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Ghost of Tsushima guide: Stealth build and tips

How to be the ghost with the most

Ghost of Tsushima’s main character in a foggy forest at night Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

In Ghost of Tsushima, you play as Jin Sakai, a warrior who must test his samurai code to save his uncle from an invading force. His skills as a swordsman will only get him so far and he must embrace some fighting tactics that go against his training and ideals. While he views some of these sneaky tactics as dishonorable at first, soon he embraces that fact the he must become a feared force that strikes from the shadows.

For those of you who truly want to become the namesake Ghost of Tsushima, then you’ll have to stalk on the dark side.

Ghost of Tsushima requires a healthy mix of traditional samurai swordplay and sneaky tactics. While you can play most of the game as a straight-up dueling swordsman, you have plenty of options to also approach the game with more stealth. In this Ghost of Tsushima guide, we’ll offer recommendations about some of the best gear and skills to use and become a shadow your enemies will fear.

These recommendations for ghost-style gameplay will help you make it through much of the early game as a stealthy assassin. As you progress, you may develop your own mix of tactics to save the island of Tsushima. Use these recommendations as well as our tips on how to make use of your various sword stances to save the island of Tsushima one sword fight at a time.

What to equip for your stealth build

When customizing your stealth build, be on the lookout for any missions that reward Stealth Charms.

Stealth Charms grant several passive buffs that make your character well, more stealthy. One of the earliest you can unlock is the Charm of Shadows via “The Other Side of Honor” Tale. It reduces enemy detection speed by 10%, giving your more time to sneak among enemies without getting noticed.

Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

To find that Stealth Charm and others like it, look for mission rewards. When highlighting a mission on the map, not only will you get a detailed description of what the quest is about, you’ll also get a list of its rewards upon completion. Among the the ability to progress storylines and gain experience to increase your legend, you will also earn rewards like new armor or Charms. If you see a quest that unlocks a Stealth Charm, make sure to complete those to bolster your charm inventory.

As you first begin your journey to becoming the titular Ghost of Tsushima, you will also unlock the Glowering Warrior mask. While spooky in appearance, it doesn’t add any special buffs to your character, but it does look like the perfect mask for sneaking around in.

Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Further along in your quest, you’ll unlock the “Blood on the Grass” Tale. The reward for completing this quest is the Ronin Attire, which has three different buffs which you can further improve at an Armorer (upgradable talents in bold):

  • Reduces enemy detection speed by 10%
  • 15% increase to melee damage
  • After leaving pampas grass while crouched, enemies will be much slower to detect you

This is basically the first piece of stealth-focused armor you gain early in the game and is worth picking up sooner than later if you want a stealth build. (You’ll also receive the Weathered Straw Hat, which doesn’t offer any benefits.)

Ghost techniques for stealth builds

While looking the part is certainly helpful if you’re going to strike fear in the heart of your enemies, you’ll also need a few techniques to attack from the shadows.

As you progress through the story by completing main missions and increasing your Legend, you’ll begin unlocking new Ghost Weapons and Evolving Tactics. You can upgrade weapons and tactics as you gain Technique Points.

Here’s our recommendations for the Ghost Weapons to unlock and the skills you need to upgrade for your stealth build.

While there are several bomb options, smoke bombs aid in stealth the most
Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Ghost Weapon: Smoke Bomb

While every other recommendation here will be for sneaking in stealth, the smoke bomb is perfect for when you are already engaged in a fight and you need to get away.

You can upgrade the smoke bomb to blind enemies and, eventually, even heal you.

Ghost Weapon: Wind Chime

Sometimes you’ll need to have a pesky guard move out of your way to sneak by or lure them to a more secluded location for a silent takedown. Wind chimes are throwable weapons that will make a sound that distracts and lures enemies.

A wind chime upgrade allows you to turn them into firecrackers for larger distractions.

Evolving Tactics: Archery

Archery is one of the Evolving Tactics you’ll gain as you progress in the story. As one of your silent and deadly methods of attack, you can use your bow and arrow to snipe foes from a distance with headshots for instant take downs. If the hit marker is red, that means you’ve defeated your enemy. If it’s white, that means they are still alive and may alert other enemies.

Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Evolving Tactics: Assassination

As you progress through the story, you gain the ability to sneak up on enemies in front or below you for an instant, silent takedown.

Further Assassination upgrades allow you to chain takedowns and dispatch groups of enemies without alerting anyone else.

Evolving Tactics: Focused Hearing

This another tactic you gain through the main story, which allows you to focus on your surroundings and highlight nearby enemies based on sound. Using this skill turns everything but you and other enemies grayscale so you can spot them. Not only that, but enemies will be outlined with a red glow, even through walls and buildings.

Upgrades to Focused Hearing allow you to hear farther and move faster while sneaking.