Greatsword Guide and Builds for New World

Last updated on Oct 22, 2023 at 12:30 by Lemoni 2 comments
General Information

Welcome to our guide for Greatsword, a weapon in New World. Within these pages, you will find everything required to understand how best to play with this weapon in both PvE and PvP.


Greatsword Overview

The Greatsword is a weapon that has some of the best viability in both PvP and PvE, it will almost always function as a primary damage weapon. It is easy to play, has some of the highest burst damage potential, and very impactful abilities. In PvP it is a highly mobile dive assassin that can be very rewarding and forgiving. In PvE, it will be a great source of single-target and AoE damage. It has plenty of survivability even though it takes increased damage in Onslaught stance, but its Defiance abilities and passives can make it more defensive as needed.


Greatsword Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Highest damage output in the game
  • +Easy to use
  • +Many gap closing options and great weapon tracking/lunge
  • +Can break out of some crowd-control effects
  • +Has many debuffs it can apply, such as CC, Rends, or DoT's
  • +Can be used to Tank and is a great tanking secondary
X Weaknesses
  • -Lacks build diversity
  • -Almost always requires a Hatchet as its secondary
  • -Lacks defensiveness because of increased damage taken in Onslaught
  • -Can easily exhaust stamina bar, resulting in frequent death
  • -Poor ability management can result in easy death

Greatsword Builds


Standard PvP

  • Relentless Rush Relentless Rush — This will deal AoE damage primarily, but it is also important to use on cooldown to get its empower effect. Additionally, in PvP this can be used while in Onslaught stance to root a target or it can be used to get out of CC because of its perk effect.
  • Skyward Slash Skyward Slash — This is your primary Rend tool. It also has great single-target and AoE damage.
  • Steadfast Strike Steadfast Strike — This is your pull and lockdown tool. It will lunge a far distance, hit the target, stagger them, and pull them back with the second hit. This is great for securing kills and survivability. It will heal you, and provide cooldown reduction. and heal you.


  • Relentless Rush Relentless Rush — This will deal AoE damage primarily, but it is also important to use on cooldown to get its empower effect.
  • Crosscut Crosscut — This is a high damage ability that can be used for single-target or AoE once enemies are grouped together.
  • Skyward Slash Skyward Slash — This is your primary Rend tool. It also has great single-target and AoE damage.

Full Tank PvE

This can be used as a tanking secondary weapon, or in some cases it can be used a primary tanking weapon that will spam heavy attacks and rotate through its abilities. It has a passive block while charging heavy attacks and has many damage reduction options with self-healing capabilities.

  • Steadfast Strike Steadfast Strike — Use this when you need a quick taunt or way to stagger and pull enemies. It will also heal and provide cooldown reduction. Try to use this ability when your others are on cooldown.
  • Calamity Counter Calamity Counter — This can be used to completely block mechanics, provide burst healing in a pinch, and will add a DoT to all targets to help with aggro.
  • Roaring Rupture Roaring Rupture — This will mainly act as an AoE taunt, but should also be maintained while using the Greatsword for its defensive buffs.

Second Weapon



For a thorough breakdown on the Hatchet and how it can be used, please refer to our Hatchet guide.



This is the standard build option in PvP. It provides survivability and CC escape with Berserk Berserk and Social Distancing Social Distancing. It also has single-target CC with Feral Rush Feral Rush and Social Distancing Social Distancing to lockdown players who are trying to escape. This is commonly seen as a utility secondary in PvP that is only used for its abilities.



This will act as a primary PvE DPS weapon that comes with an incredible amount of damage. You should never heavy attack, this is a DPS loss when comparing the time it takes to heavy attack with the damage it does compared to two light attacks. You will want to maintain Berserk Berserk, use three light attacks, then use abilities like Raging Torrent Raging Torrent for single-target or AoE. You will also maintain Rending Throw Rending Throw to increase damage output.


War Hammer

For more detailed information on War Hammer usage and other aspects of its gameplay, please refer to our War Hammer guide.

The War Hammer and Greatsword can be a great PvP or PvE pairing. It will allow you to CC targets and then follow-up with high burst damage from the Greatsword.


Sword and Shield

For more detailed information on Sword and Shield usage and other aspects of its gameplay, please refer to our Sword guide.


PvP Dive

This is a great assassin build that can be used for surprise initiations with Leaping Strike Leaping Strike. You can then get a target caught in a CC chain ending with Shield Bash Shield Bash. This then opens up a major single-target damage opportunity with the Hatchet to burst down priority targets.


PvE Tank

Tanks will have the ability to flex into many builds, but here is a great build that can be played in a heavy or light tanking setup.


Great Axe

This pairing is typically seen in PvE, but there are PvP options provided for those who would like to use it and focus primarily on their Great Axe.

For more detailed information on Great Axe usage and other aspects of its gameplay, please refer to our Great Axe guide.


PvE AoE Damage

This can be used with a Greatsword in PvE to group enemies together and deal fantastic AoE damage on non-boss enemies. You then use your Greatsword for all single-target.


Maelstrom Mauler PvP

This is general standard build with this weapon combination.Use this build if you are wanting to stay in clumps and continue fighting. You will be focused on increasing damage by stacking Mauler's Fury Mauler's Fury.


Reap Bloodlust PvP

Use this while in light armor build when playing in a dive team, or a heavier setup where you are wanting more crowd-control. This is best for applying pressure to a single target.




Max Damage - Standard


Due to the strength of the Greatsword it does not require you to have to play with extremely low Constitution. You can play 150 Constitution with this split for the most damage output and have fantastic passives at 200 Strength and 150 Dexterity. You can play at 200 Constitution if you wish.


Strength Bruiser


Play with this setup at either 150 or 200 Constitution when playing with a Great Axe.


Important Perks


Ability Perks

Most perks for the Greatsword are utility options and are not needed to play its builds.

  • Relentless Rush Relentless Rush — (Armor) This perk is not necessarily needed, but it is very useful only because of its ability to remove roots and slows. The critical hit chance on the perk is wasted since we guarantee critical hits when swapping into Onslaught stance.

Weapon Perks

  • Trenchant Strikes Trenchant Strikes — This will add a large burst of damage the Greatsword since most of its output comes from heavy attacks. When you are in Onslaught stance these will cost stamina, but finish just as fast as most weapons' light attacks.
  • Attunement Perks — This adds a great burst of damage to every heavy attack.
  • Plagued Strikes Plagued Strikes — The Greatsword does not need 3 damage perks, it has incredible output thanks to Onslaught stance and its passives. So, by adding an anti-heal, it will add great kill potential.
  • Bane Perks — (PvE) Use a Bane perk instead of Plagued Strikes Plagued Strikes in PvE.

PvP Perks


Mortal Empowerment vs. Invigorated Punishment

In most light armor builds, or ranged builds, it can be very strong to snowball kills with Mortal Empowerment Mortal Empowerment, and drastically increase your damage potential. With that being said, it is important to note that this will not stack if a the weapons have persistent damage source, or DoT, deal the final blow. This means if Attunement or any Runeglass gem secure the kill, you will not receive a stack. This makes it inconsistent and not worth using in some builds.

When making this decision you also have to think about your likliness to be killed. If you are playing a light armor build, or one that is frequently diving into melee, you have high chances of dying. At that point if you lose your stacks, it is a wasted perk, especially if this happens multiple times, or in the middle of building stacks. As such, it may be more advantageous to use Invigorated Punishment Invigorated Punishment.

TLDR: If you are medium armor, want more consistent damage, or you have a high chance of death, Invigorated Punishment Invigorated Punishment is the better option. If you want to snowball and have insanely high damage, you have a pocket healer, you are a dedicated ranged build, or you simply do not care and want to gamble, Mortal Empowerment Mortal Empowerment is the better option.


PvE Perks

  • Elemental Aversion Elemental Aversion — This perk is a viable alternative in PvP as well, but is overshadowed by other PvP options. It provides great defense in mutated expeditions to help mitigate magical effects.
  • Physical Aversion Physical Aversion — Only projectiles that do physical damage will be mitigated by this perk. As such, it can be useful in PvE as another potential option. It alsoprovides a small amount of PvP value, but Elemental Aversion Elemental Aversion and enemy Ward perks are certainly more defensive options.

Jewelry Perks



  • Health Health — This is the standard pick for all builds, it is free health that will add to the defensiveness of your kit.
  • Stamina Recovery Stamina Recovery — This is a backpocket save when being focused and taking heavy damage. You will receive a burst of stamina that will allow you to potentially get a quick dodge that can save your iife and continue the fight.
  • Slash Protection Slash Protection — This acts as a third perk slot that provides more defensiveness against Greatswords, Great Axes, Hatchets, and Swords.


While playing with a Greatsword you will generally put 150 points into Dexterity, giving you cheaper rolls. This allows for you to play without Hearty Hearty because you will not see as much of a benefit. With that being said, you will always be choosing this or another form of utility as a third perk.













For most builds that are looking to dive backlines, it is best to use Minor Heartrune of Stoneform Minor Heartrune of Stoneform to help with having additional survivability in addition to your Hatchet passives. This will save your life and allow for you to escape frequently.

There are two viable upgrade options:

Minor Heartrune of Detonate Minor Heartrune of Detonate should be used when you are prioritizing burst damage.

There are two viable upgrade options:

  • Brutal Heartrune of Detonate Brutal Heartrune of Detonate makes you more vulnerable, but will result in a massive AoE burst of damage. This is the preferred option.
  • Cunning Heartrune of Detonate Cunning Heartrune of Detonate will result in less Detonate burst. But you will not be as vulnerable and can deal more damage with your melee weapons.

Heartrune Usage Tips

Try to avoid using Brutal Heartrune of Detonate Brutal Heartrune of Detonate while you have low health or are being focused on. The goal is to start the ability and wait a short duration and attempt to dive in right as the ability detonates so you can catch enemies off guard and not be bursted down.

You can activate your Detonate and then use Charge Charge or another movement ability to "deliver" your explosion and time it right as you meet a clump of players. This will catch them off guard and will not be dodged in many cases.

Save your Detonate for when there are multiple targets stacked on top of one another. Preferably the targets will already be under some kind of CC effect, or exhausted and unable to dodge out of them. It is best paired with something like Gravity Well Gravity Well or Shockwave Shockwave.

When using Detonate try to time it right as you hit an enemy with another burst damage weapon ability, or something that will CC the target, like Shockwave Shockwave or Wrecking Ball Wrecking Ball. When pairing this with a Great Axe, use something to again burst the target, or pull them toward you, like Maelstrom Maelstrom or Reap Reap. This can result in a kill even when the target is full health.

When using Cunning Heartrune of Stoneform Cunning Heartrune of Stoneform, or other variants, you should save this for times where you are stunned or affected by other forms of CC. Alternatively, you can use this right before pushing through a doorway or chokepoint to negate the potential of being affected by CC.

Take advantage of down time to charge your heartrune. For instance if you are far away you might as well continue to try hitting targets or structures to build charge.

Your heartrune will charge fast. While it is obviously beneficial to hold for times where there are large clusters of enemies. Do not wait too long and continue to waste your cooldown when you would have had the time to get another one recharged. Get familiar with how quickly you can get it back online and do not hesitate to use it to secure high priority kills.

A Heartrune in PvE is significantly different than PvP. This will charge incredibly fast due to the sustained damage output on single targets. When using something like Brutal Heartrune of Detonate Brutal Heartrune of Detonate this is best used on large numbers of enemies instead of single target. With that being said, use this as many times as possible in a boss fight since it will be available and otherwise wasted.


Gems and Consumables

For more information on how to manage your cooldown hotbar, what consumables to use, what foods should be eaten, or tips on how to be more effective with your consumables in PvP and PvE, please refer to Greatsword Consumables guide.



Remember, Runeglass can only be slotted into armor pieces that are not jewelry items, and weapons.


Weapon Gems

For any type of bruiser build it will be best to use any Runeglass variant of Cut Pristine Opal Cut Pristine Opal that applies a damage over time effect. For example : Runeglass of Arboreal Opal Runeglass of Arboreal Opal

In PvE it will be best to use Cut Pristine Diamond Cut Pristine Diamond for maximum damage output.


PvP Gems

In PvP combat your optimal resistance distribution is going to prioritize Slash resistance, then Physical, and lastly Elemental. This is the standard for any build where you will frequently be in melee range.

At times, it may not be beneficial to use a full Runeglass setup, for example using: Runeglass of Punishing Onyx Runeglass of Punishing Onyx. This results in marginal offensive gains for some because of hidden internal cooldown effects. As such, it is preferred to take the defensive gains instead. (See FAQ).

To hit a 22.5 (Slash)/12.5 (Physical)/7.5 (Elemental) resistance setup you will need:

When using Runeglass, you will want to use a 20 (Slash)/10 (Physical)/7.5 (Elemental) setup:


PvE Gems

In PvE combat, more specifically mutators, elemental resistance is the main concern.

You can use the following gems in your gear:

  • Elemental Resistance Gem x8 + Amulet Protection Perk (Based on mutator elemental effect.)

Maximum Damage

In PvP and PvE you can still use Punishing Runeglass variants of your gems if you only care about raw damage, and not effective damage based on survivability. For example, you would use Runeglass of Punishing Onyx Runeglass of Punishing Onyx x5 in PvP

The age old saying, "A dead DPS does no DPS", should come to mind when making this decision.



For more information on how to manage your cooldown hotbar, what consumables to use, what foods should be eaten, or tips on how to be more effective with your consumables in PvP and PvE, please refer to Greatsword Consumables guide.


Rotation and Gameplay

In PvP, a Greatsword has many gap closers and important damage abilities, but its primary source of damage are its heavy attacks. In PvE, it is the same idea.


Rotation and Priority List

  • Open on a target with Skyward Slash Skyward Slash (Or a heavy attack if it is on cooldown), to get into Onslaught, and apply Rend.
  • Use Relentless Rush Relentless Rush to do damage and root the target.
  • Charge a heavy Greatsword attack and hit the target from behind if possible.
  • Use Steadfast Strike Steadfast Strike if the target starts to escape to pull them back. This can also be used for quick bursts of healing or potential cooldown reduction.
  • Relentless Rush Relentless Rush can be used if available to break out of roots or slows.

PvE Single Target Rotation

  • Use Relentless Rush Relentless Rush for its empower.
  • Use Skyward Slash Skyward Slash to apply rend.
  • Use Crosscut Crosscut for its damage.
  • Dodge to receive an empower for 3 hits.
  • Heavy attack 3 times.
  • Dodge for empower.
  • Repeat

Secondary Weapon Priority List and Build Rotation

To learn how to use your second weapon properly, and complete rotation, please refer to our PvE and PvP build pages:


Gameplay Tips


Stance Knowledge

It is important to recognize what stance you are in and the effect it has on an ability. This is mostly important in PvP for abilities like Relentless Rush Relentless Rush. You must be in Onslaught stance so that you can root targets. So make sure another Onslaught ability is used first or you heavy attack a target.

This same logic applies to many Defiance abilities for PvE combat, or if you choose to use them in PvP.


Stamina Management

Onslaught stance makes you spend stamina when you heavy attack. So, when you mix this with dodging, it can be very easily to burn your stamina bar. Be aware of what your stamina is at so you do not exhaust yourself and die.


Weapon Tracking

The Greatsword is incredibly forgiving when it comes to weapon tracking. What this means is that you may charge a heavy attack or use an ability like Steadfast Strike Steadfast Strike and lunge extremely far and hit a target even when you think you would not. Use this to your advantage to catch targets who are trying to escape.

When in doubt, just try to catch an enemy even if they seem too far away, odds are you will probably hit them if they do not dodge.


Movement and Crowd-Control Removal

The Greatsword has great mobility because of the 150 Dexterity passive, but also because of Relentless Rush Relentless Rush and the increased speed from the Onslaught passive. Use all of these to your advantage to catch targets or escape.

Also be aware of all your options to escape crowd-control. If you use Relentless Freedom Relentless Freedom your Relentless Rush Relentless Rush will now have a utility option. Pairing this with the commonly used Hatchet makes you very hard to lockdown. You can use a Hatchet's Berserk Berserk and Defy Death Defy Death to aid with survivability and removing crowd-control effects.


Steadfast Strike Usage

To be completely transparent, this ability will lunge you across the world and pull enemies back toward you. It has incredible range. Use this always right as a target is trying to escape and it will pretty much always guarantee you a kill.

This will also be great for a quick burst of healing. In mainly PvE, but PvP too, it can be a way to get cooldowns back online so that you can pump out more damage. Try to always use this ability when the other two are on cooldown.


Relentless Rush Usage

This ability should mainly be used for its empower and rooting effect while in Onslaught stance. Otherwise it is a quick form of mobility, or you can use it as a source of AoE damage on enemies who are clumped or in a Gravity Well Gravity Well. It is especially important on AoE damage to try and still root enemies.


Skyward Slash Usage

This ability staggers and applies rend, it is almost a guaranteed initial hit that can lead to insane burst follow-up damage. Its passive that enables a downward strike will have farther range than you may think and it can be a great way to burst AoE clumps and add additional anti-healing.



You can feint attacks with melee weapons, such as any weapon you may pair with the Hatchet in PvP, to try and bait an enemy into dodging and wasting their stamina. This can be done to try an exhaust enemies so that you can get free hits in. To do so, charge a heavy attack and block before the attack is initiated. This will make it look like you are swinging, and then you cancel the attack until you can strike at the correct opportunity.



Effective movement is incredibly important in a build like this, especially when playing in medium. Do not panic and use your entire stamina bar and exhaust yourself, as it may result in death. You can take advantage of jumping, diving (going prone while moving), and changing direction by quickly moving your mouse or taking advantage of quick inputs on your movement keys.

There are many movements in New World that will stagger you in place for a moment when quickly changing direction. If you move left and right or if you jump left and right you will notice there is a momentwhere you will be standing still. To prevent this you will need to use a key input while your character is in the animation. For example, if you hold your left directional key and jump then right before you land you hit your right directional key and jump, you will quickly jump left and right. If you simply run left and right using your directional keys your character will respond similarly. To avoid this you can move left and then right before you pivot to go right, hit the backward directional key and instantly follow up with your right directional key. If you continue doing this back and forth you will avoid the sliding animation.


Hatchet Usage

The Hatchet is an incredibly strong PvP and PvE damage weapon. In PvP it will be for survivability and allow the Greatsword to be the most powerful version of itself because you can play very aggressively. In PvE, it is still great for its survivability, but also its Berserk Berserk damage.

To learn more about ability usage and how to use the Greatsword, please refer to our Hatchet guide.


Sword and Shield Usage

When deciding to use a Sword and Shield with your Greatsword, this will always be for a PvP assassin build. You can use the engage and crowd-control of the Sword and Shield to setup your Greatsword for large windows of burst damage. It can also be used for PvE tanking.

Please refer to our Sword and Shield tips for more on this playstyle.


War Hammer Usage

The War Hammer is a great PvP or PvE complement when you want to have multiple crowd-control options at your disposal to setup your Greatsword burst damage.

To learn more about ability usage and the intracies of the War Hammer, please refer to our War Hammer guide.


Great Axe Usage

The Great Axe is generally a PvE pairing with the Greatsword. It has phenomenal AoE damage that can be used to clear trash packs before boss fights. It does have PvP potential too when playing in light armor and focusing on a Reap Reap playstyle with Blood Lust Blood Lust

Please refer to our Great Axe tips for more on this playstyle.


Life Staff Usage

It is possible to use the Defiance side mixed with some of the mobility options on the Greatsword as a healing secondary. It is not the most competitive option, but it can be fun.

Please refer to our Life Staff tips for more on how to heal properly.


FAQ - Greatsword


What Are Stances?

The Greatsword is a unique weapon because it has two primary stances: Onslaught and Defiance. Both stances come with multiple offensive or defensive benefits and one form of reduction. You can swap stances either through specific passives that require you to land a heavy attack, or block for a certain amount of time. Otherwise, you will swap between stances when you use an ability from either skill tree.

  • Onslaught
  • Outgoing damage increased by 15%.
  • Damage taken increased by 15%.
  • Heavy attacks charge twice as fast but consume 10 stamina each.
  • Defiance
  • Damage taken reduced by 15%.
  • Outgoing damage reduced by 15%.
  • Guard Point: Block incoming attacks while charging heavy attacks.

What Should I Use For Cooldown Reduction?

Generally, in any Greatsword build you will typically be in light armor and will see the most benefit while using Refreshing Refreshing. Even in medium loadouts, it is still valuable.


What Gems Do I Put In My Gear?

When playing a physical damage build it will be tempting to use Runeglass of Punishing Onyx Runeglass of Punishing Onyx. While this will provide a damage increase, there is an internal cooldown which will only allow it to proc every other hit. So, this will not actually be as much of a damage increase as it was thought to be. In most cases, just use regular gems for more defensiveness. The marginal damage loss will be made up for by survivability.


What Magic Damage Should I Use For Runeglass, Attunement, and Chain Damage?

It is best practice to use a magic damage type that is the least likely to be countered. While most players tend not to focus on a specific magic damage type like they do for physical damage, it is still possible. In most cases, players may use extra Ice damage protection due to the Ice Gauntlet, or Fire due to the Fire Staff or Blunderbuss. As such, Nature, Arcane, or Lightning damage can be beneficial options. Nature specifically is beneficial because it will always work in PvE environments because it is never weak to any enemy types.



  • 22 Oct. 2023 (PvP builds page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 22 Oct. 2023 (PvE builds page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 22 Oct. 2023 (gems page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 22 Oct. 2023 (perks page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 22 Oct. 2023 (abilities page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 22 Oct. 2023 (this page): Guide updated for expansion.
  • 29 Mar. 2023 (gems page): Updated PvE Gems.
  • 29 Mar. 2023 (perks page): Updated perk tiers for Season One.
  • 29 Mar. 2023 (this page): Updated perks, gems, and heartrunes.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (PvP builds page): Guide added.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (PvE builds page): Guide added.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (gems page): Guide added.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (perks page): Guide added.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (abilities page): Guide added.
  • 16 Feb. 2023 (this page): Guide added.
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