Hatchet Guide and Builds for New World

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

Welcome to our guide for Hatchet, 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.


Hatchet Overview

The Hatchet is one of the most universal and power secondary utility options in New World in PvP, and one of the top primary damage options in PvE. It is a very forgiving weapon that has a simple playstyle. It is one of the best all-purpose weapons there is. Whether it is leveling, PvP, or PvE, there is a use for the Hatchet. It does not matter what your other weapon is, the Hatchet will be a valuable addition to a build.


Hatchet Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +High PvE damage
  • +Most defensive PvP weapon because of Defy Death and Berserk
  • +Easy to play
  • +Perfect for speed leveling
  • +Can flex into many different builds
X Weaknesses
  • -Difficult to use as a primary weapon in PvP
  • -Simple playstyle
  • -Does not have much throwing damage viability
  • -Can be punished easily if cooldowns are not available
  • -Easily countered by Void Gauntlet because it can remove Defy Death

Hatchet Builds

When it comes to Great Axe builds all three armor weights can play any option. Traditionally, light will be focused on mobility and lockdown, but there are situations that can be beneficial for heavier armor weights.



  • Feral Rush Feral Rush — This ability is perfect for targets who are trying to escape, or quick bursts of mobility. You will leap and hit a target in the back for a large burst of damage, root them, and slow them if you have its perk. This can also be used to escape abilities like Gravity Well Gravity Well.
  • Berserk Berserk — In PvP, this can be used to get out of crowd-control, even stuns. This will also provide movement speed and free healing in addition to its damage increase.
  • Social Distancing Social Distancing — This is mobility that can be used to escape roots or other crowd-control. But it can also be used to root players who are attempting to escape.

In PvP, this should be seen as a "Get out of jail free card". It allows you cheat death by using Defy Death Defy Death, get out of stuns or other CC with Berserk Berserk and gives you two sources of mobility and roots to catch enemies who escape. It also has multiple passive empowers that will increase damage output of these abilities.

Whenever you are in danger, and even if you are currently stunned, you should switch to your Hatchet, so you can take advantage of its potential defensiveness.


PvE Damage

  • Berserk Berserk — This is your main DPS cooldown. Try to activate this before large burst damage windows. It will also provide movement speed and self-healing.
  • Raging Torrent Raging Torrent — This will be your only real active weapon ability. It has great single target damage when used with maximum empower stacks, and does have AoE damage potential as it can hit multiple enemies.
  • Rending Throw Rending Throw — This is your main source of Rend. It is only able to hit one target at a time, but it results in increased damage and is great for boss fights.

In all cases, this will be your primary source of damage in PvE environments.


Secondary Weapons



When paired with a Hatchet this will make for one of the best PvP dive assassin builds. You will use the Hatchet to play dangerously, dive behind enemy lines, and use the burst damage of the Greatsword to quickly secure kills.


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.



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


Javelin PvP


Sweep PvP


PvE Damage

It is commonly debated as to whether or not you should take Sweep Sweep or Vault Kick Vault Kick. Having the AoE crowd-control for trash packs with a Sweep Sweep is typically better than single-target stuns.



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

This is a fantastic PvP pairing that allows you to focus solely on high damaging bow abilities since you can rely on the Hatchet to save your life.


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.


PvE AoE Damage

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


Life Staff

Some healers prefer the life-saving potential of the Hatchet instead of the Rapier. To learn more about how to use a Life Staff, please refer to our Life Staff guide.



Due to the diversity of Hatchet builds, you will have to reference its build pages to know how to properly distribute your attributes.

Typically, you will want to prioritize a mixture of Strength and Dexterity with lower Constitution since you are able to play more aggressively because of Defy Death Defy Death. The exact splits can be found in their respective build guides:


Important Perks


Ability Perks

Most Hatchet ability perks are somewhat optional. Nothing is truly needed or makes a drastic difference in gameplay.

  • Crippling Feral Rush Crippling Feral Rush — (PvP) This is valuable for any assassin build to add even more crowd-control to a Hatchet build.
  • Refreshing Torrent Refreshing Torrent — (PvE) This increases ability usage in a PvE setting, but this perk is not often needed in PvP since most players choose not to use Raging Torrent Raging Torrent.
  • Keen Berserk Keen Berserk — (PvE) This can be useful at times in PvE, but is often not used.

Weapon Perks

  • Vicious Vicious — This is a great damage boost since most attacks will come from behind in PvP, resulting in increased damage. In PvE this is also great with increased critical hit chance from passives and if you have Keen Awareness Keen Awareness on your Ring.
  • Keenly Empowered Keenly Empowered — Great PvP and PvE damage perk to see large bursts of damage.
  • Attunement Perks — Free additional damage on every hit.

PvP Perks

  • Health Health — This provides free damage reduction against all sources and is one of the most beneficial PvP options.
  • Shirking Heals Shirking Heals — Incredible source of self-healing and allows for great survivability regardless of build.
  • Shirking Fortification Shirking Fortification — Can be a great complement to Shirking Heals Shirking Heals. Will add increased armor to improve overall defensiveness.
  • Freedom Freedom — This will allow you to play more aggressively by reducing the duration of crowd-control. You should play with either 3 or 5 stacks.
  • Elemental Aversion Elemental Aversion — Use this perk for elemental damage reduction from weapons like the Fire Staff.
  • Refreshing Refreshing — This can be an optional third perk when you want a source of cooldown reduction in your build.
  • Harnessing Perks — Stack these for increased damage if you chose to forgo defensive options.
  • Mortal Empowerment Mortal Empowerment — This will be the preferred option for maximum damage output in PvP.

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 defensein 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.
  • Thrust Protection Thrust Protection — This acts as a third perk option that provides more defensiveness against Bows, Muskets, Blunderbusses, Spears, and Rapiers.
  • Flame Protection Flame Protection — This acts as a third perk slot that provides more defensiveness against Fire damage, which will be prevalent in Season One. Great Axes, Hatchets, and Swords.
  • Shirking Empower Shirking Empower — Use this if you do not care about your defenses and want maximum damage output.








There is no current hatchet artifact. It is in your best interest to pursue an alternative artifact weapon depending on your build.







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 Hatchet 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 Hatchet Consumables guide.


Rotation and Gameplay

In PvP, a Hatchet will typically be used for its utility, and not often for its light and heavy attacks. In PvE, its attacks are much easier to take advantage of and capitalize for high damage.


PvP Ability Priority List

  • Use Berserk Berserk if you are stunned, rooted, slowed, or impacted by any form of crowd-control. This can also be used for mobility and healing.
  • If you are about to die, swap to your Hatchet, even when stunned, to use Defy Death Defy Death.
  • Use Social Distancing Social Distancing if a target is at range and trying to escape, or for quick mobility.
  • Use Feral Rush Feral Rush if a target is in melee range and trying to escape, hit them from behind. Alternatively, this can be used for mobility to escape Gravity Well Gravity Well.
  • Swap weapons for filler attacks and damage

PvE Ability Priority List


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


Hatchet Swapping

It is important to recognize when you are about to die because of Defy Death Defy Death. If you are running away, it is best to swap to this weapon just in case you are hit by bursts of damage from ranged weapons that would have otherwise killed you.

The most important tip is to know that you can swap to your Hatchet even when you are stunned or knocked down so that you can use it to save your life even if it is not actively out in your character's hands.

Swapping your weapon in times of danger will save you more times than you can count.


Animation Canceling

Some weapons have abilities that will lock you into long animations. Fortunately for some, there are ways to avoid the animation by chaining it into another ability, a roll, or even a light attack.

Berserk Berserk is one of those abilities at times that is very valuable to have for speed and damage in a chase. If you roll, and immediately active Berserk Berserk while almost instantaneously activating Feral Rush Feral Rush, you will chain the abilities together without having to stand still and go through the normal animation. This can be very beneficial to increase your damage and have additional speed when trying to pursue a target with Feral Rush Feral Rush.


PvE Damage

While this may seem odd, the best way to do the most damage with a Hatchet in PvE is to simply light attack as much as possible within a Berserk Berserk window. It is actually a DPS loss to Heavy attack, even though it does give you an empower. Its abilities are not the prime source of damage. Instead, use your abilities to buff your light attacks, and save Raging Torrent Raging Torrent to reduce cooldowns so that you can re-activate your damage cooldowns.


Subtle Movement

The Hatchet has many subtle forms of movement that are not primary movement abilities. Berserk Berserk, Social Distancing Social Distancing, and Feral Rush Feral Rush, all have movement capabilities that allow a player to escape crowd-control like Ice Shower Ice Shower or Gravity Well Gravity Well. For Social Distancing Social Distancing and Berserk Berserk, use these as a quick jump to avoid danger, or to quickly get into cover. Berserk Berserk should be used to break out of crowd-control, and then prioritized for long-distance movement, such as running away.


Social Distancing

Make sure that when you use this ability you hit a target who is at least 6 meters away in order to get the root.

When using it to escape danger, do your best to always hit a target with it so that you receive its passive stamina.


Berserk Usage

In PvE use this on cooldown for a damage buff.

In PvP, hold this for when you receive hard crowd-control, such as a stun. You can swap to your Hatchet, even while stunned, and still use the ability so that you can break out of the effect.

If you have no potions available, this can be used while you are out of line of sight so you can regenerate health.


Feral Rush Usage

This ability will leap farther than you would think. Always use this while behind an enemy to get a potential of two hits from behind. If you hit them like this, it will also root them so you can secure a kill.



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.


Greatsword Usage

The Greatsword is an incredibly strong PvP and PvE damage weapon. It will most often be paired with the Hatchet in PvP because of the survivability it provides so that a player can dive deep into enemy lines. It is not often paired with Hatch in PvE because both are primary damage weapons.

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


Sword and Shield Usage

When deciding to use a Sword and Shield with your Hatchet, 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 Hatchet 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.


Great Axe Usage

The Great Axe is generally a PvE pairing with the Hatchet. It has phenomenal AoE damage that can be used to clear trash packs before boss fights.

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


Bow Usage

Some players in PvP prefer to use the Hatchet as their secondary weapon because of Defy Death Defy Death. When caught out in squishy Dexterity builds, sometimes the Rapier is not enough for survivability. As such, the Hatchet allows them to cheat death, break out of crowd-control, be healed, and get some movement speed.

Please refer to our Bow tips for more on this playstyle.


Spear Usage

In PvE, the Spear is a great weapon for applying Rend, damage over time effects, or crowd-control, but it also can be great for damage. It can be used on trash packs when paired with a Hatchet because of abilities like Sweep Sweep.

In PvP, the Spear can have incredibly high damage output and crowd-control. It is paired with the Hatchet for the exact same reason as any other melee dive build would be, it just has fantastic survivability.

Please refer to our Spear tips for more on this playstyle.


Life Staff Usage

Similarly to the Bow, some healers do not prefer the mobility of the Rapier, and would rather have the survivability passives of the Hatchet. This can be a strong secondary when be focused by other players.

Please refer to our Life Staff tips for more on this playstyle.


FAQ - Hatchet


What Should I Use For Cooldown Reduction?

Generally, in any Hatchet build, unless you play a medium variation, you will typically be in light armor and will see the most benefit while using Refreshing Refreshing.


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.


Why is the Hatchet the Best Leveling Weapon?

The Hatchet is very strong for speed leveling a character because of its abilities and passives. Berserk Berserk is a very strong damage cooldown, gives movement speed, and heals, which all help with leveling. It also has Defy Death Defy Death for any time you need to escape and put yourself into a difficult situation.

Most importantly, it has Against All Odds Against All Odds which makes it a viable leveling option for any weapon since it increases damage with more enemies around. So, even when using a Life Staff, you will have high damage output.



  • 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 and gems.
  • 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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