Nioh 2 Builds: Heavenly Apocalypse (Tonfas)

In this Nioh 2 Build Guide I’m going to show you how to play the Heavenly Apocalypse Build using Tonfas and poison to combo things into the ground. I’ll be showing you where to place your Stats and Skill Points to get the maximum impact for this Build, as well what equipment to use, and which Guardian Spirit and Soul Cores to have. This is a starter/mid game Build meant for players just beginning Nioh 2, or for those that are early to mid game and are having trouble. This Build will be updated as I reach higher levels of the game and more equipment becomes available.

Nioh 2 Builds: Heavenly Apocalypse (Tonfas)

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

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

What’s really great about this Build is that there are many things that take boost Strong Attacks in the game, including Guardian Spirits, but they are often hard to time correctly with slower Weapons. The Tonfas do not have this issue in Low Stance, allowing you to take advantage of these things such as Health Gain on Strong Attack, Ailment Clear on Strong Attack, or even Imbue Purity on Strong Attack if you wish.

This Build is amplified further with the addition of Poison, which not only provides damage over time, but also increases Melee Damage by about 66% with the way we are set up. Low Stance with any weapon usually does poor damage compared with other stances, and this is also generally true with Tonfas as well. However, by using Strong instead of Quick Attacks this isn’t entirely the case. And, by adding 66% damage roughly to each strike, the damage is quite significant. Keep in mind that each successive strike will do more and more damage as well, which is simply the nature of Tonfas in general.

Heavenly Apocalypse Stats

In terms of Stats for this Build you’ll want high Courage and Constitution, with some points into Strength and Stamina as well. Courage boosts your damage with Tonfas and increases Ki Recovery which is very important to this build because long combos use a ton of Ki. Constitution increases your damage, gives you Health and is needed to meet requirements for Armor. Strength is needed to meet Armor requirements, and a few points into Stamina will allow you to use some Medium Armor and be below the 70% weight threshold, making you move faster for less Ki. You can place points into Dexterity to use Ninjutsu if you wish, but it isn’t the focus of this Build so I have not included it.

Heavenly Apocalypse Weapons, Armor & Accessories

Because of the Stat spread using a Tonfa is an excellent choice since it will gain the most benefit from those Stats.

Heavenly Apocalypse Weapons

Since this is a Tonfa Build, we’ll obviously be using Tonfas but which Tonfa you use will be up to you. You can craft one or use one you find, but you’ll want to use one that has Poison on it, or you’ll need to add this via Tempering. This means that you won’t be using a Yokai Weapon or any other Tonfas that have fixed Imbued types, since those cannot be Tempered to have Poison. You will likely need to get some Quality Umbracite in order to get this effect, so be sure to do some Twilight Missions.

Bonuses that you want to look for on your Tonfas are Melee Damage, Melee Ki Damage and anything that benefits attacking in Low Stance. We’ll be using a combination of Strong Attacks and Skills, so Melee Damage and Melee Ki Damage are the best choices as they effect both directly.

For ranged weapons I like to use Rifle and Cannon since you’ll have a lot of Courage they will deal decent damage, and you want bonuses on these that increase their damage if possible. One shot one kill is the concept, since you rarely use them mid fight.

Heavenly Apocalypse Armor

When it comes to Armor for this Build you’ll want to use one that uses Constitution so that’s Light or Medium Armor. I personally prefer Medium Armor because you will get hit from time to time with these long combos that you pull off, and reducing how much damage you take can often keep you alive when this happens. It’s also a highly aggressive Build so you have to take a few more chances than you would otherwise, and Medium Armor helps with that sort of playstyle.

When it comes to Medium Armor Sets I really like the Kingo Set for this Build, though there are others you could use if you don’t mind being a bit heavier. First, it provides increased Melee Ki Damage as its last bonus which adds to our devastatingly hi amount of Ki Damage already, which is great. Second, it gives bonuses to Final Blow and Backstab Damage which are relatively weak with Tonfas, helping to shore up the weaker points of the weapon type. And last, with only a handful of points into Stamina you’ll still be under 70% equip load, helping to keep your Movement Speed high. If you use other sets that synergize well like The Rightful Eccentric you’ll be nearly over the weight limit and will have very slow movement.

Heavenly Apocalypse Accessories

For this Build I really like Magatamas because they increase Anima Charge, which allows you to spam Yokai Abilities more often, and is a huge part of this Build. Harder enemies are much easier to combo to death when they are getting whacked in the face by a giant snake, and it really takes this build from good to great. Bonuses you want besides that are Melee Damage vs. Poisoned enemies, Poison Accumulation and any other good bonus you prefer, but you want at least those two on both.

Heavenly Apocalypse Skills

Where to place your Skill Points is a vital part of making any Build in Nioh 2 work, and in this section we’ll take a look at the things you need to create the Heavenly Apocalypse Build. Since all Nioh 2 players use Samuari Skills, let’s begin there before we take a look at Tonfas, Shifting and Omnyo Skills.

Heavenly Apocalypse Samurai Skills

Because you’ll be playing in Low Stance predominantly you’ll want Ki Pulse: Earth, Running Water: Earth and Purify Yokai Realm: Earth. These will help you with buffs when you Ki Pulse in Low Stance, as well as make it easier to clear Yokai Realm. Additionally, Masterful Slice is not a bad choice since you can use it to modify Heavenly Chain, absolutely shredding Ki from enemies.

Heavenly Apocalypse Tonfa Skills

When it comes to Tonfa Skills you want to take Demon Dance: Earth immediately, Pulverize: Earth after that, and then grab Heavenly Chain as soon as it becomes available. Focused Strike is also very good at taking down some enemies at range, and has a fairly fast cast speed. Other than that you’re going to focus on passives that boost your Damage, give you Ki and reduce your Ki consumption like: Three Wars Kata, Relentless, and Full Moon Kata.

Heavenly Apocalypse Shiftling Skills

When it comes to Shiftling Skills you’ll want The Yokai Within and The Dark Within to help with Ki Recovery when fighting Yokai or in the Dark Realm. Special Finesse: Invigorate will increase your Ki Recovery after using a Burst Counter, and Special Finesse: Refresh will replenish a ton of Ki after performing one, so be sure to get these when you can. Other good choices are The Dragon’s Echo, Imperious Strike and Dragon Vein which all allow you to build up more Anima, and this helps to spam more Yokai Abilities.

Heavenly Apocalypse Onmyo Skills

We only really use one Onmyo Magic for this Build and that is Barrier Talisman. You burn through Ki rapidly with this Build due to the long combo chains and even with high Courage you won’t be able to gain it back as quickly as you like. Barrier Talisman helps with this when facing tough to kill Yokai or Bosses, allowing you to get more combos off with less down time. Slot 5 if you can.

Heavenly Apocalypse Guardian Spirits

Guardian Spirits play a pretty large role with most builds, particularly when you are min/maxing. For this Build I recommend a Brute Guardian type because you will be up in the face of an enemy more often than not, and you need a Burst Counter that can interrupt any Burst Attack done. Some have really long wind ups, or don’t hit you directly, making the Feral Guardian a less ideal choice since you will be in range nearly all the time anyway. The Anima gain increase you get from the Feral Guardians consecutive attacks is not a ton, so you don’t miss out on much.

You’ll want to begin the game with Makami in order to gain Melee Attack Ki Consumption -10% which will help with Ki management, as well as increased Yokai Ability Damage. There is a big focus on Yokai Abilities with this Build, and you can take advantage of that with this Guardian Spirit. Final Blow Damage is also nice.

I like to change to Hyobishin as soon as I get it and it has some nice synergy here. You’ll gain increased damage as you fill your Amrita Gauge, you do more damage with Yokai Abilities that are red, you dispel ailments on yourself 1/3 of the time when you Strong Attack and you gain increased Anima when you are at low Health. It’s also an offensive Guardian Spirit, meaning it helps to boost damage, and it has a high Attunement Capacity at 24. You’ll take Shin-Roku as your secondary for the passive Health gain when you Strong Attack.

Heavenly Apocalypse Soul Cores

There are two Soul Cores I really like for this Build and those are Magatsu Warriorand Yatsu-no-Kami. Magatsu Warrior increases your Skill Damage and gives you more Anima when you attack with many attacks in a row. This helps to spam Impaling Doom from the Yatsu-no-Kami Soul Core, which is the other I like. Yatsu-no-Kami also increases your Melee Damage against Poisoned enemies by a further 17% or so and further boosts Anima gain, which is fantastic. You’ll want to change this to a Red version via Soul Fusion with a Red Human Soul core to gain the added damage from our Guardian Spirit. The last slot it doesn’t matter what core goes there, but you’ll want one with high attack. Ideally this would be One-Eyed Oni for increased Strong Attack Damage, but you’d need Soul Cores with Attunement Cost -1 in order to slot it.

Heavenly Apocalypse Pledges

When it comes to Clans there are a few that work well here and those are Toyotomi, Takenaka, Date, and Saito. Toyotomi will heal you quite often since you’ll gain Amrita with nearly every strike you deal and is a good choice. Takenaka will increase your damage against Poisoned enemies and will further boost Ki Damage of Heavenly Chain. Date will help you with Anima, allowing you to spam your Yokai Abilities even more often. And Saito will help you Poison enemies faster as well as increase your damage against tough enemies. You can take any of these as they are all good.

Final Tips

As I mentioned earlier that tracking on the Strong Attacks in Low Stance is a bit wonky and you will need to learn how it works. Sometimes you can pause a second mid combo, before doing more attacks so that the tracking lines up better and you don’t miss. Always lead with Strong Attack if you can, but learn to use Quick Attack when you are right on top of the enemy and you’ll miss if you use Strong Attack.

If you decide to use Dexterity for this Build and add some Ninjitsu, I’d suggest grabbing things that help you Poison enemies, like Poison Shurikens. This will allows you to set the Poisoned Status on difficult enemies from afar, allowing you to deal maximum damage from the very first swing. Poison Damage does not increase with Ninjutsu Power, however, so you don’t need to get carried away here.

Remember that repeated strikes with the Tonfas will increase damage with each hit, so staying in longer chains will increase the damage of each hit that you do. This is even more true once you gain the Mystic Art Apocalypse, which further boosts this. Try to continue your combos when you can, especially when enemies are out of Ki.

Lastly, Tonfas deal incredible Ki Damage but they can also block exceptionally well. Don’t be afraid to Block attacks when necessary because you can do so very effectively, especially in Medium Armor. If you can get your Toughness up even a little bit more than what Kingo’s Armor has this will only become even more true, and you will be tanky and lethal!


Stay tuned for more Nioh 2 Guides, including Builds and Weapon Guides, and be sure to check out our Review for our thoughts on the game. If you need further help, head over to the Nioh 2 Wiki, and don’t be afraid to add information that might help others out!

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Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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