Weapon Choices

Sarcan’s Guide / Philosophy on Weapon Choices and Deck Building

After reading Martin Bruusgaard Explains Character Development and playing, I came to the conclusion there is a lot of confusion on how do you choose your weapons as a new player.

This is what I came up with to make it clearer for me and hopefully others. This Guide is aimed at those players just beginning their journey.

The Concept

For those of you that have played or still play Collectable Card Games (CCG’s) like Magic the Gathering (MTG), the concept of two weapons and building decks should come very naturally. Simply put, each weapon represents a color of a Deck. In MTG, Green Was Life, Black was Death, Red was Fire, so on and so forth. You would pick two to three colors that represented your particular play style as each color had theme or mechanic that made it work. Then you picked cards from between the colors that played off each other to produce combinations. This was the synergy between the colors. The only limit on your ability to build the deck of your dreams was the ability to get all the available cards either through luck of the booster packs you bought, buying them or through trade.

So now let us bring that concept into TSW. Rather than luck or money to get all the available cards in to build your deck, you will just have the time needed to earn all the Anima Points (AP) needed to open all the tiers for your chosen weapons. In TSW you get two weapons at a time to select your seven active abilities and you can select seven passive abilities from any weapon you have invested in. You can change your weapons and selected abilities at any time out of combat, use your Gear management to make switching easier. This allows you to adjust to any situation and group requirement, within the scope of what the weapon skills allow you to do.

In Basic Terms

When you start on your journey, you will be required to select one weapon. While in your weapon training area open up the Ability Wheel and look at the Ability Wheel and review the inner circle (Basic Wheel) of each weapon. Get familiar with what will be available to you as you start to earn and spend AP. A new player should pick their Primary weapon, then planning what two or even three weapons you want to focus on after that will help start your journey. As an example, my Primary Weapon is Hammer. I then selected both Chaos and Blood as my secondary weapons. I switch between them depending on the mission or the mob I am dealing with.

Though you only can take one weapon with you now, you will be able to purchase or get your second weapon shortly. Make sure that you have two weapons equipped at all times as you can use them both during combat.

Everyone does damage, this Guide will mainly address the aspects in choosing you weapons beyond damage. Every will have access to numerous abilities that will help define their Primary or Secondary Role.

To build synergy between weapons you need to look at what the abilities do, how they build resources (up to 5 for each weapon) and consume them, what they trigger or cause and what they respond to; based on the state of the target. This is broken down in to what is called State Synergy, Trigger Synergy and Subtype (the abilities implementation type).

Now let’s have a look at gear and what to consider. As this is the only thing that will increase the capability of abilities it is good to understand what is affected. Weapon Power affects all abilities. Attack Rating affects all damage abilities while Healing affects all Healing Abilities. Health increases your total health. Percentages and Range in abilities do not change from Gear stats that I have seen but can be affected by other abilities. To be able to unlock more powerful, higher quality (QL) you need to spend Skill Points (SP) in the appropriate gear slot. You also can spend SP to improve your Weapons DPS and Survivability, which is where you better define your role, based on weapon choice beyond chosen abilities. Equipment also effects the value of the abilities purchased with SP.

TSW provided us with Faction Decks. These are Story based (Role Play) decks that give you an indication what end game builds can look like and provide an outfit when completed. Take a look at my write up on Faction Decks for more detailed information.

So that is the Concept and Basics, still here, ok let’s try and select a weapon….

Choosing you first weapons

A. Weapons –

  1. Weapons fall into 3 categories, Melee, Range and Magic. This defines how and what type of damage they do. Melee and Ranged do Physical Damage and Magic does magic damage. Ranged and Magic is considered ranged abilities even when the distance is small for hit calculations. This becomes important depending on the Resistance of your target.
  2. You will need to find the synergy between your weapons based on what your play style is as all weapons come with the ability to do Single Target and AoE damage. The difference in weapons is the ability to spend SP to buy skill ranks. You have two types of skills, Damage and Survivability for each weapon type.
  3. The Survivability Skill of each weapon drives the Primary or Secondary Role that you will fulfill in group settings. Note this is under the assumption that you pick the abilities that support this role. Since you have two weapons, you can fill two roles or be very specialized in one. This chart gives you a quick summary of the weapons and their roles.
  4. So now knowing this you can start to home in on the weapons that you think may get you to your niche play style.
  5. Also keep in mind that Melee Weapons start with full Resources and Magic and Ranged Start empty. This will add to how the Synergy works with what abilities you use to start an encounter, what abilities you use to build more resources and what finishers you use to consume those resources. All offensive attacks will build resources for all equipped weapons, but some healing abilities only build for that specific weapon type. And also some Weapons will build Resources for each target hit, which will provide more opportunity to use finishers in a target rich environment.
Weapon Survivability Role
Melee Hammer Mitigation, Health Tank
Melee Blade High Defence Rating Tank
Melee Fist HOT's Heal
Range Pistol Cleanse, Debuffs, Pets Support
Range Shotgun Crowd Control, Mitigation Support
Range Assault Rifle Leech Healing Heal
Magic Elementalist Turrets, Crowd Control Support
Magic Chaos Magic Evade Tank
Magic Blood Magic Absorb Barriers Heal

But we are not done, now that you have the concept of which weapons you may like to use, let’s look at Synergy.

B. State Synergy –

  1. State synergy comes from secondary effects happening when you put a state or hit a target that already has that state (Hindered, Afflicted, Impaired or Weakened). The synergy between weapons is when both weapons cause that state and amplify (react to) the same state. You will see this as you look how your active abilities stack with your passive abilities. Understand also that the state does not need to be applied by you and this is where party synergy comes into play.
  2. If both weapons do not have a shared State Synergy, this does not mean that they shouldn’t be used together; you just have to look for Trigger and Subtype Synergy.
Sarc's Build Planner State Synergy
Weapon Role Hindered Afflicted Impaired Weakened
Hammer Tank X X
Blade Tank X X
Fist Heal X X
Pistol Support X X
Shotgun Support X X
Assault Rifle Heal X X
Elementalist Support X X
Chaos Magic Tank X X
Blood Magic Heal X X
  • Hindered = Root & Snare
  • Afflicted = DoTs
  • Impaired = Stuns, Knockbacks & Silence
  • Weakened = Debuffed in any other way

C. Trigger Synergy –

  1. Trigger synergy is when abilities have synergy between them based on the outcome of a hit roll. A hit roll outcome can be a normal hit, critical hit, penetrating hit, evade, etc. This synergy comes from have multiple triggers available to you or increasing the odds (through abilities) to get the specified type of hit.
  2. Many abilities apply a State (See chart above) based on the type of Hit (See Chart Below). This is the Synergy between States and Triggers. This is important in the select of abilities in your deck. NOTE: Glancing hits will never trigger a secondary effect.
Sarc's Build Planner Trigger Synergy
Weapon Crit Hit Pen Hit Hit Block Evade Defense
Hammer X X
Blade X X
Fist X
Pistol X
Shotgun X
Assault Rifle X
Elementalist X
Chaos Magic X X
Blood Magic X

So looking at your State and Trigger Synergy, you should be able to decide which weapons play to how you wish to play you character. You could also choose based on aesthetics, up to you.

D. Subtypes –

  1. Subtypes are special types of attacks grouped in a category, and this enables the player to modify all attacks done in a specific category. For instance, a cone attack can be labeled with the [Blast] subtype. The players can then modify these with passive abilities that might read, “All [Blast] abilities now apply a DoT to all targets hit.
  2. Though subtypes are important in your play style and weapon choice, I list them only as reference as I would not base my weapon choice off them. I would however select which abilities I use for that chosen weapon based on the synergy of the subtypes and the State and Trigger synergy they utilize.”
Sarc's Build Planner Subtypes
Weapon Chain Burst Blast Strike Focus Frenzy
Hammer X X
Blade X X
Fist X X
Pistol X X
Shotgun X X
Assault Rifle X X
Elementalist X X
Chaos Magic X X
Blood Magic X X
  • Chain = 1 Attack which jumps between target
  • Burst = 3 or more rapid hits on 1 target
  • Blast = Cone Attack, hitting all targets in area of effect
  • Strike = Strong Single target hit
  • Focus = Channelled effect
  • Frenzy = AOE attack


As you can see, there is a lot of information to digest. I tried to keep this basic, which is very hard to do when there is so much information to consider. No matter what weapons you choose to begin your adventure and how you end up, I think you will agree that the lack of limits to your development will make it all worthwhile.

I know it is a long read, but I hope if you took the time to read it all and that you found it beneficial. Once you have mastered the basics, selected your first two weapons, hop over to Yokai's guide to build mechanics and build philosophy to start understanding deck development at a more advanced level.

Sarcan the Warlord

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