
Crosscut is your main damaging ability. With huge base damage, the ability to Backstab, and a strong execute passive on the final hit, it clears weaker enemies in no time at all. You’ll want to make sure the target you’re hitting is fully rended before you let this ability fly for maximum damage.
Skyward Slash is unique in that while it’s your only Rend applicator, it’s also a strong damage tool as well. Thanks to it’s upgrades and a unique synergy with Keen Posture, you’ll be able to smack a 3 meter area around your initial target with a 140% Weapon damage Critical Strike. This is because Keen Posture will trigger after the upward slash, allowing the downward strike to benefit from the crit. This makes it a fairly good mobbing tool.
Relentless Rush is going to be another strong source of AoE damage, letting you cleave through enemies, and can also deal fairly good damage with Keen Posture’s effect. While In Onslught Stance it’ll also Root, making it a really strong opening skill for mobbing. You can Root a group of enemies, then turn around and debuff give ’em a smack with Skyward Slash, then clean up with Cross Cut.
For Weapon Perks, we’ll be looking to get Trenchant Strikes, Keenly Empowered, and your choice of an Elemental Attunement or Keen. While Trenchant Strikes may seem like an odd choice here as our skills won’t benefit from it unlike Rogue, overall Heavy Attacks will make up the majority of your damage at 150-170% Weapon damage per hit.
Trenchant Strikes increase this to 170-190%, which gives us higher consistent damage without the total reliance on Backstabs. Keenly Empowered is a great Synergy with our guaranteed Crits, allowing us to have another empowered effect we can apply often and on demand outside of its cooldown.
The last slot is pretty much a flexible slot perk you could put anything here, but Elemental Attunement can be a great option to increase your damage and increase your damage against certain factions. Keen is a good general option.
If you want Keen as the third perk, you can get the Blackguard’s Greatsword as a drop from Ekheke, an Elite in the Tempest’s Heart Expedition, which always drops as Dexterity with Trenchant Strikes, Keen, and Keenly Empowered at gear score 590
For your weapon’s Gem Slot, you’ll likely want to go with Opal. Since our Heavy Attacks drain our Stamina in Onslaught Stance, it’ll be more likely to not be full, thus boosting our damage. It’s a very consistent damage boost for the cost of the gem slot.
With Runeglass Gems, you’ll want to look for a Runeglass of Punishing Opal, which will add a further 2% melee damage. Alternatively, you can use any elemental Runeglass for a consistent 8% weapon damage DoT effect.
For Armor Perks, we’ll want to pick up Leeching Crosscut and Refreshing. If PvP is your thing, you can fill the remaining perk slot with Resilient or Freedom, depending on your needs. For PvE, You’ll either want to take Luck for grinding or an Elemental Conditioning perk for Mutated Expeditions.
Leeching Crosscut will help with any potential health or sustain issues. Refreshing helps with our cooldowns letting us use our skills more often. Resilient reduces incoming crit damage, while Freedom reduces movement-impairing statuses.
For our Amulet, we’ll be looking to get Refreshing, Health, and Empowered. Refreshing is here again to reduce our cooldown further. Health gives us a nice boost to our total health making us a little less fragile. Empowered helps our Empowered state last a bit longer, adding up to 3 seconds to both effects from the greatsword and an extra second to Keenly Empowered.
For our Earrings we’ll want to get Beloved (or Evasive), Refreshing and Regenerating. Beloved (or Evasive) will lower our threat generation, which is helpful for a weapon like this, as we can hit quite hard frequently. Regenerating gives us a bit of passive health regen, which helps to keep us fighting longer and letting us generally ignore small hits and heal them back over time.
Finally, for our Ring, we’ll want to get Keen Awareness (or Slash Damage), Hearty, and Leeching. Keen Awareness can give us a solid boost in crit rate, making crits happen far more often. Slash Damage is just an overall damage increase should we opt for it. Heart boosts our stamina, allowing us to have more to attack or dodge with. Leeching is a solid option here for added healing. Leeching could be replaced with Blood Letting if desired, extending the Bleed you can constantly apply.
- Heavy Attack
- Heavy Attack
- Relentless Rush
- Heavy Attack
- Skyward Slash
We lead the rotation with a Heavy Attack to take advantage of Aggressive Shift, putting us into Onslaught Stance. We then Dodge to trigger Step and Strike for Empower, followed by another heavy Attack to get max value out of Keen Posture. This deals heavy damage and triggers Keenly Empowered.
We then use Relentless Rush to trigger Relentless Power, for yet another Empower buff. We then take advantage of Keen posture yet again with another heavy attack this time followed by Skyward Slash and its Skyfall Sword follow-up.
Since the follow-up consumes the Keen posture buff, we then immediately go into Crosscut, to take advantage of all the Empower effects before they start to fall off. Then we repeat the process all over again when all of our cooldowns are available, so that way Crosscut will deal maximum damage each time its used.
Pure Defiance Tank Build
Converse to the Pure Onslaught build above, this build focuses on the defensive strength of the Greatsword rather than its offensive power. As such, the Pure Defiance Tank Build uses Calamity Counter, Roaring Rupture, and Steadfast Strike.
This build will not function all that well as an early leveling build. While you have decent AoE potential, there’s a noticeable lack of damage that can make it harder to clear content effectively without help.
Even though I highly recommend against doing so, this build can be leveled with. It will be slower than a more offensive build at dealing with enemies but will be safer overall as a result.
To start by leveling this build, our first there points will go into getting out three abilities before any passives. This means picking up Calamity Counter, Roaring Rupture, and Steadfast Strike. Roaring Rupture and Steadfast Strike will be the bulk of your damage, alongside your Heavy Attacks.
With Heavy attacking being out next biggest source of income, we’ll want to grab Unflinching Blade from the Defiant Tree and Heavy Blade from the Onslaught Tree. Unflinching Blade grants us an additional Bleed effect on each of our Heavy Attacks, while also granting us Grit to make it tougher to be interrupted. Heavy Blade gives our Heavy Attacks additional Armor Penetration, ignoring a portion of our target’s armor and boosting the damage.
Our next priority will be to upgrade Steadfast Strike, to get Steadfast Refresh and allow us to reduce our cooldowns. Steadfast Recovery we have to take along the way, but provides us with a bit of sustain although very minor.
Now our focus shifts towards getting the rest of our passives in the Defiance Tree. Here we’ll get Faultless Defender, Arrow Deflection, Wary Posture, Perfect Vigilance then finally picking up Undying Defiance.
With Guard Point being our Primary blocking Method, Faultless Defender allows us to tank hits much easier by reducing our stamina damage taken for a short duration after raising our block, or while using Guard Point. Arrow Deflection allows us to block ranged hits, though slightly increasing the Stamina Damage we take.
Wary Posture and Perfect Vigilance offer us some nice protection overall. With Perfect Vigilance reduces the damage of hits taken at full health by 20%, while providing a short 3-second 20% Fortify.
Wary Posture reduces the damage of the next hit within 5 seconds of entering Defiant stance by 25%, or after using an ability. Then everything is capped off by Undying Defiance, which gives us really solid sustain overall by healing for 5% of all damage dealt, or 15% if we’ve blocked an attack in the last 3 seconds. Guard Point makes it easier to get that 15% life leech effect more regularly.
Next, we’ll round out our Defiance side of the tree by upgrading Roaring Rupture. Purifying Roar is really great at removing pesky Rends and Disease, which reduce your ability to tank, by allowing each use of Roaring Rupture to Cleanse 2 debuffs. Then we also take Intimidating Roar to weaken any targets we hit, reducing their damage output by 10%.
Over to the Onslaught Side of the Tree, we’ll take the remaining passives. I recommend going straight to the Step and Strike passive, to get it as early as possible. You can take Keen Posture or Swift Onslaught here, they’re both useless to the build and either can be used as a passthrough node for the 3 nodes that come after, which are much more valuable to the build.
Critical Comeback will provide some minor healing, but more importantly Stamina Regeneration after a Critical Hit. Since Tanking will rely on you being at relatively high Stamina at all times, this becomes a great thing to have.
Since Roaring Rupture can apply Weaken, it’ll be easier to crit by taking Crush the Weak. This passive will grant us an additional 10% Crit Chance to any foe with a debuff, regardless if it’s yours or not. Step and Strike will allow us to gain an Empower effect by dodging while in combat. While this won’t be all too often, this additional Empower will not only strengthen our attacks but refund some stamina on our next few hits as well.
Finally, we can grab Giant Slayer, which helps us to get some early aggro easier in PvE, or boosts our damage in PvP against foes with 90% or more health. You can opt to grab this earlier as well, I just prefer to not delay the other passive which provide more consistent and helpful bonuses
Skill Perks, Usage, and Rotations
Calamity Counter is our hybrid defensive and offensive tool. It reduces our Stamina Damage taken by 90%, allowing us to block heavier or multiple hits much easier. Afterward, we get to deal a bit of return damage. It stays completely upgraded as the passive upgrades for it do not offer us all too much, and its main utility comes from the main skill itself.
Roaring Rupture is our only Taunt for PvE tanking, which in and of itself is good. Additionally, its AoE Makes it a little easier to hold aggro of multiple weaker enemies. With the additional Weaken effect, it also makes it even easier to block enemy damage. The Cleanse effect is helpful to get rid of debuff while also taunting foes, or in PvP to prevent you from being locked down too easily.
Steadfast Strike is a nice damage tool, but arguably it’s our alternative to investing into an Onslaught Skill for Cooldown reduction. Steadfast Refresh is the primary use of the skill, as the cooldown reduction helps us immensely as a tank.
If you find yourself hating Steadfast Strike, feel free to drop it and another Defiance passive of choice (we recommend Perfect Vigilance) to take Skyward Slash as a fully upgraded skill and whichever of Keen Posture or Swift Onslaught you didn’t get earlier. This offers a higher damage skill, better cooldown reduction, and a reliable way to trigger Critical Comeback while its off cooldown.
For our Weapon Perks, we’ll want Trenchant Strikes and Keen. The last slot can be Hated for PvE Only, or your choice between Sturdy or Refreshing Move for a more generally applicable perk. Trenchant Strikes gives us a sizeable boost in damage to our Charged Heavy attacks, which we also block with.
Hated Increases our Aggro Generation, which can be a good PvE option if you don’t quite feel the need to use a Carnelian Gem. Sturdy reduces Stamina Damage taken which is great for all forms of blocking, PvE or PvP. Refreshing Move is a nice option to give you more uptime on Calamity Counter, which is crucial for heavy blocking moments.
For our Weapon Gem, we’ll want to use a Carnelian for PvE, and an Opal for PvP. Optionally you can just use the Opal if you’d rather use just your other weapon to taunt. The Carnelian will allow you to use the Greatsword to generate a ton of aggro, but your two heavier damage skills already generate additional aggro, so it may not be quite as useful. The Opal will be great, as we’ll almost always be missing some Stamina, whether it be from dodging or blocking.
For our Armor Perks, we’ll be looking to get Refreshing and Energizing Counter. Refreshing help to make out cooldowns shorter, While Energizing Counter can give us a small Stamina Recovery when activating Calamity Counter.
For PvE other options you may want to consider are Luck for gear hunting, Invigorated to reduce the duration of damage or armor debuffs on you, or any Elemental Conditioning, to help clear Mutated Expeditions. For PvP, you may want to consider Resilient to reduce the damage of incoming Crits or Freedom to reduce the duration of movement impairing debuffs.
For our Amulet, we’ll be looking to get Refreshing, Health, and Divine. Refreshing is here again to reduce our cooldown further. Health gives us a nice boost to our total health making us a little less fragile. Divine increase all incoming healing effects on us, letting supports heal us quicker in group content. Alternatively, for small scale PvP, Shirking Empower can be a niche option.
For our Earrings we’ll want to get Despised, Refreshing and Regenerating. Despised will increase our threat generation, letting us hole PvE aggro better. Regenerating gives us a bit of passive health regen, which helps to keep us fighting longer and lets us generally ignore small hits and heal them back over time thanks to our larger health pool. For PvP you may want to consider replacing Despied with your choice of Purifying or Refreshing Toast.
Finally, for our Ring, we’ll want to get Keen Awareness (or Slash Damage), Hearty, and Leeching. Keen Awareness can give us a solid boost in crit rate, making crits happen far more often. Slash Damage is just an overall damage increase should we opt for it. Heart boosts our stamina, allowing us to have more to attack or dodge with. Leeching is a solid option here for added healing. For PvP you could consider Mortal Empowerment over Leeching here as well since as a tank you’ll be a bit harder to take down.
As a tank build, this build doesn’t have a set rotation of skills, but rather situations where you’d use certain skills.
Calamity Counter is your Heavy Blocking Skill, which you’ll only want to use when a single heavy hit is coming, or when many smaller hits are about to happen. Its reduced Stamina Damage effect allows you to soak a lot more hits.
Roaring Rupture is your taunt and AoE Damage Skill. You’ll want to use this any time you need to taunt multiple foes, or generally want to apply more AoE damage. It can Also apply Weaken, to help you tank hits better.
Steadfast Strike is a decent damage tool, but you’ll always want at least one, if not both of your skills on cooldown before you use it. This is because it will reduce their cooldowns, thanks to Steadfast Refresh.
Skyward Slash is an optional choice, which would replace Steadfast Strike. This is taken to allow access to Unrelenting Onslaught for more consistent cooldown reduction. It serves as a strong damage tool, by applying Rend as well as dealing high damage. It also can easily and reliably trigger Critical Comeback through the use of Keen Posture, making it a fairly good alternative.
Hybrid PvP Build
This dual stance build balances the best of both stances. It has excellent offense, formidable defense, and many tools to help you succeed in most PvP scenarios. To achieve this, we’ll be using Calamity Counter, Crosscut, and Relentless Rush as active skills.
The Hybrid nature of this build makes it fantastic for leveling. Giving you great offensive options and a great defensive option as well. Crosscut can carry most encounters, especially when used as follow-up for Relentless Rush.
To use this build for leveling, You’ll want to pick up Crosscut and its upgrades first and foremost. While the other skills are useful, having Crosscut maxed out immediately will make a huge difference for early survival and leveling as it can allow Crosscut to clear most weak enemies easily.
After maxing Crosscut, we’ll max out Relentless Rush. This gives us an early Empower buff that lasts for quite a bit, as well as a skill that refunds most of its cooldown when we take down any foe. Adaptive Rush is more useful for setting up our main combo, which easier after the next set of passives we take.
Next, we’ll grab Keen Posture, Critical Comeback, Crush the Weak, then finally Aggressive Shift. Keen Posture will make it so the first attack we do after using Relentless Rush or Crosscut will always crit. This allows us to make reliable use of Critical Comeback for minor Health and Stamina Regeneration. Crush the Weak will make attacks after Relentless Rush have a higher crit chance, which makes Crosscut incredibly lethal.
Aggressive Shift allows this build to deal some serious damage, by allowing us to almost immediately go back into Onslaught Stance after using Calamity Counter. Additionally, it serves as an initial opener, which setups our primary combo which we’ll cover in the Skill Rotation section.
Now that we can grab our Ultimate, we’ll do so. Relentless Onslaught gives us a lot of Cooldown Reduction, essentially being a much better Refreshing Move for us. While we may not be able to get maximum value out of it, unlike PvE, this does still help us to perform our skill combo more often.
With our Ultimate in hand, it’s finally time to pick up our final skill, Calamity Counter. While we’re on this side of the Tree, we’ll also be picking up the Rest of the passives here. Blade Honing will give us a fairly good damage boost, as we’ll have consistent access to Empower and Haste. Unflinching Blade adds some pretty significant damage by applying a bleed to our Heavy Attacks, while also allowing us to forgo getting 300 Strength just for the Grit effect. Arrow Deflection and Faultless Defender round out the defensive passives, letting us block projectiles and rewarding us for well-timed blocks.
Finally, we’re grabbing the last few passives on the Onslaught Tree, being Swift Onslaught alongside Step and Strike. Swift Onslaught makes it easier to follow Relentless Rush with Crosscut, in the rare case we overshoot our range a bit. Step and Strike allows us to dodge attacks, and launch a few quick, free, and Empowered Heavy Attacks.
Skill Perks, Usage, and Rotations
Calamity Counter is our main defensive tool. Its reduced Stamina Damage effect lets us unexpectedly block more than we normally could, even while using Faultless Defender. It is a great tool to shift into the more defensive Defiant Stance, as it protects you going in, and you’re protected afterward.
Crosscut is the primary damage tool. While it’s generally unreliable on its own, combined with a Root from Relentless Rush, it’ll be hard to escape from. It may not consistently deal its full damage, but it’ll deal plenty enough in most cases to be worth using.
Relentless Rush is going to be a literal toolkit for us as a Greatsword user. It can Apply a Slow/Root, Empower us, and even Cleanse Slows/Roots from us with its perk. the best part of this is, it also does decent damage as well as has a cooldown reduction perk of its own which allows for higher uptime on the previously mentioned effects.
For Weapon Perks, we’ll want to take Trenchant Strikes, Fractured Rend, and Keenly Empowered. Trenchant Stikes is great, as the faster Heavy Attacks in Onslaught Stance make great use of this to deal way more damage.
We take Keenly Empowered here as an increased Crit Rate we have Keen Posture, which will allow us to always trigger this effect so long as its ready. Fractured Rend is a solid option here, since depending on how much of our initial combo our opponent tried to break, they can end up taking an absolutely devastating Crosscut.
For our Weapon’s Gem Slot, Opal is the way to go. We’ll consistently be using Stamina for Attacks and dodging, making this a very reliable way to boost out damage. Diamond can be another option, but is too reliant on an allied healer keeping you topped off.
For our Armor perks, we’ll want to get Refreshing and Relentless Freedom. Refreshing reduces our cooldown granting us more uptime on certain effects. Relentless Freedom we only need on a single armor piece, but it allows Relentless Rush to cleanse Roots and Slows, which are often some of the most detrimental effects to have on you in PvP.
Additionally, for PvP you can look to take Freedom, Resilient, or Invigorate as additional armor perks. Freedom will help reduce Stuns primarily, but also reduce Roots and Slows if Relentless Freedom is Unavailable. Invigorate will help reduce the duration of any DoT effectss applied to us.
For our Amulet, we’ll be looking to get Refreshing, Health, and Empowered. Refreshing is here again to reduce our cooldown further. Health gives us a nice boost to our total health making us a little less fragile. Empowered helps our Empowered state last a bit longer, adding up to 3 seconds to both effects from the greatsword and an extra second to Keenly Empowered.
For our Earrings we’ll want to get Refreshing and Regenerating. Regenerating gives us a bit of passive health regen, which helps to keep your health topped off a bit more by providing some passive regen. Refreshing is here to yet again reduce our cooldowns. The last slot should be filled by your choice of Refreshing Toast or Purifying Toast.
Finally, for our Ring, we’ll want to get Keen Awareness (or Slash Damage), Hearty, and Leeching. Keen Awareness can give us a solid boost in crit rate, making crits happen far more often. Slash Damage is just an overall damage increase should we opt for it. Heart boosts our stamina, allowing us to have more to attack or dodge with. Leeching is a solid option here for added healing, it won’t be a ton but will make surviving easier.
- Heavy Attack x2
- Relentless Rush
- Heavy Attack
We open our Rotation with a Heavy Attack to activate Aggressive Shift, then another to get the max value out of Keen Posture, while activating Keenly Empowered before our skills.
Immediately after, we want to use Relentless Rush to Root our opponent. Then we need to face them and immediately use Crosscut. While they are Rooted, they will be unable to avoid the damage of Crosscut by any means other than blocking, if they’re melee. If they block, the first two hits are likely block break them fairly easily unless they’re a Sword and Shield. This block break guarantees the final hit, and applied Fracturing Rend; so this will chunk them down or even take them down depending on their gear.
We can then follow this up with another Heavy Attack to take advantage of the freshly applied Keen Posture to chunk them down even more, or be a finishing blow. Afterward, we’ll want to fill with more heavy Attacks until Crosscut is available again to execute the combo once again.
Greatsword Weapon Pairings
With the Greatsword scaling equally with Strength and Dexterity, this allows it to be very flexible in what you can or would want to pair with it. It mostly comes down to your build preferences, and what you’d want out of a secondary weapon. Really the only thing it doesn’t pair too well with is Magic Weapons
When building for Strength, your best options are the Sword and Shield and the Great Axe.
The Sword and Shield offers more durability and allows the Greatsword to function as a more offensive off-tank weapon. This means the Sword and Shield does the bulk of the actual tanking, while the Greatsword supplies damage when and where it can, while still having some tanking ability.
To learn more about the Sword and Shield, you can check out our Sword and Shield Guide and Best Builds. This will help you plan out a strong build, should you opt for this pairing.
The Greataxe is a natural pairing for the more Bruiser setup, which the Greatsword provides a ton for. In addition to its ability to deal high damage, it also provides a more stable and useful ability to block. It can also assist with locking down enemies and chasing them down.
To learn more about the Greataxe, you can check out our Greataxe Guide and Best Builds. This will help you plan out a strong build , should you opt for this pairing.
When building around Dexterity, your best options are the Bow and Spear.
The Bow provides a solid ranged damage option. In addition to its range, its ability to apply DoTs and its additional mobility help the Greatsword excel in solo play or small-scale PvP. Its longer range allows it to be an effective opener or closer due to its own passives.
To learn more about the Bow, you can check out our Bow Guide and Best Builds. This will help you plan out a strong build , should you opt for this pairing.
The Spear is a great melee pairing, as it allows both weapons to deal great damage. In addition, the Spear provides a fair bit of hard crowd control and some mobility. It can even provide some utility debuffing, giving you another option to apply Rend to your targets.
To learn more about the Spear, you can check out our Spear Guide and Best Builds. This will help you plan out a strong build, should you opt for this pairing.
This is the end to this very in-depth guide to the Greatsword in New World. We hope you have learned everything you need to know about this weapon, its usage, skills, perks, builds, combos and ability rotations.
Patch Note Changes
This segment will help you keep track of what has changed for this weapon with the patches as AGS maintains the game in the long term.
Update 1.7 “Brimstone Sands”
Introduced to the game.
“Get ready for a new weapon — the Greatsword. This two-handed blade utilizes stances to adapt to different situations. Learn the risks and rewards of each option to survive in battle. Both Weapon Skill Trees feature versatile tactics for varied playstyles:
- The Onslaught tree embodies relentless offense and focuses on defeating enemies before they can take you out.
- The Defiance tree excels at an aggressive defense that can survive and deal damage against multiple opponents.
The Greatsword scales evenly with Strength and Dexterity, making it a good pair for many other martial weapons.”
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