Ghost of Tsushima: Legends – Getting Started Guide (+ Leveling Up Tips)

Upon first booting up Legends, you will choose a class & focus on leveling your gear and rank in order to participate in game modes. Unlike the single-player game, you will have certain abilities based on your Class & are forced to choose a Katana stance (there are ways to have more than one later on). This guide is in the hopes of helping you get started with frequently asked questions on those topics.


If you don’t have time to read the details below, each class works well for any game mode. For Raids & Story you typically want things that are geared for particular scenarios (ie killing Onis or stealth kills) to save you time and make them efficient. For Survival, DPS is king when it comes to speed, second is Survivability.


The best classes today are Ronin & Hunter for speedrunning Survival. Assassin is a strong class for easily completing Stories but not necessarily the fastest vs Ronin or Hunter still. Samurai lacks any clear spot as ‘best’ for any of those (DPS, survivability, supprt, etc) but is good at each overall.


You want your Ki level as high as possible all the time. In Challenge modes, anything below 120 Ki (max Ki) will mean you do slightly less outgoing damage and you take slightly more incoming damage (in Gold being Ki 105+ is the same)


Rank is irrelevant, it only affects the techniques you unlock until Rank 18, then it is purely for bragging rights of how many hours you’ve played.


The best stance will be the one you like most and understand best mechanically. Being able to Perfect Parry is much more valuable than using the appropriate stance to counter enemies. Until 110 Ki, the best stance for overall damage output and performance will be Stone or Moon. At 120 Ki Stone, Moon, & Water will all be similar/equivalent for total usage (due to the 2-perk Mastery system). Wind will generally be the least valuable.


The Mastery process augments your gear to the final Ki level. of 120 110 Ki is the maximum-obtained gear via random drops in game modes. From there you may choose to ‘bind’ the gear to a particular class (no longer usable by any other class, with a few exceptions).


How to Choose a Class?

When you first get started, you have one of the toughest choices you’ll ever make, choosing a class. Luckily it is very easy to unlock subsequent classes, so for now, simply focus on the play-style you like most and try it out. Worst case, you have to grind a few Ranks (levels) out to unlock a different class to try.

There are two ways to choose a class, the ‘classic’ way and the ‘meta’ way. The Classic way consists of maximizing the particular skills of the class in its traditional sense (ie a Samurai focuses only on melee, a Ronin focuses only on support/healing, etc). The Meta way consists of looking at the end-game builds and building to those strategies (i.e. for Samurai & Ronin they both use Bomb Pack, Assassin has a more Melee-centric style). Regardless, each class can hold its own in terms of healing & killing in all modes, it mostly comes down to your playstyle preferences.


  • The Samurai is the melee-centric of the four classes. He has an Ultimate that allows him to strike multiple targets in rapid succession. He has techniques that further augment his skill in melee combat. Uses a sword primarily.


  • The hunter is the range-centric of the four classes. She has an Ultimate that allows her to achieve multiple headshots simultaneously. She has techniques that further augment her skill in ranged combat. Uses a bow primarily.


  • The ronin is hybrid-centric of the four classes. He has an Ultimate that allows him to revive ‘downed’ teammates. He has techniques that boost multiple play-styles (status effects, healing, damage) in multiple combat forms. Has the ability to use bombs.


  • The assassin is the stealth-centric of the four classes. He has an Ultimate that allows him to pinpoint targets & teleport to each performing a powerful attack. He has techniques that further augment his skill in stealth combat. Has the ability to use blowdarts.


What is Ki Level?

Ki Level is what is going to dictate most of your gameplay progression. There is a secondary leveling mechanic, Rank, which will affect you early game (to unlock your class techniques), but has no effect on gameplay.

Ki is a combined level of all the gear you currently have equipped. There are 5 gear slots (that start with 5 pieces of basic gear). As you complete missions, you will receive rewards at the end of randomly generated gear with random Properties & Perks.

Total Ki

Your Total Ki Level is the average of the 5 pieces of gear. An example would be if you had a 20 Ki katana, 16 Ki Shortbow, 18 Ki Charm, 16 Ki Kunai, & 20 Ki Smoke bomb, your Total Ki would be 18 (20 + 16 + 18 + 16 + 20 = 90 / 5 = 18).

Your Total Ki Level is what will effect which game modes you will have access to. There are 3 game modes: Story, Survival & Raid. Story & Survival are available right away & have 4 difficulties (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Nightmare). Raids are end-game content with only one difficulty level.

As you obtain more gear, you will progressively gain access to more difficult content. It is important that as you find higher Ki gear, you equip it in order to continue finding even more higher Ki gear to then reach the next difficulty.

What does Ki do?

Ki makes your outgoing attacks do more damage and incoming damage is reduced by a small portion. This is on a Total Ki change (ie Ki 111 vs Ki 110).

For all ‘Challenge’ game modes, here is a detailed Ki-by-Ki breakdown of the number of Square Katana Strikes (aka regular attack) to kill a Purple Oni Lord (44-hp bar)

As shown, the higher lvl your Ki is, the less strikes it will take to kill a Purple Oni Lord.

Ki-Levels Post-rivals


End Game Ki

End-game, you are aiming to have all 120 Ki gear pieces. First you will reach 105 Ki, then by completing the ‘Weeklies’ (each Challenge Mode completion), you will begin earning 110 Ki gear.

You may also re-roll gear from 105 -> 110 (1 roll). In order to save resources AND maximize perfect stats, if you are able to get 110 drops in the Challenge modes each week, these drop with whole number % (ie 10%) so are more likely to drop with a perfect stat you need (Such as 12% melee on a Katana) vs having to spend a lot of time rerolling gear.


What is Rank?

Rank has very little bearing on Legends. Initially, it is a way for you to progress each Class and unlock your Techniques. Reaching Rank 18 will unlock every Technique available to a particular class. Reaching Rank 20 (with all classes) for the achievement, is a good way to say “Ok I have begun to understand the basics of each class”.

After passing Rank 18, you should then focus on leveling up your Ki until you are able to access Challenge modes (Nightmare Story, Nightmare Survival, Tale of Iyo Raid). Rank beyond 18 is mostly just a ‘bragging rights’ level as to how much you play a particular class and how much time you have put into Legends. There are many players with all Classes at Rank 100+ and some who have even gone to 200+.


Which Stance is best?

Depending on who you ask, you will get a different answer for which Stance is best in Legends. Do you favor the fluidity of Water? The finesse of Wind? The power of Stone? The magic of Moon?

Each Stance opposes a particular enemy type, which is easily countered by pressing triangle (automatically performs a parry instead of getting hit). Using other stances will have the enemies counter you or worse result in you taking damage when the attack. So let’s break them down.


Stone is the easiest stance to use for high DPS. Holding triangle gives you 3 hp bars of dmg on the initial stab. Other stances lack this dps without more successive strikes or Master Stance

Where Stone is less versatile will be Shield enemies & staggering. It does less stagger damage than other weapons and can be tricky to master when it comes to timing the stabs.

Overall this is a good mid/end-game stance


Water is the easiest stance to use for Ease of Use. Holding Triangle gives you a fast flurry of attacks that can easily attack most enemies, especially helping to guard-break Shieldman. It offers decent damage as well.

Where Water is less versatile will be Staggering & Resolve gain. While it offers more strikes, those do less dmg each & gain less resolve than other stances.

Overall this is a good early/mid/end-game stance.


Wind stance is the easiest stance to use for Staggers. Holding Triangle gives you a nice Kick which is great for shutting down a lot of enemies & easy to use in most cases. It is great for countering Spearmen & Oni Lords, enemies that are tough when it comes to timing for parries.

Where Wind is less versatile will be Damage output & Resolve gain. The kick does very little damage and gains some resolve BUT the triangle tap is a very slow attack compared to other stances, making it tricky to easily use without getting hit first.

Overall this is a good early/mid-game stance.


Moon stance is the easiest stance to use for general performance. It offers good DPS, Resolve, & Stagger. Holding Triangle is great for shutting down Brute opponents & hitting enemies with an AOE around you.

Where Moon is less versatile will be Ease-of-Use. It can be a tricky stance to adapt to, but offers good strategies in a variety of situations. Implementing ‘Moon Cancels’ (an animation cancel) is a very popular end-game strategy.

Overall this is a good mid/end-game stance.

Ranking Stances

Stances will be ranked based on a few categories: DPS (damage per second), Stagger, Resolve Gain, Ease-of-Use, & their Master Perk. The total is a collective of all these categories (with a scoring system 1-5 for each category).


Leveling Up Tips

Levels: 0 – 105

Equip higher Ki gear after every match.

Whether you’re playing story, survival, or rivals, make sure to equip your highest Ki gear after every match, because the possible Ki range your new drops can be is calculated based on your current, equipped Ki. Even if it means having a weird or sub-par build for a match or two (which is good anyway, because you want to try out all the different gear so you get a feel for how it all functions).

Don’t spend resources upgrading anything until you hit 105 Ki.

Just play for drops, and delete anything that no longer helps you (to start banking extra resources). However, DON’T delete Legendaries or Cursed gear. Keep them, because they come into play later. And once you start getting purple gear (especially gear at 105), start hanging onto stuff–because then it’s time to start thinking about your build, and you’re going to soon want extras for other reasons (some later features ask you to delete a bunch of a certain kind of gear, so you’ll want a stockpile eventually).

Play the right level of content.

Gear drops cap out with a max Ki depending on the content level (Bronze: 35, Silver: 80, Gold: 105). Don’t wait until you have everything at the cap; jump into higher-level content as soon as you feel like you can do it without being totally overwhelmed and frustrated (because your Ki determines how tough the enemies are–if you’re underleveled, you’ll feel it, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from it either).

Levels: 110+

You’ll eventually cap out at 105 Ki. To raise your Ki beyond that (to 110), you have a few options.

Play the weekly Nightmare challenge for each activity

Beating it gives you a single legendary item at 110 Ki, once per activity per week. Then, keep playing Nightmare. With one (or two, if you’re using the extra Legendary technique) piece of 110 gear equipped, you’ll begin seeing your regular, non-weekly Nightmare rewards have higher Ki, all the way up to 110 (once again, since drops are ranged based on your current Ki, you’ll see it climb as you get more gear at higher Ki–when you’re 110, most of your Nightmare drops will be 109-110 Ki).

Pay for items to 110 Ki

When you reroll a piece of gear, its Ki will raise. If it’s below 105, it’ll immediately go up to 105 (even 25 Ki green rarity gear–assuming your overall Ki is 105, which it should be; remember, don’t reroll anything until 105). This is a great way to bring up Legendaries you got at a lower Ki level, and also why you started holding on to purple drops–you can start deciding on a build.

If you’re at or just a little above 105 Ki, the item you reroll will only go up 1 Ki at a time. But the higher your overall Ki, the higher a reroll will go–you can take a 90 Ki item straight to 110 if your average Ki is already 110. You can even increase an item’s rarity (color) by rerolling–meaning you can take a blue to a purple and gain an extra stat! This makes rerolling quite costly, but it saves time. All classes can also equip most items, so a single katana, for example, can be equipped by multiple classes–meaning you can bring all your classes up to 110 Ki easily once you just get one of them there.

Levels: 110 – 120 (Mastery)

The Mastery process takes Gear from 110 Ki -> 120 Ki through a Binding process. The purpose is so that you may add a 2nd Perk to the Gear and be more powerful in game modes. 120 Ki also grants you the appropriate Ki to have the best Damage output and best Defense for incoming damage from enemies.

To start, you must have a gear at 110 Ki. You choose to Bind it to a particular class (no other class may use it, with a few exceptions**) and pay 2,000 Essence to begin the process. Then you must complete 5 Mastery Challenges. For each completed, your Ki on that gear is increased by 2 (112/114/116/118/120). The Challenges at 110/114/118 are re-rollable for a resource cost and come from a set list of choices (some are easier/harder than others). The Challenges at 112/116 are much more limited and gear-specific and are NOT re-rollable (either you must complete the challenge or pay to skip it).

Cursed Gear & Purity Tokens

There is a new gear introduced to the game called ‘Cursed’ Gear. Cursed Gear has a challenge to complete, a penalty that occurs while its equipped, and detriments to two property statistics (such as -7% to Perfect Parry window, making it much tougher to Perfect Parry). These gear are relatively easy to complete and should be done in solo mode OR with a team of friends (you can earn bonus resources of 25% at the end of a game mode by completing a Curse in that game mode).

Cursed Gear will grant you Purity Tokens. Each Gear has its own unique Token (Katana/Ranged/Charm/GW1/GW2, 5 in total). Purity Tokens have two purposes: 

First they let you skip a Mastery Challenge & secondly they let you assign a 2nd Perk to a 120 Ki gear (completed mastery).

Be sure to gather up a few cursed gear and keep a few tokens handy if you would like to have multiple builds or multiple items available for each class.

Cursed Gear has a chance to drop in all Gold & Challenge modes of the game. They have the same drop slot as Legendary gear in some modes (such as Nightmare Survival) and in others (such as Trials) do not appear.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 2707 Articles
My first game was Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot (PlayStation) back in 1996. And since then gaming has been my main hobby. I turned my passion for gaming into a job by starting my first geek blog in 2009. When I’m not working on the site, I play mostly on my PlayStation. But I also love outdoor activities and especially skiing.

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