Last updated on March 23rd, 2020
In this Nioh 2 Build Guide I’m going to show you how to play the Ice Shaman Build using Light Armor, Onmyo Magic and Hatchets, ranging things down from a distance. 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: Ice Shaman (Hatchets)
The Ice Shaman Build uses a combination of Onmyo Magic spells and the Hatchet Skill Piercing Hurl to debuff enemies and then hit them with Hatchet throws and spells safely from a distance, engaging in Melee only when necessary. Because of the heavy focus on Water Damage, and the set The Spirit of Seimei, you’ll be able to Saturate and reduce the Defense of enemies at the same time. Saturated enemies take even further increased damage, so attacks from you and any party members will deal heavily increased damage, tremendously speeding up fights.
The way this Build works is that you’ll use All Ablaze to buff your Hatchet damage and Movement Speed, and then pick off enemies with Hatchets for weaker enemies, or use your Rifle since it’ll do insane damage with this Build. Then when you’re facing a Boss or difficult Yokai you’ll buff with Barrier Talisman, and then cast Water Shot in order to debuff the defenses of the enemy, while building up some Saturation and then you’ll use the Fiery Reinforcement ability of the Maelstrom Oni-bi Soul Core (Water) to finish the Saturation build up and coat your weapons with Water Damage. Then you’ll use Piercing Hurl until the enemy enters melee range, at which point you’ll use your mobility to strike quickly and then dodge out of melee range, switching to ranged attacks once again if needed.
What’s great about this Build is that you will gain healing from dealing Water Damage with the way we are setup, which helps to keep you alive as well as increase your overall all Omnyo Magic Damage since you gain +10% when you are at full health thanks to the Spirit of Seimei Set. This Build also works very well when co oping since you can stay at range, attack with Hatchets and cast Onmyo Magic much more easily helping to keep pressure on the enemy while you remain in a safe position.
Ice Shaman Stats
The Ice Shaman Build uses 3 primary stats and 1 secondary, and these are Skill, Courage, Magic and Constitution. Hatchets scale the most from Skill so this one is important, and it increases Rifle damage as well. Courage does the same things to a lesser extent, but also gives you Ki Recovery which is important since you use a lot. Magic increases Onmyo Magic power and capacity while also boosting Hatchet damage so synergizes nicely. And Constitution is needed to meet the requirements for Armor, and extra Health doesn’t hurt when wearing Light Armor. How much of these you want is a bit variable. For instance, you can favor Magic more if you want your spells to hit harder, but if you find you’re tossing more Hachets than casting spells then you want to favor a bit more Skill and Courage.
Ice Shaman Weapons, Armor & Accessories
Because we’ll be using Onmyo Magic for this Build and there are only two weapons that scale off of it (Switchglaive and Hatchets), it makes sense to use one of them. Since we already made a Lightning Build with Switchglaive, we’ll use Hatchets here, but you could theoretically use a Switchglaive just as easily for this Build, though your Stats might be slightly different.
Ice Shaman Weapons
For this Build you’ll be using Hatchets as these allow you to attack from range, and both Hatchet Mystical Arts apply to ranged Active Skills, meaning if you aren’t tossing Hatchets you are missing out on a huge part of what makes Hatchets so unique. What Hatchets you want to use is up to you, since there isn’t any Hatchet focused set early on, but you want to try to avoid Imbued weapons if possible since you’ll override this with your Water Damage buff when used.
Bonuses you want to look for are Melee Damage, High Attack Damage, Active Skill Damage, Piercing Hurl Damage and Active Skill Ki Reduction. Piercing Hurl is considered a Melee attack, so Melee Damage will increase its damage and all your melee attacks too. High Attack damage will affect you melee damage since you’ll be in High Stance 99% of the time, and Active Skill Damage will increase Piercing Hurl even further. You can increase Piercing Hurl directly by Tempering it onto your Hatchets, and Active Skill Ki Reduction helps to reduce the Ki you spend when using it, which is a lot.
For Ranged Weapons you’ll want a Rifle and a Hand Cannon since these both scale with Skill and Courage. Look for bonuses that increase their damage as much as possible since you want one shot, one kill if possible.
Ice Shaman Armor
When it comes to Armor for this Build there really isn’t anything that directly benefits this style of play very well. You’ll also want Light Armor ideally, since you’ll have considerable investment in Skill already. If you use Medium then you’ll need to invest points into Strength that will largely be wasted, and if you use Heavy Armor then you’ll have to do this for Strength and Stamina, and so these two Armor types are not recommended.
The best bonuses on Sets early on are Melee Damage and Active Skill Damage, which are on a few Sets, but few Light Armor ones. The Triumph of Tranquility is a Sword Set, but works well for this since it has Melee Damage and Active Skill Damage. Ii, the Red Demon works well since it has Melee Damage and Melee Damage vs. Scorched enemies as well as Active Skill Ki Reduction, but you’d likely want to make a similar build around fire if you’re using this Set.
The Spirit of Seimei is what we use later in the game though it doesn’t have these bonuses, because it works well for a ranged playstyle, and helps to debuff enemies just from casting spells. It also allows you to use any type of Onmyo Magic and still use it effectively, though I’ve chosen Water for this Build. You could just as easily pick another element if you want, or use a variety. Bonuses you want on your Armor are Onmyo Magic and Untouched Onmyo if possible. Dodge Ki Reduction is also good, as is Piercing Hurl Damage or Attack and Defense Hatchets.
Ice Shaman Accessories
Bonuses you want on your Accessories are Saturation Accumulation, Extended Elemental Weapon, Water Damage (or Elemental Damage), Omnyo Magic or Untouched Omnyo. You won’t be able to get all of these, but I’ve listed them in order of priority. You want to Saturate enemies quickly to boost all further damage, and you want Extended Elemental Weapon since you use this often. Water Damage or Elemental Damage boosts spells mostly, and Onmyo Magic does the same. Untouched Onmyo will allow your spells to go further since it won’t consume a use sometimes.
Ice Shaman 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 Ice Shaman Build. Since all Nioh 2 players use Samuari Skills, let’s begin there before we take a look at Hatchet, Shifting and Omnyo Skills.
Ice Shaman Samurai Skills
You’re going to be using High Stance for this Build, so you want to take Ki Pulse: Heaven, Running Water: Heaven, for sure. Purify Yokai Realm: Heaven is also good and further boosts damage after a perfectly timed Ki Pulse. Skills that boost Ranged Weapon damage don’t boost Hatchet throws, so don’t worry too much about taking them. But you will want Reckless Slice, since you can augment Piercing Hurl with this, increasing it’s damage, and you won’t have time to Ki Pulse between throws anyway, so it works very well for this Build.
Ice Shaman Hatchet Skills
There are really only a couple of Active Skills we use for this Build and those are Piercing Hurl, Piercing Hurl: Light, and All Ablaze. So you’ll want to get these as soon as you can, with All Ablaze last. Then you want to focus on passive skills that boost your damage like: Full Moon Kata, Shadow Strike, and others. The Mystical Arts both boost thrown Hatchet damage, but I like to use Trained Throw since it seems to boost damage more than Tireless Throw more often than not. But you can use either of these once you have enough Proficiency and you’ve completed The Unstoppable Whirlwind Training Mission in the Dojo.
Ice Shaman 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. Everything else is completely optional.
Ice Shaman Omnyo Skills
I like to use Water spells for this Build so I take Water Talisman and Water Shot Talisman early on, but you can use Lightning Shot Talisman and Fire Shot Talisman as well since you won’t have any focus on one element early on. Then you’ll want Geyser Shot Talisman and Water Shikigami to have more Water spells, both of which work very well in co op play. Barrier Talisman is the only other spell you really need because it boosts Ki Recovery by a ton! This is important as it allows you to toss more Hatchets without stopping. You’ll also want Incantation Mastery for increased Onmyo Magic Capacity.
Ice Shaman Guardian Spirits
Guardian Spirits play a pretty large role with most builds, particularly when you are min/maxing. For this Build I recommend a Phantom Guardian type because you’ll be attacking from range quite often and you can tank big hits by using Burst Counter, even when Burst Attacks are not happening. This allows you some tankiness, which you’ll need since you’re in Light Armor.
I recommend starting the game with Makami, however, because it has better bonuses for this Build than Kagewani. You use Yokai Abilities a ton with this Build, so increasing how much damage they do is very helpful, and Melee Attack Ki Consumption -10% is also very nice.
You’ll want to switch to Usura-Hicho once you gain it, because it has many things we need. Dodge Ki Consumption -10% is useful because you’ll dodge a lot, Water Damage boosts our spell damage, and Active Skill Ki Damage helps boost your Piercing Hurl Ki Damage. It also has good defense which will help you stay alive since you’ll be in Light Armor.
Ice Shaman Soul Cores
There are 3 Soul Cores I really like for this Build, but you can swap out one of them for Yatsu-no-Kami since it just kicks ass. I use a Maelstrom Oni-bi Soul Core (Water), Lady Osakabe and a Onyudo Soul Core. Maelstrom Oni-bi (Water) gives me increased Elemental Damage, extra Anima when hitting with an Elemental Attack and allows me to buff my weapon with Water as well as helps Saturates enemies. It’s also defensive, taking advantage of the Guardian Spirit’s multiplier.
Lady Osakabe reduces the damage you take as well as boosts Anima gain in the Dark Realm, and is also defensive. It’s Yokai Ability can nearly one shot any Yokai, and if you can get Yokai Ability Damage on it then I’m relatively sure that it will. It costs 7 Anima, but you build Anima quickly with this Build, sot that isn’t an issue. You can swap this for Yatsu-no-Kami if you’d prefer.
And last I like to use Onyudo for more Anima when dealing Elemental Attacks, and reducing Elemental Damage taken. I never really use the Yokai Ability, but it’s great for boosting Anima gain and reducing damage taken. You can also use a Skeleton Warrior Soul Core here if you wish, though you’re Anima gain will come from Ranged Weapons, instead of Elemental attacks.
Ice Shaman Pledges
There are several Clans that work well for this Build, and those are: Takenaka, Honda, Kuki, and Murakami. Takenaka grants increased Melee Damage against debuffed enemies and increases Active Skill Ki Damage which will apply to Piercing Hurl. Honda will reduce the damage you take by 50%, half of the time when at full Health, and increase your Piercing Hurl and All Ablaze Damage. Kuki increases your Yokai Ability Damage against Saturated enemies, which should be most, and increases your Anima gain when you deal Water Damage, which should be constantly. And, Murakami allows you to regain Health with Water Attacks and boosts Water Damage by 10%. All of these are great choices, but Kuki is probably the best choice once you’ve acquired all the parts for the Build.
You can charge your Piercing Hurl to different Charge levels, further increasing damage. But, you don’t do that much more damage charging it up to max, and it uses a ton of Ki to do. Learn when to only charge to the first charge, and when to charge to max for best results. Some mobile enemies are much harder to hit when you charge all the way up, for example.
Once you gain the Maelstrom Oni-bi Soul Core (Water) you won’t need to use Water Talismans, except when you first begin levels and have no Anima. These are used mostly when you are first summoned into a level as a co oper, or when you know you plan to spend your Anima on Tentacle Storm right away. Use Maelstrom Oni-bi Soul Core (Water) to buff every other time, as it also helps to Saturate enemies, boosting your damage further.
I don’t use Carnage Talismans with this Build because All Ablaze does the same thing, but also boosts Movement Speed. However, it is nearly impossible to pull off this Skill mid boss fight if you aren’t co oping so you may want to consider placing 1 or 2 Carnage Talismans on your bar so that you can buff mid boss fights if necessary.
Lastly, although you won’t melee much with this Build, you will still have to occasionally. I use the High Stance 3 hit combo for this when meleeing, and then roll away to Ki Pulse because of the Skill Running Water: Heaven. Then I back up and return to ranged attacks when possible. You don’t want to Block if you don’t have to at all since you’ll be in Light Armor and your Toughness will be low, increasing the Ki Damage you take from Blocking. Block only in emergencies where you have no other options, but otherwise dodge.
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!