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Understanding Nioh's blacksmith

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

By far the most intimidating and complicated mechanic in Nioh is the blacksmithing interface. There’s just a lot going on here. Some of it is straightforward enough, but there’re just so many options that it feels overwhelming. We’ll break it down into manageable chunks below.

In the blacksmith shop, you’ll meet Senji Tome. Instead of choosing one of the blacksmithing options, hitting triangle to talk to her will open up a couple more options. "I want to know more" will ask Tome to explain the mechanics of blacksmithing. "I have a request for Tome," when available — you’ll earn patronage points as you visit the blacksmith — will let you do things like ask to reduce the cost of forging or unlock the barber shop menu.

Buy and sell

Buy and sell lets you do exactly that. You can sell your items, weapons and armor for gold, or you can spend your gold on the things Tome has for sale. Complete more missions to unlock more items.


Forging turns all of those materials you’ve gathered into useable gear. Because this is Nioh, there’s another layer of complexity, of course. Each of those materials you’ve picked up have their own rarity ratings. When you choose to forge something, you determine how rare the materials are, which in turn affects the rarity of the item created.

By default, all of your most rare materials are chosen. The likelihood of the forged item falling into each rarity category is displayed at the top of the screen. In the images above, increasing the number of rare or one of a kind iron kozane (if we had any) would increase the likelihood that the resulting armor would be rare or better would increase. The rarity would also impact the weapon’s special effects and defensive multiplier.

Soul match

Soul matching is a way for you to increase your gear’s level — and higher level gear is better gear. Soul matching works by, effectively, feeding higher level gear to lower level gear to improve the latter. Feeding gear of the same or a lower level might still improve the original piece, but won’t raise its level.

In the image above, we’re feeding level 17 warlord armor to our level 16 platemail armor. The result? A level 17 platemail armor with a higher defensive multiplier.

"Why wouldn’t I just use the higher level item?" you may be rightly asking. Well, you can use soul matching to take high level weapons you don’t have the skills or stats to use properly and feed them to low level weapons that you’re already good with. You can do the same thing to take really heavy, high defensive multiplier armor and feed it to lighter, less protective armor to improve the stats without increasing the weight. (This is what you use it for the most, and you can see that in the image above.)

Special effects generally won’t transfer from higher level to lower level items. Certain effects marked with a special icon will be inherited, but only if you’ve achieved max familiarity with the item. You can see this icon in the picture on the right above. High attack break is marked with the "inheritable" icon — if we had max familiarity with that sword, high attack break would be inherited by any lower level weapons we fed it to.


Refashion lets you change the appearance of your gear. This doesn’t affect any of the item’s stats, just its outward appearance. Select the item you want to change, then what you want it to look like.


If you ask Tome to unlock the hair option in the blacksmith shop, you’ll be able to customize William’s appearance. (To an extent. Don’t you get your hair cut at the blacksmith?) When you first unlock it, you’ll get three new hairstyle options and a few beards to choose from. Changing your appearance costs gold, but can you really put a price on fashion?


An item’s special effects — like increases in gold and amrita drop rates or increased defense against elemental damage — are random. If you choose to reforge an item, you can spend spirit iron fragments to reroll the dice. You cannot reforge traits that have the lock icon to their left.


Disassemble lets you break down a piece of gear into its component materials. You can use those materials to forge new items. The rarity of the item determines the rarity of the materials that result.

The next level of puzzles.

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