The medieval styling of the land of Calradia in Mount & Blade: Warband extends to the vast array of weaponry on offer. You’ll find weaponsmiths in all the major cities selling a variety of killing tools. You’ll also find weapons as part of the loot after any battle you win. The need to arm yourself and your band of heroes means you will need a lot of weaponry and anything left over can be sold later on for profit. In this Mount & Blade: Warband Weapon Guide we’ll take a closer look at the various weapon classes, suggest a few tactics and highlight some of the best options.
All of the weapons in Mount & Blade: Warband fit into six categories. These categories appear under the header Proficiencies on your Character screen and they break down as follows:
- One Handed Weapons
- Two Handed Weapons
In order to wield any weapon effectively you’re going to need to build up your ratings in the relevant Proficiency. Each time you go up a level you will get an Attribute point to spend, some Skill points and some Weapon points. The Weapon points can be spent on building up Proficiencies. You will also find that your Proficiencies grow naturally the more you use a weapon successfully. Pulling off several kills with a Short Sword, for example, will improve your One Handed Weapons rating.
Now we’ll take a look at each Proficiency in turn, explain the advantages and disadvantages and suggest the best weapon in that category for different circumstances.
One Handed Weapons
The weapons in this category have a left swing, right swing and overhead swing attack and for swords you can add a thrust attack.
Advantages – You can have a shield equipped with a one handed weapon but remember it will slow you down! Weapons in this category are also the fastest to swing.
Disadvantages – They may be fast but they also do less damage than other categories and they tend to have a shorter reach.
As a general rule the shorter the sword the faster you can swing it. As well as various types of sword you’ll also find maces, axes and picks in this category. Maces are good for knocking opponents down, axes are great for cutting through shields and picks are best employed to pierce armour. The one handed swords are the most versatile and they can be employed usefully in any circumstance. Remember that you can hit right mouse to change direction with your swipe attack. You need to be careful using the overhead or thrust attacks because they require careful aiming and if you miss you’ll be struck easily.
Two Handed Weapons
The weapons in this category have a left swing, right swing and overhead swing attack and for swords you can add a thrust attack. There are also spears and pikes that have thrust and overhead swings only.
Advantages – Weapons in this category do serious damage and they have a great range.
Disadvantages – They tend to be slow to swing and in general they can’t be used with a shield. If you see the term “unbalanced” you will also take longer to regain balance after attacking and it’s tough to switch from an attack into a block at speed.
There are all kinds of weapons in this category including swords, spears, pikes, hammers, axes and some one off examples like the glaive and the war cleaver. The most popular by far are the Bastard Swords and they bridge the gap between one handed and two handed weapons. You can use a shield with them but they’re much better without. My favourite weapon in this category is the Morningstar but there is only one circumstance where I recommend using it – siege defence. If you can repeatedly set up an overhead swing and rush forward to unleash it on an enemy as he reaches the top of ladder then you’ll quickly make a pile of corpses.
The weapons in this category tend to have a thrust only attack although there are a few exceptions. They can be used with a shield and they can be very effective on horseback. There is also the option to do couched damage with a lance where you simply brace the lance and aim it at a target and then ride at them as fast as possible. This couched attack has been weakened in Warband and it’s a little tougher to pull off (press X) but it is still an effective and deadly attack when you get it right.
Advantages – If you want to stop a cavalry charge dead or you’re on horseback and you want to knock an enemy dead with a single blow as you ride past then polearms are for you. They have long range and high damage.
Disadvantages – Your attacks are slow and limited in choice. If your opponent gets close enough you can’t hit them at all.
This is not my favourite category of weapons but as a knight there are few things that give you the same satisfaction as a well aimed couched lance blow. Even in Warband it is still enjoyable to knock an enemy lord off his horse using the great lance.
There are various types of bow and arrows in Mount & Blade: Warband. If you want to be able to wield the better bows you’ll need to develop your Power Draw skill. Arrows are available in different amounts and in general the more expensive they are the more accurate they’ll be and the more damage they’ll do. You use a bow by holding down the left mouse button to draw the bow and prepare to fire. You have a short window in which to let fly before the reticule widens and your shot loses all accuracy. Always aim for the head to do maximum damage. If your opponent has a helmet and shield then you can always aim for their legs instead.
Advantages – You can kill people from a great distance, the better the bow the further you can accurately fire.
Disadvantages – You have a narrow window to fire and you must aim well or your shot will be useless. You also have a finite supply of arrows and if your opponent gets close you’ll never have time to get another shot off. These are both reasons that you always need a back up weapon if you play as an archer.
Remember that you can cancel a shot by hitting right mouse. In general go for the most powerful bow and arrows combination you can afford. When facing multiple targets hit the closest guy first. You can zoom with Left Shift which makes it easier to aim. Always be ready to switch to your backup weapon.
There are a few crossbows in the game but personally they are my least favourite weapon type so I don’t have much experience with them. They work in much the same way as bows and you’ll want to use the best bolts you can find to do maximum damage. They are kind of like a light version of the bow so you don’t need Power Draw and you can aim for as long as you like before letting fly.
Advantages – You can kill people at distance although bows have a greater range. With crossbows you can ready a shot and hold it for as long as you like while you aim without losing accuracy.
Disadvantages – It takes around a week to reload a crossbow, I’m obviously exaggerating, but seriously the reload rate is a nightmare.
If you can’t get your hands on a bow for some reason then a crossbow is the next best thing.
There are a variety of weapons under this category but to use them you’ll want to build up your Power Throw skill. You throw axes, spears and other implements of doom by holding down left mouse and the mechanic is pretty similar to bows and crossbows.
Advantages – You can do serious damage with a heavy Jarid or an axe and they have a reasonable range.
Disadvantages – They are tough to aim accurately and you never get very many of them.
The best way to use throwing spears is to build up some speed on horseback and let fly as you approach the target. The added speed will increase the damage. They are much less accurate than bows or crossbows so proximity to your target really helps to make sure they hit home. You generally only get a handful of these and they’re nice to have on top of your main weapon if you don’t fancy going the archer route.
This post is part of the series: Mount & Blade: Warband Guide
A five part guide to the new Mount & Blade: Warband.