The best weapons in BOTW, and where to find them

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most critically-acclaimed Zelda titles to hit shelves in decades, one that breaks radically from previous games in the series. In past Zelda games, Link would acquire a wide variety of special tools, such as boomerangs and hook shots, but would only use a handful of swords over the course of any given adventure. Breath of the Wild goes in the opposite direction — almost every weapon has a finite lifespan and breaks after a certain number of strikes.

Part of the fun of this great Nintendo Switch game is going with the flow and working with what you find, since the weapon and the best armor you pick up in a given area are usually good enough to handle the local wildlife. For those times when you need something a bit more high-end, however, we’ve compiled a list of the best weapons you can find. Breath of the Wild is enormous, so this list is far from comprehensive. Rather, it’s a selection of some of the coolest, toughest weapons that we’ve found in each category, plus where you can locate them. Keep in mind that weapons taken from defeated enemies or that spawn out in the world will respawn during the periodic Blood Moon events, but anything found in a chest is only available there once.

If you’re interested in the upcoming sequel, take a look at everything we know about Breath of the Wild 2 so far.

One-handed weapons

Demon Carver (40)

Yiga assassins will periodically attack you throughout the game. They won’t let up even after you’ve defeated their boss, Master Kohga, back at their HQ in the Gerudo Desert. They will come better equipped, however, including upgrading to this nasty, circular blade. One of the most consistent places we’ve found an avenging Yiga is by the broken down wagon between Scout’s Hill and the eastern edge of the Great Plateau.

Savage Lynel Sword (58)

The most powerful one-handed weapon, you can use a Savage Lynel Sword after you pry it from the cold, dead hands of a Silver-maned Lynel, one of the deadliest foes in the game. If you’re up for the challenge,  you can find one in the forest grove of North Akkala Valley, about midway between the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab and the summit of Death Mountain.

Two-handed weapons

Royal Claymore (52)

From the Woodland Tower, northeast of Hyrule Castle, simply climb on top of the stone mass blocking its northern face and you’ll find it stuck in a cleft.

Savage Lynel Crusher (78)

As far as we know this monster has the single largest damage value of any weapon in the game. Again, the only way to get it is is to take down a Silver-maned Lynel. We found a crusher-carrying Lynel just south of the Tabantha Great Bridge.

Ranged

Savage Lynel Bow (32 x 3)

Like the other Savage Lynel weapons, this bow drops periodically from Silver-Maned and White Lynels , including one that can be found in the Coliseum Ruins just north of the Great Plateau. Like several other bows in the game, this gives you three-for-one with every arrow you fire, which is especially great value given how stingy the game can generally be with arrows.

Meteor Rod (10 x 3)

Elemental rods are relatively common, dropping throughout Hyrule from Wizzrobes of their respective element. The most powerful rod we’ve found shoots three fireballs at once, rather than just one. You can find it in Tabantha, in chest on raised platform just south of Great Fairy Fountain.

Ancient gear

You’ll likely first encounter ancient weapons — and their signature, glowing blades — after defeating a miniature Guardian robots in a combat-themed shrine. These weapons generally do a lot of damage, but have low durability, so save them for when you need the most. Not all Ancient weapons are created equal, though, and there are two sources for finding the most powerful ones.

Akkala Ancient Tech Lab

Atop a hill in the northeast corner of Hyrule in the Akkala region, the Akkala Ancient Tech Lab is the most consistent source of top-tier weapons in the game, but they’re far from cheap. Once you’ve found the place (being careful to avoid or kill the Guardian camped outside), you will have to repeat the quest from the first Ancient Tech Lab in Hateno where you go to a nearby Ancient Forge to light your torch with its blue flame and run it back to light the Lab’s Furnace. Be sure to light stone torches along the way to avoid too much backtracking if you lose the flame along the way.

With the Furnace back online, the Lab’s robot will happily sell you powerful, Ancient weapons and armor in exchange for rupees and Ancient parts. Ancient Arrows are particularly noteworthy as the best tech for handling Guardians — one Ancient Arrow in the eye will generally do them in.

  • Ancient Short Sword — One-handed sword (40) 15 Ancient Springs, 5 Ancient Shafts, 2 Ancient Cores, 1,000 rupees
  • Ancient Bladesaw — Two-handed sword (55) 15 Ancient Screws, 5 Ancient Shafts, 2 Ancient Cores, 1,000 rupees
  • Ancient Spear (30) 15 Ancient Gears, 5 Ancient Shafts, 2 Ancient Cores, 1,000 rupees
  • Ancient Bow (44) 10 Ancient Gears, 15 Ancient Springs, 1 Giant Ancient Cores, 1,000 rupees
  • Ancient Arrow 2 Ancient Screws, 1 Ancient Shaft, 1 Arrow, 90 rupees
  • Ancient Arrow x3 6 Ancient Screws, 3 Ancient Shaft, 3 Arrows, 250 rupees
  • Ancient Arrow x5 5 Ancient Springs, 5 Ancient Shafts, 5 Arrows, 400 rupees

Combat trials

Several shrines throughout Hyrule forgo puzzles in exchange for one-on-one battles against robots, which always drop Ancient Weapons upon defeat. These “Tests of Strength” vary in difficulty, with harder encounters rewarding more powerful weapons.

The best we’ve found are two “Major Tests” at the Tena Ko’Sah Shrine (on a plateau covered in ancient columns, due south of the Tabantha Tower) and the Chaas Queta Shrine (on Necluda Island off the southeast corner of the map in the middle of the Necluda Sea, which incidentally also awards the shirt of the climbing set). These are tough battles, so you may spend a few weapons in the process, but we considered it a net gain when they dropped the following three weapons:

  • Ancient Battle Axe++ — Two-handed axe (60)
  • Guardian Sword++ — One-handed sword (40)
  • Guardian Spear++ (20)

Divine Beast weapons

Four of the best weapons (one for each class) are available for helping each of Hyrule’s other races (Gorons, Zora, Gerudo, and Rito) deal with the rogue Divine Beasts. In addition to top tier stats, these weapons stand out because, while they do break, you can always get them re-forged for a price afterwards. We won’t go into detail about how to acquire them because they are each awarded as part of following the main story, but we will say where you get them, and how much it costs to replace them when they break.

  • Lightscale Trident (22) Reforged by Dento in the back of the Zora general store, for a Zora Spear, one diamond, and five flint.
  • Boulder Breaker — Two-handed sword (60) Reforged by Rohan the smith in Goron City, for a Cobble Breaker, one diamond, and five flint.
  • Great Eagle Bow (28×3) Reforged by Harth in the Rito village, for a Swallow Bow, one diamond, and five wood bundles.
  • Scimitar of the Seven — One-handed sword (32) Reforged by Buliara next to the Gerudo throne, for one diamond.

Master Sword

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild review

It wouldn’t be a Zelda game without Link’s legendary blade. Like everything else in Breath of the Wild, the Master Sword is there from the beginning for anyone brave enough to go take it, but hold your horses, hero–you need to have 13 hearts of health in order to survive the ordeal of taking the sword. Those have to be real hearts as well, earned from solving shrines and slaying Divine Beasts–yellow bonus hearts from cooking won’t cut it.

Once you’re tough enough, proceed to the Great Hyrule Forest. The nearest way point is the Woodland Tower, northeast of Hyrule Castle. From there glide down northward toward the entrance of the Lost Woods. Warning: don’t stray too far from the beaten path, or you’ll get swept up in the mist, and sent back to the beginning. To find your way, follow the windblown embers of the torches. You’ll eventually reach a tree that looks a little creepy and two torches. At this point, you’ll need your own torch to proceed. Light it and follow the embers, pausing every few trees you pass to check the direction. This should eventually lead you into the Korok Forest where you will find the Great Deku Tree keeping watch over the Master Sword. When you try to pull it out of the ground, your health will steadily drain down to one quarter of a heart if you’re starting at 13.

Fortunately, the Master Sword is worth the trouble. It starts with 30 base strength, which is among the highest for all one-handed weapons in Breath of the Wild, but that number automatically doubles when you face the final boss, Calamity Ganon.

The Master Sword is also the only unbreakable weapon in Breath of the Wild. Using it too much will incur a cooldown instead, but it will recharge to full in 10 minutes or less.

If you played the original Legend of Zelda game, you may experience déjà vu with the Master Sword’s projection feature. When you have complete health, the Master Sword converts into a laser blade as you cast it.

If you download the Trial of the Sword DLC pack, you’ll have the chance to make the Master Sword even more powerful. You can increase the Master Sword’s power to thirty times its original damage by winning three newly constructed levels. The Master Sword will be a top weapon in your armory if you successfully complete these three new stages.

Editors' Recommendations