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Zelda Breath of the Wild guide: 17 tips for winning Trial of the Sword

Some advice for taking on the Trial of the Sword

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.

Trial of the Sword, The Master Trials DLC’s 45-room survival challenge, unlocks the full potential of the Master Sword in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Trial of the Sword strips away all of your weapons, armor and food. You’re left with nothing but your underpants, runes and whatever you can scavenge. You have to survive on your wits and resourcefulness alone.

This is obviously a challenging undertaking, but we’re here to help with some tips and tricks to keep in mind while you take on the trials. Trial of the Sword isn’t a cakewalk, but there are things that will make your journey a little easier.

Start with full health and extra hearts. You start Trial of the Sword with the health you have, so every extra bit helps. Check out our guide to shrines to help collect those precious spirit orbs to increase your health and stamina.

Expand your inventory. The maximum number of weapons (and bows and shields) you can pick up is determined by the number of inventory slots you have unlocked. If you haven’t yet, check out our guide to collecting 45 korok seed in about an hour to expand your inventory.

Be stealthy. You won’t always succeed, but try anyway. Crouch, move slowly and use any cover you can find. Staying out of sight will help you keep from getting overwhelmed by enemies, and let you plan instead of react.

Strike unaware enemies. If you sneak up on an enemy, use sneakstrike to take them down.

Bombs, bombs, bombs. Your remote bombs are free and deal plenty of damage. Use them as much as you can to save wear and tear on your weapons.

Sticks and stones. You’re can beat several floors of the trials just by throwing rocks at things. Look around every floor for ways to attack your enemies that won’t break your weapons.

Use metal crates as weapons. Watch for metal crates that you can use magnesis on. They make good weapons or battering rams.

Pick up everything. You can’t take anything for granted in the trials, so pick up everything you can get your hands on. Tree branches, for example, don’t deal much damage, but they make weapons of last resort or makeshift torches. Apples don’t heal much, but when resources are scarce, every little bit helps.

Collect firewood and create campfires. Having a fire handy comes in surprisingly useful on many of the floors. You can roast food, burn wooden crates, damage enemies and start brushfires to create an updraft. (Also, two remote bombs will turn a tree into firewood without damaging your weapons.)

Look for environmental ways to start campfires. Most floors won’t have a campfire, so watch your surroundings for a way to start one. Fire chuchus are useful here, as are archers that shoot fire arrows.

Roast your food. Cooking pots are rare — you’ll only see one in the first set of rooms — so you’ll have to make a decision about how to use your food. You can save it up until you find a cooking pot, or you can just roast each item individually to double their healing.

Cook smart. When you do come across a cooking pot, make sure you use what you have in the best way you can. Do not mix effects like defense up and attack up — they’ll cancel each other out, and you won’t get either. Use five ingredients in every meal to get the most hearts you can — fill out that valuable meat with less valuable apples or acorns. Check our cooking (and elixir) guide for a good primer.

Smash everything. Lift metal crates high up in the air and drop them. You can also burn anything wooden — it saves your weapons and automatically roasts any food inside.

Arrows are invaluable. Arrows more plentiful than you might suspect. Don’t hesitate to use them. Just aim carefully, so you don’t waste them. You’ll find arrows on enemies and in crates and barrels (which is why you should destroy every crate and barrel you find). You should even watch where the arrows that miss you land so you can collect them later.

Save your shields. Blocking attacks will wear out your shields in a hurry — and there are only a handful of shields to find. Focus on dodging and parrying to save on your shields.

Save your best weapons. It’s tempting to use the best weapon you have all the time, but that’s not necessarily the best approach to the trials. There are rooms with sub-bosses sprinkled throughout where you’ll need the best weapon you can find, and if you’ve already broken that one over the head of a lackey bokoblin, you’ll be sorry.

Go for broke at the end. Completing a set of Trial of the Sword rooms will return you to Korok Forest and empty out everything you’ve gathered and hoarded. This means that being protective of every item you’ve got becomes a lot less important after floor 10 or so. If you've got something, use it.

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