Nioh 2 Builds: Raging Tiger (Axe)

In this Nioh 2 Build Guide I’m going to show you how to play the Raging Tiger Build using Heavy Armor and an Axe to pound things to a pulp in one or two swings. 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: Raging Tiger (Axe)

The Raging Tiger uses a combination of buffs and strong attacks to destroy enemies in one fell swoop. Additionally, because of the Heavy Armor we wear with this Build the damage we take tends to be rather low, and prevents us from being Staggered very often. This allows the Raging Tiger to complete it’s devastating 2 hit combo without interruption, often healing the damage received mid swing. Since the healing received is based on damage dealt, the higher damage you deal the more you will heal, so crank that damage up!

The way this Build works is that you’ll buff with Rage, and then simply run into enemies and use the Strong Attack from High Stance to do a two hit combo that will either outright kill enemies or Stagger them, allowing for a quick follow up of this same combo which will finish them off. If you happen to be struck mid combo, you’ll gain Health from the Obsidian Armor Set, your Guardian Spirit bonus and ideally you’ll have Life Gain from High Stance on your weapon. This usually heals you for most of the damage done, but if not, a couple more enemies comboed this way will top you off. This makes you nearly invincible while you swing away with prejudice.

Raging Tiger Stats

The Stats needed for the Raging Tiger Build are quite simple. You need Stamina, Courage, Strength and a tiny bit of Constitution for some Health. There is no need for any other Stats. Stamina you want to prioritize early on in order to get your Equipment Load below 70% which will help with your Agility, allowing you to move more quickly in Heavy Armor. Additionally, it will increase the damage of your Axe the most, so it’s win/win. Next you want enough Strength in order to meet the requirements of your Armor, to give you a stronger Ki Pulse, and increase your damage with Axes further.

Beyond that nearly all points should go into Courage for increased damage and Ki Recovery. This is a very Ki hungry Build, with the two hit combo draining all or nearly all of your Ki with each combo, so you’ll want to gain it back quickly. You can pull off this combo as long as you have at least some Ki, so you will find you are at Low Ki nearly all the time.

Raging Tiger Weapons, Armor & Accessories

Because your main Stats for this Build are Stamina, Strength and Courage, it makes a lot of sense to use an Axe, since it scales off of 3 of these. It is also much easier to use Heavy Armor with tons of points into Stamina, so this is a natural choice when using an Axe, and that’s without mentioning that you tend to get hit with slow swinging weapons so this helps to mitigate damage.

Raging Tiger Weapons

For this Build you’ll be using an Axe of some kind early on, as there is no Axe Set specifically at lower levels. You can use a Yokai Axe or one that is Imbued with Lightning ideally for maximum damage. When you gain the Samurai From Dark Lands Set you’ll use Gozutenno’s Axe, and after this Set you’ll switch to Kintaro’s Axe which is part of the Kintaro Set.

Bonuses you want on these Axes are Imbue Lighting ideally, which Kintaro will come with by default. I suggest uploading a save to the PSN Cloud and then just tempering your Axe until you get this bonus, or redownloading your save if you spent too much or it didn’t happen. You’ll also want Life Drain on High Attack or Strong Attack and Strong Attack or High Attack Damage. Do not worry about Ki Consumption because you’ll use all of it anyway, and once you master the Axe you’ll actually gain increased damage for using all your Ki during an attack.

For Ranged Weapons it doesn’t really matter what you use, and you’ll likely have mediocre damage here. A Hand Cannon makes some sense since you have a bit of Strength, and a Rifle since you have a bit of Courage. Look for bonuses that boost damage since you won’t use these often in combat, and you want to kill things in one hit if possible.

Raging Tiger Armor

For Armor early on in the game you’ll be using the Golden Boy Set for increased Lightning Damage and damage vs. Electrocuted enemies. Once you can face the Obsidian Samurai in the A Formal Match Submission (Region 3) you can farm the Samurai From Dark Lands Set. This will give you an Armor Set you can use for about 50 levels or so that’s excellent. It provides Rage Duration, Melee Damage, Life Drain on Lightning Attack and Attack Bonus based on Stamina, which will be very high. All great bonuses. After that you will move onto the Kintaro Set around level 100 or so. This Set gives you Battle Focus Duration, Increased Attack and Defense with an Axe and +15% Strong Attack Damage. Since all we usually use is Strong Attacks, this is an excellent bonus for us.

Bonuses you want on Armor are anything that reduces the damage you take, so Defense, Resistances, etc. The reason for this is that you want to out heal the damage you take so you want to mitigate as much as you possibly can. Crank up your Defense and you’ll take very little damage.

Raging Tiger Accessories

Accessories are a bit of a strange mix in Nioh 2, and you might find that you’ll use something you didn’t think you would, just because it’s available here and you rarely find the perfect Accessory. For instance, I like to use one that has Enemy Sensor so that I am not ambushed, and instead I can setup ambushes of my own. I cannot understate how valuable this one bonus is, and you might wish to sacrifice other great bonuses just to have an Accessory with it. Ideally though, you’d take bonuses that boost Anima Gain so you can use your Yokai Abilities more quickly. Pay close attention to Defense, because you do want a ton of Defense with this Build.

Raging Tiger 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 Raging Tiger Build. Since all Nioh 2 players use Samuari Skills, let’s begin there before we take a look at Axe, Shifting and Omnyo Skills.

Raging Tiger Samurai Skills

You’re going to be using High Stance for this Build, so you want to take Ki Pulse: HeavenRunning Water: Heaven, for sure. Purify Yokai Realm: Heaven is also good and further boosts damage after a perfectly timed Ki Pulse. Other points should be placed in things that boost Ranged Damage or increase your Health.

Raging Tiger Axe Skills

The strange thing about this Build is that you don’t really need many Active Skills and will spend most of your points investing in passives. You’ll want Rage though, on the left-hand side of the tree in order to further boost damage. After obtaining that you want to focus on passives that boost and mitigate damage. I like Cornered Tiger and Cornered Boar for this since when you’re low on Health that’s when you need this the most, and more damage equals more healing with this Build. The other passives like Kintaro Kata and Full Moon Kata are also good and should be obtained when possible for further damage boosts.

Raging Tiger 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.

Raging Tiger Onmyo Skills

There are a couple Talismans that work well for this Build and those are Lightning Talisman and Barrier Talisman. Lightning will boost your Lightning Damage on melee attacks and help you heal more with the Obsidian Armor, and Barrier will increase your Ki Recovery which you can never have enough of. Get both of these if possible.

Raging Tiger 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.

I suggest using the Makami Guardian Spirit at the beginning of the game. The passives are not amazing, but it does boost Final Blow Damage and if you place 1 or 2 points into Dexterity and Magic then you can gain increased Yokai Ability damage which is nice.

After that you want to switch to Shin-Roku for Life Drain on Strong Attacks, Lightning Damage, Anima Bonus against Electrocuted enemies. You won’t likely be able to use the 4th bonus, since you won’t meet the requirements, but you absolutely want to have that life gain on Strong Attack. The great thing about this Guardian Spirit is that you can get this bonus as a Secondary Guardian so if you want to use something like Atlas Bear then you can still get Health back.

Atlas Bear is another great Guardian Spirit for this Build allowing for increased damage when your Ki is low, which it always will be. Faster Winded Recovery which will be all the time with this Build, increased Melee Damage and healing when you Grapple. All of these are good, so this is definitely worth considering, especially since you can still get healing on Strong Attack with Shin-Roku as your Secondary.

Raging Tiger Soul Cores

As far as Soul Cores go I really like the One-Eyed Oni and the Onyudo Soul Cores for this Build. These both don’t give the greatest benefits, but they have amazing Yokai Abilities that hit repeatedly, helping to apply the Electrocuted Status Effect and dealing damage while your Ki recovers. Use either of these at the end of combos when your Ki is low, allowing you to keep on swinging without worrying about defense. You have very Heavy Armor and even if you get hit in this form, you will likely take little damage and come out with a full bar of Ki.

Raging Tiger Pledges

When it comes to Clans there are two I like for this Build and those are Satake, and Todo. Satake increases your Strong Attack Damage when in High Stance, perfect for this Build, as well as heals you and allies when you kill an enemy in melee. Todo increases your Life based on Stamina, which we have a ton of, and gives you more damage based on your weight which will be Heavy. Both are good, but the first one is the one I prefer.

Final Tips

This is an extremely offensive Build and you can charge into packs of enemies without too much worry once you’re setup, but don’t forget that you can Block effectively with this Build, and do so when necessary. Wait for your openings against some harder to kill enemies, and don’t think you can just run in and destroy everything without dying.

As I mentioned earlier, if you want to get Lightning on your weapon then you can keep Tempering at the Blacksmith until you get it. Changing one bonus will change the potential pools for every bonus on the weapon, so check all of them when you do this to see if any can be replaced by Lightning. It’s a Rare bonus, so it might be worth sacrificing High Attack Damage to get it, and then trying to replace a different bonus to get that High Attack back, which is much more common. You can use the PSN Cloud before you try to reload if you spend way too much gold.

Remember to Ki Pulse every time that you do the 2 hit combo because you will use a ton of Ki and you will want it back! If you don’t Ki Pulse between combos you will be virtually ineffective with this Build, so it’s a must, even if you gain 2 Ki back do it! You only need 1 Ki to perform this combo, so even Ki Pulsing for that 1 Ki can help you get off another attack and stagger your target.

Lastly, the tracking on the second hit of the two hit combo is insanely broken…in a good way. It’ll literally follow the target 180 degrees if needed to hit them. If an enemy jumps through you with a charge, then you will turn completely around for the second hit, so you are free to spam away between Ki Pulses without any worry for this whatsoever. Enjoy it and smash things in the face!


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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One comment on “Nioh 2 Builds: Raging Tiger (Axe)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the Nioh 2 build guide, I’ve played through and just beaten weird grass snake boss, was looking to do an Axe/lightning build l, I used in Nioh, this is very helpful, I’d forgotten about rolling different abilities on weapons and armour


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