A guide to all sects, how to play and build.
Definitive Guide to All Sects
The sects are the six statues in the starting location. One of them is unlocked at the start the game, four are unlocked after beating a chapter boss, and the last is found by killing book faces. I want to start out by saying all eight of them are viable and I have beat the game on White Ash difficult using all eight of them. Also, this guide is designed assuming all vendors are unlocked, the skill tree is maxed out, and the difficult is White Ash. That being said, I definitely recommend this guide for new players as it describes how each sect plays and how to build them.
The Seven Sword Sect is unlocked at the beginning of the game. That being said, it is not in any way inferior to sects unlocked later. I recommend Flurry over Hidden Strike, as Hidden Strike removes the ability to manually throw swords and the flying sword damage and defense buff isn’t nearly as strong as decreased sheath cooldown on melee hit and the melee damage buff from throwing out swords.
How to play
This is a melee focused sect, build relics and weapons that have on melee hit effects, increase melee damage, or increase attack speed. This is the most conventional of the sects, and most sects have some variant of how this sect plays, but none do it better. Build attack speed to reduce sheath cooldown so by the time all of your swords have been thrown sheath is off cooldown and they can be recalled and thrown again. Throw swords while melee attacking to give them an attack buff.
This sect has an official name, but I’ve always just called it the fire sect. For most people it is the second sect that is unlocked as it is given after beating Chapter 1’s boss. I recommend Drunken Song over Wine Soaked. Wine Soaked is the more conventional of the two options and it is stronger early game, and on lower difficulties since there are less enemies but struggles mid to late game on higher difficulties since there are more enemies with higher HP and it can’t reduce sheath cooldown like the Seven Sword sect can. Throw six swords at an enemy, recall and throw six more, maybe you’ve killed two of them with another ten running at you which can only be killed using melee attacks since your sheath is on cooldown and running after each individual sword is impractical. Also, only two of the ten are affected by the burning status.
Drunken Song is the opposite. Since you can’t use swords, and because the player’s ability to do fire damage is still very limited, the damage early game is worse than Wine Soaked. However, once you get enough sect skills and relics you can trigger fire damage extremely reliably and since the gourd has unlimited ammo you can give every enemy the burning effect and there is a sect skill that makes it so every time wine is ignited it creates an explosion that does damage. Hitting an enemy that is already burning will trigger the explosion meaning you can do damage with your gourd constantly.
How to Build and Use
Prioritize relics that do fire damage and increase fire damage. If you wish you can also build poison but only do so if you have the serpent wine legendary sect skill. It is mutually exclusive with the dragon wine sect skill and without the serpent wine triggering toxic is too unreliable. Either way, in the late game stop using burst mode.
Burst mode causes the gourd to shoot out flaming projectiles that do damage which is very useful early game. However, an enemy hit by this projectile will not be given the burning effect and a wine puddle will not be left on the ground. Also, there will not be an explosion that comes from igniting a drunk enemy. Meanwhile, by shooting wine while attacking, since in late game fire damage is extremely easy to trigger, you’ll deal damage through the explosion, give enemies the burning status, and leave burning puddles on the ground that deal more damage.
Mother Trinity is the bleed/poison sect, which is unlocked after killing a certain amount of book faces. As of such, it can be unlocked at different time for different players but I unlocked it between the fire and flying sword sect so I’ll put it here.
The two choices are Blood Splatter and Infestation. Of the two I recommend Blood Splatter. Like the fire sect Infestation is the more conventional branch, is better early game, but runs into similar problems Wine Soaked has. On higher difficulties there are more enemies, with higher HP, and are faster, and since this build is bleed/poison it is critical to poison every enemy. If all swords have been thrown, recalled, and thrown again and the sect passive has already been triggered there is not a good way to poison enemies besides using a relic, but that’s a waste of a relic slot as with the Blood Splatter branch and the sect skill that keeps you permanently toxic you can inflict poison all the time, without using relic slot. Instead, the relic slot can be used to increase damage, surviablity, or both.
Blood Splatter is weaker early game than Infestation, but for different reasons than Drunken Song is. Blood Splatter uses 3% of your current HP to fire a projectile. When the projectile hits it drops a blood orb that heals 3% of your max HP. This is the only sect with a built in heal mechanic and it is a very strong one, especially late game when the player builds has a ton of max hp through sect skills, boosters, and relic distillation. Also, there are many sect skills in this sect that give healing increasing surviablity further. However, in the early game, the player’s max HP is quite low and they don’t have the relics or sects skills that give healing yet. Hence, why the player tends to hover at 60-70% hp early game but in late game they hover between 80-100%.
How to Build and Use
This build is designed for bleed and poison/toxic. Prioritize relics that increase poison/toxic/bleed damage, increase damage to enemies with a status ailment, or convert poison/toxic/blleed damage into true damage. Ghostly Strand is very good for this build as enemies should always have a negative status if this sect is being played and built correctly. Since Blood Splatter has infinite ammo shoot them constantly to heal, and cause toxic and bleed.
Infinite Arhat is one of my least favorite sects in the game because of how it plays. Both branches rely on sheath to trigger Sword Fairy/Inner Light to shoot flying swords with no restrictions, however of the two I recommend Sword Rain as it does better damage against single targets such as bosses and it can still fire at full power for around 3 seconds after Sword Fairy mode ends. Also, Sword Rain triggers sect skills and relic abilities more often since it fires much faster than sun piercer. This is especially noticeable against bosses.
How to Play
For Sword Rain, fire swords until your meter is full, sheath to reset, then continue firing until Sword Fairy mode runs out. Keep flickering away from enemies while attacking. Once it expires wait until it comes back up again and repeat. Sun Piercer is the same except you trigger inner light imminently when attacking and you don’t have the grace period after inner light runs out to continue shooting at full power.
How to Build
Prioritize sheath cooldown reduction and flying sword damage. Especially sheath cooldown reduction as it makes gameplay feel much better while greatly increasing damage. Wind Chaser herb is critical for this sect because it’s heavy reliance on sheath.
Bitter River is unlocked after beating chapter 3 and revolves around the freeze effect. Ice breaker Fang is critical to this build as it doubles all damage against enemies that are frozen and gives a 5% chance of instantly killing a non boss enemy when dealing damage to them. Of the two paths I recommend White Frost over Bone Chill as it gives a damage over time which can also trigger Ice Breaker Fang’s effect. It also increase your chance of triggering freeze on melee attacks and increases your attack speed with the sheath ability, further increasing the likelyhood an enemy will be frozen. Also, the Bone Chill branch runs into the same problem as Wine Soaked and Infestation have, which is the inabliity to reduce sheath cooldown on hit.
How to Build
Regardless of the branch chosen, prioritize relics with attack speed, frost damage, bonus damage against enemies that are frozen, or freeze.
This is the last sect in the game and it’s sort of a weird one. It’s gotten after defeating the second to last boss in the game, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with different builds before finally figuring it out. Like many of the sects, it has two branches with Wild Thunder being the more conventional and Swift Shadow being the less conventional. And like the other sects, I recommend Swift Shadow over Wild Thunder since it’s better on higher difficulties late game.
How it Plays
The purpose of this sect is to apply stacks of conductive and keep triggering thunderbolt. Of the two, Swift Shadow can apply conductive to more enemies faster than Wild Thunder which makes it better on higher difficulties and late game. It’s also physically faster than Wild Thunder because of Thunder Flash. That being said, this sect prioritizes sheath cooldowns reduction almost as much as Infinite Arhat does. Also, right clicking while on Swift Shadow will cause the player to dash since there aren’t any flying swords. However, I still recommend using space bar as it’s easier on the hands. This is also the only sect I play with one hand, since once I get full build I stop attacking and do all my damage using flickers.
How to Build
Prioritize lightning damage, flying sword damage, and cooldown reduction. Ideally, when you get to late game you will have a hundred percent up time on true thunder flash. Any additional cooldown reduction is pointless so try not to overshoot it.
Of all the sects, the one I have played the least is Thunderfury as it’s relics are harder to come by than the other sects. It and Infinite Arhat are the only two sects which actively avoid melee damage effects and attack speed, and actively build flying sword damage. The other sects don’t mind flying sword damage, with Carousing being the only sect that actively avoids flying sword damage. Speaking of which, Thunderfury is the hardest sect on the GPU since it summons a thunderbolt for each enemy. I’ve only lagged once on it though, in the plaza right before the tiger boss since there are so many enemies that spawn.
Thunderfury is very unique as it’s the only sect that can be played using one hand, once at full build. Carousing doesn’t use sheath at full build, and Infinite Arhat doesn’t use melee attacks. Once again, after full build. Oh, and Bitter River doesn’t use right click at all. Only Seven Sword and Mother Trinity continue to use all buttons at full build.
Of all the sects, Seven Swords is the easiest to find relics for since melee damage, attack speed, on melee damage, and final hit relics are pretty easy to come across. Also, for those who don’t know, an melee attack string has 4 hits with the fourth one being the final hit and triggering all corresponding effects.
Infinite Arhat is my least favorite sect. It feels really bad waiting around for the sheath to go off cooldown and even when the cooldown problem is fixed I don’t like the gameplay as it consists of staying as far away from the enemy as possible while shooting at them and flicking backwards.
I like Seven Sword and Mother Trinity the most. As I mentioned before, they are the only two sects which continue to use all buttons even after fully built. They also have a nice mix of range and melee in their combat.
Bitter River is strong but I don’t like its gameplay as much because it feels like the other sects but all ranged mechanics are cut out. Carousing is similar except I still shoot wine out of the gourd but I don’t use sheath which is a big part of ranged combat. I play Thunderfury the least as it’s relics are the hardest to come by and many of them are shared with Infinite Arhat.