For a full list of two-handed perks, see here.

A two-handed build in Bannerlord will allow you to maximise damage and speed with two-handed axes and swords. This is by far the most aggressive melee build on foot that you can create. The main advantage comes in battles which are fought in close quarters, away from the line of sight of archer, crossbow, and throwing weapon units. You will be able to execute both swing and strike attacks through multiple enemies, and you can increase the speed at which they hit by sprinting toward your target and moving your mouse in the direction of attack at the same time. The main disadvantage of this build is your vulnerability to ranged units. If you are committed to a two-handed build, you will need to focus on maintaining good footwork to avoid incoming projectiles. The best way to do this is by running parallel to enemy ranged units, and swiftly zig-zagging toward them as you force them to enter melee combat. In this scenario a two-handed build can thrive on defeating multiple enemies quickly, especially with the superior reach over one-handed weapons and the higher base damage.

If you want to focus on creating a two-handed melee build, you will benefit from selecting the following background skills during character creation (for a full breakdown of background skills, see Defining Background Skills):

  • Family - ’Urban Blacksmith:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to Smithing and Two-Handed weapons. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor.

  • Early Childhood - ’Your brawn:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to Two-Handed weapons and Throwing. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor.

  • Adolescence - ’At docks and building sites:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to Athletics and Smithing. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor.

  • Youth - ’Trained with the infantry:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to Polearm and One-Handed weapons. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor.

  • Young Adulthood - ’You defeated an enemy in battle:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to One-Handed weapons and Two-Handed weapons. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor. +1 to Valor and +20 Renown.

  • Story Background - ’You subdued a raider:’ +10 Skill Level and 1 Focus Point to One-Handed weapons and Athletics. 1 Attribute Point to Vigor.

Note: These background skills are recommended based on the core improvements to this specific combat type. You may wish to select different skills to balance other areas of development in trade, crafting, social, and leadership abilities depending on your preferences.

Selecting these background skills will provide you with the highest skill in two-handed weapons and their associated attributes and skills at the beginning of the game. You can then gradually improve your skill in two-handed weapons by investing attribute points in Vigor and skill points in two-handed combat. This will increase the learning rate of of that particular skill, allowing you to level it faster as you use two-handed weapons in battle scenarios. The more two-handed swords and axes are used, the faster your skill level with them will increase. This applies even to the amount of times that you execute a simple swing or strike with them. The most experience is earned upon successful hits, especially if you are able to kill one or more enemies with one hit, but you can also earn experience with practice swings during a lull in fighting.

The two-handed perk tree allows you to increase competence in wielding both two-handed swords and axes. You will not be forced to enhance abilites with one while neglecting the other, as with the one-handed perk tree. However, you are given more options in terms of managing both your party and any settlements that you might be the governor of. For example, at level 50 in the two-handed perk tree, you can choose between decreasing the wage cost of garrisoned units by 5%, or increase the maximum size of the garrison by 10. While these are fairly minor changes, the former will have a significant impact over time as you save 5% on wages each day, while the latter could help to ensure that an important settlement is defended. The increased garrison size of 10 may not seem like much, but if those units are elite archers, they can take out a significant number of enemies before they even reach your walls.

The two-handed perk tree also allows you to specialise in demoralising your enemies on the battlefield. For example, level 150 unlocks the perk Eviscerator, which automatically inflicts 30% enemy morale loss when you wield a two-handed weapon. Level 200 allows you to decrease this further, reducing enemy morale at the beginning of a battle if you choose the Legendary Two-Handed perk. The two-handed perk tree also allows you to focus on a kind of berserker build. This begins at level 25 with the base increase of +1.5% to two-handed weapon damage, but is further enhanced at level 125 when you can increase the damage of any successful secondary hit by 40%. This encourages the use of combos to strike down multiple enemies in quick succession, more information on which can be learned in the combat guide. At level 250 you can choose to increase the chances that your attacks will negate enemy armour, or increase the possibility of inflicting knockdowns on any hit.

Note: The main differences between a two-handed sword or axe comes down to attack speed, handling, cut damage, and pierce damage. Length is relatively similar, though axes have a slight advantage in swing reach. Swords are generally faster and have better handling, while axes have superior cut damage but no pierce damage, making them weaker against heavily armoured opponents.

In terms of equipment for a two-handed build, you can utilise four weapon slots. This allows you to alternate between both a two-handed sword and a two-handed axe. You can then switch between these on the battlefield, depending on the situation of the battle. In general, if you’re facing heavily armoured opponents, you will benefit from the pierce damage of a sword. If you’re facing numerous light armoured troops, the axe will inflict more cut damage. Although having both sword and axe active in your weapon slots affords you some versatility in battle, carrying the extra weight will slow you down on foot, reducing maneuverability. It is also worth considering having a backup one-handed weapona and shield in the other two slots, allowing you to switch to a more defensive build at short notice if you’re overwhelmed by ranged units. Alternatively, you can equip a ranged weapon yourself - either bow, crossbow, or two packs of thrown weapons - to deal with ranged units more directly, rather than waiting for your own units to face them.

Tip: If you want to build the ultimate berserker class, you should avoid carrying additional weapons. A shield in particular will slow you down significantly without the benefit of one-handed perks which reduce its weight. While Carrying only one main weapon will impede your ability to adapt, you can compensate by slotting a number of small throwables, such as knives or axes, to provide a swift response to archers.

The best two-handed swords and axes are generally those which can be crafted. However, if you don’t want to invest in the crafting system and would rather find equivalents at marketplaces or from battle loot, you should look out for the following:

Two-handed swords:

  • Thamaskene Steel Two Hander: Excellent cut damage, pierce damage, and thrust speed
Swing Speed Cut Damage Thrust Speed Pierce Damage Length Handling
94 128 95 56 111 86
  • Battanian Mountain Blade: Excellent handling, good pierce damage but less cut damage
Swing Speed Cut Damage Thrust Speed Pierce Damage Length Handling
105 99 100 52 105 93
  • Southern Broad Kaskara: Decent cut and pierce damage, superior reach
Swing Speed Cut Damage Thrust Speed Pierce Damage Length Handling
96 116 97 41 125 93

Two-handed axes:

  • Heavy Executioners Axe: Excellent cut damage, superior reach
Swing Speed Cut Damage Length Handling
76 133 138 69
  • Northern Decorated Two Handed Axe: Superior cut damage, less reach
Swing Speed Cut Damage Length Handling
77 138 121 70
  • Bearded Axe: Superior swing speed and handling, less cut damage
Swing Speed Cut Damage Length Handling
102 89 89 88

Note: These are just a few of the best weapons of these types in Bannerlord, but each of the above have been chosen for their different strengths in specific categories.

These weapons are not too difficult to find in the early game, but they can be expensive. The swords are much more expensive than axes, with their main advantage being speed and pierce damage. Each of these weapons can be found on the battlefield, especially after fighting a lord. It is therefore recommended that you join a faction and participate in a large battle with an ally lord against an enemy lord as soon as possible. This will allow you to earn a lot of money in a short amount of time, while also providing you with an opportunity to loot some of the best items with little effort.

Guide Information

  • Publisher
    TaleWorlds Entertainment
  • Platforms
    PC, Steam
  • Genre
    Action RPG, Sandbox
  • Guide Release
    23 April 2020
  • Last Updated
    29 October 2020
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Scott Peers

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The empire of Calradia is plagued by inner conflict, tearing the structure of the old order as new lines are drawn on the map. The chaos creates a dangerous world, with opportunities to capitalise on the uncertainty of the future. Control trade routes to manipulate production and distribution of resources, join factions to gain renown and influence world politics, or create your own clan to build a world of your own. Whatever path you choose, this guide will help you to understand the intricacies of the Bannerlord economy, combat, factions, skills and perks, tactics, troop types, character builds, smithing system, quests, and much more to ensure that you are never left wondering what to do next, or how you might go about doing it.

  • Guide to quests for each region, includes main quests and side quests
  • Guide to combat system, includes basic and advanced techniques for different weapons
  • Guide to combat tactics, includes how to organise troops on the battlefield and simulation battles
  • Guide to attribute, skill, and perk systems, includes recommended perks for each character build
  • Guide to companion system, includes where to find the best companions and how to get the most out of them
  • Guide to the economy system, includes detailed description of trade system and each method for gaining wealth

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