As with any action RPG, finding a good weapon that fits your playstyle should be at the top of your to-do list. However, finding said weapon is just as much of a problem in Nier Automata as it is in any other RPG, given how spoiled for choice you are. In Nier Automata, there are a grand total of 40 weapons vying for your attention, which doesn’t make choosing one easy.
In this Nier Automata weapons guide, I’ll be going over my top ten tools that best extol the glory of mankind. My criteria for picking each weapon are stats, abilities, playstyle, and if I’m honest, a little sentimental value for some.
A part of this is down to personal opinion. As what makes one weapon good might not mean much for your playstyle. Because of this, rather than apply a definitive ranking to each weapon, I have instead selected ten weapons that mark them as wheat rather than chaff. Exactly how good they are will be up to you. Without further ado, let’s examine some Nier Automata weapons!
YoRHa-Issue Blade/Machine weapons
First up in this Nier Automata weapons guide is a set of weapons that provide more of a convenience than anything else. They deal enough damage in combat to make them usable. Particularly the heavier ones, though that isn’t their main draw. Instead, it’s the abilities on offer, namely the 30% discount at respective traders.
For the YoRHa-Issue Blade, you receive a 30% discount at any android traders. While with the Machine weapons, you get the same at any machine traders. This utility can make them pretty handy to have. Especially when you start out or are making bulk purchases. The discount can also be great when buying weapons earlier, since they strain your wallet less.
Additionally, the Machine weapons come with the Machine Brand ability, increasing your damage output as you kill more enemies. Making them a viable option for swarms. Their prowess in combat certainly doesn’t put them among the best weapons. But, their convenient penny-pinching ability makes them a good addition to your arsenal.
There are a total of five wallet-saving weapons all of which are easily found. The YoRHa-Issue Blade is a reward for completing the quest 11B’s Memento, which can be done early on in Route A. The rest can be purchased from a Machine vendor.
The Machine sword, axe, and spear can be bought from Pascal’s Village in Routes A and B. While the Machine bracers must be bought from Pascal in Routes C or D, provided you choose to wipe his memory. Ultimately, you only need one of the Machine weapons to benefit from the ability, unless you’re aiming to collect them all. I’d recommend either the Machine Axe or Machine Spear as the chosen one, as they do the most damage and have a larger area of effect, making it easier to capitalize on the Machine Brand ability.
Next up is the most damaging small “sword”. Not only does it have the highest base damage of all the small swords, it has two abilities that are quite effective in combat. Firstly, it grants a notable increase in crit chance, which is always appreciated. Making dealing critical damage much easier. Secondly, it has a high chance of stunning enemies on each hit. Another great ability to have on any weapon. Added to the raw attack power, these abilities make the Iron Pipe a considerably useful companion in combat.
The combat ability isn’t all this weapon offers, however. For those of you that played the first game, Nier Replicant, you’ll likely already recognize this weapon and what it references. So, what else exactly does this weapon offer? Tears, that’s what. I’ll keep it at that for those that haven’t yet experienced Replicant, but for those that have, this weapon should be at the top of your list, just to have if not for its punishing value in combat.
Finding the Iron Pipe is largely down to luck. You’ll need to visit the sewers underneath the City Ruins and start fishing. You might get lucky and get it first try, or you might not get it even after a few dozen.
Another reference to a weapon from Replicant is the Phoenix Sword. More than just a mere reference, this weapon can hold its own in combat. Not only does it deal a hefty amount of damage, but it also sports some incredibly useful abilities. Once upgraded to level two, it gives you a notable increase in attack speed. Something particularly useful for heavy weapons.
Once fully upgraded, you get a chance at healing with each hit. Allowing you to stay in the fray for longer. That said, you might find the healing less necessary if you keep stunning enemies instead. Which may put this weapon objectively below the Iron Pipe, particularly since the healing isn’t guaranteed.
Finding it isn’t difficult, though you’ll need to be controlling 9S. If you have just started his arc, cross the bridge connecting the roof you land on to another roof. Move to the end of that roof and drop onto another slightly smaller roof, then turn right. Tucked away in the corner is a chest. Hack it for the Phoenix Sword.
If you’ve already started 9S’ arc, don’t worry, you aren’t locked out of it. Go to the City Ruins: Near Factory save point, then head over to the building you started on. You can’t miss it, the bridge is clear to see.
Spear of the Usurper
One of the more unique weapons, the Spear of the Usurper is a perfectly good spear as it stands, dealing a good amount of damage by its own merits. The bonus to crit chance is a good early ability, especially if you are already decent with spear combos, though that isn’t where this weapon shines.
The main draw of the Usurper comes once it’s fully upgraded, namely the Turncoat skill. Quite the unique ability, each hit has a random chance of turning an enemy to your side. Making for some interesting fights if you use it well. This, combined to its already respectable attack power, easily makes it one of the best weapons in Nier Automata.
Acquiring this great weapon is surprisingly easy, considering how effective it is. As 2B, once you have a scanner for your pod, which itself is a reward for the main quest Redheads, you will have access to the side quest Heritage of the Past. Which will take you on an archaeological mission into the desert zone. Upon completion, you will receive gold, experience, some trinkets, and the vaunted Spear of the Usurper to add to your weapons collection.
A third holdover from Nier Replicant, the Ancient Overlord is arguably one of the best small swords in the game. It has a respectable level of base damage, though nothing to write home about when compared to other weapons in its category. However, overlooking this sword because of that would be a big mistake. With three increases to crit chance at max level, the Ancient Overlord is an exceedingly strong weapon. Particularly when paired with chips that increase your attack power or crit chance.
The second ability you get at level four is also decent, destroying enemy bullets on impact and causing a shockwave that damages enemies. The Ancient Overlord’s high damage output and decent situational special ability makes it one of the strongest weapons in the game, garnering a reputation among players as one of the best weapons in Nier Automata.
Thankfully, this powerful weapon is easily acquired, needing only 15,000 gold and a trip to the weapons dealer in the Resistance Camp. You might want to consider using the YoRHa-Issue Blade for that discount, making the Ancient Overlord that bit easier to get.
I find the Angel’s Folly is one of the best weapons to use in conjunction with others, mostly due to its healing ability. On its own, the Angel’s Folly is a good close quarters weapon, dealing decent damage which is improved by its attack speed increase. At level four, its additional ability, the Angel’s Mercy, will heal a small portion of your health upon defeating an enemy.
This is useful for two reasons. One, it lessens the strain on your healing supplies, and can help you out in a pinch if you don’t have any left. Two, it can top off your health should you take light damage, thereby allowing you to benefit from the abilities that require you to be fully healed. If you can pair these combat bracers with chips that synergize well with the attack speed buff, you may find the healing particularly handy.
They also fit the nimble playstyle quite well, allowing you to dance around your enemies with ease. They certainly might not be for everyone, but I’ve found them fun and effective to use in plenty of situations.
Adding the Angel’s Folly to your arsenal can be a massive pain, almost on par with the Iron Pipe. To get it, you’ll have to pay a visit to Emil’s shop, which in itself is enough of an inconvenience. Then, you’ll have to hope he has the weapon in stock, else you’ll be going back and forth until he decides to finally put them up for sale.
I was able to buy them when he was near the Resistance Camp, which seems to be where most people were able to get them, though I’ve seen several say otherwise. If you want them, you’ll just have to cross your fingers.
Don’t fix what ain’t broke should be the motto of this sword. It is 2B’s default weapon and is perfectly capable of carrying you through the entire game, even if it isn’t objectively one of the best weapons. It grants a nice attack speed boost that mitigates the low base damage, as well as offering an attack increase at full health, through the Holy Blessing ability.
Pairing it with a weapon that increases crit or stun chance or using stat boosting chips, especially those that can benefit from the increased attack speed, can help you eke more out of the Virtuous Contract, helping it stand out against other weapons in the game.
You won’t have to go through hoops to acquire this weapon, given that 2B starts the game with it as her default weapon. Whether you end the game with it depends on how persuaded you are by its merits, or if you are too lazy to bother looking for another.
The Beastlord is the fourth and final holdover weapon in this Nier Automata weapons guide. The reference to the previous game certainly does increase its value among those that have played it, but the Beastlord is more than just an antique. For those with a brawling tank playstyle, you’ll struggle to find a weapon that does it better.
It packs quite a punch, sporting a massive amount of base damage that can easily be increased through chips, while also coming with an ability that increases defense. At level four, the Beastlord’s second ability adds a bit of range to each swing, as it causes a swipe that extends the reach of your attacks. Between its high attack power and defense bolstering ability, the Beastlord will make short work of enemies, while keeping you in the fight for longer, putting it up there with the best weapons available.
You can buy the weapon from the Resistance Camp trader, setting you back 10,000 gold. Considering how effective it is, this is a small price to pay.
The Demon’s Cry is widely regarded as the best weapon in the game, used by challenge runners and new players alike. The title of “best weapon” is a grand one indeed, though the Demon’s Cry is no false king. It sports the highest base damage of the combat bracer category, though as is the theme with other high damage weapons, that isn’t the main attraction. Instead, the sizable increase to attack speed and Devil’s Hatred ability do the heavy lifting. The benefit from the attack speed increase is obvious, but the benefit from the Devil’s Hatred ability might not be not so clear at first glance.
What makes it so good is that, on top of the high damage output, each enemy killed will release a shockwave upon the death blow, making this weapon ideal for crowd control. Here’s a showcase of the Demon’s Cry in action.
Finding the Demon’s Cry can be a nuisance if you aren’t keeping an eye out, and requires defeating a certain boss to unlock the area it’s in. Start at the Amusement Park, near the bridge that leads to the Opera Singer’s boss arena. Defeat her if you haven’t already, then take the elevator into an underground part of the Amusement Park. You will switch to a 2D view, so don’t worry about getting lost. Once there, go to the opposite end of the tunnel where the pile of televisions is. Behind it is a locked chest, with the Demon’s Cry inside. You’ll need to wait until route B to unlock it though, as you can’t access it without 9S.
The final entry in this Nier Automata weapons guide is a personal favorite of mine, partly since I’m a Popola and Devola sympathizer. My opinion aside, however, the Type-3 has a lot to offer in combat. It is tied with the Iron Pipe for having the highest base damage of the small sword category, while boasting some pretty good abilities. Its first ability offers a noteworthy increase to defense, which is always handy to have, while its second ability delivers an explosive finisher when you complete a full combo uninterrupted. I’d argue this easily makes the Type-3 one of the best weapons in Nier Automata, though I admit I may be a little biased.
The Type-3 Sword is easy to get, though a little expensive compared to the other buyable weapons in this guide. You can pick it up from Popola and Devola for 20,000 gold whenever their shop is open.
Those are all the weapons I thought deserved to be highlighted in this article. Though I’ve mentioned these ten, that doesn’t mean none of the other weapons are viable. If I’ve made any egregious mistakes and overlooked some top-tier weapons, be sure to let me know in the comments.