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[Review][Mini-Guide] Swordsman: All classes and best builds


If you are reading this, then it means you are from the future:

There is a new guide with up-to-date information and where I continue the discussion:

[Guide] Swordsman’s Battle Manual (All classes) by Cathexis

As of March 29th, 2016 this guide will no longer receive replies or updates.


This is going to be a very ambitious post, so there will be lots of room for improvement and it might be updated a lot as I find things that I missed or things that I need to further expand on.

These are also my opinions and views on the game, they are NOT facts and they are not intended to offend anyone.

The beta is almost over, so I wanted to give my general thoughts on the Swordsman tree, covering my experiences playing with multiple classes through different stages of the game (as well as partying with all sorts of builds being used by other players).

I thought a lot about on how to approach the creation of this thread, from simply listing every class and commenting on them, or perhaps separating them in power rankings. So I decided to make a mix of both and hopefully help everyone who wants to know more about making a Swordsman-based build, see what advantages and disadvantages each build has, as well as what general playing-style different builds offer that would better suit them as a player.

Now, to introduce myself, I am Cathexis and I played only Swordsman-based characters during this iCB2. On the screenshot above, you can see my characters (from left to right):

  • Ken - Level 65 Swordsman C3
  • Shirudo - Level 195 Rodelero C3 < Hoplite < Peltasta < Swordsman
  • Repia - Level 200 Fencer < Barbarian C3 < Peltasta < Swordsman
  • Supia - Level 200 Doppelsoeldner < Hoplite C3 < Peltasta < Swordsman
  • Rongu - Level 81 Highlander C3 < Swordsman

I also made couple of guides for anyone who wants more in depth information:

Hoplite Guide:
Barbarian Guide:

I don’t want to make this too long (it is gonna end up that way anyways), so let’s get right to it.


###How will I approach this?

I will start by listing every class, and I will rank each circle individually, giving it a grade on a scale out of 10:

  • Amazing (10 out of 10)
  • Very good (8~9 out of 10)
  • Good (7 out of 10)
  • Decent (6 out of 10)
  • Bad (3~5 out of 10)
  • Terrible (0~2 out of 10)

This is based on how useful the circle is in general, considering the amount of new skills, utility or damage it brings.

Then I will comment a little bit on that class, and explain my reasoning behind it and general comments.

At the end, I will make a power ranking list covering the most popular builds.

I won’t cover PvP, as I feel it is heavily underdeveloped at the moment, and with the amount of new changes coming in the future there is no point covering this topic at the moment.

###Getting some things out of the way.

1.- Every build is viable (regardless of what classes you choose) and will have no problems getting through the game. You could pick 6 different classes and you will still reach level 200.

This is very important: EVERY SINGLE BUILD IS VIABLE

2.- CON is not necessary, at all. I went through every map, every dungeon and every boss with not a single point into CON.

It always makes me sad when I see people that heavily invested into that stat, only to deal no damage, make their party worse since it takes longer to kill, as well as losing aggro in seconds because they can’t compete against a level 200 full damage Mage or Archer.

And please, don’t be one of those people that just taunts and holds C (guard) forever. This is totally unnecessary, just taunt and deal damage.

3.- Every Swordsman is a tank. It doesn’t matter what class you choose, by simply being a Swordsman you are naturally a tank. You don’t need to be a Peltasta C3 or a Rodelero C3 to be a tank.

4.- You don’t have to use 1 weapon all game. Weapon-swapping exists and you should use it. You don’t HAVE to stick to your 2-handed weapon all the time, just bring out a shield or dagger when it is needed and switch to your main weapon to deal damage. It is something really easy and fast to do.

That said, and taking all of this into consideration, I will only cover the most optimal builds.

#Classes - Short Version


  • Circle 1: Amazing (10/10)
  • Circle 2: Terrible (1/10)
  • Circle 3: Terrible (0/10)

The first circle is mandatory, and luckily it is really good. Gung Ho and Concentrate (with attributes) stay relevant for a very long time, and Bash will always remain as a source of CC. Pain Barrier could be better, but it is alright.

The second circle has Restrain, which many people think is good for PvP, but it is not. It is also not good for PvE as classes that rely on auto-attacks kill everything fast enough to not need this, and the opponents they do need it against cannot be CC’ed anyways. Pommel Beat is terrible, and while Double Slash gives Bleeding, there are better ways to get this, like Highlander.

C2 and C3 need to be reworked and actually give something good for them to become viable options in a build.


  • Circle 1: Amazing (10/10)
  • Circle 2: Terrible (1/10)
  • Circle 3: Terrible (3/10)

Circle 1 is just incredible, and I would say almost mandatory for every Swordsman build. Swash Buckling is the only real active taunt that we have in the entire tree, and it makes us able to perform the role of a tank much better (it also gives +25% extra HP when used).

Guardian, while not great by itself, gives +18% evasion with it’s attribute, which is just amazing for any character that relies on it (Barbarians, Highlanders, Corsairs, Fencers, etc).

The ability to manually block using C (while also giving +25% block and +25% defense) is just amazing as well, you can tank world bosses without taking any damage while using this.

Unfortunately, 95% of the good things from the Peltasta class come from C1 alone.

C2 is just terrible, as High Guard gives nice block at an extremely high cost, which makes it not worth it to use. Shield Lob is terrible for damage, and so is Butterfly.

The other 5% comes from Armor Break, which is given by Umbo Thrust, but in my opinion Armor Break is highly overrated and it barely makes any difference, certainly not enough to justify even going past C1 of this class.


  • Circle 1: Decent (6/10)
  • Circle 2: Very good (8/10)
  • Circle 3: Decent (6/10)

Unfortunately, it competes against Peltasta as a choice on Rank 2.

It does have an easier time at low levels, compared to Peltasta leveling. But Wagon Wheel only stays relevant as a CC source, while Cartar Stroke deals decent damage at best at high levels.

Cross Guard is really good though, as it scales off STR and character level, giving the ability to block when using a 2-Handed Sword.

The real potential of this class comes at C2 though, when Crosscut gives a reliable source of Bleeding, and Sky Liner deals good damage when attacking a Bleeding opponent. Moulinet is also pretty good, but unlike the other 2 skills, it doesn’t have overheat, which makes it get outclassed later on by skills like Corsair’s Hexen Dropper.

C3 is bad. Same argument as Peltasta, I think that people overrate Armor Break too much, but in this case it is not as bad because Vertical Slash deals more damage on targets affected by it, while you also get more points for the other skills.

While I highly recommend people to take Peltasta for their builds, there is room for builds that are based around Highlander too, especially when we consider that all Highlander skills are universal (can be used with any weapon), which gives lots of choices for build customization.

I also think that this class has some really good potential for PvP, as Bleeding, Armor Break and the “No Jump” attribute could become something to fear in the battlefield.

But for now, Highlander is just a decent class that is a jack of all trades, but master of none.


  • Circle 1: Decent (6/10)
  • Circle 2: Amazing (10/10)
  • Circle 3: Bad (5/10)

Almost too good for it’s own good.

Cleave, Helm Chopper and Seism deal insane amounts of damage, have overheat, relatively low cool-downs and in the case of the last 2 they can also stun for 2 seconds.

The real potential of this class starts at C2, when Seism becomes avaiable, since Embowel and Stomping Kick are just ok skills, but not enough to justify taking points into them.

Warcry and Frenzy become available at C2 too, which are pretty good skills to keep on increasing the damage (on different situations).

C3 only gives more points to the already good skills, but other than that it doesn’t give anything else. There is Giant Swing and Pouncing which I think are PvP oriented skills, that is why the score is low (since PvP is not taken into consideration). I also think that the stuns, as well as the C3 skills could potentially become very good for PvP, but we will see.

Same as Highlander, Barbarian skills are universal (can be used with any weapon), so it gives a lot of room for build customization.

This is hands-down the best class for mobbing builds in the entire Swordsman tree.


  • Circle 1: Decent (6/10)
  • Circle 2: Amazing (10/10)
  • Circle 3: Bad (5/10)

It is a rough start for spear users.

For C1, Stabbing is a skill that will stay relevant the entire game, but Finestra has downtime, Pierce isn’t as strong and Synchro Thrust is just terrible.

C2 is where it becomes really good, Finestra can be up 100% of the time, Pierce can actually start overkilling stuff (it also gets a 4th hit on bosses). And then there is Spear Lunge, which is just amazing since it increases the damage of Pierce type attacks, with overheat and a decent cool-down.

C3 is pretty bad, it only gets Throwing Spear with a long cool-down and unreliable CC. To be honest, it would get a much lower rating if it wasn’t because a Hoplite C3 -> Doppelsoeldner is one of the strongest builds in the game, since it can go full STR thanks to the stat efficiency gained from Finestra. Extra levels on Stabbing and Pierce are also nice.

Hands-down the best class for killing bosses in the entire Swordsman tree. Looks terrible by itself for PvP, but combination with other classes might give it the necessary tools to become better.


  • Circle 1: Terrible (3/10)
  • Circle 2: Bad (5/10)
  • Circle 3: Decent (6/10)

Ugh, yeah. I know your pain Cataphract users.

Cataphract starts from terrible, to bad and gets decent at C3. The reason is because it’s main theme, mobility, only has a 99% uptime at C3.

The skills are just bad damage-wise, but Earth Wave is pretty good on it’s own at C2 and C3, enough to carry this class through all the content. Rush is just…bad, at least if we take into consideration that it is a skill that you get at Rank 6.

So, what would be a reason for taking Cataphract? Well, luckily the new patch at korea allows them to charge their skills while moving, they also have reduced charge time and different cooldowns.

I do think this class can become a threat in PvP due to it’s mobility, which will be hard to kite for other classes.

Another interesting point is that I consider this the best farming class for when the mobs are not all together in a small area (which outside of few maps, is always the case), as they can easily move across the map due to their high movement speed, allowing them to reach and kill the mobs faster, thus making it a faster farming session.

I also think this could be THE class for Templar (Guild Leader), as mobility could be a huge deal in wars (if/when we get them).


  • Circle 1: Bad (5/10)
  • Circle 2: Terrible (3/10)
  • Circle 3: Terrible (1/10)

Before I start, keep in mind that I am taking only PvE into consideration. If this was about PvP, the ratings would be much different.

Rodelero becomes available at Rank 4, competing against the likes of Barbarian C2 and Hoplite C2. Their damage is just sub-par compared to other Swordsman classes, and it just makes it harder to advance through the game.

C2 does have Slithering, that is able to nullify every magical attack, for 10 seconds, every 35 seconds. And to be honest, this is not needed at all during PvE. Maybe if we get some boss with really strong magical attacks in the future, but currently there is none.

The damage only gets decent at C3, with the combo of High Kick and Targe Smash. However, this is at Rank 6, and you are now competing against Corsair C2, Fencer, Doppelsoeldner, Cataphract C3, which just makes your attacks look cute when trying to deal any significant amount of damage.

Overall the class is not needed for PvE at the moment, we will see if that changes for the future, but for now this is purely a class that excels at PvP.


  • Circle 1: Good (7/10)
  • Circle 2: Very Good (9/10)

Now, I will cheat a little bit in this part, as Squire is the only Yellow-colored class in the Swordsman tree, and I can’t really evaluate it as I did with the other classes. In this case, I will just evaluate what they get and how it is useful in the game.

So, starting at C1 you get Repair and Weapon Maintenance which are great skills on their own. Repair in particular will make you be loved by your parties during long-grinding sessions or when trying to clear long dungeons.

C2 just gets even better, as Repair and Weapon Maintenance become stronger and you also get access to Base Camp and those delicious food buffs from Refreshment Table.

The only thing I feel is weird in this class is the extremely long duration and cooldown of Base Camp, which I feel is unnecessary and could work much better with lower numbers.

I also think that Armor Maintenance needs to offer better benefits to become a real competition against Weapon Maintenance and thus having a choice of picking one or the other. Right now, Weapon Maintenance wins by a large margin.


  • Circle 1: Decent (6/10)
  • Circle 2: Very good (9/10)

This is a class that has lots of synergy with almost every previous class available, from Peltasta, to Highlander, Barbarian, Hoplite even Rodelero. This is a great point to it, as it allows a very flexible build to follow if one wants to become a Corsair.

C1 only really gives Jolly Roger, which is fine for PvE. And Dust Devil deals decent damage as well, on relatively low cooldown, with overheat.

The real potential of this class comes at C2, when you get access to Hexen Dropper and Double Weapon Assault, which are incredibly skills for dealing damage fast.

A reason why C2 isn’t ranked as “10/10”, is because DWA uses 2 stamina per hit.

Depending on the build, Corsair could move from having the best single target DPS in the entire Swordsman tree, to being really good at mobbing and good at bosses.

I also think that Iron Hook, Keel Hauling and Dust Devil could become real threats in PvP, specially since Keel Hauling can cause Bleeding.


  • Circle 1: Amazing (10/10)

Fencer is just incredible, as it gets a bunch of skills that have lots of synergy between them, as well as with other classes’ skills.

Flanconnade is just amazing, with 0 cooldown and really good damage it becomes a reliable source of damage when your other skills are on cooldown. Most skills are fluid and fast, and even deal multiple hits such as Lunge and Sept Etoiles.

Esquive Toucher is the only skill that could become a little better. The evasion buff only lasts for 1 second and the animation is too slow (takes too much time initially too) for the damage it does. But it doesn’t affect the score, as with 5 skills to choose from, there are barely enough skill points.

With the correct build, this is hands-down the best class to tank with at Rank 6. It has lots of evasion, lots of block, lots of damage (to never lose aggro), and while it doesn’t have the highest damage output, it certainly is up there with the big players.


  • Circle 1: Amazing (10/10)

Cyclone. It instantly makes any build better.

It is way too good, deals too much damage, it has overheat and relatively low cool-down for the amount of damage it can do.

Deeds of Valor is another great buff, perhaps the best buff in the entire Swordsman tree. Considering how low of a role defense has in this game, giving 50% of it to gain 50% extra physical attack (which you are most likely already focusing on anyways) is simply a great deal.

Yes, Punish and Mordschlag are a thing. They are not too impressive damage-wise, but I think they are fine. And in the case of Mordschlag, it provides a pretty funny knock back (more like send flying away) as utility.

Double Pay Earn is also great for getting extra rewards from last-hitting mobs while using it. It is something to use only on certain occasions, but it is alright.

Overall, even though it has some iffy skills, Cyclone and Deeds of Valor alone are enough justification to make this an amazing pick up for any build.

#Build Rankings

##Tier 1

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Barbarian C3 -> Doppelsoeldner


  • Best build for mobbing
  • Can use a hybrid build or a high DEX build
  • Can use different types of weapons (universal skills)
  • Can use a shield whenever it is required (Taunt as well)


  • Deeds of Valor doesn’t activate on dodge, so it might be awkward for builds heavy on evasion
  • Doesn’t have consistent access to Pierce-type damage
  • Has low DPS on long fights (relative to the other builds)

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Hoplite C3 -> Doppelsoldner


  • Best build for bosses
  • Can go full STR
  • Highest auto-attack damage of all builds
  • Great for mobbing
  • Can use a shield whenever it is required (Taunt as well)


  • Stuck with Spear as main weapon
  • Doesn’t have consistent access to Strike-type damage
  • Low amount of CC

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Barbarian C3 -> Fencer


  • Best tank in the game
  • Highest evasion of all Swordsman builds
  • Access to all types of damage: Strike, Slash and Pierce.
  • Can use a shield whenever it is required (Taunt as well)
  • Good for mobbing


  • Stuck with Rapier as main weapon
  • Rapiers have very low durability
  • Low damage on auto-attacks, relies on skills mostly
  • SP could become a problem without good equipment

##Tier 2

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Hoplite C2 -> Corsair C2


  • Very high DPS against bosses
  • Auto-attacks deal big damage, thanks to a STR-based build
  • Better synergy with Double Weapon Assault due to better auto-attacks
  • Can use a shield whenever it is required (Taunt as well)


  • Has no consistent access to Strike-type damage
  • Is stuck with Spear as main weapon
  • Isn’t as good when mobbing as other builds

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Barbarian C2 -> Corsair C2


  • High DPS against bosses
  • Can rely on auto-attacks during skill cooldowns thanks to Double Weapon Assault
  • Has access to all types of damage: Slash, Strike and Pierce
  • High Evasion compared to it’s counterpart
  • Better mobbing compared to it’s counterpart
  • Can use a shield whenever it is required (Taunt as well)


  • Stuck with a Sword to fully use the kit of the build
  • Lower auto-attack damage compared to it’s counterpart

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Barbarian C2 -> Squire C2


  • Good for mobbing due to Barbarian skills, good enough to get by as a Squire
  • Access to all Squire skills
  • Access to taunt and high evasion make a pretty good tank
  • Can switch between different weapons to deal damage


  • Has no consistent access to Pierce-type damage
  • Could lose aggro from bosses if a really high damage build is in the party

#Tier 3

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Hoplite C2 -> Squire C2


  • Better at bosses than it’s counterpart
  • Access to all Squire skills
  • Access to taunt, makes a decent tank


  • It is not so good for mobbing
  • Has no consistent access to Slash or Strike type damage
  • Stuck with Spear as main weapon

Swordsman -> Highlander C3 -> Doppelsoeldner


  • Can stick mainly to Two-Handed Sword as main weapon
  • Can pick up any class to fill the missing Rank (Peltasta, Squire, Barbarian, Rodelero)
  • Has consistent access to Bleed
  • Has access to Armor Break
  • Can block using Two-Handed Sword (and shield if using Peltasta)
  • High Evasion


  • Not as good at mobbing as other builds
  • If it doesn’t pick Peltasta to fill the missing Rank, then it has no taunt
  • Deeds of Valor doesn’t activate on dodge, so it might be awkward on high evasion builds

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Highlander C3 -> Fencer


  • Best tank in the game
  • Better at bosses than it’s counterpart
  • High burst damage through Lunge and Slash-type skills
  • Access to all types of damage: Strike, Slash, Pierce
  • Has consistent access to Bleeding
  • Has access to Armor Break
  • Can use a shield when required (Block)


  • Has to stick with Rapiers, so it cannot use Cross Guard
  • Rapiers have low durability
  • Isn’t as good as mobbing as other builds

#Tier 4

Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Hoplite -> Cataphract C3


  • Highest mobility
  • Decent at mobbing at Rank 6
  • Can switch between One-Handed Spear + Shield and Two-Handed Spear
  • Great tank during grinding parties as it can quickly move across the screen to gather mobs
  • Has access to taunt


  • Low damage output during long fights
  • Stuck to Spears as main weapons
  • Has no consistent access to Slash-type damage

#Special mentions

This is a PvE list, so…

There are multiple Highlander builds that I could have included. However, they are not as good as the ones already posted and are mostly PvP oriented builds.

For the same reason, Rodelero builds were skipped.

[Swordsman] Special builds
Path to Dragoon
[Guide] Swordsman's Battle Manual (All classes) - By Cathexis
[Need advice] "Guild Master" build
Need opinions on my planned swordie build
New to tree of savior and wanted to ask a few questions

Saved just in case. “Classes - Long Version” perhaps?


Hmmmmmm., I do see some light with Rodelero in PvE… but sadly though you will need to at least couple it with damaging classes early on., Like HL2 > RDL3 but that would make swashbuckling unavailable to your kit. Pelt1 > Brb 1 > RDL3 can be a better option with +50 crit chance buff from cleave and another strike attack with helm chopper which is amplified by high kick. Sadly that build will still lack in DPS and might be hard to mob later in the game


Some points I disagree:

Armor Break - No people aren’t overrating it, it’s really amazing on world bosses. Lv 5 SS lasts for 30s with 40s cd.
And, take a loot at this for example

455 Defense.
That means a single Skull Swing just adds more than double maxed blessing’s damage to all physical classes.
Better yet this is defense reduction, which means any damage you gain from this gains from enhance attributes, critical’s 50% bonus and all else.
Oh and it’s a debuff on the boss so doesn’t even take a buff slot.

The recent KR change to make Sky Liner have no cooldown pushes Highlander as elite/boss killing class essentially.

Cataphract - Ok, not so much fully disagree, just that even in PvE the ability to attack while moving is quite useful.

Squire - Sadly the weight limit makes Squire c1 really only useful for afk shop, with C2 you can put those kits into the camp so this effect is alleviated. Also unless people are dying left n right you shouldn’t need to repair mid-dungeon.


Tree of Sav… Swordsman ftw :laughing:



That is why I say at the beginning that every build is viable. But when compared against the best builds out there, it doesn’t provide enough to compete against them.


Thanks for the contribution.

Most of the damage dealt to world bosses comes from magic though. Not sure what server you are playing on, but I often see level 200 mages just stealing aggro from Dullahan even though there are multiple Swordsman builds fighting it (pre-exploit era of course).

Armor Break does help, but it is gonna take minutes to kill a world boss with or without it. It won’t make any significant difference in my opinion.

At the same time, this is exactly why I consider a Highlander C3 a better source of Armor Break than Peltasta C3, as it not only brings that but Bleeding as well as much, much more damage.

The overrated thing is mostly about people that try justifying taking something like Peltasta C3 just for the Armor Break, when a better option exists in Highlander, and they are only gonna be really using it on certain situations as normal mobs don’t really need Armor Break to be killed.

For Squire, going with Hoplite gives lots of STR which translates into lots of weight limit, so I think that is a good option for people that want that option and don’t mind giving up evasion for it.


Pelt 3 might become better this obt with the skill incoming.,
It’s a buff (imo) which lets you attack and block at the same time which is quite OP in paper and must be tested in-game.
Rodelero PvE will just need some good classes to couple it up like fencer (but its pierce mostly) or Dragoon (still another pierce) and who knows, R8 classes might spawn mauler or the panzer class leaked before


It is not a buff unfortunately, it is an attack which deals 2 to 4 hits of mediocre damage. There is a video going around, I think I might have seen it on the on-going thread of the korean closed beta 3. If I find it, I will link it here.


Ah sad.,
I was really looking forward to that skill that it might make pelt c3 more valuable for tanking purposes.

Another note will be Cataphracts., They are quite buffed now with the CDs being lowered to like half of the original CDs and the 4 core skills can be charged while moving really helps them alot (mostly PvP though, but who knows) making them really a jack of all trades swordie.
Also in my opinion they are the best class to make when one wants to be a Templar cause of the mobility it offers and also that Dragoon’s skills are not currently working for them.


All of that about Cataphracts which is said on my original post =P

Couldn’t find the video of Langort, but I am sure one will come out soon.


Oh., the Templar part of your post I haven;t read., sorry bout that


what about this build, where does it fit in the rankings?

Swordsman c1 -> Peltasta c1 -> Highlander c3 -> Doppelsoeldner c1 -> Templar

also what do you mean by build tiers? is tier1 better than tier3 or the opposite? sorry don’t understand.

Your Swordsman -> Peltasta -> Highlander C3 -> Fencer build looks interesting for me, but i don’t want to be stuck with only rapiers. Also to my understanding, rapiers using shields won’t gain some bonuses when not using shield. thats why i at first didn’t think it would be a good match when using with shield initially.


Good guide overall. Obviously written from a PvE perspective only (or swordman 3 wouldnt be rated terrible ;p).

Only problem I have is where you say all swordsman are tank but it’s worth noting without taunt your tanky but not a tank (cant keep mobs off party)


Why isn’t restrain good for pvp? Doesn’t it synergize well with stabbing and double weapon assault?


Does the Crosscut bleed damage increase as you level the skill or is it a static value across all levels?


You need to hit it at point blank range, which won’t happen in PvP


You need to hit at point blank range for most swordsman skills anyway. It’s what dash is there for, or keel hauling, or long stride. So I don’t see your point.


This analysis takes into consideration the skills that are moved to higher circles of rank5+?

Sorry for the bag english


Except there are skills that cast faster than your auto attack, and has 100% knock down rate, with bigger AoE as well


So? They’re still close range. Which is apparently why restrain is bad according to you.