Guardian Spirits in Nioh provide the player with individualized Living Weapons and passive benefits. They will also protect the player's Amrita upon death.

Living Weapon is used by pressing + when the meter is full. Trigger the weapon changes the Health and Ki gauge to the Living Weapon gauge. As long as the gauge is active, you are impervious to damage and your close combat attacks inflict more damage. The gauge decreases over time and when enemy attacks land. Once the gauge is depleted its effects wear off. While a Living Weapon is active, pressing + O  will perform your Guardian Spirit's unique skill.

In New Game Plus, you may select the Enhance Guardian option to spend Amrita to upgrade the effectiveness of your Guardian Spirits. Each Spirit can be leveled up to 30 and doing so improves their Protection and Living Weapon stats nominally. DLC: Dragon of the North added NekomataBisha's Centipede and Blue Dragon spirits.

With patch 1.08, you can now equip a second Guardian Spirit, which will confer a passive benefit. You can alternate which is your primary spirit for living weapon as you wish. With a secondary guardian, you not only inherit one of its halved attributes, but also get a combination attribute.

This combination attribute is determined by the dual spirits. The general rule is based on spirit element combination: (contributed by /u/aquCHAOS)

  • ELEMENTAL DAMAGE: 2 spirits with same element
  • WEAKEN MELEE WEAPONS: fire + water
  • KI RECOVERY SPEED: fire + wind
  • LUCK: fire + earth
  • QUICK ATTACK DAMAGE: fire + lightning
  • LIFE RECOVERY (AFTER USING LIVING WEAPON): water + wind
  • LIFE: water + earth
  • EXTEND ELEMENTAL EFFECT: water + lightning
  • GUARD KI REDUCTION: wind + earth
  • DASH SPEED: wind + lightning
  • ELEMENTAL DAMAGE REDUCTION (GUARD): earth + lightning


Besides the general rule, there are also a lot of exceptions. Some of the exceptions are pretty interesting attributes. In the video I tested all the possible spirits combinations, trying to find out all the exceptions. Here is the complete exception list (Video):

 

 couple with Saoirse:

  • SKILL DAMAGE: Saoirse + Kato
  • CLOSE COMBAT LIFE RECOVERY: Saoirse + Isonade
  • EVASION KI USAGE: Saoirse + Daiba-washi
  • LIFE RECOVERY FROM AMRITA ABSORB: Saoirse + Fuse-ushi
  • AMRITA EARNED: Saoirse + Mizuchi
  • SKILL KI DAMAGE: Saoirse + Paired Raiken
  • CLOSE COMBAT ATTACK (CRITICAL): Saoirse + Hi-nezumi
  • LIFE RECOVERY BY KILLING STRIKE: Saoirse + Aya-komori
  • GRAPPLE DAMAGE: Saoirse + Enko
  • STRONG ATTACK KI DAMAGE: Saoirse + Usura-hicho
  • NINJUTSU POWER: Saoirse + Gyokuto
  • RETRIEVE LOST AMRITA: Saoirse + Narikama Tanuki
  • STRONG ATTACK LIFE DRAIN: Saoirse + Shin-Roku
  • LONG RANGE ATTACK DAMAGE: Saoirse + Yatagarasu
  • AMRITA EARNED (USING LIVING WEAPON): Saoirse + Suzaku
  • SKILL LIFE DRAIN: Saoirse + Kara-jishi
  • EARN AMRITA (STRONG ATTACK): Saoirse + Izuna
  • ONMYO MAGIC POWER: Saoirse + Genbu
  • LIFE RECOVERY BY GRAPPLE: Saoirse + Atlas Bear
  • THROWN WEAPON DAMAGE: Saoirse + Nekomata
  • PIERCE GUARD (CLOSE COMBAT): Saoirse + Bisha's Centipede
  • DAMAGE REDUCTION (WHEN ATTACKING): Saoirse + Blue Dragon

 other couples:

  • HAND CANNON DAMAGE: Fuse-ushi + Mizuchi
  • KI DAMAGE (BOW): Hi-nezumi + Aya-komori
  • LUCK (USING LIVING WEAPON): Itokuri + Tengen Kujaku
  • EVERLASTING KI: Enko + Narikama Tanuki
  • DAMAGE NULLIFIED (USING LIVING WEAPON): Usura-hicho + Tengen Kujaku
  • ELIXIR BURST: Gyokuto + Narika ma Tanuki
  • NINJUTSU DAMAGE LIFE DRAIN: Gyokuto + Nekomata
  • DAMAGE REDUCTION (ELIXIR USED): Narikama Tanuki + Shin-Roku
  • NO KI CONSUMPTION (GUARDING): Narikama Tanuki + Suzaku
  • PREVENTS DEATH AS LONG AS YOU ARE NOT IN A CRITICAL CONDITION: Narikama Tanuki + Tengen Kujaku
  • RECOVER NINJUTSU ITEMS (FINISHED USING LIVING WEAPON): Narikama Tanuki + Nekomata
  • NO KI CONSUMPTION (FINISHED USING LIVING WEAPON): Kara-jishi + Izuna
  • DAMAGE REDUCTION (GUARDING): Kara-jishi + Bisha's Centipede
  • ONMYO DAMAGE LIFE DRAIN: Genbu + Tengen Kujaku
  • SELF & ALLIES HEALED (ENEMY DEFEATED IN CLOSE COMBAT): Atlas Bear + Tengen Kujaku
  • DURABILITY OF LIVING WEAPONS: Bisha's Centipede + Blue Dragon

 

Guardiant Spirits have interesting passive abilities, which can be unlocked by raising the Spirit Stat.
You can check these passive abilities when choosing a Guardian Spirit at The Shrine.
Active abilities are presented in white, while locked abilities are presented in grey, with the required Spirit Level attached in red. 

Guardian Spirits

Fire Elementals

 

 

Water Elementals

 

 

Earth Elementals

 

 

Wind Elementals

 

 

Lightning Elementals

 




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