Sword and Shield Weapon Guide and Builds in New World

Last updated on Nov 23, 2021 at 07:40 by DonTheCrown 8 comments

The Sword and Shield are the bastion of defense that stands between your allies and those who would do them harm. Take up these tools of warfare if you seek to protect your fellow traveler.


Sword Patch 1.1 Changes

With Patch 1.1 of New World having been released on the 19th of November, we have prepared patch notes with commentary for the Sword weapon. Please follow the link below for more information.


Sword Overview

The only weapon to be paired with the Shield, the Sword offers many strong defensive options. While there are several weapons that can tank, the Sword is the best. The Sword sadly does not do all that much damage, so it levels a bit more slowly than the purely DPS-focused weapons. Its Light Attacks are a combo of two slashes followed by a spin attack that all do Slashing damage. Its Heavy Attacks do Thrust damage with a solid poke.


Sword and Shield Interactions

Since the Sword is the only weapon to be paired with the Shield, this creates unique features of these two items. The Shield offers an additional equipment slot, so you will notice that all of the Attributes on both the Sword and the Shield are half of what you would get from the same Gear Score Weapon of a different type. Combined, you still get the same amount of Attributes but that is not all you get from this combo.

Instead of only 0-3 Perks on your weapon, you can get up to 6 total Perks across both items. Note that you will only gain Attributes and Perks from your Shield while it is out in your hand, so you will not gain any benefits from it while using your other weapon. Shields have damage numbers on them because this is what is used to calculate the damage dealt by Shield Bash Shield Bash and Shield Rush Shield Rush. Shields are also heavy and will affect your equipment load while it is equipped, so we recommend always going with a full heavy loadout when using a Shield.

When enemies are attacking, holding Right Click will make you raise your Shield and block. Successful blocks will damage your Stamina bar, and you cannot recover Stamina while blocking, so be careful not to run out. If your Stamina bar becomes depleted, then you will be stunned for a few moments and take damage from the Stamina-breaking attack.

Lastly, there are three types of shields in the game: Round, Kite, and Tower.

Round Shields have the most damage for your Shield Abilities, Shield Bash Shield Bash and Shield Rush Shield Rush, while having the lowest block stability.

Tower Shields are the inverse of this, with the highest block stability and the lowest damage, while Kite Shields are the middle ground.

Block stability is a percentage that you will find on all Weapons that is how much Stamina damage mitigation you will have when blocking. Round Shields all have a block stability of 30%, Kite Shields have 40%, and Tower Shields have 50%.

So, if you are looking to maximize the damage you are doing with your Shield-specific skills for either PvP or sheer threat generation, then you want to go with Round Shields. If you are looking to have an easier time absorbing damage then you will want to use a Tower Shield. We recommend using a Tower Shield in all PvE content because this will make managing your Stamina much easier. At lower levels it might be difficult to find a Tower Shield, so use a Kite Shield when you can.


How Taunting Works

You will notice that both Shield Bash Shield Bash and Defiant Stance Defiant Stance can taunt, but only if you have a Carnelian Carnelian gem socketed in your Sword (otherwise, they simply do not taunt).

Taunt forces PvE foes to focus on you, but enemies will frequently finish up any animations or attacks they are already performing against other targets first, before turning their attention to you. This means that if you taunt a foe that is already charging off to slam your healer, for example, then that foe is going to finish up that charge before they come back for you. This means that you have to be very quick indeed to taunt enemies the moment you realize you no longer have aggro, and also that your team will have to sometimes fend for themselves and survive until you do get aggro back.


Sword and Shield Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Strongest Tank in the game
  • +Able to use a Shield to block
  • +Able to reduce party damage taken
  • +Strong against Angry Earth
X Weaknesses
  • -No ranged options
  • -Lesser overall damage
  • -Shield stats only count when sword is active
  • -Weak against Ancient

Sword Attributes

The Sword scales primarily with Strength, but also scales with Dexterity, making it able to easily accompany a weapon that scales either of these Attributes. We recommend that you focus on obtaining gear that has either Strength or Dexterity, and Constitution. Faction armor in particular does a good job of providing a balance of Strength or Dexterity, and Constitution.


In PvE, your role is to be that of the tank, otherwise known as the person getting all the monsters to attack them while their friends kill them. If you have a Carnelian Carnelian gem in your Sword and use either Shield Bash Shield Bash or Defiant Stance Defiant Stance, you will taunt enemies to attack you.

For armor gems we recommend either Cut Pristine Onyx Cut Pristine Onyx or Cut Pristine Diamond Cut Pristine Diamond to provide physical damage absorption.

We recommend taking the following Mastery Points:


In PvP, you likely only be in a tank spec during a War where your job will be to hold a point. You will want to stand in front of your ranged allies and intercept incoming projectiles and melee foes for your less hardy friends. For weapon gem, we recommend Cut Pristine Malachite Cut Pristine Malachite, since you will likely be slowing foes with Achilles' Heel Achilles' Heel.

For armor gems, we recommend either Cut Pristine Onyx Cut Pristine Onyx or Cut Pristine Diamond Cut Pristine Diamond to provide physical damage absorption.

We recommend taking the following Mastery Points:


Sword Abilities

The Sword, like all other weapons, has six abilities; however, you can only use three abilities at any give time on your action bars. While you can spend Mastery Points on more than 3, it is a waste of points since respeccing is rather cheap to do.


Reverse Stab

Reverse Stab Reverse StabA stab attack that deals 175% weapon damage.

This ability causes you to stab forward by quickly turning your character around and performing a backstab. At first this seems so-so until you discover that Tactician Tactician can help reset your cooldowns extremely quickly if you hit multiple foes.


Whirling Blade

Whirling Blade Whirling BladeDeal 145% weapon damage to all foes within 2 meters.

This Ability causes you to spin in a circle and do damage to everything around you. It is similar to the third attack of your Light Attack combo, and is extremely quick.


Leaping Strike

Leaping Strike Leaping StrikeLeap 6 meters and deal 135% weapon damage.

This does not take you all that far compared to other weapons' movement skills of 10 meters or more.


Shield Bash

Shield Bash Shield BashDeals 50% weapon damage and stuns foes in front of you for 2 seconds. Taunts all foes hit for 6-seconds if you have a Carnelian Carnelian Gem equipped in your Sword.


Shield Rush

Shield Rush Shield RushRush forward 5 meters knocking back foes and dealing 125% weapon damage.

Knocking back foes is okay, but generally only causes issues for the rest of your group.


Defiant Stance

Defiant Stance Defiant StanceFor 8 seconds, reduce the incoming base damage from attackers by 30%. Taunts all foes within 8 meters for 6-seconds if you have a Carnelian Carnelian Gem equipped in your Sword.


Sword Mastery Overview

Like all other weapons, the Sword has two Mastery Trees. You can spend Mastery Points in either Tree but must have a Mastery from the preceding row to select deeper Masteries. Likewise, if a Mastery has a vertical line connecting it to a Mastery above it then you must first select the higher Mastery in order to unlock the lower ones. These linked-together Masteries typically support Abilities which are denoted by a square-shaped icon.

While you can unlock all six Abilities at once, you will only be able to place three Abilities on your action bar at a time. It is unwise to invest in more than three Abilities, because it is easy to respec when needed.


Swordmaster Tree

This Tree focuses on increasing damage and applying slows. Achilles' Heel Achilles' Heel allows your Light Attack chain to apply a slow and then Opportunist Opportunist allows you to do more damage to slowed foes.

Precision Precision can help increase your damage with a sizable critical strike chance boost. The Ultimate Mastery, Leadership Leadership, provides a damage boost to all group members.


Defender Tree

The Defender tree is full of powerful defense buffs that you cannot find anywhere else. Sturdy Shield Sturdy Shield and Elemental Resistance Elemental Resistance help you take less damage from all sources. Sturdy Grip Sturdy Grip is great for making your blocks more effective, and Defensive Training Defensive Training allows you to gain Fortify on block. Its Ultimate Mastery, Defensive Formation Defensive Formation, makes it so that when you block a 2-meter circle will appear around you. Allies within that circle will take 30% less damage from hits, once every second. This Ultimate is a strong group damage reducer for melee allies.


Sword Perks

Every Weapon Ability in New World has a corresponding Perk that can be found on armor and weapons. Most perks scale in power with the Gear Score of the item they are on. You can only benefit from one instance of a Weapon Ability Perk at a time. These can be rare to find on gear and are mostly just a bonus.

  • Contagious Reverse Stab Contagious Reverse Stab — Reverse Stab transfers an active debuff from self to target hit. This Perk is extremely nice for tanking, because taking a powerful burn or poison off of you and onto your foe just feels great. There are also not very many sources of debuff removal in the game so having an extra one will help a lot. We recommend looking out for this perk on gear.
  • Empowering Whirling Blade Empowering Whirling Blade — Base damage is increased by 20% while performing a Whirling Blade attack if 3 or more enemies are within the radius of the attack. This Perk is alright, but situational. Generally when you are surrounded by foes they are relatively weak, so increasing your damage only helps you kill off things slightly faster that were going to die anyways. If you are using Whirling Blade Whirling Blade then this is an okay Perk to get.
  • Empowering Leaping Strike Empowering Leaping Strike — Deal 17% additional damage to targets slowed by Leaping Strike's Cowardly Punishment upgrade. This perk is laughably situational, since it will only increase your damage against foes that you hit in the back with Leaping Strike Leaping Strike. While this may be good for PvP in PvE this is not that great at all.
  • Repulsing Shield Bash Repulsing Shield Bash — Shield Bash knocks back targets an additional 93%. This Perk is occasionally nice as it allows you to reposition foes; however, if playing with melee DPS, this might cause them to have to reposition themselves as well. We would generally recommend avoiding this Perk.
  • Fortifying Shield Rush Fortifying Shield Rush — After hitting a target with Shield Rush, gain Fortify, increasing damage absorption on self by 19% for 4 seconds. Gaining Fortify is always nice because it reduces the damage you take. If you are using Shield Rush Shield Rush then you should try and get this Perk.
  • Accelerated Defiant Stance Accelerated Defiant Stance — Movement Speed Increased by 28% for 5 seconds after triggering Defiant Stance. This Perk is okay, but the increase in speed will only be noticeable in limited situations. In PvP, this Perk is rather nice because it can help you to avoid foes or catch up with them.


Leveling as a Sword and Shield character can be somewhat difficult. You do not have the same damage output as some of the other Weapons; however, you do have strong blocks and damage reduction that other weapons lack. If you are looking to tank expeditions, you only really need the first three Mastery points: Sturdy Grip Sturdy Grip, Shield Bash Shield Bash, and Defiant Stance Defiant Stance to handle tanking the first expedition. After you have these three and a Carnelian Carnelian gem in your weapon you will be able to taunt and do not have to worry about leveling up Sword any more than you want.

After that, take Final Countdown Final Countdown, Restoration Restoration, and Achilles' Heel Achilles' Heel. Next we pick up our third Ability, Reverse Stab Reverse Stab, which is going to be great for our overall kit. Next, get Unstoppable Stab Unstoppable Stab, Opportunist Opportunist, and then Tactician Tactician. Tactician helps to reset our other two Abilities every time we hit with Reverse Stab, because you reduce the cooldowns for each foe you hit. So, if you hit two foes then that is a 50% cooldown reduction.

From this point, we fill out the Defender Tree with Defensive Training Defensive Training, Recuperation Recuperation, One with the Shield One with the Shield, Sturdy Shield Sturdy Shield, Elemental Resistance Elemental Resistance, and finally Defensive Formation Defensive Formation, our Ultimate. Lastly, finish up with Counter Attack Counter Attack, Final Blow Final Blow, and Freeing Justice Freeing Justice. If you do not find yourself using the third attack of your Light Attack combo you can pick something else than Final Blow.


Sword Sword Combinations

  • War Hammer — Where the Sword has little crowd control, the War Hammer has it in excess. Armor Breaker Armor Breaker is an especially nice ability that allows you to get a quick attack off that applies a powerful Rend; you can combine that with the Sundering Shockwave Sundering Shockwave perk and you can easily hit the 30% Rend cap which will make your attacks hit incredibly hard. This weapon is strong against Ancient-type foes, which covers up for Sword's inherent weakness against them. One downside would be that you have no movement ability, so traveling over rivers will be a bit painful.
  • Great Axe — Scaling primarily with Strength, this is a great pairing with the Sword. The Great Axe does a great job of gap closing and getting close to foes. There is something really satisfying about running someone down in PvP with Blood Lust Blood Lust. The Great Axe also has a taunt that heals you in Reap Reap, if you find yourself needing more taunts or healing. One downside is that both these weapons deal Slash damage, and so both will be weak when fighting Ancient-type foes.
  • Spear — The Spear is a good weapon to combine with the Sword because you can use it to apply massive Rend with Perforate Perforate which can help your group drastically melt foes. You can also get some crowd control with Sweep Sweep. One downside is that you would not have any movement Abilities between these weapons.
  • Ice Gauntlet — This is an extremely odd combo at first glance, because caster and tank generally do not go together, but here they do. Ice Gauntlet has the Mastery Blocking Stamina Blocking Stamina, which allows you to convert mana into Stamina when blocking, at a ratio of 3 mana to 15 Stamina. Combined with the crowd control that Ice Gauntlet provides and the ability to enter Entombed Entombed to effectively give yourself a second health bar, the Ice Gauntlet looks to be an interesting tanking option. The main downside would be that you cannot easily scale both weapons, and so would likely want to focus on the Sword and leave the Ice Gauntlet for utility.

What Attributes Does the Sword Scale With?

The Sword scales with primarily Strength, and Dexterity secondarily.


Where Do you Get the Sword

You can get your first Sword either from killing foes or from chests. If you do not find one, then you can craft it for yourself at the Forge. We recommend crafting a Sword after completing your "craft a weapon" introduction quest if you have not yet found one.


Can You Activate Sword's Defiant Stance and then Weapon Swap to Keep the Buff?

No. Defiant Stance Defiant Stance will be removed if you weapon swap or sheath your weapon, including opening your inventory or gathering raw materials. This will, however, proc Restoration Restoration healing you right away.


Can I Use Cooldown Reduction to Have Permanent Uptime on Defiant Stance?

No. Defiant Stance Defiant Stance will not start its cooldown until its effect has expired.


Why Does Equipping a Different Shield not Change my Attributes?

You do not gain any benefits from a Shield unless your Sword is in your hand, which is not the case while you are looking at your inventory.



  • 23 Nov. 2021: Fixed a small typo.
  • 19 Nov. 2021: Added link to Patch 1.1 Sword changes.
  • 04 Oct. 2021: Guide created.
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