Is there a more classic weapon pairing than the sword and shield? It may well be the most iconic duo in all of history. In this guide, we’ll be covering all the best Sword & Shield builds in New World. Whether you want to go full defense or prefer a more offensive approach, this weapon’s got you covered.

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New World Sword & Shield Builds: Active Skills

As always, let’s start off with an in-depth look at the weapon’s active skills.

1. Whirling Blade

Whirling Blade is the first-row active skill in the Swordmaster tree. It’s yet another entry in New World’s storied list of spin-to-win moves.

With this skill, you’ll hit all enemies in a 2m radius for 145% weapon damage. This comes at the cost of a 14.7s cooldown. It’s got solid damage and a nice AOE, with no real downsides to speak of. It’s definitely worth picking up if you’re looking for a nice source of damage.

2. Reverse Stab

Reverse Stab is the second-row active skill in the Swordmaster skill tree. It does what it says on the tin, letting you attack for 175% weapon damage and stagger the target. This comes at a 19.6s cooldown.

This skill boasts high up-close damage, and the stagger effect is nice as well. It can be a bit hard to land a hit with, but it’s overall worth picking up and upgrading.

3. Leaping Strike

Leaping Strike is the third-row active skill in the Swordmaster skill tree. Who wants a gap-closer? Who doesn’t want a gap-closer?

With this skill, you’ll leap at your enemy, dealing 150% weapon damage and stagger on a hit. This comes at a 17.7s cooldown. It’s a solid gap-closer with decent damage, and there isn’t much bad to say about it. I wasn’t overly impressed with the move, but it’s still pretty good as a middle-of-the-road ability. It’s worth picking up, even if it doesn’t have much of a wow factor.

4. Shield Rush

Moving right along to the Defender skill tree, Shield Rush is the first-row active skill and the second gap-closer on our list.

When you activate this skill, you’ll rush forward 5m and deal 125% weapon damage, staggering and pushing back your foe on a successful hit. It also comes with the Grit ability attached, all at the cost of a 19.6s cooldown.

The damage on this skill is decent and the debuffs are nice, and Grit is a solid add-on. It’s always good to have Grit on an active skill! For a gap-closer, the gap it closes is a bit small. Despite its low range, however, it’s a nice skill that’s well worth picking up.

5. Shield Bash

Shield Bash is the second-row active skill in the Defender skill tree. Everyone likes a good stun! Well…except the people getting stunned.

You’ll deal 50% weapon damage but stagger and stun foes for 2s. This skill also has Grit and the Taunt Gem Compatible ability. This comes at a 24.5s cooldown.

Overall, I’m impressed with this skill. Stagger? Stun? Grit? Taunt Gem Compatible? Sign me up! The cooldown is pretty steep, but this is an excellent skill for any tank build.

6. Defiant Stance

Finally, we’ve got Defensive Stance, the third-row active skill in the Defender skill tree. Taking damage is for losers; why would I want to do that?

For 8s, you’ll take 30% less damage from attackers. This ability has Grit and the Taunt Gem Compatible ability and comes at a 44.2s cooldown.

Yeah, that cooldown…steep doesn’t even begin to cover it. But it’s a 30% damage reduction ability — there are few better tank abilities in the entire game (*cough* Shockwave *cough*). If you’re playing a tank, take this now!

Best Sword & Shield Builds in New World

1. DPS Build

The first Sword & Shield build we will look at focuses less on defense and more on offense. Now, the Sword & Shield isn’t as good at pure DPS as some other weapons are, but it can still be quite strong in that regard.

Attributes

First, focus on Strength, as that’s the attribute that scales the Sword & Shield’s damage. Second, you want some Constitution — it’s always good to shore up those hit points a bit.

Equipment

Either Heavy or Light armor works best here. I’d personally choose Heavy since this build still has a bit of tankiness to it, but you can make a case for Light, if you prefer.

Active Skills

First off, you want to grab Whirling Blade as your main source of damage. It’s especially nice if you get surrounded by enemies, allowing you to turn a bad situation to your advantage.

Second, is Leaping Strike, which helps you get in close so you can quickly and efficiently take those enemies down.

My final recommendation is Shield Bash. The damage on Shield Bash is nothing to write home about, but being able to stagger and stun enemies is a really nice complement to this build. Since you’re going to be up close and personal with your enemies, being able to interrupt their big attacks can be clutch. Now, an argument for Reverse Stab can be made here, trading out the stun for a lot more damage. Personally, I still think the stun from Shield Bash puts it over the edge, but Reverse Stab can be fine as well.

Passive Skills

As per usual, start by upgrading your active skills; this is almost never a bad idea. After that, Achilles’ Heel, Precision, and Opportunist are some of my favorite passives from the Swordmaster skill tree. Synergies with light attacks as well as critical hit bonuses are great for this build, as spamming light attacks are the way to go for DPS with the Sword & Shield.

I also recommend Sturdy Shield from the Defender skill tree, as the armor buff is nice and it leads right into Shield Bash.

Capstone

Interestingly, both Sword & Shield build capstones deal with buffing allies, so they’re a wash in single play. However, since this build is primarily in the Swordmaster skill tree, Leadership is the pick, simply because you won’t have enough points for Defensive Formation.   

2. Tank Build

I already covered this build in my tank guide a while back, but this is the other main Sword & Shield build, so let’s go over it again.

Attributes

The attributes are the same as the DPS build, except that you want Constitution as your primary and Strength as your secondary. We’re focusing on tanking here!

Equipment

No question — you want full Heavy armor here. You also want to make sure you have a Carnelian gem to proc your Taunt Gem Compatible abilities.

Active Skills

Here, we’re going full Defender skill tree. Both Shield Rush and Shield Bash are great for interrupting your enemies, which tanks always like. Both also have Grit, which is another wonderful ability in general, but especially for tanks.

It should be no surprise at all that Defiant Stance is the pick for a tank build.  The skill really is worth the 44.2s cooldown.

Passive Skills

Again, fully upgrading our active skills is a great start here. Other than that, I say go full on Defender skill tree. In all honesty, this build is the most pure tank build in the game, so go ham on it. You won’t go wrong with that approach.

Capstone

I don’t have to tell you which capstone to take. Defensive Formation is quite literally the only option here.

Join the High Ground

And there you have it, the best Sword & Shield builds in New World. Now you can pretend to be a knight of old, slaying enemies and protecting allies. Let us know if you have any questions, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on the latest in the gaming world.

Enjoy using the block button, explorer!

Related Reading: New World Weapon Guides